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silent but deadly?
December 10, 2004 8:27 AM   Subscribe

has the media hit the "mute" button? the news is chock-full of accounts of a soldier challenging rumsfeld with a question that makes the news media look like the pack of lap dogs they are. so - where's the audio? the video? i, for one, want to hear those thousands of soldiers respond to the question.
posted by subpixel (68 comments total)

 
It was on the Daily Show last night.
posted by smackfu at 8:31 AM on December 10, 2004


The Daily Show had the clip on last night. After a nervous silence, the whole room of soldiers started applauding the question.
posted by chundo at 8:32 AM on December 10, 2004


I heard it on NPR yesterday morning, search the archives.
posted by jonah at 8:32 AM on December 10, 2004


I caught the whole thing on MSNBC the other day. Are you wondering why it hasn't been propogated web-wide, or believe that it has been intentionally "suppressed" by Bushitler, or...?
posted by davidmsc at 8:36 AM on December 10, 2004


i jumped the gun:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4209334
posted by subpixel at 8:38 AM on December 10, 2004


Video here (via Crooks and Liars)
posted by chundo at 8:39 AM on December 10, 2004


yeah, heard it on the radio. sounded like a big cheer.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:41 AM on December 10, 2004


the news is chock-full of accounts of a soldier challenging rumsfeld with a question that makes the news media look like the pack of lap dogs they are.

Interestingly enough, a member of that news media claims he was the one who crafted the question and arranged for the soldier to ask it. Of course, this claim itself has generated controversy.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:42 AM on December 10, 2004


If that was true, you'd think he'd have had a better answer. Like, an answer.

You know.
posted by chicobangs at 8:53 AM on December 10, 2004


I like how this story has been inverted to being all about this guy -- or as Drudge would have us belive all about the liberal press trying to make Rummy look bad.

Has anyone even stopped to say, "Hey, wait a minute - WHY ARE our troops having to dig through a landfill for supples?"

This guy has basically sacrificed his career to prod the rest of the country into asking a serious question about this war.

Nice quote from the ex-wife, “I don’t think he understands the concept of biting one’s tongue. It wouldn't matter if it was (President) Bush himself standing there. He would have dissed him the same.”

"Dissed" ? Is this what our society is reduced too? Coming up with slang for the word disrespected?

I mean, come the hell on... who is really disrespected here? Rumsfeld - who helped master mind a stupid and fraudulent war - or the guy standing up to ask an honest question.

Ohhhh poor Rumsfled. He loves America so much and he loves our troops. Every night before he goes home he rapes a bald eagle over his 'standing desk' just to reconnect with what it means to be American. And what does he get? Some know-nothing grunt puking liberal lies all over him in front of the world. It's a shame I tell ya.
posted by wfrgms at 8:54 AM on December 10, 2004


How does Rumsfeld get away with straight up lying and no one calls him on it? He said they can't produce armoured vehicles any faster. The guys making the armored HumVee's say they coudl double production, right now, if the pentagon asked them.
posted by gus at 9:04 AM on December 10, 2004


I used to be a TV news junkie but the cable networks suck so bad covering any story -- unless it is the Scott Peterson trial. The US press are pretty much the lapdogs of the adminstration. Print is doing better than TV, but unfortunately USians don't read the paper. Thankfully I can get good feel for what is going on in the world on the internets.

I heard the quote about 1,000 times yesterday on Air America. But you'd expect that from thos commie bastards.
posted by birdherder at 9:05 AM on December 10, 2004


I tell ya, what pisses me off is that I saw a clip today with an upper-echelon US Army idiot denying reports of soldiers raiding scrapyards and other vehicles to find armor for their Hummers.

Folks, my coworker's kid is over in Iraq. The first thing he did after arriving at his post was take part in a "scavenger mission" to a local scrapyard to gather as much metal as possible to stick on the side of their vehicles. It wasn't a secret at all. He e-mailed home about their "heroic strike on an enemy supply depot (aka We went shopping at the local junkyard.)." It was kind of a joke. But it was real.
posted by GreatWesternDragon at 9:07 AM on December 10, 2004


The good news:
There's lots of junk.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:13 AM on December 10, 2004


If that was true, you'd think he'd have had a better answer. Like, an answer.

chico, by "he" I meant the reporter, not Rumsfeld.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:14 AM on December 10, 2004


or believe that it has been intentionally "suppressed" by Bushitler, or...?
The new story here is; the press gave the soldiers the questions...this story is old, and so is my news to it.

The better story here are companies that install the bullet/bomb proofing armory asking, “where are the order, were ready.” One company said since the do the windows already it would be cheaper for them to finish the whole job yet have not heard that there was a need by the military, only by public.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:20 AM on December 10, 2004


Alright, pardonyou, true (I figured that out after I hit post, and figured, ach, never mind) but it did sound like the question was valid, and Rumsfeld had that particular mix of clueless and annoyed on his face that really scares me when it's on The Guy In Charge.
posted by chicobangs at 9:23 AM on December 10, 2004


Regarding the possibility that the question was planted by a reporter - so what? That's like saying that a person's resume is somehow illegitimate because they consulted a career counselor.

If the soldier asking the question believed in the merit of the question, there is nothing wrong with consulting a professional to make the question as concise and effective as possible.
posted by crazy finger at 9:25 AM on December 10, 2004


Re: Rumsfeld's answer

Rumsfeld said the Army was prodding manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it quickly, but noted, “You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have.”


A good leader has patience to wait and go to war with the army he wants or wishes to have. If he goes to war at all.
posted by ScotchLynx at 9:27 AM on December 10, 2004


Also, back to the original point of this thread, I did watch O'Reilly the other night to see how he'd cover this event. He said that the soldier asked a "no-spin question" and that he should hire him on the Factor.

When they played the clip of the event, however, the applause and Rummy's initial wavering were completely omitted. It was pretty blatent.
posted by crazy finger at 9:28 AM on December 10, 2004


Frankly, I would be really happy to stop hearing about the damn question, and start hearing about the solution, I swear to you, everytime I've turned on the news in the last couple of days, I've heard that same damn article (NPR really takes the cake for overplaying it)...

Alright, so the question has been asked, can we get some reporters to do something about the solution? Gus brings up a link that says the manufactures could easily increase production, why the hell am I not hearing about that? Oh yeah, that's right, America's liberal media... I forgot...

Bah
posted by KirTakat at 9:32 AM on December 10, 2004


You don't think Rummy had speech writers and people to prep him? Why not plant the question? Who cares if it was planted? It's important to call our "leaders" to the mat every once in a while to show them that there are real world consequences for their mistakes.

I would like to hear more of the voice of the military, the grunts, the one's being stop-lossed back to Iraq. They are honest about what's happening, not the spin-speak from ShrubCo.
posted by fenriq at 9:33 AM on December 10, 2004


I'm wondering how much of the scrap metal the soliders are digging through is contaminated with depleted uranium.
posted by blissing at 9:34 AM on December 10, 2004


I saw the clip several times yesterday on Fox News and the local news (San Francisco). Every time the audience reaction was shown.

What I thought was weird was that every time the story was told they do one of these:

A) Show the clip of the soldier asking the question (with audience reaction) and then the reporter/anchor would paraphrase Rumsfeld's response; or

B) Paraphrase the soldier's question (mentioning the audience response) and then show Rumsfeld's answer.

They never just showed question and response.
posted by obfusciatrist at 9:35 AM on December 10, 2004


The clip was played as the lead story on NBC Nightly News the day that the story broke. Unlike NPR, they didn't play the soldier's repetition of the question, but they did play the substantive bulk of the exchange.
posted by waldo at 9:36 AM on December 10, 2004


Fox played it several times.
posted by Mick at 9:37 AM on December 10, 2004


Yeah, I was wondering if anybody else out there noticed that Rummy asked the soilder to repeat the question again because supposedly he couldn't hear him.

The first thing I thought was . . . what a fucking clever man. By making the soilder restate the question after the explosion of applause he effectively made it possible for "news" outlets like O'Reilly to pretend (edit out) the huge round of applause never happened.

Ugh, tv sucks sometimes.
posted by Boydrop at 9:37 AM on December 10, 2004


but it did sound like the question was valid, and Rumsfeld had that particular mix of clueless and annoyed on his face that really scares me when it's on The Guy In Charge.

Oh, I agree. Just to clarify, when I posted the stuff about the reporter, I was citing that as an ironic fact in response to subpixel's statement about this being a question that "makes the media look like the pack of lap dogs they are." I wasn't contending the question asked wasn't worthwhile (I believe it's not only worthwhile, but vital that questions like that get asked).
posted by pardonyou? at 9:38 AM on December 10, 2004


Whoops, meant to "on preview" what the last few follks above me apparently beat me to and said before me.
posted by Boydrop at 9:38 AM on December 10, 2004


You know, despite the utter depressiveness of this whole thing, there's a silver lining: another koan from everyone's favorite Zen master, D. H. Rumsfeld. And I quote

"I don't know what the facts are but somebody's certainly going to sit down with him and find out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know, and that's a good thing. I think it's a very constructive exchange,"

Doubleplusgood!
posted by jimray at 9:43 AM on December 10, 2004


consulting a professional
He didn't consult when you look at the fact that no reporters were allowed to ask a question, so the reporter went to him.

See here is where this news is wrong. The question being asked and cheered. Who does not know the Hummers are not well armored?

This has been reported since the war started. We should be asking why the Hummers were not originally made stronger and why the budget cut then. Then you could point to Bush and say, why did you not follow up with better vehicles knowing this.

Now you are hearing that these non armored vehicles are used only in secured places, which we know is BS. Hearing it from the manufactures makes a better story.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:49 AM on December 10, 2004


You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have.

That might be an excuse if you're attacked unexpectedly, but it's not in a war that we launched on our own schedule after months of (inadequate) planning and preparation. Also, unarmored Humvees have been a problem for at least a year:
"American troops are dying in Iraq and suffering amputations and other massive injuries while they confront the Iraqi insurgency in Humvees not designed to withstand front-line combat....The Pentagon failed to move them into Iraq in significant numbers because war planners had seriously underestimated how violent the newly liberated nation would be."
In response, the White House underfunded the program to armor Humvees.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:52 AM on December 10, 2004


Rumsfeld does not take questions that he's unprepared for in front of the news media.

Rumsfeld's in office and this is his last one. He's been working on behalf of the defense industry in American Government for decades.

How can any good American question massive increases in Defense spending, when our boys are digging through landfills?

Rumsfeld took a bullet because he can do so politically and not really be hurt by it. Now the rest of us will be asked to pony up for totally-unrelated military expenditures gussied up as a salve for our landfill-digging grunts.
posted by chaz at 9:53 AM on December 10, 2004


I've always thought the story wasn't the question so much as the cheer. One soldier being manipulated by a reporter is a minor thing. One soldier asking a question and being cheered by a whole bunch of other soldiers is a much bigger deal.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:57 AM on December 10, 2004


Interestingly enough, a member of that news media claims he was the one who crafted the question and arranged for the soldier to ask it. Of course, this claim itself has generated controversy.

But that's such an unfair thing to do to members of our government! I mean, they're only trying to protect us. And they would never plant questions at one of their events. That's just disingenuous.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:57 AM on December 10, 2004


I want to know what the fallout is going to be for the soldier who asked the question.
posted by zorro astor at 9:59 AM on December 10, 2004


i guess the military's budget isn't big enough, maybe that's what they're trying to tell us.
posted by ism at 10:09 AM on December 10, 2004


ON NPR RIGHT NOW: ...Humvee company says it can increase production if Defense Dept. wants it...

Interview right now w/ company spokesman.
posted by crazy finger at 10:11 AM on December 10, 2004


zorro astor, I was thinking the same thing. I'm sure there are a fair number of talk shows that are pursuing him for interviews, I bet there's a Fox after school movie in the works and maybe they'll even morph him into a BushCo parrot.

I'm glad he asked it but I'm also glad I'm not him.

chaz, that's a pretty astute observation and I would be very surprised if you were wrong. The whole thing could have been staged from the get go with Rummy allowing it to happen to send another monster budget increase request sailing right through approvals.

Man, has anyone just exploded from being too cynical? I think I'm getting close.
posted by fenriq at 10:14 AM on December 10, 2004


Ya know, Rummy also said there are about eight up-armored Humvees protecting the dangerous, IED-filled streets and avenues of that hellhole, Washington DC.

Makes me feel a whole lot safer.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:23 AM on December 10, 2004


in response to subpixel's statement about this being a question that "makes the media look like the pack of lap dogs they are."

Like, you know, they're not, or something. Whatever!
posted by nofundy at 10:44 AM on December 10, 2004


I saw the entire clip too, including the applause. It wasn't a good TV clip. Question, followed by a few seconds of silence then a few nervous army guys going "huuuuuuaaaaaa" and some scattered clapping. It wasn't exactly enthusiastic applause.

Add that to the fact that we're no longer in election season and the politics of the war really don't matter much now and you'll understand why this wasn't a major story.
posted by b_thinky at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2004


Yeah, after a long history of you fix it / no, you fix it Tom and Jerry hijinks, I wonder if the Army has discovered teamwork en masse?

"Rank incompetence" was a phrase used by Bush to describe some of the military situation in Iraq. Yes, we all hate him here already; pardon the mention of his name.

The body of a normal humvee is aluminum, about 1/32" of an inch thick. Funny how they look so tough. Typical armoured glass has a fog-like view through the windows.

Some of the transports are speed-limited to 30 mph due to roll-over concerns. So, one transport in a convoy; and you have some bastardized Battlestar Galactica mess trying to navigate itself through an open plains shooting gallery.

Iraq is very sadly and very bluntly a harvest of what was sown.
posted by buzzman at 11:28 AM on December 10, 2004


I was surprised no one has mentioned Armor Systems International again. It is a peel-and-stick armor that solider's can apply in two hours, is better protection than steel plating, and is cheaper than "up armoring" done now.

I know, pepsiarmorfilter, but I saw this one the news a few months ago and was amazed to see it stop a .50 cal bullet and bomb shrapnel cold while being freakin' peel and stick.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 11:33 AM on December 10, 2004


wow, that is cool ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo..

(how do you pronounce that, anyway?)
posted by chaz at 11:39 AM on December 10, 2004


You can just call me .ooO, and it's three syllables, like O-O-oooh. More about it here.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 11:46 AM on December 10, 2004


interesting case study in journalistic ethics
posted by ZippityBuddha at 11:59 AM on December 10, 2004


Chaz, you hit the nail on the head, right there. These jokers like to cultivate an air of incompetence, which allows us righteous indignation until the 'problem' is fixed. Yes, indeed. The fix is in.

The administration knows exactly what it is doing.
posted by lyam at 12:04 PM on December 10, 2004


ABC has played it to death during Good Morning America. They speculated that a reporter planted the question. But there is no doubt the soldiers' response was authentic.
posted by suchatreat at 12:06 PM on December 10, 2004


..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.., peel and stick armor plating is cool! I'd thought of something like this years ago but never thought it would work.

And why they haven't been cranking up production to safeguard more troops is beyond me. Maybe Bush doesn't know that they've got an internets site?
posted by fenriq at 12:07 PM on December 10, 2004


A good leader has patience to wait and go to war with the army he wants or wishes to have.

i would just like to point out that the time, place, and methods of the iraq war were all deliberately chosen by rummy and shrub, it's not like the war "just happened" to us and we had to use the "army we had".

not that it will make any difference. americans are busy shopping for the 'Consumas' holiday.
posted by quonsar at 12:09 PM on December 10, 2004


Four years into the Bush administration, the reason for these problems is clear... It's *STILL* Clinton's fault!

"As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time..."


How ludicrous is this statement? It's been 39 months since 9/11, when Iraq was put on the short list for invasion... so why are our soldiers still trying to get armored vehicles and enough ammunition to practice with?

In December 1941, the US Pacific fleet was decimated at Pearl Harbor. Hitler's Germany controlled the European mainland and his army was at the gates of Moscow... and 80,000 US troops were cut off (and eventually forced to surrender) in the Philippines.

And 39 months later... the last remnants of Japanese Navy were decimated, its cities in ruins from constant firebomb attacks. Iwo Jima fell, Okinawa was on the chopping block, and US armies crossed the Rhine into the heart of Germany, cutting off over 300,000 German soldiers.

So, when Rumsfeld says that equiping approximately 13 armed vehicles a day is the best our country can do after 39 months, I have to laugh. A lot. Derisively, even.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:26 PM on December 10, 2004


By making the soilder restate the question after the explosion of applause he effectively made it possible for "news" outlets like O'Reilly to pretend (edit out) the huge round of applause

Diabolical thinking. Of course, it could never work without a complicit media outlet.

What amazed me was that Rumsfeld could even tell such a boldfaced lie. We just can't produce enough of the armor fast enough? Are you joking? The soldiers can buy it online, but awe shucks, the government just can't seem to find a contractor that's able to meet production numbers.

During WW2, FDR asked for a million tanks in a year and got 'em. The US produced more planes, tanks, ships, guns, military supplies and other goods than all the other nations combined, both Allied and Axis.

Yet now there seems to be an international kevlar shortage.

Cool link to the peel-n-stick armor, ..ooOO (now in "gunmetal death" scratch-n-sniff smells!)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:30 PM on December 10, 2004


Hey, insomnia -- looks like we were both thinking the same thing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:31 PM on December 10, 2004


Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah, quonsar.
posted by fenriq at 12:32 PM on December 10, 2004


So, when Rumsfeld says that equiping approximately 13 armed vehicles a day is the best our country can do after 39 months, I have to laugh. A lot. Derisively, even.

You said it, insomnia. This is the first time in history that taxes have been cut during a war. Many crocodile tears are being shed over 'supporting the troops,' but nobody is really being asked for any kind of sacrifice whatsoever, except for the kids who are being sent over there to die for Bush's political agenda.
posted by wadefranklin at 12:59 PM on December 10, 2004


Bush doesn't care about the troops at all, either over there or back here. And the 2005 budget doesn't provide enough for veterans at all--and certainly not what was asked for just to maintain current bad levels.
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM on December 10, 2004


Question, followed by a few seconds of silence then a few nervous army guys going "huuuuuuaaaaaa" and some scattered clapping. It wasn't exactly enthusiastic applause.

b_thinky, did we watch the same clip? After the few seconds of silence, I didn't hear any nervous army guys, I just heard a big swell of enthusiastic applause.

Is there more than one clip floating around out there, either of the two separate times the question was asked, or perhaps one doctored in some way?

Note that I watched the "Crooks and Liars" video link posted above.
posted by davejay at 1:28 PM on December 10, 2004


by ScotchLynx:
A good leader has patience to wait and go to war with the army he wants or wishes to have. If he goes to war at all.>

There it is. As someone who's been to one, please let me point out that war is, almost without exception, a Very Bad Idea.

Any leader who initiates a war should be considered a failure. I would support a Constitutional amendment prohibiting any President who goes to war from running for re-election, or from holding any other public office.

War is always a huge expense of resources of various kinds (including the most potentially productive members of all the groups involved), almost never achieves its stated goals, and is usually launched in service of goals very different from the stated ones.

Case in point: our current idiotic adventure. Those who think our invasion of another sovereign nation is justified should sign up with the armed forces immediately. They can replace the soldiers who have the sense to want to come home.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:32 PM on December 10, 2004


The double whammy:

A reservist gets her leg blown off when a morter detonates under her unamored truck. She gets shipped back home, languishes at some hell hole like Fort Knox for 12 months or so while her medical rating is determined, then discovers that the DOD won't even provide post-deployment medical care for anything other than the actual injury sustained. Nice.
posted by Juicylicious at 1:41 PM on December 10, 2004


The only solution here would have been more military spending years ago. Yet I wonder how many here who feel we need better armor would have supported the money being spent a decade ago.

I do see where Bush is finally right, he went with the less military he had.

Forget the Hummers, the army should use more LAVs, plus they float.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:55 PM on December 10, 2004


even provide post-deployment medical care for anything other than the actual injury sustained. Nice.

That is pitiful. Unfortuenatel this was seen coming years ago when the Veterans of WWII were cut from their promised medical coverage, like my Grandfather. This gave him more to detest future Wars for the young.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:03 PM on December 10, 2004


Well, I guess that the reason why Humvees are not armoured is that they bloody weren't designed with that kind of role in mind! They are light transport vehicles, designed to replace the Jeep and bring soldiers and moderate quantities of equipment from A to B. Not as combat patrol vehicles, exposed to continuous fire, as in counter-insurgency operations.
And that, boys and girls, was so because the Humvee was commissioned right after the Vietnam War, when America had it quite clear that it didn't want to get involved in that sort of mess ever again.
posted by Skeptic at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2004


Why the hurry to armor these vehicles? It's not like these kids are coming home anytime soon--they have plenty of time to take care of this.

/snark
posted by bardic at 2:54 PM on December 10, 2004


In response, the White House underfunded the program to armor Humvees.

Saaayy.....
(calculate-calculate-calculate)
Where's all that money going?
(eyes administration suspiciously)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:57 PM on December 10, 2004


I'm prety sure I heard it on CBS.
posted by jmccorm at 2:58 PM on December 10, 2004


The only solution here would have been more military spending years ago.

No, Thomcat, that's not the only solution here. Especially not if you're going back in time for a solution. The best solution would be to not start a moronic war in the first place.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:22 PM on December 10, 2004


Though it may be too late for this alternate approach, I wonder why the US Army, which should above all things strive to avoid looking like an occupying force, insists that no soldier leave their compounds unless surrounded by 7000lbs of "I'm bigger than you".

We had a similar controversy here in Canada when a couple of our soldiers were killed after driving over an anti-tank mine. While the government was grilled for letting Canadian troops were travel an unstable region in glorified Volkswagen Rabbits, the soldiers themselves responded that first, no amount of armor plating would have prevented their deaths, and second "You have to have a certain level of contact with people in this job, and that is something you don't get while rumbling around in the back of an armoured vehicle"
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:55 PM on December 10, 2004


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