Sunday, December 12, 2004

DEPT. OF EXEGISIS J. Peter Scoblic takes a closer look at Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's now-infamous vehicle armor comments, and he doesn't like what sees:
"[I]f you think about it," he said, "you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can [still] be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up." The sheer condescension of the reply was breath-taking.

If you think about it? One imagines that Specialist Wilson has thought quite a bit about being blown up--and the other dozens of ways he might be killed in Iraq. And what exactly was Rumsfeld suggesting, anyway? That Wilson simply adopt a more philosophical attitude toward combat? That he turn to the old AA prayer and ask God for the serenity to accept the things he cannot change?

Perhaps Rumsfeld could suggest that troops begin patrolling without helmets. After all, you can wear your helmet until the end of time--and still get shot in the chest.

But more astounding was Rumsfeld's contention that "[y]ou go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." Astounding because, of course, the United States did not go to war with the army it had; it went to war with a mere fraction of the army it had.
If you're a New Republic subscriber, you can read the whole thing here.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.