Get Rummy

The long knives have been unsheathed, and Donald Rumsfeld's back targeted. One of the most capable, energetic, intelligent, determined and articulate public servants in the history of the American Republic is under fire for not being omniscient and infallible, and for using an Auto—Pen to sign letters of condolence to the families of those killed in action.

A classic orchestrated PR offensive is underway, bearing all the signs of the customary collaboration among the Usual Suspects in the capital's media—political universe.

Things were getting scary for the opponents of George W. Bush. Not only did he win a smashing electoral victory, and immediately launch an invigorated second term agenda, but the Democrats, unable to control their despair, were in the process of disgracing themselves to the general public through their self—involved wailing and whining. The Democrats became a parody of themselves: wimps who don't even understand how ridiculous they look to everyone else, seeking designation as victims of a made—up psychological syndrome. Not exactly the kind of people the American public want defending us in an age of terror.

Something had to be done to change the subject and regain the offensive.

The trigger was a question during an extraordinary pressQ&A session with Soldiers in Kuwait.  A question about the pace of the armoring of Humvees, posed to the SecDef by a Soldier acting as a media sock puppet, was intended to trap him. The horrifying sight of our forces being blown—up by roadside bombs pulls at our heartstrings, as it should, particularly during the Christmas holiday season. Up—armoring vehicles never designed with a suspension to carry the weight of extra armor, and needing windshields and windows made from special materials, inevitably takes time, if the job is to be done right. The technical and logistical dilemmas make for a perfect 'gotcha' trap. Do the job quickly and Rumnsfeld can be faulted for giving our troops defective equipment. Do the job right, and Rumsfeld can be demonized for not getting our troops the safe equipment fast enough.

The actual response to the question by Secretary Rumsfeld was thoughtful and complete. But one sentence, an old saying spoken by a man given to pointed references to the realities of war, gave the Democrats and their allies in the media all the ammunition they needed to begin crying 'insensitive!' at the man responsible for the administration of the mightiest war—making force in history.

In a bizarre coincidence, the campaign aimed at persuading the American public that war and military occupation should involve no American casualties and no shortages of equipment took place during the sixtieth anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, a disastrous and bloody final counter—offensive by German forces (just as the Baathists are making their counter—offensive to disrupt the January elections in Iraq) attempting to reverse the momentum of victorious Allied troops driving toward the German homeland. The mistakes and inadequacies of the Allied commanders cost an enormous price in blood. At the time, the press and the Republican political opposition, committed to ultimate victory, did not demand any resignations, but rather regretted the carnage, mourned the dead, celebrated the heroism of our troops, and redoubled our resolve to prevail. How times have changed!

Once the current campaign was launched, open season was declared. Secretary Rumsfeld has accumulated a lot of domestic enemies, within the Pentagon, within the Republican Party, and especially among the Democrats and the media. John McCain, a man with his own presidential ambitions, and Trent Lott, still smarting from his loss of Majority Leadership and closely allied with Pentagon pork distributors, jumped on the bandwagon. The fact that some Republicans have their reservations about the man shaking—up entrenched interests wedded to older force configuration strategies and the procurement programs attendant thereto, is no real shock. But their public statements added enormously to the momentum of the campaign, applying a veneer of "bipartisan concern."

We are now in the midst of the 'widening scandal' phase of the PR offensive. The Auto—Pen 'scandal' is a classic example of the art. The simple fact is that Auto—Pens are found in virtually every major administrator's office in any organization of size. Given a choice between spending time inking thousands of signatures and actually attending to the complexities of a difficult job, most executives opt for the Auto—Pen, which reproduces an actual signature of the person in question. But because we are talking about military deaths, the appearance of callousness and insensitivity, the very theme of the ongoing campaign, can be highlighted. It was the perfect time to focus public attention on an administrative practice which has been well—known for years, awaiting the best moment to use it against the SecDef. Does anyone seriously believe that Donald Rumsfeld is the first Secretary of Defense to employ an Auto—Pen in signing letters of condolence? The media, of course, are entirely uninterested in the question.

Now, we are seeing the resurrection of the old prisoner abuse stories, with the aim of heightening pressure on the SecDef. And, now that the media campaign raising critical questions about Rumsfeld has been in the headlines long enough to reach a broad swath of the public, polls are conducted on the question of the public's level of confidence in the Secretary. It is a classic media trick: run a slew of critical stories to create a broad image of  'trouble' and 'controversy.' Then, run polls to generate data indicating a 'fall in confidence' about the targeted figure, in order to generate further negative press, hoping to reinforce the negative momentum.

The ultimate target, of course, is President Bush. He supports Secretary Rumsfeld because the Secretary is accomplishing the goals of the President. He knows and trusts the capabilities and loyalties of this brilliant man. If President Bush succeeds in instilling democracy Iraq as effectively as it has begun taking root in Afghanistan, the prospects of the Democrats in 2008 will be poor, and the intra—party rivals of Bush will have little chance of regaining control of the party apparatus and presidential nomination. The syllogism is simple: if America succeeds in Iraq, Bush succeeds. If Bush succeeds, they lose. So they attack the President's key instrument in achieving ongoing victory in Iraq. Get Rummy.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker

The long knives have been unsheathed, and Donald Rumsfeld's back targeted. One of the most capable, energetic, intelligent, determined and articulate public servants in the history of the American Republic is under fire for not being omniscient and infallible, and for using an Auto—Pen to sign letters of condolence to the families of those killed in action.

A classic orchestrated PR offensive is underway, bearing all the signs of the customary collaboration among the Usual Suspects in the capital's media—political universe.

Things were getting scary for the opponents of George W. Bush. Not only did he win a smashing electoral victory, and immediately launch an invigorated second term agenda, but the Democrats, unable to control their despair, were in the process of disgracing themselves to the general public through their self—involved wailing and whining. The Democrats became a parody of themselves: wimps who don't even understand how ridiculous they look to everyone else, seeking designation as victims of a made—up psychological syndrome. Not exactly the kind of people the American public want defending us in an age of terror.

Something had to be done to change the subject and regain the offensive.

The trigger was a question during an extraordinary pressQ&A session with Soldiers in Kuwait.  A question about the pace of the armoring of Humvees, posed to the SecDef by a Soldier acting as a media sock puppet, was intended to trap him. The horrifying sight of our forces being blown—up by roadside bombs pulls at our heartstrings, as it should, particularly during the Christmas holiday season. Up—armoring vehicles never designed with a suspension to carry the weight of extra armor, and needing windshields and windows made from special materials, inevitably takes time, if the job is to be done right. The technical and logistical dilemmas make for a perfect 'gotcha' trap. Do the job quickly and Rumnsfeld can be faulted for giving our troops defective equipment. Do the job right, and Rumsfeld can be demonized for not getting our troops the safe equipment fast enough.

The actual response to the question by Secretary Rumsfeld was thoughtful and complete. But one sentence, an old saying spoken by a man given to pointed references to the realities of war, gave the Democrats and their allies in the media all the ammunition they needed to begin crying 'insensitive!' at the man responsible for the administration of the mightiest war—making force in history.

In a bizarre coincidence, the campaign aimed at persuading the American public that war and military occupation should involve no American casualties and no shortages of equipment took place during the sixtieth anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, a disastrous and bloody final counter—offensive by German forces (just as the Baathists are making their counter—offensive to disrupt the January elections in Iraq) attempting to reverse the momentum of victorious Allied troops driving toward the German homeland. The mistakes and inadequacies of the Allied commanders cost an enormous price in blood. At the time, the press and the Republican political opposition, committed to ultimate victory, did not demand any resignations, but rather regretted the carnage, mourned the dead, celebrated the heroism of our troops, and redoubled our resolve to prevail. How times have changed!

Once the current campaign was launched, open season was declared. Secretary Rumsfeld has accumulated a lot of domestic enemies, within the Pentagon, within the Republican Party, and especially among the Democrats and the media. John McCain, a man with his own presidential ambitions, and Trent Lott, still smarting from his loss of Majority Leadership and closely allied with Pentagon pork distributors, jumped on the bandwagon. The fact that some Republicans have their reservations about the man shaking—up entrenched interests wedded to older force configuration strategies and the procurement programs attendant thereto, is no real shock. But their public statements added enormously to the momentum of the campaign, applying a veneer of "bipartisan concern."

We are now in the midst of the 'widening scandal' phase of the PR offensive. The Auto—Pen 'scandal' is a classic example of the art. The simple fact is that Auto—Pens are found in virtually every major administrator's office in any organization of size. Given a choice between spending time inking thousands of signatures and actually attending to the complexities of a difficult job, most executives opt for the Auto—Pen, which reproduces an actual signature of the person in question. But because we are talking about military deaths, the appearance of callousness and insensitivity, the very theme of the ongoing campaign, can be highlighted. It was the perfect time to focus public attention on an administrative practice which has been well—known for years, awaiting the best moment to use it against the SecDef. Does anyone seriously believe that Donald Rumsfeld is the first Secretary of Defense to employ an Auto—Pen in signing letters of condolence? The media, of course, are entirely uninterested in the question.

Now, we are seeing the resurrection of the old prisoner abuse stories, with the aim of heightening pressure on the SecDef. And, now that the media campaign raising critical questions about Rumsfeld has been in the headlines long enough to reach a broad swath of the public, polls are conducted on the question of the public's level of confidence in the Secretary. It is a classic media trick: run a slew of critical stories to create a broad image of  'trouble' and 'controversy.' Then, run polls to generate data indicating a 'fall in confidence' about the targeted figure, in order to generate further negative press, hoping to reinforce the negative momentum.

The ultimate target, of course, is President Bush. He supports Secretary Rumsfeld because the Secretary is accomplishing the goals of the President. He knows and trusts the capabilities and loyalties of this brilliant man. If President Bush succeeds in instilling democracy Iraq as effectively as it has begun taking root in Afghanistan, the prospects of the Democrats in 2008 will be poor, and the intra—party rivals of Bush will have little chance of regaining control of the party apparatus and presidential nomination. The syllogism is simple: if America succeeds in Iraq, Bush succeeds. If Bush succeeds, they lose. So they attack the President's key instrument in achieving ongoing victory in Iraq. Get Rummy.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker