Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Counterpoint Extra: Unknown Unknowns

Since Mr. Hyman has failed to say anything about the main story of the past week, Donald Rumsfeld's bizarre and irresponsible answer to a soldier's query about lack of vehicle armor, we thought we'd fill in the gap. Fortunately, Secretary Rumsfeld was kind enough to sit down with The Counterpoint for a brief chat.

The Counterpoint: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Mr. Secretary. First, concerning these remarks you made about vehicle armor . . .

Donald Rumsfeld: Did I embarrass myself and the administration? Possibly. Am I disgracefully out of touch with the situation on the ground in Iraq? You bet. But does that mean we're going to do anything about it? Of course not.

TC: I guess what bothers people is that your response seems a bit callous and disingenuous, as if you . . .

Rumsfeld: Look, will our guys continue to get killed because the lack sufficient armor? Probably. Was this a problem that was foreseeable long before the invasion and can't be explained away by saying "we go to war with the army we have?" Certainly. Do you have me confused with somebody who gives a rat's ass about any of this? Apparently so.

TC: Uh, okay. Our bad. The corporate media has been in the administration's corner on this war since the beginning. One of your strongest supporters is Sinclair's Mark Hyman. What do you think . . .

Rumsfeld: Do I watch "The Point?" Sometimes. Do I expect Mark Hyman to mention my little faux pas in Kuwait? No. Is that because Hyman's a predictable cheerleader for anything the Bush administration does? Absolutely. Would Hyman be apoplectic if a Democratic Secretary of Defense had said the same thing? Sure. Does this make him a hypocrite? Well, yeah.

TC: But both you and Hyman tend to equate supporting the administration's policies with supporting our troops, and Hyman in particular tends to slander those he dislikes by saying that if they don't toe the Bush line, they "hate the troops." Isn't that rhetorical tactic more than a little . . .

Rumsfeld: Unfair? Sure. Do Hyman and I actually care a lick about the troops in the field? Of course not. Do we both couch our political opinions in terms of supporting the troops while denigrating those who disagree with us as being against our men and women in the field? Of course. But will either one of us do the first thing to honor those who have given their lives? Absolutely not. Is this contemptible behavior? You betcha.

TC: Well, I have to admit that's refreshingly honest. But what if, hypothetically, supporters of the war such as Mark Hyman had the decency to point out administration errors in an effort to help the troops on the ground in Iraq? Would a critique from the political Right perhaps help change things for the better?

Rumsfeld: That's an unknown unknown. You see, there are known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. Will Hyman speak out on behalf of the troops by criticizing the Pentagon and administration for not sending troops into harm's way without the proper equipment? That's a known known. Of course he won't. What might he say if he did? Now, that's a known unknown, because we know we can't know that because he'll never say it. See? And what effect might it have if he did speak out? That's an unknown unknown. We can't even know whether or not we know that because it's a question that already stems from a known unknown. That makes it an unknown unknown. Is that clear? Of course not.

TC: Ummm . . . okay. So in closing . . .

Rumsfeld: Is that The Counterpoint? You bet.


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