Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Rumsfeld Speaks; We Fact-Check.

Arkin at Early Warning said that
Monday, Secretary Rumsfeld also gave a lecture at the Army War College where he gave the "country" a D or a D-minus grade in the battle of ideas.
I went and checked it out: after plowing through a few screens of boilerplate (talking about Iraq and 9/11 together without "linking" them, etc.) found what I was looking for in the Q&A section.

It was a bit disappointing, actually: the grade (which the transcript has as D/D+, not D/D-) was for the tactical side of information "warfare", the same old "the press is not reporting the good news" whinging that's so familiar (and, since the administration has been defunding Voice of America and similar high-quality projects which Rumsfeld praised, hypocritical). Can we say Talking Points, boys and girls? Rumsfeld's plaints about bloggers and 21st century media clearly came from the same script as Hanson's column of last week.

As far as ideological strategy goes, he follows the Administration script
It's basically a struggle not between the West and Muslims. It's a struggle within the Muslim faith. There are a relatively small number of violent extremists and a very large number of moderates who do not believe in violent extremism in that faith. We're going to have to find ways that we can encourage and support those moderate voices because they're the ones who are in the struggle.
I'm not disagreeing with him, but I would point out that he'd spent a good hour before that making the strongest case (that he's allowed to make) that it is very much our struggle, and if the US isn't part of "the West" then he needs to say that.

He also addressed a question which Anne Zook raised the other day, about the inadequacy of our public institutions in the face of catastrophe
On the other hand, there isn't any institution in the country that is organized, trained and equipped to do things that are conceivably useful in that kind of a catastrophic event [post-Katrina], nor would it make any sense for the society to create an institution of that magnitude to be available. We have at any given time enormous unused or ready to be used or ready to be deployed capability.
But that's precisely what we were talking about, and precisely what FEMA is supposed to do: serve as a coordinator and organizer of resources -- human, fiscal, etc. -- which can be deployed in the event of emergencies but which serve other purposes most of the time. It's their job.

Unless they want to privatize that, too.

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