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Rumsfeld Signature Rubber Stamped on Condolence Letters
Perhaps in BlueOregon community there is personal involvement with said signature. Certainly there is in Oregonian community. And to share that, they can come here, if caring here shares that.
Cite: Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ... (he) admitted did not personally sign Pentagon condolence letters to families of soldiers killed in Iraq ....
"I have not individually signed each one, in the interest of ensuring expeditious contact with grieving family members ...."
Kind of my eyes floated off the page and my gut wrenched another knot, and I saw this vision in that grainy old black-and-white WW II film footage of dignitaries meeting, and they show it with that jerking time-lapse feeling all kinda gauzy or hazy, except my vision had smears of lightgrey-purple along the edges and I could see Dubya standing in a receiving line for this long receding-in-the-distance stream of somber family members, and each one gets a handshake and two seconds of smirked goofbag -- 'How do you do' -- from him, keeping it short in the interest of ensuring expeditious contact ....
Cite: The defense chief has drawn fire since seeming to dismiss ... the lack of armor for US military vehicles in Iraq.
And I'm thinking should have 'drawn fire since seeming to dismiss ... the lack of reason for US military vehicles, personnel, and occupation in Iraq.
Cite: Trent Lott said he hoped Rumsfeld would step down sometime next year ....
I first think of, (it's my Trent Lott reflex), and then second think nobody remembers to connect this: cousin Jesse Lott, sent to Oregon in the deployment of the vast "a state within states; ... it exists in every section" rightwing conspiracy to embed an operations cell and staff in every state, and on arriving hired two dozen day laborers off Burnside, got them to Salem, and coordinated staging a racist effigy lynching on the steps of the Capitol, (April'97) -- oh, thaaaat Jesse Lott, saying it incited against Oregon public employments, not for racism; the Mississippi emigrant who dared stand for Oregon Senate election, 2002. Trent Lott pronouncements from three time zones away seem always to bubble up here in the Oregon jibber-jab talking-point agenda a day or week later -- always this connection; so figure it to be the next framing in The O. editorials and around: 'Rumsfeld should step down sometime next year.' As if.
As a betting fool, my money says all the condemnation of Rumsfeld these last ten days, and calls for his resignation, goes nowhere. Nada. Zip. "Ain't gonna happen. Wouldn't be prudent," (in Dana Carvey's voice doing SNL Bush Sr.)
All the fatuous talking heads and harrumphing indignant editorials lost the moral, actually, legal, high ground when they fell limp-silent as doormats during the 2000 Florida election fraud. Following from that, (no one has been allowed to state the observation that if Gore had been inaugurated after he was elected, then nine/eleven never would have happened), (nine/eleven never would have happened with Gore, in case you missed that), the media has huddled mute as crime after crime, criminal after criminal has come machine-gunning out of this frightful White House until now, to think catcalls from the emasculated Press for Rummy's removal has any effect at all is to fool oneself.
If you mean does any criticism or war crimes indictment threaten him? No. Is he going to stay on the job for American security by Iraqi massacres? Sure. Did the Press not speak up when the anthrax lettes came for the sleazy tabloids and now there's no one left to speak up for the Press? You betcha.
Here is my thoughts on your post:
[off-topic stuff deleted.]
That's today's rant
"Statistics show that Muslims stay pretty quiet as a group in a host country UNTIL their numbers reach 18-20% of the host countries population. Sweden and Holland are about to hit that magical number within the next 5 years."
Can you please post your sources for the above information.
This is what happens with Pekk won't take someone's offer to give him his own blog: He posts the same tangential rant on other people's blogs in the reader comments.
I remember when I discovered that the Queen had only rubber-stamped my father's commission. I was crestfallen. Later, I grew up.
Here are a few things to add to the list of “all the good things Liberalism has brought us”…
Social Security, Medicare, Defeat of Hitler/Victory in World War II, recovery from the Great Depression, Civil Rights, Balanced budgets, etc.
And I had to respond to a couple glaring errors…
“Over $14 trillion has been spent on the liberal program called Head Start.”
Actually, crazy Jack Peek, you’ve overestimated Head Start funding by (approximately) a factor of 100, a “slight” exaggeration I suppose (http://zfacts.com/p/734.html). I wonder if anything else on your list is factually inaccurate.
“47% of all US Welfare goes to black women.”
Actually, crazy Jack Peek, most people on welfare are children, not adults. Most adults on welfare are white or Hispanic, not black. In fact, the typical adult welfare recipient is a single, rural, white woman with two children. Check out www.census.gov, where you can find lots of interesting and accurate information. I wonder if anything else on your list is racist propaganda.
These are just two of the most glaring examples of the crazy, factually incorrect, claims.
JS, I guess we should all just take Anthony's wise advice and "grow up". Quit your whining about "facts". We all know Jack's "truth" trumps any fact from the census bureau (a left wing LIBERAL organization for sure).
Maybe you're right, Glen. Why grow up? It's fun pretending something is egregious when it's in fact standard practice, and then wallowing in self-righteous indignation over it.
So Anthony would you care to provide credible sources for the racist so called facts in Jack Peek's post?
What in the world does Jack Peek's post have to do with mine?
Not that anyone who reads this blog regularly doesn't know it already, but is it possible to automatically convert "JACK PEEK" (always caps, a sign of his rudeness) to "CRAZY JACK PEEK?"
Anthony: "It's fun pretending something is egregious when it's in fact standard practice..."
Well, I guess it's debatable whether a machine signing condolence letters to dead soldiers' next of kin is egregious or not, but I think the facts disagree with your statement that it's "standard practice".
"President Bush signs each of his letters to military families." http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/12/19/rumsfeld.signature/
Regarding the egregiousness, perhaps we should listen to the family members of soldiers killed in action? From Stars & Stripes (http://www.stripes.com/):
“To me it’s an insult, not only as someone who lost a loved one but also as someone who served in Iraq,” Army Spc. Ivan Medina told Stripes.
“This doesn’t show our families the respect they deserve,” said Medina, a New York resident whose twin brother, Irving, was killed in a roadside bombing in Iraq this summer.
Illinois resident Bette Sullivan, whose son John was killed in November 2003 while working as an Army mechanic in Iraq, was incensed when she, her son’s wife and her grandchildren received the exact same condolence letter with the apparently stamped signature.
“If each family receives two copies, how many signatures does that amount to?” she asked in an e-mail response to Stripes. “I can understand the use of stamped signatures for his brothers’ mementos, but for those of his wife and children and mother? No, no, no.”
I just wanted to compliment Brendan on yet another funny political cartoon. You have a gift...
I wonder if people realize you are a high school student.
Rock on, Brendan.
I'll be impressed when you demonstrate that Secretaries of Defense have, as a rule, hand-signed all such letters.
This issue is another case of reaching for something -- anything -- with which to attack Rumsfeld. That a Secretary of Defense's competence should be brought into question over a matter such as this is simply embarrassing. You might as well urge that it's callous disregard that Rumsfeld doesn't write every letter out in longhand.
No doubt there's something cold, and perhaps understandably unsatisfying, about receiving a form letter with essentially an automated signature. In much lesser circumstances I was disappointed that the Queen wouldn't bother to sign a piece of paper calling my father to serious responsibilities. But these communications are all form letters anyhow, written by someone who doesn't know the deceased.
I'm confident there are plenty of people who have lost family members who don't feel insulted. And I'm sure that the vast number of military personnel who look with favor upon the Secretary understand his no-nonsense approach to his job, including the ordering of his priorities.
I'm sure that anybody who doesn't already have it in for Rumsfeld -- including those who might think it would be nice for him to sign the letters -- can see through these repeated sniping attacks. Now that Ashcroft is gone, Rumsfeld seems to be the target for every objection the President's more creative enemies can think up.
If you think Rumsfeld is a bad Secretary of Defense, then by all means argue the case. But you've got to come up with something more substantial than this.
Frankly, this rubber stamp signature thing is a red herring as is all of this piling on Rumsfeld.
We've known Rummy a long time now, and anyone who's been paying attention knows that he's cultivated the image of the hardass Machievellian ala Henry Kissinger.
The real question for me is whether the Bushies will make him walk the plank in hopes that all of this misdirected hostility will take the heat off of the adminsitration as a whole.
My thoughts? Why would they dump him? Bush is in his second term now and he can do anything that he wants without fear of reprisal from the Dems.
The heat will come from the NeoCons and other Republicans who wish to retain the ground that they've gained during the Bush administration after Bush is back on the ranch clearing brush.
"I'll be impressed when you demonstrate that Secretaries of Defense have, as a rule, hand-signed all such letters."
Anthony-What an asinine thing to write. The burden isn't on me. The public has spoken, and Rumsfeld has reacted, so the burden is now on you. I'll be impressed when you demonstrate that Secretaries of Defense should not, as a rule, hand-sign letters to the immediate families of dead American soldiers.
If Rumsfeld shouldn't hand-sign the letters, than why does W. do it, and why has Rumsfeld said he will begin doing it?
If the actual time signing became too great a burden by significantly distracting him from his duties (a la the number of KIA letters required during Vietnam or WWII) it would make sense to mechanize it.
I see Rumsfeld's reluctance to sign the letters (like Bush's refusal to attend a single funeral) as an attempt to distance himself from the negative consequences of his decisions. It's symbolic. This Administration, for all its use of symbols, should understand that. Bush's refusal or inability to publicly (or perhaps even privately) admit to a mistake is rather telling. He takes credit for any success, whether his or someone else's (Homeland Security Dept., 9/11 Commission, etc.), while refusing to take responsibility for any failures (No WMD, no Osama bin Laden, etc.).
So yeah, in the scheme of things, the world won't be meaningfully affected regardless of whether Rumsfeld signs the letters or not. But his decision to not sign the letters until the public took notice is symbolic of this Administration's worldview, decision-making process, and sense of accountability--all of which are having a profound affect on our world.
"That a Secretary of Defense's competence should be brought into question over a matter such as this is simply embarrassing."
There are plenty of competence problems elsewhere.
For me, this is a values problem. No one is asking him to READ each letter, just personally sign it. What are we averaging? 100 deaths a month? I've signed multiple documents without reading them many times. I can get through 10 in about a minute. This man cannot spare 10 minutes a month to personally sign these letters?
Put a clip board of them beside his toilet -- he probably spends far more than 10 minutes a month there.
racist so called facts...
TO ALL WHO THINK IAM CRAZY, you better believe it, and here is one reason why.
I was incensed today, (Kari well delete this but he has to read it before he does)
OK, not on topic.....Kari, you and I KNOW it is.
The Oklahoma City Bomber was a blue-eyed blond.
William Krar, who you've probably never heard of, assembled "nearly half a million rounds of ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers and remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases, plus pamphlets on how to make chemical weapons, and anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-government books." He is a white Christian with ties to white supremacist and anti-government militia groups.
Crazy Jack Peek, the majority of American "terror people" are white Christians.
So crazy Jack, (to paraphrase) "if you can show me an Arab Muslim in the photos of the Oklahoma city bombers, GO FOR IT~"
I just posted before reading crazy Jack Peek's previous comments. His most recent post indicates that he's so wacko that I'm pledging to myself never to respond to anything he writes ever again.
I hope someone is keeping a crazy Jack Peek greatest hits list. This might take the cake.
[off-topic copyrighted material deleted.]
Now that it has progressed to ritual name calling, this is is going to get out of hand soon if we're not careful.
If we truly believe Jack is mentally ill, then we should not be calling him names and engaging with him. If he's ill, that's only going to make him worse. Why would we want to do that?
If he's a garden variety troll peeing in someone else's pool to get attention it also does not make sense to engage with him. The one thing that works on trolls is to ignore them.
Only if you consider him a useful source of information or an insightful debater of the issues, does it make sense to respond to his posts.
Jack do you think Donald Rumsfeld should resign????
Republican Senators Lott, McCain, Hagel, and Collins do.
Normally I don't answer myself as you seem too do, the answer is no.
But here is something for you to consider.
So......you have this neighbor, seems he is middle-eastern, seems he goes to meetings with people of the same, shall we say the same "flavor" a lot, and you see him and others hauling box's of things into a garage late at night, then a few days later your town explodes and thousands are killed, you learn your city council has forbidden the cops to find these people before they killed your family because they didn't want to offend these "guests" in our country or draw the wrath of the ACLU who wasn't after all "looking after you".it's OK ,you live in Portland, Oregon where civil Liberties come first over a few thousand innocent people.
You think I'm nuts for writing this unlikly scene? What if it's not unlikly, but reality, but then you can only wish you had at least listened to some of us who tried to tell you. What if Randy Leonard was wrong......DEAD WRONG!
What if you lived in Spain and rode the train to work, what if you were in a dining hall enjoying a meal with friends, what if you were on an airplane bound for LA? What if Randy Leonard was wrong?
No Kari, the protection of the ACLU for that jerk, standing on the roadside with two little kids in a rain storm is on topic! AND YOU KNOW IT!
That's what is wrong...you get nailed to a cross, you delete, or ignore, or cut out. You people s/b ashamed, the problem is your not!
off topic delete it
JS & Randy,
From your posts one might think I actively opposed Rumsfeld signing the letters.
If Rumsfeld -- or the President -- chooses to spend time signing letters, that’s his decision. Maybe it's a good use of time, given the relatively low number of casualties. The point is that whether or not Rumsfeld decided he needed to personally sign the letters has no bearing on his competence as a Secretary of Defense.
Rubber-stamping is a common practice, not invented by Rumsfeld, and no doubt practiced by previous Secretaries of State for the same purpose that Rumsfeld is being excoriated for. If William Cohen followed the same procedure (for all I know, he did) despite the low number of casualties during his tenure, it's hard to imagine it would have become such an issue.
JS, as in the case of the armoring controversy, you demonstrate that your judgments are based on preconceived notions rather than a fair consideration of evidence. You already know what kind of a person Rumsfeld is, so you know what judgment to make without being bothered by “asinine” objections related to relevant facts. Is Rumsfeld's behavior a departure from common practice among Secretaries of Defense? Who cares! Have presidents before Bush generally demurred from attending military funerals, as a matter of policy? Why should that interest you? You already know what Bush is, so you know his failure to attend funerals signifies “an attempt to distance himself from the negative consequences of his decisions.” (I have to wonder what you make of his visits with the wounded.) By this procedure you can always find the actions of your enemies “symbolic” of the vices you attribute to them.
This methodology has enjoyed popularity over time: Perhaps a Jewish merchant irritates me by demanding certain assurances that I’ll pay. Do gentile merchants do the same? I’m not interested; I know that in this case his insistence is symbolic of his money-grubbing nature.
Jack, so what you are saying is that Republican Senators Lott, McCain, Hagel, and Collins are scum of the earth liberals?????
I'm not sure whether you mean to or not, but your posts frequently come across as very elitist, very aloof. You want everyone else to prove something to YOU. You don't spend any time actually arguing your case on the merits, you only critique and condemn what others write.
"...you demonstrate that your judgments are based on preconceived notions rather than a fair consideration of evidence. You already know what kind of a person Rumsfeld is, so you know what judgment to make without being bothered by “asinine” objections related to relevant facts."
Well, if this isn't the pot calling the kettle black.
You casually dismiss any and all criticisms of Donald Rumsfeld, because you've decided that he's a "good" Secretary of Defense. Who cares whether or not previous Secretaries of Defense have personally signed KIA letters!? Have other Secretaries of Defense, who sent soldiers to a war of choice on misinformation, signed 3-5 letters per day?
I guess if I were Rumsfeld, I'd feel partly responsible for the death of each American soldier. No, I didn't kill them, but I put them in a position to be killed. And if there were 3-5 letters crossing my desk everyday, I would want to sign them. I think that's a sign of character, regardless of whether or not it's been done in the past.
If Clinton and Sec. Cohen didn't sign the letters of American soldiers who died in the Balkans, I'd criticize them too (I looked for that info, but couldn't find it).
This isn't a partisan issue, it's a character and values issue. And I think it's one more indication that, for all their talk, the leadership of this Administration is lacking in deep, meaningful values.
Like so many of Rumsfeld's critics, your critique of me focuses on style not substance.
I don't care if you think I'm an elitist -- it's pretty amusing, actually -- but is it unreasonable to expect you to prove your point? You obviously don't enjoy my spending time critiquing your errors, but that's part of the process here. If there's plenty of material for me to find fault with, you can only blame yourself.
No fair-minded observer will accuse me of being sloppy in my argumentation and dismissive of the importance of facts. The "kettle-calling-the-pot-black" comment just doesn't fly.
I haven't "casually dismissed any and all criticisms of Rumsfeld." I've taken them on honestly, and I've invited follow up, e.g., on the question of my response to Schwarzkopf's complaints.
I have in fact suggested that at least one person involved in our discussions about Rumsfeld thread does have arguments that I find challenging to refute.
But the armoring controversy didn't stand up after a consideration of the issues (which you showed little interest in pursuing) and the letter signing issue is prima facie a question of style, or if you prefer protocol.
How to judge it then? Is what Rumsfeld was doing all that unusual? Not as far as I can tell. Would he do better to change his policy? Probably, under the current circumstances. Is this matter a significant criterion by which to judge a Secretary of Defense? Not remotely.
You say it's a "character and value" issue, but I would submit that Rumsfeld has demonstrated strong character as well respect and affection for the troops in many ways -- and the troops have reciprocated. But having seen how you argue, I don't expect you to consider evidence that might favor Rumsfeld's case, any more than you would acknowledge the value of Rumsfeld's taking the trouble to stand before troops in person and take their questions. How many Secretaries of Defense have done that?
I can take seriously claims that the Administration has the wrong values, or wrong emphases among the values its members hold, or even that malign influences corrupt their values. But I don't believe a fair person would say the Administration is lacking in deep, meaningful values. I do expect it from a disingenuous, prejudiced partisan pretending to be animated only by the noblest of emotions.
"Is what Rumsfeld was doing all that unusual?"
As I asked before, what relevance does the "usualness" of Rumsfeld decision not to sign the letters have? I don't care if it was “usual” or not, I care about whether it was right or wrong--what his decision says about his character. Tradition does not necessarily speak to morality or ethics.
"Is this matter a significant criterion by which to judge a Secretary of Defense? Not remotely."
I would agree if you wanted to strip the humanity from the position to leave only a bulleted job description. However, as I've said before, this matter is a significant criterion by which to judge the character of the man who holds the position. I believe a man with strong character--someone who values responsibility and accountability, values we should expect in our leaders—would be more likely to sign those letters.
"...I would submit that Rumsfeld has demonstrated strong character as well respect and affection for the troops in many ways...I don't expect you to consider evidence that might favor Rumsfeld's case, any more than you would acknowledge the value of Rumsfeld's taking the trouble to stand before troops in person and take their questions."
For all your lofty rhetoric, you provide no evidence of Rumsfeld's strong character other than his appearance before the troops. I acknowledge the value of Rumsfeld "taking the trouble" to answer questions from the troops, but this act should be the rule rather than the exception. It shouldn’t be any “trouble” at all. I fear you set the bar far too low with your high praise for a very basic act.
OK, so even though it may be a "tradition," Rumsfeld should be blamed for following it. The fact that Rumsfeld may be behaving like other Secretaries of Defense is not even a mitigating factor in your generous, impartial assessment.
And when Rumsfeld goes out of his way to do what is not characteristic of Secretaries of Defense (allowing himself to be questioned directly by soldiers) I set the bar too low if I deign to praise him.
So if even if he's no worse than other Secretaries of Defense, he's to blame for not being better. And if he is better in some respect than other Secretaries of Defense, it doesn't really count. Heads you win, tails he loses.
No bias here folks. Nothing but pure-hearted concern for morality and character. "Lofty rhetoric" indeed.
I notice that you excised the portion of the third quote which noted that the troops reciprocate Rumsfeld's affection and respect. I don't blame you: it is an inconvenient fact in a case arguing how contemptuous he is toward soldiers and their families.
I excised it because you didn't provide any evidence. Were they "reciprocating Rumsfeld's affection and respect" when they cheered the marine who asked him about the up-armored vehicles?
As you said, "No bias here folks." You cannot assert truth.
"...even if he's no worse than other Secretaries of Defense, he's to blame for not being better. And if he is better in some respect than other Secretaries of Defense, it doesn't really count."
What are you talking about? Are you a moral relativist? Rumsfeld taking questions from troops and his refusal to sign KIA letters in no way determines his overall superiority or inferiority relative to previous Defense Secretaries.
For example, IF Sec. Cohen signed KIA letters for every American soldier who died in the Balkans, I don't think that makes him a better Defense Secretary than Rumsfeld. According to your illogic above, it does. I would contend the distinction between Rumsfeld and the hypothetical Cohen is more telling of differences in the two mens' characters.
Furthermore, using your measure of a good Defense Secretary, you failed to demonstrate that Rumsfeld fielding a question or two from troops is anything but ordinary. You provide no evidence, yet you call the soldiers' love of Rummy "an inconvenient fact..." What makes this a fact? I think you're trying to assert truth again.
With the end of the above quote you attempt to put words in my mouth, "...a case arguing how contemptuous he is toward soldiers and their families." Really? Although there's probably a case to be made, I haven't attempted it. The argument I've offered is that Rumsfeld's refusal to personally sign KIA letters indicates he doesn't sufficiently value responsibility and accountability, two attributes I think are important for our leaders to possess.
Your futile exercise of comparing Rumsfeld to "other Secretaries of Defense" really has no bearing on this discussion.
"The point is that whether or not Rumsfeld decided he needed to personally sign the letters has no bearing on his competence as a Secretary of Defense."
I've already agreed with you on the competence issue. You have no comment on the "values" characterization of his actions.
The physical act of signing hundreds and hundreds of death letters might bring it more clearly to his attention the consequences of his decisions.
Or maybe he is beyond redemption.
In my opinion, Rumsfeld's decision not to personally sign the letters is not indicative of a disrespectful disposition. I think one can make an argument that it is proper to hand-sign the letters under certain circumstances. It's certainly more respectful to sign the letters, but disrespect is not the only motive that could affect the decision whether to sign or not.
People criticize Rumsfeld for "arrogance," and I think there's something in that. He is brusque, direct, aggressive and outspoken, and that can rub important people the wrong way and get in the way of accomplishing important goals.
But if Rumsfeld's character is a factor in the letter-signing controversy, its because he is a man who values action over word or gesture. In my opinion, if Rumsfeld is culpable here it is, at worst, a matter of his having a tin ear with regard to what is important to people.
The soldiers who applauded the tough question about armor also gave the Secretary a standing ovation when the session ended. And that wasn’t an unusual display, as far as I know. My impression is that Rumsfeld is generally well-liked by the rank and file of the military. I also get the impression that he is dedicated to his work and feels a great deal of affection and respect for those affected by his decisions.
The letters he signs will no doubt reinforce his sense of the consequences of his decisions, if further reinforcement is possible. I can’t imagine he’s not constantly reminded of those consequences in countless ways, during the course of his daily official duties.
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