June 18, 2004

Accountability Watch

President Bush yesterday on Don Rumsfeld:

QUESTION: Given your administration's assertions that it works closely with the International Red Cross, are you disappointed that Secretary Rumsfeld instructed military officials in Iraq to hold a member of Ansar al-Islam without telling Red Cross officials?

BUSH: The secretary and I discussed that for the first time this morning, and he's going to hold a press conference today to discuss that with you.

I'm never disappointed in my secretary of defense. He's doing a fabulous job and America's lucky to have him in the position he's in.

But the secretary will hold a press conference today and you might want to ask him that question at his press conference.

Never ever ever? Not even an entsy weentsy little bit?

Put differently, does the McNamaraesque cocksure, hubris-laden insouciance of such responses to the press not merit gentle admonishment from POTUS, just every now and again?

I mean, c'mon folks.

P.S. Or how about when Rummy referred to the "so-called Occupied Territories"?

If we had an NSC advisor who more proactively brokered (a la Scrowcroft) inter-agency disputes (so as to prevent policy drift and confusing signals sent to varied world capitals) she would have picked up the phone and said (oh I don't know):

" Don, you're Secretary of Defense--not Secretary of State. Stay the F out of the Middle East Peace Process, OK? The President doesn't appreciate it. You've got your hands full prosecuting two wars right now anyway. Isn't that keeping you busy enough?..."

Or some such...

Posted by Gregory at June 18, 2004 10:32 AM
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