Dec
07
2009

Rumsfeld sees and raises on Afghanistan.

Walking through this one:

  • Last week former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reacted strongly to the White House’s allegation that military commanders in Afghanistan were denied troop requests under the previous administration.  Actually, that’s too weak a statement: Rumsfeld denied that anything of the sort had happened under his watch.
  • Which, in point of fact, it did not: the administration was referring to events in 2008 – under Rumsfeld’s successor, Robert Gates (who is also the current SecDef, by the way) – and said events can be more accurately described as a ‘delay,’ not a ‘refusal.’  The requests were made by General David McKiernan.
  • Yes, the David McKiernan that Gates fired.
  • When pressed on this, current White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs must have felt backed into a corner.  After all, he was trying to justify the White House sneering at a policy implemented by a Secretary of Defense that the new administration had retained, and at the expense of a military general that the new administration had sacked.  Gibbs being Gibbs, he took the opportunity to try to change the subject by sniping at Rumsfeld some more.
  • Because, of course, this administration is terrified of ever, ever admitting being wrong about anything.  Sort of like what the Left pretended that the previous administration was like, only for real.

All of this is context for the response from Rumsfeld’s office:

The administration now claims President Obama was actually referring to denials of troops by his own Secretary of Defense in 2008.  This is obviously not what the President meant.  If it is what the President meant, he owes an apology to General McKiernan for dismissing him, for it was General McKiernan who sought additional forces in 2008.

This looseness with the facts seems to be a pattern in the current administration’s efforts to blame their challenges on their predecessors.  Nearly one year into this administration, that approach is wearing thin.

My only quibble with that is the use of the phrase  ‘wearing thin.’  It wore bare months ago.

Full statement after the fold.

Statement by Keith Urbahn
Office of Donald Rumsfeld
December 4, 2009

Washington D.C. –

“White House officials are not credible in denying President Obama’s intended meaning when he said on Wednesday night that ‘commanders’ were ‘repeatedly’ denied additional troops and resources in Afghanistan.

The administration now claims President Obama was actually referring to denials of troops by his own Secretary of Defense in 2008. This is obviously not what the President meant. If it is what the President meant, he owes an apology to General McKiernan for dismissing him, for it was General McKiernan who sought additional forces in 2008.

This looseness with the facts seems to be a pattern in the current administration’s efforts to blame their challenges on their predecessors. Nearly one year into this administration, that approach is wearing thin.

Afghanistan has always posed challenges, but in the judgment of the commanders at the time, Afghanistan was properly resourced for at least the first five years of the conflict. Those resources were aligned with proper and achievable goals: eliminating an al-Qaida sanctuary and preventing further terrorist attacks against the United States.”

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.

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