Saturday, May 08, 2004

Tell Me, Mr. Anderson, What Good Is A Phone Call When You Are Unable To Speak?

Over in the bowels of Conservative High, the Glenn Reynolds program (aka A. Reynolds) has left to recover from some kind of virus; but not before providing loyal readers with this link to Donald Sensing.

Among other musings, Mr. Sensing offers this concerning the Rumsfeld/Abu Ghraib controversy.

A more purely partisan, crass, politically-motivated campaign I have ever seen. And yes, I include the Ken Starr investigation.

things fall apart is far from perfect, so perhaps I missed the part where Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joined the Democratic Party.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Mr. Secretary, have you seen the video?

SEC. DONALD RUMSFELD: I have not. The disk that I saw that had photos on it did not have the videos on it. I checked with General Smith and he indicates he does have a disk with the videos on it. I don't know if that means there's two disks with all these photographs or if the photographs are the same and one just doesn't have the video.

GRAHAM: The only reason I mention that, I want to prepare the public. Apparently, the worst is yet to come, potentially, in terms of disturbing events. We don't need to leave here thinking that we've seen the worst. There's more to come, is that correct?

RUMSFELD: I indicated in my remarks that there are a lot more pictures and many investigations under way.

GRAHAM: And my colleagues rightly want it done quickly, but my concern is to do it right, and I don't want to rush to judgment here and let some people go that deserve to be prosecuted, and I would be very disappointed if the only people prosecuted are sergeants and privates.

GRAHAM: That would be very, very bad and sad. So I want it done right and the sooner the better, but I'll pick right over sooner.

I'm confused. General Smith, when did you first learn of these photos and see them yourself?

SMITH: Sir, we knew that there were photos on June 14th because that's how the investigation started -- I mean January 14th. When the soldier...

GRAHAM: When did you see the photos?

SMITH: I saw the photos toward the end of March.

GRAHAM: Who did you tell about the photos when you saw them?

SMITH: Sir, that was part of the investigation. And that went forward. I told my boss.

GRAHAM: Did it dawn on you that when you saw these photos, "We're in a world of hurt. This is going to look bad"?

SMITH: Certainly, sir, if those were released we certainly...

GRAHAM: General Myers, when you called CBS, had you seen the photos?

MYERS: No, I hadn't.

GRAHAM: What had you been told about what CBS was about to air and by who?

MYERS: They were going to air the photos. We didn't talk about that with CBS.

I, previously in our discussions back in January when they said there photos, they described them to me and the secretary up through the chain of command to the secretary. And I was happen to be there. And it was discussed several times. And the general nature of the photos, about nudity, some mock sexual acts and other abuse, was described.

GRAHAM: When you were informed that these photos, even though you hadn't seen them, were going to come out, who did you tell about that and when?

MYERS: There are a lot of people that knew inside our building.

MYERS: The people that have been working with the media knew that there were photos out there, and the media was trying to get their hands on them from January. So they've been working that for three months.

GRAHAM: At that time, is it fair to say you knew there was a story about to come out that was going to create a real problem for us?

MYERS: At that time, what my concern was was the impact it could have on our forces in Iraq. That was my focus at the time, was, "OK, if these photos are revealed right now, given the intensity of operations, what could be that impact on our troops?"

And my conclusion was this would be the worst of all possible times for these to come forward, realizing that eventually they're going to come forward; I understand that.

GRAHAM: Did you feel the need to inform the Congress or the president or the secretary of defense about the potential damage this could do?

MYERS: We had discussed the potential damage back in January, and in February and in March. And as we marched through those events on that chart, a lot of those events were based on our concern with where this might lead. In other words, is there a...

WARNER: We just need to -- could you use the microphone, General, we're missing some of your...


GRAHAM: Long story short, I do trust the people in uniform to get it right. And I want to take the time necessary to make sure the people responsible are brought to justice and anybody innocently accused has their day in court.

You're right, Secretary Rumsfeld.

Here's the problem: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the explosive nature of these photos apart from court-martial, apart from legal proceedings. And most of us here found out about it on television. And if we knew enough to say, "Don't air a show that's going to be bad," why did we not call the president, call senior members of Congress to prepare us for what we were eventually going to see? That's the essence of my concern about all this.

MYERS: Senator Graham, in my opinion we could have done a better job of informing Congress of this -- of these pictures and this situation. And...

GRAHAM: And that is an honest and fair answer.

And, Secretary Rumsfeld, people are calling for your resignation. Somebody is drafting an article of impeachment against you right now. I've got my own view about people who want to call for your resignation before you speak, but I'll leave that to myself.

Do you have the ability, in your opinion, to come to Capitol Hill and carry the message and carry the water for the Department of Defense? Do you believe, based on all things that have happened and that will happen, that you're able to carry out your duties in a bipartisan manner? And what do you say to those people who are calling for your resignation?

RUMSFELD: Well, it's a fair question. Certainly since this firestorm has been raging, it's a question that I've given a lot of thought to.

The key question for me is the one you pose, and that is whether or not I can be effective. We've got tough tasks ahead. The people in the department, military and civilian, are doing enormously important work here, in countries all over the world and the issue is: Can I be effective in assisting them in their important tasks?

Needless to say, if I felt I could not be effective, I'd resign in a minute. I would not resign simply because people try to make a political issue out of it.

For it's part, the Reynolds program made it's feelings clear on the Abu Ghraib situation with this post on Thursday.

It's my sense that they're [the Democrats] overplaying their hand here.

It's my sense that this is an automated response from the Reynolds program, which "instantly" appears anytime the Democrats take some sort of stand.

For example, were this to show up in tomorrow's headlines:

House Democrats Demand Cafeteria Offers More Dessert Options; Choice Of Only Chocolate Or Vanilla Pudding Said To Lack Variety

This would automatically appear on Instapundit:

It's my sense that they're overplaying their hand here.

Beneath a quote from Jonah Goldberg deriding the Dems for supporting "quota-based" dessert menus, of course.