Wednesday, December 08, 2004
As President Bush, decked out in yet another hand-embroidered military-style jacket, yesterday reveled in costly imperial pageantry of a type enjoyed by pre revolutionary French royalty, old Secretary Rumsfeld was getting a royal taste of post revolutionary drama from irate Reserve and National Guard troops at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
Army Specialist Thomas Wilson
A brave and now likely career-limited young troop, Army Specialist Thomas Wilson of Tennessee’s 278th Regimental Combat Team, stood and asked a question that knocked our faux-befuddled and heavily protected Rummy off his tightly orchestrated happy script.
Rummy's sceptical audience
According the BBC, Spec. Wilson, to cheers from the 2,000 assembled soldiers present, asked:
Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to (sic) uparmour our vehicles?
Rummy, cruelly vamping for time and, I’d guess, enjoying the young trooper’s emotional turmoil, asked Specialist Wilson to repeat the question.
No doubt with his heart thudding in his chest, as Rummy intended, young Wilson, according to USA Today, repeated his question adding:
We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry us north.
The heartless Rummy, non-answered with one of the gutless circumlocutions that have endeared him to countless parodists across our vast globe:
You go to war with the army you have…you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can be blown up.
Yes, Mr. Secretary, indeed it can with your still operative and overly optimistic flower-strewn Plan along with the munitions your incompetence allowed Iraqi insurgents to possess.
Freedom’s so messy, isn’t it?
Major General Gary Speer?
Reporters wondered if the deputy commanding General of US forces in Kuwait had an answer to the young soldier’s very valid question.
According to USA Today, Major General Gary Speer said he was not aware that soldiers were searching landfills for scrap metal and used bulletproof glass.
An equally shifty-eyed and over air-conditioned general on the imperial fast track might have rubbed his booted toe in the dirt and said, “Non omnia possumus omnes” or, rather, “We cannot all do everything”.
Promotion conscious troopers take note of butt-covering paper-pushers and consider the immortal words of the ancient Roman gladiator, “Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant!”
Photos: AP, AFP, Nick at Nite