by John Hawkins | January 22, 2003 12:14 pm
Don Rumsfeld’s Faux Pas: Yesterday, Rummy apologized for a remark he made on Jan 7th while disparaging Charles Rangel’s lame draft proposal after the American Legion and the Vietnam Veterans of America (among others) complained. Here’s what Rumsfeld had to say…
“If you think back to when we had the draft, people were brought in . . . without choices,” Rumsfeld said. “Big categories were exempted: people who were in college, people who were teaching, people who were married. . . . And what was left was sucked into the intake, trained for a period of months, and then went out, adding no value, no advantage, really, to the United States armed services over any sustained period of time because the churning that took place, it took an enormous amount of effort in terms of training, and then they were gone.”
Rumsfeld was obviously talking about the Vietnam war and what he said was correct. We drafted people, gave them what was really an inadequate amount of training, and sent them out to fight. Then, just as they gained experience and were becoming maximally effective as soldiers, we shipped them back home and replaced them with raw recruits. Were they brave, did they serve their country well, should they be proud of their service, & were they of “value?” Absolutely, unequivocably, yes. But, did those people add value “over any sustained period?” Because of the way the system was designed, no, for the most part they didn’t. That’s not their fault, it was the system’s fault, and that’s clearly what Donald Rumsfeld was trying to get across. You have to deliberately take what Rumsfeld said out of context by focusing on the “no value” part of it, while ignoring the “over any sustained period of time” portion of his remarks to make it into an offensive statement. Having partisan Democrats deliberately misinterpret what Rumsfeld said is no surprise, but groups like the American Legion and the Vietnam Veterans of America should know better.
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