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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Art of Failing Upward, Pt. III: We Ain't Got No Stinkin' Scandals!

A case study: Les Aspin and Donald Rumsfeld

October, 1993. Mogadishu, Somalia. U.S. forces are sent to Somalia on a peacekeeping mission. Somali gunmen shoot down two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The attacks of the Somali gunmen result in the deaths of 19 soldiers.

Secretary of Defense Les Aspin comes under Congressional attack for the deaths of that mission, and is blamed for not sending enough military equipment or troops to Somalia.

Congressional Republicans called for Aspin's resignation.

"He should be removed . . . he sat on his hands," Sen. AlfonseD'Amato said in a CNN interview. On the Senate floor, D'Amato declared: "He should be fired now, he should resign now, and if he doesn't resign, then the president should remove him."

Newt Gingrich called for hearings to determine if commanders in the field are given the "support they need."

Aspin later resigns as secretary of defense, due to the fallout of the deaths of 19 soldiers.

October, 2002. Cincinnati, Ohio. President George Bush is speaking at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Bush tells the audience, "Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles -- far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations -- in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work. We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States. And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems aren't required for a chemical or biological attack; all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it."

January, 2003. Washington, D.C., State of the Union Address. George Bush states: "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands. He's not accounted for these materials. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them -- despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence. Saddam Hussein has not accounted for the remaining 29,984 of these prohibited munitions. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them."

March, 2003. The United States attacks Iraq, with two goals: disarm Iraq of its WMDs, and remove Saddam Hussein from power.

No WMDs are ever found.

During the war, soldiers find they lack basic equipment, like body armor. Some troops resort to having family and friends purchase the body armor for them.

Military commanders state publicly that too few troops were sent to Iraq; deployments are extended for most troops. L. Paul Bremer, who had served as the interim Iraqi governor, also stated that the troop levels were too low to secure the peace in Iraq.

As of today, 1134 American troops have died in Iraq.

And as of today, Donald Rumsfeld has not stepped down as secretary of defense.

If 19 dead soldiers and insufficient equipment in a military conflict were enough to cost Bill Clinton's secretary of defense his job, how come 1134 dead and insufficient equipment and personnel in a military conflict isn't enough to force Donald Rumsfeld to resign?

Tomorrow: FBI files and the ouster of a CIA operative.



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