Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Woah!
Q: Ari, two things. Last week Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that soldiers drafted to service in the military, "added no value, no advantage, really, to the United States armed services." The Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation called this an egregious slur and a great insult to the memory, sacrifice and valor of those who lost their lives in Vietnam. One Vietnam vet, Thomas Gohan (phonetic), of Rochester, New York, said this, as a draftee who spent a year of his life in Vietnam: "I would like to suggest that perhaps my inferior service to our country wouldn't have been necessary if those proud, flag-waving patriots like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of the cowards had come forward to enlist. I would like to see Secretary Rumsfeld repeat his speech in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day."
Does the President agree with Secretary Rumsfeld that soldiers drafted to service added no value to the United States armed service?
MR. FLEISCHER: Russell, Russell, Russell, while I'm honored that you chose -- in the face of a Rumsfeld briefing at the same time as mine -- to come here, I'm sure that if you took the entire text of what Secretary Rumsfeld said to Secretary Rumsfeld and asked him, and shared with him the entire context of what Secretary Rumsfeld said, you would have thought twice about taking any one statement. I think if you look at everything Secretary Rumsfeld said, you'd have a very, very different picture.
This is an actual press briefing transcript. Someone must have given the press corps a shot of testorone or something for one of them to talk about the possibility that Bush was a coward (yes, the reporter was quoting a letter. But it was the reporter who made the decision to quote that letter.) (Courtesy atrios)

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