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The Irascible Rummy
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David Moles points to this Doonesbury cartoon about Donald Rumsfeld. It's pretty funny, which is a rarity for Doonesbury these days.

I like Rumsfeld, even though he's crotchety and contrarian. Hmm, maybe I like him because he's crotchety and contrarian.

The in-your-face chiding and belittling of the press makes for more interesting than usual press conferences, and it does get tired after a while.

But I have to admit enjoying this exchange between Rumsfeld and a reporter at a press conference I watched yesterday:

(FYI...I'm paraphrasing)

Reporter 1: Sir, some experts are complaining that the number of U.S. forces in the region is not satisfactory to maintain stability and peacekeeping operations in Iraq. Are there any plans to increase the number of forces?

Rumsfeld: Tommy Franks is the commander and he is being given the resources that he asks for to do the job he needs to do, and he's doing a fine job.

Reporter 1: But sir, do you foresee the number of troops in the region as going up or down in the near future?

Rumsfeld: The number of troops may change as the situation changes, but I don't have a crystal ball. Why is it reporters can't just report the facts? Why do they have to constantly conjecture about what might or might not happen?


Reporter 2: Sir, you asked us a question, and I'd like to answer it.

Rumsfeld: I did, did I?

Reporter 2: Yes sir, you asked why we don't just report the facts, why we ask you about the future, and it's because you have plans for different situations and part of our job is to report on those plans.

Rumsfeld: Our plans are to do the job we set out to do and accomplish the goals we set, but I can't answer hypotheticals about whether more troops might be sent, or more troops might come home, because I don't know the future.

Anyway, this is my dramatic interpretation of the end of the press conference...these aren't exact words. Still, I thought it was an interesting exchange.

And for the record, even though he's ornery (or again, maybe because he is) I'm glad Rumsfeld is our Secretary of Defense right now.

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