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The Story The Media Had, Not The Story They Wished They Could Have Had

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Calvin's Snowmen

by Victor Davis Hanson

Rumsfeld's Questioner Wrong About Unit's Armor

Excerpt from article:  "Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Speakes and Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, senior members of the Army's combat systems development and acquisition team at the Pentagon, said protective armor plates were added to the last 20 vehicles of the Tennessee-based 278th Regimental Combat Team's 830 vehicles shortly after the exchange with Rumsfeld."

The Story The Media Had, Not The Story They Wished They Could Have Had 


A top correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers recently wrote, “The furor that erupted after a National Guard enlisted soldier challenged Rumsfeld to explain why his outfit had to scavenge garbage dumps in Kuwait for pieces of castoff metal and bullet-proof glass to jury-rig armor for their Humvees en route to duty in Iraq was only the first visible sign of what is wrong.”

The biggest problem with this assertion is the fact that he conveniently left out the part where a member of the media corps created a story for the press by giving the question to the soldier in the first place. They claim that the person who actually created the question isn’t important and doesn’t change the necessity of asking the question and needing an answer for it.

Sort of like when Dan Rather needed an answer for his questioning of President Bush’s National Guard Service and not really needing to know from where the false documents that gave him the answer he desired was actually generated just as long as the evidence he was given matched the answer as he thought it should be.

The media has taken a prideful glee in attacking Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld as of late. They once beloved his candid and direct temperament, now they think he is little more than a crusty old curmudgeon. Good thing about Rumsfeld and President Bush is the fact that they not only don’t need the media to define them but that they could care less what the media thinks about them.

Some Republicans can’t say that. Several have, since this story has blazed through media outlets, decided that they could use this issue to make themselves more acceptable to the masses by attacking Rumsfeld. Some sent letters to him charging that he was not supporting the needs of the troops and that he needs to follow through on the things that they suggest he do.

Even the Knight Ridder correspondent used the suggestions of a former Assistant Secretary of Defense to make his point and as is often the case, he made sure that the reader knows his source is a former Reagan administration official. Funny how all these ‘former Reagan officials’ keep cropping up from nowhere to reiterate the talking points of Liberals in the media.

The correspondent also made the ludicrous contention that, “The Bush administration and its Pentagon boss seem determined to fight the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the greater global War on Terrorism, on the cheap.”

On the cheap?

President Bush has gone to Congress twice asking for an increase in funding during which time in both cases the media went bonkers screaming headlines about the exorbitant cost of the military actions, about how it was driving up the deficit, and was costing American taxpayers more than it was worth while giving liberals an open forum to lambaste the President with their unchecked rhetorical mendacity.

Eventually we learned that the overwhelming majority of the vehicles being used in Iraq are up-armored and that there was even a group of mechanics led by an experienced wielder who armored a vehicle to be used on missions that was better equipped and better protected than anything currently being used by the military and they plan to make more.

Haven’t heard much about that story in the national news media, have you? Or the fact that if they didn’t have permission to ‘scavenge garbage dumps’ for usable materials, they never would have had the opportunity to invent a new armored vehicle.

After the media loudly promoted all the Republican Nay-Sayers who wanted to openly attack Rumsfeld, using the opportunity to shine their own spoons, the news of other Republicans supporting the defense secretary and the back handed approval of some Democrats has gotten little fanfare. Of course, those Democrats think President Bush will just appoint someone just as ‘crusty and hawkish’ as Rumsfeld, so they see no reason to change.

In the end, the media elitists created a story for themselves, by themselves, and to benefit of no one but themselves. I guess you could say that they went to press with the story they had, and for awhile it worked just as well as the story they wished they could have had.

Lee P Butler

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