Unlike Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been relatively quiet since he left office in 2006. But part of last night’s speech got Rumsfeld hot under the collar:
When I took office, we had just over 32,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan, compared to 160,000 in Iraq at the peak of the war. Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive.
The ever-polite Rumsfeld sent out a press release calling that statement a big fat lie:
In his speech to the nation last night, President Obama claimed that ‘Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive.’ Such a bald misstatement, at least as it pertains to the period I served as Secretary of Defense, deserves a response.
I am not aware of a single request of that nature between 2001 and 2006. If any such requests occurred, ‘repeated’ or not, the White House should promptly make them public. The President’s assertion does a disservice to the truth and, in particular, to the thousands of men and women in uniform who have fought, served and sacrificed in Afghanistan.
In the interest of better understanding the President’s announcement last night, I suggest that the Congress review the President’s assertion in the forthcoming debate and determine exactly what requests were made, who made them, and where and why in the chain of command they were denied.
In other words–PROVE IT. Granted, Rumsfeld was not the greatest Secretary of Defense, but I do miss an administration with a no bullcrap, no lies kind of attitude.
In his press briefing today, Gibbs was asked about Rumsfeld’s challenge–He tap danced away.