Outgoing SecDef Donald Rumsfeld sat down for the journalistic equivalent of a backrub from TownHall’s Cal Thomas.
Classic Rumsfeld. Not only answering the questions he wished he’d been asked, but actually asking himself those questions too.
On troop levels:“Is it the right number? I don’t know. Do I have a heckuva lot of confidencein those two folks [Generals Casey and Abizaid, who set them]? Yes. Do I think it’s probably right? You bet, or I would have overruled it, or made a different recommendation to the president. But they have to walk that line; they have to find that balance…. Do I know that the right number is there? No. Do I think it is? Yes. Is there anyone who is smart enough to prove it is or isn’t? No.”
Make it stop!
There are a couple of newsworthy tidbits in the transcript, including Rummy saying,
“I don’t think I would have called it the war on terror.”
And of course this amplification of his Homeric simile about how Iraq is like a tike on a bike:
You don’t want to create dependency. So at some point, you’ve got to take your hand off the bicycle seat. You’ve got the bicycle going down the street. You’re pushing and holding it up, and you go from four fingers, to three fingers, to two and you know if you let go they might fall. You also know if you don’t let go, you’ll end up with a 40-year-old who can’t ride a bike. Now that’s not a happy prospect.