Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was put on the spot last week during a Q&A session with soldiers about to go into Iraq when one of the troops asked the following question:
"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?"
The question garnered cheers from the troops and proved a major embarrassment to Rumsfeld and the Bush administration.
But now the Pentagon is questioning whether the question was appropriate because it was apparently “planted” by a reporter who was embedded with the troops.
I don’t believe the reporter did anything wrong in this instance and the very fact that the Bush administration is raising this as an issue is simply an effort on their part to skirt the issue and divert attention from their own malfeasance and irresponsible handling of the Iraq war.
It is not like the reporter in question forced the soldier to ask a question that he wasn’t willing to ask himself. In fact, the question was based on concerns expressed by many soldiers that the reporter had come across while being embedded with their unit. The fact that the question garnered applause from the rest of the troops after it was asked bears this out.
Also, the fact that the question was crafted by the reporter and may not have been in the soldier’s own words shouldn’t make it any less credible. Otherwise we should probably question just about everything that comes out of President Bush’s mouth since most of what he says is pre-scripted for him by a White House speechwriter.