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Speaking of Donald Rumsfeld, Skipping Questions About Mosul

Reported by Ellen - December 23, 2004

FOX Reporter Megyn Kendall came on at the beginning of FOX News Live with Alan Colmes last night to discuss with Alan the latest developments in the Mosul attack. Interestingly, the discussion was more about Rumsfeld than the attack.

Kendall started off by reporting that the Mosul attack has been determined to be an "inside job" by someone who infiltrated the unit and got into the dining tent with a backpack or vest full of explosives. But rather than address the question as to how such a terrible breach in security could have happened, she turned immediately to the "issue" of Rumsfeld signing condolence letters. Here was her exact statement after reporting the infiltration.

As a result of that and the investigation, a press conference was held today. Interesting - well, first of all the commanding officers stood behind the troops and then the Joint Chiefs of Staff did the same - and then Rumsfeld had the opportunity to sort of explain or offer a pseudo-apology for his remarks, for his not signing the letters of condolence.

Immediately thereafter, Colmes just happened to have ready a clip of Rummy's statement about how truly saddened he is by the thought that "anyone could have the impression that I or others here are doing anything other than working urgently to see that the lives of the fighting men and women are protected and cared for in every way humanly possible."

To be fair to Colmes, he made a lot of excellent points about Rumsfeld in a very humorous way throughout the segment. While the Rummy clip was playing, Colmes whispered "Armor. Give them armor" into the microphone in response to Rumsfeld's claim that that he is "working urgently" to protect US troops. Colmes also accompanied with mock sniffles another schmaltzy statement by Rumsfeld about being so moved and inspired by the bravery of the troops, etc. In my view, this was exactly what Rumsfeld's BS deserved. Colmes went on to say, in a voice imitating Bush's, "I don't care that the war is not working. I like the man's heart. I like his heart and his soul." Some other of the points Colmes made, humorous and serious, were: "Where is the Iraqi security force we were promised?" "How are (Iraqi) people going to vote?" "Rumsfeld has now dedicated himself to signing his own name with a real pen."

Kendall, meanwhile, seemed dedicated to the notion of Rumsfeld staying in office. After Colmes mocked the president's support of Rumsfeld, she changed the subject by asking if it was the right thing "to start second-guessing our presence over there and getting ready to throw in the towel and waving the white flag after every terrorist attack?"

Kendall then added that "I heard some comments yesterday saying you know there really isn't necessarily a buzz to get rid of Rumsfeld so much as some criticism which has a bunch of others sort of piling on. So just how strong the anti-Rumsfeld feeling is, nobody knows." Comment: That's not true. An ABC News/Washington Post poll came out December 20th saying that only 35% approve of his work and 52% say he should be replaced.

Kendall discounted these findings by saying, "If you believe the Washington Post poll (thereby suggesting that there might be reason not to, without giving a single reason why), the majority of Americans want him out." Comment: I hope "fair and balanced" FOX will provide the same disclaimers about their own polls, but I'm not holding my breath.

Colmes then played another clip of Rumsfeld saying that "Looking for a peaceful Iraq after the elections would be a big mistake." Soon after that, he took a call from "Mark in San Diego" who said "The Marines down here don't appreciate your disrespect" and the yelling match began. A number of callers agreed with Colmes. But I didn't hear any of them address the security breach or raise the question as to whether it might have come from a member of the US-trained Iraqi security forces (weren't a lot of them trained by Bernard Kerik?) or from one of the private contractors making a killing in Iraq.

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