Whoops by Jane Smiley

Sometimes you have to wonder about what makes the world go round? Take this scary piece by Jane Smiley at the Huffington Post:

In light of the Walter Reed scandal and the other evidence that American soldiers serving in Iraq are getting less that adequate (let’s call it “indifferent” care), it’s revealing to return to September 10, 2001, and a speech given by Donald Rumsfeld to Pentagon outsourcers at the Pentagon.


Quoted in Jeremy Scahlll’s new book, Blackwater, it is more than interesting, it is damning:

“The topic today is an adversary that poses a threat, to the security of the United States of America.

This adversary is one of the world’s last bastions of central planning. It governs by dictating five-year plans.

From a single capital, it attempts to impose demands across time zones, continents, oceans, and beyond.

With brutal consistency, it stifles free thought and crushes new ideas. It disrupts the defense of the United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk. Perhaps this adversary sounds like the former Soviet Union … [but] this adversary is closer to home. It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy.”

The damning information does not end there. Listen to Jane Smiley again:

Given the fact that in 2001, we know Rumsfeld and Cheney were planning war with Iraq and just looking for an excuse (which they got and recognized the very next day), we have to suppose that what we have seen happen to the army in the last six years — its breakdown from a well-trained, well-equipped, well-educated superior volunteer force that the Pentagon was proud of to a struggling mess, where injured soldiers are redeployed … because of staffing shortages, where injured soldiers get poor care or no care … where female soldiers are at risk of rape from not only their fellow soldiers, but their commanding officers … and where recruits are increasingly actual convicted criminals — we have to accept that when Rumsfeld declared war on the army, he was not kidding, and he carried out his plan, and that, indeed, his success in destroying the army was the very reason Cheney called him a great Secretary of Defense.