From March 30, 2003:
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: [. . .] A fair amount of criticism is starting to crop up in the press. A report in this morning's "New Yorker" magazine by Seymour Hersh, highly critical piece. And he says that on six separate occasions you were presented with operational plans from Central Command and you sent them back saying I want to see far fewer forces in these plans. Is that true?
SEC. RUMSFELD: That's false. Tom Franks -- absolutely false -- Tom Franks and the chairman and I, when the president asked us to prepare a plan, looked at the plan that was on the shelf and to a person agreed it was inappropriate. It wasn't me or the chairman or Tom Franks, anyone who looked at it would have known it was not an appropriate plan.
Hmm…In what specific way was the plan “inappropriate,” I wonder? Other than that it apparently required too many troops, I mean.
Rumsfeld then goes into classic CYA mode:
Franks then sat down and began planning. The plan we have is his. I would be delighted to take credit for it. It's a good plan. It's a creative and an innovative plan. And it's going to work. And it is his plan and it has been approved by the chiefs. Every one of the chiefs has said it's executable and they support it. It's been looked at by all the combatant commanders. It's gone through the National Security Council process. And what you're seeing is fiction. You're seeing second-guessers out there.
Second-guessers like these six fiction-generating US generals, I suppose. One of them, General John Batiste, had this and more to say last week:
JIM LEHRER: And what happened when you asked for more troops?
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: We saluted and executed; I had to keep my soldiers alive and focused on the mission at hand.
JIM LEHRER: As you know, Secretary Rumsfeld has said from the beginning every time the military asked for more troops in Iraq, they were given what they wanted. Not true in your case?
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: I suspect, going way back five years to the beginning of this whole war, there were ample times when people said to him, as General Shinseki did, "We need more." In the case of General Shinseki, he was retired early. And as I recall, the secretary didn't even go to his retirement ceremony; I have never forgotten that.
[. . .]
JIM LEHRER: So where do you fit Don Rumsfeld into that then? He's one person. Everybody wants him to -- you guys want him to go. So what are you saying to me?
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: I think an honorable man would take account, be responsible for what he did, and step down.
So will Rumsfeld
A) fire Franks;
B) resign; or
C) avoid the whole thing by asking and then emphatically answering a rapid-fire set of nonsensical questions?
My money’s on C.
“Are there some henny-penny the sky is falling naysayers out there? Absolutely! Do I disagree with them one hundred percent? You bet I do! But did I draw up that plan? I absolutely did not ! Did Tommy Franks draw up that plan? Yes, he absolutely did! Do I think his plan is a good one? Why, sure! Golly! It was approved by the chiefs ! Does their approval imply that they liked Tom’s plan? Boy howdy you bet it does! But can I take credit for it? Gosh no, I sure can’t!”
Or something like that…