Skip to comments.Donald Rumsfeld, Uncorked
Posted on 10/19/2001 6:26:58 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
By Howard Mortman, NationalJournal.com
I must confess that I'm quite taken with Defense Secretary Donald Rumseld.
I'm just nutty about his press conferences.
I love the way he holds up well to the media. Robust, feisty, with some acidity, but very, very refreshing. He's a study in, well, oenology.
Listening to a Rumsfeld press conference is like drinking a fine wine -- a fine wine waiting to be corked since the Ford administration. He's great at reassuring relief from all the somber news. Rumsfeld is less solemn, more sommelier.
Everyone's palate is a little different. But here's my day-by-day tasting guide to Don Rumsfeld press conferences.
Sunday, Oct. 7:
QUESTION: Are U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan now? And more broadly, could you illuminate at all the so-called less visible side of this operation?
RUMSFELD: Not really. If we wanted it to be overt, we would have discussed it.
Tasting notes: Not fancy, just an everyday answer. Bright, fresh and expressing a vivid truth.
RUMSFELD: We certainly would not be using airdrops in portions of the country where we were not satisfied that it would be safe for humanitarian relations. We don't discuss operational activities.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you tell us, is there any plans to send significant numbers of...
RUMSFELD: I answered that question before you asked it.
Tasting notes: Rich and ripe, this answer showcases the individual flavors of Rumsfeld accentuated by years of aging in Washington barrels.
QUESTION: Apparently, there were strikes in Kandahar and Kabul, and there's talk about the electricity system going down. Are you running the risk of being characterized as attacking the Afghan people rather than the military targets?
RUMSFELD: You know, in this world of ours, if you get up in the morning, you're running a risk of having someone lie and someone mischaracterize what it is you are doing.
Tasting notes: This answer has a brilliant color and a pleasing dry yet full-bodied flavor. It goes well when the questioner wants you to eat crow.
Monday, Oct. 8:
QUESTION: ... Yesterday, according to your figures and General Myers' figures, you dropped 37,500 MREs -- humanitarian MREs. Is this purely humanitarian, or is it also part of a psy-ops because on the humanitarian MREs there's a picture of the American flag...?
RUMSFELD: ... It is quite true that 37,000 rations in a day do not feed millions of human beings. On the other hand, if you were one of the starving people who got one of the rations, you'd be appreciative.
Tasting notes: Combines the vintners blend with the reserve. This is a special treat. No wimpy whines and no wimpy wines!
Tuesday, Oct. 9:
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, as far as talking about intelligence, are we getting enough help from Pakistan, because General Musharraf -- he has fired most of his top military aides and intelligence officials, so where do we stand now? And also, what role is India playing in this campaign? And finally, if we are going to drop medicine there, do they know what kind of medicine and how to use them?
RUMSFELD: You all have gotten in the habit of asking three questions at once. And it would sure make life simpler if you didn't.
Tasting notes: A beautiful, crisp and herbaceous answer. I think this answer is one of his best. A brüt champagne for a brute campaign.
QUESTION: ... A military effort here could be decade long.... Do you think that's within the realm of possibility? And could you also preview tonight's battle plan the way you have done for us the last two days?
RUMSFELD: That was a big improvement. You went from three to two [questions].
Tasting notes: This answer is aging quite gracefully. Soft and buttery, with a hint of pepper.
Friday, Oct. 12:
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I know you want to hold us to one question, so I only have one question for you, and then one for General Myers.
RUMSFELD: Uh-oh. We ought to have a new rule: You can ask two questions, and then we can pick the one we want to answer.
Tasting notes: Again, this is a lovely vintage for this wine. Drink now, but may still improve.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, it's been confirmed that among the targets that was hit was the Suburban vehicle that belongs to Abdullah Omar. Was that an effort to kill him?
RUMSFELD: How is that confirmed?
QUESTION: Reliable sources, sir.
RUMSFELD: I had a feeling that was the case.
Tasting notes: The expected tight, elegant, age-worthy wine from this secretary. Excellent. Take his cue: Buy a case.
QUESTION: Secretary Myers, I mean General Myers, can you just outline any British involvement in...
RUMSFELD: Now you've given my title as well as my...
QUESTION: Well, he's bigger than you are, Mr. Secretary.
RUMSFELD: He sure is.
Tasting Notes: Fantastic, gamey, evolved nose. Nice fruit and length. Creamy, keroseney, interesting nose. Very spritzy. Good for years yet.
Monday, Oct. 15:
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the skipper of the Enterprise used the phrase "clean-up mode" to describe the state of the airstrikes, sort of suggesting that they're almost wrapped up. You seem to be suggesting they could go on for a while longer than you expected at the beginning.
RUMSFELD: Go with me.
Tasting notes: Bold and authoritative. Real meaty depth with some tannins. Quite pleasing to the palate. Serve immediately.
If this is a new kind of war, then Don Rumsfeld is a new kind of briefer. The Bordeaux of briefing. A fine cabernet in a fine Cabinet. Please pour me another glass.
Howard Mortman is senior columnist at The Hotline, the National Journal Group's daily briefing on politics.
Now if we could just get rid of Stephanopolous (a cheap near beer), and Bill Clinton (a screwtop, rancid Thunderbird), it could stay that way!
Is this in reference to the Thomas Friedman interview by Russert? That was very interesting and one of the few things i agree with Friedman on.
but so smooth
And then there's this:
"Henry Kissinger once told Republican insiders that of all the despots he'd had to deal with, none was more ruthless than Donald Rumsfeld."
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