By David Edwards on 4/18/2006, 8:26am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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I'm having a hard time understanding the logic of the Bush Administration on the appropriateness of retired military leaders speaking out about civilian leadership. On the one hand, they are saying that it is inappropriate for retired (and especially serving) military officers to criticize Rumsfeld. On the other hand, military officers who are retired or currently serving are encouraged to speak out in Rumsfeld's defense.

I just don't understand a policy that only allows the expression pro-Administration propaganda but deems all criticism - even by retired generals who are now private citizens - "inappropriate". On last night's edition of MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann posed this question to Howard Fine:

OLBERMANN: Howard, one final question about Rumsfeld. Is this the response from the White House really that retired military personnel cannot comment on civilian leadership if they disagree with it but they are entitled to comment on leadership if they agree with it? I'm just thinking... Is there a hole in that logic somewhere?

FINEMAN: Yeah. There's a hole large enough to drive an army through and that's what we've done.

If anyone is interested, I'll be glad to post the clip from Countdown.

Anyway, Jon Stewart did a humorously "fair and balanced" report on the General's criticism of Rumsfeld. "It's not really very fair to attack Secretary Rumsfeld without giving the Secretary an opportunity to respond to thes charges that are being leveled", says Stewart. "So, here are some [video clips] of the general's criticisms of Rumsfeld and his replies which in no way have been manipulated to make Rumsfeld look foolish or out of touch."

UPDATE: Countdown Asks If Generals Can Only Express Approval of Rumsfeld


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Here's the video clip where Keith Olbermann asks Howard Fine, "Is this the response from the White House really that retired military personnel cannot comment on civilian leadership if they disagree with it but they are entitled to comment on leadership if they agree with it? I'm just thinking... Is there a hole in that logic somewhere?"