Whopper of the Week: Donald Rumsfeld.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Aug. 29 2003 10:59 AM

Whopper of the Week: Rumsfeld

Who knew Saddam's troops would "blend into the countryside"?

"Q: Senator Kerry this morning was talking about what he described as 'the lack of candor' and 'a lack of planning,' in the post-war in particular, that is now jeopardizing life, and he went on to say in his speech, which you undoubtedly heard part of, 'I want the burden taken off the soldiers as soon as possible.' Did the administration plan properly for post-war, and are you playing catch-up now? …

"A: First, out of respect for him, I didn't hear him. I don't know what he actually said, and I don't know the context of your comments. So I'd rather set aside any reference to him. …

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"Now was—did we—was it possible to anticipate that the battles would take place south of Baghdad and that then there would be a collapse up north, and there would be very little killing and capturing of those folks, because they blended into the countryside[italics Chatterbox's] and they're still fighting their war?"

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a media availability at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio,Texas, Aug. 25, 2003.

"The dilemma that the country is facing right now, Afghanistan, is what should they do about their security situation. They have got Taliban and al Qaeda milling around, that have blended into the countryside [italics Chatterbox's], into the villages, across the borders and are ready to come back in in the event they feel they have the opportunity."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a town hall meeting at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Feb. 20, 2002.

Discussion. Some will argue that no one could have anticipated the similarities between the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. For those, Chatterbox's renames the rubric, "Déjà vu of the week."

(Thanks to reader Adam Engel.)

Got a whopper? Send it to chatterbox@slate.com . To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:
Aug. 22, 2003: Arianna Huffington
Aug. 8, 2003: Howard Dean
July 25, 2003: Condoleezza Rice
July 18, 2003: President Bush
July 10, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld
June 27, 2003: Remembering Strom
June 20, 2003: Billy Bulger
May 30, 2003: Ari Fleischer
May 23, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld
May 19, 2003: Un-Whopper: Ari Fleischer Tells Truth!
May 2, 2003: Peggy Cooper Cafritz
April 17, 2003: Eason Jordan
March 7, 2003: John Kerry
Feb. 28, 2003: Ari Fleischer
Feb. 14, 2003: Bill O'Reilly
Feb. 7, 2003: Saddam Hussein
Jan. 31, 2003: Karl Rove
Jan. 23, 2003: Bill Frist
Jan. 17, 2003: Naji Sabri
Jan. 10, 2003: Rod Paige

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