Monday, June 27, 2005

It’s time for Rumsfeld to follow his own advice
During Vietnam, Rumsfeld Criticized Administration For “Credibility Gap”

It wasn’t all that long ago when a young conservative congressman from Illinois named Donald Rumsfeld spoke eloquently on the floor of the House of Representatives during the Vietnam War about the need for the Johnson administration to speak more truthfully about that conflict.

A 1966 article in the Chicago Tribune quoted Rumsfeld as saying the following: “The administration should clarify its intent in Viet Nam,’ he said. ‘People lack confidence in the credibility of our government.’ Even our allies are beginning to suspect what we say, he charged. ‘It’s a difficult thing today to be informed about our government even without all the secrecy,’ he said. ‘With the secrecy, it’s impossible. The American people will do what’s right when they have the information they need.” [Chicago Tribune, 4/13/66]

Rusmfeld entered into the Congressional Record an article from the Chicago Sun-Times entitled “Why U.S. Viet Policy Lacks Friends—Our Credibility Destroyed” Rumsfeld stated: “I do, however, believe it is important to the future of our Nation to recognize that there is a problem of credibility today.” [Congressional Record, 89th Cong. Pg. A1454, 3/15/66; Chicago Sun-Times, 12/5/65]

In entering a New York Times editorial into the Congressional Record, Rumsfeld said, “I believe the following significant and timely editorial which appeared in today’s issue of the New York Times and which discusses our involvement in Vietnam merits wide attention. I concur in the conclusion expressed therein that the people of the United States must know not only how their country became involved but where we are heading.” [Congressional Record, 89th Cong. Pg. 21081, 8/19/65; New York Times, 8/19/65]

Rumsfeld said the following in a speech on the House floor: “Accurate judgment is predicated on accurate information. Government has an obligation to present information to the public promptly and accurately so that the public’s evaluation of Government activities is not distorted. Political pundits speak of the ‘credibility gap’ in the present administration. Indeed, this appellation is so widespread that it has become a household word.” [Congressional Record, 90th Cong. pg A792, 2/21/67]

Don’t look now Rumsfeld, but “credibility gap” is becoming a household word again, and it’s directly related to your actions.

Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret.), U.S. Army: “People are skeptical of what they’re hearing out of the Pentagon. I think Secretary Rumsfeld’s credibility has been damaged by serious misjudgments.” [MSNBC, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, 6/23/05]

“Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said it was obvious why public opinion polls were down. ‘We have a credibility gap here with the American people,’ he said.” [AP, 6/24/05]

Headline: “Bush’s Credibility Takes a Direct Hit From Friendly Fire” [LAT, 6/26/05]

Headline: “Bush’s Credibility on Iraq Undercut by Violence, Slow Progress” [Bloomberg, 6/27/05]

It’s time for Rumsfeld to follow his own advice.