|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/12/27 12:37 北京青年报|
Washingtonians have spent much of December assessing the performance of US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld unwittingly brought the roof down on his head with his response to an American soldier at a question-and-answer session in Kuwait. The soldier complained that some US troops in Iraq had to scavenge in military refuse dumps to find material to armor their vehicles with before entering combat zones. Why, the soldier wondered, were they obliged to fall back on such makeshift "hillbilly" armor? Why had they not arrived in Iraq with better equipment? In his reply, Rumsfeld remarked, "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have."
This comment can be interpreted in several ways, but Rumsfeld did not seem to be overly concerned with the immediate problem. Nor did he acknowledge the more general criticism implied that the Defense Department under Rumsfeld had not planned well for US military action. Even some Republican senators thought Rumsfeld's answer was irritatingly cavalier.
Fuel was added to the fire a few days later when it was revealed that Rumsfeld did not actually sign the letters of condolence sent to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. His signature did appear to be on the letters, but it was a machine that made it, not the hand of the secretary of defense. Many critics believe that having to sign such letters might bring home to①Mr Rumsfeld the cost in American lives of the operations he oversees: a daily tally is one thing, a signature on a letter mourning the death of an actual human being with a name, an age, a home and bereaved kin quite another. When news of this leaked out, he quickly switched to manual mode, with apologies.
But apologies and explanations have done little to curb rising public anger. Polls reveal that fewer and fewer Americans approve of how he is doing his job. Influential Congressmen proclaim their loss of confidence in his stewardship of America's armed forces. The president, however, remains supportive of a cherished member of his cabinet.
Dwayne Powell's cartoon shows "Rummy" (Rumsfeld's nickname) as a little boy in bed on Christmas Eve. For security he clutches his teddy bear, which has the face of President Bush. But the boy's slumber is about to be disturbed by an apparition: a ghostly elephant (the symbol of the Republican Party) with the dome of the US Capitol on its head -- this is the spectre of Republican critics in Congress. The elephant is wroth with little Rummy: elephants do not like to be chained up, here in the fetters of the messy US involvement in Iraq.(听英文53500,文章注释535001)