A few weeks ago, Army Specialist Thomas Wilson asked Donald Rumsfeld pointedly why his unit did not have properly armored vehicles to take “up north” to Iraq with them. Since that point I have noticed a couple of things worth mentioning:
First, Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Les Pitts bragged in an e-mail about his ‘journalistic’ cleverness on that day. He had heard that Rumsfeld would take questions only from military men, so he had a little conversation with Spc. Wilson and one other soldier, and asked him to think of “intelligent questions.” Les Pitts apparently had a conversation with the microphone-handler as well, to make sure the that the mic found the right troops for questioning.
Spc. Wilson now claims that he came up with this question all by himself, but this brings up another point: At the time that Wilson was asking his question, 800 of the 830 vehicles in Wilson’s regiment (the 278th Cavalry) had already been armored. A further 20 were in the process of being armored at that very moment and were completed within 24 hours. (So he could have asked the question like this: “Why are only 96.4% of our vehicles currently armored, and why will only 98.8% be armored by tomorrow?”)
Either he got the question from someone else, or just happened to think it up wrong. It’s too bad that the media isn’t jumping to help Rumsfeld out of the ditch they dug for him.