Luckily, there was a high level of competence on the part of our soldiers, even though they were denied the tools in the numbers they needed for their mission. But what a disgrace that their families had to hold bake sales to buy discarded Kevlar vests, so the soldiers can stuff them into the floorboards and sides of the Humvees that they have to ride around in without any armor. Bake sales for body armor! What kind of policy is that?
Note: Try finding the transcript of the Gore speech on the web! It's not on the Moveon.org website anymore. The Washington Post article about the speech shows what is supposed to be a link to the transcript of the speech, but the link just takes you to an empty Moveon.org page. I transcribed the quote above from my TiVoed C-Span coverage.The Moveon.org home page has a link to a transcript of a Gore speech, but if you click on it, it turns out to be a speech from February 5, 2004 (which I printed and read, assuming it was this week's speech--no speech date appears on the home page). There's also a link to a January speech by Gore on the home page. Moveon.org sponsored the Wednesday's speech, and in the words of the Washington Post, it was "the highest-profile appearance by Gore since he endorsed former Vermont governor Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination." I tried my best to find a link to the transcript before taking the trouble to transcribe it myself. I realize links go dead, and unintentional snafus occur. Send me the link if you have it. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to have been deliberately eradicated. I feel compelled to conclude that it's been roundly judged a complete embarrassment.
UPDATE: Now that I've watched the entire speech, let me say that I think much of the coverage of it has been unfair. Drudge and others acted as if he freaked out. I haven't gone over the speech and checked the accuracy of all of the statements, but it is simply untrue that he appeared crazy in some way. There were perhaps two points when he resorted to yelling, but he was shouting over a loud ovation in the auditorium. His voice, as heard over the television, is not ideally modulated, but it was probably adapted to the acoustics in the room as he heard his own voice. He gets a little Jimmy Stewart-y in places. He wipes his brow a few times with a big towel, which looked funny, but clearly the room was too hot, and he was sweating. Most of what he said sounded rational to me: it is important to take the Abu Ghraib abuses very seriously. There's some political posturing in calling for various resignations, but there was nothing irrational about that. People who found the most ridiculous freeze frame or replayed an isolated clip treated him very unfairly. I will say that the NYU crowd was not as serious as the subject matter required. They did not just applaud, they laughed, sometimes inappropriately. The audience seemed so excited about laughing at Bush, that it lost touch with the subject matter being discussed. I think one could see that Gore did not approve of this response. Maybe my perceptions are skewed: I thought he did well in the first debate with Bush in 2000 and was surprised at the way he was ridiculed in the press. Maybe I have I higher tolerance for Gore attitudes than most people, but I really can't see why he's being shredded for this week's speech.
FURTHER UPDATE: A reader figured out a way to get to the transcript:
Take a gander at this:
I found this by looking for "rumsfeld" in the URL of a MoveOn webpage (it's the last result when you do that search)...
That's a strange way to find it, so it doesn't dispell the impression that they are trying to get rid of it.
ADDED SATURDAY MORNING: The difference between the URL the reader found and the one in the Washington Post link is that that latter has "-transcript" after "rumsfeld." Also, and more importantly, the Moveon.org home page now has the Wednesday speech featured at the top of its home page with a good link. But none of that was there last night when I wrote this post. It can't be that they are just slow putting up material on their website, because the Post had a link that went dead. You'd think if the Post website was linking you, you wouldn't let the URL go dead, and then later use a different URL. Especially a group like Moveon.org which specializes in being a website and sponsored this important speech. I see that they are now trying to sell a DVD of the speech. And the new URL has a lot of Quicktime clips from parts of the speech. Maybe last night when I couldn't find the transcript, they were shifting over to this really elaborate new page. Clearly, they aren't trying to scuttle the material, which I suspected last night. The presentation of key clips is a good way to counter the unfair clipping that Gore's critics were doing. I approve!