Saturday, November 11, 2006

Reaction to the Rumsfeld resignation among marines in Iraq:

The sergeant went upstairs to tell his marines, just as he had informed them the day before that the Republican Party had lost control of the House of Representatives and that Congress was in the midst of sweeping change. Mr. Menti had told them that, too.

"Rumsfeld’s out," he said to five marines sprawled with rifles on the cold floor.

Lance Cpl. James L. Davis Jr. looked up from his cigarette. "Who’s Rumsfeld?" he asked.
I'm guessing that marine would have been able to figure out who Rumsfeld was if he'd taken a second to think about it, but even if that's not the case, I wouldn't begrudge him his ignorance; he certainly has better things to worry about (though I think the odds are decent that the quote made his mother cringe). But it's surprising to me that "Rumsfeld" wasn't a name he automatically knew. Given the amount of influence the Secretary of Defense's decisions have on the everyday lives of people like Lance Cpl. Davis, I'd have imagined that Rumsfeld would be nearly as well-known as the president. Clearly, I'd have been wrong. (Unless, of course, Lance Cpl. Davis doesn't know who Bush is, either, in which case he's probably not a fair person from whom to generalize.)

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