Patterico's Pontifications


Not Quite Right

Filed under: War — AMac @ 10:58 am

In another entry in the “Rumsfeld is the New Ashcroft” department, World Net Daily, a less-reliable conservative news site (occupying the middle ground between NewsMax and CNS), reports on, and Drudge picks up, Rumseld saying that Flight 93 was “shot down” over Pennsylvania.

Conspiracy mavens are, understandably, all over this. However, this is another example of where reading the entire quotation would help.

From the article, this is Rumsfeld’s full statement:

I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples’ heads on television to intimidate, to frighten – indeed the word ‘terrorized’ is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be.

Let’s look at the examples:

1) Mosul bombing: terrorists
2) Spain bombing: terrorists
3) WTC attacks: terrorists
4) Plane over Pennsylvania: AT ISSUE
5) Attacked the Pentagon: terrorists
6) Beheadings: terrorists

It seems rather odd that Rumsfeld, who, like him or not, is a smart guy, would slip in “oh, by the way, the U.S. of A. blew away that jetliner!” right into the middle of a huge list of things that Arab terrorists had been doing.

Here’s the most likely reason he said that: the plane crashed due to purposeful human intervention. “Plane crash” doesn’t really convey the active role, and “forced down” doesn’t really convey a half-mile of wreckage. Most people, the Secretary of Defense included, probably think “shot down” when given the scenario of a plane crashing like that due to others.

My guess? A mistake made while searching for a word that, like the bulge under Bush’s coat that was actually bulletproof vest straps, will take on a life of its own. My hope is that the Democrats decide this will be a good statement to highlight in the 2006 midterm elections.

12 Responses to “Not Quite Right”

  1. I thought something similar. He was obviously saying that terrorists were responsible for Flight 93, but trying to do so succinctly. What happened on that plane was actually pretty complicated: The terrorists hijacked it, then the passengers stormed the cockpit, then either the terrorists drove it into the ground or it went out of control and crashed. It’s hard to sum that up in a couple of words, so he said “shot down.” Maybe “brought down” would have been better, but whatever.

    Jeff Harrell (937967)

  2. The conspiracy theories of a shootdown all fall apart the second one looks at the wreckage in Shanksville.

    A fuel-laden airliner blown apart by an air-to-air missle does not make one nice neat hole in the ground, but is spread across the landscape like Pan Am 103.

    Of course, we’re asking people to use both logic and common sense, and you know how often that argument works.

    Confederate Yankee (77aa06)

  3. Hmmm.

    Evidently people all over the world suddenly are incapable of correctly parsing a damn sentence. It’s obvious that the subject of that particular sentence are “the people”. I.e. terrorists.

    What a non-story.

    ed (79238a)

  4. Yet another example of Serious Allegations. Remember, it’s not the truth that matters, only the severity of the allegation.

    DemEnTEd (727842)

  5. People are always looking for something to twist so they can blame others.

    Most likely the passengers rushed the cockpit, crowding in forcing the terrorist at the controls to push the wheel forward putting the plane into a dive. Wrestling with the passengers he yanked the wheel left and right causing the plane to yaw. There was no way he could throttle back — the plane flew into the ground at 600mph.

    NORAD said they were prepared to shoot it down, VP Cheney had given the order. Could he do otherwise? I can’t think of any other course of action.

    And the next time, if it comes, we have to be prepared to accept those kinds of decisions and not be so shocked we can not act to prevent greater losses.

    Jim Martin (dce656)

  6. The time for shock is over, brace yourselves.

    My first experience with terrorists was at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when Palestinian terrorists took the Israeli team hostage and all later died in an attempted rescue. Who were these people, who would do such a thing? That afternoon the Olympic grounds were completely surrounded by troops in trucks parked bumper-to-bumper. Tanks were on the grounds and special forces in warm-up suits were climbing exterior walls trying to reach the hostages, automatic weapons hidden under their jackets. It looked like WW II all over again with the German iron cross painted on the trucks and those famous steel helmets.

    Threats to blow up airliners made tourists afraid to fly home. The airport was surrounded by tanks. Not knowing how many terroists were involved, the Germans made a huge show of force to keep people calm.

    That kind of thing may happen here with our troops surrounding buildings. Be calm, don’t believe every rumor, and act only when officials give the order.

    The one thing the terrorists have to learn is, no matter what they do, we WILL prevail. They WILL die.

    Jim Martin (dce656)

  7. I agree with the previous comments. Anyone tryng to make a case from the complete statement will not succeed. Of course the MSM will not give the complete statement when they go on the attrack.

    Rod Stanton (7edfd7)

  8. I don’t even see why this would be a particularly severe allegation, if it were true. The Administration has made no secret of the fact that if it had had an opportunity to shoot down any of the four planes, it would have done so, and it would have been right to do so.

    Xrlq (c0f932)

  9. If these were off-the-cuff, rather than written, prepared remarks, the controversy may be due to a simple transcription error – “brought down the plane over Pennsylvania” fits nicely in the litany of horrors.

    Cable (0889a8)

  10. VP Cheney had given the order

    Except, I was under the impression that only our President could give that order…

    As for the quote, maybe he just misspoke. Or, maybe he was trying to let us know something. Or, maybe he was trying to throw out some red meat in the hopes of distracting us from more sinister “facts.” Or…

    As for WND, many of their “reports” are just legally OK re-writes of real newspapers’ stories: “The NYT reported… According to the NYT, the Wal*Mart shopper said…” etc.

    The Lonewacko Blog (14ead2)

    Don Rumsfeld’s remarks regarding Flight 93 having been “shot down” over Pennsylvania caused a bit of buzz over the weekend. Here’s what he said: And I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world…

    Michelle Malkin (2d1d7a)

  12. Rumsfeld On Flight 93
    The conspiracy theorists are at it again. This time they get to go after one of the left’s favorite targets, Don Rumsfeld.

    Here’s the quote (as transcribed): And I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the …

    Secure Liberty (91eb31)

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