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.