Rummy dodges a question on the XM8

Secretary Rumsfeld Townhall Meeting in Kandahar, Afghanistan

DoD News:

QUESTION: My name is Sergeant Lief from Honolulu, Hawaii. My question to you sir, is, is XM8 going to replace M16 or the M4? If so, when?

RUMSFELD: Is what?

QUESTION: The XM8, the new assault rifle I’ve been seeing in Army Times, sir.

RUMSFELD: General Barno, what’s the answer?

BARNO: The answer is we don’t know yet. It’s a good question. We’re looking at different rifles for the infantry. That decision has not yet been made.

My recommendation is that both Sgt. Leif and Secretary Rumsfeld keep an eye on Murdoc Online for all the latest on the XM8.

But this is the gem:

QUESTION: Chief Warrant Officer Anthony Domar, 165 MI. It seems like in the media there’s a lot of negative and —

RUMSFELD: No. [Laughter]. You’ve got to be kidding.

QUESTION: Do you have any influence on showing some of the wonderful things and good things that these soldiers do? And my father, who is U.S. Navy Retired, would like to know that also.

RUMSFELD: And you’re asking who has influence on the media so that they might show something that’s actually happening instead of something — I mean something positive that’s actually happening?

QUESTION: Yes, sir.

RUMSFELD: Instead of something that’s negative?

QUESTION: Yes, sir.

RUMSFELD: Is that the question? Let me repeat the question. [Laughter]. He has the impression that from time to time some of the media leave the impression that the only things that happen are negative, is that right?

QUESTION: Sir, yes, sir. That’s pretty close.

RUMSFELD: You’re asking me why? [Laughter].

QUESTION: The answer I got down in Iraq was it sells, but again, folks back home say they disagree with that.

RUMSFELD: The truth is there seems to be, if you look at the front of almost any newspaper, any television story, the pattern tends to be that it’s a negative story. That that is what sells. That is what attracts people. For whatever reason, I don’t know.

I do know this, that the people who come to this country and go to Iraq and come out are struck by the contrast, the stark contrast between what they see in terms of progress and contribution by the men and women in uniform, what they see as opposed to what they read and hear.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I can tell you this. Our country’s been around for well over 200 years now and it suggests that the American people have a pretty good center of gravity. They must have an inner gyroscope that centers them because they’re able to read all the negative things and hear all the negative things and yet they’re able to sift through it and sort through it and come to reasonably right decisions about what’s really happening.

I can tell you what’s really happening. You, the people in this room and the people across this country from the United States in uniform, the coalition countries that are increasing all the time as NATO takes a bigger and bigger role, are doing an absolutely superb job for the people of Iraq and for the people of the world, helping to make this a stable, moderate Muslim country, and in an important part of the world at an important point in history, and I thank all of you for what you’re doing. [emphasis mine]

Rummy Rocks. I know a lot of people hate his guts. And I know not every decision and plan has been perfect. But he’s got Murdoc’s respect.

And remember that question about the armored Humvees? The one planted by a reporter? My guess is that this one wasn’t planted by a reporter.

UPDATE: Here’s a pic from Frontline Photos from April 14th showing Rumsfeld after the town hall meeting:


  1. Sometimes Rummy just doesn’t HEAR a question well, and asks that it be repeated. But, from his wording here, it sounds like the question of a general rifle replacement hasn’t reached his desk yet. So… we know know the Army team which was escorting an H-K demo contingent around to various bases (including Bragg) was grossly overhyping the XM8 as all but a done deal. Unfortunately, the gullible Armed Forces Journal as well as a number of firearms mags fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I’m glad to see we now have a healthy competition, even if the XM8 wins out in the end.