I’m working on a big Social Security post, but in the meantime, can we fire Don Rumsfeld yet?
CNN personnel who have visited the base [where at least 19 troops, as well as others, were killed] said the dining area is a tent-like facility with no hardened protection — and that soldiers had specifically raised concerns that they could be targeted by insurgents at meal time.
One had told CNN it was only a matter of time before there was an attack on the mess hall.
“There is a level of vulnerability when you go in there, and you don’t feel like there’s a hard roof over your head,” said Lt. Col. Paul Hastings, an officer at Camp Marez.
Overall the base has good protection, Hastings said, and a new dining facility is being built.
Bill Nemitz, a reporter with the Press-Herald newspaper of Portland, Maine, who was embedded at the base, said the new facility is made of concrete and was originally set to be completed by Christmas, but construction had slowed and the building is not near completion.
Nemitz said the base’s chief medical officer in April expressed concern about the mess hall being targeted and was charged with drawing up a “mass casualty” plan.
Rumsfeld, you may recall, was heralded not so long ago by the vice president as “the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had.”
(And no, I’m not directly blaming Rumsfeld for this particular mistake in the sense that he can or should personally oversee mess security throughout Iraq. But he does control the systems and processes that determine whether problems like these are addressed promptly, and those systems and processes are not working nearly as well as they should.)