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For Immediate Release - Office of the Press Secretary - December 10, 2004 - 2:02 P.M. (LOCAL)

MEDIA ALERT: CORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF SECRETARY RUMSFELD'S FRIENDLY, NON-CONTENTIOUS BULL SESSION WITH JOYOUS, 100% GUNG-HO NATIONAL GUARDSMEN IN KUWAIT
Morale-Boosting Appearance by the Secretary of Defense
Camp Buehring, Kuwait

[BEGIN TRANSCRIPT]

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: At ease, gentlemen. Gosh, seeing so many of you meat pawns gathered here at this mandatory public relations dog and pony show makes this old war poodle squeeze bitter little ice cubes out of the corners of his squinty eyes. So without further chit-chat, let's get this heartfelt Q&A on the record. I hereby order you to ask me honest, softball questions so that we I can feign sympathy for the ridiculous sacrifices you grunts are making.

You in the camouflage. Speak up.

PFC Daniel Anderson: Thank you, sir. Will you and the Pentagon finally make it easier for me to re-enlist for another tour of combat duty?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Gee-whiz, I'll see what I can do to make sure you get to proudly serve your nation until the Lord calls you to the great barracks in the clouds. Thank goodness for those "Thou Shalt Not Kill" loopholes, eh? Next!

PFC Travis Williams: Sir, I'm a thirty-five father of two. My oldest son is 13. Do you think I can look forward in the next five or six tears to serving side by side with my boy, blowing away the Iraqi September 11th terrorists together?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Gosh, I sure can't relate to your predicament, GI Joe. But let me just say "Dream the extremely possible dream." Because dreams can and do come true – especially yours.

PFC Daniel Sutton: Mr. Secretary, sir. I wanted to ask you if it's possible for our victory in Iraq to have been any more decisive, well-planned, and free of disastrous consequences?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Jeepers, I don't think so, Private! Sock it to me, grunt.

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PFC Vincent Modarsky: Mr. Secretary: I enlisted in the Army as a way to pay for college, with the hope of escaping generations of socioeconomic hardship. Is there a way that I, and other ethnically diverse, disadvantaged youth like me can just drop out of school altogether and commit to becoming lifetime, non-commissioned cannon fodder?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I like the cut of your gib, kid. You got heart, gumption, and grit. Your wish is granted. Voila! Who's on deck?

PFC Ryan Chambers: Sir, yes sir! How long until the Army develops giant, robotic exoskeletons with Gatling guns for fists like in Matrix Revolutions? It seems that would be the best way to get wounded amputees out of the hospital and back into combat the way they want to be!

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Excellent question! That's just the sort of thinking that'll help us win the war all over again. So tell you what – I'll talk to the death docs back at the Pentagon about your idea. Maybe in ten years, when we're re-re-taking Baghdad, we'll strap a prototype onto your stumps so you can test it out.

[[ BEGIN CORRECTION - EDITORS TAKE NOTE ]]

OK, it's no holds barred time! Hit me with your best shot!

Corporeal Josh Thoemke: With all due respect sir, our Humvees are becoming encumbered with far too much extraneous armor. Most Americans don't even know that no expense is spared when concerning our safety and equipment.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I missed the first part of your question. Could you repeat it for the cameras?

Corporeal Josh Thoemke: Yes, Mr. Secretary. Our soldiers have been fighting in Iraq for coming up on three years. Is it possible to spend more tax dollars on sweetheart contracts for mercenary companies who want in on the ground floor of Iraq, Inc.? It seems these patriotic war profiteers need the cash a whole lot more than us worthless enlisted guys need superfluous IED-deflecting steel plates and Kevlar.

(Rapturous Applause.)

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well gee willigers! It's that kind of wonderfully informed and insightful question that makes me proud to have greenlighted Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity on Armed Forces Radio – if for no other reason than to successfully counteract the lies being spread by the embedded liberal journalists in your units.

You know soldier, you fight the war with the Army you have, not the Army you want, or even the Army you should have had, or even still, the Army you think you have. So I appreciate your brainstorming about how to deal with the Army we tell the public you have, but don't. So by golly, you'll go far Corporal – if you live that long.

[[ END CORRECTION ]]

Batter up!

PFC Michael Smith: Sir. Could the Iraqi people be any more thrilled to have us trolling their bombed out cities spouting insincere democratic catch phrases and spraying face-mincingly hot shrapnel like water from a lawn sprinkler?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Sometimes I can't tell if Iraqi widows are crying for joy, or because one of you boys righteously fricasseed her eldest. Most of the time I don't care. All I know is they better be happy to be inheriting a puppet democracy, or else. Who wants some of this?

PFC Frank Jacobson: Mr. Secretary, I've been in this man's army for most of my adult life, which is now officially two years. Is it just me, or didn't the flattening of Falluja prove your innovative theories of a faster, leaner, cheaper army?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Goodness gracious, I believe you're right! Give a pretty gold star to that boy! Who's next?

PFC Brad Thackery: What's the deal with the liberal media and its reporting of the war? It's totally awesome here: communal showers, great tanning weather, free machine guns, and then there's the adrenaline-fueled God Complex.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well put, my boy! You know, the media wants the USA to lose the War on Terror. But what those traitors don't know is that we can never lose a war that doesn't really exist. (Winks.) Next?

Corporeal Alex Kline: Sir, I'm due to return home in six months time. Any chance I can get MREs sent to me as a civilian? I'll miss their delicious chalky blandness and will really appreciate them as I struggle to readjust to a boring life where crapping my pants and launching TOW missiles into Mosques simultaneously isn't the norm.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Consider it done, Spanky! In fact, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when that whole "readjustment" business turns out to be just a temporary situation. (Laughs.) You might also be interested to learn that next year, all grunts serving stop-loss tours in the "Triangle of Death" will be rewarded with zesty new Taco Bell MREs! So never let it be said Rummy doesn't care. Bring it on!

PFC Bud McNeil: Thank you sir. Last night, while I was off-duty, I caught a nap, leaning against a wall. I dreamt of my first couple of days in combat, when my buddy "Boner" went to move a dead Iraqi body outside of a shop and triggered a booby trap. Boner died to death in my arms and so, later that day, we stormed the shop and the Iraqis inside immediately hit the floor. We hit them with so much lead for so long, it looked their corpses were having a ten-minute epileptic seizure. I've been in Iraq for over a year. Every time I close my eyes, I see Boner bleed out the back of his head, or those ragheads (excuse my language) break dancing on their bellies. When will these dreams end?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Two words, Sonny: chewable Zoloft. You can regret your actions when you're dead. You.

PFC Paul Willmon: Yes, sir. When will we be kicking off the invasion of Iran?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: You'll be the first to know. (Laughs.)

Thank you all for your time. And don't think for a minute that my thoughts aren't with you. And the American people thank you, because your sentimental loyalty to God and Country, while commendable, also makes you easy to manipulate. So keep a stiff (as in "tightly buttoned") upper lip. Because your job is to suffer quietly, so that the public need never fear for their safety during a late-night trip to Wal-Mart.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to put as much land mass between me and here as possible.

Toodly-Doodly!

(Applause.)

[END TRANSCRIPT]

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