Is it a small thing that Donald Rumsfeld has been using an autopen to sign letters of condolence, instead of signing them by hand? Yes.
Does it really matter to families who have lost someone? Probably not.
But is it a revealing insight into our secretary of Defense? You bet.
It goes without saying that if this story had come out about a Democratic president's SecDef, the Republican end of the blogosphere would be purple with indignation, and rightly so. As it is, I've seen only a handful of cross words, from a pair of posters on a Lucianne.com thread and a few lonely voices at FreeRepublic. No mention whatsoever of the story at the Corner.
While it would have been impractical for the SecDef to sign condolence letters during World War II, the Iraq War is a low-grade enough conflict that it wouldn't take more than 5 or 10 seconds of Rumsfeld’s time every day to put down his John Hancock.
Signing these letters wouldn't change anything. It wouldn't bring back the dead. It wouldn't salve a family's grief. It wouldn't help win the war.
But it would be the right thing to do. And conservatives are supposed to care about that sort of thing.
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