FOX News managing editor and chief Washington correspondent Brit Hume praised Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's false claim that the lack of armored vehicles in Iraq is "a matter of production." Hume called Rumsfeld's response to a question about the lack of armor at a December 8 "town hall" meeting with U.S. soldiers "a pretty reasonable answer" and chastised the media for focusing only on Rumsfeld's initial remark that "you go to war with the Army you have ... not the Army you might want." In fact, Rumsfeld's "reasonable" claim -- that the shortage is a result of production capacity -- was false, as numerous follow-up reports by the news media pointed out. Armor Holdings, the Army's main supplier of armored vehicles, told the media it was capable of producing more such vehicles if the Pentagon requested them, which the Pentagon in fact did two days later.
On the December 20 edition of Fox Broadcasting Company's FOX News Sunday, Hume defended Rumsfeld from recent criticism by Republican senators and conservative pundits by claiming that outrage over Rumsfeld's remark to Specialist Thomas Wilson -- who asked Rumsfeld about the shortage of armor -- that "you go to war with the Army you have ... not the Army you might want" has obscured the "thoughtful" and "reasonable" part of Rumsfeld's answer:
HUME: The answer to Specialist Wilson -- that comment about "you go to war with the army you have, not the one you wish you have" -- if you think about it for a second, is a truism. It's obvious. The rest of the answer was quite thoughtful and took very seriously the question that was asked and gave what, looked at in its totality, was pretty reasonable answer to that. Most of which, of course, has gotten lost because of that dandy quote.
As Media Matters for America noted, armored vehicle manufacturers directly contradicted Rumsfeld's claim, as many news outlets noted in follow-up reports on Rumsfeld's remark. A December 10 Cox News Service article reported that Armor Holdings is not producing such vehicles at full capacity. A December 10 New York Times article similarly reported that Armor Holdings is working at less than full capacity. And two other reports -- December 9 Bloomberg News article and a December 10 Boston Globe article -- noted that Armor Holdings has been waiting for months for Pentagon approval to increase production, which the company could do by as much as 22 percent.