For example, on Feb. 20, a month before the invasion, Rumsfeld fielded a question about whether Americans would be greeted as liberators if they invaded Iraq.
"Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?" Jim Lehrer asked the defense secretary on PBS' "The News Hour."
"There is no question but that they would be welcomed," Rumsfeld replied, referring to American forces. "Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites, and doing all the things that the Taliban and the al-Qaeda would not let them do."
The Americans-as-liberators theme was repeated by other senior administration officials in the weeks preceding the war, including Rumsfeld's No. 2 - Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz - and Vice President Cheney.
But on Sept. 25, - a particularly bloody day in which one U.S. soldier was killed in an ambush, eight Iraqi civilians died in a mortar strike and a member of the U.S-appointed governing council died after an assassination attempt five days earlier - Rumsfeld was asked about the surging resistance.
"Before the war in Iraq, you stated the case very eloquently and you said . . . they would welcome us with open arms," Sinclair Broadcasting anchor Morris Jones said to Rumsfeld as the prelude to a question.
The defense chief quickly cut him off. "Never said that," he said. "Never did. You may remember it well, but you're thinking of somebody else. You can't find, anywhere, me saying anything like either of those two things you just said I said."
Let me guess, we're gonna get hung up on "open arms"?
(Just between you and me, what's really pitiful about this exchange is that the Sec Def could have easily and correctly said that being welcomed by the majority of the population as liberators is not necessarily inconsistent with follow-on paramilitary or guerilla resistance -- even on a substantial scale. But Rumsfeld just can't help himself.)