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Errol Morris Turns His Lens On Donald Rumsfeld

Filmmaker Errol Morris sets his camera on Donald Rumsfeld in his new documentary “The Unknown Known.”  Errol Morris joins us.

This Monday, March 24, 2014 photo shows director Errol Morris posing for a photo in Los Angeles. Morris directed the recently released film "The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld." (AP)

This Monday, March 24, 2014 photo shows director Errol Morris posing for a photo in Los Angeles. Morris directed the recently released film “The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld.” (AP)

Donald Rumsfeld stood in the center of turmoil in George W. Bush’s White House,  as Secretary of Defense when the Pentagon was hit on 9/11, and through the two wars that followed. Now one of America’s greatest film-makers, Errol Morris, has turned his camera on Rumsfeld – as he did years earlier on Vietnam-era Defense Secretary  Robert McNamara. The result is “The Unknown Known,”  a documentary that looks “from the inside out,” as Errol Morris puts it, on the mistakes and misjudgments that made the Iraq War the most polarizing in American history.  This hour On Point: Errol Morris on Donald Rumsfeld.

Guest

Errol Morris, Academy-award winning documentary filmmaker. His newest film is “The Unknown Known: The Life And Times of Donald Rumsfeld.” His other films include “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara,” “The Thin Blue Line,” “Standard Operating Procedures” and “Tabloid.” (@errolmorris)

From The Reading List

New York Times: The Certainty of Donald Rumsfeld — “Many people associate the phrases the known known, the known unknown and the unknown unknown with Rumsfeld, but few people are aware of how he first presented these ideas to the public. It was at a Pentagon news conference on Feb. 12, 2002.’”

Boston Globe: ‘The Unknown Known’: Catch Donald Rumsfeld if you can –”Unlike McNamara, Rumsfeld is actorly: not just at ease in front of a camera but utterly at home there. His Pentagon press conferences were star turns; and like any great performer, Rumsfeld is self-aware without ever being self-conscious. McNamara clearly thought of himself as the opposite of naive, yet he was the essence of it.”

Washington Post: Errol Morris talks — and talks — about his Rumsfeld documentary, ‘The Unknown Known’ — “It’s true that, for partisans who can never forgive Rumsfeld his part in the run-up and execution of the Iraq War, ‘The Unknown Known’ can be a maddening experience: Although Morris occasionally confronts his subject about contradictions or outright misstatements, he just as often lets Rumsfeld have his say, unchallenged. ‘I think the entire movie is a confrontation,’ Morris insisted. ‘Many, many, many successive confrontations.’”

Watch A Trailer For “The Unknown Known”

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  • Oh bummer

    At 1:30 into the clip, the question is asked, ‘How do you think that they got away with 9-11′? Is the documentary implying that Rumsfeld and other members of the Bush Administration had prior knowledge of the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon?

    • brettearle

      The Project for A New American Century–which had, as its members, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Perle, Fife, Kristol, Kagan, Edelman, among others–posted a public letter of declaration before the turn of the 21st Century.

      In the missive, there included a commitment to the invasion of Iraq. But the signatories conceded that a catastrophic event would have to occur, to justify such a military strike, in order to gain necessary political support.

      One could argue that this is a sublime coincidence: After all, why would advocates, from a Radical Think Tank, show their hand, publicly?

      Or, conversely, one could argue–perhaps less persuasively –that this was a form of reverse psychology, so as to deflect suspicion, for a plan that was already underway [presumably, to be signed off on, with politically sympathetic people in The White House.]

      Seymour Hersh published an article in “The New Yorker”, in the early spring of 2001, about the Bush Administration’s proposed plans to invade Iraq.

      It would be easy for Conspiracy Theorists to use the above examples, to support their cynicism.

      The odds are against such an idea, I think, but you never know.

      • Oh bummer

        Excellent post. I know a lot of Americans don’t want to believe that their own govt. was involved in 9-11, but when you consider the war-mongering individuals in PNAC, more and more Americans are connecting the dots.

        • brettearle

          I understand.

          But despite our suspicions, it’s still somewhat of a stretch:

          For as time goes by, the same evidence-based question can be applied to the 9/11 conspiracy advocates as has been applied to the JFK Assassination [even though I don't believe that Oswald was the only actor].

          Why aren’t there eventually direct confessions [perhaps even unwittingly] or undeniable forensic proof?

          • geraldfnord

            The bigger the secret, the bigger the thrill the drunk or pissed-off guy gets when he tells it. ‘Three can keep a secret…’

  • Ed75

    We can be very grateful that more people weren’t killed or injured on 9/11: two tremendous buildings collapsed, and only 2900 people were killed, and very few injuries, at 9:30 in the morning (the hospitals all opened to take in wounded, and no one showed up), when 50,000 people worked in those two buildings. They stood up just long enough for people to get out. The people who died were those about where the planes hit, and the rescuers who went back in to get them, heroically. And the buildings didn’t topple over, which would have killed many, but miraculously collapsed on themselves.
    President Bush should have listened to Pope John Paul and not gone to war, but after 9/11 all the pressure, and the uncertainty about weapons which we could no longer check, made it impossible to avoid it.

    • brettearle

      You are ignoring a number of investigations, by credible journalists, who uncovered a number of different scenarios that pointed to bogus intelligence or cherry-picked intelligence–manipulated to fit the unremitting agenda of the Bush Administration.

      For you to say that 9/11 “made it impossible to avoid” war symbolizes the biased zealotry and the search for tragic excuse, that still drives a fair chunk of American thinking on the matter–not to mention, generally, matters of foreign policy, where the Doctrine of Preemption still could obtain.

      • nj_v2

        Re. “but after 9/11 all the pressure, and the uncertainty about weapons which we could no longer check, made it impossible to avoid it.”

        …i was just going to say “bullcrap,” but yours is clearly a better response.

        • brettearle

          Thank you….

          But sometimes mild, but cynical, swearing can do the job better.

      • Ed75

        I guess theoretically it was possible to avoid war, but after an attack like that public sentiment was for an attack of some kind. Pope John Paul tried to talk President Bush out of it, but it was difficult. And then Saddam Hussein stopped the inspections, and there were the chemical attacks in the U.S.

        • brettearle

          I don’t know if you realize what you are saying:

          “but after an attack like that public sentiment was for an attack of some kind”

          What you are implying, by that statement, is that the country sought justice, NO MATTER WHAT–EVEN IF that justice was FORCED on the wrong parties, actors, or nation.

          • Ed75

            Yes, I agree, it wasn’t justifiable if forced on other people, but it was a little understandable. Iraq at the time did present a possible threat, and it was part of this larger threat.

    • vito33

      “And the buildings didn’t topple over, which would have killed many, but miraculously collapsed on themselves.”
      Not miraculous at all. That’s how buildings are designed to fail.

      • Oh bummer

        ‘That’s how buildings are designed to fail’.
        Yes, if they’ve been fitted with explosives.

    • Bigtruck

      History, parent-less children, limbless veterans, Constitutional damage will make it impossible to sweep these disgraceful lie filled decisions under the rug.

      • Ed75

        No doubt there have been bad things as a result; it was an evil act to attack the towers and evil leads to suffering. With the continued growth of extremism, it’s an interesting speculation to think of how much of this we would have had to adopt even without 9/11.(And, although not our business, Hussein had killed many people.)

        • Bigtruck

          Undeniably evil but if your wife happens to get killed by Ed from Hartford you don’t go kill Jim from Boston because you don’t like him and call it justice. You become a criminal.

          • Ed75

            Yes, very funny too.

          • Bigtruck

            Thank you

    • geraldfnord

      The Bush Administration badgered the intelligence community for a Iraq excuse starting 2001-09-12,and kept badgering until they got…well, nothing much, but enough to inflate and spin. In Powell, they had a perfect cut-out: a trustworthy man who trusted too readily, perhaps because he didn’t yet understand that many rich people don’t see the need for honour outside their class, if at all.

      • Ed75

        Be that as it may, it doesn’t seem possible that we wouldn’t have struck back somewhere.

    • J__o__h__n

      9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq. Bush didn’t give into pressure. 9/11 was the excuse for a war he wanted.

    • Don_B1

      “The people who died were those about where the planes hit, and the rescuers who went back to get them, heroically.”

      The people who died were those at the floors and above at which the planes hit, and, in the second building, had not evacuated on learning of the strike on the first building, and the rescuers who entered the buildings to evacuate all they could reach in the limited time before the heat of the burning paper from stored files and the full jet fuel loads softened the vertical steel columns enough that the weight above was enough to bend and crush them lengthwise, sending the top part of the building on an accelerating downward movement.

      The buildings were designed to survive the impact of a plane strike, and at a somewhat higher strike point there would not have been enough weight above the softened steel columns to deform them and somewhat below the strike point where the steel columns would have been strong enough, as there would have less softening from the heat of the fire, to support the weight of the building above.

      If there had been strong enough winds, then the towers might have toppled over instead of “imploding.”

      • JS

        Buildings usually don’t topple over* They are building, not trees. A vertical bem supports a certain amount of weight. Knock it from true vertical, and it can support only a lot less weight, so whatever is above collapses. Even if you could somehow push at an entire side of the building and start it tipping, as soon as it is not plum it would start to collapse.

        * Some heavily re-enforced building “toppled over” during the tsunami in Japan. These were 2 or 3 story buildings that were designed to be earthquake proof

        • Don_B1

          I should have included more words on the unlikelihood of “toppling.” Clearly, at least to me, it would have taken near hurricane winds and maybe even the fire being more asymmetric as to its horizontal position on the floor, in particular, to one side of the building (away from the wind), so those columns softened a bit faster than the ones on the other side. All quite speculative.

          • JS

            When one of the towers fell (i forget which one) you can see the top start to “topple” over, before collapsing down. The walls just aren’t designed to hold anything up at an angle.

    • JS

      Building usually don’t “topple over”. Walls are built to support a vertical load. As soon as you lean that wall over, it can no longer support as much weight, so it buckles, and whatever is above collapses. Buildings are not trees and they don’t fall the same way

      • Ed75

        Interesting, but from what I understand the terrorists’ plan was to have them topple over. Imagine the disaster that was averted.

        • JS

          No disaster was averted because toppling over was never a possibility.

  • Oh bummer

    Bush, Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld are war criminals who should be arrested, and prosecuted for their invasion of Iraq which left hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis dead.

    • Isernia

      I like the way the Chinese get rid of their government officials who are on the take, or who abuse power. We should learn a lesson from them on this and other matters.

      • Oh bummer

        With Bush’s Patriot Act, and Obama’s NDAA, both of which essentially shredded the Bill of Rights, America is looking a lot more like the Chinese police state.

      • sickofthechit

        They are all to cowardly to do the honorable thing.

      • Prospector

        Yikes! What would you do with Holder and Obama?

    • myblusky

      Nothing will be done – especially since many of the Democrats voted to go to war and nobody wants to bring that fact up. Everyone who voted is accountable, but they will never face any repercussions.

  • wauch

    Thank you Mr. Morris for turning your critical eye towards a main who – along with Wolfowitz, Cheney, Yoo, Fife, Addington etc – is a war criminal hiding in plain site.

  • Oh bummer

    On 9-10-11, Donald Rumsfeld announced the Pentagon could not account for $2.3 trillion dollars. The next day American Airlines flight 77 hit the Pentagon, and many of the files pertaining to the missing $2.3 trillion were lost. I wonder if Rumsfeld is asked about this in the documentary.

    • brettearle

      Maybe that was–Gulp–Karma?

      [the above claims to satire]

      • Oh bummer

        Just another reason why fewer and fewer Americans believe the ‘official’ story of 9-11.

        But the govt. wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

  • MrNutso

    Just like Britain and France redrew the map of the middle east after WWI, we continue to think that foreign powers are free to dictate how other peoples should be controlled.

  • JGC

    Chauncey Rumsfeld.

    • brettearle

      Being There?

      • MrNutso

        As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

        • brettearle

          The Rose Garden?

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    What’s up with this:

    http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

    Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983.

    • nj_v2

      Hussein was our useful thug on the scene at the time.

      Plenty of aid from the Reagan administration. No problems with brutal repression since he helped serve U.S. “strategic” interests.

      But, you know, “They hate us for our freedoms.”

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Yes. The general ignorance of all that happened before the Iraq War is something that I hope this film can improve. We sold Saddam Hussein the chemical weapons he used on the Kurds living in Iraq – and we didn’t even blink.

        • TechMike

          Which is why we knew he had WMD. (most of the public thinks WMD means nuclear and forgets it include chemical and bio weapons)

          • JS

            We were warned of a mushroom cloud though.

          • TechMike

            and that’s where you were misled by uninformed media who didn’t know any better or was trying to discredit Bush.

          • Prospector

            How would the “media” know the truth when western intelligence organs did not?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            That is ‘definition creep’ – WMD at the beginning was code for nuclear weapons (remember the endless ‘mushroom cloud’ talking points!) and it has now morphed all the way down to the black power IED used by the Marathon bombers.

  • Oh bummer

    Hopefully the documentary will mention the little known fact that Rumsfeld threatened Belgium that NATO H.Q. would be moved out of Brussels if Belgium tried former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, for war crimes.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/1432913/US-threatens-to-pull-Nato-HQ-out-of-Belgium.html

  • creaker

    The invasion of Iraq was a travesty.

    That “time will tell” comment sounds vaguely like “you have to vote for it to find what’s in it”. But the latter did not result in so much death and destruction.

  • Coastghost

    How much naivete was Morris possessed of to think that he would somehow elicit from Rumsfeld just what he wanted to capture on camera and microphone? I haven’t seen the film and have less interest in it now, hearing Morris’s gratuitous characterizations of Rumsfeld that seem calculated to supplement what he was unable to supply with his camera and his questions.
    A pity Morris does not possess the gift for words he imputes to Rumsfeld.

    • nj_v2

      How much presumptive arrogance is Coasthost possessed of to think that he would know what the filmmaker’s intent was?

      • StilllHere

        You’re joking right. Knowing others intent is where you live.

  • MrNutso

    Bush was a tool of Rummy, Darth Cheney and the gang.

    • StilllHere

      Whose tool are you, clearly somebody?

      • MrNutso

        My own.

  • brettearle

    Have to disagree with Morris, with regard to some of Rumsfeld’s comments.

    I disagreed with the Iraq war as it was envisioned and executed.

    But Rumsfeld’s comments about “Unknowns” make some sense.

    Doesn’t mean, they can be pragmatically applied to a military action against a country.

    For Morris to dismiss the comments as distractions or obfuscation is to miss the thrust of the potential insight.

    Sometimes, one’s political adversary has something to say.

    • MrNutso

      I agree. What he said really has no bearing on whether the invasion was a good idea or not.

    • Prospector

      I have never understood why so many people are confused by the simple truth of Rumsfeld’s observation on known knowns, etc.

      • brettearle

        Because people like me–who do not like Rumsfeld either personally or politically–need to demonize him.

        Why isn’t that quite common between political factions?

        We see The Other as The Other.

        In some way, that’s what DC’s gridlock is all about.

        My objective is to be as impartial as I can be–and still maintain my views.

        • Don_B1

          Everyone should consider this post from Paul Krugman, and also his link to a post by Ezra Klein, on the way people in general discount things that do not align with their view of the world, but also there is a left-right asymmetry in this discounting, where liberals are much more willing to deal with reality whereas conservatives, particularly the current radicals, just continue to ignore reality and live in their fantasy world:

          http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/asymmetric-stupidity/#commentsContainer

          • brettearle

            I printed out the Krugman piece.

            This issue–of being too biased and subjective and stuck in one’s beliefs– has been a growing and growing concern of mine for a number of years, now.

            I am especially concerned about this matter, vis a vis the criminal justice system.

            But it is no where more apparent than in American politics.

            The biggest problem is, however, The Other in Global Conflict:

            As the world struggles for resources more and more; and as the world lunges to protect itself from the problems of climate, population, water shortage, etc; as well as the desperation of many economies, in countries that can’t grow enough or can’t recover, the following will occur, that includes but is not limited to:

            Ethnic Conflict and Ideological Animosity resulting in Global War

            While what I have to say, above, sounds like I was using political differences between liberals and conservatives, in the US, to get on my messianic soap box, my point is that the greater the stress and the greater the conflict, the harder and harder it is to try to see reality from someone else’s position.

            I am reminded of Dylan’s lyrics in, “Positively 4th Street”:

            [not a direct analogy but related, nonetheless]

            “I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes;

            and just for that one moment I could be you

            Yes, I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes

            You’d know what a drag it is to see you”

            Appreciated your analysis–not to mention a wealth of other cogent comments by you–of the Tower collapse.

  • MrNutso

    Spies Like Us: “An unused weapon is a useless weapon”,

    Rummy: “An unused war plan is a useless plan”,

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    I would leave Colin Powell out of the caller’s hit list. He reported what he was told. He was lied to by GWB, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    • StilllHere

      Please, prove it.

      • nj_v2

        Prove you’re not a troll.

        • jefe68

          Here I thought this troll was gone.
          Well the April fool is back.

    • William

      Powell goes with the tide to keep himself in power. Look how he tried to suck up to Obama but it got him nothing. He is like bad light night movie that never seems to go away.

      • Don_B1

        And why do you think Gen. Powell was sucking up rather than denouncing the previous administration?

        There is evidence that he discouraged all communications with the current administration.

    • Oh bummer

      ‘I was just following orders’.

    • nj_v2

      He knew the truth. He could have resigned, citing noble reasons, and had a real effect on history, but he chose to go along with and be a part of the deception.

  • nlpnt

    Morris sounds downright exhausted.
    I would be too if I’d had to spend that kind of time with Rumsfeld.

  • Coastghost

    Did Morris really think that Rumsfeld was going to blossom on camera in confessional Oprah mode? If this is the kind of realism he brought to his project, he’s verily captured the Looking-Glass world he’s enamored of: his documentary practice is at least as self-reflective as it succeeds in being reflective of Rumsfeld.

  • Human2013

    I like how he so nonchalantly dismisses our mistakes in Vietnam. Oh well, you win some, you lose some — no big deal.

  • A.j. Heinrich

    Misses the real issue…that 9/11 was a false flag operation, that Rumsfeld, Cheney, and others from PNAC planned and executed to initiate war in the Middle East and establish a U.S. Military presence that would ensure American dominance of the Middle East, per Brzezinski’s “The Grand Chessboard”. Rumsfeld is a master at double talk and feigning ignorance. He is a master of war and a war criminal, along with most of the key members of PNAC.

    • William

      You would have to include Bill Clinton too. He pushed very hard to get his Iraq Liberation Act passed in 1998.

      • A.j. Heinrich

        Go back even further than that….Johnson called back air support to the USS Liberty when it was attacked by Israeli defense forces, hoping to provoke an excuse for the U.S. to enter into the Middle East by blaming Egypt for the attack. And that was under McNamara.

      • brettearle

        You think Gore would have done the same thing as Bush II?

        I seriously wonder.

      • nj_v2

        Yet there was no mention of military action.

        http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=55205

        • harverdphd

          Of course; Clinton was at heart a coward. Everybody knows that.

    • brettearle

      We’ve been discussing this earlier.

      See far below.

  • M S

    I’d much like more to hear the New York Times apologize…Rumsfeld was just being who he is, which is clear to me. What is NYT’s excuse?

  • brettearle

    If Morris thinks that Rumsfeld speaks in DoubleSpeak, it’s because Rumsfeld may be playing with him.

    He’s may be using Morris, perhaps, to dodge his, Rumsfeld’s, own dark-side responsibilities for extreme zealotry, jingoism, and radical ambition.

    And, frankly, Morris doesn’t want to reconcile that he, Morris, may have been partially duped.

    This is apart from Morris’s obvious talent as a filmmaker.

    • hennorama

      brettearle — one believes any public utterance from Sec. Rumsfeld at one’s peril.

      • brettearle

        Ya gotta admit, though, he’s an obnoxiously intriguing character–if only because he seems to be someone who is full of bull, coming across as someone who is trying to act like he doesn’t care if
        he comes across as full of bull or not.

        • hennorama

          brettearle — it is virtually impossible to separate truth from fiction, fact from fantasy, intentional doublespeak from unintentional truth, intentional truth from unintentional doublespeak, etc. when it comes to Sec. Rumsfeld.

          All of which makes him, as you wrote, “an obnoxiously intriguing character.”

          • brettearle

            At the risk of sounding like sycophancy, beautifully said.

            Maybe he graduated Suma [wrestler] Boom Louder, from the Professor Irwin Corey School of Communications….

          • hennorama

            brettearle — thank you for your very kind words.

            One might also apply (as I have in different but similar circumstances) the titles of two somewhat recent political books — No Apology and Double Down — to Sec. Rumsfeld’s recent utterances.

  • Coastghost

    How about having Michael Moore and Errol Morris produce documentaries about each other? The houses each lives in, the cars each drives, the daily routines each follows: the journalism would be about as compelling as THIS show is proving to be.

    • nj_v2

      Ahh, the trolls have begun to wake up.

      • Coastghost

        The self-appointed troll police are on duty, certainly, and with no more to offer than usual.

        • nj_v2

          It’s a thankless job, but someone has to do it. I’ll put my posting history up against anyone.

          • harverdphd

            We’re sure you would…

    • Potter

      There has been no accountability about taking us to war under false pretenses, causing death and destruction and all the blowback consequences that follow. This includes the loss of respect and power in the world. Both MM and EM do a service for a country whose citizens may still care but whose leadership and mass media do not seem interested and would prefer us to move on (to our peril).

      • Coastghost

        Alternatively, both Moore and Morris are just as adept at peddling “infotainment” (and just as reliably) as the MSM.
        If citizens are not well informed, we can thank our news media and our cohorts of film documentarians for their pernicious “narrative journalism” (supplying intrepid journalism to fit pre-ordained and dubious narrative premises) and their readiness to entertain us with schlock reporting, when they’re not simply dabbling in advocacy journalism, which itself merits generous skepticism.

        • Potter

          Firstly- to get anyone to pay attention you have to have such skills as these documentarians have as well as a point of view and a moral sense. They fill in the void that the mass media leaves. I wonder how a cynic ever gets to any truth. You would have to willfully ignore or doubt the the facts presented. There is plenty of information out there but people have to choose and use their judgement. Moore and Morris would be the last two that I would fault for citizens’ ignorance.

          • Coastghost

            I don’t know how to attach worthwhile information value to agitprop productions: if this interview with Morris offers any sign, the provision of useful information sounds completely accidental.

          • Potter

            Again you are a victim of your cynicism and focus on the medium not the message. But if you are really interested in the truth there is plenty in the source material.

            Were you so careful about the information that the administration was feeding at the time we were taken to war?

          • Coastghost

            Spare me my victimhood, please, I really don’t covet it.
            I doubt I’ll enter it in my calendar, but today marks the first time I’ve been labeled a cynic.
            Agitprop is its own message, regardless of its medium.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Bush and his administration aren’t responsible for any of the terrible things that happened, the electorate is. We elected a man who was an obvious goof and had never really done anything in his life. When he got into office, he continued doing what you’d expect a nimrod to do. WE elected Bush Jr. It is all our faults. We also accepted the smoke they blew up our behinds about Iraq, which now seems ridiculous.

    • Obi Won

      MSM basically dictates how we “the electorate” feel, think and vote. Did you hear the earlier hour Brookings man on Afghanistan?

      • Shag_Wevera

        I didn’t, but the word “Brookings” says a lot.

        • harverdphd

          …like the word “Monica”

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Given barely half voted for him once, less than half once, I don’t think you can blame “us” as a whole.

      • Shag_Wevera

        You are right, but it is a technicality. In the future we need to be much more dubious about going to war.

        • Fredlinskip

          Like Viet Nam?

      • harverdphd

        Irrelevant

    • nj_v2

      This is among the rationales that “terrorists” use to justify attacks on American citizens.

      • Shag_Wevera

        I’d argue that they are at least partially right. Are we not responsible for the actions of our elected representatives?

        • nj_v2

          I don’t disagree.

        • harverdphd

          So Slick’s infidelity was our fault?

      • harverdphd

        We know, Captain Obvious…they hate our freedoms.

        • nj_v2

          The third-string trolls have arrived.

    • sickofthechit

      Bush was not elected, how can any one forget how he was appointed to power by the “supreme court”?

      • harverdphd

        Elected according to the New York Times

    • Fredlinskip

      Speak for yourself- Ididn’t vote for him, nor “except the smoke”,-
      yet would agree that blood is on all our hands- although more on some hands than others.

  • truegangsteroflove

    Few know that Rumsfeld was the cleanup man after the murder of Senate candidate Charles Percy’s daughter in 1966. This was in Kenilworth, one of the wealthy North Shore suburbs of Chicago. Rumsfeld was a Republican errand boy.

    I wonder if the fact that he wears size eight shoes has any bearing on his character. He’s a little guy, five foot-six, was supposedly a scrappy wrestler at Princeton.

    • harverdphd

      You are simpleminded and baseless.

      • truegangsteroflove

        How, I wonder, would you know that I am simpleminded and baseless? It’s kind of pointless to ask, because you post nonsense all over the OnPoint comment section.

        Therapy is available. You might even qualify for Social Security disability benefits. It would possibly guide you to attempting something genuine, rather than just being a nuisance in life. Someone might eventually like you.

  • nj_v2

    The Obama administration in now making excuses for the criminal behavior of BushCo. (http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/03/26-7
    Anger, Disbelief as Obama Defends US Invasion of Iraq)

    Imagine, some OilyBomber supporters had deluded themselves into thinking that he would actually prosecute the criminals.

    • harverdphd

      commondreams.org…another neutral source…thanks!

      • nj_v2

        Please point out any factual or reporting inaccuracies in the article.

        Go ahead, i’ll wait…

    • harverdphd

      Rush warned all you guys Obama sin Laden was worthless…

      • nj_v2

        Flush Limpballs is a lying windbag.

  • MrNutso
  • TechMike

    Mr Morris missed the fundamental character of the man so badly it puts the whole work into question. It seems he even didn’t bother investigating the origin of ‘known unknowns’, which is a common category for risk assessment in project management. Rumsfeld was a CEO trying to streamline and reshape Clinton’s DoD to meet modern threats when 9/11 happened. Iraq was planned as a quick liberation of the Iraqi people but the so-called ‘strategic corporals’ turned it into a war for glory that Rumsfeld had to manage. (Abu Grabe was not Gitmo – it was unsophisticated torture for the enjoyment of sadists, not interrogation for intelligence value.)

    • jefe68

      I disagree. The Bush administration was planing on invading Iraq, and recent declassified documents do prove this, in January 2001.

      The Bush administration, and I dare say this could have been any administration, did not understand or chose to ignore the Sunni and Shiite strife and differences.
      They failed to to secure the arms and the Iraqi military afterwards. They also could be levied with the charge of gross negligence in terms of having little or no plans on what to do after the war was over. The blatant cronyism did not help either.

      http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB326/doc03.pdf

      http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/new-documents-show-bush-administration-plan

      • sickofthechit

        Joe Biden understood the Sunni / Shiite dynamics and called for Bush to partition Iraq on those lines early on in the invasion/occupation. I first heard him say this on Bill Maher episode. He at least recognized the modern day problems inherent in ignoring the history of the region. charles a. bowsher

        • jefe68

          I doubt a partition would have worked.
          Saddam ruled with an iron fist and that’s what kept the nation from having a civil war. Fear. With him gone all the old divisions come out not matter what.

          • harverdphd

            Saddam supported terror and atrocities – he could have surrendered and spared his country

          • Fredlinskip

            Saddaam was asked to surrender his “WMD’s”, which of course he had none- not even the ones which Rumsfeld had helped supply him in Iran-Iraq War.

          • TechMike

            Saddam used the 6 months that Bush spent gaining international support for OIF to move his chemical WMD to Syria. http://www.nysun.com/foreign/saddams-wmd-moved-to-syria-an-israeli-says/24480/.

          • Fredlinskip

            Well at least your source wasn’t Fox “News”.
            Saddam was not a threat to our national interests.
            Surely not worth the resources expended.
            The occupation severely damaged reputation abroad.
            And altered for the worse millions of lives.
            Other than that, it was a great idea!

          • JS

            I guess he could have surrendered to Rumsfeld when they were shaking hands.

          • jefe68

            How does one answer such an inane comment?
            His nation would not have been spared anything. The Sunni Shiite rift is about 500 years old.

      • Potter

        Any administration? I highly doubt a Gore administration would have gotten us into so much trouble.

        • jefe68

          You don’t know that. There are aspects of how our government works that seem to have little to do what administration is in the White House. They do steer foreign policy, but there are so many variables to any given crisis that one cannot know how a Gore administration would have reacted. I think that Al Gore would have invaded Iraq if there was some crisis that pointed to having to control Saddam’s regime.

          I do think that Afghanistan would have been on the table, one would hope that the outcome would have been different.
          But again, the variables are to great to develop any definitive consensus.

          • Potter

            Gore would not have invaded Iraq. He said so. The Bush administration neo-cons were itching to do this prior and now had the excuse. It does make a difference who is in the White House.

          • jefe68

            Just because he said it, does not mean that it would not had happened.
            I’m sure he would have had a more measured approach after 9/11, however you can’t tell how a president will react when faced with a crisis.

            I’m not sure why it is that your so invested in Gore being the anti-Bush. All men change when they become president.
            Look at Obama.

          • Potter

            You are the sure one. Gore was not the anti-Bush at all. Contrary to what Nader said though he was quite a different person, if you listened to both men,

            If for you what Gore said a priori does not mean he would not have invaded, nor does it mean he would have invaded Iraq- you skate on thin ice here. Gore does not impress me as being so driven at all especially after 8 years in the WH and having a lot more gravitas. Bush was a novice from the get go who needed handlers.

          • jefe68

            Man, what’s with the comprehension issues with some of you folks?

            One more time, you do not know how Al Gore would have reacted to any major crisis as president. As I clearly stated in my above comment, the operative word is “if” a crisis developed.

            I have to ask, do you not have any insight into history? I only ask because your comments seem to show little or no knowledge of how specific events have challenged and changed the agenda of every president since WW2.

          • Potter

            One more time, you DID indicate that Al Gore probably would have reacted similarly or indeed any President would have. This you hang on a huge IF. The IF contains a need to go to war that was WHIPPED UP, and we KNOW this, by BUSH and his team. Would AL Gore have done this? NO!!! Of course we don’t know for sure but neither do we know that we won’t have an earthquake here up tomorrow. MOST LIKELY we won’t.

            At the same time you skate away from saying that Saddam and WMD was a threat, confirming my above. I presume you mean enough to take us to such a war.Those of us out here had enough information and comprehension to know this was very shaky grounds to go to war. The Bush administration got around that by a pushing campaign to go to war and searching for evidence that fit the goals. Colin Powell presented some of these at the UN. They also claimed they knew things we did not know.

            Your last resort here to defend yourself and bully the conversation is to insult my comprehension and puff up your own “insight” which is no insight but pure conjecture and a misreading of Al Gore and how different he is from GW Bush and how different he WOULD HAVE BEEN OBVIOUSLY.

          • JS

            You absolutely right, we do not know how Gore would have reacted to any major crisis as president……but, IF the crisis was 9/11, I do not think Gore would have invaded Iraq. To suggest that he would have acted as any other president seems to ignore the fact that the president Bush invaded Iraq when faced with a crisis. I don’t think he would have reacted as president Bush did.

          • JS

            “…when faced with a crisis.” Except there was NO crisis involving Iraq. So, I think it’s a fare assumption to say that Gore would not have responding to the non-crisis of Iraq by invading Iraq.

          • jefe68

            Interesting that you’re projecting your own stuff on my comment. I never said there was a crisis. Did I. I said if, the operative word is “if” a crisis developed, Gore would most likely have acted like any modern president has in the past 40 years.

            Again, one does not know how Al Gore would have reacted to any developing incidents in the Middle East.

          • JS

            And I never said you said there was a crisis. Did I? Bush was faced with a crisis, and invaded a country that had nothing to do with that crisis. Yes, I think Gore would have acted differently.

          • TechMike

            Gore would have followed Clinton’s lead and ‘fired a cruise missile up a camel’s butt’

      • TechMike

        In the summer of 2011, Bush & Rumsfeld announce he wanted to cut the size of the DoD, and one thing that had to get done was to end the Air Force’s role in Northern Watch and Southern Watch – daily air patrols for 10 years. Rumsfeld needed Sadaam gone first. Then came 9/11 and we needed the Air Force in Afghanistan, so the action was taken to remove him and then leave. You’re right: the Army messed up – fired the military instead of having them guard the borders and the roadways, and took over the best buildings as an occupying force, creating unrest in the country

    • sickofthechit

      In reinsurance we called it “Reserved, but not enough”.

    • manbearpig01

      You made this conclusion based on a trailer of a movie?

  • nj_v2
    • harverdphd

      ^ Behold the linklady ^

  • sickofthechit

    bush, rumsfeld, and cheney (most of all) were noting more than cowards throughout the whole affair. That is why they approved torture and I venture to guess cheney watched sessions via remote hookup and made “helpful” suggestions along the way. The right will spend the coming decades distorting the truth of what happened, let’s pray there are enough of us around to continually correct the record.

    Remember some Republicans actually called for bush’s face on Mt. Rushmore

    charles a. bowsher

  • sickofthechit

    I think it is a derogatory distortion of Obama.

    • nj_v2

      Opening up more of fragile, Arctic ecosystems to oil drilling.

      Responsible for at least hundreds of civilian deaths from drone attacks.

      Please point out the distortion.

  • A.j. Heinrich

    Everybody’s gotta’ learn sometime….

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/everybodys-gotta-learn-sometime/

  • pspusp

    (face palm) Mr Morris …. he and the administration he represented lied 934 times and we still have him on radio Tv and print and now another movie about his lies…. this man should be under arrest along with the current members of congress that defend and supported any actions since 9/11 to today .

    • harverdphd

      What about the past members of Congress who defended and supported his actions?

      • Fredlinskip

        Anyone who questioned our motivations for going to War at that time, considering the huge amounts of misinformation the American people were subjected to and mood of the public, would more than likely have lost their seats in Congress.

        The following 2 election cycles were also largely about which party would be “tougher on terrorism”.

        • Arkuy The Great

          Don’t you think that any member of Congress who plays “go along to get along” deserves to lose his seat?

          • Fredlinskip

            I would agree that a person should always act with integrity, but I would argue that GOP at the time was using buildup to War to serve political purposes. All the misinfo- the “Yellow Cake ” from Niger, Cheney’s fictitious Sadaam/Al Qaeda connections, “mobile chemical factories”, aluminum tubes, anthrax scare, WMD’s. and on and on, was what lead GOP to take House for a ggod long while.
            Would Dems had served their country better by allowing worse candidates take their place?
            All the facts concerning Iraq weren’t in.

    • manbearpig01

      (face palm) Do you really think that this is a film to celebrate Mr. Rumsfield?

  • sweatpoo

    How would Rummy’s medical diagnosis not answer questions about the man?

  • Fredlinskip

    He responded like any good soldier, trained to respect chain of command, would.

  • Fredlinskip

    Just figuring this out, now?

  • PoliticsWatcher

    What a vile disaster of a man is Rumsfeld. The world is a far worse place with him in it.

    • brettearle

      The longer he stays alive and opens his mouth, the longer we can be reminded of what we can watch out for in the future, with other zealots.

  • Krache

    The question came up on the show as to why start a war: The answer was given point blank by Werner Von Braun the inventor of the rocket and the founder of Fairchild Missiles. He said that ALL of the enemies that the US had and planned to have in the future, were created so that the Military Industrial Complex could sell weapons. At the time he said this, the Soviet Union was still intact. He said that soon the Soviets wouldn’t be our enemy: soon it would be “rouge leaders”. Specifically, he said, it would be Saddam Hussein and Kadafi – and we know now how that turned out. After that it would be “terrorists”. When they weren’t useful anymore to see weapons, then it would be an ET invasion, which has been planned by our Military using fake robotic ETs. If you want to read more, check out the book “Disclosure Project” by Steven Greer.

    • brettearle

      Do you actually believe that the only reason for war is a mercenary one?

      Do you actually believe that in the history of mankind, wars are fought for mercenary reasons only?

      Or rather is it your blind contempt for American Foreign Policy–no matter what–that makes you think that the US of A is separate from other countries?

      And that, indeed, America’s distinction is that only IT can conjure war for gratuitous purposes no matter what?

      And that the US of A could never, ever have any other reasons to go to war?

  • Prospector

    Wonder of Morris ever considered the most real probability that Donald Rumsfeld doesn’t give a damn what Morris thinks?

    • brettearle

      I think you’re somewhat onto something.

      I made a similar comment below, earlier today, about how Rumsfeld is playing Morris.

  • Prospector

    Morris’s final comment pretty well shows that he’s a crackpot.

  • pete18

    I was a supporter of Bush’s policies on Iraq and generally was an admirer of Rumsfeld, although not without criticism, but Morris is an excellent, and I think fair filmmaker, (Fog of War was an insightful look at Robert McNamara and Vietnam) so I’ll be interested to see his take on Rumsfeld.

  • Fredlinskip

    It would have took a tremendous act of courage for Powell to do as you suggest.
    And it would have gone against everything his military training had ingrained in him to go against his Commander and Chief
    Also how such an action would effect morale of troops must be considered.

    He was in the dark as to complete truth as everyone else. He only agreed to make his U.N. speech if CIA director Tenet backed up the information 100% and would be with him when he made it.

    Powell had a WHOLE LOT more integrity then all the other major department heads under W-
    And still does.

  • B.P.B

    I’m not entirely sure why an intelligent filmmaker such as Mr. Morris is so ‘puzzled’ by Rumsfeld. However, his reaction demonstrates the ‘spell’ Rumsfeld casts. I suppose I could succumb as well – face to face. Nevertheless, it’s not a casual observation to state that Don Rumsfeld is an obvious, consummate egomaniac in action. An egomaniac with genuine power. Clever, certainly, but not brilliant. An ersatz ‘genius’, but a capable ‘non-fiction actor’, certainly. Rumsfeld, and the too-little-mentioned Wolfowitz, know how to BS a crowd, and the crowd buys. Americans still have a hard time believing that scheming, egomaniacal figures could possibly still occur in top positions. As if we are actually dealing with ‘normal’ persons in American power. Now Rumsfeld can strut on his stage, a vacuous Great American Blowhard, but in need of prosecution and ‘historical processing’, just like so many deserving others in past history. Whether as a dictator of Metamucil mandates (exec at Searle), or ‘running the world’, Rumsfeld is and always will be a manipulative egomaniac in every sense of the word. Beware of their charms. Sometimes documentarians should work with theatrical actors first, and ‘non-fiction actors’ second. The art of artifice is not limited to artists.

  • Al

    Donald Rumsfeld was/is the biggest narcissist in U.S. political history. Him becoming a legend (in his own mind), crediting himself with changing modern warfare was more important to him than saving the lives of brave American service personal. When Rumsfeld felt it was imperative that we go after the non existent weapons of Saddam Hussein, I remember him saying ” You go with what you have” resulting in hundreds of our dedicated militarily personnel being unnecessarily killed or seriously injured. They lost their lives, just following orders as trained. He sent them into active combat in unprotected Hummer transport vehicles with canvas doors. Rumsfeld said he didn’t feel it necessary to insure that the Hummers were at least modified with some armor before being deployed. Then his strategy was to drive around know Iraqi forces leading into Baghdad to speed things up. That turned out to be the stupidest idea ever, costing hundreds more American lives. The military had identified known enemy forces at specific locations, outside of the civilian population and were ordered to avoid/ignore them. That provided the enemy with the opportunity to just mingle back into the city in disguise and kill service personnel at will. It’s obviously a lot harder to fight the enemy in an urban environment when you don’t know who they are and at the same time trying to gain the support of non-combatant innocent citizens. Rather than admitting he’s an idiot, apologizing and taking responsibility for the loss of American lives, he’s instead enjoying life smiling and posing in front of cameras as usual, bragging about what he thinks was his job, well done. The list of his constant screw ups at our cost and for his perceived benefit goes on and on. Rumsfeld is one of the biggest embarrassments in world history. When he eventually passes and goes to Hell, medical research needs to examine his mutated brain tissues to insured they are never reproduced.

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