Iraq: What’s Known, What’s Unknown, What We Don’t Want to Know


Guest List

Mark Danner, supreme chronicler of the wars and of America’s military misadventures for the New York Times, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books.

Stephen Kinzer, reporter, academic, and author, most recently of The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.), former chief of staff to Colin Powell and a first-rate thinker on war and foreign policy.

Errol Morris’s movie The Unknown Known is the provocation this week: cinema sequel to the Oscar winning documentary on Robert McNamara and Vietnam, “The Fog of War.”  The Rumsfeld questions implied by Morris but unanswered in the movie begin with who Rumsfeld was, and what he was up to; how has the experience of a trillion-dollar catastrophe sailed past any apparent reflection or rethinking on the part of the Iraq War’s architect. The journalist Mark Danner, who covered the war and is now covering the aftermath, says the inconvenient truth here is that the public doesn’t want to reconsider it either, because we’re all implicated in the shame. 

Rumsfeld spent 33 hours talking into Errol Morris’s camera — an exercise in cheerful deflection, denial and a good deal of distortion of the checkable record, including his own public memos and comments.  The architects won’t answer them, so the questions come back to us, whether we want them or not. What does it say about our system, our media, our country, and our age that we haven’t held anyone responsible for the catastrophe in Iraq apart from Chelsea Manning and a few enlisted men and women at Abu Ghraib? Isn’t there a lesson for us in the life and times of Donald Rumsfeld?

Reading List

• Mark Danner’s three-part series on Rumsfeld for the New York Review of Books, listed here;
• Errol Morris’s  massive four-part series chasing after the philosophy of Donald Rumsfeld for The New York Times — it begins here;
• Lawrence Wilkerson’s interview with us on the subject of Rumsfeld and the war in Iraq;
• The transcript from Bill Moyers’s troubling documentary on how America was sold that war;
• And our friend Muhammad Idrees Ahmad’s latest comment on the war, in anticipation of his forthcoming book, The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War.

And check out our extra content this week: an interview with the veteran-writer Phil Klay, a reflection in memos on the making of The Unknown Known, and archive interviews with guests Lawrence Wilkerson and Steve Kinzer.

Guest List
Mark Danner

supreme chronicler of the wars and of America’s military misadventures for the New York Times, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.)
former chief of staff to Colin Powell and a first-rate thinker on war and foreign policy.
Reading List
The Unknown Known
Mark Danner
Mark Danner's three-part series on Rumsfeld for the New York Review of Books, listed here .
The Certainty of Donald Rumsfeld
Errol Morris
Errol Morris's  massive four-part series chasing after the philosophy of Donald Rumsfeld for The New York Times — it begins here
Lawrence Wilkerson: Why Does Rumsfeld Always Win?
Lawrence Wilkerson
Lawrence Wilkerson's interview with us on the subject of Rumsfeld and the war in Iraq
Buying the War
Bill Moyer
The transcript from Bill Moyers's troubling documentary on how America was sold that war
A Parade of Characters and Causes led the US to War in Iraq
Muhammad Idrees Ahmad
Our friend Muhammad Idrees Ahmad's latest comment on the war, in anticipation of his forthcoming book, The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War

Related Content

  • Robert W Peabody III

    Looking forward to this one.

  • Robert W Peabody III

    And a personal question for Errol Morris from The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara:
    Yes or no, do you think one has to do bad in order to achieve good?

  • The Parrot

    Looking forward to this discussion, and seeing this film. Mr. Morris has done excellent work on this topic. Specifically, in the films “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara” and “Standard Operating Procedure.” I find this sort of film making much more compelling in understanding who we, and how we have become the way we are, than standard narrative films. Furthermore, the title of the film is exemplary. It leads to an assessment of the madness of war and the brutalities war requires. War and its brutalities require belief and ideology, and strict conformity and obedience to the cause. It requires us to disassociate from the reality constructed from important core principles which flow from our mythos, and ethical and moral systems.

    As to the title, specifically: The Unknown Known are those areas of being we do not know that we know. This could be considered a model for subconsciousness. From Wiki: In psychology, the subconscious is the part of consciousness that is not currently in focal awareness. The unknown known is not simply an assessment of Donald Rumsfeld’s subconscious, but the collect subconscious. Our shadow being lurks in such regions. And one could make the assessment that the U.S. takes it’s collective shadow out for a stroll on a frequent basis. The post Nine Eleven era is a glaring example of this behavior. The symptoms are observed in the ratcheting up of the security apparatus. The shadow stroll not only targets the distant other, but the other within its midst. The surveillance state focus is perpetually both the external threat and the continual inward turn towards internal threat. Total Information Awareness. An apt name for a department of an Orwellian mission.

    • Steve Fernandez

      I agree with the accolades given to Errol Morris. Among the attributes which I found enlightening in “The Fog of War”, were the degree to which McNamara’s actions were those of a conflicted soul. From what I have seen on his work on Rumsfeld, I see the actions of a man with no soul.

      What concern’s me, now is a change I see in the presentation of war/militarism.

      The Parrot writes: “. . . one could make the assessment that the U.S. takes it’s collective shadow out for a stroll on a frequent basis.”

      I agree that this seems to have been a methodology employed in past military adventures. However, I find a disturbing increase, particularly since the start of the Obama administration, in the justification of US military actions on the grounds that they are for the good of all humanity.

      Shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, he gave his “Just War” speech as he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, we have had a surge in US troops in Afghanistan, the increased practice of killing by drones – with some targets identified by computer algorithm, the military intervention in Lybia, an increased military operations throughout Africa. Meanwhile, those US officials responsible for war crimes are given a pass in the name of “turning the page.”

      Now, I find that many of those who spoke out against potential US military attack on Iraq, continue to be some of the strongest advocates for US military intervention in Syria.

      We will never excel at non-military/diplomatic means of solving our differences, as long as we, in the US, view war as an acceptable, if not preferred, way to achieve are desires.

  • The Parrot

    Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means — to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal — would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this court should resolutely set its face. — Justice Louis Brandeis

    The conundrum posed by U.S. policies, foreign and domestic, since World War II, is how these policies confront and obviate the moral and ethical codes of conduct that are shared across the collective belief systems of much of the citizenry. Our beliefs we carry, especially regarding moral and ethical conduct, are not simply honored within the individual. They press in upon us by what we believe to be going on with our friends, family, neighbors, and other institutions which weave together a quasi-coherent model of culture and acceptable and unacceptable behavior. When the institutions of power descend to low levels of cruel and brutal behavior, when they decline to the point of a breakdown in veracity and an ability to report basic factual information, we must then rely on the institution of the individual to maintain its moral and ethical compass against enormous impinging forces. The laws of civilization are easily usurped and replaced by the law of the jungle.

  • The Parrot

    Ruminating upon this upcoming discussion and film, I happened upon a metaphor for Donald Rumsfeld inside the interrotron A master of smoke and deception, Mr. Rumsfeld ponders the smoke which has caught his gaze; yet one can see the blood, the stitching, and of course, the impenetrable mask. Perhaps Mr. Rumsfeld ponders the fate of this hapless bastard? Perhaps Mr. Rumsfeld ponders another pithy flourish for posterity: the absence of evident remorse is not evidence of remorse’s absence. Perhaps. Sometimes Mr. Rumsfeld, absence means vacant, nonexistent. Let us consider the canon of remorse. Let us consider a time honored formal barbarity you would certainly support: the Absence of Remorse is an Aggravating Factor in Sentencing. Alas, Mr. Rumsfeld, like President Bush, is not a lawyer. Such matters are beyond his ken. Perhaps Mr. Rumsfeld is listening to the hit parade of fortune cookie bromides playing behind his mask:


    “We know where they [Iraq’s WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat”


    “And there is, I am certain, among the Iraqi people a respect for the care and the precision that went into the bombing campaign.”


    “Simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.”


    “Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things” “Stuff happens.”


    “As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”


    “Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.”


    “I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.”


    “And it is not knowable if force will be used, but if it is to be used, it is not knowable how long that conflict would last. It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”


    “Now, you’re thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don’t. I think that’s old Europe.”


    “I don’t believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons.”


    “In those regions where pockets of dead-enders are trying to reconstitute, General Franks and his team are rooting them out…In short, the coalition is making good progress.”


    Regarding Haditha: “There’s an investigation going on as to what took place. There’s an investigation going as to what took place after whatever took place.”


    “It seems to me that it’s up to all of us to try to tell the truth, to say what we know, to say what we don’t know, and recognize that we’re dealing with people that are perfectly willing to, to lie to the world to attempt to further their case and to the extent people lie of, ultimately they are caught lying and they lose their credibility and one would think it wouldn’t take very long for that to happen dealing with people like this.”


    “Those who follow orders to commit such crimes will be found and they will be punished. War crimes will be prosecuted. And it will be no excuse to say, ‘I was just following orders.’ Any official involved in such crimes will forfeit hope of amnesty or leniency with respect to past action”


    “Ultimately the truth gets out, notwithstanding people’s efforts to the contrary.”

  • Murph

    I saw “The Unknown Known” last week, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.
    The film is a portrait of a shallow power-obsessed salesman without any apparent interest or capacity for self-reflection or shame. His responses are often mere quibbles with the question itself, and he never engages in the real subject matter: what are the best practices moral duties of those in power who must act in a climate of uncertainty? Rumsfeld’s smile (which appears in the trailer for the film) appears as if to claim his ultimate victory, and is absolutely horrifying.
    In “The Fog of War” McNamara presents himself as a tragic figure: his intentions were noble but his efforts in Vietnam failed and at a terrible price. This performance elicits some amount of sympathy for a fellow human who appears to struggle with guilt, perhaps for acts of evil. Rumsfeld admits nothing, and therefore does not need to repent. Whether his blindness to the tragedies he has wrought is willful or not is indeterminate. His face is a mask, concealing unknown depths – or shallows! (This idea is reinforced by the undulating images of the ocean’s surface that are interspersed throughout the film).
    In one telling passage Rumsfeld is asked essentially to compare his own struggles to those of characters in Shakespeare’s tragedies. His answer that no, maybe it was different in Shakespeare’s time, is also inscrutable. Is he unfamiliar with these portrayals of universal human situations (betrayal, greed, arrogance, suffering)? Is he so unreflective as to his own motivations and unperceptive to the motivations of those around him (is this a form of autism)?
    Nixon makes a brief appearance in the film and provides the most perceptive analysis, which has been my own takeaway on Rumsfeld. Nixon indicates that Rumsfeld was not to be trusted and would jump ship (leave the Nixon administration) as soon as he perceived it was in his interest.

  • Robert W Peabody III

    Isn’t Rumsfeld indicating he will be self-reflected by history?
    As if the individual being has no meaning or, in the Heideggerian sense, is to be forgotten.

  • Potter

    I like the title of this show. I at first sight I tried reading the Erroll Morris 4 parter in the NYTimes and my eyes crossed; I gave up. But since you are focussing on it I gave it another shot and I am so thankful that I did try again. If nothing else it’s a good brain exercise. But it’s a lot more. I am very thankful to Erroll Morris for doing this, for helping to sort out the gobbledygook, his psychologizing about the bogus philosophizing (which was a screen). And this, as is indicated is not only about Donald Rumsfeld, but about our government and about us… including our dependence on journalism and the media. I look forward to listening.

  • The Parrot

    It would be remiss not to mention the kidnapping and torture methods (aka Extraordinary Rendition and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques), used during the DOD stewardship of Secretary Rumsfeld. It is part of the tactical arsenal. Given the current findings that are beginning to surface out of congress, and the battle between congress and the various spook agencies, our interest should be piqued. One finds a focus on efficacy and secrecy.

    I speculate that kidnapping and torture are fairly low risk, low cost, high yield activities. The yield tends to be bogus information, or narrowly useful information of a limited shelf life. By-and-large, these tactics seem to be fairly useless in extracting usable, actionable intelligence. But there is difficulty in chasing certainty. Thus, one could surmise that the strategic objectives for the use of kidnapping and torture have been, and continue to be:

    (*) A means to inflict pain and humiliation. So far, inflicted upon a predominately non-Anglophile/non-Europhile, non-Christian adversary. This is a tool of intimidation. It has a psychological effect within an insurgency population, making it useful for pacification (albeit a resentful, scornful pacification … creating karmic blowback == future military funding and defense contractual dollars in an ever increasing trough). Furthermore, it is a way to institutionalize such practices and gain acceptance within the U.S. population.

    (*) A means to gather bogus, yet extremely valuable, information. Such information can then be packaged up and delivered in a diffuse media landscape for a citizen mob as actionable and reliable. It can be used to justify the means and missions-of-adventure, as well as, demonstrate the venal, evil, brazen debauchery of an adversary. It should not be lost on us that these practices are kept dark. There are no embedded journalists reporting on these matters and giving direct eyewitness accounts on these tactics, as far as I know. Journalists subjecting themselves to aspects of the SERE program are not the same as active engagement scenarios. By keeping such practices dark, various agencies can justify their existence by reporting unverifiable success stories.

    (*) An unstated, but powerful means of control-by-threat over the U.S. population. The breach of ethical and moral codes creates a psychological threat of menace over the general population in the U.S. (to chill dissent, to coerce conformity and obedience). As such codes are breached one should recognize the posture of the government, especially given the inward turn of the surveillance apparatus. It would indicate an “anything goes” attitude towards state security. The power dynamic is reinforced by these practices and the citizenry internalizes its acceptance in the service to security. This is part of how the state creates the terror of threat. These programs are dark. Thus creating the dungeon effect where threat and anxiety are a powerful means of coercion.

    Perhaps these strategies and tactics are best filed under: The Unknown Known.

  • David

    “The head of MI6 came back from a meeting in Washington and alleged that the intelligence was being fixed around the policy (of seeking a war).” 8/30/13

    Juan Cole wrote this before the war began: ‘It appears to be the case that Iraq simply has no nuclear weapons program. Al-Baradei of the IAE[A] has swept the country with Geiger counters and cannot find evidence of such a thing. The program once employed 12,000 scientists, so it could not easily be hidden if it existed. The evidence given last summer and fall by US officials, including President Bush, included: 1) satellite photos showing expansion of buildings at a site once used for the program; 2) documents showing Iraqi purchases of uranium from Niger; 3) Iraqi purchase of aluminum tubing that might be used in centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium. Al-Baradei visited the buildings and found that they were now devoted to some other use and their expansion had nothing to do with nukes. The Niger documents were closely examined and found to be forgeries. The aluminum tubing has the wrong specifications for use in a centrifuge and was purchased for making conventional missiles. The case for an Iraqi WMD program in the nuclear area has thus now completely collapsed. Since it was the nukes that were truly scary (rightwing commentators kept saying Saddam might give a suitcase bomb to al-Qaeda, never a likely scenario), not botulism or mustard gas, one wonders if the Congress would have authorized the President to go to war if it had known there were no nukes. The Niger documents turn out to be clumsy forgeries, raising questions about whether Bush, Cheney and others who depended on them were attempting to deceive US public opinion and that of the world.’ cited in 3/13/13 article

    Went over the Moyers transcript. Appreciated Andy’s Thucydidies quote from ’05 under the Lawrence Wilkerson show.

    Our media? Our country? Our age? Good questions. Perhaps as a nation if we have less and less “being” we will have to come up with rituals as if we had loads. Same deal if facile meritocratic principles crowd out all others. Same with meaning itself in our lives.

    We live in a political world
    Wisdom is thrown into jail
    It rots in a cell, is misguided as hell
    Leaving no one to pick up a trail

    Behind everything must be Carl Jung’s notion of individuation. And so, there is the assumption that a worthy [merit worthy] lifelong struggle to understand must yield that philosopher’s stone…that enables, say, discernment re which politicians to takes sides with. A matter of knowledge. And what is of utmost importance is that one knows which of these dudes is gonna rightly condemn whoever’s evil, whoever’s standing in the way. Evil equals stupid, or lack of knowledge. Of course, oppression and/or mass killings don’t go with individual rights, so democracy supporters understand that it is of the utmost danger to democracy…to initiate either. You can’t blame them for getting their hackles up if either are occurring somewhere. But then, the other obsession that’s pertinent comes into play which is phony/inflated cosmopolitanism…globalism, globalization, etc., etc., etc. [see Christopher Lasch’s comments on 80s-90s infatuation with the “pacific rim”]. This is where the democracy supporter falls down; s/he often hasn’t acquired an understanding that media operating only with fake cosmopolitanism aren’t going to recognize sources of accurate info re cause & effect that have led or are leading to downturns, oppression, or mass killings. And aren’t necessarily going to have sources capable of discerning symptoms of…or inroads to…either fascism or totalitarianism. We pride ourselves in this globalization mission and “global” knowledge, when the last thing in the world we know anything about is the world outside our borders. We’re ingrown. This sort of amorphous globalization idea floating around in our heads (all nations desire to replicate the US in an exact fashion) is in fact just about the most inimical phenomena imaginable with respect to an understanding of the globe. No matter how vague, no matter how unconscious, just an atom of this doctrine can be as deleterious as one of Plutonium. Alas, it supplants meaning in our lives. Some philosophers might say supplants “being.”

    All this IMO comes, to a big extent, under “meritocracy.” And extreme meritocracy is an irrational fixation…if, that is, the heart has any reason at all.

    When the inveighing begins…look out! That’s when the pride and the stiff necks and the self righteousness and presumption’s gonna get its little “two minutes hate” release. That’s when the sound & the fury’s gonna erupt. The War Prayer sounding loud. Condemn the scapegoat. That’s how we operate. We scapegoat our scapegoats with our brains. Fox does it every night. And if we were to attempt to give account of our capability to judge…ha, they would indeed be tales told by idiots! Vainity of vainities. All those yrs, and we individuated just about squat’s worth. Did the whole thing happen so we could single out MIC critics? Single out the folks who put infrastructure and quality of life above beltway pork? Hey folks, it’s called projecting anxiety.

    Bringing this up to date, I really didn’t know jack about Ukraine or Crimea or the Right Sector till I read something about’em at Common Dreams & Informed Comment…and listened TO Jack Rasmus [and guests]. Thank God I’d gleaned a little prior from Richard J. Barnet re how Communism became the devil in the 1920s.

  • I don’t understand how Christopher can look at the achievements of a handful of citizens after the Civil War and claim that the whole country was somehow better back then at deep reflection/judgement, this sort of Romantic/academic confusion of the history of ideas with the actual history of peoples is part of why the Left in this country is so toothless in the face of on the ground tactics employed by the movers and shakers on the Right. We desperately need to stop thinking of the world in terms of story-books and get with the detail oriented slog/tactics of day to day politics. The irony in this context is that the whole show is an indictment of this very sort of disconnected abstractions…

  • chris

    For Dirk:

    Ideas don’t affect history, eh?

    Now you’d better buy the book and read it carefully, as I have several times. The Metaphysical Club, by Louis Menand, won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1992.

    You don’t know (yet) what you’re saying, but there’s a cure!

    All the best with your discoveries ahead.

    Chris Lydon

  • Robert W Peabody III

    One can see how Rumsfeld, who wasn’t inhibited by the ‘fog of the present’, was like a kid in a candy shop around bureaucrats busy thinking-off about known unknowns.
    E.g. I knew something but couldn’t tell my boss because it had not happened yet.

    Here’s a question about an unknown known: Did the Arab Spring happen because the dirty face of power was cleansed?

  • Potter

    The unknown known: this is “the thing you think you know that it turns out you did not.” (according to Rumsfeld from Mark Danner’s article).

    Mistakes were made, like taking us to unnecessary war, like killing and maiming a hundred thousand and many more, like creating more havoc and terrorism, like deceiving the American public, like damaging our own security and world peace, damaging our ability to use what power we had, soft and hard for truly better purpose. Our comedown may be a very good thing ultimately, but at what expense!

    George Bush was a known unknown, or was he a known known, or an unknown known? Straighten me out. Never mind. Did we really know who we put in that office, who we supposedly elected? It was known who he was even the hushed up parts. That the older guys, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell were chosen was about Bush’s lack of competence. Bush as President then could zone out and expect that things would be taken care of; he did not have to know or think too much, he could simply dress up in costume and play the part, memorize script.

    Who do we allow to control or sway us so far that such a person can rise (claw—with the help of James Baker) into power regardless of worthiness? Bush is the poster boy. All else follows. He was the President.

    The immorality is also in the obfuscation, because if you know you have to obfuscate, if you are aware you are obfuscating, then there is something you know, it’s a known known, not unknown, and self-serving, not serving the country, and therefore morally criminal. These guys, including the newly discovered “artist” G. W. Bush, should be spending their time on trial in glass cages.

    It’s not that we don’t want to know. Not that I don’t want to know. I read, I listen, I read the series by Morris (did not see the film) and read Mark Danner’s important article on Rumsfeld you link (thank you for both). It’s the horror and depression that I feel knowing the details of what went on that is/was beyond our control.. and not being able to do anything about it, seeing that nothing is being done about it, no accountability, no broader reflection (save here and there in the corners). We as a country are supposed to move on as Obama bid us to do (one of the first signs of his habitual weaseling).

  • Biographies and histories of Donald Rumsfeld and his “double”, Dick Cheney, show that Rumsfeld and Cheney were in deep mourning over the twin “insults” to American imperial power and presidential aura—Watergate and the loss in Vietnam–since 1975 and were “politically inconsolable.”

    The “genius” of the neocons was precisely as political psychiatrists who saw this and sensed Rumsfeld-Cheny “suffering” as a seduction possibility. Operatives like Wolfowitz, Perle, Ledeen, Kristol, Doug Feith (Rumsfled’s thinker) sold the invasion of Iraq and the hoped-for invasion of Iran as balm for the “symbolic wounds” of Vietnam and Watergate in the psyches of Rumsfeld and Cheney.

    The neocon idea was to:

    1. take America quickly over “the Bridge of Crimes” and make it impossible for America to go back and thus cause a global clash of civilizations and civil war between the West and Islam.
    2. cause “mayhemization” of the Arab and Muslim worlds by precipitating Sunni/Shia bloodshed and sectarian wars and Arab/Kurd ethno-national struggles. In other words, the neocons, who were de facto Israeli agents, planned to set the world on fire, so to speak, and derail globalization and thus allow Israel a free hand in absorbing all the territories, potentially including the retaking of the Sinai Desert. (Netanyahu was dead set against the Camp David accords and wanted to take Sinai).
    3. A further (diabolical) thrust of the neocons was to help Israel promote anti-Semitism (along with Islamophobia) and thus force Jews in the diaspora to settle in Israel, preferably on the West Bank, to make a peace impossible and to “beat” the Palestinian Arabs demographically.
    4. ideologically convert the Jews of the world to to right-wing nationalism and break the hold, as they saw it, of international cosmopolitan progressivism on the Jews once and for all. Their purpose was to show that the world is governed not by economic or global trends but by trends in violence.
    5. Douglas Feith installed the Guantanamo head to head up Abu Ghraib
    and the idea was to get Americans deeper into the torture business thus blocking any road back and adding to the atmosphere of bloodshed, irrationality and mayhem. This was not an accident at all but programmatic.

    Douglas Feith, whose father Dalck was a Betar leader (Betar was the Right-radical Zionist youth movement in pre-WWII Europe) was Rumsfeld’s thinker-seducer and created the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon (the ROS panelist Lawrence Wilkerson mentions in passing “Doug Feith’s shop” during the radio program) to cook up imaginary pretexts for multiple invasions of Muslim countries. One of Feith’s chosen assistants was Michael Maloof, a far-right Christian Falangist from Lebanon.

    Feith’s idea was to install Ahmad Chalabi as President of Iraq. Chalabi was promised millions of dollars and agrred that he would immediately recognize Israel and build a Mosul-to-Haifa oil pipeline.

    A basic instinct of the neocons such as Feith is that the entire modern move to decolonization must be reversed and that the Algerian War must be in some sense refought and won, thus reversing the Algerian defeat of 1962. In other words, read Alistair Horne’s “A Savage War of Peace” and watch “The Battle of Algiers” and somehow refight these fights with “France” winning and the Arabs and Muslims defeated “forever.”

    This was the global revanchist program of Douglas Feith and the neocons.

    Netanyahu is a neocon mirror image with Israel’s territorial and demographic expansion onn his mind at all times. He represents what might be called “Orwello-Zionism” where permanent war is permanent peace. The Netanyahu-Jabotinsky program is to “re-smelt” the Jews into Hebrew warriors via bloodshed, conquest, constant manufactured chaos and tension, and permanent war. Peace is undesirable since peace means business and money-chasing and that vitiates the “re-smelting” of Jewish man.

    Antisemitism is promoted in France and now in the Ukraine (Israelis know that the Donetsk anti-Jewish initiative in the Ukraine is an Israeli ‘false flag” operation, as are anti-Semitic incidents in the Marais district of Paris which is heavily Jewish. The idea is to ethnically cleans the diaspora Jews and force them to settle on the West Bank. This then confirms “that the world hates the Jews” and territorial expansion is the only way forward. It’s a kind of self-referential fantasy machine.

    Thus Rumsfeld and Cheney were part of this mad “rasputinization” program.

    This phenomenon makes the entire Elaine Scarry “nuke-free world” program very problematical (as explained on the recent Radio Open Source talk show) since Israel is now retrofitting its newly-acquired German subs with nuclear missiles in order to coerce Muslim states to do Israel’s will.

    Thus, the political/psychiatric seduction of Rumsfeld and Cheney by these neocons such as Douglas Feith, has led us to the “hellzapoppin’” atmosphere of the present and Obama’s 2009 Cairo Speech aiming for reconciliation was
    aborted by these same forces. Feith’s law firm partner is a leader now of the Settler movement in Israel. The Feith family funds organizations such as “One Jerusalem” and “Foundation for the Defense of Democracies” and many others.

    Rumsfeld helped Feith become the principal advisor in Texas governor Rick Perry’s presidential candidacy and these “Rasputin-psychiatrists” a la Douglas Feith are still waiting in the wings and have not gone away.