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.
• 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.
• 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.