Donald Rumsfeld to Get the Errol Morris Treatment

Donald Rumsfeld to Get the Errol Morris Treatment
Ehhhxcellent: Rumsfeld.
(Courtesy Getty Images)

It looks as if director Errol Morris — who based his Oscar-winning 2003 documentary “The Fog of War” on interviews with Vietnan-era Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara — has already scored his inside man for the Iraq war: Vulture reports that Morris made time with Donald Rumsfeld, the architect (in the parlance) of that conflict, just last month. The don’t have any details beyond that — no title or word on a distributor — but the story’s got plenty of nice context, including this:

Rumsfeld famously posited in 2002, when asked about Operation Iraqi Freedom, that “there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.” This clearly intrigued Morris, who in a June 2010 opinion blog for the New York Times wrote, “I kept wondering if Rumsfeld’s real problem was with the unknown unknowns; or was it instead some variant of self-deception, thinking that you know something that you don’t know.  A problem of hubris, not epistemology.”

While it’s easy (and exciting) enough to imagine the “Fog of War” fast-forwarded to the aughts, Rumsfeld’s influence in American government stretches back to McNamara’s time. Rumsfeld, like McNamara, is a key to many doors. Or maybe a book one pulls the reveal doorways hidden behind shelves. In any case, there’s a delightful bit of poetry in Rumsfeld subjecting himself to Morris’s famous Interrotron.