Rumsfeld on Immaturity

15:43 Sun 18 May 2008
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Donald Rumsfeld, in 2006, took part in an analyst(i.e. propagandist)’s luncheon, a recording of which has become available via FOIA requests. Some excerpts have been made available at Newsvine.

The last clip is particularly interesting. Rumsfeld is talking about how America is too immature to deal with the huge threat of terrorism, too immature to fully recognize it, and is presumably talking about press/public resistance to more draconian security measures (or more war) in order to “deal” with it when he uses the term “immature”.

Then he points out that basically the only thing that’s going to correct this immaturity is another attack.

He’s right in a way, of course. Another attack would allow the warmonger/totalitarian types to get away with a lot more, just as the 9/11 attacks allowed them to push their agenda forward with amazing rapidity.

While he recognizes the positive effect another attack would have for his faction, it seems to me that he is genuinely saddened by the inabilit of the masses to recognize what’s necessary without the stimulus of catastrophe—that is, he’s not thinking purely in manipulative terms, but really believes his own bullshit, and I’m not sure if that’s more or less disturbing than the alternative.

The irony, of course, of listening to Rumsfeld, who along with his neocon fellow-travellers has made the average American far less safe than before, lamenting the immaturity of others is considerable. Rumsfeld, and the rest, are determinedly ignoring most of the real causes of actual insecurity, preferring to believe that violence, a security bureaucracy, and vast amounts of military/”security” spending which will coincidentally make him and friends of his quite rich, will counter the threats. Despite the fact that this really hasn’t happened, that they’ve made things worse, and that addressing a number of these problems at their roots would have been/would be far cheaper to the society (and world) as a whole… But those solutions are rejected by Rumsfeld and the rest because they’re ideologically unsound. He views the situation through a lens shaped by ignorance and avarice, yet is so unaware of this as to lament the immaturity of those who reject his “solutions”.

I’m reading Imperial Life in the Emerald City at the moment, covering the unbelievable mistakes, spectacular hubris, and amazing ignorance of the neocons’ attempt to “reshape” Iraq after the invasion, and that’s certainly not inclining me positively towards Rumsfeld or the rest of the blunderers involved.

Incidentally, one tangential thing I think that book makes clear is that being a hard worker, even at the upper echelons of an organization, is no guarantee of anything. Bremer and a lot of the other big shots running the post-invasion scene there seem to have been extremely hard workers, but achieve so little it’s kind of amazing. That hard work alone isn’t enough is hardly a surprise, but still… the extent to which it’s possible to work really hard at almost exactly the wrong thing is startling.

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