Thanks to Scout for e-mailing this over; my blood pressure was almost back to normal and I simply didn’t know what to DO with all the joy I’d been feeling.Douglas Feith, architect of the Iraq post-war planning (yes, that’s what the kids are calling it these days) sounds off in theWashington Post about what a great guy Donald Rumsfeld really is, and how he’s different with Doug, and how nobody understands how great it is once Rumsfeld stops beating you and starts making love to you again:
I know that Don Rumsfeld is not an ideologue. He did not refuse to have his views challenged. He did not ignore the advice of his military advisers. And he did not push single-mindedly for war in Iraq. He was motivated to serve the national interest by transforming the military, though it irritated people throughout the Pentagon. Rumsfeld’s drive to modernize created a revealing contrast between his Pentagon and the State Department, where Colin Powell was highly popular among the staff. After four years of Powell’s tenure at State, the organization chart there would hardly tip anyone off that 9/11 had occurred — or even that the Cold War was over.
Rumsfeld is a bundle of paradoxes, like a fascinating character in a work of epic literature. And as my high school teachers drummed into my head, the best literature reveals that humans are complex. They are not the all-good or all-bad, all-brilliant or all-dumb figures that inhabit trashy novels and news stories. Fine literature teaches us the difference between appearance and reality.
And I mean, oh my GOD. Donald Rumsfeld is sitting over in his house right now reading this and saying, “Getoff my side.“
Then there’s the whole “fine literature” analogy, which has been my problem with Feith from the beginning. The dude simply does not get that life is not what you read in Freshman Comp. People don’t act like that. Half of all novels ever written are idealized versions of some stuff that the author went through and wished had gone the way he wanted it to; expecting the world to be a Dickens novel with you as the plucky hero is like going into academia because you thought Dead Poets Society was a really good movie. It’s sweet, but your awakening will be rude and swift, and being pissed off because it’s not all “O captain my captain” is just wooden-head stupid.
In the next presidential administration, could we please get some people who’ve … I don’t know how to put this without offending everybody on earth, but some people who’ve worked someplace other than one foreign-policy institute after another? Think-tank jobs are great (anybody wants to give me one, call me) but this is what happens to you when you go straight from college to a place that doesn’t require you to do anything but spin tales about the beautiful world inside your head.