Fiction or Nonfiction?

From today's New York Times:

Donald H. Rumsfeld, who resigned as secretary of defense in late 2006, will write his memoirs for the Sentinel imprint of Penguin Group USA. Mr. Rumsfeld, 75, will cover not only his years in the Bush administration but also his experiences with Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan; his work in the private sector; and his early life. In contrast to other recent political figures who have produced memoirs, Mr. Rumsfeld is forgoing an advance and will donate profits to a nonprofit foundation he recently established to make educational grants to young people interested in public service and establishing links between the United States and Central Asia.

By Phillip Carter |  April 15, 2008; 12:08 PM ET  | Category:  Books
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Think he will reveal when he sold his soul to the devil?

WORST SECDEF EVER. I can't imagine how he lives with the certain knowledge that his own hubris and incompetence harmed not only soldiers in the field, but his nation.

But then again, I am sure he does not care.

Posted by: jd | April 15, 2008 11:57 PM

Oh I cannot wait. Certainly it ought to be more entertaining than Doug Feith's rationalization of the failed war. I especially look forward to his views on the Iraqi WMD program, the failed Office of Force Transformation, and his gripes about Army generals.

Posted by: Jason | April 16, 2008 9:22 AM

No, JD, I don't think so. Rumsfeld, like so many in this administration (from the top down), lack the sort of basic self-awareness to ever imagine that all the horrible things that happened while they were in charge might have anything to do with their own incompetence. It's simply GOT to be someone else's fault...

Posted by: legion | April 16, 2008 10:14 AM


I love simple answers to easy questions.

Posted by: Dave In Texas | April 16, 2008 10:54 AM

I think I'll wait for a few historians to deconstruct the thing before rushing to the local library to borrow it.

Posted by: fzdybel | April 16, 2008 11:52 PM

Good to see such reasonable, modest comments. Isn't presuming to know the moral worth and inner depths of a person's soul you have never met also a form of hubris?

Posted by: DH | April 17, 2008 4:09 PM

(Published in 1995, 20 years after the fall of Saigo)

"We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who participated in the decisions on Vietnam acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of this nation. We made our decisions in light of those values. Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why."

Posted by: QuangXPham | April 18, 2008 7:34 AM

DH: "Isn't presuming to know the moral worth and inner depths of a person's soul you have never met also a form of hubris?"

DH, if you're in the military, you've had fellow soldiers die because of the obduracy of this man, his insistence on a flawed invasion plan and rejection of proper post-war planning. If you're not in the military, your fellow citizens died. What else do you need to know?

"Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why."

You won't be seeing any such verbiage in this book, Quang.

Posted by: Publius | April 18, 2008 6:18 PM

You do not counter my argument in any way. Those who serve in such high positions will of necessity make life-or-death decisions. My point is that these positions hold incredible responsibility. We must hold out public servants accountable when they make mistakes, but we must also recognize that they will make mistakes. I do not think it is fair to assume that someone is pure evil because a decision he made had negative consequences. It seems to me that your viewpoint is extremely unhistorical. How many men died because of decisions Lincoln made? FDR? Their decisions were both vindicated by history, unlike LBJ for instance. Does this mean LBJ was an evil man who deserves our undying contempt? Furthermore, do you not think that FDR made mistakes? That these mistakes cost many lives?

Posted by: Publius | April 21, 2008 3:37 PM

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