History Obscura

 I don't want to be snarky about this so let me get to the point and like Fox News is fond of saying, I'll opine you decide.  Now that the chicken-hawks who got us into Iraq on a fool's errand are again urging "war footing", it is time to revisit the head liar under Cheney. He is a liar by the way. "Six Month War" I think was his catch phrase - but that might be less erroneous than "We will make money on the conflict" (Kristol), or "Welcomed like liberators" (Wolfowitz), or "Mushroom cloud" (Rice).

Maureen Dowd has a peculiar station in life. She writes for the New York Times, is universally hated by the right side of the population as is the Times and the other side thinks she is the cat's meow. Yet everyone reads her and I think rightly so. I wish I could write like she does and aside from Jimmy Breslin who is my journalistic writing hero of all time,  Ms. Dowd comes closest to clarity and distilled thoughts.

Her column, which ran a few years ago on Donald Rumsfeld's book tour revisionist history lesson that is encapsulated in his recent memoirs.  At the onset, I think that Rumsfeld, like McNamara in the 60s during Viet Nam, really did care about the death of a soldier and that he values life as anyone does who has kids or partners or close friends.  Loss of life to anyone but the sociopathic is a huge misery and he is no different. 

Over half a century ago we moved into a house in Dayton, Ohio when my dad was working his way up in Gulf Oil. He had a promotion and we paid $60/mo to rent this mansion where we lived for a few years before we moved again. There were three bedrooms upstairs, my parents, my sister's and the one I shared with my brother. We had 2 beds and a dresser - no closet. My sister's room, when I was allowed to enter, had a floor grate that was in the heating system.  We didn't have one in our room.  One day my sister dropped some pins and many of them settled into the grate and she didn't get them out. I walked in when she was away just to see what was what and stepped on the grate and got a foot full of pins - one going all the way through my big toe.  I was torn because if I didn't get help I was sure I was going to die and if I did call for help my sister would know I was in her room. I pulled them out and put them back in the grate vowing never to tell anyone and to be truthful, this is the very first time I admit or even talk/wrote about the experience.

I bring this up in context of Mr. Rumsfeld as he too went into his sister's room - the forbidden room - and got in a fix and decided not to tell anyone about it - I mean the real truth as it was happening.  Now, some years later he is writing out the tale of events - his version of  'what happened' and some folks, like Ms. Dowd are fairly quick to say "look here buster - that's not how it went".

The issue is here that few people would ever know "how it went" as just about all the supporting papers and evidence is so loused up in state secrets and classified documents that it will be years before anyone can really do a fact check against stuff that will either refute or exonerate his account.  What we know is this:

The facts that are out there - that are part of the immediacy of events reported real time - aren't supporting Mr. Rumsfeld and unlike Ms. Dowd, Mr. Rumsfeld writes in the most obscure areas of the English language - why say it in 20 words when 200 will do.

Moreover and to my experience, what is past is past and the truth be told I snuck into my sister's room and I stepped on pins and I pulled them out and I didn't tell her or anyone for 55 years or so and in the course of events, she doesn't care and I don't feel better or worse for telling the story and telling all of it as it happened. 

Mr. Rumsfeld might have taken the opportunity to be a McNamara and have gone the "I'm bad, me bad" route here and there and his writing could be of instructive value. Half the nation hates him anyway and he can't make it worse. Half the nation likes him regardless and he can't make it any better than that. Like Ms. Dowd, no matter what, he is what he is and says what he says.

I'm kinda sorry that he didn't just realize that his introspection and memory were and are subject to the ultimate test of "if you weren't allowed in your sister's room, how did you get the pins in your foot"?

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