Errol Morris to Make Donald Rumsfeld Documentary

     March 14, 2012


The last time a past Secretary of Defense sat down for an interview with Errol Morris, the documentarian earned himself an Oscar. 2003’s The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara featured Morris’ breakdown of the man who presided over the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. Now, having been able to sit down with the second-longest tenured Secretary of Defense (McNamara himself being the first), Morris is looking to replicate his award-winning documentary by focusing on Donald Rumsfeld. Not shying away from such sensitive topics as the torture of suspected terrorists at Abu Ghraib prison in his 2008 work, Standard Operating Procedure, Morris will surely delve into the incidents which occurred under Rumsfeld’s reign. What’s less clear is how history will remember Rumsfeld, whether as Nixon’s “anti-poverty czar,” a proponent for governmental transparency or just another bungler in the Dubya administration. Undoubtedly, Morris’s work will have some impact on the perceived legacy of Donald Rumsfeld when it’s released later this year. Hit the jump for more on this project.

Vulture reports donald-rumsfeld-documentarythat Morris has secured a number of lengthy interviews with the former Secretary of Defense, which will cover Rumsfeld’s history “as a naval aviator, four-term congressman, counselor to President Nixon, big pharma CEO, and, of course, as the second-longest-serving Secretary of Defense in history.” Morris first became interested in Rumsfeld as a documentary subject after hearing the Defense Secretary’s befuddling comment on the state of the War on Terror and “Operation Iraqi Freedom” as follows:

“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.”

(Here’s hoping the as-of-yet-untitled documentary is called something along those lines.) Morris, of course, responded to Rumsfeld’s comments as such:

“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.”

That, in a nutshell, could be a full dissertation on the entire Bush administration, but for now we’ll have to settle for the Secretary of Defense.


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