Hope you didn’t miss Elizabeth Bumiller’s attempt (Rumsfeld Preserves Bearing, but Weighs Ability to Serve) to humanize (ever so slightly) Don Rumsfeld, it was truly touching. It appears that at least once in his life, he’s done the right and decent thing and shown empathy for a fellow human being. Of course, all this occurs in his private life. His public life is another story.
In the article, surprisingly puffy for both Bumiller and the Times, we see Don & Joyce throwing a private soiree for George & Laura and a few select guests like Sen. Jeff Sessions and Alan Greenspan. Really, the prose is so touching I just can’t help but quote a few choice morsels:
Donald Rumsfeld, the man at the center of the furor over American soldiers’ abuse of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison, spent last Sunday in the backyard garden of his elegant Washington home, poring over Pentagon documents piled 10 inches high in his lap. Mr. Rumsfeld barely listened as his wife chatted with a visiting friend.
“At least he was sitting outside — it was a beautiful day,” said the friend, Margaret Robson, describing the scene. “That’s a good thing to do if you’re under a lot of pressure.”
Friends say that despite Mr. Rumsfeld’s sometimes ferocious exterior, he is a principled man who spends many of his Sundays with his wife quietly visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and who in the middle of the war in Afghanistan stopped in two or three times a week to see a high school friend, John Robson, the former chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, who was dying of brain cancer. “Don is a very compassionate person, and you don’t see this,” said Margaret Robson, Mr. Robson’s widow.
Really, he’s such a nice man, don’t you see?
I don’t know about you, but this historical analogy from Professor Rumsfeld sure makes me feel better:
On Wednesday, Mr. Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense, where after responding to lawmakers’ questions for more than three hours he asked to make one last comment that provided some insight into his thinking.
“I’ve been reading a book about the Civil War and Ulysses Grant — and I’m not going to compare the two, don’t get me wrong, and don’t anybody rush off and say he doesn’t get the difference between Iraq and the Civil War,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “The fact of the matter is, the casualties were high, the same kinds of concerns that we’re expressing here were expressed then.” The people then, Mr. Rumsfeld said, “were despairing, they were hopeful, they were concerned, they were combative.”
But in the end, he concluded, “the carnage was horrendous, and it was worth it.”
That’s the extent of Rummy’s introspective thoughts on the present bloodbath: Lots died, but it was worth it. Wow, penetrating, thoughtful and ever so insightful. I wonder what his grade was in college American History?