to Wake You
Situtation is Worse than you Think
Under Rumsfeld's new approach, I was told, U.S. military operatives would
be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking
to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems.
In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens
could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists.
Seymour M. Hersh, from "The Coming Wars," The
New Yorker, Jan. 24
1:36 a.m., Jan. 25. Somewhere along a row of darkened town houses near
Arlington, VA, a phone rings.
RUMSFELD: Uh... Hello?
FEITH: Donny? Are you up, man?
RUMSFELD: Shit. Who is this?
FEITH: Donny, it's Douglas.
FEITH: Feith, Donny. Douglas Feith. The undersecretary for
RUMSFELD: (laughing) Oh, that
FEITH: What up, Dog?
RUMSFELD: Well, I was trying to sleep, but you know how it
is... my bladder...
FEITH: Midnight trips to the john, dude! Welcome to old age!
RUMSFELD: Ah, what do you know about
FEITH: Just what Poindexter tells me. That guy hasn't taken
a shit since August!
RUMSFELD: Yeah, but when he finally does—ker fucking
plunk, you know what I'm saying?
FEITH: I hear you. I hear you.
RUMSFELD: So what's up?
FEITH: Hey, I was just wondering if you saw Sy Hersh's latest
deal in The New Yorker.
RUMSFELD: Nope. I just read the cartoons.
FEITH: Oh, me too. I love the ones that are, like, ironical
RUMSFELD: Yeah. There's always this imposing boss behind
the desk saying something surprising.
FEITH: (in caption voice) Johnson,
I fucked your wife!
RUMSFELD: Exactly. Anyway, what's
in the article?
FEITH: Oh, you should read it. That guy is an amazing journalist.
RUMSFELD: Oh, I know, I know.
FEITH: Anyway, he's got this thing in there about how we're
going into Iran soon. But the funny thing is, he's got all this stuff
in there about how the Pentagon has all this new intelligence capability.
Like we have all this leeway to do covert ops and maneuvers and stuff
without having to go to Congress!
RUMSFELD: No shit.
FEITH: Is it true?
RUMSFELD: If he says so. I mean, he was right about My Lai,
FEITH: That's what I was thinking. There's this part in there
about how we can pose as corrupt businessmen and buy weapons and even
start our own terrorist groups!
RUMSFELD: Fantastic. What else is
FEITH: Man, what isn't in there? Apparently we can
do this stuff, have operations going on, and even the CINCs won't know
RUMSFELD: The CINCs?
FEITH: The regional military commanders-in-chief.
RUMSFELD: I'll be damned. All those acronyms. In this town,
everything's an UN- this, a SUB- that. I'm like, just
tell me where the goddamn elevator is!
FEITH: Be careful of that. I reached for a pen on my desk
the other day, and my whole office went down three floors.
RUMSFELD: (laughing) Yeah, my first three months on the job,
I was coming in the morning, sitting down, and shouting, "Computer
on!" Nothing happens, right? Then one day I do it and the toilet
flushes in the next room. I love the Pentagon!
FEITH: Well, that's what I'm saying. I mean, if all this
stuff is true, just think of the possibilities!
RUMSFELD: Like what?
FEITH: Well, shit, I don't know. We
could start another war!
RUMSFELD: Aren't we already doing
FEITH: I don't know. Are we?
RUMSFELD: I don't know. Nobody tells me anything. It's like
the other day, they bring some guy into my office. Big guy, craggy face,
desert fatigues, a full bird. He's got this fresh scar running all the
way from the corner of one of his eyes right down the side of his neck.
One arm in a sling. He salutes, then he drops this stack of photos on
my desk with all these pictures of dead bodies. And he's like, "We
got them, sir. We killed all those fuckers." And I'm like, who
are you? And he's like, "My God, Dad. Don't you recognize
FEITH: He was your son?
RUMSFELD: So he says, he's like, "Don't you remember?
The Cubs games? The wrestling lessons? The crawlspace?"
And I'm scratching my head, trying to remember. Then a tear drips out
of his eye, and he pulls out this snapshot from his wallet. "Jesus,
Dad!" he says. "Don't you even remember Halloween?" I
look at the picture: there I am, 40 years younger, with my arm around
this little kid in a pirate costume!
FEITH: A pirate costume!
RUMSFELD: Yeah. So I take his word for it, you know, and
I'm like, "Son, I believe you. Now where were you? Iran?"
And he's like, "Iran? My God, Dad, why would we want to invade
Iran? That's so like you!" And we just stared at each other. There
was just this total disconnect!
FEITH: Kids are difficult.
RUMSFELD: Tell me about it. You just never get back to that
golden time. Anyway, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I
don't know if we're starting another war. I tried to ask the president
about it the other day. We schedule a meeting. I go in there. He's sitting
behind his desk and everything's the same as before, except now he's
got this big brass plate on his desk that reads, "Ask me to show
you my MANDATE!" He's got a plate of tater tots and he's hucking
them at Laura's new dog there, making these bomb noises, like "Pyew!
Pyew!" And I'm like, "Sir, are we invading Iran?" And
he looks up and says, "Iran? That's a great idea! Put Rumsfeld
FEITH: Jesus! And you say?
RUMSFELD: And I say, "Sir, I am Rumsfeld!"
And he says, "You're kidding. Then who was that who was just in
here?" And he points to a security monitor. I look at it, and there's
a guy walking down the White House corridor, towards the exit, who looks
just like me!
FEITH: Who was it?
RUMSFELD: How the hell do I know?
FEITH: Was he Defense?
RUMSFELD: I don't think so. I'm
FEITH: Hmm. Is there another Defense?
RUMSFELD: I don't think so. I haven't been briefed on it,
FEITH: Huh. Well, I think this is
RUMSFELD: How so?
FEITH: Well, if nobody knows what the fuck is going on, and
we do start a war, we can at least be sure that nobody will ever
be able to sort it all out later.
RUMSFELD: You can say that again. I'm still trying to figure
out how Iraq happened. I remember there was a period where I was going
on television a lot and saying a whole bunch of shit about Saddam's
nuclear program. Next thing I know, my office is filled with maps—and
there are all these generals in there, yelling at me about "Boots
on the ground"!
FEITH: I hate that. What does that mean, anyway—"Boots
on the ground"? Where else would they be?
RUMSFELD: I don't know. I'm afraid to ask. They'd answer
me in an acronym, anyway.
FEITH: Negative nonfuck, GEN-CINT! The ASSTWST is a ROGER-DONKEY!
RUMSFELD: Something like that. People sure talk funny around
FEITH: So what should we do about this Hersh thing? It seems
like a golden opportunity.
RUMSFELD: I don't know, man. I'm pretty sure that whatever
it is, we're doing it already.
FEITH: (sighing) Yeah, I guess you're right. God, I love
that about us!
RUMSFELD: Me, too. We're with some good people, Douglas.
Anyway, it's late.
FEITH: Yup. Good night, Donny.