I just saw the “The Unknown Unknown” – yeah. A bit delayed. But now, more than ever, I’m thinking about who we will give the keys to the front doors of the White House.
I’ve always thought that people like Donald Rumsfeld scare the lights out of a candle. Media has made him seem anti-social and driven by pure arrogance. Like his cohort Dick Cheney (who, in my opinion is a watered down version of Rumsfeld), he’s right and to hell with anyone who doesn’t agree. But with Rumsfeld, you can’t watch this film without appreciating the definite gravitas of the man.
By contrast, Cheney is a pure manipulator. All that matters is that he pulls off his political machinations convincingly enough so that the core believers still believe. With Rumsfeld, I can see the manipulation, but there is a prow-like determination that slices through argument and debate with something that feels like clarity. To be sure, it is Rumsfeld’s clarity; what else should he be concerned about; bolstered by cold, steel-minded analysis.
Through the crystal eyes of the news media, we saw Rumsfeld often wholly unapologetic and wrapped in this enigmatic double-speak philosophic (e.g., the unknown unknowns). He is parroted and ridiculed as a master of confabulation. He is tagged along with Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz as one of the chief architects of a disastrous war in Iraq, and the principle deconstructor of the image of American civil rights, post-911.
That’s what we do with our war leaders – celebrate them and hold them aloft when they win, criminalize them and bury their image when they lose. That’s what happened to Rumsfeld, who – aside from this film and a few public appearance – has tried to stay buried. Cheney, on the other hand, is a zombie – angry hands bursting out of the grave with yet another tirade about why he was right.
There’s a part of me that admires Rumsfeld. In the sharp contrast, Rumsfeld stands above as a true believer. Pure patriotism fuels his bubbling self-confidence and steadfast determination. You must admit, this is the kind of guy that you want in the foxhole with you. This is the kind of commander you want on the front line. This is the kind of person you want making tough decisions and pulling triggers when they need pulling. But that’s the front line. The seat of governance is another matter.
By the way, the soundtrack by Danny Elfman is freaking cool. Nice music to listen to with the news channel volume turned off.