Posts Tagged ‘Donald Rumsfeld’

Donald Rumsfeld & Tommy Frank --Picture Helene C. Stikkel

The message is that there are no ”knowns.” There are thing we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that’s basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.

– Donald Rumsfeld, USA:s försvarsminister, Bryssel den 6 juni 2002

Bild: Försvarsminister Donald Rumsfeld och general Tommy Franks vid en presskonferens i Pentagon den 5 mars 2003. Foto: Helene C. Stikkel.

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A. O. Scott skrev så här i The New York Times om Errol Morris och hans dokumentär om försvarsminister Donald Rumsfeld.

Clips from press briefings during the Iraq war illustrate his penchant for using semantics as a weapon, one he wields with undiminished glee against Mr. Morris. When the filmmaker presses him on the “torture memos” authorizing harsh treatment of suspected terrorists, Mr. Rumsfeld rephrases the question in such a way as to minimize any moral stigma and also any hint of his own responsibility. “Little different cast I just put on it than the one you did,” he says, breaking into a smile and raising a finger of triumph. “I’ll chalk that one up.”

And “The Unknown Known,” which draws its title from one of Mr. Rumsfeld’s most famous rhetorical flights, is very much a battle of wits and words. Yes, it is a probing and unsettling inquiry into the recent political and military history of the United States, but it is also a bracing and invigorating philosophical skirmish. The tension between those two registers — between hard facts about state violence and devilish abstractions about causes and consequences — is what gives the film some of its energy and suspense. It is clear enough that an ideological chasm separates the unseen interviewer from his crisply dressed subject, but the real drama between them arises from a clash of epistemologies.

While it is unlikely that Mr. Rumsfeld would describe himself as a postmodernist, he does seem to be invested in the obscurity of truth and the indeterminacy of meaning, and to believe that what we know is constructed by language rather than reflected in it. An important figure in a political faction famously committed to creating its own reality, he patiently explains the role that “imagination” plays in world affairs. Mr. Morris, an ardent old-school positivist, suggests the word “intelligence” as a substitute.

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DESIGN: Vanity Fair lät fotografera president George W. Bush och hans närmaste medarbetare inför  februarinummret 2002. Det var kändisfotografen Annie Leibovitz som tog fotot.Omslaget gick att vika ut och här nedan ser vi fotot i sin helhet. Leibovitz har fått fotografera många kändisar och omslag åt tidskriften genom åren.

”George W. Bush and his inner circle, photographed in the Cabinet Room of the White House in December 2001. From left: Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney, the president, National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, White House chief of staff Andrew Card, C.I.A. director George Tenet (seated), and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.”

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