Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld apparently isn’t done sharing his thoughts with the public just yet – he’ll even be on “Meet the Press” this weekend – and he’s published a new book, “Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life.” It includes, without a hint of irony, the former Pentagon chief’s belief that “it’s easier to get into something than it is to get out.”
Taegan Goddard flagged an exchange between Rumsfeld and Kai Ryssdal this week that stood out as especially interesting (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).
Ryssdal: I do wonder whether you read Robert McNamara’s memoirs when they came out. Obviously, the secretary of defense during Vietnam.
Rumsfeld: I have not. I served in Congress during that period.
Ryssdal: Here’s why I ask: that book was widely seen as an apology for his role in Vietnam. And I looked in this book [Rumsfeld’s Rules] pretty hard for any rule that you might have had about apologizing. And I couldn’t find one.
Rumsfeld: And? What’s your question?
Ryssdal: Did you ever think about apologizing?
Rumsfeld may not have fully appreciated the scope of the question, because his answer kind of meandered a bit. “Well, my goodness,” he replied. “As Napoleon said, ‘I’ve been mistaken so many times I don’t even blush for it anymore.’ Sure, you see things that don’t turn out the way you hoped.”
I’m not sure this counts as an apology, but for those who look at his Pentagon tenure with sorrow, grief, and crushing disappointment, it’ll probably have to do.