♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ >> donald rumsfeld died in the age of 88 this weekend he served for presidents including the defense secretary for gerald ford and george w. bush. ms. rumsfeld appeared of up to be in 2011 to learn about his memoir known and unknown and here's a look at the program. >> we have this gathering because secretary rumsfeld
because i've been getting much attention. so we thought that we would make up for that violates having one event and i know you're not doing anything else. [laughter] to make sure that we can get this book the attention it deserves. it is appropriate for us here in the national constitution center because one of the things of the founder, we are serious about was unlikely james in europe they were starting this country to be and make sure that we had a record of our leaders and what they thought about what they did in office read and also they have the record it would be open as soon as possible. >> and get them to quiet down. [laughter] >> and everyone here,. >> there's so much noise. [laughter] >> yes. it's a fake, people try to get upstairs see would like to hear us. [laughter] in any case, we americans have
access to water leaders off when they did as soon as possible so the only thing that we learn from this is in the shortcomings and as i was saying, donald rumsfeld book is very much in the tradition and i'm glad it is published i think you are too. summa thank you pretty. >> book is on ms. rumsfeld entire life but probably when we begin by talking about the great deal of the book is about iraq. so way to get into this is here we are in the constitution center we just passed by a statue of james madison in the other room and as you know madison gave a lot of talk under thought to war and with the president should do that often americans should get it to work. and if he came back, and just asked to determine what did we go to war in iraq, what would you say. >> the answer would be that the
congressman in the united states passed a resolution printed revolution overwhelmingly simmering regime change in iraq in the 1990s. by an overwhelming vote and it was signed by president clinton. united nation issued some 17 different resolutions. advising iraq that they should conform to the resolutions, the request of the united nations security council to allow the inspectors into their country to provide the inspectors information on the weapons for mass destruction. and the united nations had been repeatedly rebuffed. president george w. bush made a decision, when he first came into office that he was concerned about the fact that iraq was firing regularly at the
united states and united kingdom aircraft are supporting the united nations no-fly zone and patrolling the northern and southern portions of iraq. those planes are being shot at almost every day and the only country in the world was shooting in americans and british aircraft over 2000 times, they were fired on. a joint chief of staff advised me the president they were concerned about the fact that eventually one of our planes british plane or our plane would be shut down and the troops would be killed or taken hostage. anna third, the united states department of state i lifted iraq's as is one of the countries on the terrorist list. so there were a series of things like that by way of fact-finding. and next the united states and republicans agency separate and
determined that they were convinced that the iraqi government had weapons of mass destruction read and the competence to continue developing weapons of mass destruction and have the capabilities to rapidly expand those capabilities in the event they decided to do so. in the country in iraq that use chemical weapons on its own people. occurs in a country that had used chemical weapons against his neighbor in iran and the behavior pattern the persuaded people that they not only have been but with use them. and we were at a point in our country's history where the legality of the weapons had arrived in the point once you mix them someone who is willing to per reflect those weapons, and once you give them and allow
them to study was demonstrated willingness to use them as well is proliferated them, the danger in the lethality was so great that the president bush went to the congress. he told congress what they believed. >> was there ever thought of the war declaration instead of going for resolution. >> known i don't know. that would've been something the department of state would've done that to the present rated. >> not a society 41. >> exactly since world war ii, not the korean war or vietnam war or president clinton was involved in pretty. >> suggest the war declaration make a difference in what the brought america more into this. >> adopted. i think that you never know. there is a really good question and eight can't really say but i think it passed by congress and then by the united nations.
they provided underpinning and the other thing that i would add to the former president, is that president bush and colin powell and rice and others, the vice president, they had hoped there would not be a conflict. in the date saddam hussein would be persuaded to leave the country and not require an invasion of the country. an arm messages passed and requests made and they were robust pretty did not think saddam hussein very likely was purposely trying to make the world believe he had large stockpiles. i think that he felt that he had friends in the united nations who might be the evil hundred evil to stop the united states the very southern countries that were supporting the coalition predict and prevent them from going in.
i also think that because president george w. bush his father, i'm going into iraq after iraq invaded kuwait and caused them to be removed from kuwait but not change the regime. there is good evidence that who don't sit the same belief that american would not change the retainment that he would survive in the united states might commence. so there was a combination of things taking place and argued for it and there were the behavior pattern on the part of iraq misguided as it turned out and he refused to leave with his family which was offered and urged. and war is the failure of diplomacy right predict. >> to put in the book. one thing the people i think will be very surprised to read about his president bush nebraska to per your advice on whether the country should go to
war against iraq. the violate one of rumsfeld's rules pretty. >> no i don't think so. nothing president bush, don't nobody as colin powell arise or the vice president. he was a president elected by the american people. we had frequent meetings and various aspects were discussed about the situation. they worked very hard into the united nations to try to put additional pressure on saddam hussein so that he wouldn't continue to recessed and the president, did what a president has to do. he made a decision and i assume that he assumed that everyone in that group would have argued me imminently if they disagreed which no one did. >> how do you think people the future will look back on the decision in iraq. >> it is hard to know.
the road not traveled is always smoother. in one click said it thanks, well what if and what if and when that. i think that little known fact is that qaddafi, the head of libya that we had a very aggressive nuclear program underway. and when the united states within, and change the regime in rent iraq, qaddafi had been working very hard in the nuclear program, very high in the terrorist list. decided that he would forgo his nuclear program and he contacted western leaders and indicated that i do have this nuclear program and i am willing to stop it. i am willing to have it inspected and it stopped is because i do not want to be or suffer the same fate is saddam hussein. so if you look at the legion, there's some different disadvantages that linger from the conflict by the same token,
in the country of iraq that no longer has a truly vicious brutal regime that had used chemical weapons against its own people and its neighbors. it is gone. the iraqi people affecting the constitution and elections under the constitution. in fighting their way towards away from the repressive system towards a freer political and for your economic system. in other countries in the region such as libya, are engaged in the behavior pattern that is vastly better for the world to him for the region. so there are minuses, negatives, and there are some pluses. i think you are an outstanding historian and i think people like you who over time will weigh all of this thanks and with the benefit of some distance make judgments.
>> let's go back to the beginning, you're born in chicago, growth in illinois which was not quite as prosperous of a it is nowadays. it was a little village as you write about. went to high school and then onto princeton partied within a bit of a cultural shock, coming from the midwest pretty. >> oh my goodness, it was indeed. i was told by the dean of the school that i was going to go to the big ten school and russell. and the dean said no no, gotta go to princeton and i said well, why and he said well that's where you belong. and i said well i think other, i don't have the money. and he said i will get to a scholarship. she did. so i went in for course most of the people they are going to private school, they are taking the freshman courses before. and i got there and work my head off.
spent all of my time in the library or playing football or wrestling. and never did much other than that, there is no women at the school. it rained a lot. [laughter] know my first choice. enjoys my wife here, was off at the university of colorado skiing her way through college. and it was a totally different experience for me. >> and you also are little talk by someone from princeton nominated once for president. i'm told that you actually know some of those words almost by heart. >> i do. >> who wasn't pretty. >> i was in, while it is my senior banquet in 1954 and the former governor of illinois stephenson, had lost to dwight eisenhower already and 52 and lost in 56 and it was a senior banquet in college he came to speak at princeton. he was a princeton graduate.
and he gave the most eloquent and persuasive speech about public service that i had ever heard or will ever hear. it was an evening event and all of us just sat there listening to this brilliant and he called himself a kid. and is a joke used to say, was it something about. >> you have nothing to lose but your yolks. >> exactly. and i think getting ready to go into the military all of us came away with a sense of responsibility. one of the things he said was young people in our country have a responsibility to help guide
and direct the course of our country. and that the power of the american political system is virtually without measurement. and if america were to symbol the world would fall. and had an impact on me and i put up a website as part of the memo that i believe supports the book read that we have here and you can go to an end note and go the website naturally see the entire memo if i quote a paragraph. i'm almost positive with emily stephenson's speech on the website and are highly recommended it, a wonderfully inspiring speech. >> he did not attend you to become a democrat obviously pretty was there any point your early life that you would've been anything but a republican pretty. >> oh my goodness yes, during world war ii as a young man, my father was in the navy i was in
the pacific. and franklin roosevelt was about the only president in my lifetime between 1932 and i guess morning 33 but when i was born in july of 32 but i never knew herbert hoover personally. affect but franklin roosevelt was the president pretty represented the united states of america and wartime. and my parents and i and everyone i knew looked to him as the leader of our country. and is enormously important figure for a young man. >> and you were so taken with stephenson and what he said and i assume it is some info is over the fact that you ran for congress at the age of 29. in 1962, and most people don't run for congress in early release it did in those days as
you said, it was younger that it is nowadays. equipment due to getting so soon. >> i was the longest of a longshot. i had been away from my home district for a decade. i'd gone to four years college screen appears navy and it worked in washington for two, was meant, one from ohio, one for michigan and i never medical richmond before my life in the neck on mud to chicago, home and suddenly out of the blue, a woman who was a congresswoman who had succeeded her husband, and they had occupied and that congressional district from 1932 until 1960. and she announced that she was going to run for reelection. i thought to myself, my goodness the same families owned district for my entire lifetime. either you run it or you may not another chance. so i talked to joyce and she was game she said and got a whole
bunch of friends of high school college and god bless them, they were not there informed something like 1500 volunteers helping people running around with earrings and buttons hand bumper stickers hand sure enough, i was fortunate. one of the things that might've helped is that president kennedy had gotten elected two years before. and he was so young, he had run for congress at 29 and he served in the senate for part of the term and president but he was a young president any been elected and he was so effective and charming and humorous. >> in the first president and second president that you saw any post a picture with eisenhower during the camping and then as a new car with me, i think within your first couple months went to the white house and met kennedy. >> i did indeed afraid of the fact that he had such an attractive young president had
an appeal in the district of made a kid of 20 years old running for congress look like maybe he could actually be a congressman. >> and so it proved to be. and you came to washington i'm one of the things that you did washington, and you write about in the book was you attended a briefing by lyndon johnson on vietnam. tell a little bit about that because you actually spoke up in the breaking in a way that i think very few people did. >> on this wonderful vice president, hubert fat-free who was called the hefty warrior and just a wonderfully energetic and appealing person. he was twice president had just come back from vietnam. and vietnam was increasingly becoming a major political factor the country and had not been when i first ran and 62, then i suppose it was 64 or 66 or maybe 65. so president johnson was getting
complaints the members of congress didn't feel they were being informed about the war. >> however if they had such such a thing pretty. >> i know it so he invited the members of congress down to the white house and we all went down at least a large number went down. probably 150 of us and it was winter i would say the invitation seemed to light and we wouldn't and it is not nothing for young congressman to be sitting in the white house debrief by the president and vice president. just came back from vietnam. in hubert humphrey started to give a briefing and commander-in-chief was bigger than life. he would have pop-up every time so many would say something it answer the question in hubert would just about be ready to answer googling and stop. johnson would take over. >> this usually pretty much the way it was as well pretty.
>> he was a powerful figure. >> and johnson talking by the things that he was doing to win the war, and you piped up and said like halts'. [inaudible]. >> as a congressman listening to him, i was probably more critical than i would've been as a member of the executive branch being asked questions by them at the congress party so you stand it kind of depends on where you set. so he was going through. where he was trying to figure out what to do in the war in vietnam. he would go through a heavy bombing. and then there would be a bombing pause and he would hope that would cause a positive reaction from the north vietnamese are the - and it did not. and he and explaining what he was doing was asked the question by democratic a congressman from
texas about why it was not working. and his answer was in effect, it would work. and of course, the fact was that if you do something for a period, and you stopped completely it is confusing. it's confusing to our people is confusing to the enemy. and i did ask a question. and try to get some response from him as to how that combination of off and on was going to work. and he said well, the way it will work is more of the same. at that point he was in a bombing pause was suggested that it might not work and of course it did not. and he had a tough job as president. he did his best. >> in retrospect what were the biggest mistakes on vietnam and making the decision where it was fought. >> i was not in issues and it's
hard to say for sure. in the last analysis that country is going have to find his way itself. in the task we had was not to go after the north vietnamese alone. because all have they had to do was disappear. they do not have to find a single battle. they could just disappear. and a week later show backup. they can go harvest the rice and come right back and you could've walked u.s. forces from one end of the country to the other and they would've just disappeared into the countryside. and then when you have, or pass, they come right back and in my view in retrospect, the benefit of hindsight, the task was really to try to get the south vietnamese government capable of organizing and training and encrypting their own forces. in providing something for the
people upset with south vietnam and the rest of vietnam offered a future for them. and i think approaching and was more in suggesting to the mutinies people that the future under him would be brighter for this people. there was an argument made the south vietnamese government was corrupt and out of touch with the people prayed is not unusual in the world for government to be labeled corrupt. a great many of the governments in the world are corrupt. i don't know the north vietnamese under ho chi minh was not corrupt, that was an argument and the combination of those thing, i think created a very difficult circumstance for lyndon johnson and the united states of america. >> in 1968 richard nixon was elected afraid and he conceals and ask you to take on the office of economic opportunity, one of the crown jewels of the
great society very popular with republicans and nixon who basically wanted to dismantle it. on a great career move for you i think but you did it. what was your rationale. >> i voted against the legislation. sergeant schreiber who recently passed away, had a mini person who headed up the office of economic opportunity. in the started under president kennedy. and he and his brother bobby kennedy and the justice department had fashioned a program to try to assist the country and then president johnson came in with his big texas approach and enlarged it and became the war to eradicate poverty. and if you define poverty is a certain percentage of our population, and they try to eradicate it, it is not possible
because there's always the certain percentage that sits or fits in that category. they immediately started a program, there was job corps, head start, migrant programs, programs, drug programs, community action programs. there must've been 12 or 15 different programs under this umbrella on the war on poverty. the design was that it would bypass governors and mayors and elected officials and of course that had the effect of angering republican and democrats mayors and public officials. because the money would come straight from the federal government to organizations, community organizations that would describe as having maximum feasible participation was a concept. in bypassing the mayors and with
the started to do was oppose local government. the local city council and local state governments are constantly being harassed of the legal services program as well. it was my money to the office of opportunity that which then filed a lawsuit against mayors and governors and city councils and all of the people regardless of political party. it had nothing to do with politics. it was against the structure that existed. so by the time but i went in there, it was widely disliked. >> and here you are promising republicans, for future president, that's a sort of a graveyard or something like that. >> what joyce has somewhat of an unusual sense of humor and when i got home and i went to the icebox and there was a little sign that said, he tackled the job it couldn't be done with a smile he went right to any tackled the job it could not be
done, and couldn't do it. [laughter] you laugh but at 10:00 o'clock at night and i was reaching in for a soda pop. and reading that, the slows you down i will tell you. [laughter] >> seated then you would on grade into writing the book, but she wanted to leave washington after the election in 1972. >> i did not at all. one time 70 wrote that and i ended up going over nato after the 1972 election. in the hundred in washington couldn't believe that i would leave the seat of power, was a member of the cabinet in the white house and suddenly i'm going off which will fly to siberia to political evil the white house. the proximity to powers considered in washington, what one would want.
and i did just the opposite, with thousands of miles in the other direction. and somebody wrote in some magazine in washington, after one great broke, is the smartest man in washington. answer is don rumsfeld, statement that he is not in washington. in the end circuit that is right predict and i got a reputation for being smart instead of lucky. [laughter] i had no more idea what was going on. i mean, richard nixon just print reelected by one of the biggest margins in israeli country anyone every state in the union except massachusetts and the district of columbia. no one could imagine that i would want to get away. i fact that i would want to be away from that as opposed to right in the middle of it but we did. we took our family went to belgium when a truly wonderful experience representing our country overseas. >> in the general board becomes president. and your great friend and
colleague in the house 1960, and he came in saying good he spoke to everyone would report directly to the president you were brought in after months when he thought that was not working very well. this at a time, spent a lot of people refer presidents very much impressed with the fact that the presidential power so much and is - did you see signs of that. >> gerald ford was legislature. and he was a minority leader. and he functioned on the spokes of the wheel concept for everyone could come to see him any like people. he was gracious and wonderfully warm decent man. anyone who wanted to have access to them, could in the minority leader, the united states house of representatives so that worked. in fact it was a positive prayed president of the united states can't do that. it just does not work. is dysfunctional.
he had watched the nixon white house and i believe he believed that part of the reason for nixon's downfall was that there was what was called the berlin wall, this tight white house staff system run by two people that they called the berlin wall because the pet names the sounded germanic. he did not want that. and he said he'd establish this and he asked first yes them to stay on and then it turned out he fell he couldn't keep alan albin over as allied commander in europe and he asked me to come in and i told him that it would not do it. he could not be done. the model he had decided was awkward to work. i said i know that now. i want to have to get from where i am to where i want to be just give me a little slack only
navigate over to a rational white house chief of staff system. >> with something a little bit is that cheney said that serving as chief of staff as your successor under president, he saw signs of the fact the presidents were constrained in the wake of watergate congress was moving in. he said that when he became vice president one of the things he hoped it was expand presidential power move potential in the way did you feel the same way. >> when you have embattled president, functioning in a white house that at that point was being illegitimate, watergate had drained the reservoir in our country prayed and for the first time in our history, a president of the united states had to resign. it was a stunning event. in our country, in the world.
when you drain the reservoir of trust, just how we govern in our country. we don't covered by command, we govern by persuasion. and true leadership and you simply you have to be able to persuade. and if there is no trust, you cannot persuade, people don't respond. the white house was in that terrible terrible terrible circumstance. if in the effects of that was that he had a dilemma. should he go for continuity which would reassure the american people that he, total and known who'd never been elected president or vice president, with no campaign staff, no platform, no knowledge about the country having campaigned in the country. no base of support. he felt the need to reassure the country that there would be continuity in policy.
the alternative for the bin which i favored, that he would favor change. in my view was that if that institution of the white house was deemed illegitimate, and not trustworthy, then president ford had to create sufficient change in their would be seen not as a continuum of white house but as of ford white house and he needed to make enough changes in the cabinet and staff that people would see him as stepping forward with a new team. he opted for continuity of pay penalty. and i don't think he should've i think he should've made enough changes, he was a decent and kind man and he said i don't want to let anyone go and have it appear that they did something wrong because there are handful of people who did something wrong in the white house and it was not a large number in the truly wonderful people there.
pat moynihan and alan greenspan and george schultz was there. and a host, doctor stein and doctor whitman and so many people with wonderful what reputation as a gerald ford could just not let himself to fire anybody. he just didn't want to do it. is it because he thought it would be a tarnish on the reputations predict. >> so on my camp. later in this book, little story about held the older president bush george hw bush went to the cia in 1975. would you like to tell us briefly the story in which you feel the real story was. >> what you mean when i feel the real story was. >> tell the fall story and the truth. now you're talking. [laughter] >> george herbert washington bush came to washington in 19669 been elected as a detainee came in with a wonderful group of people.
i knew him and served with him. and he is some point ended up i think running for the senate and losing it. and then he went over to anna as a rep. and he wanted to come back and he told president ford that he wanted to come back and serve in the and an executive position. i was chief of staff at the white house and periodically i would be asked on the president to send in a group of names to be attorney general or director of cia when colby wanted to leave are some other officer wanted to leave the department of housing would have you. as of seven the white house would produce these documents that here are six or eight names of people here are the pros and cons and for the people who favored these where they rank them. and then the president would look at them and asked to have the fbi check or other people to let them out. and that kind of thing would end when the president said that two directors wanted to leave the cia.
bush's name is on the list. the staff produced prayed people having first and second and third and fourth line or below the line. for whatever reason, was myth that was created that because i had been considered for vice president when present for picked rockefeller and george bush had been considered read that we were contested. so the myth came out that when he was sent to the cia, the senate said that we won't confirm you unless you agree that you will not be vice president. rule them out. i told president for that i thought he should not do that that he should definitely not allow the senate to tell him who the country should have as a vice president relief. and i urged him not to agree to it. and the facts are that george
herbert walker bush bag to the president to tell him that he would not be vp and he wanted to be director of the cia rated his wife and think where the book and said that he was thrilled to be nominated for that. and somehow the myth came around i was the one who masterminded all of this and arrange for him not to be considered for vice president. >> derided in the book that he believed it pretty. >> i don't know that he believed is a myth persisted. and i wrote president ford and said, give me a letter that tells me what the facts are any rebecca he said you are quite right, george herbert walker bush begged to be head of the cia and want to be head of the cia was delighted to be head of the cia and you had nothing to do with it. that is along the sort of it. >> okay. >> in our world's narratives and
theories get strung out over a period of time until it's like they're chipped and stoned and true not with the fact they are totally based in mid air without any roots or substance to them at all. >> so let's move the clock up since we don't have a lot of time. 2000, george bush son elected president and you go to see him pretty do have any because that you would be asked to go into the cabinet pretty. >> oh goodness though, i was an old man. [laughter] we going to our 50th high school reunion in illinois. in the year 2000 and i think in september reed and, with her perception and wisdom and foresight, announced to her friends that this was the beginning of our rural. [laughter] and this was in september of 2000. we had no more idea in the world that i would end up back in government in no particular desire to grade we were happy
life is good and i had been in business for a period of years and is very successful. served as chairman of several government commissions, one on the ballistic missile threat and when in space and thought that i was contributing in a volunteer way. >> when you became secretary of defense, how have things changed at the pentagon and the washington general since 1977. >> i wish i knew the actual numbers but for one thing, congressional had ballooned they had grown by multiple of two or three or four rated and the authorization bills a piece of legislation the congress passes in each house and then the other conference and then there is a piece of paper or papers that represent the authorization bill telling the department of defense what it can do for the next year.
when i left for secretary of defense in 1976, the defense authorization bill had 74 pages. when i came back, in the year 2001, the defense authorization bill had something like 574 pages. it's going to be off by a few but it's good enough for government work. so you get a sense of what had changed, when i changed is that the department of defense is enormous. and there is no way that it can be efficiently run, the government is almost inherently inefficient because they can't die, it doesn't go away and like a business. we write down the street in philadelphia and you see retail, shop operation that was there one day and gone the next. he can fail rated government just stays there. so the inefficiencies compound. in the effective it is that it's
not efficient and to the extent that something is not efficient, then the congress concerned about representing their constituents, feeling the responsibility for legislative oversight and see something wrong and decides to fix it. mr. require another report or to more people to monitor something. or to have more and look into it so what you see is how many people are old enough to remember gulliver's travel. remember gulliver pretty was a great big guy and little - and gulliver finally put somebody threats that he cannot move. and no one of those threads was doing the job. there were thousands of threads prevented gulliver from moving. that's where we've arrived in government, we have so much oversight and so many pages of micro requirements and summary
reports to be filed that it consumes an enormous amount of time. and there are over 10000 lawyers in the department of defense. imagine,. [laughter] got nothing against lawyers but. [inaudible]. >> many are walking out of the room right now predict. >> i don't know if any organization can often with 10000 lawyers. [laughter] >> just kidding. [laughter] >> i'm going to put you to skip the rest of this because we don't have much time but i wanted to get to the other things that happened and obviously during that decade. nine elevenths, in retrospect, do you think the 911 could've been avoided if you were able to sort of rewind the page and if earlier the presidents had behaved differently. was it the result of with the presence did or did not do. >> you know, not one who can
answer a question like that. on the one hand, just logically you you say to yourself there must've been things that might've been done differently. and on the other hand, the task of the intelligence community is truly difficult. it is just a very very tough job. the world is a big place. the terrorist networks in the closed society in many countries make it in norma's sleep difficult to gather intelligence can be useful and actionable. in my adult life i have seen literally dozens of instances where our intelligence community failed to predict something. there is a book called pearl harbor by reporter and forward
was written by harvard at the time, named doctor thomas schelling. and he wrote this forward and he characterizes pearl harbor is a failure of imagination. there were so many hearings after pearl harbor, what might have done, who might've known this. was a right to have a concentration on her battle ships read immobilized and vulnerable as a work in all four planes on the ground on the sunday morning. i look back on 911 and i am aware of the appraisal and lessons learned and studied it and there is no question, the fact that the 100 states of
america in the case of small lien after being attacked in an instance in haiti was attacked, some ships pulled away and i think it was bosnia some folks want to cross the line and were captured we pulled back several kilometers in lebanon, after the marines were killed in the barracks there at the airport in beirut read the united states would do the forces buried after the covert towers and the u.s. cold war attacked by terrorists in the reaction of the united states was minimal i would say. were some cruise missiles launched in a couple of occasions. but if you think about it, the terrace and organize these kinds of activities, they don't have countries to descendent populations to pretend they don't have real estate and
infrastructure that they want to protect printed they operate in the shadows. want an awful lot of cruise missiles and dropping off a lot of bonds into precious will damage to a terrorist network. and they came away haven't drawn a lesson and said as much, a psalm of bin laden said the united states was a paper cut in the united states and it will react and withdrawal. and it won't reach out and do damage to people imposing the damage on our country. so someone could make a case that that pattern that weakness is provocative to the extent that we behave in a manner that is weak and allows those kinds of things and provoked people into doing things they might otherwise not do. they wouldn't think of doing it if they felt would be
instantaneous hunter doing it. blessing that i would do is to be to say that there was something somebody could have done to have prevented that september 11th. i would say it like pearl harbor, was a failure of imagination and probably a relatively understandable failure of imagination. >> maybe a couple of questions from the audience. but is about iraq and vietnam, do you think about that comparison pretty. >> there's really similarities and certainly notable differences between the two. that the '90s were not likely to come and attack the united states of america. the terrorist threat, the dangers of anorak and it was on the terrorist list.
the terrorist threat was very real one to our country. and al qaeda and demonstrated that it would come and attack america. there was no direct link between al qaeda and iraq. there certainly was between afghanistan and iraq and iraq was on the terrorist list. anorak had a pattern of having developed weapons of mass destruction. so there was her these things that affected it. i would say that i think the differences were greater then the similarities but there certainly were similarities. >> how about that case you know about no a lot of people work for lyndon johnson and one thing that often say is something for them is when somebody comes in and i lost my son in vietnam. why did they die. would you say for iraq.
>> it is the hardest thing pretty think anybody is in a position of responsibility when a conflict occurs, and you as joyce and i would go to the hospital meet with the wounded whose lives were changed forever, me with the families prayed and me with the families of those who have been killed. we would say to ourselves, we are going in. what is it that we can say or do without them understand the appreciation that we in america have for the sacrifice the individual sacrifices and the sacrifices of families as well. because they sacrifice. and they serve grade and we would come out of those meetings almost invariably inspired. not feeling it would help to them the feeling that they had
hoped us. the pride they have in their service, the cohesion they feel the units they were in their desire to give back. you just could not fail to come out of this meetings inspired by the young men and women. the big difference between the vietnam war and the conflicts today is that thanks to milton friedman and richard nixon, and we have an all volunteer military. everything one those people who serve our country, they serve because they want to serve, these are because they consciously decided that they wanted to raise her hand and go and help protect our country. in that dedication and that patriotism and that pride that
they feel, is so powerful. now how does one answer that. i guess the answer is. >> they will push us to tell us exactly what the sacrifices made for. does anyone ever do that when you see them pretty. >> oh sure pretty. >> in world war ii i assume would be that is not hard but a war like iraq or vietnam or something that is not full throttle. what do you say. >> he wore were armies and air forces against air forces. that is understandable and clear and it starts sanded and displayed it ended in world war ii on the u.s. missouri, the battleship with a ceremony read what we went through in the cold war was quite different printed in a decades long and it was ideological competition of
ideas. >> and there was never going to be a signing ceremony pretty. >> we would into date would be much more like that, a longer period of time a marathon, not a sprint. as a competition of ideas but for whatever reason, we are hesitant and not skillful in engaging in the competition of ideas, we recognize the overwhelming majority of the muslims in the face of this earth are fine people who have a religion it may be different from christianity or judaism or other religions but they are not radical, not terrorists, they are fine people. and yet there's a small minority of muslims that have engaged in terrorist acts and organized to do those things. and were reluctant as americans to take up that debate. and compete with those ideas and
they are not reelected, they are out recruiting, now praising money, you're out organizing and they are out planning attacks against the nation state concept because they have a conviction and it is their calling to do that. so the fact they were not willing to engage in that debate are not skillful at it or reluctant to do it. these people with the vagueness as to why people have to do things. the wonderful thing that i found with men and women in the armed forces is there there whether they are serving in korea or in bosnia or in iraq or afghanistan. they know what they are doing, they understand it, they are proud of what they are doing. thanks to modern communications and e-mails they are able to communicate with families and their families and up having a sense of what they are doing and why they are doing it and when
there is a loss of life, is heartbreaking. when there's a loss of limb, is heartbreaking. and had to talk to those families and you talk to those people they do not ask why was i there read they know why they were there and they are proud that they were there and we are a very fortunate country. >> that is for sure. your student of leadership as well leader yourself. [applause] [applause] >> and you've seen a lot of leaders and i guess what i was thinking of his leading scholar presidential leadership. >> and he will last me a question on leadership. >> i feel like i am back in school. >> some doing some just write about it. when people in my line of work right about george w. bush, when you think would be the short
comings and what achievements. >> i am 78 years old, i've lived a third of our country's history, and almost every republican president was considered not very frisk, dwight eisenhower played too much golf they said in an poor syntax, and gerald ford they said was playing too much football without a helmet. [laughter] and it didn't matter that he gone to yale your law school in the world expert having served in the appropriations committee. >> not to mention the best athlete in the white house. >> and they continued to say that he was a stumble but brady go to and one to another and ronald reagan was characterized as an amiable dunce. [laughter] and then people read his letters. i saw this man was thoughtful,
>> was that something that you would have supported had you stayed on? >> indeed. what he did was interesting. a lot of things can combine to make it work, the training, equipping of iraqi military had come to a very advanced point where we had hundreds of thousands of iraqis trained and ready to participate. the iraqi government had matured and was beginning to provide more skillful political leadership in the country. what he did, what he added, i forget it was 20, 25,000 additional troops we had done that two or three times.
it wasn't the additional troops that made the difference. he galvanized the situation in iraq by his boldness. when the congress was about ready to cut off the funds, he made the decision to increase the number of troops, and it caused the people in iraq to say oh my goodness, he means business. he's not looking for a way out. he's looking to win. and that caused the political situation in that country to gel and coalesce, and the government went into the south and took care of some of the dissidents. the sadr army, which wasn't an army, it is a group of people they can get out in the street and make demonstrations, they went quite because they didn't know what would happen. but the center of gravity of that war had shifted from iraq to the united states. as they say in the mail military -- as that say in the
center, the gravity of that war had shifted to the united states. the boldness of what george w. bush did galvanized the political situation -- >> and made it more possible for the war to be successful in the end? >> exactly. he deserves a lot of credit for that. >> how much should a war be judged by its success? for instance, let's say that lyndon johnson's vietnam war had ended in victory in late 66 would we be looking at him as a great war leader and someone who did this in the right way? >> you are the historian. it seems to me that i don't know who said it but wars are a series of catastrophes ended by success or victory. they are untightened. they're difficult. they're hard. the enemy has a brain. eisenhower i think said the plan is worthless. planning is everything. and the plan is worthless. because the enemy -- >> that's one of the rules too. >> when i say rumsfeld's rules, it is a rule that i quote from someone more intelligent than i
am. >> with full credit i want to get in. >> indeed. but it is true. every time you try to do something, for every offense there's a defense. for every defense, there's an offense. there's a constant change that takes place on the battlefield. i think that at the -- we are unlikely for a period of time to end up with the kind of clarity we had in world war ii because of the nature of the world we're living in. it is asymmetric. it is not symmetric. it is ever changing. and it is going to be a challenge for our leadership. it is going to be a challenge for our country. but the growing lethality of those weapons, what president bush was faced with, when he made his decision on iraq, was there was a study by johns hopkins university called dark
winter, and if my memory serves me correctly, i -- what the series of experts got together, and they said what if we took smallpox and put it in three locations in the united states of america? and in a relatively short period of months, the dark winter exercise done by johns hopkins university concluded, and i'm going to be wrong by a bit, but concluded that something in the neighborhood of 800,000 americans would be dead. someone here knows that exact number. is that -- where's keith? no keith. that's close enough. and that something -- a multiple of that would be infected with smallpox. and imagine, in our country, if that happened, think of the martial law that would be imposed, think of the inability to move from state to state.
i mean, free people, that's what we are, we are people who want to get up in the morning and go where we want and say what we want and think what we want, and the purpose of terrorism is not to kill people. the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize. it is to alter your behavior. and imagine this country if we had 800,000 people dead from smallpox and martial law imposed across our country, and that study exists, it's available, and it is that concern that caused george w. bush and his administration to step up and decide that you couldn't wait to be attacked again. the only thing you could do would be to decide to try to put pressure on terrorist states and put pressure on terrorist networks and make every single thing they do harder, harder to raise money, harder to move, harder to communicate with each
other, and keep that pressure up so that they can't collect themselves to the point where they could engage and act like that against our country. >> we've got just a couple more minutes. i will ask two more questions. one is, what should a historian write about donald rumsfeld's time, his second time at the pentagon? >> i think i'd give it 10 or 20 years. i think perspective is good. journalists like to think that they write the first draft of history. i don't know that i'd use the word history with that first draft. i served a lot of years in government, and now i have been out for four and i debated whether i should write a short book in a year and use my memory or whether i should digitize this incredible archive that i have accumulated over my lifetime and start inviting
people in to discuss the phases of my life and the events that i have been involved in, and if you look at the acknowledgment section, i don't know how many people are listed there, but it's many many many dozens, and we would talk and transcribe, and then we'd go back to the records, and then i said if i eve got that archive -- if i have got that archive, why shouldn't we digitize it and see if we can make it available to the reader? i'm told that maybe for the first time we now are going to have available an e-book which means electronic book, i'm told. [laughter] >> they didn't used to have those when i was a kid. and you can read the book and you can look at the end note and see the source where i've cited something, and then you can go to the website and pull up the entire document and see right there whether or not the context or the perspective that i've
provided, which i worked like the dickens to try to make it accurate and fair and correct, you can then look at the entire document and say to yourself, gee, i would have done it this way or i would have done it that way, but there are thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of different documents, many of which have been recently declassified, that are available on this website. >> which is great. okay. we will have the documents. what should we write in 20 years about your time at the pentagon? >> 20 years, i will be 98 years old. [laughter] >> you can write whatever you want. [laughter] [applause] >> a final question, this book, as i mentioned has very detailed accounts of secretary rumsfeld's encounters with all sorts of public figures, world leaders,
people in various influential and important positions, but maybe one of the most intriguing is your encounter with elvis. what could you tell us about that? [laughter] >> oh, my goodness. elvis presley. a lot of his songs were really not my thing. [laughter] >> why does that not surprise me? [laughter] >> but on any given sunday today, if joyce and i can't get to church, we have some elvis presley tapes singing gospel, and they are wonderful, and we play them, sunday after sunday after sunday. how did all this happen? when i was running the so called war on poverty, sammy davis jr. was on the advisory board. he cared about the country, and he cared about the poor, and he -- i was out in las vegas giving a speech, and it happened
to coincide with his hundredth performance at one of those casinos, the sands or something? and so we went to see his show. and he and his wife were there, and he performed, and he was spectacular. i mean, it wasn't an accident they called sammy davis jr. the world's greatest entertainer. he just was a superb entertainer. and he said to joyce and me, the next night i'm off. i'm going to take you to see the best entertainer in las vegas. and he didn't tell us who it was. so the next night we went, and we went to another casino, and we went in, and he got a dinner table. needless to say, it is right up front. if you are sammy davis in las vegas, you get a good table. the four of us sat down, and it was elvis presley, and sammy believed that elvis was the best performer in town. and he was in his later years, and he was large -- [laughter] >> he was wearing a sequin
jumpsuit. >> not quite the uniform at the next white house. >> no, no, and of course i had never seen the man and i had never heard the man, and he had these -- what color is it? chartreuse? red, pink? scarlet? he had scarlet scarves. he would wipe his face. he would stand up there and sing. it was fantastic. he would sing the most ridiculous thing in the world and people would cheer and yell and love it. [laughter] >> i would sit there and go like this oh my -- [laughter] >> then he would sing a ballad, and it was absolutely beautiful. this man had a voice that was spectacular. i love country music. i love ballads, and he would sing, and it would just -- you would be carried away with it. then he would take the scarf, wipe his face, the sweat off and throw it out in the crowd and everyone would scream.
so he threw one to us and it was gaven to joyce -- and it was given to joyce, and it's framed. [laughter] >> what happened afterwards is sammy said to joyce and me, come on, we're going to go back into the dressing room. i'm not the type who hangs around las vegas dressing rooms. [laughter] >> you go in this place and it is large. here's all these people, sammy is getting dressed, and he's walking around and all of the show girls are there, and there are very attractive women with trays selling cigarettes and selling western jewelry and turquoise and what have you, and all the hangers-ons and the staff and everyone and they are all milling around. joyce gets carried away. she's talking to somebody, and she couldn't find me. and she finally looked around the room, and way off in the corner, elvis presley had me cornered. i was against the corner, and he's big, and he was like this, and i was kind of hidden right
behind him. he was talking about the united states army. if you remember, there was a draft during that period, and some of the people did not go in the draft. they went to canada, or they refused. and he went in and served in the united states army, and he served in germany, and he wanted to talk about it. he loved the army. he valued his time serving. and he was sitting there going back and forth with me about this and that and the other thing. and i just found it fascinating that here was this man, who a minute ago had been up there wiping the sweat off his face and throwing these things, and everyone's screaming, and here were all these gorgeous women walking around this dressing room, and he was standing there asking me question after question about the united states army. it says a lot for the man. >> indeed. what can i do after that but say thank you, mr. secretary.
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