At a Pentagon townhall meeting today, outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said he began reading books about the U.S. Civil War, but “turned away from that” because he “there were so many people killed and wounded, and they were all Americans.” Rumsfeld said he began reading books about World War II instead.
Rumsfeld appears to be in denial about civil wars, refusing to read books on the U.S.’s history and failing to recognize there is one going on currently in Iraq. Watch it:
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I’m wondering what books you read while you were secretary that you found most useful and edifying.
RUMSFELD: Well, I’ve read a great many books. They’re all history books; a number about the Revolutionary War and about George Washington and John Adams and others, Jefferson.
I started reading a number of books about the Civil War. And one particularly good one was a book on Ulysses S. Grant. But I stopped. I found the struggle going on — gosh, those years, there were so many people killed and wounded, and they were all Americans, except for the foreign fighters who came over from Germany and Poland and elsewhere.
So I turned away from that and read a great deal about World War II. And that has been basically what I’ve been reading.