Rumsfeld’s “Poor Memory”

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


So back in April of last year, two investigators from the Pentagon’s inspector general paid Donald Rumsfeld a little visit to ask him about “the largest defense procurement scandal in recent decades.” Nothing major, just a few questions here and there. The usual. Here’s how the interview went, according to the Washington Post:

Rumsfeld cited poor memory, loose office procedures, and a general distraction with “the wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan to explain why he was unsure how his department came to nearly squander $30 billion leasing several hundred new tanker aircraft that its own experts had decided were not needed…

[A] copy of the transcript [of the Rumsfeld interview], obtained recently by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act after a year-long wait, says a lot about how little of Rumsfeld’s attention has been focused on weapons-buying—a function that consumes nearly a fifth of the $410 billion defense budget, exclusive of expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yeah, what’s a few billion dollars anyway? Lucky for us we have a “CEO President” at the helm to make sure everything’s running smoothly…

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate