Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Establishment, Rumsfeld, and McNamara

The Establishment is a collection of power brokers who rule America from the shadows.  Some power brokers lean Left and are the Democrat Establishment, some lean Right and are the Republican Establishment, and some are faithless and amoral and are disloyal to both parties; I will call this group the Neutral Establishment.  What many people describe as the Establishment are the servants of the Establishment or the institutions that serve the Establishment.  The book, "The American Establishment" by Leonard Silk and Mark Silk describes some institutions belonging to the Democrat Establishment as though this is all there is.

You might think that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara were the Establishment, but they were just servants of the Establishment.  The problem with the Establishment goes beyond the Establishment meddling with our government, the problem lies in how they ruin the intellectual honesty of their servants, like Rumsfeld,  McNamara, and probably H.R. McMaster.

I encourage you to watch the documentary film, "The Unknown Known" starring Donald Rumsfeld, available on Netflix and  He says that the "unknown knowns" are "things that you think you know that it turns out you did not know."  Even now he senses that this concept of the "unknown knowns" is important, but he does not understand it.  He talks at length about Pearl Harbor and how we suffered from a lack of imagination.  No, he got that wrong too.  As an example, consider General Billy Mitchell.  He proved that bombers could sink battleships.  His warnings were ignored.  This is an example of an unknown known.  See that it was known to General Billy Mitchell that bombers were a threat to our fleet, but the Establishment Admirals refused to listen, making his knowledge unknown to fleet operations.  This is a perfect example of an unknown known, but Rumsfeld did not see that.  Bill Mitchell rocked the boat so hard about neglect by the military of air power that he was court marshaled, convicted, and busted in rank to Colonel.  Billy Mitchell contradicted the Establishment's official line of thinking, which was intolerable.

Look at the cover of the video where the producer shows he does not understand the "unknown known."  What is on the cover is actually a description of the "unknown unknown", what you did not know you did not know.  The "unknown known" is a difficult concept, but I can explain it.

The unknown known is what is known to your employees that you refuse know, because you refuse to listen to any knowledge that contradicts the Establishment's official line of thinking.  This official line of thinking is called Groupthink.  Rumsfeld misunderstood the failings that led to Pearl Harbor even as he practiced the same mistakes on his watch.  Read the book, "The Memo" by Rich Higgins.  Mr. Higgins describes working in Iraq and trying to explain to Pentagon leadership how the U.S. could effectively counter the bombings from the Iraqi insurgency, but he was told that the Iraqi insurgency could not be mentioned.  The Pentagon was not permitted to admit it existed.  This is exactly how an unknown known is created:  reality is forbidden, only Establishment groupthink is permitted.

Later, Mr. Higgins, in the tradition of Billy Mitchell, insisted on warning America about the political warfare being waged against President Trump.  Rich Higgins wrote a memo that got him fired from the National Security Council by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.  This is amazing because H.R. McMaster wrote a book on how the Pentagon let down the nation in Vietnam:  Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.  McMaster knows truth is a problem in Washington, yet he fires a staffer for telling the truth.  I believe McMaster has had his sense of reality compromised in order to be accepted as a servant of the Establishment.

Vietnam was a disaster on many levels, but I believe we were in Vietnam because the American Establishment, the whole establishment, Left, Right, and Neutral, wanted America in Vietnam.  Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all served the Establishment in getting us into Vietnam.

The tragedy of Vietnam is best explored by beginning with the documentary, "The Fog of War", starring Robert McNamara and directed by the same man who made "The Unknown Known" with Rumsfeld, Errol Morris.

Please consider how Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld, both smart men, could have been so disastrous as Secretaries of Defense.  Please consider the tens of thousands of American boys killed in Vietnam; consider the thousands killed and maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Consider the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and Iraqis killed in these ill fated military expeditions orchestrated by the American Establishment.

No matter how smart you are, like McNamara and Rumsfeld, if you must sacrifice the truth in order to serve the Establishment and receive the financial and institutional rewards you want from the Establishment, then you will make a mess out of America's affairs.  Lies lead to problems.  Institutional lies lead to institutional problems.  And an American Establishment that rules from the shadows is an Establishment that is built on lies.

Lies at the highest levels of our government are a real threat to our Republic.  The American people need to recognize and value the truth.  If we can do this, recognize and value truth, then our best days are still before us.