I was watching Secretary Rumsfeld talk live at Kansas State University yesterday on the Pentagon Channel and I was struck by his answer to a question from the audience (transcript available here) when asked on what advice he’d give to a young person today:
Study history… We need context. We’ve staked everything in this country — if you think about the gamble, we stake everything on the people, that they can — given sufficient information, will make the right decisions. They need context. We need context. History provides that context. And if there’s one piece of advice I could give, it would be to focus on that and think about it and understand it. It will improve the ability of all of us to function as citizens in this great republic.
I have no doubt the SecDef felt he was doing the right thing, but the conflict between the reality and his statement above is, quite literally, awesome.