Filmmaker Tells Colbert That Donald Rumsfeld Was Charming but Clueless

Making the documentary on Rumsfeld was hardly illuminating for Errol Morris.
Mar 27, 2014· 0 MIN READ
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is TakePart's News Editor.

If anyone is as slippery to interview as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, it might be filmmaker Errol Morris.

In a sit-down with comedian Stephen Colbert, the man behind the biographical documentary The Unknown Known deadpans that even after making his probing documentary with Rumsfeld, the "horror movie" left him with less understanding of why America started wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There seemed to be nobody home," Morris said of Rumsfeld. "He's an incredibly charming man. He gave me a lot of his time. He's incredibly cooperative. He gave me all of his memos...."

Yet, Morris still couldn't make heads or tails of the foreign policy that led to the costly bloodshed. The Iraq war alone has cost nearly $2 trillion and could grow to more than $6 trillion in benefits that will be paid to war veterans. Another $6 trillion is the estimated cost of the conflict in Afghanistan. Nearly 7,000 American soldiers have died in the conflicts.

When Morris suggests America has lost those conflicts, Colbert snaps, "We didn't lose!" before leading the crowd in a rousing chant of "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

When Colbert persists in asking Morris how Rumsfeld led us in the winning strategy, Morris says dryly, "By not really thinking too carefully about it."

Watch a clip of Morris' documentary here:


TakePart’s parent company, Participant Media, is involved in the production and marketing of The Unknown Known.