Donald Rumsfeld's 2002 Epiphany: Saudi Arabia Dislikes Israel

parshley Aug31 p.jpg

Reuters


In an unclassified memo from the Rumsfeld archives, the former Secretary of Defense and crack memo writer expounded on an epiphany he had before a National Security Council meeting. The afternoon of June 20th, 2002, he reported discovering through Saudi television coverage that Saudi Arabia was less than enamored of Israel. He wrote, "It concerned me. I thought the U.S. government ought to give some thought to it."

The clincher: "Everyone agreed, including Powell, Cheney and the President." Consensus!

Given this enlightened thinking, it's a good thing our current President has navigated U.S.-Saudi Arabian relations so successfully. Here's the full text of the memo:

SUBJECT: Saudi Arabia

On June 19, before the NSC meeting started and while we waited for the Vice President, I talked to the President and those who were there about Saudi Arabia.

I expressed my concern about the country and the fact that they were putting things on television that were anti-Israel, paying suicide bombers' families and continuing to fund madrassa schools. We have a lot of Americans on the ground there, and it concerned me.

I thought the U.S. Government ought to give some thought to it.

Everyone agreed, including Powell, Cheney and the President.

See the original 2002 memo here.

Presented by

Lois Farrow Parshley

Lois Parshley is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

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