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.

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that affects children. Could marijuana oils alleviate their seizures?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Global

Just In