On Saturday night, I went to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I couldn't help but be surprised when I bumped into Donald Rumsfeld, whom I had accused, in my film "Taxi to the Dark Side," of being responsible, by issuing explicit orders and under his command authority as Secretary of Defense, for sanctioning torture.
Since it was such a pleasant event, I thought it might be fun to pose for a picture. Notably we are standing, which is appropriate, since he was famous for mocking the forced standing of detainees. (In a handwritten note for a Special Interrogation Plan on Guantanamo, he wondered what the big deal was about "forced standing" since he worked at a standing desk. Of course, he was not shackled to the ceiling, though I suppose we would have to double-check that with Dick Cheney.)
Dandy Don was in a festive mood, flirting with women and raving over the $100,000 bet someone had made on the Kentucky Derby. I was introduced as an Oscar Winner, which seemed to please him. After the photo, Rumsfeld wondered what film of mine had won. It was about Abu Ghraib, someone said.
"Abu Ghraib..." mused Rumsfeld, in an inscrutable, Yoda-like manner and construction, "that was a terrible thing." Then he smiled and disappeared into the crowd.
Alex Gibney is a documentary filmmaker who made Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. He has won an Emmy, a Peabody, the duPont Columbia Award, and a Grammy.