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With Iraq back again, are we just hearing re-runs?

Outging Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld smiles while flanked by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney during a full armed forces retirement ceremony for Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, on December 15, 2006 in Arlington, Virginia.

We did something the other day that I don’t actually think we’ve ever done before. Not on purpose, anyway. 

We re-ran an interview from the archives: Donald Rumsfeld, from a year or so ago, when he had a new book out that he was pushing.

We try real hard not to repeat ourselves. Real hard. Even if it’s the zillionth story on… I dunno…unemployment or something, we’re gonna try to find a fresh angle and tell you something new. 

But as we were putting the show together this past Friday, it dawned on me that we had an interview with one of the key people on what the United States did in Iraq a decade ago and it was just sitting there waiting to be heard.  Okay, re-heard, but you get my meaning. And with what's been happening over there the past couple of weeks, I figured airing it again would be a better service to our listeners than almost anything else we could do.

So we did.

Now, you could argue that an interview about Iraq has no business being on Marketplace. Or that I was rude and disrespectful to a former secretary of defense. Or that he's an unrepentant neo-conservative who should be in jail. All of those things – and more – were said about that interview (in the 100+ comments on our site and the hundreds of shares and links on Twitter and Facebook). Fine. 

And yes, I completely get and agree with the point Jim Fallows makes --  that those who led us into Iraq, or counseled in favor of war, should do the decent thing and stay quiet right now (he also, recommends those who should be listened to right now).

But when you have the opportunity to ask pointed question, as I did with Rumsfeld, and as Erin Burnett did with Paul Bremmer Monday night on CNN, then I think the obligation is to do exactly that and let people make up their own minds.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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