At 83-years-old, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld can now add game developer to his long resume. Rumsfeld released Churchill Solitaire on the ios app store yesterday. The game is a two-deck variation on solitaire that Churchill used to play to clear his head during World War II.
According to a blog Rumsfeld wrote for the site Medium, he first learned about the game from André de Staercke, a senior Belgian diplomat to Nato, while serving as the U.S. ambassador to Nato in 1973. Staecker learned it from Churchill himself.
Rumsfeld describes the games as, “ A host of contradictions - simple yet complicated; frustrating yet fun. The game’s website claims it is “the most diabolical version of solitaire ever devised.”
“It’s described as being very difficult and players essentially get stuck in a quagmire,” said national security expert and the host of WGBH’s Security Mom podcast Juliette Kayyem on Boston Public Radio Wednesday.
“Well, you know, if Rumsfeld is going to design a game, have one that is endless, with no winner, and a quagmire for the home team,” Kayyem said.
Kayyem was surprised that Rumsfeld decided to take on such a technologically advanced project considering his continued use of obsolete technology. “He only uses a dictaphone, just to give you a sense,” she said.
Kayyem also pointed out that Rumsfeld is not the first member of the Bush administration to turn toward creative pursuits.
“He is in a long tradition of former architects of the Iraq war turning to art or creativity to somehow placate some sense of how disastrous that war was,” Kayyem said. “Many people now know that former President Bush now paints in Texas. Paul Bremer the first head of the Coalition Provisional Authority is now up in Vermont or New Hampshire and he’s a painter, and now Rumsfeld is into video games.That whole network of architects have the creative lifestyle now.”
Juliette Kayyem is a national security expert, founder of Kayyem Solutions and the host of WGBH’s Security Mom podcast. Listen to her interview with Boston Public Radio above.