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Screengrab via Churchill Solitaire/YouTube

Donald Rumsfeld just released a ‘diabolical’ Solitaire app

This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'war games.'


Mary Emily O'Hara


Posted on Jan 23, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 8:01 am CDT

We are living in a time full of surprises. Last year was the warmest on record in history, and Donald Trump is not only running for president of the United States, he’s somehow sort of even winning. Every day, a news story hits the Internet that seems like it must be a joke yet it isn’t

Today is one of those days. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the warmongering sidekick to George W. Bush best remembered for overseeing the downright medieval torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, has just released a video game.

The super-fun game, described as “diabolical” in a new YouTube promo video, is an adaptation of a highly tactical form of solitaire allegedly played by former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Rumsfeld, according to a Friday Wall Street Journal feature, learned the secret, world rulers-only game during a 1973 stint as NATO ambassador in Brussels.

“There is no question,” Rumsfeld told the WSJ, “it is a game that requires you to be strategic, to look around corners, to think ahead, and to never give in—which is the phrase Churchill would have used.”

The marketing around the new game, which hit the App Store on Friday, is centered on war imagery and old footage of Churchill saying things like “We will never surrender.”

Rumsfeld, who is 83 and has no coding experience, instructed a team of young engineers to build the game while closely overseeing its design. At one point, according to the WSJ, he asked that more World War II imagery be integrated with the rebuke: “Instead of capturing history, it is getting a bit artsy.”

Like most new games, the basic version is free but contains in-app purchases for unlocking strategy hints and other features. Rumsfeld said that all profits would be donated to charity, without specifying which ones.

Those in the know who were quoted in the WSJ story said that Churchill Solitaire has a reputation for being extremely challenging and unforgiving.

Étienne Davignon, an ex-diplomat from Belguim who said he learned the game from the same NATO source who taught Rumsfeld, said: “It is a hard card game, the odds are against you.”

Kind of like being a prisoner at Abu Ghraib, but without all the sexual assault, waterboarding, and electrocution.

H/T Wall Street Journal | Screengrab via Churchill Solitaire/YouTube

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*First Published: Jan 23, 2016, 6:00 pm CST