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Rummyisms: the wisdom of Donald Rumsfeld

Posted by cotojo on June 18, 2007

 I know they're out there somewhere!

After six years as Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld is
out of a job. However, he has proved to be a master of
rhetoric, reducing even the most hardened of journalists to
gibbering wrecks as they try to find any glimpse of logic
in his somewhat stunning briefings to the press.

This is one man who can out-Bush his boss with some
wonderful wordplay. Here are some of his most eloquent
statemants on war, peace and trained apes.

On looting in Baghdad: “Stuff happens. It’s untidy, and
freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes
and commit crimes and do bad things.”

On the chances of a quick victory in Iraq: “The Gulf war
in the 1990s lasted five days on the ground. I can’t tell
you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days,
or five weeks, or five months. But it certainly isn’t going
to last any longer than that.”

On US forces: “You go to war with the army you have, not
the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

On unknowns: “I don’t know what the facts are but
somebody’s certainly going to sit down with him and find
out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he
knows what they know that he may not know.” Or “Reports
that say that something hasn’t happened are always
interesting to me, because as we know, there are known
knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know
there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are
some things we do not know. But there are also unknown
unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” Or”I
believe what I said yesterday…I don’t know what I said,
er, but I know what I think, and…well, I assume it’s what
I said.”

On the enemy: “If we left Iraq prematurely, the enemy
would tell us to leave Afghanistan and then withdraw from
the Middle East. And if we left the Middle East, they’d
order us and all those who don’t share their militant
ideology to leave what they call the occupied Muslim lands
from Spain to the Philippines.”

On his colleagues: “Needless to say, the President is
correct. Whatever it was he said.” Or “Secretary Powell
and I agree on every single issue that has ever been before
this administration except for those instances where
Colin’s still learning.”

On the hunt for WMDs: “We know where they are. They’re in
the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south
and north somewhat.” And when no weapons were found
“There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the
absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is
basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply
because you do not have evidence that something does exist
does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.”
On overhead photography: “Oh my goodness gracious, what
you can buy off the Internet in terms of overhead
photography. A trained ape can know an awful lot of what is
going on in this world, just by punching on his mouse, for
a relatively modest cost.”

On the future: “I would not say that the future is
necessarily less predictable than the past – I think the
past was not predictable when it started.”

The hunt for Osama Bin Laden: “We do know of certain
knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in
Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.”


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