Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Ruminations Of Rummy

In a world where carefully programmed, immaculately coiffed figures on our public stage, bore us to stupefaction with their soporific cliché-sodden speeches, Donald Rumsfeld, with his alligator smile, eyes glinting behind rimless spectacles, and arresting epigrams, stood out like an igloo in an Arabian desert.

Whether we loved or hated him, when Rummy spoke, we listened.

Now, as he rides off into the sunset, we’ll think of him with nostalgia, while we recall some of his spoken verse, including:

The Unknown

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.

—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing


Glass Box

You know, it's the old glass box at the—
At the gas station,
Where you're using those little things
Trying to pick up the prize,
And you can't find it.
It's—

And it's all these arms are going down in there,
And so you keep dropping it
And picking it up again and moving it,
But—

Some of you are probably too young to remember those—
Those glass boxes,
But—

But they used to have them
At all the gas stations
When I was a kid.

—Dec. 6, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing


A Confession

Once in a while,
I'm standing here, doing something.
And I think,
"What in the world am I doing here?"
It's a big surprise.

—May 16, 2001, interview with the New York Times


Happenings

You're going to be told lots of things.
You get told things every day that don't
happen.

It doesn't seem to bother people, they
don't—
It's printed in the press.
The world thinks all these things happen.
They never happened.

Everyone's so eager to get the story
Before in fact the story's there
That the world is constantly being fed
Things that haven't happened.
All I can tell you is,
It hasn't happened.
It's going to happen.

—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing


The Digital Revolution

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!

—June 9, 2001, following European trip


The Situation

Things will not be necessarily continuous.
The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought not to be characterized as a pause.
There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won't see.
And life goes on.

—Oct. 12, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing


Clarity

I think what you'll find,
I think what you'll find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect clarity
As to what it is.

And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Congress,
And it will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,
But it will be known.

—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing


On NATO

You may think it's something
I ought to know,
But I happen not to.
That's life.

(July 9, 2003)


On Reporters

If you do something,
Somebody's not going
To agree with it.
That's life.

(Feb. 19, 2003)


On the Budget

If you do anything,
Someone's not going
To like it and
That's life.

(May 7, 2002)


On Leaks

Look bumpy?
Sure.
But you pick up
And go on.
That's life.

(May 17, 2002)


On Democracy

People elected
Those people to office.
That's what they think, and
That's life.

(Feb. 20, 2003)


On People

They're going to have
Some impact on
What happens in that country
And that's not wrong.
That's life.

(Nov. 16, 2001)


On Criticism

It makes it complicated.
Sometimes, it makes
It difficult.
That's life.

(Sept. 11, 2003)