Known Unknowns
by Michael Maynard
September 16, 2013

Rummy at his unintelligible best.

“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.”

This imponderable statement was made by then-Secretary State Donald Rumsfeld at an October 12, 2002, press conference just before the United Nations Weapons Inspectors’ return to Iraq. He was trying to explain why there was a lack of evidence showing that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Government were selling “weapons of mass destruction”, a/k/a WMDs, to terrorist organizations. The reason: Saddam didn’t have any more WMDs, a not-so-convenient fact for the neocons who wanted to invade Iraq long before they had the decision-making capability to do so.

Translation: We (the Bush Administration, particularly Rumsfeld and his partner in misadventures, the former Vice President Richard “I Am A Dick” Cheney) claimed they knew that Saddam still had WMDs. Saddam allegedly was giving these chemical and biological weapons to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

That assertion is a known known to be false.

He has said some other lulus, too:

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

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

“[Osama Bin Laden is] either alive and well or alive and not too well or not alive.”

“I believe what I said yesterday. I don’t know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it’s what I said.”

“Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said.”

When asked to estimate the number of Iraqi insurgents while testifying before Congress, he replied: “I am not going to give you a number for it because it’s not my business to do intelligent work.”

And my other personal favorite Rummyism on not finding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction:

“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.”

Many thanks to the About.com Political Humor site for sharing these pearls of Rummy wisdom with the world.

After leading his country into two protracted , expensive and deadly wars – one, the longest war in US history, and the other pointless, except for Rummy’s, Cheney’s and the other neocons’ belief that the US could dominate the Middle East, for its oil supplies. The repercussions of that bad decision, contrary to all historical evidence, will be played out for decades to come.

If it was me, given that extremely dubious history, I’d be hiding in my fallout shelter to never be seen or heard again. But not our Rummy. He had to open his big mouth once again, this time when it was especially inappropriate for him to do so.

On October 11, 2013 Rumsfeld called President Obama’s decision to provide a limited military intervention in Syria “feckless and ineffective.”

He followed that up with a second comment on the “Fox and Friends” morning television program on October 13, by saying “the so-called Commander In Chief is not acting as a Commander In Chief.” If you want to see this with your own eyes and hear this with your own ears, here is a link:

Well. Rummy-Dumb-Dumb, the “so called Commander In Chief’s” decision-making seems to be working, which may just avoid US military forces being involved in another long and protracted war. This likely will be unlike the wars with no end in sight that you advocated. Isn’t 20/20 hindsight of your actions and words such a bitch?

I don’t care that he’s 81 years old. I don’t care whether his accumulated intake of Aspartame has rotted his brain. Rumsfeld was in that Oval Office War Room many times. He helped make the decisions to send young men and women into war and once under a false pretense. Maybe he’s forgotten what making that decision felt like, at his current advanced age.

Maybe Rumsfeld doesn’t really care about all the Syrian people already killed, will continue to be killed, or, if there is an intervention could be killed. After all, he appeared not to really care much about taking Iraqi citizens’ lives. Maybe he doesn’t care that the wrong decision might have set off World War III, and what he was saying could be used as propaganda by Syrian President Bashir al-Assad and Russian President Vladmir Putin. It’s fine to disagree on policy, but to make demeaning remarks of the President at that critical time was just so, so wrong, it goes beyond words.

Yes, there are a lot of unknown knowns in life. That young military men and women and innocent men, women and children will be killed in war is a known known. Thankfully, this President of the United States knows that, too.

Columnist/Journalist/Writer/Book Editor Co-Founder/CEO of Azimuth Partners, high tech consulting firm for 30+ years. Former columnist for the Washington Post/Newsweek syndicate.

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