RWN’s Favorite Donald Rumsfeld Quotes

“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 (laughter)”

“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.”

“Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up.”

“Learn to say “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be often.”

“Don’t do or say things you would not like to see on the front page of The Washington Post.”

“Don’t divide the world into “them” and “us.” Avoid infatuation with or resentment of the press, the Congress, rivals, or opponents. Accept them as facts. They have their jobs and you have yours.”

“Congress, the press, and the bureaucracy too often focus on how much money or effort is spent, rather than whether the money or effort actually achieves the announced goal.” . Donald Rumsfeld

“If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.”

“If you try to please everybody, somebody’s not going to like it.”

“Too often management recommends plans that look like Bob Hope’s nose or a hockey stick.The numbers go down the first year or so and then up in the later years. If you accept hockeystick plans, you will find they will be proposed year after year.”

“Beware when any idea is promoted primarily because it is “bold, exciting, innovative, and new.” There are many ideas that are “bold, exciting, innovative and new,” but also foolish.”

“(Cluster bombs are) being used on frontline al Qaeda and Taliban troops to try to kill them is why we’re using them, to be perfectly blunt.”

“We aren’t running out of targets; Afghanistan is.”

“The only way to defend against terrorists is to go after the terrorists.”

“Have you killed anyone yet?” to General Charles Holland

Q:: Do you expect it to be a total rout (in Afghanistan) — the end of this will be…”
A: “I’m hopeful that some will surrender. I suspect some won’t, and I suspect the result of that will be that the opposition forces will kill them.”

Q:: “Sir, there’s a widespread perception in this town that when it comes to the Iraqis and the Palestinians, you are a hard-liner. Are you comfortable with that? (Laughter.) And –”
A: “Look at me! I’m sweet and lovable.”

Q:: “Secretary Rumsfeld, do you want to catch (Bin Laden) dead or alive or either way?”
A:: “Well, the president’s policy is dead or alive. And, you know, I have my preference…”

Q:: “Secretary Rumsfeld, can you give us — or maybe even General Pace — can you give us any idea of what’s happening…”
A:: “What do you mean ‘even General Pace’? (Laughter.) (To the general) You don’t have to take that from him!”

Q:: Mr. Secretary, at the White House last night, a senior White House official after the president spoke said that the decision to make the strike was made some time between 6:30 and 7:00 Eastern time. It’s apparent that that decision to strike was not in line with what we have been led to believe about the war plan. Was the intelligence you got fragile enough where you felt you had to go at that moment and not start with, say, shock and awe or some other phase of the war?
A:: “Well, Dick, calibrate me, but the first thing I’d say is I don’t believe you have the war plan — (laughter) — a fact which does not make me unhappy. (Laughter)”

“We take the world like you find it; and Israel is a small state with a small population. It’s a democracy and it exists in a neighborhood that in many — over a period of time has opined from time to time that they’d prefer it not be there and they’d like it to be put in the sea. And Israel has opined that it would prefer not to get put in the sea, and as a result, over a period of decades, it has arranged itself so it hasn’t been put in the sea.”

“There are many people in that part of the world who’d love to shove Israel into the sea, and not have it be there, and until people are willing to accept the presence of Israel, Israel obviously is not going to be able to make a deal.”

“I’m not into this detail stuff. I’m more concepty.”

“We do know, of certain knowledge, that (Bin Laden) is either in Afghanistan or in some other country or dead.”

“It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.”

“I don’t do quagmires.”

“When President Reagan asked me to be a Middle East envoy, right after the 241 Marines were killed in Beirut, Lebanon, I went over there, and George Shultz was the secretary of State, and he sent me over there. The truck went into that Marine barracks and killed 241 Americans. The next week, month, and year these barricades were put all around buildings — these little concrete things. You’ve seen them; there are some out here. So then they started lobbing rocket- propelled grenades over them. So the next thing, you go down to the Corniche in Beirut, and here was the building, the British Embassy, with a metal mesh all the way around it so it drove off these rocket- propelled grenades; when they’d hit the mesh, it would bounce off. So what did the terrorists do? They go to school on you. They started hitting people going to and from work. So, you can’t — I do not believe — I’m convinced President Bush is right. I am convinced that the way to deal with this terrorist problem is to go after them where they are and not think that we can simply hunker down here and defend against every one of those attacks.”

“Our task, your task… is to try to connect the dots before something happens. People say, ‘Well, where’s the smoking gun?’ Well, we don’t want to see a smoking gun from a weapon of mass destruction.”

“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. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”

“I can’t think of anything funnier than a handful of congressmen walking around (Iraq). They’d have to be there for the next 50 years trying to find something. It’s a joke.”

“The worst thing you can do is allow a coalition to determine what your mission is.”

“You’re thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don’t. I think that’s old Europe”

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