D.H. Rumsfeld

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 24, 2003 | Go to article overview

D.H. Rumsfeld


Byline: John McCaslin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

D.H. Rumsfeld

Listen closely. What you hear coming from the mouth of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is actually an "art form." Call it "literary intelligence."

The Pentagon's top dog, it turns out, has an unsung gift for free verse, haiku and sonnets.

In fact, Mr. Rumsfeld's poems are regularly embedded in the transcripts of his daily news briefings and interviews. All it took was for somebody to pull out the prose, which author Hart Seely has done in his amazing new book, "Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld" (The Free Press, $12.95).

"At times, Rumsfeld composes in jazzy, lyrical riffs that pulsate with the rhythm of his childhood on the streets of Chicago. From there, he'll unfurl a Homeric tale cautioning us about the ways of bureaucracy," Mr. Seely notes. "He'll fire off rounds of irony with a Western cowboy's sensibility, enough for some to call him 'America's poet lariat.' "

Either way, the poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld demands to be read aloud.

Let's begin with "Needless to Say."

Needless to say,

The president is correct.

Whatever it was he said.

Feb. 28, 2003, Pentagon briefing

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, Pentagon briefing

Field of Schemes

Is the playing field this wide?

Or is it that wide?

One can't know that

Until one knows up above.

The president can't know that

Until he knows what the possibilities are

And what the risks are

If the playing field's this wide

As opposed to that wide.

Jan. 23, 2002 interview with Reader's Digest

Cheating woman

She said she had a question

And she asked three.

I asked for an easy one

And she gave me a tough three.

April 26, 2002, meeting with troops in Kyrgyszstan

End Zen

How does it end?

It ends,

That's all.

Feb. 8, 2003, briefing in Munich

Texas creature

"Bushenstein" is the scary title of a flash movie created by the Democratic National Committee and shown over the Internet.

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