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Stuart G

(38,650 posts)
Thu Apr 10, 2014, 10:00 PM Apr 2014

If any doubts exist that Rumsfeld is an idiot, read this quote:

The actual quote:

''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 things we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know.''

—Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Department briefing, Fe. 12, 2002

23 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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If any doubts exist that Rumsfeld is an idiot, read this quote: (Original Post) Stuart G Apr 2014 OP
Channeling his inner Shrub Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Apr 2014 #1
Yep, I didn't believe it either.. Stuart G Apr 2014 #2
I remember that briefing. elleng Apr 2014 #3
I heard that briefing as well. pangaia Apr 2014 #4
Yeah, I'm in the minority that thinks it was a poorly worded statement, but I understand what he was arcane1 Apr 2014 #8
Oh, I get it.. pangaia Apr 2014 #22
Change the word know to poop... icymist Apr 2014 #5
It actually makes a lot of sense. linuxman Apr 2014 #6
Actually, that is Risk Management 101. riqster Apr 2014 #7
It's a good thing... 3catwoman3 Apr 2014 #18
My work here is done. riqster Apr 2014 #21
It was poorly expressed but I understand his point. uppityperson Apr 2014 #9
Rumsfeld is the word salad king. JaneyVee Apr 2014 #10
Actually, I thought that was a pretty smart thing to say. Benton D Struckcheon Apr 2014 #11
I Agree, Sir The Magistrate Apr 2014 #12
Get those monkeys some iPads (nt) Jeff In Milwaukee Apr 2014 #13
For all the ink spillled on this quote, I agree Jeff In Milwaukee Apr 2014 #14
Certainly not a philosopher BlindTiresias Apr 2014 #15
My fave has always been... Wounded Bear Apr 2014 #16
What was the Secretary of Defense doing while we were under attack on 9-11 shanemcg Apr 2014 #17
Not to pop the hatred-bubble, but Rumsfeld's remark is actually smart. DetlefK Apr 2014 #19
it does make sense . . . I think it does, anyway DrDan Apr 2014 #20
What worries me is things we know we know that are flat wrong. nt bemildred Apr 2014 #23

pangaia

(24,324 posts)
4. I heard that briefing as well.
Thu Apr 10, 2014, 10:21 PM
Apr 2014

And I heard the interview with Errol Morris on NPR last week.
But, I actually think what the sociopath said, standing just by itself and without it's original context, makes sense and is very true.





 

arcane1

(38,613 posts)
8. Yeah, I'm in the minority that thinks it was a poorly worded statement, but I understand what he was
Thu Apr 10, 2014, 10:26 PM
Apr 2014

It's basically a meandering statement that we can only prepare for what we can predict, not for the unpredictable.

He's still an asshole

pangaia

(24,324 posts)
22. Oh, I get it..
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 08:32 AM
Apr 2014

You mean the predictably unpredictable.


Someone downthread said something like, "Where do such assholes come from?" My response, "From another asshole."

icymist

(15,888 posts)
5. Change the word know to poop...
Thu Apr 10, 2014, 10:23 PM
Apr 2014

''We poop there are pooping poops: there are things we poop we poop. We also poop there are pooping poop poops: that is to say we poop there are things we poop we don't poop. But there are also pooping poops pooping poop -- the ones we don't poop we don't poop.''

Now key in a monkey throwing poop.

I was going to use the word which is an acronym for 'Ship High In Transit', but the point was still made using poop.

Everybody poops, Donald Rumsfeld. Everybody poops.

 

linuxman

(2,337 posts)
6. It actually makes a lot of sense.
Thu Apr 10, 2014, 10:25 PM
Apr 2014

Seriously.

Get past the attachment of the statement to Rumsfeld and evaluate it on its own.

I'm graduating college in a few weeks with a degree in National security and intelligence. One of my professors (by no means a Right-winger) often used this to illustrate the problem in intelligence collection and analysis. It really summarizes the issue quite well. Knowing what your "Known unknowns" are is essential to knowing where you need to focus. In addition to this, there are also "Unknown unknowns". Those are the things that tend to really fuck you. Those are the hardest to deal with, as essentially you are left running all over trying to scoop up all the intel you can in the hope of finding the info that you never knew you needed in the first place. Even if you found it, would you recognize it?

Sure it sounds silly, but it summarizes one of the key issues in intelligence.



riqster

(13,986 posts)
7. Actually, that is Risk Management 101.
Thu Apr 10, 2014, 10:25 PM
Apr 2014

Badly phrased, but he at least had heard of the concept.

Of course, the numbnutted shit-for-brains dickweed didn't APPLY Bit One of risk management to Operation Iraqi Liberation.

3catwoman3

(24,491 posts)
18. It's a good thing...
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 01:17 AM
Apr 2014

...I am the only one home right now because I am laughing so loud at your choice use of descriptive words that I am crying.

Benton D Struckcheon

(2,347 posts)
11. Actually, I thought that was a pretty smart thing to say.
Thu Apr 10, 2014, 10:27 PM
Apr 2014

Still should be in jail for war crimes, but I was always amazed at that quote. There's an RD Laing quote much like it:

There is something I don't know
that I am supposed to know.
I don't know
what it is I don't know,
and yet I am supposed to know,
...
I feel you know what I am supposed to know
but you can't tell me what it is
because you don't know that I don't know what it is

You may know that I don't know, but not
that I don't know it,
and I can't tell you. So you will have to tell me everything.


- RD Laing, from his book Knots.

I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped when I heard him come out with that. I thought immediately of this.

The Magistrate

(95,637 posts)
12. I Agree, Sir
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 12:41 AM
Apr 2014

Comes into the 'even a blind chicken pecks up a little corn' category, to be sure, but it is a very sound observation.

"The theory that an infinite number of monkeys at typewriters would eventually produce Hamlet may not survive contact with the internet."

Jeff In Milwaukee

(13,992 posts)
14. For all the ink spillled on this quote, I agree
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 12:50 AM
Apr 2014

It's a fairly accurate summation of national security.

Things we know for sure
Things we don't know, but are aware of
Things that come out of left field for which we were completely unprepared.

BlindTiresias

(1,563 posts)
15. Certainly not a philosopher
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 12:53 AM
Apr 2014

"In March 2003, Donald Rumsfeld engaged in a little bit of amateur philosophizing about the relationship between the known and the unknown: ‘‘There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.’’ What he forgot to add was the crucial fourth term: the ‘‘unknown knowns,’’ things we don’t know that we know—which is precisely the Freudian unconscious, the ‘‘knowledge which doesn’t know itself.’’ If Rumsfeld thinks that the main dangersin the confrontation with Iraq are the ‘‘unknown unknowns,’’ the threats from Saddam about which wedo not even suspect what they may be, the Abu Ghraibscandal shows where the main dangers are: in the‘‘unknown knowns,’’ the disavowed beliefs, suppositions, and obscene practices we pretend not to know about, although they form the background of our public values. To unearth these ‘‘unknown knowns’’ is the task of an intellectual. This is why Rumsfeld is NOT a philosopher: the goal of philosophical reflectionis precisely to discern the ‘‘unknown knowns’’ of our existence. That is to say, what is the Kantian tran-scendental a priori if not the network of such‘‘unknown knowns,’’ the horizon of meaning of whichwe are unaware, but which is always-already here,structuring our approach to reality?"

Wounded Bear

(59,280 posts)
16. My fave has always been...
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 12:55 AM
Apr 2014

the one about WMDs.

"We know where they are. They are in the area north, south, east and west of Baghdad."

Oh, really?

 

shanemcg

(80 posts)
17. What was the Secretary of Defense doing while we were under attack on 9-11
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 12:59 AM
Apr 2014

Well, first the big doofus couldn't be found and then when he did turn up it was helping victims get to treatment from the Pentagon attack.

What an idiot! You'd think he'd know he should be doing the job of Secretary of Defense as we are being attacked rather than play medic.

But they're all just a bunch of dummies, Bush and Cheney included.

DetlefK

(16,425 posts)
19. Not to pop the hatred-bubble, but Rumsfeld's remark is actually smart.
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 04:59 AM
Apr 2014

1. Just because it sounds convoluted, that doesn't mean it's incorrect.
2. If you view this remark as a system of logical connections, then he totally makes sense.
3. "We didn't know but we didn't bother that we didn't know and fucked it up anyway." is a piss-poor excuse.

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