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Donald Rumsfeld Quotes

Memorable Quotes by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

By

Rumsfeld, Myers Testify Before Senate Armed Services Committee
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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"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."

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." –on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction

"Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war."

"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things." –on looting in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, adding "stuff happens"

"As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

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

"I am not going to give you a number for it because it's not my business to do intelligent work." -asked to estimate the number of Iraqi insurgents while testifying before Congress

"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."

"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."

"If I said yes, that would then suggest that that might be the only place where it might be done which would not be accurate, necessarily accurate. It might also not be inaccurate, but I'm disinclined to mislead anyone."

"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." -on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction

"It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." -in Feb. 2003

"Well, um, you know, something's neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so, I suppose, as Shakespeare said."

"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."

"Learn to say 'I don't know.' If used when appropriate, it will be often."

"I don't know what the facts are but somebody's certainly going to sit down with him and find out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know."

"I'm not into this detail stuff. I'm more concepty."

"I don't do quagmires."

"I don't do diplomacy."

"I don't do foreign policy."

"I don't do predictions."

"I don't do numbers."

"I don't do book reviews."

"Now, settle down, settle down. Hell, I'm an old man, it's early in the morning and I'm gathering my thoughts here."

"If I know the answer I'll tell you the answer, and if I don't, I'll just respond, cleverly."

"Oh, Lord. I didn't mean to say anything quotable."

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