The poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Many people don't appreciate the depth of Rumsfeld's verse, the profound irony of his words. This is one of the true classics of 21st century political propaganda. It deserves a special place of honor.
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.
What makes this a work of art?
But beyond the mere technical virtuosity of the verse, we must attempt to understand the poetic speaker as he considers the list of unknowns. The list appears to be exhaustive and complete. Yet, the poetic speaker "forgot" one essential unknown:
But what of what we know
that simply isn't true?
Ah, the missing line. The "forgotten unknown". And now we can see the true pathetic ignorance of the poetic speaker and why the poem is of special mention in the annals of poetic propaganda. By having claimed to have listed all possibilities, but leaving out the source of his own witlessness, he ignores the source of his inevitable tragedy — his foreordained and inescapable doom. The poetic speaker has clued us in to how the play will end.
Acta est fabula, plaudite!
The play is over, applaud!
You can find more of this important artist's works here: