“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.”
    Donald Rumsfeld

Rumsfeld vs. Rice: The Most Important Passive-Aggressive E-mails in America

(Esquire) – From 2001 to 2006, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote dozens of short memos to (and about) National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. They’re succinct, and also, inordinately, hysterically disdainful. In fact, they might be the most important, passive-aggressive notes in recent American history, and now, they’ve gone public.

To celebrate the masterwork that is Rumsfeld’s just-released memoir Known and Unknown we examine an overlooked corner of his tell-all treasure-trove of government: The man’s profound gift for the passive-aggressive note aimed at Rice, his most common target of ire. We sorted through them, and pulled out the best. If you’re going to be That Guy, the one who writes pathologically passive-aggressive notes, this is how you do it. And remember: These are all real. Or in Rummy’s words: “Thanks.”

The “My Time Is More Valuable Than Yours” Note
– – –
October 26, 200l
TO: Honorable Condoleezza Rice
FROM: Donald Rumsfeld
SUBJECT: Schedule

It isn’t possible to have a 7:15 a.m. phone call, an NSC meeting and then two PC meetings in one day. That takes most of the day.

I need time with my staff. Let’s try to figure out a different way to do our business…

The “She’s Either Dumb, Deaf, or Secretly British, and Therefore, an Obtuse Asshole” Note
– – –
August 22, 2002
TO: Paul Wolfowitz [Deputy Secretary of Defense]
FROM: Donald Rumsfeld

Call Condi Rice. She said to me that we have got to get the detainee mess sorted out, that nobody is able to get answers. I think she is getting this from the UK. Call her and find out what she is talking about. She always comes in with these cryptic messages as thought [sic] the Pentagon is messed up, and I don’t have any idea what she is talking about…

The “And By Tactical Errors She Means ‘My Bad Hair Days'” Note
– – –
April 04, 2006
TO: Stephen J Hadley [National Security Advisor]
FROM: Donald Rumsfeld

I think we better get some talking points on what Condi thinks she meant when she said we have made “thousands of tactical errors.”

I keep getting asked the question, and I don’t know the answer. I don’t know what she had in mind.


"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

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