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Molly Ivins: Farewell, Rummy

AUSTIN, Texas — There’s been so much in print about how Daddy 41’s people are back in the saddle, I was terrified when I saw a photo of Dan Quayle among the pack. If they’ve called back Dan Quayle to lend intellectual heft, we’re all dead ducks. Fortunately, it was just a file picture of Quayle with the old team.

It does seem that we may be going back to the typical modus operandi of Dubya. Poppy Bush has helped Junior out of the Vietnam War, his failures in the oil business and other efforts all of his “adult” life.

Unfortunately for us and for the world, the people from the first Bush administration who initially joined this administration were Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. Not exactly the most diplomatic, forward-looking, helpful people to be guiding Dubya.

During the first Gulf War, Bush 41 and his administration knew what it would be like if they tried to take Baghdad — and opted not to go in. Now, the more sober-headed people from that administration are moving in to try to clean up the mess Junior made in his Iraq excursion.

Meanwhile, let us bid farewell and adieu to Brother Donald Rumsfeld, who is so full of wisdom he does not seem to be able to apply it. As a parting gift, here are some of his classic quotes:

1. “If you develop rules, never have more than 10.”

2. “Don’t think of yourself as indispensable or infallible. As Charles de Gaulle said, the cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.”

3. “Needless to say, the president is correct. Whatever it was he said.”

4. “I don’t do quagmires.”

5. “I don’t do diplomacy.”

6. “I don’t do foreign policy.”

7. “I don’t do predictions.”

8. “I don’t do numbers.”

9. “I don’t do book reviews.”

10. “Don’t divide the world into ‘them’ and ‘us.’ Avoid infatuation with or resentment of the press, the Congress, rivals or opponents. Accept them as facts. They have their jobs, and you have yours.”

11. “Don’t say, ‘The White House wants.’ Buildings can’t want.”

12. “If I know the answer, I’ll tell you the answer. And if I don’t, I’ll just respond cleverly.”

13. “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.”

In fact, I’m rather going to miss Rumsfeld’s Zen-like nuggets of wisdom, the most famous of which is probably about the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns:

“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.”

According to Newsweek, Air Force Secretary Jim Roche went to Rumsfeld early on and said, “Don, you do realize that Iraq could be another Vietnam?”

Replied Rummy: “Vietnam? You think you have to tell me about Vietnam? Of course it won’t be Vietnam. We are going to go in, overthrow Saddam, get out. That’s it.”

I don’t know what happened to that excellent plan, but I would like to know who knew it was unknowable.

Molly Ivins
Contributing Columnist
Molly Ivins is a nationally syndicated political columnist who remains cheerful despite Texas politics. She emphasizes the more hilarious aspects of both state and national government, and consequently never…
Molly Ivins
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