Anorak News | Talking Tripe

Talking Tripe

by | 2nd, December 2003

‘IT is not often that Anorak has seen fit to intervene on US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s behalf nor, if truth be told, has he often asked us to do so.

What about the stuff we don’t know that we know?

However, we cannot sit idly by this morning and let the man be traduced, whatever the failings of his policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For the Guardian reports this morning that Rummy, as we believe he likes to be known, has won the Plain English Campaign’s Foot In Mouth award for a particularly gnomic 62-word intervention in a defence department meeting.

“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,” he said.

“We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we known there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

The Guardian explains that the Plain English Campaign was set up in 1979 “to combat official jargon, circumlocution and muddling information”.

On the contrary, Mr Rumsfeld’s pronouncement on the limits of knowledge seems to us at least to be a fairly concise and well-expressed argument.

It is certainly not in the same league as Yousef El-Deiry, UK airports manager for JMC, who also won a Golden Bull award for noting that late summer was “historically characterised by pre-maturity, both in terms of psychological wind-down and shedding of temporary staff”.

And it is positively brilliant in comparison with Chris Patten’s observation that “having committed political suicide, the Conservative party is now living to regret it” or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s edict that “gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman”.

And then, of course, there’s Rumsfeld’s boss…’

Posted: 2nd, December 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink