Donald Rumsfeld quotes

  • Success tends to go not to the person who is error-free, because he also tends to be risk-averse. Rather it goes to the person who recognizes that life is pretty much a percentage business. It isn't making mistakes that's critical; it's correcting them and getting on with the principal task.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Success #Mistake #Errors

  • What is needed [to combat terrorism], in my view, is resolve, not retreat; courage, not concession. Rather than thinking in terms of an exit strategy, focus on a strategy for success.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Thinking #Views #Focus

  • The most underestimated risk for a politician is overexposure.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Risk #Politician #Overexposure

  • A terrorist can attack any time, any place using any technique and you can't defend everywhere against every technique at every moment.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Technique #Moments #Terrorist

  • Don't necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Leadership #Vision

  • The reality is that terrorists can attack any time at any minute, 24 hours a day, using a variety of techniques, in any place at all. And it's not possible to defend in every place, against every technique, against every conceivable approach. It means that you can't stop every terrorist attack. Innocent men, women and children are going to be killed if terrorists are determined to do it.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Children #Mean #Reality

  • If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Inspirational #Motivational #Leadership

  • I cannot give any assurances. I'm not in that business. I haven't been, and I don't intend to get into it. People who try to make predictions about things or assurances often find they're wrong.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #People #Giving #Trying

  • 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

  • We [the USA] do have a big nation's problem. We have the problem of a nation that's got two oceans, oceans on either side. People come from all across the globe and want to live here and they want to work here and they want to invest here. And that's a good thing. And they make up this country. But as a people, we [americans] are not highly skilled in languages. We're not highly skilled in knowledge of other cultures. And that's a problem.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Country #Ocean #Other Cultures

  • Listening to both sides does not necessarily bring about a correct judgment.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Judging #Listening #Doe

  • The problem is the people who tend to be the best organized are the most radical and the most vicious.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #People #Problem #Being The Best

  • Think ahead. Don't let day-to-day operations drive out planning.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Thinking #Time Management #Planning

  • Most US presidents since World War II have led military actions without a declaration of war by Congress, though most, if not all, have properly consulted and sought support from Congress. That is the wise thing to do.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Wise #Military #War

  • Don't speak ill of your predecessors or successors. You didn't walk in their shoes.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Shoes #Boots #Speak

  • Never assume the other fellow will not do something you wouldn't do.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Assuming #Never Assume

  • The way to do well is to do well.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Way #Wells

  • The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize. It's to change the behavior of the people that are being terrorized.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #People #Purpose #Terrorism

  • Keep your sense of humor. As General Joe Stillwell said, 'The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind'.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Humor #Monkeys #Well Said

  • It is worth reminding that being president is a tough job for anybody, and particularly so in the information age. There's such a glut of information. Anything a president says or does is picked up on the Internet or the 24/7 news media and criticized almost instantly. Leaders persuade through their words and as such their words need to be measured and well chosen. It is a tough job.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Jobs #Media #Leader

  • Test ideas in the marketplace. You learn from hearing a range of perspectives. Consultation helps engender the support decisions need to be successfully implemented.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Ideas #Perspective #Support

  • A president has to provide leadership to gain support.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Support #President #Gains

  • Treat each federal dollar as if it was hard earned; it was - by a taxpayer.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Dollars #Treats #Taxpayers

  • 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.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Jobs #World #Rivals

  • If you try to please everybody, somebody's not going to like it.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Trying #Please

  • The Federal Government should be the last resort, not the first. Ask if a potential program is truly a federal responsibility or whether it can better be handled privately, by voluntary organizations, or by local or state governments.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Responsibility #Government #Organization

  • To gain support in U.S. Congress and from other nations requires clarity, an acceptable mission and an explicit outcome.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Support #Outcomes #Gains

  • In our system leadership is by consent, not command. To lead a President must persuade. Personal contacts and experiences help shape his thinking. They can be critical to his persuasiveness and thus to his leadership.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Leadership #Thinking #President

  • Every country should be tired of going to war. War is a terrible thing. If I had been in Congress, as much as I would be inclined naturally to be supportive of a president, any president, I would have voted no, had the issue come to a vote.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Country #War #Tired

  • The dead-enders are still with us, those remnants of the defeated regimes who'll go on fighting long after their cause is lost.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Fighting #Iraq #Long

  • You can have a broad popular democracy movement and have it end being taken over by the most vicious people and the result is you don't end up with free political systems or free economic systems, you end up with a handful of radicals controlling the country.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Country #Taken #People

  • Don't be a bottleneck. If a matter is not a decision for the President or you, delegate it. Force responsibility down and out. Find problem areas, add structure and delegate. The pressure is to do the reverse. Resist it.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Responsibility #Decision #President

  • A terrorist can attack at any time at any place using a range of techniques. It is physically impossible to defend at every time in every location against every conceivable technique of terrorism. Therefore, if your goal is to stop it, you cannot stop it by defense. You can only stop it by taking the battle to the terrorists, where they are and going after them.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Goal #Battle #Technique

  • It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Easier

  • You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east. And there are a lot of new members. And if you just take the list of all the members of NATO and all of those who have been invited in recently -- what is it? Twenty-six, something like that? -- you're right. Germany has been a problem, and France has been a problem.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Thinking #Europe #Twenties

  • We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Country #Osama Bin Laden #Certain Knowledge

  • The worst thing you can do is allow a coalition to determine what your mission is.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Missions #Coalitions #Worst

  • Control your own time. Don't let it be done for you. If you are working off the in-box that is fed you, you are probably working on the priority of others.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Time #Priorities #Done

  • We do have a saying in America: if you're in a hole, stop digging ..... erm, I'm not sure I should have said that.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #America #Digging #Holes

  • Five days or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last longer.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #War #Lasts #Months

  • I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #New York #Cutting #Thinking

  • The implication that there was something wrong with the war plan is amusing.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Stupid #War #Republican

  • Whatever new threats and challenges may emerge, our nation will be able to face them squarely, deal with them, and yet allow our people to continue to live free and unafraid. The decisions you make, the courage and creativity you bring to your responsibilities, will determine America's future. Liberty and our way of life are fragile gifts - their care is in your hands. We thank you for stepping forward to shoulder that immense responsibility. Your country is grateful, and proud of each of you.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Education #Country #Grateful

  • America is not what's wrong with the world
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #America #World

  • Within a week, or a month, Saddam could give his WMD to al-Qaeda.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Wmd #Iraq #Giving

  • You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #War #Army #Wish

  • I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Four #Hours #Standing

  • I don't believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Believe #Iraq #Nuclear

  • When starting at the bottom, be willing to learn from those at the top.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Starting #Bottom #Willing To Learn

  • Those who made the decisions with imperfect knowledge will be judged in hindsight by those with considerably more information at their disposal and time for reflection.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Reflection #Decision #Information

  • Oh, Lord. I didn't mean to say anything quotable.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Mean #Say Anything #Lord

  • Never hire anyone you can’t fire.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Fire

  • If I know the answer I'll tell you the answer, and if I don't, I'll just respond, cleverly.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Answers

  • Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Doubt #Hussein #Weapons

  • The absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Absence #Evidence

  • If you develop rules, never have more than ten.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

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

    #War #Iraq #Long

  • I am not going to give you a number for it because it's not my business to do intelligent work.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Stupid #Intelligent #Iraq

  • Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Mistake #Stupid #Iraq

  • I don't know anybody that I can think of who has contended that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Stupid #Thinking #Iraq

  • With the press there is no "off the record.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Records

  • Beware when any idea is promoted primarily because it is "bold, exciting, innovative, and new." There are many ideas that are "bold, exciting, innovative and new," but also foolish.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Ideas #Foolish #Exciting

  • In unanimity there may well be either cowardice or uncritical thinking.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Thinking #May #Cowardice

  • We don't seek empires.We're not imperialistic.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Empires

  • Then there are three or four countries that have said they won't do anything. I believe Libya, Cuba and Germany are ones that have indicated they won't help in any respect.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Country #Believe #Four

  • It's a difficult thing today to be informed about our government even without all the secrecy.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Government #Today #Secrecy

  • Look at me! I'm sweet and lovable!
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Sweet #Looks #Lovable

  • I didn't advocate invasion...I wasn't asked.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Invasion

  • 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. Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe -- it's a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously, but a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #War #Believe #Army

  • There will be good moments, and there will be less good moments.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Moments #Be Good

  • Pieces of intelligence, scraps of intelligence...you run down leads and you run down leads, and you hope that sometimes it works.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Running #Pieces #Sometimes

  • And there is, I am certain, among the Iraqi people a respect for the care and the precision that went into the bombing campaign.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #People #Campaigns #Care

  • I suppose the implication of that is the president and the vice president and myself and Colin Powell just fell off a turnip truck to take these jobs.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Jobs #President #Vices

  • After he saw what happened to Saddam Hussein, he ( Gaddafi ) did not want to be Saddam Hussein. He gave up his nuclear program.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Saws #Gaddafi #Nuclear

  • If in doubt, move decisions up to the President.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Moving #Decision #Doubt

  • The Cold War was a war, and we won it.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #War #Victory #Cold

  • We are in the process of trying to liberate that country. And at the moment where the war ends and the coalition forces occupy the areas where those capabilities - chemical and biological weapons - are likely to be, to the extent they haven't been moved out of the country, it obviously is important to find them.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Country #War #Iraq

  • When there happens to be a weapon of mass destruction suspect site in an area that we occupy and if people have time, they'll look at it.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Iraq #People #Looks

  • I don't think we'll discover anything, myself. I think what will happen is we'll discover people who will tell us where to go find it. It is not like a treasure hunt where you just runaround looking everywhere hoping you find something. I just don't think that's going to happen. The inspectors didn't find anything, and I doubt that we will. What we will do is find the people who will tell us.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Thinking #Iraq #People

  • There are people who in large measure have information that we need . . . so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Country #Iraq #People

  • We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Country #Iraq #Weapons

  • They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Iraq #Answers #May

  • The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit. We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light - through the prism of our experience on 9/11.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Light #Iraq #Saws

  • No terror state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Iraq #People #World

  • A few. . . critics are the only people I ever heard use the phrase 'imminent threat.' I didn't, the president didn't.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Iraq #People #President

  • Politics is human beings; it's addition rather than subtraction.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Politics #Subtraction #Humans

  • A large number of people to begin crawling through those tunnels and caves looking for the bad folks.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Tunnels #Numbers #People

  • We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Wmd #Baghdad

  • What will follow will not be a repeat of any other conflict. It will be of a force and scope and scale that has been beyond what has been seen before.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Conflict #Scope #Scales

  • Remember where you came from.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Remember

  • When business accepts help from the government, it can be like going to bed with a hippopotamus. It's nice and warm for the moment, but then your bedmate rolls over and crushes you.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Crush #Money #Nice

  • Oh my goodness gracious, what you can buy off the Internet in terms of overhead photography. A trained ape can know an awful lot of what is going on in this world, just by punching on his mouse, for a relatively modest cost.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Photography #Cost #World

  • Let your family, staff, and friends know that you're still the same person, despite all the publicity and notoriety that accompanies your position.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Publicity #Staff #Notoriety

  • When asked for your views, by the press or others, remember that what they really want to know is the President's views.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Views #President #Want

  • Plan backwards as well as forward. Set objectives and trace back to see how to achieve them. You may find that no path can get you there. Plan forward to see where your steps will take you, which may not be clear or intuitive.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #May #Path #Steps

  • Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the President and do wonders for your performance.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #President #Able #Wonder

  • Don't automatically obey Presidential directives if you disagree or if you suspect he hasn't considered key aspects of the issue.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Keys #Issues #Presidential

  • Don't do or say things you would not like to see on the front page of The Washington Post.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Pages

  • First rule of politics: you can't win unless you're on the ballot. Second rule: If you run, you may lose. And, if you tie, you do not win.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Running #Winning #Ties

  • If the staff lacks policy guidance against which to test decisions, their decisions will be random.
    -- Donald Rumsfeld

    #Decision #Tests #Guidance

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