The US Secretary of State for Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, often mangled his press briefings during the Gulf and Iraq wars (2002-3). Some of his statements, recorded by the press and listed on the Pentagon website, were subsequently published, set to music and even sung by a soprano. Here is Rumsfeld’s most famous statement, which was set in this poetic form and posted anonymously across the internet by email:

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.
(US Department of Defense news briefing 12 February 2002)

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