Low Concept

That’s Life!

The poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, Volume 2.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is a poet, as many Slate readers know. He is also something of a philosopher, and sometimes he combines his two intellectual hobbies. Here is a selection of recent Rumsfeld verse about the fundamental human question: What is life?

These poems are the exact words of the defense secretary, taken from the official transcripts on the Defense Department’s Web site.

You may think it’s something
I ought to know,
But I happen not to.
That’s life.
(July 9, 2003)


On Reporters
If you do something,
Somebody’s not going
To agree with it.
That’s life.
(Feb. 19, 2003)

On the Budget
If you do anything,
Someone’s not going
To like it and
That’s life.
(May 7, 2002)

On Leaks
Look bumpy? Sure.
But you pick up
And go on.
That’s life.
(May 17, 2002)

On Democracy
People elected
Those people to office.
That’s what they think, and
That’s life.
(Feb. 20, 2003)

On People
They’re going to have
Some impact on
What happens in that country
And that’s not wrong.
That’s life.
(Nov. 16, 2001)

On Criticism
It makes it complicated.
Sometimes, it makes
It difficult.
That’s life.
(Sept. 11, 2003)