The unknown knowns
A friend just sent me, once again, Donald Rumsfeld's famous soliloquy from his Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing:
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.
I've read that many times, but what has always bothered me about Rumsfeld and his partners is their unknown knowns, that is, all the things that were perfectly knowable but that Rumsfeld refused to inform himself about, like:

the inevitability of resistance in Iraq, the stupidity of making untrained clerks and service workers into prison guards, the principles of honor and shame in Arab and other cultures, and how to enrage people you claim to be liberating.

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