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Inside the Beltway
Listen closely. What you hear coming from the mouth of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is actually an “art form.” Call it “literary intelligence.”
The Pentagon’s top dog, it turns out, has an unsung gift for free verse, haiku and sonnets.
In fact, Mr. Rumsfeld’s poems are regularly embedded in the transcripts of his daily news briefings and interviews. All it took was for somebody to pull out the prose, which author Hart Seely has done in his amazing new book, “Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld” (The Free Press, $12.95).
“At times, Rumsfeld composes in jazzy, lyrical riffs that pulsate with the rhythm of his childhood on the streets of Chicago. From there, he’ll unfurl a Homeric tale cautioning us about the ways of bureaucracy,” Mr. Seely notes. “He’ll fire off rounds of irony with a Western cowboy’s sensibility, enough for some to call him ‘America’s poet lariat.’”
Either way, the poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld demands to be read aloud.
Let’s begin with “Needless to Say.”
Needless to say,
The president is correct.
Whatever it was he said.
— Feb. 28, 2003, Pentagon briefing
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