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Applying Rumsfeld's Rules Liberally

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld held a confrontational news conference yesterday, telling his critics with characteristic bluntness, "You ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it's complicated, it's difficult."

Tough talk, but what critics don't know is that this is just the latest entry in Rumsfeld's Rules, the 1974 document that offers a clear snapshot of Rumsfeld's brain. Among the rules:

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Be precise. A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin of error is small

If you try to please everybody, somebody's not going to like it.

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