In 2003, Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld sent to an associate what may well be the laziest memo of all time — especially on orders of high importance.
The Atlantic‘s Alexis Madrigal dug through the digital archives at Rumsfeld.com and uncovered an extraordinary message Rumsfeld sent to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.
In no more than 56 words, Rumsfeld managed to ask Feith to find solutions to US foreign relations issues in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, and Korea.
He offered no guidance on what the issues were or how to deal with any of them, other than invoking “coercive diplomacy” — a broad concept if there ever was one — for Syria and Libya.
“We also need to solve the Pakistan problem,” he declared in the memo, without offering a hint on what said problem may entail. “And Korea doesn’t seem to be going well.”
The former Secretary of Defense is currently making the media rounds promoting his memoir, “Known and Unknown.” He resigned in December 2006, engulfed by criticisms about misjudging necessary troops levels in Iraq as well as his role in promoting intelligence that turned out to be false.