Donald Rumsfeld's Advice for the Lovelorn

McSweeney's Stephen Elliott -- author with Eric Martin of Donald, a book imagining former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld subjected to the same treatment as the detainees America has imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay -- has rather brilliantly taken Rumsfeld's many aphorisms about war and government and recast them just in time for Valentine's Day:

In love there are things you know, and things you don't know, and things you don't know you don't know. You can't share your feelings with your lover when you don't know what those feelings are. Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up. Don't treat your lover in a way you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the Washington Post. Don't speak ill of your girlfriends ex-boyfriends. Enjoy your time together, it may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life. First rule of love: you can't win unless you're on the ballot. I don't do quagmires. If you screw up, talk it out, delays only compound mistakes. In our system relationships require consent, not command. Every day in every relationship is filled with numerous opportunities for serious error, enjoy it. It is easier to get into something than to get out of it. It isn't making mistakes that's critical; it's correcting them. Leave your lover's family business to them; you'll have plenty to do without trying to manage the First Family. Let your friends know you're still the same person. Look for what's missing, you're friends can tell you how to improve, but they can't help you see what isn't there. Love is human beings; it's addition rather than subtraction. Preserve your lover's options, she need them. The price of being close to another human being is delivering bad news, you fail them when you don't tell the truth. The way to do well is to do well. If possible, visit the ex, they know the ropes and can help you see around corners. When raising an issue with your lover try to come away with a decision; pose issues so as to evoke guidance. You will launch many projects but have time to finish only a few. Your new girlfriend is not your old girlfriend. Your performance in a relationship depends on your significant other; select the best. Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.

Read the full item at McSweeney's.

Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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