He was talking about Iraq, but he might very well have been discussing the current situation in Egypt.
We are a democracy, and we say democracy and freedom are the right of all people. But on this one, we are also forced to ask, do we really mean it?
Hosni Mubarak is a dictator who has denied freedom to his people. But he turned Egypt from the main threat to Israel to its best Arab ally.
For three decades he has been our partner in maintaining Israel's security and a certain level of stability in the region.
Some might put it more crudely - that we bought him off. But at the least, he stayed bought, and Israel is still there.
And that is why it is so difficult to chart a U.S. policy in all of this. Clearly Mubarak has to go, and if we are true to our own core values we must stand with those in the streets who demand freedom.
But what happens if he does go?
We can never be against democracy for any people. But we must balance that with patience, common sense and restraint.
The last thing needed here is harsh rhetoric from those trying to score political points.
On this one, Rumsfeld's words are apt: We are not even CLOSE to knowing what we don't know.