Rumsfeld: It Depends on what the Meaning of “Where” Is
Back in the Sixties it would be some activist college student who confronted the Secretary of Defense on an illegal, ill-conceived and unwinnable war. It is an index of the changed times that now it is retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern!
William Dunham writes,
‘ Mr Rumsfeld waved away his security guards when he was confronted by Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst of 27 years and an outspoken critic of the war.
“Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kind of casualties and was not necessary?” Mr McGovern asked him.
Donald Rumsfeld giving his speech at the Southern Center for International Studies in Atlanta . . .
“I did not lie,” Mr Rumsfeld replied . . .
McGovern shot back, “You said you knew where they were”, referring to the Iraqi weapons.
“I did not,” Rumsfeld retorted. “I said I knew where suspect sites were.”
“You said you know where they were, near Tikrit, near Baghdad, and north, east, south and west of there. Those are your words,” McGovern shot back.
“I’d just like an honest answer,” McGovern added. “We’re talking about lies,” also mentioning the administration’s assertions of prewar ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
Here’s the transcript from the DoD site from 2003:
‘ MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, weapons of mass destruction. Key goal of the military campaign is finding those weapons of mass destruction. None have been found yet. There was a raid on the Answar Al-Islam Camp up in the north last night. A lot of people expected to find ricin there. None was found. How big of a problem is that? And is it curious to you that given how much control U.S. and coalition forces now have in the country, they haven’t found any weapons of mass destruction?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Not at all. If you think — let me take that, both pieces — the area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. ‘
Rumsfeld was asked about the failure already 9 days into the war to find any WMD. His answer was “we know where they are.” It is unambiguous, unqualified. And now he is lying about that!
As for an imagined Iraq-al-Qaeda link, there is this from September, 2002:
‘ JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, he did make that suggestion today, in response to a question at a press briefing. Asked specifically, is there a linkage and what is it? He said, well that had been covered in the highly classified briefing that the deputy CIA director gave along with Rumsfeld to NATO ministers here, and he said that the short answer is, yes, there is linkage, but he went into no detail.
Now, all along, the administration has indicated that it does not have any strong evidence linking Saddam Hussein with the Al Qaeda terrorist network. If they had that evidence, presumably we would see it by now, but it is also not inconsistent with some of the things Rumsfeld has said in the past, which is essentially that Al Qaeda elements are in Iraq, and he has also said that given Saddam Hussein’s control over most of the country, that it’s inconceivable that he wouldn’t be in some way aware or permitting that activity. So could be less there or more than that meets the eye — Wolf. ‘
The short answer is, yes! It was all lies and propaganda. Rumsfeld knew better.
Ironically, the US government has now released documents that show that when Iraqi intelligence heard rumors that al-Qaeda might be in Iraq, they were alarmed and put out an APB. Rumsfeld’s lies were not even plausible lies.
Ray McGovern is a hero for taking on the Rumster face to face, and for not letting him skip away with one of his notorious rhetorical tricks.
The lies about al-Qaeda and Saddam being operationally linked are the worst. This falsehood is the thing that most saddens me about the death of Sgt. Steve Sakoda in Iraq. This Japanese-American hero switched from the reserves to active duty to fight al-Qaeda after 9/11, and then was sent instead to Iraq. It is the cruelest bait and switch any American administration has ever pulled on our brave soldiers.
And as for the badly wounded vets, there are over 10,000 of them. The pictures are here if you have the stomach for it. I hope Mr. Rumsfeld has seen them.
And, I’d also like to ask him about the new problem of homeless Iraq War veterans. Yes.