Rumsfeld Sure WMD Intelligence Will Prove Correct
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2003 More searching in Iraq will uncover Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said following a meeting with House members yesterday.
Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers also said that three divisions' worth of troops from other nations will join coalition forces in Iraq. This will put less pressure on American forces, DoD officials said.
Rumsfeld said he, the chairman and House members discussed charges that the Pentagon hyped intelligence information on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. Rumsfeld, who spoke to reporters outside the hearing room, said U.S. intelligence has been good in Operation Iraqi Freedom. "(The intelligence has) been enriched as they've gone through this past period of years, and that I believe that the presentation made by Secretary Powell was accurate and will be proved to be accurate," he said.
Rumsfeld noted that DoD would cooperate if Congress decides to investigate WMD intelligence.
Myers said the United States is in discussions with 41 nations that might provide troops for stability operations in Iraq. Poland has already stepped to the plate and will provide forces. NATO allies said they will support the Polish effort.
Some U.S. Navy and Air Force units have already returned to their home bases.
Rumsfeld said that the three divisions of ground forces may start rotating into the country by the fall, but Myers said it could begin sooner. Both men said the relief will be driven by the security situation in the country and not by a date.
There are more than 140,000 U.S. service members in Iraq, DoD officials said.
Large U.S. ground organizations currently in Iraq are the 3rd Infantry Division, the 1st Marine Division, the 4th Infantry Division, the 1st Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division.
In addition, there are Air Force units, special operations teams and logistics support elements in-country. Other air, sea and logistics units are based in Kuwait and other Gulf states.
The services are working on a rotation cycle for service members assigned to Iraq, DoD officials said.
Rumsfeld also said there is now some speculation that "Chemical Ali" -- Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam's cousin may not have been killed in a bombing attack in Basra in April.
"He was in the southern part of the country. They had locations on him. They attacked locations where they believed him to be," the secretary said. "There was some speculation afterwards that they thought that he had been killed. Now there's some speculation that he may be alive. But I just don't know."