'Reasonable People' Should Be Convinced by Behavior Pattern
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2003 Given more than a decade of Iraqi lies and deception, "reasonable people" ought to assume that Saddam Hussein is not going to disarm, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said during a Pentagon press briefing today.
Rumsfeld said there is a "fact pattern" Americans should follow as they make up their minds on a possible war with Iraq. He said this fact pattern would be buttressed by intelligence Secretary of State Colin Powell will reveal during his presentation to the U.N. Security Council.
The United States has always been uncomfortable with striking first, Rumsfeld said. The policy of pre-emption -- striking a foe before the foe strikes -- is difficult for people who have grown up in this country and believed in the principle that unless attacked, one does not attack, he noted.
But the problem comes with the geometrically increased danger of weapons of mass destruction, he continued. A biological attack could kill 300,000 people, the secretary said. "Does one wait until one's attacked or does one look at a fact pattern and draw conclusions."
The idea of the United States using pre-emptive strikes is new, and Americans look for "perfect understanding" of a situation. "The only way you have perfect understanding is after the attack has been made," Rumsfeld said.
He asked reporters when perfect understanding existed that would have allowed the United States to pre-empt the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
Rumsfeld said the fact pattern is Iraq is ominous and it will not get clearer with time. He said the facts are that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. The United Nations inspections teams found the proof of those following the Persian Gulf War. What's more, Iraq had a working plan for nuclear weapons and was within six months of developing an atomic device.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted in November 2002 that Iraq should be given one more chance to acknowledge all its weapons of mass destruction and disarm. Iraq agreed to the stipulations and now has reneged.
"The country declined to do it by filing (an arms) declaration that was fraudulent and taking steps to inhibit the inspectors," he said. Iraq has acted differently from any country that has agreed to disarm.
Add to this pattern the facts that Saddam Hussein has used chemical weapons against his neighbors and his own people. "He has launched ballistic missiles at four of his neighbors," Rumsfeld said.
Finally, Iraq maintains relationships with terrorist networks including al Qaeda, he said.
Over 12 years, nothing has restrained Saddam Hussein, Rumsfeld said. "Not economic sanctions, not diplomacy, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities."
Hans Blix, chief U.N. arms inspector, has said Hussein is refusing to cooperate with the latest Security Council resolution. "Reasonable people" ought to be able to infer from the accumulated evidence that Saddam Hussein "is not disarming, he's deceiving. His time to do so is running out," Rumsfeld said. "It's up to prevent the use of force and let's hope they do so."