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Secretary Rumsfeld Stakeout Following Appearance on ABC’s “This Week”

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
February 06, 2005

            Rumsfeld:  Hi, folks.

 

            Press:  Andrea [inaudible], BBC.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Hello, Andrea.

 

            Press:  Are you confident that the British detainees who were released from Guantanamo were held for good reason in the first place?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yes.

 

            Press:  I don't -- How can you be so confident?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Because responsible people made those decisions and that was the best judgment.

 

            Press:  One of the men, Martin Mubanga, has claimed that he's seen a letter from a Pentagon lawyer, which showed the intelligence surrounding his arrest was flawed in the first place.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I have no comment on that.

 

            Press:  Mr. Secretary, [Inaudible] there seem to be a public discussion about withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in the next six months. 

 

Rumsfeld:  You don't think there's public discussion of that right now?

 

             Press:  Well, uh… [inaudible] forefront?

 

            Rumsfeld:  How far in front can it get?  Everyone in the world's asking that question.  The President's addressed it. Senators have addressed it. Congressmen, other countries.  I can't imagine what else one would want.  There's going to be a discussion.

           

            We certainly don't want to keep our forces in any country longer than we have to.  That's our last choice.  The Iraqi people have voted.  The Iraqi people who have been involved in that process have all said they would prefer that our forces stay for a period until the Iraqi security forces are capable of taking over the internal security situation in the country.  And that's what the President said - he agreed with me on that - and said he though an artificial time table of any number of months was not as wise or prudent as a condition-based approach where you watched what the situation was on the ground and then reacted to that.

 

            Press:  And how would [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  It's about like it was, about like we expected.  The insurgency is continuing and on the other hand, millions of people went out and voted and it was just a wonderful accomplishment for the Iraqi people that showed a great deal of courage. The Iraqi security forces showed a great deal of courage, the people who put their names on the ballots showed a great deal of courage, and that has to be inspirational to the people of Iraq to see that movement forward politically.

 

            Press:  Is there [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Any time anyone sets an artificial timeframe they prove to be wrong because the situation on the ground is what determines it.

 

            The United States government back say ten years ago said that they'd be out of Bosnia by Christmas.  They were there eight years later.

 

            Why pretend and misinform people by pretending you know something that's not knowable?  It's a disservice to the people.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Thanks a lot, folks.