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Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with KABC-TV

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
February 06, 2003

(Interview with KABC-TV, Los Angeles, Calif.)

Q: Donald Rumsfeld, thank you for joining us today.

Rumsfeld: Thank you very much. Glad to be with you.

Q: Why don't we start with our troops here at home in Southern California. We have Camp Pendleton in our own back yard, and these Marines -- a lot of them have already been transported over to the Gulf region. How big of a role are they going to play when and if a war breaks out?

Rumsfeld: Well, your "if" is proper. It's not clear what will happen, but there's no question but that the flow of forces from your area, as well as elsewhere around the United States, has been very important in supporting the diplomacy. And all the forces are going to play an important role, if and when that time comes.

As Secretary Powell said yesterday in his excellent presentation to the United Nations, the case is clear, and Saddam Hussein has not only not been cooperating, but he has been actively engaging in extraordinary activities of denial and deception.

Q: Since you brought up Secretary Powell, did he accomplish everything that he set out to do?

Rumsfeld: Certainly he did. He gave a fine presentation. He laid out the facts. It is clear that the Iraqis have weapons of mass destruction. It is clear that they are not cooperating with the United Nations. There always will be some people who simply don't want to believe. They can't bring themselves to face facts, and that's normal. There are people who are going to end up with different opinions about things. But in terms of putting the case forward for any reasonable person who wants to look at the facts and make an honest judgment, it seems to me that was done yesterday.

Q: Let's say we don't get the backing of the full U.N. Security Council, which looks likely, and we do go to war. Does that change the scope, at least in your standpoint of how we field troops and what troops are out there?

Rumsfeld: No. I think the plans that General Franks has developed, and we have all approved, have a variety of options. And if the decision is made that force is necessary to disarm the Iraqi regime, we will have more than adequate capability to do that.

I should say this also: There's an implication that people are opposed in the United Nations and in Europe and around the world. The reality is that there are very large number, and a growing number of countries, that have already indicated their support for the president and the efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime, and there will be a large number of countries publicly involved as well as physically involved.

Q: I want to talk to you real quickly about the that troops you are having to call up, some of the Reserves you're calling up. You're dealing with almost three fronts now, the way the news seems to be going with North Korea, Iraq of course, and Afghanistan still seems to be a very volatile situation. Obviously this is going to pull troops in different directions. And we here at home are already losing folks who are important to our second line of defense so to speak, our defense here at home, for example the chief of the Pasadena Police Department, Bernard Malekian, and Sid Heal, who is the top guy at the L.A. SWAT team. So how many more troops are going to be pulled out of these communities, and people for instance who help us in our defense here at home?

Rumsfeld: Well, of course a number of the people that are called up are not being sent to another country. A number of the people that are being called up are in fact actively engaged in the security of the United States as their responsibility as a member of the Guard or the Reserves. But the total number that will be called up is not something that we discuss. We are in the process of flowing forces, and some of them, as I say, are backfilling here in the United States. So everyone who is called up is a Reserve or a member of the Guard, and understood that, and their employers understood that when -- that's part of their responsibilities as -- by their own choice. And I must say the Guard and the Reserve people are just doing a wonderful job for this country, and we are very fortunate to have them.

Q: Absolutely. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, thank you very much for spending time with us today.

Rumsfeld: Thank you.

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