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Secretary Rumsfeld Interview With LBC TV And Al Hayat Newspaper

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
December 11, 2002

December 4, 2002

(Interview with Ghida Fakhry, Al Hayat, LBC TV)

Q: Mr. Secretary, I'm just going to start with just an introductory remark in Arabic. Tomorrow is the day when it will be broadcast in its entirety. It's an important day for Muslims and Arabs since it's the end of Ramadan. So I wondered if you want to say maybe a word in Arabic. Happy Ramadan or Eid mubarak. If you want it.

Rumsfeld: [pronounces Eid mubarak] You tell me when.

[Brief discussion on the greeting and introduction follows].

Q. Mr. Rumsfeld, more than a year after the Administration has launched its war; its so-called war on terrorism, how would you assess its failures and its successes? And if you were to do things all over again, what would be done differently?

Rumsfeld: Well, that's a big order.

I think one has to say that it is a serious war. It's a problem worldwide. It's something that will take months and years, not days or weeks. We feel that the really amazing coalition of countries, over 90 countries, have come together to help share intelligence and work together to see what we can do to prevent these types of terrorist acts.

I think that's a wonderful accomplishment to have 90 countries all cooperating. Countries that represent all faiths and all continents and all parts of the globe. So we feel that the progress is significant, but we recognize that it's going to be a long haul.

Q: You talked about the progress, and surely there has been some, but the latest terrorist attacks in Bali, in Mombassa, most likely linked to al Qaeda, suggest that the network is very much still alive and kicking. Do you feel that the Administration by turning its attention onto Iraq would be leaving the job undone a bit too soon?

Rumsfeld: Oh, no. Indeed that's part of the global war on terrorism, Iraq. The dangerous thing for the world is the connection, potential connection, between weapons of mass destruction and terrorist networks.

We know that a terrorist can attack at any time, any place, using any technique. And it's not possible to defend every person in every country against every conceivable technique at all times of the day or night. That's just not possible. So the attacker has an advantage and we recognize that. The only way to deal with it is to just be purposeful and serious for a sustained period, dry up the money, engage in law enforcement, share intelligence, and disrupt networks and safe havens and that's what the process is. So I think it's going quite well.

Q: Have you given up the hunt for Osama bin Laden? And how did you feel personally to have heard his voice more recently?

Rumsfeld: Well, first I don't know that that's his voice. There is still some debate as to who that might be. And second, I've never thought of this as a personal matter. I've always felt that if Osama bin Laden is there and operating the al Qaeda network, then he's there. If he's not -- and I don't know if he's alive or dead, personally. If he's not, someone else will be doing it. There are six, eight, ten other people who are active, and they know where the bank accounts are, and they know the operatives that exist and they know what they're trained to do. So I think that it is -- We certainly are continuing to look for him, on the assumption that he might be alive, but the problem is much broader than any one person.

Q: But the campaign to disarm Iraq obviously will take a lot of security and intelligence investment from you. Wouldn't it be weakening American efforts to go after terrorist organizations that seem to be posing more of a real threat to American interests per se?

Rumsfeld: Well, no. First of all, the President's made no decision with respect to Iraq, so that is a decision that is for the Security Council, the President and others to make, not the Department of Defense. But the short answer to your question is we're capable of doing both at the same time.

Q: You say it's a decision for the Security Council. If we talk about Iraq now, no decision has been made to go to war you say, but all the readiness... the military readiness seems to be in place as we speak. When will you decide to go to war? Will you take the coming up declaration in the 8th of this month by Iraq as a trigger for war if it does not give you what you want?

Rumsfeld: I think the way to think about it is that the Resolution says what it says. What it does is it indicates to the world and to the Iraqis that the United Nations is unanimously determined to see that Iraq is disarmed. It is not for the United Nations to prove they are disarmed, it is up to Iraq to demonstrate that they do not have weapons of mass destruction or if they do that they're perfectly willing to give them up and have them destroyed.

I have no idea how Iraq will answer the declaration, and until one sees that, it's not possible to know what the United Nations or the President of the United States might feel about that.

But I do know this. The President is determined to see that Saddam Hussein is disarmed of weapons of mass destruction and doesn't pose a threat to his neighbors. He's determined to have the United Nations preferably, and if not, a coalition of the willing --and there are a large number of countries that have already indicated that they're perfectly willing to participate.

Now what is the choice that he has? He has the choice of leaving the country if he wishes to. He has the choice of admitting that he has weapons of mass destruction and he's willing to destroy them. Or he has the choice of lying and pretending he doesn't, which we know he does.

Q: But in any which case, wouldn't that constitute in your view a breach of the Resolution and therefore [a] trigger for war?

Rumsfeld: It's not up to me. It's up to the United Nations and the President and the members of the Security Council to make those judgments.

Q: Fine, but that sort of contradicts or undermines what you were saying earlier; the the UN... that it is not up to the UN to prove that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, the onus is on Iraq to prove that.

Rumsfeld: Uh huh.

Q: How can Iraq do that without the UN, without the inspectors?

Rumsfeld: All they have to do is to say here's what we have or don't have, and have the inspectors come in and take a look.

The only way inspections can work -- if you think of it, it's called the United Nations Monitoring [United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission]. It isn't a force. It isn't a military force. It isn't something that's supposed to go in and discover things. It is a... inspectors only work with a country that's cooperative.

So the issue is, at what point does the United Nations make a judgment that he is being cooperative or not cooperative?

Q: Right, but UNMOVIC also stands for verification. Will you allow the inspectors to, the time to verify, to go into this verification process after it declares what it has declared?

Rumsfeld: I have no idea what Iraq will do. When on the 8th or the 7th when they submit that, then the world will have an opportunity to say, 'Well, what do we think about that?' And after one can see that, you'll be able to make those kinds of judgments.

Q: The Resolution 1441 also calls for the UN to meet immediately upon receipt of that declaration and consider the situation. Why does the U.S. not require another resolution, in your view, to wage war against Iraq if it decides to do so?

Rumsfeld: Any country has the right to do anything, so I don't know what the meaning of your question is. But when the Resolution went in, it was very specific about the kinds of things that would indicate that Iraq was or was not cooperating, and I think the best thing to do is to wait and see what Iraq does. And then, of course, it's up to the individual member countries, our country and the other countries, to make a judgment as to what they wish to do.

Q: Let's talk a little bit about Iraq. Obviously, if an attack does take place, that begs the question of what happens next. How do you intend to go about putting a government together in Iraq? Do you have what you need to do that?

Rumsfeld: Assuming that force has to be used, or assuming that he decides to leave the country and there's no force but there's a vacuum, then the question is what ought that to be? It seems to me there are several things that are pretty clear, and then there are some things that need to be decided by others.

One thing that's clear is you want a country that does not have weapons of mass destruction. You want a single nation, not pieces of a nation. You want a country that's not a threat to its neighbors. You clearly want a nation that is respectful of the diversity in the north and the south and the central portion of the country, and respectful of individual rights and not repressive as it is. It's a terribly repressive regime.

Now, full stop. What else do you want? Well, in that country, it seems to me the Iraqis are going to have to make those judgments. If you think about what happened in Afghanistan, a Loya Jirga took place. They decided how they wanted to arrange and organize themselves, and one would think that within the principles that I've outlined, at that point that, it's over. Then the Iraqi people, and Iraqis from in the country and outside the country would have to find some way to fashion a government that provided order and discipline and the kinds of... of services that are necessary in a country.

Q: If Saddam's regime does fall, by whichever means that happens, that obviously will create a vacuum. Now, there is talk in Washington that a de-Baathification process might take place --

Rumsfeld: A what?

Q: De-Baathification. Do you feel that there is a group of people who can fill this vacuum if the ruling elite falls?

Rumsfeld: Oh, I'm sure there are. I'm certain there are people in the country and out of the country who are not war criminals and who haven't been repressing people and who haven't been involved in weapons of mass destruction and who cooperate. There have to be people. These are talented people. This is an energetic country. It's been repressed, it's had a vicious dictator for many many years now, but people want freedom basically, and I think they'd be willing to step forward and do that.

Q: How willing will they be to cooperate with a transitional, say a government, a U.S. military government, if that were in place--

Rumsfeld: Well, you saw what happened in Afghanistan. The people went out in the streets, and they were joyous and they had balloons and they played music and they welcomed the U.S. because everyone knows the United States doesn't want to occupy Iraq. We don't have any interest in occupying Afghanistan. We don't covet anybody else's land. They will feel freed, and I think it would be, there would be enormous cooperation. And it won't just be the United States. It would be a coalition of countries that would be involved in assisting that country after a collapse of the regime, however it might happen.

Q: But the opposition, is it fit, from what you see of it at the moment, to play a role to help the U.S. set up this new government. There's a lot of disunity within the Iraqi opposition. How credible is it?

Rumsfeld: I keep reading that. I don't know. I'd say it's ultimately it's going to be up to the Iraqi people who live in Iraq and the people from outside Iraq who fled Iraq to save their lives and to escape the regime, to sort through those kinds of things. There will have to be a process that does that. It won't be the United States that fashions a template and then presses it down and says this is what Iraq should have.

I would preface everything I've said, and follow everything I've said, with... You're leaping very far forward. There's been no decision to change that regime by the United Nations or by the President. I'm convinced it will change. I'm convinced that it will not be there after some period of time. How it will happen, I do not know. He may just decide tomorrow to leave the country.

Q: Hard to imagine, though.

When you talk about leaping forward, now how do you explain the leap from regime change, which is very much a policy that was set into the Iraqi Liberation Act and what comes in the 1441 Resolution which talks about disarmament of Iraq?

Rumsfeld: Well, the Congress of the United States passed legislation, as you point out, that calls for a regime change. And that's clearly the policy of the United States. That is based on the assumption, a couple of assumptions.

Number one, the assumption that's in the UN Resolution, namely, that it is dangerous for the world for a regime like Saddam Hussein to have weapons of mass destruction. And it's based on a second assumption in the case of the Congress and the United States, that... that regime has such a long record of ignoring UN Resolutions, that the only way you're likely to have the end of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is if that regime is gone. Now, time will tell.

Q: You've kept saying in the past that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.

Rumsfeld: They do.

Q: Now, if you know that they do, will that mean that... if Iraq sticks to its position which says they have none, will you then lay some evidence on the table of the Security Council, for example?

Rumsfeld: Well, you see that the task of proving that -- it's not on the United States, it's not on the United Nations. The responsibility is on Iraq to prove they do not have weapons of mass destruction. You've got it backwards.

Q: But if they keep saying they don't have anything, it's a vicious circle. What happens then?

Rumsfeld: Well, I guess I'll go back to my earlier response. That's for the President and the Security Council to make a judgment.

The United Nations.... First, Saddam Hussein is making a choice; no question. Is he going to continue to lie, or is he going to conclude that the game's up and I'm gone and he leaves? Or I'm going to stay and give up every weapon of mass destruction. That's the first choice that has to be made.

The second choice is the United Nations'. They've gone for better... you know, years and years and years now, with Saddam Hussein thumbing his nose at the United Nations and the international community, and totally ignoring 16 UN Resolutions. At this point, the United Nations is going to have to decide if it's going to be relevant; if it's going to be like a League of Nations and just become not relevant. That's an important turning point for the United Nations, and we'll see.

The President has been very clear that he hopes that the United Nations does decide to live up to the resolution and if it does, wonderful. If it doesn't, the President said he'll lead a coalition of countries to change that regime.

Q: I'll get to the coalition in a minute, but the latest statement we've heard coming out of the UN, specifically yesterday, and this Administration, suggests an increasing tug of war. On the one hand, the UN thinks it's so good so far, it's only been a week, and the U.S. Administration doesn't. What is your view? Have they been cooperative or not?

Rumsfeld: I don't think our Administration has said anything other than what President Bush said. And he said what he said, and the Secretary General of the United Nations said what he said. I suppose it's kind of like is the glass half full or half empty? There's clearly some pluses. The inspectors are back in. The only reason they're in is because of the threat of force, let there be no doubt of that. The Iraqis had prevented the inspectors from being in there.

Now, is what they're doing likely to produce any immediate information? I guess some people could say maybe yes, maybe no. My personal view is that history is a useful lesson in life, and the history of inspections in Iraq suggests that the useful information comes from Iraqis who defect, who leave the country and have knowledge, provide that knowledge to the inspectors in a way that the materials and the people cannot be moved and hidden, or killed prior to the time inspectors can get at it... and that is a very difficult thing to do if you have an uncooperative government. But it is a defector that will be getting them out with their families so they're safe, will very likely prove to be -- and that hasn't happened yet. In other words no one's been taken out yet.

Q: You don't seem to have much faith in the inspectors.

Rumsfeld: I do. Inspectors... I don't know how you draw that conclusion if you think of what I've said. I've said that inspections work fine, if the country decides they want to be inspected, and they've decided they don't want to have weapons of mass destruction, and their goal in life is to have the inspectors come in and prove to the world that they do not have them, or that if they have them, they're destroyed.

Now, my faithis ... You should have said, "You seem not to have a lot of faith in Saddam Hussein," in which case you would have been right. But I have perfect confidence in the inspectors as long as they're dealing with a cooperative country. Do you see the distinction?

Q: Of course, sir.

But let me just raise this point because I'm sure a lot of viewers think, "Okay why doesn't the U.S. Administration go after the likes of North Korea, who not only have the weapons, have admitted to having them." Today, they say that they will not allow the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] to go in and verify. Why wouldn't you take concrete steps against the likes of North Korea?

Rumsfeld: I guess the short answer is that the President has made a judgment that he wants to try to work with Russia and China and Japan and the Republic of Korea in the South, to see what kind of pressure can be put on the North so that they will discontinue their development of nuclear weapons which they're doing, let there be no doubt, and behaving in a way that makes them the single biggest proliferator of ballistic missiles on the face of the earth. He believes that a diplomatic approach in this case is worth trying. So he is.

Q: Why is Iraq so different? Does this present more of an imminent --

Rumsfeld: Ask the United Nations. Why would the United Nations have now 17 resolutions on Iraq, if it were not something that was distinctive?

Here's a country that has weapons of mass destruction, has used them on its neighbors, has used them on its own people, already demonstrated that it has them and it will use them, and you connect that with terrorists and the threats. They're paying money to terrorists right now. So it's a bad situation for the world, and that's why the United Nations stepped up and passed all these resolutions.

Q: But there must be an area of concern for the coalition that you're trying to build. For some countries, at least, the Arab countries... the idea of linkage. Is there a linkage? Is Saddam really trying to harbor terrorists? Does he help them?

Rumsfeld: There's no question there are terrorists in his country. But there are terrorists in a lot of countries. There are terrorists in this country, in the United States of America. We keep arresting them and he seems not to. There's a difference.

Q: In the coalition that you are trying to build, how --

Rumsfeld: It's coming very well. There are a good number of countries that -- we're talking to countries all across the globe. Some countries say look, we agree and we're there. Regardless of whether there's a second resolution from the United Nations, we're with you. Then there are those who say, 'We'd like a second resolution and if we get it, we're with you.' And then there are those that say, 'Well, we would be happy to help after it's over and participate in a coalition to have reconstruction and assist in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.' So people are in different categories, and there are a growing number of countries in the first two categories.

Q: When we look at Arab cooperation, how has it been, and how important is Saudi Arabia, in particular, to your coalition?

Rumsfeld: The cooperation in that part of the world is excellent, and it's not surprising. They know Saddam Hussein very well. He's not their favorite. He has threatened many of those regimes. He tries to call them illegitimate regimes. Not only the people of Iraq would be relieved, but the people in the region would be greatly relieved were he not there.

Q: Right, but I think some people take issue with the way he would be made to leave if the U.S. --

Rumsfeld: Everyone would prefer that he just leave tomorrow. War is your last choice. Everyone would prefer that he decide if he doesn't want to leave, that he'll open up to the inspectors and say here's what I've got, let's destroy them, I'm going to turn over a new leaf. That's everyone's first choice.

Q: Saudi Arabia, you say you have in general the region's cooperation, but Saudi Arabia in particular. You won't be using as many of the bases in case you do launch a war this time. You'll be relying more on Qatar. Does that suggest an Alliance shift, to a certain extent?

Rumsfeld: First of all, I think that it's best if each of those countries decides what they want to do. It's up to them; they're sovereign nations. How they want to be helpful. And then second, they can decide what they want to say about how they are being helpful.

As far as I'm concerned, we want the maximum amount of help. The way we get that, is by not insisting that every country do everything, or that every country announce publicly everything they are doing. My view is that we're better off with the maximum amount of help, and the way to get that is to allow them to characterize in their own words what they're doing. And I guess... people talked, when the global war on terrorism began, it was announced by President Bush after September 11th, as though we were alone. There are 90 nations involved in it. People love to say well, you're not going to get much help, and this country won't do this and that country won't do this, and they hear some parliamentarian in Germany saying something, and somebody else saying something, and they report it and -- Look at the news recently about one country saying maybe we'll do this or maybe we'll do that. We'll do this, we won't do that.

The truth is that the support we're receiving is very broad and very deep and ample to do the job.

Q: Some countries have obviously, concerns that if a strike does take place it may create a more unpleasant political atmosphere in the region. Turkey for one, for example. You're going to the region yourself in a couple of weeks. How would you talk to these concerns? How would you assuage their concerns? In terms that there not to be a Balkanization of Iraq, and spill over into --

Rumsfeld: There will not be a Balkanization of Iraq. It would not be good for the country, it would not be good for the region.

Q: How can you be confident that that won't happen?

Rumsfeld: Well, you would have that as a first principle, which has been stated by the President, stated by me. Coalition nations that would be participating would agree with that. And there wouldn't be any debate or doubt about it.

Q: Turkey. It's unclear as to... Mr Wolfowitz is in Ankara. But it's unclear to what extent they are willing to cooperate.

Rumsfeld: It is not as unclear as the press would play it.

Q: What is that cooperation going to be like? Will they allow ground troops?

Rumsfeld: They will announce what cooperation they decide and when they want to announce it and the way they want to announce it.

Q: There's lots more to talk about. We haven't finished yet.

Rumsfeld: Okay.

Q: Just giving you a little break. Again, hypothetically you're going to tell me, but in case the U.S. does lead, let's call it a campaign to disarm Iraq militarily. Is the U.S. ready today to do so?

Rumsfeld: If Saddam Hussein did something today that caused a coalition of countries to initiate that conflict, we could initiate and complete it, and let there be no doubt we would complete it.

Q: It's all a matter of buying time with the inspectors.

Rumsfeld: In the perfect world, you might say to yourself, 'Well, I'd like to have this done first or that done first.' But if he does anything that causes it to start, we're perfectly capable of getting on and finishing it.

Q: There has been some tension over the no-fly zones. But to --

Rumsfeld: For years.

Q: But more recently, you seem to suggest that it does constitute some sort of material breach. What --

Rumsfeld: I thought the Resolution mentioned the fact of interfering with these types of things.

Q: The UN Resolutions, all of them, including 1441, does not mandate the no-fly zone. That's the statement made by Kofi Annan.

Rumsfeld: Right.

Q: That they would not --

Rumsfeld: There are some people in the United Nations who have said that they would not consider shooting at a coalition aircraft in the North or the South as a material breach. That is perfectly proper for anyone to have their own judgment on these things. There is not a list of things that constitute material breaches. So each country is going to have to make that judgment, and each country will decide to vote or veto based on their assessment of the various things that have occurred; the pattern of behavior on the part of Saddam Hussein.

Obviously some things are more egregious than others. But I am, as Secretary of Defense and one who sees these pilots and crews flying for the sole reason -- not because we want to fly there, but because Saddam Hussein has gone down and tried to kill Shia in the South. He's gone up North and he's uses gas against the Kurds in the North. The no-fly zones have been set up and are being flown by coalition aircraft to try to keep Saddam Hussein from killing additional people in the North and the South, or invading Kuwait again or invading Saudi Arabia.

Now, is that a good thing to do? We think so; it's the right thing to do. Do we like having our planes shot at? No. I don't like having our people shot at anywhere on the face of the earth. And the fact that someone pops up and says, 'Well, that's not a real problem for me.' They can say that. It is a real problem for me.

Q: You have a tough job, Mr. Secretary, obviously.

Rumsfeld: [Laughter]

Q: Leading the Pentagon at this critical juncture with a looming war over Iraq. How would you view the image of the U.S. to be? Why is it viewed with such -- disdain on some occasions, it's seen as being too arrogant. Are you doing anything to soften that image?

Rumsfeld: Yeah. Well, you know, there's two ways to look at it.

First of all, I don't agree with your statement that the United States is viewed that way. There's a lot of evidence of that. The refugees are pouring back into Afghanistan. Why are they doing that? They're doing that because the Taliban and the al Qaeda have been thrown out, and they're doing it with joy. They're doing it because they're voting with their feet. That it's better there than where they were and they're grateful and appreciative. That's not disdain; that's appreciation.

Second, look at the immigration in this country. There are people from all over the world trying to come to this country from every part of the globe. Why? Because they read about the United States, they hear about the United States, they see the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the opportunity to make a living and support a family. It is an important aspect of what's happening in the world today.

I personally am convinced that there is great feeling for the principles that our country believes in. The one thing I will say, any time you're large and visible, somebody is not going to like you. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people being taught in schools that the West, Western culture, the United States as the symbol of Western culture, is somehow harmful to their religion. I would say that that teaching is what's harmful to their religion. Not the United States.

Q: Do you see a real problem between Islam --

Voice: We need to do a tape change.

(Pause - changing tape)

Q: -- raging here in the States that Islam is the enemy of the U.S.?

Rumsfeld: It isn't.

Q: [inaudible]

Rumsfeld: You really keep at it, don't you? You just go --

Q: You made me jump too far ahead because you weren't letting me go back...

Rumsfeld: Is that right?

Q: You made me feel that it was too much in the same direction.

Rumsfeld: Oh, no. Stand your ground.

Q: I'll com back to it..

Rumsfeld: All right.

(Tape rolling)

Q: Mr. Secretary, the debate about, in the States, nowadays about Islam being the enemy of the United States. What's your view? And isn't that playing into the hands of the extremists?

Rumsfeld: It's the extremists that are saying it. It isn't playing into their hands. They're the ones promoting the lie, and it is a lie. Think of what the United States has done. The United States went in and saved Kuwait from an invasion, and protected Saudi Arabia. It... in the Balkans and Bosnia and Kosovo when there was ethnic cleansing going on, Moslems were being killed. The United States went in and helped.

Afghanistan is a Moslem country. The United States went in and threw out people that were repressing that nation.

The United States is a country of freedom. To have any religion you want. You can say what you want and go where you want and do what you want and we are not against any religion on the face of the earth.

We are against extremism and we are against fanaticism and we are against killing innocent men, women and children. And proud of it. And determined about it, to not let it happen.

Q: Are you concerned, though, that some of the anti-American feelings on the rise in parts of the Middle East have U.S. resentments, that much of it which stems from the U.S. forces being stationed in the Gulf. Are you concerned that is in Saudi Arabia, it might be Qatar tomorrow. That could create new bin Ladens in the future?

Rumsfeld: That's an interesting question.

Here's bin Laden. He's a wealthy person. His father's a billionaire and he had all the education and all anything he wanted. He wasn't created by that. The fact that the Saudis and Kuwaitis and other countries have asked us to post forces in their countries is because they were frightened of Saddam Hussein. Because they don't want to be invaded. They don't want to be taken over. And then you say mightn't that cause something?

It's a non sequitur. It isn't what causes things. What causes things are schools that teach people that the important thing in life is to get up in the morning and go out and try to kill people of another religion, or another part of the world, and that that is what they must do. And then pay people to do that. And then reward their families when they do go out and engage in terrorist acts.

I just think that a great many of these people are prominent, they're well-educated, and they're terrorists... that's what they are.

Q: We've seen, Mr. Secretary, the breeding grounds of extremism is failed states. You see the tragedy in Afghanistan. Is the U.S. willing to do more? Even now with Afghanistan, since is so fragile that... [inaudible] to help them built themselves?

Rumsfeld: We are shifting much of the security assistance over to humanitarian aid, and civil works, and building roads and schools and health facilities and the like. It is important that they do that.

The United States is doing more than any country on the face of the earth in Afghanistan. A lot of countries are not participating. A lot of countries have not helped as much as they have said they would help.

We need help from other countries, of all types all across the globe, but we are clearly leading a humanitarian effort in that country and you're quite right, it's important that we do.

Q: What might the Rumsfeld doctrine be? Will we see it anytime soon?

Rumsfeld: Rumsfeld doctrine? You mean a Bush doctrine.

Q: No, a Rumsfeld doctrine. Maybe with Iraq. Powell has the overwhelming force doctrine. What would --

Rumsfeld: I guess I would say that if you're going to put people's lives at risk, your country's or other people's, you have to have a darn good reason. And there's no question but that President Bush has made a judgment and the United Nations has unanimously agreed that what's going on in that part of the world is a danger to the world and it's a danger of such significance, and such lethality and danger, that we really have to see that the danger is eliminated.

Q: And do you think the message is going across the way it needs to be? The U.S. message...

Rumsfeld: Never.

Q: You talk of values, and it's true people do share your values, but why is it not coming across the way it should?

Rumsfeld: Well, I guess because human beings are imperfect and it's hard to do, and we have a free press, and people can say whatever they want, and they do. The amazing thing to me is that Saddam Hussein can get up and lie day after day after day, and television and newspapers keep repeating what he says.

We'll go in and bomb a Spoon Rest [military surface-to-air anti-aircraft] radar, and he will announce that we've killed innocent civilians, and it's a lie. He knows it's a lie, and we know it's a lie, and the press knows that he's lied every day for the past 11 years. And yet they carry it -- Baghdad says we've killed innocent civilians, even though it's a lie. They should say... the press should say don't forget Saddam Hussein lies and has lied repeatedly, and he puts these things into places where civilians should be -- where you can't shoot them because the civilians are around. I think the world ought to be better informed, and we all have to try to do a better job of doing that. It takes the media, and it takes the governments, and it takes individuals citizens to get better informed.

Q: Finally, if I may, how does it compare being at the Pentagon today as opposed to --

Rumsfeld: It's so different. Today we have 24-hour news seven days a week, and there are constantly things that are happening all across the globe. And normally in the old days, you would have known about it three days later, and it would have been old news. Today, every little thing that happens somebody wants to know about. It's quite different.

Q: And for you personally?

Rumsfeld: Well, I'm enjoying it, I must say. I care deeply about our country, and I care about the values of our country, and having an opportunity to serve our country at a time of such difficulty is something that I'm proud to be able to do.

Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, thank you so much.

Rumsfeld: Thank you.

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