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Secretary Rumsfeld Hill Stakeout with Gen. Keane

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
July 23, 2003

(Hill Stakeout with Gen. John Keane, Acting Chief of Staff of the Army)

Reporter: Classified briefing with all the members of the House, with the Secretary, with General Myers and General Keane and there was a very strong support for the Secretary. The mood of the House was that we must persevere and we must have patience. And the Secretary will take a couple of questions, he wore us out with a long detailed answers to all the questions that members had and every single member who had a question had an opportunity to ask it of the Secretary.

So lets take 3 questions.

Rumsfeld: General Jack Keane is the Vice Chief of Staff for the United States Army is here with us.

Q: Mr. Secretary has any decision been made about the pictures of the sons and releasing those and when and where?

Rumsfeld: There will be pictures released.

Q: When?

Rumsfeld: We haven’t decided.

Q: soon?

Rumsfeld: [Laughter].

What’s soon?

Q: Today?

Rumsfeld: Not today.

Reporter: That’s two questions. [Laughter].

Q: Why the delay?

Rumsfeld: Well it isn’t a delay. The event was yesterday as I recall and it was in Mosul and the bodies were taken to Baghdad. And they were identified and today is today and I said soon. Now really.

Q: Mr. Secretary you met with a bunch of members of Congress who represent a lot of folks back home who have sons and daughters over in Kuwait. Do you feel a fair amount of pressure for getting folks home from Iraq and the rotation situation? Were you personally (inaudible) members of Congress about their (inaudible)?

Rumsfeld: Well General Keane has been working with us on the force rotation policy and he might want to comment on that.

Gen. Keane: Sure I’ll be glad to.

We’ve established a 12-month rotation policy for Iraq and first in is first out, so the 3rd Infantry Division of the United States Army is coming out in August and September. The remaining Marine Division is coming out in the same time frame and then the other units that are currently there will spend a 12-month tour and be replaced by other Army units as well as coalition divisions.

Reporter: Last question.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Rumsfeld: The task of the Commanders on the ground is to do their job and their job is been without any ambiguity at all to try to seek out, find and capture or kill the senior leadership from Iraq.

If a person is determined to fight to the death than they may very well have that opportunity. It was not a choice that the United States or the Coalition made it was a choice that the people inside that building made.

Gen. Keane: One other fact on that. From the briefing as I recall was given this morning, those two individuals were killed only after three American soldiers had been wounded. So this was done after Americans had taken fairly substantial casualties from them – they returned fire.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Rumsfeld: I don’t have anything to say on that.

Thanks a lot folks – appreciate it.