Monday, September 23, 2002
(Interview with Tomasz Lis, TVN/TVN 24. The interview was aired on TVN and TVN 24 during its prime time newscast. Although Secretary Rumsfeld and Tomasz Lis both spoke in English, the entire interview was voiced over into Polish. This transcript is based on the Polish translation.)
Lead in by Lis: Donald Rumsfeld is one of the strongest advocates of a hard line toward Iraq. To a great extent is depends on him if, how and when there will be war with Iraq. A few hours ago I spoke with him. Here are some fragments.
Lis: before I go to Iraq - sort of - I would like to ask you if you are pleased with the results of the German election and the victory of Chancellor Schroeder, who in many ways brought German American relations to a low point.
Rumsfeld: I don't have an opinion about the outcome.
Lis: None at all?
Rumsfeld: About the outcome?
Lis: About Chancellor Schroeder? Are you happy about the SPD victory?
Rumsfeld: I have no opinion about it. That is for the German people to decide.
Lis: What do you think when you hear about the German justice minister comparing President Bush to Hitler?
Rumsfeld: I think it is disgraceful.
Lis: Just that? What influence will it have on the German-American relationship?
Rumsfeld: Well, as the White House says, it has the effect of poisoning.
Lis: And how long will it take to rebuild?
Rumsfeld: I suppose that depends on people's behavior.
Lis: Should they correct themselves?
Rumsfeld: That's not for me to say?
Lis: Yesterday you said that the President had not made a decision about if or when he would attack Iraq.
Rumsfeld: I thought I was quite clear. The President has made a decision that something must be done. That's why he went to the United Nations and said that Iraq has systematically violated 16 resolutions of that body and that if they want to be relevant and have a role in the world it can't do nothing.
Lis: Probably Saddam Hussein is not going to comply with U.S. demands and UN resolutions, but it may take months or at least weeks to have the proof to make it obvious that he does not want to comply with demands and resolutions. How long can you wait?
Rumsfeld: Well that's not for me. That is a decision for the UN, the American Congress and the President.
Lis: And the UN, if they don't agree on new resolutions, are you willing to act unilaterally?
Rumsfeld: My impression is that they are discussing resolutions right now.
Lis: But you know its like when you take into considerations the Chinese, Russians and the French are not enthusiastic about . . .
Rumsfeld: it is interesting to me that the media is fixed on the countries that do not agree instead of all the countries that do agree.
Lis: There are five members of the Security Council. Two are supporting and three are rather against. Let's say, not supporting the resolutions.
Rumsfeld: Time will tell. The President just began this process. When he addressed the United Nations, he took the first step. It sometimes sound like the United States stands alone. That's just not true.
Lis: I guess Newsweek Magazine called you the American hawk in chief . . .
Rumsfeld: Oh, now that's silly.
Lis: You don't agree?
Rumsfeld: I am appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. My task is to follow the policies of the President and that's what I do.