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January 18, 2005

Another Question For Lyin' Donald Rumsfeld (Non-Funny)

Via The Poorman, I see that family members of soldiers killed in Iraq are going to try to meet with Donald Rumsfeld tomorrow. They have some questions for him:

a.. Why were our loved ones sent to war in the first place, given that there was no threat to the U.S. from Iraq?
b.. When they were sent, why were they not supplied with proper training, planning, armor or equipment?
c.. How did our loved ones die?
d.. Why are there troops in Iraq who still lack the proper training, armor and equipment; and what are the plans for immediately furnishing them with these items?
e.. What are the plans for ending the war and bringing the troops home?

These are all excellent things to ask. But I have questions that should be added to this list:

Secretary Rumsfeld:

On November 14, 2002, during an interview with CBS Radio, you stated that UN inspectors found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 1995. You further stated this occurred because they received information from Iraqi defectors, and that this demonstrated UN inspectors could only find hidden WMD with the help of such defectors. As you said, the significance of this episode was it indicated that in 2002 Iraq could be hiding WMD, but without the assistance of defectors the UN would never find them.

In reality, the UN did not find WMD in Iraq in 1995. Indeed, no WMD were found in Iraq after 1991. Moreover, the defectors to whom you referred -- including Husayn Kamil, Saddam's son-in-law and the head of Iraq's WMD programs before 1991 -- could not have told the UN that Iraq still had WMD. This is because Kamel told the UN and CIA that Iraq had no WMD -- and hadn't since 1991.

This was basic information about the WMD issue. Indeed, much of it was publicly available on the UN website.

Therefore, our questions to you are these:

Why did you make this obviously false claim? Were you lying, or are you incompetent? Furthermore, why did you not inform CBS's listeners that the sources you cited actually had said Iraq had no WMD whatsoever?


Secretary Rumsfeld Live Interview With Infinity CBS Radio, November 14, 2002

Kroft: U.N. weapons inspectors are preparing to go to Iraq very shortly and begin searching for evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. What do you expect them to find, and what happens if they don't find anything? Is Saddam Hussein off the hook?

Rumsfeld: Well, we know that Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons. And we know he has an active program for the development of nuclear weapons. I suppose what it would prove would be that the inspections process had been successfully defeated by the Iraqis if they find nothing. That's what one would know if that turned out to be the case...

They have dispersed these things throughout the country, they've got so many underground facilities, they have things that are mobile, and the only way it will ever be found, in my view, effectively is if you find people who have been involved in it who are willing to come and talk to you about it, and tell you where they are. The last time the inspectors were in, that's how it happened. Two sons in laws of Saddam Hussein defected, went into Jordan, and the word came out and they told where these inspectors could go look, they went and looked, and they found weapons of mass destruction.

The "sons in laws of Saddam Hussein" to whom Rumsfeld referred were Husayn Kamil and his brother Saddam Kamil. (They were both married to daughters of Saddam.) For general background on Husayn Kamil, see "Realizing Saddam’s Veiled WMD Intent" in the "Regime Strategic Intent" section of Volume I of the Comprehensive Findings of the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (also known as the "Duelfer Report," released September 30, 2004).

For public information on UNSCOM inspections during the nineties, see official UN chronology. Note no WMD were located in Iraq after 1991. Note further the statement that Kamil's 1995 defection led to Iraq providing "documentation" about Iraq's pre-91 WMD programs, but no weapons of any kind.

For background on Husayn Kamil's defection, see this briefing paper by Cambridge professor and Iraq expert Glen Rangwala. The paper includes a link to the notes from Kamil's UN debriefing, which includes Kamil's statement that "All weapons -- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear were destroyed."

For further background on Kamil, including the decision to "hush up" his statements that Iraq had no WMD, see this Newsweek story. (The Newsweek story was published before the Iraq invasion.)

Taken together, the information available to anyone -- not just a Secretary of Defense, but anyone with an internet connection -- showed that Rumsfeld's statement was false in its specifics, and in its implications. Rumsfeld could honestly have used the Kamil story to argue that Iraq might still, in 2002, be hiding documentation about its pre-91 programs; ie, pieces of paper about WMD programs that had ended 11 years previously. However, it was glaringly dishonest to claim the Kamil story indicated Iraq still had weapons -- particularly since Kamil had said precisely the opposite.

Posted at January 18, 2005 08:41 PM | TrackBack

It is only acceptable for loved ones of killed American soldiers to speak at events such as the inauguration of presidents. It is not acceptable for them to question the value of their loved one's contribution, nor its purpose. Since the President has declared that more sacrifices will need to be made, it is unacceptable to question how much sacrifice, or in what form it will take.

Loved ones of killed American soldiers will restrict their comments and opinions to the subject of mourning only, please.

Posted by: Alexis at January 19, 2005 02:44 PM

g*d love those bereaved family members for confronting rummy, but really, what will come of it?

does anyone think he has less than decades of experience being a lying f*cker to get what he wants?

he'll schmooze and lie and pretend to care deeply, and move on. and that afternoon he won't be the least troubled by these folks' grief and need for answers and his lies rather than answers, and the plan for more lies and coverup and deaths.

it might be useful to rhetorically ask other people these questions, to increase awareness and thinking and honest-to-goodness journalism. but to ask a reprobate liar seems fruitless.

Posted by: jerry at January 19, 2005 03:18 PM