Preemtive Attack
On Inspections

February 24, 2002
Face The Nation
[link to source]

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, if you think about it, go back to when we did have inspectors in there, which is years ago. When they were there they had an enormously difficult time finding anything.

Under the rules and restrictions that were imposed on them by Iraq, the only real information they got was not by scooping around on the ground finding things and discovering things, because they were able to move them, hide them underground, lie about them, not allow them to go in, wait long periods before they could go in. It would be – you could put inspectors all over that place and it would be very difficult to find anything.

Osama bin Laden
“The Ultimate Parasite”

March 13, 2002
White House Press Room
[link to source]

REPORTER: Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Deep in your heart, don’t you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won’t really eliminate the threat of--

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, deep in my heart I know the man’s on the run if he’s alive at all. And I – you know, who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not. We haven’t heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is – really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. And he’s just – he’s a person who’s now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He’s the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He has – you know, as I mentioned in my speech – that I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who’s willing to commit youngsters to their death and he himself tries to hide, if in fact he’s hiding at all. So I don’t know where he is. Nor do – you know, I just don’t spend that much time on him – really, to be honest with you.

Nuclear Evidence?

September 3, 2002
Pentagon Press Room
[link to source]

REPORTER: Vice President Cheney said last week that Iraq was once close to producing or obtaining nuclear weapons, and said that they’re getting close again. What evidence does the US have that Iraq, Saddam Hussein, may be getting close again to obtaining a nuclear weapon?

RUMSFELD: Oh, I think I’ll leave that for the coming days and weeks.

Connecting the Dots

September 8, 2002
Face The Nation
[link to source]

RUMSFELD: I was musing over the fact that there are so many books that have been written: “Why England Slept,” “Pearl Harbor: What Happened? Why Didn’t We Know?” Right now on Capitol Hill the members of the House and the Senate are trying to – are looking, having investigations on September 11 of last year and trying to connect the dots, as they say, trying to piece together what might have been known, and why didn’t we know it, and why weren’t we able to connect the dots. What the President is saying very simply to the world is: Let’s look at the dots today. Our task is not to connect the dots as to why England slept, or what happened with Pearl Harbor, or what happened on September 11th only. Our task is to connect the dots before the fact and see if we can’t behave in a way that there won’t be books written about why we slept or what happened.

Now, there’s a second thing about this. We know of certain knowledge that we know these things. We know them. We also know there’s a category of things we don’t know. And then we don’t even know a category of things that we don’t know.

“Anticipatory Self-Defense”

September 25, 2002
The NewsHour
[link to source]

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR CONDOLEEZZA RICE: The United States has always reserved the right to try and diminish or to try to eliminate a threat before it is attacked. It simply wouldn’t make sense to sit and wait to be attacked if you thought that you could eliminate a threat. Let me give you an example from the 1960’s. In 1962 we had the Cuban Missile Crisis. And the United States engaged in what is an act of war, that is a quarantine of Cuba, a blockade of Cuba, because there were missiles that were about to become operational against the United States. The Kennedy administration didn’t wait until there was an attack from Cuban soil against the United States. It simply doesn’t make sense to say that you have to wait. Now, to be sure, anticipatory self-defense or preemption has to be used carefully. One would want to have very good intelligence. You probably would have wanted to try a lot of other means before you moved to eliminate the threat in this way.

MARGARET WARNER: Because some would argue, certainly, that in the Cuban Missile Crisis the President did not go attack Cuba. He blockaded Cuba.

RICE: Well – Well, but a – a quarantine and a blockade is an act of war. And I’m quite certain that had someone run that blockade the United States would have been faced with another preventive decision. So the fact is that you don’t want to wait until a threat fully materializes if you can avoid having that happen.

“History Has Called Us”

September 26, 2002
Houston, Texas
[link to source]

PRESIDENT BUSH: It’s important for you to know the doctrine I laid out still stands: you’re either with us or you’re with the enemy. That’s clear. I will continue to make that clear.

Also, I want to remind you that that doctrine that says if you harbor a terrorist, if you feed one of them, you’re just as guilty as the killers. And I want you also to remind your youngsters about what this nation did in Afghanistan. Not only did we do what we said we were going to do, which is, I think, important in life, but we sent our troops in, not to conquer anybody, but to liberate people. We freed a country from the clutches.

I also have made it clear that Saddam Hussein must disarm. There’s no negotiations. Those ended a long time ago. There’s no need for us to try to sit down at a table. There’s no discussion to be had. He’s got chemical weapons. He needs to get rid of them, all of them. He’s got biological weapons. He needs to destroy all of them. There’s no doubt in my mind he wants to have a nuclear weapon and he’s got some capacity. I’m not saying he’s got one yet. But he’s developing the capacity as we learned right after Desert Storm. He needs to get rid of it. No discussion. No debate. No negotiation. The burden of proof is on Saddam Hussein.

This is an American issue, a uniquely American issue. And as I reminded the members that – I say uniquely American issue because I truly believe that now that the war has changed, now that we’re a battlefield, this man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined. Other countries, of course, bear the same risk. But there’s no doubt his hatred is mainly directed at us. There’s no doubt he can’t stand us. After all, this is the guy that tried to kill my dad at one time.

I take my responsibilities seriously as the Commander in Chief. I want you to know I understand how serious it is to commit our troops. But I truly believe that history has called us and we’re going to have to act if he doesn’t do what he’s expected to do. And when we do, we’ll be swift, and strong. If we have to, we’ll win. And the world is more likely to be at peace after it happens.

Iraq Invites Inspectors
to Return

September 30, 2002
Pentagon Press Room
[link to source]

RUMSFELD: Two weeks ago Iraq sent a letter to the UN promising to, quote, “Allow the return of United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions.” Unquote. The letter declared that Iraq, quote, “Based its decision concerning the return of inspectors on its desire to complete the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, and to remove any doubts that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction.” Unquote. Hopeful people around the world found solace in those words. Unfortunately, Iraq’s behavior over the past decade requires that thoughtful people measure Iraq by its actions as opposed to its words. Within hours of the arrival of that letter, Iraq was again firing at US and coalition aircraft patrolling the northern and southern no-fly zones.

REPORTER: Well, do we run the risk of being misled by people who would probably love to see us attack Iraq, degrade our resources, inflame the Muslim world, maybe drag Israel into this?

RUMSFELD: Would you say that again?

REPORTER: Don’t – Wouldn’t al-Qaeda love to–

RUMSFELD: That’s a pip.


RUMSFELD: That’s a pip. I’m trying to track it.

REPORTER: I saw a newspaper cartoon –

RUMSFELD: Wouldn’t al-Qaeda like to see us drawn into a war with Iraq to their advantage? Is that roughly it?

REPORTER: Yeah, I saw a newspaper cartoon this morning that said – had the President saying, “Won’t any world leader please support me in attacking

Iraq?” And then Osama bin Laden raised his hand. RUMSFELD: Yeah. Well, I don’t know how to respond to that. And I – it seems to me that there are all kinds of theories that people can fashion, like that. But what we have to do is keep driving back down to the facts. What are the facts? And we’ve attempted to communicate them. And we’ve been careful about what we’ve said. And what we’ve said has been exactly accurate.

Cold-Eyed Realists

October 24 – November 4, 2002
Congressional Campaign Rallies
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
[link to source]
Dallas, Texas [link to source]
Auburn, Alabama [link to source]
Charleston, West Virginia [link to source]

PRESIDENT BUSH: It’s important for all of us in elective office to be clear-eyed about the threats we face, to see the world exactly the way it is, not the way we wish it would be. In order to protect America from current threats and future threats, we’ve got to be cold-eyed realists. And that’s why I brought up the issue of Saddam Hussein. See, I view him as a serious threat to America.

It’s a man who has got connections with al-Qaeda. Imagine a terrorist network with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground. So that a Saddam Hussein could use this shadowy group of people to attack his enemy and leave no fingerprint behind.

It’s a different kind of war. In the old days you could count the number of tanks destroyed or ships that were sunk or airplanes shot out of the air and you say you’re making progress. This is a war where the leaders hide in a cave, or they kind of hide in a dark corner of one of these cities around the world, and then they send youngsters to their suicidal deaths.

They’re fanatics. They’re motivated out of hate. The only way to treat them is like they are, cold-blooded killers and run them down.

No, we’re not only – we’re not only a great nation militarily, we’re a great nation period. I want you to remind your youngsters that in the first theater of the first war of the 21st century, we went into an impoverished country, Afghanistan, not to conquer anybody, but to liberate people. We believe every life counts. Everybody’s precious. We understand freedom is not American given, it is God given. And we believe in freedom for all people.

Oil is Fungible

January 7, 2003
Pentagon Press Room
[link to source]

RUMSFELD: There’s been a lot of musing about this having something to do with oil. It doesn’t. I know people have trouble believing that. But I am convinced that oil is a commodity. I’m convinced that it’s fungible and what happens in – if people have it they’re going to want to sell it. And the problem with Iraq is not oil. The problem with Iraq is chemical and biological weapons today, and the danger of nuclear weapons tomorrow. And that is the problem. Now, would the assets of that country be important for the recovery of that country? You bet.

Shoulder the Burden

February 18, 2003
White House Press Room
[link to source]

REPORTER: If the US does not get a second resolution, does the President believe that US tax payers will disproportionately bear the burden of the reconstruction costs in Iraq?

PRESS SECRETARY ARI FLEISCHER: Well the reconstruction costs remain a very – issue for the future. And Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction.

“Not Finding Much”

February 20, 2003
The NewsHour
[link to source]

JIM LEHRER: Do you feel that just having this large force, that you outlined in general terms, is a momentum for war in and of itself? Just because they’re there they must be used?

RUMSFELD: No, I don’t. What I think of them as– Saddam Hussein was ignoring the United Nations for the past period of years. Saddam Hussein is not ignoring the United Nations today. He’s not cooperating, but he’s not ignoring them. Inspectors are back in there. They’re not being cooperated with so they’re not finding much. But the only reason Saddam Hussein has changed at all is because of the flow of forces and the threat of force.

Fresh Lies

March 5, 2003
Center for Strategic and
International Studies
[link to source]

SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL: Chief UN Inspector Blix and International Atomic Energy head ElBaradei both told the council on December 19th that there was not much new in that Iraqi declaration and we shouldn’t have been surprised. Indeed, the 12,000 page document that they tried to pass off as the whole truth was nothing but a rehash of old and discredited material, with some new lies thrown in for good measure to make it look fresh, fresh lies on top of the old lies. It repeated the biggest lie of all, the claim that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, thereby setting the stage for further deception of the inspectors as they went about their business.



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