Tag Archives: Donald Rumsfeld

Old men who send young men to war

Maureen Down in the NY Times today looked upon Donald Rumsfeld and found it distasteful. As she should.

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Rumsfeld asked for a comprehensive report on the weapons intel. From Down today we learn this:

“Major Gen. Glen Shaffer, then the director for intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense, responding to Rummy’s request to know the “unknowns” about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, wrote “We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program.” Schaffer wrote. 

“Our assessments rely heavily on analytic assumptions and judgment rather than hard evidence,” the report said. “The evidentiary base is particularly sparse for Iraqi nuclear programs.”

It added: “We don’t know with any precision how much we don’t know.” And continued: “We do not know if they have purchased, or attempted to purchase, a nuclear weapon. We do not know with confidence the location of any nuclear weapon-related facilities. Our knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program is based largely — perhaps 90% — on analysis of imprecise intelligence.”

On biological weapons: “We cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi facilities that produce, test, fill, or store biological weapons,” the report said, adding: “We believe Iraq has 7 mobile BW agent production plants but cannot locate them … our knowledge of how and where they are produced is probably up to 90% incomplete.

On chemical weapons: “We cannot confirm the identity of any Iraqi sites that produce final chemical agent.” And on ballistic missile programs they had “little missile-specific data.”

DOWD added: “Somehow that was twisted into “a slam-dunk.” You go to war with the army you have, but the facts you want.”

Don’t bother me with details dammit!

Shock n' Awe! This is more fun than those boring old weapons inspections!

Bush Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has a book to sell, so he’s left his hidey-hole to appear on the teevee again and tell us all about the Iraq War.
The Washington Post Fact Checker took issue with this exchange last week on Good Morning America:

George Stephanopoulos: “But you had inspectors in the country [Iraq]. Why was it necessary to invade–”
Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld: Saddam Hussein “had thrown them out about the second or third or fourth time.”

Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the timeline as we marched into Iraq knows that Mr. Rumsfeld is lying here. (I could say ‘obfuscating’ or ‘fabricating’ or ‘dissembling’ – I believe these are the words our media prefer, ‘lying’ being so, well, so succinct. So it’s just not done my dear – unless of course you’re Rep. Joe Wilson and then you can call  the President of the United States a liar in front of the whole world.)

Or maybe the old fellow really doesn’t know what happened in that war he led.

From the Fact Checker:

2002-2003 inspections

The departure of the inspectors in 2003 is much more clear-cut: They wanted to keep looking for weapons of mass destruction and reported that Iraq was showing increasing cooperation. But the Bush administration clearly had its own timetable for military action.

From November 2002 through February 2003, the inspection teams conducted more than 760 inspections of 500 sites. Hans Blix, who headed what had been renamed UNMOVIC, reported there was no evidence of active chemical or biological weapons programs or stockpiles.

The IAEA reported no evidence of any kind of reconstituted nuclear weapons program. In a March 2003 appearance before the Security Council, then-IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei (now active in the Egyptian protests) went even further, directly disputing key pieces of evidence that the American administration had touted in its case for war.

Blix, in his memoir “Disarming Iraq,” notes that in early March he began getting warnings from senior U.S. and British officials about the safety of the inspectors. Then the company that supplied helicopters for the teams withdrew its equipment from Iraq.

The inspections ended quickly. On March 17, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the inspectors would be withdrawn. A day later, they left the country. On March 19, the U.S.-led invasion began, without explicit authority from the Security Council. (The Arms Control Association has another timeline, while the Congressional Research Service has an excellent report on the inspections.)

No weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq.