Rumsfeld, WMDs, "truthiness": Someone come defend the whacked bastard

This article has some interesting reporting about our most honorable Secretary of War, er I mean Defense.

Once upon a time, Mr. Rumsfeld made the following remarks, according to official Pentagon transcripts:

Fast forward to last week.

More gems from the article:

Mr. Rumsfeld at one point was convinced that the Iraq people would greet the invading coaltion with open arms…

Ah, but 6 months or so after that he said:

He does indeed look like somebody else. Not sure who, but clearly someone else.

The article has several more examples. The pattern of behavior–Mr. Rumsfeld apparently looking like someone else–is consistent.

Anyway, what’s the big deal, hmm? Is he just off his nut? After all, his previous remarks are on the record. Does he think his persistent mendacity isn’t going to be noticed by anybody?

Or is the truthiness of his earlier remarks ambiguous enough for his currrent versions to be deemed semi-correct, at least sufficiently so to meet the exalted standards of the present administration?

Is there anybody left who thinks that truth and reliable honesty are admirable qualities in a Secretary of Defense?

Yes, “truthiness” is my new favorite word. Sorry about that.

Mr. Rumsfeld, I hearby pit thee; I damn thee to the special level of hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk at the theater. May you roast in peace: here now, and there later.

It’s just a misunderstanding. You’re getting confused by the Liberal Media.

As far as the “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”, he’s obviously referring to American troops, not WMDs.

The reporter said “Before the war in Iraq, you stated the case very eloquently, and you said … they would welcome us with open arms”. However, Rumsfeld said, “There is no question but that they would be welcomed”.

Where in Rumsfeld’s statement do you see anything about “open arms”? Nowhere.

Don’t worry, John, I’ve got this one covered.


This stuff is par for the course for Rumsfeld. And it’s actually pretty good strategy, because when he makes these denials he sounds very confident and sure of himself, and by the time they are exposed as out-and-out lies, everyone has moved on and no-one seems to care anymore.

I started a thread over two years ago about a similar incident, where he got caught out right there on the spot.

The video linked in my OP seems no longer to be available, but i did manage to find another copy here (warning: direct link to wmv video file).

Hey, he’s getting up in years. He forgets things. Jeez.

It’s not Rumsfeld’s fault that reality has a well-known liberal bias.

OK, I’ll defend him (on the first item).

First of all, how many of us could remember the exact words we used 3 years ago when speaking to someone? Isn’t that about the time lapse we’re talking about here? I guess you could argue that he should say he doesn’t remember saying those things rather than forcefully denying them. Somehow, though, I suspect that wouldn’t satisfy the OP.

On item #1, though, I think it’s a bit of a quibble to bitch about saying “sites” vs “suspected sites”. It’s kind of like when we talk about a crime and don’t always say “alleged”, even if the jury hasn’t convicted the guy yet. It’s basically implied. And it was the official position of the Bush administration that we “knew” (ie, strongly suspected) where we’d find caches of WMDs, wasn’t it? So, yeah, technically this is “gotcha”, but it doesn’t exactly resonate. He didn’t remember that 3 years ago he said “sites” instead of “suspected sites”. I just can’t get too worked up over that.

But I don’t understand why he’d deny saying the second thing. We were welcomed by the majority of the Iraqis. They just didn’t like what we did staying on as occupiers. He seemed to be way too defensive. Almost like someone who is so ready to lie (or deny) that he even does so when there’s no reason to! And this is something I think he should’ve remembered saying after 3 years-- or at least remember having said something like it.

I do have to say, though, that my bitch with Rumsfeld is how he executed this war, not these little “gotchas”. I don’t remember how gung-ho he was in the lead up, and whether or not he was banging the war drums with Cheney et al, but it was his job to run the war. And waaaaaaaaay too many mistakes have been made. He should’ve been booted out long ago.

Bah! Like the Great Man himself once said:

So, that was simply a “known unknown”

Sunday, March 30, 2003 - 11:30 A.M. EST
Secretary Rumsfeld Remarks on ABC “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”

That’s right. For the purposes of illegally invading a country and killing thousands of its citizens, “suspected” and “known” are exactly the same thing.

I suspect – based on pure bullshit-- that John Mace has illegal weapons in his house; let’s go in guns blazing. No doubt anyone left alive after the raid wilol greet us with hugs and flowers.

Strictly a semantical issue.

The invasion was legal. You can say it was illegal as much as you like, but simply isn’t so.

But that’s not the point. We didn’t need to know where the WMDs were to suspect that Saddam had them. Remember, most of us thought he most likely had some WMDs somewhere. We (folks like you and I) just didn’t think it was worth going to war over. So, I 'll say it once again. The fact that Rumsfeld couldn’t remember having said “sites” instead of “suspected sites” 3 years ago get’s a resounding “Meh” from me.

Don’t mistake that for general support of Rumsfeld. I never much liked the guy, and like him even less since this whole Iraq mess. But the OP put up a challenge, and I accepted. So far, you haven’t effectively rebutted my defense of item #1.

War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal

Too right.

Oh. My. God.
That sounds eerily like Nixon’s

“I know you think you understand what you think I said…”

I can’t remember the rest, it makes my brain hurt.

Rummy’s an abomination.

I don’t think that’s the quibble we’re talking about. Rumsfield said they knew where the WMDs are, and he wasn’t the only one. Much was made about them knowing about Saddam’s WMDs, what and where they were, etc. They didn’t just suspect, they knew. It’s not just quibbling to distinguish between them, because the case for war was based on these WMDs that the Bush Administration knew about. Yes, everyone including me suspected that Saddam has some moldering piles of old chemical weapons. But suspicions aren’t sufficient cause to war, and Bush and Rumsfield insisted they weren’t just suspicions, but in fact rose to the level of knowledge. For Rumsfield to now say “I never said we knew where the WMDs are, we just has a list of suspect cites,” is certainly worth pitting. It’s roughly akin to the leader of a lynch mob saying before the lynching “We know this guy did it,” and afterwards saying “Well I never said we knew he did it, just that we suspected it.” Even if it weren’t a complete lie about what he said, it would undermine his realpolitik defense for the lynching.

So frankly Rumsfield loses either way. If we support your interpretation (Rumsfield never claimed knowledge of WMDs, only suspicions) then he never established any reasonable basis for going to war. If we take the Administration’s case for war at face value, on the other hand, Rummy is lying through his teeth now. Or, and this is my preferred take on the matter, Rummy was lying through his teeth then about what he knew, and is lying through his teeth now about what he said then.

Well, I can list 77 US Senators who disagree with him-- 29 of them Democrats.

But as I said earlier, the legality or illegality of the war isn’t central the point I made about giving Rumsfeld a pass on the misstatement about “sites” vs “suspected sites”.

Either Rumsefeld was lying then, or he is lying now, or he lied both times, or he is just too senile to remember anything. No matter which explanation, his own words render him unfit for public office.

I’ve been hearing a steady flow of lies from all the people at the top of this administration for years – going back to the 1990’s in the case of GWB. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have all shown a pattern of making definite statements on important matters, then later denying that they said them. I think I got outrage fatigue a long time ago.

I wish there really were a liberal media, because then maybe somebody besides the occasional gutsy soldier or audience member would call these people on their bullshit.

I believe that the Department of State and the Department of Defense were on the same page in terms of certainty. Colin Powell made it clear in his address to the UN that intelligence went beyond mere suspicion:

“My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.” – Sec. Powell


“Ladies and gentlemen, these are not assertions. These are facts, corroborated by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence services of other countries.” – Sec. Powell

(Remember the satellite pictures?)

Powell was the more reluctant of the two.

Maybe it would be a good idea if each of us looked at what we were posting, arguing, defending and supporting two and three years ago. Maybe we are as forgetful as Rumsfeld.

My creepy Rumsfeld quotation:

Interviewer: “You mentioned the sorry state of the infrastructure. How come U.S. intelligence didn’t give a better warning of how bad that was?”

Rumsfeld: “Well, resources are finite, and they were worrying about more important things.” – National Press Club Luncheon, September 10, 2003

Couple of interesting quotes from your very cite:

Huhu. That’s exactly how it went down, right? You know I do believe there are remedies for amnesia --especially the selective kind.

Exactly who was LYING here?

The only straight shooter at the time:

Pretty amazing, how forgetful they tend to be, when it suits their purpose. Regardless, the “people” were told they KNEW there were WMD, and they KNEW where they were. Turned out they didn’t know, it was just “selling the war” re the Downign Street memo. So, whether they “remember” now or not, they still were full of shit, and deliberately so.