At the Pentagon news briefing today Donald Rumsfeld was in fine form, spinning the WMD issue for all it’s worth. As Janus/onan so-aptly paraphrased the Secretary of Everything: “WE WILL FIND WEAPONS (orevidenceofweaponsprograms).” Anyway, see Yahoo! News for the Reuters report: Rumsfeld says US will find Iraqi WMD evidence. Or go to the State Department for the full transcript, which, for a WMD-controversy fanboy like me, makes for fascinating reading: Defense Department briefing transcript.
The best part is this:
Q: And, Secretary Rumsfeld, can I just ask you — follow-up on your statement about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. You said that — in your opening statement, that there was no doubt before the war that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction “programs,” was the word you used.
Q: I’m just wondering, when I hear you say “programs,” are you signaling at all that Iraq may not have had actual weapons or weaponized forms of this, but simply the programs to produce them? Or am I reading too much into what you said?
Rumsfeld: You may be reading too much. I don’t know anybody that I can think of who has contended that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons.
Q: I didn’t say nuclear –
Rumsfeld: I’m saying that. I’m trying to respond to your question.
I don’t know anybody in any government or any intelligence agency who suggested that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons. That’s fact number one.
If you go back to my statement, we also know that the Iraqis did have chemical weapons. They confessed to having had all of these weapons over a sustained period of time. I brought something along. In the ’90s, Iraq admitted having 8,500 liters of anthrax and several tons of VX. Iraq admitted producing 6,500 chemical bombs containing an estimated 1,000 tons of chemical agents, none of which have ever been accounted for. In 1998, President Clinton said Saddam Hussein possessed 5,000 gallons of botulin, 2,000 gallons of anthrax, and 177 Scud warheads, and bombs filled with biological agents.
We know he used chemical weapons against the Kurds and against the Iranians in the war. So you had a country that had these weapons and programs, a country that used those weapons, a country that by everyone who had reason to be knowledgeable believed filed a fraudulent declaration to the United Nations. And it seems to me that that speaks for itself, that they –
Q: But isn’t it possible, now in retrospect, that Saddam Hussein could have destroyed the weapons — that is, destroyed the evidence — while maintaining the programs to produce them in the future, in an effort to ride out the sanctions, and that as a result, you may never find any actual weapons in Iraq?
Rumsfeld: I’m not going to get into the various possibilities. They’re fairly self-evident as to what the possibilities might be. I have reason, every reason, to believe that the intelligence that we were operating off was correct and that we will, in fact, find weapons or evidence of weapons programs that are conclusive. But that’s just a matter of time.
It’s just a matter of time, all right.
Anyway, it’s all revisionist history from here on out. Thanks to Daily Kos for being on top of the story (Rumsfeld: ‘really, we will find something!’), including the item from the comments pointing out the Meet the Press statement by Cheney on March 16: “And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”