Rumsfeld Loses a Debate with Ray McGovern

Between Steven Colbert at the correspondents’ dinner and this new video of Donald Rumsfeld trying, and failing, to answer Ray McGovern’s charges about Rumsfeld’s lying about Iraq’s WMD and ties to al Qaeda, I think my head might explode: Think Progress » VIDEO: Rumsfeld Called Out On Lies About WMD.

CNN apparently carried a significant chunk of the exchange. Wild.

10 Responses to “Rumsfeld Loses a Debate with Ray McGovern”

  1. trg34221 Says:

    Here is how the President got us into war: The New York Times reported that at the November 14 meeting the White House decided to prepare the country for war the decision was made to begin a public campaign through interviews on the Sunday morning television news programs.

    The same day on November 16, the Secretary of Defense made a widely reported appearance on ABC’s This Week in which he placed a five pound bag of sugar on the table and stated that amount of anthrax “would destroy at least half the population” of Washington, D.C.

    The Secretary of Defense further noted that Iraq “has had enormous amounts” of anthrax. He also spoke on the extreme lethality of VX nerve agent: “One drop [of VX] from this particular thimble as such one single drop will kill you within a few minutes.” And he reminded the world that Saddam may have enough VX to kill “millions, millions, if it were properly dispersed and through aerosol mechanisms.”

    This message was echoed in a series of remarks the President delivered the same week.

    The only problem with the left wing extremist conspiracy is the year was 1998 and the President was Bill Clinton.

  2. trg34221 Says:

    PS on the al Qaeda – Iraq connection>>>

    Who can forget the Clinton Justice Department’s allegation in a 1998 indictment (two months before the embassy bombings) against bin Laden, to wit: In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

    Isn’t making false statements in an indictmenti illegal?

    Saddam’s hosting of al Qaeda No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri beginning in the early 1990’s, and reports of a large payment of money to Zawahiri in 1998?

    Saddam’s ten years of harboring of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin?

    Iraqi Intelligence Service operatives being dispatched to meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998 (the year of bin Laden’s fatwa demanding the killing of all Americans, as well as the embassy bombings)?

    Saddam’s official press lionizing bin Laden as “an Arab and Islamic hero” following the 1998 embassy bombing attacks?

    Top Clinton administration counterterrorism official Richard Clarke’s assertions, based on intelligence reports in 1999, that Saddam had offered bin Laden asylum after the embassy bombings,

    Terror master Abu Musab Zarqawi’s choice to boogie to Baghdad of all places when he needed surgery after fighting American forces in Afghanistan in 2001?

    Saddam’s Intelligence Service running a training camp at Salman Pak, were terrorists were instructed in tactics for assassination, kidnapping and hijacking?

  3. treehugger Says:

    Wow! That was probably the best thing I’ve watched in years. Did you see the sweat gleaming on Donny’s forehead?! Studdering, stammering.

    The tide is turning…

    Btw trg, Bill Clinton didn’t bring us into a quagmire in Iraq you idiot. This post is about Don Rumsfeld getting smacked down on live TV. Not about Bill, or Hillary, or anybody else.

    By bringing Clinton into this post, you’re telling me that you have nothing positive to say about the current administration, you can only trash talk someone who hasn’t been president for like 6 years. Pretty pathetic.

  4. jbc Says:

    trg isn’t anything close to an idiot. It’s an intelligent response. By trying to shift the discussion to an area where he can make actually-true statements he’s probably giving the best defense possible of the Bush team’s dishonest case for going to war.

    But it’s also, as Ray McGovern pointed out when Rumsfeld did the same thing, a non sequitur. And given that people basically know the facts and can see the misdirection for what it is, I don’t think it’s going to be enough to save the Bushies’ bacon.

    The big thing that made that event where Rumsfeld got called out happen was that the organizers didn’t screen the audience on the basis of ideological purity. Just like happened in the Moussaoui trial, when you put the Bush team in a situation where they actually have to debate their opponents on the merits, rather than having a sham proceeding crafted for good visuals, the American people can see through their lies.

    That, of course, is why it’s so important that one (or both) houses of Congress change hands this year. It’s not because the Democrats are some kind of saviors who are going to magically morph from corrupt, incompetent boobs into honest, upstanding statesmen and -women. They’ll still be (mostly) corrupt, incompetent boobs. But even corrupt, incompetent boobs arrayed in opposition to each other can expose and prevent the kind of blatant dishonesty that has characterized the Bush government from the beginning.

  5. trg34221 Says:

    In the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with “high confidence” was that “Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.” PS: The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel and–yes–France all agreed with this judgment.\

    The notion that GW Bush dragged Democrat hogtied and blindfolded into war is laughable. But even if we ignore the fact that Democrats warned of Iraq WMDs while George W. Bush was still the governor of Texas, why should the American people trust a party of witless dupes like… Bill Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton!

  6. enkidu Says:

    hear hear!
    we should all trust the witless, incompetent, corrupt and utterly clueless morons currently in charge! more of the same blunders! nuke Iran! USA! USA!

    -end sarcasm-

  7. trg34221 Says:

    As inspector David Kay reported, Iraq under Saddam Hussein was arguably more dangerous than even Bush had assumed, Kay said: “I actually think what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was before the war.”

    The sad part is Democrats, ignoring this, and working themselves into a fever over Iraq’s perilous condition even as they simultaneously argue no such dangerous condition existed under Saddam Hussein, they are rooting for an American loss in this front of the war on terrorism.

    -no sarcasm intended-

  8. Craig Says:

    Interesting take from Belmont Club on Ray, and a more accurate reading of the transcript that is being used to prove Rumsfeld lied.

    As mentioned in this noted blog, this additional information doesn’t necessarily discredit what Ray says about the Administration’s knowledge and comments during the ramp-up to war. Nor does it irrefutably prove that Rumsfeld hasn’t lied about some info he has presented or discussed.

    However, it should give some of those who want to put a hero’s crown on Ray’s head for “proving” a lie over a prior statement Rumsfeld made, some pause for considering just how valid that particular proof is.

    It should also cause some to give pause in placing faith in someone who, despite his obvious credibility due to his former position, is engaged himself in some questionable moral/ethical activities within the Intelligence community, and harbors some rather unsubstanciated and greatly speculative beliefs about some related issues such as 9/11 that tend to belong to the fringe and the anti-Semitic.

  9. jbc Says:

    I’ve read that Belmont Club page, and I can’t see how it excuses Rumsfeld from the charge of lying. Here’s the Rumsfeld quote:

    [quoting the Rumsfeld briefing]

    MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, weapons of mass destruction. Key goal of the military campaign is finding those weapons of mass destruction. None have been found yet. There was a raid on the Answar Al-Islam Camp up in the north last night. A lot of people expected to find ricin there. None was found. How big of a problem is that? And is it curious to you that given how much control U.S. and coalition forces now have in the country, they haven’t found any weapons of mass destruction?

    SEC. RUMSFELD: Not at all. If you think — let me take that, both pieces — the area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

    [end quoting]

    And here’s what the author at The Belmont Club writes:

    [quoting The Belmont Club]

    It’s abundantly clear from the transcript that Rumsfeld had only intelligence indications that the WMD were “in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat”. It was clearly a statement of belief that the WMDs would be found there.

    [end quoting]

    So, help me out here Craig. Is the Belmont Club guy saying that when Rumsfeld said “we know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit…” he actually wasn’t saying he “knew” where they were? He was saying he “believed” they were there? And we know he was actually saying this because it was clear from the larger context of the briefing that Rumsfeld was describing the area where our troops hadn’t yet gained control?

    For myself, I think that interpretation goes beyond Clinton’s “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” for strained legalistic parsing. But you’re a smart guy, and you seem to think that post has merit, so I’m probably missing something here.

  10. Craig Says:

    What Belmont is saying is that this isn’t some big “A-HA” moment in which someone has directly confronted Rumsfeld with proof of some big lie. It is , yes, partly that he was making a statement of belief, based upon his Intelligence info, that WMD was in those areas. But also, the “big lie exposed” loses steam with the rest of his exchange in that briefing that McGovern pulls his “proof” from. The part in which Rumsfeld himself admits that the WMD may not be there by the time Coalition troops arrive, due to additional intel that shows major truck movments out of those areas.

    As Belmont says, Rumsfeld may yet have lied about this issue, but this is not the “proof” that people say it is.

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