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Gen. Richard Myers Speaks to National Press Club

Aired September 13, 2002 - 13:45   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Now we're going to take you live to Washington, D.C., where General Richard Myers is speaking before the National Press Club. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

MODERATOR: ... civilian casualties could be caused on the ground there? And secondly, would it not guarantee that Saddam would subsequently use other stockpiles in a "use 'em or lose 'em" kind of theory?

GEN. RICHARD MYERS, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Well, now we're getting a little bit close to operational matters. I'm going to pull back just a little bit from that. But in general, as we do, just like we did in Afghanistan, I think, if people saw the process that we went through for targets, sensitive targets, where we might have the potential for the loss of innocent life or to damage structures that weren't the intended target, it's a very detailed process with lots of modeling that tries to predict injuries and damage.

That same thing in a hypothetical way, because I'm not going to address Iraq, certainly would apply to a -- let's say you have a rocket propellant production facility. They have very caustic chemicals there. If it were struck, it would release plumes that could hurt people. And so we model that very carefully, too.

And then you have to do the risk, as required by international dimension, you have to say, "Is the military worth of this target worth the risk of injuring X number of people or of potentially causing harm?" And we do that on every sensitive target. Like I said before in my remarks, this is time consuming, and often we default to creating conditions that might pose more hazard and more danger to our armed forces and those of our coalition partners before we'll take a chance of hurting civilians.

MODERATOR: General Myers...

PHILLIPS: Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers there addressing the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. We just wanted to listen in to see what he had to say. There was a question about the threat of weapons of mass destruction coming out of Iraq and also a question centering around a U.S. invasion of Iraq, the possibility of that. Basically, General Myers pulling back from talking operational matters but of course reinforcing the damage and the threat of weapons of mass destruction, the threat that those two pose.

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