CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Rumsfeld, Myers Address Press
Aired April 1, 2003 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
QUESTION: ... involve ground offensives? Or does it involve a release of some personnel?
DONALD H. RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I'm going to let them handle it.
QUESTION: Is it good news?
QUESTION: We don't get much news over here, so please, help us out.
The Pentagon guys get all the good stuff.
RUMSFELD: Oh, come on.
QUESTION: That's right, they do.
RUMSFELD: No, I'm going to leave that for CENTCOM, Central Command, to handle.
QUESTION: Sir, we'd love you to be able to put it into context what it is from the secretary of defense. Could you...
RUMSFELD: I'm going to leave it to the Central Command...
QUESTION: Comm ticks will be real obvious.
QUESTION: Is this shock and awe, then? Is that what we're going to see?
QUESTION: Any word on the POWs?
RUMSFELD: Anything involving people, of course, to separate the two, is always complicated because people have to be notified in time. And so there is always a lag that I wouldn't -- if it were POWs, I wouldn't get into it at this time. QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, are you at all concerned with the mounting civilian casualties among Iraqis undermines the U.S. opportunity to build Iraq -- gain Iraqi population's confidence?
RUMSFELD: I'll tell you what concerns me is the fact that the Iraqi regime has killed more innocent men, women and children in Iraq in the last 12 days than collateral damage from any coalition country. And they are doing it systematically. They are executing people. They are putting guns to people's head. They shot a woman in the back crossing a bridge. They're using human shields. And that concerns me.
There has never been as precise a bombing campaign in as short a bombing campaign thus far in recent memory. If you think about it, the Gulf War was something like 38 days. Kosovo was 78 days of air bombardment. We've been at it now since a week ago Friday. And the number of precision weapons compared to the dumb bombs has reversed from, like, one in 10 to 10 to one.
And in fact it is -- the concern ought to be for the viciousness of the regime of Saddam Hussein and the number of people they kill every single day with these execution death squads that they have roving the country trying to repress the people.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you -- you've had a lot of questions today from the media about the success or failure of the plan. I wonder if you could tell us, did you get any questions about that today from the members of Congress...
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: Well, first, let's...
QUESTION: ... their reaction.
WARNER: ... we covered that very carefully. The general gave us a complete briefing. And I think, Duncan I believe you'll join with me, the consensus in our group just now is that a good plan has been in place. It is being executed. It is timely. Considerable progress has been made to date. And we see no reason at that time for anyone to be in criticism of this program.
And I want to talk a little bit about this retired military. I've been associated with the military a half-century or more. I think some of them have in a very constructive way interpreted the complexity of military operations today and the equipment, and I think they have done a good job in portraying the courage as shown by the men and women who are executing this plan.
And if some have criticisms, we don't mean to stifle freedom of speech, but I think they should follow the tradition of presidents, the commander in chiefs. You do not see former presidents criticizing a sitting president during a war. And the same way, if they've got constructive criticism at variance with the plan, I think they should confidentially contact their own peers in the Pentagon and share it that way rather than open.
QUESTION: Senator Warner, what about current commanders quoted this morning -- Army colonels with other concerns about doing this war on the cheep, not bringing enough power to the fight?
WARNER: There's always during any conflict, going back to George Washington, complaints among his forces. I have personally been involved in the wars in Korea and Vietnam and Panama and Somalia and I could go on for a few more.
And I think, Duncan, you've been in them. But that's all right. We'll take that in stride.
I'm more concerned about the very senior officers who, by virtue of their training and experience, have a lot of credibility. And I think if they have criticism, fine.
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