The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Washington File

09 May 2003

Defense Department Briefing Transcript

(Franks/Iraq plan, Operation/Iraqi Freedom, Iraq/democracy,
Iraq/security, Iraq/essential services, Iraq/transition, stability/Red
Sea, Persian Gulf/stability, Iraq/French role, Iraqi
occupation/duration, U.S. force/global adjustments, East bloc/Russian
talks, Army secretary/replacement, Franks/Army Chief, Iraqi
oilfields/looting, Iraqi oil/infrastructure neglect, Iraqi/WMD hunt,
Iraq/UN inspectors, Iraq/American killed, Iraqi sectors/no division,
Iraqi antiquities/safekeeping, CENTCOM/Iraq plan) (5810)
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumseld and Army General Tommy Franks,
commander of Central Command, briefed the media at the Pentagon May 9.
Following is the Pentagon transcript:
(begin transcript)
U.S. Department of Defense News Briefing
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Friday, May 9, 2003 - 11:15 a.m. EDT
(DoD news briefing. Participating were Secretary of Defense Donald H.
Rumsfeld and Army Gen. Tommy Franks, commander, U.S. Central Command.)
Rumsfeld: Good morning.
I promised that from time to time when General Franks was in town I
would bring him down here. I have done so. And I think with that, with
the fact that we do have him here suggests that I should be very
brief. So I shall be.
I think I should, however, introduce his wife Cathy, who is sitting
right there in a red blouse, who is a nifty lady.
A number of you were in the region with me last weekend, in CENTCOM
and in Iraq and Afghanistan and then London. The thing I would simply
say in introducing General Franks is that he has put together a superb
team. He fashioned a brilliant plan. The fact that it was so
successful is important. I think that, however, the way that campaign
was conducted is also important, and the effect of the way it was
conducted has put us on a path that would be notably different than
had the plan been different or the plan been conducted in a way that
was different. All of those things that could have gone wrong, for the
most part, did not. And that is a great benefit to the region, to the
neighboring countries; it's a benefit to the people of Iraq, who did
not suffer a prolonged air war; it is a benefit to those who are now
in the process of working on the stabilization and reconstruction of
Iraq. And I simply want to say that General Franks is a truly
outstanding professional military officer who performed his critically
important tasks just about as well as they could have been performed,
and I am very grateful.
General Franks?
Franks: Mr. Secretary, thanks very much.
Fifty-two days ago today, President Bush issued the order to begin
Operation Iraqi Freedom. And it's interesting to me, when I think
about it, to note that on that day, the President and Secretary
Rumsfeld gave our forces -- gave me -- gave our forces a very clear
mission with very clear objectives. And Mr. Secretary, I may be wrong,
but I believe right here in this room, you announced very publicly
those objectives on about the day that that war started. It's also
interesting to me that those objectives have not changed, and that we
measure our progress in this effort against those objectives fifty-two
days ago.
Today, the Iraqi people no longer live in fear of a regime of Saddam
Hussein, and key regime figures are being brought to justice every
day, one by one. Camps of terrorists who had found safe harbor in Iraq
have been destroyed. And our forces are exploiting intelligence
information day by day on their organizations, their networks, their
operating procedures.
Coalition forces have removed hundreds of tons of dangerous weapons
and munitions from schools, from civilian neighborhoods, from
religious centers. And to be sure, the difficult work of exploiting
hundreds of sensitive sites is ongoing, as we speak.
The coalition has secured Iraq's oil fields so that those precious
resources can in fact be used by the Iraqi people to help rebuild
their country after decades of neglect and oppression. The predicted
humanitarian crisis in Iraq has been averted by the provision of food,
water, medicines -- in fact, at levels in some cases never before seen
by the Iraqis.
Children in Iraq are beginning to return to school, and basic services
like health care, electricity and water, while not where they need to
be, and certainly not where they will be, are improving every day.
Coalition forces continue to work tirelessly with the international
community, and certainly with Kuwait, to locate military personnel and
citizens who have been missing in Iraq since the 1991 war.
The Iraqi people are now experiencing the right of democracy, and
everything that goes with the responsibility of democracy, as they
work to form a government of their choice.
And nations in the Red Sea and, in fact, in the Gulf region, are no
longer threatened by a regime in Iraq that attacked neighbors twice in
the last 20 years.
As President Bush told the nation from the deck of the Abraham
Lincoln, decisive combat operations in Iraq have concluded, and the
coalition today is focused on helping Iraqi people as they work to
build a new country. Our forces still stand in harm's way and much
dangerous work remains to be done. I have every expectation that we
will continue to see pockets of resistance, and we will see pockets of
instability and we will come across difficult situation[s] in the
weeks and in the months ahead. But our forces are up to the task, and
will remain committed to the task.
Iraq's best days are yet to come. And the Iraqi people are already
taking steps to build a new government, that in fact, will be of their
choice. Local governments and town councils are being formed in
virtually every city and town across the country. The transition from
dictatorship will take time, but is worth the effort that, in fact, we
put to the task.
As we think about achievements behind us and the work force -- or, the
work that lies before us, I think we pause every day to remember the
families and the loved ones of the heroes who have given their lives
during Operation Iraqi Freedom. These men and women died so that
others, so that we could live in a safer and more secure world. They
have succeeded in that task. We'll not forget their service, nor their
I believe the Secretary and I'd be pleased to take your questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, General, journalists in Iraq report that a sense of
public order is still lacking.
Rumsfeld: Who reports this?
Q: Journalists.
Rumsfeld: Journalists.
Q: In Iraq ... is still lacking in Baghdad and in some other parts of
the country. And some U.S. officials are quoted as saying that U.S.
planning and execution of the postwar reconstruction were inadequate.
Do you think that any mistakes were made in this area? And what is
your assessment of the current state of the reconstruction effort?
Rumsfeld: Who are the officials?
Q: They're unnamed.
Rumsfeld: Ah. (Laughter.) That's nice. (Laughter.) What you're seeing
in the press and on television are slices of truth. You're seeing that
someone is harmed, or in a particular location the water isn't back
on, or in a different location the power is only intermittent, or is
in 80 or 90 percent of the city and not 100 percent of the city. All
of that's true. A good deal of it, of course, was also true prior to
the war. And it seems to me it's important to have that in mind.
We keep tracks, where we look each day at the major cities -- I don't
now how many, 20?
Franks: Twenty-seven.
Rumsfeld: Twenty-seven cities, and track them and see how they're
doing with respect to security, how they're doing with respect to
water, how they're doing with respect to power and what have you. And
each day it gets better. We use red for a situation that is worse than
the beginning of the conflict, and green when it is better -- the same
as prior to the conflict, and blue when it's better than -- the
situation for the people of the country is better than it was at the
beginning of the conflict, and a white for not observed. The white has
pretty well disappeared now.
Franks: It has, yes, sir.
Rumsfeld: And now we are able to observe and have some sense in every
portion of those 27 cities, every portion of the country.
The reds have disappeared as of this morning. There are very few
blues, but there are some blues. And there are amber, or yellow, for
Franks: -- getting better --
Rumsfeld: Getting better but not up to the green level. This is a
reflection of the seriousness of purpose of General Franks and his
team. And as he said in his remarks, things are, in fact, getting
better every day in that country. That does not mean that people
cannot continue to write articles or see television clips of something
that isn't perfect, or isn't as good as it was, or isn't better than
it was. That is probably also true if one looks around any city in the
United States or Western Europe, that things are -- we find things are
not perfect. You'll see slices of truth that suggest that there are
My impression of what's taking place is that the folks in General
Franks' organization and in General Garner's organization have done an
outstanding job and are continuing to make things better in almost
every corner of that country, every week and every month, and that's a
good thing.
The other thing I'd do, just to put a little perspective on it, is
it's been 51 days since the war started. I mean, ask ourselves, each
of us, what have we accomplished in 51 days? No, that's embarrassing,
I shouldn't do that to you! (Laughs.) That would be wrong. (Laughter.)
But 51 days is not very long. And I think that the reality is that it
is a very difficult transition from despotism and repression to a
freer system. It's untidy, it is -- it is -- there will be fits and
starts, and a couple of steps forward and a step back. There'll be
bumps along the way.
And it strikes me that what it requires is for people to be realistic;
to look at other countries that have made that transition and ask how
was that done, how long did it take, how difficult was it, how untidy
was it? And recognize that this country does not have a history of
representative or democratic systems; it's going to take some time and
it's going to take some patience. And we accept that, and we're there
to create an environment where that process can take place. And we
have patience, and we accept the fact that it's untidy. And I hope
that others can recognize that and accept it and put it into some
historical context.
Q: Mr. Secretary, we talked about this before several times, but I'd
like to ask General Franks.
General, I talked to several active-duty generals in the Army, since
the war began, who, obviously, will remain nameless. But -- and they
criticized your --
Rumsfeld: That's not obvious until your question's been posed, I don't
think, and --
Q: Well, you will know why in a moment. But they have criticized your
plan by saying that it was too light, not enough boots on the ground,
such words as a "gamble" that could have been catastrophic and that it
was irresponsible. Also, the criticism is voiced about not enough
troops to maintain the peace. Would you comment on both those
criticisms, please?
Franks: Sure, I'd be pleased to. I make it a practice to not comment
on the remarks of predecessors, and I think it's distinctly unuseful
to comment in the direction of unnamed officials. And so, I won't put
a point on a comment. I'll simply say that it's instructive to take a
look at what could have happened in this military operation and
I have a sense that stability in the Red Sea region and in the Persian
Gulf neighborhood is certainly as good as it was the day this started.
That doesn't necessarily have to have been the case. I think we could
have had problems with the launch of surface-to-surface missiles into
neighboring countries with weapons of mass destruction aboard them. We
didn't. I think the oil infrastructure, the future of the country of
Iraq, could have been devastated, but it wasn't. I think the water
infrastructure of the country of Iraq could have been ruined, but it
The calculus associated with working one's way through how many
forces, of what type, to do what, over what period of time is a matter
of both art and science. There are military professionals -- have been
and will continue to be -- who have views on both the science and the
art of military operations. I am satisfied, based on what we see
today, 51-plus days -- (clears throat) -- excuse me -- into the event,
and in consideration of all those things I just mentioned which did
not happen, that the plan we saw was a good plan and that the
execution of that plan by the armed forces of this country and other
coalition members was absolutely magnificent.
Rumsfeld: Could I just add a comment? I agree completely with what
General Franks said. The other thing that didn't happen was mass --
masses of refugees and internally displaced people. And another thing
that didn't happen was a humanitarian disaster.
This plan was so different than what the world expected, and what was
reported, and what was leaked; that -- the fact that the ground war
began before the air war; the fact that the air war was long --
correction -- long in 1991 and very short here; the fact that it -- I
don't know what it was, but it may have been complete reversal of
precision weapons versus dumb weapons in this conflict percentage-
wise; [1991: 13% precision weapons, 87% unguided; 2003: 70% precision
weapons, 30% unguided] --
Franks: It was, yeah.
Rumsfeld: -- all contributed to something that, clearly, a lot of
people had trouble wrapping their heads around because it was so
distinctly different than the expectation and than the views that were
We will know more about what took place when we're able to do
interrogations. And we know a lot of bad things didn't happen now; we
don't know quite why that is. We think we know, but we don't know for
sure. And my guess is, as time passes and historians write their
books, they'll be able to talk to people who were there, and we'll
find out why some of those bad things didn't happen. But I suspect one
of the reasons they didn't happen is because this plan was distinctly
different than previously, and because it did not do the expected, and
because of that, it achieved a degree of tactical surprise that was
not expected.
Q: Mr. Secretary, what is your understanding of the role France played
in connection with the Iraqi regime up until the start of the war, and
even after combat operations?
Rumsfeld: France has historically had a very close relationship with
Iraq. My understanding is that it continued right up until the
outbreak of the war. What took place thereafter, we'll find out.
Q: Do you believe that France is harboring Iraqi leaders or helped
Iraqi leaders get out of that country?
Rumsfeld: I've read those reports, but I don't have anything I can add
to them.
Q: General Franks, can you talk about this year-long military
occupation that's envisioned in the new U.N. resolution? How do you
see that year unfolding, you know, what your work will be during that
Franks: Ma'am, actually, I'm not familiar with the year you're
referring to in the --
Q: You know, I think it said a year or probably more you would have to
be there.
Franks: Well, no, ma'am, I can't talk specifically to that, but I can
give a sense. I think what we'll -- I think what we'll see is that
there are a lot of variables associated with all of this. And I think
right now what the future will hold a year, two, three, you know,
ahead of us is not exactly knowable.
But I do know this: I know that the instructions that I have from the
Secretary and from the President will commit what is necessary for as
long as it is necessary, and no longer, in order to do the work that
we said we would do and in order to execute the objectives that the
Secretary gave us. We are going to watch this nation form anew in
accordance with what the Iraqi people themselves want to do. And I'm
not sure at this point that we know exactly what the force structure
or size is going to look -- or what the international content is going
to look like as we move forward.
Rumsfeld: I'm not sure you're right that there is a one- year figure
Q: (Off mike.) --
Rumsfeld: Just a minute. Just a minute.
Q: (Off mike.) --
Rumsfeld: Just a minute. I'm not doing the negotiations, the
Department of State is. And I suspect that if someone's mentioning a
year, it's probably just a review period, because anyone who thinks
they know how long it's going to take is fooling themselves. It's not
knowable. And that's why General Franks said what he said.
The President and I have told General Franks and Ambassador Bremer and
General Garner that the United States is prepared to keep any number
of troops that are appropriate and necessary in Iraq for as long as it
takes to create a secure and permissive environment so that they can
go about their business of reconstructing their country in a way and
in a fashion politically and economically that makes sense. What
portion of those would be U.S., as he says, depends on what number of
people, other countries, step forward. And a large number of countries
are stepping forward. There have been two donors' conferences already.
I don't recall all the countries. I wrote them down here someplace.
But there are a large number of countries that have stepped up and
said they will, in fact, be providing forces. My guess is that we'll
know more about that in the next two or three weeks. Some countries
may depend on the passage of a U.N. resolution, but certainly that's a
Q: Could I ask you to step back a minute. I'd like to ask you a more
general question. As you look ahead now, you've asked, I think, for a
study or some recommendations on the future of the U.S. military
footprint overseas, that this is a time to now take a look at it;
there may be some innovative things out there. Could you talk a little
bit about that; what you'd like to see happen now? Are there some
innovative things that could be done now as a result of the success in
Rumsfeld: I think that the 21st century, and September 11th and
certainly, Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts have, in fact, changed the
circumstance in the world fairly significantly. And it would be
unrealistic to think that the way we were arranged in the world in the
20th century would necessarily make sense in the 21st century.
As a result, when I came here, I began the process early on, well
before September 11th, of having the combatant commanders in the areas
of responsibility being a process of looking at how our forces are
arranged and how the -- our friends and allies are arranged, and
seeing if we might not want to make some adjustments in it. I'm now
far enough along in that process that it's rather clear to me that
there will be adjustments in every area of responsibility. And I feel
very good about the progress that we've made. I don't know where it
will end, but what we'll do is once we develop conviction, we will
then talk to our friends and allies and they will -- we'll work with
them to get ourselves properly arranged.
Q: Do you think something as innovative as possibly U.S. troops for
the first time being based in the former Soviet bloc is a possibility?
Rumsfeld: I understand there's some provisions in some agreement or
some meeting that took place that would require that if we were to do
that, there would have to be discussions with Russia. I've forgotten
what conference it was, but there was some conference that was held
not too long ago.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Rumsfeld: Yes?
Q: Speaking of adjustments, a couple weeks ago, before you went to the
-- on your Middle East trip, you replaced the Army secretary. Can you
give a sense of some of the trends or directions of that service that
troubled you that prompted this leadership change, and what you expect
the new secretary to do to correct these deficiencies you see? And a
quick follow-up, did you offer General Franks the Army vice -- Army
chief of staff position?
Rumsfeld: The -- first of all, those important posts, and they are
important posts, are posts that the President offers, not the
Secretary of Defense, as you well know, and they are subject to Senate
confirmation. And I don't discuss what I recommend to the President; I
let him make those judgments.
It is interesting, and possibly instructive, for this group to note
that I have seen at least 40 or 50 newspapers say that I selected the
Army chief of staff a year and a half ago, to the great embarrassment
of the current Army chief of staff, which is false; I never did.
Anyone who's ever been around knows I still have not recommended a
name to the President for Army chief of staff, let alone having done
it a year and a half ago. But everyone goes into the morgue and then
they reprint it, and over and over and over again out comes this
totally false statement.
Secretary White's last day is today. He is a fine man. He's served his
country ably, and I wish him well.
The White House has announced that the president's decided that Jim
Roche, the Secretary of the Air Force, will be -- it's an intention to
nominate, after some more paperwork and process is taken care of, to
succeed Mr. White. And he and I will be sitting down and talking about
the future and who might be appropriate to succeed General Shinseki,
who I think has a four-year term limit; his service ends as of a date
certain, under the law. And we will be talking to General Shinseki and
to General Keane, who is the vice chief, and the secretary nominee,
when that nomination is made.
Q: What are some of the trends or problems? There's a number of
stories that have come out in the last couple of weeks saying you're
at war with the Army, and making all sorts of --
Rumsfeld: That's kind of an inside Washington thing. It's just not
Q: What are some of the issues with the Army you want Secretary Roche
to deal with?
Rumsfeld: I'll sit down with Secretary Roche and we'll talk about it
with the new chief of staff of the Army and with General Shinseki and
Q: Mr. Secretary, a question for General Franks.
Could you outline -- or have there been any problems with looting in
the oil fields? And has that caused any problem, any problem of
Franks: Looting parts, and so forth, in the oil fields, sure, there
have, just as there's been looting in downtown Baghdad as well as
other population centers in the country. Valves, fittings, parts, and
so forth, are things that looters would likely take; small enough
things to perhaps be able to resell and make money.
Interestingly, the level of expertise that we have available to us
working in those oil fields, along with thousands of Iraqis right now,
are in the process of overcoming the pilfering that has taken place
there. And what we see most striking about those oil fields is that
that infrastructure has been so terribly disregarded and permitted to
run down over decades, that it is the process of replacing and taking
care of what has been permitted to fall apart under the previous
regime that gives us the most difficulty. And so I think we'll see
that those oil fields will produce for the Iraqi people in the near
term a certain amount of oil. And I think that as time goes forward,
we'll work with the Iraqis and they will be able to bring those oil
fields up to a standard we're looking for. And so some pilfering and
looting, yes, to be sure; major and in the form of a show stopper, no.
Q: General Franks?
Q: Mr. Secretary, could you explain to us why, with 2,000 more arms
inspectors going -- or not arms inspectors, but folks going over to
look for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and other things under the
Iraq survey group, the U.N. arms inspectors haven't been invited to
join? Only American arms inspectors from the U.N. are on that team,
Dr. Cambone told us.
And General Franks, could you in detail sketch out for us the way
ahead in the next couple of months for keeping security in Iraq? I
understand it's going to be divided into three sectors. Could you
describe what's going to go on in each of those sectors and how
they'll be administered?
Rumsfeld: I don't know the answer to your first question. I --
Q: Do you think more bodies will be better than fewer?
Rumsfeld: Part of the problem is, if you have an environment where
there are still pockets of violence and people are being killed -- as
I'm sure you noted, and General Franks mentioned, we had a trooper
killed yesterday -- that it is much more logical that the people
associated with the defense establishment, General Franks, would be
doing their work. At what point it would make sense to have
international inspectors come in, it might very well make sense. I
just don't happen to know.
Q: (Off mike.)
Rumsfeld: I'm sure they are. As I say, I haven't been dealing with the
United Nations, the Department of State has, and it may very well be
that at some point that would make sense.
Q: I'm sorry; General Franks, about security?
Franks: Sure. Very quickly. Security in that country is absolutely
critical to everything else that's going to be done there. A condition
has to be established so that the people of Iraq can feel free to, you
know, unshutter the windows of their shops and go to work and so
forth. And at the end of all of it, it will be the Iraqis themselves
who will get the police forces stood up and be able to handle security
for the long term.
In the meanwhile, if you think about the types of forces that we used
during this very kinetic phase of this war, and then you think about
the functions that we're going to want to be working with the Iraqis
to perform in the future vis-a-vis security, then we can see that
there are certain kinds of forces that we're probably going to
rearrange with other kinds of forces more ideally suited to that task.
I don't think there is a certainty that says that security will be
arranged in a number of sectors and so forth. What we want to be sure
of is that we have the right sectors with the right leadership working
with the Iraqis all over the country, in all the population centers.
And we'll surely do that.
Rumsfeld: I would also add that it's -- it would be inaccurate and
unfortunate for people to go off thinking that the United States is
dividing that country into three pieces, because we are not. And there
have been pressures to have the country not be a whole country; and
when somebody indicated that, well, these forces would be in this
area, and the other in this area, and it comes out to three, people
ran off and said, "Oh, my goodness; they're dividing the country up."
We're not. It's a whole country.
Q: But -- (Inaudible.) -- do exist.
Rumsfeld: We may have -- well, they do exist. The areas of
responsibility within the country may be assigned to the Marines here,
this military unit there, to the Brits there. But that has nothing to
do with dividing the country up into parts. And I was -- I've seen
press reports to that effect, which worried me. And I think it would
be unfortunate.
Q: General Franks, back to the war plan just for a moment. Some in the
media, and in particular, some retired military generals took some
heat for suggesting early on in the war that perhaps things weren't
going as well as you'd hoped. Did they get a little bit of --
Franks: You said, Jamie, they took some heat, did you say?
Q: I said they took some heat -- (Inaudible.) -- some criticism that
perhaps they rushed to judgment. But in fairness to them as you look
back, wasn't there a point about five or six days into this when it
did appear, even to your own commanders, that this might be a more
difficult challenge than it eventually turned out to be? And didn't
you make adjustments at that point to sort of turn things around?
Franks: Well, I'm not sure about the last phrase in there, Jamie. I
wouldn't necessarily talk about that.
I think one of the characteristics of the plan which the Secretary of
Defense described very early as a plan which would be unlike -- or a
campaign which would be unlike anything that we have seen before.
Well, one of the reasons for that is because this has been a plan that
was above everything else joint. I mean, actually joint -- not a plan
that deconflicted the Services, but rather, a plan that caused the
Services to work together. So, it's a characteristic of it.
Another characteristic of the plan is, or was up to this point -- and
you know, we're still on a plan, obviously -- but the other
characteristic was that it was a plan that's flexible, adaptable and
provides the opportunity to respond to weather, to respond to -- if we
believe that we'll find an enemy circumstance set in a certain way and
we find when we get there that the enemy circumstance is arranged in a
bit of a different way, the flexibility and the ability to adapt is
what's really, really critical to this.
And so, did I ever second-guess the plan? Nope. Did not. I think that
all of us who look at the execution of a military operation look at it
through the lens of our own experience. Now, that deserves a little
thought by all of us, because if, in fact, what the secretary said was
true, and that is this will be an effort that is not like anything we
have seen before, that means that it's going to be difficult to find a
lens through which anyone could look and say, "Aha, we know just
exactly what this is going to do." And so surprised, disappointed,
questioning? Not at all, Jamie, no.
Q: Well, speaking of bum raps, did you get a bit of a bum rap in the
criticism about failing to protect the museum in Baghdad, when now we
know that many of -- or most of the antiquities, in fact, were not
looted? And did that, in fact, occur before the U.S. even got there?
Rumsfeld: I was told personally, by someone who went to the museum
three weeks before, that the door was closed and that there were a
very few items that were visible through the doors, and it was fairly
clear that things had been put away into safekeeping or been secreted
away by somebody on an inside arrangement.
Franks: No bum rap --
Q: (Inaudible.) -- a bum rap?
Franks: No bum rap. I think if we wrapped ourselves up in, you know,
considering and thinking about that, we'd sure waste an awful lot of
time. I think what the operational commander is expected to do in this
country is to put -- is to put an effort together and focus on it and
stay with it, and not worry about what people say on any given day
while it's being executed. And that's what we have been doing, and
that's what we'll continue to do.
Rumsfeld: I would go so far as to say that it would have been a bum
rap even if the items had been looted. And the reason I say that is
that it would have been a terrible thing if they'd all been
disappeared and looted. Terrible. And here are the antiquities of that
civilization. On the other hand, the task for the general was to go in
and make a whole series of judgments with his key leaders, at
different levels, different ages, different ranks, different
seniority, about what they should do to prevail in the conflict with a
minimal loss of U.S. life, with a minimal loss of innocent Iraqi life,
and to capture and contain and put into custody the regime leadership
to the extent possible, and to think of a lot of things. Museums, yes.
Hospitals, yes. Schools, yes. Mosques, yes. Shi'a holy sites, yes.
It isn't as though you had one task, you invaded the country to go in
and protect a single thing. You had a complex set of tasks. And that
those decisions cannot be made in Tom Franks' headquarters; they have
to give guidelines and then people go out, and colonels and captains
and lieutenants and sergeants and corporals and privates make those
decisions as to is it more important to save the life of my trooper
buddy standing next to me or to provide safety for a mosque or for a
hospital or for something. Those are tough calls. And they -- in my
view, if one looked at it in toto 51 days ago, dropped a plumb line
through the whole thing, anyone would have to say, "Darn good job,
General Franks."
Q: General Franks?
Rumsfeld: We're through. Thank you. (Laughter.)
Q: Is your voice okay? Are you suffering from --
Rumsfeld: I've got a little rasp in my voice, but I'm -- (Off mike).
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

Join the mailing list