Rumsfeld on Face The Nation today:
SCHIEFFER: The--the president ordered this invasion, as the world knows, because he said
there were weapons of mass destruction, and he said they posed a threat to this country.
Knowing what we now know, Mr. Secretary, do you think it was still wise to take this
invasion? Did Iraq pose an immediate threat to this country?
Sec. RUMSFELD: Bob, the answer is I do believe it was the--it was the--the right thing to do.
And I'm--I'm glad it's done. The 25 million Iraqi people have been liberated. A regime, a
vicious regime, is gone after decades of repression and death squads and--and mass graves
and mass killings, a country that used chemical weapons on its neighbors and on its own
people, that fired ballistic missiles into several of its neighboring countries. It's a good thing
they're gone. And--and...
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. If they did not have these weapons of mass
destruction, though, granted all of that is true, why then did they pose an immediate threat
to us, to this country?
Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, you're the--you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard
use the phrase `immediate threat.' I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of
folklore that that's--that's what's happened. The president went...
SCHIEFFER: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that.
Sec. RUMSFELD: I--I can't speak for nobody--everybody in the administration and say
nobody said that.
SCHIEFFER: Vice president didn't say that? The...
Sec. RUMSFELD: Not--if--if you have any citations, I'd like to see 'em.
Mr. FRIEDMAN: We have one here. It says `some have argued that the nu'--this is you
speaking--`that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to
seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain.'
Sec. RUMSFELD: And--and...
Mr. FRIEDMAN: It was close to imminent.
Sec. RUMSFELD: Well, I've--I've tried to be precise, and I've tried to be accurate. I'm s--
Mr. FRIEDMAN: `No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security
of our people and the stability of the world and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.'
Sec. RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm. It--my view of--of the situation was that he--he had--we--we
believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that--that we believed
and we still do not know--we will know. David Kay said we're about 85 percent there. I
don't know if that's the right percentage. But the Iraqi Survey Group--we've got 1,200 people
out there looking. It's a country the size of California. He could have hidden his--enough
chemical or biol--enough biological weapons in the hole that--that we found Saddam Hussein
in to kill tens of thousands of people. So--so it's not as though we have certainty today.
But what--think what happened. There were 17 UN resolutions. There was unanimous
agreement that he had filed a fraudulent declaration. The final opportunity was given with
the last resolution, and he didn't take it. He chose war. He didn't do what Kazakhstan did.
He didn't do what South Africa did. He didn't do what Ukraine did. He--he didn't say,
`Come in and look and see what we have.' He was engaged in active deception. We'll
ultimately know a great deal about what took place.
...In other words, "where's the guy who asked about the subway running under the building?"
See also: Rumsfeld 'pocketed 9/11 souvenir'
From John Solomon in Washington