Many of you have pointed out that Ray McGovern, the man who challenged Rumsfeld in public, holds some wacko views, and has made some arguably anti-Semitic statements. It seems my description of him as not being a "crazed lefty" was wrong on at least one count. But then this administration has turned many previously sane, moderate people into those who want to scream at the dishonesty and incompetence of their own government. What interests me is that no one has denied that McGovern was indeed the man who used to brief the president's own father on intelligence, and that, in the exchange in question, it is now clear that he was right and Rumsfeld wrong. Here is a transcript of the exchange between Rumsfeld and McGovern. The precise point at issue is whether Rumsfeld had categorically stated that there were WMDs in Iraq. Money quote:
RUMSFELD: [I]t appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.
McGovern: You said you knew where they were.
RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were and we were ... just ... (crosstalk)
McGovern: You said you knew where they were Tikrit, Baghdad, northeast, south, west of there. Those are your words.
RUMSFELD: My words ... my words were that ... no, no, no wait a minute, wait a minute. Let him stay one second. Just a second.
Here's the transcript to which McGovern was referring:
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.
That's pretty categorical to me. Let's say it was an honest mistake. Has Rumsfeld ever apologized for unwittingly misleading the American public in the beginning of a war? He subsequently cites one facility in the Kurdish area where he suspects WMDs might already have been looted by Jihadists or Saddamites. Why? Because we never sent enough troops to secure the WMDs the war was supposed to take out. In fact, for months, many key weapons sites were left to be looted by the insurgents we are now fighting. This is one mystery I've never been able to understand. We were told the war was to prevent WMDs from getting into the hands of terrorists; and yet the war-plan, with its extremely light force-structure, was designed almost to ensure that such WMDs could be easily given to terrorists by a regime that no longer had anything to lose. Can anyone explain that? Was Rumsfeld so wedded to his ideology that he stuck to it even when it violated the entire point of the war? With Rumsfeld, it would not surprise me. Then there's this revealing exchange from the same show:
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think we'll still be fighting in Iraq six months from now?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, goodness, you know, I've never -- we've never had a timetable. We've always said it could be days, weeks, or months and we don't know.
No time-table; no plan; no contingencies. Yet we risked everything. Fire Rumsfeld Now.