FTN - 4/13/03

donald rumsfeld
BOB SCHIEFFER, Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face the Nation, good news: Seven missing Americans have been found in Iraq. Who are they, and how are they? That's our first question for the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Seven soldiers have been rescued north of Baghdad. We'll get the latest on them and on the progress of the war from the secretary of defense.

Tom Friedman of The New York Times, who is just back from Iraq, will join in the questioning. And I'll have a final word on the Iraq endgame. But first, Secretary Rumsfeld on Face the Nation.

ANNOUNCER: Face the Nation, with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

And now from CBS News in Washington, Bob Schieffer.

SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. The secretary of defense is in the studio with us this morning, and he will be here for the whole broadcast.

Also here, Tom Friedman, just back from Iraq, the foreign affairs columnist of The New York Times.

Well, some very good news, apparently, Mr. Secretary, about these Americans. What can you tell us?

DONALD RUMSFELD, Secretary of Defense: Well, it is correct that seven American servicepeople have been located, and they are in U.S. hands at the present time. I'm told they're all in good shape. There are two that have gunshot wounds, but they're in reasonably good shape. And that they are going to be brought into -- probably into Kuwait. And certainly their families are being notified at the present time.

Needless to say, all of the loved ones of the people who are missing or prisoner of wars are anxious to know what's up and worried about their loved ones.

SCHIEFFER: How did we find them?

RUMSFELD: What happened was, as I understand it -- I was talking to the Central Command this morning before I came on here to your show -- some Iraqis told the American military that there were seven American servicepeople in the area, told them where they were. And they were somewhere, oh, six, eight, 10 kilometers south of Tikrit, as I understand it.

And the servicepeople went up and found them. And they've rescued them, and they're en route.

SCHIEFFER: And as I understand it, you don't intend to give us anymore detail than that until these families are notified. Once they are, then you'll reveal who they are and so forth.

RUMSFELD: Exactly, exactly. Their names and their units will be made public after the families have been notified. And that should -- you never know how long that is going to take, but it's the proper way to handle it.


TOM FRIEDMAN, The New York Times: Mr. Secretary, how do you see the political structure now evolving in Iraq? The war is over. What happens next? Will it be Tommy...

RUMSFELD: The war isn't over, Tom. It is -- there's still people being killed. We lost some people last night. There are pockets of resistance. There are Fedayeen Saddam people, these death squad people who are going out, trying to kill people.

We just found -- oh, I don't know -- I think it was 80 vests filled with explosives and ball bearings. And the inventory list suggested that there were another 30 that are not there.

So there are people, suicide types, who are out. There are a number of non-Iraqis who are in the country, particularly in Baghdad, we find, and there was a...

FRIEDMAN: Are these from Syria?

RUMSFELD: A lot from Syria. Most from Syria, it appears.

FRIEDMAN: There were actually Syrian soldiers or nationals? How would you describe...

RUMSFELD: Nationals.

FRIEDMAN: Syrian nationals.

RUMSFELD: That's what we were told.

FRIEDMAN: Involved in operations against American forces?

RUMSFELD: Absolutely. In a firefight, a lot of them got killed last night.

SCHIEFFER: Well, what would they be? Like intelligence agents, or are they people there with some official...

RUMSFELD: I have no idea.

SCHIEFFER: ... tie to the government? Or just people that wandered in there?

RUMSFELD: People were busy fighting them. They weren't asking their biographies.

SCHIEFFER: I understand.

RUMSFELD: And we did see busloads of people coming out of Syria into the country. Some we stopped. The ones we could find, we turned them around and sent them back. And some we've impounded and put into enemy prisoner-of-war camps...

FRIEDMAN: Are the Syrians going to pay a price for this?

RUMSFELD: ... and others are getting killed.

SCHIEFFER: I mean, the reason I asked that, I mean, it seems to me that people wouldn't just be sitting around in Syria and say, "Gosh, let's go over to Iraq." These people must have been sent there with a mission and they must have had some connection, wouldn't you assume...

RUMSFELD: On one of the buses...
SCHIEFFER: ... to the Syrian government?

RUMSFELD: On one of the buses, they found something like several hundred thousand dollars and a number of leaflets that suggested that people would be rewarded if they killed Americans, which is not surprising. Saddam Hussein's regime was paying $25,000 to people who blew up shopping malls in Israel -- suicide bombers.

FRIEDMAN: Is the Syrian government going to pay a price for this? Should they?

RUMSFELD: Oh, I'm sure they already are, if you think about it. I mean, who in the world would want the invest in Syria? Who would want to go on tourism in Syria?

The government's making a lot of bad mistakes, a lot of bad judgment calls, in my view, and they're associating with the wrong people.

And the effect of that hurts the Syrian people. It hurts the Syrian people because reasonable people don't want to be associated with a state that's on the terrorist list. They don't want to be associated with a country that's engaged with Hezbollah and moving terrorists down and terrorist materials and equipment and explosives down through the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. They don't want to be associated with a country that's still occupying their neighboring country of Lebanon.

SCHIEFFER: But is that enough, Mr. Secretary, just to be on the terrorist list? I mean, should we take some other action or contemplate some other action?

RUMSFELD: Oh, that's for presidents and countries to decide, not for me.

SCHIEFFER: What if we find out that Saddam Hussein is in Syria? That if he is, indeed, still alive, that he's there?

RUMSFELD: Then I think Syria would have made an even bigger mistake.

SCHIEFFER: What would we do about that?

RUMSFELD: The last thing I would do would be to discuss that.

FRIEDMAN: Mr. Secretary, I want to take you back to when the war is over. Let me rephrase my question. How do you see -- because, obviously, you've learned some things now by this engagement with Iraq, the way the country has, you know, fallen out since the war.

What kind of political structure do you see evolving? That is, kind of, where will Tommy Franks and Central Command be? What kind of Iraqi input into this do you see happening? What will be the first steps, in terms of the political reconstruction of Iraq? What are you expecting?

RUMSFELD: I would think of it this way. That it will be a transition that will occur over a period of time, that there will be a number of things occurring near-simultaneously.

The first thing that has to be done is the war has to be won. We have to stamp out these pockets of resistance that exist. We have, then, a great deal of work to go out and look for weapons of mass destruction and explore these sites, to find terrorists in the terrorist areas that we know of.

We have to find people who can help us find these things and who can find the Baath Party records and the intelligence services records and hope that they haven't all been burned and destroyed.

We have to find the people on the war criminal list. And we have to find people who would like to have a better life, and therefore would like to be willing to cooperate with us.

And we're actively looking. We're using rewards. We're using carrots and sticks, both. And we're finding an awful lot of people starting to cooperate with us, which is a good thing. So all of that work has to go forward.

We have to, second, see that we provide the humanitarian needs for the people of that country. It's just terribly important that they have the water and the food and the medicines. And we've got an excellent group of people organized and assisting, and the international community's participating.

And it's not perfect, but I know that our folks -- President Bush, from well before this started, when once he believed it might have to happen, said he wanted the humanitarian effort to be right in parallel with the military effort. As a result, our forces, when they went in, brought water, brought food, they brought medical supplies for the people as they passed from the south up to the north.

The other thing that has to happen is the Iraqi people have to figure out how they want to have their government selected, and what kind of a constitution they want to have, and what kind of a case they want to have for that.

It's going to be their decisions, not ours. And Tom Franks, needless to say, will be there and will see that the security environment is such that these kinds of things can happen.

But there will begin to be meetings of Iraqis, and they'll begin to figure out a way to fashion an interim Iraqi authority. And then they will very likely figure out a way to fashion a new constitution. And then that constitution will have a mechanism to select their permanent government and leadership.

And it will happen as soon as is possible, we hope. The Iraqi people -- some people are skeptical of whether or not the Iraqi people are capable of self-government. I'm not. I think it may not be perfect, and certainly there's going to be some bumps along the road. But the Afghan people are figuring out how to do that, and they had a process that was uniquely Afghan, and I suspect the Iraqis will figure out something that's uniquely Iraqi.

FRIEDMAN: Do you see an Arab role in terms of, we're going to have a security structure there under General Franks. Do you see possibly bringing in NATO or certain friendly Arab countries to participate in that peacekeeping role once the war is won?

RUMSFELD: Well, I was with, oh, I'm going to guess 50 ambassadors from countries that have been a part of this coalition. It's kind of amusing, when you think back. Everyone said the United States was acting unilaterally and going it alone. We weren't. We had some 50-plus countries that had been participating, and I was with many of them last night.

And as they walked in and shook hands, they, one after another, said, "Our country is ready to supply 3,000 people for a peacekeeping force. Our country is ready to supply a medical unit. We're ready to assist with this. We're ready to assist with that."

And that process has been going forward, and it is accelerating at this stage. And I do anticipate -- I have said from the beginning that we would be...

FRIEDMAN: You do anticipate what? Finish that sentence.

RUMSFELD: That there will be a great many countries that will be involved in this process. There already are. Another country, Spain, has some troops in the ground in the port city of Umm Qasr, where you were recently.

SCHIEFFER: Including Arab countries?

RUMSFELD: Sure, why not? And certainly Muslim countries.

NATO -- I've suggested to the secretary-general that I thought that that would be a good thing, if NATO wanted to do that. Obviously France would be opposed, I'm told, but they're opposed to a lot of things. So that shouldn't be a problem, because you can do it at 18, instead of at 19, countries, since they're not a member of the Defense Planning Committee. So I would hope that NATO would play a role.

The United Nations is playing a role and been very helpful, and we expect that that will grow.

SCHIEFFER: What about Germany?

RUMSFELD: I can't speak for any country.

SCHIEFFER: I mean, would they be welcomed if they wanted to help?

RUMSFELD: Oh, look, the needs there are real. We've got to find people who are willing to assist. And I'm certainly hopeful that a lot of countries will participate in various ways.

FRIEDMAN: You know, the French foreign minister today said that the time was not right for the United States to put pressure on Syria by accusing it of aiding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime.

Do these guys piss you off?

RUMSFELD: The French?


RUMSFELD: Oh, goodness. I think I'll leave diplomacy to Secretary Powell.

FRIEDMAN: Why? Why start now?


RUMSFELD: You know, I'm always a believer that people ought to -- sovereign nations and individuals ought to have their own views, and they ought to argue them and debate them and discuss them. And I think that's good. That's healthy. And I like debate and discussion and competition of ideas. I think that's healthy.

I think what is not healthy is when someone tries to define themselves by their opposition to others, as opposed to what they're for or what they're doing.

And the comment you just cited suggests that the truth doesn't have any value. And the truth does have value. And the fact of the matter is that Syria has been unhelpful. And pretending that that's not the case, it strikes me, is to deny the truth. And I don't think you can live a lie.

SCHIEFFER: Let me shift just a minute from diplomacy to intelligence matters. David Martin of CBS News has learned that we have custody, I guess is the word, of the head of the Iraqi nuclear program. Can you tell us anything about that?

RUMSFELD: I'm sure there were a number of people who have been or were involved at senior levels of the Iraqi nuclear program. And I have been told that one of those individuals may be in custody, but I wouldn't want to get into who it was or...

SCHIEFFER: Well, the name we have been given is Jafar al-Jafair.

RUMSFELD: I'll let the people who do this announce names. I don't do that.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

One of the things that he has apparently told U.S. officials is that the Iraqi nuclear program ended in 1991.

RUMSFELD: That's been the standard mantra from the Iraqis over a sustained period of time.

SCHIEFFER: Do you believe that?

RUMSFELD: Did you believe the minister of information of Iraq when he said there were no U.S. forces in Baghdad? There hasn't been much that they've said that is believable. Anyone who's watched them over the years knows that they're liars, skillful to be sure, and they've been able to get the world's press to carry their lies around as though they were true, without saying, "Be on notice, caution. These people lie repeatedly."

And it wasn't until they had the split screen with the U.S. forces at the Baghdad airport and the minister of information saying they weren't there that the people said, "Well, my goodness, he is lying. Isn't that amazing?"

SCHIEFFER: Let's take a break right there. We'll come back in just a moment.


SCHIEFFER: Back again with the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Mr. Secretary, what is the latest on Saddam Hussein? Do we believe he is dead? Do we have DNA, that if we do turn up a body, we will be able to identify it? Just tell us what you can tell us about the whole business of where he is or if you think he is dead.

RUMSFELD: Well, there isn't a day that goes by that we aren't given intelligence information. And when I say intelligence, I shouldn't say that. It's scraps of information, and it's this report or that report.

And if you add it all up and inhale it, I think reasonable people come to the conclusion that we don't know, that there are people who think he is dead, there are people who think he was badly injured, there are people who think he may be alive.

I don't chase those rabbits. My attitude is, we'll find out, and eventually he will be through. But...

SCHIEFFER: Do you think we'll ever know?


SCHIEFFER: We will know?

RUMSFELD: I think so.

FRIEDMAN: Mr. Secretary, in the vacuum that was naturally created between the collapse of this regime and a new order, obviously, there has been a lot of chaos. We've seen looting in all the major cities now.

What are you doing to secure that situation now? Are you sending more troops? Are you devoting different units to securing different ministries now?

There was a report in The Washington Post today that the oil ministry had been secured but the national museum hadn't. People were raising questions about that.

What are you doing to secure the situation?

RUMSFELD: People raise questions about everything. That's fair enough.

There have been more troops arriving in the country every day for the past three weeks. Ever since they went in three weeks and two days ago, additional troops have been arriving. They have been going up, oh, anywhere from 1,500 to 3,500 a day. And -- ours and some other countries' as well.

They are also able, as the war was being won, and is in the process of succeeding, the troops have been spreading all across the country. There are places where we have a control in a way that people can go out in the streets and do what they do and start rebuilding their lives. There are places where we do not have that kind of control at the present time.

And we do find that everywhere we do, when our terrific young men and women in uniform go into a town and create that presence, the security, and see that there isn't anarchy, there is not disorder and that people can safely go out in the street, people are coming in and volunteering. They're volunteering to engage in joint patrols with our people. The clerics are calling for people to not loot, not riot. The humanitarian assistance flows in. And the beginning of a return to a more normal situation is occurring.

And it's a good thing.

And they're doing that in the south. They're doing it now in the north. There are patrols. In Baghdad, to be quite honest, is a very big place, and that is not the case yet. And that is sad, it's unfortunate. But it will be the case in very short order, and that's a good thing.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, you talked just a minute ago about the Iraqi information minister and some of these statements that they're putting out. A lot of the Arab world, as you well know, the information they get about this comes from Al Jazeera, the Arab television network.

What do you think...

RUMSFELD: I wouldn't say the Arab...

SCHIEFFER: Well, one of them. It's certainly is the main one...

RUMSFELD: It is one of many.

SCHIEFFER: Do you believe Al Jazeera is anything more than an Arab television network?

RUMSFELD: It puts out television images in Arabic and in Arabic language. And I don't watch it carefully. People who do tell me that it has a pattern of being anti-U.S., anti-West.

And I've also seen pieces of information that suggest that they're influenced by people like Saddam Hussein's regime.

SCHIEFFER: Do you have any information that would lead you to believe that it goes beyond being influenced, that perhaps they've been infiltrated by Saddam's people?

RUMSFELD: Oh, I've seen allegations to that effect, but I don't watch it so I can't speak from certain knowledge.

But it's unfortunate that the people of the world don't see as open and accurate a set of images in Arabic as I think they might. And anything that can be done about that, I think, is a good thing.

I think the free press and free television and the opportunity for people to do things badly and to do things well and to gain supporters and listenership when they do it well and lose it when they lie and don't have balance, I think that's the answer to it.

SCHIEFFER: What lessons should North Korea and its leaders draw from what they are seeing on television in Iraq?

RUMSFELD: Oh, I think the circumstances are quite different. But the United States is attempting to see if there isn't a way to deal with this problem from a diplomatic standpoint.

It's a terrible risk to the world that if North Korea does, in fact, go through the reprocessing of nuclear materials and end up with sufficient materials to make six or eight more weapons in three or four or five months, that would be not a good thing.

If they started selling that material to countries around the world and we ended up with a large increase in the total number of nuclear powers in the world, that's not a happy place.

SCHIEFFER: Would we stand for that?

RUMSFELD: That's up to other people.

But I think what the world needs to do is recognize that these weapons are enormously powerful -- biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, radiation weapons -- and that they can kill tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of human beings, and that that's a risk to the world.

And the idea that those things could get into the hands of additional terrorist states, terrorist networks, is something that the world needs to grasp.

And I think that the like-thinking countries in the world, free people, need to, through international organizations and collectively, recognize how serious that threat is.

SCHIEFFER: Are you still convinced we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness, there's been so much intelligence, CIA material about what's been going on in that country, that if we can find the right people who will tell us where they've located them, then that's the way we're going to find them.

The inspectors didn't find them, and certainly we're not going to find them.

It's not like a treasure hunt where you run around and dig down and see if there's a tunnel someplace. You've got to find the people who dug the tunnels, the people who've worked in those operations.

SCHIEFFER: And you think we will?


SCHIEFFER: All right. Mr. Secretary, thanks so much.

RUMSFELD: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Back with a final word in just a minute.


SCHIEFFER: Finally today, watching our military crush Saddam has left me in awe, and my guess is most Americans feel the say way.

But as smoke clears over Baghdad, here's the part that worries me: Are we emphasizing the right reasons for going to Iraq? I believe there was good reason for what we did. Saddam posed a grave threat to this country and had to be disarmed.

But all of this talk lately about how this may be a part of a larger effort to remake that part of the world leaves me a little uneasy, mainly because it only fuels the hatred for us there.

And make no mistake; it is real hatred. Not many will miss the maniac Saddam. But there is always a natural resentment to powerful outsiders, and we are the ultimate powerful outsider.

And there is resentment because some are convinced we came there for the oil. And, as it always is, because some believe Israel is somehow behind all of this.

The way to counter this, it seems to me, is obvious. Bring in as many nations as possible to help restore order and share in helping to rebuild Iraq. Then we must leave as quickly as we came. That won't take away from our victory, but enhance it.

We scored a spectacular success in Iraq, but real security will depend on what comes next. If we want to take down the barricades and metal detectors and stop undressing at the airport, we must rebuild our traditional alliances and convince the Arab world they have no reason to hate us.

Getting out of Iraq may be as important to our long-term security as going in was.

That's it for us. We'll see you next week right here on Face the Nation.