Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committe yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld managed to keep a straight face when he tried to correct Senator Hillary Clinton’s assertion that he’d been feeding Congress “a lot of happy talk and rosy scenarios” about the war in Iraq. Responded Rummy: “I have never painted a rosy picture. I’ve been very measured in my words. And you’d have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I’ve been excessively optimistic.” No mention if anyone in the room did a spit-take. NPR’s Mixed Signals blog has since contacted Clinton’s office, which had something less than a dickens of a time coming up with a detailed list of Rummy’s “measured” statements on Iraq over the last few years. A few samples:
The Gulf War in the 1990s lasted five days on the ground. I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that. —November 2002
We know where [the WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. —March 2003
The residents of Baghdad may not have power 24 hours a day, but they no longer wake up each morning in fear wondering whether this will be the day that a death squad would come to cut out their tongues, chop off their ears or take their children away for “questioning,” never to be seen again. —July 2003
The increased demand on the force we are experiencing today is likely a “spike,” driven by the deployment of nearly 115,000 troops in Iraq. We hope and anticipate that that spike will be temporary. We do not expect to have 115,000 troops permanently deployed in any one campaign. —February 2004
The level of support from the international community is growing. —June 2005
Q: One clarification on “the long war.” Is Iraq going to be a long war?
Secretary Rumsfeld: No, I don’t believe it is. — February 2006
Sen. Robert Byrd: Mr. Secretary, how can Congress be assured that the funds in this bill won’t be used to put our troops right in the middle of a full-blown Iraqi civil war?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Senator, I can say that certainly it is not the intention of the military commanders to allow that to happen. The—and to repeat, the—at least thus far, the situation has been such that the Iraqi security forces could for the most part deal with the problems that exist. —March 2006