In the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton questioned Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld’s credibility stating that, “This is not 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, when you appeared before this committee and made many comments and presented many assurances that frankly have proved to be unfulfilled.” Rumsfeld responded stating that he never that he had never painted a rosy picture and that Senator Clinton would “have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I’ve been excessively optimistic.” This is of course, a challenge Hillary Clinton could not pass up.
Hillary Clinton submitted the following quotes to be enter into the official record for committee hearing:
On July 9, 2003: Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, “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.” (http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/2003/sp20030709-secdef0364.html)
On September 30, 2003: House Appropriations Committee hearing, “My impression is that the war was highly successful.”
On February 4, 2004: Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, “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.” (http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/2004/sp20040204-secdef0842.html)
On May 7, 2004: Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, “SENATOR BAYH: So my question, Mr. Secretary, my final question is just very simply, do you believe we're on the right course presently, or is dramatic action necessary to regain the momentum so that we can ultimately prevail in what is a very noble and idealistic undertaking?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I do believe we're on the right track.” (http://www.pentagon.mil/speeches/2004/sp20040507-secdef0443.html)
On June 23, 2005: Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, “But terrorists no longer can take advantage of sanctuaries like Fallujah.” (http://www.cq.com/display.do?dockey=/cqonline/prod/data/docs/html/transcripts/congressional/109/ congressionaltranscripts109-000001742332.html@committees&metapub=CQ-CONGTRANSCRIPTS&searchIndex=1&seqNum=54)
On June 23, 2005: House Armed Services Committee hearing
“The level of support from the international community is growing.”
On March 9, 2006: Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, “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?
SEC. DONALD 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.” (http://www.jcs.mil/chairman/speeches/060309CJCS_SecDefSecStateCENTCOM SenApproCom.html)
On November 14, 2002: Infinity CBS Radio Connect, interview with Steve Kroft
“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.” (http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2002/t11152002_t1114rum.html )
On December 18, 2002: CNN “Larry King Live”, “The Taliban are gone. The al Qaeda are gone.” (http://www.defenselink.mil/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=2940)
On February 7, 2003: Town hall meeting with U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy “And it is not knowable if force will be used, but if it is to be used, it is not knowable how long that conflict would last. It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”
On February 20, 2003: PBS “NewsHour” “Lehrer: Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?
Rumsfeld: There's obviously the Shia population in Iraq and the Kurdish population in Iraq have been treated very badly by Saddam Hussein's regime, they represent a large fraction of the total. There is no question but that they would be welcomed.”
On March 30, 2003: ABC “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” “We know where [the WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” (http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/t03302003_t0330sdabcsteph.html)
On February 1, 2006: Department of Defense News Briefing, “Q: One clarification on "the long war." Is Iraq going to be a long war?
SEC. RUMSFELD: No, I don't believe it is.” (http://www.defenselink.mil/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=905)
Today, when anyone with a computer and access to a search engine can find anything ever reported on you, issuing a challenge like that is absolute arrogance. We all know the war in Iraq has not gone the way it was promised. Sectarian violence does leave Iraqi citizens fearing for their lives. Baghdad is not a safe place to walk down the street. Insurgents and terrorist have returned to Fallujah. The Iraqi security forces have been unable to contain the violence. Weapons of mass destruction were never found. The war did not end in five or six months, and it does appear it is going to be a very long war unless we abandon the almost certain civil war and redeploy our troops to Afghanistan. I don’t know whether Donald Rumsfeld simply thinks Americans wont remember what he said of if he lives in a world where history does not inform his decisions. It is scary to think that our Secretary of Defense does not know the history of his own actions, let alone that of the long-term history of the region. The ability to review yours and other actions, to learn from them and adjust your course as needed, is essential to doing any job well. Is this the reason this administration has refused to change the course and take America in a new direction?