Rumsfeld Calls Number of SAMs in Iraq 'Enormous'
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2003 - "Enormous numbers. Enormous numbers," Defense
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld responded Nov. 2 when asked if he
knew how many shoulder-held surface-to-air missiles were in Iraq.
"Hundreds?" Rumsfeld was asked on "ABC's This Week With George
"(There) have to be more than hundreds," Rumsfeld said. "There
are weapons caches all over that country. They were using schools,
hospitals and mosques to hide weapons. Think of it, in Bosnia,
in the last six months, they have found 40 tons of weapons in a
country that we've occupied for six years. So Saddam Hussein spent
his money on palaces and on torturing people and on weapons. And
he's got a lot of them."
The secretary fielded questions on the Sunday talk shows Nov.
2 as reports filtered in about the Chinook helicopter shot down
in Iraq by a surface-to-air missile that day, killing 16 and injuring
20 soldiers en route to Baghdad International Airport.
During a morning news conference today, Army Col. Rhonda Cornum,
commander of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, said
the injured soldiers arriving there so far are "stable." She indicated
a number of "broken bones, a lot of compressions, loss of consciousness
from being knocked around, (and) some head injuries."
Besides U.S. forces being targeted in recent attacks, Rumsfeld
noted incidents "against international humanitarian organizations
like the U.N."
"They're against the Iraqi people, the Iraqi police academy," he
noted. "One attack was against a woman who served on the Governing
Council and she was murdered."
He said about 85 Iraqis who serve in the security forces who
have been killed already, adding that most of the attacks are against
other Iraqis. "They are targeting things, people that are cooperating
with the coalition," Rumsfeld noted. "So in that sense, they're
against the goal of the coalition."
Rumsfeld also replied to reports that townspeople celebrated
in the streets when the helicopter was shot down. "We know that
the overwhelming majority of the population of Iraq favors the
coalition, wants them to stay and appreciates the work and progress
that's taking place," he said.
"We also know," he continued, "that some fraction of the population
prefers Saddam Hussein. They've benefited by his regime and had
the opportunity to enjoy the things he enjoyed - palaces, cars,
killing people, and mutilating people. Those people obviously would
celebrate in the streets."
Rumsfeld emphasized that "the battle we're engaged in - the global
war on terrorism - is an important one."
"It's a different one than we've been in previously," he said. "Although
terrorism isn't new, the nature of terrorism is that its purpose
is to terrorize -- to alter people's behavior."
If free people end up behaving in a way that's different from
the way free people behave, they've lost, the secretary said.
Therefore, he continued, it's important to take the battle, the
war on terrorism, to the terrorists where they are. "That's what
we're doing," Rumsfeld pointed out. "We can win this war. We will
win this war. And the president has every intention of staying
after terrorists and the countries that harbor terrorists until
we have won this war."
Several terrorist networks with durable reach and several countries
harboring terrorists have global reach, he noted. "We weren't going
into Iraq when we were hit on Sept. 11," Rumsfeld pointed out.
He said knowing that there are terrorists, terrorist states and
countries harboring terrorist, "you just can't hunker down and
hope they won't hit you again. You simply have to take the battle
The United States has worked consistently on the al Qaeda network
and has captured or killed a large number. A large number of the
top 55 Saddam Hussein loyalists has also been captured or killed,
Emphasizing that it's necessary for the weapons inspectors to
continue their work in Iraq, Rumsfeld said, "You're not going to
find things by accident in a country the size of California. The
only way you are going to find them is by capturing people who
know about them and interrogate them and find out what they think
they know as to where these weapons are and what the programs were."
The secretary told "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert that the
United States knows that foreign terrorists are coming into Iraq. "We've
captured 200 or 300 of them from various countries," he noted.
The Ansar al-Islam and al Qaeda terrorist groups were already
in Iraq before the war started, Rumsfeld said. "The Iraqis were
engaged in terrorism themselves. They were giving $25,000 to suicide
bomber families who would go in and kill innocent men, women and
"The people being killed in Iraq today are overwhelmingly Iraqis
by Iraqis," the secretary noted. "And the terrorists and the criminals
that were released by Saddam Hussein, some 100,000 of them, are
out killing other Iraqis, trying to target successes."
Rumsfeld also talked about the length of the U.S. commitment
and the number of troops.
"How many U.S. forces will be there a year from now depends entirely
on what happens in the security situation on the ground, first
and foremost," he said. "It depends on how fast we are able to
build up the Iraqi forces.
"The total number of security forces in that country have been
going up steadily. We've come down from 150,000 to 130,000 troops.
The coalition troops of about 30,000 have stayed about level. And
what's changed is the Iraqi troops have come up from zero to 100,000,
heading towards over 200,000 next year."
The secretary said he has trouble believing that the security
situation in Iraq will require more U.S. troops. "We'll have to
rotate our forces and take the ones who've been there awhile out,
and put additional troops in," Rumsfeld said.
He said if someone asks him how many troops will be needed in
Iraq, his answer is, "I don't know. Nobody knows. And that's a