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Rumsfeld Media Stakeout following CBS IV

Rumsfeld Media Stakeout following CBS IV

NEWS TRANSCRIPT from the United States Department of Defense

DoD News Briefing Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld Sunday, March 23, 2003

(Stakeout following CBS Face The Nation)

Q: Bush plans to tell the Congress the war will cost 80 billion dollars. Is it expected and do you think you'll get it?

Rumsfeld: I don't know that, what you just said.

Q: that was in the Post today.

Q: Is there any figure for a supplemental?

Rumsfeld: I know that the budget folks have been working on that, and part of it would be the global war on terrorism which was not funded for this year, and we've been spending roughly $1.5 billion a month. So the bulk of that would be a portion of it. Then there's the cost of the force flow that has been supporting the diplomacy in the United Nations that has a figure for it. Then there is whatever the cost will be as we go forward. Then there's reconstitution of the weapons that have been used and so forth.

So there are elements there. I'm also told the supplemental will include funds for the intelligence community and for the Department of State and some other activities like that. So the idea that that's the cost of the war, if that is the number and I've not seen the number, I think would be a misunderstanding.

Q: [Inaudible] Can you verify that [inaudible]?

Rumsfeld: No. Al Jazeera has just shown photographs of what they say are American POWs. I do not know if they are or are not. There are also some missing journalists that were not part of our operation. They were not embedded with our forces that were just freelancing and are missing.

It is against the Geneva Convention to show photographs of prisoners of war in a manner that is humiliating for them. So I just do not know beyond that.

Q: Can you confirm that U.S. soldiers are missing?

Rumsfeld: There are reports that a small number of U.S. soldiers could be missing. Unaccounted for maybe is the best phrase.

Q: Would you be worried about the impact domestically on those pictures if they are U.S. soldiers?

Rumsfeld: I don't think there's ever been a war where people haven't been killed or prisoners haven't been taken. The purpose of this is to change that regime and to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and to liberate the Iraqi people. And every person involved in this campaign is a volunteer. They're all people -- young men, young women, fine human beings who are courageous and doing a wonderful job. They really are.

Q: [Inaudible] groups and equipment (inaudible) Turkey. Several days after [inaudible]. Can you read anything into this delay? Did you come to a point that you thought that these groups and equipment they might not be needed after all but now [inaudible]?

Rumsfeld: No, we haven't changed our view. We just found different ways of doing it. We're doing it from the south instead of from the north. And it's not anywhere near as convenient or helpful.

Q: (inaudible) British and Australian forces fighting along side?

Rumsfeld: The United States and Australia and the United Kingdom and Poland all have forces on the ground in that country and it is, they are close, they are professional, they're talented, and they're important for the success of the effort. We value their involvement a great deal.

There are some 46 nations I'm told that are supporting the United States and the coalition in this effort. Those four actually have forces directly involved on the ground. There are dozens more that have been participating in the maritime aspect of it, in the peninsula shield aspect of it, the Gulf coordinating states, and countries all over the globe that have been very very helpful. So it's a broad, deep coalition and that's important.

Thank you very much, folks.

ENDS


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