Testifying before the Senate today, Donald Rumsfeld told Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) that he has “never painted a rosy picture” about Iraq. Rumsfeld insisted that he has been “very measured” and told Clinton “you would have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I have been overly optimistic.” Watch it:
Here’s just a few of the “overly optimistic” comments made by Rumsfeld (and no, we did not have a “dickens of a time” finding them):
Dec. 18, 2002: KING: What’s the current situation in Afghanistan? RUMSFELD: It is encouraging. They have elected a government through the Loya Jirga process. The Taliban are gone. The al Qaeda are gone.
Feb. 7, 2003: “It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”
Feb. 20 2003: “‘Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?’ Jim Lehrer asked the defense secretary on PBS’ The News Hour. ‘There is no question but that they would be welcomed,’ Rumsfeld replied, referring to American forces.”
Mar. 30, 2003: “It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
CLINTON: Well, Mr. Secretary, I know you would and I know you feel strongly about it, but there’s a track record here. This is not 2002, 2003, 2004-5, when you appeared before this committee and made many comments and presented, you know, many assurances that have frankly proven to be unfulfilled, and –
RUMSFELD: Senator, I don’t think that’s true. I have never painted a rosy picture. I have been very measured in my words, and you’d have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I have been excessively optimistic. I understand this is tough stuff.