Skip to comments.Rumsfeld Tells Reporter - The Taliban, Not America, is the Villian
Posted on 11/16/2001 1:09:11 PM PST by Stand Watch Listen
Yesterday the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced from Geneva, Switzerland that the "rapid military gains made by Northern Alliance forces across much of Afghanistan during the past few days have not led to large-scale refugee exodus, raising hopes that UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations will soon be able to assist people inside the country."
In 1999, the world's media were concentrating on ethnic Albania 850,000refugees fleeing NATO bombing in Kosovo, while according to UNHCR, "3.6 million Afghans remain outside their country. Around one million are internally displaced. The crisis seemed so unending and intractable, funds for Afghan refugees threatened to dry up completely as a weary international community often ignored or forgot the human tragedy."
However, a reporter at the Department of Defense, after the Northern Alliance swept through Mazar-e Sharif , concentrated on unsubstantiated rumors of misdeeds, not of the Taliban whose misdeed had driven 3.6 million people out of their country, but of the just arrived opposition force. She asked:
Q: Mr. Secretary, there have been reports from the ground that the Northern Alliance have made atrocities in Mazar-e Sharif, and President Putin today seemed to discredit that, saying that the Northern Alliance, made up of Tajiks and Uzbeks, would not shoot on its own people, Tajiks and Uzbeks, at least not in the northern part of the country. First of all, do you give those reports credibility? And secondly, who is on the ground to monitor that situation and perhaps step in if in fact there's a potential bloodbath?
Rumsfeld: Who's making these reports?
Q: From the ground --
Q: Witnesses from the ground.
Q: The reporters --
Q: And U.N. officials have --
Rumsfeld: U.N. officials --
Q: Are reporting that they are --
Rumsfeld: I don't think there are any U.N. officials in there. I think there may be some people who have worked for U.N. organizations that may -- that contract people, but I don't know of any U.N. people that are in there.
Q: Right. The U.N. is just representing these as reports out of the region. That's where we're getting them from.
Secretary Rumsfeld in this exchange forces an obviously reluctant reporter to clearly identify WHO, specifically, have made the reports of "atrocities." When he finally forces the reporter to actually identify the source, and she claim it is "U.N. officials" he points out that there ARE no "U.N. officials" in Afghanistan. Rumsfeld uses the question to point out:
Rumsfeld: Well, the reports that we've heard out of the regions have been absolutely lying through their teeth, week after week after week, throughout the entire thing. I don't know that it's really useful to repeat unsubstantiated and sensational charges that I can't validate, that you can't validate, and that have not been checked.
The implication I -- a thread I find from time to time -- the implication is that America is what's wrong with the world, and in fact it's not. The Taliban have been vicious repressors in that country. They have done enormous humanitarian harm and damage to men, women, and children in that country.
Now -- (pauses) -- I don't -- I'm not there, and you're not there.
Therefore, I can't prove anything except to say this: that piece of real estate has changed hands dozens and dozens of times throughout history, and the carnage has just been unbelievable. Century after century, people have, in some cases, eliminated entire cities. The last time these places changed hands, the Taliban came in and killed hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people.
When there's a war and people are shooting and things happen and there's no question that there are people getting killed -- I don't doubt that for a minute. Who knows, when it's over, what the best assessment will be, and I'll certainly defer my judgment. But I'll guess that when this is over, that this probably will prove to have been the change of hands with the least loss of life of any time in modern memory in that country. But there will be loss of life.
Q: If I could just follow up, if there were atrocities that were being committed by the Northern Alliance, are there personnel or troops on the ground who are monitoring the situation --
Rumsfeld: Okay, let me comment. I'll try to explain what's happening.
First of all, the Northern Alliance is not an alliance. There are elements within it that are -- it's a loose grouping of different leaders and commanders.
Second, they were concerned about this, and on their own, I presume, but certainly also because the few U.S. forces on the ground urged them to be concerned about it, they -- my understanding is, and I could be wrong on this, but originally, they had intended to threaten the city and not go in, and that they changed their mind when they saw that the Taliban were fleeing and that looting was taking place. Now whether that's true or not, I don't know. But relatively small numbers, I'm told -- that is to say, not the entire force -- relatively small numbers have gone into the city of Kabul at the last report I heard two hours ago. And they went in to try to create order. What kinds of incidents might have occurred, I don't know, but there are a very small number of U.S. forces in the city of Kabul.
There are not sufficient forces to monitor or police the entire city. They are a sufficient number that they can give advice and counsel to the people who are in the city, the leadership, and that they can report back which they see, and we have not received reports back to that effect.
The reporter tried to stop Rumsfeld from giving information that refuted the premise of her question. In pointing out that the "Northern Alliance" is not an alliance, but a loose grouping of different leaders and commanders, he reminded her that condemning ALL the opposition forces by spreading an unchecked rumor would be inaccurate. He corrected he obvious bias that the opposition victors, somehow including the Americans, were now the villains rather than the Taliban and al Queda.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen any news source that bothered to report what he said.
To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org
...have a question that isn't asinine, sophomoric, foolish, callow, absurd, muddleheaded, witless, selfserving, or placing our troops at risk ....or the usual America at fault line....anybody????
Hmmmmmmm....Ok.... this press conference is concluded, see you tomorrow...
It is too early to know whether Kabul's latest liberators will bring more suffering...
Gotta love it.
He is so intelligent and such a hard-a$$ and I love it. He is honest and very firm with people while being respectful. I think he is doing an incredible job.
These people are useful, stupid idiots. When the going was nice and no war was around, it was evidently ok to hie based on looks...but maybe they should hire on brains from now on. Linda Vester has a brain...Norah O'Donnell...well, she looks nice.
This says it all.
Ummm...Please say you own LOTS of pairs of shoes.
Men only have three pair at most.
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