Rumsfeld on Iraq’s WMDs, 2003

Photograph Source: Helene C. Stikkel – Public Domain

Donald Rumsfeld fancied himself a dark genius, the McNamara of the neo-cons. But he was really a rather conventional thinker with a plodding, sententious rhetorical style that some mistook for sagacity. In reality, Rumseld had mastered one parlor trick, which was his ability to seduce that most credulous of species, the national security reporter. Rumsfeld made many of them believe that the knowns were unknown and the unknowns were known. In swallowing his deceptions, the press helped him kill, maim and torture 100,000s of innocent people. They’ll try to rewrite his story and their part in it, but history will speak for itself and the more they try to suppress it the more fiercely it will reassert itself.

From a compilation of quotes by American politicians on Iraq’s alleged WMDs that I put together for my book, Grand Theft Pentagon.

“We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.”

–March 30, 2003

“There are people who in large measure have information that we need . . . so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country.”

–April 25, 2003

“I never believed that we’d just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country.” –May 4, 2003

“They may have had time to destroy them, and I don’t know the answer.”

– May 27, 2003


Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3