|We Know Who Does Target Civilians |
We Know Who Does Target Civilians
DoD News Briefing: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2001 - 1:25 p.m. EDT. Media availability with Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White. Source: News Transcript from the United States Department of Defense.
Rumsfeld: Secretary of the Army Tom White and I just had a lunch with Governor Ridge and spent some time discussing his new responsibilities and the relationship with the Department of Defense. And we'd be happy to respond to questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, reports out of Afghanistan indicate that dozens, perhaps more than a hundred, civilians have been killed in these bombing raids. And the Taliban says the Pentagon is lying when it says it is not targeting civilians. What's your response to that?
Rumsfeld: Well, I think everyone in this country knows that the United States of America does not target civilians. We have not, we do not. On the other hand, we know who does target civilians, and it's the terrorists that have killed thousands of Americans. And it comes with ill grace for the Taliban to be suggesting that we're doing what they have made a practice and a livelihood out of.
Q: Well, when you drop bombs at night in an area like Kabul, drop many bombs in an area like Kabul, how do you avoid hitting civilians by mistake?
Rumsfeld: Well, there is no question but -- first of all, that's a very different issue than the one you raised first. As I said yesterday or the day before, there's no question but that when one is engaged militarily, that there is going to be unintended loss of life. It has always been the case. It certainly will be the case in this instance. And there's no question but that I and anyone involved regrets the unintended loss of life.
Dropping bombs in the day or the night does not make an awful lot of difference when one's using GPS and various other precision-guided munitions.
Q: (Off mike.)
Rumsfeld: The munitions that are being used tend to be very precise. They are not 100 percent. Everyone here knows that, that there is no -- an automobile doesn't work 100 percent of t