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No. 18
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• date: 28 Oct 2001.

DOCUMENT [2001.10.28]

Donald Rumsfeld, CNN Interview,
28 October 2001 [Excerpts]

Donald Rumsfeld, CNN Interview,
28 October 2001

Excerpt on tactical nuclear weapons and Afghanistan

Blitzer: Can those 5,000-pound bunker busting bombs, those precision-guided bombs, get into those caves and destroy those caves?

Rumsfeld: There's no question that we have been systematically working on the caves, and on the tunnels, and on their openings, and we've had some success. Now, the problem is there are a great many of them, so it's going to take some time to deal with them and make them less habitable.

Blitzer: I don't know if you saw the comments this week. I interviewed Congressman Steve Buyer of Indiana. He says if those 5,000-pound bombs can't do the job he would want you to consider using tactical nuclear weapons. Not the strategic nuclear bombs, but the smaller tactical nuclear weapons to destroy those facilities. What do you think about that?

Rumsfeld: I think the 5,000-pound bombs are going to be able to do the job.

Blitzer: So, you're ruling out any consideration...

Rumsfeld: I don't rule out anything, but my answer very simply is, we are not having a problem in dealing with those tunnels in terms of the ordinance. The problem is that there are so many of them, and locating them, it just takes time. And we're systematically working on the problem, just as we are working on the Taliban and the al-Qaeda military, finding concentrations of those people. They're well burrowed in, and the task is to get the opposition forces moving in a way and helping with targeting so that as they force and put pressure on the al-Qaeda, and on the Taliban that we're able to then target them successfully, and that has increasingly been the case.

Blitzer: As you know, during the Gulf War, the U.S. deliberately refused to rule out a nuclear strike, if you will. If it were determined that Saddam Hussein were using weapons of mass destruction, whether chemical, biological, or himself nuclear, what is the U.S. position right now?

Rumsfeld: The United States has historically refused to rule out the use of weapons like that.

Blitzer: Nuclear weapons, and that's the case right now.

Rumsfeld: Uh-huh.