Appearing yesterday morning on 'Meet the Press', Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned of escalating danger from the brooding nation of Iran. Earlier in the day, Iran's military launched a blistering missile attack on the Kashan Desert. From the transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: Secretary Rumsfeld, I'm not so certain that Americans should be terribly frightened by this launch. A point could be made that these were all short-range missiles which Iran fired into their own desert.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Quite successfully, I might add. I believe that seven of the ten hit their targets. That's some deadly accuracy.

MR. RUSSERT: But again, it is a desert, and from my understanding of the topic, deserts are quite big...

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: As big as all outdoors, Tim. You know, the suggestion that things always go nicely or good in a war or a run-up to a war is just not the case. Iran hit a target. Let's leave it at that.

MR. RUSSERT: If it's not classified, Mister Secretary, I wonder if you could give me an idea of the destructive capability of these missiles.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: It was not massive, Tim, certainly not the sort of explosiveness associate with modern thermonuclear weaponry, although we can't reasonably assess the damage of their blasts. Why is that? It is because the Iranians chose to blow up sand, and our satellites, as sophisticated as American engineer's have designed them to be, insofar as it serves our purposes to say so and... I, no, the... the satellites are not sufficiently sophisticated to detect differences in individual grains of sand. Suffice it to say, the sand was devastated to a greater or lesser degree.

MR. RUSSERT: And, uh... I'm trying to formulate a follow-up...

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: You might have wanted to ask me how much worse it would have been if Ahmadinejad were to achieve his goal of arming those missiles with nuclear warheads. Good question. The answer is, it would have been infinitely worse. I'm going to give you a bit of a scoop, Tim. Tomorrow morning, Iran is going to turn away UN inspectors at their underground nuclear facility in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty. There you go, Tim, you got it first. Don't say that I never did anything for you.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, I suppose we'll just have to wait and see how that plays out tomorrow.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Don't doubt me, Tim, if I give you a scoop, it is written in the stone.

MR. RUSSERT: Very well. Secretary Rumsfeld, tell us about this new weapon system that Iran is reportedly working on. The picture should be on your screen now. It look like something that I've never seen before.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That, Tim, is an armored motorbike carrier. It is exactly like an aircraft carrier except it flies and it carries motorbikes.

MR. RUSSERT: And it appears to be much smaller than a typical aircraft carrier.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Smaller, swifter, and extremely maneuverable.

MR. RUSSERT: Is it deadly?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Oh my goodness yes. What you have here is a weapon capable of landing on enemy territory and disgorging dozens of motorbikes, which are then off and running before the country under attack ever has a chance to respond. You can imagine the unimaginable horror should those bikes be equipped with chemical or biological agents. It is truly mind boggling.

MR. RUSSERT: It certainly is. Is there any evidence that this is indeed the case?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Good try, Tim, good try. Chow.

MR. RUSSERT: Secretary Rumsfeld, thank you for being here.



2006, Mark Hoback