RAY SUAREZ: At the Pentagon this afternoon, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld began his daily briefing by addressing perceptions about the effectiveness and pace of the war effort to date.
DONALD RUMSFELD: I've reflected on some of the questions that were posed at the last briefing about the speed of progress and questions about the patience of the American people if something didn't happen immediately. And I personally have a sense that the public understands the following facts: On September 11, the terrorists attacked New York and Washington, murdering thousands of people -- Americans, as well as people from dozens of other countries of all races and religions. On October 7, less than a month later, we had positioned coalition forces in the region; we began military operations against Taliban and al-Qaida targets throughout Afghanistan. That was 24 days ago-- three weeks and three days; not three months, not three years, but three weeks and three days. In the end, war is not about statistics, deadlines, short attention spans or 24-hour news cycles. It's about will, the projection of will, the clear, unambiguous determination of the President of the United States-- and let there be no doubt about that-- and the American people to see this through to certain victory.
REPORTER: Your opening statement today wasn't about prosecuting the war. Increasingly, it seems to be about selling the war, telling the American people why it's taking as long as it is, and to have patience. How big a part of your job is the sales effort? What sort of time are you dedicating to that? Are you dedicating too much time to it, and are the people that you're talking to buying?
DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, I would guess it's probably about maybe 30 to 60 minutes a day. Is it important? I guess I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't believe it was important. I think it probably is. I think that the... Well, first of all, we have multiple audiences that we have to deal with. One is the men and women in the armed services. Then there are the American people, and the American people determine where this country goes, ultimately, and so it's important that they have that same understanding. Then there is the press, and...and needless to say, that is important. You play a very important role in this process. And so, as questions come up, it's important for Dick, and for me, and for others to be here almost every day and try to respond to those and provide the calibration that we believe is the right calibration, the honest, true calibration. And that's what we try to do. (Explosion)
RAY SUAREZ: On a day that saw increasingly targeted bombing of Taliban front lines, Secretary Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs defended the dropping of anti-personnel cluster bombs on Taliban positions.
GEN. RICHARD MYERS, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff: We are trying to be very careful in the way we plan this particular conflict probably only the U.S. and its allies could do it in such a way that we minimize civilian casualties. If we match up a specific weapon to a specific target and we make the judgment that it's in accordance with the law of armed conflict, and we've worked this very, very carefully, then we'll use that weapon. In some cases, that means cluster bombs, and we understand the impact of those. I would take you back to September 11. We also understand the impact of that.
REPORTER: They are being used on front- line al-Qaida and Taliban troops to try to kill them, is why we're using them, to be perfectly blunt.
RAY SUAREZ: They also said American planes were dropping leaflets that try to explain to Afghans how to tell the difference between unexploded cluster bombs and emergency food rations; both of them are coincidentally wrapped in yellow coatings.