American forces unearth hidden aircraft in Iraq
By Kathleen T. Rhem, American Forces Press Service
/ Published August 07, 2003
WASHINGTON -- American forces have found Russian fighter jets buried in the Iraqi desert, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an Aug. 5 press briefing.
"We'd heard a great many things had been buried, but we had not known where they were, and we'd been operating in that immediate vicinity for weeks and weeks and weeks … 12, 13 weeks, and didn't know they were (there)," Rumsfeld said.
The secretary said he wasn't sure how many such aircraft had been found, but noted, "It wasn't one or two."
He said it's a "classic example" of the challenges the Iraqi Survey Group is facing in finding weapons of mass destruction in the country.
"Something as big as an airplane that's within … a stone's throw of where you're functioning, and you don't know it's there because you don't run around digging into everything on a discovery process," Rumsfeld explained. "So until you find somebody who tells you where to look, or until nature clears some sand away and exposes something over time, we're simply not going to know.
"But, as we all know," he added, "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."