Claim: Photographs show Iraqi fighter planes found buried in the desert.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]
Origins: The al Taqqadum air field west of Baghdad in Iraq, a sandy wasteland surrounded by high dunes off the main Baghdad-to-Jordan highway, was the focus of intense search-and-destroy activity after the
What military search teams eventually found at al Taqqadum, in
The discovery at al Taqqadum was not announced to the public until a month later, in a press briefing delivered by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2003 — American forces have found Russian fighter jets buried in the Iraqi desert, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an
Aug. 5press 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.”
|Exhumating the Dead Iraqi Air Force (Air Combat Information Group)|
Last updated: 1 March 2004
Farrell, Stephen “Iraqi Planes Found Buried in Desert.” The [London] Times. 2 August 2003. Rhem, Kathleen T. “American Forces Pull Hidden MiG fighters out of Iraqi Desert.” American Forces Press Service. 6 August 2003. Boston Globe. “Desert Discovery.” 12 August 2003. The Seattle Times. “Buried Fighter Jets Uncovered.” 13 August 2003 (p. A19).