From: "Pedro Martori"
Subject: DoD News Briefing
charset = "UTF-8"
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 21:11:26 -0400
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2002 21:10:49 EDT
Organization: Bell Sympatico
Asunto: DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld And Gen. Pace
Fecha: Monday, October 07, 2002 6:05 PM
DoD News Briefing
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Monday, October 07, 2002 - 1:15 p.m. EDT
(Also participating was Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, vice
chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.)
Rumsfeld: Good afternoon.
It was a year ago today that the global war on terrorism
began, when U.S. and coalition forces commenced military
operations in and over Afghanistan. Our coalition now comprises
some 90 nations -- nearly half of the world's countries. I'm
told it's the largest military coalition ever assembled in human
Looking back one year on what that coalition has
achieved is remarkable. As we stated last October 7th -- and
I'm told that the transcript of that press briefing is available
-- U.S. military objectives in Afghanistan were to drive the
Taliban from power; to capture, kill or disrupt al Qaeda;
provide humanitarian relief to the Afghan people; and begin the
process of creating conditions that will eventually make
Afghanistan inhospitable to terrorist networks.
We've made good progress. By October 7th of last year,
less than four weeks after the September 11th attacks, we had
developed and were implementing our plan to defeat the
attackers. Working with local Afghan forces opposed to the
Taliban, coalition forces used an imaginative combination of
21st-century technology and 19th-century military tactics,
teaming airpower, advanced communications, precision-guided
munitions with thousands of Afghan warriors on foot, and some on
horseback, to overwhelm the adversary.
And it worked. On November 7th, just one month into the
military campaign, the first Afghan city, Mazar-e Sharif, was
liberated from Taliban control. With each successive day and
week, additional territory was reclaimed for the Afghan people
-- Taloquan, Herat, Jalalabad, Konduz, Bagram, Kabul, and
finally, on December 7th, two months into Operation Enduring
Freedom, Kandahar, the Taliban stronghold, was liberated.
The Afghan people promptly exercised their right of
self- determination through the Loya Jirga process and selected
their transitional government which, of course, is now getting
on its feet. With coalition partners, we're helping to train
[the] Afghan national army so that Afghans can once again
provide for their own security and the stability of the country.
U.S. Army Civil Affairs teams and coalition countries are
helping Afghans rebuild their country after decades of
occupation and devastation, providing water, sanitation,
shelter, health care, and assistance to returning refugees.
Schools have been rebuilt, teachers trained, textbooks supplied.
Young girls are back in classrooms. Women are working. Land
mines are being cleared. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have
returned -- a very strong vote of confidence in coalition
efforts and in the future of that country.
But sadly, success on the global war on terror has not
been without cost. Fifty-three Americans have died in the war
thus far. Their names appear on the screen. And many others
have been injured. Our coalition partners have also suffered
casualties as well. We remember them with gratitude. We
remember also the many Afghans who were -- fought for the
liberation of their country and were wounded or died in battle.
The sacrifice of all of those who died is a reminder
that we are engaged in a difficult and dangerous undertaking,
but it is an effort that is vital to the security of our people.
I believe the names that are listed are all military
except for the CIA, Mr. Spann.
The United States is committed to the long-term
stability and security of Afghanistan. I said here a year ago
that while the raids that day focused on the Taliban and the
foreign terrorists in Afghanistan, our aims remain broader.
"Our objective is to defeat those who use terrorism and those
who house or support terrorists. The campaign will be broad,
sustained, and we will use every element of American power," I
said one year ago.
Today, Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for
terrorists, but there's no question but that free nations are
still under threat. Thousands of terrorists remain at large in
dozens of countries. They're seeking weapons of mass
destruction that would allow them to kill not only thousands but
tens of thousands of innocent people. Our objective in the
global war on terror is to prevent another September 11th, or an
attack that is far worse, before it happens.
It's worth noting that before hostilities in Afghanistan
began, there were ominous warnings. One newspaper warned,
before October 7th, "As an environment for military conflict,
Afghanistan is virtually impervious to American power." Another
declared that "Afghanistan has been bombed for over two decades
by the Soviet Union and every conceivable band of local
marauders, to little avail." "U.S. high-tech equipment will not
provide a decisive advantage against people who can stay holed
up in remote caves." Others issued similar warnings.
Fortunately, those predictions, for the most part, have
not come to pass. Coalition forces did succeed and have been
welcomed by the Afghan people because we came not as a force of
occupation, but as forces of liberation. We face many
challenges beyond Afghanistan in the global war on terror.
Certainly no two countries are alike. But the dangers remain,
as does our resolve to deal with them.
Pace: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
We'd certainly like to join the Secretary in thanking
the thousands of dedicated men and women who serve in our armed
forces to safeguard our nation and our freedom. I've had the
great pleasure of visiting these folks in the field, in
Afghanistan and elsewhere. They look me in the eye and they do
not ask, "When can we go home?" They simply ask, "What else can
we do?" And it's heartwarming and truly an honor to just be
with them where they're doing this great work for our nation.
Their families, too, deserve our thanks. It takes a
great deal of courage to fight our country's wars; it takes an
equal measure of courage to send our loved ones off into battle.
So for all of our families who have loved ones serving now,
thank you for what you're doing for your country.
And to the American people. This is a difficult war on
terrorism. We have a long way to go. Thank you for your
amazing, sustained support of your military. We promise you we
will stay the course, and we thank you for making that possible.
With that, we'll answer your questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, is there any indication whether the
apparent explosion and fire aboard the French-flagged tanker in
the Gulf of Aden was caused by a terrorist attack? And have the
French asked the United States, with considerable military
assets in the region, for help in investigating?
Rumsfeld: We have no information as to the cause of that
damaged ship. And I have no information that would indicate
that the French have asked for assistance. I just don't know.
Q: Mr. Secretary, in this press briefing last year, you
were asked about Osama bin Laden. You said, "This is not about
a single individual, it's about a terrorist network." And
that's what you've said many times. You've also said that
there's no hard evidence that bin Laden is still alive or that
he's dead. Has that changed?
Rumsfeld: I said that a year ago?
Q: Since then. You've said --
Rumsfeld: Oh, since then I've said that. Okay.
[Inaudible.] I said that on September -- October -- September
11th -- or October 7th, a year ago?
Q: (Off mike.)
Rumsfeld: Interesting. I was right. (Laughter.)
Q: Has that changed since then? And could I get you to
Q: -- on the audiotape broadcast this weekend by
Al-Jazeera, and whether there's any indication that -- either
way -- whether that's bin Laden.
Rumsfeld: I have really nothing I can add to anything
I've said on the subject. I have read only press reports of the
tape -- the radio tape, as I recall. I've not heard it. I know
that there are people looking at it. I'm told there's no way to
know when it was made.
Obviously, there would be many ways that one could
easily -- were one alive, one could easily indicate that they
were alive, and that the tape had been made recently. And I'm
told that it does not indicate that.
So, I have still to this moment not seen anything since
last December that one can with certainty say that he's alive or
functioning. So he's therefore either alive and well, or alive
and not too well, or not alive.
Q: Do you have any better indication on Mullah Omar, Mr.
Rumsfeld: I don't. I hear scraps that he's probably
still alive, but I just -- we haven't -- I haven't seen or heard
Q: Mr. Secretary, Mr. Secretary, it seems that the
Congress is not going to give the President the blank-check
resolution he might have wanted. It also seems that getting a
strong resolution through the Security Council is going to be
probably an exercise in futility, as we now see it.
Also, there are some who claim --
Rumsfeld: My goodness, you're in a morose mood today.
(Laughter.) Are there any other adjectives you could wrap around
those two resolutions to make them sound --
Q: (Off mike) -- second. Bear with me. There are some
who say that Saddam Hussein is playing us like a Stradivarius,
with his United Nations ambassador now saying that the palaces
are not off-limits. Is the administration now getting
frustrated? It's said many times that time is of the essence.
When is somebody going to do something tangible against the
so-called, you know, man in Iraq who threatens Americans?
Rumsfeld: I wish I had written all of that down.
But first of all, I don't believe the President ever
asked for a blank check of Congress. Second, I am not as close
to the congressional resolution as I possibly wish I were. But
I just haven't had the moment in the last period of hours to
check anything. But to my knowledge, everyone seems to think
that there will be a resolution, and it'll pass overwhelmingly
by the Congress. So your characterization, I think, is probably
-- misses the mark.
With respect to the U.N., it seems to me that's still
quite open as to what's going to happen, but my impression is
that they're -- that Colin Powell and his team are working hard
with the folks at the U.N. And I haven't seen anything that
strikes me as suggesting that it's a bleak, gloomy prospect for
the U.N. resolution.
Last, the answer to your question is yes. There's no
question but that Saddam Hussein has in the past and is now
attempting to manage that whole process, and he's very good at
it. He leans forward when he has to, and he leans back when he
can get away with it. And it is -- he's very skillful at
disinformation and not telling the truth. He is very skillful
at timing things in a way that causes the interaction at the
United Nations to do things that favor him. How it will all
come out, I don't know. It seems to me one would -- at least
one would think that after 11 years of doing it, pretty soon
people would wake up and say, "A-ha! That's what he's doing."
And we'll see.
Q: Mr. Secretary, we've had some concerns raised. Leo
Mullin of [inaudible] airlines has said the airline industry
already lost $7 billion last year, it'll lose another $7 billion
this year, and if we have a long war in Iraq, with high jet-fuel
prices, it would be very damaging. We've had economists saying
that a long war over there with the uncertainty it would
generate, would damage the fragile U.S. economic expansion.
We've had others say --
Rumsfeld: My goodness. You -- you should've been sitting
right next to -- (inaudible) -- (laughter).
Q: It gets --
Rumsfeld: Should we all lay our hands together here for
Q: (Off mike) -- it gets better with me. (Laughter.) If
you - if the President requests you to initiate a strike on
Iraq, would it be done, as General Shalikashvili said, with
overwhelming force? Would it be prosecuted in a very rapid
manner, so that you would have a decisive outcome quickly? Does
the Powell Doctrine still prevail?
Rumsfeld: My goodness gracious. That is something.
(Laughs) -- just -- he says, "Just say yes or no." (Laughter.)
First of all, there's been no decision on Iraq. So we
have to begin with that. Second, were there to be such a
decision, I don't know why one would assume that it would
necessarily last forever. I think what you said -- "Would it be
a long, terrible, drawn-out thing?" --
Q: Or short?
Rumsfeld: And I saw Leo Mullin down in Atlanta and had
lunch with him the other day. I think that -- I don't want to
correct your question, but he had much more to say than just
what you said, as I recall. And I don't know that worrying that
through, given the fact that the President hasn't made a
decision on the subject -- and it has an assumption that he does
and an assumption that it's long. And I don't know that either
assumption will prove to be correct. So I don't know that I can
answer your question.
Q: Well, the question was, would you put in enough
troops -- General Shalikashvili said don't wage war on the cheap
-- put in enough so that we can have a decisive action that will
be over quickly?
Rumsfeld: It is always nice to receive advice from
people who have served in this department. But if I were to
comment on the advice that's received from every person who
served in this department, we wouldn't have much else to do --
we wouldn't have time to do anything else.
So -- the last part of your question on the so-called
Powell doctrine, my impression is that it was actually the
Weinberger doctrine, I think, technically. I could -- wasn't
Q: It was, yes.
Rumsfeld: I don't want to get picky but -- (laughter) --
but that was a couple of Presidents ago, and the times were
different. This is now post-September 11th, and the world has
changed significantly since President Reagan was elected in
1980, when those thoughts were uttered. And it strikes me that
even the people involved then would probably have, today,
somewhat -- some amendments that they would probably make, or
elaborations. So I don't know that it's useful for me to
comment on that.
Q: You can get our advice, if you like, Mr. Secretary!
Q: Could you tell us what amendments you'd be talking
about? What would be this new document --
Rumsfeld: No, I haven't read this document that you're
talking about for 15 years, I don't suppose. And I have my own
thoughts, you can be sure of that and --
Q: We're so interested in them.
Rumsfeld: And I have -- you can be also certain that
I've communicated them to the President, and that there have
been discussions about what are the kinds of things one ought to
think about prior to making a commitment of U.S. lives to a
conflict. And --
Q: I take that as a "no comment?"
Rumsfeld: Well no, it's a comment. I mean, I have
thought a great deal about this. In fact, I wrote down my
thoughts when I first came into office some 20 months ago, and
have discussed them extensively with the President and with
General Pace and with General Myers and with others in the
Q: And us?
Rumsfeld: Well, not yet.
Q: Now would be an excellent opportunity. (Scattered
Rumsfeld: I didn't bring my guidelines down, but I'll
Q: Despite all the successes in the war in Afghanistan,
how much of a disappointment is it that coalition forces were
not either able to capture Osama bin Laden, or at least
definitively determine his fate, whether he's dead?
Rumsfeld: If you go back to what was read about a year
ago today, what I said, I said what I believed then and I
believe today. This is not about him. It is a problem that's
much bigger than one individual. It was that day. I said so.
I tried to dissuade people from personalizing this global war on
terrorism into the face or name of a single individual; that
that would be unwise and misguided, misdirected. I did my best.
I failed. There's a fixation on him, and I suppose we'll just
all have to work our way through it.
Q: Nevertheless, whether it's about one individual or
not, how much of a disappointment is it that coalition forces --
Rumsfeld: For me or for the press corps?
Q: Well, for you.
Rumsfeld: I'm not -- "frustrated," I think, was the word
you used -- at all about it. I -- needless to say, we would
like to locate him and determine what his circumstance is. But
that's true of 15 or 20 people that we've got high on the list
of Taliban and al Qaeda that are -- have thus far not been -- we
don't know precisely what's happened to them. There are a
category that we know are dead. There's a category that we know
are alive. And there's a fairly large category that we don't
know if they're dead or alive.
And the communications management and the way they
manage their lives have, have gotten -- they've gotten quite
skillful. Because of all the leaks in the press about how we do
things and what we do and how we find out things, they have
managed to change their behavior patterns in ways that it makes
it very difficult to find them. And I'm -- I -- that's just a
fact. The leaks in the press have been damaging to the way we
have to do things.
And when will we find some of these people? I just
don't know. We do know that we're putting pressure on them. We
do know that their lives are more difficult. We knew -- do know
that it takes them longer to do everything.
And we do know that if they are alive and well, that
we'll eventually find them.
Q: General Pace, can you help us with the environment
since the USS Cole was hit out in Yemen two years ago? Have
there been continuing indications that al Qaeda or other
terrorist groups have been plotting, going after maritime
shipping? Is that a priority as you talk to detainees, as you
continue to gather this body of evidence? Can you give us some
feeling for where that threat matrix, to use the Secretary's
Pace: Periodically, we receive intelligence reports that
do say, that not only U.S., but other coalition vessels would be
subject to attack, as we do reports about embassies around the
world and about other assets around the world. We take them all
very seriously. The U.S. Navy, for its part, is very sensitive
to and attentive to, the requirement to safeguard our capital
ships, our warships. They do that in various ways. We share
intelligence amongst navies and amongst intelligence
organizations about the threats to shipping. But I should not
get into the specifics of how many threats and when we get them.
But we do receive threats and we do take precautions against
Q: Is there an indication that al Qaeda or other
terrorist groups might be shifting to softer targets, which
would be civilian tankers, civilian merchant vessels, or is that
just out there in the noise?
Pace: Not an indication per se, but... but it's a
logical place to go that if in fact you are protecting one type
of facility or one type of effort, that terrorists who prefer to
not have to attack hard targets would go after something else,
whether that's a ship or a building or something; there's no
fidelity to that. But clearly, the better defended a particular
thing is, the less likely it is to be targeted.
Rumsfeld: It's also been the pattern. We've seen people
migrate and go to school on what people do, and make judgments
that that becomes more difficult, therefore we'll do this for a
Q: Are you seeing a pattern change, I guess is what my --
Rumsfeld: Of actual events --
Rumsfeld: -- or intel?
Q: Of intelligence that --
Rumsfeld: We don't talk about intel.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: Could you elaborate on what means, if any, are being
made to provide anti-missile defenses to countries that may find
themselves in the path of an Iraqi Scud attack -- beyond Israel,
either by Patriot or one of the competitors?
Rumsfeld: There are missile -- anti-missile missile --
defense against missiles located in a number of countries in the
region, and have been for some time. And we don't discuss which
countries they're in. Israel has discussed what they have,
obviously, and everyone knows they've been working on the Arrow
system. But, it's up to those countries to discuss any defenses
they have, if they decide that's in their own interest.
Q: Including any increase, is there any change of --
Rumsfeld: We wouldn't announce changes.
Q: Mr. Secretary, how seriously [is] your Department of
Defense is taking into consideration the part of the recent
British report submitted to your government that Saddam Hussein
is in a position to strike by his missiles even Greece and
Cyprus, along with the State of Israel and Turkey?
Rumsfeld: Well, one --
Q: It is a big issue in the press.
Rumsfeld: It is a big issue where?
Q: In the press, about the citation of this report --
Rumsfeld: About what?
Q: The citation of British report --
Rumsfeld: Wait a second. I can't understand the word.
Q: The British report saying that Saddam Hussein is in a
position to strike even Greece and to...Cyprus --
Rumsfeld: I see.
Q: -- along with the State of Israel and Turkey.
Rumsfeld: Right. Right. The British report and others
have taken Iraq and then taken a radius around it to show what
the range of their missiles are. And it, it's -- any country
that happens to fall within the range of those missiles or those
capabilities obviously has that circumstance. But they could be
-- if Iraq were to decide to do something like that, they would
have the capability of doing it within those ranges. That's
Q: Mr. Secretary, could you update us on your ongoing
review of some of the major weapons systems -- the CVX, the DDX,
the Raptor? Senator Warner sent you a letter last week
underscoring the importance of the carrier program. Just
wondering what --
Rumsfeld: It's amazing how the letters I get get to you
before they get to me. I've not seen it.
But how is it going? Well, I had lunch today with the
service secretaries that were in town and Paul Wolfowitz. And
we had a good discussion and kind of got brought up to date that
the various studies that are taking place or proceeding. And
the Joint Staff and General Pace are all involved in this
It is now October, still early October. And the budget
goes to -- from the Department of Defense, I believe, in
December, over to OMB, and then it goes to the President in
December and early January, and then it goes to the Congress in
February. So between now and early December, we have to have
completed the studies that are scheduled to be completed, had
the necessary meetings and discussions, and considered all of
the various options which those studies are designed to offer
up, and come to some conclusions.
I guess I have not been in it -- involved in it
intimately. I have -- I get brought up to date every few weeks
by Dr. Wolfowitz and Steve Cambone and Dov Zakheim and General
Pace and all of those who have been doing it. But they've not
arrived at my desk yet with any recommendations, or even any
Pace: And I have been involved with this almost daily.
It is all being done below the Secretary's level right now.
It's a very fixed process to make sure that all the options are
looked at. Take any particular weapon system you care to
choose; the service that is responsible for bringing that weapon
system into the inventory is briefing us on where they are right
now, how long it will take to get to where they believe we
should be. We're looking at that with regard to budgets and also
future concepts, and trying to determine -- to give
recommendation to the Secretary -- how far down this road can we
see, and is it prudent to go to expend resources to get to the
next decision point, so that we don't take things off the table
too soon, nor do we expend resources too fast on a particular
concept. And then to take it in whole cloth, because if you
take one system, you just can't make a decision on that and put
it in your pocket, you have to make a tentative decision and
then go to the other systems and see how they are all impacted,
and then come back to the whole cloth. And when we get done
with that, then we'll come forward to the Secretary with our
Rumsfeld: That is a very important point.
Understandably, a particular company gets interested in a
particular system; a particular congressional district or a
state gets interested in a particular system; a particular
service gets interested in a particular system.
But what General Pace and Dr. Wolfowitz are trying to do
is to look at the totality of these things, and see how they fit
together in a joint war-fighting -- from a joint war-fighting
Q: How much does the interest of particular members of
Congress add to the difficulty of your decision-making?
Rumsfeld: Well, you know -- well, come on! (Laughter.)
Q: General? General Pace --
Rumsfeld: Decision-making's difficult in the best of
circumstances. We all know that. These are complicated issues
and tough ones. And it's been thus far a very healthy process.
So I'm pleased with them.
Q: Well, I guess what I'm trying to get at -- will you
be adding to the levels of U.S. forces in the Gulf, sir? Will
you be moving to do that soon, before -- I know the President
hasn't made a decision, but at some point you have to start
moving forces to the region, and have you come to a decision on
Rumsfeld: You know, for me to say yes or no is
un-useful, from your standpoint, because we make decisions on
where people go and where ships go and where aircraft go every
day. And some are going in and some are going out. And it's
true of every area of responsibility that the various combatant
The -- obviously, the President is before the Congress
and tonight before the American people and, in the period of
weeks ahead of us, before the world community in the United
Nations. And it's unclear how it all is going to sort through,
and it's up to him, and it's not up to us. And we'll do what
makes the most sense as we go along.
Q: Can I clean up one detail on Yemen? I believe at the
beginning you said that France had not sought any U.S. help or
assistance on the investigation. Has Yemen asked the United
States for any help and assistance? You have no -- maybe I
might have incorrect information. You have no NCIS
investigators on their way to Yemen to assist that government?
Pace: Not that I'm aware, but --
Rumsfeld: It's possible. It's possible that people are
moving around to assist. But I just happen not to have
addressed it myself.
Q: And just also clean up one detail. As a result of
this, has there been any new additional notice to mariners in
the region, any additional cautions? The 5th Fleet already did
have a notice to mariners out. Any -- or is it just completely
Rumsfeld: Well, since the Cole, there have been so many
notices out to mariners that it -- it is clearly something that
is a potential problem, for us and for other countries' ships.
I don't know that... of any status that's changed since
this particular ship was set on fire, or had an explosion or
whatever happened to it, because we don't know what's happened
Q: Mr. Secretary, you and others in the administration
have talked several times in recent weeks about your hope -- or
let's say, about the possibility that Iraqi people might revolt,
that officers might disobey orders. Do you have any signs that
there's dissent or defections among Saddam's inner circle or the
military or the population?
Rumsfeld: I wouldn't want to get into what our
intelligence shows on things like that. But if one looks at
that regime and how it treats its people, and how it treats even
the people in the military, it seems to me that -- transpose
yourself back to Afghanistan. There was the same kinds of
questions: What do the Afghan people think about all this? How
are you going to deal with the Taliban and the al Qaeda and all
of those problems? And the fact of the matter is, as those
cities fell, people came out and felt liberated, and they flew
kites and they played music and opened schools and refugees came
The regime in Iraq is a repressive regime. Human beings
are human beings. It's been said there will be no peace in the
world till every man is free, because to every man he is the
And there have to be people there who, despite the fact
that they have been repressed for many, many decades, who would
prefer to live a different life. And I don't doubt for a minute
but that that's the case. But I'm... it's not for me to get
into intelligence that discusses that.
Q: Mr. Secretary, we're in the second week of the fiscal
year, and there's no indication of when Congress is going to
pass either defense authorization or appropriations. Does it
cause the department any difficulty if they go home for the
recess, for the election, without -- and leave you living on
Rumsfeld: Sure. I mean, your first choice is that when
the new fiscal year starts, that the bill would have been passed
-- authorizations and appropriation -- weeks before, so you
could begin arranging yourself to live with the new budgets and
And we're now into the fiscal year and neither has
passed. So clearly, that makes life more difficult.
Q: (Off mike.)
Rumsfeld: Sure. Mm-hmm.
Q: Have you made a decision on who you're going to
nominate to lead the force... the Army forces in Europe?
Rumsfeld: (Confers with General Pace.) Okay. I think I
have made the decision, in answer to your question. And the
decision I make is a recommendation that goes to the White
House, and the White House, General Pace tells me, has not yet
acted on. But we've been working very, very hard trying to get
a large number of military and civilian recommendations to the
White House, and to the Senate for confirmation, and we've had
some good luck. We've been able to get the interviews that
needed to be conducted, the decisions that needed to be made,
approval at the White House, and I'm told that the Senate has
been very cooperative, and they're moving promptly to try to see
that these names get dealt with before they go out. And I
believe that's one of them, but I'd have to go back and look.
There were so many of them, there were a large number.
Q: Some in Congress, and also Britain's Jack Straw, are
making a distinction between disarmament and regime change,
arguing that, well, if Saddam Hussein allows inspectors in and
if he disarms, there is really no need to topple the Saddam
Hussein regime. What would you think of that argument?
Rumsfeld: Well, I think that there are different things
that concern different people, and there are different people
who make judgments as to what is required to achieve one of
those things, and in some cases another is required. To be
specific, if you go back to the President's speech, whenever it
was, three, four, five weeks ago... on the subject of Iraq, and
he talked about a series of things. He mentioned the weapons of
mass destruction problem, he mentioned the regime, and he
mentioned the repressive nature of the regime, and what it's
doing to human beings from a standpoint of human rights, the
Iraqi people themselves. He mentioned the threats to the
neighbors. He mentioned the fact that it's a terrorist state.
He mentioned the fact that it has connections to terrorist
organizations. He mentioned -- oh, goodness -- oh, violation of
U.N. resolutions. So there were five, six, seven, eight things
that he discussed as problems with this regime.
And I believe he mentioned -- I know he mentioned, and I
suspect he will this evening -- the fact that the United States
of America back, I guess, in the prior administration and the
Congress, passed legislation on regime change.
Now, is it surprising that some other country might come
up with a list that doesn't have two or three of those on it?
No, not at all; it's not surprising. And that's fair enough.
Some things bother some people, some things don't bother other
people, or they don't think that they're as important. And I
think that's probably the case in this instance.
Q: So in your mind, there's really just no question that
you have to topple the Saddam Hussein regime in order to disarm?
Rumsfeld: Well, first of all, what I think doesn't make
an awful lot of difference. It's what the President decides.
And I think that it's what the U.N. -- the U.N. is going to have
to think that through. If you have had 11 years of violation of
U.N. resolutions on disarmament -- the first year, hope springs
eternal; the second year, hope still springs, but somewhat less
than eternal. And you go through year after year after year.
If at the end of 11 years, there are still some people who are
hopeful, fair enough; then they're hopeful that you could get
disarmament without changing the regime. If there are people
who, after 11 years, come to a conclusion that, "Gee, maybe it's
not going to be possible to get disarmament with that regime,"
then that's their call. And the President and the U.N. is going
to have to make that kind of a call.
I just -- I just don't know what will be decided, but
whatever will be decided will be -- we will be advised
accordingly. But it is not our decision to make.
Q: Are you backing away from regime change? I mean, you
have said congressional policy --
Rumsfeld: It's a congressional policy, of course.
Q: -- and the policy of the last two administrations.
Q: So why can you not say that you fully endorse regime
Rumsfeld: Oh, I do. But that isn't what's important.
What's important is what the President decides he wants to do
about that. We've been -- had a policy in this country for
regime change. And we've been using political, diplomatic
activities in the U.N., we've been using economic sanctions, and
we've been using military activity in the Northern No-Fly Zone
and the Southern No-Fly Zone. Now, that has all been according
to the U.N. resolutions, in part, and in part, a part of the
congressional mandate to the President with respect to regime
change and the Iraqi Liberation Act, I believe it's called, of
1998, I think.
Now, that is our policy. That does not mean it
necessarily is the policy of some other country, which I thought
the question was, and -- nor does it necessarily mean it's going
to be the policy of some other organization.
Now, it may become that -- that people can arrive at
that conclusion. No one started with that conclusion 11 years
ago, obviously, or he'd be gone. That is something that's
evolved over 11 years. And as people watch what's happened,
then they have to all make their own judgment as to how they
feel about that and how much hope they still can find to spring
out. (Subdued laughter.)
Q: I think Britain was arguing also that if there was a
truly -- inspectors went in and if there truly was a
disarmament, that actually would be a regime change without
Rumsfeld: There are people who feel that way, exactly.
Q: Has the President ordered a military buildup in the
Persian Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East, Mr. Secretary?
Rumsfeld: Do you think he could have done that and have
it not be in the press? (Inaudible.)
Q: Mr. Secretary, in Warsaw there was some -- there was
some talk at the informal ministerial in Warsaw about the
Germans and perhaps the Canadians co-sponsoring, taking over
Rumsfeld: Oh, I think it was the Germans and the Dutch.
Q: The Germans and the Dutch. I beg your pardon. Has
that gone any further, sir? And have you talked to your German
colleague about it?
Rumsfeld: I haven't. It is something that has been
discussed in the interagency process, and there is thought going
into it here and at NATO. There's nothing to announce. And at
some point my guess is that we will get seized with that issue
after NATO thinks about it a bit -- the Military Committee and
people like that -- to see how it would work and what NATO might
do, and by way of force generation or planning or to assist them
-- that type of thing. But it's still -- it is not off track,
but it has not jelled.
Q: General Pace, can I ask you, a year later, to bring
us up to date on the number of U.S. military personnel in
Afghanistan proper, in the theater? And if the number remains
around 10,000, why is it several thousand more than it was
during the last major battles of the campaign? And how long
will they be there?
Pace: The number does remain around 10,000. [NOTE:
Approximately 9,000.] As the Secretary pointed out, we have
forces that replace each other routinely. So you'll have spikes
in strength on the ground, where the new unit's in, it's
learning what the old unit was doing, and then the old unit goes
But the total number does not always reflect the exact
focus of the military organization, either. For example, it is
certainly possible, inside of any number, to have, as we had
early on, at this time last year, combat forces conducting
And now we have still a very demanding environment, a
very dangerous environment. But we have a lot more of the total
coalition force and U.S. forces there assisting with
stabilization, so that the Karzai government can have a chance
to start building some of the institutions of a functioning
democracy, or functioning country.
So within the same number, you can have a very different
focus and very different flavor. And as we swap out units,
sometimes a light unit goes in, and other times an engineer unit
may replace a specific combat unit to get the right kind of
Q: It sounds like what you're saying, then, is the mix
is - a destabilization component of that has increased since
hostilities sort of settled down a little bit. Is that right?
Rumsfeld: Actually, the answer to that is yes in part,
but also what specific people are doing has changed. So it may
be a larger number of people doing civil affairs and
humanitarian activity, or it simply means -- it's probably a
combination of both -- that some people who were doing more
military functions are doing more humanitarian and civil works
Q: I thought we didn't want to do that kind of thing. I
thought we wanted to leave that --
Rumsfeld: Who's "we"?
Q: The United States government.
Rumsfeld: The reality is that you could stick a half a
million troops from 20 countries into Afghanistan, and you
wouldn't necessarily improve the security circumstance, as long
as you've got Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan and Iran, and
porous borders. What has to be done is not to dramatically
increase the number of security people, in my view, but the
government has to find its sea legs. And it has to develop --
people have to develop confidence in that government that that
government is delivering for them and making their lives better.
And that means you've got to focus on the humanitarian side.
You simply have to focus on the civil works side. And people
have to develop a stake in that country and in that government.
It is [a] dangerous place; it will be -- it has been a
dangerous place for decades, it is a dangerous place, and it
will be a dangerous place prospectively while the government is
developing that -- the connections to the people and the
connections to the region, that will enable it to begin to
provide for its own security. So whether somebody wanted to do
it, or it was a hope to do it, or a first choice to do it
doesn't make an awful lot of difference today. It's the kind of
thing that needs to be done, unless that country were to revert
to a terrorist training camp.
Q: Well, many people would, of course, agree with you,
and they would call that nation-building. And how long do you
think we're going to have to have this large group of people
Rumsfeld: Well, I'd say it's a relatively small number
of people, not a large number of people, by standards as one
thinks of --
Q: The size of the country --
Rumsfeld: -- the size of the country and other
situations. And the answer is, they'll have to probably stay
there, along with their coalition partners and associates, as
long as it takes to do what I just said.
Thank you very much.
Q: Sir, have you seen Modern Maturity's latest issue?
Rumsfeld: I don't even know what it is. (Laughter.)
Q: It's the magazine of the AARP.
Q: (Off mike) -- circulation is -- (off mike).
Rumsfeld: And I don't know what it is?
Q: Well, you're not retired yet.
Rumsfeld: That's not only thing that --
Q: But you're in its centerfold as one of eight, I
think, archetypes of "Eldercool"! (Laughter, cross talk.)