United States Department of Defense
Philadelphia World Affairs Council
Remarks as delivered
by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
May 5, 2004.
Thank you for the warm introduction. Thank you for finally getting me to
Philadelphia. As you say, we had to go through a rather circuitous route to
succeed. But I have been looking forward to the opportunity to come here, and
specifically to the World Affairs Council. I really admire the great work that
the World Affairs Councils do throughout America, and the opportunity they offer
to talk directly to Americans about the critical issues facing our country. And
today I'd like to talk about, obviously, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan
and the global war on terror.
It is important for public officials to get out of Washington and be able to
share our views directly with the people, and I can't think of a better place to
do that, to discuss our efforts to defend freedom, than in this city where
America's freedoms were first enshrined and nurtured.
We've experienced some difficulty in the past few weeks in the coalition mission
in Iraq, but I think the American people have an understanding of this. They are
surely as tough and determined as Americans were some 250 years ago.
Significantly, it was in this city more than 200 years ago that Ben Franklin was
asked, as he left the Constitutional Convention, "Well, Doctor, what have you
got, a republic or a monarchy?" And his unforgettable response was, "A republic,
if you can keep it."
In the first two-and-a-quarter centuries of our country's history we have
learned some of the challenges of building free institutions even in what some
might argue were the most favorable circumstances imaginable.
In Afghanistan today, 25 million Muslims who have suffered from a
quarter-century of the most brutal invasion and civil war are struggling now to
build those free institutions, with our help, under much more difficult
circumstances. In Iraq another 25 million people, predominantly Muslims, are
working to build a free Iraq after 35 years of torture and abuse by one of the
worst tyrants of the last hundred years.
Their struggle is our struggle, because their success will constitute major
victories in what promises, unfortunately, to be a long war to rid the world of
the terrible threat of terrorism that emerged in full light on September 11th,
Before I respond to questions, I'd like to provide some context about the
situation in Iraq and then comment on the wider global war against terrorists. I
thought the best way to provide some context for that war would be to briefly
take you back to the world as it was just slightly over three years ago.
President Bush had just assumed office. He was well aware that the freedoms we
value would again be challenged. The president's instructions to Secretary
Rumsfeld were to transform the Department of Defense to meet the challenges of
the 21st century.
Shortly after taking office, the secretary visited with his counterparts in NATO
and he told them about the experiences of one of his predecessors, a man named
Dick Cheney. Back in 1989 when Cheney was undergoing his Senate confirmation
hearings, not a single mention was made of the word "Iraq." And yet Secretary
Cheney's tenure at the Defense Department would turn out to be marked -- some
indeed would say dominated -- by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the
extraordinary victory of the coalition in Operation Desert Storm.
It was one more reminder that we live in an era of surprise. And Rumsfeld
wondered with his NATO counterparts whether some issue not mentioned in his
confirmation hearings might come to dominate his time in office. I think I can
tell you that terrorism was in his hearings. As a matter of fact, he highlighted
it as one of his major concerns. But I don't believe the word "Afghanistan" was
actually addressed as a question.
And indeed we did soon find out. It was precisely on the morning of September
11th, the Secretary and I were having breakfast with some members of Congress,
and Rumsfeld was stressing to them the need to be prepared for the unexpected.
No sooner had those congressmen left than in a single instant the Pentagon
became a battle zone, the scene of billowing smoke, towering flames, twisted
metal, and many dead and wounded.
Americans were transformed by their shock and anger, and were spurred into
action. We went after the enemy. And to defend ourselves, we began to change the
world in ways that few would have thought possible.
As President Bush has made clear from the beginning, we are in a different kind
of war. September 11th changed everything for this country. In the space of a
few hours, we saw the violence and grief that 19 terrorists can inflict. And we
had a glimpse of the even greater harm the terrorists wished to do to us. The
terrorists hate our country and everything we stand for in the world. They seek
even deadlier weapons, and they would use them against us.
In the face of this danger, we have only one option, and that's to take the
fight to the enemy. And we have done so. We have strengthened ties with new
friends and sent soldiers abroad. Across the country, millions of porches
proudly hung the American flag. Around the world, foreign capitals played our
national anthem and offered condolences and support. We formed an amazing
coalition of more than 80 nations, and we went to work.
Consider these results in less than three years: The coalition has overthrown
two terrorist regimes, rescued two nations and liberated some 50 million people.
We have captured or killed 46 of the 55 most wanted in Iraq, including Saddam
Hussein himself. We have captured or killed close to two-thirds of the known
senior al-Qaeda operatives. We have seized or frozen over $200 million in
terrorist assets. We have disrupted terrorist cells on most continents. We have
dismantled a dangerous nuclear proliferation network led by A.Q. Khan, the
former head of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, a network that had been
providing nuclear technology to dangerous regimes around the world, including
Iran and North Korea. And we persuaded Libya, long a terrorist sponsor, to
eliminate its chemical and nuclear-related programs and to accept international
Those are impressive accomplishments. But there are many other measures of
progress that may not be as easily tabulated -- the bombs that didn't go off;
the attacks that were thwarted by a vigilant soldier or U.S. Coast Guard patrol;
the regimes that might once have harbored our enemies who dare not risk the
wrath of the coalition.
In the light of all that's been done and all that's been prevented, it may be
tempting for some to think that the worst has passed, and that terrorism might
go back to being just another threat that receded into history. Unfortunately,
that would be a dangerous miscalculation. Even today, we are still closer to the
beginning of this struggle than to its end.
We face adversaries unlike any we've known. They don't seek an armistice; they
have no territory to defend, no populace to answer to. They threaten us from
dark corners, a diffuse and shadowy global network not easily weeded out. And
despite all that has been accomplished in these recent months, they still have
an advantage. The terrorist needs only to be lucky once; as defenders, we need
to be lucky all the time.
And our task is complicated because the war on terror turns our greatest
strengths into our greatest sources of vulnerability. Indeed, our very openness,
that which makes us the most productive and free society in the world, makes us
uniquely vulnerable to these enemies. Our society is based on trust, and the
terrorist goal is to strike at that trust, to terrorize, to make you fearful to
the point that you alter your behavior. If they succeed in that mission, then
everything we've built will be lost. And that's why this war on terror can never
be won solely on defense.
No matter what is done to defend against attack, terrorists can always adjust
their operations and find new vulnerability. They can attack at any time in any
place using different techniques. It is not possible to defend in every place at
all times against every conceivable technique. So the only way to win this war
is to root out terrorists at their source, to put the pressure on them. We need
to change their way of life before they change ours. We need to act before the
enemy develops more powerful means through which to inflict massive damage on
greater numbers of our people. In short, as they say in the defense business, we
need to get inside of their decision cycle.
Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. The defeat of tyranny and violence
in that nation and the rise of democracy in the heart of the Middle East will be
a crucial setback for international terror. We will do what is necessary,
destroying the terrorists, returning sovereignty to the Iraqi people and helping
them to build a stable and self-governing nation. Because we are strong and
resolute, Iraq will never go back to the camp of tyranny and terror. But America
must never go back to the false comforts of the world before September 11th.
Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the
perception of weakness. And this nation has made a decision: We will engage the
enemy, facing him with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq today so that we do
not have to face him with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the
streets of our cities.
And that is why we approached Afghanistan and Iraq with such urgency.
In Afghanistan, terrorist camps have been dismantled, and the old regime's
former patron, Osama bin Laden, is in flight. Afghans have drafted a new
constitution with rule by the people. For the first time in decades, young girls
are allowed to attend school and to see a doctor.
In Iraq, a dictator that shot at American war planes, supported and financed
terrorism, sought and had used weapons of mass destruction, and brutalized his
people, now rails against America from a prison, not a palace. Terrorists no
longer have a friend in the seat of power in Baghdad. Slowly, painfully slowly,
a new nation is being built there at a pace that is, nonetheless, rapid by any
historical standard, in many ways faster than it took to rebuild Japan and
Germany after World War II.
While there is much news that is saddening from Iraq, there is much good news
today as well. Just a few months ago, the Transitional Administrative Law was
approved by the Iraqi Governing Council. It's the most liberal basic governance
document in the Arab world, with assurances of freedom of religion, freedom of
expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of the assembly. One development
that took place in the final few days leading up to that interim constitution,
as it's sometimes called for shorthand, was a demonstration by Iraqis, including
Iraqi women, against a resolution of the Governing Council that was felt to be
constricting of women's rights. And I remember seeing on the Internet a picture
of two Iraqi women in very traditional Muslim garb, covered entirely except for
their faces not veiled, in this demonstration, and one of them saying, "We
didn't suffer under Saddam's tyranny for so long to be tyrannized by a new
group." The Iraqi Governing Council responded to that pressure, and there are
fundamental rights for women enshrined in the new constitution.
In the economy we have successfully introduced a new Iraqi currency that gets
rid of Saddam's face, that evil face that people used to have to see every time
they conducted an economic transaction. More than 4.5 trillion Iraqi dinars have
been exchanged, making it the most heavily traded currency in the Middle East.
And its value, while stable, has appreciated since it was first issued. Oil
production and power generation have both surpassed pre-war levels. All 22
universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open. Coalition forces
have rehabilitated over 2,200 schools. All 240 hospitals and more than 1,200
health clinics are open. And a statistic that is both encouraging and, in a
certain way, shocking: health care spending in Iraq has increased 30 times,
3,000 percent, over its pre-war levels; shocking because it tells you something
about how Saddam misused his country's resources. And in what I think is an
extraordinary development in a country where there was not only no such thing as
a free press, where people were terrified to speak their minds, even to their
closest friends, 170 newspapers are now published in Iraq today.
As we approach the date when Iraqis will achieve self-government, our coalition
and the Iraqi people are enduring some tough moments. Let's be
clear: we're engaged in a test of wills. And let's be clear: we're engaged still
against an enemy that inspires awesome fear.
It was just a little over a year ago that we all watched the statue of Saddam
Hussein fall in the heart of Baghdad. And I think we can probably all remember
the live coverage of that historic moment. Iraqis, eager to start a new page in
their national history, enthusiastically tried to pull down the statue with the
limited resources they had: a length of rope that didn't even reach all the way
to the ground. Eventually, a group of U.S. Marines saw what was happening and
joined in the Iraqi effort. Working together -- working together I believe is
-- the Marines and the Iraqis brought down that symbol of oppression and
provided an image that will be etched in our collective memory forever. And on
that day, 25 million of some of the most talented people in the Muslim and Arab
world were liberated from one of the worst tyrannies.
According to a somewhat popular theme still these days, the world is full of bad
guys, and Saddam Hussein is just another bad guy. When I hear Saddam referred to
in that way, I can only conclude that the person speaking lacks even a most
basic understanding of what it was like to live in Saddam's Iraq. In my career,
as Buncie (sp) mentioned, I've known some pretty bad guys, as they say, up close
and personal, people like the former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, or
the former Indonesian dictator Suharto. To paraphrase a famous vice presidential
debate, I knew these men, and Ferdinand Marcos was no Saddam Hussein. Saddam
Hussein was much more than just another bad guy. He institutionalized and
sanctioned brutality on a scale that is simply unimaginable to most Americans.
The stories go on and on.
Let me just mention one that is current. You can read about it -- not, that I
know of, in the national news -- but in the Houston newspapers. They're
reporting about a group of seven Iraqi businessmen who are at the Texas Medical
Center in Houston where they're undergoing surgery to repair some of the damage
inflicted on them some 10 years ago.
When Iraq's economy was falling into shambles, Saddam's way of placing blame was
this: he ordered a few merchants to be rounded up. With flimsy evidence, they
were found guilty of destabilizing the Iraqi economy and were sentenced to lose
their right hands. The amputations were filmed and the video, as well as the
hands, were sent to Saddam.
In a Houston doctor's office recently, one man was quoted as saying, "You spend
your whole life doing and saying the right things, then someone comes and cuts
your hands off for no reason at all. It's a torture that never ends." Hopefully,
for these men, at least to some degree, it will end with the treatment they're
getting now in Houston.
But in fact, the fear that is instilled by a thousand or tens of thousands of
such acts of brutality is not a fear that goes away overnight. It is a fear that
we are still contending with in Iraq and it is a fear that our enemy works every
day to instill in the minds of Iraqis.
This is an enemy that offers no vision of hope. Unlike almost any other
so-called guerrilla war that I can recall, usually guerrillas emphasize their
positive program. These only emphasize death and fear and destruction, and
remind people that they are on a list to be punished, if and when the Americans
leave. Which is why our will becomes so important in winning this struggle.
Until Iraqis are convinced that Saddam's regime has been permanently and
irreversibly removed, and until a long and ghastly part of their history is put
to rest and overcome, that fear will remain and it will remain one of our
That history of atrocities and the punishment of those responsible are directly
linked to our success in helping the Iraqi people build a free and democratic
future. Convincing them of this truth -- that Saddam and the Saddamists are
finished -- will continue to require investments of our time and our resources
and our precious men and women in uniform, to continue to build trust among the
Iraq has been a free country for a single year, after decades of systematic
abuse by a regime of murderers and torturers. A year after Iraq's liberation it
is important to pause and consider what we have accomplished together with the
Iraqi people. As one soldier recently wrote to the Houston Chronicle, the
reality is that we're accomplishing a tremendous amount here and the Iraqi
people are not only benefiting greatly, but are enthusiastically supportive.
The terrorists seek to derail that progress, but they must not be permitted to
do so. A band of terrorists and murderers must not be allowed to determine the
future of 25 million Iraqis. But we will not finally defeat that enemy simply by
incapacitating the terrorists we find or breaking up their cells, though both
are essential. We also need to find ways to make it difficult for them to
recruit new adherents, to find ways to persuade people that hatred for the West
is built on lies told to them by leaders who lie to them.
If we keep our commitment to helping Afghans and Iraqis chart their course to a
better future and demonstrate that we have no motive other than a more peaceful
planet, then we will have struck a major blow to the ideology of terror and made
major steps forward in making our country safer. The terrorists know that;
that's why they're fighting us so fiercely today. They know that they have no
future in freedom.
I would refer you, by the way, to a remarkable letter, a pretty amazing letter
by one of the terrorists fighting us in Iraq, a man named Abu Musaab Zarqawi, a
close affiliate of al-Qaeda, writing to his colleagues in Afghanistan. It was
captured en route. It's available on the Internet. It is remarkable how he
realizes that their only hope lies in sowing enough destruction and chaos, and
creating a civil war before the Iraqis have their own government and their own
These terrorists know that the Iraqi and Afghan people's success in taking hold
of their future will one day serve as a powerful example to oppressed people in
neighboring lands. As George Washington said, "Liberty, when it begins to take
root, is a plant of rapid growth."
And so we must see the mission through in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we will. We
must continue to prosecute the war on terrorism as a war, using all the elements
of national power, not simply law enforcement, and we will. And we must help the
hundreds of millions of Muslims who would like to live in freedom, and who
believe in moderation, to succeed in changing the face of the Muslim world for
the better. And we must continue putting pressure on terrorist regimes to give
up their ambitions for weapons of mass destruction the way Libya has, and pursue
innovative approaches to stopping the shipment of those capabilities, and we
will. And we must continue to transform our military structure from a Cold War
posture to one that is more suited to the demands of this era. In recent days
there's been a lot of discussion about the actions of some members of the
military involved with the care of prisoners in Iraq.
The actions of the soldiers in those photos are totally unacceptable. They
betrayed their comrades who serve honorably every day, and they have damaged the
cause for which brave men and women are fighting and dying.
Let me repeat, those actions are totally unacceptable. We will deal with the
offenders and we will take action to prevent this kind of thing from happening
again. Our system works.
Secretary Rumsfeld will be testifying at length on this subject tomorrow before
the Senate Armed Services Committee, be talking about how we learned of these
offenses, the actions we took and the steps we're taking to correct any
problems. And I'm sure it will be covered live, and I encourage you, if you're
disappointed at getting me today, you can get many hours of him tomorrow.
But it's also important to remember that the misdeeds of a few do not reflect
the noble work and sacrifice of the many. Today in places across the globe our
soldiers are carrying on in the spirit of the brave men and women who risked all
right here in Philadelphia to build, against all possible odds, a great nation,
a global symbol of hope and a free society that offers an example of opportunity
Recently as he prepared to lead his troops into action in Fallujah, a Marine
company commander took time to write his father, a retired Marine:
"This battle is going to have far-reaching effects on not only the war here,"
this Marine wrote, "but in the overall war on terrorism. We have to be very
precise in our application of combat power. We cannot kill a lot of innocent
folks. There will be no shock and awe.
"This battle is the Marine Corps' Belleau Wood for this war. A lot of terrorists
and foreign fighters are holed up in Fallujah. It has been a sanctuary for them.
The Marine Corps," he said, "will either reaffirm its place in history as one of
the greatest fighting organizations in the world or we will die trying.
"The Marines are fired up but," he said, "I'm nervous for them because I know
how much is riding on this fight. But every time I've been nervous during my
career about the outcome of events when young Marines were involved, they have
always," he said, "always exceeded my expectations. God bless these great
Americans," he concluded to his father, "who are ensuring that we continue to
fight an ‘away schedule'" [i.e., fight abroad instead of at home].
And let me join with him in saying God bless all of our Marines and soldiers and
sailors and airmen and Coast Guardsmen. Our prayers are with him and with all of
our people currently serving in Iran and Afghanistan and in other remote
locations of the world. They are making America and the world more secure by
helping the Iraqi people and Afghan people build free and prosperous democracies
in the heart of the Middle East. Whether members of active duty, Reserve or
National Guard units, or civilians, these heroes embody the best ideals of our
nation, serving so that our people can be safe and so that others may be free.
We thank them all for the sacrifices they endure.
Thank you very much. [Applause.]
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz has agreed to answer
questions, and I just want to re-state the council's question policy, which is
that we want questions, not statements, not long introductions to a question.
All the folks here have come to hear him, and we want them to be able to do so.
So -- and we have roving mikes around the country [sic] -- ah, around the
country -- (laughs, laughter). Well, we -- our stretch is really quite wide --
around the room. And so we will wait till the mikes get to you. Do I have some
questions? I think we have a student over here, and then, perhaps, the -- Helen
in the back?
Q: What lessons did the U.S. learn in Vietnam that are currently being applied
to our strategy in Iraq?
MR. WOLFOWITZ: Thank you. I think the differences are much larger than
similarities, but I would say two things that apply across a great many of what
is -- I wish there were a better word for it -- called low-intensity conflicts.
It's not low-intensity if you're in it. One is the importance of inspiring the
people, who are really the decisive battleground here, with a vision that we're
providing something that is to their benefit. This is not a war that's going to
be won against the Iraqi people; it has to be won with the Iraqi people. And
that's the second point. In fact, it's a war that has to be won by the Iraqi
people. Our role is to give them the opportunity to stand up their own political
institutions, to stand up their own security forces, and to get the basic
elements of a functioning economy working. But at the end of the day, they're
going to be the key to success.
I would emphasize that they are already doing, I think, much more than is
commonly known. And it seems to me every time we have an Iraqi police unit that
is disappointing in its performance, it makes the front pages. But when Iraqis
die in the line of duty, it doesn't make the front pages back here. More than
300 Iraqis have died fighting with us since the beginning of this conflict, and
most of it, really, since September 1st. And in the recent fighting that has
been very severe, while there have been quite a few disappointments, especially
in Fallujah and down in what we call the Shi'a heartland, there are other
places, like Mosul, which has been a real success story.
And in fact, I guess I'd like to emphasize that because the 101st Airborne
Division, which very successfully worked in Mosul to separate the small
percentage of the population that are enemy from the overwhelming majority that
I think really want to see a new Iraq. [The 101st Airborne] was led by [Major]
General Dave Petraeus, who's going back to Iraq. He has been nominated to have a
third star to go back to Iraq to take overall charge of this effort of building
Iraqi security forces. And the key to success is going to depend on Iraqis in
Q: Sir, that last question leads directly to my question, which is, OK, at the
end of the day, where are we? What is -- can you give us some brush strokes of
what is our exit strategy for Iraq, and some idea of a timeline?
MR. WOLFOWITZ: OK, when you say "at the end of the day" I think you're
recognizing we're not at the end of the day; we're in a process. And just to
give you a sort of comparative standard, in Bosnia, after the Dayton Accord in
1995, some people, I think mistakenly, said we would be out of there in a year.
I think we quickly came to our senses. It's now nine years later. But we have
been steadily moving out of Bosnia. And by the end of this year there very well
may be only the most minimal American military presence. That's nine years.
I would emphasize Iraq is vastly more important to our country, to our future,
to winning the war on terrorism than Bosnia is. So the stakes are enormous. I
think, given what that country has been through, as I tried to explain in my
opening remarks, it's pretty amazing that it has done as well as it has in the
last 12 months.
To briefly encapsulate, the process forward on the political front -- and it's
important to emphasize this -- it's a process. And a lot of attention to this
July 1st date, when Iraq will have what we call the interim Iraqi government,
which will be the first sovereign Iraqi government since liberation, is a step
in a process. Some people think this is the end of the day and the Americans
will leave. In fact, I have to tell you, one of the things we have to counter in
the minds of quite a few Iraqis, some of them are fearful that that's exactly
what it means. It doesn't mean it. Over 100,000 American troops will be in Iraq
on June 30th, and there will be just as many American troops in Iraq on July
2nd. But what there will be is a sovereign Iraqi government. To give you a
timeline, that's what we had in Afghanistan, actually, in December of 2001. That
government is to be replaced by an elected transitional government. You notice
we go from interim to transitional. The key thing is we go to elections at the
end of this year so that that elected transitional government assumes office
You might even say that of all the responsibilities of the interim government in
the next six months, the most important one is to help organize elections, with
the help of the United Nations.
The most important task of that transitional government that starts in January
is to produce a constitution, so that the end of next year -- and now I'm
getting close to the end of the day -- although it's still many, many steps
beyond, I'm sure. But it will be a constitutionally elected Iraqi government.
Now, in parallel, we are moving as rapidly as we know how, to create Iraqi
security forces that can effectively preserve law and order, can effectively
fight gangs like Muqtada Sadr, and most importantly, can deal with really the
most vicious enemy we face, which is this combination of old strong men from the
Saddam regime and their terrorist allies -- some of them foreigners, some of
them Iraqis. That's going to take time. But I think the goal is -- particularly
when it comes to providing security in populated areas -- that Iraqis will be
assuming more and more of that responsibility. It's a strategy for success.
That word "exit" puts an emphasis on when you go and when you leave. We're
successful every time we can turn the principal responsibility for an Iraqi city
over to Iraqi security forces. In the recent fighting up in Mosul, when the
enemy attacked the city government -- or the provincial government, excuse me --
in downtown Mosul, the governor, who is a Sunni Arab, stood his ground. The
Iraqi Civil Defense Corps stood its ground. The Iraqis, though they knew that we
were there if they needed help in extremis, the Iraqi security forces restored
order in Mosul. That's already a major step toward success.
Q: Hello, Undersecretary [sic], thank you for gracing us with your presence
today. When I look at the post-9/11 world, I see the U.S. toning down its
rhetoric on the horrors of the Russian invasion of Chechnya. I see us toning
down our rhetoric on Chinese actions in Xinjiang in Central Asia. I see us not
talking enough about what Malaysia and Singapore are doing with their internal
security acts. And I finally see us trying to reconstitute relations with an
Indonesian army that, although reformed, has still been implicated in numerous
human rights abuses. Given these examples, plus the controversial nature of the
Patriot Act and the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, in addition to the most recent
abuse of Iraqi prisoners, how does the United States manage to maintain its
image as a beacon of hope and democracy without backsliding on these issues and
being seen as a culprit that violates individual rights and civil liberties?
MR. WOLFOWITZ: I think it's an important question. And it's a real challenge.
You've listed some things that concern you.
You mentioned Indonesia. It's a country I know very well and I have hopes for.
In fact, I was quite excited five years ago when they finally threw off the
tyranny of President Suharto and began to build a democracy. And they did it in
the worst possible circumstances. They did it in the wake of a real economic
typhoon that had virtually collapsed the Indonesian economy. They've been making
pretty impressive progress in the face of that over the last five years. But
they, too, face a threat from terrorists. They need security against those
terrorists. And we need to work with them in a sensible way to achieve some
balance between defeating terrorists, which does require violent actions, which
does require detaining people, which does require interrogating people, but at
the same time we've got to do it in ways that meet the standards and ideals that
we fight for. That's why we have said over and over again the kind of behavior
that is depicted in those photographs is not only so unacceptable, but it is
fundamentally damaging to the cause for which we're fighting. And we have to
take action to do everything we can to prevent it in the future.
I would underscore, I think, one of the most important developments in the last
year. And it's had a big effect in the Middle East. That is President Bush's
speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, where he talked about the fact
that we need to begin taking a different approach to the Arab and Muslim world.
It doesn't mean that we are suddenly going to go changing governments by force,
imposing democracy, as though democracy is something you impose on people, but
that we are going to work to give Arabs the chance to build the kinds of free
institutions that we have lived under and benefited from for so long. In the
introduction, it was mentioned that when I was Assistant Secretary of State in
1986, I was one of the people participating in American policy that effectively
helped the Filipino people get rid of the Marcos dictatorship in a much more
peaceful way. I would underscore that that was the best way for those things to
When I became Assistant Secretary of State in 1982 there was one democracy in
all of East Asia, and that was Japan. And there were, frankly, a lot of people
who, I guess, considered themselves realists who said, that's the way it has to
be, that's the way it's going to be forever, that Marcos is a -- I heard this --
Marcos is a bad guy, but you don't understand how inept the Philippine
opposition is. I heard people -- intelligent, rational, humane people -- saying
that Korea has never had a democracy in its history and it's not capable of one.
I heard people say, yeah, Taiwan has a terrible dictatorship, but it's not
nearly as bad as the one on the mainland. I mention those examples because in
the course of the 1980s every one of those countries became a democracy, some
more successful than others, but every one, I think, better off for it.
And I think what the president spoke about in that speech at the National
Endowment for Democracy, what he spoke about again a few weeks later in
Westminster in London, sets out a horizon that some people say is hopelessly
unrealistic. But I think it's a false realism that says we're better off if the
Arab world continues to be governed by dictators.
One reason some of those dictators would like to see us fail in Iraq is because
they know it means change, and positive change. It doesn't mean things will move
forward uniformly positively, it doesn't mean that we won't make some terrible
mistakes, or at least individuals will make some terrible mistakes, and it
doesn't mean that we aren't going to have to make some difficult compromises,
because this is a war and wars are difficult. But I think we're headed in a very
important new direction and I think the world is going to be much better off 10
or 20 years from now because of the incredible sacrifice that our soldiers and
sailors and service -- people are making.
Q: Thank you, Secretary of State. I'm Morton Janvier (sp). I'm from Haiti.
Everything have been said, as a former soldier, everything a human being says is
a lie. That's what the universe is all about. The universe is a lie. So I was in
Haiti, which is my country. I saw people --
(inaudible) -- we need food, that's the only thing we need. So since I was born,
this country is the way it is, and now it's worse.
And as a superpower, I'm here, since I came here -- we will come to my question
-- as everything is a lie, people say I'm crazy, I don't know anything, I'm just
so stupid, I'm a bad person. So what can I do, if you were in my place, in a
situation I can help my country? I have the skill required to help them. But
because everything is a lie, if I have to talk to anybody, anywhere -- I've sent
letters, I've talked to people everywhere. It just doesn't work. That's the way
the universe goes. You can't change it.
So now, what can be done to see the whole world together, every country? We
don't have to fight each other in the sense we hate each other. We must love
each other, share in the same piece of cake together, because we belong to one
universe. Thank you very much.
MR. WOLFOWITZ: I'm not sure if it was a question, but I think you are certainly
expressing your desire to see Haiti do better. And I think one of the keys to
success everywhere is when people take responsibility for their own future, as
we hope is going to happen in Iraq and we've seen happen -- I mean, let me say
this. We've seen it happen in many, many places in the world where 20 or 30
years ago, people were prepared to write people off.
MODERATOR: I think we have time for just one or two more. Yes. And the young man
with the tie. I think there was a gentleman behind -- (off mike). The white
Q: Secretary Wolfowitz, I just returned from deployment with the Enterprise in
the Northern Arabian Gulf. And the principal topic of conversation --
(interrupted by applause). I'm just a Reservist; I wasn't there that long. But
thank you. (Laughter.)
MR. WOLFOWITZ: You earned the applause, though.
Q: The principal topic of conversation around the table, from the lowest ranks
to the highest was: Are we putting our money in the right place, considering we
have a limited budget to fight the war on terror? And if so, aren't we making
ourselves more vulnerable at home fighting the war on terror around the world
because we're focusing so much money in Iraq?
MR. WOLFOWITZ: I don't think -- I mean, if we're talking about the amounts of
money involved up against the challenge for American security, I mean, I can't
think of a war we've fought where the stakes are so high, or a time when the
defense burden was as relatively small as it is.
I think the question is, what are we doing what we need to do? I'm not the
expert on homeland security, but I know we're putting enormous resources into
defensive measures. And in fact, I know that we in the Defense Department are
looking at how we can do more -- because we have some of the best biological
defense research in the world, how we can do more to accelerate those kinds of
efforts and stay ahead of possible terrorists threats.
But I would repeat what I said in the speech and what the president has said
over and over again. We're not going to win this war simply on defense. We're
not going to win this war simply by sitting back and figuring out how we can
prevent every possible terrorist attack. I think we will be better off in the
long run when Afghanistan and Iraq are secure places and no longer sanctuaries
for terrorists; when governments are out of the business of actually sponsoring
terrorists; when the financial and technical resources that these networks feed
off can be dried up. It doesn't mean that you can prevent every individual
terrorist in the world; people can still do things individually. But the threat
will be significantly more manageable when it's down to just isolated
individuals and not global terrorist networks or state sponsors of terrorism.
MODERATOR: Yes? Last question, please.
Q: Mr. Wolfowitz, the policy of transformation obviously played a major role in
both the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. Would you say that the
administration's authorization of upward of 10,000 new troops to be sent to Iraq
represents a retreat from that policy?
MR. WOLFOWITZ: You know, there's a lot of mythology on this subject that somehow
there was some theoretical doctrine of, as you referred to, a transformation of
how to manage the Defense Department and that was the reason why we fought the
war in Afghanistan with 10,000 troops instead of 100,000 troops the way the
Soviet Union did.
In case you didn't notice, the Soviet Union's 100,000 troops were a major
liability. And I can tell you, because I had these discussions with General
Franks, you may not remember this, but I think three weeks into the war in
Afghanistan we were already said to be in a quagmire. And I was pressing him,
I'll admit it, as to whether -- are you sure you don't need more troops? He was
the one who emphatically said he not only didn't need more, he didn't want more.
He said, if by February the situation hasn't changed, I'll come back and look at
it again, but I do not want to suffer the same fate as the Soviet Union did; I
do not want to become an onerous occupying power.
And that's been the strategy we've been following in Afghanistan ever since. I
think it's the right strategy. I think it's not simply a question of where would
you get half a million peacekeepers for Afghanistan, I can't imagine half a
million peacekeepers being welcome in that country for long.
Iraq is a completely different issue. But again, it's not some abstract theory
about how to manage the Pentagon that was at work, it was, again, the combatant
commander. And it happens to be the same combatant commander, General Franks,
who said, "My goal is not to have the largest force possible on the ground." The
bigger the force is the lower the risk. He said, in fact, the way to minimize
risk frequently is to be fast; to get in fast, to get to Baghdad fast, get
across the border fast, to get ahead of the enemy. And I think he used the
phrase "speed kills -- it kills the enemy."
And there is a fundamental tension between having a very large force and having
a force that moves rapidly. And I think there's no question -- I shouldn't say
no question; all these things are debatable -- but it seems to me he made the
right judgment, and that the reason the major combat phase went so miraculously
well and quickly was because we got to Baghdad fast.
We're in a different situation now. The fact that we need extra troops -- and we
do need them, particularly to deal with Najaf and Karbala -- is again, not a
point of doctrine. We're not approaching this thing doctrinally, we're
approaching it based on the situation as we face it at the time, on the
commanders' requests at the time. That doesn't mean that the commanders'
requests are not scrutinized intelligently by the civilian leadership of the
Defense Department. But I don't know of a single request for forces that our
commanders have made that has been turned down. They're getting what they need.
They do not want more than they need because that becomes a problem.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. [Applause.]
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