American Impatience Strength and Weakness, Deputy Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2004 Americans are an impatient people, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said, adding that this is both strength and a weakness.
Wolfowitz spoke at the Eisenhower National Security Conference here, Sept. 14. He said Americans must remain patient to win the war on terrorism.
"We will win, but victory will not be marked by anything as dramatic as the (Japanese World War II) surrender aboard the USS Missouri or the collapse of the Berlin Wall (signifying the end to the Cold War)," he said.
The deputy secretary reiterated that the government must use all instruments of national power, including law-enforcement efforts, economic incentives, military force, and educational efforts. The United States must challenge terrorists everywhere, Wolfowitz said, because the war on terrorism is truly global.
The American people should be impatient for results in the war on terrorism, but they must be patient for ultimate victory. That's because the war is more than just preventing attacks, but an ideological war more like the Cold War than World War II, he said.
The United States must confront terror not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in other states that harbor terrorists and use terrorism as an instrument of policy. It must also confront terrorists in "ungoverned areas," where they seek to find safe harbor, and at home, "where terrorists can hide, essentially in plain sight."
The war on terrorism is not simply about killing and capturing terrorists; it is about generating the international will to oppose the ideology of hatred.
The biggest lesson from Sept. 11, 2001, is that the United States and its allies have to stop thinking of terrorism as "an evil but inescapable fact of international life." Terrorism is not a law-enforcement problem. It is an ideology that must be destroyed, Wolfowitz said.
"We can hope to see the ideologies that justify terrorism discredited as thoroughly and made as disreputable as Nazism is today," Wolfowitz said. "We can hope to see the bombing of churches denounced by Muslim leaders as it was in Iraq last month, or the slaughter of school children almost universally condemned as it has been most recently."
And change is coming, he said. Moderate Muslims are speaking out, and Iraqis and Afghans are working for freedom and democracy. Allies in other parts of the world are doing their part.
Following a string of bombings in Saudi Arabia, that government has captured or killed more than 600 al Qaeda operatives.
In Pakistan, the government has gone into traditional tribal areas in an effort to hunt down al Qaeda killers.
In Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, the government has taken vigorous steps to rein in terrorists following attacks in Bali and Jakarta.
But it is in Iraq and Afghanistan that the real battle is happening, Wolfowitz said. In Afghanistan, some 10 million people -- including 4 million women -- are preparing for Oct. 9 elections.
In Iraq, local security forces are growing and gaining equipment and training. Elections there are set for January 2005.
"As democracy grows in the Middle East, it becomes easier for peacemakers to succeed throughout the region," Wolfowitz said.