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Wolfowitz: U.S. at Crossroads, But Signs Say 'We Will Win'

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2004 – America is at a crossroads that is no less dangerous than the threat of the Cold War, but will emerge victorious, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said here today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz speaks to members of the Aspen Institute at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., April 15 during a luncheon honoring former colleague Paul Nitze. Wolfowitz told the group that America is at a crossroads in the war on terrorism, and that enemy is more dangerous than the former Soviet Union. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Wolfowitz was the keynote speaker at a luncheon honoring Paul H. Nitze, a former colleague and a key architect of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. Nitze, a 40-year public servant and former State Department employee, was a principal author of the National Security Council strategic outline of U.S. countermeasures against the Soviet threat.

Wolfowitz said America's new adversaries are even more dangerous than the former Soviet Union was, but that despite the danger, it is a war America will win.

The deputy defense secretary, who once served as dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said that with the Soviet Union, "we knew who controlled their military forces. We knew their names, and we knew where to find them." America's new enemies, he said, hide among the shadows, shifting positions and methods with the wind. The very freedom they threaten can often be their ally, he added.

"As they go about their ugly business, they exploit the freedom of open societies," Wolfowitz said. "We may not always know where they are or where they operate. But in understanding our freedoms, they know a lot about us."

Wolfowitz said that today the United States faces an enemy who not only hates freedom, but also hates life itself. He read a passage of a letter written by Muslim extremist and al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- a Jordanian national and convicted terrorist -- that calls for Muslims to become martyrs and to kill Americans.

That kind of "fanatical ideology," he said, justifies why the United State must continue its course of action in the Middle East. Furthermore, it shows why nothing is more important than sustaining progress and budding democratic movements taking place in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As the United States moves forward in Iraq, it must leave no doubt in the minds of its enemies and the millions of Iraqis that "America is committed to nothing less than victory and success," Wolfowitz said. "We are there and it is crucial that we succeed."

When sovereignty is handed over to Iraq on June 30, Wolfowitz said, the U.S. engagement will change, but the commitment will not. "We will stay in Iraq until our job is done, and not a day more," he said, repeating President Bush's message from an April 13 news conference.

The global war on terrorism will be, perhaps, even longer than the Cold War, Wolfowitz said. "It will test our resolve, perhaps even more than the conflicts of World War II," he added. But nonetheless, he said, the United States will do whatever it takes to achieve victory.

"Victory will take time and require sacrifice," he said, again invoking the president's words. "Yet we will do what's necessary, we will spend what is necessary to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our nation more secure."

The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization that works to foster leadership ideas, values and dialogue on contemporary issues, sponsored the luncheon.

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Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz

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