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Billions Needed to Finish War on Terror; Wolfowitz Asks for Congress' Support

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

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2003 – Explaining why the Pentagon will need billions of dollars to fight and win the war on terrorism, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told the Senate Armed Services Committee today that "we don't start a job that we can't finish. And when we do start a job, we give it our best. That's the American way."

The deputy secretary's committee testimony came two days after the president said in a nationwide address that he will ask Congress for an additional $87 billion to fund the war on terrorism.

Wolfowitz told lawmakers the Pentagon needs resources for its military, and "we also need resources to win that second battle front, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, to help those people build new and free countries that will remain free of instability and terrorism -- and to send a message to the world, especially enemies, that we have the staying power to finish the job."

The deputy secretary, who was joined by Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, urged lawmakers to support the Pentagon in three critical areas: Obtaining the resources and authority to train and equip foreign military forces; flexibility to reduce the stress on active duty end-strength by making it easier to convert military jobs to civilian jobs; and adequate resources to wage and win this war.

He said the bulk of the president's request, an estimated $66 billion, will go toward ensuring U.S. forces have the resources they need to complete their missions in the war on terror. Another $21 billion, he noted, would help build "safe, stable and self-governing" societies in Iraq and Afghanistan, conditions he said will help encourage economic investment.

Additional funding from Congress, he said, would help to increase the number of Iraqis being trained to help provide security for oil pipelines and borders. "There is no shortage of Iraqis willing to serve."

Wolfowitz said more than 55,000 Iraqis are already aiding U.S. and coalition forces, making them the "single largest member of the coalition after the United States."

"They are taking on the hard missions; they are fighting and taking casualties with us," he added.

The Pentagon plans to train 66,000 more Iraqi police and field three divisions of the new Iraqi army, he said, a process that could take place "more rapidly" with the resources the president is asking Congress to provide. "We should not find that we are held back by a shortage of money or authority to give those willing and able to fight on our side the proper training and equipment to get the job done," Wolfowitz said.

He told lawmakers military commanders have said repeatedly that more American troops are not needed in Iraq, but that commanders say they need more international troops to share the burden of providing stability forces.

"But most of all, what (the commanders) want are more Iraqi troops, because it is their country that we have liberated, and it is they who need to take over the main security tasks," he said.

Wolfowitz concluded to lawmakers that the cost is large, but the war on terrorism is a battle the United States "can win" and "must win."

"Victory in this battle will be a major victory in the war on terrorism, and a major defeat for the global terrorist networks," he said. "As large as these costs are, they are still small compared to just the economic price that the attacks of Sept. 11 inflicted, to say nothing of the terrible loss of human life."

Wolfowitz told the committee its support would send a message to the troops and to enemies of the United States that "America is behind her troops -- that America has the staying power to fight this war on terrorism to victory. "

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