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Wolfowitz: Iraq War Is Part of Global Anti-Terror Efforts

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2003 – Operation Iraqi Freedom "is all a part of the war on terrorism," U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said here March 23.

The United States wouldn't be risking service members' lives in Iraq today, Wolfowitz pointed out, solely because Saddam Hussein is a dictator.

"He is a tyrant, but more importantly, he's a tyrant who threatens us by his connections to terrorism and his weapons of mass destruction," Wolfowitz remarked during an interview with American Forces Radio and Television Service.

Wolfowitz noted that "quite a few terrorists died" during March 21 strikes against a terrorist complex located in northern Iraq.

And American and coalition forces "are still chasing terrorists in Afghanistan (and) we're still finding evidence in Pakistan or in the Philippines that's leading us to terrorists who are planning attacks against the United States," he pointed out.

"This is a global war," Wolfowitz emphasized, that is "going to go on for some time."

Anti-terrorism forces are conducting a variety of valuable tasks, he noted, whether on the front lines in Iraq, in the mountains of Afghanistan, performing civil actions in the Philippines, or somewhere in the United States examining complex collected intelligence.

"It's all part of a single effort that's really government- wide," Wolfowitz pointed out, noting that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have achieved "great successes" against terrorists.

"But a lot of those successes would not have been possible without the work that the military is doing," he declared.

Wolfowitz assured those service members engaged in activities outside Iraq that their efforts are also being observed -- and appreciated.

Each day, he said, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is briefed on Afghanistan, the Philippines and other aspects of the war against global terrorism, as well as current circumstances on the Korean peninsula.

Such global concerns demonstrate why the United States requires a robust defense budget, Wolfowitz pointed out, adding that America, indeed, has "big responsibilities."

"And we have a lot of people, fortunately, who are willing to volunteer to serve in our military to carry out those responsibilities," he noted.

Wolfowitz said he, President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld are "truly grateful for their service."

Credit for the military successes gained in Iraq so far must also go to the war planners, he pointed out.

"An enormous degree of operational and tactical surprise was achieved," Wolfowitz said, when the U.S. and its coalition partners decided to target Saddam's command-and- control headquarters and living complexes early in the campaign.

"Hopefully, that saved some lives," he added.

Wolfowitz read an excerpt from an article in The Weekly Standard magazine, entitled "Why They Fight" by Stephen F. Hayes, who interviewed an Iraqi named David.

David, only identified by his first name, was one of a number of exiled Iraqi-Americans and some native Iraqis whom the United States had recruited and trained to assist U.S. troops when they arrived in Iraq.

In the article, David was asked what he thought of anti-war demonstrators, the deputy secretary continued. David replied that he was proud of the demonstrators, because that was what democracy and freedom was all about.

However, Wolfowitz added, David noted that those demonstrators wouldn't have such freedom of speech in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

"'Where you been when Saddam Hussein killed 100,000 Kurds?'" Wolfowitz quoted David asking the demonstrators.

"'Where you been when he killed a million Iraqi soldiers and Iraqis and Iranians Where you been when he occupied Kuwait and killed over 1,000 Kuwaitis? Why nobody says nothing?'" David continued.

Wolfowitz then relayed David's message for Saddam: "'What comes around, goes around. Now your time to go. Your time is up. Now we're 21st century. No room for dictators.'"

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