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Rumsfeld Outlines Options for Using Military in Iraq

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2003 – Possible outcomes in Iraq could lead to vastly different levels of outside military intervention in that country, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today.

Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee that at this stage, there are basically four possibilities regarding Saddam Hussein's future in Iraq: He could voluntarily step down and cede power to someone who would voluntarily disarm the country; he could step down and put someone else who is "equally unacceptable" in charge; forces within Iraq could overthrow Hussein; or a U.S.-led coalition could overthrow him.

"Depending on what happened and what the circumstance in the country was would determine how long and what role the military would have to play," Rumsfeld said. "Clearly the goal would be to go in and see that what resulted was better than what was there beforehand."

He said that means the United States "simply has to be willing to stay there as long as is necessary to see that that is done, but not one day longer."

Regardless of how Hussein leaves power, there will be necessary steps for the U.S. military to take in Iraq. Military forces will have to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction and find and deal with terrorist networks operating inside Iraq, Rumsfeld explained.

Humanitarian and reconstruction efforts will demand additional military forces, but the secretary predicted other countries will step up to offer assistance in these areas.

Finally, Iraq must be put on a path to self-governance, much like what has happened in Afghanistan. Rumsfeld said U.S. and international officials will work with the Iraqis to find a solution that is appropriate for Iraq. In Afghanistan, military and civilian aid organizations assisted the people in that country in setting up a loya jirga, a traditional Afghan system for forming a government and choosing leaders.

"The goal would be to get them on a path so that increasingly more and more was handled and managed by the Iraqi people themselves and that less and less was managed by the international community," Rumsfeld said.

He disagreed with oft-heard suggestions that the United States is only interested in controlling Iraq for economic reasons. "We have no interest in other people's land or territory," the secretary said. "We have no interest in other people's oil, as some articles seem to suggest."

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