Defense Leaders Discuss Difference Between Iraq, North Korea Threats
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2003 North Korea's recent admission that it's pursuing a banned nuclear weapons program does not put it in the same boat as Iraq, officials contend.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today at a Pentagon press briefing that North Korea's admission was "quite recent" and that the State Department and other diplomatic bodies are working to find a solution.
Iraq, however, has flouted international conventions for over a decade. "The situation with Iraq and the United Nations is something that has been continuous since 1990 or 1991, since the conclusion of the Gulf War," Rumsfeld said in explaining that the world should give diplomacy a chance to work on North Korea.
Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraq poses much more than a "potential threat," as had been suggested by a reporter.
"Clearly what Iraq did in its invasion of Kuwait was very real. What they did when they attacked Iran was very real. What they did when they used chemical weapons on their own population was very real," the general said. "So we're not talking about a potential threat here."