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Wolfowitz: U.S. Will Win Fight Against Terrorism

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2002 - American patriotism and citizens' willingness to serve their country i, Nov. 12, 2002 – American patriotism and citizens' willingness to serve their country in times of danger ensure that the nation will triumph over global terrorists, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said in Philadelphia Nov. 11.

Wolfowitz delivered the key address as part of Veterans Day ceremonies at Washington Square, a U.S. Revolutionary War soldier burial site in downtown Philadelphia. While flying back to Washington, he discussed veterans, patriotism, the war on global terrorism, and Iraq with the American Forces Press Service.

The deputy defense secretary noted it was an emotional experience going to Philadelphia to be on the site where several thousand Revolutionary War soldiers were buried. He praised service members past and present who "risk everything to defend the country."

Wolfowitz recounted the sacrifices made by American troops in many conflicts, including Vietnam, which, he noted, was "a matter of great controversy."

He saluted the "willingness of young Americans to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country" during Vietnam, even when many Americans –- both in and out of uniform -- weren't sure about the origins or causes of that war.

Such commitment and resolve are reflective of the American character, Wolfowitz said.

"And, it is that character, that I think is demonstrating to the terrorists and to the rest of the world that we are going to win this fight," he emphasized.

America, Wolfowitz pointed out, owes a great debt to and stands "on the shoulders of the veterans who've served us in the past." American patriotism, he added, is alive and well and is making a difference in the war against global terrorism.

"The world knows that we have the most capable military in the world," the deputy defense secretary explained, "but we (also) have an incredible national tradition of patriotism and dedication that underpins that reputation."

American military commitment continues in places like Afghanistan, where U.S. troops helped depose al Qaeda terrorists and their Taliban enablers. "No one can make a prediction about how long (the war against global terrorism) will be," Wolfowitz remarked, "but anyone who thinks it will be over in a year or a few more months, I think, doesn't understand the nature of the enemy we're up against."

The terrorists are constantly looking "for new weaknesses, new ways to get around the defenses that we've constructed," he pointed out. That's why the war can't be won on defense only, he said.

"We've got to take the war to the enemy. We've got to keep surprising the enemy with things that they're not expecting," he explained.

And, Wolfowitz noted, terrorists would target Americans -- again.

"We've got to expect to take more losses," he pointed out.

The Oct. 12 terrorist bombing in the resort city of Bali, Indonesia, killed nearly 200 people of more than a dozen nationalities, including 46 Australians and four Americans. It "was 'softer' than most of the targets" terrorists have attacked so far during the war, Wolfowitz noted.

He characterized the Bali attack as a terrorist "miscalculation."

"They may have thought that somehow the Australians would be intimidated by this attack," Wolfowitz continued. "From everything I can tell it has had exactly the opposite effect on Australia. It has reinvigorated their commitment to fighting with us."

Regarding Saddam Hussein's giving up his weapons of mass destruction programs, Wolfowitz expressed hope he would, but noted there's no way to know for sure at this point.

"I do know that there's no hope of him doing it unless he's convinced that it's his only alternative. And, the only thing that convinces him of that is, ultimately, again, the willingness and ability of the United States to impose its will by force if we have to," he said.

If push comes to shove and the president decides to move militarily against Saddam, Wolfowitz said, "A significant number of countries … have made it clear that they'll be with us."

Ultimately, the Iraqi people themselves will turn against Saddam, Wolfowitz maintained, noting that the Iraqis "have been brutally tyrannized" by the dictator's regime.

"I believe, particularly once they see that the end of this regime is in sight, that huge numbers, including large numbers within their own military will say, 'We're not going to be the ones who die for Saddam Hussein,'" he concluded.

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