Rumsfeld: How are you?
Rumsfeld: Not many of you today.
Press: Just a couple of us.
Rumsfeld: All right.
Press: Mr. Secretary, could you tell us how concerned are you about there being too much religion in the new Iraqi constitution or in their government?
Rumsfeld: There isn't a new Iraqi constitution, it hasn't even started to be written. It will be written over a sustained period of time by a large group of people and I'm sure it will be one that will fit the Iraqi circumstance.
Press: Why shouldn't there be a public discussion and/or decision about withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq in the next six to nine months?
Rumsfeld: There is a public discussion. The question is whether it's wise or not. The President's opined that it's not wise. Some have suggested it is. History suggests it's not. The idea of setting an arbitrary timetable when circumstances on the ground vary and depend on other conditions and other variables history suggests is not a smart thing to do.
Press: What are the alternatives to extend tours for current active duty and reserve units now in Iraq and Afghanistan? A draft? A permanent extension of all of our volunteer force? Longer enlistment periods?
Rumsfeld: We're certainly not going to have a draft. We don't need one. We have the ability to attract and retain the people we need in the military. We've enlarged the size of the Army, which is a good thing to do. We're using Navy and Air Force personnel for ground functions like military police and truck drivers and various things that are more available than the limited number of Army people.
We're rebalancing the active with the reserve components in a way that we will have more of the skill sets we need on active duty than we have had in the past.
So a whole host of steps have been taken to relieve stress on the force.
It's good to see you.
Press: Thank you so much.