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Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Media Stakeout following NBC Meet the Press

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
April 06, 2003
(Media stakeout following NBC Meet the Press.  Also participating was Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.)
Wolfowitz: I just want to say good morning. We're just barely past the two-week mark of this war. It's a difficult war. Every war is difficult. We've made progress, but I think some of the more serious dangers may still be in front of us. It's been a fantastic performance by our young men and women in uniform. I had a chance to meet yesterday with some of General Pace's Marines, I know why he's so proud of them. The whole country is proud of the Marines and the Army, the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, they're just all doing fantastic jobs.

The one thing that is absolutely certain is that we are going to win and this horrible regime will be gone.

Pace: We really are proud of the young men and women and we want to thank the families here at home whose strength really is a huge contributor to the success that their loved ones are having overseas.

Q: General Pace, can you tell us (Inaudible.)?

Pace: I'm not able to predict a time. It is a certainty. It depends on when the Iraqi forces understand that in fact we will continue to fight until we complete this mission.

They have the opportunity now, their leaders have the opportunity right now to do the correct thing, to support the future of Iraq by stopping the fighting on behalf of a regime that does not deserve their loyalty; surrendering their forces so that they have the young men available to help build a new free Iraq in the near future.

Q: General, do you still think that the coalition will find weapons of mass destruction?

Pace: Yes, I do. Right now we're focused as we should be on the destruction of the enemy forces. When we are able to complete that mission and we're able to provide stability throughout the country I'm absolutely convinced that through our own resources and people coming forward in a secure environment that they will begin to turn over these weapons of mass destruction.

Q: (Inaudible.)

Wolfowitz: I think when this regime is gone, when the Iraqi people are no longer afraid of the regime and its elements, and when we can create the conditions, set up the conditions where the Iraqi people can establish their own government, that represents them, and that treats them decently and preserves Iraq as a unified country.

Q: (Inaudible.)

Wolfowitz: I think the real thing is when the apparatus of fear is dismantled. Obviously he's a key to that but he's not the only piece of it.

Q: Secretary Pace --

Wolfowitz: He's a general.

Q: Sorry.

Pace: Thank you for the promotion. I appreciate that. (Laughter.)

Wolfowitz: I'll trade with you. (Laughter.)

Q: (Inaudible.)

Pace: What will happen is that the military will provide stability in a particular area until the Iraqi police can be rebuilt and take over their own countryside. So there will be peacekeeping type operations that will need to be done by coalition members, either those who are currently there or those who might volunteer to join us, to be able to provide the secure environment inside of which the new Iraqi government can build its police force, build its armed forces up to an internal defense type capability and those types of things.

Q: General, you said (Inaudible.). (Inaudible.) served under him (Inaudible.) where Marines (Inaudible.)?

Pace: What I said on the show is what I meant which is that it's inappropriate for someone of my position here in Washington to make comments about battlefield judgments that were made properly by that chain of command. That's where I'd leave my comment.

Wolfowitz: One last one.

Q: (Inaudible.)

Wolfowitz: You don't want to call me general, I take it? (Laughter.)

Q: How much more money might General Jay Garner need to complete the mission once they receive the initial (Inaudible.) that Congress is [trying] to approve?

Wolfowitz: Just to get the number straight, the numbers you mentioned cover the entire buildup, pre-war, that was part of the diplomacy where we hoped we might be able to get Saddam to disarm. It includes the cost of the war. It includes the cost of bringing troops home. There's a very very small piece of that total that is intended for the initial effort at reconstruction in Iraq. Actually, I think judging from progress so far--and we're still in the middle of a war--one shouldn't predict too much. But there's been less damage to the civilian infrastructure in the south than we had feared, but that's a good sign.

But the basic point really is that there are enormous resources available from other sources than just the American taxpayer to help the Iraqi people in reconstructing their country. And the oil revenues of Iraq now for the first time in decades will be dedicated to the welfare of the Iraqi people instead of building up the instruments of a tyrannical state.

I also believe that as the world recognizes what's happened here, and recognizes the opportunity to help in what could be the country that could be an inspiration for the rest of the Arab world, that more and more countries in the international community and international institutions--like the UN and the World Bank and the IMF--will come forward.

So there are a lot of people who are going to help. Most importantly, the Iraqi people will be able to help themselves.

Thank you.

Pace: Thank you very much.

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