(Also participating Congressman Duncan Hunter, Chairman House Armed Services Committee.)
Hunter: Folks, we had a very good briefing this morning with Secretary Wolfowitz and General Pace and we walked through the state of affairs in Afghanistan and Iraq. I had a good discussion of the political – the impending political handoff for the state of military affairs, the latest actions and potential American reactions and it was a very good briefing for members of the Armed Services Committee.
The secretary doesn’t have much time, but we’ll take a couple of questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, there’s been a lot of discussion in the last week or two about what type of military options might have been (inaudible) Taliban targets in Afghanistan? Could you or General Pace elaborate on exactly what the military was thinking when, in the summer of 2000 (inaudible)?
Wolfowitz: It’s not a question to lend itself to a short answer. I don’t have time for a long one, so I don’t want to do that here.
Q: Could you at least characterize (inaudible) did Secretary Rumsfeld (inaudible)?
Wolfowitz: Eric, I said, it is a important and complicated question. I don’t want to give a simple answer. Sorry, we’ll address that in other fora.
Hunter: Next question. Right here.
Q: Can you explain or can tell us why the Pentagon decided to (inaudible), especially with China (inaudible)?
Wolfowitz: We conduct our arms sales to Taiwan within the framework of a longstanding policy that is aimed at encouraging good communications cross-strait and encouraging a peaceful resolution of the differences between the two sides. And we have got to keep pursuing that policy, and in careful ways we have for a long time.
Q: Mr. Secretary, the minority leader here in the (inaudible) indicate that the transition (inaudible) was premature (inaudible) in terms of bureaucracy (inaudible) those areas that are still very vulnerable?
Hunter: And that’s the last question.
Wolfowitz: This is going to be the last question and it’s a chance to make a very important point that is poorly understood, not only here, but sometimes in Iraq and it’s very important to understand it correctly. There’s not going to be any difference in our military posture on July 1st from what it is on June 30th, except that we will be there then at the invitation of a sovereign Iraqi government, which I am quite sure will want us to stay there until killers like the ones who perpetrated these atrocities in Fallujah are brought under control.
Hunter: And folks – and let me just say one thing, with respect to my fellow congressional leadership. I think it’s a major mistake for a congressional leadership to -- without a great deal of thinking , indicate – put out a message -- to the world that somehow we have been jarred or intimidated by actions like the ones that happened in Fallujah and that we will change our course and that terrorists, by undertaking certain actions, can induce a changed American force. I think that’s a message that’s unfortunate and I would hope that my friends like the minority leader would spend a little more time thinking about it, before they come out with a reaction.