United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share


Secretary Rumsfeld Media Availability En Route to Portugal

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
June 09, 2003

Rumsfeld: The note on the (Inaudible.) vessels provides an opportunity for me to thank some friends and allies, people who have been helpful (Inaudible.) Portugal and Albania at the 10th anniversary at the Marshall Center (Inaudible.). I don’t know how many but a good number of Ministers of Defense also who have been helpful and cooperative who are graduates of the Marshall Center. The NATO meeting is an important one because we have indeed been able to make good progress and we need to continue that effort. We’re going to be discussing the (Inaudible.) structure changes, which you know we’ve made a number of changes in the United States Unified Command layout and we’re undoubtedly making some more and NATO is going through a similar arrangement and looking at their command structure and we've achieved excellent cooperation on that.

We are looking at our footprint around the world and have made some changes and we’ll be making more. So too NATO is looking at its footprint, its headquarters arrangement and command structure. As a result of (Inaudible.) a year ago, it’s making headway on the NATO response force so that we’ll be able to actually deploy ready forces within days or weeks rather than not having ready forces capable of moving promptly. So it’s a trip that I think is a follow on to the earlier NATO visits I’ve made plus the Prague Summit that President Bush and his colleagues had, where a number of these issues involving capabilities and command structure of response force were all discussed. Questions?

Q: How confident are you that you are going to find WMD in Iraq. (Inaudible.) what have we done so far?

Rumsfeld: We haven’t found Saddam Hussein either but no one is doubting that he was there. (Inaudible.). I have no doubt in my mind but that the intelligence work that is done in this country and other countries and which we have watched become richer and fuller over the years, will end up proving to be correct and that the presentation that Secretary Powell made at the United Nations -- all of our intelligence agencies are in broad agreement. They have differences of course, but they have all shown and elevated in the national intelligence estimates. (Inaudible.) the allegation that the intelligence was in any politicized of course (Inaudible.). So I think it just takes time (Inaudible.) the only way we are going to find it is not by just discovering something but by finding the people who can tell you where it is, so we’ll just be patient (Inaudible.).

Q: In the NATO agenda, will you be pushing NATO to help controlling more of the peace-keeping (Inaudible.) burden in Iraq?

Rumsfeld: No I don’t, I wouldn’t put it that way. I mean we have been having first generation meetings and NATO has already agreed to be helpful to the Polish government in their efforts in Iraq but we have briefed that in I think 41 countries who are in various stages of discussion as to how they can be helpful in Iraq and I think 6 or 8 have already committed forces and more are as we go along. The U.N. resolution was a help in that regard. Some countries have to go to their Parliaments or their Cabinets. Others we're working with because we're interested in knowing where they might be assigned and with whom they might be working. I had a meeting Sunday for example with the Deputy Prime Minister of India, a discussion of the possibility of their having some forces in Iraq. We feel good about it. We’re real hopeful that we’ll get a sizable set of forces in Iraq. The first ones I would think would likely be sometime maybe in September and then others could be added over time.

Q: (Inaudible.)

Rumsfeld: Well sure, the Marshall Center is having its 10th anniversary. It’s initiated by some of our friends -- Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz and others who were serving on the Bush 41 administration, and it’s a joint venture with the Federal Republic of Germany and we think it is important to have it.

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: We are at varying stages in different parts of the globe as to our thinking. We are organized by AORs -- Areas of Responsibilities -- and Combatant Commands. That's not the way one looks at a footprint. The seams are confusing in that regard because a Combatant Commander looks at only his area. So we’ve been sequentially having them come in and give us their very best recommendations and they’ve looked at them and sent them back and we’ve suggest that they look at some other options. Now what we are doing is we’re looking at them all together, which is really is the only way to look at them and we are taking those piece parts and asking the question, how can we best arrange ourselves from the standpoint of the American people in the most cost effective way? So it will be a bit of time and until it’s done you can’t say what it will mean. We are simultaneously doing some discussing with our friends and allies, places where some of our forces are currently located such as Europe. We are also talking to countries where they are not currently located about how we might be arranged there. So until those things work their way through -- it’s complicated, it's a big set of issues, (Inaudible.) be important to our country, and we (Inaudible.) been approaching it in an orderly and thoughful way.

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: Until it’s over it’s not over. You simply have to work your way through it. For the forces that are there, some can be somewhat of a (Inaudible.) in a sense that they’re all limited to the defense of Western Europe and a threat from the Soviet Union which really doesn’t exist anymore, so the question isn’t what do you need to defend against the Soviet Union, (Inaudible.) the question is how do you want to be arranged around the world, and that’s the way they are addressing it.

Q: Will you be talking to Portugal and Albania about possible establishing forward operating basis or locations in either of those two countries?

Rumsfeld: I’m not going to get into what I talk about with individual countries (Inaudible.) but that is not my principle purpose of my visit a (Inaudible.).

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: No. No I’m not going to discuss it.

Q: (Inaudible.) members who are in custody who are saying that there was never any link between al Qaeda and (Inaudible.) --

Rumsfeld: We have seen all kinds of intelligence of all types, human intelligence where individuals say things, other types of intelligence that can be collected (Inaudible.) a period of three years on this subject and I pretty much leave it to the agencies to characterize it or to declassify what they want to when they want to and when they do I present it to the President (Inaudible.) the Pentagon…

Q: (Inaudible.) believe that there was an Iraq-al Qaeda connection?

Rumsfeld: I believe exactly what I've said in the past and it has been carefully stated and its been (Inaudible.) the agencies. The consensus view has been (Inaudible.).

Q: Are you seeing in Iraq organized guerilla resistance that might be directed by Saddam Hussein or even inspired by (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: It’s hard to tell. You see, different people in the U.S. community have different views on that, and there’s no one who thinks that it’s a well organized, nationally-directed campaign. There are some who would say that in certain parts of the country it looks as though it has an element of organization to it as opposed to being random. My impression is that generally the looting and the criminal element is generally at a very low level -- it exists just like it does in cities all across Europe or the United States. There is some level of crime and misconduct.

The attacks on our forces, on coalition forces, are something other than that, and my impression is that what happened basically is, that there was a series of battles, from the south up to the Baghdad area, there were some battles in Baghdad, there were relatively few battles up north. And as a result a number of the Ba’ath Party people, and the Fedayeen Saddam and the Republican Guard types, and the people close in to the Saddam Hussein regime did not get into a battle and therefore a lot of them did not get killed as they did down south and so there are probably more of them per square mile in the northern portion of the country between Baghdad and Tikrit than there are in other portions of the country. What does that mean? Well that means our forces are going to have to take an assessment of how we are arranged, what kind of forces we need, see that we have all the forces we need and go about finding those folks and putting them out of business.

Q: (Inaudible.) Saddam Hussein himself (Inaudible.)

Rumsfeld: We don’t know that for sure but I think that it’s not unreasonable to say that here’s a person who is a vicious repressive dictator, and to the extent that it is not proven that he is not alive there are people who might fear that he could come back. If they fear that he could come back they would be somewhat slower in an interrogation to say what they know. It might be hard for the Ba’athists who may want to hope that they can (Inaudible.) that country, which they are not going to succeed in doing, so I think (Inaudible.) fair comment.

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: We’ll just keep looking for him. We’ll find him.

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: We’ve been adding ground forces in Iraq. We’ve been moving air forces out, naval forces out of the region. We’ve been mixing and matching -- there's not a lot of need for heavy armor or artillery or rockets (Inaudible.). There is a need for presence, ground forces, police MPs, interpreters, things like that, so we’ve not only increased our forces somewhat, we’ve changed the mix so their presence is greater and as I said, we have a very aggressive effort to bring in the forces from other countries in very sizable numbers.

Q: (Inaudible.)

Rumsfeld: When we have an announcement we’ll let you know.

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: Yes.

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: (Inaudible.) you said Iraq didn’t you?

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: We have, I think, I may be wrong by five or ten percent maybe, but we have roughly 146,000 and they had roughly 14,000 and that number total has been about the same. Those are in country.

I think we should probably wind it up, it’s awfully hot in here and we are getting ready to land.

Q: (Inaudible.).

Rumsfeld: No, absolutely not. The first generation meetings are taking place in a variety of cites around the world. A lot of it’s been done, some by Department of State, some by CENTCOM, some through NATO, but no this trip isn’t. We have lots of people who are getting money from other countries, they're getting humanitarian assistance and medical assistance, and they are generating forces, all of those things -- some security some not security.

Additional Links

Stay Connected