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Secretary Rumsfeld Media Availability En Route to Tokyo

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
November 14, 2003
Rumsfeld:  We've been given the itinerary and we know that I'm going to go right from the airplane to meet with the Prime Minister and then to a reception.  Then I'm meeting tomorrow with the Foreign Minister and the Minister of State for Defense.

 

            The discussions we'll be having will be on the normal range.  Of things that the United States and Japan have to discuss.  We have an important treaty relationship.  We have been cooperating on a good many things including most recently missile defense. 

 

            I'd be happy to respond to a few questions.

 

            Q:  Mr. Secretary, what is your reaction to Japan's decision not to send troops to Iraq, at least for the time being?  Possibly next year.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well, I suppose two things.  One is first, that as I’ve said all along, countries ought to do that which they feel is appropriate for them.  They ought to make judgments about the timing and the size and the nature of their contributions.  And certainly Japan has already been very helpful with respect to Iraq in terms of their significant financial contribution.

 

            And my view is that it's up to each sovereign nation.  Needless to say we're very grateful that we have 32 countries with forces on the ground in Iraq and that we're currently in discussions with some 14 additional ones.  Some of which I suspect will in fact end up providing troops and various types of other assistance, whether combat or combat support or [inaudible] and that type of thing, all of which is very helpful.

 

            Q:  Are you concerned perhaps that these attacks are being successful in dissuading people, countries, from sending forces?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well obviously the attacks [inaudible] and our folks are doing everything they can to effectively deal with them.  I was impressed with the statements and the approach that General Abizaid took in his press briefing yesterday.  And in discussing the nature of our efforts there.

 

            We feel that we're making progress.  We also recognize that it's a dangerous place and that the use of various low-level, low-intensity conflict techniques do create dangers and we understand that and we intend to prevail.

 

            Q:  You mentioned missile defense.  Can you elaborate a little bit on what the U.S.-Japanese missile defense issue is?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well, needless to say Japan has, the government of Japan has made a request to their parliament, the Diet, for funds for them to take steps forward with respect to missile defense which we believe is very much in their interest, and in the interest of the region. 

 

            We will be having various discussions with them over time about their role and our role in missile defense.

 

            Q:  Mr. Secretary, was Japan [inaudible] individuals then, with Turkey deciding not to come in, with the Spanish concerns.  Is the coalition in trouble?

 

            Rumsfeld:  No.  We have 32 countries with forces on the ground.  The reaction of the Italian government to the attack that took place recently was [inaudible].  Not only is the coalition not in trouble, but they intend to stay the course and I believe they may even send in some replacement forces.

 

            So I think the signal that's been sent is quite the contrary.

 

            Q:  You said you had the CIA report on your desk yesterday.  Did you get a chance to read it last evening?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yes.

 

            Q:  Can you comment now on it?

 

            Rumsfeld:  It's a classified report.

 

            Q:  Is it?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Of course.  That's --

 

            Q:  [inaudible]  [Laughter]

 

            Rumsfeld:  It is the view of the station chiefs there and it's interesting.  There's certainly a great deal there that we're already aware of.  There are also things there that reflect his views,  And I always like to read a full range of ideas and [inaudible].

 

            Q:              Do you agree with what it says?

 

            Rumsfeld:  It isn't a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, it's a matter of reading it and sorting it and thinking it through and seeing that our folks have that perspective so that they can take those things into account as they adjust their jackets and check gates and procedures on the ground.  As the security environment changes and adjusts from time to time.

 

            You have to think of what's taking place.  What's taking place is it's not a surprise, it is that the terrorists, the remnants of the regime, are going to school on us.  They watch what takes place and then they make adjustments.  We go to school on them.  We watch [inaudible], make investments.  And the question is who's going to outlast the other?  The answer is Britain will outlast all of us.  [Laughter]

 

            Q:  Is it helpful to what you're trying to accomplish though?  I know it's classified, but it's out there.  Is it helpful to what you're trying to accomplish that someone has this particular opinion and others?

 

            Rumsfeld:  As far as I'm concerned, whatever people think I like to know.  I like to know what intelligent people think about things so they can be brought into consideration and can be sped around, communicated to different people, so that they can think through what it is they're doing and how it fits with what other people think.  It's always useful.

           

            But your learning in something complex [inaudible] as this, you're in difficulty.

 

            Q:  Thank you.  Enjoy your dinner tonight.  [Laughter]