United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share


Secretary Rumsfeld Media Roundtable at Camp Victory, Iraq

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
September 05, 2003

(Media roundtable at Camp Victory, Iraq.  Participating were Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld; Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority; Ambassador David Richmond, special envoy for Iraq of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander, Coalition Ground Forces.)


     Rumsfeld:  Ambassador Bremer and I just returned from a trip north and as is always the case, visiting the young men and women of the armed forces is a thrilling experience.  They are so dedicated and so courageous and doing such a wonderful job for the Iraqi people that it's truly an inspiration.


     The work being done in Tikrit and Mosul and the northern part of the country where we visited today is really unrecognized.  There's so much reporting about Baghdad and so little about what's taking place in the rest of the country.  The relationship, for example, between the armed forces and the Governor and the Vice Governor and also the Mayor and Vice Mayor is a fine, constructive, healthy relationship.


     The number of Iraqi people that are coming forward and offering information about where people are doing damage to the Iraqi people, where they are located, where the people who are sabotaging and where are the people who are criminals.  That information is central to the success that we're seeing in large parts of this country.


     I am enormously impressed with the work that Ambassador Bremer and the CPA, the Coalition Provisional Authority, are doing, and Ambassador Richmond.  And also with the work that's being done throughout this large, complicated country, and indeed it is, for some 23 million people by General Sanchez and his team.  They are making contributions to improving the lives of the Iraqi people through schools, through hospitals, through universities, through roads, through wells, all of the kinds of constructive things that change the circumstances.


     I was struck coming back, I (Inaudible.) this event now, and they said someone in the press said to somebody in our group well there really wasn't any news up there.  There was news up there.  There was good news.  Important good news.  Constructive things are happening.  The Iraqi people are being substantively benefited and advantaged by being rid of that dictator, a vicious dictator.  And anyone who looks at this building, looks at the palaces, looks at how the Iraqi people's money was stolen from them to equip armies and to build ammunition dumps and to build military activities and to build palaces to benefit a handful of the Iraqi people, the elites, it is a tragic, heartbreaking thing to see, how this country suffered over these past decades by the leadership that existed here.  And it's a refreshing, encouraging thing to see the improvements that are taking place.


     Bremer:  Mr. Secretary, I would just add a little more on the point you made about the good news.


     Every day in this country there are dozens of success stories.  We have now completed almost 6,000 individual reconstruction projects throughout this country.  A lot of those are done by men and women of the armed services, like the men and women we saw today in the two division headquarters.  We have probably spent more than $30 million just on these small (Inaudible.) projects.  It's often $2,000 to fix a school's windows or something like that.  And it's not just in the north.  You go down to Diwania in the south or to Nasariyah, to Basra in the British sector, al Kut out in the west, and you find the same patterns.  Schools are being rebuilt.  We are rebuilding a thousand schools between now and when the school season starts in three weeks.


     We have got all 240 hospitals in this country working now.  Ninety percent of the health clinics are working.  All of the universities finished the school year this summer and gave exams.  Ninety-five percent of the schools were open before the end of the school year.  All of this happened in basically five weeks, six weeks, in April and May.  And the process goes on.


     There are very good stories, and one of the stories that isn't also written about much is that 85 percent of the towns in this country now have elected town councils.  Every major city has a town council.  We met the elected Governor and Vice Governor of Mosul today.  If you went to Basra you could meet the Governor.  In Baghdad on July 9th we stood up a city council for the first time in history, elected council.  Starting at the neighborhoods, there are 89 neighborhoods in Baghdad.  They elected district councils, there are nine, and those people then elected 37 representatives, men and women, Shia, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, from all over Baghdad.


     Democracy is on the march in this country.  And it's on the march at the grassroots level where it really matters.


     A final point is this week marked the third step in the path to an Iraqi sovereign government.  The first step is the Governing Council being stood up on July 13th.  The second step is the appointment in the middle of August by the Governing Council of a committee to prepare a Constitutional Convention.  The third step is Tuesday when the Governing Council appointed a 25-member Cabinet.  Ministers who now have responsibility to run the ministries, to run this government.  That is democracy at the national level.  It's a good news story. 


     Rumsfeld:  And if you think about it, it happened in four or five months.  Four or five months.  Not four or five years.  Four or five months.  If one looks back at Germany, at Japan, at Bosnia or Kosovo and measures the progress that's taken place in this country in four or five months, it dwarfs any other experience that I'm aware of.


     Ambassador Richmond?


     Richmond:  Yes.  I think what I'd like to emphasize is the fact that this is now a huge international effort.  There are 30 countries now participating in the Coalition forces, moreover 60 countries which are contributing in other ways -- financially, technically and so on.  So there's very, very strong support for this process around the world.


     Rumsfeld:  General?


     Sanchez:  Mr. Secretary, ladies and gentlemen.  It is very disturbing for me when I sit here every day and watch the news back home that focuses on the bad things that are occurring in Iraq, and I see my soldiers that have suffered either wounds or have gotten killed and we're not paying the right credit to their sacrifices. 


     When you look across this country and look at the amount of this country that is in stability operations, that is making economic progress, it is making political progress, we ought to make sure that America knows that their sons' and daughters' sacrifices are for a good cause.  We have eliminated a dictatorship here.  We are making a difference every single day.  The engagements that I am having over the course of the last 30 to 60 days have been about 14 or 15 engagements a day.  I have about 160,000 servicemembers here to include the Coalition.  I don't need any more forces here.


     When you look across this country, and you all have the opportunity to see about half this country, look at the Coalition forces that have been introduced into the southern half.  There is no tactical threat.  There is no strategic threat or operational threat that exists to the Coalition or to America.


     One battalion's worth of combat power from either a Coalition element or a United States element can accomplish the task of defeating any threat that may surface in the coming months.  We can do this.  We are doing this.  We are making a difference.  We need to capture the great news that are out there and make sure that America knows what her sons and daughters are doing and what the rest of the international community is doing here in Iraq.


     Rumsfeld:  Before turning to questions let me just add a comment.  Since the first day the war, major combat operations ended, there has been an effort to develop Iraqi security capabilities.  State police, border guards, an army, and civil defense capability.  It's gone from zero four and a half months ago to about 55,000 today.  That didn't happen this week or yesterday or last week.  It happened because the people -- Jerry Bremer and Jay Garner before him, and General Sanchez and his commanders in the various parts of this country have been aggressively building that capability because this is their country and it's important that they develop that institutional capability to provide for their own security.  That is what has been happening for months. 


     And you don't go from zero to 55,000 by accident.  That happens because very talented people, talented trainers, talented recruiters, purposeful people with a plan went out there and in the dozen different ways, in several dozen different parts of this country did an enormously impressive job.  That number is growing every single day.




     Q:  Mr. Secretary, we've heard in General Petraeus’ briefing but we weren't in on General Odierno's.  Is the situation in Tikrit different from the situation in Mosul?  Just like it's uneven around the country as Ambassador Bremer was saying.  Can you describe what you heard a little bit about the situation and how they compare?


     Rumsfeld:  The bulk of General Patraeus' area was north of the so-called green line and in that part of the country of Iraq circumstances were quite different than below the green line.  The bulk of General Odierno's area in fact all of it is well below the green line and in the area that I guess you would characterize it as being the stronghold of the regime is probably the proper way to put it.  So they have quite different problems, just as the problems in the south, in the Basra area, are quite different, and in the west.


     He gave a very good briefing.  It was a classified briefing.  He then did find a chance to meet with the press up there prior to the departure of everybody. 


     Q:  (Inaudible.)


     Rumsfeld:  We don't have them.  When we get them we'll let you know.


     Q:  (Inaudible.)


     Rumsfeld:  I don't believe anything.  If we knew where he is we'd go get him.


     Q:  But are you trying to find him --


     Rumsfeld:  If we did, would we talk about it?  No.  I wouldn't.


     Q:  Can you tell us, if Ambassador Bremer could describe the political situation in Tikrit?  Is there a civic government there that we're cooperating with and so on?


     Bremer:  There's been a government there for probably six or eight weeks. 


     Q:  Do you cooperate with them?


     Rumsfeld:  General Odierno’s division and his brigade commanders have been, I think the number was 2,800 projects.  I may be off by a couple of hundred there because I saw a lot of numbers.  The same kinds of things the Secretary mentioned -- schools, hospitals, and so forth. 


     As the Secretary said, the area south of Tikrit and down to Malad and Baqubah and across Baghdad is an area of traditional support for Saddam Hussein so it's in some ways a more difficult challenge to the 101st.  But we are cooperating very well with the selected leaders in Tikrit.  It's not a problem.


     Q:  But that area is more violent and more dangerous to U.S. troops?


     Bremer:  I think if I remember, and General Sanchez will correct me, I think we've analyzed that something more than 80 percent of the attacks against Coalition forces have been in the area, since May 1st, have been in the area from Baghdad north to Tikrit.  General Sanchez will correct me if I'm wrong.


     Sanchez:  That's exactly right.  It's the area from Al Kayin to Baghdad up to Bezi, has sustained about 80 or 85 percent of the engagements that we have had since May.


     That is the remarkable thing about the progress that is going on in the 4th Infantry Division zone.  There have been free elections conducted in that zone in Saddam's stronghold.  They have had free elections to elect these provincial governments, to elect their local governments, and that's remarkable.


     Rumsfeld:  If you think about this country, it is a country that has had a Stalinist type regime -- that is to say totally centralized, everything managed out of Baghdad, a government owned society as opposed to a public and private society.  And to go from that kind of an environment where everyone was told what to do, everything was controlled by the central government in what the rest of the world thinks of as both the public and private sector.  And then think of transitioning for the people of this country where the bulk of their lifetimes that is what they have experienced, and they're suddenly moving as the Ambassador says, navigating towards something like representative government, something like a more democratic system.  And they're beginning, as we heard up north, to privatize certain things and allow something other than government ownership.  That's a totally new concept.  Not to us but to the people in this country.


     So the task of getting from where they were to where they're headed is not an easy thing to do.  It's a difficult thing to do.  It's a difficult thing to grasp intellectually and it's going to take some time and it's going to take some effort.


     Q:  This palace a little more than five and a half months ago was owned and used by Saddam Hussein.  We flew across a lot of area that's still dangerous for a lot of people.  In a big sense, can you give us your sense of today, for you, as Defense Secretary, and the man who led this war?


     Rumsfeld:  I think the accomplishment by the Coalition in liberating the Iraqi people is truly remarkable and I think that the progress that I have seen since I was here last, several months ago, is measurable and palpable.  I think that the dangers still exist.  It is always possible for someone, whether it's a criminal or a terrorist or some remnant of the Ba'athist regime, it's always possible for someone to attack something -- a building, a mosque as we've seen, important people as we've seen, innocent men, women and children as we've seen -- it's always possible.  And that's true not just in this country it's true in almost every country of the world.


     But I feel that the progress in four or five months is breathtaking.


     Q:  Mr. Secretary, (Inaudible.) can you assure the American people that you're not looking through rose-colored glasses here?


     Rumsfeld:  I use trifocals. (Laughter.) I don't use rose-colored glasses.


     I can assure the American people and the world that those coalition countries that have participated in this have done a good thing, a good thing for the Iraqi people, a good thing for this region, and a good thing for the world. 


     Can I assure them that it's going to be a smooth road?  No.  I can almost assure people that it won't be a smooth road.  It will be a bumpy road.  There will be setbacks and there will be difficulties.  And there were difficulties in every country that has moved in this direction.  There were difficulties for the United States of America, believe me.  It took a long time between 1776 and 1789 when the Constitution was -- It will take a lot less here.  It took a long time for Japan.  It took a long time for Germany.  It's taking a long time for Kosovo and Bosnia and it will take time here.  There will be setbacks. 


     But is it a trip that's worth making?  You bet.


     Q:  General, I wanted to ask a question to you if I might.  You mentioned that there's no military threat that is significant in this country, but I guess the threat that people are concerned about is not really military, it's more terrorist.  The Israeli Defense Forces are (Inaudible.) in Israel but have been unable to stop terrorist bombings.  (Inaudible.) at this point?


     Sanchez:  As we have seen over the course of the last few weeks, the threat is there.  We've had numerous bombings that have occurred at the U.N., Jordanian Embassy, and of course the mosque.  We're working very hard to improve our intelligence capabilities within the country, to focus on counter-terrorism.  We're working on ensuring that we have synchronization and integration and cooperation amongst all the agencies so that we can focus on this terror cell and be able to defeat it.  We have the capacities to do that within the nation and we're focusing it, we're leveraging Coalition capabilities also, all those Coalition nations that have made contributions in here. 


     Will we stop all terrorist activity?  Of course not.  As the Secretary stated, that could still happen to us at any point in time.


     Q:  (Inaudible.)


     Sanchez:  No, at this point I do not.


     Q:  Mr. Secretary, given what you heard today, what would you say right now is your coldest-eyed assessment of the threat that does exist here?  And not just in the area of security, also in the area of the fledgling democracy?


     Rumsfeld:  The political progress and seeing the Iraqi people have a chance to govern themselves is part of the security situation.  The security situation, needless to say, is critical for the economic progress and the reconstruction progress.


     What has to happen here is they have to create an environment that is hospitable to investment and to outside engagement, to people's feeling and developing the ability to feel free to do things and to think for themselves and to engage in entrepreneurial activity.  And all those are connected.


     We talked about this at some length last night, about the linkages between all of those things.  To try to take one out and say this is more important than that is a very difficult thing to do.  I really see that all three have to make progress together.


     Q:  Secretary Rumsfeld, you and others have mentioned that you're getting good cooperation from Iraqis on the intelligence side and in other ways.  Why do you think then that no one person has come forward with credible information about WMD?  What does that say to you, if anything?


     Rumsfeld:  What you just said is correct. 


     Q:  Well, having (Inaudible.) of it on this trip, they say that's correct.  They don't know of any.  And you have not shared with us even vaguely if it's different from that.


     Rumsfeld:  I will leave it to David Kay and to the Iraqi Survey Group that is doing this work to proceed in the orderly way they are.  I believe they're well organized and they have good people doing this job.  And to allow them to continue and have the patience to see what they produce.


     Q:  But do you know of any information that has produced credible information leading to weapons of mass destruction?


     Rumsfeld:  I think I've answered your question.  I'm going to allow that process to go forward.  It is orderly, it's well staffed, and in my view from the briefings I've received they're doing a good job.


     Q:  Ambassador Bremer, if the situation was so positive, can you explain your priorities for a chunk of money that surprised (Inaudible.) in Washington?   What are your spending priorities?   Why do you need that amount that's larger than many people expected?


     Bremer:  Since I don't know what numbers you're talking about, I'd leave the comment on the number aside.  That will be a matter for the President to decide.  It's not my decision.


     Our priorities are essentially four.  They are to restore security throughout the country; to provide essential services, restore essential services -- power, water, and hospital care; to begin the process of creating a vibrant private sector which as the Secretary said really is the key to a successful economy here; and to move the Iraqis as quickly as we responsibly can towards self government.  Those are our overall strategic objectives and our strategic plan which has been made public, it was made public when I was in Washington in July, July 23rd, in a speech I made at the National Press Conference and passed out to all of you.  That plan hasn't changed in its strategic goals.


     We've made tactical adjustments because this is a very fast-moving situation here.  But our priorities are listed there quite clearly.  In terms of spending, our major spending needs are to restore essential services.  I've spoken before about the amount of money that's going to be required.  Because this country's infrastructure was under-invested, because the capital of this country was stolen and put into places like this, because this country spent ten times as much GDP on the military as we do, they were spending probably 33 to 35 percent of GDP on the military.  There is no reliable infrastructure in this country.


     We, according to the U.N., will have to spend $16 billion in the next four years on water, just to restore the water to marginally acceptable levels. 


     At the time of the war only seven percent of the population of this country had access to sewage treatment.  We are going to have to spend, according to my engineers, more than $13 billion in the next five years on power.  The country does not have enough power today, they did not have enough power on March 19th.  In many ways, if we had come here on March 19th (Inaudible.) war we would face many of the same economic problems we face now.  The problems we face are not a result of war damage; they're not even really a result of sanctions; they are a result of the colossal mismanagement of the great economic resources of this country.


     But our priorities are very clear.  Restore the essential services, get moving towards a vibrant private sector, move along the path towards democracy that I described before.


     Rumsfeld:  I think it would be a mistake to take what the Ambassador said and start adding up numbers for this reason.  When he says we, he doesn't mean the United States.  He means the Coalition and the country.  There are a variety of places where funds have come from.  Obviously the United States has paid a good chunk and will be paying a good chunk.  Other Coalition countries have contributed money and are continuing to.  The U.N. Oil for Food program has assets.  The frozen Iraqi assets in our country and in other countries have been available.  The funds that have been found by the Coalition military as they've gone around the country have been available.  The revenues from oil listings will be available for things for the Iraqi people.


     So there are a variety of places that these funds come from and I'm sure when you said our, you were speaking broadly for the Iraqi people and the Coalition.


     Bremer:  Yes.


     Q:  Does that mean that you don't expect to ask Congress for an additional $10 billion this year?


     Bremer:  No, I didn't say that.


     This is a rich country which is temporarily poor.  We have a goal of getting back to pre-war oil, and basically the revenues of this country are in the oil, at least for the foreseeable future for the next couple of years.  Our goal is to get back to the pre-war maximum production level which was about three million barrels a day by roughly a year from now, about October '04.  That means that our revenues next year will be about equal to our foreseeable operating expenses.  But the capital that we need for the kinds of things I mentioned -- for power, for hospitals, for water treatment, for potable water, to fix the irrigation system.  All of those are going to have to come from outside the country.  Those are not the kinds of things people are going to invest in so it's not going to be private capital.  It's going to have to come from the taxpayers of various countries as the Secretary mentioned.  And the needs will be very sustained.


     Q:  Mr. Secretary, if things are really going so well and (Inaudible.).


     Rumsfeld:  There seems to be a desire on the part of people to either have the pendulum over here, everything's wonderful, or the pendulum over there, everything is horrible.  That's just not true.


     We live in a world that things go across the spectrum.  The shades of gray, moving to white, moving to dark.  And constantly suggesting that there are rose-colored glasses and everything is going well is utter nonsense.  No one has said that.  No one sitting here has said that.  No one I know thinks that.  And to keep premising questions on that is unfortunate.


     Now we're happy to hear what your question is.  (Laughter.)


     Q:  I was just sitting here writing in my notes to find the quote from you which was something like remarkable progress is being made.


     Rumsfeld:  There has been remarkable progress.  Does that mean it's perfect?  No.  Does it mean it's rose-colored glasses?  No.  Does it mean it's only been good news?  No.  We've all discussed the fact that it's a mixed picture.


     Q:  If I can pose a question (Inaudible.).  Thank you.  (Laughter.)


     If remarkable progress is being made and if General Sanchez doesn't need any more troops, why go to the U.N.?  Why has the President decided to go to the U.N. to seek a resolution and a multinational force?


     Rumsfeld:  The answer is this.  The President and his team believe, and I think properly so, that it is a good thing to engage as many countries as possible in an effort as important as this and as large as this, which is why the number I think is what, we currently have engaged here?  Thirty?


     Sanchez:  Yes, sir.  About 30 countries.


     Rumsfeld:  Physically.  And another what --


     Bremer:  More than 60.


     Rumsfeld:  More than 60 additional ones, up to 90, who have already been participating.  The United States made that decision at the outset.  We began with the premise that this should be something.


     I keep hearing people say why does the United States go it alone?  Where are their heads?  Where are their ears?  Where are their eyes?  We haven't been going it alone from day one.  We believed it was important.  The President went to the United Nations.  He got a resolution.  This isn't anything new.  There's no big news story here.  He's simply going back to the U.N.  One of the reasons is that a number of countries that are potentially available to contribute some forces -- not large numbers, one would think, but some -- who have suggested it would be helpful from their standpoint in their parliaments or their process -- and they vary from country to country -- if in fact the United Nations had another resolution.  That's the reason.  It's not complicated.


     It's a continuum from day one.  In fact before day one.  The liaison at CENTCOM started working with other countries before the war ever started in anticipation that it might have to start. 


     Q:  (Inaudible.) to explain the relationship between your statement that you don't need any more troops and the hope to get a multinational force.


     Sanchez:  When you look at the current status of the country right now the southern half of Iraq is under multinational division control.  We have 30 countries that are focused in the south conducting operations.


     The requirement for additional U.S. forces I've stated over and over again that I do not have, as I mentioned earlier, I don't have a tactical operational, or strategic challenge here in the country.  We don't need additional forces.  It is not a matter of putting more boots on the ground here in Iraq.  You saw today the tremendous progress that's being made in the northern half of the country.


     The issue for multinational continued cooperation is one, to continue to bring in multinational capacity that will allow us to in turn replace some U.S. forces, it will give us a multinational face.  The great message that we had on the 3rd of September was that the international community has made a commitment to the peace and stability and the future of Iraq, and it keeps getting larger and larger with every single country that commits assets into Iraq.  We can't lose sight of that fact.


     Q:  But does that mean (Inaudible.) in place here?  Does that mean there won't be a net plus up when more foreign troops come in?


     Sanchez:  That could be.


     Q:  (Inaudible.)


     Sanchez:  (Inaudible.)


     Rumsfeld:  The other thing that’s happening though, don't forget, is this dramatic growth in Iraqi security forces.  So if one looks at the totality, that is to say the elements of U.S. forces, Coalition forces, Iraqi capability, the number is going up.  The number is going up basically because of this significant growth in the Iraqi capability.


     Q:  Let me ask about that.  You mentioned, Mr. Secretary, the growth from zero to 55,000 roughly in terms of Iraqi forces (Inaudible.).  I'd ask Ambassador Bremer, where would you like to be by the end of the year, or six months from now, a year after the war in terms of Iraqi forces in uniform?


     Bremer:  It depends on how fast one develops several elements.  I think I told the Secretary last night it's realistic to think that in a year we could have 90,000 to 100,000 Iraqis involved in their defense.


     Q:  A year from now?


     Bremer:  Yeah, a year from now.


     Q:  And what (Inaudible.)?  An Iraqi army with approximately 40,000, (Inaudible.)?  Or are you (Inaudible.)?


     Bremer:  We're looking at an Iraqi army of roughly three divisions, 27 battalions.  The Iraqi police force, our goal is to double the size of the police force.  It's now about 34,000.  We want to get to 75,000.  We won't get all of the 75,000 in a year so it will be something short of that because the training will take time.  We intend to raise 18 battalions of our civil defense force.  That we will do by the end of this year or early next year, a battalion for each of the 18 districts.  The border police which are today 2,500 will be 25,000 probably by the end of next year.  So you have to paste these in.


     But I would guess by September 1 next year we should be somewhere in the 90,000 to 100,000.


     Q:  And do you see these forces taking the place of American troops?


     Sanchez:  When you look at the different types of forces, we're augmenting capabilities in some areas where they don't exist in the border, the border posts.  You have the ICDC as augmentation to the American capability and the Coalition capability when you look at the Iraqi army.  They will have their own specific mission of protecting sovereignty of the country. 


     So that will be additive for the Coalition.


     Rumsfeld:  The questions you're asking are good ones, but it's not knowable because you have to adapt and adjust to what takes place on the ground.  You can't look into the future with precision or perfection.  You have to say okay, what are the kinds of things that might happen?  How might we best be arranged as the mixture of those three capabilities, U.S., Coalition and Iraqi, as we go forward? 


     Now if things turn out better then you don't have to do as much.  If things turn out not quite so well or a little bit worse, or there are certain actions, maybe you have to do more.  And that can't be known with perfect certainty.


     Bremer:  (Inaudible.) a very good question about the terrorists.  Through my many sins I've been involved in counter-terrorism now for more than 20 years.


     This is the most difficult intelligence target there is in the world.  It was far easier back when I was fighting Russians in my diplomatic career, to know the exact order of battle of the SS-20s than it is to know very much useful about a terrorist organization.  It's an extremely difficult target.


     But as we get Iraqis more and more involved in the police, in the army, in the civil defense corps, in the border patrol, we are going to find much more actionable intelligence coming into our hands because these terrorists are the serious ones, the al Qaeda type.  They're not Iraqis.  They're foreigners.  Iraqis will be much better at spotting these guys and pointing the finger to them than we're going to be.


     So one of the very important ancillary benefits of getting the Iraqis in front on a lot of the security is that it will in my view substantially increase the intelligence we're going to get against the terrorist threat.


     Q:  General --


     Q:  I'd just like to follow up on that by asking General Sanchez whether the terrorist attacks that we’ve had recently.  Do you see that as an extension of the kinds of resistance that you've been meeting up until now.  Or is this a threat of a new order?  In other words different groups of people operating differently from people who are engaged in these roadside attacks?


     Sanchez:  I believe this is a natural evolution of the threats that we're facing here.  Increasingly the threat has been getting a little bit more sophisticated over time and we expected that this was a natural evolution that we would go through.


     Q:  Are the Ba'athists behind the major car bombings and so on?


     Sanchez:  (Inaudible.)  I answered that question earlier, as to whether we knew who conducted it or not.  We don't know who actually executed those bombings.  What we do know is that we have different elements that are operating here in the country.  We know we've got former regime loyalists, we've got Saddam Fedayeen, we've got terrorists, we've got criminals, and we have religious fundamentalists that are operating.  Some foreign fighters.  So it could be any of those that are conducting those types of attacks, and there could be the possibility that some of them are beginning to come together.


     Q:  Sir, can you clarify your last statement with your previous one that there is neither tactical nor strategic threats here now?  What kind of threat is that?


     Sanchez:  It's a low intensity conflict terrorist threat.  It's what we're facing.


     Remember what I told you, it's 14 to 15 engagements that we have in a day.  They last about two or three minutes.  That's what we're facing.


     Q:  (Inaudible.) unconventional warfare.


     Sanchez:  Terrorist and low intensity conflict attacks are occurring.


     Q:  (Inaudible.)


     Sanchez:  It is not a military threat that we are encountering.  We can defeat it.  We've got to have that actionable intelligence, and we can go after them and defeat them.  We're talking at most, what we have seen on the ground have been groups of about seven or eight of these guys.


     Q:  Why do you think that this is not being organized somewhere out there, maybe by Saddam or the various (Inaudible.) not a sort of organized effort going on?


     Sanchez:  What we've stated repeatedly is that we are seeing local level coordination and synchronization.  We believe there has been some sort of regional command and control that has been exercised.  Then at the national level we still have not established effectively or convincingly that there is national level leadership that is directing this low intensity conflict.  We continue to look for those indicators and try to establish whether in fact there is a national leadership structure.


     Q:  If I could question you on some of those numbers that you threw out.  You say 90 to 100,000 in a year, but the three divisions of the Iraqi army will be how many?  The 18 battalions of civil defense forces will be how many?  And when will all of this come on line?


     Bremer:  Since the sequence, you just have to kind of pick the place you are and I just chose a year.


     The 18 battalions will wind up being, I think we're going to say 15,000.  The border police 25,000.  The Iraqi army with 27 battalions we are going to put at about 20,000, I think.  So it depends, (Inaudible.) as I said, the end state is 75,000 to 80,000.


     A lot of it depends on two things.  First, what our training cycle is and how much we can afford, how fast we --


     Q:  These --


     Bremer:  These questions are important.


     The second thing, as the Secretary said, we have to proceed, and this is my sort of overall motto, with strategic clarity and tactical flexibility.  We want to keep going towards the end state we want, but we've got to call a lot of shots from the line of scrimmage.  And we know where we're going to get, and we're going to get there, and I'm confident it will be in a year or a year and a half.  But you can't hold me to every single number every single month because it may change.


     Rumsfeld:  And of course the training periods are notably different for those different categories of security forces.


     Bremer:  Thank you.  (Inaudible.) defense guys to ideally three months or at least --


     Rumsfeld:  And the price tag is significantly different as well.


     Q:  (Inaudible.).  Even though there's a sense that you do have 30, 32, 30-odd countries participating that there isn't really a world mandate to support what the U.S. doing here and there never really was a mandate for the U.S. and the Coalition to come here and do this in the first place.  Do you think if maybe the U.S. had handled the U.N. a little differently in the beginning that maybe your efforts would be a little be a little bit easier now?


     Rumsfeld:  Goodness, I don't know.  My impression is that the President and Secretary Powell did a good job at the U.N.  They went up there, they laid the case before -- Secretary Powell did.  They sought a U.N. Resolution.  They got it.  It was not the first.  It was the 18th as I recall.  And the support has been substantial.


     I don't know how anyone can set aside 30 countries that are physically engaged and another more than 60 that are in one way or another assisting with humanitarian assistance and now what can world (Inaudible.) be?  Is it 30, is it 60, is it 90, is it 120, is it 180?  I don't know what one wants.


     Q:  (Inaudible.) paying salaries, paying (Inaudible.).  It seems to me (Inaudible.) that we're going out hat in hand to other countries.


     Rumsfeld:  The leadership requires that you go ask somebody if they will help.  You call that hat in hand if you will, I call it coalition building.  It's always been that way.  It was that way 10, 12 years ago.  It's that way today.  You diplomatically go out and say to countries we would like you to participate.


     If you look at what's going on in Liberia, what is going on there?  Well, it's a group of countries that have come together, some can afford to do it by themselves.  Others can afford to do it only with lift from us or intelligence from us or quick reaction from us.  Others can only afford it if the U.N. will help them, and there's a group of those that are now coming behind that.


     It has always been that way.  There is nothing new or distinctively different here.  Because we have different capabilities, different capacities, different resources, and they are able to do what they're able to do.  The fact that the United Nations or the United States or the United Kingdom participates with them either by providing some resources or some lift or some intelligence or some command and control it's the way it's going on in any multinational activity on the face of the earth.


     Q:  Ambassador, describe for us a little bit what the status of the British sector is and the status of British forces.  The British army put quite a lot of its manpower in here in the first place, and I just wonder are there strains on the British military, from what's going on here?


     Richmond:  There are about 9,000 British troops in the Basra area and southern sector plus about 6,000 other troops of other nationalities.  In fact there's a review going on at this very moment to check that we have got the right numbers for the tasks that we have down there.  Basra was an area that was very badly treated under the previous regime.  They were deprived of electricity and water.  It's one of the worst areas for unemployment.  That requires a lot of support, underlying support amongst the community for what we're trying to achieve there.  It’s true that their expectations are very high.  We have the job of matching those expectations.


     But I think that's actually where we remain constant, to achieve what we're setting out to do.


     Q:  (Inaudible.)


     Richmond:  These incidents, there were some demonstrations and riots about three weeks ago.  So it's not (Inaudible.) free, but it's not the same situation that you heard described in the so-called Sunni triangle.  We don't have that level of problem.


     Rumsfeld:  All right, folks.

Additional Links

Stay Connected