DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers
(Also participating was Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.)
Rumsfeld: Good afternoon.
On behalf of the Department of Defense, I want to again express my deep regret and sadness over the tragic accident that resulted in the death of four Canadians and injured eight more in Afghanistan last week. The dead -- Sergeant Marc Leger, Corporal Ainswroth Dyer, Private Richard Green and Private Nathan Smith -- and the eight wounded were part of the 3rd Battalion, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, their comrades, and to their families.
We have the deepest appreciation for the support that Canada and our other coalition partners have provided in this war on terrorism. We all know that every conflict has its share of injuries to friendly forces, and they are truly painful when they occur. As we have told the Canadian officials -- the prime minister, the defense minister, and the chief of the Defense Force -- General Franks and his staff will work closely with them to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident. Our neighbor to the north is a close ally and a true friend, in NATO, in NORAD, as well as in Operation Enduring Freedom.
This tragic accident caused me to think back over the years to when U.S. hostages were taken by the Iranian government. Many will recall that four days after the Iranian militants occupied the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4th, 1979, six Americans managed to escape the mob. They contacted the Canadian Embassy in Tehran and asked for assistance. Without hesitation, the Canadian ambassador, Kenneth Taylor, conferred with his staff, and the staff unanimously agreed to help the desperate Americans.
The Canadians housed and fed and protected the Americans, at great risk to their own lives, and they devised a plan by which the hostages escaped. They provided non-diplomatic passports and drove the Americans to the airport in Tehran, Iran, in embassy cars as if they were friends of the ambassador's. It was a typical act of Canadian bravery and friendship which I and, I'm sure, the people of the United States will not forget.
On Thursday and Friday, I visited with U.S. troops at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and at Fort Lewis in Washington state. Scott, as you know, is the headquarters for the U.S. Transportation Command. General John Handy, who served in the Pentagon here recently as the vice chief of staff of the Air Force, is the commander, and he and the men and women of Scott Air Force Base perform an indispensable role in the war on terrorism.
Afghanistan, of course, is a land-locked country, and virtually everything that was needed had to be brought in by air -- personnel, supplies, aircraft, equipment,including the Apache helicopters that tackled the al Qaeda holdouts in Shah-i-Kot not too long ago. Their work is dangerous, and they have done it through the worst of the fighting. The terrain is rugged, the runways are often difficult, and the dust, as many of you have experienced, is many inches deep. They do an amazing job in very difficult circumstances.
Fort Lewis, of course, is the home of the I Corps. It plays an important role in training U.S. Army forces. I was very pleased to have an opportunity to be there with General Hill and to be briefed on their activities and to see the changes they are making in the United States Army.
It's important, it seems to me, for all of us to be reminded of the fantastic job that these wonderfully professional men and women are doing for our country.
Myers: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And of course I add my condolences to those of the Department for the Canadians who lost their lives and for their family and their loved ones and their unit comrades.
Our coalition efforts in the global war on terrorism continue not only in Afghanistan, where we work to locate and destroy the al Qaeda and former Taliban, but continue in other regions of the world as well. A Naval Construction Task Group of about 300 armed forces members arrived over the weekend on Basilan Island in the Philippines. This group will improve roads, build helicopter-landing zones, drill fresh-water wells, and improve a causeway for off-loading supply boats. The group, which begins its work this week, helps the overall efforts of some 600 other U.S. military personnel assigned to Joint Task Force 510 in supporting the Philippine government in their role in the global war on terrorism as we train with and assist and advise the Philippine armed forces.
In addition, a decades-old exercise called Balikatan, [a] combined joint exercise involving the Philippine and U.S. armed forces, also begins this week on Luzon Island in the Northern Philippines and continues until May 6th. About 2,600 U.S. personnel are involved in this exercise, which focuses on peacekeeping, peace enforcement and humanitarian assistance. This exercise will improve combined planning, combat readiness and interoperability of U.S. and Philippine military forces.
Though we focus, understandably, I think, on Operation Enduring Freedom, it's important to recognize that our forces remain at risk in other extremely important operations as well. For example, in Operation Northern Watch, our no-fly-zone patrols were threatened by Iraqi weapon systems three times since the first of the month. In one case, on the 19th, our fighters launched two missiles at a surface-to-air missile system near Mosul. And this particular system had threatened them during their flight. And one week ago, an operation in Southern Watch, a patrol was forced to respond, as well, with a guided bomb strike on a surface-to-air missile system radar located near Talil.
With that, we'll take your questions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, I wonder if you and the general could address reports that the pilot who dropped that bomb that hit the Canadian forces ignored an order not, in fact, to launch an attack but simply to mark the area in precaution. And if you won't go into that kind of detail, could you tell us whether the rules of engagement allow pilots to launch such attacks unilaterally without permission on a case-by-case basis?
Rumsfeld: Well, the investigation that is either underway or soon to be underway, which will be concluded in some 30 to 60 days, will include findings of facts, opinions, and very likely will include recommendations with respect to the cause of the incident. And it seems to me that it's best to let the investigation run its course.
With respect to rules of engagement, without getting into details, which we don't do, we all know that on the land, sea and the air, U.S. forces have the right of self-defense.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: I'd like to ask you about the arrival of one prisoner -- one detainee at Guantanamo Bay over the weekend. The fact of one person being flown in would suggest perhaps someone of some significance or -- can you tell us who this person is and what the circumstances are?
Rumsfeld: I remember hearing about that last week, and it escapes me at the moment, but -- (to General Myers) -- do you recall?
Myers: We did add one to the population --
Rumsfeld: One person was added.
Myers: -- at Guantanamo.
Q: Who it is? Why one person brought when you hadn't sent anybody there for a couple months?
Rumsfeld: Well, we're trying to move them out of Afghanistan. General Franks has a standing request of us that as people have completed what needs to be done there and as we have room in Guantanamo, that he would vastly prefer that they be in Guantanamo than there, just simply from a force protection standpoint. And they have many fewer forces, of course, and they're less well arranged to deal with people. So we're constantly moving people out, I believe.
Q: Well, was this a senior or high-ranking --
Rumsfeld: As I say, I just don't recall.
Q: And just a couple of follow-ups with the Guantanamo situation, following up on a couple of public reports over the weekend, one suggesting that there was a lack of interrogation skill among some of the U.S. military --
Rumsfeld: I only saw one such report like that.
Q: -- conducting, I think --
Rumsfeld: Was there a copy-cat report that went along with that?
Q: I wouldn't be surprised if there were. And another report, a single report, as far as I know, about a change in the legal standard that might be employed for a trial of suspected al Qaeda -- or captured al Qaeda or Taliban. Can you just put those two things in context for us, in the proper context?
Rumsfeld: Well, I can take a stab at it. I had not heard anything up to the building with respect to the second question as to that issue. I'm sure that lawyers have been, are now and will be in the future discussing those issues with the Department of Justice, the White House and the Department of Defense, but nothing has crystallized to the point that it's come to me.
With respect to the interrogations, I don't know quite how to answer it. I don't doubt for a minute that somebody felt what was expressed in that article. I have also heard expressions to the contrary. And I doubt that anyone is completely -- correction; let me put it this way. I doubt that it is uniform, and I'm sure it's uneven, like most things in life are. We have some excellent people. The teams are from the Department of Justice, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense. They are -- have been working at this -- teams, I should say, have been working at this for many months now. People come in and go out of those teams, and I'm sure they vary in their competence and they vary in their experience, and that's quite understandable.
It is true that the United States government does not have as many Arabic speakers as we would wish, and we're doing things about that and bringing people back in and borrowing people from other government entities and using Reservists who are being called up who have that competence.
As a matter of fact, I ran into a sixth-grade teacher at Fort Lewis, Washington, whose real life, he's a sixth-grade teacher, and he is an incredibly well-qualified linguist in Arabic -- a terrific young man.
Now, overall how do we feel about it? Well, we feel it's going pretty well. And is it true that other countries interrogate differently than the United States? Yes. Is it true that a country -- a national from the same country as the detainee might be able to get some additional information out of an individual? Probably. We are also using interrogators from other countries on occasion when those countries have indicated a willingness and desire to do so.
Q: May I do a follow-up on that, please, Mr. Secretary? There are also reports that Abu Zubaydah, the so-called high-ranking al Qaeda now in custody and, as you said, talking to interrogators, gave false information; that the warnings that financial institutions in this country were at risk are now considered to be a lie. Can you comment on that?
Rumsfeld: No. I have no idea if it was true or a lie or if he gave it. I'm not going to be reporting on what Abu Zubaydah does or doesn't do from day to day.
Q: Mr. Secretary, will Canadian investigators be given access to the F-16 pilot involved in last week's bombing of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan?
Rumsfeld: My understanding is that the Canadian armed services will have observers present, to my knowledge, in every aspect of it; that is to say, it will be fully transparent to the Canadians. It's also my understanding that they're conducting a parallel but separate investigation of their own. And so I would -- I think the answer is undoubtedly yes, that whatever it is that is done will be transparent to the Canadians.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: On that same matter, can you help us to understand -- a lot of Canadians have questions about this inquiry. Can you help us to understand when it's going to happen, where it will be headquartered, who will be sitting on it?
Rumsfeld: Well, those details will be coming out of the Central Command, General Franks, and it will be done under his auspices, as I understand it. And it is due to start relatively soon, and it is currently estimated it will run from some 30 to 60 days. I suppose that depends in part on weather and transportation and availability of people to communicate with them. So I think that's very likely as much as is knowable at the present time.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Q: An Indian general was here in the building this morning. I understand he met with you. And also --
Rumsfeld: Yes, he didn't.
Q: -- according to the reports --
Rumsfeld: (To General Myers) Did he meet with you?
Myers: Yes, he did.
Rumsfeld: Yeah, I was delayed someplace, and I'm afraid at least thus far today I have missed seeing him. I had hoped to, and he had been on my schedule.
(To General Myers) You could respond.
Q: Any comment, for General Myers, on his visit?
And second question for you, sir, that according to the reports, the U.S. and India will be holding some military exercises. And can you describe for us today the military-to-military relationship between U.S. and India, and about this exercise that's going to be taking place -- first time ever Indian troops will be on the U.S. soil.
Myers: I'll talk about General Padmnabhan's visit. He is here precisely to discuss our military-to-military relationship and see U.S. training facilities and discuss things that are of mutual interest to both India and the United States. In fact, I just came from lunch with him, and had an office call earlier in the day with him as well. He's actually being hosted by the chief of staff of the United States Army because he is also chief [of staff] of the Indian army as well. So that's his real host during this visit. He will be traveling to other bases and camps and posts here in the United States to learn and observe and exchange ideas.
As far as the exercise, I'll have to get you that information. I know that we have an extensive program with the Indians in terms of training, where we bring Indian officers and others here to the United States to attend our educational institutions.
Q: But did he talk to you about any U.S. military sales to India or --
Myers: No, that did not come up in our discussions.
Q: Mr. Secretary, do you see any increasing evidence that Saddam Hussein is getting more aggressive to the U.S., having the four incidents threatening U.S. and coalition aircraft this month, and his recent statements encouraging Arab countries to use oil as a weapon?
Rumsfeld: Well, his general behavior is of a kind with those things. I don't notice that there's been a notable difference. We -- he tends to move things around and do things that are inconsistent with the U.N. resolutions, and his rhetoric has historically been provocative and favoring terrorists.
Myers: We have -- it was just reported to me today that some of these movements of surface-to-air missile systems into regions where we enforce the no-fly zone, under the U.N. resolutions, are greater than they've been in a couple of years. So -- and that -- but that's episodic as well. But in fact that's happened.
Q: Could I follow up on that, please? To General Myers, in regard to these incidents that you mention, is Iraq becoming more aggressive in its threat to coalition aircraft, or are coalition aircraft simply becoming more aggressive in enforcing the no-fly zones?
Myers: I think a fair way to put it is that we've had the mission of enforcing a no-fly zone for some time. We have not -- without getting into a lot of detail, we basically haven't changed our method of operation. And as we just talked about, the -- it tends to be episodic in terms of threats to our aircraft, but it's been consistent. It's been consistent over time. And I thought -- today I thought I'd just emphasize it, because we tend to forget that we have Americans being shot at on a fairly regular basis in other parts of the world besides Afghanistan, in a country that we're -- we're worried about their intentions.
Q: And can you somehow quantify the movements of these missile batteries and what increased risk that poses to coalition aircraft?
Myers: Well, if they're moved inside the no-fly zones, obviously that increased risk to the pilots that are patrolling in those zones, and that's what's been happening. Beyond that, I don't want to get into the specifics of exactly where.
Q: But it's both zones? North and south?
Myers: Yes, it is. Mm-hmm.
Q: Are you aware of any plans for anyone, representatives of the U.S. military or government, to attend the funerals of any of the four soldiers, Canadians, who were killed, or of any other plans to honor their memory in some way?
Rumsfeld: I have not been given information as to their plans.
Myers: I haven't either.
Rumsfeld: It is -- I'd -- I know that the wounded, for the most part, who were all taken to Germany, I believe, eventually, and they're -- the last I heard, they were still there, receiving medical attention.
Q: The airlift to Afghanistan appears in some cases to have pushed U.S. capacity. It got old tankers refueling those planes, and in some -- sometimes one out of three is still in the shop.
Is the U.S. prepared to carry out that kind of an airlift on a second front, as necessary?
Rumsfeld: Well, I'll let the expert answer it, but I can assure you that anything the United States gets into, we'll be able to do.
Myers: And I -- let me --
Myers: -- add something -- charge into it.
Myers: The only thing I would add on the tankers is that it is true, as you mentioned, that a fairly large percentage are in depot for maintenance because of -- generally for corrosion. And we went into that, I think, in a previous session. We talked about -- the design is fairly old, and corrosion is one of the byproducts of that older design.
On the other hand, most of our tankers have new engines and new avionics. They are continuing to upgrade the cockpit. They have an airframe life that goes well into the future. And so it's -- I don't think it's fair to characterize those that are flying as these old, decrepit -- have in your mind an old, decrepit tanker. These are very good machines that are out there on the front lines, and I agree with the secretary: Whatever the president asked the secretary to do, we'll be able to do.
Q: General --
Q: Mr. Secretary, clarification on the friendly-fire incident: You said that the Canadians would have observers at everything. I think General Myers said Thursday or Friday that a Canadian officer would be on the investigation board. Could y'all clarify that?
Rumsfeld: I've got a release here, and my understanding was that the Canadians have, at their instance, decided to conduct a parallel investigation and that General Franks had offered and they have accepted the idea of having an observer in every element of the U.S. investigation.
(To General Myers) Is that your understanding?
Myers: That -- my understanding was that they would participate in that investigation, just like you said it. I think we can clarify that whether they're actually --
Rumsfeld: CentCom can give you --
Myers: Yeah, because they've delegated that to the Air Force to do the investigation, and my understanding was that the Canadian -- there would be a Canadian member of the board, which is -- which would not be an unusual situation. It was very similar to the one we had in the Udari Range mishap, where we had other countries involved in that investigation, as well.
Q: Mr. Secretary --
Q: Mr. Secretary, we continue to hear voices, largely from the NGO community but also, to some extent, from the Karzai government, as well, advocating an expansion of the International Security Assistance Force, and there are reports that you've been cited as being reluctant to endorse on behalf of the U.S. government expansion of that force.
Can you address that issue again, please?
Rumsfeld: I'll try. First of all, it is not a decision for the Secretary of Defense, it's a Presidential decision. And second, I have no objection to the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force. That has -- I never have. That issue is one that is being discussed for the most part by people who don't have forces. And the country that has been leading the International Security Assistance Force, the United Kingdom, has asked to stop leading it. And the country that has been persuaded to undertake the leadership role, Turkey, has indicated that they prefer not to do so if it were to be expanded outside of Kabul.
Now, that is -- those are facts so far. Those are four facts that go to make up this picture. If someone came up and said, "We'd like to expand it, and here are the forces and here's the money to pay those forces, and we think that they belong in cities A, B, C in Afghanistan," and the government of Afghanistan decided they wanted to do that, it would happen in a flash.
Q: Well, why doesn't the United States step up, especially in view of what President Bush said last week about the equivalent of a Marshall Plan to rebuild Afghanistan? All we hear from the government over there is that the key to that rebuilding is more security and an expanded security force, and people wondering why the United States, having made such an investment in Afghanistan, and President Bush making the pledges that he did last week, doesn't step up to the plate.
Rumsfeld: Well, I guess I don't know quite what "stepping up to the plate" means with respect to Afghanistan, but the United States went into Afghanistan, and --
Q: I'm asking --
Rumsfeld: -- and -- and -- and I would characterize what we have done and are doing as stepping up to the plate plus. We have spent billions and billions of dollars. We have put American lives at risk. We have fashioned a coalition to help in that process. We have liberated the Afghan people from a repressive Taliban regime. And we have moved the al Qaeda out of their terrorist training camps and they are no longer using that. In addition, we have a memorandum of understanding with the International Security Assistance Force leaders, the Brits, whereby we have provided logistics, we are providing intelligence, we are providing quick-reaction force protection for the International Security Assistance Force.
And we will be negotiating a similar memorandum of understanding with the Turkish government at the point where they begin to transition into that leadership.
We help the U.K. encourage countries to participate in the International Security Assistance Force. We are in the process of helping countries to participate with the Turkish government in the successor International Security Assistance Force.
We are, in addition, training -- starting to train, next month, the Afghan national army. We have co-hosted a donors conference -- it wasn't really a donors conference, it was an organizing conference to try to raise money for an Afghan national army.
The United States -- we are heavily engaged in humanitarian assistance in that country. And it seems to me that any characterization that the United States has not stepped up to the plate with respect to Afghanistan is a misunderstanding of what has happened and what is currently happening. We are not the only country on the face of the earth. There are other nations that have resources, that have troops. And as you know, we are -- in addition to everything I have said, also have people located around the country that are providing security in the sense that they are chasing down al Qaeda and Taliban people who are anxious to take back that country and use it for their own purposes once again.
So I think that it would -- that the way the question was phrased suggests something that is simply not the case.
How ought security to evolve in that country depends on really two things; one is what the interim government decides they think ought to happen, what the warlord forces in the country decide they think ought to happen, and the interaction between those two, how that evolves over time; and third, what takes place with respect to the successor government. It is not a simple matter, it is an important matter. Anyone knows that without security, very little else is possible; humanitarian workers can't move around, internally displaced people won't go back to their homes, refugees won't return to the country, the Afghan diaspora won't be willing to send money in and send in themselves to try to help put structure back into that terribly war-torn nation.
We are doing a lot, and the implication that the United States isn't doing a lot, it seems to me, is a misunderstanding.
Q: But just to make sure we're on the same page, Mr. Secretary, you have said to us from the podium that if it were your choice and not the President's, you would opt in favor of putting your money and your assets -- meaning the United States' -- in favor of building up the Afghan national army, rather than bolster the International Assistance Force.
Rumsfeld: I don't doubt that I've said that. And let me -- instead of letting that just stand there, let me try to add some granularity to that comment.
What I wish I'd said and will say today is that my wish is for security in that country. That can be achieved in a variety of ways. Probably ultimately, the best way that it will be achieved is by the decisions of the interim government, the successor government, and the various armies that exist in different locations around that country. At some point, there has to be a political process that knits them together and is sufficiently balanced that they all nod and agree and say, "Yes, security's important, and yes, we would like to do it this way."
If, by chance -- which I doubt, but if, by chance, you dropped a plumb line through that process, which we can't predict at this stage, and it came out for an expansion of the International Security Assistance Force, I would nod and say, "Right on." Whatever works in Afghanistan, I am for.
I happen to think that given the facts I cited, the fact that the U.K. wants to step aside, the Turkish government does not want to expand it, and there's no one offering any forces -- indeed, some of the people that are in the current ISAF are suggesting they'd like to depart with the Brits -- it seemed to me -- and because of the expressed preference on the part of the Karzai government to have a national army, it seemed to me that if you had to -- if it was going to be tough to do either one, and the one would have a stability and be there longer -- that is to say, a national army -- than the other, which would be maybe another six-month cycle, that I said: Gee, if I had my choice as to which one I'd want to put my money on, and my time and effort, I would tend towards the national army.
On the other hand, if the other -- those three elements came out to the contrary, that would be fine with me. I want to do what people there want to do. The last thing you're going to hear from this podium is someone thinking they know how Afghanistan ought to organize itself. They're going to have to figure it out. They're going to have to grab ahold of that thing and do something. And we're there to help. We're trying to raise money for them. We're giving money for them. We've stepped up to the plate, to use Jamie's phrase -- to use the reverse, the obverse of Jamie's phrase. (laughter)
Q: But Mr. Secretary --
Rumsfeld: Wait, wait, wait. Pam's in the back, got her hand up, been waiting patiently.
Q: Does Abu Zubaydah remain in his same secret location that he's been kept for the last month or so? And General Myers, could you characterize the time period in which you've seen the changes in the surface-to-air missiles on the ground in Iraq? Is it days, last couple of days, last couple of weeks, months?
Rumsfeld: He's not been moved.
Q: (off mike)
Myers: Last several days.
Q: Could I follow up on the Iraq, please?
Rumsfeld: Let me maybe get the gentleman here.
Q: I want to actually go back to the peacekeeping, with two questions, one for General Myers. That if --
Rumsfeld: Didn't I answer that well enough? I don't know what I can do on that question!
Q: Well, let me ask General Myers.
Rumsfeld: I try and I try! I'm going to have to diagram it someday. I'll come down with a chalkboard.
Q: That if all of your conditions are met, if, if, if, and if the decision someday comes that the U.S. would have to take part in some peacekeeping force, what sort of strain does that put on U.S. forces? And also, could you clarify the strain U.S. forces are under now, if you have an adequate force?
Rumsfeld: We're already taking part in the peacekeeping force by providing logistics, intelligence, quick-reaction force support. I mean, that is big! That is not nothing, what we're doing.
Q: General Myers?
Myers: We'll probably even do a -- as we work with the Turkish government -- in terms of communications, [garbled] part of that logistics piece.
And you're talking about the strain on the force, specifically? Well, you know, this is getting into hypotheticals, which are very difficult to talk about. I can talk about [issues] in general. Obviously, parts of the force have been working very, very hard since -- well, for a long time, but certainly since September 11th. And as the secretary, I think, said, and we said the other day, we're trying to flow the force now in a way that takes into consideration operation tempo, personal tempo, personnel tempo, tempo for our equipment in a way that enables us to do this for the years it's going to take us to do that. And we talked about some of the things we've done. We have, in fact, reduced presence in the North Arabian Sea by one carrier battle group on the 19th of April. So --
Q: But do you foresee a need for increase in forces? Could you expand on --
Myers: That's a different question. And I'll -- maybe I'll defer to the -- or I can give you the answer I gave the other night. The answer I gave the other night is that there are -- the services, I think, have looked at their requirements and have -- they've been talking with Dr. Chu, who works for Secretary Rumsfeld in the manpower and personnel area, and they are talking about some of their requirements. That's being discussed right now and that will work its way out in the '04 budget deliberations, which are ongoing, and, of course, will result in a budget to Congress next January or February.
Let me just remind you that however that comes out -- and oh, by the way, at the same time we need to look at things that we don't need to be doing with folks in uniform, and that's a big piece of this. So in this process there will probably be trade-offs; things that we're doing today that we don't need to be doing, maybe finding the manpower to fill some of those needs, if they're validated. But in the end, even if it's in the '04 budget, this is something that will take a couple of years to bring on board, for the most part. So they're not talking about near-term relief. So in that way, I think it helps calibrate what we're talking about here in terms of strain on the force.
Q: Mr. Secretary?
Rumsfeld: We'll take two questions -- we'll take two questions; one right there and one right here.
Q: Back to the security in Afghanistan, how big a threat is the fact that so much of the money that has been pledged, so little of it has been delivered?
Rumsfeld: Well, of all the money pledged thus far, none of it is for security.
Rumsfeld: And you're quite right, very little of it has been delivered. I don't know that that -- I would characterize that as a threat, I think it's a fact. And --
Q: In terms, though, of what you were speaking of, of a successor government succeeding, of, you know, the country moving along.
Rumsfeld: There's no question but that that country has got to do a lot of things. They've got to get some money so that they can operate, talk to each other, communicate, and have some semblance of a government. They do need to get a grip on some income so that they begin to have a flow -- as well as an outflow, some inflow of money. I don't know what that comes from in that country, whether it's taxes or duties or tariffs, and the like, but they need to do that.
It is a difficult thing -- this period is an awkward period. Let me put it that way. If you think about it, an interim government has an end date, and people are now thinking about what follows that, and that process is in its early stages. And so I think that a lot of the debate and discussion that will take place, the process, the political process of these councils, will be on subjects like that -- how the government ought to be organized, how it ought to be arranged, where its revenues ought to come from, how ought it to provide security.
Should they all gather together and urge a significant ISAF, or should they focus on a national army? If they focus on a national army, what kind of a national army? Should it be a single multiethnic entity from the very top all the way down to the very bottom, balanced percentage-wise by some -- every ethnic group in the country, or ought it to be a national army that is fully multiethnic at the top and in the middle and at the leadership elements but have units that may live in a certain part of the country and provide security in those countries which are largely from that part of the country? What happens to the forces that currently exist under the military leadership of the Dostums and Ismail Khans and Shirzais and the various people around the country now? Do those people bring those forces into this, or do they keep some or all of those forces? And if so, what does that do? So I mean, there's just a lot of questions -- very complex questions. And the idea that, "Gee, why don't you just do this?" it seems to me misunderstands that it's a country. It's a country that's trying to shape itself for the future and a better future than it's had as a past or recent past.
Q: Are you concerned that the money won't be delivered in time, though, for those decisions to be debated and made?
Rumsfeld: Those are all -- first of all, if you're talking about the money that's been pledged, that is non-security money, and I -- that is totally State Department stuff, and they are the ones that are worrying about that, and I do not know what the commitments were. Some of the commitments were for dollars -- equivalents at a fixed time -- phased frequently, as you suggested. And some were not dollars at all or equivalents. They were in-kind contributions, phased.
And so of the total number, the amount that actually is dollars in every given year or dollar equivalents is relatively -- is nowhere near the whole. And how and when the in-kind contributions will be made, I don't know. But I do know that the money we're now -- the United Sates is working with several other countries to try to raise so that there can be an Afghan army. And also, we're trying to get some other countries to help fund the Turkish role in the International Security Assistance Force, which would, needless to say, given the economic difficulties in Turkey recently -- someone's going to have to help do that, and we're helping to do that.
So there are lots of things being done, and I recognize that from time to time people write stories and say, "Well, why isn't everything being done at once yesterday?"
And the answer to that is, life isn't like that. What -- there is a lot being done, and a lot of wonderful countries are stepping up and helping, including the United States of America.
And this is the last question, and then I'm going to take my leave.
Q: Well, I had a follow-up for General Myers and then I had a real question.
Rumsfeld: Make it just him.
Rumsfeld: And I'm going to -- here's a press release, young lady, if you would like it, on the Canadian situation. I'll leave it here.
Q: General Myers, two things for you to -- to follow up on Iraq, can you give us any kind of scope? Is this missile movement onesies and twosies, or -- you say this is the largest in a few years, so can you put any kind of scope on that?
And the real question I had was, on a completely different subject, why the Pentagon overruled the Air Force chain of command and decided to go ahead and hold the Andrews air show this year after the Air Force publicly said that they recommended cancelling it. Due to security and cost concerns, they thought it was a difficult event to hold and it wasn't the best use of money. But -- Iraq and the air show.
Myers: On the Iraq piece, we have seen -- I mean, this is one of the things we've seen over time -- that in the no-fly zones, that there will be surface-to-air missiles moved in, moved around, moved out. And it's just a little more activity in the last couple of days than we've seen in the last couple of years, but it's -- I mean, it's not a -- we don't think it means anything more than what we've been seeing. And the only reason I mentioned it today was just to highlight this issue of having Americans being shot at as they're patrolling the no-fly zone in accordance with the U.N. resolutions.
Q: Were they with these new missiles, those incidents? Did they -- were the new missiles --
Myers: In -- I think that's the case, yes, and that's why we highlighted them.
Q: Are these SAM traps, General? SAM traps being set up?
Myers: Well, that could be one of the -- certainly. I mean, any time they move a surface-to-air missile system into those areas, they threaten your force, so you have to be aware. We follow that very closely.
Q: Have they reconstituted those sophisticated, fiber-optic, coordinated weapons radar systems that the U.S. tried to take out 14 months ago? And is there evidence that the Chinese are still providing either technical assistance or technicians?
Myers: I'll just answer that by saying --
Rumsfeld: I thought that was the last question over there. (Laughter.)
Q: We don't -- (inaudible).
Rumsfeld: You've lost control of this place. (laughter)
Myers: I --
Rumsfeld: What's the matter with you? (laughs)
Myers: We've got to get our act together better. This is -- (laughter) --
Q: But have they been able to reconstitute --
Myers: They have a very good fiber-optic system. I'll just leave it at that. They have a very good fiber-optic -- and your last question --
Rumsfeld: We made a big mistake last week; we stayed down here for over an hour trying to make sure all the questions were answered.
We have now worked through about 45 minutes, and I think we're trying to work our way smartly back to about 30 minutes.
Q: But there was a question on the floor, sir.
Q: We like having you, Mr. Secretary.
STAFF: What was it?
Q: Andrews Air Force Base.
Q: Andrews Air Force Base.
Q: The air show.
Q: Why did the secretary of Defense overrule the Air Force --
Press: Ooooh! (laughter)
Rumsfeld: (laughs) I didn't even know about it, did you?
Myers: I wasn't aware --
Rumsfeld: I wasn't even aware of it.
Myers: I mean, I wasn't aware there was an overruling. I understand -- I know there was a discussion on the topic, but I didn't -- I don't -- I think "overruling" is an interesting choice of words. I don't --
Rumsfeld: Might have been someone senior to us. (laughter)
(NOTE: Journalists continue with questions as the secretary and the chairman leave the podium.)
Q: Are the Chinese still helping Iraq, sir?
Rumsfeld: I don't know that they stopped.
Q: General Myers, did you talk with the Indian general also on the tension on the border, sir?
Myers: We discussed a wide variety of issues.
Q: Thank you, sir.
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