Press Availability with Secretary Rumsfeld at Honor Cordon Welcoming Canadian Minister of National Defense Gordon O'Connor at the Pentagon
Q (Off mike.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: We sure did.
We talked about our cooperation in Afghanistan. We discussed the challenges there and the opportunities.
We talked about the NATO summit and some of the issues that will be coming up there.
We discussed the bilateral relationship in terms of our sharing of information. We've been working on ways that we can share a larger amount of classified information and accomplish that.
We talked a bit about NORAD and the relationship between the Canada Command and the Northern Command.
Q Anything on Lebanon, sir?
SEC. RUMSFELD: We did not talk about Lebanon.
Q (Off mike.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: No, we want countries to do what they want to do, and Canada has been a significant contributor and has taken a leadership role there, and is making a very valuable contribution. They've got a very professional military and doing a fine job.
Good to see you all.
Q Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, there's been all this speculation on the number of troops that are going into Baghdad, specifically U.S. Can you give us just a little more clarification on who's going and how many?
SEC. RUMSFELD: You were out here with Jamie (sp) when I said, "Could I? Yes. Will I? No." (Laughs.) I apologize, but I was hoping to be able to. But they are still worrying through some of the issues and how they're going to do it and paperwork's moving around, and I've just simply not been able to see the final pieces. So I think it's safe to say that you'll find that we're going to -- both the Iraqis and the United States and the coalition will be increasing their capabilities in the Baghdad area.
Q But what about just a rough idea of some numbers, specifically U.S.?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'd rather not because the numbers are sorted out in a recommendation that comes from General Casey after coordinating it with the Iraqi government, and I've not received that yet. I thought I would have by now, but I haven't.
Q So you haven't physically gotten the recommendations on your desk.
SEC. RUMSFELD: No, no. Mm-hmm. Good.
Q Do you anticipate them today?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Possible.
Q (Off mike.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, you know, there's nobody who wants to be in Iraq, and there's -- that's just natural. We -- people like to be with their families and they like to be with their home bases. But we have in our force all volunteers, all people who put up their hands and said I want to serve the country. And that's a very different thing from a conscript force, a drafted force, and folks are so proud of what they're doing and so convinced what they're doing is right that morale has been uniformly very good, and I see it even among the families of the wounded when I'm out at Bethesda and Walter Reed.
Now, is -- if you extend somebody, is there some disappointment that they won't be home when they thought they might be home? Sure. And -- but, as I say, these are -- this is a professional military and they're doing a superb job. And I think that, were that to happen -- it has happened. I remember a couple of years ago there was a unit that was due to come out and it was held over for a matter of a few months more, and they handled it in a professional way and got on with life.
Good to see you all. It's hot out here. Yes, some of you are perspiring, a couple are even sweating. (Laughs.)
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