U.S. Will Continue to 'Root Out' Remnants of Former Regime
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 24, 2003 The regime of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein is out of power forever in Iraq, but the United States remains engaged in the war against global terrorism, the U.S. military's top civilian said here today.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, accompanied by L. Paul Bremer III, the senior American administrator in Iraq, asserted to Pentagon reporters that U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq will continue "to root out, capture and kill the remnants of the former regime until they no longer pose a threat to the Iraqi people."
Rumsfeld pointed out that although terrorist regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq have been removed, "we still have terrorist enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq and across the globe, who are seeking to harm our people."
It's better to take the offensive to fight terrorists around the world, rather than "to wait to deal with them here in the United States," Rumsfeld explained to reporters.
Unfortunately, the secretary pointed out, "there's no easy, safe, comfortable middle ground" in fighting terrorism.
"We're living in a dangerous security environment," Rumsfeld asserted. America's enemies are seeking to obtain weapons of mass destruction "that can allow them to kill not 3,000, as were killed on Sept. 11, but 30,000, or more.
"And, our job is to try to prevent that," he continued.
As the war against global terrorism continues, "there will be successes," the secretary noted, like the July 22 raid that killed Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay.
There will also be setbacks, Rumsfeld pointed out, noting, "Regrettably, brave Americans and coalition forces are being killed in this war."
The anti-terror war is unconventional in nature, the secretary explained, noting that large armies, navies and air forces aren't being pitted against each other, as was the case during World War II.
However, the war against terrorism "is war - nonetheless," he emphasized.
It's unclear how long the anti-terror war will last, "but it will be hard," Rumsfeld maintained. The United States needs to resolutely face the facts of the conflict, accept them, "and win" the war.
As U.S. and coalition forces continue the search for Saddam loyalists remaining in Iraq, Rumsfeld pointed out, "there will be continued attacks, some by the remnants, more by our forces going after those who are still attempting to re- impose their dictatorship."
And, as the Iraqi people assume more responsibility for their country's destiny, "the terrorists' hopes of returning to power grow dimmer," Rumsfeld stated, noting that an Iraqi national army is being formed, as well as a new national police force and civil defense corps.
Also, he noted, U.S. and coalition forces have caught or killed 38 of the 55 former Hussein regime officials on the coalitions' most wanted list. Thousands of Baath Party operatives, he added, "have been rounded up or otherwise dealt with."
Iraq will get a new currency in October, Rumsfeld pointed out, and the country is once again selling its oil on the world market. Most of Iraq's universities, schools, and hospitals are again open.
Power and water availability across Iraq has been mostly restored to pre-war levels, Rumsfeld said. "And, we're making progress in Baghdad."
The human and financial costs to the United States in fighting terrorism around the globe are dear, but necessary, Rumsfeld pointed out.
"The price of dealing with the problem of terrorism now cannot compare to the cost of waiting until it reaches our shores again," he said.