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Wolfowitz Says U.S. Buildup Will Continue

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2003 – U.N. inspections weren't imposed on Saddam Hussein so he could "dribble out little pieces of the weapons program that he claims he doesn't have in the first place. The purpose was for him to disarm and he's clearly not," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Feb. 26.

Wolfowitz told Fox Network's Brit Hume that the U.S. military buildup in the Middle East will continue. "It's the only reason that anything is happening on the inspection regime at all," he said.

He would not hazard a guess as to what the U.N. Security Council will do. He also would not theorize on U.N. inspections chief Hans Blix's demand that Iraq destroy its al Samoud 2 missiles. Blix has determined the missiles violate agreements Iraq signed in the early 1990s.

"With or without movement on the al Samoud, Saddam Hussein is in blatant violation of Resolution 1441 and 16 previous resolutions," Wolfowitz said. "And it is a test for the United Nations whether it's going to stand up and be prepared to say that it meant what it said back in November when we passed that resolution."

The United States has spent the time well since the U.N. Security Council resolution passed Nov. 8, he said. President Bush has put together a large coalition against Hussein. Reports that the United States is acting unilaterally are wrong.

"Many members of our coalition are coming to us quietly and saying don't leave us hanging out there for too long," he said. "They say, 'Don't wait for France, we need your help.'"

Wolfowitz said the United States hopes Turkey will allow U.S. military personnel access to its border with Iraq. In the event of war, U.S. troops could attack from the north. Without Turkish help, the coalition could still do the job, the deputy secretary said, but it might take longer.

The deputy secretary also spoke about charges that a war in Iraq would be a war for oil. "This is not a war about oil," he said. "If we have to use force, it's going to be to liberate Iraq, not to occupy Iraq. The oil resources belong to the Iraqi people. It is Saddam Hussein who's taken it from them."

The deputy said the United States is prepared to help the Iraqi people install new leaders and forms of government. "But our goal would be to transition as rapidly as we can to Iraqi responsibility for Iraq's own future," he said.

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