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Myers Describes Nightmare Scenario, How to Avoid It

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2005 – Terrorists getting their hands on weapons of mass effect is what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff calls the "nightmare scenario," he told the Navy League's "SeaAirSpace" meeting here March 23.

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said terrorists "will do absolutely anything to create fear. The fact that they attack innocent men, women and children doesn't cause them a second thought. If they could do more harm, they would."

In Iraq, the improvised explosive device is the terrorists' weapon of choice. But if they could get bigger devices or get their hands on chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological devices, they would use them, he said.

The president's counterproliferation proposal is going a long way to stop those weapons or capabilities from falling into terrorist hands, the general said.

Myers told the sea services' meeting that the threats today are global, and that international cooperation is necessary to fight the war on terrorism. "This is a real war," he said. "Our very way of life is at stake. It's because all the terrorists have to do is create enough fear that we start behaving illogically."

Myers said the war is going to be a long and hard struggle. "I've said many times that the military can't do it alone," he noted.

The chairman said the United States can't do it alone, either. "We have our role to play, but in the end, it's going to take great international cooperation and cooperation with all elements of our national power, not just those in uniform," he said.

And it is an international struggle, Myers pointed out. He said 47 countries are helping in Iraq and Afghanistan. NATO is expanding its area in Afghanistan and could possibly take over responsibility for helping that country. "It's becoming clearer and clearer to the international community that the only way we can address this (terrorism) threat is together, with our arms linked," the chairman said.

Furthering international security cooperation, Myers said, is a key military strategy. Military exercises are key to helping maintain close cooperation, and 2005 will see 65 international exercises, he added.

This security cooperation pays off in unexpected ways, Myers said. On his recent trip to Jordan, he said, he saw the Jordanians training Iraqi counterterrorism units and Iraqi police. "(The Jordanians) were able to do that because over many, many years it was U.S. Special Forces in there training Jordanians," Myers said.

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Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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