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Rumsfeld Talks Iraq, Iran, Homeland Security During Radio Day

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2002 – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld touched on some heavy subjects during a short, lighthearted, live radio interview during today's "Radio Day" at the White House.

The Bush administration invited several talk radio commentators to set up for the day on the White House grounds and made high-level administration officials available for interviews throughout the day.

During Rumsfeld's turn on the Mike Gallagher Show, he touched on such broad-ranging topics as his own Naval Reserve service in Illinois to what he sees as the future of Iran.

On Iraq, he reiterated his previous comment that America will not go it alone should the president decide military action is necessary.

"There are any number of countries that have already volunteered assistance if and when such a decision is necessary and the U.N. process has run its course," Rumsfeld told Gallagher, host of a syndicated talk show.

Rumsfeld said his own regular media briefings are designed to put issues in perspective for the American people. "There is a need for putting things in some historical context as well as the 21st century context of the kind of world we live in," he said.

Americans are now coming to terms with "this new century and this new security environment," he said. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the recent sniper shootings in the Washington area have shaken Americans' sense of security, long assured because of relative geographic isolation.

"(Americans) want to be able to get up and go where we want, say what we want, think what we want and have our children go off to school knowing they'll come home," Rumsfeld said. "That's been our wonderful lives for so long, with those two big oceans and friends on the north and south.

"We're now in a world where the speed of communications and transportation, a lot of the technologies that our country and the West have developed are now in the hands of people who don't wish us well," he said. "That makes it a much more difficult world for us."

Regarding Iran, Rumsfeld said he believes that country will change dramatically in his lifetime.

"I think Iran is an interesting place in the sense that there's a very small clique of clerics that are controlling that country, and the women and the young people don't agree with how it's being run," Rumsfeld said, in response to a call-in question.

He added that he believes "the young people and the women and the people who believe in freedom will overthrow that cleric government, and it will fall in some way of its own weight."

Another caller, Adam, an Illinois National Guard soldier, said he speaks for the rest of the military in telling Rumsfeld it's an honor to serve under him.

This is a period in which "it's easy for people to get scared, especially if you're a reservist," Adam said. "We have families, jobs and things like that, but you do represent everything that we believe."

Rumsfeld thanked Adam for his call and his service to the country, then recounted his own days as a Naval reservist out of Glenview Naval Air Station in Illinois.

Gallagher said callers to his show often relate, "It looks like Rummy's having a lot of fun" in the televised Pentagon press briefings.

"I don't know that fun's the word, but I love our country and I love the men and women in uniform, and I like life. I like people," Rumsfeld replied. "I feel like I'm contributing, and I'm fortunate to be able to contribute."

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