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Force Necessary Adjunct to Diplomacy, Deputy Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2002 – No one should believe Saddam Hussein will give up his weapons of mass destruction without the threat of force, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said today.

Wolfowitz told the Fletcher Conference here that Hussein will only give up the weapons "if he believes that it is the necessary price for his survival and the survival of his regime."

The deputy said Americans agree that a world without a Saddam Hussein-ruled Iraq would be safer, and the Iraqi people would be far better off free of his Ba'athist regime.

"Where we differ is over the issue of what means are necessary and appropriate to effect that kind of change," he said. "The central issue comes down to how we weigh the risks and costs of using force should we have to."

The deputy secretary stressed that President Bush has made no decision on using force against Iraq. He said the president would like to resolve the situation with Iraq peacefully.

"The debate in this country is not between those who desire peace and those who desire war," Wolfowitz said. "The issue is how we can best achieve a peaceful outcome that resolves the danger we face."

The only way to have a peaceful disarming of Iraq is with a credible threat of the use of force, the deputy said. This seeming paradox recognizes Saddam's desire for weapons of mass destruction, and only by having world diplomacy backed by force is there any chance of Saddam disarming.

Wolfowitz said the president and his advisers have been carefully assessing the risks posed by various actions. "While everything possible is being done to reduce risks, no one is discounting that the risks are not real," he said. "The fundamental question is how to weigh the risks of action vs. the risks of inaction, to weigh the risks of acting now against the issue of acting much later."

He said the administration would not act unilaterally against Iraq if force is needed. To the contrary, he said, the United States is already assembling a coalition.

"Some countries have indicated that they will be with us with or without a U.N. resolution," Wolfowitz said. "Many other nations will join us once there is one."

He said other countries, especially those in the area directly threatened by Iraq, would join once they see the world will act against Saddam Hussein. "That is why American resolve and determination to act -- not to be hamstrung by the waverings of the weak or those who still hope to seek favors from the Baghdad regime -- is important to embolden others to join us," Wolfowitz said.

He said Iraq not only seeks weapons of mass destruction, it shelters terrorists, glorifies terrorism and could hand weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups to use against the United States, its allies and friends.

"Saddam Hussein supports and conspires with our terrorist enemies," Wolfowitz said. "He lends them both moral and material support. Disarming Saddam Hussein and the war on terror are not merely related, they are one and the same. And if we can defeat a terrorist regime in Iraq, it will be a defeat for terrorists globally."

He said it will be better for the people of Iraq, the Middle East and the world if the regime changed in Iraq. "For the sake of the suffering Iraqi people, it would be far better for that to happen sooner rather than later," he said.

Wolfowitz said he is surprised by people who say that toppling the despotic Iraqi regime would be harmful to the Arab cause. Those people maintain that stability is more important than deposing Saddam.

"To the contrary, I believe there is actually an opportunity here to help liberate one of the most talented populations in the Arab world with positive effects through the Middle East and the 2 billion people in the Muslim world," he said.

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