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Rumsfeld Describes What He'd Like to See in Iraq Government

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2002 – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today described his vision of an ideal replacement government for the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He told reporters about four things he'd like to see.

First, "we would like to see a country that is a single country and not have Iraq broken up into pieces," Rumsfeld said in a Pentagon media briefing.

Second, America would like to see a country that "forswears weapons of mass destruction." Rumsfeld said he'd like to see an Iraqi government that says, "We're not going to take the people's money and invest in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons -- which they are doing today."

He said much of the money Iraq has been receiving under the U.N. oil-for-food program pays for Hussein's development of weapons of mass destruction.

"Third, we'd like to see a regime that decided it didn't need to invade its neighbors," Rumsfeld said. He described this provision as "kind of a reasonable thing."

And fourth, he said, the Iraqi people ought to have a voice in running their own country. He said the Iraqis should have institutions that have served other countries across the globe so well -- "some reasonable rule of law, some respect for the rights of minorities, and some way for the people to have their views represented."

Rumsfeld noted that the U.S. government's official policy since 1998 has been to work toward regime change in Iraq and that such a change might be "untidy." But that shouldn't be reason enough to not promote change.

"Democracy is untidy. Freedom is untidy. Liberation is untidy," he said.

Also at the briefing, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, Joint Chiefs chairman, dismissed recent comments by Saddam Hussein as "bluster." Hussein said Aug. 8 that any troops invading Iraq would be "buried." Myers called such remarks "fairly characteristic of the Iraqi regime and the man himself."

Rumsfeld went on to explain that the United States' previous policy of containment isn't working with regards to Hussein. He said economic sanctions historically have only worked for a limited time, and that time has passed in Iraq's case.

"It is very clear that the political and economic sanctions with respect to Saddam Hussein have not worked," he said.

Operations Northern and Southern Watch have only had limited success as well, Rumsfeld said, noting Hussein still has anti-aircraft weapons in those areas.

"He's not hit us fortuitously, but by the same token we've not done a great deal of damage to his air defenses," the secretary said.

He also pointed out that after the Persian Gulf War, Hussein agreed not to build a weapons-of-mass-destruction program. "We know he does have one, and he is continuing it," Rumsfeld said.

"There's no way any reasonable person could look at that record and say that (the policy of sanctions alone has) worked," he said. "It hasn't worked, and it's not working."

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DoD News Transcript: DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers, Aug. 9, 2002

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