Wolfowitz: WMD Threat Is Real; Anti-Terror War Isn't Over
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2002 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz today noted that weapons of mass destruction possessed by the "axis of evil" -- Iraq, Iran and North Korea -- pose a real threat to the world.
Wolfowitz spoke on Washington's "Fox News Sunday" television program. He addressed recent news reports that some European leaders have accused the United States of unnecessarily trying to expand the war against terrorism to include those nations President Bush designated in his State of the Union speech as an "axis of evil."
"I think what leads to a very, very dangerous place is the mixture of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists, who, as they demonstrated on Sept. 11, don't even care about their own lives, much less the lives of other people," Wolfowitz said.
"We now, after Sept. 11, have a graphic, clear understanding what commercial airliners can do," he added. "We can't wait until we have a graphic, clear understanding of what biological weapons or nuclear weapons can do before we do something about breaking that connection."
Wolfowitz noted several ways to confront the WMD threat posed by Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, to include economic, diplomatic, and military means.
"There are a lot of things we can do, but what we can't do is continue living with that problem," he emphasized.
Bush is now in Tokyo on the first leg of a weeklong Asia trip that also includes stops in South Korea and China. He plans to address U.S. troops assigned on the Demilitarized Zone, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War armistice of 1953. U.S. defense officials suspect North Korea of harboring weapons of mass destruction that could fall into the hands of terrorists and of selling ballistic missiles abroad.
In regard to Iraq's alleged recent change of heart to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country, Wolfowitz simply said: "Show me."
The deputy defense secretary noted that in 1991 after the Gulf War, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was instructed to jettison all his weapons of mass destruction.
"He was given six months to prove to the world that he had gotten rid of them," Wolfowitz said. "Over the last 10-plus years, all he has done is proven to the world that he continues to hold on to them, he continues to develop them.
"That has got to stop," he emphasized.
Turning to Afghanistan, the secretary noted that U.S. and coalition forces continue to comb Afghan villages and caves in search of intelligence on the Al Qaeda terror network.
"It is hard work, and we're still at it," he said. But Afghanistan is a big country, Wolfowitz said, and the anti- terrorist campaign there is being conducted without a huge American occupation force.
Having a large U.S. force in Afghanistan "would cause us bigger problems in the long run," he noted.
Asked about the alleged discovery of another Osama bin Laden videotape in Afghanistan, Wolfowitz said he "honestly didn't know" if the report was true.
Regarding detainees, he noted that, where they are dangerous people, "We don't want them just turned loose on the streets. Either we detain them ourselves or we turn them over to a court, ... or we turn them over to another country."
Wolfowitz said the war against global terrorism is not over. "It's a long struggle," he said. "I think people better get used to the fact that it's going to go on for a long time.
"We've had some wonderful, early victories in Afghanistan. I think that has almost made some people's expectations too high, and (they) think it's all over."