Rumsfeld: 'Suicide Bombing Is Terrorism'
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 3, 2002 "What's happening in the Middle East is terrible. It is a tragedy. It is terrorism," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the Pentagon today. "Innocent people are being killed -- men, women and children of all religions."
The president and secretary of state and others are addressing the complexities of the Middle East situation, not the Department of Defense, Rumsfeld continued. There are no plans to involve U.S. troops in the crisis.
"The president, the secretary of state and others have done a good deal to work with the leadership there on a continuing basis and they are doing so as we meet here today," he said.
Even though the Defense Department is not involved in the ongoing crisis, Rumsfeld's thoughts were clear when he responded to reporters' questions on the Middle East situation: "Suicide bombing is terrorism."
"When you blow up a supermarket, restaurant or a pizza parlor, you don't know who's in there," he said. "Israel has Arab citizens as well as Israeli citizens." The indiscriminate killing, he noted, is like the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center Towers that killed people from many nations and of many religions.
Such terrorism, he noted, is "a fundamental fact of the world we're living in. It is not a matter that (only) involves the immediate difficulties between Israel and the Palestinian authority."
Rumsfeld blamed Iraq's Saddam Hussein for the rash of suicide bombings, and he wants the world to know the Iraqi dictator is paying families to persuade their teen-aged children to become suicide bombers. Initially, the secretary said, families received $10,000. Now, they get $25,000 if their teen-agers strap explosives to their bodies and kill themselves as well as innocent men, women and children in public places.
"Think of it," Rumsfeld told Pentagon reporters. "Here is an individual who is the head of a country, Iraq, who has proudly, publicly, made a decision to go out and actively promote and finance human sacrifice. That is an example of what it is we're dealing with."
People need to understand "the complexity and viciousness" of the problem the people in the Middle East and the rest of the world are dealing with, he said. "I think it's important for the world to think about that and understand and give a weight to it, a value to it. It is a particularly vicious thing to do."
Rumsfeld said he wants the people of Iraq to understand what their leader is doing. Saddam Hussein, he stressed, "is willing to take $25,000 over and over again out of the mouths of people in that country under the oil-for-food plan, and instead of using it for food, using it to hire, and encourage, and promote, and facilitate terrorists to kill innocent people."
As another example, he said, Iran has "facilitated al Qaeda people moving through their country." Iranian leaders "are repressing their people and lying to their people about their complicity with respect to the al Qaeda. It's helpful for the world to know those things."
People throughout the world "must recognize that there is an infrastructure to terrorism," Rumsfeld concluded. "The countries on the terrorist list are there for good reason."