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Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview with BBC Today Programme

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
January 28, 2003

Q: How much longer do you envision inspections taking? And will the U.S. [inaudible]?

Wolfowitz: It's not a question of how long the inspections take. It's a question of whether or not Saddam Hussein is going to disarm cooperatively.

We've seen in the 1990s, at least three countries saw benefit -- Kazakhstan, Ukraine and quite a few others, some others -- gave up their weapons quite willingly in an open way. In the absence of that kind of cooperation there's no way, as the President said, 108 inspectors can scavenge through a country the size of France or the state of California, and there's no way they can expect to find things when Saddam threatens the people who might cooperate with them with death and death to their families.

So it's not up to the inspectors, it's not up to the United States, it's up to Saddam Hussein and there's very little time for him to change his behavior.

Q: A lot of people in Britain and also the United States are still skeptical about this. They still want to see more evidence. More evidence of Iraq's weapons capacity and also links to terrorism. Will there be more evidence?

Wolfowitz: There is already an enormous amount of evidence and I suppose some people will never be convinced by any amount of evidence. There is more, and depending on how people calculate the risks of revealing it. Some of this evidence comes from people who risk their lives to give it to us and I'm not sure it can be revealed in a way to put somebody's name on it. Some of it comes from special means that we may decide are okay to sacrifice. But the evidence-- even just quite public and open--that the UN declared five years ago on the stocks of anthrax and botulinum toxin and ricin, which is now the weapon of choice of the terrorists in London apparently. Saddam had these large quantities five years ago. The UN provided the evidence that he had them, and he hasn't even seen fit to come clean on those.

It's an astonishing pattern of complete non-cooperation.

Q: The President said that America alone will decide its course of action. Was that a sign that ultimately America will go ahead without the backing of the UN if it doesn't feel it can get a second resolution?

Wolfowitz: Resolution 1441 never required a second resolution. It requires a second meeting of the United Nations. We're not going to be acting alone. There are many many countries that have made it quite clear that they will be with us when the time comes. I think part of the decision on when the time comes depends on what other countries tell us.

If you look at the vote that was taken in Brussels last week when we talked about NATO taking action, there were 15 countries with us and four countries who said let's take some more time. So I would say just on that measure alone there's a great deal of support. And there are countries in the Middle East that are sitting on the fence because they don't want to declare themselves before it's clear that there's going to be an action.

We will protect our own security; the President made that clear. But we're not going to have to do it by ourselves.

Q: Thank you very much.