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News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace

Presenters: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace
November 29, 2005 1:20 PM EDT
News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Good afternoon, folks. 

 

            Last week, a complex of palaces near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit was turned over to the Iraqi security forces.  Terrorists tried but failed to stop the turnover.  Saddam's one-time palace is now under the authority of the Iraqi people.

 

            The commander of the Iraqi army's 4th Division told reporters that even as a general in Saddam Hussein's army, he had dared not look at the palaces when he drove by through the city.  He feared he might be arrested.  Last week he said, quote, "Thanks be to God.  The ordinary people can now come and see the palaces for themselves."  Unquote.

 

            On Wednesday, President Bush will outline in some detail the coalition strategy to help the Iraqi people increasingly take control of their country.  It is their country to lead, and increasingly they are doing so.  To date, U.S. forces have turned over control of some 29 military bases to the Iraqis.  An Iraqi police battalion assumed control of the airport road last April, and the number of attacks has declined sharply.  Baghdad's well-known Haifa Street has been largely peaceful under the control of an Iraqi army battalion.  The Shi'ite areas of Najaf, Karbala and Sadr City -- the scene of a number of battles last year -- are largely peaceful.  And in Tal Afar, 5,000 Iraqi troops took the key role in liberating and securing what had been a base of operations for extremist networks and for terrorist networks. 

 

            Consider the progress of the Iraqi security forces over the past year.  In August 2004, five Iraqi army battalions were effectively in the fight.  Today the number is 95. 

 

            In July 2004, there were no ready operational Iraqi army divisions or brigade headquarters.  Today there are at least seven operational divisions and 31 operational brigade headquarters.

 

            In July of 2004 there were no ready special police commando, public order or mechanized police battalions under the Ministry of Interior.  Today there are 28 such battalions conducting operations.

 

            And last year there were about 96,000 fully trained and equipped Iraqi security forces.  And today there are over 212,000 trained and equipped security forces.

 

            The important thing to remember, however, is that numbers alone are only part of the story.  Equally important are the notable increases in the experience that the Iraqi forces have gained over the past few years, and experience makes a big difference.

 

            Their experience has enabled them to take over security responsibilities in several areas of Iraq, including 87 square miles of Baghdad, one entire province, 450 square miles of territory in other provinces.  In short, those who have denigrated the Iraqi security forces have been wrong.

 

            Challenges remain; let there be no doubt.  Among them:  further developing their logistics and administrative capacity at the brigade, division and ministry levels, to fully sustain Iraqi units through the range of combat operations. 

 

            And Iraqis are struggling to overcome the legacy of the Saddam era military, which punished initiative and centralized virtually all decision-making.

 

            Let's be clear.  U.S. forces are in Iraq to help the Iraqis fight the terrorists there, so we don't have to fight them here in the United States.  Indeed, amid all the questions being asked about the situation in Iraq today, consider these:

 

            Would America and the world be better off, would the American people be safer if the United States were to abandon the effort in Iraq prematurely, allowing the terrorists to prevail, or will the American people be better (sic) if we continue to work with the Iraqi people so that they're able to gain the experience and capabilities that they need to fight and defeat terrorists in their country?

 

            The answer is clear.  Quitting is not an exit strategy.  It would be a formula for putting the American people at still greater risk.  It would be an invitation for more terrorist violence.  Indeed, the more the enemies make it sound as though the United States is going to quit, the more encouraged they will be and the more successful they will be in recruiting and in raising money and in trying to wait us out. 

 

            Rather than thinking in terms of an exit strategy, we should be focused on our strategy for victory.  That is the president's strategy, to succeed in passing responsibility to the Iraqi people and in helping them to further develop the capabilities needed to assume that responsibility.  The strategy is working and we should stick to it, and those who do will be proud of the accomplishment that we will see.

 

            General Pace?

 

            GEN. PACE:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

 

            One trend that is really extremely encouraging is the number of tips that are being provided to Iraqi armed forces and coalition forces by Iraqi citizens.  Last March, for example, they were just below 500 tips during that month.  But this past month, there were some 4,700 tips by Iraqi citizens to Iraqi and coalition forces.  That's an enormous increase, and it has benefited us in many ways.  One example was yesterday.  As a result of a tip from a normal Iraqi citizen, Iraqi forces, along with U.S., uncovered an IED factory, some 4,000 pounds of explosives, some 11 to 12 500-pound bombs, many other ingredients for making both vehicle-borne and stand-alone explosive devices.  These kinds of tips from the Iraqi populace indicate to me that they understand that the future is with their own armed forces.  And with the help of the coalition, we'll help them do that.

 

            Your questions, please.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Charlie?

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary, are you concerned over -- and in fact, is the United States looking into growing reports of uniformed death squads in Iraq perhaps assassinating and torturing hundreds of Sunnis?  And if that's true, what would that say about stability in Iraq?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'm not going to comment on hypothetical questions.  I've not seen reports that hundreds are being killed by roving death squads at all. 

 

            We know for a fact that it's a violent country.  We know for a fact that there have been various militias.  We know that there have been some militias that have been Iran-oriented.  We also know there's been some militias in the north that have been very helpful.  The Peshmerga have been very constructive in what they've done.

 

            But I'm not going to get into speculation like that.

 

            Q      But, sir, that's not a hypothetical, I don't believe.  The Sunnis themselves are charging that hundreds have been assassinated, people shot in the head, found in alleys.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  What you're talking about are unverified -- to my knowledge, at least -- unverified comments.  I just don't have any data from the field that I could comment on in a specific way. 

 

            Do you, General?

 

            GEN. PACE:  No, I do not, sir, although I do know that the Iraqi government has said that they were going to investigate those kinds of allegations.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  And they should.  That's a good thing.  Look, it's a sovereign country.  The Iraqi government exists.  There's also a political campaign taking place, and we ought to be aware of that, that there are going to be a lot of charges and countercharges and allegations, and they may very well be timed -- as they are in every country in the world that has a free political system -- they may be timed in a way to seek advantage.  We also will find that, in some cases, that there will be investigations, and that they will prove to have been valid.  I just don't know.  I can only talk about what I know.  That's life.

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary, several days ago in an interview on Fox, you said that you expect that after the December 15 elections that the insurgency will lose some of its strength.  I'm wondering if you could elaborate on that point, and why you think that that particular political landmark will be different than previous ones in terms of how it affects the insurgency.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, I think that there are a lot of things going on in that country.  Some are worrisome.  Obviously, there's still continued violence, as Charlie points out.  We know that Iran and Syria continue to be unhelpful.  We know that we're still taking casualties, as are coalition countries and the Iraqi security forces. 

 

            On the other hand, when the Iraqi people have their own constitution, that they wrote, that they voted for, and then they elect people under that constitution, it becomes increasingly clear that anyone going around killing the Iraqi people are fighting against a legitimate government, they are against a legitimate constitution, they will be against people who have been legitimately elected under the Iraqi constitution.  Any contention that there's some sort of an occupation taking place or that coalition forces are there at anything other than the invitation of the government and the United Nations becomes a weaker argument.  And it seems to me there are a lot of -- a number of things happening that are good.  We -- I mentioned politicking going on.  You know, that's not the norm in that country.  They -- repression by a vicious dictator was the norm, and shooting people was the norm.  Here we've got politicking.  They're tugging; they're pulling; they're arguing; they're debating; they're making charges and countercharges.  That's a good thing.  That's a sign of progress, in my view.

 

            We also have a very effective political team in -- under Zal Khalilzad and the embassy there, and they're doing a good job working with the Iraqi people.  And I think that the outreach to the Sunni population has been a good thing and an effective thing.  It will be reflected in the election.

 

            The -- General Casey and his folks are putting a lot of pressure on the terrorists and on the enemies of the government.  I -- we frequently call them insurgents.  I'm a little reluctant to for some reason.  They are -- they don't have broad support in that country, as I think Senator Lieberman said.  There may be 10,000, or any multiple of that that you want, against 27 (million)-28 million people.  They're against a legitimate government, and that's important.  They are also growing divisions among the enemies of the government.

 

            The Iraqi security forces, as I mentioned, are making solid progress, and that's a big deal.  The country is -- has a free media, and they can -- it's a relief valve.  They could have hundred-plus papers.  There's 72 radio stations.  There's 44 television stations.  And they're debating things and talking and arguing and discussing.

 

            And Syria's regime is weakened because of the U.N. investigation into the Hariri assassination.

 

            So there are a lot of things that are positive.  And I look at it.  I can't predict the future any better than anybody else, but I look at it and I say to myself, "Not bad."  After this election on December 15th, they'll seat a government December 31st.  Will it be perfect out there?  No.  But will we end up seeing this tipping process that we've hoped for, where the people who've supported the enemies of the government begin to say, "Well, maybe it's really going to happen.  Maybe I shouldn't support them.  Maybe I ought to go into the middle and watch a little."  The people in the middle will tip over and say, "Well, why stay in the middle?  Looks like it's going to happen.  We're going to have an Iraqi government."  For four years they'll be in there.

 

            Think of it.  We've gone through four Iraqi governments in two and a half years:  the Governing Council, the Transitional Government, the Interim Government, the next government.  That's a lot of turbulence and turmoil.  They have a chance to get them in place and provide leadership in their country.  It's their country.  They're going to have to grab a hold of it and run it.

 

            Q     So you expect this will be the tipping point, then?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I don't know.  I don't know.  Am I hopeful?  Yes.  Do I think there are more positive things taking place than negative things?  You bet I do.

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary, in its lead editorial this morning, The New York Times takes issue with you and the Bush administration for the way the United States is waging this war, and particularly --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  They have done that almost every day since it started.  We're not going to hang our hats on that, a New York Times editorial!  My goodness, Ivan!

 

            Q     (Off mike) -- in particular --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'm stunned!  (Laughter.)

 

            Q     Well -- only because we're both familiar with the newspaper. 

 

            But in its final paragraph or so, it takes particular issue with the use of white phosphorus in urban areas.  And based on what we have learned so far, have you banned the use of "Willy Pete" or are you considering banning it?  Or will it continue to be used?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  General Pace.

 

            GEN. PACE:  White phosphorus is a legitimate tool of the military.  It is used for two primary purposes.  One is to mark a location for strike by an aircraft, for example.  The other is to be used -- because it does create white smoke -- to be used as a screening agent so that you can move your forces without being seen by the enemy. 

 

            It is not a chemical weapon, it is an incendiary (sic) [It is not an incendiary weapon as defined by the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons], and it is well within the law of war to use those weapons as they are being used for marking and for screening.

 

            Q     But you and I have both seen the results of "Willy Pete" in Vietnam.  And when it's on the skin, it doesn't stop burning until it goes all the way through or runs out of oxygen.  It's a pretty tough weapon.  Do you want to use it in urban areas such as Fallujah?

 

            GEN. PACE:  No armed force in the world goes to greater effort than your armed force to protect civilians and to be very precise in the way we apply our power.  A bullet goes through skin even faster than white phosphorus does.  So I would rather have the proper instrument applied at the proper time as precisely as possible to get the job done in a way that kills as many of the bad guys as possible and does as little collateral damage as possible.  That is just the nature of warfare.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Let's see if there's a New York Times editorial quoting General Pace tomorrow.  Unlikely.

 

            I forgot one thing, Bob.  Another thing that's happening is if you think of the Arab League meeting and the Sunni -- neighboring Sunni countries, let's face it, they've not been as helpful as they could be.  They've been standing back.  Well now they're starting to lean forward.  It's increasingly clear to them that they're a bit worried about Iran -- as well they should be; they're a bit worried about excessive Iranian influence in Iraq -- which they should be.  And they're starting to lean forward and to be more helpful, to encourage Sunnis to participate in the election, and to want to have a successful Iraq because I think they see it coming.  You know, some of them have a minimum of high regard for democracy, so that's a bit of a problem.  But on the other hand, the trend line is correct, is good, is positive.  And I add that to that list.  I think --

 

            Q     A question for General Pace?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Pam.

 

            Q     Sir, taking on Charlie's question a bit -- and I can give you actual examples from coalition forces who talked to me when I was over there -- about excesses of the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Defense, and that is in dealing with prisoners or in arresting people and how they're treated after they're arrested.  What are the obligations and what are the rights of the U.S. military over there in dealing with that?  Obviously, Iraq is a sovereign country now, but the United States is responsible for training and expects to turn over the security mission to them.  So what is the U.S. obligation in addressing that, preventing that?  And what can we do?  And what are we doing?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  That's a fair question.  I'll start, and Pete, you may want to finish.  But we are working very hard to train and equip the Iraqi security forces.  So is NATO.  So are some neighboring countries.  There are a lot of people involved in this and dozens of countries trying to help train these Iraqi forces. 

 

            Any instance of inhumane behavior is obviously worrisome and harmful to them when that occurs.  Iraq knows of certain knowledge that they need the support of the international community, and a good way to lose it is to make a practice of something that's inconsistent with the values of the international community.  And I think they know that.

           

            Now, you know, I can't go any farther in talking about it.  Obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility when a sovereign country engages in something that they disapprove of; however, we do have a responsibility to say so and to make sure that the training is proper and to work with the sovereign officials so that they understand the damage that can be done to them in the event some of these allegations prove to be true.

 

            Q    And General Pace, what guidance do you have for your military commanders over there as to what to do if -- like when General Horst found this Interior Ministry jail?

 

            GEN. PACE:  It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it.  As an example of how to do it if you don't see it happening but you're told about it is exactly what happened a couple weeks ago.  There's a report from an Iraqi to a U.S. commander that there was possibility of inhumane treatment in a particular facility.  That U.S. commander got together with his Iraqi counterparts.  They went together to the facility, found what they found, reported it to the Iraqi government, and the Iraqi government has taken ownership of that problem and is investigating it.  So they did exactly what they should have done.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  But I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it.

 

            GEN. PACE:  If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it.

 

            Q     If I may follow up.  To what extent do you think these allegations of abuses by the Iraqi security forces, particularly some of the complaints and allegations from Sunni Iraqis that the largely Shi'a security forces are engaged in abuses, to what extent do you think that's an indicator that the Iraqi military -- Iraqi security forces are not yet ready to assume control of the country?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Oh, I don't think it is.  I mean, you're going to have allegations back and forth.  We're deeply concerned by -- that there could be conflict among the various elements in that country after the end of major combat operations, and there hasn't been, and that's a good thing.  First of all, what we're doing is we're prejudging these remarks and allegations and reports, and I just can't do that.  And what's going to happen is the Iraqi government is going to be formed after the December 15th election in two weeks -- whatever -- and it'll be seated by the 31st of December.  The --

 

            Q     So it's your sense that these abuses are not a widespread problem that threaten the --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I -- my sense is I don't know.  And it's obviously something that one has to be attentive to.  It's obviously something that the -- General Casey and his troops are attentive to and have to be concerned about.  It -- I'm not going to be judging it from 4,000 miles away -- how many miles away? --

 

            GEN. PACE:  It's a long ways.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  It's a long way -- 5,000, 6,000 maybe.

 

            Yeah?

 

            Q     General Pace, there have been some critics who have said that you don't have enough troops to do this clear, hold and build strategy, especially along the border between Iraq and Syria.  Do you --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Could I just -- stop right there.  Please, let me just -- stop right there.  Anyone who takes those three words and thinks it means the United States should clear and the United States should hold and the United States should build doesn't understand the situation.  It is the Iraqis' country.  They've got 28 million people there.  They are clearing, they are holding, they are building.  They're going to be the ones doing the reconstruction in that country --

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary, Senator --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  -- and we do not have -- with 160,000 troops there -- the idea that we could do that is so far from reality.  Nor was there any intention that we should do that.

 

            Q      Senator McCain suggested you don't have enough troops, U.S. troops and Iraqi forces that are qualified to be able to hold those areas, clear them and build them.  Can you address that, and can you talk about perhaps some specifics in recent weeks where that may have been happening?

 

            GEN. PACE:  I think what you see most recently are the examples of the operations that have been taking place in the Euphrates Valley between Baghdad and the Syrian border.  You're seeing the combination of U.S., coalition and Iraqi forces working side by side, many times with the Iraqi armed forces in the lead, taking cities from the -- I have to use the word "insurgent" because I can't think of a better word right now -- (soft laughter) -- take the --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Enemies of the Iraqi -- legitimate Iraqi government.  How's that?  (Laughter.)

 

            GEN. PACE:  What the secretary said.  And then working along with the towns, leadership in those cities, to in fact have Iraqi police, Iraqi armed forces staying behind holding that territory for their government, and then the Iraqi government coming in and building up the infrastructure.  So, very much along that model over the next coming months is what I believe we'll continue to see.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  One of the biggest problems we have is, whether it's the Congress or the press or the American military --

 

            Q     How about the -- (word off mike)?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Oh, forget the press then.  Anybody.  We have an orientation that tends to make us think that everything is our responsibility and that we should be doing this.  It is the Iraqis’ country, 28 million of them.  They are perfectly capable of running that country.  They're not going to run it the way you would or I would or the way we do here in this country, but they're going to run it.  And to suggest that every single thing that needs to be done in this country -- "Oh, the infrastructure's imperfectly protected; the Americans should do that, you don't have enough people to do that."  Nonsense.  We shouldn't have enough people to do that.  It's the Iraqis' infrastructure.  They're the ones who are going to suffer if the infrastructure isn't protected. "The borders can't be protected."  Well, we can't protect our own border.

 

            Q     You make the point that --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Just a minute.  Just a minute.  Just a minute. 

 

            Our problem is that any time something needs to be done, we have a feeling we should rush in and fill the vacuum and do it ourselves.  You know what happens when you do that?  First of all, you can't do it, because it's not our country, it's their country.  And the second thing that happens is they don't develop the skills and the ability and the equipment and the orientation and the habit patterns of doing it for themselves.  They have to do it for themselves.  There isn't an Iraqi that comes into this country and visits with me that doesn't say that.  They know that.  They know that they're the ones that are going to have to grab that country.  And it's time.

 

            Q     There's still a lot of training wheels on those bicycles.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Sure there are.

 

            Q     And you always talk about that holding the bike.  But, I mean, there -- it doesn't seem like the numbers --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Oh, I think we've been passing over bases, we've been passing over real estate, we've been turning over responsibilities.  I mean, what else can you do?  Nothing happens at the same time in one fell swoop.  This is hard stuff for them!  It isn't going to be perfect.  But by golly, the people who have been denigrating the Iraqi security forces are flat wrong!  They've been wrong from the beginning!  They're doing a darn good job and they're doing an increasingly better job every day, every week, every month, and they have to because it's their country.

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary, whenever you talk about security forces you focus primarily on the military.  But what about the police?  Reports that militia have either infiltrated or actually taken control of some police forces are really not a hypothetical, after all, the British had to shoot their way into Basra to retrieve a couple of their own soldiers.  So what specifically is the U.S. military doing to help the Iraqis gain control of these militias within police forces and improve what has been described pretty much as an uneven performance by Iraqi police?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I forget when the Department of Defense assumed responsibility for the police.

 

            GEN. PACE:  About six months ago or so.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Maybe six months ago?  So the data we have on it is nowhere near as good as the data we have on the Ministry of Defense forces.  The Ministry of Interior forces, which the police are under, have been reporting up through the Department of State previously.  And we're getting our arms around it.  And some of the things that need to be done is to better connect the police with the Department of Defense forces so that they have a better connection.  Some of the things that need to be done is to better connect the intelligence information with the police so that they can do a better job. 

 

            One of the big distinctions is the Iraqi military and Ministry of Defense forces have been hired nationwide and they're a mixture of Sunni and Shi'a and Kurds.  The police forces function in a local area only, and they tend to be recruited from the local area.  So there tends to naturally be a concentration of the population -- the nature of the population that exists in the area where that police district is.  So that shouldn't come -- that's the same in our country.  So that shouldn't come as a surprise.  The police in Chicago or Los Angeles or New York tend to be people from that area.  You know, the military in our country tends to come from all across the country, and that's a good thing.

 

            Q     And -- but fighting the insurgency --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  But our data is not as good.

 

            Q     But aren't the police just as critical in fighting the insurgency?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Sure.  They're terribly important.

 

            Q     You have to begin at the street level, don't you?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  They're terribly important, no question.

 

            Q     And earlier -- a follow-up on what you said earlier.  You said there were growing divisions within the enemy of the Iraqi government.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I think that's right.

 

            Q     Could you describe, what evidence is there --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I just read and watch and listen.  And it's my personal judgment that you're seeing some divisions.  You have a group that is not a group.  You have unlikes together.  You have the foreign terrorists, relatively small number, that are quite lethal and dangerous and reasonably well financed.  You've got some Saddam Ba'athist-types that think that there's hope they could take back the country.  There are some rejectionists, largely from the Sunni population, that felt that they were cut out, and they didn't like the idea of the Shi'a having a majority and the possibility the government would not be a Sunni-run government.  You have criminals. You have people do it for money.  So you have a mixture.

 

            And we've just seen Zarqawi's family renounce him.  We've seen demonstrations in Jordan against Zarqawi.  Here's a foreigner in Iraq, running the efforts against the Iraqi government, killing innocent men, women and children, and there are people who don't like it.  Indeed, the letter that was released from Zawahiri suggested that he didn't like it and that Osama bin Laden didn't like some of the things because they thought it would be losing support.

 

            So you just look at all the things you see, and you drop a plumb line through it.  And you make it a judgment, and I made my judgment.  I think --

 

            Q     So there's no hard evidence of any growing divisions or --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Is there a metric for this?  No.

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Yes.

 

            Q     I wanted to ask General Pace, I think you mentioned that IEDs and VBIED suicide car bombers remain the sole fundamental tool of the insurgents that you face.  What's your overall assessment right now of the IED situation?  Are attacks up, down?  What kinds of new IEDs are you seeing?  What kinds of Iranian influences are you seeing on the IEDs?

 

            And actually, quite seriously, the other thing I wanted to ask is today the day that you two at the podium stop using the word insurgents?  I'm kind of noticing that.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Oh no, I'm sure I'll make a mistake and slip back into it.

 

            Q     Is there a fundamental reason you bring that up today?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, I guess so.  I'll answer first.

 

            Q     (Off mike) -- IEDs --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Sure.  Yeah.  No, I don't know.  I don't know why.  I've thought about it, and over the weekend, I thought to myself, "You know, that gives them a greater legitimacy than they seem to merit."  Why do you -- why would you call Zarqawi and his people insurgents against a legitimate Iraqi government with their own constitution?  It just -- do they have broad popular support in that country?  No.

 

            You think of an -- I think of an insurgency slightly different.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I'll have to go to the dictionary.

 

            Q     (Off mike) -- bring that dictionary --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  What was the word I used -- a long hard slog, and you went to the dictionary on me.  Isn't that right, Jamie?

 

            Q     Right.  And I forgot to bring it today.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Yeah.  Well, I'll go look it up.  It just -- it was an epiphany.

 

            Q     We'd be interested in following your thoughts on that.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Yeah.  I think that you can have a legitimate insurgency in a country that has popular support and has a cohesiveness and has a legitimate gripe.  These people don't have a legitimate gripe.  They've got a peaceful way to change that government through the constitution, through the elections.  These people aren't trying to promote something other than disorder and to take over that country and turn it into a caliphate, and then spread it around the world.  This is a group of people who don't merit the word "insurgency," I think.  But I'll look it up.  You look it up for me, too.  I'm sure you will.

 

            Q     Can I just have my IED question answered?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Sure.

 

            Q     Thank you.

 

            GEN. PACE:  Because our enemy in Iraq clearly understands that they have yet, not once won an engagement with U.S. and coalition forces on a battlefield, they use the IEDs as a weapon of last resort.  And it's an indiscriminate killing mechanism that kills many more Iraqi women, children and innocents than it does those in uniform.  That's number one.

 

            Number two, because they see very clearly that this is the third election this year where Iraqis are about to voice their own rights and pick their own future, they are -- the insurgents are -- (laughter) -- I'm sorry, sir -- I'm not trainable today!

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  (Laughs.)

 

            GEN. PACE:  I'm not trainable, today!

 

            Are increasingly --

 

            Q     It happens when you get over 60. 

 

            GEN. PACE:  That's right.  That's exactly right, thank you. 

 

            They're increasing the numbers they're using in an attempt to intimidate the Iraqi population.  Interestingly, the numbers of IED explosions has gone up.  The numbers of casualties from those explosions has stayed level and/or gone down a little bit, which means that our protection mechanisms -- our own force protection mechanisms are working.  However, we still have a lot to do because this is a thinking enemy, and we need to be thinking through our tactics, techniques and procedures as they change how they employ the IEDs.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Thanks, folks!

 

            Q     Thank you.

 

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