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Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz with Luis Torres on KNX Radio

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
August 07, 2001

Monday, August 6, 2001

KNX Radio: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz tells KNX the President and his top advisors are fully engaged with the country's allies, and he says the lines of communication are open to all top world leaders, even those who were once perceived as adversaries.

Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz: The President has already had two meetings with President Putin. He's got another two scheduled for the fall. He's sending Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to Moscow this month to meet with his counterpart. Secretary Powell is meeting with his counterpart. It's anything but go it alone. In fact I have a Secretary of Defense who says, "When are they going to let me stay in Washington long enough to get my work done?"

KNX Radio: And Wolfowitz emphasizes the need, as he describe it, for the military to go forward with a proposed missile defense system, despite strong criticism of it as impractical from some quarters.

Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz: Some people say you're trying to shoot a bullet with a bullet, and that's, they say, impossible. It's not impossible.

KNX Radio: He concedes it will be very expensive to build, but he asks rhetorically, what's the price tag you put on the security of this country?

Luis Torres, KNX 1070.

KNX Radio: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz tells KNX the money, no matter how much is ultimately approved by Congress, will be well spent. He concedes it will be very expensive to build, and he acknowledges it has been criticized in some quarters as impractical and not likely to work, even if it is built. Wolfowitz brushes aside such criticism. He believes the technology will exist to make it work. He admits, it's a bit like shooting down a bullet with a bullet.

Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz: It is not cheap, but the defense of our country isn't cheap. But it's proven to be a terrifically valuable investment.

We live in a world today that's more peaceful than in 100 years, and I would say a major reason for that is because American military strengths, our defense capability, has helped to shore up the peaceful democracies of the world and helped to bring about an end to the Cold War, and that's a structure we want to preserve.

KNX Radio: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says the missile defense system can help achieve that. There are many who disagree.

Luis Torres, KNX, 1070.

KNX Radio: It has been criticized by opponents as an effort to shoot down a bullet with a bullet and condemned as not only technologically impractical, but impractically expensive as well.

Despite that, the Bush Administration is eager to pursue development of the system. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz tells KNX it's not cheap, but says the cost has to be kept in perspective.

Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz: What we're proposing is, in that program is, an increase in that program that's about one percent of our defense budget, and the total program at $8 billion is a lot of money, but it's comparable to other major investments we make in our nuclear deterrent, in our, just a portion of our naval forces or a portion of our other forces.

KNX Radio: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz tells KNX the missile defense system will eventually be the ideal complement to the military's conventional weapons.

Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz: This is in many ways the crucial missing ingredient, because without that capability, a lot of the rest of our forces aren't worth much.

Radio: I'm Luis Torres, KNX, 1070.

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