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Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview with Fox News

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
September 23, 2001

Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001

(Interview with Brit Hume, Fox News)

Hume: The magnitude of Tuesday's attacks have many Americans talking about a swift and strong response. And to talk about that now, I'm joined by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Mr. Secretary, nice to have you here, sir.

Wolfowitz: Nice to be here.

Hume: One sense is, in everything that we heard from you today and everything we're hearing from the president -- who basically said that he had recast his administration into one that was devoted principally to this cause, a war on terrorism -- that this administration is talking about something long, expensive, perhaps bloody, protracted, difficult. Correct?

Wolfowitz: That's correct. We're dealing with something that is much more than just one individual or one organization. And it's much more than just one quick, swift response. We have got to root out the terrorist networks. And we have got to end the support that they get from a number of states. We've got to treat it as a campaign. It is going to be sustained. It's going to be difficult. But it is absolutely crucial to preserving our way of life.

Hume: Secretary Powell speaks of building a worldwide coalition against terrorism. Now, we all remember the coalition that was built -- it had remarkable breadth, actually, considering the circumstances -- to run Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait. Are we talking about something that must necessarily in this case be a larger coalition? And must it include Arab states? Must it include the states, indeed, that have harbored him, or do we not expect that -- harbored Osama bin Laden and others perhaps?

Wolfowitz: Well, I think one of the things we have to achieve is that states who harbor him -- and not just harbor him -- but, remember, there are a number of these networks. They interact with one another. We know certain things about who was involved in this. And there are other things we probably never will know. And our policy has to aim at the fact not that we wait until we have definitive evidence, but that we end these networks, we end the support for these networks. And it has to be broad. And I think the coalition has to be broad. But like the one in 1991, the core of building that coalition is an understanding of American resolve, and that we are serious, and that we expect our friends to be with us. And those people who cross us are going to rue the day that they do.

Hume: I asked a question earlier of one of our correspondents, if Osama bin Laden were surrendered to us with his leading associates tomorrow, how much difference would that make in terms the -- how much of the mission would then be accomplished?

Wolfowitz: I think only a tiny little piece of it. There are these networks that extend even into our own country. There's states that support them with sophisticated intelligence and explosives and planning. They have sanctuaries. They have an ability to operate that has to be ended. It means cooperation from law enforcement authorities and some friendly countries that have been hesitant to take this on. It means going after regimes that actively support state terrorism. Osama bin Laden is part of the problem, but it's a much bigger problem.

Hume: Now, much has been said in the last several days about an intelligence failure. Without dealing with that question, there seems agreement that we must reconsider intelligence methods of a kind that were discarded, perhaps, in the last 25 or 30 years. How badly, in your estimation, has our intelligence ability -- and particularly our human intelligence ability, been eroded in recent decades? And how much time will it take to rebuild it? And do we need to wait until that is done in order to take the kind of action you're describing?

Wolfowitz: Look, we have to do everything we can to improve our intelligence. But you also have to understand there are always going to be limits to what we can learn through intelligence. These people -- hiding is one of the fundamental aspects of their modus operandi. They work on it very hard. They're always going to be working to hide. What we have to do is extirpate these organizations and extirpate their sanctuaries. You can't just it by sleuthing down each individual one. We have to create conditions in which they can't operate. We have to, in effect, dry up the sea in which they swim.

Hume: Let me ask you this question, before this is all said and done, are we likely not again to be face to face with Saddam Hussein?

Wolfowitz: He is one of the most active supporters of state terrorism. He and the leader of Hamas, I believe, are the only serious leaders in the Middle East that have applauded this act. He is shooting at American pilots on a daily basis. So he remains a problem. He is one of the problems. Osama bin Laden is one of the problems. There are networks, including not only Osama bin Laden's network, but other radical anti-American networks. We are going to have to this as a campaign and treat the problem as a whole.

Hume: Now, when we talk about a state such as Iraq, which is regarded in this country as an outlaw state, when we talk about dealing with him, what are we talking about? Are we talking about conquest?

Wolfowitz: Look, we're talking about ending terrorism and support for terrorism. And it is going to take more than one action. It's going to take more than military action. It's going to take the use of all the resources that we have. And it's going -- political resources, diplomatic resources, economic resources, intelligence resources and military resources.

Hume: You heard Dick Gephardt in here earlier warning people that we need to be prepared for a change in our way of life, for security measures inside this country's borders that we have not had before. How different is our life likely to be in America as we undertake this campaign?

Wolfowitz: Well, I think our life is going to be changed by these acts of terrorism. But if we don't want our way of life to be fundamentally altered, we have got to go after the terrorists and get rid of them. That is why the stakes in this are so high. What they want to do is drive us into bunkers, drive us into a crouch, drive into a defensive posture. We have got to do defensive measures. That's an important piece of this. And we have to expect that if we go after them, it's not going to be without serious consequences. But I think it's much better to take this on now and then be able in future decades not to have to deal with it, than to constantly think about how we protect ourselves.

Hume: You've seen the outpouring of patriotism from many quarters.

Wolfowitz: Yes.

Hume: It's palpable in the streets. You see the flags everywhere. They are selling like hot cakes.

Wolfowitz: I was just with some of the rescue workers and firefighters over at the Pentagon. It's motivating and it's moving and it's impressive. It's America at its best.

Hume: And should the rest of the nation be prepared for some sacrifice?

Wolfowitz: I think there is going to have to be some sacrifice. And I think, as so often is the case, the sacrifice that is asked of one generation brings a bright future for another generation. We ourselves, as we've been saying repeatedly now, have an enormous debt to that generation that sacrificed in World War II to end the scourge of Nazism and fascism. Hopefully, this will not be as bloody a campaign, but we have to expect sacrifice.

Hume: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, it was a pleasure to have you, sir. Thank you for coming.

Wolfowitz: Thank you.