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Secretary Rumsfeld Remarks to the Newspaper Association of America/American Society of Newspaper Editors

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
April 22, 2004 12:45 PM EDT
Secretary Rumsfeld Remarks to the Newspaper Association of America/American Society of Newspaper Editors

SEC. RUMSFELD:  Tony, thank you very much.

 

            Ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure to be with you.  I feel like I belong here.  I've sold newspapers in Illinois, Washington state, Oregon, North Carolina and California over my career, which Tony left out.  (Laughter.)

 

            I want to offer some thoughts on our current situation in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in the global war on terror, and then as he suggested respond to questions.  But first let me take a few moments to comment and offer a few reflections on the interaction between your business and your government over these past years.

 

            Those of us in government need to keep in mind the daily miracle of what it is you do, the work you do.  You do something that is rare in Washington: you actually produce something.  (Laughter.)  Consider what might happen in government were asked to put out a daily newspaper.  Well, for starters, there would likely be flurry of meetings, leaked memos, and then I suspect leaked recommendations, followed by the adoption of a draft policy guideline and then a 90-day open comment period where interest groups would proceed to shred that guideline.  Then we would need a request for a supplemental budget for sure, possibly even a recommendation for a new federal agency, to be followed by a congressional investigation on why we missed our deadline.  (Laughter, applause.)  Followed, of course, by an independent commission to study what the congressional investigation had already studied.

 

            So your job is tough and decisions with impact I understand are made continuously, sometimes on the fly.  You are criticized by many, certainly by readers as well as those you write about.  But interestingly, my sense is that you're not regularly criticized by each other.  That's unusual.  I'm sure you do your best and then you go home each night and get up and do it again the next day.

 

            So yours is important work.  Our republic was founded on the notion that an unchecked government is a major obstacle to human freedom and to progress, and that our leaders need to be challenged, internally through the complex constitutional system of checks and balances, and externally by a free and energetic press.  This is a notion I've supported throughout my adult life.  As a matter of fact, as a young member of Congress back in the 1960s, still in my 30s, I was a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Information Act.  Now we all recognize that that act causes government officials occasional pain, but in my view, it has been a valuable act in helping to get the facts to the American people.

 

            As secretary of Defense this time, I believe and I certainly hope that our department has offered reporters and media as much or more access than possibly ever before.  I'm told that I've held over 350 press briefings and press availabilities since I was confirmed in January of 2001.  It's unbelievable.  It's exhausting.  (Laughter.) It's risky!  (Laughter.)  That's for sure.  I've also granted hundreds of interviews, and at Torie Clarke's suggestion, we instituted an embedding program during the combat operations in Iraq, including some 500 journalists from some 250 outlets that we believe enriched the coverage and serve the public well.  Even today, we have dozens of embeds with our forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

 

            Our great political system needs information to be self-correcting.  While excesses and imbalances will inevitably exist for a time, fortunately they tend not to last.  Ultimately truth prevails. The American people seem to have inner gyroscopes that keep them centered and balanced.

 

            Consider, for example, Harry Truman.  I was recently in Key West visiting a military installation, and I visited the Truman "winter White House" down in Key West and was reminded of his truly impressive legacy: the United Nations, NATO, the Marshall Plan, racial integration in the armed services, elimination of racial discrimination in the federal government, and so many other important and lasting achievements.

 

            But during his time as president and for many years thereafter, he was roundly criticized.  Indeed, he was brutally ridiculed.  But to my -- the amazement of many people he was reelected in 1948 notwithstanding the ridicule and the abuse, and today he has a deservedly proud place in American history. The sheep herd behavior by experts and pundits that led him to be so severely criticized prevailed for a while, but it did not last forever.  The public seems to eventually find its way to the truth.

 

            Today, in the global war on terror, there is often a non-trivial difference between what is reported and the facts on the ground.  Al- Jazeera and Al-Arabiyah, with their broad coverage in the Middle East, are routinely telling the world lies about coalition actions.  But I believe that that, too, will be corrected over time.  Afghans and Iraqis are now free.  After decades of being fed lies by dictatorial regimes and the controlled press, they are starting to thirst for the truth.

 

            In Iraq, since liberation one year ago, more than 200 newspapers have popped up.  Afghanistan now has more than 100 papers in Kabul alone, I'm told.  Just a few years ago your contemporaries in Iraq and Afghanistan were jailed and tortured and killed if they had the courage to report the news as they saw it.

 

            Just as Americans have, so too free Afghans and Iraqis will eventually develop their own sense of balance, their own inner gyroscopes, and an ability to absorb what they hear.

 

            Today we're experiencing a decisive test of wills between the millions of Iraqis that are dedicated to freedom, and the murderers and the terrorists who oppose Iraqi progress to self-government.  The remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime know they have no future in a free Iraq.  Most of the 25 million Iraqi people oppose them.  Their defeat is eventually assured, so long as the United States stays the course with its coalition partners.

 

            So why are these enemies of freedom lashing out today?  Undoubtedly because they know that they are fast approaching the moment when the Iraqis will reclaim their country.  As al Qaeda associate Zarqawi warned his allies in a letter that was recently intercepted, he said democracy is coming, and there will be no excuse thereafter for their attacks on the Iraqi people.

 

            To know the whole story about what's going on in Iraq today, America and other nations need to hear not just the truth that there are attacks and setbacks, which there certainly area, but also why these attacks are happening and why the terrorists and the regime remnants are lashing out.  And this is where the print media can play a special role.  You have the space to give context; to inform the public about things that don't make the sound bite on evening news. Terrorists and bomb-throwers get headlines, to be sure.  The good people of Iraq and Afghanistan do not.

 

            The courageous men and women who are deployed in those countries, uniform and civilian, are helping the people of those nations to get on a path to self-government and to self-reliance.  They do not make headlines, but they are making a difference.  The vast majority of the Iraqi people are not rioting, they're not looting, they're not shooting.  For every bomb that goes off in Baghdad there are many bombs that are defused as a result of coalition soldiers acting on information they receive from Iraqi people.  For every building that's damaged by mortar fire there are many schools and hospitals and clinics that are being built and repaired.  And for every Iraqi soldier who was reluctant to fight in the past few weeks, there are tens of thousands of Iraqi security officials who are fighting every day for the Iraqi people, and there have been over 300 Iraqi security forces that have been killed in recent months.  For the whole story on Iraq, Americans deserve to know about them as well.  No doubt there are folks at your newspapers who get very little credit for what they do, but who offer essential contributions.  If we were to tell your paper's story fully and fairly we would certainly have to include them, as I know you are aware.

 

            In Iraq and Afghanistan today there are millions of people contributing to progress.  They are building schools.  They are providing electricity to villages and establishing constitutional government to guarantee unprecedented freedoms.  For the first time in years, Afghan parents are able to send their daughters to schools and to see a doctor.  Our people and the people of the world need to hear their story.  As I understand it, a part of this organization's mission is to advance freedom of speech at home and around the world, and the Department of Defense believes in that mission.

 

            On the field of battle at this hour, young men and women in uniform are risking their lives to defend our liberty, your liberty and your right to pursue the truth.  You know the risks and the dangers that soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines face.  I know you remember colleagues and friends who lost their lives on the battlefield defending the public's right to know.  We remember them, too.

 

            Our Pentagon briefing room is on what we call Correspondents' Corridor.  The corridor has long had a memorial to those who died as war correspondents.  Sadly, some new names will be added to that list. The corridor is named for a correspondent who said of the working Pentagon news bureaus -- he called them a wonderful crowd, and he's right.  And he said, "I do hope that they remain as surly, suspicious, aggressive and thirsty as always."  It seems to me that's about right.

 

            So I thank you.  I look forward to your questions, no matter how suspicious -- (laughter) -- or aggressive or surly.  Thank you very much.  (Laughter, applause.)

 

            Now, how do we do this?  Are there microphones?  There's a microphone.  There's a microphone.  There's a hand.  (Laughter.) Let's see if we can connect the hand to a microphone.  (Laughter.)  If folks have questions, they might want to stand up and go nearer one of those folks with a microphone so we can get more questions in.

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary, I'm J. Ford Huffman from USA Today.  And I'm wondering if you have given consideration to an Associated Press report back in March that indicated that during the last year, the number of gay troops that have been discharged has been reduced since the level before the war in Iraq.  If you have looked at that report, do you have a sense that you and the Pentagon might be looking at the don't ask, don't tell policy, and that there might be changes?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I don't know that I've seen the report you're referring to.  But at the present time, the department is not reviewing the don't ask, don't tell policy.

 

            Question?  Yes?

 

            Q     Lou Ureneck from Boston University.  Some experts have said that --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I thought this was for editors and publishers. (Laughter.)

 

            Q     Formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  (Laughter.)  I teach journalism at Boston University.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Wellllll, that's close. (Laughter.)   What do you think, folks?  (Laughter.)  (Applause.)  You want to let him have it? All right.

 

            What is it, Professor?

 

            Q     Hopefully, the students are listening.  (Laughter.)

 

            Some people say that the current insurrection in Iraq is traceable to the closure of a newspaper a couple of weeks ago by Mr. Bremer.  I'd like to get your thinking and reasoning about that event and what it may have contributed to the events of the last week and a half or so.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I love the beginning of that question, "some people think."  There is nothing that some people don't think.  (Laughter, applause.)  The idea that the conflict and the flare-ups and the shootings and the killings that are taking place in Iraq today are a result of the closing of that paper, I think, is, A, a stretch, and B, undoubtedly not provable, and, I would submit, not only not provable, but not accurate.

 

            The paper was closed for 60 days, I'm told.  It still is under way.  The coalition determined that it was inciting Iraqi citizens to violence by deliberately reporting false stories, which is a violation of the law that prohibits inciting civil disorder in Iraq at the present time.   More than a hundred papers have sprung up in Iraq. Most are covering events in a very responsible way.

 

            Now let's get a REAL editor or publisher.  (Laughs.)  (Laughter.) I hope your students are not watching.  (Laughter.)

 

            Q    I once taught at Ohio State, but I'm a working -- I'm a retired working newspaper man.  I'll try to start my question a little better.

 

            You have done an admirable job in changing our Army to fit present-day needs and circumstances.  My question:  How are you satisfied or not satisfied with the progress in the current war on terrorism and the needs to come?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, the Army is making significant progress, there is no question about it.  It, over a period of years, has been attempting to look forward and transform itself and move from an army that was basically oriented towards static defense in the Cold War period to one that is more agile and quicker on its feet, lighter, and more readily deployable.

 

            In terms of being satisfied, I guess I'm almost genetically impatient.  I always like things to go faster.  And we've got a terrific team of people working on these problems.  They are moving mountains literally; they're doing so many different things at once.

 

            Some people say how can you transform the services while you're simultaneously engaged in a global war on terror and battles in several countries?  And in my view, it actually provides an impetus to the kind of transformation that's necessary because more people can see faster the urgent need for us to in fact fix this enormous system we've got and make sure it's oriented to the threats of the 21st century instead of the 20th century.

 

            I look out at the kinds of capabilities we're facing, and they're substantial.  If you think about it, our Department of Defense was organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, big navies, and big air forces, and that's not what we're doing.  We are required to deal with terrorist networks.  We're required to try to cope with these large, ungoverned areas that increasingly exist in the world today.  We are doing it where the great advantage goes to the attacker.  A terrorist can attack anywhere at any moment using any technique, and there isn't any way in the world that it's possible for anybody or any collection of countries to defend everywhere at every moment using every technique.  That means the only choice you have is to go after them where they are, and that is a tough, tough job.  And it requires so much beyond the Department of Defense.  It requires all elements of national power, and it requires that we deal with a terrorist threat that can take all of our technologies -- whatever it is, computers, laptops, e- mails, wire transfers -- anything that modern technology has afforded us they can take and use against us without a single dollar expended.  It doesn't -- they didn't have to develop those things.  The Western world has developed many of those things.

 

            So it's a tough set of problems.  We are all in the Department recognizing that we've got to get up every morning and know that our job is not to try to connect the dots after there is a terrible disaster; our job is to try to connect the dots before there's another terrible disaster or disasters, plural.  And we can be absolutely certain that there are folks out there planning them as we meet here today.

 

            Question?

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Raise the hand for me.  Great!  I see you.

 

            Q     This is Derek Dunn-Rankin, the publisher of the Sun-Herald in Charlotte, Florida.  We read some encouraging news about how democracy is beginning to work into some of the smaller communities in Iraq at the local level, working with our forces and with local political establishments, where the contest across religious and tribal lines is not so great.  I don't get the same sense that we have an idea just how we're going to translate that to the national level, which is certainly a very complex job.  Where do you see that leadership coming at the national level?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  First, you're right; most of the people of Iraq are living under councils, whether it's at the provincial level or at the city level, all across the country.  The overwhelming majority have councils that are presiding over their affairs.

 

            The national level is, at the moment, clearly something that's in transition.  The 25-member Governing Council was appointed.  It has been functioning.  It has produced a Transitional Administrative Law, which is kind of like an interim constitution -- which is a good one.  It won't be the permanent one, but it is a good one.  It protects the rights of all the people in that country.  They've appointed ministers.  So they've got some accomplishments.

 

            Right now we're in a brief period of transition, between now and June 30th, where the United Nations representative, Mr. Brahimi, is working with Iraqis and with the Coalition Provisional Authority and the coalition countries to try to come up with a model or models, plural, that might be looked at as a receptacle, a vessel that we can transfer sovereignty to sometime between now and June 30th.  Change is always -- creates uncertainties.  And we're just in that difficult period.

 

            I guess one hope I would express is that if you go back and look at Afghanistan, they had no experience with this type of thing either. They ended up with something called the loya jirga, which most of the people in the world never heard of.  They produced out of nowhere a person named Karzai who became president, a transitional president of the country, and is doing a pretty darn good job.  They have ministries.  They have had a constitutional convention.  They're pointing towards an election.

 

            Now, will it all work out without bumps?  No, I think there are going to be bumps in the road for both of those countries.  It's a difficult thing for countries to go from a repressive dictatorship, where they're not allowed to think for themselves, not allowed to act for themselves, not allowed to engage in entrepreneurial activity on the economic side; basically were permitted to do only that which they were told to do, and now it's reversed, it's on its head.  Today they can do anything they want, except what they're told they can't do under the law.

 

            So they don't have experience with negotiations, particularly -- well, they do to some extent -- but compromise, a feeling of confidence that a piece of paper called a constitution can protect the rights of people who have fundamentally not agreed with each other, except at the end of a gun or a stick.

 

            So it is -- I know what you're saying, it is a period of uncertainty.  I can't tell you how it's going to sort through.  But they've got some wonderful people working on this.  No question Jerry Bremer's been terrific.  Other countries have people there who are helping.  The United Nations has people there that are helping.  And the good Lord willing, they'll find their way through this difficult patch and end up with a government that can put the responsibilities for the country back in the hands of the Iraqi people.  The one thing we know for sure, it will be an Iraqi solution, just as the Afghanistan constitution was an Afghanistan solution.

 

            Q     Secretary Rumsfeld, I'm Narda Zakeeno (ph) from the San Francisco Chronicle.  And I'd like to ask you a question about the draft.  I'd like to know if there are currently any Selective Service Personnel anywhere in the country who are working to possibly reinstitute the draft, if that's going to happen.  And if your answer to that question is going to be no, I'd like to know what the plans are for replenishing our troops, especially if more members leave our coalition.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  My answer is no; that I don't know anyone in the executive branch of the government who believes that it would be appropriate or necessary to reinstitute the draft.

 

            We have a very large population.  We have a relatively small military.  We have been very successful in recruiting and retaining the people we need.  There were a lot of difficulties with the draft, as people may recall.  A few of you are old enough to remember that. If you remember, there was a draft, but a relatively small number of people of that -- males, I should say; no females were drafted -- a relatively small number of the male population in that age group was ever drafted.  A large number were exempted because they were married or they were teachers or they were students or they were some other thing that the society decided to set aside and not draft.

 

            The result of it was that we conscripted people and trained them, and then they had relatively short periods of service.  And they did a great job.  But the task of training that large volume of people relative to the relatively small number who actually stayed in the service for a sustained period, from a cost-benefit standpoint, was useful to do during a certain part of our history, but we believe is not useful to do at the present time.

 

            And then the second part of your question was well, what are we going to do, how do we sustain a force we need to engage in the kinds of activities that our country's engaged in?  I mean, you think about it, we've got close to 2,000 people in Haiti, and they'll be there probably another month until the U.N. force replaces them.  We had some folks in Liberia, and we have people in Korea.  We have people in Bosnia and Kosovo -- Bosnia's running down this year -- to say nothing of the ones that I've mentioned involved in the global war on terror and elsewhere in the world.  So one can make the question, what do you do?  How do you sustain what you need to sustain?

 

            Let me put it this way.  General Schoomaker, the chief of staff for the Army, says think of a water keg that's that high.  And what we've got is we've got 1.4 million men and women in uniform on active duty, and if you add all the reserves -- the selective and the individual ready reserves -- it comes up over 2 million people.  So in this universe of the water keg are 2 million-plus; 2.3 (million), 2.4 million people.  All we're trying to do is sustain 135,000 in Iraq plus the other commitments I mentioned.

 

            Now, if that's a stress on the force, that probably means you've got to do one of three things.  You either have to increase the size of the water keg or you have to move the spigot down.  At the present time we're only accessing a very small portion of the two-plus million men and women in the active force and the reserves in our current deployments.  So the question is, why is that?  And the answer is because the spigot's too high.  We need to lower the spigot.  We don't need to get a bigger barrel.

 

            There isn't any reason in the world why we can't manage this force better with less stress on it, and it simply requires changing the rules, changing the requirements, changing the regulations in ways that we can manage that force considerably better.  And that is the process that the Army's engaged in.  They're doing an excellent job at it.  The chief of staff for the Army is hopeful that he's going to be able to, for example, go from 33 brigades up to 43 or 48 brigades without a permanent increase in the size of the force, and that's by better utilizing the people we have.  I don't know if he'll make it, but he's a terrific leader and he's working hard on it and he believes that's doable.  Well, now, that's a significant increase in combat capability.

 

            We have some 300,000, I'm told, men and women in uniform doing things that are tasks that need not be done by military personnel. Now why is that?  The reason we have military personnel doing tasks that are not military -- necessarily need to be military tasks is because we have, I don't know, dozens and dozens of different personnel systems and we're not capable of managing our civil service in a way that is efficient.

 

            So when a person in the Pentagon has a problem and they need someone to solve something, rather than reaching for a civil service person, they reach for a uniformed person because they can bring him on, they can send him away, they can deploy him, they can train him, and they can manage it in an efficient way.  Or they reach for a contractor.  They can sign a contract that fits the current needs, and they can stop the contract when they want it over.  So we end up with three hundred -- we're not using our civil service the way we ought to.  They're terrific people.  There isn't any reason, with the right rules under this new national security personnel system we just got, there isn't any reason we can't manage them better and use them properly and end up with some fraction of that 300,000 people in uniform that are doing civilian jobs, some fraction of those moved out of civilian jobs back into military jobs so that we'll have them available to reduce stress on the force.

 

            Question.

 

            Q     George Arwoody (sp).  I'm a publisher out in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Yesterday we heard from General Dempsey over satellite, and he suggested that human nature is different around the world, and that we need to train our future officers to understand that.  I wonder if you agree that people are really fundamentally different around the world.  And if not, how do you explain the terrorists' behavior that so many of our readers find unfathomable?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, there's no question but that people are different.  There are a lot of things that are similar, but there obviously are things that are different.  Cultures are different.  Histories are different.  Perspectives are different.  Fears are different, depending on experiences.  And General Dempsey, of course, is correct.  I think there are some things that are undoubtedly similar with all people.  Most people -- I can't say that I know this, but certainly I think most people want to see their kids grow up and live.  I think most people have some modest respect for human life.  Not everybody, obviously.  You can be trained to go out and kill innocent men, women and children.  We know there are thousands of people that have been trained in schools to go out and kill people.

 

            But General Dempsey's correct, the armed forces have got to simply do a better job of creating area specialists, people who spend a career knowing language, knowing cultures in different parts of the world, and are allowed to progress up the track and be rewarded for that competence and that knowledge rather than penalized because it seems to be kind of off of the normal flow of a military career.  So he's right, we need more language speakers, we need more people who have invested years in understanding different parts of the globe because our world clearly has shrunk, with communications and transportation the way it is.  We need to have people in our country, that cadre of people who have that background, that knowledge and that understanding.

 

            Question.  Yes?

 

            Q    Mr. Secretary, hi.  I'm Marilyn Thompson, currently with The Washington Post, about to move to Lexington, Kentucky, to be editor of the Herald Leader.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Oh.  I thought you were going to move The Post to Lexington.  (Laughter.)

 

            Q     (Laughs.)  No, I don't think so.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Oh.  I got that mixed up there.  (Laughter.)  Is Don Graham here?  Where is he?  Just kidding.  (Laughter.)

 

            Q     I have a question about the anthrax vaccine policy.  Senator Bingaman has written to you asking you to review this policy in light of the absence of -- the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and in light of the disparate treatment of soldiers across the nation who have refused this.  And I'm wondering what you're doing to review this policy, if anything, and if you feel that there should be a more uniform treatment of military personnel who refuse.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I take it the issue is that the armed forces had a procedure whereby people who were -- at least in the last three years -- people who were moving into combat zones where there was a concern about the use of chemical or biological weapons were required to have the anthrax shots.  And I believe that the policy which existed, and which I endorsed, was the right policy.  If you have a unit of people that are depending on each other and they have different skills, it puts everybody at risk to the extent you go into combat with some people having had the protection and other people not having that protection.  So the logic of it seemed to me to be sound.

 

            The concern that existed on the part of our armed forces about the use of chemical weapons was so great that our folks literally got into these protective suits every day in hot weather and performed their functions because they believed that that was the appropriate thing to do.

 

            Second, we found, as I recall, several thousand sets of Iraqi protective suits south of Baghdad -- I've forgotten the name of the city -- which indicates that they had prepared their forces to function in a combat zone where chemical weapons would be used.  We know they also used those weapons.  So it would seem to me -- the anthrax policy and the protective equipment, it seemed to me to be a proper decision.

 

            Herb.

 

            Q     Herb Klein, American Enterprise Institute and a former newspaper manager, though, Mr. Secretary.  I'd like to ask you about the future of training of our armed forces under the battles we now find themselves fighting.  It appears to me that we did a great job of training to use modern weapons, and that was the reason why we conquered Iraq so quickly despite all the predictions of the other side.  Now we're in a different type of situation, where we're really fighting guerrilla warfare in a modern age.  What kind of training is necessary to get our armed forces ready for that type of war?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  When I talk to the combatant commanders, they believe that this is a terribly tough type of conflict, this low- intensity conflict with spikes of a variety of techniques, whether it might be rocket-propelled grenades, it could be improvised explosive devices, it can be ambushes and the like, terrorist attacks, car bombs, that's a tough set of problems to cope with.  They feel, however, that they are trained.

 

            Now, not everyone is trained for everything in the military, but the combatant commanders that I talk to believe that -- for example, you take the Marines.  They have been trained, they believe, for urban warfare and for the kind of problems that they're facing.  It doesn't mean that you're going to be able to live through that in a perfect way without people being killed or without people being wounded, and the tragedy of the reality we live in is that that's happening. People are being killed and wounded, and God bless these wonderful young people.

 

            But I don't think that it's possible to train -- A, number one, to train everyone to do everything; nor do I think that the world is static.  What we're seeing is that terrorists are going to school on us, just as we're going to school on terrorists.  I was the Middle East envoy for President Reagan back in the early 1980s, after 241 Marines were killed at the -- in their barracks at the Beirut airport. And it was a truck bomb that came in and exploded and killed 241 American Marines.  So obviously, they started putting up these barricades like you see here in Washington around buildings, a perfectly responsible and logical thing do to.  Well then, you know, six months later, you go down on the Corniche in Lebanon, in Beirut, and what do you see?  You see people lobbing rocket-propelled grenades over the barricades.  If the barricades are there, they can't get a truck by, so they lob them over the top.  So you look and there's a building with a wire mesh hanging down on it to try to repel these rocket-propelled grenades so they couldn't blow up the building.  Perfectly logical thing to do.

 

            What happened next?  The terrorists started to hit soft targets going to and from the embassy, or to and from places downtown.

 

            So no matter what is done, a terrorist can always adjust their attack point and look for a vulnerability, look for a seam, which is -- which brings me back to what I mentioned earlier.  The only way to deal with this problem is to find the terrorists, to find the terrorist networks, to deal with the countries that are harboring terrorists.

 

            Because -- think of what you do every day.  Everything you do is based on trust.  It's based on your employees and your relationships. And you walk outside and you know you're not going to get shot, for the most part -- occasionally it happens in our country.  But you have a lot of confidence in your ability to contract with other people. All of -- our whole amazingly productive system we have is based on trust.  That makes us the most productive country on the face of the earth.  It also makes us the most vulnerable.  Because what is terrorism?  Terrorism's purpose is to terrorize, it is to make you fearful to the point that you alter your behavior.  And to the extent we think we can defend completely, I think we're wrong.  To the extent we think that we can engage in a separate peace with terrorists, I think we're wrong.

 

            It is going to require that we develop the skills to stop their financing, to make it difficult for them to raise money; to make it difficult for them to recruit, to find ways to persuade people that are being brought in this intake and trained to become terrorists and go out and kill innocent men, women and children, that we reduce the number of people going in that intake, that we find other ways for them to study something other than killing people -- language, mathematics, whatever; some way to provide for their families and make a living.

 

            But it is -- it is a problem that is the 21st century problem. It is a problem that's not going to go away fast.  It is a problem that we do not want to adjust to by giving up the thing that makes our country so special; that is to say the trust that we have in each   other and in our society, and the freedoms we have.  So we have to learn to live with this problem and develop the kinds of skills so that we can manage to find and deal with folks that are determined to terrorize us.

 

            Yes?

 

            Q     Mr. Secretary, I am not a correspondent for Al-Jazeera. That's the good news.  I may sound like one.  However, my situation is worse.  I am Arabic -- (inaudible) -- journalist teaching journalism at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.  My question is that in recent weeks, a couple of composers have come up with musical renditions of your speeches, classical and popular.  Now that this talent of yours has been discovered, what do you plan do to do with it?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  What was the last part of that?

 

            Q     What do you plan to do with this talent that has come out?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Are you talking about that silly compact disc that some opera singer sings my press conferences?

 

            Q     There is more than one.  (Chuckles.)

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Are there more than one?  (Laughter.)

 

            Someone gave me a copy of this thing, and here is this woman with a wonderful voice singing my press conference.  (Laughter.)  Now, if that doesn't tell you something about the state of the world! (Laughter.)

 

            Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

 

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