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Secretary Rumsfeld European Editors Roundtable

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
December 02, 2003

(Participating was Ambassador Nick Burns, NATO.)

 

            Rumsfeld:  Sorry I'm late.

 

            Q:  This is on the record?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh, my Lord [inaudible].  I find it a lot more informative off the record.  I do that in Washington with some folks from the press corps about once every quarter.  I find it vastly more interesting than on the record.  But of course it doesn't feed the desires -- You [inaudible].  Don't you find them better than on the record?

 

            Q:  [Inaudible]

 

            Q:  On the record and --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Both, I see.

 

            I don't know how to do this.  I'll be happy just to answer questions, or I can take five minutes and kind of summarize the -- and this is Nick Burns here, our Ambassador to NATO, if some of you don't know him.

 

            I thought it was a very successful meeting and an interesting meeting.  There were a good number of things that happened that were I think important.  One was I think we either did or are within inches of having completed the requirement for the NATO role in Kabul, Afghanistan.  And the trajectory or the direction is clearly aimed at expanding outside of Kabul for NATO.  And in each case in my view that's a good thing.

 

            I suspect also with respect to Afghanistan there will be some additional countries, both NATO and non-NATO, that will be moving into the Provincial Reconstruction Team area which we feel is an important thing.

 

            The Chemical and Biological Battalion was created, the commitments are there for standing it up, which is something new for NATO.

 

            Third, I felt we had very good discussions about preparations for the Istanbul Summit, and my impression is there are a number of things that are on track for that which will be good things.  Lord Robertson has been pushing hard on something that we've been working on in the United States and that's on the so-called usability issue and [inaudible] issue.  If people have whatever it is, 2.4 million men and women under arms in the non-U.S. portion of NATO and only a relatively small number are deployable or usable, if you will, and even a smaller number are useful on a short notice, that is fine in a different world but it's not fine in the 21st Century.  We're simply going to need capabilities that can be used in days and weeks, not months and years.  And NATO is focused on it.  I think that's a very good thing.  And it will be important for the relevance of this institution which I think -- I've always believed no one could create NATO today, and it has an enormous potential [inaudible] for the world.  It's important that they be relevant and there are two things that will do that.  One is the usability focus that Lord Robertson's pushed on; and the other is the NATO Response Force.

 

            The NATO Response Force is important -- First of all, we're making very good progress with it.  I proposed it a year ago.

 

            Voice:  A year and three months.

 

            Rumsfeld:  A year and three months.  And it's there.  The commitments to it are near complete for the first and second rotations and I think the third and fourth are filling rapidly.  It's importance will be that the phone will ring.  If you have something that can do something, someone will call.  If you don't, no one will call.

 

            People in this business want to be relevant and they want the phone to ring.  And so it's important. But it's probably even more important for another reason.  That is because to the extent countries get involved with it as they are, it's going to require that they back into their own systems the same kinds of reforms that we're trying to do in the Response Force.  They're going to have to see that their militaries are deployable, that they're flexible, that they have the kinds of capabilities that are going to fit the 21st Century instead of static defense type capabilities which are clearly less relevant in the period going forward.  So I think the NATO Response Force is an important thing.

 

            We had good meetings with the NATO/Russia Council; with the NATO/Ukraine Council.  We talked about Iraq and NATO has played a very useful role in supporting the Polish-Spanish, the multinational division in Iraq.  There is discussion, nothing committed or nothing even proposed, that the comments by various people other than the U.S., although we clearly were interested, [inaudible] about additional roles for NATO with respect to Afghanistan beyond the expansion outside of Kabul.  Some discussion by some about the possible additional role in Iraq that NATO might play at some point with respect to that division.  And we've already got 18 out of 26 NATO countries in Iraq.  And the ones that were there I think for the most part all indicated that the incidents that have occurred where people have been killed most recently have not dissuaded them from their [goal] [inaudible] or from their sustaining their [goals].  [Inaudible] and two or three others were [inaudible].  [Inaudible] were quite forceful on that subject in the immediate aftermath of the unfortunate casualties suffered [inaudible] September.

 

            With that I'll stop and answer questions.  Respond to questions.

 

            Q:  -- military force seems to from your comments yesterday to be softening your opposition or [inaudible] opposition to that previously [inaudible] criticizing [inaudible].  Is it true that your thinking on that is [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well, I don't know what I've said previously, but this is a moving target, if you will.  It's been evolving over time.  It started out, the [FTC], as new capabilities for Europe.  Military capabilities.  That's kind of fallen off.  Now we're talking basically about the same capabilities.  So the attraction initially was that.

 

            We then arrived over -- This has gone on over a long time.  It isn't as though it's a single thing that one comments on.  The comments have to relate to the current state of play.  If you'll think back to whenever it was, it seems like only yesterday that Berlin-Plus was fashioned after four and a half years of effort.  I kind of breathed a sigh of relief and said gee, that's not bad.  It isn't added capabilities, but it's a fairly reasonable approach, and it's sharply negotiated.  Then now what, eight, nine, ten, twelve months later we have a new iteration being proposed from the first one, since the end of Berlin-Plus.  There was [inaudible] in between, I guess.  That was something I'd forgotten.

 

            So you can't suggest that my comments ought to be identical through each iteration, if I may. 

 

            What do I think about it?  I think NATO is enormously important to the world.  I think that the fact that it's gone outside the NATO treaty area for the first time in its history, in many decades, is a big thing.  And the fact that it invoked Article 5 after September 11th was a good thing.  It couldn't be created today.  Anyone who wants to change it or tear it down or inject an instability into it has to recommend something better, it seems to me.  And any proposals that link to it ought to be tested against is it going to strength it or weaken it.

 

            So I kind of look at each new proposal with that view.  That template.  What's it going to do to that institution which has so much value, in my view, in a world that's dangerous and untidy and in a world that requires that countries work together.  If you think of the problem of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and technology to deliver them, and you take North Korea, for example, and their recent statements about what they do and what they'd like to do.  That's something that requires a lot of countries to get together and think about and deal with collectively, and NATO is a mechanism that is there, they are like-thinking countries, and so I test these ideas against that.

 

            I don't know what the current state of play is.  They're still under discussion.  And my hope is and my preference and my strong feeling is that the Trans-Atlantic relationship is one that the NATO Alliance thinks is important, and that Berlin-Plus is fresh and ought to be protected and not eroded.  And I don't know that that's any different view than I've had with respect to any other iteration.

 

            Q:  [Inaudible] [donor] support for the current iteration of the EU military capability [inaudible] Administration [inaudible]?   That the U.K. has supported that [inaudible] week ago, and [inaudible] great ally of the U.S..

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well they are a terrific ally and my impression of this is that it's [not set].  My impression is that it's above my pay grade at this stage in time.  That it very likely is going to get wrestled with at a level higher than the Ministers.

 

            Q:  It appears [inaudible].  Do you feel [inaudible] about the [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  When you talk to the United States Senate or when you talk to the American people, how do you feel?  They're all over the spectrum.  Take just Europe, your question.  There are a number of members of NATO that aren't in the EU.  There are people in the EU who have different views.  There are European countries outside the EU that have different views.  So there isn't a single perspective on this.  Therefore, it's hard to respond to the question that implies that there is a unified view, or at least [inaudible].

 

            Q:  Would it be that you were more subdued in your reaction to the European Union [inaudible] because you hoped a number of EU members would send troops to Iraq and especially the hope that at some point France would change its mind and provide troops in Iraq?

 

            Rumsfeld:  It has nothing to do with it.  Absolutely nothing.  This issue is something that is going to affect the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, how it's handled, over the coming decades.  It is a critically important question that doesn't begin and end with this.  It is a process that we're going to go through.  As Europe evolves, as NATO evolves, we have to manage it in a way that NATO remains strong and healthy.

 

            Look, on Iraq or Afghanistan we said from the beginning we'd like everyone involved.  We went out to something like 100 nations and said let's help.  We went to the U.N., we went to NATO.  We've got whatever it is, 34 countries helping in Iraq, and 26 or 27 helping in Afghanistan.  With troops.  Not money and humanitarian assistance and various other things.  But you don't trade off -- Everything isn't negotiable.  You would not trade off getting more troops for Iraq or Afghanistan for something that would fundamentally affect the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, if that's your question.  Was that right?  Did I get it right?

 

            Q:  [Inaudible]

 

            Rumsfeld:  No, absolutely not.  It isn't even on the radar screen.  This is an issue that has to be addressed apparently every year in a manner that firms up the decisionmaking, ends up leaving a stronger NATO.  And as we go through this every year, however often it seems to come up, there are going to be 20 issues that come along like Iraq of Afghanistan or whatever.  Galileo.  I could name 15 different issues that come along.  But any one who suggests that is very wide of the mark.

 

            Q:  The [inaudible] Defense Minister said in an interview --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Who did?

 

            Q:  The [inaudible] Defense Minister said no money, no troops.  It's a total failure for Europe.  Regarding  Iraq.  No money, no troops.  That's the European policy for Iraq until now.  That is Martino speaking.

 

            Rumsfeld:  -- believes in this.

 

            Q:  Yeah, he said that.  I'll give you the statement.

 

            He said why don't we try to --

 

            Rumsfeld:  First of all there is money from NATO countries for Iraq.

 

            Q:  He was referring to the European Union --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh.

 

            [Sirens and inaudible back and forth and laughter]

 

            Q:  SO he said why don't we --

 

            Rumsfeld:  You're talking about Iraq.

 

            Q:  Yes.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I see, I see.  Yes, he could very well have said that.  The EU did come up with some money for us in Iraq.  $200 million or something like that.  And in terms of [inaudible], I don't want to criticize my friends in the EU and I won't, but for the sake of accuracy sometimes people summarize and I have a feeling he was summarizing because the EU did come up with a couple of hundred million.  I don't know if [inaudible].  I always found there's a difference.

 

            And they have come up with troops.  My goodness.  Show me a list of who's in the EU and we can tell you which ones have already got troops in there.

 

            Out of the NATO countries and the invitees, what is it?  Eighteen out of 26 are in there, in Iraq.

 

            Q:  No troops from old Europe.  No money from old Europe.  [He was] speaking about old Europe, Mr. Secretary.

 

            Rumsfeld:  There are troops from Europe, from the -- If you take old NATO when I was there in '73 and '74, there were 15 countries.  Now you've got all the Eastern European countries being added in.  Most of them are participating, the Eastern European countries, the ones from the Warsaw Pact area.  But if you take the original NATO you've got, most of them are there.  You've got [inaudible], you've got Denmark, you've got Netherlands.  You people sometimes summarize also and it seems to me what you said is so much more wrong than right in terms of the countries.  Italy.  There are only a couple that aren't.  Four, five.         OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS

 

Rumsfeld:  Now I'll go back on the record.

 

            Q:  I understand.

 

            Q:  Let us have that one on the record.

 

            Rumsfeld:  No!  That was off the record.  [Laughter]

 

            Q:  [Inaudible] old Europe, old European Union --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Let's go back off the record again. 

 

            Q:  Let's go on --

 

            Rumsfeld:  All right.  We're back on the record.  I apologize.

 

            Q:  Would you wish that Germany had troops in Iraq?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Why else would we have come to NATO and said in February, or before the Iraq war, why would we have come to NATO and said to NATO countries that we would like NATO and their individual participation if we would not have liked them?  The question is mind-boggling.  It's like the people who say why do you go it alone?  We're not going it alone.  We've got 34 countries in Iraq.  We've got 90 countries in the global war on terror coalition.  It's the biggest coalition probably in the history of the world.  Certainly we would like countries.

 

            Now, that goes to the second question which was brought up earlier.  How do you feel when a country doesn't participate?  That's the next question, right?  And the short answer to that is every country's got to make that decision for themselves.  It does not make us happy or sad.  It is a reality. 

 

            If we expect countries to make decisions that they believe to be in their interests, and each country has a different history, it has a different political circumstances, they have different current things that are affecting what it can do and what it can't do, and we recognize that.  We're realistic about it.  It is not something that changes our attitudes about those countries, it's just the way the world is.

 

            So when someone says gee, we'd like to help out with money, we say great.  They say we'd like to help out with humanitarian assistance, and we say great.  They say they'd like to help out with troops, we say terrific.  That's a tough decision, it takes political courage, it takes personal courage for the people [inaudible] if it's a dangerous place and we admire it and we respect that.  But we don't expect every country to agree or disagree.

 

            Q:  Do you still expect that there might be a chance of convincing France and Germany to send troops?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't have any idea in the world what they'll ultimately decide.  It is entirely up to them. 

 

            Q:  [Inaudible] convince them [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  What are you trying to do, set us up for failure?  [Do you think] they don't know that we're out raising other countries' forces and assisting them and encouraging them and every other country?  OF course they know. They're going to decide what they want to decide.  We're not going to have that affect everything else like you suggested, could it affect the FCP [inaudible]?  No.  They're going to do what they think is right and that's it.

 

            I know what I think is right and the countries that are the 34 countries that have committed know what they think is the right thing for them.  And every other country has to decide what they think is the right thing for them.  And that's fair enough.  And that's the world.  You get up and you deal with the world as you find it.

 

            Q:  If I can ask you to be philosophical, and this is reflective of part of your answer to other questions.  [Inaudible].  Why do you think that [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  First of all I don't think about it at all.  First of all, I'm in a job that's a tough job.  It is not a position where you -- It's not as though you're Santa Claus giving away things and making people happy.  You're in a job that is tough.  It takes tough decisions.  So you don't expect to find unanimity.  But coming from a democracy, I don't expect unanimity anyway.  When I deal with the Congress -- When you look at how the votes go, it's 300 for this and 250 for that.  That's the way it works.  [Inaudible] come from a country where there's free press.  My own country there's a press that has a variety of views on most people in public life.

 

            As a person who lived in Europe and recognizes the fact that if you look down from Mars on the world there are only so many countries in the world that share our general views and values in terms of how to arrange themselves politically, in a free political system, and how we arrange ourselves and our economies with free economic systems, reasonably free economic systems, and countries that have an interest in going around and copying other nations, but rather looking to have a stable, peaceful world.  We try to contribute to that.

 

            The bulk of those countries are in North America and Europe and Northeast Asia.  I don't want to be exclusive, but the majority -- an awful lot of the countries are in this NATO entity that exists.  And obviously that's important.

 

 

            Q:  If I can follow up briefly, since you asked about [inaudible].

 

            Rumsfeld:  I saw a picture today of me that was just unbelievably bad. It was amazing.  Talk about photojournalism.

 

            Q:  [Inaudible] all the criticism of the U.S., [inaudible] honed in on you.  Are you taking kind of a softer, gentler tone, a softer, gentler Defense Secretary, that maybe in your comments you're not as critical as you were in terms of [inaudible] countries as you said earlier about the EU defense capabilities?  Are you kind of softening the tone both personally and as representing the Bush Administration?  In part because --

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't think so.  Jim, do you think so?  I don't think I've calibrated --

 

            Voice:  [Inaudible]

 

            Rumsfeld:  He sees me every day, or at least every month.  I don't have any sense that I have.

 

            Q:  You didn't come here with any mandate to not be quite as outspoken as you have been in the past?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh my goodness, no.  It never crossed my mind, as a matter of fact. 

 

            Q:  Or is it that you're getting softer because of your age? [Laughter]  Maybe because you get into [inaudible] as the possibility of losing the war against terrorism.  You have this [inaudible] level where you were wondering whether the U.S. was winning or losing.  I would think that you might be losing.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I have been writing memos like that for 71 years I think, since I learned to write.  I've been doing that every month or two in the Pentagon since I came back to government in January of '01.  That memo was nothing distinctive.  That's how I think.  I sit down.  I do it in meetings.  I ask a whole series of questions of the people who work with me.  Every once in awhile I'll sit down like I did that night and write a memo like that and talk to people along with it.  It happened that day I was on a secure video with a whole bunch of our combatant commanders and I was listening to them.  And those questions started coming into my mind.  I worry about things in terms of do we have it right?  Do we have the right message?  Are we thinking about it correctly?  Is it changing since we made some judgments?  That's my job.  That's what I've got to do.  That's what a person in a leadership position and an important agency or department has to do.  I did the same thing in the private sector, in the pharmaceutical business.

 

            No.  The answer to your question is no. 

 

            The things that get to my level aren't easy or they would have been decided five levels down.  I'm not genius.  I have to ask questions.  I have to find people who you can talk to and discuss things with in a way that it adds knowledge and light and information and illumination to something.  And then you recognize that these decisions aren't 90/10 or 100/0.  They're 60/40 decisions and 55/45 where you have to think about it carefully and you talk to people about it and you ask questions.  And there's not a thing different about the way I approach things today than there was two years ago when I came back from what I was doing in business.  That memo is not [inaudible] any changed views, it's [inaudible] a behavior pattern that's been mine for as long as I've been managing things.

 

            Q:  [Inaudible].

 

            Q:  If I had [inaudible].  You had the pleasure of [inaudible], and you read that [inaudible] the U.S. is [inaudible], we're losing in Iraq.  [Inaudible] positions have been proved right or wrong.  [Inaudible] the U.S. is winning in Iraq [inaudible] the battle?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh, my goodness.  There's no question but that I've told the people who read this thing that clearly it tends to be very strongly anti-U.S..  Not just me, but anti whatever we're doing at any given time.  I don't know if that's true because I don't read it.  I don't have time to do it.  But people say that it is strongly opposed to a lot of things that the United States does.  That's too bad, and maybe we ought to try to do a better job of communicating.  But it's what you have to do.  You have to get up in the morning. And just like we respect other countries making their decisions, we have to get up and make our decisions as to what we think is the right thing to do, and we do.

 

            Q:  Has the U.S. [Senate] recognized that this opposition, this public opinion position [inaudible] to the extent that you changed course in Iraq?  You've changed strategy.

 

            Rumsfeld:  What strategy?

 

            Q:  The political one.  You decided to speed up the transfer of power.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I suppose someone could say that's a change in strategy but I wouldn't say it's a change in strategy.  It seems to me that what took place was we went in there with a coalition wanting to transfer responsibility and sovereignty and security responsibility to the Iraqi people.  And the question was when could you do it, how fast could you do it, what's the situation on the ground?  And the first step was to form a Governing Council that would define some sort of a plan ahead.  And just to take the political piece of it, the security side of it.  Develop Iraqi security forces that you could begin to pass responsibility to.

 

            The goal is not to stay there, notwithstanding what the press wrote about wanting to go in there for oil, or wanting to occupy or something.  That's just nonsense.  The United States doesn't want to do that at all.  We want to do what we need to do and leave, and leave it on a path that makes sense for the Iraqi people and for the region.

 

            So what do you have to do?  The first thing you have to do, they formed a Governing Council, an Iraqi Governing Council.  Twenty-five people, 24 or 25, and then you start listening to them.  They have different views. 

 

            Rumsfeld:  Now we're back on the record.  [Laughter]

 

            Q:  What about the charge that [inaudible] you're losing ground in Washington regarding Congress and the White House.  That you're less in the loop than you used to be regarding Iraq.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I am?

 

            Q:  Yes.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh, come on.  The President's in charge of this thing.  My hope is -- Let's go back off the record.

 

OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS

 

            Rumsfeld:  Those kinds of questions?  Abizaid and I meet with the President regularly.   His view is identical to ours, and that is essentially this, and we can go back on the record with this.

 

            With respect to the security situation the President's view and my view is that we are happy to put in as many U.S. troops as is necessary to do the job.  And to keep them there as long as it's necessary to do the job.  And that the statement you made or the question you posed about do we have enough troops or should there be more or less, we do not have a single military commander that I know of in the top several layers who believe that we should increase the number of troops.  If we did, we would do so.  The President [inaudible].  Our military commanders have concluded that the total number of troops should increase, and as a result the total number of troops have increased.  They've increased almost every month.  Despite the fact that, I should say every month -- clearly since July or August the number of troops have increased every month.  And U.S. troops have gone from 150,000 down to about 127,000.  Bang.

 

            So we've gone from 150 down to about 127.  Coalition troops have stayed about level.  Iraqi troops have gone from zero up to I think 145,000.  They're now the largest security component in the country.  They're going to have to keep going up.  

 

            To go right to your question, several of the commanders have sent troops home.  They are convinced that the patrols are better done by Iraqis or jointly with coalition forces.  The number of incidents that occur in a given week or month, they last generally about a minute or two, and at the most 10 or 15 minutes.  And we've got a total of 140,000 Iraqis, we've got 127,000 of ours, another tens of thousands of coalition, and whatever that adds up to, 300 plus, 250,000 to 300,000.  They're not military assignments for all of them.  What are they doing?  They're basically doing, in the case of the Iraqis they're doing border patrol, they're doing site protection, they're doing police work, they're creating a presence of police.  Our folks are spending the overwhelming majority of their time fixing generators, opening schools, opening hospitals, doing clinics, working with the local population on a variety of things like that.  They're not out doing military tasks except for a relatively small fraction [inaudible].  Why?  Because what you've got is a low intensity conflict.  You don't have a high intensity conflict.  You've got a bunch of terrorists.

 

            Q:  [Inaudible] all the negative application of [inaudible].  Do you think this could bring trouble to the President's [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't do politics.  [Laughter]  The President was elected.  He in my view is doing an excellent job.  And he got broad and deep support in the Congress.  He understands the importance of what's being done, and he intends to complete it and to do it well.  And one has to expect that if we're in a period where lots of people are criticizing, that we're going to end up with varying views in the polls.  Polls are going to go up, polls are going to go down. That's life.  And what's important is that we're doing the right thing, and how does it come out, and I think that he is determined and he is convinced that this is the right thing for the 50 million Iraqis and Afghan people, what he's doing.  That it is the right thing for the region.

 

            I was in South Korea last week.  A woman I'm going to guess was 40, 45 obviously, [inaudible] Korean War 50 years ago said to me why should South Koreans go to -- We're back on the record, obviously.  Why should South Koreans go to Iraq and put their lives at risk and get wounded or killed?

 

            I said that is a very good question.  I said that I had just gotten an honors ceremony and a memorial for the Korean War and I looked on the wall and there was the name of a pal of mine from high school who had been killed the last day of the war.  I said to her, I said you know, that question would have been a fair question for an American to ask 50 years ago.  Why in the world should an American go all the way over to the Korean peninsula and get wounded or killed?  I said look out the window.  I'll tell you why.  Look out there, what do you see?  You see electricity, you see [energy], you see cars, you see an economic miracle.  And at the demilitarized zone with a satellite shot at night you see success south of the DMZ and you see nothing but [silence] and blackness except for one pinpoint of light in Pyongyang.  That's all you see from a satellite in the Korean peninsula north of the DMZ.  People are starving.  They've lowered the height requirement to get in the North Korean military down to 4'10" because people don't get enough nourishment.  And the people going in the army in North Korea look like they're 12, 13, and 14 instead of 18, 19 and 20.  It's a country that's out proliferating ballistic missile technology, threatening to sell fissile material.  And this relatively intelligent journalist who wasn't alive then obviously doesn't get it.

 

            Those people north of the DMZ are living in a tragedy.  They're in concentration camps.  The food that's going in from the world is not getting to the people.  It's getting to the [inaudible].  And south of that the same people with the same geography with the same [inaudible] have a vibrant, energetic economy.  They have an energetic democracy. It's a success story.

 

            Q:  In other words, you will win the war in Iraq and the President will win the reelection?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't do politics.  You don't get it, do you?  You just keep coming at it.  You just keep coming at me.

           

            I don't know.  All I know is that he is convinced that he's doing the right thing and I believe it without any question, that this is a worthwhile thing to be doing, that it's an important thing to be doing, and it's a lot better to be dealing with the terrorists that we're dealing with there, the Ansar al Islam, the al Qaeda.  We don't have a dictator in there creating mass graves and filling them with tens and tens of thousands of Iraqi people.  We don't have a dictator in there that uses chemical weapons on its own people and on its neighbors.  That the Iraqi people have at least a chance to get on a path that will be vastly better for them and vastly better for the region and that's a good thing to be doing.  And it's not necessarily going to be readily apparent to everyone at the same moment.

 

            And also, people don't have long memories.  Here's this perfectly intelligent woman who works in a free country for a free newspaper asking that question.  All she had to do was look out the window and see the difference.

 

            Q:  You mentioned nuclear proliferation.  A quick question about Iran.  Are you at all disappointed, or [inaudible] the French and Germans [inaudible] Iran with [inaudible]?  Is there something that [inaudible], naive?  What's your view on that?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I dropped out of law school years ago but that could be called a leading question.

 

            My impression, and I'm not an expert on this, but my impression from basically press reports is that they in effect acknowledged to the U.N. that they had been doing something for many many many years that was different from what they had been saying they were doing with respect to their nuclear activities.

 

            If you think about the country they've got a great deal of oil and natural energy.  They probably are burning off, wasting that is, more energy than the Bucher reactor would produce.  So one looking at it from outside would have to say why are you doing that if you're wasting more than that would produce?

 

            I think it's a good thing that the U.N. is inspecting.  I think it's a good thing that however it may happen, and I think I know how it happened, that the U.N. inspectors [inaudible] the IAEA concluded that they had not been getting the full story.  I think it's a good thing that they think they are now getting a fuller story. Let's put it that way.

 

            What that means, I guess I don't know.  We had similar understandings, if you may recall, with North Korea.  An Agreed Framework that they wouldn't do certain things, and within recent months they've announced to the world that they have in fact been doing those things that they had agreed they would not do.  I think there's the North/South Agreement, there's the IAEA, and there's the Agreed Framework.  There were [inaudible] agreements that they announced they were not adhering to.

 

            What does that mean?  That means the world's got a problem.  The United States has got a problem, the world's got a problem.  How are we going to think, how are we going to feel, what are we going to do that can make a difference if we're living in a world that has whatever number more nuclear powers?  And some of those countries are states that are on the terrorist list.  And I think that's the issue that is before the world.  And the world has to say well, how do we feel about that if there are one, two, three, four, five, however many countries five, ten, fifteen years from now that have a nuclear power that are countries that have been over the same period of time on the terrorist list?  And is that good or bad?  What do they then do in terms of proliferating even further those technologies?  What kind of a world does that make?

 

            I think if you think about it you'll understand why President Bush went to the world and talked about the counterproliferation and is urging other countries to think through that.  It's a very fundamental issue.  And see if we can't put some arrangements in place in a way that that could be effective in a way that would be favorable to civilization.

 

            Q:  Mr. Secretary, just give us a --

 

            Rumsfeld:  I've got to go.  This is the last question. 

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