Press Availability with Secretary Rumsfeld at the Pentagon after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
Press Availability with Secretary Rumsfeld at the Pentagon
Q Mr. Secretary, can you just give us two minutes? Can you tell us a little bit about your meeting?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Two minutes?
Q Starting right now.
Q Starting now.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Now! (Laughter.)
Q How many more troops are going into Baghdad total? And Iraq?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I saw the number, and it's not in my head. But Eric can give it.
Q A hundred? A thousand?
SEC. RUMSFELD: It's a -- there are more Iraqi troops that will be going into Baghdad than U.S., but both will be going in in fairly good numbers, more than hundreds.
Q About four hundred --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm not going to do numbers.
Q Get another question --
SEC. RUMSFELD: He'll get them for you. We know them, and he can get them for you. And it's -- it's a temporary situation.
Q Can you tell us a little bit more about what you talked about?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Did not come up with me. I'm sure it did with the president.
Q Mr. Secretary, what else can be done in Baghdad and in Iraq to stem the violence? It seems like we've tried everything and it still seems to go on.
SEC. RUMSFELD: The -- let me just say a word or two. We had -- first of all, we had an excellent meeting. I've met with him now a number of times over the many months since he's been selected -- designated as prime minister. He is very focused on -- clearly on the Baghdad situation, and he recognizes that it is not a military problem as such; it is a combination of political and military and economic, as we've said all along. And he has a very clear understanding of insurgencies and the types of violence that's occurring, and that there are people who are determined to try to improve their circumstance in that country at the -- to the detriment of other elements within the country, and they are using violence to try to do that. And he recognizes that while the military side or the security side is not the total answer, he does recognize that it's part of the answer. And as a result, he and General Casey have been in very close consultation about increasing the size of the security forces there and simultaneously pursuing the reconciliation process, which is what we had a good talk about how he plans to do that.
Q Did the issue of immunity for U.S. troops --
SEC. RUMSFELD: No.
Q -- who are accused of crimes --
SEC. RUMSFELD: No.
Q How about the issue of amnesty for --
SEC. RUMSFELD: No.
Q Any plans to deploy additional U.S. troops to Iraq?
SEC. RUMSFELD: When we have anything to announce, we'll announce.
Q Mr. Secretary, given the conditions on the ground --
SEC. RUMSFELD: If and when, I should say.
Q -- would you sort of expect (a huge ?) -- (off mike) -- remain about the same -- (off mike)?
SEC. RUMSFELD: No. I think it's reasonable to expect that U.S. troop levels and coalition troop levels will be determined based on the conditions on the ground, and I thought I'd said that before. Haven't I said that once or twice?
Q (Off mike.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: You keep asking the same question the wrong way. Why do you do that? (Laughter.)
Q (Off mike) -- give me an answer.
SEC. RUMSFELD: (Laughs.) The answer is the truth, and the truth is it's going to depend on the situation on the ground.
Q Is the country closer to a civil war?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I don't know. You know, I thought about that last night, and just musing over the words, the phrase, and what constitutes it. If you think of our Civil War, this is really very different. If you think of civil wars in other countries, this is really quite different. There is -- there is a good deal of violence in Baghdad and two or three other provinces, and yet in 14 other provinces there's very little violence or numbers of incidents. So it's a -- it's a highly concentrated thing. It clearly is being stimulated by people who would like to have what could be characterized as a civil war and win it, but I'm not going to be the one to decide if, when or at all.
Q Did he ask for any specific help --
SEC. RUMSFELD: He did. He did. He -- I shouldn't say specific -- well, fairly specific. He and General Casey and General Dempsey have been working through a plan through this joint committee for the way forward with this new government, the new ministers, and they have fashioned a proposal which calls for some increases in Iraqi security forces, a slight change in the mix, and some changes in the Ministry of Interior approach I think is the word.
He is focused very much on the reality, as we've discovered, that intelligence is central to success in this effort. It is -- it's not as though you're competing against big armies, navies and air forces where you can go out on the street and find the "enemy," quote/unquote, to go tackle because when you go out in the street, they disappear.
And so it is -- it is a situation that requires a healthy intelligence capability, the support of the Iraqi people, the linkages between the intelligence community and the Ministry of Defense forces and the Ministry of Interior forces and coalition forces. And so strengthening the ministries is important.
And General Dempsey and Casey and the prime minister and his team have a joint plan as to things that they believe need to be done to calibrate the security forces, and he asked that we be supportive of that, and we agreed to be with him.
So that was well in excess of two minutes, and nice to see you all.
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