United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

Transcript


Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview with WEAT-FM Radio

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
November 15, 2002

(Interview with WEAT-FM Radio, West Palm Beach, Florida)

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: It's a pleasure to be here.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: I think we have. There are things to be afraid of but not to panic about it is exactly the right description.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: I think we are. I think we are braced for other things to happen. We've been very lucky since September 11th that there have been so few repetitions, although the two hundred and some Australians down in Bali were not so lucky. The dangers are still out there. It is very important not to panic because panic is one of the things that frankly the terrorists hope to instill and the more successful they are in instilling it the more it encourages them.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: It's my third tour in the Pentagon, yeah. It was a fighting spirit, frankly, that rebuilt the building in less than a year. But the workers were just fired up. It was their way of fighting terrorism and boy did they do a great job of it, including some large number of immigrant workers which is always inspiring and what this country was built on.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: It was inspirational. Someone said it was the only construction site they'd ever visited where everybody was working all the time.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: We're very excited that the President has set up a department to have this new crucial responsibility, and frankly part of it is there are some essential functions in homeland security that don't belong to the military. I think as a country we have an appropriate reluctance to see the military start to get into what are essentially domestic law enforcement issues. Security functions. But at the same time there's a new dimension here that's got to be addressed.

So we look forward to working closely with them. We have stood up a brand new military command called Northern Command. It's the first time in our history that we've had a military command responsible for the continental United States and that's to carry out the military functions that are necessary in support of homeland security.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: I feel it very strongly and I don't feel it is too black and white. It is wonderful to see our NATO allies coming to our defense. I don't know if your listeners realize it but through a large part of the last year we've had NATO AWACS helping to patrol the skies over the United States. After all these decades of expecting that we would come to the defense of our allies in Europe they came to our defense here at home.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: We do. We see it in very important things like reenlistment rates and recruitment and eagerness of young men and women to serve their country which is truly remarkable. But we're going to need it because this, as the President has said over and over again, is going to be a long struggle. It's going to be a difficult job rooting out this enemy, and we've got to do more than just root out the enemy. We've also got to work to change some of the conditions under which they breed. That's not going to happen in just a year or two years. It's a long project, unfortunately.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: There's no question he supports terrorism and there's no question that there are some links to al Qaeda. But I think the basis of what the main concern the President's had us focus on is what makes him so dangerous is the dimension of weapons of mass destruction. He already has chemical weapons and biological weapons in large quantities and it clearly wouldn't unfortunately take too much for him to have nuclear weapons, especially if he can get the materials from somewhere else. So that's what we're focused on right now is to try to achieve the disarmament of those chemical and biological and nuclear weapons. We're working through the United Nations to try to achieve that disarmament by peaceful means if possible. But the President's made it clear that if we have to do it by force, we'll do it by force.

I think frankly we have a much better chance of achieving a peaceful outcome because Saddam Hussein has got to understand that there is that forceful alternative.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: There's no question that achieving a peaceful outcome here is going to require his unconditional and unqualified cooperation with those weapons inspectors. That's going to be one of the ways we can determine whether or not he's actually giving up the terrible weapons he possesses.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: It is a completely different kind of conflict. I was going to say a completely different kind of war, but it's more complicated than a war in some ways. As horrible as war is, it's got a straightforward quality to it. In this case we've got to be cooperating with not only many different elements of our own government but we've got to be cooperating closely with other governments and other agencies of other governments. So we've had incredible cooperation of some 90 countries that are helping this war on terrorism.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: Oh, no. They have their own responsibilities, their own judgments to make and frequently their own sources of intelligence. And I think everyone has to understand that as hard as we try to know what's going on there is no such thing as perfect knowledge of what these terrorists do. I think it's more like observing an iceberg and what's underwater is not there by accident. It's deliberately hidden from our view by people who, as you know very well down here in Florida, use our own free society to hide and do their evil plotting. But we are making progress and if we have the perseverance and endurance, which I'm quite sure we do, the American people have shown it over and over again, there's no question who's going to win.

I thank you. This has been a good chance to share some views with your listeners, and frankly, it's a lot of fun to be down here in Florida. I appreciate it.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: And thanks to our men and women in uniform who are just magnificent. A lot of them live and work down here in Florida. They love working down here. It's a great state to be in. Thank you.

Q: [inaudible]

Wolfowitz: Thanks a lot. Bye bye.