Radio Interview with Secretary Rumsfeld on the Jim Villanucci Show, 770 KKOB, Albuquerque, NM
VILLANUCCI: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld joins us on 770 KKOB. Thank you for doing this, sir.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm delighted to. It's good to be back with you.
VILLANUCCI: Talk about the DOD's role in border security.
SEC. RUMSFELD: You bet.
The president is concerned about the border problems and made a decision that he would ask the Department of Defense and the National Guard to, for the first year, provide up to 6,000 National Guard people, and in the second year up to 3,000 National Guard folks.
And the states have responded very positively, and we now have, I believe, 6,340 Guardsmen in those four border states, including New Mexico. Of those, I think there are about 510 that are specifically in the border area of New Mexico. We have a number of people in the joint task force, a number of people who are in training and transition.
And of course they are not going to be performing Border Patrol responsibilities because they are not trained Border Patrol people, but they will be doing things like assisting with unmanned aircraft -- aerial vehicles and various types of planning and communications and things that they are trained to do that would then relieve a large number of Border Patrol -- trained Border Patrol people to be out doing the Border Patrol task.
VILLANUCCI: What is Operation Jump Start, exactly, sir?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, it's basically an effort, as I say, by the president to use some National Guard people during a brief period when the Border Patrol is going to go out and recruit and train people so that they can beef up their capability along our southern border.
VILLANUCCI: Did we get all the Americans out of Lebanon?
SEC. RUMSFELD: We have evacuated -- we used about, oh, I think it was six ships and about 6,000 military personnel, and in a matter of a very few days were able to move basically a city of 14,500 people out of there to other locations -- many back to the United States, some to Cyprus, some to Turkey.
Your question was, did we get all the Americans out? And the answer is no, there are a great many Americans in Lebanon who are dual-citizenship and have decided to stay, and there are some -- still others, dual-citizenship and American citizens, who got out by themselves beforehand.
Of course, the Department of State has told people for oh, I don't know, 15 years that they shouldn't travel to Lebanon, that it's a dangerous place. So a number of people didn't go in the first place. But people who did go who wanted out were offered an opportunity and have -- many, 14,000 -- I guess -- (14,)755 have actually been evacuated.
VILLANUCCI: What do you know about the latest long-term -- long-range missile strikes?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, not much, except they're basically Iranian missiles and they give 'em to Hezbollah, which is a terrorist organization, and Hezbollah uses the -- these missiles to fire at the Israelis.
VILLANUCCI: What's the status of the Iraqi government?
SEC. RUMSFELD: It is a government that's been elected by the people. It's elected under a constitution that the people wrote and ratified. It's a government for the first time that is in a position to actually be there for four years as opposed to the very temporary status that so many of the others had. And they have selected their Cabinet. They are working with a parliament that was elected by the Iraqi people. And they're -- they're proposing a reconciliation process, which is a good thing. They're very supportive of the Iraqi security forces, and they seem to be making some headway.
It's tough. It's a violent country and a difficult situation. But the new government's off to a decent start, in my view.
VILLANUCCI: We're talking to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on 770 KKOB.
Where are we at on the war on terror, big picture?
SEC. RUMSFELD: It is -- I think if you think of what's happening in Lebanon and Israel right now, you see the face of the beginning of the 21st century. You see people who are not organized in military units that we're used to seeing. They don't wear uniforms. They are not sponsored by -- correction, they are not part of a national military. Rather, they're a network and organization, a terrorist group. They're violent. They hide among innocent civilians -- men, women and children -- and then go about killing people, basically civilians but occasionally military people as well.
Hezbollah is a violent organization. It's been on the terrorist list for many years. It's killed a great many Americans over the years. And it is a difficult task. They completely ignore the laws of war. They are engaged in attempting to terrorize people and alter their behavior.
They use terror as a weapon. It is -- it means that those countries, like ours, that are organized to fight big armies, big navies and big air forces are going to have to recognize that to protect our people, we're going to have to be able to deal with these irregular types of war, have to deal with so-called asymmetric attacks that do not directly go after your army, navy or air force. It's going to be a long effort. It's going to be an effort that's global. It's going to be an effort that's going to require all elements of national power -- not simply the military, but also financial instruments and diplomacy and alliances with many other countries.
And the current battlefields are what you're seeing in Lebanon and Israel, clearly in Iraq and Afghanistan. And of course, we've seen these periodic attacks in London and Madrid and the United States and many other places -- Bali. And it is -- it is possible for people to blow up people -- innocent men, women and children -- and terrorists do that.
VILLANUCCI: We're talking to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. We have just a minute remaining.
Talk to me about the America Supports You program.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, thank you. You know, we've got so many wonderful men and women in uniform that serve around the world for us and defend our country and protect our country. The -- their families are back here, and what we've seen is just a wonderful outpouring of compassion and concern and caring for both the troops and for their families.
And so what the Department of Defense did was we created a website called AmericaSupportsYou.mil where anyone can look on there and see the many things that people are doing to help -- schools, corporations, organizations, individuals who have stepped up and provided support and assistance to the men and women in uniform overseas, but also to their families. And all of us in the Department of Defense are truly grateful.
VILLANUCCI: Anything specifically you'd like to say to the people in New Mexico? Have you been back lately?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, I haven't. I tell you, I love New Mexico and it's a great state, and we enjoy getting out there periodically. But unfortunately in the position I'm in here, I tend to go over to places like Afghanistan and Iraq and don't have an opportunity to get to New Mexico as often as I'd like.
VILLANUCCI: Are you still a Lobo fan?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Indeed. You betcha!
VILLANUCCI: All right. We'll see you in September, sir, and we'll bring some salsa.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Terrific. We look forward to it. Thank you.
VILLANUCCI: Thank you for doing this, sir.
SEC. RUMSFELD: You bet.
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