Remarks by Secretary Rumsfeld at the Landon Lecture at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.
Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
November 09, 2006
SEC. RUMSFELD: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you very much. I appreciate that. (Applause.)
General Dick Myers, thank you so much for those words.
And ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for that very warm welcome.
Later today, we'll be attending the dedication of a building here at Kansas State in General Myers' honor, which is a well-deserved tribute to one of this university's most distinguished alumni. Dick and Mary Jo were college sweethearts. They were married on this campus.
And my wife Joyce and I go back even farther. We met in high school and have been married some 52 years. (Applause.) Someone asked Joyce one day, how in the world did you stay married to that guy for 52 years? She very quickly said he travels a lot. (Laughter.) I thought she was kidding. (Laughter.)
Well, Dick Myers has traveled a good bit himself, and I'm sure Mary Jo would never say something like that. (Laughter.) Over the years, Dick and Mary Jo have been through countless moves. They've traveled places across the globe to serve our country. But I can tell you that their hearts have always belonged to Kansas. And I think -- I think everyone here would agree that they have done Kansas proud. Indeed, they have done our nation proud. (Applause.)
President Wefald, Mr. Reagan, Mr. Seton (ph), I certainly appreciate this invitation.
I hope all of you appreciate how I have managed so skillfully public affairs for this event. (Laughter.) I wanted to put the Landon Lecture on the map, so I did my best! (Applause.) I'm glad I could help out. (Laughter.)
It was Nancy Kassebaum, Alf Landon's daughter, who first talked to me about coming to do this lecture. And it was in Japan when her husband, Howard Baker, was the ambassador. And I said I'd really like to do it, and I'm glad I could be here.
Mr. Adams and members of the faculty -- Lucas, president of the student body -- is that what it's called? How did you do it? (Laughter.) It was easy, huh? Well, congratulations to you.
Congressman Moran, it's good to see you. I want to thank you for being here and for your service to the country.
We're also very honored to have a very special veteran with us here, born in Manhattan, a hero of the battle of Normandy, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Walter Ehlers. Where is Walter? (Applause.)
General Petreaus, General Ham, thank you both for your superb service to the country. And certainly a very special greeting to the men and women here from Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, the Kansas State Army and Air Force ROTC cadets, volunteers all. We are deeply grateful to each of you for your service to the country and for your commitment to the defense of our nation.
I would start on a personal note. My time as secretary of Defense, I've come away truly inspired by the professionalism, the dedication, the dignity of the men and women in uniform and the folks at the Department of Defense who work every day to help keep the American people safe. When I was in Afghanistan not long ago, a young soldier told me -- he said, I really can't believe we're allowed to do something this important. You know, I feel the same way. I'm so honored to have had the opportunity to be part of something so important, so vital to the future of our country and to the cause of human freedom. It has been the highest honor of my life to serve our country and to work so closely with our outstanding troops.
It's a pleasure to take part in this lecture series, named for a governor, a presidential candidate and a statesman of great civility. But I guess that perhaps what he was most proud of was that he was a Kansan, and he said so frequently.
It's said that the geographic center of the 48 states is here in Kansas, and that's fitting. If you think about it, this part of the world has given our nation some of the truly great leaders of the last century: Governor Landon; along with him was General Dwight Eisenhower from Abilene; Bob Dole from Russell; Harry Truman, who lived next door in Missouri. One of Ronald Reagan's biographers said that he really never understood President Reagan until he went to Illinois and experienced firsthand where President Reagan had grown up.
These individuals embodied the values instilled in the sons and daughters of this part of the Great Plains and Midwest. Here, folks tend to have a good perspective about things, about the difference between right and wrong. They've grown up with an appreciation for the splendor and the decency of America and of the American people.
Well, we meet today at a time of peril for our nation and for the principles that it represents. In a sense, this is not new. In different ways at different times and from different sources, our nation and our values have been threatened since our very beginnings as a country. But today, in the first war of the 21st century, we face an enemy that in many ways is unlike any our country has ever faced in our long history. We're engaged in a new and unfamiliar war that is even today not yet well understood. It's a struggle that will require all of us -- our country, our government, our military, and the American people -- to think and act differently than we have in other conflicts. And I want to spend a few minutes talking about this challenge before responding to some questions.
I'm told that Kansas State has a Cold War studies program that examines the history of the long twilight struggle. Well, like the Cold War, this era finds America and our allies in a struggle against an ideology of global reach. And like the Cold War, this era requires us to adapt and adjust our strategies, our way of thinking and our institutions.
Forty years ago, Governor Landon spoke about the challenge of that era and the need to face what he called the new realities of international life. When he spoke in 1966, there was most certainly no assurance that America would prevail against the Soviet Union. That year, the number of troops in Vietnam nearly doubled, to more than 300,000, in an increasingly divisive conflict. No less than seven violent coups occurred around the world that year. There was doubt and division, even among our allies, even within our own country. France pulled out of the NATO defense structure and invited NATO out of France.
When I was U.S. ambassador to NATO, I had to race back to Washington to testify before a U.S. Senate committee against an amendment -- a Senate amendment -- that proposed to withdraw all of our forces from Western Europe. Euro-communism, the so-called "good communism," was very much en vogue. It was popular. Many of the so- called elites in our country argued that America was the problem, not the Soviet Union; that the arms race was a big misunderstanding. Millions of people demonstrated and marched not against the Soviet Union, but against the United States and our European allies. We tend to forget that. Almost until the day of its demise, many argued that communism was the wave of the future.
President Reagan used to tell a story of a young Soviet who finally saved up enough money to buy a car, and the Soviet clerk stamped the man's paper and told him he would get his car in 10 years. The young man asked, will it come in the morning or the afternoon? (Laughter.) The clerk, astonished, responded, well, what difference does it make? And the young man replied, because the plumber's coming in the morning. (Laughter.) The great lesson of the Cold War is that totalitarianism, ruled by fear and terror in whatever guise it takes, ultimately does not work. And when people finally realize that truth, those systems tend to collapse.
Today marks the 17th anniversary of the breach of the Berlin Wall, the most visible symbol of the end of an era and of a bankrupt ideology. When thousands of Berliners climbed over that wall to reunite with friends and family that they had been separated from for decades, they went in one direction: they went west, to the free world, and they vividly understood exactly what it was that they had been fighting for all those years.
There are some similarities between the Cold War and the struggle we face today, but this long war represents and presents unprecedented challenges for us wholly unlike any that the United States has ever faced. There can be no doubt but that the murderous communist regimes imprisoned, starved and sometimes massacred their own citizens. We know that. But they were nation-states. They had capitals. They had laws. They had five-year plans. They had diplomats to sign agreements, even if they broke them.
Unlike the Cold War, our enemy has no state and no territories to defend. They murder innocent Muslim civilians by the thousands -- men, women and children alike. The enemy cannot be deterred through rational self-interest. Today's threats come less from nation-states, but rather from enemies that operate in the shadows, that strike through asymmetric and irregular means.
On September 11th, we saw the deadly effects of this new type of warfare. Armed with $5 box cutters, 19 hijackers killed 3,000 Americans and inflicted hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the insurgents fashion deadly IEDs and road bombs using propane tanks and garage-door openers. Nations like Iran and Syria seek to undermine U.S. and allied interests by moving weapons and money and terrorists and insurgents. In the future, there could be attacks on computer networks, water supplies, communications systems.
Our military was organized, trained and equipped largely for conventional warfare, not asymmetric or irregular warfare. In fact, for much of the past century, the U.S. armed forces operated essentially as separate and sometimes even competing branches of service. In 1986, Congress passed legislation to restructure the military into a more joint force. Since then, our military has been learning to fight and learning well how to fight in a single, coordinated force. That reform of the military has been one of their most impressive achievements.
But to win this global struggle against violent extremists, all elements of national power, all agencies of government, as well as a broad coalition of nations, will have to be brought to bear more effectively. To the extent possible we can no longer afford to have Defense and State Departments, CIA and Homeland Security, Treasury and Justice, Agriculture and Commerce each waging their own campaign with their own rules, their own restrictions, each overseen by separate congressional committees and subcommittees. Defense, diplomacy and development cannot fit neatly into separate compartments today. Success requires that security, governance and development programs progress together.
Our military cannot lose a battle in Afghanistan or Iraq, but our military cannot win all alone. They need the help of the other departments and agencies. They need the help of a broad coalition, and that is a vastly more complex task.
In Afghanistan, for example, provisional reconstruction teams need to draw on the forces and expertise from a range of specialties. These teams have achieved a good deal, because their success has been limited because their activities are too often thought to remain almost exclusively the responsibility of the Department of Defense. Our military cannot lose, as I say; to win will require much more than military force alone. Governance and development, as I say, must proceed apace.
Second, we need to recognize that this struggle against extremism cannot and will not be won by any single country, even the United States of America.
It will be won, over time, by the hundreds of millions of Muslims -- Iraqis, Afghans, Egyptians, Indonesians, as well as European and American Muslims -- who will ultimately be responsible for winning the struggle against violent extremists.
The Defense Department has asked for increases in funding and authority to help to build the capacity and the capabilities of partner nations. This will be a difficult shift in approach for our country. Change is hard, and it's not easy for Americans to teach and assist while others act and do. Ours is a nation and a military with a hands-on, can-do spirit. But today's war against a global enemy requires first and foremost that we enable our friends and allies, especially those in the Muslim world, to confront and defeat the extremists within their own borders and on their own airwaves.
The shift towards building our partners' capabilities requires, for example, some of the best military personnel to become trainers and advisers and embedded with foreign security forces so that they can improve their capacities and their capabilities. And as was indicated, we have a number of those folks here today who are currently training at Fort Riley as part of military transition teams. These teams will be undertaking a critical task when they deploy, to train and stand up and mentor Afghan, Iraqi security forces, and those of other nations. There's perhaps, as we move into this new period, no more important mission. So folks, I thank you for all you've done and for all you are doing and all you will do. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
In the past, U.S. efforts to train foreign security forces have been burdened by outdated restrictions. In Afghanistan, for example, building up the Afghan army was harmfully delayed because there was no such category in the U.S. federal budget at the time, and we lacked the authorities and the resources to do so for a period. Other painful delays in training the Afghan and Iraqi police forces were the result of the fact that it was the responsibility of others and not the Department of Defense, and we were prohibited from participating in training police in the early period.
Further, the realities on the ground in the rest of the world do not correspond to the U.S. yearly budget process. When you think about it, we live in a fast-moving world, and it takes, in the Department of Defense, a year to develop a budget, it takes a year of the Congress to pass it, and then it takes a year to implement that budget. That's a three-year cycle that results in a situation where, during execution, you're basically dealing with stale facts, stale assumptions -- assumptions that were fashioned two-and-a-half, three years before. And we don't have yet the speed and agility that we need. The department is currently drawing upon proposals – drawing up proposals to reform existing regulations and authorities. Some of these in response -- regulations and rules and laws date back to the 1960s and, unfortunately, hamper effective U.S. action.
Third, another area that government needs to be strengthened is in communications. Today's global, 24-hour media presents new challenges for a government that operates on a -- on a very different schedule. Al Qaeda's second-in-command, al-Zawahiri, has said that, quote, "More than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media." This is the number two al Qaeda leader explaining to his people that it's not so much only on the battlefield today, it's in the media.
The enemy we face has skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but for the most part, our country and our government have not yet completed the adjustments that will be necessary. The enemy is fast, with headline-grabbing attacks. By doctoring photographs, lying to the media, being trained to allege torture in their training manuals, the enemy successfully manipulates the free world's press, a press that they would never allow to be free -- and they do so purposefully to intimidate and break the will of free people. We need to understand the ruthlessness, the skillfulness of this enemy.
In 1961, Dwight Eisenhower spoke to the nation for the last time as president. He warned of a long struggle ahead. He said, and I quote, "We face a hostile ideology, global in scope, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. To meet it successfully, we must carry forward steadily, surely and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle, with liberty the stake."
As we look back on those crucial years during the Cold War, so too our grandchildren will one day look back on this time as a defining moment in American history. History will judge whether this generation did all we could to defeat a vicious, extremist enemy that threatens our security, our freedom and our very way of life, or if we left it to the next generation to try to fight an enemy then strengthened by our weakness and emboldened by a lack of resolve.
Over my lifetime, I've had the opportunity to live in times of great consequence -- times of war, times of peace -- and I've met countless Americans from every corner of our magnificent country. I've developed an abiding faith in the wisdom and good judgment of the American people. Over time, on big issues, the American people find their way to right decisions. I've seen us triumph over dictators and tyrannies in many forms. And I believe that if we persevere today -- and I'm convinced we will -- and make the right choices and develop a clear understanding of this new war we face, the first war of the 21st century, we can overcome the increasingly lethal threats that challenge our country.
Despite all the enemy tries to do to make the world think otherwise, America is not what's wrong with the world. America is a force for good. We are on the right side of history. The great sweep of human history is for freedom, and let there be no doubt we are on freedom's side.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Thank you very much. I'm -- I'm told there are some microphones around, and I'd be happy to respond to some questions. I'll answer those I know the answer to, and the difficult ones I'll heave to Dick Myers. (Laughter.) Where are the microphones located? Oh, there. They've got numbers. Here's one, there's one up there, there's one up there, there's one up there. If someone would like to pose a question, why don't you go and line up near them and we can then start.
JON WEFALD (president, Kansas State University): Okay. We have a question up here.
Q: First of all, I want to thank you for your many years of service to our country.
My concern with our global war on terror is that there are so few people fighting it. Besides the military and their families, they seem to be the only ones making a --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm wondering if you could talk a little slower.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm having trouble following in the echo.
Q: Okay. My concern about the global war on terror is that there are so few people fighting it. Besides the military and their families, nobody else seems invested in the war. In World War II, the whole country was making sacrifices, trying to conserve and rationing and all of those things where everybody was involved in winning. Nowadays, it seems like the average American gets up, goes to work, comes home, watches "American Idol" and goes to bed, never contributing to the war effort. And that not only are they not contributing, but the average person isn't even inconvenienced by the war. My question is, what can be done to get more of the American people invested in winning this war?
SEC. RUMSFELD: That is a critical question, and it's something that troubles me and that I worry about, just as you obviously worry about it.
I grew up in World War II and had a victory garden and used to buy the war bonds -- $18.75, and if you held them long enough, it was $25. We, as you say, collected scrap and old rubber to be made into retread tires. The -- that was a period where the entire nation was mobilized, as it had to be, to deal with that, and it was for a relatively short period of time, and we prevailed.
The Cold War, unlike World War II, the country did not mobilize. But we demonstrated over 50 years a perseverance to deal, as President Eisenhower said, with a global struggle. We did it through successive administrations of both political parties, not just in our country, but in the democratic capitals of Western Europe. And it was a very different experience. What we're dealing with today is much more like the Cold War in that sense: that it's long, it's not a brief, high- intensity, conventional conflict where the great armies, navies and air forces compete and it's over and you sign a treaty on the USS Missouri and end it.
And what we have to do is recognize that. And I guess -- I think it was my uncle used to say that "persuasion is a two-edged sword: reason and emotion. Plunge it deep." We have to use our reason, as we did during the Cold War, to, as a nation, be persuasive to our fellow citizens, to help them understand what's at stake. Every year that goes by there is a greater and greater likelihood that weapons of mass destruction are going to end up in more and more hands. You see what Iran's doing, you see what North Korea's doing, and you see what Iran did by way of providing weapons to the Hezbollah, to a non-state entity. And you look down the road and other countries are going to say, "Well, if Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear weapons, maybe we need to do that." And then you see these weapons in the hands of non-state entities that don't have real estate to defend, don't have an industrial base to defend, and don't have a leadership class to defend, no address where you can go after them. It's a network.
It is a -- that's the world we're moving into, and we simply have to be smart enough, wise enough to marry reason and emotion to see that we do the right things in this country. We did it during the Cold War. I don't have any doubt at all but that we're going to be capable of doing it during this long struggle that we face against violent extremists.
MR. WEFALD: Mr. Secretary, let's go up here.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Good.
MR. WEFALD: Three?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'll give shorter answers maybe. Got a lot of people lined up there.
Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, the Military Commissions Act gives you the permission to be able to designate any American citizen --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm sorry again. There's a big echo, and I'm having a little trouble following the words. Just go a little slower and I'll be able to hear you.
Q: Sure. The Military Commissions Act gives you the ability to --
SEC. RUMSFELD: The military what?
Q: Military Commissions Act.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Commissions. Oh, yes. Good, I hear you.
Q: -- gives you the ability to designate any American an enemy combatant. Do you think that it's an inherent danger for individual Americans to be able -- to be subject to the whim of men just if they don't agree with their, you know, political position or whatnot?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Of course not, and the legislation that was passed by the Congress and signed by the president doesn't provide that. And there are all kinds of safeguards and checks and appeal processes in the Military Commissions Act.
MR. WEFALD: We've got one right here.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Yes.
Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, thank you so much for coming today. I am the daughter of a veteran, I am the wife of a veteran, I am the mother of a veteran, and I'm the proud mother of an active-duty Marine right now, and we have two things we'd like to know from you.
SEC. RUMSFELD: (Applauds.) Thank you. (Applause.)
Q: My children would like to know what bird you flew when you
were a Navy pilot.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Which what?
Q: What bird you flew. And what --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Uh-huh. The last one I flew was an S-2F. It was a -- there are none of them around. They're all in museums. (Laughter.) It's a little embarrassing.
Q: (Laughs.) Thank you.
We would also like to know your advice for somebody like my daughter, who's going to graduate in two years, advice that you would give a young person. Thank you very much.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Advice for a young person. Study history.
MR. WEFALD: Hey, there you go. There you go. (Laughter, applause.)
SEC. RUMSFELD: We need context. We've staked everything in this country -- if you think about the gamble, we stake everything on the people, that they can -- given sufficient information, will make the right decisions. They need context. We need context. History provides that context. And if there's one piece of advice I could give, it would be to focus on that and think about it and understand it. It will improve the ability of all of us to function as citizens in this great republic.
MR. WEFALD: Okay, let's go to -- up there, at four?
Q: Yes, sir. Cadet Rhett Bytenadies (ph), Air Force Detachment 270, Kansas State.
With all the tough jobs that you have faced, and criticism and stress and et cetera, et cetera, how do you find the motivation to continue to push on?
SEC. RUMSFELD: (Pause.) My goodness. (Laughter.) Those personal questions are hard. (Laughter.) I guess the answer is that I feel so fortunate to have been able to participate and serve at important times in our country's history, and to do it with people like that. (Applause.)
MR. WEFALD: Up here at three again?
Q: How about you? Have you seen "Brokeback Mountain"? A little inside joke. (Laughter.)
MR. WEFALD: (Off mike.)
Q: My real question is this: If you were going to give yourself a letter grade for your performance as secretary of Defense, what grade would that be?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I'd let history worry about that. (Laughter, applause.)
MR. WEFALD: Okay, good.
Q: Hello, Mr. Rumsfeld.
Since this is the Landon Lecture on public issues, I wanted to ask a question about a very pertinent public issue. And that is, Mr. Secretary, journalists across the nation, both conservative, liberal, moderate; politicians, former high-echelon military commanders --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm sorry; you're going to have to speak a little slower for me to follow it.
Q: Sorry. Journalists across the nation, both conservative and liberal and moderate; politicians; former high-echelon military commanders; and many other Americans say and believe that our policy in Iraq is, quite simply, broke. It's not working; it's not doing its job. What do you think that the next secretary of Defense, who's been named as Mr. Gates, can do to fix that, to make our efforts in Iraq truly successful -- truly, truly a nation-building operation that creates a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, certainly that's the hope and the prayer of everyone involved, the troops and the leadership of our country.
I certainly can't speak for the new incoming secretary of Defense. I will say this: It is very clear that the major combat operations were an enormous success. It is clear that in phase two of this it has not been going well enough or fast enough.
On the other hand, there have been very impressive things that have been accomplished. The country has drafted a constitution. It's ratified a constitution. They have held an election and elected freely a government. Twelve million Iraqis went out to vote. That is impressive. They have a stake in the success of that situation. The schools are open. The hospitals are open. They have a stock market. They have a free press.
Now you put all that on a scale against the fact that there is violence, and sectarian violence -- and there is -- and that people are being killed and Muslims are being killed by violent, extremist Muslims. And it's important to know that that's what's happening over there.
The commanders -- General Casey and General Abizaid – have shifted their activities and their efforts over the past period as the circumstance on the ground has shifted and changed -- and it has. The enemy has a brain and they do things. They watch what happens and they make adjustments. And it is a much more complex situation. And quite honestly, our country does not have experience attempting to impose control and our will over vicious, violent extremists that don't have armies, don't have navies, don't have air forces and operate in the shadows. It is a totally different circumstance.
And I think that just as the Cold War required some patience and some perseverance and some resolve and some context, so too this effort will. And I don't have any doubt that the president, working with the commanders and the new secretary, will continue to make adjustments. And that if we have the perseverance and the resolve, we will end up seeing the Iraqi people ultimately take control of their country, govern their country, provide security for their country. And certainly that is our hope and our prayer.
Q: Good morning, Secretary Rumsfeld. Thank you for coming here to speak to us. And thank you, President Wefald and Dr. Regan (sp), for bringing him here.
My name is Way Woo (ph). I'm a Chinese language instructor here on campus. We just started a Chinese language program last year and so some of my students are here with me today to listen to your speech. I have two question and I believe my students are also very interested in hearing your answer.
First one is we would like to hear your opinion about China and U.S.-China relations. As the fall of the Soviet Union, China seems to become more obvious in this so-called communist world camp, or maybe a former communist country, because China does go through a lot of changes. As you travel to China you may see it. So we'd like to hear your opinion about China and U.S.-China relationship.
And second question is we'd like to hear about your opinion about the importance of learning Chinese language from a strategic point of view, in light of the 21st century.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, I was going to say I think your students chose very well to learn to study Chinese. I think it's a good thing and a wise thing and our country needs to improve our language capabilities. The Department of Defense has been working very hard to see that the languages -- that more language is taught to the people there in the department, and also that a broader range of languages are taught.
With respect to China, the Chinese people have made a very good decision to move towards a more open economic system and to engage the world, and they're doing it quite successfully. They have a very good rate of economic growth. They are increasingly, I think, recognizing that they are stakeholders in the success of the global economic system. They have a lot that depends on that.
They also have some problems. They have some very serious environmental problems. They have some demographic problems. They have some problems with respect to riots and demonstrations -- tens of thousands of them a year. Now, they have a big country, but – so they are managing their affairs in a way that is, I think, designed to create an environment that's hospitable to enterprise and to interaction with the rest of the world. They don't want to lose the Olympics, for example. They want to see that they do things in their country that makes people feel comfortable investing and trading and working with their country.
I think those are good things. I think, on the other hand, that they face a bit of a dilemma. And the dilemma is they still have an un-free political system and an increasingly free economic system. Now you can go down that road only so far, and at some point, if you want to have a highly successful economic -- free economic system, it's going to affect your political system in some way, in this sense: You're going to have an awful lot of people from other countries who are milling around in your country with computers and with cell phones doing a lot of things that make it more difficult for you to manage your political system to the extent you want to have a controlled political system.
So I don't know how those tensions will be resolved. Needless to say, like every person in the free world, we hope that they'll be resolved in favor of free systems. And I think that that is at least a reasonable prospect for China. They're not there yet. There's lots of things people can say to criticize them, but they're on a path that suggests they want to sustain that growth. And to do that, I think they're going to have to behave in a way that is entering the global economic system in a constructive way.
Do you teach something like that, or are you --
Q: I teach Chinese culture --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Culture.
Q: -- and development of China; also, U.S.-China relations.
Would you like to talk --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I think, you know, it started out pretty bumpy. They crashed into our EP-3 aircraft and then held our people hostage for days, many days. And it was a most unfortunate thing. This was in 2001. They behaved very badly. I think they behaved badly because they were in a leadership struggle and there was tension between the People's Liberation Army, the PLA, and the political leadership. And Jiang Zemin, as I recall, was in South America at the time. And it was a bad scene. They handled it very badly.
Since that time it's been on a clear uptick. We've improved military-to-military relations. We have greater economic interaction with them, and the political interaction has been generally more positive. So I think it's been on an improving path.
MR. WEFALD: I think we have time for two more questions. One here and then we'll go up to three.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Good.
Q: Hello, Mr. Rumsfeld.
I'm Christian Schultz (sp) and I'm studying geography right now in hopes of translating maps for Japan and Korea, and possibly teaching there, and to mission there too.
Now, Mr. Rumsfeld, do you suppose that right before the invasion of Iraq, Saddam may have moved his WMDs out of the country and into the hands of countries and/or organizations friendly and sympathetic to his former regime?
SEC. RUMSFELD: There are two things that are out there that I cannot speak to with a high degree of certainty.
There are reports from people, Iraqis, that that happened – that things were moved out of Iraq just prior to the military action. I can't prove that it happened. I can't prove that it did not happen. I guess that some day we'll know.
We also know that the Iraqis buried a lot of things. They buried complete jet aircraft. I can't quite imagine that -- when you think of what they cost and how easily they're damaged -- to bury them in the ground takes a certain mentality. (Laughter.) What else they may have buried I don't know.
The Duelfer Report, he was the man who had the responsibility over there, came back and he wrote a report and said that the weapons of mass destruction efforts of Iraq were basically on hold. That is to say, they had a capability to rapidly upgrade their chemical and biological weapons. I think that's close to what he said. And they did not have a nuclear program under way, but they had kept together their nuclear cadre -- the people who had previously been involved with it. And I've not seen anything since the Duelfer report that contradicts that. So we will know more at some point.
There are literally millions of pages of Iraqi documents that are now being released into the Internet and it's going to -- (audio break) Â— one of the problems recently was some information was put on the Internet that explains how to make some weapons, which was criticized. My personal view is that it's a good idea to get that information out to the extent we can, and to do it sooner rather than later.
MR. WEFALD: Just one more up here.
SEC. RUMSFELD: This is the last question. Make it a pip!
Q: Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Thank you.
Q: In your speech you mention 9/11. And it has been widely reported that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. And it is reported or it's believed that some of the insurgents fighting in Iraq today comes from Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia was not attacked. Why?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Excuse me. You said Saudi Arabia was not attacked?
Q: Was not attacked by you and your government.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I see what you're saying.
Q: Do you think that this war on terror could be successful without Saudi Arabia toeing the line?
SEC. RUMSFELD: The violent extremists do not all come from one country. They come from a lot of countries -- many, many countries. If one looks at the mixture in the detainees that have been arrested in Iraq and Afghanistan and London and Madrid and various parts around the world -- Saudi Arabia -- there are 10, 15, 20 countries that are represented with people, their citizens, involved in these terrorist networks.
It would be, of course, mindless to run around declaring war against all the countries who happen to have citizens who are violent extremists. Saudi Arabia, ever since they were attacked several years ago by violent extremists, has been out doing a great many things to go after the extremists in their country, to put them in jail, to arrest them and to attempt to deal with the seedbed of that problem. They've been attempting to deal with those that teach people violence and extremism.
So it is a complicated thing. We have allies, good friends and allies, that have violent extremists that come out of their country. And they don't like it and we don't like it. But the task, as I mentioned in my remarks, is for us to help them develop their capacity so that their law enforcement officers and their military develops a better capability to go after the extremists that exist in their country.
And the truth is we can't -- it's a very difficult thing. We're trying to fight a war, and how do you do that when you're not at war with the countries where the problems are? You can't just pretend you're at war with them. You're not. They're friends and allies and they're trying to do it. The only thing you can do is to help them develop their capability so that they can do a better job going after those extremists before they can attack them or other free people.
The people that are also at risk are governments like the Saudi government and like the moderate governments in that region. Those are the principal targets of al Qaeda. That is their first goal is to destabilize all of those countries.
I'm getting the hook. I've enjoyed being here, and I thank you very much. (Applause.)
Thank you very much, folks. I really appreciate that very warm welcome you've given me.
MR. WEFALD: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for an excellent presentation. Thank you so much for answering as many questions as you did. I want to thank you and Joyce. We'll be eternally grateful that you came to K-State to deliver a great Landon Lecture.
Let's give him another big hand. (Applause.)
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