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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Washington File

06 June 2003

Wolfowitz Reasserts Iraq War Was Not About Oil

(Deputy defense secretary media availability in Tokyo) (3640)
The notion that the Iraq war was about oil "is a complete piece of
nonsense," says Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
"If the United States had been interested in Iraq's oil, it would have
been very simple 12 years ago or any time in the last 12 years to
simply do a deal with Saddam Hussein. We probably could have had any
kind of preferred customer status we wanted if we'd been simply
willing to drop our real concerns," Wolfowitz said in remarks to the
press in Tokyo June 3.
But the real concerns of the United States, he said, remained Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction and its support for terrorism.
As for finding those weapons of mass destruction, Wolfowitz said: "I
wouldn't suggest we've gotten to the bottom of the whole story yet....
(W)e're still in an early stage of that process and there is no
question we will get to the bottom of what's there."
As for stories suggesting major redeployments of U.S. troops in Asia,
Wolfowitz said there are no plans to move U.S. Marines from Okinawa to
Australia. "(W)e have undertaken jointly with the government of Japan
a Defense Policy Review Initiative to look at our posture here in
Japan. Clearly, one of the most important issues on that agenda is how
to manage our deployments in Okinawa and align our deployments in
Okinawa to minimize the not inconsiderable burden that those
deployments place on the people of Okinawa."
In Korea, the United States and South Korean officials are undertaking
an "alliance study" to establish "how best to enhance and shape and
align our forces and the forces of our Korean allies to most
effectively provide for deterrence of a North Korean attack and the
defense of Korea should an attack come.... (I)t's part of an effort to
strengthen our overall posture in the peninsula," he said.
Following is a transcript of Wolfowitz's remarks, as released by the
Department of Defense:
(begin transcript)
United States Department of Defense 
News Transcript 
Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz 
Tuesday, June 3, 2003 
Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz
Media Availability at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo
(Also participating was U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard H. Baker, Jr.)
Baker: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. We are pleased to have you here.
This is a great occasion. We're especially proud to welcome Deputy
Secretary Wolfowitz. While here, he's met with U.S. officials and
Japanese Government officials to discuss many issues of common
interest. On this trip to Asia, he has also attended the Defense
Minister's Conference in Singapore last weekend and visited Seoul to
meet with Korean officials. He will return to Washington after his
brief stop here in Tokyo. Dr. Wolfowitz has extensive experience both
in the Asia Pacific region and in government, both the Defense and
State Departments. He has impressive academic credentials, having
authored many books and having been a professor at Yale and the
National War College and most recently as Dean and Professor of
International Relations at SAIS. From 1989 to 1993, he was
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, and he was U.S. Ambassador to
Indonesia for three years during the Reagan Administration. Prior to
that he also served as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia
and Pacific Affairs. We are pleased to have the Secretary here and
it's my honor to now present Secretary Wolfowitz. Paul.
Wolfowitz: Thank you Mr. Ambassador. I was just reflecting on the fact
that my first official visit to Japan was a little more than twenty
years ago. Mike Mansfield, that great man, was the Ambassador; George
Schultz, whom I was accompanying, was the Secretary of State; Ronald
Reagan was President of the United States; Yasuhiro Nakasone was the
Prime Minister of Japan. It was an unusually good period in U.S.-Japan
relations. In fact I probably would have been impertinent enough to
think that it couldn't get any better. Well, twenty years later, it
keeps getting better and it's remarkable -- and Ambassador Baker,
we're grateful for your service and it's terrific to have you here.
The leaders of both our two countries are outstanding men and have
forged a remarkably close relationship.
But the most important thing I think is the relationship between our
two countries, which seems to be getting stronger and stronger every
year. I learned years ago working on this relationship that, if it
seemed at times change was slow, one should be grateful because change
was always positive; it never went backwards. And so when you
accumulate even small positive changes over a period of twenty years,
it makes a remarkable difference. I have been very pleased with my
visit here -- yesterday, this morning's meeting with the Embassy team
-- at how strong the defense relationship is, and it keeps getting
stronger. We have a way of dealing with issues and solving problems.
It's a great relationship where instead of creating problems you keep
solving them and it's heartening. I think underlying it all is a
remarkably strong relationship between the Japanese people and the
American people that's based on strong common interests in peace,
security, and democracy in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in
Northeast Asia.
I was very encouraged to read the results of a Jiji Poll (and other
polls) taken in May that showed that 70% of Japanese say the United
States is the most important country to Japan, that 75% of Japanese
favor the Bilateral Security Treaty with only 14% opposed. Another
poll says that 66% of Japanese believe that U.S. bases in Japan are
needed for regional security -- up ten points since last year. And
perhaps most encouraging of all, given the challenges that we face in
the Middle East today, that 84% of Japanese people believe that the
Government of Japan should support Iraqi reconstruction.
I think the mass graves that are uncovered every day in Iraq are
horrible testimony to the fact that Saddam Hussein is probably
responsible for the deaths of more Muslims than perhaps any other
individual in history, and I think it's testimony to the wisdom and
courage of Prime Minister Koizumi in supporting President Bush in the
coalition that liberated Iraq. Having been liberated, there's a great
deal of work to do to build a new and free Iraq and we welcome Japan's
support, as in so many other ventures -- to have the world's first and
second largest economies working in close partnership as close treaty
allies is, I think, a firm foundation for peace and security. Not just
in the Pacific Region, but worldwide. I'll be happy to take some
Q: I'm Satoru Suzuki with TV-Asahi of Japan. Mr. Secretary, eleven
weeks have passed since the coalition forces moved into Iraq. Yet
you've found no weapons of mass destruction in that country -- no
convincing evidence yet. Given that, are you still convinced that
you'll be able to find such weapons eventually and, in the absence of
such weapons, how can you still justify the war, and what would you
say to those critics in Japan and the rest of the world who've been
saying that the war was mainly about oil?
Wolfowitz: Well, let me start with the last part. The notion that the
war was ever about oil is a complete piece of nonsense. If the United
States had been interested in Iraq's oil, it would have been very
simple 12 years ago or any time in the last 12 years to simply do a
deal with Saddam Hussein. We probably could have had any kind of
preferred customer status we wanted if we'd been simply willing to
drop our real concerns. Our real concerns focused on the threat posed
by that country -- not only its weapons of mass destruction, but also
its support for terrorism and, most importantly, the link between
those two things. You said it's eleven weeks since our troops first
crossed the Kuwaiti border, and coalition troops first entered Iraq,
as though eleven weeks were a long time. Eleven weeks is a very short
time. In fact, unfortunately, significant elements of the old regime
are still out there shooting at Americans, killing Americans,
threatening Iraqis. It is not yet a secure situation and I believe
that probably influences to some extent the willingness of Iraqis to
speak freely to us.
We -- as the whole world knows -- have in fact found some significant
evidence to confirm exactly what Secretary Powell said when he spoke
to the United Nations about the development of mobile biological
weapons production facilities that would seem to confirm fairly
precisely the information we received from several defectors, one in
particular who described the program in some detail. But I wouldn't
suggest we've gotten to the bottom of the whole story yet. We said,
when Resolution 1441 was being adopted, that the most important thing
was to have free and unintimidated access to Iraqis who know where
these things are. Simply going and searching door to door in a country
the size of the state of California is not the way you would find
things. You would find things when people start to give you
information -- we're still in an early stage of that process and there
is no question we will get to the bottom of what's there.
But there should be no doubt whatsoever this was a war undertaken
because our President and the Prime Minister of England and the other
countries that joined with us believe -- and I think they believe
correctly -- that this regime was a threat to our security and a
threat that we could no longer live with. It is also the case that,
beyond a shadow of any doubt whatsoever, this regime was a horrible
abuser of its own people and that there is no question the Iraqi
people are far better off with that regime gone.
Q: Howard French from the New York Times. You've just been in Seoul
and over the last couple of weeks; the South Korean Government has
expressed the desire that any change in the Second Infantry Division
await a resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem. I wonder if
you have been able to work that question of timing out to the
satisfaction of both sides. And I also noted in press reports about
your visit to South Korea, that there was talk which seemed to come
from unnamed members of your delegation about potential war plans that
could involve going after the North Korean leadership in Pyongyang or
somewhere inside North Korea, as opposed to focusing on fighting
around the DMZ. Are there any such plans? Have things developed to
that degree, and have North Korean war fighting plans been inspired or
refined in light of the Iraq war experience?
Wolfowitz: We don't discuss military plans, for good operational
reasons. I can assure you that I didn't see these press reports but,
if they are as you describe them, they certainly didn't come from me
or anybody in my party. Let me say importantly what we're talking
about, in terms of the future of the alliance study that we're
undertaking with our Korean allies, is how best to enhance and shape
and align our forces and the forces of our Korean allies to most
effectively provide for deterrence of a North Korean attack and the
defense of Korea should an attack come. It's not something that should
wait until the nuclear problem is solved, as though somehow it's going
to weaken our posture. To the contrary, it's part of an effort to
strengthen our overall posture in the peninsula including, as General
LaPorte announced last week, a very substantial investment by the
United States in some 150 systems that will enhance our ability to
provide for early defense against a North Korean attack.
In shortest terms, I would say the North Koreans have certain
advantages over us -- asymmetric advantages -- which they continue to
press. We have some considerable advantages as well; particularly
advantages that accrue from the kinds of remarkable military
capabilities that the world has just seen demonstrated in Afghanistan
and Iraq. We think that it's very important that we update our force
posture from where it was ten years ago, to take advantage of those
capabilities so that we can counter a North Korean attack more quickly
and more effectively, so we can strengthen deterrence. That's what
it's about. The issue of timing, I think, should relate to when our
two countries have adequately consulted about the changes, have come
to a reasonable level of mutual agreement about the changes, and
importantly have educated both of our publics about what it's all
about. My visit there was part of trying to begin that process of
public education, and I think that we have active partners in our
allies in Korea doing that.
Q: I'm Mr. Mori from Ryukyu Shimpo. At the Japan-U.S. Summit meeting
Prime Minister Koizumi and President Bush agreed to cut down forces in
Okinawa; however, the Deputy Secretary, with regards to an article
that appeared in the Los Angeles Times said that it was speculative in
nature -- it included speculative factors at this stage -- in order to
alleviate some of the burden in Okinawa. Are you thinking in some
measures of alleviating the burden that is on Okinawa now? I'm asking
just about the possibility.
Wolfowitz: Thank you for the question. It's a chance to clarify. The
specific suggestion which I said had no foundation was the suggestion
that we were going to move our Marines from Okinawa to Australia. I
know of no such plan or proposal to do that; however, we have
undertaken jointly with the government of Japan a Defense Policy
Review Initiative to look at our posture here in Japan. Clearly, one
of the most important issues on that agenda is how to manage our
deployments in Okinawa and align our deployments in Okinawa to
minimize the not inconsiderable burden that those deployments place on
the people of Okinawa.
I'd like to emphasize that it's not unique to the people of Okinawa.
People in Florida and Oklahoma and Germany and Kuwait -- I could make
a long list of States in the United States and countries around the
world who host U.S. forces, who have some burdens, but also I think
some benefits, from having us around. We make every effort worldwide,
and very strenuously in Okinawa, to be good neighbors and we want to
continue improving our record as good neighbors and we are always
prepared to look at adjustments that can be made that will reduce that
burden, but it is in that context, not in some more spectacular kind
of moving forces from one country to another country, that we are
looking at the posture here.
Q: Hello, I am Hans Greimel with Associated Press. Can you tell us a
little about what the United States is doing with Japan in terms of a
missile defense system for the archipelago here? Can you give us an
idea of time lines for implementing one? What kind of technology will
be used? Is it PAC-3 technology? What kind of locations are being
considered? Who's expected to pay for that?
Wolfowitz: I can only answer in general terms, because that is still
the state of decisions, and the most important decisions right now are
ones that the Japanese have to make to what they want to do in the
area of missile defense, how much they want to invest, and what kinds
of systems they want to invest in. The head of our Missile Defense
Agency, Lieutenant General Ron Kadish, will be coming here later this
month to discuss technical aspects with the Government of Japan. I
think one of the important timelines coming up will be their next
defense budget and whether they want to include some provision for
missile defense development in that next budget.
We would certainly welcome the participation of Japan in missile
defense if they judge that it's helpful for Japan's security, because
we think that missile defense is a very important area for the future
in having Japan's technology and Japan's resources apply to the
challenge of protecting people from missile attack. I think would be a
very helpful thing. We've seen in the recent war in the Persian Gulf
just how important it was to have effective missile defenses, to save
lives on a considerable scale. It can be done and, if the Japanese
Government decides that it wants to invest in that area, we are
certainly ready to work with them.
Q: Mr. Takahata from Mainichi Shimbun: Welcome to Japan, Mr.
Wolfowitz:  It's always nice to be here.
Q: My question is about an idea put forth by Mr. President Bush during
his trip to Europe, which is a new idea about a counter-proliferation
regime done multilaterally. Can you elaborate as to what kinds of
specific measures will be included in this new regime or new idea,
like ship inspections, naval blockade, confiscation of goods and
cargos? How soon do you want this regime to be put in practice --
especially in relation to threat from North Korean and Iran? Thank
Wolfowitz: I don't want to reveal my own ignorance or trample upon
State Department territory by getting into details that I think we are
still working on with our partners, starting with our G-8 partners.
The idea's a very clear one -- that this traffic in dangerous weapons
and dangerous technologies is a major concern of the whole world. I
served in 1998 on the Ballistic Missile Threat Commission that was
chaired by my current boss Don Rumsfeld, and a group of nine of us
with varied backgrounds -- five Republicans, four Democrats -- had
completely different views on the subject of missile defense, but we
came to a unanimous agreement on the nature of the threat.
I think the thing that struck most of us is the thing that had changed
so much, over what might have been the case a decade earlier, was the
degree to which rogue regimes, or whatever term you want to use for
them, proliferators may be the best word, were prepared to trade
dangerous materials with one another. The seemingly old ground rule
that once a country joined the club they seemed to stop sharing these
technologies with the other countries was no longer the case. So,
trying to bring that dangerous traffic under control, I think, is a
challenge for the international community.
I believe the purpose of the President's initiative in Evian was to
encourage our major partners to start thinking about the answers to
the very questions that you raise, but that process has to start by
defining the problem, and that is what the President did.
Q: Mitsuru Obe from Jiji News Agency. What's the overall U.S. strategy
behind this ongoing realignment of U.S. forces? The war on terror must
be won, but are Asian countries now asked to take more responsibility
for their own security?
Wolfowitz: I think it has been a principle of U.S. defense policy for
decades -- throughout the world and particularly with our major allies
in Europe and in East Asia -- of encouraging our allies to take as
much responsibility as possible. One of the real pleasures about
working in this part of the world, particularly with Japan and with
Korea, is that we have two countries that have steadily done more and
more of their own share of the alliance burden. That makes it frankly
much easier for us to sustain our role, because Americans
understandably ask, 'why should we be doing so much if our allies
don't carry their load?' So that's not a new principle, it's an
ongoing thing.
What I think is perhaps new in the worldwide look of our deployments
is that September 11 brought home dramatically something that was
noticeable before September 11, and that is the great unpredictability
of where threats can come from. During the Cold War, we had a
reasonably clear idea of what the threat was, and almost down to the
particular roads that Soviet armies might advance on in attacking
Germany. When the Berlin Wall came down, we re-structured our defense
posture but still focused very much on two seemingly predictable
scenarios -- one in Korea and the other one in the Persian Gulf.
September 11 has brought home that we need to be prepared to respond
quickly to developments that might take place in very unpredictable
Secondly, the capabilities that we have developed over the last ten or
twenty years, that have been demonstrated with such impressive effect
in Afghanistan and now again in Iraq, make it clear that you can
achieve an effective military force at much greater distance than we
could before and often with much smaller number of forces. So that
gives us an opportunity to deploy in new ways that will maximize the
effect that we can get from our military resources, and that's I think
the spirit with which we are looking at our deployments in Europe, in
Northeast Asia, in East Asia more generally, and in the Persian Gulf
as well. Each of those cases is different. In fact, each country is
In some respects, I would say we've been doing more of that with Japan
already. In many ways, our forces here probably come closer to being
aligned in the right way to begin with, but there is always room for
change. I would say that, even though change often makes people
uncomfortable, change is a positive thing if you do it the right way.
Thank you very much.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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