H S on Fri, 15 Aug 2003 21:20:02 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] DoD News Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Interview with The LauraIngraham Show

Q: Hi there. This is Nancy and we are talking to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. So thrilled to have him here tonight.

Mr. Wolfowitz where were you on 9/11? How did you hear about the attacks?

Wolfowitz: Well I heard it when the building shook. I was in my office on the River Entrance as we call it and I guess that's sort of the east side of the building and the plane struck on the south side on the west side of the building.

Q: Did you understand what it was right away or?

Wolfowitz: No, I think my boss did. I think Secretary Rumsfeld immediately understood it, I thought it was either a bomb or an earthquake and even though I'd seen the two attacks in New York I guess it was to me it was hard -- I don't know hard to comprehend it, I didn't immediately associate that there could be yet a third or even a fourth. I have heard a few stories from some survivors though who just barely made it out that as soon as they had been watching the television and they said that they put two and two together the minute -- I mean they were down near much closer to the point of impact and they just -- as soon as they heard the noise they realized they'd been attacked.

Q: And did you run out of the building right away?

Wolfowitz: We moved out pretty quickly. They had alarms going off and then assembled a big crowd out in front of the River Entrance which would not have been a very good place to be as it turns out if there'd been yet another plane but who knew all of that? And then after fairly a short while I was -- someone came and got me, brought me back in and we spent the next couple of hours with Mr. Rumsfeld in the National Military Command Center.

Q: Now did you think right away that Iraq could have been involved in this?

Wolfowitz: Right away the focus was on what do you need to do. And how do you start shutting down flights and we had several false alarms of flights coming in. There was really frankly I'd say for the first 24 hours too much to do to think about who was behind it.

Q: And when did you start to think that perhaps Iraq had something to do with it?

Wolfowitz: I'm not sure even now that I would say Iraq had something to do with it. I think what the realization to me is -- the fundamental point was that terrorism had reached the scale completely different from what we had thought of it up until then. And that it would only get worse when these people got access to weapons of mass destruction which would be only a matter of time.

So it convinced me that we couldn't continue to treat terrorism as a kind of law enforcement problem where you wait until after the thing happens and then you convict people based on evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and you put them in jail and that will somehow deal with terrorism. I mean that's after all more or less the approach we've been following for 20 years or more. And even retaliation doesn't work against that kind of threat that what you really got to do is, eliminate terrorist networks and eliminate terrorism as a problem. And clearly Iraq was one of the country -- you know top of the list of countries actively using terrorism as an instrument of national policy.

Q: Of course you know the report came out today that if Saddam Hussein is ever captured he will be tried by I guess a jury of his peers in Iraqi tribunal. Would you like to see Saddam dead or alive?

Wolfowitz: I don't know that we'll have choice in the matter. I'd like to see him taken out of action one way or the other. And I certainly I don't have much doubt about what the outcome would be if Iraqis are able to try him and expose one, one hundredth of the crimes that he's responsible for.

Q: You know you've been on the case with Iraq since 1979, you were one -- you were very prescient about the dangers there. Have you focused on this man for that long of period of time? When he's finally gone one way or the other it's going to be sort of a moment for you isn't it?

Wolfowitz: Well can I just -- yes but two qualifications I mean I would say my view of Saddam has evolved a lot over that period of time and generally in one direction he just keeps surprising me with how demonic he is, how brutal he is, how adventurous he is, I mean I would have thought after -- I thought after the end of the Gulf War that we should press harder to get rid of him.

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