Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
Press appearance with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
September 19, 2001
WOLFOWITZ: Good afternoon. I'm Paul Wolfowitz. I'm the deputy secretary of Defense.
We just had a very excellent meeting with German Foreign Minister Fischer. I
represented Secretary Rumsfeld, who's been engaged in a number of other high
priority activities. Let me just say that it was very gratifying to hear from
the foreign minister his personal expression and the expression of the German
government and the German people of their shock at what took place here last
week and up in New York and the deep sense of identification with Americans
as under attack. I imagine, Mr. Minister, there were quite a few Germans who
died in New York that day as well.
I will turn the microphone over to the Foreign Minister of German, Joschka Fischer.
FISCHER: Thank you very much.
I think first of all I have to explain how deeply we were shocked when we saw
these terrible suicide attacks on innocent people here on the Pentagon and in
New York City. It was an attack on the American people, on the American government.
And this shock was everywhere, in Europe and in the German people. It's a very
emotional reaction because this is also a criminal and mass murderous attack
on the open society, on the way we live. And I think we should now stay together
in full solidarity and fight against this murderous terrorism. We had today
very good talks about what has to be done for the future. We have a lot of common
understandings and analyses. But first of all, once again, let me tell you,
Mr. Secretary, and to the American people that we are in full solidarity. We
share the pain, and we also share the burden now in fighting against this terrible
QUESTION: Mr. Minister, has Germany agreed to take active military participation in
any U.S. military response to the people who did this?
FISCHER: Well, we had today a decision of our parliament, and we do not rule
out any option. It's not the time now for more specific details. But once again
as the chancellor said, we are in unlimited solidarity with the American people
and the United States of America, and we do not rule out any option.
QUESTION: Do you consider this an attack on Germany and other free countries, as well
as the United States?
FISCHER: Well, that time it was the United States, but, for example, we arrested
some months ago the finance minister of the bin Laden group in Germany. And
I think it also cannot be ruled out the similar danger for other Western countries,
including my own country. I think this was a direct attack on the people, on
the government, of the United States, with terrible losses. But we fear that
also hundreds of our citizens have lost their life in New York City. I think
more than 60 nations -- citizens of more than 60 nations has lost their lives
in these murderous attack in New York City last Tuesday, and this makes quite
clear that this is not only attack on the United States but also an attack to
all of us.
I think we should be -- look very carefully on the intentions of these criminals.
They want to inflame a war of the cultures, and we should avoid that. Our enemy
is terrorism, not Islam. And we appreciated very much what President Bush announced
in the recent days about that fact.
QUESTION: Mr. Wolfowitz, so much of the public discussion has been about Afghanistan's
support for the Taliban. Do you feel there's an Iraqi connection to these attacks,
and if so, how is that affecting our policy toward Iraq?
WOLFOWITZ: I think the president made it very clear today that this is about
more than just one organization, it's about more than just one event, as horrible
as that event was. We are engaged in a war against terrorism, against the terrorist
networks, against state support for terrorism. And I think everyone has got
to look at this problem with completely new eyes in a completely new light after
what happened last Tuesday.
But if you go back to what the president said just earlier today, when he was
greeting President Megawati of Indonesia, he made it very clear that this is
about more than just one country or just one individual or just one organization.
[ Transcript ]
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can people expect to see military action soon?
WOLFOWITZ: You know that I don't answer questions like that.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you talk --
QUESTION: Let me ask it this way. Are we in more of a law enforcement phase now than
a military phase, or might the two blend in the future?
WOLFOWITZ: First of all, we're going into a campaign, a sustained campaign,
which means it's going to be a long series of actions before we achieve success.
And I think it's a mistake to isolate one form of action like law enforcement,
from another like military, and another like diplomatic. In fact, the record
demonstrates over and over again that you're more successful when you combine
your resources; that diplomacy backed up by meaningful threats of force is much
more effective than diplomacy without it; that a political strategy that brings
in those hundreds of millions of moderate Muslims who have to be -- the hundreds
of millions of moderate Muslims that have to be shocked by this barbaric act
that claims to be done somehow in the name of their religion.
The financial resources of the world, and running down the financial networks
of these organizations. It needs to be an integrated strategy. And if we do
act militarily, we will act militarily as part of that strategy and to support
those goals, not simply for the sake of satisfying what is understandably an
enormous urge by the American people -- and I suppose by all the 60 nations
that lost people on Tuesday -- that tremendous urge for revenge. We're after
something more than revenge. We're after dealing with and eliminating this threat
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I understand the secretary of Defense signed the first deployment
order today. Can you give us any indication of what that entails, what troops
may be moving? Is this a precursor to anything that we should expect?
WOLFOWITZ: There are movements, and you will see more movements, and I hope
everyone understands -- I'm sure the American people understand why we do not
want to reveal the details of those movements to people who may be trying to
figure out what we're about to do next. So I appreciate the forbearance on that.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you see an end to this? Is there going to be an actual
end, or will this just be continuing on forever, basically?
WOLFOWITZ: I think we're going into a campaign, and with the enormous will and
resources of the American people behind it, we will win.
If you -- it's worth going back and reading Churchill's memoirs.
The day after Pearl Harbor, he recalls people who underestimated the United
States and who believed that we were soft and we couldn't take things. And he
comments on the enormous power this country can generate, of all kinds. And
we're generating it now, and we're generating it this time in cooperation with
the most advanced, most powerful countries in the world, for which the minister
is one of the leading representatives. And we will win.