Asst. Sec. of Defense (Public Affairs) Rear Adm. Craig Quigley
Interview on the Point of View Radio Show
Hosted by Penna Dexter and John Driggs
September 20, 2001
DEXTER: We are talking about, what else, the attack on America. And John, people
have been waiting for a response. I think a lot of Americans were gratified
to see the Roosevelt leave and be deployed yesterday.
DEXTER: We have a very special guest with us now. Why don't you go ahead and
DRIGGS: Well we do. As we anticipate the words of our president tonight regarding
the situation this country is now faced with. Joining us now live from the nation's
capital is Pentagon spokesman Admiral Craig Quigley. Admiral Quigley, glad to
have you on board.
I'm assuming that the president tonight will reiterate a few points he's already
made, those including the idea that this war on terrorism is to be a marathon,
not a sprint. A marathon. Are we talking two or three years, or are we talking
maybe a decade here?
QUIGLEY: John, I don't know if I can put a good timeframe on it, but it will
indeed be a long term, sustained effort and very different than any war that
America has ever fought before.
This is not about fighting conventional armies and navies and air forces when
you think of a Desert Storm sense or something like that. This is an enemy that
fights and lives in the shadows and it will take a combination of effort --
some military, some financial, some diplomatic, some legal, working very closely
with a variety of nations around the world to really get to the heart of these
DEXTER: Admiral, we're being told that there will be hardship on the American
people that will go along with this war on terrorism. Can we speculate perhaps
a bit? What will these hardships include? Give us some thoughts there.
QUIGLEY: It's been my experience that no effort worth doing comes at no cost.
There is a conscious effort being made, I believe, as a nation to prepare ourselves
for what will probably be a very long struggle. These networks of terrorists
did not spring up overnight and they will not be eliminated overnight.
DEXTER: Admiral Quigley, just explain to us exactly what we have deployed and
where so far.
QUIGLEY: We have a variety of military forces around the world as a matter of
course, Penna. Yesterday you saw the USS Theodore Roosevelt which is an aircraft
carrier, and her escort ships, a variety of capabilities heading east out of
Norfolk, Virginia. In addition we have set in motion the redisposition of some
additional military forces. There will be more in the weeks and months ahead
as we take on the Defense Department portion of this national effort.
DEXTER: And of course I understand there are two ships already near the coast
of Pakistan, aren't there?
QUIGLEY: We have -- one of the great things about naval forces is their mobility
and their ability to move where you need them on the world's oceans. And we
have taken the steps to put those assets where we need them most.
DEXTER: You mentioned there is a plan that's going to unfold. Is there anything
that you can reveal about that at this point?
QUIGLEY: No, not really Penna, other than to say that we've been hard at work
in that regard since the attack on the 11th of September, and I hope you'll
understand that that will put the lives at real people at risk by sharing too
much of that publicly.
DEXTER: Well we sure do understand that.
I want to ask another question about the people, the young men who have gone,
the young men and women who have gone and are going. You must have been talking
to some of them. How are they feeling? What is their state of mind at this point?
QUIGLEY: I have, and it's just something that makes you oh so very proud each
and every time you have an opportunity to talk to them. They're energetic, they're
bright, they're patriotic, they're very well trained, and they are eager to
serve America in uniform, and it's just very heartening every time you see it.
DRIGGS: We've been through America's worst nightmare from a terrorist, at least
certainly one of the worst possible scenarios.
DRIGGS: Yet we understand only too well, we may be subject to further attacks
and perhaps soon.
What is being done, Admiral Quigley, in your view to really make a difference,
to prevent this kind of thing from happening before [sic], whether it's crashing
jet liners into skyscrapers or whatever else might happen?
QUIGLEY: John, I think that nobody considered an airliner to be a weapon before
last Tuesday, and now clearly we have to do that. The dramatic attack on America
last Tuesday is causing the entire government of the United States, and indeed
people in the United States to think very differently about the threats that
face them internally.
We had been very focused, very externally focused for all the years of the Cold
War, and now it's readily apparent to all that we need to look at things very
differently and consider homeland defense in a whole new way.
DEXTER: Admiral Quigley, we're talking about a war on terrorism and it takes
many forms as you have said. It's probably going to take a long time, and it's
not going to be conventional in many cases. But everybody's pretty much focused
on Osama bin Laden and most of us think that he's in Afghanistan, and of course
they're not about to turn him over. They said that he can leave and they'd like
to see him leave, of they're encouraging him to, but that's about it.
Can we talk a little bit about that country and what our military options are
QUIGLEY: Let me go back a step, Penna, if I could, for a second. This is not
just about Osama bin Laden or about the terrorist network called al Qaeda that
he heads. This is much bigger than any single person or even single organization.
It is a network of networks of terrorist organizations that have grown around
the world for years -- years and years. There are some 50 to 60 countries, including
the United States, where we know that terrorist organizations work. They support
each other and they have a variety of sources of support external to their organizations.
That is going to be the key to success, is going to be drying up the support
-- financial, moral, just a safe haven, training, sources of weapons and explosives.
If you can dry up those areas of support you have taken away the tools that
the terrorist organizations need to accomplish their tasks.
DEXTER: But what about Afghanistan? Because I understand that first of all,
it's kind of rough territory there, and second of all, it's already been reduced
to a state of, well, some people have said that if you tried to bomb it you
really wouldn't be doing any good.
QUIGLEY: Very rugged country indeed. I think the world saw that, the great difficulty
that the then Soviet Union had after they invaded that country in the late 1970s.
I think the key to success here is going to be very, very good quality intelligence.
We're very heartened to see a variety of nations around the world, some of whom
we have very little in common with politically, but on this we can agree, and
that's the need to fight terrorism around the world.
So gaining that intelligence, we certainly do not have a monopoly on good intelligence.
So if we can get that from other countries, it's a plus.
DRIGGS: Let me put you on the spot here, Admiral Quigley.
DRIGGS: We look at George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld. In your
opinion as a military man, how capable is this group of getting it done here?
QUIGLEY: You would be hard pressed to find a more capable team.
DRIGGS: I had a feeling you were going to say that.
DRIGGS: So we have many reasons to be encouraged in terms of the folks who are
calling the shots here. This is a group that's capable, willing, and clearly
not going to be intimidated by terrorists, and man, that's a flying start in
QUIGLEY: And they are backed up and inspired by the people of America. This
is an assault on our way of life, John, and it's the freedoms that we have earned
and have come to enjoy over the years as Americans. We can hunker down, we can
spend our lives looking over our shoulders and have our behavior altered, or
we can take the fight to the terrorist organizations and alter that behavior,
and that's the path we've chosen.
DEXTER: One more question before the break.
You've helped us understand how widespread this network is and how many different
ways we're going to have to fight them and go after them, but in some cases
there is state sponsorship, and I guess I'll put you on the spot again and ask
you about possible plans for going after Iraq and Saddam Hussein.
QUIGLEY: There are a variety of nations around the world that have a track record
of supporting terrorism. Some for particular organizations, and others much
more widely. We have said, the President has said that he's putting those nations
on notice that he wants that support to cease, and to dry up those areas of
financial support and training support, and if those are coming from nations,
then we want that behavior to halt.
DRIGGS: Admiral, is this in effect, as we combat terrorism in the year 2001,
are we basically going back as it applies to Iraq and wrapping up what we started
in the Gulf War?
QUIGLEY: That's a hard one to predict, John. I certainly wouldn't make that
Again, the goal here is to have the states that have sponsored terrorism stop
it and to stop providing that support. And if you have demonstrated behavior
that you have halted that, that is the goal.
DEXTER: Admiral Craig Quigley from the Pentagon. We appreciate so much your
being with us today.
QUIGLEY: You're very welcome, Penna. My pleasure.
DEXTER: A great opportunity, John, to have one of the people in the Pentagon
to begin to explain the situation to us.
DEXTER: We'll of course hear more from the president tonight. Maybe we'll be
enlightened a little bit more although I think Admiral Quigley probably gave
us the scoop.