of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Media Availability with Traveling Press
October 4, 2001
QUESTION: What was your message to President Mubarak and how did he respond?
RUMSFELD: My message was the fact that this is enormously important to the entire
world and he knows that. He has lived in the neighborhood where terrorism has
been a problem longer than it has been in the United States. And he shares the
concern we have about terrorism.
He emphasized the fact that it is important to the entire planet that the
problem of proliferation and the risks to nations and large numbers of people
is real and has resulted -- he understands and agrees with President Bush's
approach that it is has to be a sustained effort over a good period of time
and for that we are appreciative.
The Egyptians are cooperating in a number of ways and have been and we appreciate
that. The exercise that we have going on we discussed. I guess it begins,
the 11th they said. (Exercise Bright Star) is an important part of the relationship
between the United States and Egypt. I expressed the hope that I could get
back before then, sometime at the end of this month.
QUESTION: Have you been briefed at all about or know anything about this apparent
accidental shoot down of a civilian aircraft?
RUMSFELD: I just received the early report that most everyone else has. I
don't know that we have anything else.
QUESTION: Do you know if the British broke off part of the exercise that you were
seeing in Oman and are positioning their forces for apparently some coordinated
RUMSFELD: I don't know that they did break off the exercise. My impression
was that the exercise was underway and was going to continue.
QUESTION: The exercise continued but some elements, the HMS Illustrious, the aircraft
carrier, is leaving and heading toward the Indian Ocean. What can you tell
us about that? The question is not about the exercise but about what the intent
of the Illustrious is.
RUMSFELD: Needless to say, we don't discuss our movements nor do I discuss
QUESTION: Can you give us any more clarity on what we talked about earlier about
what planning there might be for air drops of food and medicine? Do you expect
that to happen or just under consideration? The President did talk about it.
It seems (inaudible)
RUMSFELD: As I indicated to you, I think yesterday, the United States government
has been working on a substantial humanitarian aid program for Afghanistan.
I believe it was announced today, and it involves a rather substantial sum
of money, well in excess what we've already contributed by way of food aid
this year. I don't recall the figure.
Staff: $320 million.
QUESTION: What will be the degree of the U.S. military participation in delivering
that food aid?
RUMSFELD: As I indicated, it will depend on the circumstance and it will
be essentially an Agency for International Development and Department of State
effort, but the military does help and can help in addition to whatever that
package involves. As I indicated to you, there is no doubt in my mind but
that there will be some food drops by the military over a period of time.
QUESTION: And what hazards will the aircraft face? Certainly the Taliban does have
some rudimentary defense capability.
RUMSFELD: The food drops will be done only in the event that it's very clear
that the SAM sites -- the limited number surface-to-air missiles and the rather
larger number of Stinger missiles -- that are still in the country would not
pose a problem.
QUESTION: How did you verify that?
RUMSFELD: Well, you know, there are people on the ground we talk to, who
have knowledge of what's going on.
QUESTION: What about the theory of strikes to neutralize other threats such as those
RUMSFELD: We don't discuss those.
QUESTION: Mr., Secretary, what kind of importance do you attach to your visit tomorrow
RUMSFELD: Well, the United States of course does not have a long-standing
relationship with Uzbekistan, and it is a significant geographic location
and we have had a number of interactions over the period of weeks. It seemed
to me that it's a useful thing to meet the people and get to know them a bit
and to express appreciation for any cooperation they care to offer in this
exercise and in the president's program against terrorism and to establish
some relationships at a fairly high level.
QUESTION: And who would you meet with in Turkey?
RUMSFELD: I don't know how that's worked out to be honest with you. I know
the staff has been working on it but I don't know whether we are going there
or, if we do, which city we are landing at or whom we might see. We just saw
the foreign minister of Turkey within the last several weeks.
QUESTION: Prior to going into Saudi Arabia, you said you're not going in to negotiate.
One of the questions of course about Uzbekistan is whatever agreement there
may be or have to be for U.S. military to use bases there. Can you tell us
whether that agreement has already been reached or whether you have to tie
up some loose ends on your trip tomorrow?
RUMSFELD: Well, you know what happens basically in these things is that the
United States develops an initial contact with a country and then there are
technicians and technical people who know precisely what is of interest at
any given time. They then begin that process, and then there are further discussions
at higher levels and, if at some point it is appropriate for someone at a
more senior level to be engaged directly, why it happens. I was correct when
I told you I was not out here to negotiate any particular arrangements or
deals. On the other hand, to the extent there are questions or issues that
need to be discussed, sometimes others bring them up with me or I bring them
up with them and it gets discussed and then it goes back down and is worked
out at a different level. That has happened on this trip already, where some
of those issues have come up. It's just the normal types of things.
QUESTION: Are they looking to you for any reassurances?
RUMSFELD: I guess I haven't been there yet, so we'll see.
QUESTION: You said that you told President Mubarak that you hoped to get back to
the area before the exercise ended. Are you right now planning another Middle
RUMSFELD: I am certainly not. The question came up when I was talking to
the field marshal and minister of defense and with President Mubarak. I had
hoped to be out in the region, as some of you may know, for an extensive trip
because we have so many important relationships here, as a country, and as
a Department of Defense and the U.S. military. Whether my life will sort out
in a way that I can get back here before that particular exercise ends on
the 26th, remains to be seen.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, at a previous press conference you said something I wanted
to ask you about. You said, the chance of any military action affecting any
single terrorist it seems to be small. This raised the question in my mind
of why we would undertake military action if that were the case?
RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, I haven't said we are undertaking military
action. Secondly, I think, just being realistic, if you are engaged in a broad-based
effort, that depends on good intelligence and depends on making life uncomfortable
for people who are terrorists and people who harbor people who are terrorists,
it is completely unpredictable as to which event or which scrap of information
or which potential military activity, or which diplomatic activity might lead
to the turning up of information that would lead to a single arrest or a single
apprehension of a terrorist.
The important thing is to see that we put enough pressure on the terrorists
and the people who harbor terrorists through a variety of means over a sustained
period so that they have to alter their behavior and they have to move from
where they are and they have to try to do things differently and that people
are less eager to help them, and that people are less eager to be recruited
by them and people are less eager to finance them and -- that as life becomes
more difficult, opportunities improve. We were talking last night, a few of
us, about comparing this effort to a war, and it undoubtedly will prove to
be a lot more like a cold war than a hot war, in this sense.
If you think about it, in the Cold War it took 50 years, plus or minus. It
did not involve major battles. It involved continuous pressure. It involved
cooperation by a host of nations. It involved the willingness of populations
in many countries to invest in it and to sustain it. It took leadership at
the top from a number of countries that were willing to be principled and
to be courageous and to put things at risk; and when it ended, it ended not
with a bang, but through internal collapse. The support for that way of life
and that pressure against the world and that threat to the world -- just disintegrated
from inside. And it's just by accident, and in discussing this with some people
that it strikes me that that might be a more appropriate way to think about
what we are up against here, than would be any major conflict.
QUESTION: So you think it may take 50 years to win this war?
RUMSFELD: I have no idea. All I know is that there are people out there,
who for a variety of reasons; but I think it is bedrock that they want to
control things. Possibly personally, and certainly in the case of many, they
are determined to bring great damage to the world, and the world can't let