17 November 2003
Rumsfeld Sees Proliferation, Cyber Attack Risks in Coming Years
Defense Secretary briefs reporters in Japan
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the security threats in
the 21st century will come from the proliferation of nuclear, chemical
and biological weapons, from ballistic missile technologies "that
have been spreading across the globe," and from cyber attacks.
Rumsfeld made his remarks November 15 during interviews with regional
Asked about the situation in Iraq, the defense secretary said
coalition forces are not in a quagmire and have not been shaken
by recent violence. There are 33 nations with ground forces in
Iraq, Rumsfeld said, in addition to the 131,000 Iraqi forces who "are
doing a good job" conducting joint patrols with the coalition.
According to Rumsfeld, an improvement in the security situation
in Iraq requires an improvement in essential services, movement
on the political process, security forces that are better equipped
to round up suspects, and more accurate reporting. "There are so
many things that are untrue that are being reported by irresponsible
journalists and ... television stations, particularly like al-Jazeera
and al-Arabia," he said, adding that the Iraqi people are being
given an unbalanced picture "of what is happening in their country."
The secretary was also asked about the possibility of reducing
the number of U.S. military personnel assigned to Japan and indicated
that although there are no firm proposals as of now, there would
be discussions on the subject in the coming months.
Following is the text of Rumsfeld's interviews:
U.S. Department of Defense
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
November 15, 2003
(Regional Media Interviews with Secretary Rumsfeld)
INTERVIEW WITH NHK
NHK: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. The first question is Iraqi security
situation and given the latest terrorist attack against Italian
peacekeepers, to what extent are you concerned that Saddam Hussein
remnants are still retaining support from Iraqi people?
RUMSFELD: No, we find that that's not the case. The overwhelming
majority of the 23 million Iraqi people is very much in favor of
the coalition and relieved that the Saddam Hussein regime is gone.
This is a regime that was a vicious dictatorship that cut off people's
heads and hands and fingers; mass graves cover that country; tens
of thousands of people were killed. People would come at night
-- police, and arrest them and take them to jail for no reason.
No, they're glad to be rid of them. There are several thousand,
how many I don't know, but certainly less than 10 thousand, out
of 23 million, that are well financed; they stole a lot of money
from the Iraqi people. They have weapons, and there are foreign
terrorists that are coming into the country through Syria and Iran.
There's a terrorist network called (inaudible). So there are clearly
people that are targeting the coalition, but the overwhelming majority
of Iraqi people are very friendly.
NHK: But we have been told that the southern part of Iraq is relatively
stable. Do you get a sense of quagmire?
RUMSFELD: Now there is a clever word, "quagmire." I have heard
that before. No, there is no quagmire. The truth is that 93 percent
of the incidents that occur, occur in the central part of Iraq
-- in Baghdad and just north, towards Tikrit. The north, the south,
the west is relatively peaceful. Now, does that mean that there
is no crime? No. There is crime in Tokyo; there is crime in most
cities -- in Chicago, where I am from. There are people that get
killed every day in major cities of the world. But the large majority
of the incidents occur right in the Baghdad-and-north area.
NHK: The second question is the Japanese Self-Defense Force. Do
you think the Japanese are too naïve if they think that there
must be an antiseptic humanitarian operation without engaging in
any combat situation in that country?
RUMSFELD: Oh goodness. It's entirely up to Japan to decide what
their circumstance is and how they feel they can best assist. The
Japanese government and the people of Japan have been very cooperative
in the global war on terror. The government of Japan and the people
of Japan have been very generous in terms of the major financial
commitment to help the Iraqi reconstruction. I and the United States
has always believed that each country has to make a decision for
themselves how best they can help.
NHK: Aren't you a bit frustrated if Japanese hesitate to send
its troops there?
RUMSFELD: Do I look frustrated? Not at all. Not even slightly
NHK: But it may send a wrong signal to the terrorists that the
coalition is kind of shaken.
RUMSFELD: The coalition's not shaken. We have 33 countries with
forces on the ground in Iraq. Think of that. Thirty-three nations
have forces on the ground in Iraq. It is a very broad coalition.
It's doing very well. The Iraqi forces make it a 34th country.
We now have 131,000 Iraqis who are providing security for the Iraqi
people -- 131,000 Iraqis, that's an enormous number. And they are
doing a good job. They are engaging in joint patrols with the coalition
forces, and each month the number of Iraqi security forces goes
up. So the total number of security forces in Iraqi has been going
NHK: The next question is North Korea, the DPRK (Democratic People's
Republic of Korea). The president said that he may consider security
arrangements, security assurance for the DPRK in exchange for them
to abandon the nuclear program. Now, does that mean the United
States could recognize the legitimacy of that vicious dictatorship
and their active development of the ballistic missile and other
WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs? Is that the case?
RUMSFELD: There is -- first of all, there is not a chance in the
world that the United States of America would give any country
in the world any assurances that would in any way at all affect
the relationship between the United States and Japan. Our security
agreement is there, it's important to us; it's important to both
of our countries. We value it; I know the government of Japan values
it. Any suggestion like that is really out of the question. What
might happen is yet to be seen with respect to North Korea. The
six-party talks are due to [re-]start at some point. The representatives
of the six countries, from five of the six countries anyway, are
talking, discussing how those talks might go. At some point, it
is very likely that there will be another of those six-party sessions.
Whether or not any assurances would be given, whether or not the
government of North Korea would find its way clear to indicate
with a great deal of certainty that they would follow a path that
would be acceptable to the other five countries remains to be seen.
In the event they did, obviously, there would have to be some very
careful verification process, so that you were certain that what
they said they were doing, they in fact were doing, because that
turned out not to be the case with the so-called Agreed Framework.
NHK: But in this country, some people worry about, very much,
about that if there is a security assurance, it may hamper the
deterrence for North Korea.
RUMSFELD: No. No, there is nothing that is going to happen. I
am confident. I know this -- President Bush and I know the other
countries involved. Japan is one of the countries -- they wouldn't
want to participate in something that was harmful to their interests.
It is clearly important that we recognize the kind of regime that
exists in North Korea -- and you characterized it well. Also, we
recognize that any indication of a change in their behavior would
have to be verified. There would have to be ways of gaining absolute
assurance that what they said they were doing, they were doing.
But there is no chance that anyone would want to reduce the deterrent
factor against a regime that has clearly been rattling the sabers
from time to time.
NHK: The last question is the easy part: the future of the U.S.-Japan
alliance. What future -- I know that you are a first-rate strategic
thinker -- what future are you willing to see for U.S.-Japan relations
to deal with different kind of threat of the 21st century?
RUMSFELD: Well, Japan is of course a terribly important country,
an enormously important country in the world. It has the second-largest
economy on the face of the earth. It is a vibrant, healthy democracy.
It is a model for so many other countries in the world. It has
a growing and impressive security capability, which enables it
to contribute to a more peaceful and stable region here. I see
the relationship between our two countries continuing to grow,
continuing to deepen. We have common values; we have common interests,
we both share the same desire to see this be a peaceful part of
the world. My hope is that Japan, over the coming decades, will
continue to contribute to the world in a way that is has been doing,
but to an even increasing extent.
The threats of the 21st century are different. We must worry about
the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons,
chemical and biological weapons. We have to worry about the proliferation
of those technologies of ballistic missiles that have been spreading
across the globe. Over the coming two decades, we will very likely
be seeing the need to recognize the risks of cyber attacks. And
our two countries have so much in common that I have no doubt that
over the next decade or two we will see an even closer relationship
for our benefit, each of our countries benefit, but also for the
benefit of the world.
NHK: Mr. Secretary, we [have] got constitutional sensitivity.
RUMSFELD: Of course, those are things that Japan will have to
think about. As we move from the 20th century into the 21st century,
Japan will, I am sure, think through what role it wants to play
and how it wants to play that role. That is what a sovereign nation
does, and I wish them well.
NHK: If I would have some bonus question, the alignment of the
U.S. defense posture in this district. What importance do you see
[for] the U.S. bases in Okinawa, which I guess you are going to
RUMSFELD: I am.
NHK: What importance do you see (inaudible).
RUMSFELD: Of course it is important. Our basing assistance here
has been important here in Japan and also in Okinawa, (inaudible)
in Japan. We have a good relationship; we have had for many years.
We've talked about that today and over the coming weeks and months
we will be consulting with the Japanese government about some concepts
as to how things might be adjusted to better fit the 21st century,
those are ahead of us. We haven't gotten firm plans or firm proposals
at the present time.
NHK: But are you going to reduce the number of Marines or U.S.
RUMSFELD: As I said, we don't have any firm proposals at the present
NHK: When will you do that?
RUMSFELD: There will be talks over the coming weeks and months.
NHK: Oh, that will be next month?
RUMSFELD: I haven't set any dates.
NHK: Thank you Mr. Secretary.
(end text of NHK interview)
(begin text of Yomiuri Shimbun interview)
INTERVIEW WITH YOMIURI SHIMBUN
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Today you had a meeting with the Defense Minister
RUMSFELD: Excellent meeting.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Excellent meeting?
RUMSFELD: And I had meeting with the Foreign Minister.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Right.
RUMSFELD: Before that. And a meeting with the Prime Minister last
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: How did you enjoy the meeting with the Defense
RUMSFELD: I enjoyed it a great deal. He is very knowledgeable.
He is deeply interested in important national security issues,
and we had a good long visit and exchange and discussion on issues
that I think are important and that he thinks are important.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: OK, I remember you, in the press conference at
the National Press Building mentioned our plans to dispatch the
Japanese Self Defense Force sometime in December. And today's press
RUMSFELD: I don't think I did.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: You did. That's in the record, it was.
RUMSFELD: I don't think so.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: It was.
RUMSFELD: Is it? What did I say?
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: You said they are planning to dispatch the Self
Defense Force sometime in December. The first advance team, yes.
RUMSFELD: I may have not said that for myself. I may have said
that they have said that.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: OK. But, so it was not
RUMSFELD: Do you recall this?
MB: I don't, but I would be certain that it was probably just
repeating what had been understood.
RUMSFELD: Yeah, if I said anything about it I was just acknowledging
that someone's question said that but I tend not to talk about
what other countries are going to do.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: OK.
RUMSFELD: I am generally quite careful.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Were you ... ?
RUMSFELD: And you really did check the transcript to see if ...
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Yes sir.
RUMSFELD: And I said that?
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Yes sir.
RUMSFELD: Well, I would like to see that.
MB: We'll check it.
RUMSFELD: I'll bet it was in the questions.
MB: It was probably in the questions-and-answers time.
RUMSFELD: I'll bet it was in the question rather than in the answer.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Possibly. I will check. Anyway, that was -- was
it to your disappointment that the Japanese government actually
delayed the decision as to when to dispatch the forces?
RUMSFELD: See, now there is the question that contains a statement
of fact. You are stating that they have delayed it. I am not. You
are, right? OK. I will repeat what I have said for two-and-a-half
years since September 11th of 2001. In the global war on terror
and in Afghanistan and in Iraq and other activities we have gone
out to the world and we have said that to the U.N., to NATO, to
other organizations and said that here is what we see as the situation
and to the extent other countries share that view, we would value
their assistance in whatever way makes the most sense for them.
And I will let them characterize what they want to do, and I do
let them characterize it, and I have a lot of respect for sovereign
nations. They have to make those decisions for themselves. Each
country has a different history, has a different constitution,
has a different perspective, comes from a different part of the
world, and I understand that and I respect that.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: OK. I understand that the United States and Britain
and other countries are pouring a lot of effort in maintaining
the security situation within Iraq.
RUMSFELD: Well, let me comment on that. There are 33 countries
that have forces on the ground in Iraq. Actually 34, counting Iraq.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Yes, sir.
RUMSFELD: Iraq now has 131,000 security forces. And we have got
any number of countries, 33, 34 countries that are assisting there.
And that is a very broad coalition.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Now, what is the idea in improving the security
situation in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Well, what has to be done, I believe -- first of all,
there are a lot of different views about that, because it is a
complicated, difficult issue. I believe that very likely, three
things, may be even four things, have to happen. And they have
to happen almost together. One is to improve the central services,
the essential services, and they are improving. Electricity is
improving; water is improving; the oil revenues are up; schools
are open; hospitals are open; and that's a good thing.
A second thing that has to happen is the political process has
to go forward. The Iraqi people have now elected town councils
in, or governors, in every portion of that country. So there is
-- every single Iraqi citizen is now living somewhere either in
a [governorate] or in a city or a province that is governed by
Iraqis. That is a good thing. The Governing Council nationally
has appointed ministers, and the ministers are now assuming more
and more responsibility. And I believe that the Iraqi people have
to see that Iraqis are participating in governing their country.
I think that to get them wanting to be supportive of their country,
they have to see that as opposed to having people from another
country basically deciding everything.
A third thing that has to happen is that the security forces have
got to grow to a level that they can capture or kill people that
are running around killing innocent men, women and children, who
are mostly Iraqis. If you look at who is being killed, the overwhelming
majority are the Iraqi people, by the terrorists.
The fourth thing that has to happen is, and I don't know how to
do this, to be honest: there has to be some way that the truth
can be told about what is taking place in that country. There are
so many things that are untrue that are being reported by irresponsible
journalists and irresponsible television stations, particularly
like al-Jazeera and al-Arabia, that are leaving the Iraqi people
with a totally imbalanced picture of what is happening in their
country. And they are leaving the people in the region with an
imbalanced picture of what is happening in the country. That is
unfortunate. So those four things all have to go forward together,
I believe, if we are going to see a marked improvement.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: OK. I would like to come to Asia.
RUMSFELD: Have you met Ambassador Baker?
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Yes, Ambassador Baker.
AMBASSADOR BAKER: Good, how are you?
RUMSFELD: And Mrs. Baker? Nancy?
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Nice to meet you.
RUMSFELD: They are our host and hostess here this evening.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Right. In the --
RUMSFELD: So you have an audience here.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Yes. In your process of reviewing the forward
presence of the U.S. military bases in Asia and Pacific region,
what is the basic concept under what is your concept of the security
environment in this region, sir?
RUMSFELD: That is a good question. When I came into office the
president asked me to look at the entire world and see how we are
arranged and how we might better be arranged for the 21st century.
We did what was called a Quadrennial Defense Review, and out of
that review came a conviction on the part of the people involved
that this part of the world is going, in the 21st century, going
to continue to be important on an increasing basis.
The force posture or the engagement of our country with the world
has to be significant in this part of the world. We are a Pacific
nation and this is a, well, how to put it, you asked what is the
difference? The difference really is -- in the 20th century we
basically had a static defense posture in the world. We did in
Europe. The Soviet Union was the threat. We really did in the Korean
Peninsula. North Korea was the threat, and that was really not
true with respect to Japan.
Japan -- we clearly were interested in the defense of Japan, but
also the peace and stability in the region, so as we reviewed our
circumstance we came to the conclusion that we needed to kind of
move from a static defense to a circumstance where we had greater
agility, where we can move faster. The kinds of threats that exist
in the world today are increasingly lethal, and you are not likely
to be facing large armies, navies or air forces; you are less likely
than in the last century. You are more likely to be facing terrorist
threats, ungoverned areas, problems that come up fast and need
to be dealt with quickly, and so we are attempting to figure out
ways that we could be more agile as a force and deal with things
We are now at the stage where we have concepts and we are starting
to talk to our friends and allies around the world. My guess is
that we'll at some point develop conviction in proposals, which
we have not yet, and then very likely we would have to go to our
Congress and get funded for the military construction and the types
of things that that requires, and get agreements from the countries
we deal with, and then the next step would be to do it, and that
would take the period of a decade to make those kinds of adjustments
and get ourselves set for the period ahead.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: I see. Now the Japanese government has decided
to introduce missile defense system, sea-based and ground-based.
What is your idea of defending the U.S. bases in this country?
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: From missile threats.
RUMSFELD: Sure. It is a problem. You have a neighbor there that
has rattled the ballistic missile sabers from time to time, and
indeed fired ballistic missiles over this country. We think that
the administration here as the government of Japan has made a very
good decision to go to the Diet and propose funding for missile
defense. The time, of course, between the launching of the missile
and its arrival is a matter of minutes,
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Yes sir.
RUMSFELD: -- and not days or years or months. You don't have a
leisurely period to get arranged for it. And I think the investments
that we are making and the types of cooperation we can engage in
with Japan will enable both of us to do a better job of defending
our interests. Needless to say, Japan and, to the extent U.S. forces
are in Japan, U.S. forces as well.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: With respect to North Korea, diplomatic dialogue
is going on. But previously I understand that while I was in Washington
listening to your work, you were one of the persons who said that
nothing is off the table. Do you still keep that idea sir?
RUMSFELD: It is not from me. I don't do foreign policy. But that
is basically what the president has said, and what Secretary of
State Powell has said, and they have made a conscious decision
to engage in a diplomatic approach with North Korea, which I think
is the right thing to do. They have, again I think very properly,
decided that it is not the kind of thing that we can do bilaterally.
It is the only really effective way of dealing with North Korea,
it seems to me, is to have the nations of this region engage and
in what I guess are being called six-party talks.
I would go so far as to say that I think the U.N. has an interest
as well. The whole world has to be concerned. This region has to
be concerned about North Korea in this region. But the world has
to be concerned about North Korea in terms of proliferation of
technologies of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile
technologies. That is a problem that is not restricted to this
region, and to the extent that they follow through and do the kinds
of things with nuclear materials that they have been doing with
ballistic missile technologies, it will change the world. And so
it is a problem for the world, it is a problem for the international
community, as well as a problem for the six countries here and
I am very supportive of what [is] taking place.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: How hopeful are you, sir, that this problem can
be resolved peacefully and diplomatically?
RUMSFELD: Oh goodness. I don't know that I would want to characterize
my hopefulness. I am an old man and I have been surprised lots
of times in my life on things that turn out better or things that
turn out not quite as well as I thought. I think that when you
are dealing with something as lethal as we are in this situation,
one has to be measured and cautious and careful.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: I see. You are going to Okinawa tomorrow.
RUMSFELD: I am. I am looking forward to it.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Meeting with the governor. What word do you have
to the people?
RUMSFELD: I am also going to be meeting with some of our troops
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Yes.
RUMSFELD: and looking at some of the facilities.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Yes. But [what] words do you have for the people
and the soldiers?
RUMSFELD: Oh, listen, the soldiers are just wonderful. These young
men and women are all volunteers. They are people who [in] every
instance decided that they wanted to help defend our country and
defend freedom and contribute to a more peaceful world, and they
are proud of what they do, they are well trained, they are well
equipped, they are -- I must say the ones I met today in Japan
are also just delighted to be here. They feel that they are treated
so well and that the environment is so hospitable to them -- the
Japanese people and the friendships they have made; and they feel
that this is a good duty assignment, and they are pleased to be
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: And to the people.
RUMSFELD: And to the people. Absolutely.
MB: Thank you very much.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Thank you very much.
RUMSFELD: Well thank you.
YOMIURI SHIMBUN: Thank you Mr. Secretary. Nice meeting you.
RUMSFELD: Its nice to see you. I wish you well. Lets get the transcript
and see if he's right or I'm right. (Laughter)