21 November 2003
Myers Says Failure Not An Option in War Against Terrorism
Rumsfeld says terrorists seek to alter behavior
By Jacquelyn S. Porth
Washington File Security Affairs Writer
Washington -- Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers says
the danger of terrorism today "is the greatest threat we've ever
faced" and failure is not an option.
Speaking to Department of Defense employees and civilian contractors
at a "town hall" meeting at the Pentagon November 21, the four-star
Air Force general said the stakes are high in the global war against
terrorism. Global terrorism represents "a creed of fear, hatred,
violence and intolerance," he said.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who also spoke to the gathering,
said terrorism is designed to frighten people so that they alter
their behavior. He predicted that waging the war against terrorism "is
going to affect all the countries of the world, in one way or another."
"We have no choice but to go out and find the terrorists ... before
they ... kill another 3,000 innocent men, women and children in
this country and hundreds of thousands more across the world in
Bali, or Istanbul, or you name it," Rumsfeld said, adding that
it may involve breaking up terrorist cells, disrupting funding
networks, shutting down training facilities or dealing effectively
with the countries that harbor or provide safe haven to terrorists.
Combating terrorism also means being engaged in the battle of ideas,
he continued, so that the appeal of potential terrorist recruiters
Asked how to measure success in this war, Rumsfeld said it would
not be concluded with a formal signing ceremony. Success will take
time, he said, but pointed out that there is a broad coalition
of 90 nations helping. Victory will occur, the secretary said,
when people are no longer fearful and can send their children off
to school with every confidence that they will return at the end
of the day.
Rumsfeld was also asked about the possibility that some of the
new media in Iraq may be undermining the coalition mission. "People
are free to be wise ... foolish ... helpful ... disruptive" in
the post-Saddam Hussein era, he said. The many newspapers, magazines,
radio and television stations that have surfaced are a sign of
success, the secretary said, because Iraqis can now say and do
as they please after decades of oppression. While freedom of the
press makes the job more difficult, he added, "the benefits vastly
outweigh the burdens."
Myers noted that it is often difficult to communicate coalition
messages inside Iraq. A significant portion of the Iraqi news diet
is delivered via satellite dishes, he said, noting that efforts
are under way to begin running quality programming in December
to compete with current anti-coalition programming produced by
the al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera news organizations.
Rumsfeld said a start-up period would be required to develop an
audience for the new programs. "It's going to take some time to
persuade people to watch different programming," he added.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, U.S. Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt,
deputy director for operations for the Combined Joint Task Force-7
briefed local reporters on November 21 about the most recent attacks
in the capital. He said between nine and 14 rocket-propelled grenade
launchers mounted on donkey carts were aimed at the Iraqi Ministry
of Oil and the Palestine Hotel. A few of the rockets thought to
be destined for the Palestine Hotel went awry and hit the nearby
Sheraton Hotel, he added.
Other rigged donkey carts aimed at the University Law building
and the Kurdish Democratic Party were discovered later in the day. "This
is an adaptive enemy" who is also inventive and ingenious, Kimmitt
It is an enemy trying to "break our will," he said, and capture
headlines. "But these attacks, with the exception of a seriously
injured civilian," Kimmitt said, "have had, frankly, no tactical
value, and they're militarily insignificant."
Asked about the psychological impact, the military officer said
the terrorists are trying to promote fear, but the facts on the
ground indicate that Iraq "is a relatively stable country." Ultimately,
the enemy will fail, Kimmitt said, "because our will is unaffected
by these attacks."
A reporter asked the briefing official if he still believes that
Iraq is 90 percent safe, secure and stable as the Coalition Provisional
Authority maintains. "Absolutely," he replied, adding that there
were only "two rocket attacks in the space of one day in a very
small area," and "about 90 percent of the districts in Baghdad
Kimmitt said his forces continue to work on creating "a safe and
secure environment" there while simultaneously "getting on with
the process of providing essential services, restoring the economy
and passing governance to the people of Iraq."