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12 May 2004

Armitage Stresses Need for Civil-Military Collaboration

Deputy secretary points to mutual reinforcement in Iraq

To win both war and peace, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage says, it is not sufficient for the United States to have the greatest military power in history. Instead, he says, soldiers must work collaboratively with diplomats to secure victory.

Addressing the Army War College's 2004 class of officers, Armitage, a former Navy officer who served three tours of duty in Vietnam, said "[T]he power of a nation and all the suasion that power can command never has resided and never will solely in military might." In a May 12 address at the Marriott Hotel in Washington, the deputy secretary said, "[W]e need international cooperation on a scale we've not seen before." Such international cooperation, he added, "requires extensive diplomatic engagement. You might say we need both [soldiers'] boots and [diplomats'] loafers on the ground. Indeed, today military operations and reconstruction operations are taking place side by side."

The reason for this, Armitage said, is that "the war we are fighting today against terrorism is a multifaceted fight. We have to use every tool in our toolkit to wage this war -- diplomacy, finance, intelligence, law enforcement, and of course, military power -- and we are developing new tools as we go along.

Narrowing his focus from global terrorism to the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan specifically, Armitage said "victory in Iraq and Afghanistan won't just be when our soldiers can hold their place without fear of attack and ... ambush." He said it will be when the lights go on across the country; clean water flows from the taps; and ordinary people can go about their business in the streets -- permanently. "It will be when Iraq is governed by Iraqis and Afghanistan is governed by Afghans, chosen freely and fairly by their countrymen and women," the deputy secretary added.

In Afghanistan, Armitage said, winning the peace in addition to the war "has meant demonstrating to a deeply traumatized society that there is a viable alternative to the Taliban and to their version of stability at any cost."

Turning to Iraq, Armitage addressed recent revelations of prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad by saying: "[R]especting human dignity and the rule of law is the right thing to do morally, legally and operationally.". ... If we want ... a stable and peaceful Iraq, for example -- we have to actually take proactive, constructive action to build respect for individual rights and the rule of law. And that means in Iraq that military operations and civilian reconstruction are of equal importance. Winning the peace -- winning the war there won't do us much good if we lose that peace in the process," he said.

Following is the transcript of Armitage's remarks:

(begin transcript)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State
J. W. Marriott Hotel
Washington, D.C.
May 12, 2004

Remarks at the Army War College


Well, thanks so much for your kind introduction and for the description of being part of the "dream team." Usually people refer to Secretary Powell and I as "Beauty and the Beast." (Laughter.) I think you know which role I have. (Laughter.) I'm delighted, ladies and gentlemen, to have this time with you this afternoon to represent our Department of State to you.

We recognize that most of you are up-and-coming leaders in the military departments, and perhaps the goal of my Department in facing our common security challenges may be a bit opaque to you. And that may be the case, even though you have just spent a year in the company of your four State Department colleagues. In fact, sometimes it seems as though the more you talk to a diplomat, the less you actually know. (Laughter.) But I actually think there has rarely been a time when the connection between diplomacy and the force at arms has mattered more.

Certainly, today, the United States possesses the finest military force in history. Indeed, we are at a unique juncture: we can carry out any mission we might see as necessary to our interests, while greatly minimizing the destruction to civilian lives, property, and infrastructure and maximizing our ability to protect our own combat forces. In Iraq, for example, we saw a military operation that was efficient, responsive, and precise in its lethality.

And yet even with the most powerful military history has ever seen, we find that there are certain variables that technology doesn't change much. And so today, it is still the soldier on the field of battle, seizing and holding ground, who ultimately determines the outcome of a fight. It is still the inescapable suasion of a soldier with a bayonet standing on enemy territory -- tenure on the land -- that bends an enemy to our will. And Iraq has proven to us yet again just how important that point is.

Iraq has also underscored another durable truth: the power of a nation and all the suasion that power can command never has resided and never will solely in military might. For that matter, even that essential soldier who takes and holds ground can only stand there defending territory for so long. Particularly when he or she comes from an all-volunteer force of a democratic nation. And so as a soldier must hold ground, as our forces are doing right now in Iraq and in Afghanistan, we must also hold a different kind of ground. And that requires an unusual degree of cooperation and connection between individuals from both military and civilian nations -- by the organizations and between nations.

Indeed, the war we are fighting today against terrorism is a multifaceted fight. We have to use every tool in our toolkit to wage this war -- diplomacy, finance, intelligence, law enforcement, and of course, military power -- and we are developing new tools as we go along. The international struggle to cut off terrorist funding, for example, which is going on largely in cyberspace, is an essential and an ongoing facet of this fight.

Furthermore, victory in Iraq and Afghanistan won't just be when our soldiers can hold their place without fear of attack and without fear of ambush. It will also be when the lights go on across the country permanently. And when clean water flows from the taps -- permanently. And when ordinary people can go about their business in the streets of Kabul or in Baghdad or in Karbala -- permanently. It will be when Iraq is governed by Iraqis and Afghanistan is governed by Afghans, chosen freely and fairly by their countrymen and women.

And while coalitions have been around as long as warfare, the amorphous quality of this multifaceted struggle, as well as the scope of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, means we need international cooperation on a scale we've not seen before. And there is certainly a compelling international interest in cooperation: Americans are not the only victims of terrorism. Citizens of more than 90 nations died in the World Trade Center alone. Terrorist attacks have killed and wounded thousands of people from nearly every nation represented here today, and also represented by your international fellows. So it is fitting that well over 100 nations have made some contributions to combating terrorism since 9/11. Most countries also have an interest in seeing that Iraq and Afghanistan cease to threaten and destabilize their neighbors and become members in good standing of the community of nations. Indeed, 68 different nations are making some contribution in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

All of this international cooperation requires extensive diplomatic engagement. You might say we need both boots and loafers on the ground. Indeed, today military operations and reconstruction operations are taking place side by side. And we have to secure immediate success in all operations to achieve long-term progress.

In Afghanistan, the challenge of taking the territory back has always been not just to send military forces after the Taliban and after al-Qaeda, but to deny to them their base of support. And that has meant demonstrating to a deeply traumatized society that there is a viable alternative to the Taliban and to their version of stability at any cost.

The only way to do that is to secure the country and help rebuild a reliable civil society and reliable governing authority. We can point to some important progress. This ranges from a new constitution, which the Loya Jirga agreed to in January; to the Kabul-Kandahar Highway and 1,300 kilometers of secondary roads; to new or rehabilitated schools, health clinics, power plants, and irrigation projects. Now, of course, for those of you who've just returned, security is still a challenge, although there is progress there, as well, through the successful training of the Afghan National Army and law enforcement forces and the presence of international troops across that country.

Iraq is a similar situation in many ways, though the urgency of the moment is far greater. At least it's far greater as [far as] I'm concerned, because my Department is set to inherit that particular situation in 51 days. The security demands have never been greater than they are now and the window of opportunity for winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis was smaller to begin with. And of course, human rights violations [of detainees] at Abu Ghraib have made that margin much smaller.

I want to say a word about that. You are all solid in your leadership skills or you would have never been in Carlisle in the first place, so you know that respecting human dignity and the rule of law is the right thing to do morally, legally and operationally. It's not enough to make sure that our forces are well-trained and well-led, although that is certainly the minimum if we want to be sure that violations don't occur; it's knowing for sure how to win, that there's no negative outcome. If we want a positive outcome, a stable and peaceful Iraq, for example -- we have to actually take proactive, constructive action to build respect for individual rights and the rule of law. And that means in Iraq that military operations and civilian reconstruction are of equal importance. Winning the peace -- winning the war there won't do us much good if we lose that peace in the process.

The good news there is we are making some considerable progress, and that's even before we've applied the lion's share of U.S. and international donations. Much of the public works infrastructure of the country, including electric power generation, paved roads, and clean water, has actually exceeded pre-war levels in accessibility as well as reliability.

The human infrastructure, which has suffered from 30 years of tyranny, divide-and-rule tactics, and propaganda, as well as 12 years of sanctions and bombings, is proving quite a bit harder to rebuild. Nonetheless, there is progress on that front, as well. Millions of children are vaccinated and in school with current textbooks. There is a Transitional Administrative Law that spells out a vision for the political future, and we are working with the United Nations to structure the interim or caretaker government, which will be in place July 1.

Now, in this race with time, security obviously remains the essential challenge and will require tough choices -- choices that are not going to go away. We either make them now or we leave them to a fledgling Iraqi government. Indeed, we should not be surprised that violent factions and foreign imports would step up their operations just as we are making some headway in the reconstruction efforts.

This progress in both Iraq and Afghanistan is laudable; it is important. But conceptually or in our capabilities, we need to find a way to make better progress: from the command structure to the need for security, for those rebuilding schools, we have to adapt our standard operating procedures as we go, as well as to have our people adapt.

Our armed forces are not necessarily geared primarily for reconstruction and humanitarian projects, or for the diplomacy and statecraft that usually go along with such missions. But our diplomats and our aid workers are not really trained to work in a non-permissive environment. And I'm not just talking about the need for security, but also the quick judgment and immediate action of the battlefield. Moreover, these two forces -- boots and loafers on the ground -- do not necessarily have the habits and structures in place for working together on mutually reinforcing missions. That suggests to me that we need to extend our understanding of military transformation to include mindsets, institutions, and the way in which we cooperate internally and with international partners.

Indeed, if you look at current operations, we are already breaking some new ground and adding innovations to the way we conduct operations. NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], for example, has taken on its first significant out of area operation with ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] in Afghanistan. Seventeen of the 26 NATO Members are now engaged in separate, stand-alone coalition activities in Iraq. Other nations, such as Jordan, are using their territory to train police forces. In Afghanistan, we have developed the concept of Provincial Reconstruction Teams, which consist of a mix of military, civil affairs, and civilian professionals composed of and led by various nations, and these are providing dispersed security and reconstruction support across the country.

Adapting our people and adapting our processes is more than a matter of philosophy. We have to do this on an immediate and urgent basis for our success in Afghanistan and for our success in Iraq, but also for reasons that go beyond those discrete challenges and, frankly, even beyond the war against terrorism.

I believe the nature of the international system has shifted and we are likely to see more such situations. In real time, you can consider Haiti or Liberia as a case in point. In the near term, we have to consider what will happen next in Sudan, especially as the true scale of the humanitarian disaster in Darfur becomes more obvious. And in the long term, there is, of course, North Korea, which inevitably will either open to the world and face incredible dislocation in that process, implode, with potentially devastating effects domestically, or explode and lash out, which is almost too terrible to contemplate.

For that matter, we have to consider transnational challenges in a similar light. It sometimes seems as though there was not a country in the world untouched by the A.Q. Khan network, for example. Or consider the illicit trade in human beings, which has become nearly as profitable for international crime rings and almost as pervasive as is trafficking in narcotics.

It is not just the security challenges that require new approaches; it is also the opportunities of our time. We had protesters in town a couple of weeks ago. And, well, I know we usually have protesters in this town. But this particular group was picketing the World Bank and IMF [International Monetary Fund], and to some extent, they had a point. Globalization is producing winners and losers. But we are not talking about a trend that can be stopped, let alone reversed. Indeed, the inequities should give us all the more reason to have policies that maximize the benefits of globalization, from a trade policy that raises the living standards for as many people as possible, including here at our home, to an aid policy that redirects market failures and distributes new technology -- everything from the Internet to vaccines for the diseases that still devastate much of the world's population.

This Army War College Class of 2004 is soon to graduate, after a tough year of study. So first of all, you should be congratulated on your accomplishment. I wish I could tell you that you've earned the right to kick back and relax, but of course, now you've got to return to your "day jobs." Indeed, many of you will be deploying either to Iraq or to Afghanistan, where you will find that the questions you have pondered for the last year about leadership, about military force, and the international landscape are not quite so academic.

I encourage you all to carry the spirit of Carlisle back with you to your jobs, because we are going to need that spirit of open inquiry, of innovation, and of cooperation if we are going to be able to meet both the challenges and opportunities we are facing today. I believe I speak for all of my colleagues in the Department of State when I say to you, we look forward to working alongside you, and to thank you for your commitment to peace and prosperity for this country, and for countries all over the world; and we wish you good luck and Godspeed.

(end transcript)