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Wolfowitz Defends War, Illicit Iraqi Arms or Not

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  • Mike Lee
    [Excerpt: Mr. Wolfowitz said that it s important to understand where you got it right and where you got it wrong, but he was not asked and did not comment on
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1 7:08 AM
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      [Excerpt: Mr. Wolfowitz said that "it's important to understand where
      you got it right and where you got it wrong," but he was not asked and
      did not comment on any of the continuing inquiries or proposals for
      examining the record of American intelligence on Iraq.....While it is
      still too early to declare victory in Iraq, he said, "we're heading
      there, and it's going to be a very important turning point in the whole
      war on terrorism." The Middle East, he said, "has been heading down the
      wrong road" for the last 20 years, but "the Iraqi people have a chance
      now to start turning the course of history."]

      http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/01/international/middleeast/01ADMI.html?ex=1076216400&en=bad0c922ed2a9a04&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE
      Wolfowitz Defends War, Illicit Iraqi Arms or Not
      By THOM SHANKER

      Published: February 1, 2004

      ÜRZBURG, Germany, Jan. 31 — Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense
      secretary, said Saturday that the Bush administration was justified in
      toppling Saddam Hussein, regardless of whether American intelligence
      before the war that Iraq had stockpiled unconventional weapons was
      proved wrong.

      "You have to make decisions based on the intelligence you have, not on
      the intelligence you can discover later," Mr. Wolfowitz said during a
      visit here with troops of the First Infantry Division, which is to go to
      Iraq in coming weeks.

      The invasion of Iraq, he said, was about more than biological, chemical
      or nuclear weapons.

      "We have an important job to do in Iraq, an absolutely critical job to
      do, and that is to help the Iraqi people to build a free and democratic
      country," he added.

      Earlier this week, David Kay, the United States' former chief weapons
      inspector for Iraq, testified that his team had gathered no evidence
      that Iraq had produced or amassed any large stockpiles of unconventional
      weapons just before the American invasion, contradicting a cornerstone
      argument in the administration's case for war. Bush administration
      officials have said they want to await the final report of the weapons
      inspection team, called the Iraq Survey Group, and have largely rejected
      calls for an outside investigation.

      Mr. Wolfowitz said that "it's important to understand where you got it
      right and where you got it wrong," but he was not asked and did not
      comment on any of the continuing inquiries or proposals for examining
      the record of American intelligence on Iraq.

      While it is still too early to declare victory in Iraq, he said, "we're
      heading there, and it's going to be a very important turning point in
      the whole war on terrorism." The Middle East, he said, "has been heading
      down the wrong road" for the last 20 years, but "the Iraqi people have a
      chance now to start turning the course of history."

      Mr. Wolfowitz, regarded as the intellectual architect of the
      administration's Iraq policy, spent a sizable part of his day in
      classified briefings about the coming troop rotation to Iraq, the
      largest movement of American forces since World War II.

      Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste, the First Infantry Division commander,
      said his troops would have two parallel missions once they arrived in
      north-central Iraq.

      "On one hand we will be killing and capturing terrorists and foreign
      fighters," he said in brief comments to reporters traveling with Mr.
      Wolfowitz. "Simultaneously we've got our work cut out with respect to
      stability and support operations to set the conditions for Iraqi
      civil-military self-reliance."

      Mr. Wolfowitz greeted soldiers wearing the infantry's famous patch — the
      Big Red 1 — and told their spouses, "You are heroes."

      In a morning meeting with the spouses, whose work here is called "the
      rear detachment," he was told that family members supported the mission,
      but that they craved greater predictability from the military.

      One wife questioned whether the Army was too small, citing her husband's
      frequent deployments. Another suggested that Laura Bush, the First Lady,
      could help by recording a videotape explaining the Iraq mission to the
      worried children of departing soldiers.

      The final speaker was Michelle Batiste, the wife of the division
      commander, who said all of the spouses agreed that they were "part of
      something good." But in a heartfelt statement to the deputy defense
      secretary, she said family members "just want some predictability and
      some stability," because they feel that they are "constantly saying
      goodbye" to soldiers and officers shipping out to dangerous assignments.

      Mr. Wolfowitz paused, and told the spouses, "I got the message."
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