So how long before Iraq is peaceful and stable?I'd say realism. A kind I like.
"Well, you know, insurgencies often take six, eight, 10 or even 12years."
So will US and Australian troops need to be in Iraq for that long? "Oh no, it will be defeated by Iraqi troops."
Rumsfeld won't give dates or timetables about coalition troop draw-down, but he says that in the period ahead the US will be looking to reduce its footprint in Iraq.
"We have no desire to stay there," Rumsfeld says. "The more we're able to reduce coalition forces, the more it will be clear that [al-Qa'ida leader Abu Musab al-] Zarqawi and his crowd are not fighting the coalition or invaders, they're just killing Iraqis."
Rumsfeld believes still that Iraq can be a democratic example in the Middle East. He thinks democracy can spread in that region in his lifetime (and don't forget that, fit as he is, he's 74). "This is an important thing. The great sweep of human history is for freedom."
But you could argue about Iraq forever. What about Afghanistan?
"It's an enormous accomplishment, what's happening in Afghanistan. Three years ago in the soccer stadium they were beheading people. You couldn't fly a kite. Women couldn't go out of the house without a male relative. They couldn't go to the doctors because there were no female doctors."
Now, he not unreasonably points out, there is an elected government in Afghanistan. People have rights.
Here's a paradox. Rumsfeld speaks and thinks in straight lines. He looks you in the eye. His method is sometimes Socratic. Often in an interview he asks himself a series of questions to move the logic train along. Yet with all that linear process, he accepts that the world is inevitably very messy. The presence of mess doesn't indicate that policy is not working. Is this realism or just a convenient out?
Saturday, November 19, 2005
The Australian: Not for the faint-hearted - inteview with SecDef Rumsfeld
good interview from The Austrialian,