Wolfowitz on war
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said this week that President Bush's second administration will stay focused on counterterrorism.
"Clearly, one of the important things the president wants to focus on is continuing the progress that's been made in rooting out global terrorist networks and getting governments out of the business of supporting terrorism," Mr. Wolfowitz told Indonesia's Tempo magazine.
Mr. Wolfowitz said a second key policy is pursuing the Greater Middle East Initiative announced in November. The initiative seeks to support democratic reform in the Middle East, especially the Arab world.
Mr. Wolfowitz said the president was "fairly frank and critical about our failure to do that in the past and our too willingness to accept dictatorships in Arab countries as somehow serving American interests or this was the best that Arabs can do."
"I believe strongly it doesn't serve American interests, and I think Arabs can do much better than that," he said. "And that if you want to demonstrate a better alternative to what the radicals are offering, I think the real alternative is freedom and democracy. I think the president believes that."
Mr. Bush also plans to invest political capital into resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, he said.
Asked whether the Bush administration will launch another war after Iraq, Mr. Wolfowitz said: "I don't think any of us feel that the war in Afghanistan was a mistake or that the war in Iraq was a mistake. But, I think they also ought to think about the fact that the war in Iraq was really started 15 years ago by Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait, and he never really stopped being at war with us and with Saudi Arabia and with Kuwait.
"War is a terrible thing even when it's the right thing to do as it was in Afghanistan or it was in Iraq, and none of us, none of us want wars. I certainly hope that there isn't another war in the second Bush administration."
Mr. Wolfowitz said the success in Iraq will show Iran and Syria that "there's a much better way to live as Arabs and Muslims than living under terrible dictators."
"And I think it's going to have a big effect on them, and a lot of change can happen without wars," he said.
Washington Times, 21 Jan 05