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Assisting Iraqis With Their Future And Democracy

Assisting Iraqis With Their Future: Planning For Democracy

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Washington Foreign Press Center Briefing
Washington, DC
March 19, 2003

MR. DENIG: I am pleased today to be able to welcome here for a briefing Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador Marc Grossman, who will be briefing on the topic, "Assisting Iraqis with Their Future, Planning for Democracy."

Ambassador Grossman will have an opening statement to make, and after that, he will be delighted to take your questions.

Marc?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Thank you very much. Let me first of all apologize for being late. With all the road closures, it took me about 40 minutes to get here from the State Department, so if anybody is considering going out for lunch, I think I'd stay right here.

I appreciate the opportunity to come and visit with you this morning. I would like to have a conversation with you about the future of Iraq and what planning we have been doing. I'm open to all questions on that subject, or really, any other subject.

If you'd allow me to just set the stage, if I could, to talk a little bit about what we're doing, what we're planning for the future of Iraq, I think that might be useful and, as I say, I'd be very glad to answer all of your questions.

First, I think it's important to set down some basic principles. What kind of Iraq do we seek? We seek an Iraq that is democratic, an Iraq that's unified, an Iraq that has its territorial integrity, an Iraq that is multi-ethnic, an Iraq that has no weapons of mass destruction, and an Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors.

And I think as you heard President Bush say on the 26th of February, we will demonstrate that we intend to liberate Iraq and Iraqis and not to occupy Iraq or control its economic resources, and again to emphasize the very important point that we want to safeguard the territorial integrity of Iraq.

We would, as quickly as possible, like to begin the process of economic and political reconstruction, putting Iraq back together on a road to prosperity and freedom, and as the President said on the 26th of February, we would intend to stay as long as this takes, but not one day longer.

Clearly, in terms of priorities, locating, securing, destroying weapons of mass destruction will be an urgent priority. The delivery systems, the weapons themselves, the bulk agents, all of those things will be immediate priorities in conflict and in the post-conflict period.

And we would also be heavily focused on issues of humanitarian assistance, to get food to the people who need it, medicine to the people who need it, to take people who are away from their homes back to their homes.

I want to also say, as clearly as I possibly can, as the President and the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense have said, that Iraq's oil belongs to the Iraqi people, and any action that we would take in that area is solely for their benefit.

We would work to protect Iraq's oil sector and support all of Iraqis' efforts to restore production if it is cut off.

You all know, I think, that a tremendous interagency effort on the part of the United States has gone into thinking about these issues, that we've tried in our Government to focus on issues of education, health, water, sanitation, electricity, shelter, transportation, the rule of law, agriculture, communications, economic and financial policy; and we have worked together with what you all know as the Future of Iraq Program, where we've brought together large number of free Iraqis to work with us in all of these areas, and I believe that their contributions and their accomplishments have been substantial, and the working groups that they have set up have, of course, melded with the work that we are doing in all of these areas.

If I could think about the post-conflict stages, I think they are probably going to be three, and I don't say that they all have exactly definable start dates and end dates. Think first of all in terms of stabilization, where Secretary Powell has said the coalition military commander will no doubt be responsible for security in Iraq, stability in Iraq, and maintaining order in Iraq; and then as quickly as possible, we see a transition phase to where authority is progressively given to Iraqis, and here the Iraqi interim authority that you have heard about will play an important role; and finally, transformation, which is to move Iraq as quickly as possible back to where it belongs, which is to the sovereignty of the Iraqi people.

If I could just make a couple of additional points that might be useful for you in detail:

First of all, there's been a lot of conversation about the question of disruption and the possibilities of destruction in Iraq, and obviously, we can't predict what Saddam Hussein is going to do to his own country, but we can tell you that we have made a huge effort in military and other planning to minimize displacement, damage to infrastructure, disruption of services, and the military plan that exists is designed to minimize the impact on civilian populations.

We all know, because of the Oil for Food Program, because of the way that Iraq is structured, Iraqi civilians rely heavily on government infrastructure, and these are things we're going to have to deal with immediately.

We also hope to discourage population displacement through an information campaign that will reassure those populations not at risk that they are safer in their homes, and we will also, as I said, work to promptly re-establish aid and other social services.

One other thing that I would highlight for you, and that is to go back to the statement made by leaders in the Azores over the weekend, which is to talk, and talk specifically, about the role of the United Nations, and I think it's worth quoting that:

"We plan to work in close partnership with international institutions, including the United Nations, our allies, our partners, and bilateral donors to bring about a new Iraq, and we plan to seek the adoption on an urgent basis of a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would affirm Iraq's territorial integrity, ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief, and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq, and we" -- and here we are the leaders who are speaking in the Azores -- "will also propose that the Secretary General be given authority on an interim basis to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people continue to be met through the Oil for Food Program.

I also want to highlight the work our government is doing to coordinate and plan across all relevant United States for relief and reconstruction in Iraq with civilian agencies and civilian personnel very much in the lead.

As you know, we're stockpiling medicine, blankets, shelter material, and other items to assist 1 million people in case they are displaced or otherwise affected by a conflict, and I will tell you that that is, I am told, the largest stockpiling that we have ever made.

To assess the humanitarian requirements in the immediate post-conflict period, USAID has deployed or is deploying 62 members of their DART teams -- Disaster Assistance and Response Teams -- the largest deployment of any kind, and just so that you have the numbers in terms of money, let me just outline what we've spent.

We have provided nearly $60 million dollars to meet international organization prepositioning requirements, and another $100 million of American money is in the pipeline.

The United States has provided an additional $1.2 million to nongovernmental organizations and over $16 million to preposition relief supplies for the NGOs, and over $70 million more is in the pipeline in that area.

We've also put aside $90 million worth of food, which is 110,000 metric tons, to the region to feed those most in need, and we are considering ways to provide even more food assistance.

I should say that in all of this, we absolutely recognize the expertise of the United Nations, of NGOs, and as we do in all of these crises, would be looking forward to working closely with them.

Let me also finally say that we do not intend and do not believe that we are going to be at this project alone. I know some of you saw Secretary Powell mention yesterday that we have a coalition of the willing, people who are both publicly and privately in support of what we are doing, and I also believe -- this is my prediction to you -- that there will be a large number of countries interested in participating in the reconstruction of Iraq.

So we have tried our very best to meet the requirements the President laid down in his speech of the 26th of February that our purpose here is a liberation, not an occupation. We have worked with Iraqis very carefully and completely outside of Iraq and look forward to working with those inside of Iraq, and we have done, I believe, a very important job inside and outside the United States Government of trying to plan for and be ready for the humanitarian issues that we may face.

Why don't I stop there, and I would be glad to take your questions on any subject.

QUESTION: Thanks. Giampiero Gramaglia with the Italian News Agency ANSA. Two questions.

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Sir.

QUESTION: First of all, which kind of lessons did you have from the Afghanistan to avoid mistakes in the democratization and reconstruction of Iraq?

Second question: referring to a sentence the President often uses, "The Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqi people," what does it mean? Are you thinking of a nationalized sector for the Iraqi petrol oil, are you thinking of something that would put the Iraqi oil out of the hands of the multinational oil? What do you have in mind?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Let me deal with your second question first. The disposition of Iraq's oil is a matter for the Iraqi people to decide.

What we are trying to say is, first of all, that oil belongs to the Iraqi people. Second, if there is damage done to that oil, that we would like to participate in getting that production back quickly.

But the structure and the future and how Iraqi oil is dealt with are matters for Iraqis, not matters for the United States.

The second thing, very good question in terms of lessons of Afghanistan.

First of all, because Afghanistan came to us so quickly, you remember, from the 11th of September to the 7th of October, one of the lessons that we learned was that if you have a chance to plan, you should take it, and we have over these past many months tried to find out and think through for ourselves what are the possible pitfalls here, what are the possible humanitarian crises, what can be done to get ourselves ahead of these issues?

And so all the things that I have reported to you today are a result of the fact that we thought if we had time to plan, we should take that time to plan.

Second, a lesson that I certainly would draw is the importance of getting quickly to the humanitarian issues. You'll remember when military conflict started in Afghanistan on October the 7th, everybody said, "Oh, my goodness. Millions of people will starve, millions of people will be refugees," and I think because of the outstanding work of the United States military, the coalition military, the other countries who participated with us in Operation Enduring Freedom, that didn't take place. It was a huge effort.

And so we want to focus in on the immediate humanitarian, medical, and displaced persons needs that may come with conflict. But a very good question, sir.

QUESTION: Patrick Jarreau, Le Monde. Could you be more specific on who will be the authority which will deal as regards reconstruction and oil, which will be the authority which will deal with companies, as for different -- which will be the authority which will be contracting any field of the reconstruction and oil sector in Iraq, as soon as the military authority of the United States will be in charge?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I don't think I can answer that question now, other than to say that you have to think again of the phases that we think of, which is a military phase, quickly transiting to what we might be called a transitional phase, and then transiting to Iraqis.

For example, we don't know how much destruction might be done by Saddam Hussein on his way out of the oil sector. As President Bush said the other night, we would certainly urge that people not destroy those sectors.

So there will be, first of all, a question of what's the job to do. Second, there will be a question of what do we find at the oil ministry, what kind of people are working there? Are there people there who are Saddam Hussein's cronies or are there people there who are technocrats and can continue an oil industry?

So I don't know, sir, into what category to put the oil sector, other than to say that it meets the general philosophy that our job is to return Iraq as quickly as possible to the Iraqi people, and that's especially true in the oil sector, because their resources, not just their oil resources, but all of their resources belong to them.

QUESTION: Hi. Nadia Tsao with the Liberty Times. When you talk about a democracy government in Iraq, as we know that there are, you know, no models of a democracy government in that area, so are you thinking about a US model or could you elaborate a little bit, and has US contact with different parties or people, you know, outside of Iraq, and what's their response?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: All fair questions.

First, I believe that Iraqi democracy will have to be defined by Iraqis, and that democracy is not an American democracy. It's nobody else's democracy. It will be an Iraqi democracy, and that's why we look forward to the drafting of an Iraqi Constitution, the holding of Iraqi elections at an appropriate time, so that Iraqis can define what kind of government they wish to live under.

The second point that I would make to you is, people say, well, there's no models for this, and kind of implicit in that question is that these people can never have some kind of democracy, and I don't believe that.

I have come to believe that people ought to have a chance to run their own lives, and people who have that chance shouldn't be defined out of it by their geography or their color or their religion or their culture.

I believe that people ought to have a chance to run their own lives in some kind of democratic system.

The third point I would say is, you say there are no democracies in the area. There's a democracy right to the north of Iraq, in Turkey. There's a democracy in Israel. There are democracies in that area. So I think the geography of this really is not the issue.

Final point, and that is the people that we have been talking to. I think the people we have been talking to, if you look at the number of issues that they have dealt with in this Future of Iraq Working Group, what do you find? They're all issues that are fundamental to democracy -- the rule of law, the free press, elections, a free economy. Those are all the fundamentals of a democracy.

Do I say this is easy? No. Do I say that it happens three or four or five or eight weeks after there is this military conflict? No, I do not. But do I believe that people in Iraq have the right to have the opportunity to run their own lives in a system that they define? Yes, I absolutely do.

QUESTION: Yeah. Just on the issue of --

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Tell me who you are, please.

QUESTION: Sorry, Marian Wilkinson from the Sydney Morning Herald. Just to follow up on the issue of the Iraqi interim authority, we got a structure the other day from the Pentagon on the immediate postwar situation, which was a bit confusing. It seemed to imply that Jay Garner was the civil administrator reporting to Tommy Franks. We were then told that, no, that wasn't the case. Garner is not the civil administrator, there will be another civil administrator. I wonder if you could clarify that structure, at least in the short-term, post-conflict situation?

And, secondly, I think Kan'an Makia said the other day that he thought the interim authority now had been accepted by the State Department. I wonder if you could clarify what you think that means, the Iraqi interim authority?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, first on the question of who runs Iraq in the very short term as you have defined it, as I've said in that immediate post conflict period, I think it's obvious to say that the coalition general will be in charge, General Franks. That's what Secretary Powell has said and I think that's what we all believe, because that person has got to chase down the weapons of mass destruction, look after stability and order in Iraq. But as I say, we hope that that time will be as short as possible.

Let me try to answer your question. I think that Garner, as was clear from all of the briefings and everything else we've said, Garner works for Franks and our objective -- and I know Jay Garner's objective is -- if we are able -- and I believe we will be -- to liberate areas of Iraq, Jay Garner and his people are going to come immediately after our military forces and start to rehabilitate, reconstruct, deal with the humanitarian and other issues in Iraq so that the Iraqi people can immediately see some benefit for what has happened to them. So you've got the military command, you've got Jay Garner working there, especially in the beginning for the military command. His job and his people's job is to show benefit to the Iraqi people.

Now, as you look forward, we'll have to see what goes, we'll have to see how long it takes, we'll have to see how much destruction is done, and as the leaders said in the Azores, we'll have to do some work with the United Nations. So I don't think we want to be held down right today to what the future structure is going to be. We'll see how this works.

In terms of the interim authority, the interim authority is the structure that is decided by our government, so everybody accepts that structure and that's what we do.

QUESTION: Reha Atasagan from Turkish Television, TRT. Mr. Grossman, after getting overflight rights from Turkey, what will be the next step, since we know the work is going on with overflights and the air bases and also there are lots of ships in the Mediterranean, east Mediterranean, still waiting and loaded with heavy equipment?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, I can only take one step at a time. And that is that the Turkish Parliament, as far as I know, has yet to vote on the question of overflights and air rights. And so we'll see what happens. That is a question that the Government of Turkey has to put to the Turkish Parliament. The Government of Turkey has to decide when to put it to the Turkish Parliament. We hope that it will be soon, and we hope the Turkish Parliament will vote in favor of those overflight rights. Once that is done, we'll then decide in consultation with the Turkish Government what to do next.

QUESTION: My name is Said Arikat, I'm with Al Quds Newspaper. I hope they get the right spelling: A-L Q-U-D-S.

Anyway, to follow up on the question on the nature of democracy, will democracy or the Iraqi model be replicated elsewhere, Syria and Iran, as your colleague, John Bolton suggested to some Israeli officers when he was there? And will the first act of this budding democracy be recognizing the State of Israel?

And to follow up on General Garner's successor, there was some speculation that you yourself, sir, may have a role as an assistant to Mr. Garner. Is that true? (Laughter.)

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, I'll answer that last question first. Not that I know of. (Laughter.) As far as I know, I'm staying where I am. Jay Garner and his senior team deployed to the area last Sunday. I'm here. So all I can tell you is I hope my physical presence is some answer to that question.

To the first question, that is does democracy get replicated, as I tried to answer the other questioner, I don't think democracy gets replicated in its exact form anywhere. No -- but every country has got to have a chance, it seems to me, to do this.

I hope what will happen is what's happening around the world, is that people all over the world will say, that's how I'd like to live, I'd like to live in a system where I can control my own life. And I think what you see around the world is exactly that, more interest in elections, more interest in the free press, more interest in free markets. And all those things are very important to democracy. So I can't tell you how this happens or what happens next. But if there is a democracy in Iraq, I think it will be a very powerful example to the area, just like democracy in Turkey has been a powerful example, for example, in central Asia or into other parts of the world.

And in terms of whether the first thing they do will be to recognize the State of Israel, I have no idea. But I certainly hope it's among the very first things that they do.

QUESTION: Yonca Doyan, Turkey Service, Voice of America. At what stage is the dialogue between the United States and Turkey at the moment? Have there been any more high-level talks after Secretary Colin Powell's phone call to Abdullah Gul? Any more calls, any more talks? Is there any dialogue at all at this moment?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, sure there is. I mean, I would certainly define a conversation between Secretary Powell and Abdullah Gul as a high-level dialogue. And there was a conversation, as you know, as late as last night. We are represented in Turkey by one of our finest ambassadors in the world, Ambassador Pearson. Turkey is represented here by one of their best ambassadors. We've got a dialogue going on all the time.

I think though what's fair to say, as I answered your colleague, that the next operational question is what will the Turkish Parliament do on the Government of Turkey's request on overflights. And we'll see; that's up to the Turkish Parliament.

QUESTION: I'm Dmitry Kirsanov of Russian News Agency TASS. Mr. Secretary, I -- the ultimatum the U.S. gave to the Iraqi president offers him either to leave the country, to go into exile, or face the immediate military invasion. I wonder if you -- if the U.S. Administration at the same time gave the Iraqi leader guarantees of personal safety? I understand you probably wouldn't like to talk about ways and means to do it, but you probably can tell him what form, if you did.

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I can answer your question. No.

QUESTION: Michael Backfisch, German Business Daily, Handelsblatt. You said that there are already some bilateral donors for reconstruction in Iraq. Considering the fact that the relations to France and Germany have been strained in the past, do you expect that these two countries will participate in reconstruction? And have you already been negotiating with other countries and have you possibility achieved any commitments so far?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: The answer to your last question is, no. But we certainly intend to do that. Our objective here is not to be the sole banker for this operation. We would like to see the international community come together and support Iraqis. So what I did for you, sir, you'll recall in my statement I predicted to you that there will be a large number of countries who will wish to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq. I didn't give you a prediction of who they would be; I predicted that there would be some. Whether France and Germany participate in that way is totally up to France and Germany.

QUESTION: I am Hiro Aida with Kyodo News Japan. And my question is just a follow-up about this democracy thing. You pointed out kind of two principles of democracy and territorial integrity of a multiethnic society. But don't you expect, you know, any kind of conflict between these two? Because at some point, democracy may well bring about a demand of -- well, the independence of the southern ethnic group at some point. In that case, how would you cope with that, and which -- democracy or integrity -- which has the priority in that case?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I don't see that there has to be a contradiction. We deal with countries all around the world that are multiethnic democracies that have territorial integrity, the United States of America being one. So I don't see that this has to be a contradiction.

And I think focusing on these kinds of issues diverts you from the important point here, which is that I believe -- and you may consider this wrong -- but I believe that if Iraqi people have the chance to lift up their sights and run their own lives, that a lot of these other tensions and requirements and fighting that goes on today will dissipate and will be of a lesser priority. Because what we have today is a regime that focuses on those ethnic tensions. You have a regime that has exploited them over the years. And if you had a regime that was actually democratic, in which people could have their say, then these kinds of issues, I think, become secondary.

We'll see what happens in the future. But I do not believe that it is at all contradictory for me to say that I'd like to see a multiethnic, democratic Iraq, which maintains its territorial integrity. That ought to be our objective, and I believe it's the objective of most Iraqis.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- priority?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: With all due respect, sir, I do not believe these are contradictory, and you're not going to force me to choose.

QUESTION: Umit Engisoy with Turkey NTV Television. Mr. Secretary, I hate to ask this, but I will. Is the formerly planned aid package totally off the table? Is there any chance that there could be some compensation for overflight rights? Or if in the future another resolution passes taking care of U.S. troops and Turkish bases, could it be revised in any way? This is one.

Secondly, is there any progress in talks regarding northern Iraq to avert military tensions in the area?

And, finally, there was a report in Turkey that Turkey has closed its airspace for U.S. aircraft, military aircraft or civilian aircraft, flying to and from Afghanistan. Is anything behind that?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: On the three questions, first in terms of aid packages, let me divide your question into two. First, we have requested from NATO allies overflight rights. And in no case have we offered any monetary or any other assistance for those overflight rights. We believe, as some have said, that those are things that allies do for one another. And so we've asked NATO countries and all the NATO countries that we have asked so far have said, yes, here are overflight rights. And that question of compensation and money has never arisen.

Second, on the question of the package, Secretary Powell, I think dealt with this question quite well yesterday when he said, look, let's see what the Turkish Parliament is going to do. But for now, you'd have to say that that package that we had was predicated on the vote that the Turkish Parliament made on the 1st of March. But I think the Secretary, as I say, dealt with this quite successfully yesterday.

And secondly, on the question of northern Iraq, yes, I think actually some progress has been made. I think it was very important that Ambassador Khalilzad went to Ankara over these past few days, that we've had these trilateral and in some cases quadrilateral and five-part meetings with Turkey, the United States and some of the groups in Iraq. And I think they are making a little bit of progress because they are actually sitting down and recognizing that their objectives are the same, and their objectives are a multiethnic, democratic Iraq. And if people will recognize those objectives, I think we can make some progress here.

And finally, on the question of airspace, I don't know all the details but I think it had to do with one airplane that may or may not have filed the right flight plan. But I'd be glad to look into that for you.

QUESTION: Guy Dinmore with the Financial Times. In your opening remarks, I'd just like to clarify one thing. You spoke about seeking a UN resolution to endorse a postwar administration. Can I clarify, do you mean a UN resolution that would endorse the Franks-Garner administration that would immediately take over Iraq? Thank you.

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: The statement in the Azores says that we plan to seek the adoption on an urgent basis of a new UN Security Council resolution that would affirm Iraq's territorial integrity, assure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq. That's what it says. So that's the kind of resolution that we'll seek.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: That's the only answer I can give you, is that's what they said in the Azores. And as we draft this resolution, that's what we'll work on.

QUESTION: Fernando Canzian from Folha De Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Secretary, you just said that the U.S. did not want to be the bank of this operation. But there is no open discussion here in the U.S. who is going to pay for that and what the figures are. An economist from Yale University, Mr. William Nordhouse just wrote an article that up to $1.6 trillion in 10 years, this operation. How do you plan to pay for this?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, first of all, I think as we've been saying all along, you can't know the answer to that question until you know some of the facts, and we don't know these facts. How long is this operation going to take? What kind of destruction will there be by Saddam Hussein? What will be required to actually repair and reconstruct Iraq? And we don't know the answer to that question. And so therefore you can't know the answer to the question of how much it's going to cost.

When I say that we don't want to be the banker of this, I believe that it won't be the United States alone that is going to fund the reconstruction of Iraq. As I predicted to your colleagues, I believe there will be a large number of other countries who will want to participate in this, and participation will both be monetary participation and participation on the ground. That's my prediction; we'll see what happens in reality.

I ll take one or two more.

QUESTION: Steve Shippers from BBC News. Can you clarify a bit more the process by which you intend to appoint or establish what Dr. Condoleezza Rice also called the Iraqi interim authority on the model of the Afghan authority? And can you clarify what role it would play in what you call the drafting of a constitution and creating the final stage of -- in the transition -- what we call the transformation?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I think the Iraqi interim authority would be established sometime as quickly as possible. It would, we hope, have people both from outside of Iraq who we've been working with and inside of Iraq. And then we would hope that they would focus immediately on these kinds of questions.

But clearly in this first phase, the IIA would work very closely with the military forces. But, little by little, we hope that they would become more and more responsible for authority in Iraq. And there's a whole load of questions that have to be answered. And, as the President said, we want to make sure that we're listening to the people inside of Iraq. So that this melding of people outside and people inside will be a very important part of the Iraqi interim authority.

The challenge to saying, you know, it's all going to happen on this day, it's all going to happen in these weeks, it's all going to happen on this time -- think about this in the middle phase. You may go to the Ministry of Health, for example, and find there that if you took out the top one or two or three or four people, who are Saddam Hussein cronies or otherwise unacceptable to the coalition, you might find a whole rest of the ministry that could transit quite quickly back to Iraqi sovereignty. That wouldn't be the same thing at the Ministry of Defense. It wouldn't be the same thing at the intelligence ministries, or the people responsible for weapons of mass destruction.

So that's why we say that in this middle phase, as quickly as possible, but we're not saying that everything has to transit at exactly the same time. It doesn't make sense.

I'll take one more.

QUESTION: Sir, you say that the goal here is the regime change in Iraq. How many people is that? How can you distinguish between Saddam's cronies and technocrats? Can you assure us that there won't be cleansings in post-conflict Iraq?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, I think, as you saw in the newspapers the other day, I think it was on Sunday, there is a number of somewhere in the range of 12 people and nine of those people were named that we believe should either leave or somehow be punished. Other than that, we will have to find out what the status of these ministries and the status of this government is.

Part of this, as the President said the other night, will depend on people's behavior, on people who are prepared to comply. People who are prepared to work with U.S. forces and coalition forces will have one set of requirements. Those people who resist will have another.

I also think it's very important, as the President said, people's behavior in terms of weapons of mass destruction. Those people who carry out, if such a horrible order would be given, orders to use weapons of mass destruction, there will be no excuse for them. Those people who defy such an order, you would obviously look at them differently.

So I think what the President said the other night is right. This depends very much first of all on sort of what people have done in the past and also their behavior when there is military activity.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I would refer you to the article that was in the New York Times on Sunday with some other names in it to try to answer this gentleman's question.

Thank you all very much. [End]

Released on March 19, 2003


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