Seeing Saddam Statues
Fall ‘Like Seeing Berlin Wall Come Down’
T. Rhem, AFPS
April 11, 2003 – Seeing televised images of larger-than-
life statues of Saddam Hussein tumbling all over Iraq is like
"seeing the Berlin Wall come down all over again," America’s
No. 2 defense official told foreign media.
of freedom everywhere can understand the joy of the Iraqi people
and their hopes for the future," Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul D. Wolfowitz said at the Foreign Press Center here. "But
the best spokesman for the Iraqis are the Iraqis themselves."
encouraged the media representatives present and "all of
the people throughout the Arab world to listen with open minds
and help the Iraqis tell their stories to the world."
called it "tragic" that Iraq would not divest of its
weapons of mass destruction without war, and said a major goal
of the coalition is to help the Iraqis establish their own representative
people of Iraq now have it within their power to establish a constitution
and a political system that will reflect their real wishes and
interests," Wolfowitz said. He added that the task is the
Iraqis’; the United States is just there to support their efforts.
regime sought to "make the war as painful as possible, particularly
for civilians," Wolfowitz said.
He noted that
American troops have been through "some hundred schools"
to date in southern Iraq. "Every single one was a regime
command-and- control center with weapons stored in them,"
Syria, Wolfowitz said the United States "is looking for a
change in the current bad behavior" of that government. He
said the Syrians are sending "terrorist fighters" into
Iraq, sheltering Iraqi fugitives and "possibly sheltering
bad materials out of Iraq."
should not meddle in Iraq," he said. "It should not
be assisting people who supported that evil regime, and that behavior
just has to stop."
Iraq, there is a "significant presence" of U.S. forces
in Kirkuk, Wolfowitz said, adding, "There will soon be a
significant presence in Mosul." He noted Turkish liaison
officers will be working with American forces in those two cities
"so Turkey will have a clear view of what’s going on."
threatened to send a large military force into northern Iraq should
Kurdish forces take control of Kirkuk and Mosul, largely seen
as seats of Kurdish power and a large source of oil revenue. Turkey
has longstanding fears that Kurds holding these cities would embolden
Turkey’s own Kurdish minority and cause a large-scale uprising
or an increase in terrorist attacks.
States has worked to address Turkish concerns, yet still keep
that country’s forces out of northern Iraq.
allotted some time in his introductory remarks to explain the
American psyche to the foreign audience. He noted that the United
States understands the suspicion with which much of the Middle
East views the war in Iraq.
the history of the region, it is understandable," he said.
"But as a nation that had to fight for its own independence
more than 200 years ago, Americans have the greatest sympathy
for all people who yearn for freedom and independence and a chance
to live in peace."
historical note, Wolfowitz noted that America’s independence was
"aided by foreign countries and foreign forces." He
said it’s also worth noting that "it took us a little while
after our independence" to put in place a permanent government.
a little historical perspective is useful in this era of 24- hour
news coverage when we expect everything to happen instantaneously,"