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‘We Are Capable of Fighting 2 Major Regional Conflicts’

From Federal News Service Inc.

Here are excerpts from Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld’s briefing.

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The moment [Iraqi President] Saddam [Hussein] and his ruling clique seem to feel that they’re out of danger, they will undoubtedly see no incentive to comply with their international obligations. That is why, after the passage of Resolution 1441, the U.S. and coalition countries are continuing to take steps to keep pressure on the regime.

Among other things, we’ve continued patrolling the skies over the north and south “no-fly” zones. We’ve continued developing a humanitarian relief and reconstruction plan for a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

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We’ve continued working with the Iraqi opposition. We’ve taken steps to prepare for a post-Saddam transition. And we’re continuing to work with friends and allies to keep the military pressure on Iraq.

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We’re taking prudent and deliberate steps with respect to alerts and mobilizations and deployment of U.S. forces: active, Guard and Reserve.

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None of these steps reflect a decision by the president or the United Nations or anyone else, to my knowledge, to use force. The president has not made such a decision. Rather, they are intended to support the diplomatic efforts that are underway, to enhance force protection in the region and elsewhere in the world, including the United States, and to make clear to the Iraqi regime ... that they need to comply with their U.N. obligations.

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I have no reason to believe that you’re correct that North Korea feels emboldened because of the world’s interest in Iraq. If they do, it would be a mistake.

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We are capable of fighting two major regional conflicts, as the national strategy and the force-sizing construct clearly indicates. We’re capable of winning decisively in one and swiftly defeating in the case of the other. And let there be no doubt about it.

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... The leadership of the country [North Korea] is currently repressing its people, starving its people, has large numbers of its people in concentration camps, driving people to try to leave the country through China and other methods, starving these people. Their economy is in the tank. People at all levels are unhappy with that leadership.... The idea that it’s the rhetoric from the United States that’s causing them to starve their people or to do these idiotic things, or to try to build a nuclear power plant. They don’t need a nuclear power plant. Their power grid couldn’t even absorb that.

If you look at a picture from the sky of the Korean peninsula at night, South Korea is filled with lights and energy and vitality and a booming economy; North Korea is dark.

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