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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Pentagon Briefing

Aired October 21, 2003 - 13:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Straight to the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld talking about post-war Iraq with reporters.
QUESTION: ... other countries do not provide significant numbers of troops? Do you expect you'll be able to at least reduce the number?

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The thing that will drive it is the security on the ground, and the elements that will be involved will be the three elements I said: It'll be U.S. forces, it will be coalition forces and it will be Iraqi security forces.

And the additional factor that General Pace mentioned is important.

And the important thing is not the numbers of troops on the ground. The important thing is the capabilities and how well they match the security situation on the ground. And therefore you could actually end up with -- depending on how you did it, you could end up with more numbers and less capability or vice versa lower numbers and more capability, depending on what the circumstance on the ground was and how General Abizaid directs that the forces flowing in and the ones that are currently there be organized and equipped and directed.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, last week here you were referring to Lieutenant General Boykin. You and General Myers said in effect that he has the right to freedom of speech and the freedom of expression. And yet, as we all know, we're responsible for what we say.

How can you keep a man in a senior position on your staff whose views are so diametrically opposed to those of the president and to yours?

RUMSFELD: Let me make several hopefully precisely put sentences on this subject. First of all, I appreciate your question, because it correctly indicated that the president's views and my views -- or the president's views are that this not a war against a religion. And all I did -- despite the columnists and the press reports to the contrary, all I did was precisely state what the president and what I think are. I had not seen General Boykin's comments.

I have since seen one of the network tapes, and it had a lot of very difficult to understand words with subtitles which I was not able to verify. So I remain inexpert on precisely what he said and I'm told he used notes and not text. and so full stop there.

General Boykin has requested that an inspector general review this matter, and I have indicated that if that's his request, I think it's appropriate.

And I know that, General Pace, you've talked to him more recently. You may want to comment as well.

GEN. PETER PACE, VICE CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Thanks.

Yesterday, Jerry and I were just waiting for a meeting to begin and he just mentioned to me how sad he was that his comments have caused the furor that they have.

There's no doubt in my mind, in talking to him, that if he could pick his words more carefully he would. There's also no doubt in my mind that he does not see this battle as a battle between religions. He sees it as a battle between good and evil. He sees it as the evil being the acts of individuals, not the acts of any religion or affiliation with religion.

So clearly, in my very short conversation with Jerry, which he instigated, he is sad that this is the way it is, but he's anxious to have the investigator do the investigator's job.

QUESTION: Will it be the Army inspector general or the Pentagon inspector general?

RUMSFELD: I'm told that is an open question, and it could very well be both; that is to say, a service followed by a review by the department. But I don't know that the folks working that out have -- I just heard within the last hour that General Boykin had requested this.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, back to the rotation issue. General Pace, in the supplemental that just passed there is money for four enhanced separate brigades should no multinational foreign divisions...

PHILLIPS: We will continue to follow this briefing at the Pentagon with General Peter Pace and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as they continue to talk about issues involving post-war Iraq and bring it to you as it develops.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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