Transcript: Wolfowitz Talks Iraq

The following is a partial transcript of Bret Baiers' interview with Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense who is leaving the department to become president of the World Bank.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It looked like you got a little choked up [at your farewell ceremony].

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: I did. I mean, it's — you know, people said a lot of nice things about you, and you realize that it's really — you're part of maybe the most incredible organization in the world and certainly full of the bravest, most professional, capable people.

BAIER: We've followed you around here for the past couple of days, and these are your last days in this office. And it's very busy, running back and forth to Secretary Rumsfeld's office and to and from meetings. There is no slowdown here.

WOLFOWITZ: It's a busy job. There's a lot of work in it. It's very rewarding work, though.

BAIER: This week, Iraq formed its transitional government. Did you take any vindication out of that?

WOLFOWITZ: People keep using that word, "vindication." I mean, I want to see this thing won. And it's going to be a while.

But I do feel that we've really passed two major milestones in what is a two-part strategy of — I've often said, if you take it all, try to summarize it in, what are the two key things here to winning? It's Iraqi self-government and Iraqi self-defense. And we've seen huge strides in the last few months on both fronts.

BAIER: While there's a transitional government, there's also a spike recently in the insurgency. Almost 1,600 troops have been killed so far. Do you have any regrets about the advice you provided before the war?

WOLFOWITZ: Well, I have — I think we provided some advice that would have been better followed earlier. I mean, we in the civilian side of this department argued before the war on the importance of training Iraqi — what we called them free Iraqi forces. We could have used more of those people. And we should have started ramping them up the day we got there.

But look, the real reason this is difficult is not because of, quote, "mistakes" that were made, as though somehow — I don't know if the American people have come to think war is, you know, something you orchestrate down to the last detail perfectly. If they think it's like Kosovo, that's very misleading.

Difficult ones are fought against difficult, awful enemies. And in this case, we're still fighting the people who abused, and tortured, and murdered in that country for 35 years. And they dug in, in a lot of ways. And they're an evil, vicious bunch, which is why they resort to bombing innocent civilians.

I can't recall any comparable case where a so-called resistance movement's main tactic was to kill its own people.

BAIER: What happened to Saddam's weapons of mass destruction?

WOLFOWITZ: Well, we know he had them once. We know his people knew how to make them. In spite of the summary sentences that come out about the Duelfer report, nobody mentions in there that in the Duelfer report it says apparently we know that his intelligence service, which is the people who were the core of this gang that ran the country for so long, and I think still runs a large part of the so-called insurgency, these people were experimenting with the use of chemical and biological agents on live human beings.

BAIER: And that's definitive?

WOLFOWITZ: It's in the Duelfer report. I'm trying not to make judgments beyond what these many reports are doing, although I must say I've had people who were in the Iraqi Survey Group. I've had Iraqis say to me that there's still a lot that we don't know and may eventually be found out.

I mean, it is the case that there was a systematic destruction effort that went on as Baghdad was falling. No one's explained why apparently hundreds of people in an organized way were destroying the evidence. Evidence of what? If there was nothing there, what were they destroying?

BAIER: Most of your background has focused on the Middle East and Asia. Now at the World Bank, you'll likely focus a lot on Africa.

WOLFOWITZ: That's exciting for me. In the last 10 years, you've had the first real decrease in the number of the world's poor. And that is largely because of the extraordinary economic growth in China, and India, and Asia, and Latin America.

There's still probably more poor people in East Asia than the rest of the world combined, but that part of the world is moving. Africa needs to move, too. And I sense very — if I was cautiously optimistic before, I think I'm just going to be cautious here, but I'd say cautiously there's the possibility that Africa, which has been a continent of despair for most of the last few decades, really could be a continent of hope. And that would be wonderful for everybody, including for Americans.

BAIER: What will you tell Gordon England when you finally pass the torch?

WOLFOWITZ: That it's a great job, that it's a challenging job, that it's as satisfying a job as I think you can find anywhere. And if he ever needs any advice or help, please call.