This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, August 25, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Fox confirming that up to 30,000 Iraqis will soon head to Hungary for police training by our military. This as lawmakers here at home are calling for more U.S. troops to head to Iraq. Something our military says is not needed.
Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe says that our military knows best. He just returned from a fact-finding mission in Iraq and joins us now from Washington, D.C.
Congressman, good to have you.
REP. JIM KOLBE, R-ARIZ.: Hi, Neil.
CAVUTO: Your colleague who was on that same trip, Senator John McCain, thinks we do need to beef things up. Why do you part company there?
KOLBE: Well, I don’t really disagree with John. I guess it’s just where we put the emphasis. I think we both agree that security is a big problem over there.
But the conversation that had the greatest impression on me was one with the British commander who said our window is closing very rapidly for us to make change in the services that are being provided for the credibility that we have with the Iraqis.
So the most important thing for us to do is get Iraqis on the street as police providing the security there. So we need to be training them as rapidly as possible to get them on the street.
The Iraqis are happy we took out the Saddam Hussein regime, but they want their country back, and the longer that they see us on the street, the more we’re going to see violence, the more angry they’re going to get at us.
CAVUTO: You know, as we’re speaking here, Congressman, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is speaking at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Essentially, he’s been arguing over the past day or so that maybe we just need to recommit in a better way the forces we already have. He’s talked about extending time commitments of U.S. soldiers already in the region and maybe making better use of the forces there.
Is that what this ultimately comes down to?
KOLBE: Well, you know, look, I don’t think we should rely on the politicians here at home, and that includes politicians in the Pentagon. We should tell our commanders what we expect them to do, the missions that they’ve got, the objectives, and then rely on them...
CAVUTO: Are you saying, sir, that we’re not doing that?
KOLBE: Well, I think we should let them tell us what the numbers are and what I heard over there from the military commanders was, no, it wasn’t more forces that are needed. They need a different complexion of forces, and they need different kinds of things in order to do the job.
These are not military police that we’ve got there. We can do the static protection of places like the presidential palace where the CPA is located, but for the patrolling on the streets -- you need police to do that, you don’t need people in tanks to do that.
CAVUTO: But if you need police to do that, sir, whether they’re Iraqi or ultimately first Americans to sort of steer the way, that would be more people, would it not?
KOLBE: It’s more people, but I’d rather see it be more Iraqis, and I think we can train some on a temporary basis, give them more training. We’ve got 30,000 going to Hungary. It’s going to take 18 months to get all of them trained.
But we’ve got to do this as rapidly as possible. The longer our people are there and the less we do in terms of getting services back to normal, the greater the problems we’re going to have.
CAVUTO: All right, Congressman. Thank you very much for joining us.
KOLBE: Thank you.
CAVUTO: We know you’ve been very busy.
Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona. He was on that big trip to Iraq.
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