Paul Bremer Speaks On Terrorism

The following are excerpts from a CBS News interview with Paul Bremer, a member of the Advisory Panel on Weapons of Mass Destruction and a terrorism expert with Kissinger Associates.
"The American people are going to have to get used to a couple of things; terrorism is not going away."

"In fact, you really need to think of terrorism as crime."

"There's a tendency by politicians, both parties, both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, under any administration, (to) not give terrorism the balanced and sustained attention that I think the subject deserves."

"I think this is a problem of sort of the political leadership of the country and one that's hard to get around because politicians respond to events that get a lot of emotion and attention, which terrorism always does."

"The press also has a responsibility to try to keep this problem in perspective. There's a tendency, understandable, for the press to jump on and hype and play up terrorism. It's a hot subject."

"Everyone needs to take a deep breath; it's a long-term problem. It's going to be with us a long time; we've got to have a long sustainable strategy to do it."


"The nature of terrorism is changing. The nature of the threat is changing. There is pretty good evidence that terrorists used to be concerned not to create massive numbers of casualties because they wanted to have political support for their goal."

"There is evidence, if you look at the incidents in the last decade, the incidents are going down in numbers, but the number of people getting killed are going up. So there is an increase in lethality, and that suggests that some terrorists' groups may be less constrained on creating mass casualties."

"If you look at history, which is one place to start, the fact is in the last 30 years when terrorism burst on the world again, terrorists have overwhelmingly preferred to use conventional munitions, guns and bombs, and that continues to be the case."

"And it is true in the last couple of years the U.S. government has switched an enormous amount of counter-terrorist resources over to the possibility of mass casualty terrorism."

"And the (Advisory Panel on Weapons of Mass Destruction) is basically saying, let's not take our eye off the ball here. Most terrorists will still turn to bombs, and this can cause a lot of damage."

"What we are saying is, 'Let's not forget that most terrorists are going to stick with the old tried and true, but we have to be worried that some will escalate'"

"It is much more difficult to acquire and deliver these chemical and biological weapons than is commonly understood. It simply is not a matter, as the popular press has sometimes said, 'Well you just go in your garage and mix up some things and you've got a wonderful chemical weapon or you go into a dark cellar and grow Anthrax and throw it around. It isn't that easy to either to acquire the initial precursors and fabricate them into a dedly agent and most difficult is how do you deliver it."

The panel basically concluded that the government needs to do a better job of relating its attention and resources to the real threat."

"You're in one of those realms which is most difficult for a politician, where he or she has to make a decision based on a very murky appreciation of what the real problem is. And that's difficult and the natural inclination given the consequences of getting it wrong, is to just spend a lot more money. And that's more or less what's happened."

"(And) that's what the panel says. The panel said in effect what's happened here is that people have thrown up this rather terrifying prospect of chemical or biological terrorism and all the agencies in Washington have run toward this issue as a way to expand their budgets."

"What we don't know is whether the money is being allocated properly. And I think the government needs to do that."

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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