Powell IV By Robert Siegel of NPR
Interview by Robert Siegel of NPR's "All Things Considered"
Secretary Colin L. Powell
October 11, 2002
(4:10 p.m. EDT)
QUESTION: Joining us now is the American diplomat in chief, Secretary of State Colin Powell. Welcome, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POWELL: Good evening. How are you?
QUESTION: I would like to ask you first, Senator John Warner of Virginia, among many others, said last night of the Iraq resolution that passed, "It is an act to declare war, to put in place the tools for our President, our Secretary of State, to get the strongest possible resolution in the United Nations." Could you tell us, if there is not a strong resolution agreed to by all the permanent members of the UN, all those with veto power, would that alter U.S. plans to proceed with military action against Iraq?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, our plans right now are to work with the United Nations to get a strong resolution with as many votes for it as possible in order to put pressure on Saddam Hussein to disarm. And we're not going to the UN to look for a reason to go to war. We're going to the UN to look for a way of disarming this very dangerous regime. But the only way that will work is if there are consequences for his failure to disarm, his failure to act. And the Congressional resolution that passed last night shows unity of purpose and unity of effort within the American Government, and that will help me convey to my colleagues at the Security Council that this is time for them to show the same kind of unity.
QUESTION: Secretary General Kofi Annan said today he thinks it's unlikely that the Security Council would back a single resolution calling for both tighter arms inspections and also authorizing a military strike. If the U.S. had to settle for a two-stage resolution, would it be worth deferring plans, military plans, in order to increase the chance of international support for an attack later on?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we still think one resolution is better and I have the greatest respect for Kofi Annan and his views, but in this case I still think one resolution is better for the simple reason is that it doesn't give Iraq an opportunity to look at what's happening in the Security Council and say, "well, you know, I can still frustrate them because it will force them to take another vote on this issue," and so I still believe, and the American position is that we should try to get it all in one resolution.
QUESTION: But if you can't get it --
SECRETARY POWELL: -- but you know, it is a Security Council of 15 nations, so I am in consultation with other members of the Security Council trying to take their views into account and see if there's not a way to bridge this.
QUESTION: And it is, in fact, compromising U.S. plans one element of a possible bridge?
SECRETARY POWELL: Our plans are that we have to continue with our military planning and examining military options in the case that Saddam Hussein once again refuses to comply with the new resolution. There should be little optimism that he is going to comply. His record is very bad. And we hope he will comply, but I am also sure he will not comply if he doesn't believe that there is a likelihood he will be made to comply. And that is why it is so important that we not show weakness at this time and the international community comes together. The best way to avoid war is for us to be strong now, both here in the United States and within the United Nations, in order to show that the will of the international community must be obeyed.
QUESTION: The New York Times reports today on administration plans for a post-Saddam Iraq, a post-war Iraq, and it sounds a lot like post-war Japan or Germany half a century ago. Should Americans assume that if we go to war against Iraq there will be U.S. forces based there for several years and that an American general will govern there the way McArthur did in Japan?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think what the American people should realize is that should it come to that and the President hope is does not come to that, but should it come to that, we would have an obligation, really, to put in place a better regime. And we are obviously doing contingency planning, and there are lots of different models from history that one could look at: Japan, Germany, but I wouldn't say that anything has been settled upon even though The New York Times' story reflected one particular model.
QUESTION: But would going to war assume that we would be going to base troops there for some time into the future?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, if you're going to war, obviously troops are going to a theater and to a country and in the immediate aftermath of such a conflict, there would have to be a need for some presence until such time as you can put in place a better system. I mean, the United States has done this many times in the course of the last 50 or 60 years and we always try to get out as quickly as we can once we have reestablished peace, put in place a stable system, it is never our intention to go and stay in a place and to impose our will by the presence of our military forces.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, thank you very much.
Released on October 11, 2002