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Sec. Powell's Interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show

Powell's Interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show

Interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show

Secretary Colin L. Powell October 22, 2002

MS. WINFREY: We also went to Secretary of State Colin Powell to answer some of those questions. As a four-star general, Colin Powell oversaw the Persian Gulf War. As Secretary of State, he's trying to convince our allies that now is the time to stop Saddam Hussein.

SECRETARY POWELL: Right now we're not talking about war. Right now we're talking about finding a peaceful solution to this. Nobody wants war. President Bush does not war. I do not want war. But do we want Saddam Hussein to have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that he can use, as he has used these kinds of weapons in the past against his neighbors, against his own people, or perhaps against us someday? This is the time to stop him. He has been told to stop by the international community.

It's not the United States who is at fault here; it is Saddam Hussein and Iraq that is at fault. And it is a problem he is wholly responsible for, and he cannot be allowed to get away with it.

There has been a containment policy in effect, but we have seen that during the period of this containment policy Iraq has continued to try to develop weapons of mass destruction. They have chemical weapons; they have biological weapons; they're trying to acquire nuclear weapons. They've been in violation of all of these containment resolutions for the last 11 years.

He has shown previously that he is not that inhibited. What we don't want him to be able to do is to achieve greater capability because then he would be even less inhibited.

One thing you can be sure of: He isn't going to disarm, he is not going to let the inspectors in, unless he is fearful of a conflict that would remove him from power. He has demonstrated for 11 years that he will ignore, stiff and laugh at the world's opinion. That laughter has to stop.

If peace can be maintained while disarming Saddam Hussein and disarming the Iraqi regime, fine. But if it takes conflict, we must keep the prospect of conflict there or else he will not cooperate.

The concern we should have is that Saddam Hussein might blow up his infrastructure, his own oil wells, as he goes down to defeat. If we are going in if we have to go in, and we hope we don't have to go in, we will go in to remove a dictatorial regime and take away his weapons of mass destruction.

And as we have demonstrated repeatedly in recent years, we will fight a conflict, if it comes to a conflict, with sophisticated weapons, with precision weapons, in a way that minimizes loss of civilian life. Will there be some loss? Of course, there always is. That's why war should be avoided.

But forestalling action is forestalling the inevitability, rather. I mean, it just leads to the inevitability of Saddam becoming more dangerous, the Iraqi regime becoming more dangerous, in the months and years ahead.

Oprah: Thank you, Secretary of State Colin Powell.


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