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Rice Interview on the Doug Wright Radio Show

Interview on the Doug Wright Radio Show

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Salt Lake City, Utah
August 29, 2006

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, welcome not only to our program but welcome to Utah.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, good morning and thank you very much. It's great to be here.

QUESTION: Let's talk for just a moment about the message that you bring from not only your Department and the Administration but from your heart and your soul to these great Legionnaires that are meeting here in the state of Utah. What do you plan to tell them?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first I just want to thank the American Legion for what they've done for all of these years. They really are one of the finest organizations in America. They stand for our values, they stand for patriotism. They help our men and women in uniform. And of course many of them, they have served themselves.

And I just want to bring a message that the young folks who are serving now in Afghanistan and Iraq at great sacrifice are in a long tradition of Americans who have served and given great sacrifice to make the world better. And that will be the message that I'll bring.

QUESTION: This great organization of the American Legion, from your point of view as Secretary of State, what do they do to and for America?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first they embody the values and they remind us that America has always been best when it leads from both power and principle, that we have from time to time had to use our military power on behalf of others to keep the world free, to defend freedom. They remind us that freedom's defense does not come without cost and sacrifice and they remind us that this is a tradition that continues today as we watch our men and women in uniform around the world. And for those of us in the State Department who are in the diplomatic business and supporting the great freedom agenda of this President, they are a reminder of what is best about America.

QUESTION: You have made some very significant trips lately, Madame Secretary, and you have seen many of the challenges that America faces very up close and very personal. How are we doing on the world stage? Sometimes -- and Secretary Rumsfeld talked quite a bit about this -- if you just watch CNN, you just read the headlines, read some of the opening lines of many of the major articles, you're left with the impression that we are hated and we're losing ground.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, and I think we are certainly in such a much stronger position than we were on September 11th. This President has put together a coalition of states around the world through intelligence means, some of them serving with us militarily, to fight this very different kind of war on terrorism. We are having our successes, as we had with the British in breaking up actual terrorist plots. We are having successes in helping others to build a democratic future in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. But it is hard work and it can't be captured in a headline because these are big historic changes, and big historic changes are difficult, they're sometimes violent, but we cannot fall prey to pessimism about how this will all come out. We believe in these values. People around the world do want to live in peace and democracy and we are making progress.

QUESTION: What is the greatest threat in the world today? We see the hot spots obviously that we are up to our eyeballs in kind of, but also brewing over in North Korea, certainly Iran. What is -- when you sit there and you go to sleep at night and the last thing on your mind -- this is of great concern for our nation -- what is it?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think there are a couple of things that I would mention. First, obviously the nexus of terrorism and any kind of weapon of mass destruction would bring devastation and destruction of a kind that is unimaginable, and so it is why the President has worked so hard with countries around the world to try to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is why it is important that the world stay united in denying to Iran the means to build a nuclear weapon. It is why fighting terrorism is extremely important, but fighting that nexus between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction is even more important.

But in many ways I think we are going to meet these challenges. America has met these challenges before. We've got committed friends around the world. We have a determined President. I just hope that Americans recognize our very important and strong need to remain committed because the really devastating problem for the world would be if America loses its will or loses its nerve or loses its commitment. That would be devastating. If America remains committed, we will meet these challenges.

QUESTION: What is it going to take to keep America committed? I look at my grandparents' and my parents' generation. Tom Brokaw called them the greatest generation. I like to think that we have that fiber too, but sometimes, I'll tell you, I get a little nervous when I see how shaky, so quickly, some people do get.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it's hard. And I'm not surprised that people see their television screens or read the newspapers and wonder, "Can we succeed? Are we going to be able to lay a foundation for peace in a Middle East that is so volatile and where the ideologies of hatred are so great?" So I understand those doubts that sometimes come into people's minds.

But when they have those doubts, I would ask that we think back on the times when it also seemed impossible and yet the success did emerge. You know, it didn't seem that -- in the early days of the Cold War -- there was no reason to believe that the United States would stay steadfast and that some 50 years later the Soviet Union would collapse peacefully. There was no reason to believe that Japan would become a democratic state and a firm ally of the United States. There are people living today, among them the President's father, who fought Japan. And yet when the President sits across from the Prime Minister of Japan, he sits across from a democratic friend.

And so it is hard and I know that it is sometimes trying for us as a nation, but I would just ask people to keep the historical perspective and to think back on all of the times when it seemed bleak and yet we emerged victorious.

QUESTION: We have just a matter of seconds, but I want to leave you with some very good news. I don't know if you have been informed, but your approval rating here in Utah is about 70 percent. So congratulations.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, that's very nice. I love Utah and I used to come here for music camp every once in a while. It's a beautiful state and I have a great respect for Utahans and thanks very much for having me here.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you. We're honored to have you here at KSL. 2006/T21-3

Released on August 29, 2006


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