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Rice IV On Bill Bennett's Morning in America

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Interview With Bill Bennett's Morning in America

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
October 26, 2006

(8:48 a.m. EDT)

QUESTION: We are joined by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Good morning, Madame Secretary.

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. How are you?

QUESTION: Fine. Nice to have you with us. Thanks so much.

SECRETARY RICE: Good to be with you.

QUESTION: You know, I know we have troubles in the world, but I will say what I said when you were first appointed, what a great representative of the United States. When you go to some of these immiserated parts of the world where they don't have, you know, intelligent views about women, it must really tick them off. It makes me very happy.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you. I appreciate that very much. I feel very lucky to be representing the United States. You know, it's something I never would have dreamed I'd be doing and it's really, really special.

QUESTION: Now, it really is. Better than being provost at Stanford? What do you think?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, that was a great job, too. I've been lucky. I've had some great jobs, great responsibilities, but this one's very special and working with this President who is really visionary in what he's trying to do for the world. It's a very, very special opportunity.

QUESTION: So you won't tell me whether it's a better class of people than dealing with the Stanford faculty, right?

SECRETARY RICE: (Laughter.) I have to go back to the Stanford faculty. (Laughter.)

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QUESTION: So let's be careful. All right. Could we talk about Iraq?


QUESTION: We just -- I just had a call, a very good caller. People pay very close attention, they say, you know, why can't -- the President said we're winning. He said, I think we are winning, the caller said. Look, I mean, we got rid of Saddam Hussein, the terrorists seem to be on the run. Every time we pick up an intercept that says, you know, they're losing, they need help. We have a different kind of problem now. But in terms of defeating some of the forces or the major forces of terrorism in that country, we've had a lot of success.

SECRETARY RICE: That's absolutely right and I think that the problem is that when people are just seeing the pictures of violence every day on their screens, it's hard to show the more steady progress on the political side that's being made, the fact that this is a political system that is growing and maturing, all the local politics that's going on in Iraq. And as you said, this is an environment in which we are making real inroads against the terrorists. So I think it's an uphill fight to show where the progress is, but Americans should know that we are on the job in Iraq. We're having successes and the sectarian violence is right now the core problem and that's something that we have to help the Iraqis deal with.

QUESTION: Definitions, Madame Secretary. That sectarian violence, Sunni on Shia, Shia on Sunni, is that -- are those terrorists?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, they certainly are when you think about the fact that what they're doing is they're killing innocent people.


SECRETARY RICE: This is not -- occasionally there's a political assassination, but you know, they go to a bus stop and blow up a group of people or a group of police recruits. Or in one case, not too long ago, it was going into a school and having violence against children and teachers. And so of course, this is homegrown terrorism, I suppose. It's not the same as al-Qaida from the outside. But the taking of innocent life is wrong, I don't care what the purported cost.

QUESTION: Okay. Not like al-Qaida. But where does a guy like Masri, Zarqawi's successor, figure in this?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, al-Qaida was really the spark for this sectarian violence. We know that Zarqawi before he died -- about a year before he died -- he had a plan to set Shia and Sunnis against each other. And unfortunately, in blowing up that famous shrine --


SECRETARY RICE: -- he really did set off a lot of sectarian violence. But the Iraqis -- I told them when I was there -- I said, you know, Americans don't understand Iraqis killing Iraqis. And you really have to get a handle on this.

QUESTION: All right. Now, help me with two things, which trouble me. We are big supporters of the President -- this war. By the way, we just saw a survey -- you may be interested in this -- put out by CAIR that Muslims are voting Democrat 2.5 to 1. And it struck me as odd since the last seven times the U.S. has taken up arms it has been to liberate Muslims.

SECRETARY RICE: Right, right.

QUESTION: People need to bear that in mind it seems to me. I know that's politics; that's not your department. But here are the two things: The President says we're going to win, we'll continue to win. We're not leaving until we have victory but patience is wearing thin. How do we put those two together?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think what the President is asking is the American people to step back and look at the big historical changes going on here, recognize that these kinds of changes are always hard, they're always turbulent. In a sense there's violence associated with them but to recognize the stakes: The stakes really for an Iraq that is stable and on a democratic path, an Iraq that is fighting terror that can be a good neighbor. That is going to make the Middle East a very different place and it also will make America more secure. And I just think the President is asking Americans to think about that -- that bigger task that we have ahead of us.

We understand that the daily pictures from Iraq that the loss of life of American men and women in uniform is extremely difficult for Americans to take. But nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice.


SECRETARY RICE: And we have to be patient and we are adapting. The President was very clear that we're not just standing still and we are adapting our policies when necessary. But that's different from saying that you are no longer devoted to the goal of victory.

QUESTION: We have to let you go. We have 30 seconds left. I'll let you say whatever you want -- a message to the American people.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the message to the American people would be that we know how hard it is. But the President back on September 20th, 2001, just a few days after September 11th, talked about this as a generational struggle and we have to think of it in those terms. Because if we don't -- if the ideology of hatred that caused people to fly airplanes into our buildings on September 11th, 2001, if we don't defeat that ideology of hatred we're going to be fighting terrorists for a long, long time to come and we owe our children more than that.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. Thank you for your service to our country.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you so much.


Released on October 26, 2006


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