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Interview on France's Channel One TF-1

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
February 20, 2003

MR. BERROU: Mr. Secretary, the U.S. and U.K. are about to introduce a draft resolution at the United Nations. Could you tell us anything, if not of the word, but the spirit of this resolution, especially concerning timeline and benchmarks?

SECRETARY POWELL: We're still working on the language of the resolution, and I think it will be a resolution that will point out the fact that Iraq has not complied with the terms of Resolution 1441 and that it is time for the Security Council to consider what consequences should flow from Iraqi noncompliance.

I don't expect that there will be a deadline in such a resolution, but we're still looking at the language but I don't expect it to have a deadline.

With respect to benchmarks, there are a number of ideas floating around with respect to benchmarks. But I think, you know, the benchmarks are already out there. We have spoken about these benchmarks at previous Security Council meetings. What happened to the anthrax? What happened to the botulinum toxin? Why do they still have prohibited weapons? Why are they allowed to present a false declaration to the United Nations?

And then last week at the UN when we are questioning them about this false declaration, all they can say is read it again. They gave us no more information, no new evidence, no new papers.

It's rather shocking that some members of the Security Council would find this acceptable behavior and worthy of serious consideration. Iraq simply is not complying with their obligations, and I think this resolution will point that out and present it to the Security Council for the Security Council to decide what should be done.

MR. BERROU: President Jacques Chirac said it quite clearly that France would oppose such a resolution and that some observers on both sides of the Atlantic that say that this crisis is the worst since General De Gaulle left the integrated command of NATO. Is it -- do you share this opinion?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I don't think I would quite see it in such cataclysmic terms. I mean, General De Gaulle, in a very dramatic and very, very unilateral fashion asked NATO to leave France back in 1966. I don't quite see it in those terms. But it is a serious matter. Each member of the Security Council will have to come to its own conclusion as to how this matter should be dealt with. And I certainly respect President Chirac's point of view and I respect the point of view of every other member of the Security Council and every other nation that has taken a position on this issue.

When we put the resolution down, we will present our arguments for the resolution, other arguments will be held, and in due course a judgment will be made as to whether or not the resolution should be taken to a vote.

MR. BERROU: You concluded your statement at the United Nations last Friday with a quite personal note on your history as a soldier and as a diplomat and how you would always consider war as a last resort. Listening to the slogans and the demonstrations right the next day, most of the world public opinion seems convinced that this administration has always considered war as a first resort.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it's simply not true and it is, frankly, it is offensive to me to hear the argument presented that way. I'm not offended by you. You're conveying what is heard. But when you look at the history of the United States and you look at the history of this administration, we always see war as a last resort. I see it. I'm a soldier. I've been in war. I've fought in wars. I've lost friends in wars, very close friends. I've sent men into battle. I've sent women into battle. I've caused the death of people in battle. It's not something to be looked forward to. So we see war as a last resort.

But we are also sure that it must be seen as a resort when you are faced with a challenge, when you are faced with the kind of danger that we believe Saddam and his chemical and biological programs and his intent to develop a nuclear weapon, the kind of danger that presents to the region and to the world, then force must be considered a resort.

I have been in a number of situations where everybody tried to step back from the use of force because it's not a pleasant thing to contemplate, but the force was necessary. And the United States has used force in the course of recent history in a responsible way and we have always, when we used force, left the place better than when we went in. And that is our recent history in Kuwait, in Kosovo, in Afghanistan, and it is also our history of the last 50 years in Europe and in Asia.

MR. BERROU: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.


Released on February 20, 2003

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