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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > October

Interview on Fox News Sunday with Tony Snow

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Bangkok, Thailand
October 19, 2003

2003/1054

(9:00 a.m. EDT)

MR. SNOW: Joining us from Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss the Summit and more, Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

Secretary Powell, let's begin by talking about North Korea. There is some talk that perhaps there's going to be an outreach to the North Koreans. What can we do to persuade the Government of North Korea that we have no intentions of attacking them?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the President has said it repeatedly: we have no intention of invading North Korea or attacking North Korea. In fact, we want to find ways to help North Korea out of the economic distress that it's in, or to do something about the fact that so many North Korean people don't have enough food to eat. But it has to begin with North Korea abandoning its nuclear weapons programs. They say they need security assurances.

So the President is anxious to find ways to move forward within the six-party framework that's been established, and just today he had meetings with President Hu of China, and said to President Hu that we, the United States, are anxious to move forward within that six-party framework to have additional dialogue with the other parties to include North Korea, and to find ways to provide North Korea the kind of security assurances they're looking for in return for them abandoning their program.

We are not interested, however, in a treaty or in a non-aggression pact, but there are other models of security assurances and agreements that have been entered into over the years that should give us some basis to work from and to explore ideas. And we are very thankful for the role that the Chinese have been playing and President Hu has been playing, and President Bush to express his thanks for that.

MR. SNOW: Is it conceivable then that the six nations could simply sign a statement -- no agreement, no formal treaty, no bilateral agreement -- but simply a statement to the effect that none of the six, and the six together, would pledge not to invade North Korea?

SECRETARY POWELL: That's certainly one model that can be looked at, but of course, it's something that we would have to discuss with all six parties, so I would not want to prejudge right now what other parties might be willing to do. But there are models of that type that have been used in the past.

MR. SNOW: Should we expect to see something relatively soon along those lines?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it depends. We have to talk to the other parties, the other five, four parties, who are on our side of this issue, and then present some ideas to the North Koreans and let them know, once again, we have no intention to invade, and we are willing to enter into some sort of agreement with them that will give them the assurances they're looking for, but it must, of course, be matched by their willingness, and, to give up their nuclear programs and to give them up in a verifiable way.

MR. SNOW: Secretary Powell, there is a report in today's New York Times that a 13-volume State Department report called the Future of Iraq Project anticipated a number of the problems that allies are now facing in trying to reconstruct Iraq, and that many of the recommendations were ignored by the Pentagon in putting together a war plan. Is that story true or false?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, there was a study done under State Department leadership called the Future of Iraq; it was a very extensive piece of work. And when General Garner was appointed by Secretary Rumsfeld to head ORHA, as it was called, ORHA, all of that information was made available to General Garner, and it's still available to the Pentagon and to others involved in reconstruction.

What parts of it were used or not used, you'd have to ask the Pentagon and those who have been working on it. But we have a number of the people who participated in the work now working with Ambassador Bremer; a number of people from the State Department who are very familiar with that work are now in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq working with Ambassador Bremer.

MR. SNOW: Do you believe it is accurate, however, that some of the recommendations -- had they been examined more closely and carried out into effect -- would have made life easier for the allies in rebuilding Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I couldn't comment on that, Tony, without knowing what specific recommendations the authors of the article were talking about. And you know, in any study, not every recommendation is accepted. But it was a quality piece of work that was made available to General Garner for his use and the use of those involved in the reconstruction effort.

MR. SNOW: One of the recommendations was that the United States not demobilize the entire Iraqi military, but instead try to keep many of those in the military employed on the theory that it's better to have them on your side than possibly giving them some cause to go back to the other side.

Also today in The New York Times, Iyad Allawi, who is the head of the Provisional Iraqi Governing Authority, says the same thing, that it is time for allies to go back and rehire, at least to the mid-officer level, all those old Iraqi soldiers and get them working. Do you think that's a good idea?

SECRETARY POWELL: There are a couple of issues here. To some extent, the Iraqi army demobilized itself; it didn't stand and fight as much as we thought it would. In Gulf War I, back in '91 when I was Chairman, we took 80,000 prisoners. In this conflict, there were only about 7,000 prisoners. To some extent, the army melted away as an organized force. And then when Ambassador Bremer began his work, he thought it was important to make sure that we had totally de-Baathified the institutions to include the Iraqi army, and now we are rebuilding an Iraqi army under Ambassador Bremer's leadership, and under the leadership of General Abazaid and the other commanders in Baghdad -- General Sanchez.

And so I will leave it up to them as to the best way to reconstitute that army and what part of the old structure do you want to use, what individuals are you now comfortable with putting in positions of leadership in a new army.

The first battalion has graduated and many more will follow in fairly rapid order, as well as the creation of a new police force.

MR. SNOW: Secretary, there is continuing controversy about the justification used for the war. I'm going to ask you once again about Greg Thielmann, a former State Department employee, who has said that the testimony you presented to the United Nations Security Council exaggerated intelligence on a host of issues ranging from aluminum tubes with possible nuclear use, to the range and capability of missiles within Iraq. I know you've answered the question before, but I want to get your response to the repeated charges of Greg Thielmann.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, Mr. Thielmann has his opinion. But what I presented on the fifth of February to the United Nations wasn't something I pulled out of the air and it wasn't something given to me by a group of political mentors. I sat for days with the Central Intelligence Agency, with the actual analysts as well as the top leadership of the CIA: George Tenet, John McLaughlin -- the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence -- and we went over every single word in my presentation and every single exhibit. And what I presented represented the best judgment of the intelligence community. Nothing was juiced, nothing was exaggerated; it was what they believed. And they stood firmly behind that presentation and they do to this day.

And as Dr. Kay goes about his work -- he's in charge of our effort to exploit all of the documents and view all of the sites that we have discovered in Iraq -- we will see more information coming forward, and he has validated some of the information we've presented already, with respect to the fact that there were programs kept intact by Saddam Hussein for chemical, biological and even nuclear development when circumstances permitted, to go even further than they had been able to go under the presence of inspectors and sanctions --

MR. SNOW: So you expect to be vindicated by David --

SECRETARY POWELL: -- so I think the case is still out --

MR. SNOW: I'm sorry, go ahead.

SECRETARY POWELL: I stand by the presentation because it was a presentation that was put together by the intelligence community and it represented the best judgment of the intelligence community, not the best judgment of any political leaders.

MR. SNOW: Do you expect to be vindicated by David Kay?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes.

MR. SNOW: Let's turn to Ted Kennedy, the Senator from Massachusetts. He had some fairly scalding comments this week about the President. We're going to play them and I want to get your reaction:

Week, after week, after week, after week, we were told lie, after lie, after lie, after lie…. The President's war has been revealed as mindless, needless, senseless, reckless. The American people all know this, our allies know it, our soldiers know it.

Secretary, your response.

SECRETARY POWELL: I totally disagree with Senator Kennedy. The President did not lie week after week after week, and the American people know better. The American people know better and are demonstrating they know better by their support for the President's policies. And I don't think it's accurate to say that our allies feel that as well. There are 32 nations standing alongside us in Iraq now. I don't think they'd be standing alongside us if they didn't think they were doing the right thing, if they didn't think that this was a noble cause that got rid of a horrible regime, a horrible dictator, who had gassed people in the past, and we didn't want to take the chance he would gas them, expose them to biological weapons, or, given the chance, reconstitute his nuclear weapons program. He never lost that intent.

And so I disagree with the Senator, and I think that we should be proud of what our young men and women have done, are doing in the Gulf now, in Baghdad now, throughout Iraq now, and such comments, it seems to me, don't support us in that effort to support them and to rally the international community. We got a unanimous UN resolution this week. There are some nations who had some reservations about that resolution but nevertheless voted for it. And we now have the entire international community aligned with our policy of gradually, but as fast as we can, nevertheless in a gradual way, restoring sovereignty to the people of Iraq and coming home as fast as we can.

But we're going to do it right. And when we have done it right, Iraq will be a better country living in peace with its neighbors. No one will have to have any future debates about weapons of mass destruction because it will be a government elected by the people who have no such interest in threatening its neighbors or developing such weapons of mass destruction or creating mass graves or being a source of instability throughout the region and a possible source of such weapons of mass destruction for terrorists to acquire.

MR. SNOW: One of your predecessors, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright was speaking this week to the French media and she made the following comments: she said that President Bush and the people working for him have a foreign policy that is not good for America, not good for the world. She says it's too much the United States versus the world. Your response.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I disagree with her. The United States pulled together a unanimous resolution of the UN this week. President Bush is here at the APEC meeting having excellent meetings with his counterparts -- a fine visit with our Japanese friends. You saw the images coming from Manila in the Philippines yesterday. You have seen him meet today with the prime minister of Thailand and with the president of China. All of these are solid relationships that we have. And I disagree with Secretary Albright, who I believe is in France on a book tour.

MR. SNOW: Do statements of that sort undermine the President?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, you know, it's a free country, people are entitled to their opinion, and people are entitled to their opinion and we take praise when it comes and we take abuse when it comes. It's part of being in public life; it's part of our very, very dynamic political system.

MR. SNOW: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned the United Nations Security Council vote. Do you expect that to produce any additional funds for Iraqi reconstruction, and more to the point, how much extra money do we need to do the job right?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll take as much money as we can get. And I think the resolution will encourage some countries to give who might not have had a basis to give before the resolution was passed. And I think it very much helps the International Financial Institutions -- the World Bank and the IMF -- to do more than they might have been able to do in the absence of a resolution. We didn't think the resolution, in and of itself, would turn loose a great deal of money or a large number of additional troops.

But for those nations that were considering making a contribution, of either troops or money, this gives them a more solid basis to do so. The real achievement of the resolution was to bring the power of the Security Council, and in turn, the United Nations, behind the strategy that we are following, and the creation of a multinational force, the transfer of sovereignty back to Iraq in a measured way as Iraqi institutions are prepared to accept authority, and not in some arbitrary way -- "In the first of January, we're out of here, and you've got your country back, and we won't have anything else to do with it."

We are going about this in the right way, and I'm pleased that the Security Council, after a great deal of debate, has voted unanimously to support the approach that we are taking.

MR. SNOW: Secretary of State Colin Powell, thanks for joining us today.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Tony.

 


Released on October 19, 2003

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