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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 > November

Interview on Portland KGW-NBC

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Interview by Russ Lewis and Brenda Baxter
Washington, DC
November 13, 2003

(3:30 p.m. EST)

MR. LEWIS: Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us, first of all. The first question for you today is: Is the U.S. military doing all it can to stop the violence in Iraq? And, if so, why are the deadly attacks on American soldiers increasing right now?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they are certainly doing everything they can, but it doesn't mean that they can stop all of the attacks all of a sudden. I am confident that General Abizaid and General Sanchez are using all the assets at their disposal in the most effective way.

The real problem here is getting inside the attackers' intelligence system. So we have to do a better job of determining who is responsible for this, where they're operating from, where their caches are. We had some success in the last couple of days finding some of these places, and I think we'll see success in the weeks ahead as we get more intelligence on how they're operating. And the more they operate, the more we'll be able to gather intelligence.

But no one should think that we're going to be able to shut down all attacks in a short period of time.

MS. BAXTER: There are so many northwest soldiers over there, and thousands more that are waiting to go. What do you say to their families, who feel like their loved ones are really easy targets in Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we don't want them to be easy targets. We're doing everything we can to protect our forces. We are armoring our vehicles. We are making sure they have all the equipment that we can possibly provide them to make sure that they can take care of themselves. And we're going after the enemy.

But it is a war zone that they are going into. I mean, there is fighting taking place there and there is danger. But we deeply appreciate their willingness to serve and we deeply appreciate their willingness to go help the people of Iraq to a better life.

And what they are doing is noble work, and when they come home they can be proud of the job they will have done, and I hope their families are as proud of them as we are.

MR. LEWIS: A leaked CIA report says that thousands of Iraqis now are ready to join the resistance, believing that they can beat the U.S. We're there, as you just said, to help these people, so why are so many of them willing to fight us?

SECRETARY POWELL: There are a number of them that are remnants of the old regime. They do not want to help their people. They do not want to see democracy. They don't want to see a better life. They want to go back to the way it was, where you had a dictatorial regime that was essentially Sunni-based that was exploiting the country. That's what they want to see back. Well, they're not going to get it back.

They may represent a few thousand people, or perhaps some more, but there are millions of Iraqis who want to see a different kind of life. They do want to see the oil being exported in order to generate revenue, and the amount of oil exports going up, revenues going up, town councils are being formed, their kids are going to school, the hospitals are functioning. A lot of good things are happening. They're getting more electricity than they had before. They're all eating well now. We've got the food program under control.

And so millions of Iraqis just want to be left in peace to raise their families and to have a better life and to have jobs. Is it the remnants of this old regime that are keeping us and keeping them from that goal.

MS. BAXTER: Speaking of the old regime, a lot of people really, still, don't understand why we can't find Saddam Hussein if all the reports are true that he's hiding somewhere near his hometown of Tikrit.

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know where he is. I don't know if he's alive or dead. There are lots of reports, but he hasn't exactly given us an address or a zip code to go after, and he's staying well hidden, if he's alive. But if he is in that area and if he is alive and he is operating, sooner or later he'll make a mistake and we'll get him.

But it is not -- it is not hard to hide yourself in a place where you have lived for your whole life, never really left the country except once. It's not hard to hide yourself. But sooner or later he'll make a mistake, if he's alive.

MR. LEWIS: All right. Secretary of State Colin Powell, thank you very much for joining us here on News Channel 8 this afternoon.



Released on November 14, 2003

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