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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 Pittsburgh KDA-CBS

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Interview by Jennifer Antkowiak
Washington, DC
November 13, 2003

(3:30 p.m. EST)

MS. ANTKOWIAK: I want to start out with asking you, Mr. Secretary, about one of the reasons that we went to war. As you argued before the UN, weapons of mass destruction, as of this date, still have not been found. Can you comment on the situation and on the search?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we found a lot of evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction and programs for more weapons of mass destruction. The information I presented to the United Nations on the 5th of February, represented the best judgment of the intelligence community, and not only our intelligence community, but the intelligence community of a number of allied nations, and it was consistent with what people have been reporting for over a period of 12 years, and consistent with what President Clinton used as his intelligence base when he attacked in 1998.

I'm confident that Dr. Kay, who heads our research effort there, will ultimately exploit all of the documents and all of the facilities that are there, and give us the final answer as to the extent and nature of their programs for weapons of mass destruction, and if there are any remaining weapons, they will be discovered by Dr. Kay. There are many hundreds of additional sites that have to be looked at.

MS. ANTKOWIAK: Knowing what you know about the situation, are you surprised that we haven't been able to find anything more concrete yet?

SECRETARY POWELL: I had expected we would find some more stocks by now, but there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of places to be looked at, as I -- as I said, but I have absolutely no doubt about the existence of these weapons, principally, because we know they were used in the past, and we knew that -- we know that Saddam Hussein never gave up his intent to have such weapons or develop such weapons. So the threat that these weapons presented was a real threat, it was a present threat, and President Bush was right to act as he did.

MS. ANTKOWIAK: This feeds into, though, a lack of support, a lack of patience, on behalf of the American people that is starting to show up more and more frequently in polls, as we hear daily -- if not daily, weekly, of more American soldiers killed in Iraq, patience is wearing thin, support for the effort is wearing thin. What would you say about how much longer you think things are going to take?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think we have to be prepared for this to take quite a bit longer. Certainly, it will go all the way through next year, I think, as we put in place a political system that will be owned by the Iraqis, their political system, so we can transfer sovereignty to the Iraqis. So we should have the patience needed to do this job right.

I know that Americans become impatient, especially when we see loved ones lost every day, and I regret the loss of every life, and I extend my sympathy and condolences to those who have lost loved ones. I am basically a solider. I was a soldier for 35 years before I became a diplomat. So I know what it's like to lose people in combat, you don't like to do it, but I want these family members to know that those lives have not been lost in vain.

They're helping to create a better world, a safer world. They're helping 24 million Iraqi people to a better future, and I am anxious to see this matter concluded, as quickly as we can. Ambassador Bremer was here this week. We took a look at how we might accelerate the political process, and our military commanders are hard at work to see what we can do to accelerate putting down this insurgency that is affecting us right now.

MS. ANTKOWIAK: How would you say the country is doing, in general, regarding the war on terrorism now?

SECRETARY POWELL: We have made a great deal of progress over the last couple of years. The al-Qaida network has seen many of its leaders captured or immobilized or killed, but terrorism is still with us. They're resilient. They will keep trying to recreate the cells that they have lost. What's good is that we've got the whole world now energized. Every civilized nation knows they have to be part of this global coalition against terrorism because it affects each and every one of us.

More intelligence exchange is taking place, law enforcement information. We're getting more and more cooperation from nations around the world in going after al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations that are coming after all civilized nations, not just the United States.

MS. ANTKOWIAK: All right, Secretary Colin Powell. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much.

2003/1165


Released on November 14, 2003

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