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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 Raleigh WRAL-CBS With David Crabtree

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Interview by David Crabtree
Washington, DC
November 13, 2003

(3:34 p.m. EST)

MR. CRABTREE: Mr. Secretary, first question, a few weeks ago the White House said that the basic message, particularly regarding Iraq, was not getting out -- not necessarily getting out within the mainstream media. Can you distill that message that you believe is not being heard? What does the Administration want the American people to hear they're not hearing?

SECRETARY POWELL: We want the American people to know that there are many good things happening in Iraq. There has been considerable progress over the last six months.

There's no starvation. There's no sectarian violence; that is to say, one group fighting another group inside of Iraq. Town councils are being formed. Kids are going back to school. The oil is now being pumped out. Revenue is being generated for the Iraqi people to operate their own government; we do have a Governing Council functioning. We do have cabinet ministries now working again. The sewerage-water systems are being repaired. Hospitals have been repaired.

The economy is starting to function again. We're going through a currency exchange, getting rid of all of the old Saddam Hussein dinars and bringing in new currency. So there are many good things that are going on that we believe the American people should know about and should be proud of -- that we have caused this to happen with our Coalition partners.

But we're not saying, "Don't report those things that are not going well." The security situation is giving us difficulty. We see that every day in the loss of life that takes place, the tragic loss we saw yesterday with our Italian colleagues in Nasiriya. And we regret every loss of life and our heart goes out to family members of every individual who has lost their lives or has been seriously injured.

And all we are asking for is that the American people and the people of the world get a balanced picture. We are in a difficult challenge in Iraq. We will prevail. Our military know what they have to do, and I'm sure they'll be successful. I have every confidence in them. And we know what we have to do politically and we know what we have to do with respect to reconstruction efforts, and the President is determined to see this through to the end.

And the end simply is, as soon as we can put in place an Iraqi government that reflects the will of the Iraqi people. And when that happens, we'll be very pleased to go home, having left a much better nation in that part of the world.

MR. CRABTREE: Mr. Secretary, in the meantime, you're addressing an audience here that has a heavy military presence with Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Cherry Point and the like, and a lot of retired military people here -- people who have supported the President, have supported the Administration in what we're trying to accomplish in Iraq -- at the same time are increasingly concerned about the loss of life, and in some cases frustrated.

You are a soldier. How do you encourage those people?

SECRETARY POWELL: Let them know, first and foremost, that we are in a conflict and sacrifices will be required. And let them know that everyone who loses their life, we grieve for, but at the same time, it's not a life lost in vain. They're bringing peace to a troubled part of the world. They're helping people who are desperately in need, and they're also serving the national interest of their country. They are true patriots.

I know the Raleigh-Durham area well. I used to command all Army forces in the United States and I've been at Fort Bragg, I've been stationed at Fort Bragg briefly over the years. And I know all of the facilities down there. There is no more patriotic part of the country. I'm very proud of what the citizens of North Carolina and the surrounding region, and the other states in the area do for us. And I ask them to keep supporting the President, but more importantly, keep supporting these wonderful young men and women who were willing to volunteer to serve their nation and go forth in harm's way in order to carry our message forward, and in order to bring peace to this troubled part of the world.

MR. CRABTREE: Mr. Secretary, you referenced what happened yesterday regarding the Italians. In light of the continuing problems there, the continuing deaths, do you believe we will see other countries come forward at this stage and participate more actively than what we have seen in the past six months?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, let me begin by saying that some 30 countries are there with us. More than 30 countries have contributed troops, such as the Italians yesterday. I was so very pleased that the Italian Prime Minister today reaffirmed that Italy will not cut and run. Italy will make the sacrifices necessary and stick with us.

There are other countries that are considering making a contribution. Turkey was willing to make a contribution, but for a variety of reasons having to do with the sensitivity of Turkey sending troops into Iraq, we came to a conclusion with Turkey that they should not make that contribution at this time.

Other nations: Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Pakistan -- all of them are considering whether or not troops would be appropriate, and we're working with those nations and other nations, as well as the Iraqis themselves -- the Governing Council -- to see what additional contributions might be possible and what additional contributions might be appropriate.

MR. CRABTREE: Secretary of State Colin Powell, we thank you for your time.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much.


Released on November 14, 2003

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