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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 > 2004 > February

Interview on the Michael Medved Show with Michael Medved

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
February 11, 2004

MR. MEDVED: Thank you very much. I'm glad that you could join us. We were just going through a tad of confusion there. But I know that's something that never ever happens in the State Department.

SECRETARY POWELL: Never happens. We never have any communications problems. This must have been your fault entirely. (Laughter.)

MR. MEDVED: And I will own it entirely. (Laughter.)

All right. Talking about fault, what do you say to those people who say that after the Kay report regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, your eloquent, unforgettable speech to the United Nations now is in the ash heap of history and you should apologize for everything you said to the UN.

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I have nothing to apologize for. What I took to the UN was the best case that our intelligence community put together, which is the same case that they presented to the Congress and got a resolution from the Congress and the same information they presented to the President upon which he based his decision.

And guess what? We said that there was an intention for Saddam Hussein to have these weapons and there's no question in my mind he never lost that intention. Secondly, he was developing capability in a variety of ways. He was developing missiles that would fire longer distances, unattended aerial vehicles, UAVs, as they are called. He had the infrastructure, he had the know-how and there was no doubt in anyone's mind that he would have gone full board to get these capabilities and stockpile them if he ever got rid of UN sanctions and international pressure.

Now what the debate is about is, well, we said he had stockpiles, and that's what we said and that's what I believed and that's what the intelligence community believed. We haven't found those stockpiles. We're continuing to look and Dr. Kay doesn't think they will be there. But what people have to remember is Dr. Kay, who said we were wrong, terribly wrong, there are no stockpiles, also said in his same presentation that we did the right thing nevertheless. Why? Because this was a bad man who was going to continue to try to have such weapons, and as Dr. Kay said, it was probably even worse than we thought. So he was fully supportive of the President's decision to go to war and he pointed out that Saddam Hussein was in violation of the UN resolutions and especially 1441, in material breach.

And so we'll continue to argue about the stockpiles and try to figure out whether we were wrong and commissions have been created to go look at that. Investigations are underway. But we have nothing to apologize for, especially now that a dictator is gone, mass graves are no longer being filled, and we're going to build a democracy in that country.

MR. MEDVED: Senator Kerry, who is very likely to be the opponent of President Bush in the forthcoming election, which you may have heard about -- Senator Kerry says that what we need to do right now to make the whole situation in Iraq ever so much better is to get the UN more involved, to get our French and German allies more involved. What do you say to that, Mr. Secretary?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, first, we are getting the UN more involved. I've been working with Kofi Annan, the Secretary General, almost daily for the last several weeks. The President has meet with Kofi Annan and asked him to play a vital role as we have said before. And there's now a UN team in the country consulting with Iraqi leaders and with the Coalition Provisional Authority, Ambassador Bremer, to see how we can work our way through this little barrier we have as to how to pick a representative form of government on a transitional basis.

And so the UN is involved and we want them to do more. The UN has been reluctant to do more because of the security situation but we are working on that for them as well. So we're doing a lot more.

The French and the Germans -- I have met with the French, met with the French Foreign Minister last Friday and I've been in constant touch with the German Foreign Minister and he was here a few weeks ago. They want to help us in the rebuilding process. They're still not ready to contribute troops, but you know, when you look at NATO with its 26 nations, somewhere between 17 and 19 of those 26 nations have troops there helping us now.

MR. MEDVED: Are already involved.

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, exactly.

MR. MEDVED: I hope we can continue to be involved in a little bit further conversation with the Secretary of State of the United States, General Colin Powell, coming up.

Released on February 11, 2004

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