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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > What the Secretary Has Been Saying > 2006 Secretary Rice's Remarks > April 2006: Secretary Rice's Remarks

Interview on Cox Television with Scott MacFarlane

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
April 13, 2006

QUESTION: Local Congressman John Murtha has criticized the war effort, indicates that the war effort is hurting our standing among other countries, hurting America's image. Is he right?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I have great respect for Congressman Murtha, of course, but I simply disagree. The United States has taken a decision -- President Bush has taken a decision that it was finally time to remove Saddam Hussein who'd been a threat to the international community ever since he started invading his neighbors, using weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors and his own population and was just a general threat in the region. And now with Saddam Hussein gone, it is possible to develop an Iraq that is stable, an Iraq that is democratic. It's going to take awhile. It's tough. And the Iraqis are struggling, but they're struggling toward a better future and that better future was not going to be possible with Saddam Hussein in power. That better future also was not going to be possible for the Middle East as a whole, a region that after all had produced such an ideology of hatred that people flew airplanes into our buildings on one September day. And so we had to take care of this threat and produce conditions for a different kind of Middle East. That is what has taken place.

QUESTION: Florida and California, people are criticizing, saying our state is bearing the burden of illegal immigration, bearing an especially heavy burden because of illegal immigration. What can be done diplomatically to try to solve that problem?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I certainly understand as a Californian the difficult debate that we are having about immigration. But the President, as the former governor of Texas, probably understands immigration as well as anyone. And he has made very clear and we made clear through our diplomacy that first and foremost the United States needs to be able to secure its borders and the United States needs to be able to have other countries, in their policies and in their statements, respect the borders of the United States and the right of the United States to have its laws respected.

That said, we do have a population that we have to deal with, a population that has a role in our economy, a population which I think all Americans want to see treated humanely. And so the President had proposed some time ago a guest worker program, a temporary worker program, not an amnesty, because our laws have to be respected. But a temporary worker program that would allow us to recognize the economic role that immigrants play and also to give people the ability to come out of the shadows, but that can only be done in the context also of border security. And I just want to say here at the State Department we've increased considerably our investment in border security and, of course, Homeland Security has done a great deal more.

QUESTION: In Ohio, the steel industry is being crippled by international competition. Countries like China can ship the steel here and sell it cheaper. What can be done to help negotiate that problem away, what can be done, I suppose help convince China to scale back?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the United States believes very strongly in free and fair trade. I think we believe that -- the President believes that if any American worker has a level playing field, the United States is going to fare very well. And so what we do in the efforts to open up markets around the world for American goods is to also make certain that we are pressing -- that the rules will be enforced for other countries. Sometime ago the President actually used an action against China to give the steel industry -- against the international system to make sure that the steel industry could recover. He's prepared to use the methods that are available to him. But we need free trade. We need access for our products in other markets. People need to have access to our markets, but the President is determined that people are going to play by the rules and that's what we do.

QUESTION: How does this acrimony with Iran end? What's the solution?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the solution to the Iranian situation of their nuclear ambitions is that Iran finally recognizes that it's going to be completely isolated if it does not finally comply with the wishes of the international community. And that's going to happen if there is a concerted diplomatic effort, one voice from the international community, unity of effort from the international community. We're in the Security Council now. We got to the Security Council with the support of not just Russia but India and Egypt and other countries that the Iranians never expected to have vote against them. And so the Iranians should take a lesson from that; that the world community is demanding that they live up to their international obligations. No one is trying to deny them civil nuclear power, but they can't have the technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon.

So the way that this gets resolved is through concerted diplomatic effort, through the world speaking with one voice and Iran finally realizing that it really has no choice. And I believe that if we remain united, Iran will realize exactly that.

QUESTION: A final question. Communities near Seattle, like communities across the country, have lost some of their young people in Iraq. What's one of the errors -- tactical errors we've made in Iraq?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I've made very clear that when you're trying to assess what errors you may have made or may not have made, you better let history judge. Because as an historian, I can tell you that things that were considered brilliant at the moment, turned out later on not to have been so smart and vice versa. The one thing that is very clear is that it was time to remove Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein was a threat to the international community. He'd used weapons of mass destruction. He was continuing acts of war against our forces that were trying to enforce the armistice that he signed after 1991 to end the war. He was producing mass graves: 300,000 Iraqis in mass graves. And he continued to threaten his neighbors. You were not going to have a stable Middle East with Saddam Hussein in the middle of it. You most certainly were not going to have a more democratic Middle East with Saddam Hussein in the middle of it. And you need a more democratic and ultimately stable Middle East in order to counter the kind of ideology of hatred that produced the people who flew airplanes into our buildings on September 11th. So it was time to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

Now to every family who has lost a loved one, to every community that has lost a loved one, I want people to know that the President and all of us here feel that loss and feel every loss. We mourn those lives. Nonetheless, nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice. And the way to honor the service of our men and women who have been lost and the way to honor the men and women who continue to fight on the front lines of freedom is to finish this job and to leave a better Middle East for our future, so that the United States never again has to worry about terror from that region.

QUESTION: Thank you Madame Secretary. I appreciate your time.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.


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