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Interview on KUTV-TV With Brian Mullahy

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Salt Lake City, Utah
August 29, 2006

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, first, there are controversial protests planned in Salt Lake City during the President's visit over the Iraq war. What, in your view, is the impact of those protests?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, protest is a natural part of democracy, and I absolutely will defend anyone's right to protest. I hope that as the protestors do, that they would think about the war that they're protesting, a war that has liberated people in Iraq who can now themselves protest. These were people who were voiceless under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, a human rights abuser of the most extraordinary dimensions. And it's important to remember what this war is about. The people can protest. They can disagree about the war. There's nothing that's anti-democratic about that.

QUESTION: Do those protests hurt the war effort?

SECRETARY RICE: The war effort is only hurt if people lose sight of what we're trying to do or if there is an effort somehow to turn what is a policy disagreement into a way to impugn the integrity of those with whom you disagree.

Sometimes when I do see people who say that the President just wanted to go to war or that he was not honest with the American people about the war, about the reasons for war; that seems to me to cross a line. But can we have policy disagreements? Absolutely.

QUESTION: Do the protests matter to the President?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, of course, the President listens to all voices. But the President and those around him know what we're trying to do. We know that this was a Middle East that was in such bad condition that it produced an ideology of hatred that led people to fly airplanes into our buildings on a fine September day. We know that it is a Middle East that has a terrible history of violence and a terrible history of suicide bombers, innocent children blowing up other innocent children.

The United States is not going to be, and was not going to be, secure as long as that continued to be the future course of the Middle East. And Iraq is a part of changing that course of the Middle East.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, there is growing skepticism, though, about the war in Iraq. Will you give us a definition, your definition of what kind of outcome would be a success in that war?

SECRETARY RICE: When Iraqis are able to secure themselves and to use their democratic institutions, their new institutions to work on their differences by means of politics not violence, that will be a very successful Iraq, and that day is coming.

You're never going to have a situation -- or not for a long time, in which there is no violence in Iraq. They're going through a huge historical change. There will be some violence. But the Iraqis need security forces that can secure them and we are helping them to build that. They need a unity government that represents all Iraqis. Twelve and a half million Iraqis went out and voted for that government. That government is now moving forward.

Success in Iraq is that Iraqis are able to govern themselves and protect themselves.

QUESTION: Utah families have sacrificed a great deal for the war. Loved ones have been killed. Loved ones have been injured. Soldiers have been faced with multiple deployments, extended tours of duty. Can you give those families assurance today that your vision of success will be achieved?

SECRETARY RICE: I can only say that the United States of America has done this hard work before. One reason that I wanted to come to the American Legion is that it is a reminder that this is not the first time that the United States on behalf of those who are voiceless, those who are living in tyranny, and at the time when that tyranny threatened the stability of the international system that America went to defense of freedom. That's what the American Legion and those veterans remind us.

I want to acknowledge the personal sacrifice. Nothing can ever make up for the loss of a child, the loss of a husband, or the loss of a family member or friend. That personal sacrifice is something that is always going to be there. But it comes in a long line of Americans who have sacrificed for freedom. And it is a noble cause, and it is the way that we, ourselves, have kept our own freedom.

QUESTION: But can you assure them that success will be achieved?

SECRETARY RICE: I can acknowledge their doubts. I can acknowledge their -- the difficulties. I can say that we believe -- the President believes, I believe -- that Iraqis want this better future, that they themselves are willing to sacrifice for it, and that they will succeed. And I would also ask people to remember the numerous times in international history that something seemed impossible only a few years later to seem that it was inevitable, that it would succeed.

QUESTION: They're telling me out of time. Will you run for President?

SECRETARY RICE: No. That's an easy one.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you for your time.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.

2006/T21-7 



Released on August 29, 2006

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