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

Interview by Lisa Roche of the Deseret Morning News

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

QUESTION: Well, since we have such a brief time, I'll jump right in it.


QUESTION: One soldier from Utah who was killed in the war on terror will be buried this week, and we've just gotten word today that another Utah soldier has been killed. What would you say as a member of the Administration to those families who have suffered those losses?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, we mourn every sacrifice. Every life lost is a life that will not be there for children or for parents or for wives or husbands. And so I think first to just acknowledge the deeply personal loss. Secondly, to acknowledge that the cause was a noble one, that one of the reasons to come to the American Legion is to remember the long legacy of American soldiers who gave their lives to defend freedom, to extend freedom, and by doing so to make our lives more secure.

And to remember that America acts best when it acts from principle and power together; that sometimes the necessity of the use of force is there, but that it's never done lightly and that a decision to use it is one of the gravest that an American President can take. And I would hope that the long legacy, the long line of people who have given their lives would be some comfort to the families and friends of those who have been lost -- these two soldiers, and to others. But I know that nothing makes up for the personal sacrifice.

QUESTION: And it sounds like that's the message you want all Utahans to take from your visit here and your speech later. Some people though are characterizing the visit by you and the President and the Secretary of Defense as a political opportunity to boost support for this increasingly unpopular war by coming to the reddest of all states where your popularity is very high -- as I think you just heard on the Doug Wright Show -- as well as the President's and the Secretary of Defense's and the Administration's policies as a whole. What would you say to people who are looking at this as a political visit as opposed to the kind of message you've just --

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I'm Secretary of State and my role is to go out and talk to the American people. I'm the chief diplomat, but I do believe I have a role at home too to talk about the policies, to discuss them, to debate them. I have no problem encountering people who disagree and debate them. I'm an academic. I encounter people who disagree all the time.

And I'm glad to have the opportunity here in Utah as a part of the American Legion Convention, but I've been to a lot of other states in the union. I've been to New York and I've been to New Jersey and I've been to Illinois, and I haven't chosen those places that the policies may be more popular than others because we're one country. I'll go anywhere that people would want to hear and talk about what we're doing.

QUESTION: Even here though we have protests surrounding your visit, as well as the rest of the Administration and the convention itself. Apparently Cindy Sheehan may be coming as well. How do these protests affect the effort on the war against terrorism?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, protests are a natural part of democracy and I will defend the right of people to protest. I was saying earlier I think it is ironic that the protest is of a war that has liberated people who before that liberation didn't have the right to protest, who couldn't find their voice, who couldn't speak, who were tortured for speaking. And it's been America's rather unique role in the world to stand for those who were voiceless, whether it was the years that we supported the people of Eastern Europe until they could throw off the yoke of Communism, or the people of Europe, Germany, Great Britain, who we helped to liberate from Nazi tyranny, or the democracy that we helped to build in Japan after Imperial Japan (inaudible). We've never in America thought of our safety as only within our borders, not for almost a hundred years has that been our way of thinking. So I would just ask people as they protest to think about what the purpose of this war has been.

And then finally, I do think it crosses a line when it becomes an effort to impugn the integrity or the motives of the President or of others. The President didn't take this decision to go to war lightly. Nobody wanted to go to war. And when people say that, I think they are doing a disservice.

QUESTION: What about our mayor's role in organizing these protests? The state GOP is now running ads that suggest that this is anti-American, it's an embarrassment. Is that impugning the integrity of the President and others?

SECRETARY RICE: I'll leave the politics of Utah to Utahans. I think that protest is fine, but I do think that it is important for people to send a strong message, I hope, that they do support our men and women in uniform and our diplomats abroad who are taking great personal risk. And I said secondly, that we can have policy disagreements, people can be supportive or not supportive of this war; but I think we can do that without impugning the integrity of those who made the decision.

QUESTION: Do you feel that our mayor, by his role in organizing these protests, is impugning the --

SECRETARY RICE: No. I did not --

QUESTION: I just want to be clear.

SECRETARY RICE: No, my point is that I sometimes -- in protests I see placards that question people's integrity or people's reasons for what they did or that we somehow went to war in Iraq for oil. I can guarantee you that that's not the way to keep the price of oil down. And that ought to be challenged because that is harmful and that is hurtful. But people who disagree about the war, I have no problem with that.

QUESTION: You mentioned on the Doug Wright Show that you had been to Utah.


QUESTION: For a music camp. Was this as a child?

SECRETARY RICE: No, no. As a matter of fact, when I was Provost of Stanford I started going to a music -- to a chamber music camp. It first was in Snowbird. The Muir String Quartet, which was a Boston-based quartet, used to come out and do a chamber music camp at Snowbird, and then they moved to Park City, and so I used to come out to do that. They now are in Montana so they've moved out of the state.

And then when I was a young teenager I came here for a skating competition. I was a very not-competitive competitive figure skater.

QUESTION: So you've already had the chance to see Utah and --

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, a little bit of the state. Not enough. It's a beautiful state and I look forward to spending more time here.

QUESTION: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

SECRETARY RICE: A pleasure. Thank you.


Released on August 29, 2006

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