Interview on the Charlie Rose Show
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
May 7, 2007
QUESTION: And that history will say that we had to go to Iraq; otherwise --
SECRETARY RICE: History, I think, will say that in giving, in -- ridding the world of Saddam Hussein, first of all, who was a threat in his own right, but then in giving the Iraqi people an opportunity to build an Iraq based on legitimate democratic values and legitimate democratic institutions, that we hope to lay the foundation for a very different kind of Middle East and we hope to reverse a trend that has been developing in the Middle East now for decades. And that trend is that with the absence of freedom, healthy political forces were not coming into being and unhealthy ones, extremist forces were getting stronger and stronger. And yes, I think we will succeed. I know it's hard.
QUESTION: And you know people think that we're less close to that goal than we were.
SECRETARY RICE: I know, but you know, Charlie, I know too that the argument that because terror -- we're fighting the terrorists, that they've now gotten stronger doesn't make sense to me. [With 650,000+ Iraqis killed, wouldn't some folks at least be out for revenge?]. Because the question is, if we weren't fighting them, would they be getting weaker? I don't think that was the message of September 11th. They were getting stronger. The question was, when we were really going to start confronting them. And we've really now started confronting them.
But I also know as a student of history that there have been a lot of times in history when it seemed that we weren't going to succeed, when it seemed impossible that we were going to overcome, whether it was the Soviet Union, a country with 30,000 nuclear weapons, 5 million men under arms covering 12 different time zones with its power throughout the globe. No one ever thought that we would overcome that or certainly that it would collapse peacefully. I know there have been other times when people doubted our will and doubted our capability. [Thankfully George W and Miss Rice were not in charge back then! Her response remind me of when Dan Quayle was comparing himself to Jack Kennedy.]
QUESTION: Or doubted our judgment.
SECRETARY RICE: And doubted our judgment, frankly. And you know, things that seemed impossible at the time seemed inevitable in looking back at them in retrospect and I think we'll see that again [Faith based foreign policy?].....