October 29, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 808

Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice Explain America's Middle East Policies to the Arab Media

October 29, 2004
Libya | Special Dispatch No. 808

This week, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice each published a column in the London daily Al-Hayat. Both officials wrote about U.S. foreign policy in the post-9/11 world, outlined the future of the U.S. War on Terror, and advocated American policies in the Middle East. The following are excerpts from the articles, published online in English:

Colin Powell: 'The War on Terror is this Administration's Number One Priority'

Colin Powell's article, titled 'American's Destiny and the World after 9/11,' was published on October 25. The following are excerpts:

"In the past dozen years the world has changed so dramatically. And on September 11, 2001, that pulse of change took on a particular shape - a shape that defines the principal security challenge of our time. Terrorism and the war on terrorism is this administration's number one priority, and will remain so for as long as necessary.

"As the President has emphasized from the very start, this unprecedented struggle against terrorism has its military as well as its non-military dimensions, and using all the tools at our disposal, it is a challenge, it is a war, it is a conflict that has to be fought to a successful and a complete conclusion. Terrorists must be attacked. They must be destroyed. They cannot just be contained. Their sanctuaries and means of support must be eliminated, not just limited.

"Every day as we go about this conflict, as we go about resolving this conflict, we work to strengthen our international partnerships. We are dealing with the cases of weapons of mass destruction wherever they might be found - in Iraq, or more successfully, through skilled diplomacy in Libya, and we've put Libya onto a new path to a better future for the Libyan people and removed the cause of concern."

'We Work to Advance Reforms that Eliminate the Frustration, the Injustice, the Poverty'

"And every day we work with friends and allies, in the Middle East and beyond. We work to advance reforms that will eliminate the frustration, the injustice, the poverty, the despair that gives rise to ideas of mass destruction.

"Every day terrorists have fewer places to run, fewer places in which to hide; and every day terrorists have fewer silent helpers, and more outspoken adversaries, more brave nations and individuals willing to stand up to them, willing to confront the savagery and the hatred and the nihilism that define terrorism.

"[A] few days ago a free and fair Presidential election took place in Afghanistan, the first ever in that nation's history. The election wasn't perfect. The important thing is that they had an election. That's a sign of democracy growing.

"There is no reason that we cannot do the same thing in Iraq. We are facing a difficult time in Iraq. There's no point in saying it is not the case. Things are changing. Najaf and Samarra are back in the hands of the Interim Iraqi Government. Muqtada al-Sadr, who made such difficulties for all of us a few weeks ago, is now talking of reconciliation. Weapons are being turned in in Sadr City.

"It's going to be tough. It's going to be difficult. There will be dark days ahead and brighter days will be coming. We have to stand - we will stand - with the courageous and dedicated Iraqi leaders, with the people of Iraq who want a better future. We will stand with our NATO colleagues who are there with us and others who are coming. The UN is working to put in place more election officials so that we can have an election by the end of January 2005.

"We do this for their sake, we do it for our own, because if we make this work - and we will make it work - we will have an entirely new image in that part of the world: democracy, freedom, people selecting their own leaders, the world coming together to help this nation back up on its own feet. We will never have another debate about weapons of mass destruction. We will not have to talk about terrorism any longer. Monsters ruled and ravaged Iraq. They rule and ravage it no more.

"And after the January elections, I believe it will be clearer than ever to all people that we've done the right thing. We're confident in our course because we have worked hard to understand the world that is taking shape before us. And with this administration, with President Bush, there's no mystery about what we think.

"But it is more than just about Iraq and Afghanistan. We used to worry almost exclusively about the power of states. Today we also have to worry about the weakness of states - states that allow or can't prevent terrorists from plotting mass murder on their soil, and states that provide the breeding ground for terrorist recruits."

'The President Believes in Partners … but even in a Multilateral Approach, You Often have to have a Leader'

"… We have to do more than just fight them when they come after us. We have to do more. We have to engage with these nations to remove the causes of terrorism, to remove the hopelessness and the poverty and the despair…

"We understand the policy logic of encouraging good governance, of poverty alleviation, of fighting disease - so that societies won't stagnate or implode, so states won't fail.

"So when we work to spread liberty and democracy, we don't see it only in terms of idealism. We see that work also in terms of our own enlightened self-interest. As the President said, this strategy 'reflects the union of our values as well as our national interests.'

"There are many challenges that we still face. Proliferation is a problem. Iran and North Korea are problems. We are using diplomatic means and political means to try to resolve these problems. Foreign policy in the 21st century means using all of the tools at your disposal. The President's first choice is diplomacy, political action.

"So we are working hard around the world to solve regional crises in Africa, places such as Sudan, do everything we can to get the roadmap underway so that we can finally make progress toward peace in the Middle East.

"It is America's destiny, it is the fate that has been given to us, to be that nation that people look to solve the problems and challenges of the world. We like to do it with partners. The President believes in partners. We are members of strong alliances. But even in a multilateral approach, you often have to have a leader in order to make sure that the multilateral team will work, and the United States has often been that leader, and President Bush will continue to show that kind of leadership to the world." [1]

Condoleezza Rice: 'We'd been Drawn into a Global War against a Determined Enemy'

Condoleezza Rice published an article on October 26, titled 'What Changed in U.S. Policy Since 9/11.' The following are excerpts:

"About a year after the attacks of September 11th, I was in London, at the American Embassy. Embassy personnel had saved newspapers from September 12, 2001, and mounted the front pages on one of the walls. When I first saw them, I realized that I had never read a single newspaper account of the 9/11 attacks. With all we had to do, there was simply no time.

"But as I stood in the Embassy, I could not take my eyes off of those newspapers. The story they told was familiar, yet still bracing: America attacked … thousands of Americans dead … our financial markets at a standstill … central bankers standing by to intervene should markets collapse … American armed forces placed on high alert … Americans fearing follow-up attacks. I remember thinking: the killers who perpetrated those attacks were not merely trying to terrorize the United States. Through their choice of targets they were trying to symbolically bring us down. They chose the center of our economic might … the headquarters of our military power … and seat of our democratic government. These were not criminal acts. They were acts of war, designed to cripple us as a nation. We had been drawn into a global war against a determined enemy.

"Now, today there is a debate in our country about what the Global War on Terror calls us to do. For some, it is a limited engagement whose goal is to go after bin Laden and Al-Qa'ida, assume a defensive posture at home, put it out of our minds and just hope they do not attack us again. They see a narrow struggle against a narrow enemy. This is a fundamental misunderstanding about what happened to us on that fateful September day - a day that should have changed all of us. The Global War on Terror calls us, as President Bush immediately understood, to marshal all elements of our national power to defeat terrorists and the ideology of hatred that sustains them and recruits others to their ranks.

"Yes - we must capture or kill bin Laden, and as we meet today bin Laden is on the run because there are U.S. forces, Afghans, Pakistanis and others, hunting him down.

"Moreover, more than three-quarters of Al-Qa'ida's known leaders and associates have been detained or killed. We have frozen millions of dollars of their assets. And we have ended their sanctuary in Afghanistan. Three years ago, that nation was home to dozens of training camps that graduated thousands of trained killers over the course of half a decade. Today, those camps have been destroyed. The Taliban regime, which sheltered and supported Al-Qa'ida has been overthrown and replaced with a free Afghan government that is helping American soldiers hunt Taliban remnants and Al-Qa'ida terrorists who still hide in caves…"

'Unless We Change the Circumstances that Produced this Ideology of Hatred Our Children and Grandchildren will Still be Fighting this War Decades from Now'

"But the terrorists need to be right only once; we must be right 100% of the time. It is an unfair fight to fight this war on defense. The fact is - that unless we change the circumstances that produced this ideology of hatred and hopelessness so great that it causes people to fly planes into buildings and strap suicide bombs to their bodies our children and grandchildren will still be fighting this war decades from now. But if we choose to wage a broad war against this global menace… and if we choose to create a lasting foundation for peace… we can defeat the terrorists and their ideology of murder, and build a better world.

"Since 9/11, America has built a coalition of some 90 countries that are sharing intelligence and working closely to combat the threat from transnational terrorism. Together, we have captured or killed thousands of terrorists. We have disrupted terrorist plots and broken up terrorist cells from Europe to the Middle East to Southeast Asia.

"Through action and diplomacy, we are also shifting the geo-strategic balance and shrinking the terrorists' world. A fundamental objective of war is to take the enemy's territory and this war is no different. But the way we are taking their territory is different. State sponsors of terror have a choice abandon their support of terror, or face the consequences. The Taliban made the wrong choice…

"The terrorists' world continues to get smaller. The places where they can operate with impunity are becoming fewer and fewer. And we will not rest until there is no safe place left for terrorists to hide."

'Regimes Can Pursue WMDs at Great Peril and at Great Cost'

"A second front in the Global War on Terror is to stop the spread of the world's deadliest weapons. And this President has had concrete success in stopping the spread of these deadly weapons. The President's policy on WMDs is very clear; regimes can pursue WMDs at great peril and at great cost. Or regimes can give up their WMDs and embark on a path to better relations with the international community. Some have listened; Colonel Gadhafi chose wisely and gave up his weapons. And because of the President's plain spoken and resolute leadership in combating WMDs, sensitive nuclear plans and thousand of pieces of dangerous equipment from Libya are now locked away safely in the United States of America…

"Less than a year ago, a network headed by the Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist A.Q. Khan was selling nuclear plans and equipment to countries like Libya, Iran and North Korea. Working closely with other governments, we painstakingly pieced together the nature and extent of Khan's network, whose operatives spanned three continents. Today, this dangerous source for deadly weapons is no longer in business. A. Q. Khan has confessed his crimes…

"And it was the United States that blew the whistle on Iran and North Korea and their dangerous efforts to deceive the international community."

'The President has Broken with 60 Years of Excusing and Accommodating the Lack of Freedom in the Middle East'

"But all these victories - against Al-Qa'ida, the A.Q. Khans of the world, and Libya are only battles in the Global War on Terror. To achieve permanent victory, we must do more - we must affirm the truth that when freedom is on the march, America is more secure - and when freedom is in retreat, America is more vulnerable. This is why the President has broken with 60 years of excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East, in the hope of purchasing stability at the price of liberty. The stakes could not be higher. As long as the broader Middle East remains a region of tyranny and despair and anger, it will produce men and movements that threaten the safety of Americans and our friends."

'Our Commitment to Freedom is Helping to Spur a Great Debate Throughout the Middle East'

"Already our commitment to freedom is helping to spur a great debate throughout the broader Middle East. From Morocco to Jordan to Qatar, we are seeing elections and new protections for women, and the beginnings of political pluralism. Political, civil society, and business leaders have issued stirring calls for political, economic and social change. And in Afghanistan last week we witnessed extraordinary testimony to the power of the vote. A U.S. soldier in Afghanistan reported with awe what he witnessed in the Afghan elections. This soldier talked about the Afghans that began lining up hours before sunrise in the falling snow to vote. He talked about lines of patient Afghans, some of them amputees, waiting to vote in lines that reached, in one case, 2.5 kilometers long. And he talked about former Taliban elements who came into one Afghan town to try to intimidate the local citizens into not voting, but were met by the village population and refused entry into the village.

"To those that have seen only chaos to those who said that Afghanistan was a failure to those who did not believe that freedom could change peoples' lives or that America would have to impose freedom, the Afghan people have delivered a crushing rebuke the Taliban could not stop the advance of freedom, votes have been cast and the elections were a success. Challenges lie ahead, but Afghanistan has shown what is possible when democracy becomes an alternative to terror, repression and fear.

"When Iraqis go to the polls next year to elect a government and put behind them their brutal history democracy's power will be affirmed again. That opportunity exists today because America and a Coalition acted to remove one of the most brutal and dangerous regimes in the Middle East."

'By Cheating the United Nations Oil for Food Program, Saddam was Evading and Eroding the Sanctions'

"Saddam was the only tyrant of our time not only to possess weapons of mass destruction … but also to use them in acts of mass murder. He manufactured chemical and biological weapons, and then refused to account for those weapons. He systematically deceived UN weapons inspectors and was in material breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

"We all expected to find WMDs. Intelligence services around the world expected to find WMDs. What we did find is Saddam had a strategy, which demonstrated that we were never going to be able to break the link between Saddam Hussein and WMDs. The only way to put an end to his ambitions buttressed by wealth, knowledge, and capability was to change the regime; a reality recognized by the U.S. Congress in 1998. As the Duelfer report records, Saddam was waiting for sanctions to end so that he could restart his weapons programs without hindrance. Through front companies and by cheating the United Nations Oil for Food Program, Saddam was evading and eroding the sanctions, raising illegal revenues, and spending some of that money on illegal dual-use materials and goods. And he was not just waiting for sanctions to end; he was working to end them. He gave targeted incentives to nations, companies, and individuals, incentives that were designed to give an economic stake in the regime's success. The Duelfer report shows, sooner rather than later, Saddam was going to be in a position once again to pursue his goal of a WMD-armed Iraq dominating the Middle East, and menacing the United States and our allies."

'After 9/11, No President Could Have Sat Still in the Face of Such a Threat and Done Nothing'

"Saddam's brutal outlaw regime was a unique threat to America, to the Middle East, and to the world. He tortured his own people, invaded his neighbors, and shot at our pilots patrolling the no fly zones. The threat from Saddam had been festering for a dozen years, with no solution in sight. And after September 11th, it was a threat that appeared in a fundamentally different light.

"The possibility of an outlaw state passing weapons of mass destruction to a terrorist network is the greatest danger of our time. Saddam Hussein harbored terrorists and maintained ties to terrorists. He was an avowed enemy of America, and an avowed enemy of our allies. After 9/11, no president could have sat still in the face of such a threat and done nothing. So long as Saddam remained in power, menacing his people and menacing the world from the heart of the world's most volatile region, he remained a key enemy of hope and progress in the broader Middle East.

"The period since the liberation of Iraq has been difficult. But, an interim Iraqi government is now preparing for transitional elections next January - the first free and fair nationwide elections in that country's history. Iraqi security forces will number 125,000 by the end of the year, as Iraqis take more responsibility for their own security. The Iraqis are bravely and defiantly meeting the challenges that confront them.

"Next year, an elected transitional assembly will draft a new constitution with a bill of rights that provides the framework for a permanent government. Under that constitution, the people of Iraq will go to the polls again in December of 2005, to elect a permanent government. There will be 145,000 security forces by February and 200,000 by the time of their permanent elections. At that point, Iraqis will have achieved for themselves what people all over the world have sought for centuries: a decent government that protects their rights, and allows them to fulfill their aspirations in freedom and peace.

"Through suicide bombings, beheadings, and other horrific acts, terrorists and Saddam hold-outs are trying to ensure that the Iraqi people never achieve this goal. There will be more violence in the coming weeks. These killers know that a free Iraq will be free of them and free of their cruelty and ideology of murder. They know that the success of democracy in Iraq will be a mortal blow to their ambition to impose Taliban-like rule over the entire Middle East. Iraq is a central front in the war on terror, and there they must be defeated.

"And they will be defeated. Their tactics grab headlines with their brutality and daily toll in blood and treasure. But their strategy will not work. They seek to intimidate Iraqi leaders through assassination and other forms of violence, but those leaders refuse to be intimidated. They seek to demoralize Iraq's security forces, and discourage new recruits, but every day more brave Iraqis have come forward to volunteer to serve their country. They seek to sow sectarian violence but Shiite, Kurd, Sunni, and other minorities continue to build toward a unified Iraq. The future the Iraqi people seek, the government they deserve, will be achieved in spite of the violence in Iraq."[2]

[1] Al-Hayat (London),October 25, 2004.

[2] Al-Hayat (London), October 26, 2004.

Share this Report: