Following are excerpts from an interview with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes. The interview was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on December 19, 2005.
US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes: Well, I can understand I can understand peoples' concerns about Iraq. No one likes war. The people of Iraq don't like war. The people of the Middle East and Iraq don't like war. In this case the United States felt that it was imperative for our national security that we go into Iraq and remove this terrible dictator who imposed his tyranny and his murderous regime on the people of Iraq. I think it's important, though, that people throughout the Arab world look at Iraq and see what the Iraqi people themselves are saying about the situation in Iraq. I saw a recent poll that shows that two thirds of the Iraqi people believe their lives are better today than they were under Saddam Hussein. More than 70% of the people say their lives will be even better a year from now. And so, I think there is a difference between the way people outside of Iraq look at what's happening in Iraq, and the Iraqi people, who express a surprising level of optimism, and believe their lives are better today than they were under Saddam Hussein and will be even better a year from now.
I think also that people across the Arab world need to look at what is happening in Iraq - that people are going to vote. I see that people hold their fingers in the air saying that they... showing that they voted, that they helped contribute to the future of their country. Shiites, and Kurds, and Sunnis have come together, worked on the constitution, and had elections and are participating in the elections, and now, hopefully, forming a permanent government, and so progress is being made in Iraq.
And I think it is also important that people look at what is happening in Iraq today. And what is happening is that terrorists and remnants of the old Saddam regime who lost power don't like that because they want to be in charge. They want to be able to do whatever they want. They are engaged in indiscriminate killing of Iraqi civilians, and many of them are Muslims. That's the situation in Iraq today, so we think it's very important...
As I said, we would like nothing more than to have Iraqis have a stable government, and be able to control its own security, so that we would be able to bring America's military home. And we hope that the Arab world and countries throughout the Arab world will step up to help us, and to help the Iraqi people to achieve that goal.