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Secretary Rice-Remarks and Q&A

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:08 am    Post subject: Secretary Rice-Remarks and Q&A Reply with quote

Note: Red sections are directly relevent to Iran- blue is relevent to previous topics of interest on activist chat....but the whole of it is worth reading if one has the time.



U.S. Department of State
Opening Remarks and Q&A Session at Chicago Council on Foreign Relations

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Chicago Hilton
Chicago, Illinois
April 19, 2006

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. Thank you. Well, thank you very much,
Lester, for that kind introduction and I also want to thank Marshall Bouton and
everyone at the Council on Foreign Relations here in Chicago for inviting me to
speak today.

Now I have to tell you that I just did a radio interview and I want to be the
first to tell you that I was asked to make a prediction. I was asked what would
be the number associated with the Chicago Bears this year. (Laughter.) And I
said 11 and 5. (Applause.) So if I'm right, I'll come back. If I'm wrong, you
won't see me for a while. (Laughter.)

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to get out of Washington, if only for one
day or so. And I'm really honored to be here and I want you to know that I just
had a wonderful experience at the airport. I met some young sailors from the
Naval Station, Great Lakes. They greeted me there at the airport. These young
men and women arrived in northern Illinois as patriots. Soon, they're going to
say goodbye to their families and join thousands of Americans like them who are
protecting our nation across the globe. And ladies and gentlemen, these men and
women are more than patriots. They are heroes. And America owes them and all of
our young men and women in uniform an enormous debt of gratitude.


SECRETARY RICE: Now I didn't come all the way to Chicago just to give a speech.
I really want to have a discussion with you. I know that the Chicago Council is
famous for deliberation and I thought that that's what we might do today. And
we can talk about any of the many foreign policy challenges that we face. They
are, in fact, many in this time of testing and in this time of history.

But I wanted to start with just a few remarks about Iraq, because I know that
there is deep concern in the country about the future course of Iraq and our
policies in Iraq. I know that what you see on your TV screens every night has
got to be somewhat disconcerting and that you have a lot of questions. So let
me just start by saying the decisions about Iraq that we, as a nation, will
make in the coming years will largely determine not just the future of Iraq,
but the future of peace and progress in the Middle East as a whole.

I ask you to remember the broader problem that we confront in that region.
Decades of despair in this troubled region fueled an ideology of hatred so deep
that people flew airplanes into our buildings on a fine September day. The
status quo in the Middle East was unstable and it was unsustainable. But today,
there are signs of hope in the Middle East. Democratic reform has begun in
places like Jordan and Morocco and haltingly in Egypt and ever so slightly in
Saudi Arabia. Citizens in Lebanon are securing their freedom from Syrian
occupation and Kuwaiti women have won the right to vote.

Now though we may not agree with every choice that the people of this region
make, we must still defend their right to choose; for we have seen the
consequences of authoritarian governments that deny people their liberty.
vision of a hopeful Middle East, however, will disappear if we do not succeed
in Iraq.

If we abandon the Iraqi people, we will show reformers across the region that
America cannot be trusted to keep its word. We will embolden the enemies of
democratic reform. We will leave the makings of a failed state in Iraq like
Afghanistan in the 1990s and it could become a base of operation for terrorists
yet again. And we should not assume for one minute that those terrorists will
not come after us with renewed determination. This is why President Bush calls
Iraq a central front in the war on terror.

Now helping the Iraqi people to build an effective democratic government is the
only way to secure victory and to enable our brave men and women in uniform,
who perform so heroically and never let us down, to return home with the honor
they deserve. Democracy in Iraq is actually easy to describe, but it's hard to
achieve. And it's important for Americans to understand why. Democracy in Iraq
is difficult because the country rests on the fault lines of religion and
ethnicity in the Middle East.

All too often in the past, Iraq's different groups settled their differences
through violence and coercion. Now they're trying to do something completely
different. They're trying to do it through politics and compromise. And for the
first time in their history, Iraqis are wrestling with the idea of democracy,
the idea that one person's gain does not have to come at the expense of others.

Democracy in Iraq is also difficult because for three decades, Saddam Hussein
sowed the seeds of strife, civil strife in that country. To maintain his hold
on power, Saddam pitted Iraqis, many tribes, and sects against one another,
forcing different groups to rely only on themselves and to trust no one else.
To keep Iraqis divided, Saddam's regime engaged in every form of evil
imaginable: torture and genocide and rape and ethnic cleansing, even the use of
chemical weapons.

The shadow of Saddam Hussein still looms over Iraq today, even as he himself
stands in the dock to be tried. It is felt most acutely in the deep suspicion
and mistrust that still pervades much of Iraqi society. And it explains why
nearly every Iraqi faction maintains its own militia, just in case. This is not
the culture of the Iraqi people. It is the legacy of Iraq's tyrant.

Finally and most importantly, democracy in Iraq is difficult because it faces
determined and ruthless enemies, enemies that seek to provoke civil strife by
exacerbating Iraq's divisions. We know this because the leader of al-Qaida in
Iraq said so himself in a letter to Usama bin Laden's deputy.

Now, unfortunately, in the face of these horrific attacks like the recent
bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, some Iraqis have been tempted to take
justice into their own hands. The sectarian violence that we see today is
extremely worrying and there can be no place in a democracy for armed militias
operating outside the law. Yet time and time again whenever Iraqis have been
drawn to the edge of the abyss, cooler heads have prevailed. Iraq's fragile
democratic institutions have so far managed to contain popular passions and the
country's political and religious leaders have united to stay the hands of
vengeance in their communities.

In the face of this overwhelming adversity, the vast majority of Iraqis are
sending a clear message that they wish to live together in peace and freedom.
Millions of Iraqis braved the threat of violence to vote, not once, not twice,
but three times, each time in greater numbers and with greater representation
of all Iraqis. And last January, nearly all of Iraq's Sunnis boycotted the
election, choosing to hedge their bets with support for the insurgency. But by
the end of the year, most Sunnis saw their future in the democratic process and
a vast majority of them voted in the December elections. And lest we forget, in
just one year the Iraqi people drafted and ratified the most impressive
constitution in the Arab world.

Now Iraqis are working to form a government and Americans are right to want to
know why this process is taking so long. I myself went to Baghdad a couple of
weeks ago and I asked that question. President Bush and I share your concern.
Iraq needs an effective government that can act decisively to meet the
momentous challenges that that country now faces. And this is a message that
Iraq's leaders are hearing from not just our government and not just our
coalition partners, but from the Iraqi people themselves. The citizens of Iraq
want a government and they now have the freedom to express their frustration
with those elected leaders that have not yet given them one.

Recently, in newspaper articles, in satirical cartoons, even in internet blogs,
Iraqis -- men and women -- have been saying things about their leaders that
literally would have gotten them killed in the old Iraq. They are urging their
leaders to put the good of the nation above the narrow interests of one
individual or one party.

But in fairness to Iraq's elected leaders, it is important for us to understand
that the process of forming a government is difficult and time-consuming
because Iraqis have set the bar very high. They want a government of national
unity, one that is agreeable to all of Iraq's many different factions. But
that's not all. Iraqis also want their unity government to be strong. They want
it to be effective. And far from being idle, Iraq's leaders have taken three
important steps to empower the government they will create.

First, Iraq's leaders have agreed to form a national security council. This
body will represent all of Iraqi society and ensure that decisions concerning
the country's security reflect national interests, not sectarian ones.

Iraq's leaders have also approved a ministerial security committee which will
give stability to the policy-making process among Iraq's senior officials.

And finally, Iraq's leaders have drafted important by-laws to regulate how
their different cabinets will work together and make decisions effectively.

It is these kinds of small but essential steps that will now determine Iraq's
success. And once formed, the new Iraqi government must lay the foundations of
a democratic state, building institutions that can function transparently,
accountably and effectively.

Iraq is now entering the most critical phase of its democratic development and
I want the American people to be prepared for a few things. Americans must be
prepared for violence to continue in Iraq even after a government is formed.
There will be no Iraqi equivalent of VE Day or VJ Day. Rather, peace will be
secured as more and more Iraqis recognize that the democratic process is open
to them and that politics, not violence, is the best way to achieve their
interests and redress their grievances. This is how democracy will conquer
terrorism, but it will do so gradually.

Americans must also be prepared for the fact that another election in Iraq is a
long way off. The moving and highly visible images of ink-stained fingers and
joyful voters will now give way to the less colorful but no less important
stories about the slow and subtle work of governing. Progress in Iraq will now
emerge incrementally through negotiation and compromise.

But all Americans must also know that their government, our government, is
pursuing a clear strategy for success in Iraq. Ours is an integrated
political-military strategy that seeks to empower our Iraqi partners to control
their own country and to solve their own problems. We call this strategy, in
part, clear, hold and build because, first, America's men and women in uniform
are training Iraqi security forces and fighting by their side to systematically
clear Iraq's cities of terrorists and insurgents. Next, we are helping Iraqis
to hold those areas that we have cleared together, extending both the material
benefits of reconstruction and the legitimate control of the Iraqi government.
And lastly, we are working with our Iraqi partners to build the institutions of
a free economy and an effective democracy.

Now I'd like to update you on some of the steps that we're taking to advance
this part of our strategy.

An idea which we began implementing late last year is one of provincial
reconstruction teams. We have deployed these teams of people, or PRTs as we
call them, in specific parts of Iraq and along with our allies we plan to
expand them across the country. These are small, agile teams composed of U.S.
and coalition members, who are vital to empowering Iraq's young democracy.
They're military and civil affairs workers, aid workers, rule of law experts
and political and economic officers. They don't sit in the Embassy in Baghdad;
they go out to Mosul and to Irbil and to other parts of the country. The PRTs
are important because they can adapt to the unique challenges of each province,
helping our Iraqi partners to take ownership of their democracy and to deliver
benefits to their constituents.

You see, under the old regime the provisional leaders had little -- the
provincial leaders had little power, authority or capacity. Decisions and
resources were concentrated in Baghdad. The Iraqi constitution, the new
constitution, gives more authority to the provinces and to the localities. This
will place many decisions and the delivery of services closer to the people.
But these local and provincial leaders will need to develop the capability to
deliver these benefits. We will help them. At the same time, we are working to
build a capacity and increase the effectiveness of central government
ministries. Under Saddam, cabinet ministries were dominated by one faction and
run by patronage, not on the basis of performance.

Today, however, it is vital that Iraq's ministries, especially the ministries
of defense and interior, function effectively along non-sectarian lines. That
is why we launched our ministry assistance program and have requested from
Congress $125 million this year to strengthen our Iraqi partners with training
and assistance. We're focusing on everything from how to manage a budget to how
to fight corruption and how to deliver real results.

These two policies, as well as our overall strategy for victory in Iraq, I want
to assure you, did not emerge over night. They were the result of adaptation to
new circumstances. As facts on the ground changed, as we've learned the lessons
of some things that did not go so well, we have had to adapt. We've had to
rethink our assumptions, correct our course and we're better off for it. The
result is a not a perfect strategy but it is a realistic strategy; one that is
now ensuring success in Iraq.

I understand how hard it can be to believe that there is real progress in Iraq
and that one day there will be a stable and democratic Iraq. I see the same
tragic images, the violence and suffering that you do, and like you, I mourn
all of the 2,372 of our fallen heroes, as well as the dedicated individuals of
our State Department family and other civilians who have been lost. I know what
many Americans are saying to themselves right now: Will Iraq ever become
peaceful and democratic? Do the Iraqis really value freedom like we Americans
do? Maybe, just maybe, they don't.

But I want to close with two stories: one about Iraqis and one about America. I
have in the last three days made phone calls to two Sunni leaders in Iraq;
people who are heavily involved right now in trying to form a nonsectarian
government. And the reason that I called them is because both of them have lost
their brothers to assassination in the violence in Iraq. The personal sacrifice
that Iraqi leaders are making is one that you should know. Both of these
leaders said to me, "I mourn my brother. Yes, I will take care of his widow and
his children. But I will continue my work toward a unified democratic Iraq
because that is what my brother died for."

Iraqis are sacrificing in large numbers for their own future. They are facing
down terrorists for their own future and they, like human beings across the
world, want a future of peace and security and the dignity that comes with

Now, for them and for us, these are trying and testing times. And sometimes in
trying and testing times, it is good to look to history to gain a little sense
of perspective. I was very fortunate in 1989 to 1991 in that I was the White
House Soviet specialist at the end of the Cold War. It doesn't get much better
than that. I got to participate in the liberation of Eastern Europe, the
unification of Germany and the beginnings of the peaceful breakup of the Soviet

Those are things that I, as a student of international politics, would never
have dreamed possible, let alone that I might have been a part of it. But as I
reflect on those heady times, I realized that we were really only harvesting
good decisions that had been taken in 1945 and 1946 and 1947 and 1948, when the
victory of freedom and liberty in Europe and Asia did not seem so assured.

After all, as I walk the halls of the State Department, when I look at the
portrait of Marshall or Acheson or I think of Truman and Churchill and others,
I think of what they faced every day. In 1946, the communists won large
minorities in Italy and in France. In 1947, there was a civil war in Greece and
civil strife in Turkey. In 1947, Europeans were still starving because the
reconstruction and relief effort had not succeeded. In 1948, there was a coup
in Czechoslovakia, removing the last free government in the communist world. In
1948, the Berlin crisis permanently divided Germany. In 1949, the Soviet Union
exploded a nuclear weapon five years ahead of schedule and the Chinese
communists won.

Those could not have seemed like days that would lead to the victory of a
Europe whole, free, democratic and at peace in 1990 and '91. In fact, these
were not just small setbacks. These were huge strategic reverses for liberty
and for freedom. And yet somehow, the people who were responsible for American
policy stayed true to their values and they came up with answers and they
created great institutions like NATO and they believed that democracy could
take hold in Germany and Japan, where it had never taken hold before. And they
believed that if America stood by these then-fledgling democracies, there would
be a day when war was not thinkable in Europe.

Now, I can assure you in 1947 or 1948, the idea that France and Germany would
never war again did not seem possible, let alone probable. And for those
people, they still believed. That suggests to me that when you look back on
periods of great turbulence, periods of great history, historical change, that
it all seems much more orderly in retrospect.

And it suggests to me, too, that things that at the time seemed impossible, in
retrospect seem inevitable. And so as we look at the difficult times ahead in
Iraq, as we look at the struggles of the Middle East to come to terms with the
relationship between Islam and politics, as we look at an entire region trying
to break out of years of authoritarianism, let's remember that we all know
historical examples of that which seemed impossible but now seems inevitable.

And I do believe that if we do our work well, that if we do not lose our will,
that if we stay true to our values, we will look back someday and ask why did
we ever doubt the triumph of democracy in the Middle East, in Iraq, in
Afghanistan, in Palestine? Why did we ever doubt it? And that those who look
back will also say it was always inevitable. Of course, it would not have been
inevitable. It would have been human agency and human will that made it so.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Thank you very much for the information and the insights that you
brought to us today. The Secretary has graciously agreed to answer questions.
The rules of the road are if you would just stand, a portable mike will be
brought to you, and if you'd be good enough to state both your name and your
affiliation for the benefit of the Secretary and then present your short


QUESTION: Do you want me to wait for the mike?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, I think one is coming right there.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is John Ryan (ph). Madame Secretary, could you
explain U.S. policy, when the United States might take military action
otherwise and pursuant to UN mandate or UN resolution to enforce a UN

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think that it's difficult to state a principle in the
abstract. Obviously, the President keeps open his options and we have always
said that the right of self-defense does not necessarily require a UN Security
Council resolution. I would note that, for instance, we went to war in the
Balkans without a -- war action without a Security Council resolution. We did
in the case of Iraq, of course, have multiple resolutions that constituted Iraq
as a peace to -- a threat to international peace and security and a final
resolution, Resolution 1441, from the 2002 that said that there would be
serious consequences if Iraq did not go forward.

And so it's been a mixture of how the United States has -- or the President of
the United States has decided to use military force. We believe that in the
current case that's on everybody's mind, and let me just go to the bottom line
and then -- and sort of go to the underlying question here. That in the current
case, which everyone asks about, Iran, because of all of the speculation that
there has been in the paper, that it is important to note that the President
doesn't take his options off the table, yet we're on a different course with

The issue here is to mobilize the international community, to unify the
international community around the view that Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon,
that is agreed, and that in order to turn the Iranians back from what has been
behavior that has been contrary to all of the wishes of the international
community, that we are prepared to use measures at our disposal -- political,
economic, others -- to dissuade Iran from the course that it's on.

Now I want to be very clear. We don't have any problem, any quarrel with the
Iranian people; quite the opposite. We want the Iranian people to be a part of
the international community. This is a great culture and a great people. We
want to reach out for exchanges with the Iranian people. We want their students
and their musicians and their sports stars to be with us all. The problem is
that the Iranian leadership, the regime, is isolating itself with its behavior.
You can simply read the statements of any government in response to what the
Iranians just did to see that the Iranians are isolating themselves. By being
in the Security Council, we have a number of diplomatic and other tools at our
disposal to persuade the Iranians that they really need to come back to

And just finally, the Iranians say that they want to make this, or they want to
make this about their right to civil nuclear power. We are not questioning
their right to civil nuclear power. They can have civil nuclear power. But
because of a track record of 18 years in which they were not clear and not
transparent with the International Atomic Energy Agency that civil nuclear
power cannot include the ability to enrich and reprocess on Iranian territory,
because when you learn to do that you've learned the key technology to making a
nuclear weapon. And so the Iranians have been offered ideas by the Russians,
ideas by the Europeans, it's time that they take those ideas, suspend their
enrichment and reprocessing activities and return to the table. But Iran is not
Iraq, these are two very different circumstances and we believe that the
remedies before us are quite robust.

QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). In the paper this morning it was said that
President Bush is going to be discussing with the president of China about
natural resources and oil in particular. In light of the fact that the Chinese
have made great inroads into Africa, both signing contracts for oil and natural
resources, the same thing in South America, the same thing in parts of the
Middle East, the same thing with their trade agreements with India and in light
of the fact that they are building a navy with the apparent object to exert
hegemony over the Middle East and the oil resources of the Middle East, what is
the United States foreign policy with regard to China and the capturing of oil
and other natural resources around the world and what will President Bush will
be saying to the Chinese President today?

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, of course, China is a rapidly growing economy.
And just to keep it in perspective, the Chinese leaders will tell you that they
need to create 25 million jobs a year in order to simply keep pace with the
population pressures in China -- $25 million a year. That explains why they
have to have in part very rapid economic growth, and very rapid economic growth
has to be fueled by something and that's why you have the all-out drive for
energy that the Chinese are engaged in. That is a discussion the President and
President Hu will have, but they, I think will also discuss what kinds of
energy cooperation can reduce some of the pressures on hydrocarbons and the
sort of all-out search for oil that is going on around the world.

For instance, we are very interested in -- the Chinese are very interested in
nuclear energy cooperation. The Chinese are a part of a group that we have, the
Asia-Pacific Partnership for climate and energy that is trying to explore new
technologies that will be greener technologies, so that at the same time that
you are able to fuel your economy you can reduce greenhouse gases. And so I
think that the conversation that they will have will be one about cooperation
on energy issues.

Now that said, let me be very clear about the search for oil. It is distorting
international politics in a very major way. It's distorting it because there
are places that have oil that are using oil as a weapon, or using oil as a
carrot for certain policies and that's troubling. And it only underscores what
the President has emphasized, which is the need to find a way to diversify our
own, America's own, energy mix so that we can begin to rely on something other
than oil. But we recognize that it can't just be us. That that diversification
has got to be take place worldwide and I think that will be part of their

We also want to encourage the Chinese to allow markets to work rather than the
way that this is sometimes thought about in places that are not accustomed to
market economies, which is sewing up contracts around -- in a way that is
non-transparent to the market. We would also like to talk to them about that.

Let's see, I promised the lady in the blue. Yes.

QUESTION: First, I wish there were a piano here so you could play for us. I
know how wonderful you play. My name is Kathy Posner (ph). In today's
Washington Post there was a story about Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State,
head of public diplomacy, and while it was a positive story it still spoke of
the problems we have in disseminating positive messages about the United States
around the world. In July, my sister will become special assistant to Karen
Hughes --


QUESTION: Yes, she's in the Embassy in Budapest now and is moving back to
America. I know she'll be so embarrassed when I tell her that I asked her boss
any advice for when she comes back to America to sit in the office of public

SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you. First of all, I'm sure she's doing out in the
field what we believe is the front line, which is to get our embassies out more
talking to populations. We are encouraging our ambassadors to get out and do
radio interviews, do television interviews. We can't simply sit in our
embassies and talk to governments. Increasingly, talking to populations is
important, particularly with democratic governments where they have to have the
support of their populations for the policy that they are pursuing to support
American foreign policy and Hungary would be an example of that. Hungary's been
a very good ally, but it's a democratic state. It has to keep its population
with it and we have to help the Hungarians with that.

Secondly, I would tell her that she's coming back to a Department that is
absolutely committed to the public diplomacy mission. It is in part a mission
of trying to undo what are sometimes malicious and propagandistic reports about
us. People just say anything and we have to be, particularly with the internet,
and you have to be able to respond to that in a very quick fashion, because
once a piece of propaganda gets out or a story is told about us that isn't
true, I can ensure you it becomes part of the urban legend and then it's very
hard to deal with.

Third, we're not just about messaging. You know, public diplomacy has to be a
conversation, not a monologue. And we Americans are perhaps not as good at
understanding other cultures and other languages as we might be. Now that is
partly we are continental size and so forth. But we are encouraging students to
come here from abroad and our students to go abroad. We are encouraging
universities -- we had a University Presidents Summit where we're encouraging
them to be involved in more -- the study of international issues, more
international exchanges. And we have a major critical language initiative that
the federal government is partnering with others around the country to try to
improve our language capabilities.

When I was a young scholar coming up, a young student coming up, it was the
patriotic thing to do to learn Russian. And so the government had all kinds of
projects and fellowships if you wanted to learn Russian and become a Soviet
specialist. And yet we have a tremendous dearth of people who can speak Dari or
Arabic or Persian or any of the languages, Farsi, any of the languages that are
so critical now, let alone Chinese; one of the languages that will be most
used. So that's another part of the public diplomacy.

But let me just say a word to all of you, this isn't something the U.S.
Government can achieve on its own. America's great strength in engaging other
countries is actually not what we do in the State Department or what we do in
the U.S. Government. It is the contacts between business leaders. It's the
contacts between civic society. It's the contacts that nongovernmental
organizations have with one and other. It is, as a university professor, I
think it's the engagement of young minds across borders that really is our
strength. And so I would ask you, because you have an interest in foreign
policy, you have an interest in our doing well in the world, to think about
what can be done through communities, your communities and through your
businesses and through your organizations to reach out particularly to young
people around the world and to let them know what America's really like.

QUESTION: Madame Rice, my name is (inaudible) and my question is regarding the
Indo-U.S. nuclear peace civil agreement. My question is that how this
agreement, if ratified, will bring more prosperity to the world and why is it
in the beneficial interest of the United States to go for this agreement? And
has the White House taken any initiatives to ensure that this treaty is
ratified when placed before the House? Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. The gentleman is referring to an agreement that
President Bush and Prime Minister Singh signed on the President's recent trip
to India, which is an agreement between the United States and India for civil
nuclear cooperation. This agreement is a path-breaking and really very
important agreement because India is an anomaly in international politics. It
is a country that never signed the Nonproliferation Treaty, did develop nuclear
weapons but did so, of course, having never signed the NPT, by not having
violated the NPT, but it has been cutoff as a result of those decisions from
any kind of civil nuclear cooperation with the rest of the world. And so we
want to change this anomaly. Why do we want to change this?

First of all, because the United States needs good strategic partners around
the world who are democratic and India is a huge multiethnic, multi-religious
democracy that is transparent and that can play an extremely important role in
the world as a strategic partner, a responsible strategic partner. And so we
see this broad relationship that is now burgeoning in agriculture and in
military-to-military cooperation, and across the board cooperation between the
private sector and business. We see this agreement in that context.

Secondly, I was referring to China and energy; India needs energy. And India is
also a country that is desperate to fuel economic growth at 8 percent, 9
percent, and it's going to need an energy supply and it needs to diversify its
energy, too, to clean technologies like nuclear energy. We cannot begin to
share those technologies with India without an agreement of this kind.

Third, and here people have criticized the agreement by saying, well, isn't
this harmful to the Nonproliferation Treaty since India didn't sign the
Nonproliferation Treaty? India has lived up to its obligations not to transfer
nuclear technology around the world. It has a really very good record.
Moreover, no less than Mohamed ElBaradei, who is the Director General of the
International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the agency that protects, in a
sense, the NPT, supports this agreement, because while it doesn't bring India
into the Nonproliferation Treaty, it does bring India into the broad
nonproliferation regime. India has agreed to put its civilian reactors under
international safeguards.

A question I am also asked is, "Well, if you will do it for India, doesn't that
make your argument weaker for North Korea or Iran? Isn't there a double
standard?" And I say absolutely, there's a double standard and Iran and North
Korea created it by cheating on their obligations to the NPT, by being
nontransparent, closed societies where everybody worries what they're doing.

Here, you have a democracy in India that is trying to move closer to the
nonproliferation regime and we ought to support that. I believe that we will --
I hope that we will get Congress' support. I, myself, testified a couple of
weeks ago and we're continuing to seek support for it, but you have to
understand it in that broad framework, not just as an agreement on civil
nuclear power, but it's a very important agreement in the broader sense as

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: My name is B. Herbert Martin. I'm Pastor of the Progressive Community
Church in Chicago. I'm interested in American foreign policy toward the
continent of Africa. Could you, Madame Secretary, share a little bit about the
improvement and the progress in American foreign policy toward the continent of
Africa, especially in light of Rwanda, since Rwanda, and now in light of the
crisis in Sudan?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, thank you. Let me make a couple of points. First of all,
on our broad policies toward Africa, we have tried to see the potential of this
continent and to treat African leaders as partners, strategic partners as well
as partners in the development of their own countries. That means that we have
had very forward-leaning trade policies like the African Growth and Opportunity
Act, which allows for the ease of the entry of goods into the American market,
African goods into the American market. We have, with the African leaders, had
a deep political engagement on a variety of issues and as well, we have tripled
development assistance, official development assistance to Africa.

Now we have done that broadly for humanitarian reasons, but for some special
countries in Africa which are democratic and governing wisely, they are
becoming part of something called the Millennium Challenge Corporation program,
which the President announced, which means that we give fairly large grants to
a country if they can come up with a project that will help alleviate poverty
and increase development. But they have to be governing wisely, fighting
corruption, if there's no need to put more money into a place where it's just
going to go down the drain to corruption. So on the economic side, we have been
very active in Africa.

On the security side, we have also been very active in Africa. We've been part
of the reason that there is a more hopeful picture in what's called the Great
Lakes region. We were very involved in helping the Democratic Republic of the
Congo come to a resolution of its civil war. We were instrumental, along with
the African states, in bringing peace to Liberia, where you now have -- and I
attended her inauguration, a very fine new president of Liberia, the first
woman on the African continent. And we are going to support Liberia so that
West Africa is beginning to become a place that is no longer given to conflict.

And in Sudan, the United States led the international effort to end the
North-South conflict through the efforts of Ambassador John Danforth, Former
Senator John Danforth, to get an agreement between North and South, ending a
decades-old civil war that had cost millions of lives. Now we have the problem
that has also emerged in Sudan of Darfur. And make no mistake about it; this is
a horrible humanitarian moral crisis. The President is focused on it personally
and we are determined to lead the international effort to help the UN get a
more robust security force in Darfur. There is an African Union mission there.
They're doing a good job. But it's too small, it's not mobile enough, it's not
capable of getting to the outer reaches. Darfur is the size of Texas. And so a
small force of 7,000 people is not going to be able to provide security. We
want a more robust force, at least twice that size. We want it to be a UN

Secondly, we are taking the lead on the humanitarian side. I was in Darfur. I
saw what the nongovernmental organizations are doing out there to support
women, to support children, to support the refugee camps. We are the largest
donor, by far, to that effort. And third, we are very actively engaged in a
process in Abuja and Nigeria to try to bring peace between the rebels and the

Now to be sure, this is a difficult government to deal with, because it is --
it has caused most of these problems. It is, however, a government that somehow
has to be part of the solution, but we have not been shy about using other
tools that we have gotten through the UN. We have a Security Council resolution
that allows us to bring sanctions against members of the Khartoum Government
and we are doing that as we see fit. So it's a very comprehensive program on
Darfur. There is good support from the international community and NATO is
providing some of the logistical support to the current mission and is prepared
to help with the UN mission as well.

Let's see, I'm going to come back to this side. The lady all the way in the
back -- yes, microphone?

QUESTION: Alice Alavastro. I was wondering, you had presented a very utopia
view of the democratization of Iraq and also a very logical approach to our
entrance into a possible war with Iran. But considering the muddied and
controversial approach that the Bush Administration took to going -- to
invading Iraq and going to war, how is the American people supposed to trust
the Bush Administration and their spokesmen on their approach to going to this
controversy with Iran and other different policies that the Bush Administration
speaks of?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, thank you. Well, first of all, let me just say that I
don't think that the road to democracy in Iraq is at all utopian. I think it's
tough and it's heart-slogging and it's violent and it looks like the road to
democracy that any number of countries have had to face. Sometimes, I think
here in the United States, we need to engage ourselves, and I try to do it
personally, in a little bit of humility about what it took to build democracy
in this country. After all, when the founding fathers said "We The People,"
they didn't mean me. My ancestors were three-fifths of a man in Mr. Jefferson's
first constitution.


SECRETARY RICE: So when we think about what the Iraqis are struggling with, we
need to recognize that democracy is hard. It just happens to be the only system
of government that's worth it, when you get to the end of it. By the way,
dictatorship is hard too, except for the dictator. (Laughter.) And so when we
think about what the alternative is to democracy in Iraq, let's remember the
300,000 people in mass graves or the killing fields of chemical weapons against
the Kurds and against Shia. We need to keep perspective on what it is they're

Now as to the issue, I know that it's controversial. The decision to have gone
to war in Iraq was controversial. I would just note that when the President
spoke to the UN Security Council in September of 2002, he said what we would
do. He said that we would give Saddam Hussein time to answer the just demands
of the international community about the multiple resolutions that have been
passed in the UN. And after Resolution 1441 was passed in November, the Council
said that there would be serious consequences if he didn't.

Now serious consequences can mean almost anything, but in this context, given
Saddam Hussein and given the only way that he was going to change his ways or
be brought down, that meant the use of military force. And let's remember that
it was not just the United States that supported that action, but also Great
Britain and Spain and Italy and Australia and a number of other countries. This
was a broad coalition. Not everybody supported it, but a lot of countries did.

Now I know too -- and again, I'm going to go right at the -- kind of the
assumption or the underlying question here. I know too that there is
controversy about the issue of the weapons of mass destruction. But I can tell
you that everybody who had worked on this -- well, let me not say that. Most
people who had worked on this issue thought Saddam had weapons of mass
destruction. If we didn't think he had weapons of mass destruction, what was
the UN doing in keeping the most severe sanctions on the Iraqi people that have
ever been kept on any population? What were we doing? If we didn't think he had
weapons of mass destruction, we were being awfully unfair to the Iraqi people.

And by the way, those sanctions, of course, were having an effect on the Iraqi
people, but we now know that Saddam Hussein was gaming the system through the
oil-for-food program so that he could continue all of his activities and, in
fact, increasing his take. So yes, we thought he had weapons of mass
destruction. He clearly had an appetite for them. He clearly had infrastructure
for them. He clearly had used them before. But no, we did not find stores of
weapons of mass destruction, but it was not because anybody said something they
didn't believe or didn't have very good reason to believe. It was because in a
nontransparent government like Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, it was not
possible to know precisely what the state was of those weapons of mass
destruction until we overthrew him. That's the real truth of the case.

So I would hope that the American people would go back and they would look at
this history and they would remember that we had multiple resolutions in the UN
Security Council that said he was a threat to peace and security. There wasn't
disagreement in the international community that he was a threat to peace and
security. There wasn't disagreement that he still coveted Kuwait, which he
refused to recognize as an independent state. There wasn't disagreement that he
was firing at our aircraft that were trying to keep him from harming his own
people and his neighbors. That was all agreed. And there wasn't disagreement
that he refused to answer very clear questions about the state of his very
dangerous weapons of mass destruction programs. Those things were all agreed.

The only disagreement was, was it time to deal with that issue and to take him
out of power and there, there were disagreements. The President made a judgment
that I fundamentally agreed with then and I fundamentally agree with now.
Having done that, it is the obligation of the United States to leave that
country better than it was. Given our values and given our experience, that
says leave it with a foundation for democracy and then it can become a pillar
in a different kind of Middle East, because the Middle East was not stable.

I've heard people say, "You disturbed the Middle East." No; any place that
could produce al-Qaida wasn't stable and we needed a different kind of Middle
East. I think we will get one. On Iran, it is not just the United States that
believes that Iran is on a dangerous course. I would ask you to read the
comments of the Russian Government or the British Government or the German
Government on this. The world wants Iran to adhere to its obligations and
that's why the United States, in coordination with its allies, is seeking and
probably will have to seek Security Council resolution to that effect.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, all the way back here.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. My name is Chris Robling (ph.). I want
to ask you, as a Russian expert, if you could speak with us for a couple of
minutes about the way in which you personally believe Vladimir Putin relates to
the evolution of democracy in Russia and the basis on which he approaches that

SECRETARY RICE: All right. Thank you. Well, there's one thing that I want to
say about President Putin. I have no doubt of his commitment to his country and
of his desire to see Russia prosperous and stable. I also have no doubt that he
is not -- he and the Russians are not in the Soviet Union any longer. Russia is
a very different place and as we look at Russia's evolution, we have to
remember where it came from. It is not -- this is not the Soviet Union.

That said, I think the most troubling thing about the evolution of politics in
Russia over the last couple of years is not that the state has become stronger.
I think the state had to become stronger. It was really dangerously weak in the
90s. I think that most of us who knew the place thought that it was dangerously
weak in the 90s, the Russian state. But the problem for Russia has been that it
has tended to swing then too far to the other side. And the absence of a truly
free press, the absence of a legislature that is really able to check the
presidency, the absence or the seeming absence of an independent -- truly
independent judiciary presents you with a circumstance in which most power is
now held in the Kremlin and that -- quite apart from Vladimir Putin and what
his personal predilections may be.

And I don't -- I frankly don't think he is the problem. The problem is that
when you have that much concentration of power in the Kremlin, in the hands of
a president, you are going to have more authoritarian tendencies. That's why
the founding fathers recognized the need for balance of power. That's why, in
parliamentary systems, you have the ability to remove the executive if things
go wrong. And so what we've been trying to do with the Russians is to talk to
them about the institutions of a free society and encourage them to build those
institutions. And I have to tell you that I think it's not gone in a very good
direction over the last couple of years.

That said; we're working with the Russians on a number of important issues. I
think we need to continue to work with them. And I've read the articles and the
stories that say, "Well, exclude them from the NATO-Russia Council, exclude
them from the G-8," and so forth and so on. I don't see any outcome -- good
outcome for Russian democracy that comes from excluding Russia from
institutions that have democratic values at their core. And so I continue to
believe that the engagement of Russia in these institutions is a net-plus, but
we also have to challenge the Russians that their own domestic development is
troubling and that it is troubling to the world because a truly deep
relationship with the United States or with the West rests on common values.
And Russia's adherence to those common values and the institutions that
represent them is in question at this time.

Yes. You, sir, you were standing earlier.

QUESTION: Ronald Emberman (ph.). Thank you, Madame Secretary. Everyone is
waiting to see the Iraqi army replace our soldiers and yet, the Iraqi soldiers,
I understand, have no continuing obligation to serve. They can just relieve
themselves of any service with no consequences. Could you amplify that and
perhaps even talk about the deflection rate that's involved with the Iraqi

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Iraqi soldiers do undertake an obligation to serve
and they don't have the ability just to walk away. In the early days, the first
time that we trained the Iraqi army, we frankly didn't do it very well. It was
a kind of false start and yes, there were lots of defections because we tried
to create an army without really a chain-of-command that was Iraqi, without a
defense ministry that could support them. And now, you're getting that
chain-of-command and that defense ministry in a way that makes it truly an
Iraqi army, not Iraqi soldiers serving under American commanders. And that has
worked considerably better.

The Iraqi army is actually an institution in which Iraqis have considerable
pride. When you talk to Iraqis about their army, they do believe that the army
is an institution of pride. A lot of Iraqi army officers are, in fact, putting
their lives on the line -- Iraqi soldiers are putting their lives on the line
every day. They are taking more control of their own territory; for instance,
the highway from the airport into the international zone, which has always been
a very dangerous highway, has been less dangerous since Iraqis took control of
that highway. There are towns in which the Iraqis are the presence and so, they
are making progress.

There's been a bigger problem with the police and we are intensifying our
efforts this year on police training, because as you might imagine, it's
somewhat harder when you have police who kind of live in the community, go home
at night, and are not subject to the same kind of discipline that you get in an
army barracks circumstance. That's why we've had trouble with the police. But
the Iraqi army, if you talk to our soldiers, our people who work with them,
they are very pleased with the development of the Iraqi army.


QUESTION: My name is Greg Friend (ph.) and I'll be going to Northwestern in the
fall. My question deals with the NSA wire taps that were uncovered by the New
York Times in December. As far as I understand by reading the DOJ's recently
published white paper, it seems that there are two sources for Bush's claims
that he has authority to conduct these warrantless w
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(continued at point of cut-off question in previous segment)

QUESTION: My name is Greg Friend (ph.) and I'll be going to Northwestern in the
fall. My question deals with the NSA wire taps that were uncovered by the New
York Times in December. As far as I understand by reading the DOJ's recently
published white paper, it seems that there are two sources for Bush's claims
that he has authority to conduct these warrantless wiretaps without probable
cause, the first being the invocation of the Inherent Powers Doctrine, which,
during the 70s with the Nixon Administration, the Supreme Court ruled that the
President's invocation of -- or such an invocation of the Inherent Powers
Doctrine was unconstitutional, in violation of the protection of -- the Fourth
Amendment protections guaranteed by the Constitution.

The second source that the white paper outlines is the AUMF, the Authorization
for the Use of Military Force passed by Congress, I believe, in relation to use
of force in Afghanistan, which, as far as my reading of, doesn't explicitly
contain language about the use of things like wiretaps or warrantless
surveillance. It just talks about the need to be able to use any necessary

Those given, I guess my question is, where does Bush actually have this
authority? And if it's true that he can meld interpretations of either of the
Inherent Powers Doctrine or the AUMF, then where do we draw the line on how far
the President can go in unilateral actions that seem scarily dictator-like?

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, I defer to the Justice Department white paper.
I'm not the Attorney General and I don't try and tell -- give the President
legal advice.


SECRETARY RICE: But let me answer your question from my perspective as a
National Security official and as the National Security Advisor at the time.
This is a very difficult war in which we find ourselves. It is a war that is
not law enforcement, to be sure. Because if you wait to let people commit their
crimes, so-called probable cause, and then wait to allow them to commit their
crimes, then 3,000 people die or dozens die at a stop in London or wherever.

Remembering that for the terrorists, the purpose is to kill innocents. That's
not collateral damage for the terrorists. That's the purpose, is to kill
innocents. And so you have a different kind of circumstance in which what you
try to do is to get as much information as you can, as much intelligence as you
can to stop the attack before it happens. You cannot wait until it happens.
That makes intelligence and information the long pole in the tent in the fight
against terrorism every day.

And the United States faced a particular problem in terms of our inability to
cover the conversation of somebody outside of the country who was plotting,
potentially plotting a terrorist attack, and somebody in the country who might
be a part of that plot. And there was a wall at which the United States was not
able to hear what was going on inside our own country. We know that there were
people in this country before September 11th that were having conversations
with Afghanistan, people that later on turned out to be hijackers. We know
that. We had no way to know that they were in San Diego. That's a problem if
you're trying to protect the American people.

And for the President and for those of us who lived September 11th, and by the
way, also lived the inquiry afterwards, when the people asked, did you do
everything you could have to prevent this attack, you are absolutely determined
to use all of your powers within the law to try to prevent that from happening
again. We talked often about the wall between -- what went on in the United
States and what went on outside the United States. Because of the way we had
grown up with no internal threat for so long in this country, the fact that
there were people inside the country plotting was something that was very
difficult for us to connect up with what people were doing outside the country,
who were part of the same plot. And so this was one of the efforts to bridge
that divide.

Now, the President got the rulings from his -- from the Justice Department,
from his lawyers that he was within his powers to do this. He would not have
done it if he did not believe that he had the inherent powers and the statutory
powers to do it. But having been told that, I think he had an obligation to do
it. Now we're having a debate about the very delicate balances between civil
liberties and national security on a whole range of fronts. And I think that's
only appropriate in a great democracy like ours.

And by the way, when I went to Europe, I said to them we should have the same
debate with our democratic allies around the world, because we do face another
kind of threat and we have to protect who we are and protect our civil
liberties. We also have to protect innocent life. And I think we're going to be
having this debate for a long time. But I hope that as we have it, we keep in
mind the fact that there are people in this country who talk to people out of
this country about how to kill innocent Americans. And the President has an
obligation to use every power available to him to stop that from happening.
We're not talking about political enemies here; we're talking about people who
want to kill innocent Americans. That's their goal. That is what they're after
and they have to be stopped. (Applause.)

Sorry, this lady right here and then I'll get you.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is Kelly Rasok (ph) and I'm a law student
at (inaudible) University and I will be doing an internship with the State
Department this summer.

SECRETARY RICE: Good. By the way, I was a State Department intern. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Wow, good to know.

SECRETARY RICE: I'm telling everybody in the Department, be good to your
interns, you never know what might happen. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: A few weeks ago, a gentleman in Afghanistan was to be tried for his
conversion from Islam to Christianity and you were instrumental in securing his
freedom and urging for the Universal Declaration of Human Right to be upheld.
And my question is: As Afghanistan is a young democracy, do you see this as
setting a precedent that may lead the way to wider-spread freedom in that

SECRETARY RICE: It's a really good question and the way that you put it is very
important because it is a young democracy. Afghanistan and many of the Muslim
countries that are going through democratic transitions are having to deal with
one of the most difficult issues that confront any political system, and that's
the relationship between religion and religious law and individual rights and
liberties. And we have been through it, although we were founded on separation
of church and state; not everybody was founded on separation of church and
state. And so it has been a very important evolution as these countries try to
deal with this issue.

Now, I do believe that what happened in the Rahman case was a bit of a wake-up
call to us and, frankly, to Afghanistan because it immediately brought
international expectations into play in Afghanistan for what is understood to
be the course of democracy. And I think that was a very good thing. The
Afghanistan constitution does have protections for individuals in terms of
their religious practice. And so as these countries go through this evolution,
I think you're probably going to have more cases, some of them are going to end
up in their courts. You know, we have to remember, again referring to our own
experience, that our own evolution was one in which the Constitution has been
interpreted time and time and time again as individuals come to the courts and
say, you're violating my constitutional rights. And then we have a case about
it and things evolve.

Again, as I said to the lady, we've had some pretty awful cases. You know, the
Dred Scott decision was a pretty awful decision, and we've evolved out of those
over time. The same thing will happen in Afghanistan. The same thing will
happen in Iraq and there will be decisions that we do not like and that we will
have to call to attention the international obligation. I think there will be
victories for individual liberties as well. But this is the natural process of
democratic evolution and it's going to take some time. The good news is it's
not the Taliban. Because the Taliban could have carried out that sentence and
nobody would have been able to do a thing about it, and that's what we have to
keep in mind. Even when it's a young, troubled, struggling democracy it's far
better than a dictatorship or an authoritarian regime that does not respect
rights nor respects the will of the international community.

There is a gentleman all the way in back who was trying to ask a question. Yes.

QUESTION: Hi, I'm Michael Sand (ph). I just wanted to ask are we going to be
able to hold accountable ever the governments or militaries, or at least
members of the governments and militaries of Syria and Iran for terrorist
attacks, like our base in Khobar Towers, the Jewish Community Center in
Argentina or marines in Beirut or the French peacekeepers in Beirut and hold
the members of those militaries -- or the assassination of Hariri for that

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, it is something that we are constantly cognizant of
because those who commit atrocities of that type need to be brought to justice.
When they are protected by authoritarian regimes or when they are themselves
members of authoritarian regimes that are still in power, it is of course more
difficult. Saddam Hussein and his henchmen are being held to account now
because there's a democracy in Iraq. In Lebanon, you mentioned the Hariri
assassination, the international community is going to hold those accountable
who participated, planned, did whatever they did to plot the assassination of
Rafik Hariri and so that will be held accountable. Charles Taylor is before the
court of Sierra Leone; that's a good step forward. And so the trial of war
criminals in the Balkans is another example of this.

I do think there is very little appetite around the world any longer to let
those who commit these kinds of atrocities simply go free. Rather there is a
very strong view and it's one that we share, that until you can hold them
accountable, hold these people accountable, it's very hard to have
reconciliation in the countries where they've done their terror.

I think I can take one more, I'm told. Okay, two more. Yes.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. My name is Kemal Abraham (ph)
and I'm going (inaudible) another question related to the other two questions
before that, is to do with human rights and equality in Egypt. Egypt is a
friendly country to our country is getting the biggest aid after Israel for the
last 20-some years. But as you know, Egyptian Government discriminate against
minority Christians in Egypt and it is always a chain of violence. Last one --
last few days, they attacked churches in Alexandria, Muslim fanatics, and
killed a Christian there.

My question to you is two-folds. One, what is the American Government going to
do about our friend, the Government in Egypt, since we gave them the biggest
aid and since it's a human right issue and equality issue and democracy issue?
And my second question is, why the State Department opened dialogue with Muslim
brotherhood in Egypt after they won the -- some of the election and we know
that their extreme fanatic Muslim group -- which related to Hamas as well?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, on the latter question, we actually do not, as a rule,
maintain contacts with Hamas. As you know, they're listed as a terrorist
organization. And we have not -- we don't have contact with the Muslim
brotherhood at this point. It's complicated because, of course, this is a
growing force in Egypt, but our view is that the organizations that are really
committed to democracy ought to be the ones that are supported by contact with
the United States.

As it comes to the broader problem in Egypt, though, you know that I gave a
speech at Cairo University. We talked about the need for Egypt to lead -- this
great country of Egypt to lead the democratic revolution that is going on in
the Middle East. And some good things have happened. I think the multiparty,
multi-candidate elections that took place were a good thing. It opened a
political debate in Egypt that had never been seen before and I think it will
be hard to reverse that ever again.

On the other hand, we were disappointed in the way that the last round of
parliamentary elections was conducted. It certainly was not conducted in a way
that was free and fair and that was a great disappointment. And we continue to
tell Egypt that this is an extremely important part of our relationship and
it's going to continue to be the democratic dialogue.

As to the incident the other day in Alexandria, yes, it is too often that
something like this happens to religious minorities, including to Coptic
Christians, and we are insisting that -- and I think the Egyptian Government
says that they will, that it be investigated and those who carried it out will
be brought to justice. But it is a country that also is in an evolution, Egypt.
I think it will ultimately be in an evolution for the better, but it is a
country that ought to be leading, not fearful of change and reform, but leading
that change and reform because it's such a great culture.

All right, last question right there.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.) (Applause.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, as I said, the President doesn't take options off the
table. You don't want the President of the United States to take options off
the table. You want the President of the United States to keep his options
open. But I can tell you that it relates to the question of the lady over on
the right -- my right side asked, which is do we understand that there is a
difference between Iraq and Iran? We do. It's a very different situation.

I believe we can make the diplomacy work. And long before we get to the point
that we have to contemplate diplomacy failing, I think that we have options at
our disposal that are not even necessarily fully within the Security Council.
You know that there are states that have been saying that if we don't get
meaningful measures inside the Security Council, perhaps a coalition of the
willing will think about other financial or political measures that could be

The reason that I'm confident that we will ultimately find a way to get Iran
back to a negotiation that can, in fact, deal with its need for civil nuclear
power -- the fact is that can be dealt with, just not in the way that the
Iranians are insisting. And the reason that I'm confident we can do that is
that Iran is a very different state than Iraq. It is a very different state
than North Korea. Its people are part of the international system, they travel,
it's a great culture, they expect to have access to the international system.
Iran is integrated into the international economy in ways that, for instance,
North Korea is not. And I think that we will be able to demonstrate to Iran
that it has no other option. And that is why if we are really unified and
really tough in our response, I think we're going to make the diplomacy work.

Now that gentlemen was standing, so I'm going to give you the last question

QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name's Robert (inaudible). I'm a student at
(inaudible) North High School and my question concerns both the CIA black sites

SECRETARY RICE: The what, I'm sorry?

QUESTION: -- the CIA black site prisons and the extraordinary rendition
programs. My question's not so much about the justification of such programs,
but whether they are continuing and to what extent and the concerns of our
allies that they have upon these and the impact that these concerns are having
on the relationship.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I'm not going to comment on any specific program to
confirm it or deny it, because if I confirm it or deny it then I am getting
into a realm that I cannot get into. But let me just say this, I want to go
back to what I said earlier when the young man asked the question about the NSA
program. This country was defenseless in many ways on September 11th. It was
defenseless largely because we did not have the intelligence and the
information to know what was going to happen.

I can tell you, I know what came across my desk. I know what was being produced
by the intelligence agencies. I know how deep the gulf was between our domestic
intelligence and our foreign intelligence. I know how little information we
really had that something as catastrophic as what happened to us on September
11th was.

Now, our intelligence activities which we conduct around the world and conduct
with partner countries are to try and make sure that we have the best possible
available information about what people who really want to hurt us are up to.
And, yes, by the way rendition is a practice that goes well before September
11th. And the need to interrogate people that you captured on the battlefield
is extremely important, because they do sometimes have information that can
help you to stop a plot.

It is already an unfair fight because the terrorists only have to be right
once. We have to be right 100 percent of the time. And because it is such an
unfair fight, the President and our allies need to use every tool at our
disposal within our legal system. It's got to be legal. The President has made
very clear it's got to be legal and it's got to be consistent with our
international obligations, but that he's going to use every tool possible to
know as much about what those who want to hurt us are plotting as is possible.

And one of the points that I made in Europe, too, was that it's not just
Americans who benefit from that. I can tell you that we have passed on
information to other countries so that they can prevent attacks. But when you
face a determined enemy that will do what that enemy did to school children in
Beslan in Russia or who will do what that enemy did to a Palestinian wedding
party in Jordan or who will do what they have done to nightclubs in Bali or to
streets in London -- a subway in London, you're in one heck of a tough fight
against one tough enemy and you've got to use everything at your disposal to
defeat him or you're not doing your job for the American people.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

2006/T11-1 and 2006/T11-2

Released on April 19, 2006

See http://www.state.gov/secretary/ for all remarks by the Secretary of State.
To change your subscription, go to http://www.state.gov/misc/52620.htm
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