For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 13, 2003
Deliverd June 12, 2003 Remarks by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice at Town Hall Los Angeles Breakfast Dr. Rice
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel
Los Angeles, California
Well, Thank You Very Much for That Warm Welcome. It's So
great to be here at the Town Hall, Los Angeles. I want to thank Liam
McGee for that terrific introduction and for his work as vice chair of
Town Hall Los Angeles. Adrienne Medawar, the president of Town Hall
Los Angeles, thank you for your hard work. And to all of the board
members and staff members who make this great organization function,
thank you very much.
I see a lot of familiar faces here -- friends from the academy, a
family member, a number of long-time friends from California. It's
just great to be home -- thank you very much for welcoming me here.
My time as Stanford -- as professor and provost -- provided some of
the fondest memories of my career. And, like Stanford, Town Hall Los
Angeles thrives on debate and discussion about the great issues of the
day. I want to spend a few minutes speaking with you today about an
issue that is clearly vital to our time -- promoting peace and progress
and change in the Middle East.
The events of the last few months make clear that the Middle East
is living through a time of great change. And despite the tragic
events of the past few days, it is also a time of great hope.
President Bush believes that the region is at a true turning point. He
believes that the people of the Middle East have a real chance to build
a future of peace and freedom and opportunity.
In Iraq, a murderous tyrant and a supporter of terror has been
defeated, and a free society is rising. (Applause.) Coalition troops
in Iraq still face great dangers each and every day. Iraq's transition
from dictatorship to democracy is proving every bit as challenging as
we had imagined. Three decades of tyranny left Iraq worse off than we
Saddam's palaces were in very good repair. And years of
intelligence and U.N. reports tell us that his weapons of mass
destruction programs were robust and well-funded. But Iraq's water and
sewer systems and power grids and hospitals and schools all suffer from
decades of malign neglect. The psychological impact of decades of
murderous totalitarianism on generations of Iraqis is even worse.
Truth was buried with thousands of Iraqis in mass graves that are still
being discovered. Trust was imprisoned with children jailed on the
capricious whims of a brutal regime.
We are working with the Iraqi people to stabilize their country, to
improve security and to make basic services better than they were
before the war. But much hard work remains. America and our coalition
partners and determined to do the work that we came to do, and then we
President Bush has stated many times that the battle of Iraq was
about moving a great danger, but also about building a better future
for all of the people of the region. Iraq's people, for sure, will be
the first to benefit. But success in Iraq will also add to the
momentum for reform that is already touching lives, from Morocco to
Bahrain and beyond.
Last year, in an extraordinary United Nations report, leading Arab
intellectuals called for greater political and economic freedom for the
empowerment of women, and better and more modern education in the Arab
world. In January of this year, Crown Prince Abdullah os Saudi Arabia
proposed an Arab Charter to spur economic and political reform. And
the proposal speaks openly of the need for enhance political
participation. In Afghanistan, people are rebuilding, writing a new
constitution and moving beyond the culture of the warlord that has
dominated their political life for a generation.
The world has a vital interest in seeing these efforts succeed, and
a responsibility to help. As President Bush said, stable and free
nations do not breed the ideologies of murder, they encourage the
peaceful pursuit of a better life. Of course, reform takes time, and
it is often difficult. There is no one-size-fits-all model of
democracy. New liberties can find an honored place among treasured
Everyone must reject, nonetheless, the condescending view that
freedom will not grow in the soil of the Middle East, or that Muslims
somehow do not share the desire to be free. The United States has made
clear that we stand with all people in the Muslim world and around the
globe who seek creative freedom, greater opportunity.
The President has a comprehensive strategy for the Middle East. He
has proposed the creation of a U.S.-Middle East free trade area within
a decade, so that people of the region can tap the power of global
markets to build their own prosperity. And the President has put the
United States firmly behind the creation of a state called Palestine,
that is viable, peaceful and free.
Peace between Israelis and Palestinians will not result from the
will of a single leader. But as the President said last week,
achieving peace in the Middle East is a matter of the highest priority
for the United States. We can help the parties, and we will help the
parties. But the hardest work must be done by the parties,
The pictures you saw and the words you heard last week from the Red
Sea were historic. I'd like to take a moment to look at the groundwork
that led to those extraordinary moments.
Almost a year ago, in his speech on June 24th of 2002, the
President laid out a vision for a new Middle East. That vision was
clear: two states, Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace
and security. The means to realize that vision were also clear -- and,
in fact, a little controversial.
First, and famously, the President called on the Palestinians to
bring about new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. The old
leadership had failed to deliver on the promises to fight terror, but
had, in fact, encouraged it and even abetted it. As a result,
President Bush believed that new leadership was needed. And because of
his faith in the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people, he
believed it was possible.
We all had to be patient. But the Palestinians have begun to take
their own future into their hands. And they understand the new
leadership, that there can be no peace for either side until there is
freedom for both sides. (Applause.)
The Palestinian people deserve the same things that many of take
for granted every day: the rule of law, economic freedom and
democratic institutions, the right to live in dignity. A reformed,
democratic Palestine would not only meet the aspirations of the
Palestinian people, it's first and most important task, but it would
also inspire confidence by Israel that a true partner for peace had
emerged in the Gaza and the West Bank.
The President, in that same speech, stressed that there was a need
for all sides to meet their responsibilities -- not just Palestinians,
but Israelis and Arab states, too. The Israelis must deal with
settlement activity, dismantle outposts and ease the daily humiliation
faced by ordinary Palestinians. The Palestinians must fight terror and
But real progress requires all of us to recognize that there are
more than just two parties with responsibilities in this conflict. The
Arab states, the neighboring states must be partners in that peace.
They have influence with the Palestinians and they must use it to
encourage reform and promote peace. They, too, have responsibilities
to fight terror and incitement among their own people.
In the 50 weeks since that June 24th speech, the United States has
held fast to that vision. The President has sought to bring life to it
through engagement with the parties when engagement would help. During
that time, he spoke to and met with leaders and all sides. He
instructed Secretary Powell to work closely with his counterparts from
the United Nations, Russia and the European Union to put together a
concrete plan for realizing the vision of two states -- a plan that
came to be known as the road map.
At the same time, Arab states were showing a new willingness to
support reform both at home and in Palestinian territories. And, of
course, new Palestinian leadership did begin to emerge. Mahmoud Abbas
-- a man committed to fighting terror, who has described the intifada
that began in 2000 as a mistake -- became Prime Minister. He
appointed, in turn, a reformist cabinet that included a Finance
Minister, the respected Salaam Fayyad, who is already pursuing and
transparency necessary to put Palestinian finances in order and to
assure that Palestinian resources benefit the people and not the
terrorists. And the Israeli government formally endorsed the idea of a
Palestinian state located along its borders.
In short, the strategic landscape of the region is vastly different
than it was just a little less than a year ago. And this is the
backdrop to the pictures and the words that came from the Red Sea last
In Sharm el-Sheikh, the Arab leaders rejected terror in the
strongest possible terms. They vowed to fight the scourge of terrorism
and reject the culture of extremism and violence in any form or shape
for whatever source or place, regardless of justification or
motivation. They vowed to use all the power of the law to prevent
support reaching terrorist groups. And they committed themselves to
helping the Palestinian Authority fight terror and to helping
Palestinians and Israelis build representative democratic institutions
in their own territories. They also committed to a democratic Iraq
that would build representative and stable institutions.
As Arab governments put these pledges into place it put a premium
now on action. Because words can greatly aid the momentum toward
peace, but only if there is action.
In Aqaba, Prime Ministers Sharon and Abbas declared their
commitment to a peace founded on the vision of two states. And they
committed to taking tangible steps to bring that peace closer.
Prime Minister Sharon pledged to improve the humanitarian situation
in the Palestinian areas and to begin removing unauthorized outposts
immediately. He recognized the importance of territorial contiguity
for a viable Palestinian state. And he said: it is in Israel's
interest not to govern Palestinians, but for the Palestinians to govern
themselves in their own state.
Prime Minister Abbas recognized that terrorism is not a means to a
Palestinian state, but a deadly obstacle to it. He pledged to use his
full efforts to end the armed intifada and to work without compromise
for the end of violence and terror. He also pledged to make
Palestinian institutions, including security services, more democratic
Of course, the hopeful picture I've outlined is just a beginning.
This week has seen familiar scenes of bloodshed and violence caused by
those who would use terror to destroy the hopes of the many for peace.
The terrorists will not succeed. This is a time for all who are
committed to peace to speak and act against the enemies of peace.
President Bush remains committed to the course set at Aqaba because it
is the only course that will bring a durable peace and lasting
This President keeps his promises. He expects all the parties to
keep theirs. (Applause.)
More than four decades ago, President Kennedy spoke of a long,
twilight schedule, year in and year out, against the common enemies of
man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war, itself.
Some champions of these evils have been vanquished, but the common
enemies of man remain, and a new enemy -- global terror -- has
emerged. The United States is determined to fight this new enemy,
knowing full well that final victory will probably not come any time
On September 20th, shortly after the September 11th attacks, the
President told the American people that that victory might, in fact,
might not even come on his watch. This enemy is different from any we
have ever known. Stateless, stealthy, small terror networks can wreak
untold damage without warning anywhere in the world. Their strategy is
to use wanton destruction and the slaughter of innocents to sow
confusion and to hold human progress as a heresy. They have no
territory or assets. They cannot be deterred. They have no interests
beyond the killing of innocents. They can not be persuaded. They can
only be destroyed. (Applause.)
But the fever swamps in which they grow can be drained. The
emergence of new networks and new recruits can be prevented. The war
on terror is as much a war of ideas as a war of force. To win the
broader war, we must win this war of ideas by appealing to the just
aspirations and decent hopes of people throughout the world -- giving
them cause to hope for a better life and a brighter future, and reason
to reject the false and destructive comforts of bitterness and
grievance and hate.
Terror grows in the absence of progress and development. It
thrives in the airless space where new ideas, new hopes and new
aspirations are forbidden. Terror lives where freedom dies.
That is why fighting the common enemies of man is not only the
right thing to do, it is the clear, vital interest of the world to do
In the defeat of communism and all through the post-World War II
transformation of Europe and Asia, America and her allies demonstrated
that we can and do stay the course until the work is done. The defeat
of global terror and the emergence of a freer, more prosperous and more
modern Middle East may also be the work of a generation.
At this time of hope and promise, we and those who share our values
must work together to create a world where terror is shunned and hope
is the provenance of every living human.
The long, twilight struggle continues.
Thank you very much for having me here, and I'm happy to take your
* * * * *
Q -- Mahmoud Abbas is dedicated to fighting terror, yet just a
few days ago he announced that he will not arrest or dismantle the
terrorist infrastructure. And, indeed, we've seen in the last few days
that the terrorists are in control. So under these circumstances, how
can the U.S. tell Israel to sit still, not retaliate against the
terrorists, not hunt them down? And is there a double standard here
for the U.S. and Israel? (Applause.)
DR. RICE: Thank you. First of all, this is the new Palestinian
leadership that is in the process of trying to reform and strengthen
security services that have, frankly, not been devoted to fighting
terror, but have been unaccountable and unwilling to fight terror.
And so there will need to be a period of the strengthening of those
security services. And we have encouraged the Palestinians to talk
openly with the Israelis about that process, and we are prepared to
help, as are other countries in the region, to help the Palestinians to
strengthen those security services.
There is not going to be any pass for any Palestinian leadership on
fighting terror. It is absolutely the case that this President and
this United States government believe that terror, wherever it is
found, wherever it is practiced, has got to be rooted out and
destroyed. And so there will be no pass on that issue. (Applause.)
It is important that the Israelis and the Palestinians realize,
however, that they took a different step at Aqaba from the path that
they've been on for a number of years. And the step was to recognize
each other as partners in building a Palestinian state, in building a
secure Israel and Palestine, in building a new kind of Middle East.
And, therefore, as partners, they need to work together, each from
their own resources and own perspectives to get the job done against
And that is what we're trying to encourage. That is why we're
asking that the Palestinians speak out strongly against terror -- and,
in fact, they have spoken out against the terror attacks that have
taken place. We have told them that they really are going to have to
do what they can while they're building their forces to fight terror.
And we've asked the Israelis to recognize that there are consequences
to the way that they, too, fight terror. (Applause.)
And so the key is to think of this as a partnership in fighting
terror. That is the only way that this is going to get done. The
future of a stable and secure and peaceful Middle East, the future of a
stable and secure Israel and a stable and secure Palestine is to do it
together. That's what Aqaba said and that's the course that we are
engaged on. (Applause.)
Q My question to you is, what do you think democracy should
DR. RICE: I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand.
Q What is your opinion of what democracy should mean?
DR. RICE: Oh, what should democracy mean. It's an excellent,
The reason that we hold so dear the notion of democracy is that it
is founded on the fundamental premise that people control their own
futures. They are not subject to the whims and the arbitrary decisions
of those over whom they have no control. It is one of the reasons that
one of the most important elements of democracy is that the rule have
-- the rulers have to be accountable to those that they rule. It is
because no one should have control of your future without your say-so.
And so that's the fundamental notion of democracy.
Now, there are important support elements of democracy, including a
free press, including the freedom of conscience, including the freedom
to worship as one wishes, the freedom to say what one wishes to say and
to believe what one wishes to believe. Again, that you have control of
your own future, that human dignity is tied up in having no one who can
arbitrarily control your life.
In a place like the United States, we have found that democracy is
strengthened because not only do we have governmental institutions,
separation of powers institutions that protect those basic freedoms,
but we have a strong civil society that supports democratic
institutions. The Town Hall of Los Angeles is an institution of civil
society. It is not a governmental institution, it is a free
association of people who come together to discuss the important ideas
of the day and, indeed, to influence them by having people like me
That kind of institution very often does not exist in new,
fledgling democracies. And so what we talk about when we talk to
people about building democracy, is that you have to have institutions
that protect basic freedoms and basic dignities. But you also have to
have a support structure for democracy of the kind that civil society
I would just say one other thing about democracy. It's not easy.
Sometimes we talk as if it's just the most natural thing in the world
to be tolerant of views that you really hate, that it's just the most
natural thing in the world to be tolerant of people who are not like
you, that it is just the most natural thing in the world to progress
together toward some common vision that sometimes it's actually fairly
difficult to define and describe.
And when I'm talking to young democracies, or states that are
trying to build democracy, I often find it helpful to remind people
that the United States has been at this for better than 220 years --
and there are still some parts of it we're trying to get right.
(Applause.) When the founding fathers said, "We, the people," they
didn't mean me. My ancestors were three-fifths of a man -- so
multi-ethnic democracy isn't easy. (Applause.)
The key is to be devoted to the principles. The key is to keep
working at it and to keep trying. And the key to remember to it is to
remembering that you have to build democracy brick by brick, day by day
-- the work is never finished. (Applause.)
Q One of the issues you talk about in winning the war for peace
is the battle for ideas. And it's my understanding recently that in
the vacuum of leadership that the control of the radio and the TV
within Iraq has been focusing on issues other than building this desire
and the knowledge of what a democracy can be.
What are we doing to create a radio-free, a TV-free Iraq that
supports some of the vision that you're talking about?
DR. RICE: Thank you for the very excellent question. It's
absolutely the case that the ability to reach the Iraqi people through
media is extremely important. And it's a task that we are very
involved in trying to get there. It is a -- some of it is just a
technical problem. I mean, there are still problems with power and the
like in many places. Some of it is making sure that it does not appear
to just be media, that the United States and the coalition have somehow
imposed upon Iraq. They've had enough of that, they don't need that
And so we're working with Iraqis to develop media. Now, it's very
interesting, when democracy breaks out, all kinds of things start to
happen -- all kinds of newspapers are turning up in Iraq -- some of
them good from our point of view, some of them not good from our point
of view. But people are trying to community.
But you are absolutely right, if you're going to win the war of
ideas, you're going to have to do it through modern means. And one of
the things that the President recently talked with Jerry Bremer, when
he was out in Qatar, talked with him about exactly this. I think, in
fact, the second or third question the President asked Ambassador
Bremer -- after, "Jerry, how are you doing and how's the security
situation?" -- is, "How are you doing on getting those media outlets up
and running?" So it's something that's getting the highest level of
attention and I couldn't agree with you more.
Q Dr. Rice, this is the second time that I see you speak. The
last time I saw you was in March, at the APEC conference in Washington,
D.C. And I want to thank you for your sincerity, your insightfulness
and your unwavering commitment to a secure and terror-free Israel.
The question I have for you is, it's my understanding that Belgium
has just recently afforded itself the right to try citizens of any
country for what they consider war crimes. It's my understanding
they've already considered charges against an American general, the
current Israeli Prime Minister and a past Israeli general.
And I wonder whether you -- whether you consider this to be some
sort of a threat or a strategic problem that has to be dealt with?
And, if so, what are we doing to deal with it?
DR. RICE: Yes. In fact, we have been very concerned about the
Belgian law to which you are referring, and we have taken this up with
the Belgian government. It should not be the case that -- a set of
unaccountability here about the use of the word "war crime" and using
this (inaudible) against all kinds of freely and democratically elected
leaders can be countenanced by a democracy and, frankly, a member of
NATO and a long-term ally.
And so we have taken it up with the Belgian government. We think
it's a very, very bad development and we've let them know that. It is
one of the reasons, by the way, that we have been opposed to the
International Criminal Court, where you would have unaccountable
prosecutors we believe politicizing these issues. And we make the
point that the United States and countries like this are democracies,
they are capable of dealing with any misdeeds that they think may have
been committed. And we do not need instruments of this kind. But we
have most certainly taken it up directly with Belgian government; most
recently, Colin Powell took it up with his counterpart. And we hope to
see movement by the Belgian government. They did make some changes to
the law, but we still think that there is more that needs to be done.
Q Dr. Rice, since there seems to be such a tyranny of terror in
the Middle East, and there's a lot of hope, but on the other hand it
seems that Abbas is really unable to control the terror in Palestine.
Do you think the administration would consider a plan, such as Martin
Indyk has suggested, that the United States develop a -- with the
European Union, the U.N. and Russia -- develop a trusteeship for the
Palestinians so that that trusteeship could hold in trust the
Palestinian Authority and the hope for a state while United States
special forces support the Palestinians to destroy the tyranny of
terror from Hamas, et cetera; and the Israelis withdraw the Israeli's
defense forces and the trusteeship take over that law enforcement?
Do you think that's a possibility that the administration would
consider, since hope doesn't seem to lead to action? Thank you.
DR. RICE: Well, I think hope will lead to action. We're on the
right course, and the right course is to encourage the Palestinian
leadership, along with all of its partners -- and that includes an
Israeli partner, it includes Arab partners, it includes partners in the
EU and the U.N. and the United States -- encourage them to take on the
important task of statehood -- fighting terror, having security forces
that are accountable, having financial affairs that are transparent,
where they've made a lot of progress, and making life better for their
The Palestinian people need new institutions that will lead to a
state. I don't think they need a trusteeship. They need control of
their own future. I think Aqaba is a course that will get them to
control of their own future.
It is also the case that, yes, the situation is very difficult, and
it's been a very bad last couple of days. But we believe that the
Palestinian leadership, as it is working to make its forces stronger,
that there are things that the Palestinian leadership can do. But,
frankly, there are also things that others could do. The Arab states
need right now, today, to say that Hamas and the other rejectionist
organizations -- which have said that they intend to destroy the road
map -- are not speaking for the Arab world. That has to be said, and
it has to be said clearly. (Applause.)
You can not on the one hand say that you want peace and you want
and Palestinian and Israeli state living side by side and not speak out
against those who say they're out to destroy that vision. And so you
can be certain that the President and Secretary Powell and I and other
members of the administration of the U.S. government will be speaking
with all of our partners in a very straightforward way to say that,
yes, the fighting of terror is the responsibility of the Palestinians,
they've got to take that on; the Israelis have responsibilities to give
a political horizon that makes sense for the Palestinians. But it's
the responsibilities of each and every one of us to fight terror, to
de-legitimize terror and to root it out wherever we find it.
Q Thank you, Dr. Rice, for being here, we appreciate your
Two questions, one very quickly. How do we stop the funding and
the tracking of finances for Hamas? That's the first question. And
number two, and more important to me is, we're in California, we
welcome you home, we'd love to see you run and would you please run for
DR. RICE: On the first question. (Laughter.) We have a very
active program to track terrorist financing. And it is true for the
financing of any organization that is on the list of terrorists that
the State Department has and we are working very hard on the tracking
of Hamas funding. We need help. We need help from the Europeans, we
need help from the Arab states.
I think that Hamas has said just this past week they're going to
destroy the road map, so now is the time.
The United States -- let me just use it to talk about it a little
bit broader. Very early on we recognized that the war on terror was
going to be fought on many fronts. Of course we were going to have to
use military action to deal with places like Afghanistan, that harbor
terror; of course we were going to have to deal with law enforcement
and intelligence. But very early on we also recognized that the
funding of terrorism had become a very complex web -- some of it direct
funding, which is actually the easiest to get at. But as you note,
there are a number of front organizations, so-called charities that
funnel money to terrorist organizations. And so the United States has
been on an active program of dealing with those kinds of problems.
We had a very good discussion with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
when we were in Aqaba -- sorry, in Sharm el-Sheikh, about the need for
the Saudis to do more on the funding of terrorism. And they certainly
understand that task.
So it's an all-out program to try and deal with terrorist
financing. I think it will succeed. It is going to have to have,
though, the cooperation of the whole world. And particularly on Hamas,
people are going to have to take a hard look at what they're doing and
ask if they are prepared to continue to treat Hamas as something other
than a terrorist organizations. We already treat it in that way;
others should as well.
In terms of my return to California, I'm trying to be National
Security Advisor. I think you can tell I've got my hands full right
now -- (laughter) -- not really on my radar screen, but I really do
look forward to returning to California sometime in the near future.
Q Thank you for being here. We're very proud that you're here
and we're thankful for the Town Hall for giving us that opportunity.
I have a question. How does the U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338
compare to the results at Aqaba? I understand there's a grave
discrepancy as far as the percentages of land?
DR. RICE: Well, Aqaba does not envision any percentages of land.
In fact, 242 and 338 are referenced in a number of -- in the road map,
itself, but no one has tried to get to discussions of percentages of
land. The real breakthrough I think on June 24th was to recognize that
some of the fundamentals needed to be in place in order to eventually
deal with the long-term final status issues that have been so difficult
and have been so bedeviling.
It's very interesting, it was Ariel Sharon recently who said that
the time has come to divide this land between Palestinians and
Israelis. He said at Aqaba that he understood that it had to be a
contiguous and viable Palestinian state. The principles are coming
into place that will make it, we believe, not easier, but more possible
to resolve some of the longer and more difficult final status issues
about final borders.
But final borders is really not the only thing that constitutes a
state. And one of the breakthroughs of June 24th was to say to the
Palestinians the content of the state, the character of the state is
going to be extremely important to getting to a resolution of the final
status issues. If it's democratic and transparent and peace-loving and
doesn't aid and abet terrorist, that is going to make it much easier to
sit down with an Israeli partner and talk about how to divide the
And so we believe that there are some fundamentals that need to go
forward here. We've got a good process -- process map through the road
map. We've got a good vision through the statements that were just
Aqaba. And we will eventually be able to deal with the final
status issues because you will have partners who have developed some
trust, who have developed a working relationship and who can imagine
living side by side with each other -- something that is not so easy in
the Middle East.
Q Dr. Rice, thank you for being here today. It's been a
pleasure listening to you. And I have to say it's so thrilling to see
(End tape, side one.)
Q -- so many horrifying events and tragedies in our country, in
the world. Is there any one incident that sticks out in your mind as,
like, the time when your heart hurt the most? Or when you were, like,
I can't take it anymore? Or just, it's too much to handle? Is there
any one incident that you can think of?
DR. RICE: Well, indeed, we have had our share of difficult
events. For every American, the planes driving into the World Trade
Center towers and into the Pentagon -- I think it was a moment for each
and every one of us when we knew that the world had changed forever.
And I will tell you that on the first anniversary of September
11th, we went to several sites with the President -- to the field in
Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 went down; to the World Trade Center
site; to the Pentagon. And at each and every place I was struck by the
intensely personal grief of those who had lost people there.
It's very easy to get focused on these as big and historical
events. But, of course, they touch individual people very, very
deeply. And the people would come up and they would have a picture of
a child or a husband and they would say, "I just want somebody to
remember what happened here, to my loved one." And very often they
would then say, "Can you try and make sure that it doesn't happen
We're doing everything that we can in our power to learn the
lessons of what happened to this country on September 11th. And
sometimes when we talk to our colleagues and friends around the world,
it's important that people understand that life did change forever for
Americans. And so did the responsibilities of the United States change
forever as a result of September 11th.
We were always the strongest county in the world, and therefore the
country most responsible for keeping of peace and security. But after
what happened to us on September 11th, I think we also recognized that
this complex and difficult enemy that we were fighting required us to
mobilize on many more fronts than we had ever been asked to mobilize on
before. It asked us to difficult things that are hard for us to do and
for others to do.
And it asked us, I think, to renew our desire and to renew our
commitment to do what America has perhaps always done -- that is to
focus on the hard side, to focus on the security side to make sure that
we are tough and never allow the bad guys to think that they're going
to go unopposed.
But interestingly for the President, and I think for all of us, it
also drew an undeniable link between freedom and security, freedom and
peace. Because those who attacked us on September 11th were attacking
us for who we are and what we stand for; for the open society that we
are, for the tolerant society that we are. Because it's fundamentally
different than their vision.
With that renewed recognition that a balance of power that favors
freedom, renewed understanding that American values and American
interests are inextricable, I think you've seen the emergence of a
doctrine and of a policy that is, in that sense, as coherent as any
since the end of World War II, when we recognized that same linkage.
But September 11th, it has to be for me the most traumatic
circumstance that I've ever found myself in. And I think for America
it was a life-changing experience. (Applause.)
Q Good morning. My name is Jason Davis and I'm a cadet at the
United States Military Academy at West Point. And you serve as a model
of strength and courage for all, thank you. (Applause.)
As the decisions made today impact my future in the Army,
particularly those decisions made concerning the Middle East, what are
the administration's plans on helping to democratize Iran, particularly
bringing them into the fold of more moderate states -- more moderate
DR. RICE: Thank you; yes, right. Well, the Iranian regime needs
first and foremost to deal with the aspirations of its own people. And
Iran is one of the few places in the Middle East where people have
actually had a chance to express what those aspirations are. And when
they have an election they express them quite clearly. They are toward
pluralism and democratic development -- and that's absolutely clear.
The elected government of Iran, however, has not managed, or does
not want to -- I don't know what the full story is -- but has not
managed to deliver on that promise and has instead allowed an
un-elected few to continue to frustrate the aspirations of the Iranian
And so for the United States we have to stand with the aspirations
of the Iranian people, which have been clearly expressed. We also have
to make very clear to the Iranian government that we cannot tolerate
circumstances in which al Qaeda operatives come in and out of Iran. We
cannot tolerate circumstances in which Iran, with a different vision of
what Iraq ought to look like, tries to stir trouble in southern Iraq.
And we must, as an international community, be resolved to say to the
Iranians that the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, particularly
nuclear weapons, is not acceptable.
There's an IAEA report, International Atomic Energy Agency report
that will soon come out. All of the indications are that Iran has been
doing precisely what the United States has thought that it was doing,
which is using its advanced technology, its advanced know-how to do
under its civilian nuclear programs things that could lead to a nuclear
weapons program. That's just unacceptable. And the Iranians are going
to have to come to terms with that, and the international community is
going to have to come to terms with that.
But you're right, Iran is a key piece in the Middle East. But we
do believe that if you have a stable and democratic Afghanistan and a
stable and democratic Iraq, and if you can associate with the
aspirations of the Iranian people, which are clearly toward democratic
development, that sooner or later the Iranian leadership is going to
have to listen.
Thank you very much, and thanks for being here. (Applause.)