|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
September 17, 2003
From remarks by NSA Rice on FOX Special Report with Brit Hume, 9/15/03
We are engaged in a worldwide effort to destroy the evil force that is terrorism. The reason terrorists are coming to Iraq is that they understand that a stable and prosperous Iraq in the center of the Middle East will be a serious blow to their efforts to bring down civilization.
Iraq is now the central front in the war on terrorism. We must win there in order to be successful in the war on terrorism. So, we're constantly looking and evaluating what we need to do.
Terrorists existed before our action in Iraq. It's naive to think America or the Coalition inspired them.
If the terrorists weren't fighting in Iraq, they would be fighting someplace else. They are a hardened group of people who hate what America stands for and who intend to bring down civilization.
There are many tasks in Iraq and we think the international community - which will benefit from a secure and prosperous Iraq - should share in bringing them about.
There are certain things that only the American military can do, such as some counterterrorism activities. But there are many tasks - guarding infrastructure, dealing with civil affairs, and protecting some of the holy and cultural sites - that can be handled by the international community. There are parts of the country that are quite stable and in need of peacekeepers.
The United States is going to do whatever it takes to help the Iraqis rebuild their country, because the cost of not succeeding in Iraq would be too high.