For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 11, 2003
Interview of the National Security Advisor by KXAS-TV, Dallas, Texas
The James S. Brady Briefing Room
November 10, 2003
2:23 P.M. EST
Q Joining us now is Dr. Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor. Dr. Rice, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon.
DR. RICE: It's a pleasure to be with you.
Q November is already proving to be one of the deadliest so far in Iraq. U.S. forces continue to be targeted. The military says insurgents attacked a U.S. patrol south of Baghdad with a rocket-propelled grenade. The list of attacks goes on and one. I guess, the question here, is the U.S. military patience wearing thin here? And if so, what is the next step?
DR. RICE: The President has been very clear that the United States has a job to do in Iraq, and that is to help to create conditions in Iraq which are stable and prosperous, and in which Iraq is on a democratic path. The people who are attacking our forces are not just attacking our forces. As a matter of fact, for the most part, they are attacking Iraqis. They attacked the United Nations. They attacked the International Red Cross. They're trying to sow fear and chaos so that we do not stay the course and so that Iraq does not become stable and prosperous. And they're not going to win.
We have a very good strategy for dealing with this upsurge of violence in Iraq. We know that we're dealing with regime remnants. We're dealing with some foreign terrorists, who are coming in from outside the country to fight what they believe is an extremely important jihad. And our strategy is, first and foremost, to increase the number of Iraqis involved in their own security and defense.
We're close now to 118,000 Iraqis involved every day in their own security. We're training more Iraqis. We are putting them forward to defend their country. And those Iraqis will, in turn, bring us better intelligence, a better sense of the enemy. And they have a lot to fight for. So this is a security strategy that will work.
It is true that we're going through a difficult period of time, and we will continue to have difficulties for a while. But this is a security strategy that is very sound and that the military commanders back, and that will work.
Q I want to talk about security strategy for a minute. The head of U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid, made a surprise visit to Fallujah. The Mayor of Fallujah claims Abizaid said the military will use new tactics to prevent more attacks on our troops and other troops there. First of all, why the surprise visit?
DR. RICE: Well, General Abizaid goes from time to time to the region because this is his area of responsibility. He wanted to get an on-the-ground feel. And he came back today and he reported to the President this morning about the very high morale of our troops. He reported about the sense of mission that is there, among our men and women in the uniform. And he reported that he is, indeed, looking to ways to involve Iraqis more in their own security.
Fallujah is a particularly difficult part of the country. In fact, most of the attacks are in about -- about 93 percent of the attacks are in this particular triangle, which is and was a Baathist stronghold. These are people who are attacking their fellow citizens. They are attacking people who are trying to support their fellow citizens. And they will be defeated.
Q Early on, you talk about foreign fighters, are they responsible for most of the attacks on U.S. troops and other people helping in the effort here in Iraq? And also what is being done at this point right now to stop them?
DR. RICE: Well, also we are, in fact, facing a combination of what we call dead-enders. These are Baathists who know that they have no future in a new Iraq, and remnants of the old regime, and some foreign fighters who are making common cause with them to try and break the will of the coalition.
But Iraqi citizens are starting to see a better life. Electricity has improved to well above prewar levels. Sanitation is being provided to parts of the country that didn't have adequate sanitation. The infrastructure is being rebuilt, and life is getting better for Iraqis. They themselves will not tolerate, in the long run, those who are trying to destroy the progress that is being made. And our plan is to continue with raids into these difficult areas, going in and really arresting, and in some cases, killing these killers who are trying to take away progress -- but also involving Iraqis more and more in their own security.
And this is a strategy that General Abizaid has described to the President, has the full backing of the President, and, in fact, our military commanders believe will work.
Q National Security Advisor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk with us today.
DR. RICE: Thank you, it was good to be with you.
2:28 P.M. EST END