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Rice Confirmation Hearings Part 2
Aired January 18, 2005 - 10:57 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: If you're just joining us, for our viewers at home, we are listening to the testimony today, day one, it may go into day two tomorrow of Condoleezza Rice, set to be the first black African-American woman to be in this position as secretary of state. And what a statement that is to the rest of the world.
Paul Sarbanes, a Democratic senator from Maryland now with his turn in the question and answer session. Earlier Chuck Hagel, the Republican, Joe Biden, a Democrat, sharply questioning Condoleezza Rice on the issue of Iraq. Senator Biden went to the point about whether or not there were enough troops and forces on the ground on the U.S. side to placate and help make the situation in Iraq safer and sooner. Chuck Hegel also went to the Iraq exit plan when asking Condoleezza Rice what they had thought about at this point, in terms of the U.S. military helping to make sure that the exit plan goes quicker than it has.
She did not give a date nor a timetable. In fact, she reflected more on the Iraqi elections now, about 12 days away on the calendar, and waiting for that moment to pass before they take the next step on what's happening in Iraq. We expect in four speakers from now, Senator John Kerry, who has entered the room to get his turn for an opening statement and a short answer and question with Condoleezza Rice. We're about eight speakers away from Barbara Boxer, the Democrat from California, who Ed Henry reported just about an hour ago, that she will be the so-called bulldog with Condoleezza Rice today.
So let's go back in again with Condoleezza Rice and the confirmation hearings still underway in the Hart Office Building on Capitol Hill.
CONDOLEEZA RICE, NATIONA SECURITY ADVISER: ... trying to get the Chinese to react to intellectual property rights issues.
Another way that the State Department can help with this very important agenda is to make certain that the markets of others are as open to us as our markets are to them. And that's an activity that I would expect to be involved in as a part of my diplomacy I've been involved in as national security adviser.
If we're not to have deformations (ph) in the way that the international economy works, then people can not be protectionist.
Those are some of the ways in which I think the diplomacy can support a strong economic policy. And I agree with you completely that a strong economy is very important to our international standing. RICE: I would note that we are still the fastest growing of the major developed countries of the world, so we have considerable economic strength.
SEN. PAUL SARBANES (D-MD), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Our growth is growing in a way, though, that we're becoming increasingly mortgaged to others. China and Japan now are holding tremendous dollar reserves which then, of course, play into the trade relationship much to their advantage.
So that it works in a way we become more dependent, they're able to skew the trade arrangement to their advantage, which makes us more dependent and the vicious circle continues in a downward spiral.
But I see my time has expired. I may revisit this in another round.
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN), CHMN., FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Thank you, Senator Sarbanes.
SEN. LINCOLN CHAFEE (R-RI), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Congratulations and welcome, Dr. Rice.
RICE: Thank you.
CHAFEE: Senator Feinstein mentioned how proud your parents, John and Angelena, must be and -- here in spirit would be, rather. And out of curiosity, did your father know Martin Luther King at all?
RICE: He did and he was a minister in Birmingham and they all did. And everyone admired him. We also had a number of friends who worked with him, like Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, who was a giant in our community.
CHAFEE: Well, Dr. King's one of my heroes.
RICE: Mine too.
CHAFEE: Senator Hagel mentioned the distinguished career of your predecessor, Secretary Powell and I'm curious as to how you might look at the improvements as we go forward or how you -- what would you see as you come in now as the new secretary of state. What improvements might be occurring in the State Department?
RICE: Thank you, Senator.
The goal here is to build on the considerable achievements of Secretary Powell and Deputy Secretary Armitage. I think that it is well recognized that they did a great deal to improve the fundamentals in the State Department. And I would hope to follow in that.
For instance, the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative, which brought whole classes of new people into the diplomatic corps, we can't afford again to get to the place where we skip several years in hiring of Foreign Service officers. You pay the price for that later down the road. You pay the price for it early too, because you don't bring in that new young energy. And so, I would hope to continue to press the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative.
I know that the secretary was, kind of, appalled when he saw the state of technology in the State Department. And Senator Allen has had a particular interest in this.
I gather -- I don't know if it's apocryphal or not -- that people were still using Wangs in certain parts of the State Department. Not that there was anything wrong with Wangs, it's just a few generations back. And they have done a lot on the I.T. side, and I would expect to continue to try to help people have those tools.
I will say I've had briefings about this and they've made wonderful investments in the infrastructure, the hardware.
I, myself, chaired Stanford's executive committee on the changing out of Stanford's information technology systems. And Stanford, even though it was in the heart of the Silicon Valley, had a terrible set of legacy systems.
The hard part now is to give people the training and the software and the ability to use that technology in their jobs. And I would hope we could do that.
They've made tremendous progress, I think, on the training of people. Colin's emphasis on leadership training and skills, management skills for the State Department personnel is extremely important.
We have to make sure that people are well paid and that they are valued.
But the most important thing -- and here they've made tremendous progress -- is on security of our personnel abroad. We operate in a very dangerous environment in which everybody -- when many, many bad people would like nothing better than to wreak havoc against American interests abroad.
And so the efforts that have been made to build new security into the facilities and to revamp our most vulnerable posts will be a very high priority for me.
The first meetings that I had were with the undersecretary for management, and I would expect to make that a large part of the agenda.
CHAFEE: Do you see any significant changes ahead?
RICE: Well, there's always need for change because, of course, conditions are different.
And I think we have to continually review and update the skills of our diplomatic corps.
We're asking our diplomatic corps to do more actively in, for instance, helping transform whole societies, getting in and helping the Iraqis with their currency exchange or getting in and helping the Nigerians root out corruption.
These are skills that are of a more active transformational diplomacy and one that probably wasn't really foreseen in the earlier stages of building Foreign Service skills.
So I look forward to working with those people, but also with members of this committee who I know have some interest in skills development, to see if we can push that envelope.
CHAFEE: Well, thank you.
As chairman of the Middle East Subcommittee on the Foreign Relations Committee, I'm interested in your comments on the Israeli- Palestinian issue.
And in your opening statement you talked about, "America seeks justice and dignity in a viable independent democratic state for the Palestinian people." Can you expand at all on "viable"? What do you see as a viable Palestinian state?
RICE: Well, there are several ways to think about viability.
One is that it has to have territory that makes it viable. It cannot be territory that is so broken up that it can't function as a state, and I think that that's now well understood.
Has to have economic viability. And there it probably needs to have economic viability in relationship to other states around it: to Jordan, to Israel and to others.
And viability also comes from democratic institutions. One of the things that I think we didn't pay enough attention to in the past is the development of democratic institutions in the Palestinian territories.
At a time when we are promoting the progress of democracy in the Middle East, the Palestinians are a people who should be able to adopt those habits and take them up. They are a talented, in many ways educated population, a population that has tried, even under very limited circumstances, to have some at least pluralism in their politics.
And so viability, I think, also has a political or democracy dimension that we need to pay attention to.
CHAFEE: I'm sure that many Palestinian moderates would like to hear more specifics on what might constitute a viable Palestinian state. Are we looking at something, perhaps, along the Geneva Accord lines?
RICE: Well, as the president said when he met with Prime Minister Sharon back in, I think, May, we have to recognize that the parties are going to determine their borders; that it is not for us to prejudge what those borders might be.
There has been a lot of negotiation. I think they will need to look at what has been looked at before. But the June 24th, 2002, speech really focused on some fundamentals to get us to the place that discussions of final status would be successful.
And those fundamentals now seem to be starting to come into place. The new Palestinian leadership -- I think a Palestinian leadership that, at least in word, is devoted to fighting terror. It needs to be indeed as devoted to fighting terror. An international community that whenever I talk to people, is quite devoted to and taken with the idea of helping the Palestinians to build those democratic institutions, to reconstruct economically in areas which Israel leaves.
We have in Israel a new coalition that was built around the idea that Israel will disengage from the Gaza and from the four settlements in the West Bank.
And we now really -- I'd just like to mention the neighbors. The Arab states have responsibilities here, too. And they can't incite violence against Israel on the one hand and call for peace and a two- state solution on the other.
And so, we've got work to do with them.
But as the fundamentals are beginning to come into place, everyone can be certain that it is a very high priority to seize this moment to try and push toward the day when we have interlocutors who can work on the final status issues.
CHAFEE: In the news today some are calling upon the new Palestinian leadership to be more proactive against some of the violence which is occurring within their own ranks. The previous Palestinian leadership did not intend to do that under Yasser Arafat; the danger being that once Palestinians take up arms amongst themselves, you could have Palestinian civil war.
How do you look -- how do we go forward with that dilemma?
RICE: Well, I do believe that Abu Mazen made a good start in what he said, which is that there really is no route to a Palestinian state through violence. And that means that he is appealing, to my mind correctly, to those Palestinians who realize that the use of terror techniques, the use of violence is not going to result in the fulfillment of their national aspirations.
Having said that, the people who insist on violence and insist on terrorism have got to be isolated and ultimately disarmed. The Palestinians are fond of saying there has to be one authority, one gun. We can help with that, because the restructuring of the Palestinian security forces is something that we have helped with in the past and should now with other neighbors, like Egypt or Jordan, be helping with in the future.
The construction of unified Palestinian security forces that are accountable to the Palestinian leadership and are not, in effect, armed gangs is probably one of our most important tasks.
So I don't see it as a matter of civil war, but rather as a matter of the isolation of those who are unwilling to pursue the aspirations of the Palestinian people through peaceful means.
CHAFEE: Well, thank you very much, Dr. Rice. I see my time is up.
I just returned from a trip with Senator Dodd and Senator Nelson to Latin America. And I'll have to say, Senator Dodd was a good leader of this trip, his perfect Spanish and a good ambassador for the United States as we travel in the region.
LUGAR: Well, thank you, Senator Chafee, and what a wonderful introduction of our questioner, Senator Dodd.
SEN. SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CT), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Bienvenido un otro comite.
RICE: You'll stimulate me to answer in Russian, I'm sorry, Senator.
DODD: I'm not going to try to ask you questions in Spanish, but welcome to the committee.
And, Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Let me also join my colleagues in welcoming our new members to the committee, Mel Martinez, who I got to know when he was secretary of HUD and appeared before my other committee, the Banking Committee, on numerous occasions; and Senator Murkowski, of course a colleague from Alaska; and Barack Obama, the new member from Illinois. We're delighted to have all three members here.
LUGAR: Senator Martinez is going on the Banking Committee. He wants to work over his successors I think.
DODD: I know.
I expect you'd ask tough questions in those hearings, having been through the confirmation process.
Let me also, Mr. Chairman, commend you for your opening statement and some very wonderful ideas that you've raised here. I particularly want to commend you for working hard -- I think all of us will join you on this side -- to get an authorization bill out of this committee as early as we can, by March.
We've done it once before in my tenure on this committee, when you chaired the committee a number of years ago. It was a very exciting time for the committee and I look forward to working with you to achieve that reality.
Let me also join with Senator Sarbanes and Senator Biden in commending you and our former colleague Senator Nunn for the efforts on the Nunn-Lugar approach. You and I have talked about this on several occasions over the last year or so, and I'm heartened to hear you raise this again as such a priority. I think it's critically important and still time for us to make a difference in this area.
And Dr. Rice, I appreciate your response to Senator Lugar's question in expressing a strong interest to see the ideas that Senator Lugar has offered, ones you could endorse and support and urge the president to do as well.
Let me also join Senator Hagel in -- this is a transformational time, as you talked about, for American foreign policy. We'd be remiss in this committee if we did not express our deep sense of gratitude to Colin Powell and Richard Armitage and the staff they put together.
He's been a tremendous public servant and whatever else life holds for him, he deserves our commendation for the job he's done for our nation.
So we thank him for that, as well.
And I want to thank my colleagues for raising some of the issues they have. Obviously, Iraq is a major foreign policy question and rightfully, would dominate a lot of our conversation here today.
As Senator Chafee mentioned, Senator Chafee and Senator Nelson and I just completed an eight-day trip to Latin America visiting Venezuela, Paraguay, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador coming back.
And I want to focus some attention on that in this first round. There are other questions I have.
There are roughly 600 million people in this hemisphere, excluding ourselves, who look to the United States for leadership. Two of our most important trading partners, Mexico and Canada, of course, in this hemisphere.
The issues that Senator Sarbanes has raised about economic policy are absolutely on target and one that we pay -- should be paying much more attention to in my view. Because as we found over the last eight days traveling in South America, these issues are the ones they care the most about in many ways.
And they're the ones the absence (ph) of our attention to these questions over the last number of years, for reasons they understand. Certainly the 9/11 diverted our attention elsewhere, the events of the Middle East have certainly dominated our attention.
But I want you to know at least my observations over the last week or so is we're in trouble in this hemisphere, Dr. Rice. We're in deep trouble in this hemisphere. Others may know other parts of the world well and certainly there've been great changes in China and India, Russia, the Middle East, certainly in Africa, but we need to get back on track in this hemisphere. And I'm going to ask you a broader question about what direction we're going to take here.
Let me tell you just briefly some of the things that we found over the last seven or eight days. And my colleagues, Senator Nelson, Senator Chafee can add or detract from these conclusions.
We found these governments facing major demands from their citizens with inadequate resources to meet those demands. In fact, the budget indications coming out of the administration are significantly going to provide significantly less resources in terms of aid to this part of the world, and has been the case in previous years.
You mentioned the important years of 1947, '48, '49 and thereafter in terms of our efforts to grapple with the great challenge of the second half of the 20th century. Certainly one of the great speeches given to set the tone for that was Harry Truman's only inaugural address, in which point four, which set up the U.S. aid missions that made a huge difference in the 1950s and '60s.
The alliance for progress that Senator Kennedy initiated, these ideas had strong economic components to them as we grappled with the great challenges facing choices in those days between what the Soviet Union offered and what we offered.
So we found great demands on the part of the citizens of these countries.
We found government institutions that had been weakened and co- opted by unsolved internal political disputes. We found government officials interested in concluding bilateral free trade agreements, not only because it would improve access to our markets, but because they know it can be a means of institutionalizing reforms that'll mean more jobs and incomes to their citizens.
We found government leaders concerned about the decline in U.S. resources available to assist them (inaudible) fight against narcoterrorists, terrorists ready to take advantage of the lawlessness created by the systemic corruption that exists generally throughout the region, and especially in the tri-border area of Paraguay and Brazil and Argentina where Muslim organizations are reportedly raising and laundering monies to support their international ambitions.
We found government leaders frustrated by the suspension of U.S. military assistance and training to their military services because of our fixation with the International Criminal Court (inaudible) American Servicemen's Protection Act which links continued assistance in these areas (inaudible) signing of the so-called Article 98 agreement, the United States. And I heard this from American military personnel, Dr. Rice, not from foreigners but our own personnel worried that we're placing so much emphasis on that point, we're stopping the training so necessary to build the relationships in this century to people in that part of the world.
We found government leaders desirous of positive relationships with the United States and disappointed that our government hasn't made relations with them a higher national priority. Even President Chavez expressed an interest in improved relations with the United States, putting aside the obvious issue that's going on over the last several days, it's going to be critically important that we try and do something new with Venezuela than the continued policies of isolation, in my view.
So I'd like to get from you, if I could, as these opening comments: Are we going to have a new direction here in this critical part of the world?
Senator Hagel mentioned immigration. No other issue. Vicente Fox, the one issue that he was hoping he'd get some resolution from over the last four years was on immigration, and nothing was done.
One speech that I'm aware of, no legislation introduced, no effort up here to make a difference -- it's a crippling economic problem here at home. And it's sort of -- continuing contention between one of our very, very important allies around the globe and the closest neighbor to us with some of the most important issues.
What are we going to do about that, and are we going to change some direction here, or are we going to stick with the policies of the past that are creating some serious, serious problems in this part of the world?
RICE: Thank you, Senator Dodd, and thank you also for the time that you did spend -- and I look forward to talking to you more about the future of Latin America. The Western Hemisphere is obviously extremely critical to our agenda.
Let me start with Mexico and Canada, because the relationship with our closes neighbors -- a good policy begins with the relationship with your closest neighbors.
I do think we've made a lot of progress with Mexico and Canada on a number of issues, for instance, on the smart border initiative which has helped us to solidify and codify our homeland security concerns. It was something that we needed to do in the face of 9/11 and the terrorist threats and the relationships that our homeland security secretaries have been able to forge, so that we get to a position where the borders are allowing in commerce but not allowing in those who might harm us.
And that was very important, because I remember in the very first days after September 11th that some of our efforts to secure the border were actually very quickly going to prevent commerce. And so we needed to find the right balance. And we've made a lot of progress in terms of the use of technology and those smart border initiatives will continue.
We also, with our Mexican and Canadian counterparts, are talking a lot about what the next steps are in our NAFTA relationship.
Because as -- and Senator Sarbanes talked about some of the economic difficulties the United States may face, or some of the difficulties we may face if we should have problems in our economy. We, also, face a lot of competition around the world. And as we have watched Europe and the European Union integrate its economic policies, I think it has raised questions about what the future can look like for NAFTA and for the NAFTA states to extend those relationships.
And we've had discussions about what the next phases are.
And I think that is a way forward. And I would look forward to having extensive discussions about how we improve the competitiveness of Northern (ph) America as we face competition from the rest of the world.
We also have been very active in Central America.
And I would agree with you, there are very grave challenges now to some of these regimes. And we don't want to repeat what has tended to be a cycle in Latin America of democratic developments followed by authoritarian ones. And I don't think that we have to.
In Central America and in Latin America, we have to recognize that while there are in many of these places growth rates that are very, very high for these regions, that the ability for these countries to actually deal with the problems and demands of their people are -- that's really the next step.
And we had, at Monterrey, a number of discussions about developing the human potential of these countries, worrying about education, and worrying about literacy, and worrying about economic opportunity for people.
These are, in many ways, very highly stratified societies. And we need, in the United States, to associate ourselves, I think, with the struggle of those who are trying to overcome that stratification. We can't just associate ourselves with an old order. We have to be concerned about the indigenous peoples that are trying to find their rightful place in a political and economic system.
Our own history should tell us that that's an extremely important task ahead.
So it is a very big agenda to do what the president has been trying to do, which is to promote democratic development and democratic institutions, to begin to marry those democratic institutions with economic progress for the peoples of the region.
Certainly one of the ways that we can contribute to the twin progress of democracy and economic development is through trade. And we have had a number of successful free trade agreements. We had the free trade agreement with Chile. You in the Senate will be contemplating at some point a free trade agreement, the CAFTA agreement. We continue to work with Brazil as our co-chair, to try and push forward on the Free Trade of the Americas agreement.
So trade is a big part of this agenda.
If I might just take one other moment to say that we also are trying to work relationships, key relationships, in this region in a very aggressive way.
I would focus, for just a moment, on the relationship with Brazil, which I think is extremely critical to the region. There are others as well, but the president and President Lula have met on a couple of occasions. We had in the earliest stage a meeting of both Cabinets to try and have an agenda going forward.
Because if we think about the real challenges -- those are economic, social mobility, education and literacy for people -- and how that can be done within democratic institutions, so that the challenges don't have to come from outside of democratic institutions, we need partners in that. Brazil is such a partner, but so are others.
And I would hope to really spend some time with the Organization of American States making certain that the agenda of promoting democratic development, holding accountable leaders who do not govern democratically, even if they are democratically elected, that that would be an agenda we could mobilize around.
DODD: Well, I thank you for your broad answer.
My time is up here.
Let me -- just a couple of points.
One, this underscores the point Senator Sarbanes was making, in my view, that I, too, was a bit disappointed reading your opening statements about the paucity of comments about economics and the importance of the issue. You've highlight it exactly and you're correct, this is part of the issue.
But I think it's critically important that we pursue these issues without expressing yet until we see them these final agreements on these trade agreements.
But I would hope, and if you want to quickly answer, are we going to have these trade agreements up here to shoulder (ph)?
You and I both know that if you wait, even good trade agreements, if coming up at the wrong time up here, the circumstances can fail. And if they fail, I think the implications could be serious to the region.
So, quickly, are we going to see CAFTA and the D.R. trade agreement coming up, the Andean agreement which they're working on right now? Are we going to see those sooner rather than later as an administration priority?
RICE: Well, we will certainly work with the Congress on this, but we, obviously, would like to see these agreements sooner rather than later.
DODD: And let me just comment briefly.
I think Senator Chafee, Nelson and I would tell you, as well, we were very impressed, Mr. Chairman, with the competency and quality of the State Department personnel we ran into in these countries.
I would hope, as you're making choices about the senior positions -- there's some wonderfully talented, knowledgeable people about this part of the world. And my hope would be that you put a team together that would reflect the very things you're suggesting in response to my questions. Because I think you will agree with me: For reasons we may understand, we really have to pay more attention to this part of the world.
RICE: Thank you.
Senator, may I just have one moment? You mentioned Venezuela and I'd like to just address that quickly, if I may.
We have a long and good history with Venezuela, long ties. I think it's extremely unfortunate that the Chavez government has not been constructive.
And we do have to be vigilant and to demonstrate that we know the difficulties that that government is causing for its neighbors, its close association with Fidel Castro in Cuba -- still the only empty chair at the OAS is that of Cuba because it's not a democratically elected government. And those relationships are deeply concerning to us and to me.
And we are very concerned about a democratically elected leader who governs in an illiberal way. And some of the steps that have been taken against the media, against opposition I think are really very deeply troubling. And we are going to have to, as a hemisphere that signed a democracy charter, be devoted to making sure that those who signed that charter live up to it.
DODD: Well, I appreciate you saying that.
But it's a two-way street, Dr. Rice. It requires we work on it as well. It's not the 1960s or '70s and there are people down there -- you mentioned President Lula.
I can go back and show you a statement that President Lula made that would compete with anything President Chavez has said. Yet we found a way to work with this new president.
My strong suggestion is find ways to do this. Going back and repeating these statements over and over again only dig the hole deeper and deeper. And that's an important relationship. It's important in the hemisphere. We need to work at it. My hope is you will.
LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Dodd.
I congratulate you and Senator Chafee and Senator Nelson on the trip. I know Senator Coleman has been very active in the area, too.
And I would underline your request that we really have people in the department who are on top of the situation. I think Senator Dodd makes a good point. A group of people really interested in the area, in forwarding these difficult situations.
Let me call now on Senator Allen.
SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R-VA), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank all the members preceding me for their questions.
And, Dr. Rice, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your statement and your very positive life story.
Four years ago, as a rookie senator I was introducing Secretary Powell -- or General Powell -- to this committee, a genuine American hero. And your personal life story and his, although in different backgrounds, certainly are an inspiration, and I think very helpful for us as we, as a country, try to advance freedom for people all over the world.
And I do think that, when you talk about your life's story and bringing up Birmingham -- I would encourage some of my colleagues there's a civil rights pilgrimage every year. Last year I went on it. Senator Coleman was there and Senator DeWine, a few others.
And this year, Senator Corzine on the Democrat side, me on the Republican side, will be heading a delegation there for the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
And you go to Birmingham, that church that was bombed, I know that you are a member of, as well as Montgomery and Selma. And I found it a very moving, profoundly impacting and very meaningful event for me.
And a lot of those -- now, Dr. King obviously is gone, but many of those who were involved in the civil rights movement are actually still alive and you can talk and question them on what they were trying to do.
Dr. Rice, you mentioned the future, which is important. And some people call the 20th century America's century. I believe, as you do, that the 21st century needs to be freedom's century.
And individual freedom, regardless of race or gender or ethnicity or religion are key. I look at those as some of the four pillars of freedom or individual liberty are freedom of religion, freedom of speech. You used the town hall test. Three is private ownership of property, and fourth, the rule of law to protect those rights and constitutional rule.
And we do learn from history. And that's why I like reading and listening to your statement. And you referenced President Truman and Acheson and so forth and 1947 to 1949. And that is fine; that was the beginning of the Cold War.
I will say, though, that President Ronald Reagan and George Shultz and Cap Weinberger and that administration were the ones who changed that dynamic of the Cold War from one of containment and co- existence to the advancement of freedom.
Some criticized President Reagan for calling the Soviet Union, in my view, rightfully, the Evil Empire. They criticized him for going to Brandenburg Gate and telling Mr. Gorbachev to tear down that wall. But that's actually what did happen.
Because of that, there are now hundreds of millions of people tasting that sweet nectar of liberty in Central Europe who are friends and allies, not just in the war on terror but also economically, thanks to that leadership.
One of the things that was key in those years was Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Presently there's still Radio and TV Marti insofar as Cuba is concerned.
One of the concerns that I have presently insofar as the Arab world, and more particularly Iraq, is we may grouse about what TV stations people may watch or what radio they may listen to. There are so many satellite dishes that you see in Iraq.
I would like to get your views -- and Senator Biden brought this up in his opening statement, just a glancing blow of it -- but what is your view of what we can do with the Board of Broadcasting Governors to find a way, not propaganda, not music, but just facts about the United States, our motivation or just the concepts of freedom, so that the people of Iraq and others in the Arab world have a fair and balanced view of the United States and our purposes and the concepts of individual liberty?
RICE: Well, we really do have to enhance our efforts, I think, in getting our word out and getting the word out. And I use "the word" advisedly, because Radio for Europe and Voice of America and Radio Marti are about telling the truth, not about propagandizing.
And we have to make certain that people that otherwise don't have access to the truth receive it. We also have to make certain that people who are hearing what are sometimes just incredibly amazing propaganda and lies about our policy have alternative sources of information.
And so I would expect that as a part of the broad public diplomacy effort, which I really want to emphasize, I think this is something that we really have to pay attention to. We've done some good things. We've done some good things Al Hurra, which is the Arab language television satellite station. We have done some good things with Radio Farda and Radio Sawa. Obviously, we've done some good things with Radio Marti and TV Marti.
But there is, perhaps, in this war of ideas, nothing more important than getting out the truth.
And so I look forward to working with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, respecting the line that is there, that has been observed between the State Department and the board, but recognizing that if we're going to win the war of ideas, then we're going to have to really compete on the playing field a lot better than we're competing right now.
I think it's broadcasting but I also look forward to broadening our exchanges and our efforts to get people here so that they know what America is about.
Some of our student exchanges have been probably our most valuable policies. I remember sitting in many places where the prime minister or the economics minister or the foreign minister were people who studied in the United States. And they obviously have a different view of us.
So I can't think of a more important task.
ALLEN: Well, count me as one who's going to want to work with you to make sure that we're getting news and information out to people in those areas.
And we actually don't have the same problems we have with jamming, say, to Cuba or the former Soviet Union, in that regard.
Now, when you talk about students, let me go to the second issue, and that has to do with visas. And you mentioned in your remarks, "America must remain open to visitors, workers and students from around the world."
And I hear from business leaders, from those in research and the scholarly or the collegial, in the literal sense, community how difficult if is for people to get visas.
Clearly, after 9/11 we do need to have better information. The consulates all have to have the information the defense intelligence has and the CIA so that visas are not granted to people who should never be allowed into this country.
However, in between there -- of completely shutting it down and with the long delays, versus no scrutiny whatsoever, in my view, are ways that we can be utilizing technology.
Your predecessor, Secretary Powell, has done a great job in upgrading the technology, so at least they can e-mail back here and within some of the embassies.
The technologies on visas, whether it's a variety of biometrics, need to be implemented. We need to show the lead here in this country, clearly harmonizing, particularly with Europe and certain Asian countries, where we do have a lot of visitors, whether they are for tourism, whether it's for business, whether it's research or for our universities.
Can you share with me and our committee what you envision of utilizing better biometrics and ensuring security, while also stopping this or reducing the lengthy inhibiting time involved in acquiring a visa, for somebody who is a safe traveler to come to this country?
RICE: Well, obviously, after September 11th, we had to worry about who was inside the borders. And I think we took a number of steps that were important and long overdue. But it is also important to remain open.
Now, the State Department, should I be confirmed, under my leadership, would be resolute and attentive to the security issues. And the kind of policies about biometric passports and biometric identification, I want to look at where we are on that issue and to make sure that we can get the standard in place so that when we require others to have it in place that we have been in the lead.
It's obviously the case that you can't ask others to do what you won't do.
And so I will pay a lot of attention to that and spend some time understanding whatever impediments there are to getting that done.
As to the visa policies themselves and the slowness, I would very much like to have the time and also the counsel of this committee, because I think it's the one issue that came up when I talked to almost every member of this committee, to see what we can do to improve this situation.
It's partly -- a lot has been done. And Secretary Powell and Secretary Ridge worked very hard on it. They made available some information sharing between various agencies that has made it quicker.
We put a lot of stress and pressure on our consular people in this process, and I appreciate their good works.
But there is clearly and certainly more that we can do.
And I look forward to working with Judge Chertoff, if he's confirmed, to see what we can do to give a sense of greater openness to people who want to come here, not to harm us, but to be a part of this great experience that is America.
I am a big proponent of, particularly, student exchanges, having been myself in a place that had a lot of foreign students. It's the best policy that we can have. Universities will have to play their part in helping us to make sure that the policies that they are carrying out help with the security.
But this is something that I'm going to pay a lot of attention to, Senator. ALLEN: Thank you, Dr. Rice. I look forward to working with you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Allen.
Senator Kerry, as you -- before you came in this morning, Senator Biden paid tribute to your service on the committee, and let me join him.
We're proud that a member of our committee was a candidate for president of the United States. And we're delighted that you are here today.
And we recognize you for your questions.
SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE), RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Mr. Chairman, if I may interrupt, I indicated to Senator Kerry I am very disappointed that he's back.
But I'm happy to see him.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA): Well, Mr. Chairman, I wish we could have translated your pride into some votes, but thank you anyway. But I respect the pride and I love your friendship. And I thank you for it very, very much.
And to my friend, Joe, the ranking member, I want to thank him also for his comments. I actually heard them back in the office.
And I wanted to thank you personally, both of you. I guess it's, sort of, good to be back.
Dr. Rice, welcome. Welcome to the world of oaths and testimony and congressional accountability, which I tried so hard to distance myself from for a while.
I admire enormously your personal story. I admire the road you've traveled. I admire your relationship with the president, which is obviously special. And he certainly has the right and prerogative, as we all know, as president to make choices.
You are going to be confirmed and everybody knows that. But without anything personal at all, whether or not it is with my vote is yet to be determined.
I have reservations and they are not personal in any way whatsoever, but they do go to the story and trail of the last four years. And I even listened closely to your answer to Senator Biden a few moments ago about troops and the numbers. And, frankly, your answer disturbed me.
Despite Paul Bremer saying he thought they needed more troops, despite General Shinseki talking about more troops, despite the acknowledged mistake by so many people -- certainly all the leaders I met with in the region in recent days -- about the disbanding of the military, the de-Baathification that went as deep as it did, despite the failure to guard ammo dumps, the weapons of which are now being turned on our troops, despite the failure to guard nuclear facilities, when after all the purpose of the invasion was to deal with weapons of mass destruction, despite the inability to deliver services immediately, despite the security level that we have today, you sat there this morning and suggested it was the right number of troops, contrary to the advice of most thoughtful people who have been analyzing this.
The chairman of this committee at one point said that he thought the administration's efforts with respect to the delivery of aid, et cetera, was embarrassing. The ranking member on their side, Senator Hagel, thought it was both pitiful and even reached a zone of dangerous. So there's, sort of, this hanging in there to the status quo, which is worrisome.
And then afterwards you said, "Well, there were unforeseen consequences, unforeseen events, because the army melted into the countryside."
Well, that wasn't unforeseen. That's exactly what they did in '91. And we, in fact, encouraged them to do it. Because we leafleted and broadcast and told them that if they disbanded, we would pay them, and they would not suffer any consequences for putting down their arms and going home and getting out of uniform. So we told them to do that.
But we didn't pay them. We went back on that promise. And they got angry and organized.
Now, having just come back from there -- haven't been as many times as Joe -- but in Fallujah and Kirkuk, Mosul, I talked with Iraqis who are trying to make this work, who are desperate about the lack of support from Baghdad, the lack of resources coming.
They almost feel forgotten by Baghdad.
And it seems to me that if the administration is going to, you know, we went in to rescue Iraq from Saddam Hussein. Now I think we have to rescue our policy from ourselves.
And what I learned from every single leader over there -- and, you know, I don't come back with any joy in this, but it's sort of the reality we've got to deal with.
We've got kids who are dying over there. They're going on missions that, in my judgment, are questionable in what they're going to achieve in terms of the population and the overall goal. I hope General Luck comes back with judgments about that.
Our troops are stunning, superb. You know that, I know that, the president knows that, every American knows that. But they deserve and want a policy -- they ask questions, you know, how are we going to do this, how are we going to get out of here, how are we going to take care of this business?
And what I came away from was an unbelievable sense of willingness of the community at large, European leaders, Arab leaders, to do more, to be able to be more a part of this.
My question to you is several-fold. And there are a lot of questions I want to ask in a number of areas, obviously, North Korea, proliferation, the Middle East, a whole host of things. But all we'll have time for in these rounds is probably this first initial effort.
Every Arab leader I asked, do you want Iraq to fail, says no. Do you think you will be served if there's a civil war? They say no. Do you believe that failure is a threat to the region and to the stability of the world? Yes; same with the European leaders.
But each of them feel that they have offered more assistance, more effort to be involved, want to be part of a playing field that's more cooperative, and yet they feel rebuffed.
I'll give you an example. President Mubarak said to me, "We're only training 146 officers." He doesn't understand why -- offered to do more; hasn't been taken up on it by Iraqis or by us.
Similarly, European leaders are prepared to do more in terms of training. I know they don't want to put boots (inaudible) understand that.
But we're not training people with the sense of urgency that recognizes that there's only one way out of this successfully and that is to provide the capacity of Iraq to have stability, and then with the stability, to effect a political reconciliation that they all talk about critical for making up what will be the deficiencies of this election.
So the event we have to look at is not the election itself, but what you do -- you and the president and this administration -- in the immediate minutes and hours after that election to change this dynamic.
Now, can you share with us what you believe the reality is on the ground and what steps you intend to take to change this dynamic that is spiraling downwards and not resolving, you know, centuries-old conflicts in the way that we ought to be?
RICE: Thank you, Senator.
I know that you've been there recently. And I look forward to hearing from you on what you found. I do think that we have to look at the overall difficulty and complexity of trying to help a society recover from the kind of tyranny that Saddam Hussein imposed on it. This was never going to be easy. It was always going to have ups and downs.
I'm sure that we have made many decisions, some of which were good, some of which might not have been good, but the strategic decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein was the right one.
And we're all going to be very glad that we no longer have to deal with a bloody dictator in the middle of the world's most dangerous region who was an avowed enemy of the United States.
I would rather trade the considerable difficulty of helping the Iraqi people get to a democratic future and a future in which they will be allies in the war on terror for what was yet again a chance or a policy that thought that we could buy stability even if there was a regime of the tremendous brutality of Saddam Hussein's in place in the Middle East.
So I think we made the right decision to overthrow him.
Having made that strategic decision, you're right. We do have some big tactical challenges to get to the strategic goal that we have.
After the election -- and I do think the election is an important event. It's a next step on the Iraqi people's road to a better future. It is not the final step. It's a step that will allow them to elect leaders who will then begin the political process of trying to deal with the many divisions, historic and other divisions, that the Iraqi people themselves have.
And they're going to have to make political compromises to do it. They're going to have to find their own way politically and we will be there to support them.
That is, perhaps, the most important set of steps that have to take place after this election.
Our role, as you rightly say, is to focus on what we can do to help them build capacity in their security forces and in their economy.
And in their security forces, again, I -- we can talk about what was foreseeable or what was not. The people who are fighting now -- yes, some of them are frustrated young people and we need to do, and Prime Minister Allawi is doing what he can to siphon those people off and to give them a stake in the future of Iraq.
And he's doing it.
We will help him with jobs programs. I think we do, as one adjustment, need to pay more attention to what jobs we are creating for Iraqis out of the reconstruction dollars that we are spending.
And that's one issue that I've asked to have looked at a little bit more closely, if the metric is how many jobs are we creating, how are we really creating jobs for the Iraqis.
But many of the people who are blowing up their fellow citizens, are blowing up Iraqis, are not actually people who were angry because they weren't paid. They are people who were part of Saddam Hussein's regime. They were Baathists at the high level of Baathism, not people who joined the party because they had to to get a job, but people who enjoyed the benefits and the fruits of Saddam Hussein's regime and people who spent their lives oppressing their fellow citizens. They've lost power and they want it back.
And so we have to be clear who the enemy is here.
Others are foreign terrorists, like Zarqawi, the face of terrorism, who frankly do see Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.
And they were committing terrorist acts some place. They weren't sitting and drinking tea some place. They were fighters, hard-core fighters in the war on terrorism. Now they've decided to fight in Iraq.
KERRY: Can I just interrupt you for a minute?
KERRY: I understand that.
I mean, you're describing for me the different groups of terrorists. I know who they are. Some of them are criminals. Some are jihadists. Some of them are the former Baathists. Some are them are Zarqawi. We understand that.
The question I asked you is: What are you going to do -- why have we rebuffed the efforts of others to be involved, Russians, Indians offered peacekeepers -- others involved? The U.N. offered at a point in time.
There have been a series of offers here and we keep, sort of, making this decision to go it alone. And there's a frustration out there in the global leadership that's sort of wondering, you know, whether we're going to change that dynamic and bring them to the table in a legitimate way.
RICE: But, Senator, the only reason that I rehearsed who we're fighting is that there was the notion somehow that these were people who were made angry by our policies.
KERRY: Well, some were.
RICE: I think most of them were made angry by the fact that Saddam Hussein was overthrown.
But, you're right, there are people we need to respond to who need jobs and the like.
As to international help, I would note we do have an international coalition. We have 27 countries on the ground with us, soon to be 28.
Yes, some of the contributions are small, but for small countries they are significant contributions.
We have contributions from places like Japan and South Korea that one would not expect -- Asian allies who are serving in Iraq, and we need to honor those contributions.
Senator, I'll check, but frankly I'm not aware of Russian offers of peacekeeper support...
KERRY: Indian peacekeepers.
RICE: ... in Iraq. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite, that there don't seem to be people who are willing to put forces on the grounded.
KERRY: They offered training and...
RICE: There are people who in differing ways are offering training. For instance, we've taken up and have been using for some time the German efforts at training in the UAE for police forces. The Egyptians have trained some people. We'll look at what more they could do.
KERRY: The Germans say they could do more.
RICE: And we will -- if they want to do more, they only have to say they can do more and I can guarantee you, we will want them to do more.
One of the things that I will do going forward is, after this election is over, we have a chance now to, as an international community, support a new elected Iraqi government. And it may be a time that we can enhance the contributions of some members of the international community, but it is not for lack of trying that we have not been able to get forces on the ground from some of these countries.
KERRY: My time is up. I want to -- we're not really finished with it in a sense. But let me say to you very quickly, that as you make a judgment about this, I think all of my colleagues would report to you and I think you'll hear it from generals and others, the current policy is growing the insurgency, not diminishing it.
And you need to think, as -- I'm still going to try to see if we can be more precise about what you intend to do to change this dynamic and effect the political reconciliation necessary.
There are many people who believe that Kirkuk, for instance, may explode because of the Kurd issue after the election, because of what happened in their efforts to move people in, and they were denied the effort.
And so the dynamics of the election could actually, without the proper actions, provide a greater capacity for civil war than there is today, absent the right steps.
RICE: Senator, I think that the elections, the Iraqis understand the opportunity that the elections will give them to address some of the divisions that you are talking about.
There is no doubt that Iraq is a country that has deep divisions and it is a country where Saddam Hussein exploited those divisions, for instance, with the policy of Arabization in Kirkuk.
And so they have a long and hard road ahead to effect national reconciliation.
But I've been, frankly, quite heartened by the fact that the Shia, whenever there's an attack against them by Zarqawi and his people or by the insurgents, don't take to the barricades. What they say is, this is going to be a unified Iraq, and we're not going to fall to sectarian violence.
So I think we need to give them a chance here. You know, the political process, as you well know and you all know better than I, is one of coming to terms with divisions, coming to terms with institutions that mitigate against people's sense of alienation.
It takes time. It takes effort. Sometimes the compromises are a bit imperfect at first. But over time, it gets better.
You know, we've had our own history with this. I often say, and I don't mean it jokingly, that so far I have not seen the Iraqis, or for that matter, the Afghans, make a compromise as bad as the one in 1789 that declared my ancestors to be three-fifths of a man.
So we need to be patient with people as they make these moves to democracy, understand that it will be in small steps, that they will have ups and downs, that the whole process will have ups and downs.
But as long as they're on a strategic road that is getting them to a government that can actually represent the aspirations of the Iraqi people as a whole, I think they've got a chance.
The insurgency wants very much to halt that process and throw Iraq back. We have to provide the Iraqis with the tools through training, through capacity building, to defeat that insurgency with our help, and that's what we're trying to do.
KERRY: I couldn't agree with you more. The only question is why it's not happening at a pace that maximizes the capacity for success and minimizes the potential of disaster.
The Sunnis are viewing this election, as you know, with the highest level of anxiety and suspicion. They view it as, sort of, a quasi-American joining with the Shia to provide Ayatollah Sistani and the Shia with a power-hold that they can never achieve in several hundred years otherwise.
And unless there's some kind of reconciliation process -- that every European leader and every Arab leader talked to me about, which currently isn't on the table -- we're going to have an exceedingly hard time patching that together.
I want to have happened what you just described. My fear is, there is nothing that shows me a sufficient level of sophistication and openness to bringing people to the table to make it happen.
I think you have a unique opportunity now. But I'd like to hear the administration articulate a little more how it intends to proceed to grab that opportunity.
And I've abused my time. I apologize, Mr. Chairman.
LUGAR: Well, thank you very much, Senator Kerry.
The chair has allowed the exchange to proceed, because it was an important one. And perhaps there will be a further opportunity to continue that dialogue.
I'm going to suggest, respectfully, to members that there will four more senators recognized before we have our break today, and that will get us farther and farther down the batting order so that we can commence this afternoon with recognition of everybody else and then maybe a second round.
SEN. NORM COLEMAN (D-MN), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to join those in applauding Secretary Powell and Armitage for work that they did. And I also do want to note that some of us are overjoyed to have Senator Kerry back here with us today.
I also want...
KERRY: There's going to be a certain unanimity over there. Just pass a quick resolution and move on.
COLEMAN: I also want to make note of the incredible work the Foreign Service staff does.
I just came back on a bipartisan trip visit with Majority Leader Frist and Whip McConnell and Senator Landrieu from Louisiana and Senator DeWine from Ohio. And we had a chance to be in Iraq with Ambassador Negroponte and his staff, many of who are former ambassadors who have come back into service to serve at, not ambassadorial level, but the level of commitment is just extraordinary.
I saw that in Afghanistan and in Pakistan and India and all the places that we were -- in Brussels -- as part of our journey. So I just -- I don't think we give enough credit to folks who are doing such great work for this country. Just an observation from my trip, and perhaps a little different perspective from Senator Kerry's, one, what I saw is an incredible moment of opportunity right now.
We met with Prime Minister Singh of India. He said relations between America and India have never been better -- have never been better.
And I didn't sense, by the way, that sense of being rebuffed in Iraq. In fact, the sense I got -- and we raised the issue of Iraq with all the leaders in Pakistan and in India and with the European Union.
I think there's a tentativeness, certainly about the security situation in four of the 18 provinces. There's a concern -- not a concern, but there's a hope that the election, the election that's going to take place, that has to take place -- has to take place -- on January 30th provides a moment of opportunity with two more elections to come.
But one of the great success stories, which we don't talk about enough, is in Afghanistan, where the election there was a paradigm- shifting event -- paradigm-shifting event. Karzai ran under a platform of developing a stronger strategic relationship with the United States, and elected.
Eighty-two percent, by the way, of the voters were women. And in Minnesota, which we pride ourselves having the highest turnout in the nation, I don't think we get 82 percent. Pretty stunning.
And so, at least the sense I got is Afghanistan is this great miracle. Iraq in four of the 18 provinces, deep concerns.
But we met with Carlos Valenzuela, the U.N. adviser to the election, he said the election would pass today international tests of credibility and independence; be a solid election.
In Pakistan, we met with Musharraf, who was not democratically elected, but talked about a commitment to democracy within two years, talked about a vision of enlightened moderation within the Islamic world.
And that was heartening. And he's got to follow through now. We have to hold him to those commitments.
But we saw that.
And then in Brussels, with the E.U., with the secretary general, de Scheffer, and European Union President Barroso, they talk about a new wind blowing, a new moment of opportunity.
So I hope, Dr. Rice, and I'm sure you recognize, there is this moment of opportunity, for whatever reason. The president's going to be there four more years.
But there is a -- what happened in Afghanistan with the election I think is very important. I don't think we reflect on it enough. And the sense I got from our allies is not that they're being rebuffed, but a little hesitancy. But now they're ready to come forward and we have to then seize the moment.
The challenge in two areas that I think are critical, one -- and Senator Dodd raised it -- in Latin America. I'm deeply concerned that we've had 20 years of democracy that I think threatens to be undermined by economic promises that aren't fulfilled. And I think we need to be focused on that region.
And in the second round of questions I think I'll specifically ask about Colombia and talk about that.
So I think there is a great challenge.
And the other is Russia. Deep concerns about -- I think in your comments you talked about an uneven path -- path to democracy uneven.
I would agree with Senator Biden that what we're seeing is a -- we're seeing a slippage, we're seeing a reversal of course. We're seeing a regression on the part of the Russians. And as the president prepares to meet with Putin, I just -- I hope we continue to press these issues.
In fact, I'll raise a micro issue and the micro issue has to do with some religious documents important to the Jewish community, the Schneerson documents important to the Chabad-Lubavitch community.
I marched for the issue of freedom for Soviet Jewry in the 1980s here in Washington.
And we still face those issues, and my concern is as we look to develop our relationship with the Russians that we continue to press them on the religious freedom issues -- these documents in particular -- (inaudible) that we continue to have deep concerns, deep concerns as to what I see as a regression.
So I just want to make that statement, and I hope that you would kind of push on those; the little things sometimes become big things.
RICE: Thank you. And we will very much push on those issues and issues of the Schneerson documents, but also religious freedom.
I think you're very right. We need to pay attention in Russia to what is happening to individual rights since (ph) as well as religious freedom.
COLEMAN: Let me raise, then, in this round, just one other issue.
Obviously my subcommittee is involved in the investigation of oil-for-food. We just had release of documents.
By the way, I want to thank the State Department. I know within the budget committees of the U.N. they pushed to have member states have access to these reports, and as a result, we got them a lot quicker and because of that kind of support and that kind of focus.
I have a question about -- these most recent documents highlight a lot of mismanagement, serious mismanagement.
We fund 22 percent of the U.N.'s operating budget. We had a terrible environmental crisis in which, by the way, we responded to very, very well, the Indians responded to well.
I worry about the ability of the U.N. to be able to respond credibly when we've got this stain of mismanagement. And I would, and again I think we're just seeing the tip of it right now. Our investigation will go on, but these audits demonstrate severe mismanagement of resources that are simply not tolerable when the concerns and the needs that we have.
Can you reflect a little bit on the oil-for-food impact on U.N. credibility and how do we move forward?
RICE: Yes, absolutely. I would agree with you that it is -- I'll use the word scandal. I think it is a scandal what happened with oil-for-food.
And it is extremely unfortunate, because it -- not only did it allow Saddam Hussein to continue to get resources, it was very hard on the Iraqi people, so we had the worst of both circumstances.
It was also the process that we were relying on, of course, to keep Saddam Hussein contained and checked.
And, clearly, we weren't doing that. The sanctions were breaking down. He was playing the international community like a violin.
And we can't let that happen again, should we ever get into position where we have to do something in terms of sanctions. It's just outrageous.
Now, I hope that the Volcker commission will get all of this -- the cooperation that they need from the U.N. to continue their process.
And we have worked -- and I appreciate hearing that things have gotten better for the congressional committees here, because we really do expect openness and transparency and information flow from the United Nations.
I know we've made State Department people who would have knowledge available to talk with people here.
We've opened up the Iraq Survey Group's files, in effect, to people.
We've got to get to the bottom of what happened here. And those who were responsible, I think, should be held accountable.
I will note that some changes are being made at the U.N. in terms of the structure of the staffing there, that more changes have been recommended as a part of the high-level panel.
And the United States has to stay active in the U.N. reform process. because we want the U.N. to be effective. We don't want it to be an ineffective organization. We have too much work to do together. And it has to be effective, and it has to be admired for its integrity in its programs. And so this will be an important agenda for us.
And if I could just go back to the point that you made earlier, Senator Coleman, which is about the moment of opportunity.
It's very easy in the day-to-day to lose sight of some of the things that you mentioned. I do think that if you had sat here 2 1/2 years ago trying to talk about the situation in Afghanistan, you might have wondered at the sanity of someone who said that there was going to be an election with a president elected who was running on a platform that he is pro-American, who would have dealt pretty effectively now with the warlords around him, who is moving toward women's rights and the likes, I think we would have thought that farfetched.
Similarly, if you'd sat here three and a half years ago and said that Pakistan was going to turn its guns on extremism rather than supporting the extremists in places (ph) like al Qaeda and the Taliban, you would have again said that this is farfetched.
So we have to remember that these are historical processes.
And I want to just go back to Iraq for a moment.
This is a huge historical change that is going on in the center of the Arab world, and it has great promise and it has great peril. And we are aware of both.
But we shouldn't lose sight of the promise of Prime Minister Allawi and the leaders, including the Shia leaders, reaching out to Sunnis and saying, "You are going to have a place in this government. Yes, you're only 20 percent of the population, and yes the Shia, who are now 60 percent of the population, have been repressed, as have the Kurds, but that doesn't matter. We're going to have a common Iraqi future."
And my read is that the reason that Sunnis are nervous about this election is not that they want to boycott the elections because they think they're somehow just a shill for Sunni -- for Shia dominance, but rather because there is widespread intimidation by these thugs against the Sunni people. We have to recognize what the motivation is here.
The Sunnis want to participate in these elections, but there are people who are engaging in the most brutal intimidation.
And so the Iraqis, I think, will find a way to, after the elections, unify their country again, and we have to be there to help them.
But from the historical perspective of 30,000 feet, it's sometimes important to see the long sweep, not the short term.
COLEMAN; And we heard that from our bipartisan visit just last week.
If I can, Mr. Chairman, I would like to enter into the record a commentary by Paul Bremer that was in the Wall Street Journal on January 12th.
Dr. Rice has answered the concern raised by Senator Kerry. But Bremer did note in this article (inaudible) in July 2003 we began paying a monthly stipend to all but the most senior or former officers. These payments continue to this day.
So if any former army officers involved in the insurgency does not (ph) for money, their objective is simply to retake power and to return Iraq to its horrible past. So I would like that to be part of the record.
LUGAR: Thank you. It will be made a part of the record.
RICE: Thank you.
LUGAR: Thank you, Senator Coleman.
SEN. RUSSELL FEINGOLD (D-WI), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me join the other members of this committee in congratulating you, Dr. Rice, on your nomination.
I've always enjoyed our conversations and work together.
It's long been apparent that the president has tremendous confidence in you. And his choice to nominate you to be the secretary of state, at a time when the United States faces so many profound challenges and so much global distrust, is still more evidence of his deep and abiding trust in you.
Dr. Rice, obviously you and I disagree on many issues. I actually think that the Bush administration's foreign policy, over the last four years, has been on many fronts misguided and self-defeating. And I will continue to oppose these policies.
Nothing is more important to this country than prevailing in the fight against terrorism. In that effort and the related effort to repair our country's image and create a more stable and just and prosperous world for our children to inherit, we have to make sure our policies are effective and well thought out.
I just returned two days ago from a trip to Algeria, Chad and Mali. And after that I'm even more convinced than before that we need to make a much more substantial commitment to ensuring that the vast youthful populations of the Middle East and Asia and Africa do not mistakenly believe that our goal is to humiliate them, and therefore to believe that their best hope might be a movement that many seem to promise pride and belonging, but actually delivers hatred and repression and brutality and terror.
So, Dr. Rice, where we do agree I hope to be a strong and active ally of yours. We have to make the right policies work.
Just as an aside, I note that, in response to Senator Coleman's questions, you talked about the need for accountability of the U.N. for the oil-for-food program -- and I agree with that. But just have to know, shouldn't the demand for accountability also apply to this administration for the long litany of mistakes and misstatements about Iraq?
There hasn't been serious accountability for that.
So I'm not going to hesitate to point out mistakes or raise questions. The stakes are too high. And I'd like to begin by continuing an exchange you had with Senator Kerry.
You indicated that if there are countries willing to do more to help us stabilize Iraq, quote, "All they have to do is say they want to do more."
I think this comment troubles me. Americans are dying, and our approach to burden-sharing is to wait for others to come to us?
I'd like to hear a little bit about what your strategy will be to proactively reach out, to squeeze every drop of assistance from others that is available. That will be your job.
You just can't sit and wait for others to raise their hands and volunteer. I wonder if you could comment on that.
RICE: Of course.
And, Senator, let me be very, clear about this: We have been reaching out to others and asking them what they can do to stabilize Iraq. It is a constant preoccupation of Secretary Powell, who has talked to every counterpart that he has about what might be possible. It is something that the president has raised in his many meetings with people.
It is something that we took to NATO and that's how we got the NATO training mission, talking to people about what NATO can do. We mobilized the world to -- the G-7 to give debt forgiveness to Iraq, which will save that country a lot of resources and make it possible for it to recover.
I know in my personal conversations around the world, I always ask the question. I start with the premise that we all want to see a stable and democratizing Iraq. I then go on to say that I understand that we've had differences in the past, but that now we all have a common future in looking to a stable and democratizing Iraq. And then the very next question is, "So what can you do to help?" And this has been a preoccupation of reaching out.
My only point was that we will have another opportunity when the elections are held, elections that will come out of a process that the U.N. blessed in a U.N. Security Council resolution. And that countries that may have had hesitancy, for whatever reason, I hope that they will really step up.
We had a very successful donor conference, for instance, in which countries made very large financial pledges to this effort. So we are getting help. I think we can get more. Perhaps more countries will be active after the elections.
I would just note on the matter of the region, there have been a couple of very important meetings of regional leaders. One that took place with the G-8 and with the E.U., the G-8 and regional leaders there, to pledge support to Iraqi democracy. There was a recent meeting that King Abdullah of Jordan held, which was a meeting that was to actively ask people to participate in the elections.
I think the world is coming together behind the idea that we have to succeed in Iraq and we have to succeed by building a more democratic Iraq. And we'll welcome all of the help.
But I didn't mean to leave the impression that we're not reaching out. We're consistently and constantly reaching out.
FEINGOLD: I thank you for that.
My sense is that we've not reached out as often and as well as we could. But I wish you well in an aggressive approach to this.
I don't think anything would mean more to the American people, and particularly the families of our soldiers, to know that we're doing everything we can possibly do to get the help from other countries that we can.
Dr. Rice, I've reflected a lot of times on the memo that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld issued in October 2003 which indicated that, despite over two years having passed since September 11th, quote, "relatively little effort had gone into developing a long-range plan to win the fight against terrorism." He pointed out that there's no consensus within the national security community of the United States about how to even measure success in the fight.
And I think the secretary of defense was quite right. And I don't see any particular evidence that this problem has been remedied. In fact, if you just listen to the discussion here at this three-hour- some hearing today, there's been actually not a whole lot of discussion about the fight against terror, unless you believe that the Iraq war is the heart and soul of that, which I don't.
And that troubles me. I think we risk losing focus; something I believe happened when we turned the lion's share of our attention to Iraq, devoting many years and billions of dollars and possibly many American lives to ineffective or self-defeating strategies. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, how have you and the department been assessing the success and efficacy of policies designed to actually fight terrorist networks, to strengthen the multilateral coalition cooperating to combat these networks, and to prevent these networks from gaining new support and new recruits?
And how do you, sort of, measure that success? Do you think the metrics and assessments that we're now using in the fight against terror are sufficient?
I'm going to reiterate, I'm talking here about, not the broader strategy that the president has articulated, but the specific issue of terrorist networks and where they actually exist.
RICE: Well, Senator, there are a number of important elements in the fight on terror, and I'll come back to -- I do think there is a broader context here that has to be understood.
But first of all, when look at the organization that did 9/11, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's organization, I think that you would see that we have had considerable success in bringing down the field generals of that organization, people like Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaida and others.
It is true, I'm certain, they work to replace those people but they lose a lot of skill and experience in these field generals who had trained in Afghanistan together and had worked to produce September 11th.
And there's a lot of evidence that we've really hurt the organization in that way.
Secondly, in terms of their financing, I think we've made a great deal of progress, not just in the United States in tracking and dealing with terrorist financing, but around the world.
You know, we didn't understand, really, the structure of terrorist financing very well. We didn't understand the role of non- governmental organizations that sounded like they were for good purposes but were, in fact, carrying out or funding terrorist activities.
Others didn't understand that, in the Muslim world, like the Saudis. And we have made, I think, great strides in doing that.
We've made strides in denying them territory. You know, one of the ways that you fight a war is you deny the other side territory. And when you -- when you look at what has happened to them, their world has gotten smaller.
Afghanistan is not a hospitable environment now for terrorists. It used to be the home base for al Qaeda, with its training camps and its access to Afghanistan's benefits of being a state.
They can no longer count on Pakistan, which had such strong ties to the Taliban that it was not really an aggressive actor against al Qaeda.
They can no longer count on not being pursued up in the Northwest Frontier, the federally administered tribal areas that hadn't been governed by Pakistan for -- hadn't been ever governed by Pakistan. They can't count on that territory.
So we are denying them territory.
FEINGOLD: Dr. Rice, I don't share the view that they've lost territory actually.
I happen to have supported the invasion of Afghanistan and understand absolutely why we had to do that.
I've done a fair amount of work in East Africa and Northern Africa. We aren't denying the terrorist elements to those territories, when it comes to Somalia, or Algeria, or the activities that have occurred in Kenya.
Our focus on Iraq has been so single-minded and, in fact, I was told by some of our own officials in that region this past week that a lot of things have gone waiting because of the demands of the Iraq invasion in terms of dealing with this issue in North Africa and in Eastern Africa.
I know there are efforts going on and I encourage those efforts and I support them. But in terms of the balance, I think the balance has not been correct.
RICE: Senator, in East Africa, we have a very effective set of partnerships and counterterrorism strategy with, for instance, Kenya.
Somalia is a particular problem, a unique problem given that it's ungoverned, in effect. And the problem there is to try and bring about some kind of stable government in the long run. But in the meantime, we have worked with Somalia's neighbors to try and increase their capacity to deal with counterterrorism...
FEINGOLD: Dr. Rice, I see my time's up.
But we have no policy in Somalia. Our government has no policy in Somalia. And we simply must reverse that if we're going to get serious about terrorism.
RICE: But, Senator, our intention in Somalia is to try to work with the IGAD process there to bring about a government. It has been extremely difficult.
In the meantime, we've tried to contain the terrorist threat in Somalia by working with Kenya and with others in East Africa.
But I will tell you, Senator -- I'd just like to make one final point -- I do sit every day and look at the terrorist threat reporting that's coming in. I look every day at the efforts to disrupt terrorism around the world. And I can tell you that the reports come from every -- practically every service in the world, because our liaison relationships are so much more developed now, that when you have a situation like we faced back in December of last year, where we thought there might be an imminent threat to the United States, that we're able to mobilize law enforcement around the world, that you do get major take-downs of terrorists in places like Pakistan, which had been a central place for them to operate.
We are making a lot of progress in this. But I know that there are differences on the question of what the ultimate antidote to terror is.
And it is our view, and the president's view, that the ultimate antidote is to deal with the source of that terror, and that really is ultimately the freedom deficit. And that in order to do that, you've got to have a different kind of Middle East. And that's why we do see Iraq as being a part of that war on terrorism.
FEINGOLD: Just one last comment. Certainly, the freedom deficit is a legitimate way to look at this. But I think the reality of failed states and lawless areas is just as important in terms of the terrorist threat and needs to be considered in that regard.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Feingold.
SEN. GEORGE VOINOVICH (R-OH), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I'd like to publicly thank Secretary Powell and Secretary Armitage for the outstanding -- and their team for the outstanding job that they've done for this country during the last four years.
I'd like to thank you, also, for being willing to come before us to seek confirmation as secretary of state of the United States of America.
I couldn't help but think, as I have heard my colleagues ask questions here today, the enormous responsibilities that you're taking on in terms of the world. There's no country in the world where a foreign minister is being asked questions about the whole world. And you're being asked questions about the whole world. And what are you going to do?
And I'd like to share with my colleagues that one of the things that we all ought to be concerned about is whether or not the new secretary of state is going to have the budget and the human capital that she is going to need to get the job done.
Are we going to prioritize, in terms of this nation, the money necessary so that many of the questions that have been asked here at this table about, "What are you going to do about this, and what are you going to be doing about that?" are going to be -- we're going to be able to do something about it, and at the same time, maybe look at our own tax policy, and give consideration to what Senator Sarbanes has been talking about, the trade deficit that's looming and the account deficit.
And I'm very happy to hear that Bob Zoellick is interested in coming over, because Bob's got tremendous background in the area of trade, which I think is essential to almost everything that you'll be doing.
I was glad also, in your testimony you said that, "More than ever, America's diplomats will need to be active in spreading democracy, fighting terror, reducing poverty and doing our part to protect the American homeland. I will personally work to ensure that America's diplomats have the tools they need to do their jobs, from training to budgets to mentoring to embassy security."
We expect you to come here before this committee and give us what you think you need to get the job done. And I think it's your job to advocate to the administration about what it is you need to get the job done. We've got to be real.
You've dealt with a lot of the major issues that are on everyone's mind. But I think you know I have a particular interest in Southeast Europe, where I spent probably more time than any member of the Foreign Relations Committee. And we've made some progress there.
We've gotten rid of Milosevic. We've gotten rid of Tudjman. Stjepan Mesic just got reelected president of Croatia. Slovenia has joined NATO and the E.U. And there's some real progress being made.
But I am very concerned about what's going on in Serbia- Montenegro today. I'm very concerned about what's happening in Kosovo. Because I really believe that, unless things are stabilized in Serbia-Montenegro and we stabilize things in Kosovo, that we could very well have another crisis on your hands this year, particularly because we're discussing the final status of Kosovo, what's going to be happening there.
I'd like to say that Mark Grossman has done a good job. I'd like to know, where is that on your priority list? And are you familiar with it? And what do you -- you know, we've got our NATO forces over there.
They haven't got the job done.
You recall on the 17th of March last year, 4,000 refugees, 900 homes burned, 30 churches. There's some real problems in that part of the world. We've invested a lot of money. I'd like to know what do you think you're going to do about that?
RICE: Yes, I think it's a high priority, Senator, because it would help complete the European construction if you think of it that way, that in effect, until the Balkans is settled it's going to be hard to think of Europe as truly whole and free. So we need to resolve the remaining Balkans issues.
And on Bosnia-Herzegovina we've made a lot of progress. We've been able to end the SFOR mission there and to have the E.U. take that mission over.
But you're right, in Kosovo, in Serbia, Montenegro, we have a thorny set of problems.
One of the issues in Kosovo has been to try to get some energy into UNMIK. And I think we've got now in the leadership there, strong people who are looking to try to improve the coordination on economic and political affairs there.
We definitely need the Serbs to continue their democratic process. I think we were all somewhat heartened about the election there of Mr. Tadic, and I hope that they will take the opportunity that that provides to make progress on the further democratization of Serbia.
And, of course, we do need their cooperation in the international tribunal for Yugoslavia, and we continue to press that case.
Ultimately, on Kosovo, as we've had this standards before status approach, we recognize that the standards are going to be important to the future of that region. Meeting those standards is going to be important to the future of that region.
And I notice that Mr. Jessen-Petersen has put a lot of emphasis on those standards that are about minority rights and the need to deal with the Serbian minority there, so that we can move on then to discussions in the review conference that's coming up about status (ph).
VOINOVICH: I'd just like to say that I hope that we really give it the priority it needs. Because last year when Secretary Powell was here, I said to him, "I don't think we're doing the job we're supposed to be doing."
He said, "I know. I think things are fine." And then we had the blowup there.
But I'm just telling you, we have a situation there.
Now you've got the new prime minister of Kosovo who may go to The Hague, Selana (ph), and our people have encouraged the Kosovars not to put that person in and he's still there.
So you've got a real problem there that needs to be taken care of in addition to getting the other countries to give up their caveats in terms of what they can do. Because we had all these burnings of homes there and they just watched the homes and monasteries burn down and said, "We can't do anything about it because our orders are we only protect people, not property."
RICE: I take the point, Senator.
VOINOVICH: The other issue that I'm very interested in, and we've made some great progress in this area of global anti-Semitism. As you know, we passed legislation, the president signed, global anti- Semitism legislation. I think the report that came out of the State Department did an outstanding job of portraying this situation. It is a crisis all over the world, particularly in the OSCE area.
And I would encourage you to give the same kind of commitment to this issue that Secretary Powell has made. He was in Vienna, he was in Berlin.
And one of the concerns I have -- and would be interested if you're familiar with it -- is the budget of the OSCE and whether or not the OSCE is going to provide the money necessary to ODIHR, which is the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Resources, to really monitor this anti-Semitism issue.
They've agreed to do it but, as you know, so often people agree to do things and then the money is not there to get the job done.
And whether or not anybody's talked to you about the fact that they're going to have another conference in Cordoba, in Spain, in June. And I would recommend that you be there, because I think that without the presence of the secretary of state of the United States, it doesn't get the kind of clout that we need for that issue to be dealt with.
RICE: I appreciate it, Senator.
I'm aware of the conference. It will be a very important conference.
I will look into the budget issue. I was not aware of the budget issue, but I will look into that.
VOINOVICH: Well, it's my understanding that Russia is dragging its feet and slowing things down right now.
RICE: Right. And I think at some point have said they might not contribute. I understand that.
But this is an issue that, I think, gets everybody's attention when you have something pending like the conference. We'll put a focus on it, we'll put an emphasis on it in the way that we did in the past.
I think it was a great thing. Actually everyone who was there, including the countries of the OSCE, thought it was a great thing. And I'm glad we're having a second one.
VOINOVICH: Well, it's, as I say, a high priority, the money.
I also, as you know, feel that our best offense against terrorism is intelligence, diplomacy and something that Bobby Burns once talked to, and that is, "Oh, that some great power would give me the wisdom to see myself as other people see me."
And I also attended a CODEL. And we were in England, and we were in Southeast Europe, and then at the NATO meeting in Venice. And I was just shocked at what I got back from our friends about how badly we're thought of today in that part of the world.
And I just wonder, what are you going to do to try and change that?
I think what we're doing in the tsunami right now is wonderful. I think it's -- but we have got to show people that we love them, that we are for democracy, that we want them to enjoy the same thing but we haven't any hidden motives.
What are you planning on doing in that area to respond to that?
RICE: Senator, first of all, I do agree that the tsunami was a wonderful opportunity to show not just the U.S. government, but the heart of the American people. And I think it has paid great dividends for us.
Sometimes what happens is that we've had to ask people to do very difficult things and we've had policies that people don't like.
I think in some corners there are people who've been unhappy with the way that we've dealt with the Middle East, with the strong support for Israel, with our strong belief that terrorism has got to stop there.
But we somehow have to get the message out that this is also the first president to call, as a matter of policy, for a Palestinian state, and somehow we're not getting that message out as well.
What I plan to do is that I'm going to put a major emphasis on public diplomacy in all of its forms. That means in getting our message out.
And public diplomacy really is the State Department's core -- a State Department responsibility. The State Department has to take on this challenge. Because public diplomacy isn't done here in Washington. Public diplomacy is done in London or done in Amman or done in Riyadh.
And so, the arms and legs of the public diplomacy effort are our embassies out there and our ambassadors and what they do on a daily basis.
And so I think we have to have a new, renewed effort on that piece of it, getting our message out.
We also have to have a new, renewed effort on getting our people back and forth. Because people, when they come to the United States and see who we are and can get past some of the filter of perhaps some of the sides of America that are not well-liked or respected, I think do come away with a different view of us.
And so I will have a strong emphasis on getting our message out, on getting the truth to people, on diminishing the -- on doing something to mitigate against the propaganda that's out there against us, but also on going to our long-time partners and friends, and saying, "We have a common purpose here, a great cause ahead of us."
And the trans-Atlantic alliance, you know, sometimes it's a little bit like whatever it was that Mark Twain said about Wagner's music. I think he said it's better than it sounds.
Well, in fact, our trans-Atlantic alliances are really better than people give us credit for. We're cooperating in a lot of places. We're working hard together in a lot of places. We've had a lot of successes.
But we can do more in this period of tremendous opportunity to unify the great democracies, the great alliances for a push to spread freedom and liberty.
I think it's an agenda that is inspiring. And I think we've done a lot already, but there is much more that we can do.
VOINOVICH: Thank you.
LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Voinovich.
SEN. BARBAR BOXER (D-CA), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Dr. Rice, for agreeing to stay as long as it takes, because some of us do have a lot of questions.
And, Senator Lugar, you are a very fair chairman.
And I wanted to say to the new members, also, welcome. And you'll enjoy this committee, because we have such a great chairman and such terrific ranking member. And we really do a lot of things in a bipartisan way, unlike other committees. And I think you're going to enjoy your time here.
Dr. Rice, before I get to my formal remarks, you no doubt will be confirmed. That's at least what we think.
And if you're going to become the voice of diplomacy, this is just a helpful point.
When Senator Voinovich mentioned the issue of tsunami relief, you said -- your first words were "The tsunami was a wonderful opportunity for us."
Now, the tsunami was one of the worst tragedies of our lifetime, one of the worst, and it's going to have a 10-year impact on rebuilding that area.
I was very disappointed in your statement. I think you blew the opportunity. You mentioned it as part of one sentence.
And I would hope to work with you on this, because children are suffering; we're worried they're going to get in the sex trade. This thing is a disaster -- a true natural disaster and a human disaster of great proportions. And I hope that the State Department will take a huge lead under your leadership in helping those folks in the long range. Mr. Chairman, again, I thank you.
Dr. Rice, I was glad you mentioned Martin Luther King -- was very appropriate, given everything.
And he also said -- Martin Luther King -- quote, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."
And one of the things that matters most to my people in California and the people of America is this war in Iraq.
Now, it took you to page three of your testimony to mention the word "Iraq." You said very little, really, about it, and only in this questioning have you been able to get into some areas.
Perhaps you agree with President Bush who said, "All that's been resolved" -- I'm quoting today's Post.
Bush said in an interview last week with The Washington Post that the '04 election was a moment of accountability for the decisions he made in Iraq.
But today's Washington Post-ABC poll found that 58 percent disapprove of his handling of the situation to 40 percent who approve and only 44 percent said the war was worth fighting.
So in your statement, it takes you to page three to mention the word Iraq. Then you mention it in the context of elections, which is fine. But you never even mentioned indirectly the 1,366 American troops that have died or the 10,372 who have been wounded, many mentally. There's a report that I read over the weekend that maybe a third will come home and need help because of what they saw. It's been so traumatic to them.
And 25 percent of those dead are from my home state. This from a war that was based on what everyone now says, including your own administration, were falsehoods about WMDs, weapons of mass destruction.
And I've had tens of thousands of people from all over the country say that they disagree -- although they respect the president, they disagree that this administration and the people in it shouldn't be held accountable.
I don't know if you saw the movie "The Fog of War." War is a nightmare. You know that. Colin Powell, I think, was the most eloquent I've heard on it, because he's seen it himself. He's been there and done it.
And I don't want to have you in a circumstance where you're writing something, years later, about the fog of war. And I'm fearful, if we don't see some changes here, we're going to have trouble.
And I think the way we should start is by trying to set the record straight on some of the things you said going into this war. Now, since 9/11, we've been engaged in a just fight against terror. And I, like Senator Feingold and everyone here who was in the Senate at the time, voted to go after Osama bin Laden and to go after the Taliban and to defeat al Qaeda.
And you say they have less territory; that's not true. Your own documents show that al Qaeda has expanded from 45 countries in '01 to more than 60 countries today.
Well, with you in the lead role, Dr. Rice, we went into Iraq.
I want to read you a paragraph that best expresses my views -- and ask my staff if they would hold this up -- and I believe the views of millions of Californians and Americans. It was written by one of the world's experts on terrorism, Peter Bergen, five months ago.
He wrote: "What we've done in Iraq is what bin Laden could not have hoped for in his wildest dreams. We invaded an oil-rich Muslim nation in the heart of the Middle East, the very type of imperial adventure bin Laden has long predicted was the U.S. long-term goal in the region. We deposed the secular socialist Saddam, whom bin Laden has long despised, ignited Sunni and Shia fundamentalist fervor in Iraq, and have now provoked a defensive jihad that has galvanized jihad-minded Muslims around the world. It's hard to imagine a set of policies better designed to sabotage the war on terror."
This conclusion was reiterated last Thursday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank, which released a report saying that Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of professionalized terrorists.
That's your own administration's CIA.
NIC Chairman Robert Hutchings said Iraq is, quote, "a magnet for international terrorist activity."
And this was not the case in '01. And I have great proof of it, including a State Department document that lists every country in which al Qaeda operated prior to 9/11, and you can see the countries. No mention of Iraq. And this booklet was signed off on by the president of the United States, George W. Bush -- was put out by George Bush's State Department and he signed it.
There was no al Qaeda activity there. No cells.
Now, the war was sold to the American people, as chief of staff to President Bush Andy Card said, like a new product. Those are his words. Remember, he said, "You don't roll out a new product in the summer."
Now, you rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people as you made your case with the president. And I personally believe -- this is my personal view -- that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth. And I don't say it lightly. And I'm going to go into the documents that show your statements and the facts at the time. Now, I don't want the families of those 1,366 troops that were killed or the 10,372 that were wounded to believe for a minute that their lives and their bodies were given in vain. Because when your commander in chief asks you to sacrifice yourself for your country, it is the most noble thing you can do to answer that call.
I am giving their families, as we all are here, all the support they want and need. But I also will not shrink from questioning a war that was not built on the truth.
Now, perhaps the most well-known statement you've made was the one about Saddam Hussein launching a nuclear weapon on America with the image of quote, quoting you, "a mushroom cloud." That image had to frighten every American into believing that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of annihilating them if he was not stopped.
And I will be placing into the record a number of such statements you made which have not been consistent with the facts.
As the nominee for secretary of state, you must answer to the American people and you are doing that now through this confirmation process. And I continue to stand in awe of our founders, who understood that ultimately those of us in the highest positions of our government must be held accountable to the people we serve.
So I want to show you some statements that you made regarding the nuclear threat and the ability of Saddam to attack us.
Now, on July 30th, 2003, you were asked by PBS "NewsHour's" Gwen Ifill, if you continue to stand by the claims you made about Saddam's nuclear program in the days and months leading up to the war.
In what appears to be an effort to downplay the nuclear weapons scare tactics you used before the war, your answer was, and I quote: "It was a case that said he was trying to reconstitute. He's trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Nobody ever said that it was going to be the next year." So that's what you said to the American people on television: "Nobody ever said it was going to be the next year."
Well, that wasn't true. Because nine months before you said this to the American people, what had George Bush said? President Bush at his speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center: "If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little longer than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year."
So the president tells the people there could be a weapon. Nine months later, you said no one ever said he could have a weapon in a year, when, in fact, the president said it.
And here's the real kicker: On October 10th, '04, on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace, three months ago, you were asked about CIA Director Tenet's remark that prior to the war he had, quote, "made it clear to the White House that he thought the nuclear weapons program was much weaker than the program to develop other WMDs." Your response was this: "The intelligence assessment was that he was reconstituting his nuclear programs; that left unchecked he would have a nuclear weapon by the end of the year."
So here you are, first contradicting the president and then contradicting yourself. So it's hard to even ask you a question about this, because you are on the record basically taking two sides of an issue.
And this does not serve the American people.
If it served your purpose to downplay the threat of nuclear weapons, you said, "No one said he's going to have it in a year." But then later, when you thought perhaps you were on more solid ground with the American people, because at the time the war was probably popular, or more popular, you say, "We thought he was going to have a weapon within a year."
And this is -- the question is, this is a pattern here of what I see from you on this issue, on the issue of the aluminum tubes, on the issue of whether al Qaeda was actually involved in Iraq, which you've said many times.
And in my rounds -- I don't have any questions on this round because I'm just laying this out -- I do have questions on further rounds about similar contradictions. It's very troubling.
You know, if you were rolling out a new product like a can opener, who would care about what we said? But this product is a war. And people are dead and dying. And people are now saying they're not going to go back because of what they experienced there.
And it's very serious.
And as much as I want to look ahead -- and we will work together on a myriad of issues -- it's hard for me to let go of this war because people are still dying.
And you have not laid out an exit strategy. You've not set up a timetable. And you don't seem to be willing to, A, admit a mistake, or give any indication of what you're going to do to forcefully involve others.
As a matter of fact, you've said more misstatements: that the territory of the terrorists has been shrinking when your own administration says it's now expanded to 60 countries.
So I am deeply troubled.
RICE: Senator, may I respond?
Let me just say that I appreciate the importance of Senator Boxer's statement, that's why we allowed the statement to continue for several more minutes (inaudible) time.
BOXER: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I lost track of the time.
LUGAR: But, clearly, you ought to have the right to respond.
And then, at that point, we're going to have a recess.
But will you please give your response?
Senator, I am more than aware of the stakes that we face in Iraq, and I was more than aware of the stakes of going to war in Iraq.
I mourn the dead and honor their service. Because we have asked American men and women in uniform to do the hardest thing, which is to go and defend freedom and to give others an opportunity to build a free society which will make us safer.
Senator, I have to say that I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It is not my nature. It is not my character. And I would hope that we can have this conversation and discuss what happened before and what went on before and what I said, without impugning my credibility or my integrity.
The fact is that we did face a very difficult intelligence challenge in trying to understand what Saddam Hussein had in terms of weapons of mass destruction.
We knew something about him. We knew that we had gone to war with him twice in the past, in 1991 and in 1998. We knew that he continued to shoot at American aircraft in the no-fly zone as we tried to enforce the resolutions that the U.N. Security Council had passed.
We knew that he continued to threaten his neighbors. We knew that he was an implacable enemy of the United States, who did cavort with terrorists. We knew that he was the world's most dangerous man in the world's most dangerous region.
And we knew that in terms of weapons of mass destruction, he had sought them before, tried to build them before, that he had an undetected biological weapons program that we didn't learn of until 1995, that he was closer to a nuclear weapon in 1991 than anybody thought.
And we knew, most importantly, that he had used weapons of mass destruction.
That was a context that, frankly, made us awfully suspicious when he refused to account for his weapons of mass destruction programs, despite repeated Security Council resolutions and despite the fact that he was given one last chance to comply with Resolution 1441.
Now, there were lots of data points about his weapons of mass destruction programs. Some were right and some were not. But what was right was that there was an unbreakable link between Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction.
That is something that Charlie Duelfer, in his report of the Iraq Survey Group, has made very clear: that Saddam Hussein intended to continue his weapons of mass destruction activities, that he had laboratories that were run by his security services. I could go on and on.
But, Senator Boxer, we went to war, not because of aluminum tubes. We went to war because this was the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a man against whom we had gone to war before, who threatened his neighbors, who threatened our interests, who was one of the world's most brutal dictators and it was high time to get rid of him. And I'm glad that we're rid of him.
Now, as to the statement about territory and the terrorist groups, I was referring to the fact that the al Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden, which once trained openly in Afghanistan, which once ran with impunity in places like Pakistan, can no longer count on hospitable territory from which to carry out their activities.
In the places where they are, they are being sought and run down and arrested and pursued in ways that they never were before.
So we can have a semantic discussion about what it means to take or lose territory. But I don't think it's a matter of misstatement to say that the loss of Afghanistan, the loss of the northwest frontier of Pakistan, the loss of running with impunity in places like Saudi Arabia, the fact that now intelligence networks and law enforcement networks pursue them worldwide means that they have lost territory where they can operate with immunity.
BOXER: Mr. Chairman, I'm going to take 30 seconds, with your permission.
First of all, Charles Duelfer said, and I quote -- here it is. I ask unanimous consent to place in the record Charlie Duelfer's report.
LUGAR: It will be placed in the record.
BOXER: Which he says, "Although Saddam clearly assigned a high value to the nuclear progress and talent that had been developed up to '91, the program ended and the intellectual capital decayed in the succeeding years."
Here's the point: You and I could sit here and go back and forth and present our arguments, and maybe somebody watching the debate would pick one or the other depending on their own views. But I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in the facts.
So when I ask you these questions, I'm going to show you your words not my words.
And, if I might say, again you said you're aware of the stakes in Iraq. We sent our beautiful people -- and thank you, thank you so much for your comments about them -- to defend freedom.
You sent them in there because of weapons of mass destruction. Later, the mission changed when there were none.
I have your quotes on it. I have the president's quotes on it. And everybody admits it but you that that was the reason for the war.
And then once we're in there, now it moved to a different mission. Which is great, we all want to give democracy and freedom everywhere we can possibly do it, but let's not rewrite history. It's too soon to do that.
RICE: Senator Boxer, I would refer you to the president's speech before the American Enterprise Institute in February prior to the war, in which he talked about the fact that, yes, there was the threat of weapons of mass destruction but he also talked to the strategic threat that Saddam Hussein was to the region.
Saddam Hussein was a threat, yes, because he was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And, yes, we thought that he was -- that he had stockpiles, which he did not have. We had problems with the intelligence. We are all, as a collective polity of the United States, trying to deal with ways to get better intelligence.
But it wasn't just weapons of mass destruction. He was also a place -- his territory was a place where terrorists were welcomed, where he paid suicide bombers to bomb Israel, where he had used Scuds against Israel in the past, and so we knew what his intentions were in the region, where he had attacked his neighbors before and, in fact, tried to annex Kuwait, where we'd gone to war against him twice in the past.
It was the total picture, Senator, not just weapons of mass destruction, that caused us to decide that post-September 11th, it was finally time to deal with Saddam Hussein.
BOXER: Well, you should you read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that particular vote.
But again, I just feel, you quote President Bush when it suits you, but you contradicted him when he said, "Yes, Saddam could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." You go on television, nine months later, and said, "Nobody ever said it was going to be."
RICE: Senator, that was just a question of pointing out to people that there was an uncertainty, that no one was saying that he would have to have a weapon within a year for it to be worth it to go to war.
BOXER: Well, if you can't admit to this mistake, I hope that you will rethink it.
RICE: Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like. But I really hope that you will reframe from impugning my integrity. Thank you very much.
BOXER: I'm not. I'm just quoting what you said. You contradicted the president and you contradicted yourself.
RICE: Senator, I'm happy to continue the discussion. But I really hope that you will not imply that I take the truth lightly.
LUGAR: Let me intervene, at this point now.
We've had four hours of good hearing. And we thank all members for their constancy.
And we're going to recess. And I going to suggest that we come back at 2:30.
Is that convenient for you, Dr. Rice?
LUGAR: Very well, we recess until 2:30.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Richard Lugar, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee breaking up this session. It will continue in 90 minutes, as he just announced. An angry exchange there at the end between Senator Barbara Boxer and Condoleezza Rice. By all accounts she will overwhelmingly be confirmed as the next secretary of state, probably within the next day or two in order to be sworn in on January 20, the same day the president is sworn in for a second term as president of the United States.
CNN will continue its live coverage beginning 2:30 p.m. Eastern. I'll be back later today, every week day, 5 p.m. Eastern. Until then, thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "LIVE FROM" with Betty Nguyen and Tony Harris starts right now.
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