01 November 2003
Rice Highlights U.S. Strategy to Defeat Terrorism, Weapons Proliferation
U.S. leading efforts to roll back terrorist threat
to all nations
With U.S. leadership, the international community is succeeding
in rolling back the grave terrorist threat to all nations, as well
as building a diplomatic consensus on containing the proliferation
of nuclear weapons, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
said on October 30.
Addressing the National Legal Center For The Public Interest in
New York City, Rice said that the U.S. and the international community "are
taking the fight to the enemy. And we are finally rolling back
the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its
influence, but at the heart of its power."
Before September 11, Rice argued, terrorists faced no sustained
or systematic global response. "They became emboldened -- and the
result was more terror and more victims," she said.
The Bush Administration, Rice said, recognizes that terrorism,
rogue states, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
pose grave dangers to the security of all nations, and President
Bush's strategy has achieved great success in meeting these threats.
The Taliban have been removed from power in Afghanistan, and "nearly
two-thirds of al Qaeda's senior leaders, operational managers,
and key facilitators have been captured or killed. And the rest
are on the run -- permanently," she said.
In Iraq, Rice argued, President Bush chose to confront Saddam
Hussein rather than allow him "to defy the world and, poised in
the heart of the Middle East, sit atop a potentially deadly arsenal
of terrible weapons, threatening his neighbors."
"President Bush and a coalition of more than 40 nations chose
to act, and the world is both safer and better because they did," Rice
Elsewhere, Rice observed, the U.S. has worked patiently to build
international consensus on the need to prevent Iran from obtaining
nuclear weapons; and in the case of North Korea, to build a coalition
of nations opposed to nuclear arms on the Korean peninsula. "The
North Koreans know that a strategy of divide and conquer is no
longer an option," she said.
Rice also pointed to the Proliferation Security Initiative, under
which the U.S. and 10 other nations have approved a Statement of
Interdiction Principles consistent with international law, and "are
developing the capability to search planes, ships, trains and trucks
carrying suspect cargo, and to seize weapons and equipment that
raise proliferation concerns."
Rice paid tribute to the sacrifices that have been made to ensure
the safety and freedom of people throughout the world. "But we
must and will stay the course -- because free nations do not sponsor
terror, and free nations do not breed hatred," she said.
Following is the transcript of National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice's remarks to the National Legal Center for the Public Interest
in New York on October 30:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
October 31, 2003
Remarks by National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice to the
National Legal Center for the Public Interest
The Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York
October 30, 2003
Thank you very much. (Applause.) Well, thank you very much. But
I just have to say one thing, Bill, I am not one year from my 50th
birthday. I am one year, 16 days, and 15 hours from my 50th birthday.
(Laughter.) So I have a little longer than one year.
I want to thank my good friend, Judge Webster. When after September
11th, we were trying to figure out some of the issues about how
the CIA and the FBI might work better together to make the country
more secure, the person that I called first was the person who
had actually merged them, Bill Webster. And he came right away
and talked about his experiences, both as Director of the FBI and
as DCI. And I want to thank you, Bill, for your advice and counsel
throughout the years.
I want to thank Ernie Hueter, who has been a good friend for a
long time. And your service to this organization and to the country
is wonderful. And we honor you tonight, too, for your service.
I'm really pleased to be speaking to this distinguished group.
I, too, want to thank you for changing your schedules so that you
could join me here. The rule of law is one of the vital foundations
of civilization and one of America's defining principles. And it's
a central part of what we are and who we are, and it's a central
part of what it is that we protect every day. And this organization
has been stalwart in discussing the important issues that face
us in this area. And so I'm really delighted to be here with you.
It has been more than two years since terrorists made this city
-- and our country -- a battleground in the war on terror. It will
take years to understand fully the long-term effects of that fateful
day, September 11th. But that tragedy brought home to us certain
verities in the most vivid way. It crystallized our vulnerability
to attacks hatched in distant lands that come without warning,
bringing tragedy to our shores. It made clear that sweeping challenges
under the rug is not an option. And it laid bare the shortcomings
of our and, indeed, the world's approach to terrorism for many
It is now undeniable that the terrorists declared war on America
-- and on the civilized world -- many years before September 11th.
The attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon, in 1983; the hijacking
of the Achille Lauro, in 1985; the bombing of Pan Am 103, in 1988;
of the World Trade Center, in 1993; attacks on American embassies,
in 1998; and the attack on the USS Cole, in 2000 -- these and other
atrocities were part of a sustained and systematic campaign for
utter devastation and fear. Yet until September 11th, the terrorists
faced no sustained and systematic and global response. They became
-- and the result was more terror and more victims.
Since September 11th, the United States and, indeed, the international
community have pursued a different strategy. We are taking the
fight to the enemy. And as President Bush said to the nation last
month, we are finally rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization,
not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power.
This bold strategy is, in fact, emblematic of a larger approach
to foreign policy that we now must follow in the wake of September
11th. We live in a time of grave threats to our national security
-- to our very national life
-- from terrorists, from rogue states, from the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction. And the gravest threat of all is the
potential nexus between them
-- the dreadful possibility that terrorists could gain nuclear,
biological or chemical weapons from an outlaw regime, thereby realizing
-- and rationalizing their means to match their hatred.
These threats cannot be ignored or wished away. The only prudent
course in the face of such dangers is to meet them head on, without
illusions. That is what the administration and our friends, our
allies, around the world are doing.
Rooting the Taliban out of Afghanistan was the first battle because
the Taliban had provided the home base and primary sanctuary for
al Qaeda. Today, that sanctuary is denied to them. Al Qaeda remains
a danger, and we continue to pursue its members. Across the globe,
unparalleled law enforcement and intelligence cooperation efforts
are underway, successfully breaking up cells and disrupting operations.
It happens all over the world in many, many different place. Nearly
two-thirds of al Qaeda's senior leaders, operational managers,
and key facilitators have been captured or killed. And the rest
are on the run
Some time, just listen to the stories of the various places in
which it happens. Many countries of Europe, in Thailand, in Indonesia,
in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, across the world, there is a net,
an umbrella of intelligence and law enforcement cooperation that
is making a difference.
Confronting Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was also essential.
For 12 years, Saddam Hussein sat in the middle of the world's most
volatile region, defying more than a dozen United Nations Security
Council resolutions, threatening his people, his neighbors, and
Saddam Hussein twice launched unprovoked invasions of his neighbors.
After losing a war of aggression that he began, Saddam's threatening
posture toward other Gulf nations -- and his continued oppression
of his people -- required the United States and Great Britain to
maintain a massive military presence in the Gulf, and to patrol
vast no-fly zones for a dozen years to keep him in check. Saddam
is the only tyrant of our time, not only to possess weapons of
mass destruction, but to use them in acts of mass murder. He maintained
ties to terror. He harbored known terrorists within his border,
and he subsidized Palestinian suicide bombers. And he remained,
until his final days in power, one of the cruelest tyrants of this
or of any time. As his killing fields continue to yield up their
dead, as more mass graves are discovered, the world sees fresh
evidence of his torture and his oppression of the Iraqi people.
All of this had been well known for more than a decade when President
Bush went to the United Nations in September, 2002. The intelligence
agencies of most governments agreed on Saddam's capabilities and
his appetites. The United Nations and other international organizations
had -- again and again -- documented his aggressions against his
neighbors, the tortures of the Iraqi people, and the violations
of international law. The United Nations Security Council passed
resolution after resolution -- 17 in all -- laying out Saddam's
obligations to the world and demanding that he comply or face consequences.
Can we really debate the wisdom of removing Saddam Hussein from
power and liberating Iraq? Let us be clear: Saddam Hussein was
not going to go away of his own accord. For 12 years, he gave every
indication that he would never disarm and never comply with the
Security Council's just demands. In fact, he mocked those demands
and made every effort to circumvent them through massive programs
of denial and deception. There was no reason to believe that waiting
any longer for him to change his mind was going yield results.
The threat, and the challenge, he posed to the international community
could not be tolerated any longer.
The choice before the world was stark. Should we have countenanced
indefinitely his continued deprivations of the Iraqi people? Should
we have stood by indefinitely as more mass graves were dug, more
innocent children put into prison? Should we have let Saddam Hussein
continue to defy the world and indefinitely, poised in the heart
of the Middle East, sit atop a potentially deadly arsenal of terrible
weapons, threatening his neighbors?
Those, ladies and gentlemen, were the alternatives. President
Bush and a coalition of more than 40 nations chose to act, and
the world is both safer and better because they did.
The threat from the proliferation of the world's deadliest weapons
and the means to deliver them is another danger that has simmered
for years. The traffic in ballistic missile technologies between
North Korea and Iran is longstanding. People have known for a long
time that the nonproliferation treaty was in trouble from those
who would sign it, but easily violate its tenets.
Under President Bush's leadership, the world is taking new action
against this old threat. We are working with the international
community to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Thanks
in large part to the President's unwillingness to sweep this problem
under the rug and his patient yet persistent diplomacy, countries
around the world are keeping the pressure on Iran to abandon its
nuclear weapons program. And Iran is feeling that pressure, as
evidenced by its recent announcement that it will sign the Additional
Protocol for the IAEA and suspend its enrichment activities. While
we will only be able to judge Iran's compliance by its actions,
the firm stand of the United States against proliferation has clearly
established a broad consensus that the international community
must be proactive in countering this growing threat.
Diplomacy is also yielding results in our dealings with North
Korea, a rogue state that for years has been cheating on its agreements
to halt all nuclear weapons development. The path of least resistance
would have been for the United States to, once again, engage in
bilateral talks with North Korea in hopes of stopping its programs.
But this would simply have repeated the experience of the past,
when North Korea accepted, and then systematically violated, an
agreement offered by the United States in good faith, while gaining
the benefits that it, the North Korean regime, sought. President
Bush saw from the beginning that there was another way, that Japan,
South Korea, China and Russia -- no less than the United States
-- all had a vital interest in ensuring that the Korean Peninsula
is free of nuclear weapons, and that only close cooperation among
all five of these nations could lead to a lasting resolution of
the issue. And today all of us are working together to show North
Korea that its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will bring
only further isolation.
Building a diplomatic consensus took time. Some believed that
such a consensus could never be reached. But today, when the North
Koreans come to multiparty talks, they look across the table at
a united front of nations opposed to their own nuclear armament.
And the North Koreans know that a strategy of divide and conquer
is no longer an option.
As we advance a broad non-proliferation agenda, we also recognize
that determined proliferators cannot always be stopped by diplomacy
alone. But they can be stopped. Through the Proliferation Security
Initiative, the United States and 10 global partners have recently
approved a Statement of Interdiction Principles and are developing
the capability to search planes, ships, trains and trucks carrying
suspect cargo, and to seize weapons and equipment that raise proliferation
concerns. This initiative will soon be broadened to include new
members from across the globe. While all actions will be taken
consistent with existing national and international legal authorities,
we are also seeking ways to expand those authorities. And it is
for this reason that the President proposed in his September address
to the United Nations that the Security Council adopt a resolution
calling on all states to criminalize proliferation activities,
establish effective export controls, and ensure the safety and
security of sensitive materials and technologies.
The world has an obligation to confront squarely the threats of
our time, and President Bush is determined to meet that obligation.
But, of course, we must do more than just confront problems. We
also have an historic opportunity to make the world better by fighting
poverty, by fighting disease, and by ending hopelessness.
It has always been America's way to try and leave the world, not
just safer, but better. And we follow in that great tradition.
For years, the world talked of the need for a decisive action to
stop the spread of AIDS. President Bush has matched his words with
deeds, and by committing the United States to a five-year, $15-billion
emergency plan for AIDS relief, the world will now begin to confront
this challenge in a serious way with assistance to developing nations
that need it.
For years, there was always talk about the need for greater development
assistance to those who are trying to fight their way out of poverty.
President Bush stepped forward with a 50 percent increase in American
aid over three years. By linking increased aid to sound policies,
the President's plan encourages developing nations to govern justly,
to invest in their people, and to support economic freedom. Those
who do those things will be eligible for this new assistance. Those
who do not cannot be eligible because, ultimately, unless development
is a partnership between donor and recipient, nothing of lasting
value can be achieved.
And for many years, the world viewed the Middle East as hopelessly
mired in conflict and misery -- somehow incapable of liberty, or
prosperity, or democracy. President Bush, instead, sees a region
of potential, filled with talented and resourceful people who,
when blessed with greater political and economic freedom, and better
and more modern education, can fully join in the progress of our
As the President has said, Iraq is the central front in the war
on Terror. But it is also a central front in the international
effort to realize the vision of a Middle East that is a center
of hope and change, rather than despair and hatred. We are aggressively
attacking the Baathist remnants and foreign terrorists. And increasingly,
Iraqis are fighting alongside our troops to secure their own freedom.
The numbers of Iraqis now risking their lives to defend their nation
is over 85,000 and growing. Together, we continue to discover arms
caches, thwart attacks, track down killers, and dismantle the terrorist
And we are helping the Iraqi people rebuild their country, reform
their economy, and create a road to a representative and democratic
government. Success will take time. And recent attacks by Baathist
remnants and foreign terrorists show that the enemies of freedom
will stop at nothing to prevent the emergence of a free Iraq. We
must always remember that every democracy, even our own, is built
day-by-day, brick-by-brick. Persistent effort produces something
strong and solid.
These achievements do not, of course, come without great sacrifice.
Today those sacrifices are being borne by our men and women in
uniform, by those of our coalition partners, by international aid
workers, and by the Iraqi people. But we must and will stay the
course -- because free nations do not sponsor terror, and free
nations do not breed hatred.
As we move forward across this broad and ambitious agenda, we
must remember that times of the greatest strategic importance are
also times of great turbulence. Anyone who has ever built a successful
democracy has been through times of turbulence. We here in America
have no reason to have false pride in the democracy that we have
built over 225 years, if we do not remember the sacrifices and
the difficulties that were incurred in building it. When the Founding
Fathers said, we the people, they didn't mean me. It's taken us
quite a long time to find a way to live up to our principles and
And so when we see the people of Iraq, or the people of Afghanistan
toiling in the new freedoms, toiling against a dangerous landscape
and backdrop of those who would try and kept them from that success,
I hope that we will remember that nothing of lasting value is ever
won without sacrifice.
It is also the case that great historic changes take time. I well
remember serving on the National Security Council staff a dozen
years ago, when the Berlin Wall fell, when the Warsaw Pact dissolved,
and when the Soviet Union gave way to a free Russia. It was, of
course, an exhilarating time to be in government, and I will tell
you that I felt some small measure of pride. But that pride quickly
gave way to a humble awe for the giants who faced the great challenges
of the post-World War II moment -- Truman and Marshall and Acheson
These men -- in the most uncertain of times, amidst often noisy
acrimony -- made decisions that bore fruit only decades later.
By the late 1980s and early 1990s, my colleagues and I were lucky
enough to reap the harvest that they had sown.
That harvest, a safer, freer, better world, is no less our hope
for today's moment of decision and challenge. That that we do today
with our allies and our friends will take years to fully realize
a vision and a completion. It will require a commitment of many
years. But if done well, the march of freedom and security and
safety and prosperity will continue. And it will continue because
America has chosen, again, to lead. The effort will take time,
but the wait will be worth it.
Thank you very much.