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15 March 2004

U.S. Needs Force of Diplomacy to Win Peace, Armitage Says

Deputy secretary of state says "success is the only way out" of Iraq

The United States needs "the force of diplomacy to win at peace," just as it needs "the force of arms to win at war," says Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Speaking to the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign at the State Department March 15, Armitage said, "[F]rankly, with all due respect to our magnificent women and men in uniform, winning a war doesn't do us much good if we can't win the peace." The perfect case in point, he said, is Iraq.

Armitage said it is in the interests both of the United States and the international community to see that Iraq, a "country in the heart of a vital and troubled region," can succeed "on today's terms." To achieve this success, Armitage said, requires "engagement with the international community, and a sustained commitment to the people of Iraq."

Armitage said: "That is precisely the strategy of President George Bush, and we will work with international partners in Iraq for as long as it takes to reach success. I know there are those who think we are looking for a way out," he continued, "but the truth is that success is the only way out."

For Armitage the effort in Iraq is "in some ways ... an even bigger challenge" than that posed by the post-World War II Marshall Plan. He said that is because "the timeline has collapsed into a single data point; we have to see immediate results in order to secure long-term progress."

The deputy secretary did not dispute that the security situation in Iraq must improve, "but we simply don't have the luxury of waiting until we have secured the country to save it," he said. "War and peace are not necessarily sequential anymore," he continued. "Winning battles and winning hearts and minds -- the force at arms and the force of diplomacy -- have become joint operations."

Returning to the security situation in Iraq, Armitage said it is so difficult to resolve because the country endured decades of "absolute dictatorship.

"But it takes more than one person to keep such a system going. ... [T]housands of individuals were complicit in [Iraq's] reign of terror." These individuals, he said, were "regime loyalists who have no interest in reconciliation. These were vicious people under the rule of Saddam Hussein, and they are vicious people today ... along with their foreign allies."

However, Armitage said, the former regime loyalists are "a small handful of the population of Iraq. We have no intention of letting them sabotage the hopes of 24 million people. ... A key weapon in our arsenal for fighting them is pushing ... momentum forward by improving life for ordinary Iraqis every day."

Following is the transcript of Armitage's remarks:

(begin transcript)

Remarks at the Roundtable Meeting of the Leaders of the Campaign to Preserve U.S. Global Leadership
Richard L. Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State
Loy Henderson Auditorium
Washington, D.C.
March 15, 2004

Good afternoon, and thank you very much, George. I very much appreciate your generosity. And indeed, I want to thank all of you who take part in the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign.

I would say that your support for the Department of State is an extraordinary act of generosity, as well, but I do recognize that you are not acting out of sheer fondness for Foggy Bottom. You are acting out of concern for this country and in the interests you each represent. That covers a lot of territory, as you were mentioning, from Bread for the World and Save the Children to the Business Roundtable and Allied Signal.

In fact, it might be hard for the casual observer to see any common ground here. But the fact is that you have reached a clear consensus: You all share a belief that in order to protect and promote the interests of the American people, the United States absolutely must engage with the world, and that means we must have an effective Department of State. And I want to thank each of you and all of you for what you have done to help make that ideal a reality.

Thanks a million.


And it is, indeed, a reality. Today, the Department of State, with the support of our partners in Congress, is helping to counter the grave dangers of our age and to capture the great opportunities available to us. We are fighting terrorism all over the world, as well as trafficking in persons and trafficking in narcotics. We're fighting poverty and we're fighting disease and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We know that there is still much to accomplish; the devastating attacks in Spain served as a brutal reminder.

But we have also seen important victories with long-term benefits, including Libya s decision to give up its nuclear, its chemical, and its biological weapons. This is an important development, not just in eliminating a threat and bringing a pariah back to the community of nations, but also in setting a model for countries like Iran and like North Korea. At the same time, we are negotiating countless treaties and key trade agreements every single day to help bring the benefits of globalization to people in our country and around the world.

We are delivering assistance to those in need everywhere including the billions of dollars we will donate through the Millennium Challenge Account, the Middle East Partnership Initiative, and President Bush s initiative for fighting HIV/AIDS.

But whether we are talking about threats or opportunities, one thing is crystal clear: the United States needs the force of arms to win at war, and we need the force of diplomacy to win at peace. And frankly, with all due respect to our magnificent women and men in uniform, winning a war doesn't do us much good if we can't win the peace. And if there was ever a case in point, you will find it in Iraq.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, this seems an appropriate time to reflect on what we have accomplished there and what we can expect.

Indeed, a number of the Campaign's members are doing business or providing services right now in Iraq. And that is entirely appropriate. It is in the interests of the United States. Indeed, it is in the interests of the international community to see that this country in the heart of a vital and troubled region can cease to be a threat and succeed on today's terms. And I believe we'll all agree on what it will take to reach this success and that is engagement, engagement with the international community, and a sustained commitment to the people of Iraq.

This is precisely the strategy of President George Bush, and we will work with international partners in Iraq for as long as it takes to reach success. Now, I know that there are those who think we are looking for a way out, but the truth is that success is the only way out.

But let's face it. It's easy to define success as the exit strategy, and it's much harder to delineate the actual steps that will take us there. And that is why I am confident in our strategy. Not only do we know the steps we need to take, we are very much already on that journey.

The Coalition Provisional Authority, staffed largely by the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, and other government agencies, supported by many organizations and businesses and a broad international coalition has done an extraordinarily impressive job of taking those steps toward success.

Now many of us have compared our efforts in Iraq to the Marshall Plan, but my view is, in many ways, this is an even bigger challenge. Today, the timeline has collapsed into a single data point. We have to see immediate results in order to secure long-term progress. Now that may seem a tall order, given the news we hear nearly daily of shootings and roadside bombs. There is no question, the security situation must improve.

But we simply don t have the luxury of waiting until we have secured the country to save it, to help Iraqis save themselves, any more than we could put off reconstruction in Afghanistan until we had killed or captured every last agent of the Taliban and al-Qaida. This is the face of 21st century warfare, I m afraid: War and peace are not necessarily sequential anymore. Winning battles and winning hearts and minds, the force at arms and the force of diplomacy, have become joint operations, whether we talking about Iraq and Afghanistan or we're talking about Haiti and Liberia.

After all, consider for a moment just why we have such a security situation in Iraq and why it is so difficult to resolve. We are talking about a country that endured more than 20 years of absolute dictatorship, but it takes more than one person to keep such a system going. And, indeed, thousands of individuals were complicit in this reign of terror. For many Iraqis, this will mean reconciling their own role in the repression of their fellow citizens. This is no easy task and it will take some time.

But there are also regime loyalists who have no interest in reconciliation. These were vicious people under the rule of Saddam Hussein, and they are vicious people today. They are the ones, along with their foreign allies, who killed more than 140 Iraqis as they prayed in places of worship on March 2nd. These are the people who shot two Iraqi women in the back as they arrived home from work last week. These are the people who are killing our soldiers and the aid workers from around the world who are there to help, such as Fern Holland, who walked away from a lucrative law career in this city, and last week ended up giving her life to help improve the lives of Iraqi women.

But these killers are a small handful of the population of Iraq. And we have no intention of letting them sabotage the hopes of 24 million people, the vast majority of whom just want to get a good job, put food on the table, and send their children to school. The loyalists and the foreign fighters can extract a price, but they cannot stop the momentum of those ordinary human beings.

A key weapon in our arsenal for fighting them is pushing that momentum forward by improving life for ordinary Iraqis every day. And indeed, I want to introduce you to a group of people who are an important part of this fight. We have with us today a delegation from Iraq, led by Sayyed al-Qizwini, whom I had the pleasure of visiting recently in Hilla, Iraq.

Among this group, you'll find everything from a pediatrician to a tribal leader. Some are Shia, some are Sunni. But all have the courage of leadership and the commitment to take action on behalf of their communities. Not because the United States wants them to, but because they love their country. Ladies and gentlemen, you are an inspiration for your people and for everyone in this room, and we salute your courage and commitment to a better future. (Applause.)

These are the people who will bring change to Iraq. But today and for the near future, they cannot do it alone. That is why the United States will stay the course. But I want to make it clear that America is in mighty good company. Today there are 24,500 soldiers from 34 countries standing alongside our own soldiers, patrolling and participating in important military missions across Iraq. There are also scores of nations involved in reconstruction efforts.

In addition to the $20.9 billion the United States has committed to reconstruction in Iraq, 37 nations and two international organizations have offered more than $13.5 billion in donations. Others have pledged in-kind services. Scandinavian forensic experts, for example, are helping local communities in Iraq exhume mass graves. Vietnam has contributed tea and rice worth $700,000, and in case you're not sure, I can tell you, that's a lot of tea and rice. Jordan is helping to train police, and Japan has donated millions in police vehicles.

Our president, President George Bush, has also made it clear that he believes that the United Nations has a vital role to play before and after July 1st, and indeed, the United Nations is already deeply involved. Since May 2003, the U.N. Security Council has passed four resolutions, which have established a comprehensive framework for international participation -- everything from recognizing the Iraqi Governing Council as a legitimate interim authority to authorizing a multinational military force under unified U.S. command.

These resolutions have also paved the way for a far more extensive U.N. involvement. And while we will continue to see significant challenges in Iraq, the world's investment of resources, as well as the investment of attention, are paying off in the development of a new government for Iraq, a stronger economy and improved security.

Last week, on March 8th, all members of the Iraqi Governing Council, who represent nearly every religious and ethnic group in Iraq, signed a very important document, the Transitional Administration Law, the TAL. The TAL established a sovereign Iraqi government which will govern the country from July of this year until elections are held in 2005, and it establishes a statement of intent for the future.

The TAL commits to a unified country with a full constitution under a government that is republican, federal, democratic and pluralistic. There will be civilian control of the military, guaranteed participation of women and sweeping protections for the rights of all Iraqis. And while the separation of church and state is a very important concept in western democracies, this is clearly not a western democracy and that is as it should be. This has to be an Iraqi democracy, and drawing on Islam as a key source of law is appropriate for Iraq.

The TAL also sets up an independent judiciary. And while special courts are not explicitly covered in the document, war crimes tribunals will be set up and led by Iraqis with U.S. and international support. The trials will be fair, transparent and consistent with international standards, which will be a monumental undertaking. After all, we have reports of some 270 mass graves across the country and estimates of the numbers of people still unaccounted for run from 300,000 to a million.

Of course, these promising legal and political developments are unlikely to take root without a better economy. Reconstruction needs in Iraq are enormous. Thirty years ago, Iraq was a relatively prosperous nation. But today, it shows the deep scars of decades of abuse and decades of neglect.

Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, those lucky enough to live in Saddam Hussein's hometown or near one of his palaces may have enjoyed a certain standard of services, but for the rest of Iraq, four hours of electricity a day and brownouts were common. Roads and highways were in urgent need of repair. Iraq's sole deepwater port was clogged with silt and international airports were falling apart. School books, clean water, good health care were awfully hard to come by.

And in that sad context, the Coalition Provisional Authority has made great progress, working with a mix of U.S. government agencies, private contractors and Iraqis. They have retrofitted decrepit power and sewage treatment plants, which already surpass pre-war output and pre-war reliability. They have renovated and reopened the Port of Umm Qasr and the Baghdad International Airport, repaired oil facilities and expanded the communications infrastructure and vaccinated some 3 million toddlers and distributed about 9 million textbooks. The Coalition has created jobs for almost half-a-million Iraqis, which is very important when you consider that the unemployment and underemployment [rates] are, by some estimates, as high as 50 percent.

The Coalition is helping in the reconstruction of human infrastructure as well by supporting the thousands of small-scale local projects across the country, such as community centers for women and children in Halabja, and by helping the hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Arabs forced out of their homes by Saddam Hussein. And today, one Shia Arab who spent 20 years as a refugee in Iran is leading a new ministry of displacement and migration, which is working with the coalition and nongovernmental organizations to return and resettle refugees and displaced people, as well as to mediate property claims.

Political and economic recovery is, without question, essential for Iraq. But it will be very difficult to lock in those gains without an improvement in the security situation. And for that reason, the United States and international military forces will remain in the country. The Department of Defense will also continue to train an Iraqi military force, with an ambitious goal of 40,000 man force by the end of the year. At the same time, our State Department is recruiting and training separate law enforcement forces. We must also deal, however, with Iraq's military legacy and this means dealing with millions of landmines, as well as unconventional weapons, dual-use facilities, and the scientists who previously worked on these programs. And the Coalition Provisional Authority under [Ambassador] Jerry Bremer is working to convert these programs and people to peaceful civilian use, as well as to develop export controls to keep Iraqi equipment and expertise from leaving the country.

Indeed, the CPA has undertaken an impressive body of work. That work will continue long beyond the lifetime of the Provisional Authority itself, which will cease to exist at the end of June. At that point, the Iraqi interim government will assume full sovereignty and the United States will open a diplomatic mission in Baghdad, the largest U.S. mission anywhere in the world.

This Department of State is ready to take on that challenge. This is what we're set up to do, what our people have trained to do. And indeed, we have been deeply engaged in Iraq all along, bringing together and sustaining a magnificent international coalition, assisting in and managing -- together with AID and other agencies -- a sweeping array of reconstruction projects, and staffing provincial and Baghdad offices with experienced foreign and civil servants, including scores of Arabic and Kurdish speakers.

There will be no break in the American commitment to helping Iraqis improve the political, the economic and the security situation in their country. That includes an ongoing military presence. After July 1st, there will still be three U.S. divisions in Iraq and two multinational divisions. I also believe there will be a strong United Nations political presence assisting with elections and with the political transition, as well as ongoing reconstruction efforts.

The ingredients for success are there today and they will be there after July, and for as long as it takes. But ultimately, our entire strategy of success rests on one single variable, and that is on the will of the people of Iraq.

Last week, an Iraqi who worked with Fern Holland posted a tribute to his fallen colleague on the Internet. "Fern lost her life," he said, "but won our love. We must follow Fern to show to her murderers that we will walk on in the same spirit."

Even after decades of repression and of abuse, we can find this spirit and the will to build a better future in every town and every village in Iraq. Sheikh al-Qizwini and his colleagues and the millions of Iraqis they represent offer clear evidence of what is possible. So, George, I want to thank the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, once again, for helping make the State Department an institution capable of both this historic mission, as well as our daily mission to protect and promote the American people.

Thank you.


(end transcript)