Monday, October 17, 2005

Rice and 9/11: We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaeda

MR. RUSSERT: Let me share with you some attitudes of Americans towards the war in Iraq, and here's our latest Wall Street Journal-NBC poll: 51 percent say removing Saddam Hussein was not worth it; 58 percent said we should reduce the number of U.S. troops; 56 percent feel less confident the war will be successful. Majorities now raising huge anxieties, expressing huge anxieties over the war in Iraq.

SEC'Y RICE: I'm quite certain, Tim, that when the American people see every day what they see on their screens, which is violence and, of course, the deaths of Americans and coalition forces, it's very difficult to take. We mourn every sacrifice. But the fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al-Qaeda and perhaps after the Taliban and then our work would be done and we would try to defend ourselves.

Or we could take a bolder approach, which was to say that we had to go after the root causes of the kind of terrorism that was produced there, and that meant a different kind of Middle East. And there is no one who could have imagined a different kind of Middle East with Saddam Hussein still in power. I know it's difficult, but we have ahead of us the prospect, and I think the very good prospect of a foundation for a democratic and prosperous Iraq that can solve its differences by politics and compromise, that becomes an anchor for a Middle East that is changing.

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