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  • Powell interview on German TV

    Interview on ZDF-TV of Germany

    Secretary Colin L. Powell
    Brussels, Belgium
    April 3, 2003
    QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, welcome to Old Europe, as we now say. The place has changed a bit, politically speaking. This is how the term ‘Old Europe’ came up. Do you feel that in your conversations the ambience is not quite the same as it used to be before the big conflict?

    SECRETARY POWELL: It is for me. I have known all the ministers that I met today for quite a bit of time now. Especially, Joschka Fischer, my German colleague. We’ve been working together for two years now. We’ve done many things together, whether it was Afghanistan, expansion of the Alliance. We’ve had some disagreements recently, especially over Iraq. But an Alliance as strong as ours, as resilient as ours, can deal with disagreements and move on. So, as we move on with this issue of Iraq and get beyond the conflict and into the reconstruction and the creation of a democratic Iraq that is serving its people, and not building weapons of mass destruction, whether you call it ‘Old Europe’ or ‘New Europe,’ the transatlantic alliance, the transatlantic family will come together again in the rebuilding process.

    QUESTION: There is now the big question about the U.N.’s role in the future of Iraq. We have heard the word about the ‘emerging consensus.’ That sounds very nice. But Germany and others clearly want to have the U.N. in the driver’s seat, in control, in the leading the role. This is not what you intend, or is it?

    SECRETARY POWELL: We don’t know what the role exactly will be of the U.N. yet, and it is premature to start describing it as being a central role, or in the driver’s seat, not in the driver’s seat, because it suggests you are excluding someone else when you say it that way. The U.N. must be a partner in this effort. The U.N. will have a major role to play. And we will be working with our colleagues in the coalition, and our colleagues within NATO, within the European Union and especially with the Secretary General, who will have something to say about this, with respect with the exact role to be played by the U.N. The role of the U.N. will ultimately be determined by the Security Council resolutions that are passed, authorizing the role. So there will be discussions and no doubt there will be debate in New York as to what authorities are required and what the role of the U.N. should be. So this is the beginning of a dialogue -- not the beginning of a fight, the beginning of a dialogue -- to determine what the appropriate role is.

    But as I said, and I’ve said this several times, the coalition that went in, that was willing to put at risk its young men and women, and lost lives, paid a great amount of money to conduct this campaign and also paid a political price for this campaign as well. We are committed to making sure that that sacrifice and that investment is not lost. We believe we have to play a very significant, perhaps a leading role, in order to make sure what replaces this corrupt, rotten regime is a democratic system that is responsive to the needs of its people and will reflect all of the people of Iraq, and will use the treasure of Iraq, its oil, to invest in the people and not invest in weapons of mass destruction.

    QUESTION: I hear what you are saying. What many people in Europe will hear, through your words, is this is how the new partition of labor will be: America is looking for its Allies, is going its course with or without Allies, any number that’s available, and be it zero. And then the U.N.’s role is to go in as a good Samaritan and clean up the mess. That’s all they can do. America is already looking at its next destination.

    SECRETARY POWELL: That’s absurd. It’s an absurd, simplistic, shorthand response to what people think we’re doing. In fact, we went to the U.N. in the first place with respect to this problem. It was a problem that belonged to the U.N. for twelve years -- this terrible regime that tortures its people, that developed weapons of mass destruction, that used them against its own people and then invaded its neighbors on two occasions. And we finally said to the United Nations, “If you would be relevant, if the international community would be relevant, we must deal with this.”

    This is not a regime that will simply roll over and play dead. It will fight back. It will try to avoid consequences. So we got a very strong resolution passed. Unanimously. Fifteen to zero. And when it became clear to a number of members of the Security Council that it was time to apply those serious consequences, we took it back to the U.N. And the U.N. said, “Well, can’t agree on this.”

    But 1441 made it clear – it was more than sufficient authority. Now there were some members of the Council who said, “We’ll veto anything.” And there were others of us who felt we must move forward. We must remove this danger to the world. Especially this regime that developed weapons of mass destruction and might actually allow some of these weapons to fall in the hands of terrorists. We will not apologize for this. We believe that we did what is right and we recognize that there is a great deal of opinion, especially in Europe, that thinks this was not the right approach. But I hope we will change this opinion, when everybody sees that after this conflict we’re not leaving it to be swept up by the United Nations. We are going to work with the United Nations and work with the international community. And guess who will be the major contributor, who will pay the most money to help the Iraqi people to get back on their feet. It will be the United States, as always. Europeans --

    QUESTION: So you are paying the most money? Then that’s a promise?

    SECRETARY POWELL: Europeans, especially Germans, should recognize the American record, our history. Our history is not one of getting involved in conflicts just for the sake of it. We get involved in conflicts because there are major issues at stake that have to be resolved, unfortunately, by force of arms. But when you look at our history for the last sixty years, every time we found ourselves in this position, we did not just get up and walk away. We did everything we could to put in place a better system, a better society, than that which we had to go in and fight. And we will do it again this time.

    In Kuwait, we fought to save a Muslim people that had been invaded by another Muslim people, Iraq, and we gave Kuwait back to its --

    QUESTION: Rulers?

    SECRETARY POWELL: -- rightful rulers. Its rightful rulers. Are you defending what Iraq did by invading Kuwait.

    QUESTION: No.

    SECRETARY POWELL: But the way you just posed that question, they were the rulers. The people of Kuwait were happy with their rulers. Iraq said we don’t care, we’re invading. We restored Kuwait to its rulers - its rightful rulers – and let them find their transition into a democratic form of government, as their people choose.

    We went to Kosovo, another very controversial war, in order to save Muslims, in order to protect Muslims. And we went to Afghanistan in order to deal with the terrorist threat that had caused such destruction in the Untied States on 9/11.

    And what have we done? Have we decided to make Afghanistan an American colony? No. We spent a huge amount of money and we are putting our young men and women on the line, every day, to put in place a form of government that was decided upon by the Afghan people. And we are helping them to rebuild and reconstruct their society. That pattern is the American pattern. We’re very proud of it. It’s been repeated many times over, and it will be repeated again in Iraq.

    QUESTION: From you and from your colleague, Secretary Rumsfeld, came very strong warnings the last couple of days, vis-à-vis Iran and Syria, not to interfere, stay out of Iraq and stop their business of dealing with terrorists and the Iraqi regime. Are they the next ones on the list for --

    SECRETARY POWELL: No, there is no list. There is this common perception in Europe that there is this list of enemies and we are going to go down one-by-one and invade them all in some predetermined order. This is not the case. The President is not looking for places to go invade. The President has made it clear that he has many ways of dealing with regimes that, we believe, are not following international standards. So, sometimes political actions are appropriate, economic actions, use of our intelligence assets. Sometimes military force is appropriate. But we are not looking for wars to get into.

    It’s fascinating that we are now trying in a multilateral setting to deal with the problem of North Korea and here we are criticized for not acting bilaterally or doing something directly.

    And so we have many tools available to us but it does not mean the United States has constantly looking for places to go to war. But is there something wrong with telling a nation such as Syria, or a nation such as Iran, that we know they are developing weapons of mass destruction, that we have evidence against Iran with respect to nuclear weapons. And these are nations that we know – we know, everyone knows – they are supporting terrorist activities. Is it inappropriate for us to call this to their attention and tell these nations they should stop engaging in these kinds of activities? Or should we just put our hands over our eyes and pretend they are not doing such things and not hold them to any kind of account? I think we should speak out when we find nations that are supporting terrorist activities.

    QUESTION: Watching the clock, we have to get to the actual scene today in Iraq. We have heard that American troops have entered the so-called “red zone.” Your General Brooks has said there are intelligence information that Iraqi forces may be authorized to use chemical weapons, once that stage of the war is reached. Should that happen, what will be America’s response?

    SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I don’t know that these will be used. These are reports. I don’t know if these reports are accurate or not.

    QUESTION: But if they are?

    SECRETARY POWELL: No chemical weapons have been used. The United States is well on the way to achieving success in this command. I am sure that our commanders will keep right on pursuing the campaign the way they are currently planning it. We have trained our soldiers for many years how to fight in such environments and I’m sure that we will be able to fight in that environment if it occurs.

    QUESTION: So that will not be a violent response, using all weapons in the arsenal, as has been said?

    SECRETARY POWELL: You’re taking me down a logic train that appeals to some people, that the United States will use weapons of mass destruction in return. We, in two weeks, have penetrated deep within Iraq. We’re on the outskirts of Baghdad. We are about to bring this regime down in the not-too-distant future and we will do it with the forces and the measures that you see in the battlefield now.

    We never take any option off the table, but I cannot imagine we would prosecute this war in any way but the way we see it being prosecuted now. And the so-called “red zone” is nothing but intelligence reporting. I don’t know if it’s true or even if it exist.

    QUESTION: Do you foresee a time when relations between Germany and America will be as deep, as warm, as heartfelt as, let’s say, two years ago to be safe?

    SECRETARY POWELL: Oh. I’m sure. We understand that Germany has been a friend of the United States for the past half century. We have shared values and shared history. We’re doing many things together in many parts of the world right now. Afghanistan, the expansion of NATO, the assistance given in moving our troops to the Iraqi theater, the support you’re giving us to protect our facilities.

    We are friends and will remain friends. This has been a difficult period for both of us, but I’m sure we will work our way through it.

    QUESTION: Thank you very much.

    SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.
    [End]
    "Speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own Michael Moore, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities." - Christopher Hitchens

  • #2
    Man, does that guy speak well (especially compared to the rest of the US administration).
    Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep... the absolutism displayed by the rest of the Bush administration is something that is disturbing to me.

      I'm finding Bush's constant invocation of God to be mildly disturbing too. It's just.. awkward that he fills every speech with religious rhetoric to the point of being disturbing to me.

      Though I'd rather Chretien invoke God than half the crap that usually comes out of this mouth .
      "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

      – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tigersqn
        Man, does that guy speak well (especially compared to the rest of the US administration).
        I fully agree with you.

        He has just that right sense of balance, of moderation coupled with firm convictions about the mission of the U.S. No need to do a cowboy show with blank statements like his boss is used to do or his colleague Mr. Rumsfeld is doing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Woohoo. Powell for Prez
          Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MikeJ

            I'm finding Bush's constant invocation of God to be mildly disturbing too. It's just.. awkward that he fills every speech with religious rhetoric to the point of being disturbing to me.
            I think Canadians and Europeans are somewhat disturbed by the role that God and religion play in American politics. I know I am.

            I tend to mistrust politicians who speaks about God and faith. It feels like, well, more or less obscene. Faith is something so much personal for me. Actually, I would feel much more comfortable if the guy would speak about women and sex. Oh wait, I think there used to be a President like this

            The annoyance of non-Americans when they hear Bush talking about God is probably due to the fact that in most Western countries, religion and politics are strictly separated. Religion is seen as a private matter, an individual matter that should not be brought or imposed in a collective fashion on the public.

            But religion is still a strong political tool in the U.S., at least in the more conservative fringe of the Republican Party. It goes along with other values such as the obsession for guns, anti-abortion, "mild" cultural and ethnic intolerance, and all these other American conservative values that usually send a shiver down the spine of non-Americans as ghosts from a backward past.

            The problem is that it doesn't seem President Bush understands how much his talk about God is not helping his image abroad.

            Comment


            • #7
              Why should Bush change his religious views so Canadians and Europeans can feel better about him? He was selected by the United States electorate.
              "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

              Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Chuck
                Why should Bush change his religious views so Canadians and Europeans can feel better about him? He was selected by the United States electorate.
                It's not that he should change his religious views, it's that he should change the perception of a connection between his political and religious views that is the point.
                Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chuck
                  Why should Bush change his religious views so Canadians and Europeans can feel better about him? He was selected by the United States electorate.
                  I was expecting that one Chuck

                  Well, it just happens that President Bush is at the helm of the Earth's sole superpower at this moment. It doesn't matter if Bush was only elected by American citizens. Because he is running a superpower of global reach, he also has global responsibilities. At this moment, Mr. Bush's acts and declarations probably impact more people outside the U.S. than inside. It's a first good reason for Mr. Bush to care about the reaction of other nations to his gestures and speeches.

                  More importantly, the current US administration strongly believes American values (freedom and democracy) are the right ones, and it wants to spread them around the globe either by the force of speeches, diplomatic policies or even through military power, if necessary. Obviously, to do this and successfully promote these values to the rest of the globe, Mr. Bush should be toning down his all-American rhetoric and be more attuned to the cultural sensitivities of other nations in order for his message to get through more easily.

                  Otherwise, Mr. Bush can't complain on one hand of being singled out unjustly around the world with primitive anti-Americanism, and on the other hand continue to speak as if he was addressing a bunch of strongly religious Texas cowboys (no offense to Texas cowboys intended).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tzar


                    I was expecting that one Chuck

                    Well, it just happens that President Bush is at the helm of the Earth's sole superpower at this moment. It doesn't matter if Bush was only elected by American citizens. Because he is running a superpower of global reach, he also has global responsibilities. At this moment, Mr. Bush's acts and declarations probably impact more people outside the U.S. than inside. It's a first good reason for Mr. Bush to care about the reaction of other nations to his gestures and speeches.
                    I highly doubt he is going to change his methods at this point. Before Bush found religion he was a drunk. Do you really want him to start drinking?
                    "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                    Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The people of Kuwait were happy with their rulers. Iraq said we don’t care, we’re invading. We restored Kuwait to its rulers - its rightful rulers – and let them find their transition into a democratic form of government, as their people choose.
                      That's the part were I almost laughed out loud

                      As long as the ppl of Kuwait are happy with their leader the US is willing to use force to restore these rightful rulers but inf the ppl of Iraq are happy with their leader the USA uses force to "liberate" them from their rulers
                      Oh and please no debate on how brutal Saddam is, how oppressive his regime is and that all the support for him we still see among the Iraqis is just fake and will fade as soon as he's gone: the same could be said about the Kuwaiti regime which is not that much different. Maybe they are not as cruel and ruthless yet still they oppress oposition and some would actually hail the US if they'd be "liberated" from the current regime.

                      The Kuwaitis have to "find their transition into a democratic form of government" while the Iraqis don't get the same chance and are bombed to democracy.
                      "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

                      Henry Alfred Kissinger

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kraut

                        The Kuwaitis have to "find their transition into a democratic form of government" while the Iraqis don't get the same chance and are bombed to democracy.
                        Maybe Germany should liberate Kuwait then?
                        "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                        Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kraut


                          That's the part were I almost laughed out loud

                          As long as the ppl of Kuwait are happy with their leader the US is willing to use force to restore these rightful rulers but inf the ppl of Iraq are happy with their leader the USA uses force to "liberate" them from their rulers
                          Oh and please no debate on how brutal Saddam is, how oppressive his regime is and that all the support for him we still see among the Iraqis is just fake and will fade as soon as he's gone: the same could be said about the Kuwaiti regime which is not that much different. Maybe they are not as cruel and ruthless yet still they oppress oposition and some would actually hail the US if they'd be "liberated" from the current regime.

                          The Kuwaitis have to "find their transition into a democratic form of government" while the Iraqis don't get the same chance and are bombed to democracy.

                          Kraut are you nuts?

                          The iraqis certainly don't support Saddam Hussein. That's why they're celebrating in Basra and Nasiriyah as I'm typing this.

                          http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story...932001,00.html





                          I suppose you'd be gullible enough to believe the Iraqi information minister's claims that we still haven't haven't captured the Airport even though Ted koppel was standing right in front of the sign with a pair of shades on and our troops are making use of Saddam's bathroom facilities at his presidential palace.

                          Have you ever even looked or done any research about what Kuwaitis possibly may think?

                          http://qhate.com
                          Last edited by kid kool; 08 Apr 03, 03:13.
                          "Speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own Michael Moore, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities." - Christopher Hitchens

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Colin Powell

                            Hello,

                            I am a strong conservative, and I have to say this: I am greatly disappointed in Colin Powell's role in Bush administration. At times, he sends out confusing signals as to what his intentions are.

                            At least I knew where Bush would stand on certain issues, while I don't like his attempts to compromise, but I can see where he stands. With Clinton, you could never be sure where he stood, as he never understood the difference between lying and truth.

                            There aren't that many politicians that do have strong convictions with firm statements without being ambigious. They're a sort of rare breed. I wish there were men like Bush, maybe it would force some of you to pick either black and white (absolutism) or grey areas. For me, it's quite a comforting thought that there are clear political convictions that the other people do know and have to take account of these convictions.

                            I have no problems with religion in public office. In fact, despite myths of church and separation, there is nothing in Constitution that forbids the people to bring the religion into public offices. It only forbids the government to establish or give a preference to a certain religion in America. This is not Middle East, where the governments freely acknowledges and demands only Islam be the official religion in their own sovereign lands.

                            During the early history of America, many founding fathers were religious, a lot of these men invoked God or prayed before starting a legislative session. It is an important and acknowledged tradition of America, it shouldn't be dismissed as old-fashioned and out of date.

                            For so long time, I have prayed that God send a man with strong convictions, the one who would send a clear and strong message to the world. Now, for me and many other religous people, we have found our man, and it is George W. Bush, Jr. While I did not vote him (I didn't register for vote), I am quite satisfied with him, I would rather have him than Al Gore, whom I fear more than Saddam.

                            I don't agree with many of Bush's stands, partly because he has choosen to compromise, but he is the lesser evil of two.

                            As for Powell, I don't trust him, he is confusing me, I cannot be sure where he stands. He put too much faith in UN, and I don't like this. He's a bit dovish, and I don't like this. He's not confrontational, and I don't like this.

                            While some of you might accuse me of inability to read between the lines, I believe it is important to see the lines rather than space between them.

                            I do not want another Clinton.

                            Dan
                            Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                            "Aim small, miss small."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kid kool

                              Kraut are you nuts?

                              The iraqis certainly don't support Saddam Hussein. That's why they're celebrating in Basra and Nasiriyah as I'm typing this.
                              But that's exactly my point! I said that as long as Saddam was in control there was no (visible) opposition but only cheers to the great leader. Now that Saddams power is melting away the real emotions can be seen. But isn't that exactly the same in Kuwait ? All opposition is oppresed, the ruling leaders are not elected and ppl can't show their real feelings. Yet still Powell said: Hey, they are happy the way it is, we leave the old rulers in control!


                              That's double standarts, Its's: a regime suppresses his ppl but is pro-US: it's supported by the USA. A regime is suppressing its ppl but is contra-US:... well, take a look at Iraq or the rescent threats towards Syria. Has the USA ever threatened Israel for its's suppression of the Palestinians ??
                              "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

                              Henry Alfred Kissinger

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