In a speech at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed how “democracies are emerging wherever and whenever the tides of oppression recede. She said that, “A political culture of transparency and openness is not one in which extremist beliefs can ultimately thrive” and cited Iraq as a key example:
“[F]or many years, the entire world talked about ending the tyranny in Baathist Iraq. Despite seventeen [United Nations’] Security Council resolutions demanding that Saddam Hussein stop oppressing his people, refrain from threatening his neighbors, and cease the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, he remained in power. The United States and a large coalition of nations finally removed Saddam Hussein. By any moral standard, the liberation of the Iraqi people was long overdue.”
Secretary of State Rice said there is a path to success in Iraq, and the Iraqis are progressing along it. But they face a brutal insurgency. “Let us be very clear about exactly who we are fighting,” said Secretary of State Rice.
“These terrorists target Iraqi children receiving candy from American soldiers. They line up schoolteachers and execute them in their classrooms. They murder hospital workers caring for the wounded. And they massacre innocent Muslims who want to serve as policemen and soldiers and government officials in the new Iraq. This is not some grassroots coalition of national resistance. These are merciless killers who want to provoke nothing less than a full-scale civil war among Muslims across the entire Middle East. And having done so, they would build an empire of terror and oppression.”
Secretary of State Rice said the choice in Iraq is stark:
“If we quit now, we will abandon Iraq’s democrats at their time of greatest need. We will embolden every enemy of liberty and democracy across the Middle East. We will destroy any chance that the people of this region have of building a future of hope and opportunity. And we will make America more vulnerable. If we abandon future generations in the Middle East to despair and terror, we also condemn future generations in the United States to insecurity and fear.”
“We have set out to help the people of the Middle East transform their societies,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “Now is not the time to falter or fade.”
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.