11/23/2005

news - CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Interview on CNN with John King

QUESTION: The Iraqi factions, who don't always get along, have been meeting with the Arab League and others as they prepare for next month's elections. A statement they did agree on says that they recognize the legitimate right of Iraqi citizens to resist the occupation forces. How do you explain that to the parent or the spouse of an American serviceman or woman on the ground in Iraq, getting shot at every day, that the people they're fighting for, the people they're trying to protect to bring these elections and this democracy about, say that the people who are shooting at them have a legitimate right to do so?


SECRETARY RICE: Well, that's not how I read the statement, John. I do think there were many, many voices at this conference -- and by the way, the Iraqi Government was there, but so were many, many people who were not -- and the purpose is to try to give all Iraqis a sense of stake in their future. But the line about resistance was very quickly followed by, but of course we condemn terrorism and of course violence should not be sanctioned. I think what they were trying to do was to get a sense of political inclusion while recognizing that violence and terrorism should not be a part of resistance. After all, do Iraqis really want to -- any Iraqi, sitting around that table, want to suggest that killing an innocent Iraqi child standing at a bus stop is legitimate? Or that killing Iraqi soldiers who are lining up at recruitment centers is legitimate? Or even that multinational forces -- who by the way are there under a UN mandate -- are somehow legitimate targets?


I don't think that that was what was being communicated. But I would just remind people that this was a really broad range of voices, and the Iraqis who have governed themselves by violence and coercion are now trying to do it by compromise and politics.

news - CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Interview on CNN with John King

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