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
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
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:
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
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
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.
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
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
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 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
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
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
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.