Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Rice feels 'personal responsibility" over Iraq failures
In AFP interview, US secretary of state brushes aside growing criticism of her role in prosecuting Iraq war, declaring herself 'very proud' to have helped liberate 25 million Iraqis. She also criticized retiring UN secretary's general's farewell speech
"US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brushed aside the growing criticism of her role in prosecuting the Iraq war, declaring herself "very proud" to have helped oust Saddam Hussein in an exclusive interview with AFP.
But the top US diplomat acknowledged feeling a "personal responsibility" for the bloodshed still taking the lives of hundreds of civilians each week nearly four years after the US-led invasion.
"I'm sure there are many, many things that we could have done differently, maybe should have done differently," Rice said when asked if she had any regrets over her part in the war.
But she added: "It's not just that I don't regret having participated in the liberation of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein – but I'm very proud that this country finally helped to liberate 25 million Iraqis" from the dictator.
Rice went on to admit that the slow pace of reconstruction, the ongoing anti-US insurgency and "particularly the sectarian violence" between the minority Sunnis who ruled under Saddam and the formerly repressed Shiite majority "is very bad, and it's very hard to take."
"If you are at all responsible for the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, you feel a personal responsibility for what's going on there every day," she said."