US Defends Military Force to Advance Democracy

CAIRO, October 1, 2005 ( - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended Friday, September 30, the use of military force to advance democracy and liberty.

"In a world where evil is still very real, democratic principles must also be backed with power in all its forms: political and economic, cultural and moral, and yes, sometimes military," Rice said in a speech at Princeton University, New Jersey, and posted on the State Department's Web site.

"Any champion of democracy who promotes principles without power can make no real difference in the lives of oppressed people," she argued, in an apparent reference to Germany and France which staunchly opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Tens of thousands of American demonstrators took to the streets in several major cities on Saturday, September 24, protesting the US-led invasion of Iraq and demanding the withdrawal of American troops.

Anti-war protestors were buoyed by recent opinion polls that show a growing majority disapprove of Bush's handling of the Iraq war.

A study by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has recently concluded that the US-led invasion-turned-occupation has radicalized "almost exclusively" Saudis and recruit them to Al-Qaeda.

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell regretted Friday, September 9, his UN statement making the case for the Iraq invasion, saying it was a 'blot' on his record.

Washington's top diplomat said the need was more pressing after the 9/11 attacks to "transform" the Middle East region.

"If you believe, as I do and as President [George] Bush does, that the root cause of September 11 was the violent expression of a global extremist ideology, an ideology rooted in the oppression and despair of the modern Middle East, then we must seek to remove the very source of this terror by transforming that total region," Rice opined.

She described ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as "a monster" who simply "could not be a part of anyone's vision for a better Middle East."

Powell first announced in December of 2002, eight months after the occupation of Iraq, a multi-million-dollar initiative to foster "democracy" in the Middle East.

The plan, entitled the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative, "will provide funding and a framework for the US to work together with governments and peoples in the Arab world to expand economic, education and political opportunity."

Those accepting the reforms will receive support and preferential treatment from Washington and its main western allies, according to the plan.

No Pullout
Rice further said withdrawing from Iraq soon is not an option, simply because it would not serve the American interests.

"If we quit now ... 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," she said.

Rice argued that the path to a peaceful Iraq "is made more difficult by the brutal insurgency" in that country.

"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," she said.

Rice's argument contradicts with the finding of the CSIS, which accused government officials in the US and Iraq of exaggerating the number of foreign fighters in Iraq.

It said non-Iraqi fighters made up less than 10 percent of the "insurgents" -- perhaps even half that.

The US army’s chief of staff said on August 20 that the army plans to keep the current number of soldiers in Iraq, estimated at some 140,000, for at least four more years.