Coverage of the Condoleezza Rice confirmation hearings


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE:  But the one thing that we have made clear is that while the AUC needs to be demobilized, demilitarized and while he‘s talked about reconciliation with certain aspects, not with blood on their hands, and that‘s been a very important admonition to this government, but Colombia is becoming—I won‘t declare yet, but is becoming a success story you have had very determined leadership and I think we have been a good partner for President Uribe. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think the challenge is the—you can‘t do what—you can‘t give a free pass to folks with blood on their hands, but we need to somehow have an ability to continue forward with...

RICE:  That‘s right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... getting guns out of the hands of narco terrorists.  So...

RICE:  The most important thing that they must do next. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would hope that we would be able to have a more assertive role in that and perhaps some guidance from state down the road.  Just to follow up in terms of what we can do to support the President Uribe, what do you see as the next phase with the expiration then of plan Colombia, but with obviously still great need, still security concerns, what is our role in the next two, three, five years for Colombia? 

RICE:  I think there is no doubt that we are going to have to explore with Colombia its economic development.  It is a country that has potential but has really been—a lot of potential has been held back by the terrible security situation produced by narco trafficking and as the narco trafficking situation is brought under control, we obviously will want to be partner with Colombia in how they build a vibrant democracy.  Part of that is they have asked us to discuss with them what we might be doing in the area of free trade. 

I think that is something that we will want to explore with them.  Obviously it has to be seen in the context of what we‘re trying to do with the free trade area of the Americas.  But we‘ve not been shy to go ahead and look at what we might be able to do bilaterally in trade.  And I know that trade is an area that Colombia is extremely interested in. 

SEN. NORM COLEMAN ®, MINNESOTA:  One of the areas where we have been successful is cutting down on the hectors of cocaine, cocoa that‘s been grown there and spraying has worked...

RICE:  Yes.

COLEMAN:  ... in Colombia.  When we met with Alowa (ph) in—excuse me—Karzai in Afghanistan, I know the—in Afghanistan there are concerns about spraying.  The good news there is that we‘re hearing that folks are actually voluntarily stopping poppy growing.  We‘re still waiting to get confirmation of that, but we‘ve had a number of those reports. 

RICE:  Right.

COLEMAN:  And I think the climate may be more fertile for other things to grow there, but I would hope that we would at least give evidence to the Afghanis about spraying and that it can be done with environmental concerns being met and that it can be effective if some of the other things that they‘re doing don‘t work to the degree that we think they should. 

RICE:  I agree, Senator.  In fact, we asked the Colombians and they agreed to talk to the Afghans about their experience.  But Afghanistan we‘re exploring or pursuing with Afghanistan a kind of five-pillared approach to the counter narcotics problem, which really is now I think in many ways the most urgent issue in Afghanistan, first of all to look at eradication, to look at eradication both aerial and manual.  At this point, manual is all that we can do, but we will see what—whether aerial is needed and what we can do in that regard. 

We are working on alternative livelihoods.  We‘re working on legal reform and police training so that we can help with that.  Prosecutions of people need to take place and then there is a big public affairs campaign.  Karzai made the point to us that he needed after many years of no democratic contact with society to de-legitimize in the eyes of the people the growing of poppy.  And he has been very aggressive on that. 

He‘s—he has appointed a minister for counter narcotics.  He went to the people and said this is a stain on Afghanistan that we have this, and so there‘s a lot of work to do, but I think we have a government that‘s dedicated to the counter narcotics fight and we‘ll see what role aerial spraying has to play. 

COLEMAN:  We saw last week great success in Afghanistan.  Some people talk about the hustle factor.  I mean the people there they‘re proud of what they have accomplished, proud of what they have done with their election, proud of where their country is going with the opium trade threatens to undercut all of that.  And that‘s—we spoke to our European allies, NATO, about that, but that is the one issue that could derail the incredible success we‘re having.  So I appreciate your perspectives and I look forward to supporting your nomination and know that you will serve this country with great distinction and great skill, as you‘ve done already, and I know you‘ll continue to do so. 

RICE:  Thank you, Senator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you, Senator Coleman.  Senator Feingold.

SEN. RUSSELL FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN:  Thank you Mr. Chairman and Dr. Rice, thanks for all your time today and I want to start this round.  It will not be a full round, but I do want to commend you for your strong statements on the need to focus in a much more serious way on public diplomacy and particularly to insure that our efforts involve a real dialogue and exchange, not just broadcasting our opinions or handing out cassettes or pamphlets.  We have to show people the basic respect of listening to them, even when we disagree. 

It is so important particularly in political cultures in which ideas about humiliation are so prominent.  I hope to work closely with you on these issues.  Every time I travel, I become more and more convinced of the importance and the value of involving more and more Americans—our farmers, our artists, our teachers in this kind of an issue.  I think Americans want to contribute in this way, and I very much hope that you will consider me a true ally in your efforts in this regard. 

On the other hand, I am deeply troubled by your response or rather, your failure to respond clearly and directly to Senator Dodd about torture and interrogation techniques.  We went through the same kind of process with the nominee for attorney general in our judiciary committee, but frankly, this was even more troubling.  It is simply not OK to equivocate on torture.  It is not OK from the point of view of the safety of our own troops.  It is not OK in terms of global perceptions of this country, and it is not OK because it is not who we are as a country. 

America is better than that.  We stand for something, and we do have standards, and I just felt I wanted to say that before I proceed to one other area.  Less than 10 days ago, a comprehensive peace agreement was signed that we all hope will mean a lasting end to the tremendously costly north-south civil war in Sudan which the chairman mentioned.  I congratulate the administration, which worked tirelessly on this issue on this accomplishment, but as we all know, the crisis in Darfar continues to fester and despite the fact that Secretary Powell acknowledged that we are dealing with genocide, the United States and the international community have basically taken no effective action to stop the violence. 

Last week I met with refugees who had fled to desolate camps in eastern Chad.  And I heard the fear if their voices as they told me that they cannot return home until there is some kind of meaningful security on the ground.  To date, the administration simply has proven unable or perhaps unwilling to exert enough pressure on the government of Sudan to convince it to change its behavior.  Of course, one of the many difficult issues in addressing Sudan is something that has come up in other context today is the tension between the desire to have a solid counterterrorism relationship with Sudan and on the other hand, our reaction to the kind of unacceptable atrocities we see in Darfar right now.  We see this tension in other places as well, such as Uzbekistan.  How can this kind of tension be managed? 

RICE:  Thank you, Senator.  First, let me try to be clearer.  The United States doesn‘t and can‘t condone torture.  And I want to make very clear that‘s the view and the policy of the administration, the policy of the president, and that he‘s made very clear to American personnel that we will not condone torture. 

As to Sudan, it is a very difficult problem, and you—I thank you very much for the recognition for what we have been able to do on the north-south issue, and I want to just say that Senator Danforth did a fantastic job on that.  The president when he first came into office said that he wanted to try to do something about Sudan.  He enlisted Jack Danforth, and we did get something done on the comprehensive peace between north and south. 

We have hoped that that would give us some leverage to deal with the Darfar issue because Khartoum now has more at stake if, in fact, we‘re going to move forward on a relationship having resolved the north-south issues.  Darfar has to be resolved too and so there is more at stake for Khartoum in resolving the Darfar issue.

We were early and we have been consistent in trying to deal with the humanitarian crisis getting access for the nongovernmental organizations, having opened up an additional access route with Libya, spending money.  I met with NGOs that were operating there.  I think they believe that the American effort on the humanitarian side was really quite active. 

The problem, as you note, is that Khartoum has been difficult to deal with particularly on the security issue where we‘ve been saying to them you‘ve got to disarm this gender rage.  You‘ve got to stop the atrocities against people.  We do believe it is—that it rises to the level of genocide and we are pressing Khartoum very, very hard on those matters.  There also has to be a political process ultimately, and we‘ve tried to help sponsor one. 

Frankly, this is a place where I‘m really disappointed in the response of some others in the international community.  The reason that we couldn‘t get a tougher Security Council resolution isn‘t because the United States didn‘t want one.  It was because certain members of the Security Council refused to have one.  And one of the problems in working in a multilateral environment is that sometimes you are blocked by others.  Now, we are impressing and I think we need to—one reason that we thought it important to call genocide, genocide was to put pressure on members of the Security Council who have been reluctant to even talk about the future, a future that might include sanctions. 

That it was important to put pressure on those other Security Council members, and so we‘ll continue to press this case.  We also need—I think I mentioned earlier and this is actually a broader issue within Africa.  Our policy has been to try to improve the capability of African institutions to involve themselves in civil conflict of this kind.  We did it with Acowas (ph) in Liberia.  We‘re working with the A.U. in Sudan, but again, right now the ceiling, we believe, 3,300 peacekeepers ought to be there.  Khartoum has allowed 1,100. 

So we are really going to have to have an international effort to—in order to bring greater pressure on the Sudanese government, but we are trying to raise the spotlight on it.  We are trying to pressure others to raise the spotlight on it and we‘re doing what we can in the meantime to deal with the humanitarian circumstances. 

FEINGOLD:  Well I think your comments are fair with regard to the lack of cooperation from other countries in past months with regard to Sudan, but based on the extensive conversations I had last week in that region, my guess is that the combination of our counter terrorism interests and the commit to the north-south agreement in Sudan will provide too much momentum in the other direction and that the Darfar situation will not be resolved unless we do something fairly dramatic.  Let me reiterate my call and the call of others that a special envoy be appointed to deal with this issue. 

You mentioned Senator Danforth.  He did a tremendous job as a special envoy in the north-south problem.  This situation, this genocide as your predecessor called it, will not be resolved unless we do something dramatic, and it makes perfect sense to take that step, so let me urge that on you.  And finally, just to go back to the torture issue for a minute, I appreciate your general statement that you abhor and reject torture. 

Senator Dodd got it down to specific types of activities that are reprehensible.  You were unable to say that those particular kinds of conduct were unacceptable forms of torture.  And I‘m afraid that that is absolutely the wrong message we want to send today, with all respect.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

RICE:  Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you very much, Senator Feingold.  Senator Voinovich.

SEN. GEORGE VOINOVICH ®, OHIO:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I‘d like to talk to you a little bit about budget and management.  The 150 Account—function of the 150 is what funds your agency.  And it‘s about one percent of the total federal budget outlet.  That‘s as compared to the defense budget, which represents about 17 percent of budget outlays. 

The president, and I pat him on the back for this, requested a seven percent increase for the department in his 2005 budget.  We unanimously agreed to that, and unfortunately, my colleagues in budget and appropriations came up with $1.8 billion short.  There is some talk today around that the president is going to be asking all agencies other than defense and homeland to prepare options for cutting current spending by five percent with the intention of holding non-defense resources to one percent of growth in the 2006 budget. 

What impact would this have on your 150 account and, number one, and do you believe the State Department should be included in such national security exemptions in a way similar to the Defense Department, intelligence, and homeland security? 

RICE:  Well, I believe—first of all, I do understand the budget constraints that the country is operating under at this point and the need to have budget discipline.  I fully understand that.  I believe that we will be able and obviously the budget numbers are not yet available, not yet final.  I do believe that we will be able to execute the American foreign policy.  We will be able to keep momentum in the very considerable improvements that have been made in management, in people, in the diplomatic readiness initiatives in technology. 

VOINOVICH:  Do you believe that the State Department should be part of the national security exemptions just as the Department of Defense, intelligence, and homeland security?  I would like to know whether you think it should be an exemption or not. 

RICE:  I think the important thing, Senator, is that we are able to perform the functions that we need to perform.  And that‘s what I‘m going to be watching.  If at any time I don‘t think we will be able to perform those functions, I will make that known not only to OMB but to the president. 

VOINOVICH:  Well it‘s pretty important because we‘ve heard a lot today—there‘s a lot of areas where people want money, and it‘s just only so much that‘s there.  And I do believe that your department is as important to our national security as the Defense Department.  And we‘re going to have to start to re-evaluate the way we spend our money around here if we‘re going to deal with this new challenge that we have of global terrorism. 

The second question I have is the issue of management.  Do you know when the last time was when the Department of State had a management audit to find out whether or not it was organized the way it ought to be organized?  And second of all, when was the last time that somebody looked at how the department sets it priorities? 

RICE:  Senator, I don‘t know when the last management audit was.  And I have to assume that they looked at priorities on a yearly basis.  I know that this has been a very fine management team that Secretary Powell has had in place and they have made a lot of progress.  But I want to assure you that I feel very strongly about the need to manage a department very well. 

Without the management of your resources—and that means budget, people, technology, buildings, all of those things—it is very hard to actually conduct policy.  And you have my word that this—the management agenda will be a very important part of my agenda.  And if there hasn‘t been a management audit or review for some time, then there will be because it‘s an important thing to do.  And if I...

VOINOVICH:  I‘m going to be paying a lot of attention to that part of it not only as a member of this committee, but also because of chairmanship of the Oversight Government Management and Governmental Affairs, but I just—I am really interested in that because if you don‘t have the people, you know, to get the job done, then we‘ve got some real problems. 

RICE:  I agree, Senator.  Let me just say on the budget matter again we can meet our obligations.  We probably—if there is a supplemental, we will look forward to obviously being a part of it for a number of our requirements for a number of things that have to get done.  But I just want to emphasize we will look at the resources that we have and can we do the job and I won‘t hesitate if I think that we have problems in that regard to make certain that the president knows it.

VOINOVICH:  I‘d really like to know who‘s going to be doing this stuff.  Because I know if Bob Zoellick comes over, I don‘t know, is he going to be the—you‘re going to be so busy with all kinds of things and we‘re talking about special envoys to other places and you‘re saying well maybe we won‘t do it.  If you get involved in the Middle East and start, you know, shuttle negotiations or something, somebody has got to pay attention to who‘s running the shop and I‘m real concerned about. 

One other thing I‘d like that bring up is I mentioned the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act.  Part of that act is to create the office to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.  I‘d like that know when is that office going to be created? 

RICE:  Senator, I will have to look into that.  I know that we need to create the office.  I know that they‘ve looked at creating it.  There is some question about where it will be located.  I will look into that as soon as I‘m hopefully confirmed and get back with you—to you with an answer.  As to who will manage, clearly the deputy has an important role to play in the management, so does the undersecretary for management. 

But I just want to emphasize I know that I‘ll be doing a lot of things.  But I was chief operating officer of Stanford University‘s provost.  I cared a lot about the management issues.  I understand management of big organizations, and I know that if you‘re not watching, all kinds of things can happen that are to the detriment of your objectives, and so you can be certain that it‘s something I will be paying attention to. 

VOINOVICH:  That is great because your people will be—they‘ll want to know you care. 

RICE:  It‘s the first briefing that I actually had was with the undersecretary for management because I wanted to understand what the management challenges were, what the future looked like.  The—Secretary Powell and Deputy Secretary Armitage have done a fine job of managing.  We have to continue that tradition and push further. 

VOINOVICH:  One other issue again deals with management.  Our European subcommittee had a hearing on crime and corruption in that—southeast Europe and that area.  And you‘ve got the FBI, you‘ve got the State Department, and other agencies involved in it.  And I would suggest that someone look at the way that‘s organized because the conclusion I drew was that everybody‘s involved, but there doesn‘t seem to be an orchestra leader or somebody that‘s coordinating it. 

I don‘t know whether it‘s the State Department or the Justice Department, but I really think that—I think you understand.  You‘ve mentioned in your remarks is that crime and corruption in some of those parts of the world are much greater threat than terrorism.  And if we don‘t really have our act together in that regard, many of these new democracies are going to be undermined. 

RICE:  Understood.  Thank you, Senator.  I‘ll look into that.  Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you very much, Senator Voinovich.  Senator Boxer. 

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA:  Thanks so much, Mr. Chairman.  I‘m going to make a couple of comments and then I‘m going to continue the questioning on the torture issue.  I hope that you‘ll consider what colleagues have said on both sides of the aisle about a lack of consistency in our foreign policy.  For example, Senator Dodd at one point said we‘re in trouble in Latin America.  And I would say having come back from a six-day conference with Senator Lugar, bipartisan on Central and South America it‘s true because they don‘t sense a consistency. 

As Senator Chafee points out, you praise Uribe for democracy even though we were told at this conference that he‘s trying to pass a law which would forbid sitting governors and sitting senators from running against him.  And you condemn the head of Venezuela, Chavez, after having the administration, not you personally, briefly praise a coupe.  And it wasn‘t until the OAS spoke up and said, well, wait a minute, that‘s wrong. 

Then we backed off, so we really do need more consistency here.  For example, in Mexico, where Dupree (ph) is coming back, we‘ve got to pay attention to Mexico.  And I hope that will be a priority because I know they are very distressed and disappointed that they don‘t feel they were a priority.  We have got immigration issues in my state that I know you are very aware of coming—being a resident there, and we‘ve got to deal with these issues. 

And we have a situation where the prix now is trying to disqualify someone who wants to run.  So we‘ve got a lot of democracy issues there and I think we need to be evenhanded.  And also, I think Senator Biden‘s point, and I think Senator Lugar might have picked up on it, I‘m not sure, that for the axis of evil countries we have a certain set of criteria, but yet it doesn‘t extend to other countries like China and Russia, and other places that I think Senator Chafee mentioned. 

I put this out there because I know it‘s all tough and we play the game and need all of our friends to be with us and we overlook certain things, but we will lose credibility, so I hope you can think about that as you, I believe, will try to restore credibility for this country.  Now, we sparred over the weapons of mass destruction, and I just want to place something in the record because I don‘t want to go on and on because we just won‘t agree, so this—we might as well say you see it one way, I see it another.  But I thought what I‘d put in the record is a statement by the president‘s spokesman, Ari Fleischer, right after the war started, and I asked unanimous consent to place the statement in the record. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s placed in the record. 

BOXER:  At a press conference he said, “the fact of the matter is we‘re still in a war and not everything about the war is known, but make no mistake, as I said earlier, we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction.  That is what this war was about, and it is about.”  That‘s Ari Fleischer.  I‘d like to place that in the record because we‘re not going to agree at the end of the day. 

That‘s why I‘m trying to put in statements that say that my view is not coming from me.  It‘s coming from people who were all around you.  Now, Senator Dodd gave you a great moment in history to show your humanity on the issue of torture.  He said I‘m not talking to you as a nominee.  I‘m talking to you as one human being to another and you answered in legalisms. 

Then Senator Feingold gave you another chance and you didn‘t take the opportunity.  Now, I respect that, but I‘m distressed about it.  And I agree with Senator Dodd it‘s very, very disappointing.  So I‘m going to press you a little further not only on what you‘ve said on it, but what you‘ve actually done on the issue. 

What you said today, what happened in Abu Ghraib was unacceptable, was abuse.  It made us all sick to our stomachs and I think we could all agree.  Did you see the photos—all of the photos that were available from that prison? 

RICE:  I saw—I don‘t know if I saw all of them, but I saw enough of them to know that it was a stain on our country. 

BOXER:  Well, I appreciate that.  I went up to see the photos, and I—at my age, we take stress tests—also because of the work we‘re in, we take stress tests.  And they tell you when you get up on that machine, just keep on going until you can‘t take it anymore.  That‘s how I felt when I was watching those photographs. 

I saw things there that will be burned in my memory forever.  And that‘s why I‘m so supportive of making sure that America stands tall, tall, the leader in the world against torture.  And I am very upset at certain things that occurred, and I want to tell you what they are.  You said on July 1, 2004, when you commented on the abuses that took place in Abu Ghraib, and we‘re going to put this up here.  You said, what took place at the Abu Ghraib prison does not represent America; our nation is a compassionate country that believes in freedom. 

The U.S. government is deep sorry for what happened and so on.  You said that about Abu Ghraib.  I thought your remarks were very appropriate.  Now, last Thursday we find out that after the Senate unanimously approved an amendment to restrict the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers, you wrote a letter along with Mr. Bolton to the members of the Conference Committee asking them to strike that language from the final bill.  And unfortunately, that is what they did at your request. 

Now—can you bring this over here so I can see it?  I want to read you the operative language that you asked to be struck from the bill that was struck from the bill.  In general—and by the way, this is written by Joe Lieberman and John McCain.  John McCain, a man who knows what torture is, so he wrote this with Joe Lieberman.  In general, no prisoner shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 

Pretty straightforward, pretty elegant, bipartisan, passed the Senate, that amendment unanimously—every single member.  A letter comes and the newspaper writes that at your request, at the urging of the White House congressional leaders scrapped a legislative measure last month that would have imposed new restrictions on the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers. 

In a letter to members of Congress sent in October and made available by the White House on Wednesday, -- this is last week—Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor, expressed opposition to the measure on the grounds that it—quote—“provides legal protections to foreign prisoners to which they are not now entitled under applicable law and policy.”  Now, my understanding of this is that it is a restatement of what the law is. 

So again, I am so distressed that we hear from you even though you had a chance today to put your personal touch on it.  We hear good words about how it was terrible, what happened at Abu Ghraib, and again, I know you‘re aware that the overwhelming number of those people were set free from Abu Ghraib.  So those people stand in that pyramid who were being sexually abused, they were set free, the vast majority of them. 

And yet when we had a chance, the bipartisan senators voted to say this has to end.  This has to stop.  Who writes a letter—you do—telling them to drop this.  Why on earth did you do that after we passed this unanimously and you say that what happened in Abu Ghraib was unacceptable and it was abuse?  It is to me rather stunning.  So can you explain to me why you wrote that letter? 

RICE:  Senator, it was our view in the administration that, first of all, this was covered in the defense authorization bill, which the president did sign. 

BOXER:  But this has to do with the intelligence community, not the military. 

RICE:  And secondly...

BOXER:  It‘s not covered. 

RICE:  But all government agencies were covered in the defense authorization...

BOXER:  This was just the intelligence officers.  Go ahead.

RICE:  All government agencies were covered in the defense authorization, so intelligence was covered. 

BOXER:  No...

RICE:  It was our view.  Secondly, the—we did not want to afford to people who did not, shouldn‘t enjoy certain protections, those protections, and the Geneva Convention should not apply to terrorists like al Qaeda.  They can‘t or you will stretch the meaning of the Geneva Convention.  Senator, I have to go back to the broader point here...

BOXER:  One second...


BOXER:  Just one—excuse me.  I just want to clarify something.

RICE:  Yes.

BOXER:  Got it.  Thanks.  Go ahead. 

RICE:  Nobody condones torture.  Nobody condones what was done at Abu Ghraib.  In fact, you had everyone from the president of the United States on down in effect offer an apology to those who had endured that treatment; the people who perpetrated it have been punished and are being punished.  It‘s being investigated.  It‘s looked into as to whether there was a broader problem. 

The United States reacted the way that democracies react when something goes wrong and something definitely went wrong at Abu Ghraib.  And nobody condones or excuses what happened at Abu Ghraib.  The problem of how to deal with unlawful combatants, though, in a different kind of war is frankly a very difficult problem.  You have people who kill innocents with impunity. 

You have people who burrow into our country and try to harm us.  You have people who‘ve engaged in large-scale acts against children in Russia and against commuters in Madrid.  And this is a different kind of war, and these are combatants with which we‘re...

BOXER:  So do you then oppose that language in the defense bill?  You seem to oppose it in the intelligence bill... 

RICE:  If we oppose the language in the defense bill? 

BOXER:  I‘m asking you now.  You said...

RICE:  The president signed it. 

BOXER:  No, no, I‘m asking about you.  You said...

RICE:  The president signed it. 

BOXER:  No, no, you miss—you‘re not listening to the question.  You said you don‘t want to extend these international laws to all prisoners.  However, it is extended in the defense bill.  And this was just extending it to the intelligence officers.  Now you‘re - so that‘s why I am asking you, since you said you can‘t extend it, do you support it in the defense bill?  Whether the president signed it, I‘m asking your opinion. 

RICE:  Of course I support it in the defense bill Senator... 

BOXER:  But you don‘t in the intelligence bill...

RICE:  No, Senator, we think the intelligence agencies are covered in the defense bill.  It was unnecessary to have it in...

BOXER:  But then you go on to say that these agreements...

RICE:  I was making a broader point, Senator, which is that the Geneva Conventions should not be extended to those who don‘t live up to the obligations of the Geneva Convention. 

BOXER:  OK.  Well let me just say there, Mr. Chairman, the person who wrote this, Dick Durbin, Senator Durbin, senior senator from Illinois, he offered the language to the Defense Department Bill.  He then said the Senate Intelligence Reform Bill would have simply extended these requirements to the intelligence community.  Now, I‘m getting two messages from you. 

One is we didn‘t need this because the intelligence community is already covered.  If that was the case, why not leave it in so the world can see that we‘re not only willing to put it in the defense bill, but in the intelligence bill?  Because obviously colleagues here—John McCain kind of knows what he‘s doing in legislation and so does Senator Lieberman. 

They are the ones who did this -- 100-0.  It was passed through the United States Senate.  I think people felt it was important in light of Abu Ghraib to stand up and be elegant on the point.  And I‘m going to read it one more time if you‘ll hold it up because what they said was quite elegant.  And it doesn‘t have, you know, any extra words at all. 

In general no prisoner shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States.  And everyone in the Senate, Republican and Democratic, it was a shining moment for us.  And then in a letter and it just comes to light last week that you write, you ask that this be stricken.  And I have to say that‘s the problem I have.  There are beautiful words and then there‘s the action...


BOXER:  ... contradictions. 

RICE:  Senator, it‘s the...

BOXER:  I don‘t think that you have explained it because by saying we didn‘t need it, it was in the defense bill.  A:  People don‘t agree with that in the Senate.  And B:  So what?  If it was duplicative, that we said it twice that torture is wrong, and we will obey international laws.  I think it just shows that this is not an issue that you feel very comfortable with. 

You had an opportunity when Senator Dodd asked you.  You had an opportunity to say how you felt personally about it.  You had a chance to embrace this language, which was embraced by Senator McCain and Lieberman and every member of the Senate, and yet you write a letter and as a result, it‘s dropped.  And I just think it‘s a sad day for us.  That‘s how I feel.  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you very much, Senator Boxer.  I will call now on Senator Obama.  Let me just announce while there‘s still senators here that after a consultation with many parties and not unanimous consent, but certainly majority consent is the chair‘s view that we will commence our hearing tomorrow morning at 9:00.  We‘ll have a round of questions for cleanup purposes but limited to five minutes to senator. 

At 10:00, we will have a business meeting of the committee at that point.  And at that point we will have debate and hopefully a vote on the nominee.  I appreciate this inconveniences some senators and their witness.  On the other hand, Senator Biden had obligations this evening, so have two senators who shall remain nameless who had television appearances and other things that needed to happen. 

So we‘re attempting to do the best we can to try to be fair to everybody involved, but we‘ll continue this evening and Senator Obama will ask questions and take a regular round.  We‘ll go back to other senators then who wish to continue the questioning at that point.  Senator Obama. 

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS:  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.  Dr. Rice, I appreciate your stamina.  I‘ve got one very specific question that I‘d like maybe a brief answer to so that even though it‘s a large question and then maybe I want to engage with you a little bit on this public diplomacy issue.  I think that you have done a commendable job in helping the United States rethink its international aid and development programs.  So I know the Millennium Challenge Account you were very active in. 

I understand the president pledged $10 billion by fiscal year ‘06.  To date, 2.5 has been appropriated.  My understanding is very little has been spent.  The president also pledged in 2003 15 billion for HIV, Aids, something that all of us care deeply about.  But to date, only around two billion has been appropriated for HIV, Aids, leaving 13 billion to be appropriated and spent over the next three years.  So my very specific question is, are you planning and would you pledge here to make full funding of these commitments a central priority of the administration and its budget request for Congress? 

RICE:  The MCA is a very important initiative for us and we have been trying to get it right, and so it takes some time to negotiate compacts with these countries and to make sure that they are prepared to take on the obligations of receiving MCA funding.  And so—and we were also about a year late in—not a year late, but a year in getting the Millennium Challenge Corporation up and running.  And what we will do is we will make sure that the funding is there for the program that is before us, and we will over time certainly fulfill the president‘s obligation to by 50 percent increase American spending on development assistance. 

OBAMA:  OK.  The reason I make this point, I think, is not that I want us to spend money willy-nilly and in the same way that on social programs if programs aren‘t well thought through and you throw money at them, it may be a waste of money and we don‘t with money to waste.  The same is certainly true on the international stage. 

On the other hand, when we publicly announce that we‘re making these commitments and if it appears that we‘re not following through, then that undermines our credibility and makes your job more difficult.  And so I would urge that there is a clear signal by the administration in its budgeting process this time out that we‘re moving forward on this.  And if, in fact, it turns out that the spending on this money was overly ambitious because we don‘t quite know how to spend all of it wisely, then that should be stated publicly and clearly, and the timeline should be extended.  But there should be a clear signal sent by the administration on that.  So that‘s the relatively narrow point.


OBAMA:  The broader point I think draws on a number of themes that have been discussed earlier.  And the issue of public diplomacy, some of it is technique.  It‘s technical.  Do we have a—the equivalent of a radio-free Europe in the Middle East that‘s effective?  What are we doing with respect to exchange students and visas?  I mean I think there are a whole host of technical questions that we can deal with. 

But effective public diplomacy at least from my perspective isn‘t just spin.  It‘s substantive.  Part of the problem we have overseas is not just a matter of presentation.  It‘s profound disagreements with our approach to certain policies.  And I think that one area that this comes up and I think Iraq highlighted—and I see in your statement, I think it may highlight it as well.  When I read in the third paragraph of your testimony or opening statement today, it says “under the vision and leadership of President Bush, our nation has risen to meet the challenges of our times, fighting tyranny and terror and securing the blessings of freedom and prosperity for a new generation.”

Part of, I think, the concern that I have here—and this has been a concern for critics of the administration for some time, is the conflation of tyranny and terror.  And that may be where the mixed signals or the lack of consistency that Senator Chafee and Senator Boxer and others were alluding to arises.  We are unanimous in wanting to root out terror.  It appears that even within the administration there‘s ambiguity with respect to our views on tyranny. 

Tyranny is problematic, but if engaged in by an ally of ours or a country that‘s sufficiently powerful that we don‘t think we can do anything about it, it doesn‘t prompt military action.  In other cases it does.  Part of the, I think, debate and the divisiveness of Iraq had to do with the fact that it appeared that the administration sold military action in Iraq on the basis of concern about terror, and then the rationale shifted or at least got muddied into an acknowledged desire to get rid of a tyrant. 

And I guess what I‘m trying to figure out here—and this is particular to military action and military incursions.  Do we have a well thought through doctrine that we can present to the world that explains when we feel that military action is justified and when it is not?  Apparently it‘s not justified in Sudan where there‘s a genocide taking place.  It wasn‘t justified in Rwanda, despite, I think, unanimity that that was one of the greatest tragedies that occurred in my lifetime. 

There are a number of circumstances in which we have felt that such incursions or nation building are not appropriate despite the evidence of great tyranny, and yet in Iraq and perhaps in Iran and perhaps in other circumstances, we think it is.  And so what I‘m looking for is some clearly articulated statement as to when you think as secretary of state, military action is appropriate?  Or do you think alternatively that we should just be—the administration should be able to engage in sort of ad hock judgments as it goes along as to whether, well, let‘s take these folks out and let‘s not take these folks out. 

RICE:  Well, that‘s a very interesting question, Senator.  It‘s one that actually is debated in academy around the world when how can you think about a standard for the use of military force.  In fact...

OBAMA:  Although—not to interrupt, but of course this is not academic because...

RICE:  No, of course...

OBAMA:  ... we have 150,000 troops over there right now.

RICE:  ... but it‘s exactly my point that when you‘re not debating it in the academy, it‘s a bit more difficult to have a hard and a true definition of when one would use military force and when one would not because circumstances differ, and one has to, when choosing a policy course, look at the mix of tools available to you.  Military force should really be a last resort.  Certainly not a resort that is early on in the process because so much at stake—so much is at stake and lives are at stake and war is an unpredictable, blunt instrument. 

And so it is indeed outside the confines of the academy very difficult to have a specific definition of when you use force and when you do not.  I think that when one looks at Iraq, you look at a circumstance in which an awful lot of factors came together to make the case of Saddam Hussein approachable really ultimately only through the use of military force.  That it was in that sense a last resort because you had had 12 years of failed diplomacy after a war in which he‘d fought a war of aggression, in which he had then signed on to certain obligations, not kept those obligations. 

He signed onto the obligations, by the way, in order to end the 1991 conflict.  He then didn‘t live up to those obligations, flaunted them before the international community, continued to threaten his neighbors, and continued to threaten our pilots trying to enforce the no-fly zones.  We did have someone with a history and a presence and a shadow of the future concerning the world‘s most dangerous weapons, and we had someone who was a—an ally of terror and was in the world‘s most dangerous region.  I think he had the whole package. 

OBAMA:  Dr. Rice, I don‘t mean to interrupt you, but I know that I‘m going to be running out of time.  I see that yellow light going off.  I guess my point is not to re-litigate the Iraq issue.  I think it‘s to move forward.  The concern that many of my constituents in Illinois express is that we went into Iraq at least in their minds because of a very specific threat of terror—not tyranny, but terror. 

Had the administration sold the plan to go into Iraq based on this complex mix, then it‘s not clear it would have generated public support.  That‘s past.  What now as we move forward and we look at Iran or we look at North Korea or these other circumstances, I think it‘s important for us to be clear that the American people have to have an honest accounting of why we‘re going in because once we‘re in, we‘re stuck. 

RICE:  Yes. 

OBAMA:  And we‘re now going to be spending at least $200 billion in Iraq, and we‘ve lost over 1,300 lives and it‘s counting.  And so part of the public diplomacy both internationally as well as domestically requires this administration to at least be able to articulate these reasons in a way that are coherent and somewhat consistent.  I understand that the world is complicated and it‘s not always going to be fitting into the neat boxes of the academy.  But right now at least it seems like it‘s moving target both for the American people and for the international community. 

RICE:  Well Senator, I appreciate that, but if I could just speak to the moving target notion because I don‘t think it‘s been a moving target.  And the fact is tyranny and terror are linked.  They are linked.  We know that if we deal with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and the organization that did 9/11, we‘re still going to be dealing with its spawn and we‘re still going to be dealing with the ideology of hatred that it‘s been perpetrating.  And we know that the ground in which that ideology of hatred has grown and matured and prospered is the ground of places in the world where there‘s a freedom deficit and where the anger and hopelessness has been channeled into these very malignant forces. 

OBAMA:  Absolutely.  But again, and again, I know I‘m out of time here, but that‘s true in Sudan.  There is a lot of anger in Sudan.  There is a lot of anger all through Sub-Saharan Africa and yet we don‘t make these decisions.  So I‘m not disputing that if you have a vibrant democracy and a healthy, functioning free market system, there‘s less likelihood of terrorism.  And I think all of us recognize that connection, but we‘re making very specific calculations on the basis of flawed information or flawed intelligence and finite resources. 

And so we‘ve got to make the best judgments we can in these circumstances.  And so the fact that there‘s a link somewhere between terror and tyranny is not sufficient for us to be making decisions about spending 200 to $300 billion or sacrificing the lives of American servicemen and women. 

RICE:  Senator, I appreciate that, but I have to say I don‘t think it‘s a vague link.  When you talk about the Middle East, it‘s a pretty clear link.  You‘re talking about the rise of Islamic extremism.  You‘re talking about Jihadism.  You‘re talking about the ground in which it grew up.  And you‘re talking about a very narrow definition of terrorism if you only talk about trying to take down the al Qaeda organization. 

OBAMA:  I think that‘s fair and if that‘s the case and again, I don‘t want to belabor this, but I‘m just trying to give you a sense of where I think our public diplomacy fails.  There is certainly a link between tyranny in Saudi Arabia and terrorism.  And yet we make a whole series of strategic decisions about accommodating the Saudi regime. 

And I‘m not saying that‘s a bad decision.  But what I am saying is that the degree to which you as the spokesperson for U.S. foreign policy is able to articulate greater consistency in our foreign policy and where those links exist between tyranny and terror, you are able to apply those not just in one or two areas, but more broadly.  Then I think your public diplomacy is going to be more successful. 

RICE:  Thank you. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you very much, Senator Obama.  I will pass on this round and recognize Senator Dodd. 

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I‘ll (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to cover and I—let me mention, first of all, on a positive note because as Senator Voinovich and others—I think maybe the chairman raised earlier.  In fact, I want to thank you.  You came by and we had a pleasant conversation I think in December or early January.  I‘ve forgotten which now...

RICE:  December I think...

DODD:  ... in our office and I appreciate the time and the willingness to do that.  One of the things you and I talked about in that meeting was this issue of the—at least statistically we‘re told in the press about a declining number of graduate students coming to the United States.  I think you were talking about this earlier.  The visa issue and this problem we‘re having with a I think 45 percent decline in graduate school, about eight percent in undergraduate degrees. 

We ran into it in this trip that Senator Nelson and Senator Chafee and I took in our embassies and talking to other people, a declining number of applicants coming through our office because of bureaucracy just waiting for a decision whether or not they can come, given the opportunities to choose other universities around the world who are competitive with our own.  They are making choices to go elsewhere.  And I think one of the great strengths in this post-World War II era was the opening of America‘s doors at universities and the tremendous benefit to us, to them as well, going back, how many of us have run into student, leaders today, that went to American universities, came here as students and had a wonderful effect on their decision-making process as young adults. 

And I‘m hopeful that we can get back to that issue again.  I realize there are modern considerations in the wake of 9/11 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we have to weigh in all of this, but I think we do so at our own peril if we don‘t get this right soon in my view.  I link that up because—I won‘t go back because time is limited here, but in your opening statement you made a wonderful—a couple of wonderful statements here that I certainly agree with. 

You speak eloquently about the visionary leaders we had at the end of World War II.  And I think too often we forget about how visionary they really were in many ways and things they did.  I say that because in talking about the subject matter earlier when I raised the issue of torture and these questions, and I say this because I remember growing up and getting a constant diet of this. 

My father was about a 35 or 36-year-old lawyer when he went to Nuremberg and Winston Churchill and others at that time when they talked about the defendants in the first round of prosecutions, were some of the most vicious people that mankind had ever seen.  Whether they wore uniforms or not, they brutally murdered six million Jews and five million others, civilians, not to mention the millions who lost their lives as combatants. 

And Winston Churchill and others argued at the time that we just ought to summarily execute these people, but the American team argued without any basis—there was no Geneva Convention that I‘m aware of in those days that said that they believe very deeply that the place at Nuremberg was so appropriate because that was the site of the Nuremberg laws that gave the Nazis the legal justification for the final solutions and the Nuremberg trials occurred in that city and we insisted that every defendant there get a lawyer. 

They could present evidence before that court, that tribunal made of the allies.  They did so not because there was some body of law someplace that said they had to, but because we wanted to tell the world who we were.  We were very, very different not just in terms of our economic plans and political plans, but how we viewed mankind.  And what I think we‘re getting at here in these questions to you is not about the legalisms of this, but in these troubled times—and we are dealing with great threats of fundamentalism that threatens our way of life—that we are different out there. 

We stand for things that are different based not so much on laws or statutes that get passed, but go right back to our Constitution in this country.  When we wrote and our founders did, they didn‘t talk about people who were blessed enough either to be born here or live here when they talked about mankind.  And that‘s what we‘re getting at with these questions.  But I know you‘ve got a job to follow the law and read the statutes and so forth, but I wanted to give you as an opportunity to talk as that very visionary generation did in the wake of World War II with all the anger, all of the feelings they had, they insisted that we send a different message to the world that even these brutal, cruel human beings who did what they did to innocent civilians, we treated them differently than they ever would have treated their own victims. 

That‘s the issue really.  Not what the law says.  Not dotting the I‘s and crossing the T‘s.  But speaking more fundamentally as to who we are as a people.  That‘s really what is at the core of this issue.  And I want to give you a chance to talk about that because that‘s important to people around the globe.  So that‘s the reason I raised it.  And it goes to a third issue which I want to get to in a minute, but if you want to respond to this, again, I‘d like to give you another chance to do so because your answer was very troubling to me. 

RICE:  Well, we are and have been different.  We have now friends who have similar views of international law, and the United States has been a leader.  And Senator, I understand what something like Abu Ghraib does to our image and not just our image, but to people‘s desire to really hold onto America as something different.  I understand that.  I understand it fully.  It‘s one reason that it was so hard to watch and so hard to respond to and so hard to know exactly what to say. 

It‘s a rare thing that the president of the United States apologizes for something like that, but he did, and I thought it was the right thing to do.  And I know, too, that we‘re struggling with the fact that we are in a different kind of war even than the war of—World War II when there were certainly terrible atrocities.  But now a war in which we are trying to prevent the next attack through information by the people who are captured on these battlefields and the like, and people who blow up innocent civilians and who drive airplanes into buildings and who behead people and who slit the throat of Daniel Pearl.  I mean it‘s—it is a different kind of war.  I think you would agree with me that these are enemy noncombatants that...

DODD:  Don‘t become like them. 

RICE:  No...

DODD:  Don‘t become like them.

RICE:  ... I agree.  And Senator, if we were like them, we wouldn‘t have punished the people for Abu Ghraib.  If we were like them, the president of the United States wouldn‘t have apologized.  If we were like them, we wouldn‘t have so much concern about how not to have that happen again. 

DODD:  All right. 

RICE:  But may I just say one final thing about this because probably the answer to the tensions between trying to live with the laws and the norms that we have become accustomed to and the new kind of war that we‘re in is to really have a kind of international conversation about this problem.  I have been talking to other national security advisors when they face terrorism. 

I have talked to attorneys‘ general and interior ministers around the world.  They feel the tension, too, and we‘d like to look—I know Judge Gonzales mentioned this.  We‘d like to look at what other kinds of international standards might be needed to deal with this very special war because we are a country of laws. 

DODD:  Well make sure...

RICE:  We‘re going to maintain...

DODD:  ... you come up and talk with us on these treaties because they are important and I‘m sure the chairman would underscore that point as well...

RICE:  Absolutely. 

DODD:  Let me jump quickly because the time is going to move here.

NATALIE MORALES, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Senator Chris Dodd there from Connecticut continuing the hard line of questioning, certainly since the lunch break.  The intensity of the questioning, the heat, has picked up for Secretary of State Nominee Condoleezza Rice having to answer questions, everything from public diplomacy, as you saw with the questions by Senator Barack Obama from Illinois to the policy and really the visionary policy of what she will bring to the table as a visionary in terms of going forward in foreign policy as once confirmed as secretary of state. 

And Condoleezza Rice certainly talking about a lot of the issues that the U.S. faces in terms of public perception, particularly in response to some of the questioning with regards to the treatment of prisoners in the war on terror.  Condoleezza Rice seeming to leave or fall short on that line of questioning, at least according to Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Barbara Boxer, even Senator Feingold, for that matter, saying that they were distressed and troubled by her response. 

For more on that, I‘m joined once again quickly by NBC‘s correspondent Bob Kur who has been watching on Capitol Hill.  And really, Bob, that line of questioning has not ended.  Do you think that was somewhat of a—considered a misstep on Dr. Rice‘s part? 

BOB KUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Natalie, I just tuned into you because I was down listening to the hearing.  But the big story here is a frustration about what these senators are calling an open-ended commitment in Iraq.  They want more answers on that tomorrow.

MORALES:  Bob Kur on Capitol Hill, thank you.  And “HARDBALL” picks up the coverage from here.



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