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Condoleezza Rice Appears on Special Report

Reported by Janie - October 11, 2006 -

During last night's (10/10) "Special Report", Brit Hume hosted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and while the interview was mostly a fair one (minus a few questions on Hume's part, which Rice handled quite well) when the topic turned to Iraq, Hume's fairness dwindled.

After covering the topic of North Korea, in which Hume attempted to lead Rice into blaming Clinton (which she refused to do), Hume turned to Iraq, "Let's turn to Iraq for a moment. You were there last week, you delivered a message that appeared to be a stern warning. Similar warnings were heard from Senators Warner and Levin. What did you tell them and how was it received?"

CR: "Well, I told the Iraqi government that it was the many members with whom I met, that it was time to put aside their political differences, it was time to get this national compact in place, that Prime Minister al-Maliki has talked about. That means a hydro-carbon law, that means a deal on de-Baathification. That means a deal to dismantle militia. The Iraqi people are expecting that to happen and they're impatient about it. It's time for the Iraqis to stop killing Iraqis. That that's something that's very hard for Americans to understand.

That's something that's very hard for Americans to understand. And it's time for them to build our security forces so that they can take responsibility for their own — their own security. I'll tell you, I said it was received very well, because I think they know that that's the task before them."

Comment: Of course the Iraqi people were unaware that this is what needed to be done. Condi Rice, after making this "stern" statement to the Iraqi people, has just ended 1,000 years of tension in the area. A real "journalist", unlike Hume, would be certain to question a statement such as this from a politician - but rather, Hume lobbed this softball:

BH: "Other than the condemnation of their own people, what did you warn would be the consequences of failure to do these things?"

CR: "Clearly, the president has been very clear that we are committed to Iraq, and we're committed to an Iraq that is able to govern itself and able to be at peace. The Iraqis need to understand, though, that of course, the other part of that is that they have to do what they need to do to be stable and to be at peace and to be secure. We can't do it for them.

I think they do understand that, and I found the reception of the message to be very good."

BH: "Has anything happened since then that indicates that they're acting on what you said?"

Comment: Yes, Hume. After 4 years of war, the Iraqi government and people were finally able to get their act together in the last 5 days, since Rice's visit.

CR: "Well, it's only been a few days, but I think you're going to start to see movement forward on their national compact, which gives everybody a clear view of where they will fit in the political bargain. So that's very important."

BH: "When you say it's time, that's another way of saying, as I think Senators Warren and Levin did, that time is short. How much time do you think they realize that they have to do this, or have the whole enterprise begin to be judged as a failure?"

Comment: Is Hume advocating supplying a timetable for withdrawal?

CR: "Well, I am not one for timetables, but I will tell you that they themselves believe that, over this next several months until the end of the year, they've got several elements of their national bargain, if you will, that they've got to get in place. They know that the levels of violence that Iraq is experiencing can't go on.

I have to say, you know, there are whole parts of this country that are secure and moving forward. But of course, there are parts of the country like Baghdad that are not secure. And they understand that they've got to get this political bargain in place. The security forces have to function. They've got to have police forces in which people actually have confidence.

Comment: What portion of Iraq is secure exactly? Hume does not ask, and Rice does not provide this information.

BH: Right.

CR: "And they don't have very long to do it. Their cue is that, by the end of the year, they really need to make progress on many of these fronts."

Comment: Timetable anyone?

From there, the interview went on to discuss Iran, before coming to a conclusion. The overall interview was actually quite fair, although Hume mostly led Rice by asking weak, softball type questions (not the type asked by Chris Wallace to Bill Clinton, by any means). The only area in which the bias truly began to show was when the topic turned to Iraq.

The interview in its entirety can be viewed here.