US will rebuild Iraq as democracy, says Rice
By James Harding and Richard Wolffe in Washington and James Blitz in London
[Financial Times - September 22 2002]
The US will be "completely devoted" to the reconstruction of Iraq as a unified, democratic state in the event of a military strike that topples Saddam Hussein, said Condoleezza Rice, US national security adviser.
As the White House has begun to consider military strategies in Iraq, Ms Rice said the US would seek a swift victory by using "sufficient force to win".
Ms Rice, speaking in an interview with the Financial Times, signalled US willingness to spend time and money rebuilding Iraq after the fall of Mr Hussein's regime.
For the full transcript of the Financial Times interview with Condoleezza Rice,
Reinforcing the Bush administration's message that the values of freedom, democracy and free enterprise do not "stop at the edge of Islam", Ms Rice underlined US interest in the "democratisation or the march of freedom in the Muslim world".
She said of reform in places such as Bahrain, Qatar and - "to a certain extent" - Jordan: "There are a lot of reformist elements. We want to be supportive of those."
As the negotiations at the UN between US and British diplomats and their Russian and French counterparts are set to intensify this week, Ms Rice pressed the the security council for a clear resolution with effective measures of enforcement.
Leaving open the possibility of sending weapons inspectors back into Iraq, Ms Rice said: "It will be important to try and determine, in some way, whether inspections have a chance. Inspections have to presume that there is going to be some co-operation on the part of the Iraqi government."
Iraq said on Sunday it would not accept any new conditions on UN weapons inspectors. After a leadership meeting chaired by Mr Hussein, a spokesman ruled out additional conditions on inspectors following "press reports that US officials are trying to get the security council to issue new, bad resolutions".
The Pentagon and Ms Rice's national security team are understood to have presented President George W. Bush with a number of military scenarios. Military planners are said to have emphasised the need for the application of overwhelming force - possibly involving air strikes at the same time as an invasion on the ground - to achieve a rapid victory.