NPR logo

Armitage Details U.S. Dilemma in Iraq

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4283976/4284348" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Armitage Details U.S. Dilemma in Iraq

Interviews

Armitage Details U.S. Dilemma in Iraq

Armitage Details U.S. Dilemma in Iraq

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4283976/4284348" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Web Extra: Hear the Full Interview with Richard Armitage

Only Available in Archive Formats.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will leave his job as President Bush begins a second term. U.S. State Department hide caption

toggle caption U.S. State Department

America's second-highest ranking diplomat predicts that violence will continue regardless of the outcome of the Jan. 30 Iraq elections.

And while U.S. forces are needed for now, he says that a long-term American presence in Iraq would undermine efforts to create a stable nation there.

"I think civil war is not in the offing," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told NPR's Steve Inskeep Thursday. "But I think most in government expect the violence to continue long after these elections."

In an interview from his office at Foggy Bottom, Armitage said U.S. forces are needed for the time being, but added that a long-term presence would undermine efforts to rebuild.

"Our friends in Iraq, that is those Iraqis that want us to succeed, in a way need us to leave," he says. "And our enemies, those that are fighting against other Iraqis, need us to stay because, in a way, it justifies their continued jihad against us."

And if a new government asks U.S. troops to leave?

"We would leave. Period." Armitage says. "We have said very clearly to the U.S. Congress that if that circumstance exists, then we would leave, period. No qualifications, no weasel words."

Armitage is about to depart the Bush administration, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, as the president begins a second term. Under Powell and Armitage, the State Department was often seen to be at odds with the White House. Armitage downplayed that characterization.

"Many in Washington want to make all these battles — quote, unquote — personal... It's necessary that we have a quote, battle, unquote," he said.

"I don't think there were fundamental differences. A lot of things changed after 9/11 and I don't think there were huge differences of opinion about where we want this nation to be or how to use all of our instruments of national power for the greater good of this country."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.