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National Security Adviser Outlines Three-step Plan for Iraq

The Bush administration has called on the Iraqi government to move more quickly to stabilize their country. National security adviser Stephen Hadley discusses the White House's plan to help support Iraqi security forces.

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    Stephen Hadley, welcome. Thanks for coming in.

  • STEPHEN HADLEY, National Security Adviser:

    Nice to be here.


    Senator Biden said yesterday, after hearing President Bush's press conference on Iraq, that he didn't hear anything new. He said it is just more of the same with a request for more time to do it. Other listeners have had heard something new. What do you think the American people should have taken from that news conference?


    I think the president gave a very balanced and sober assessment of the situation that we're in, made it clear that there are real challenges, made it clear that, while our basic objective remains the same, we have adapted and made changes in how to pursue that objectives, would be making more changes in the future, that he was open to any constructive ideas, because obviously one thing we can all agree on — I think Senator Biden would agree — we need to succeed in Iraq. It's too important for the country.

    So I think you saw an openness to be receptive to ideas, but also a steadfastness that we cannot afford to lose in Iraq.


    Is the president himself more open to other ideas now than, say, six months ago?


    Well, we would say that we've made a lot of changes all the way through. Obviously, there are some things, the Baghdad security plan which we've talked about, there was a phase one. It did not achieve all the objectives we had hoped. We moved into a phase two; further adjustments clearly need to be made.

    It's a difficult situation. The president made clear about that. We made changes in the past. It's pretty clear we're going to need to make some changes in the future. I think the president recognizes that.


    There was one rhetorical change that I thought was noticeable, and it had to do with how he defined victory. And I just wanted to read this. He said, "It must be a government that can sustain itself, govern itself, and defend itself." And what was missing was what he used to talk about, a democratic government or a stable democracy. Has that been dropped from the list of definitions of victory?


    Absolutely not, and the vehicle for a government that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself, of course, is the unity government that is in place, headed by Prime Minister Maliki.

    The president was very clear that he supports that government, supports Prime Minister Maliki. And that's, of course, a government that came out of the democratic process in which over 12 million Iraqis voted. So, clearly, the premise, the way to get the kind of government he's describing, of course, is to support the Democratic process that's now under way in Iraq.

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