Condoleezza Rice on Iraq War

The Defense Department "didn't execute at critical times."
11:49 | 10/31/11

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Transcript for Condoleezza Rice on Iraq War
Making public policies and pretty either not. And you don't sugarcoat it. In your book. At all you talk about your relationship -- Vice President Cheney said it was never. Personal -- clearly very contentious. And you talk about how his staff was trying to set of an ultra hawkish. Power -- in the White House was that. Yet the staff that they have world same mind set very very hawkish -- I think determined to try and drive policy from the vice president's office -- of course. You have to drive policy from infancy. Which represents the president and represents the other agencies of government state departments of Defense Department tertiary. They wanted to have the vice president running the anesthesia that -- somebody's idea -- later on when Steve Hadley asked vice president about that idea that. The vice president would sit in the chair at the Tennessee principals meeting which has always been a role for national security advisor. The vice president that it was an idea that you -- clash clashed over torture policy. Clashed over Iraq. Policy would -- covered the detainee policies later in the administration. In the first days. After 9/11 one thing that I try to do is to show that this wasn't just about what happened eleven wasn't even just the anthrax attacks that followed a few weeks later. It was. Plot line to plot lines some of them quite terrifying smallpox botulism toxin. And so we have to move quickly and we had to move aggressively and the president. Was determined to do everything that he -- that was necessary and legal. But once we got through that initial period we knew more about how al-Qaeda operated particularly after we got Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was time to start putting these policies on a different footing and by the time I was secretary of state. I felt strongly that the secrecy surrounding them was one of the big problems because we need people to explain. But really we needed to explain to our allies -- we needed their cooperation. In the war on terror and we need it explained the American people. Mission seems -- Vice President Cheney came away from this whole experience eight years -- he was less respect. -- asked if you're -- secretary of state his answers in some regards. I can't speak. You know vice president and I are different. And he clearly did not like the turn of policy. After I became secretary of state that's very clean. But. I never -- that was personal and they said that the time. I still have respected her -- for him for his service. We just in the great did you go to him with here's your -- He was right about the Iraq speech not that I remember it's not like me I didn't I -- -- that he was right. That the press would react to the particular -- admitting that the sixteen boards -- should not the president's speech. But terrible. And -- is also a sector since Donald Rumsfeld because two point -- actually walking out of the Oval Office. And I think he -- -- what's gone -- between us. Yes -- a fine I think I asked him yes because we difference. I said. What's gone and he said -- that we always -- -- mr. He said something about being right. It's thought about it ward that's what it was one of those -- that you don't use. -- I wasted. And that so high on the tests. Term and. But it -- they're serious implications he keeps saying it's not personally -- take you that your work but you also write that he created. When else that in the difference -- -- secretary Powell and secretary Rumsfeld a cycle of distrust. And dysfunction and we all know. And you say you -- that there were mistakes. In the execution of the war in Iraq in the aftermath of war Iraq didn't -- this dysfunction. Add to the price -- paid in Iraq. Secondly we -- -- And -- -- hey let's look back on this quality and more smoothly functioning team might we have got some of these issues out the table -- -- -- that this was. It was trying to forceful overthrow a dictator which was -- turns out the easy part. And then trying to help reconstruct the country had no effort whatsoever. All issues here. And while we -- a lot of mistakes. I am not certain that. Better planning. Wouldn't necessarily have prevented all of -- about the aftermath of the invasion says it was unclear who was -- responsibility. While those in Iraq if he thought the president the president made clear responsibility 611 single man was that -- that's part. Now I think it's pretty clear from the book that. I don't took awhile and that -- -- I think that the Defense Department -- index. Critical times and that there were certain things that they didn't plan for and perhaps. There was some of the year that we might be able to turn this over to Iraqi exiles more quickly then certainly the president was the president. More than anyone was very conscious that you couldn't in the country that been true. Decades of Saddam Hussein bring people in from the outside and hand the government and so yes I think some problems but it wasn't confusion. Everybody knew their response the -- progress and it gets to the point in 2006 secretaries to go to prison -- -- come back from. It. Yes. -- -- -- well I think we knew that by 2006. Civil conflict reached -- night and took -- died in retrospect that's now part of this 2000. News iraqis' minds. Purple Finger -- states began to look actually pretty cool even though their first prime minister's job for us with. My capacity. That you are mystified I was mystified because he he -- this -- -- kind of humanities professor exit but trouble with reference for faculty or humanities professor at college -- with. But it was really a little bit kind of -- -- this. Place this country Iran. He doesn't -- up to. But not long after they would get. A government in place so things seem to be going and a somewhat better next -- house. And it's really after the pressure bombing. In article mosque but that it really starts. To start. You'll also. While praising. Much that secretary house that you wish you would have used more of this stature. That he had influence what you mean not so much influence policy. Colin Powell did pretty. -- under very difficult circumstances because. When you're at war the defense department's first -- And being good diplomat in wartime -- -- -- -- particularly when there are differences with the lives. Differences and differences with the department but -- I really. That -- that. -- -- -- answer person and sometimes it just telling the -- more bluntly. What he thought might -- and I know you think that. Taking out -- him so great that you make that clear. In the book that he never really directly answer the question was would sacrifice was worth the cost. When you look at the history of the Middle East over the last fifty years every. School every international relations class starts with Middle East -- small port -- We also now know that it was the cradle. Al-Qaeda. Extremists. And therefore look listening rock and all but al-Qaeda well. -- some of -- -- society. The salt Lake -- was featured. This case and how it that this came out the Middle East it came home in Middle East in which you -- -- -- the city's. A freedom deficit. Dictators. All wars this was a volatile week. Now we didn't go to a rock to bring democracy to Iraqis and I try in the book to really explained that wasn't. The person in the administration thought -- was a well but. -- but we were very clear things. The Social Security -- -- Saddam Hussein start it was before use weapons of mass destruction. Was shooting -- our aircraft in the no fly zones was still threaten its neighbors. Have tried to assassinate George H. W. Bush was -- cancer in the Middle East and a great source of that volatility. Police. Needed to be -- And I it's just community. Understand hand. I really regret the cost particularly in the lives. But I also know that nothing. Value is ever won without sacrifice and I think what Tennessee a very different at least. And that different police -- Saddam Hussein and it couldn't happen at lower cost. I don't. Don't know Howell I don't think -- about -- removable by India meet its and I don't think that Saddam Hussein -- 41 moment. -- -- -- -- -- But keep going -- that. To -- years Britain -- We'll never know the answer but my senses that. BP. -- -- patrols. Hold O one -- hands. -- -- support her in this dictatorship. Had just that and I think that's very important. Just one more question this is -- -- -- really wanted to get to sentence him talking about Iraq and not story that we overthrew Saddam. You re going to -- I'm grateful that today's concerns not. Impending nuclear arms race between Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and rocks at -- and don't we know. That Saddam had no meaningful weapons not what we know is that he had not reconstituted. His nuclear weapons program as we have the ability to. -- what he had the scientist. He had infrastructure. He was buying all kinds of stuff through front companies. He had not reconstituted. But the -- -- that Saddam Hussein had given up on weapons of mass destruction I think is simply a historical. And I cannot imagine that Saddam Hussein watching Enron move along a nuclear -- Given all the infrastructure yet given all the knowledge he had given that we know that win in 1991 the inspectors got there. He was far closer to nuclear device -- that is there the whole world against -- well let the inspectors were only thing territory as a result when George W. Bush. They have not been there since 1998. And so weak. Didn't act make certain that Saddam could never again. Take up his cause of weapons of mass destruction.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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