Richard Armitage on Iraq and What's Next

Richard Armitage was the 13th United States Deputy Secretary of State, serving from 2001 to 2005. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and then after the fall of Saigon moved to Washington D.C. to work as a consultant for the United States Department of Defense, which sent him to Tehran and Bangkok.

Throughout the late 70s and early 80s, Armitage worked as an aide and foreign policy advisor to politicians including Senator Bob Dole and President-elect Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was elected, Armitage was appointed to the Department of Defense.  In the 1990s, Armitage worked in the private sector before being confirmed as Deputy Secretary of State with the election of George W. Bush in 2001. He left the post in 2005.

Armitage was educated at the United States Naval Academy. He is an avid bodybuilder, and speaks many languages, including Vietnamese.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: Is there an objective standard of success?

Armitage:    Well a standard if you’ve looked at the rhetoric of the administration from April of . . . or March of 2003 until now.  There’s been very much a shifting scale.  I think the measure of success will be some sort of functioning society, and some sort of minimal governance now in a country which primarily spends its time looking inward for a while and not pestering her neighbors.  And I think that’s gonna happen; but I must say I think there will be a lot of suffering in Iraq for Iraqis.  I feel that you have had gasoline, and you’ve had oxygen come together, and there was a spark.  And so you had conflagration.  And this is gonna have to burn itself out, and that’s gonna take some time.

Question: What obligation do we have to that region?

Armitage:    Well I think to the region, we have the obligation to __________ our own relationships with them, and try to make them as stable as possible.  I think to Iraq, we have to . . .  Having started this, we have to try to leave the situation somewhat better than we found it.  But at the end of the day, realize that this is an Iraqi problem and Iraqi solution when it comes to governance.  We can create the security conditions which can allow them, if there’s political will, to govern.  We cannot govern for them.  And at a point and time, we’re going to have to make a decision if they’re exerting sufficient effort on political governance.  We saw recently Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus came.  And thus far there’s a lot of frustration in Washington and in Iraq with the lack of governance


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