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Rice: US Must Work Harder to Counter Anti-American Sentiment - 2004-08-20

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice says the United States needs to work harder at reaching out to Muslims if it is to win the war on terrorism. President Bush's top security adviser admitted Thursday that the United States has not done enough to counteract widespread anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world.

In a speech to the U.S. Institute of Peace, Ms. Rice said many Muslims are fed what she called a hateful diet of propaganda against the United States, and this country needs to do a better job of responding.

"One terrorist put it succinctly: he said you love life; we love death," said Ms. Rice. "True victory will come not merely when the terrorists are defeated by force, but when the ideology of death and hatred is overcome by the appeal of life and hope and when lies are replaced by truth."

Ms. Rice's comments came partly in response to the 9/11 Commission's call for the United States to develop a more effective strategy of reaching out to Muslims in the Middle East through increased diplomacy, exchanges and education.

Ms. Rice maintained that only a small minority of Muslims are extremists who hate Americans. But she acknowledged that more needs to be done to explain U.S. policies to the world's more than one billion Muslims, many of whom fear American power or misunderstand American values .

"First, we must work to dispel destructive myths about American society and about American policy," she says. "Second, we must expand dramatically our efforts to support and encourage the voices of moderation and tolerance and pluralism within the Muslim world."

Ms. Rice said the Bush administration has already taken action to engage Muslims, by increasing broadcasts to the Middle East and doubling the funding for the National Endowment for Democracy. But many have criticized those steps for being overly simplistic.