National security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) likened Iraq (news - web sites)'s halting steps toward self-government to black Americans' struggle for civil rights, imploring black journalists Thursday to reject arguments that some people are incapable of democracy.
"We've heard that argument before, and we, more than any, as a people, should be ready to reject it," Rice, who is black, told about 1,200 people at the National Association of Black Journalists convention.
"The view was wrong in 1963 in Birmingham, and it is wrong in 2003 in Baghdad and in the rest of the Middle East," she said.
"We should not let our voice waver in speaking out on the side of people who are seeking freedom," Rice said. "And we must never, ever indulge in the condescending voices who allege that some people in Africa or in the Middle East are just not interested in freedom, they're culturally just not ready for freedom or they just aren't ready for freedom's responsibilities."
By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer
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