U.S. Secretary of State-nominee Condoleezza Rice strongly defended the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war today (Tuesday), and said the spread of democracy will be a key foreign policy goal of President Bush's second term.
Ms. Rice made the comments during the first day of her two-day Senate confirmation hearings. She is expected to easily win approval to succeed Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Ms. Rice testified she stands behind the decision to invade Iraq, though pre-war intelligence on alleged weapons of mass destruction was faulty.
She also pledged to repair ties with U.S. allies strained over the conflict, and vowed to vigorously build alliances with the world's free countries.
Ms. Rice said she believes America's "great mission" includes the "spread of freedom and democracy" around the globe.
She described several countries as "outposts of tyranny," including Cuba, Belarus, Burma, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe.