We have made mistakes: Rice

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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended the unlimited detention of suspected terrorists saying that it benefitted the United States and the entire world.

You can’t allow somebody to commit the crime before you detain them, because if they commit the crime, thousands of innocent people die,” she said.

“We have never fought a war like this before,” she said referring to the global war on terrorism.

Rice, however, neither confirmed or denied the existence of secret CIA prisons abroad.

European Union Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini yesterday threatened sanctions for any EU nation found to have allowed secret CIA prison camps to operate on its soil.

On Iraq, Rice reiterated the US government’s position that any withdrawal of US troops would depend on the wishes of the Iraqi government elected next month and on how prepared Iraqi forces were to take on insurgents.

“The (Iraqi) President will take from his commanders their assessment of what conditions permit,” the Secretary of State said.

Rice acknowledged that US policy in Iraq was not free of mistakes, but rejected the idea that ousting Saddam Hussein had made the Middle East less stable.

“I will be the first to say I am sure there were many things that could have been done better,” Rice said about the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.