Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it clear Monday there is more work to do in Afghanistan and in Iraq. In an exclusively interview with WSFA 12 News Anchor Valorie Lawson, Dr. Rice spoke candidly about troop withdrawal from Iraq and the future of Afghanistan.
Rice was in town to accept the first honorary degree from the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base. She told several hundred students and faculty members, the "crisis" is still very real and should not be taken lightly.
"When you address people here in Alabama you say 'ya'll,' but the plural of ya'll is not 'ya'lls,' it's all of you all," the Alabama native joked during her speech.
Secretary Rice may have joked about her southern roots, but make no mistake. She is serious about the crises in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"We can not afford to think whether we will choose to succeed in Afghanistan or Iraq. That is a false choice in both counties. The stakes are too high," said Rice.
She described the mission in Afghanistan as one of necessity and not choice, saying the country must never become a haven for the kind of terrorist which attacked the U.S. on 9-11.
Rice also said, while the situation in Iraq has somewhat improved in recent months, matters are still critical.
WSFA 12 News Anchor Valorie Lawson asked rice about General Petraues' recommendations to halt troop withdrawals from Iraq.
"General Pertraeus has always said he was going to make recommendations to the president based on the situation on the ground and clearly, the situation on the ground has improved since the surge of troops," Rice said.
Rice went on to say that the surge has made it possible to bring security to parts of the country. But she calls it only "breathing room" for the real political changes that need to happen.
She says that's why she supports General Petraeus' recommendation.
"General Pertraeus also underlined this process is fragile and any hasty withdrawal of American forces is likely to take a fragile situation and roll back the progress we've made," Rice explained.
"American forces are coming home and the rotations are going to shorten so that's the good news, but we have to be careful and not make any participative moves. I think that's what General Petraues was saying."