BUSH: Terrorism is very, very difficult to stop. And I think everybody knows that. We had ambassadors killed in Sudan and the Lebanon some time ago, a long time ago. When you see the Israeli building in Lebanon after the death of our marines you see that, hit by terrorism, the Israelis, with all their experience fighting terrorism, you know it's difficult. When you see Khomeini wraith his radical Islam resorting to government-sponsored terrorism, it's very difficult. The intelligence business can do a good job, and I'm always one that defends the Central Intelligence Agency. I believe we ought to strengthen it and I believe we still have the best foreign intelligence business in the world. But it is very difficult to get the source information that you need to go after something as shadowy as international terror. There was a difference between Iran and what happened in Lebanon. In Iran you had a government holding a U.S. embassy; the government sanctioning the takeover of that embassy by those students; the government negotiating with the United States government for their release. In Lebanon, in the terror that happened at the embassy, you have the government there, Mr. Gemayel, that wants to help fight against terrorism. But because of the melee in the Middle East, it's there today and has been there yesterday and the day before, and everyone that's had experience in that area knows, it is a very different thing. So what we've got to do is use absolutely the best security possible. I don't think you can go assigning blame. The president, of course, is the best I've ever seen at accepting that. He's been wonderful about it in absolutely everything that happens. But I think fair-minded people that really understand international terror know that it's very hard to guard against. And the answer then really lies in the Middle East and terrorism happening all over the world, is a solution to the Palestine question, the follow on to Camp David under the umbrella of the Reagan September of 1982 initiative. That will reduce terror, it won't eliminate it.
MASHEK: You mention Khomeini. Some Republicans charge the previous administration with being almost helpless against Khomeini and Libya's Quaddafi. Why hasn't your administration done something to take action against Arab states that foment this kind of terrorism?
BUSH: What we've done is to support Arab states that want to stand up against international terror, quite different. We believe in supporting, without jeopardizing the security of Israel in any way, because they are our one strategic ally in the area, they are the one democracy in the area and our relations with them has never been better. But we do believe in reaching out to the, what they call the GCC, those Gulf Cooperative Council State, those moderate Arab states in that world, and helping them with defensive weapons to guard against international terror or radical Islam perpetuated by Khomeini. And because we've done that and because the Saudis chopped down a couple of those intruding airplanes a while back, I think we have helped keep the peace in the Persian Gulf.
MASHEK: Congresswoman Ferraro, you and former Vice-President Mondale have criticized the president over the bombings in Lebanon, but what would you do to prevent such attacks?
FERRARO: Let me first say that terrorism is a global problem, and let me say secondly that the - Mr. Bush has referred to the embassy that was held in Iran, Well, I was at the White House in January, I guess it was, in '81, when those hostages, all fifty-two of them, came home alive. It was at that time that President Reagan gave a speech welcoming them home - as America did, we were so excited to see them back. But what he said was: The United States has been embarrassed for the last time. We're going to stand tall and if this ever happens again, there's going to be swift and immediate steps taken to address the wrong that our country has founded - has suffered. In April of J983 I was in Beirut and visited the ambassador at the embassy. Two weeks later, that embassy was bombed. At that time - take a look at the crazy activities of terrorists, you can't blame that on anybody. They're going to do crazy things and you just don't know what's going to happen. The following October, there was another bombing and that bombing took place at the marine barracks, where there were 242 young men who were killed. Right after that bombing occurred, there was a commission set up called the Long Commission. That commission did a study of the security arrangements around where the marines were sleeping and found that there was negligence, that they did not have proper gates up, proper precautions to stop those trucks from coming in. And so the Long Commission issued a report, and President Reagan got up and he said: I'm commander in chief. I take responsibility. And we all waited for something to be done when he look responsibility. Well, last month we had our third bombing, The first time, the first embassy, there was no gate up, The second time, with our Marines, the gate was open. The third time, the gate was there but it had not been installed. And what was the president's reaction? Well, the security arrangements were not in, our people were placed in that embassy in an unsecured time, and the marines who were guarding it were left to go away and there were other people guarding the embassy. Again the president said: I assume responsibility. I'd like to know what that means. Are we going to take proper precautions before we put Americans in situations where they're in danger, or are we just going to walk away, throwing our arms in the air now - quite a reversal from the first time, from the first time when he said he was going to do something? Or is this President going to take some action?
MASHEK: Some Democrats cringe at the words spying and covert activity. Do you believe both of them have a legitimate role in countering terrorist activity around the world?
FERRARO: I think they have a legitimate role in gathering information. And what has happened was the CIA, in the last bombing, had given information to our administration with reference to the actual threats that that embassy was going to be bombed. So it wasn't the CIA that was at fault. There's legitimate reason for the CIA to be in existence, and that's to gather intelligence information for our security. But when I see the CIA doing things like they're doing down in Central America - supporting a covert war - no, I don't support that kind of activity. The CIA is there, it's meant to protect our government; not there to subvert other governments.
VANOCUR: Vice-President Bush.
BUSH: Well, I'm surprised. I think I just heard Mrs. Ferraro say that she would do away with all covert actions, and if so, that has very serious ramifications, as the intelligence community knows. This is serious business. And sometimes it's quiet support for a friend, and so I'll leave that one there. But let me help you with the difference, Mrs. Ferraro, between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon. Iran - we were held by a foreign government. In Lebanon you had a wanton, terrorist action where the government opposed it. We went to Lebanon to give peace a chance, to stop the bombing of civilians in Beirut, to remove 13,000 terrorists from Lebanon - and we did. We saw the formation of a government of reconciliation and for somebody to suggest, as our two opponents have, that these men died in shame - they better not tell the parents of those young marines. They gave peace a chance. And our allies were with us - the British, the French, and the Italians.
VANOCUR: Congresswoman Ferraro.
FERRARO: Let me just say, first of all, that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy. I've been a member of Congress for six years; I was there when the embassy was held hostage in Iran, and I have been there and I've seen what has happened in the past several months; seventeen months of your administration. Secondly, please don't categorize my answers, either. Leave the interpretation of my answers to the American people who are watching this debate. And let me say further that no one has ever said that those young men who were killed through the negligence of this administration and others ever died in shame. No one who has a child who is nineteen or twenty years old, a son, would ever say that at the loss of anybody else's child.
VANOCUR: Mr. White.
WHITE: Congresswoman Ferraro, you've repeatedly said that you would not want your son to die in an undeclared war for an uncertain cause. But recently your running mate, Mr. Mondale, has suggested that it may become necessary to erect a military quarantine or blockade of Nicaragua. Under what circumstances would you advocate the use of military force, American combat forces, in Central America?
FERRARO: I would advocate the use of force when it was necessary to protect the security of our country, protect our security interest or protect our people or protect the interests of our friends and neighbors. When president - I'm jumping the gun a bit, aren't I? - when Mr. Mondale, Mr. Mondale referred to the quarantine of Central America, a country in Central America, what he is referring to is a last resort after all other means of attempting to settle the situation down in that region of the world had been exhausted. Quite frankly now what is being done by this administration is an Americanizing of a regional conflict. They're moving in militarily instead of promoting the Contadora process, which, as you know, is the process that is in place with the support of Mexico and Colombia and Panama and Venezuela. Instead of supporting the process, our administration has in Nicaragua been supporting covert activities to keep that revolution going in order to overthrow the Sandinista government; in El Salvador was not pushing the head of the government to move toward correction of the civil rights; human rights problems that existed there, and now this administration seems almost befuddled by the fact that Nicaragua is moving to participate in the Contadora process, and El Salvador is, through its President Duarte, is reaching out to the guerrillas in order to negotiate a peace. What Fritz Mondale and I feel about the situation down there is that what you do is you deal first through negotiation. That force is not a first resort but certainly a last resort in any instance.
VANOCUR: A follow-up, please.
WHITE: Many times in its history the United States has gone to war in order to defend freedom in other lands. Does your answer mean that you would be willing to forgo the use of military force even if it meant the establishment of a Soviet-back dictatorship so close to our own borders?
FERRARO: No, I think what you have to do is work with the government - I assume you're speaking about the government of Nicaragua - work with that government to achieve a pluralistic society. I mean they do have elections that are coming up on November 4. I think we have to work with them to achieve a peaceful solution to bring about a pluralistic country. No, I'm not willing to live with a force that could be a danger to our country. Certainly, I would see that our country would be there putting all kinds of pressure on the neighboring countries of Honduras, of Costa Rica, of El Salvador, to promote the kind of society that we can all live with and security in this country.
WHITE: Vice-President Bush, both Cuba and Nicaragua are reported to be making extensive preparations to defend themselves against an American invasion, which they claim could come this fall. And even some of your Democratic opponents in Congress have suggested that the administration may be planning a December surprise invasion. Can you tell us under what circumstances a reelected Reagan administration would consider the use of force in Central American or the Caribbean?
BUSH: We don't think we're to be required to use force. Let me point out that there are 2,000 Cuban military and 7,500 so-called Cuban advisers in Nicaragua. There are 55 American military in El Salvador. I went down, on the instructions of the president, to speak to the commandants in El Salvador and told them that they had to move with Mr. Magana, then the president of El Salvador, to respect human rights. They have done that. They're moving well. I'm not saying it's perfect, but the difference between El Salvador and Nicaragua is like the difference between night and day. El Salvador went to the polls, Mr. Duarte was elected by 70 percent of the people in 70 percent voting in a certifiably free election. In Nicaragua, you have something very different. You have a Marxist-Leninist group, the Sandinistas, that came into power talking democracy. They have aborted their democracy. They have humiliated the Holy Father. They have cracked down on the only press organ there, La Prensa, censoring the press something that should concern every American. They have not had any human rights at all. They will not permit free elections. Mr. Cruz, who was to be the only viable challenger to Nicaragua, the Sandinistas, to the junta, to Mr. Ortega, went down there and found that the ground rules were so unfair that he couldn't even wage a campaign. One country is devoid of human rights. The other is struggling to perfect their democracy. We don't like it, frankly, when Nicaragua exports its revolution or serves as a conduit for supplies coming over from such "democracies" as North Korea, Bulgaria, the Soviet Union and Cube, to try to destabilize El Salvador. Yes, we're concerned about that. Because we want to see this trend toward democracy continue. There have been something like thirteen countries since we've come in move toward the democratic route, and let me say that Grenada is not unrelated. And I have a big difference with Mrs. Ferraro on that one. We gave those four tiny Caribbean countries a chance. We saved the lives, and most of those thousand students said they were in jeopardy. Grenada was a proud moment because we did stand up for democracy. But in terms of threat of these countries, nuclear, I mean, weapons, no. There's not that kind of a threat. It's Mr. Mondale that proposed the quarantine, not Ronald Reagan.
WHITE: Considering this country's long respect for the rule of international law, was it right for the United States to be involved in mining the harbors of Nicaragua, a country we're not at war with, and to subsequently refuse to allow the World Court to adjudicate that dispute and the complaint from Nicaragua?
BUSH: I support what we're doing. It was supported to the Congress and under the law. I support it. My only regret is that the aid for the contras, those people that are fighting, we call them freedom fighters. They want to see the democracy perfected in Nicaragua. Am I to understand from this assault on covert action that nowhere in the world would we do something that was considered just off base when Mrs. Ferraro said she's never support it? Would she never support it if the violation of human rights was so great and quiet support was necessary for freedom fighters? Yes, we're for the contras. And let me tell you another fact about the controls. Everyone that's not for this, everyone who wants to let that Sandinista government prevail, just like that Castro did, all of that, the contras are not Somozistas. Less than 5 percent of the contras supported Somoza. These were people that wanted a revolution. These people that felt the revolution was betrayed. These are people that support human rights. Yes, we should support them.
VANOCUR: Congresswoman Ferraro.
FERRARO: I spent time in Central America in January and had an opportunity to speak to the contras after the incident in Nicaragua and in El Salvador. Let me just say that the situation as it exists now, because of this administration's policies, are not getting better. We're not moving toward a more secure area of the world. As a matter of fact the number of troops that the Sandinistas have accumulated since the administration started its covert activities has risen from 12,000 to 50,000, and of course the number of Soviet and Cuban advisors has also increased. I did not support the mining of the harbors in Nicaragua; it is a violation of international law. Congress did not support it and as a matter of fact, just this week, the Congress voted in cut off covert aid to Nicaragua unless and until a request is made and there is evidence of need for it, and the Congress approves it again in March. So if Congress doesn't get laid on, the covert activities which I opposed in Nicaragua, those CIA covert activities in that specific country, are not supported by the Congress. And believe it or not, not supported by the majority of people throughout the country.
VANOCUR: Vice President Bush.
BUSH: Well, I would simply like to make the distinction again between those countries that are searching for democracy and the handful of countries that have totally violated human rights and are going the Marxist route. Ortega, the commandante who is head of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, is an avowed Marxist. They don't believe in the church. They don't believe in free elections. They don't believe in all of the values that we believe in. So it is our policy to support the democracy there, and when you have freedom fighters that want to protect that revolution, and go the democratic route, we believe in giving them support. We are for democracy in the hemisphere. We are for negotiations. $3 out of every $4 that we sent down there has been for economic aid to support the people's chance to eat and live and be happy and enjoy life. And one-fourth only was rnilitary. You wouldn't get that from listening to Mr. Mondale.
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