I think what Osama bin Laden does is to take the fact that some peoples lack
hope and lack opportunity, and twist it to his own ends. That's what you're
seeing. I would suggest you don't play ball in his court.
Well, I'm not playing ball in his court. I'm trying to look for motivation
and why it is in some places like Pakistan and other countries, we see an
expression of support for bin Laden.
I would suggest what you're seeing is several multifaceted phenomenon. First of
all, this generally exists where citizens lack hope and lack opportunity. I
think it generally exists where the demographics favor the very, very young -- that is, a high birth rate and not a high growth rate in terms of economics.
It is clear that the United States, as a multiethnic, multi-religious society,
which is built on pillars of hope and opportunity for all, would stand as a
threat to someone who requires for their own survival to spread lack of hope
and lack of opportunity at a gospel.
But that's what he feeds off of. I mean to use the words of Mike Sheehan,
who used to be head of counter-terrorism at the State Department, we can't just
swat mosquitoes. We have to drain the swamp, meaning we have to go after the
causes and also the base of this problem. Do you agree?
Well, we should ourselves do what we can to eliminate the causes which seem to
give some justification to the cause of someone like Osama bin Laden. But when
you use the term "to empty the swamp" or "to drain the swamp," I think you need
to use it in its fullest context. Draining the swamp for us also may mean going
after those states or those organizations that allow terrorists to swim among
them, not just addressing the root causes which allow for fertile recruitment
So that would naturally include Afghanistan and the Taliban?
It would naturally include, at least historically, Iraq and Saddam
Well, there are many countries who have traditionally sponsored terrorism. Iraq
is one, though it appears the majority of the terrorism committed by Saddam
Hussein is on his own citizens. Iran in this regard. Syria, with their close
support of Hezbollah, is noteworthy in this respect.
I think all of these countries, in the wake of this campaign against Al Qaeda
are going to have to rethink their behavior and decide whether they're against
global terrorism or not. They cannot cherry pick, and I think that's going to
be one of the results of this great campaign, that countries are not going to
be allowed to cherry pick terrorism.
What do you mean?
Well, for instance, it's quite evident that Iran has intent, to some extent, of
cooperating in this campaign against Al Qaeda. The further question would be
is Iran equally intent on stopping their support for Hezbollah? ...
We've been told that terrorism -- from the point of view of many people in
Egypt that we've spoken with -- is the U.S. sanctions on Iraq, that it's
hurting the people of Iraq, and making Saddam stronger. So are we going to
reform that policy as the secretary himself has suggested?
The secretary has gone a long way to reforming that policy. Never have we
really hurt the women and children of Iraq. It has been the selfishness and the
greed of Saddam Hussein has done that. But there was a perceptual problem. The
Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has attempted to address it by making it very
clear that all we're concerned with is sanctions on those items regarding
weapons of mass destruction. ...
[It seems to be a grievance in Saudi Arabia that we have troops there.]
People are very sensitive to this fact.
Well, we have troops in Kuwait as well. Saddam Hussein has several times
attempted to at least make feints toward the oil rich regions of the Persian
Gulf. We're not satisfied and confident that absent U.S. troops, [he] would be
content to leave the neighborhood alone.
And it's so essential to us geographically to have them there?
I'd say geo-politically. It's very essential that we protect the survival of
those states, that we protect our access to the oil which flows out of the
Persian Gulf, and it's been seen by successive administrations and successive
Congresses as being in our interest to have troops stationed there.
Even though we hear from all kinds of people in the Islamic world that it is
something that makes them very nervous, that there are infidels that close to
their holy sites?
Oh, you know, we're all people of the book, whether you're a Jew, whether
you're a Christian or whether you're an adherent of Islam, and I don't think
there's really a place for terms like "infidels," et cetera. I think what
concerns the people is their own stability and their own security. That's been
the overriding concern, and I can't gainsay that there are voices that want us
gone, but I would say that the majority appear to want us to stay. ...
What do you say to people that we've spoken with, Iraqis, Saudis, Egyptians,
who say, "The United States is perceived in our communities as the backer of
the repressive regime in our country -- the Saudi royal family, the Egyptian
government, which many perceive in Egypt as being repressive and corrupt.
That's what's disappointing to us. That's what creates part of this swamp that
Osama bin Laden or other fundamentalist terrorists can recruit from."
I think I'd say that probably the best example that one can give of a
democratic way of life, of democratic governance, is to have an association
with the United States. If you look at our relationships both with Saudi Arabia
and Egypt, although we have relatively close relationships, they're full of
scratchy and neuralgic issues because we're constantly talking about need for
religious freedom or need for further democratization, needs to raise living
standards, the need for education, things of this nature. So what outwardly may
look like a very congenial relationship is really one that is very complex and
has within it many scratchy issues.
But I'm talking about [whether] we provide, if you will, a political base
for the organizing of this anti-American sentiment -- which is not a small
group of people in this part of the world -- by backing regimes which we would
find distasteful ourselves? I mean the Saudi royal family as an example, I
don't think can be described as democratic or ecumenical in any form.
Perhaps not ecumenical. I think the definition of democracy, depending on how
the 7,000 plus princes make their decisions may leave you open to some
criticism. I think we realize that there are situations in states that are not
the way we do business, and as I say, we constantly try to apply the lessons of
democratic governance and transparency and things of that nature. I think if
you look over the grand swath of time, that you do see changes in the behavior
of states, and we take some credit for this, and we're going to continue at
There are going to be critics, and even in some cases, a large number of
critics, of our relationship with any given state. But as I say, successive
Congresses, both Democrat and Republican-dominated, have endorsed the way
successive governments in the United States have gone about business with these
Have we talked to the Saudis about information related to support for bin
Laden that apparently has come from Saudi Arabia, both money, individuals? Many
of the current hijackers who are deceased apparently had Saudi papers.
We have indeed talked to the Saudi government, and we were very gratified with
the recent decision of the Saudi Arabian government to cut relations with the
Taliban and throw them out, following the actions of U.A.E. We've got a
pretty rigorous and robust dialog with them. ...
[After Sept. 11th has the U.S. changed its views on fighting terrorism?]
Is the new view that we're going to roll up these terrorist bases around the
Well, roll up or disrupt and dismay, yes, we're going to attempt to do that. I
guess it is a new policy. In the past we've relatively been playing defense,
and were content to try to stop things. I think we've had enough, the
president's decided that we're going on the offensive, and he's putting
together a mighty coalition to do this.
So it's not just predict and try to prevent. It's proactive.
Their activities have made it proactive, and as I say, we're going to try to
interdict, to dismay, to disrupt, and indeed destroy if possible these cells.
So if bin Laden is target number one, we should look forward to Iraq and
possibly the Hezbollah in the sections of Lebanon that they control being
second and third?
Well, I don't think I would be inclined to give you a list or a venue to choose
from. I think the president's words are accurate. We're going to go after these
terrorists with a global reach on our own time, but as rigorously as possible.
We're going to get them where they are in whatever shape they are.
But what I don't hear you saying is that you don't necessarily think we need
to put more pressure on, let's say for democratization in Egypt, or for
economic development in Pakistan, or for the Saudi royal family to reconsider
its nonecumenical view. We don't need to take care of some of the grievances we
hear, not just from Osama bin Laden, but from other democratic forces in the
... I think we can set the conditions for it and try to jaw-bone people into it,
but at the end of the day, Egyptians make decisions about Egyptian politics,
and so too do Saudis. ...
[In Osama bin Laden], have we created a kind of icon for those who hate the
United States, who may have other agendas? Even if we kill him or capture him, as
one of our commentators told us, it's not going to end the problem.
I think it's an absurd statement. Here is a man who killed 6,000 of our
citizens, and citizens of 78 other nations. Now, who brought himself onto the
world stage? That murderer did with his actions. He made himself into it. He
masterminded this murder of our citizens. Now, is that not the way to get
yourself onto the world stage?
But is it possible that there are other people who are involved, whose names
we haven't mentioned, who are actually in the field or tactical or even
strategic commanders here, but he's public. He gives fatwas. He gives TV
There are many people involved in terrorist activities. There are many
"wannabes" out there. He's the one, who by his actions, catapulted himself to
the head of the class.
Because he takes credit for it or because we can actually prove that he
gave the orders?
It is our belief that he is the prime suspect, and it is our belief that the
noose is tightening around his neck, and in the not-too-distant future, it will
probably be entirely around his neck.
And if he's dead or if he's captured?
So much the better.
And that's going to end this?
No, no. The president has not suggested that. The president said we're going
after Al Qaeda, "the base." We're going after terrorism. Terrorism is larger than
Osama bin Laden.
But are we going after the symptom and not addressing the cause?
No. I think we also, with like-minded friends, are attempting to address the
cause globally. The whole assistance programs of the United States are based on
alleviating suffering where it exists where we can, to bring about better
medical conditions, better education, to raise the live standards and the
lifestyles of people around the world. We have so many resources. We use them
as well as we can to eliminate suffering everywhere, which is a fertile feeding
ground of hopelessness and despair from which adherence can come. ...
Has there been a proposal to expand aid, to provide a Marshall Plan for the
billion Muslims who are amongst the poorest people in the world?
Well, Saudi Arabia's got a lot of money, for instance. The U.A.E. and Qatar have
a lot of money, for instance. Where do you have in mind and I'll answer your
Well, to the Muslim countries that don't have oil, who don't have
Such as Pakistan?
So we will expand aid to Pakistan?
And you'll be seeing it shortly. Now, how about Afghanistan?
We'll be seeing that as well?
We are the leading provider of aid for Afghanistan already, and you'll be
seeing it increasing. We're not interested in fighting the Afghanis, we're
interested in fighting murderers. This is a point which will be dramatically
Sudan has quite a bit of money and is involved in a very difficult civil war.
Recently we've had some success with Sudan. They seem to have turned their
back, at least to some degree, on terrorism. We'll have to see if this
continues to be the case. ...
So our plan is going to be multilayered, dealing with the sources of this,
the social, economic, political sources, as well as the tactical and law
enforcement or military.
It will be multifaceted in the following way. First of all, it will not be
primarily military, though there may very well be a military component. It will
be, as you should guess, law enforcement, intelligence, political, financial,
getting at the financial base of terrorism.
Additionally, it has to be, as you suggest, the other side of the coin. That
is, trying to eliminate to the extent possible the conditions which make
fertile recruiting grounds for people who have twisted views such as Osama bin
Laden. We'll have humanitarian programs for the nations surrounding
Afghanistan. We'll have programs for Pakistan. ...
In 1995 Ramzi Yousef, who was the mastermind of the first World Trade Center
bombing, was being brought back to Manhattan in a helicopter, and he looked out
at the twin towers that evening, and the FBI who was there told us on camera he
said, "If I had enough money, I could have brought it down." From their point
of view they succeeded.
Well, they succeeded temporarily, but I wonder if this might not turn out to be
a pure victory. They may have succeeded temporarily knocking down part of the
skyscraper scenery of New York, but I think they've done something quite
remarkable. They've united a great country. They've energized what is our
strategic center of gravity, and that's a national will, to their detriment.
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