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Text: Rumsfeld on ABC's 'This Week'


Sunday, October 28, 2001

Following is the transcript of ABC's "This Week," hosted by Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.

Guests: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw; Dr. David Franz, former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Washington Post columnist George Will; and George Stephanopoulos.

DONALDSON: This morning, war on two fronts. In Afghanistan, after the heaviest round of bombing so far, U.S. forces are still struggling to destroy the Taliban. With winter and Ramadan fast approaching, is the operation succeeding? We'll ask Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

ROBERTS: Plus, the unseen enemy at home. As the anthrax scare spreads through Washington, where is it coming from, and can it be controlled? We'll ask Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health and bioterrorism expert Dr. David Franz.

ANNOUNCER: That's This Week, featuring George Will and George Stephanopoulos. And joining the round table, ABC News White House correspondent Terry Moran.

Now, from Washington, Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.

DONALDSON: Welcome to our program.

And Cokie, welcome back.

ROBERTS: Good to be back, Sam, thank you.

DONALDSON: Well, on the battle front overseas, almost seven weeks into the war against terrorism, U.S. war planes are now striking at the Taliban front lines in northern Afghanistan, perhaps a prelude to a push by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance forces toward Kabul.

And heavy bombing of Kabul itself continues. Pictures from Al Jazeera, Arab television, reportedly show civilian casualties caused by the latest U.S. raids. These 10 civilians were killed, according to witness reports. U.S. officials say great care is taken to avoid civilian casualties, but the Taliban are seeking to exploit mistakes in a propaganda war aimed at turning the Arab world against the U.S. campaign.

Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, tells ``The London Telegraph'' his country is not producing anthrax and calls that charge ridiculous, but says it is only a matter of time before the United States and Britain attack Iraq.

Here on the home front, the effort to prevent further cases of anthrax and to find its source continues.

Our chief investigative reporter, Brian Ross, has the latest from New York.


BRIAN ROSS, ABC CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Sam. As two Postal Service workers were buried this weekend, victims of the deadly inhalation anthrax, more than 10,000 people remained on antibiotics, from postal employees to justices of the Supreme Court. The fact is, investigators simply do not know if there are other, as-yet-undiscovered anthrax letters somewhere in the system.

To be on the safe side, authorities continue to expand the circle of people who should take antibiotics, and the post office in Princeton, New Jersey, was closed after what was reported as the discovery of just one spore of anthrax.

The trail remains cold for investigators in New Jersey, who are left hoping the $1 million reward will turn up something, but so far it has not. And despite continued White House denials, now four well-placed and separate sources have told ABC News that initial tests on the anthrax by the U.S. Army at Fort Dietrich, Maryland, have detected trace amounts of the chemical additives bentonite and silica, which many experts say are trademarks, although from hard evidence, of the Iraqi biological weapons program.

At the same time those results were coming in, officials in the Czech Republic confirmed that hijacked ringleader Mohamed Atta had met at least once with a senior Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague, raising what authorities consider some extremely provocative questions.

And this weekend, FBI agents are conducting anthrax tests on two cars Mohamed Atta had owned, tests an FBI spokesperson said no one had previously thought were necessary.


ROBERTS: Thank you, Brian.

And now joining us is Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Thank you so much for being with us, Mr. Secretary.

RUMSFELD: Thank you.

ROBERTS: I want to get to that question about Iraq later. But first, the war. There've been stories over the weekend that give the perception that this war after three weeks is not going very well, that the Taliban is getting stronger, that Osama bin Laden is still at large, that one of the chief opposition leaders has been assassinated, and that the Red Cross warehouse has been hit by U.S. bombs.

Is the war just not going as well as you had hoped it would at this point?

RUMSFELD: Oh, no, quite the contrary. It's going very much the way we expected when it began. Three weeks is not a very long time if one thinks about it. And the progress has been measurable. We feel that the air campaign has been effective.

The fact that for a period we did not have good targets has now shifted, because we are getting much better information from the ground in terms of targets. Also, the pressure that has been put on fairly continuously these past weeks has forced people to move and to change locations in a way that gives additional targeting opportunities.

ROBERTS: Did the military help Abdul Haq, the opposition leader who was assassinated Friday?

RUMSFELD: My understanding of that situation was that he had decided to come back in the country on a--in a form and manner of his own choosing, and that he did request assistance, and that he received some assistance. The assistance unfortunately was from the air, and he was on the ground. And regrettably, he was killed.

ROBERTS: But he did receive assistance from the U.S. military.

RUMSFELD: That's my understanding. No, I didn't say that. I said he requested assistance and received it.

ROBERTS: But not from the U.S. military?

RUMSFELD: No, it was from another agency.

ROBERTS: OK. From an intelligence agency, I would take it.

RUMSFELD: It was from another element of the government.

ROBERTS: OK. The question of victory is one that is some question of definition, and I think that polling generally shows that getting Osama bin Laden is considered an important part of this campaign. And I want to show you some things that you said over the last week about this question.

You said, ``The military role will be over there when the Taliban and the Al Qaeda are gone, gone, and that is what this is all about.'' Then you said of Osama, ``He's got a lot of money, he's got a lot of people who support him, and I just don't know whether we'll be successful.'' And finally, ``Until you have him, you do not have him.''

So what is the progress? Until he's no longer functioning as a terrorist, he is functioning as a terrorist. That sounds like you think that he is still the problem, and until we get him, we've not won, but we might not get him.

RUMSFELD: Well, those are a few of the things I've said on the subject. I've said a great many things on the subject. I've also said there's--I have every reason to believe we will find him. I've also said that I don't think that he's the whole problem.

This is not about a single person, it is about the problem of terrorism. He is one element of Al Qaeda. There are a lot of leaders. If he were--disappeared today off the face of the earth, there would still be the Al Qaeda network, there would still be other terrorist networks, and there still would be worldwide terrorism that would need to be dealt with.

So I think that it makes--it's a mistake to too great an extent to try to personalize what's going on in this world. We lost thousands of people here in the United States. The president has declared war on international terrorism. He is hard at taking the war to them, because there's no way to defend everywhere in the world against terrorists. You simply must go find them and root out those networks.

That is what the--is under way. To think only about one man, I think, is a mistake. Will we get him? I think we will. And I certainly hope so.

ROBERTS: Why not put in massive ground troops now to go in and find the elements of Al Qaeda and hopefully also Osama?

RUMSFELD: Well, we've not ruled out the use of ground troops.

ROBERTS: And is the possibility that they will go in and go in soon?

RUMSFELD: Well, I think if one hasn't ruled them--I didn't say soon, but I think if someone has not ruled out the use of ground troops, there certainly is that possibility.

ROBERTS: But you're not saying they're going to go in any time soon. And in great numbers?

RUMSFELD: Well, that wouldn't be very wise of me, would it, to...


RUMSFELD: ... to say that we think something's going to happen in the period immediately ahead. I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to talk about what we might or might not do.

ROBERTS: The question of timetable, you've also said, is important not to have a timetable, that it has to go according to how the war goes. But you heard over the weekend that President Musharraf of Pakistan used the echo word from Vietnam, ``quagmire.'' And then he said there does need to be a timetable.

Here's what he said. ``Military action must be brought to an end as soon as possible, and if it is unable to achieve its military goals in a certain time, we need to switch to a political strategy.''

Problems with the coalition falling apart?

RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, there's nothing in that statement that anyone could disagree with. No one would want a military campaign to go on longer than necessary. And he said it should be as--brought to an end as soon as possible. Everyone would want it to be--end as soon as possible.

Second, there is no coalition. There are multiple coalitions. And we have said that from the very beginning. We are getting all kinds of different assistance from different countries all across the globe. And the--about, oh, a week or two ago, I said, You know, some day in the next period, someone's going to say, Oh, the coalition's falling apart, the implication being, if one country decides they don't want to participate in one element of what it is we're doing, that therefore, quote, ``the coalition'' is falling apart.

We have said from day one, there is no single coalition, there are multiple coalitions. Countries are going to help us in the way they feel best. And we are getting enormous support from all across the world.

ROBERTS: But--so you're saying if Pakistan pulls out, that that's OK?

RUMSFELD: Pakistan's not going to pull out. The president of Pakistan has a very difficult situation. One has to appreciate how difficult that is. He is doing a terrific job, in my personal view, in managing that very difficult situation. And he is being exceedingly cooperative with us.

ROBERTS: Now, there is a perception, certainly, here in Washington that part of the reason that this war is not widened to go--you talked about going after terrorism all over the world--to go into Iraq, and you heard Brian Ross's report that the confirmation that Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence official, and this suspicion about anthrax and Iraq, and that this administration doesn't want o say the word ``Iraq'' for fear of having to go in, and that then the Arab world could fall apart.

RUMSFELD: This administration is not afraid of saying the word ``Iraq.'' Iraq's been on the terrorist list for years. There is no question but that Iraq is a state that has committed terrorist acts and has sponsored terrorist acts.

ROBERTS: Do you think it was--the meeting with Mohamed Atta was significant in terms of September 11?

RUMSFELD: I--we will know that only after the proper law enforcement people investigate that. Clearly, the meeting is not nothing, it is something notable.

ROBERTS: And the reports that the anthrax could have been tampered with by this bentonite that is Iraqi based?

RUMSFELD: Yes, I am really not into could-haves and might-haves. I think that in a position of responsibility in a government, I've got an obligation to talk about what I know about and to not speculate about those things, and I know that serious people are looking at both of those matters seriously.

ROBERTS: In the military.

RUMSFELD: In the United States government.

ROBERTS: And if, in fact, it turns out that it was Iraq that infiltrated the anthrax, what do we do?

RUMSFELD: Well, that is a hypothetical question that is--what--the kind of thing that ends up on the president of the United States' desk frequently, and those are tough decisions, and we'll just have to see.

ROBERTS: There's a sense, of course, that the coalition that was the--there for the Gulf War kept the United States from going after Saddam at the time. As you know better than I, there are a lot of people in this administration, in your Defense Department, who think that that was a mistake and that we should do it now.

RUMSFELD: There is--there's no question but that there's been a debate in the world as to how that conflict might have ended differently, and there's also no question but that Saddam is still a threat to his neighbors. He is a threat to the Kurds in the north of his country, he's a threat to the Shia in the south, he's a threat to his neighbors in Iran, and he's a threat to...

ROBERTS: Is he a threat to us?

RUMSFELD: ... Jordan. And he clearly, as a terrorist state, is a threat to other countries in the world, including the United States.

He has been contained to some extent because of Operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch, where the United States and coalition aircraft fly missions to prevent him from getting a head start to try to impose his will on his neighbors again.

It is a--it is true there are people around, in and out of government, who wish he weren't there, and certainly I'm one of them.

ROBERTS: But no plans to go after him at the moment.

RUMSFELD: We're doing what we're doing, and I will say this, the president has said this is a war against terrorist networks across the globe. There are many more than just Al Qaeda. They are in many more countries beyond Afghanistan. And it is something that we as a country and the many countries assisting us are currently doing.

It--we have to remember that what we see is only part of what's happening. The number of people who've been arrested, the number of bank accounts that have been frozen, the amount of intelligence that's been gathered, the law enforcement work that's going on, is in addition every bit as important as the military part that's taking place.

ROBERTS: Let me just ask you about something you just said, and we're about out of time. But what we see is just part of what's happening. There's some sense that we're losing the propaganda war, and those pictures we saw of those children at the beginning of the program have taken the place in our minds of the pictures of the World Trade Center being blown up.

Why not allow more press access so that the United States press can show pictures that fight the Arab press?

RUMSFELD: The--I don't--I'm not an expert on this subject, but my understanding is that the United States government during this period, with respect to the military element, has been enormously forthcoming, and the press has been involved in as many aspects as I believe has ever been the case of things where it's humanly possible.

The press has not been parachuting in on Special Operations activities into hostile environment in Afghanistan, to be sure. But I don't think they want to, nor do I think it would be safe for the troops trying to protect them once they got in there.

There are press people all over Afghanistan, and the ones that are following the Taliban are, of course, allowed to go where the Taliban wants, and they're being told what the Taliban wants. And the Al Jazeera television network has a pattern of putting out Al Qaeda propaganda. That's just a fact.

Now, you're right, it makes it very difficult. If one side lies, and they have lied repeatedly--they're using mosques, for example, for command and control, for ammunition storage. They are clearly not telling the truth about these casualties, we know that of certain knowledge.

Now, are people going to be killed in a war? You bet. And there are plenty of people throwing ordinance around in Afghanistan besides the United States. It's coming down--we're bombing from the air, but the opposition forces are in fact fighting against the Taliban. The Taliban's fighting against us and the opposition forces.

So when someone dies, it could have come from any one of those four locations.


Mr. Secretary, have you been vaccinated against anthrax?


ROBERTS: OK. Thank you. Thank you...

RUMSFELD: Have you?

ROBERTS: No. Thank you very much. Thank you for being here.

Later in the program, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will give his view of the military campaign and other weapons in the war against terrorism.

But first, two prominent members of the medical community answer the life-and-death questions on anthrax and other forms of bioterrorism. Drs. Anthony Fauci and David Franz, after this.


TOM RIDGE, DIRECTOR OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Clearly we are up against a shadow enemy, shadow soldiers, people who have no regard for human life. They are determined to murder innocent people.



DONALDSON: Joining us now are Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Welcome, Dr. Fauci.

FAUCI: Nice to be here, Sam.

DONALDSON: And Dr. David Franz, former commander of the U.S. Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Good to see you, Dr. Franz.

Number of questions for you about who may have made this particular anthrax that we're dealing with here in the United States.

But first I want to talk about who should be taking medication at this point. And a new medication, a generic drug, is now being substituted for Cipro. Is that correct?

FAUCI: That's correct.

DONALDSON: Tell us about that.

FAUCI: Well, first of all, the medication is doxycycline. We know now from the examination of the material, the anthrax, that it is sensitive to most of the standard antibiotics that you would expect it to be sensitive to. So the original studies in animals that guided the medical community toward ciprofloxacin and the concern that there would be genetic engineering of the microbe to make it resistant doesn't appear to be the case.

So now you have a much greater spectrum of antibiotics that you can use, including doxycycline.

DONALDSON: And this is not just because it might be cheaper than Cipro?

FAUCI: No, no, absolutely not. It happens to be cheaper, there happens to be a lot of it. But the real reason is that the microbe is sensitive to doxycycline as with the other--as well as other antibiotics.

DONALDSON: The Brentwood facility here where the letter to Senator Daschle came through and which has been closed now, downstream from that...

FAUCI: Right.

DONALDSON: ... are some 4,000 mail rooms.

FAUCI: Right, right.

DONALDSON: Should all of the people who have been in those mail rooms be immediately put on one of these drugs?

FAUCI: Well, you have to look at what the strategy of risk-benefit is. It's very clear that if you're in what we'll call a primary facility like Brentwood, that those people need to be treated. The concern about a secondary facility, which was the Sterling facility in Virginia, and those that directly get bulk mail from the Brentwood facility, since there was documentation that disease can occur in those settings, it was clear that individuals were being put on therapy.

So the obvious question now is, what about, as you say, Sam, downstream? And the philosophy has been to test people. If there's--if--not only people, but the environment--if there's positivity, then those people need to get treated.

If you have a situation where there's a high suspicion that there is contamination, you test and treat for a limited period of time. If the testing comes back negative, you stop. That's where we get the 10-day phenomenon that people might be confused about.

DONALDSON: But your answer seems to be that all of these people shouldn't immediately be put on the drug.

FAUCI: Well, the question is, should you just give it to every post person--every postal worker who's anywhere directly or indirectly connected? And the answer would be, unless there is a concern and risk that there was a contamination from one to the other.

So primary and secondary, there's no question it's yes. If something directly comes from Brentwood, that decision has been made that those individuals need to be tested.

DONALDSON: That Daschle letter...

FAUCI: I mean treated, not tested.

DONALDSON: Right. That Daschle letter must have contaminated other mail.

FAUCI: Right, right.

DONALDSON: That's the theory now. Am I correct?

FAUCI: Right. The theory is that either that letter contaminated other mail, or, as the director of the CDC said yesterday, the possibility that there may be another letter.

DONALDSON: But if other mail or another letter contaminated mail, it went to someone else.

FAUCI: Right.

DONALDSON: Are they at risk?

FAUCI: Well, well, yes, the answer would have to be, what kind of a risk? Because I know where you're going, and it's a question everybody's asking out there, Sam.

DONALDSON: Lot of mail went through Brentwood that day...

FAUCI: Right-o. If it--we're talking about bulk mail, and I'll just give you the basis upon which the decision was made. If there's bulk mail that comes from Brentwood, then where that bulk mail went is a risk to the postal workers. And that's why they're being treated.

DONALDSON: But to the recipient.

FAUCI: Right. At that point, there has been no indication that the recipient of that mail has been--is at risk. If someone gets infected in a household that you could trace back, then you have a much, much broader spectrum of treating. But at this point in time, the decision has been made that the recipient of a mail, a piece of mail from that, has not gotten sick yet, therefore the risk, at least at the present time, is not enough to have people broadly treat everyone who's gotten a letter.

DONALDSON: Dr. Franz, bentonite, that's the Iraqi signature in making anthrax for terrorism uses, for military uses, is it not?

FRANZ: Bentonite was used by the Iraqis in producing the anthrax that they produced, in producing the bacillus thuringiensis (ph) that they used as a model in developing this technology to produce anthrax, we believe.

However, bentonite is found throughout the world. Bentonite is found in the U.S., it's found wherever there was ever an active volcano, probably.

DONALDSON: Well, you know about the struggle going on. Our Brian Ross reports that he has four sources, ABC News does, that says that bentonite has been found in the Daschle anthrax. The U.S. government says no. Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesperson, told our White House correspondent yesterday that as of that time, no bentonite had been found.

What do you think's going on here?

FRANZ: Well, I think someone probably knows whether there's bentonite there or not. I don't happen to know. But even if we have definitive proof that we have bentonite in a sample from the Daschle letter, in my mind, that's just another piece of the puzzle, it's not the final piece of the puzzle.

DONALDSON: Well, you said it could be found all over the world. Are you telling us that people other than the Iraqis could, and if they're in the United States and have sophisticated knowledge of this, make an anthrax with the bentonite in it to try to help that anthrax be airborne?

FRANZ: Certainly. Bentonite is available from chemical companies, a number of them, in the U.S. and throughout the world. There are some interesting characteristics of bentonite. It's made typically--made up typically of silicon dioxide and some metal oxides. And they're in various formulations and various ratios in bentonite from various parts of the world.

So there's possibly another clue there to see where, if this was bentonite in the Daschle sample, where that bentonite came from.

But like all of the other issues related to biology, just because it's Ames strain doesn't mean it came from Ames. It may have come from someplace else, because these things can be moved around.

It's not like the bullet and rifling relationship in ballistic forensics. It's not like when you have a bullet with the marks on it from a specific barrel, you've got a definitive answer. That's not the way biology works.

DONALDSON: Let's talk smallpox. The U.S. government is now beginning a crash program to increase our supply of smallpox. Do you expect a smallpox outbreak, doctor, or is this simply an ounce of prevention?

FAUCI: This is total preparation. Whether we expect it or not, what we're doing, we have to do. We have to have smallpox vaccinations...

DONALDSON: Should we all...

FAUCI: ... (inaudible)...

DONALDSON: ... be vaccinated now?

FAUCI: At this point in time, no. But as we get the material, where we are in the position to make that decision, you measure the risk and benefits based on a lot of things, intelligence about whether or not there is smallpox that might be used as a bioterrorism weapon, or, certainly, if a smallpox case or cases spring up, that changes the whole landscape.

DONALDSON: Well, is (inaudible)...

FAUCI: But you've got to be prepared, you have to have the materials.

DONALDSON: As I understand it, there might be a three-week period before a person who has been infected begins to show the signs, and only then can infect someone else. But at that point, isn't it too late? Can't it spread like wildfire?

FAUCI: Well, certainly it can spread and that was one of the reasons why this has been historically such a devastating disease.

There are a couple of philosophies of how you approach smallpox. If you have an index case comes up, you quarantine, you isolate, you contact trace and then you vaccinate around that area. If you have multi-focal cases, then clearly you've got to do that a lot and in the essence, you're vaccinating everyone.

But there has to be an open discussion and debate about the risks and benefits right now or when we get the store of doing that because of the rare, but nonetheless serious, toxicities that are associated with the smallpox vaccination.

DONALDSON: Dr. Franz, what governments have this germ, this bacteria rather? how can it be spread?

FRANZ: The legal, the legal stashes of smallpox are in Atlanta and in Novasibirsk. I'm not concerned about those.

However, most of us turned in our samples of smallpox in the late '70s, and there were already some bad actors in the world at that time. I am concerned about those.

However, I believe that, were a terrorist to go to a leader of one of those countries, that leader would go to his virologist and say, ``I'd like some smallpox because I want to give it to a terrorist to use against the Americans.'' I think that virologist would probably say, ``You know, Mr. Leader, we better be careful what we do here because the Americans have a lot better public health system. They're better prepared to deal with this than we are, and maybe we better think twice.''

DONALDSON: So you're hoping that they wouldn't turn it over.

FRANZ: I'm hoping that they wouldn't.

DONALDSON: But hope isn't a certainty.

FRANZ: Nothing's certain in biology.

FAUCI: And that's why we're making the smallpox vaccine.

DONALDSON: Dr. David Franz, Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you both for being with us today.

When we come back, how crucial a role are British troops playing in the Afghan campaign. George Stephanopoulos joins us from London for an interview with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain after this.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Here in London, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced on Friday that elite British ground troops would join U.S. special forces prepared to land in Afghanistan.

For more from America's closest ally in the global war on terrorism, I sat down earlier this morning with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and asked him if the three weeks of bombing had brought the coalition any closer to the goal of crippling Al Qaeda.


STRAW: There have already been clear, relative military successes. For example, the terrorist capability, the air capability of Al Qaeda and the Taliban has been completely degraded. And it's only because of that that it's now possible to infiltrate ground troops into Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. So those things have already happened.

But what I'd also say, George, is that we said right from the beginning that this was going to take some time. Can't say exactly how long, but we certainly--nobody thought for a second it would only take a matter of two or three weeks. And we do have to ask people to be patient, to keep their nerve and to keep remembering why we have taken this action in the first place.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are we talking months or years?

STRAW: You can't say for certain. In Kosovo, the action--the only time scale they could say for that action was that it was going to go indefinitely. Couldn't say for certain until it had finished. That's what we have to say here. ``Indefinitely'' may mean a matter of weeks, it may mean a matter of months, it may mean a bit longer.

It is not possible when you're taking this kind of military action to say, ``Look, it's going to start at 10 o'clock on a Sunday, and it's going to finish at 5 o'clock on a Friday.'' Life is not like that.

We are following this war on quite a number of fronts. We're actually--we're fighting it in Afghanistan. We're also fighting for people's hearts and minds. But also, there's a--fighting a continual challenge of trying to meet media expectations, which are, frankly, unmeetable.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's not just media expectations, it's expectations in the Muslim world. Just this week, President Mubarak and President Musharraf both said the war had to be short.

Are you confident the coalition can hold together if the bombing continues through Ramadan and then into next year?

STRAW: I think it will. My own view is that the coalition has held up remarkably well so far.

But why are people like President Musharraf, President Mubarak facing problems in the streets? Partly they're facing problems in the street because the way the international media are reporting this and of their impatience. And we have to keep saying to people, ``Look, this will almost certainly take longer than you think, but not longer than we said at the beginning of this operation.''

STEPHANOPOULOS: The immediate goal is bring Osama bin Laden to justice. In your view, will justice be better served, and will the West's relations with the Muslim world be better served, if Osama bin Laden is killed or if he's captured and brought to trial?

STRAW: In the real world, we're not going to get that kind of alternative. He'll either be killed or he'll be captured. If he's captured, he should certainly be kept alive. And it would be better if he were captured than killed. But, I mean, I don't think we're going to be offered...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But how do you bring him to trial? How can that be done in a way...

STRAW: Well, I don't know. that be a matter for the United States because--but I'm not--there's no--I don't think, George, there's any point getting down that track. We're not likely to be offered the luxury of that choice, in truth.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The effort to build a post-war government in Afghanistan also seems to have stalled this week. And while there seems to be wide agreement over the goals--a broad-based government in Afghanistan, an international effort to rebuild Afghanistan--there's disputes over the means.

For example, the United States and Pakistan say the Taliban could be included in a post-war government. Russia, India and the Northern Alliance say no. How do you bridge that gap?

STRAW: Well, with all due respect to you, I don't accept for a second that the diplomatic efforts have stalled. The diplomatic efforts are accelerating.

Now let me deal with the point you raised, which is, should it have representatives of the Taliban? I think that this principally boils down to kind of a linguistic issue. No one is arguing that the core people, the ugly, unpleasant terrorists at the heart of the Taliban, should be in an future government--not the United States, not President Musharraf.

Everybody, however, accepts, I believe, that the Pashtun, who support--at the moment are supporting the Taliban, that the moderate Pashtuns, some of whom may have been on the fringes of the Taliban government for their own survival, they should be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You believe Russia and the Northern Alliance agree with that?

STRAW: When, I've talked to--I've not talked to the Northern Alliance. But when I've talked to Russia, they've accepted the idea of it being broad-based. They've--of course, they've accepted the fact that it's got to be a government which includes the Pashtun, the 40 percent group in the south and west of Afghanistan.

And everybody knows that, given the reign of terror which has existed inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, there will be plenty of people who are not signed up to the Taliban as fanatics but have had to go along with it for simple reasons of personal survival.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There have also been real questions about the composition of a future peacekeeping force. Do you think in the end it's going to be necessary for the United States and the United Kingdom to form the core of that force. No other nations have come forward.

STRAW: Well, there are nations who have indicated their interest in providing forces in certain cases.


STRAW: Well, I can--for example, like Turkey, for one.

But it depends entirely on the circumstances. And there are a lot of work going on at the moment as to the nature of any peacekeeping force. Should it be peacekeeping? Should it be policing?

My own best guest is that the nature of any external forces in Afghanistan will vary from area to area. It'll obviously be easier in the north where the Northern Alliance are in control where the circumstances are fairly benign than it will in the south.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, there is a great debate in the United States right now over whether or not to broaden out the battlefield to include Iraq. And this morning, Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz says he thinks Iraq has already been targeted and it's just a matter of time before the United States and United Kingdom attack. Do you agree?

STRAW: No, I don't, because I can tell you that Iraq has not been targeted. You only take military action where there is the clearest possible evidence of culpability and where military action is the only option left. I have seen no evidence which links the Iraqi regime to Osama bin Laden's guilt--Al Qaeda's guilt for what happened on the 11th of September.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what do you say to those who argue that Iraqi culpability in the assassination attempt on former President Bush and their continued efforts to build weapons of mass destruction are justification enough to target them?

STRAW: Well, what I say is that what we need is an international consensus about effective sanctions on Iraq. We've been interested--and it's perfectly public in--and so have the United States, in tighter, more focused sanctions, but sanctions which also ensure that the civilian population in need can have that need relieved. We hope for an international consensus on that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much.

STRAW: Thank you.



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