February 14, 2003 | Broadcast

Donahue Show

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, the Blix U.N. report does little to help the U.S. case for war, as America’s skeptical allies continue to dissent. Will the U.S. go it alone or continue to push for U.N. support?

Plus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu talks to Phil and takes your calls. Find out how a Nobel Peace Prize winner feels about war on Iraq. …

DONAHUE: I would now ask Bishop Tutu to share with us your thoughts about the drama unfolding at the United Nations as the world looks in.

Bishop Tutu, please.


I am distressed that we could sit here and people could sit wherever they are sitting and discuss almost nonchalantly, as if we were ordering coffee, the possibility of sowing the most awful mayhem. I mean the Pentagon says that what they plan to unleash will make people think back to Hiroshima.

Now, that’s, now they are talking about killing human beings whom we came to call collateral damage so that it’s easier for us to handle. Then they are dehumanized. They, these are just statistics.

Well, we’re talking about children, mothers, fathers, and we put so much energy into wanting to wage war. I mean I can’t believe it. No, actually, I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled that so many, many people in this country have shown their opposition and maybe tomorrow there will be yet another demonstration. I mean…

DONAHUE: You’re speaking of the peace demonstration scheduled for tomorrow in New York City.

TUTU: Yes.

DONAHUE: Yes, please.

TUTU: I, I mean I can’t believe that, I mean, we could sit down and be saying we want to do something like happened on September the 11th. I mean can you imagine if we were wherever these guys were when they organized that and they’re sitting down and they’re saying we want an airplane to go and hit the twin tower one and then another airplane over there, another airplane over there. We would have thought, I mean, they’re ghastly. And it’s totally unacceptable.

DONAHUE: He has thumbed his nose…


DONAHUE: … to those…


DONAHUE: … to those people who would respectfully, and they will be most respectful to you, to the people who would say to you, he has thumbed his nose at the world body called the United Nations. He’s a scoundrel and a rogue who’s killed his own people. We have 3,000, more than 3,000 dead in the United States. And because you unrealistic peaceniks do not, you know, want to foreswear war under any circumstances, we are sitting ducks and we have to strike him peremptorily or else we ourselves will lose more of our innocent people.

TUTU: Just tell me why, in fact, this particular obsession with this guy? I know you’ve asked yourself. But I mean North Korea, North Korea says categorically we are going to start our nuclear program and you can jump in the lake. And the United States says no, no, no, no, we can sort this out diplomatically. Why? Why are they able to do that? Why are they not saying anything about mass destruction weapons in Pakistan? India? China? The United States.



DONAHUE: To that commentary, Ambassador Butler, you would wish to say what?

BUTLER: Three things very quickly, Phil.

First of all, to Bishop Tutu, my utter and profound respect for him and for what he has done and for the views that he has just advanced.

Secondly, it is a terrible indictment of our system that Saddam Hussein isn’t under indictment and trial for crimes against humanity. I think that would be the better way to go, if the man could be taken to a court, given proper legal representation and answer the very, very real charges that could be laid against him that countless people, some say up to a million people who have been killed as a consequence of his policies.

I despair sometimes of the Security Council system that can turn fairly readily towards war but fails utterly to bring about justice, something which Desmond Tutu has stood for all his life, justice, bring about justice in the case of Saddam Hussein.

And thirdly this. Weapons of mass destruction, let me tell you that when I led the effort in Baghdad, one of the hardest problems I had to face was the Iraqis saying to me what about other people’s weapons, starting, of course, with the Israelis, for whom they have no affection, to say the least? And, you know, I’ve spent a quarter of a century working on weapons of mass destruction and believe me, that double standard to which the Bishop has rightly referred is the thing that dogs us most of all in trying to deal with weapons of mass destruction.

The idea that is widespread that somehow our weapons are good and the other guy’s weapons are bad, I don’t share that view. Weapons of mass destruction constitute the greatest threat to humanity and they should be dealt with everywhere, not just in a state that is currently an outlaw state like Iraq.

DONAHUE: That is Ambassador Richard Butler on the satellite from Sydney, Australia.

We are in New York City live with Bishop Tutu and we shall return in just a moment.

You’re leaving, Ambassador.

Thank you very much for your contribution.

BUTLER: Thank you.

Bishop Desmond Tutu is still with us.

And joining me now from Albany, New York is Daniel

Goure, former Pentagon official during the Gulf War and currently MSNBC military analyst. In Washington, Eleana Gordon joins us, deputy director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. And here in our studio, Vermont’s Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders joins us, along with Raymond Tanter, former National Security Council official and author of “Rogue Regimes.”


DONAHUE: Ms. Gordon wants in. You’ve been listening. May we have your thoughts, please?

GORDON: I am very sad right now when I listen to Bishop Tutu. I work with Iraqi women and I work with Iraqi people who’ve been opposing the regime for 30 years. And I’m trying to get their message out, and we’re not hearing their voices today. And if they were sitting here right now, this is what they would tell you. Bishop Tutu, why are you not taking the side of the Iraqi people against Saddam Hussein? For 30 years they have been victim of war. If you are against war, if you are against violence, why are you not putting your efforts to do what we can to remove Saddam Hussein?

Milosevic was a comparable person who waged war against his people. We took him to a criminal court. But we couldn’t get to him without going to war. That was a just war.

These are people who have been bombed by chemical and biological weapons. If they were sitting here, what would you say to a woman who told you a story of how she was bombed with chemical weapons and she had only one gas mask and she had to choose would she wear it or would her son wear it? This is what they’re living through today. These are people who do not believe in violence.

But they tell me clearly and they would tell you today, there are two U.N. resolutions on the books that are supposed to end — they request and they demand of Saddam Hussein that he cease his racist policies. He’s currently conducting a racist ethnic cleansing campaign today, right now, where a million people are being deported because they are not Arab Sunni like Saddam Hussein. They are Shia.

TUTU: I would…

GORDON: They are Christians.

DONAHUE: Let’s give…

GORDON: And I just want to finish…

DONAHUE: Give the Bishop a chance.


GORDON: One thing I wanted to…


GORDON: Let me just finish.

DONAHUE: Finish your point, please.

GORDON: I want to, please.

DONAHUE: Go ahead, Ms. Gordon.

GORDON: I just want to finish what this woman said to me. She’s a tribal leader of a million people. She’s lost not two relatives, not three, but 60 relatives. And she said to me, her name is Safia al-Suhail (ph). And she said there are two U.N. resolutions on the books that require that he cease his racist policies, that he cease his oppression. Under Chapter 7 of the U.N., it is binding on all members of the U.N. to enforce those resolutions by all means necessary.

They’ve been on the books for 10, for seven years…


GORDON: What is the point of these resolutions if we do not enforce them?

DONAHUE: Bishop? Bishop Tutu commenting.

TUTU: Very, very simply, I support them. I support their struggle for democracy. I wouldn’t, I’m not going to be un-nice and say of course at one time Saddam Hussein was sponsored by this country. I won’t make that point.


TUTU: I will, what I would want to say is when they want to remove Saddam Hussein, how many people are they going to kill in the process? Of those people you want to help, how many must die in order for that one person to be removed? We in South Africa had democracy and we asked the world, please help us. We want to be free. We didn’t ask bomb us into democracy. We said please apply sanctions.


TUTU: You can’t…

DONAHUE: Go ahead, Bernie.

SANDERS: Here’s the point…

DONAHUE: The congressman wanted to say, briefly please. Briefly.

SANDERS: I think that woman made a lot of very good points. But here’s the most important point. We are involved now not just because Saddam Hussein is a dictator. There are a lot of awful dictators all over this world. What we are involved for, ostensibly, what the president tells us every day, is we are fighting terrorism, not just bad, terrible governments.

SANDERS: If we are interested in fighting terrorism, invading and occupying Iraq, killing tens of thousands of people, would be the most counterproductive thing that we could do. Osama bin Laden would probably be the happiest guy in the world because he would have recruits all over the world rallying to his cause.

DONAHUE: Dan Goure, you’ve been very patient, sir. You are a former Defense Department official and a senior defense analyst from the — and now with the Lexington Institute. What would you care to say, Mr. Goure?

DANIEL GOURE, FORMER DEFENSE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: What I would say is that, first of all, that Desmond Tutu, with all due respect to the Bishop, I think does not recognize how difficult a decision this is for people in the Pentagon, for people in the administration. Nobody talks about this cavalierly. Nobody thinks about war cavalierly.

But when we are faced not only with a period of 12 years of violation of U.N. resolution after U.N. resolution, evident violation of the current resolution — unless one wants to believe that Colin Powell is either a fool or a liar — then one has to come to a fundamental question. Do we enforce U.N. sanctions or U.N. resolutions or not? And if the only argument the Bishop has is he wants it done with a second U.N. resolution, fine. Then perhaps we can give him a second resolution.

That’s a very different question than the moral issue of war and the number of casualties. War will give you casualties. Overall, removing the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a maniac will protect thousands, tens of thousands, probably millions. And that is the greater good.

DONAHUE: Yes, let me just get one in before we break here.

Sir, you wanted to make what brief point.

Thank you for being brief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We won’t save the village by bombing it. Isn’t this really about the U.S. pointing its finger because of our perceived national interests because of oil and political and geographic interests?


TANTER: I have a quick answer.

DONAHUE: Please.

TANTER: If you want oil, you buy it. The United States imports about 800,000 barrels of oil from Iraq and it pays for the oil. You don’t spend up to $200 billion and kill 100,000 people, perhaps, in order to get oil. You buy it the old-fashioned way, Phil Donahue, and you know that.

DONAHUE: And we’ll be back — thank you for acknowledging I may know something — in just a moment.

ANNOUNCER: Today’s U.N. report helped make their case. Coming up, can the U.S. go to war without its traditional allies, France, Germany and Russia?

The whole story, when DONAHUE returns.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Saddam Hussein has got weapons of mass destruction, and he’s used them. Saddam Hussein is used to deceiving the world, and he continues to so. Saddam Hussein has got ties to terrorist networks. Saddam Hussein is a danger, and that’s why he will be disarmed one way or the other.



TARIQ AZIZ, IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: The main objective of this aggression is to colonize Iraq, to occupy Iraq, impose a pro-American (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on Iraq, dominate the oil of Iraq, and also reshape the whole region of the Middle East according to the American interest and to the interest of Israel.


DONAHUE: Welcome back to DONAHUE. We’re live in New York City. We are talking about the report today by chief U.N. weapons inspector by Hans Blix today.

Dominick from Pennsylvania, thanks for waiting. You wanted to say, Dominick?

CALLER: Yes, just two quick points. My first one is, I think we have shown tremendous restraint in approaching this situation because we have a lot of evidence that shows that he hasn’t complied and we also have a strong belief that he’s linked to terrorism. Now, my first point is that had these terrorist attacks happened in a Germany or another country, how much restraint do we feel they would show in approaching this situation?

DONAHUE: Very good. I am joined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Dan Goure is here, Eleana Gordon, Bernie Sanders from Vermont. And Raymond Tanter also joins us.

This gentleman had a comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wanted to ask the gentleman who is in favor of bombing over there…

DONAHUE: Mr. Tanter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: … Mr. Tanter, do you believe, then, if we were to do that, that as we look 5 years out, 10 years out, there’s peace in the world, the Middle East, our Muslim brothers and sisters are friendly with us, Osama bin Laden’s at peace, it’s just a better place, revenge is out? Has history taught us that lesson?

TANTER: Sir, I wrote a book called “Rogue Regimes” because I thought that the rogues of the world needed to be transformed, they needed to be changed. They are now the meanest dogs in the junkyard. As long as the rogues dominate the Middle East, then you can’t have what I call the seeds of democratic peace to prosper. You need to eliminate the rogue states like Iraq…


TANTER: … and all else will follow.

DONAHUE: All right, what does “eliminate” mean?

TANTER: Take down Saddam Hussein.

DONAHUE: Take him down.

TANTER: Eliminate his regime.

DONAHUE: Kill him. Kill him?


TANTER: K-I-L-L Saddam Hussein!

DONAHUE: All right. All right. New Yorkers and people everywhere who read “The New York Times” awoke today to a front page above-the-fold story by Patrick Tyler (ph) and Janice Elder (ph), two respected reporters. I lift only one sentence from their article. “With major decisions of war and peace still pending,” they wrote, “59 percent of Americans said they believed the president should give the United Nations more time, 63 percent said Washington should not act without the support of its allies, and 56 percent said Mr. Bush should wait for
United Nations approval.”

Let me just — Dan Goure, do you agree with that?

GOURE: Well, it’s a fact. Do I agree with those opinions? No. No, I don’t, actually, in several ways. No. 1, we’ve waited. We’ve waited now three months. We are likely to wait at least a month more. And the point is, we’re waiting for Saddam to make good on his promise to comply with 1441.

SANDERS: This is the problem…

GOURE: How many more months do you have to wait to find out that he basically doesn’t want to comply?

DONAHUE: Congressman Sanders?

SANDERS: This is the problem in term of what Dan is saying. Think what a horrible precedent it will set in a world in which eight countries have nuclear weapons, when the United States of America says, We don’t care about the United Nations. We’re going to defy them. We will go to war — not just in Iraq, by the way, but against any country…

GOURE: Congressman, you’re inventing…

SANDERS: … at any time…

GOURE: … a story here.

SANDERS: … that we want. What will we then say to China when they invade Taiwan, when India attacks Pakistan, when any country in the world says, We have the right to wage a preemptive war because the United States did it? Eight countries have nuclear weapons.

GOURE: No, in fact…

SANDERS: Don Rumsfeld…

GOURE: The United States has…

SANDERS: … recently said we haven’t ruled out…

GOURE: … a resolution through the United Nations.

SANDERS: … using nuclear weapons in Iraq. Is he crazy?

TANTER: No! No, he’s not!

DONAHUE: Cindy from Arkansas is on the phone.


DONAHUE: Cindy, how’re you doing? Yes.

CALLER: I’m good. The Bush administration keeps using the excuse that Hussein’s killed millions of his own people. If I’m correct, Rumsfeld, serving in a previous administration, was in Iraq as it was occurring. And they did not nothing about it. They did not condemn it. And they enabled it to continue. What’s different between that administration and this administration?

DONAHUE: Who’s got the mike here? Where are you? You’ve got to show me. Yes, ma’am? Please. Thank you for waiting. You’ll be brief, I know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should the United States have interfered with Hitler? I don’t see the difference. I mean, this is a man that’s killed his own people, tortures his women and children. I think this is a point where, do we turn our backs or do we interfere? I think we have the same goals. We have the same goals, honorable Desmond Tutu, of saving people.

DONAHUE: Thank you. The bishop responding.

TUTU: Quite simply, we are not saying tolerate this person, tolerate the dictator. We are saying, if it has to happen, then it must be because the appropriate, the legitimate authority says, yes, we should go. I mean — and it is the United Nations that is the authority here. But too, you said (INAUDIBLE) you are taking bin Laden out. You have?


DONAHUE: No. No, I don’t think she…

TUTU: Have you done…

DONAHUE: … is suggesting that. No. She knows that has not happened.

TUTU: I mean, and now you think you can do Saddam Hussein?

DONAHUE: Right. The president, incidentally…

TUTU: And then who next?

DONAHUE: That’s Congressman Sanders’s point. Incidentally, the president has not mentioned the name Osama bin Laden since last year.

And we’ll be back in just a moment.


DONAHUE: We’re back talking about the report by weapons inspectors to the United Nations Security Council today.

Ms. Gordon, you’ve been very patient. Thank you for — you are at a disadvantage, being on the remote. You wanted to say, as you listened to the commentary?

GORDON: I wanted to make a quick point about the U.N. because I think what’s happening is the U.N. is becoming irrelevant by its own actions. I care a lot about the U.N.’s credibility. But what happens here is — we’re not talking about a preemptive war. We’re talking about a ceasefire agreement in 1991 that Saddam Hussein violated, and we’re talking about 17 subsequent Chapter 7 resolutions, where every time Saddam Hussein violates it, we say, Oh, well…


GORDON: … we’re not going to do anything about it.


GORDON: And this is just happening with Resolution 1441. What message does that send…


DONAHUE: All right. Bill from…

GORDON: … to all the violators?


DONAHUE: Seconds left. Congressman Sanders?

SANDERS: We became involved in this whole business because a man named Osama bin Laden killed 3,000 Americans. Not Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden. An invasion would be counterproductive to our fight on terrorism.

DONAHUE: Ms. Gordon, please.

GORDON: Osama bin Laden recruits people who don’t have freedom. Let’s bring freedom to the Middle East. We did it in Germany. We did it in Japan. We can bring democracy to Iraq.

DONAHUE: Mr. Goure?

GOURE: Nations that are not willing to support U.N. resolutions and international law are going to make this war with Iraq inevitable.

DONAHUE: Bishop Tutu?

TUTU: The United States is a country, a great country, a country that’s helped us to become free in South Africa. Why does it want to tarnish its tradition by an unnecessary and immoral war?

TANTER: The war for the liberation of Iraq is the first step in drying up the swamp so that the snakes…

DONAHUE: Here’s…

TANTER: … I call the “rogue regimes”…


TANTER: … will out!