This is a partial transcript from The War on Terror: The Hunt for the Killers. For a complete transcript of the entire broadcast click here.
DHUE: Welcome back. As we have been reporting all night, John Walker, the man who left the U.S. to fight alongside the Taliban, is back on American soil. Tomorrow morning, he will be in a Virginia courtroom, charged with conspiracy to kill Americans. Earlier today, former secretary of state Dr. Henry Kissinger dropped by, and I asked him if he thinks John Walker is guilty of treason.
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HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't know what the legal definition of treason is. He certainly acted against the interests of his country with an organization that was dedicated to the overthrow of this country and to commit murder in this country. And so whatever label you give that, that is what he did.
DHUE: Why do you think the government backed away from the treason charge, from what you know about this? Is it too difficult to prove?
KISSINGER: It may be that there's some technical requirement you have to prove to prove treason, or you have to be able to prove that he actually did something against the United States.
DHUE: Don't you think that would be easy to do? This is a man who met with Usama bin Laden, who admitted that he was in the Taliban. I think that'd be pretty easy to prove.
KISSINGER: Well, I have no way of knowing why they did it, but he certainly was closely identified and training with an organization whose avowed aim was to kill Americans and to damage this country.
DHUE: The White House says he will get the justice he deserves. What is justice here? What does he deserve?
KISSINGER: Well, he deserves a long prison sentence.
DHUE: How long would be enough?
KISSINGER: Well, you know, as far as I'm concerned, if he never gets out of prison, it would not break my heart. But I don't think it's a good idea for me to start agitating for sentences when he hasn't even been convicted.
DHUE: Good point. All right, let's move on and talk about the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. That has been front and center the last few days. Yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld defended the treatment of the detainees. Today the president did. Should this even be an issue?
KISSINGER: Well, I'm disappointed that it's an issue because these are people who were part of the organization, who had trained with the organization, had come long distances to do this, who had been involved in attempts to kill Americans. And I cannot have any sympathy for them. They have a roof over their head. They have prayer mats. And I think these foreign groups that are protesting and that have no idea of what it's like, nor who do not compare it with what conditions these people would have imposed on us or what they do in their own countries.
DHUE: I'm personally offended by this. Are you?
KISSINGER: I'm offended by this self-righteousness of some high officials, even of some foreign ministers, and certainly of some of the media.
DHUE: When you were dealing with the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam war, was there any kind of similar outcry about how our POWs were being treated?
KISSINGER: Well, it was a different situation. There was an outcry then, too, of how we were treating prisoners and people didn't know until after the war how our prisoners had been treated, how people like John McCain were in solitary confinement for seven years, as were all the others who were tortured periodically. So I'm familiar with the emotions.
DHUE: Do you think that the whole treatment of prisoners would have been as big an issue when you were serving in the Nixon and Ford administrations, or has the climate just completely changed?
KISSINGER: Oh, no. The climate was worse then. In those days, there was a systematic attack on almost everything the administration did. President Bush is getting, on the whole, much better treatment. I agree with Rumsfeld on this one, but he's been treated, compared to the period 30 years ago, much more gently.
DHUE: So, do you think at all that if the war doesn't go well, he perhaps will be treated as a scapegoat, or will he get gentler treatment than, say, you would have gotten...
KISSINGER: Oh, no. If the war doesn't go well, he will be treated as a scapegoat. But it will go well. We have strong leadership. We know where we're going. And therefore, I believe we will succeed.
DHUE: Let's switch gears. You have just returned from India, where you met with Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee. A couple of weeks ago, it looked like India and Pakistan were on the brink of war. Did you get the sense that Mr. Vajpayee is committed to peace?
KISSINGER: It's a very complicated situation because there has been some terrorism in Kashmir, which India occupies and claims. I think, on the whole, Vajpayee would like to make peace. On the other hand, he wants to keep all the territory he's got. And this is where the dispute is.
DHUE: And he's also got a military leader who is saying things like, "If we have to go to war, jolly good." When you hear things like that, you think, how can there be peace?
KISSINGER: Well, I think these countries have an ethnic conflict, a terrorist problem and a religious conflict. So it's very difficult. And many people in India think Pakistan should never have been created in the first place. But actually, I believe that President Musharraf of Pakistan has made a very far-sighted proposal. The Indians -- by saying that the obligations of Islam do not go beyond the borders of the country involved, and then -- which no other Muslim leader has said. On the other hand, at the same time, Vajpayee has also indicated that, in principle, he wants peace. So maybe we will see some progress there.
DHUE: I hope we do. Finally, before we let you go, I want to switch gears to a much lighter topic. Esquire magazine this month made a big to-do about the fact that the last time I interviewed you, on September 18, I twirled my foot. Now, I'd like to show you some video from that interview, and I want you to be the judge. Here we go. Now, does that look like a twirl to you? Here it goes again. Here we go.
DHUE: Oh, wait! Here we go.
KISSINGER: No, but I've noticed you've seated me so that I can't see your legs.
DHUE: Well, I hope I didn't distract you.
KISSINGER: No, it was great fun then. It's great fun now.
DHUE: All right. Well, it's been great fun for me also and a real pleasure to have you here tonight. We always appreciate your expertise, and we hope you'll come back.
KISSINGER: Thank you.
DHUE: Thank you.
KISSINGER: Hope to see you soon.
DHUE: Thank you, Dr. Kissinger.
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