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Is the United States Creating More Terrorists Than We're Killing?

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Deepak Chopra, author of 'Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment' (FNC)

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," December 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: As the investigation continues into the terror attacks that left 174 dead in Mumbai, India, officials are suggesting that while some of the attackers were killed, those responsible for planning the attacks may still be on the loose in Pakistan. Joining us now on the phone in Canada tonight, the author of "Jesus, A Story of Enlightenment," Deepak Chopra, and former secretary of defense under the Clinton administration, William Cohen. He was in Mumbai, India when the attacks began.

Welcome to you both.

Dr. Chopra, want to begin with you. What you said was pretty controversial, and you came under attack for talking about humiliation, poverty, lack of education as leading to this and getting to root causes, and Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal went after you for saying that.

Can you please explain?

Video: Watch Sean & Alan's interview

DEEPAK CHOPRA, "JESUS, A STORY OF ENLIGHTENMENT" AUTHOR: Well, first of all, I don't think Dorothy Rabinowitz has any sense of history. If she did she would know that in the 1980s the CIA financed the militarization of Afghan rebels to resist Soviet expansion in the region. At the same time the U.S. subsidized Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, to train and provide tactical support to these Mujahideen who later became Taliban.

So, you know, there's a history there that clearly suggests that the U.S. activity in the Indian continent for the last few decades has in some way participated in the creation of this mess that we have.

What we have to understand, what Miss Rabinowitz does not understand is that killing a terrorist is not the same thing as killing their ideology.

The jihadists ideology, which is barbaric, violent, senseless, savage and primitive, is — has a historical context.

COLMES: Yes.

CHOPRA: It cannot be wiped out with force much less killed. You know, unless we understand the root causes of this, we're going to perpetuate this violence over and over again.

COLMES: Let me get some reaction from Secretary Cohen.

Secretary Cohen, welcome to the show. Do you subscribe to what Deepak is saying here in that — that we have to get to the root causes here and there is some complicity here on a global scale?

WILLIAM COHEN, FMR. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, I think, ultimately, we have to look at root causes. I think, initially, we have to track down and take out the terrorists who are launching these attacks.

I think what Deepak is suggesting is something about what Secretary Rumsfeld, as a matter of fact, raised a serious issue when he was secretary of defense. Are we creating more terrorists than we're killing?

And so what we have to do is to go after the hard core, to root out the hard core terrorists who are inflicting these terrible, terrible crimes against humanity, at the same time, then look to how can we help elevate the people in various parts of the world so that the jihadists aren't able to really manipulate and exploit them.

So I think we have to have a two-pronged attack. Go after the terrorists and root them out as best we can and then try to raise the level of civil support and social support for those groups so they aren't vulnerable to the jihadist.

COLMES: Can we be an agent, Secretary Cohen, in helping India and Pakistan to succumb to some kind of agreement to make them greater allies and wouldn't that lead toward world peace?

COHEN: I think there has been a movement on the part of the Indians and the Pakistani governments to do precisely that. I was in India prior to the attacks, a few days prior to the attacks, and I was giving a speech on anti-terrorism to a large group of people, and I met with a number of the Indian leaders, and they were actually moving much closer to the Pakistanis.

I think the two countries need to come together. To the extent the United States can be helpful in that, that will be great, but I think that the — the Pakistani government and the Indian government have to resolve this dispute and work together to go after those who are, as Deepak said, barbarians. They're the barbarians at the gate. And they have to be rooted out.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Deepak, it's Sean Hannity. Thanks for being with us.

I want to go back to your statement, if I can here, because you said specifically that it's our policies, our foreign policies that had alienated Muslim populations, and we've gone after the wrong people and that we're responsible for inflaming moderates.

Deepak, I just — I couldn't disagree with you strongly. You even contradict the 9/11 report.

(CROSSTALK)

CHOPRA: Listen, Sean, Sean...

HANNITY: The bombings of...

CHOPRA: Give me a chance. OK?

HANNITY: Go ahead.

CHOPRA: FOX and yourself have wholeheartedly cheered on the disastrous war in Iraq so I can understand why you continue to mount...

HANNITY: Deepak, I didn't understand. You said...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Hand on a second. I didn't hear what you said.

CHOPRA: You wouldn't let me finish.

HANNITY: No, no. I didn't understand.

CHOPRA: We have a conversation.

HANNITY: No, no. What did you say about FOX. We what on...

CHOPRA: Wholeheartedly cheered the disastrous war in Iraq, and that was a disastrous war.

HANNITY: I disagree with you. It liberated a free — liberated people...

CHOPRA: Liberated. Have you — just go to Wikipedia, and you'll see the conservative estimate is 400,000 Iraqis dead, and you know, the other estimate is a million. We don't even include that in our conversation. What did those guys do to cause this jihad attack?

HANNITY: Well, and you might have forgotten...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Deepak, wait a minute. Wait a minute. But you forgot, those people — there were rape rooms and torture chambers, and the people were living in misery and — in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

CHOPRA: But we're not — we're talking...

HANNITY: But you're ignoring my question.

CHOPRA: It's a whole different issue. It's a whole different issue.

HANNITY: No, no. Let me get to my question. This is fundamental. On 9/11 Commission...

CHOPRA: Would you give me a minute to respond. I do want to respond and I'll then listen to you, OK?

HANNITY: All right. My question is simple. The 9/11 Commission report, we had the first Trade Center bombing in the early '90s. We the had embassies at Kenya and Tanzania. We have the USS Cole. We had 9/11, and you're staying in this statement, you're blaming America. And you're saying America...

CHOPRA: I'm not blaming anyone. I'm saying that...

HANNITY: ... policies is causing Muslim extremist.

CHOPRA: ... this is a very complex issue. I actually totally support Defense Secretary Cohen when he says that we have to go after these barbarians and get rid of them, but there's an analogy here. You know Defense Secretary is an expert in counterterrorism, he knows how to target terrorists and get rid of them.

HANNITY: Let me bring the secretary back in. Secretary...

CHOPRA: But can I finish what I'm saying?

HANNITY: Yes. I...

CHOPRA: OK. So here's an analogy. You know when we teach cancer aggressively, cancer is like a terrorist disease. When you treat cancer overaggressively, what happens is that cells that normally participate in healing...

HANNITY: Well...

CHOPRA: ... get diverted to the cancer cells and get hijacked.

HANNITY: Let me go back...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Let me go back to Secretary Cohen...

CHOPRA: ... that aide and abet cancer formation.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Hang on a second.

Do you — you called them barbarians, Mr. Secretary. They were at war with us.

COHEN: That's right absolutely.

HANNITY: They attacked us.

COHEN: Right.

HANNITY: And Deepak is calling for a marshal plan for Muslims. That sounds like we've got to buy safety from people that want to destroy us. Does that sound like a plan you'd support?

CHOPRA: Sean, there are...

COHEN: No.

CHOPRA: 35 percent of the world's population is Muslim, and they're not all barbarians.

HANNITY: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... Secretary Cohen, Deepak.

Secretary.

COHEN: Well, let me go back. I think that others have raised this issue. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, for example, indicated that this is not a clash of civilizations. It's a clash within a civilization. Namely you've got elements in the Muslim community that are waging war against those Muslims who want to stay in the 21st century and embrace modernity.

And it's going to take not just the United States, and Tom Friedman and others have said show us the money. Other countries have to come to the bar now and say we need to infuse economic assistance to be sure, but we've got to approach this on a global basis because the terrorism is not regional, it's global, and I think that we've got to do is look for ways in which we can reduce the killing of innocent people.

I wanted to do that when I was secretary of defense, collateral damage, we tried to minimize it because every time you kill an innocent person...

HANNITY: Yes.

COHEN: ... you're going to cause hatred towards United States.

CHOPRA: That's all I'm saying. I'm totally agreeing with Bill.

HANNITY: All right. We've got to run.

All right, Deepak, when you're back in town, I promise we'll go into this in great detail.

CHOPRA: OK, my friend, peace to you.

HANNITY: Peace to everybody. We appreciate your being with us.

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