This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," Oct. 26, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: The final week — just seven days left — and the candidates hitting the swing states and trading jabs on the War on Terror. First Senator John Kerry speaking to supporters today in Green Bay, Wisconsin:
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SEN. JOHN KERRY, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When I am president, I will fight a tougher, smarter, more effective, more strategic war on terror. We will hunt down, capture and kill or destroy terrorists wherever they may be. I will never give any other nation or any other organization a veto over the security of the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: This is President Bush earlier today in Wisconsin:
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GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The terrorists who killed thousands of innocent people are still dangerous. And they're determined. The outcome of this election will set the direction of the war on terror. The most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows weakness or uncertainty in this decade, this world of ours will drift toward tragedy. That's not going to happen on my watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us in New York is former secretary of state Dr. Henry Kissinger. Nice to see you, Dr. Kissinger.
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Always good to be here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Kissinger, the topic of terrorism has so consumed both candidates, certainly in the last week. Does that surprise you?
KISSINGER: Well, it's the key experience of America in the last decade. It's the first time that we were attacked directly. We were attacked by people a long distance away that we didn't even know were our enemies, and the impact was profound, and the need to prevent it is overwhelming.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, would you say it was a wake-up call for the United States? Because certainly, there has been lots of terrorism in the world, and of course, the best example is what we've watched for many years in Israel, and before that, in other parts of the world.
KISSINGER: Well, it's a wake-up call in the sense that it showed that the way we had looked at international politics has changed completely. The whole world looked at international politics as threats coming from states that were crossing sovereign boundaries. What 9/11 showed us was that private groups that were based on other people's territory could attack us with huge effect. That had not happened on such a scale. Usually, the terrorists in other countries had been more or less local. And now in the last four years, we have had attacks in Bali, Jakarta, Singapore, Turkey, Russia, Spain. So we're dealing here with an international system of radical fundamentalist Islam that is attacking, first of all, its own people, and then projected to the rest of the world.
And this is what makes this a war of such an importance to fight and why I agree with what the president said.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about the issue of our allies and alliances? I mean, how important is that in this War on Terror?
KISSINGER: Well, of course, it would be better to have alliances, but it hasn't been brought out sufficiently in this campaign that we went to the United Nations in October, and we went to war in March. So it isn't that we did not have a long period of consultation, and it isn't that we didn't have countries with us. We had every country in Europe, for example, with us, except Germany, France, Belgium. Most of the other countries participated and sent some small contingents.
But then the question was, do you give a veto to two countries, one of which had already committed itself in an election campaign before the issue even arose?
VAN SUSTEREN: Is my recollection wrong? I thought going back to February, 2003, when the decision was made to go to war, that those other countries like France and Germany and Russia were not opposed, but they simply wanted to give the inspectors a little more time to see if there were weapons of mass destruction. Is that a faulty memory on my part? Am I wrong on that?
KISSINGER: No, this is technically correct. It wasn't in February. In March, towards the end of that process, they said, Let's give it more time. But the fact was that the German chancellor had already said that Germany would not send troops to Iraq, even if the United Nations voted for it. And France had its own reasons.
And I think President Bush was right to treat this simply as a delaying tactic, that at the end, if they hadn't found any weapons of mass destruction, they would have said, Now let's lift sanctions because the sanctions are only on because of weapons of mass destruction, so that the process that they were proposing really was to avoid the issue.
VAN SUSTEREN: How important is it now to rebuild those alliances? I mean, obviously, we made the decision to go without some of these countries, but how important to rebuild right now?
KISSINGER: Of course, it's important to rebuild the alliances, but I think it is absolutely out of the question that Germany and France would send troops, no matter what efforts we make to rebuild alliances, at least in the first round. The German foreign minister in a magazine that was published only yesterday has already said that there will be no German troops in Iraq. There are no German troops in Iraq.
Now, they can help us on reconstruction and on the political evolution, and I am convinced that a significant effort will be made to get their cooperation. But I do not think we can make the war on terror depend on the slow movement of the consultation that has recently taken place. But I'm convinced that a significant effort will be made by President Bush to rebuild our alliances.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Dr. Kissinger. Always nice to see you, sir. Thank you very much, sir.
KISSINGER: Good to see you.
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