OFCLS: Alcohol may have played role in Afghan killings

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman on shooting


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": We are getting word now on the Afghan shoot that claimed 16 lives. Military officials are now telling Fox News investigators believe alcohol may have been involved in the killing, a U.S. official saying plainly, "We have reason to believe alcohol may have been involved."

Senator Joe Lieberman joining us now.

Senator, I know I am hitting you with a lot, but first on the soldier issue, what do you think of that?

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, I-CONN.: Well, obviously, that is significant.

When you think about it, over the years we have been in Afghanistan, there literally have been hundreds of thousands of American soldiers there rotating in and out. And this is an extremely rare, horrible situation, so something went terribly wrong.

Of course you are not supposed to have alcohol if you’re in the American military, but sometimes it happens. And maybe that will help explain why this awful act occurred. But it is not typical of the American soldiers there.

The Afghan military tells me every time I go there how much they trust the American military. And the American military is living with the Afghans. And they are generally very popular. So I hope more is not made of this than it deserves. And, of course, the president has led all of us in expressing our regret, our condolences for what happened.

CAVUTO: What do you think of President Karzai's response to this? He said this was unforgivable. He had a similarly fiery reaction after the Koran burning some weeks back, that he just sort of adds fuel to the fire.

And a lot of U.S. officials say it makes a bad situation worse. Do you agree with that?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I'm -- you would wish for something different.

But I got to tell you the truth, Neil. President Karzai is accountable to his own people. That's a good thing to say. He is in a democracy now. And to some extent, he undoubtedly feels a responsibility to express the anger that his people feel.

It led to demonstrations and some violence after the accidental, unintentional Koran burnings. Right now, there have been some protests, but nothing like that. And, hopefully, people will put this in perspective and we will get on the business of trying to build a secure and free Afghanistan.

CAVUTO: So, real quickly, when Taliban promises vengeance for this, even the heads of Americans for this, what do you think?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I think it just shows you what the Taliban is about.

Incidentally, their people are doing quite frequently exactly what this one soldier, American soldier who went off the track, cracked, did. And we never get apologies from them. So, the Taliban is trying to take advantage of a horrible situation.

I gather today that they shot at some Afghanistan government officials going to present compensation to the family of the victims of this attack. And that will show you who they are. I'll tell you something. I have seen polls on this.

If you put the Taliban up against American soldiers and ask the Afghans who they favor, they favor the American soldiers, because they have lived under the Taliban. They don't want to have it happen again.

CAVUTO: Senator Joe Lieberman, thank you very much. Good seeing you again.

LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Neil. Good day.

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