Was U.S. Money Wasted in Haiti?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 16, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, under President Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (search) had a unique view on the world. The Clinton administration poured about $3 billion into Haiti, for example, trying to improve life over there and give deposed President Aristide a chance to succeed.  As you know, Aristide recently had to flee the country.  So the question is: Was that is money totally wasted?

Joining us now from Washington is Madeleine Albright, the author of the best-selling book, "Madame Secretary: A Memoir."

I've got a lot of questions for you.  Before we get to Haiti and Spain and Europe, you heard Mr. Timmerman say that the Chirac government had all kinds of really huge, lucrative oil deals in place with Saddam, therefore, a vested interest to keep him in power.  Do you buy that?

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE:  Well, I do know that there were a lot of French commercial interests in Iraq.  But, you know, they did support the original Gulf War, and we managed, when I was at the United Nations, to keep the coalition together.

But I did, in fact, often say that I thought that there were a lot of French commercial interests in Iraq and that I had some problem with that, absolutely.

O'REILLY:  Yes.  I mean because I don't think it's a stretch to think that money changed hands here in a nefarious way.  We're working on that story.

Now Haiti.  U.S. officials in Haiti on May 27, the year 2000, basically said that Aristide harassed his opposition, and the election wasn't fair.  Do you buy that?

ALBRIGHT:  Well, I think -- let me just go back on something because you raised the issue about whether the money was spent well.  You have to go back to -- when we came into office in 1993, Aristide had been deposed by a coup, if you remember.  He'd been democratically elected, and there...

O'REILLY:  Yes, I was there.  I was there for that coup, and it was nasty, nasty business.

ALBRIGHT:  Horrible.  And then you remember that there were all these poor refugees on rafts coming into the United States and then the torture in Haiti where people literally had their faces ripped off and horrible torture.

So what we were trying to do was to get Aristide back and to try to get some semblance of order, and I think we managed that with a multinational force for a few years.

But I have to say I went to Haiti a number of times, met with Aristide, and we talked about the fact that the parliamentary election hadn't worked under -- you know, there was this intermediate President Proval, and we were very concerned about the elections in 2000 and felt that they had not been carried out to...

O'REILLY:  So, basically, we wasted $3 billion down there because we...

ALBRIGHT:  No, we didn't.

O'REILLY:  ... didn't improve the situation at all.  Now they've got chaos again.

ALBRIGHT:  No, that's not true, no, because there were a number of -- first of all, we saved a lot of people from torture and the terrible things that were happening under the military dictatorship, and there was some improvement.

Did we succeed completely?  No.  But I do think that it was worth doing, and it's a lesson, I think, in many ways that you actually have to stay in places until the job is finished.

There's nothing that's sane between Haiti and Iraq.  I want to say that.  But the only lesson here is that these things take time, they do take money, and you have to decide whether it's in your national interest.

O'REILLY:  Yeah, to do it, I know, but Aristide has got to be a huge disappointment to everybody.

ALBRIGHT:  It is -- he is a huge -- I agree with that.

O'REILLY:  Yeah.  I mean they do -- the guy is just -- we gave him every chance.

Now Spain.

ALBRIGHT:  He is a disappointment, yes.

O'REILLY:  Yesterday, I said that Spain capitulated to al Qaeda, whether the country knows it or not, encouraged more terrorism.  Today, we have a threat against France, and I see a Europe that basically says don't hurt me, don't hurt me, OK, not an aggressive take-it-to-the-terrorists Europe.  How do you see it?

ALBRIGHT:  Well, it's interesting because we still don't know what the full effect of the Spanish explosion was.

But, in this Pew poll that we're going to talk about, what is interesting is that the Europeans that were polled in this -- and it was Britain, France, Germany, and Russia -- were, in fact, saying that we had overreacted to the terrorist threat.

I think they may feel differently after the Spanish explosion.  But the thing that really bothers me, Bill, is that we cannot let Usama bin Laden (search) do what 40 years of communism couldn't do, which is divide us from our European friends, and...

O'REILLY:  Yeah, but there's a difference, though, because our European friends saw the threat of the Soviet Union because they had a wall from the Baltic down to Austria, all right?  It was there.  They had divisions.

Here, I believe that many Europeans, perhaps the majority, say, oh, you know, bin Laden's not after us, he's after America, let them get -- you know, let them fight it out.  We want to be on the sidelines, and I think that's the message the Spanish were sending, that we don't want a hard-line government with the USA because we don't want to get attacked.

ALBRIGHT:  Well, we don't know what the Spanish people were saying.  I think that there is a possibility, frankly, Bill, that what they were saying also is that they were irritated at their own government for -- excuse me for saying this -- for spinning the story that...

O'REILLY:  There was some of that, but it -- there was some of that.  They blamed the Basque (search) terrorists instead of Al Qaeda.


O'REILLY:  I understand that, but I think that there's an awful lot of appeasement sentiment in Europe toward Al Qaeda, and I...

ALBRIGHT:  Well, I think they...

O'REILLY:  I see it in every -- in every survey, the -- you know, the Muslim -- the huge Muslim minority -- they hate the USA.  They're not against Al Qaeda.  They're not against Al Qaeda, Ms. Albright, no.

ALBRIGHT:  Well, I'm not going to defend the Europeans.  I think that they don't see things the way we do.  What troubles me is that the unity that we need in order to deal with what is the biggest problem that we see in this Pew Poll (search), is that the Muslim world -- there's a huge chasm between us and the Muslim world, and we need the Europeans to help us, and so...

O'REILLY:  But they're not going to help us.

ALBRIGHT:  ... I am very -- well, they might, and I think that what we need to do is to decide that we have to...

O'REILLY:  Well, maybe if they blow up the Eiffel Tower (search).  But this Pew survey that you mentioned that I have in my hand here clearly shows that the weapons of mass destruction debacle has hurt our credibility to the point where Europeans -- they don't want to believe us anyway because of the press and all of that.

ALBRIGHT:  But it has hurt us, and I -- I heard you say last...

O'REILLY:  Oh, it immeasurably has hurt us.

ALBRIGHT:  Yes, but I heard you say last night that you now see that the -- you know, that we were all mistaken about the weapons of mass destruction.

O'REILLY:  That's right.

ALBRIGHT:  I was, too.  I was, too.  I thought that they were there, and I think that that has hurt our credibility tremendously, and, in this Pew poll, they basically believe that the president and Prime Minister Blair misled everybody, which is terrible in terms of the credibility of the United States, and I...

O'REILLY:  Right.  It's awful.

ALBRIGHT:  ... don't want to be partisan about this, but I think that I care deeply about the United States and our credibility, and that's what troubles me, and I'm not defending the Europeans.  I -- absolutely not.  I think that they are not viewing this in the way that we are, and we have to...

O'REILLY:  Well, I think there's got to be a summit.  I think there's got to be a summit, that you've got to bring them all over here and lay it on the line and try to heal some wounds and mend some fences.  That's what I would be for, a big, big summit with all the NATO people.

ALBRIGHT:  I think we do need to heal, absolutely.

O'REILLY:  Right.

ALBRIGHT:  I'm for that.

O'REILLY:  Madam Secretary, thanks.  It's always great to speak with you.  Congratulations on your best-selling book.

ALBRIGHT:  Thank you, Bill.  Good to be with you again.

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