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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  September 19, 2010 10:00am-11:00am EDT

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"world report" is next. for everyone else "fareed for everyone else "fareed zakaria gps" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- this is "gps," the global public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria. last sunday i talked about the ninth anniversary of 9/11. this week we mark the second anniversary of the collapse of lehman brothers. now, there's been lots written about whether this was a bigger turning point than 9/11 and of course whether it was a huge blunder. but i wanted to focus on the month after the collapse of lehman brothers, when washington, incredibly, actually
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worked. let's remember what happened in those weeks. it was pretty grim. credit came to a standstill. banks simply stopped lending. companies couldn't get their hands on short-term loans to just pay their employees and suppliers. private sector borrowing, which is the heart of modern economics, dropped more dramatically than at any point since the 1930s. the effects on the broader economy were massive. in the fourth quarter of 2008 real gdp dropped by 6%. the american economy lost 1.7 million jobs, which is the largest drop in 65 years, and net household worth dropped by $5 trillion, the largest and fastest such drop ever recorded. the crisis was spreading everywhere. there was a contraction of global trade larger than in the first year of the great depression. in the middle of this crisis, after a week or so of failure, democrats and republicans came together. george bush was working with
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barney frank. and together we passed a huge rescue package that began to restore stability to the system. now, the troubled assets relief program, t.a.r.p., may not are been exactly the right idea or even the right amount, but in the midst of a galloping crisis and an accelerating loss of confidence, it saved the day. it sent a signal to markets that government would in the end guarantee the financial system and that betting against the system, shorting the financials, would not work. we've ended up with a bad recession instead of a depression, with 10% unemployment instead of what the former fed vice chairman, alan blander estimates could have been 20% unemployment, as in the 1930s. oh, and by the way, it will cost the government almost nothing. a fraction of the appropriated $700 billion. because the financial system recovered so fast that most of the government's investments will make a healthy profit. the ultimate proof that t.a.r.p. worked, of course, is that it is now widely seen as unnecessary.
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republicans now say what crisis? there was no crisis. we didn't need to do anything. democrats run away from it because the public hates the idea of having given money to banks. and thus, the most effective bipartisan government program of recent decades is now a lonely orphan, claimed by no one. it's a pity because we need more of this kind of bipartisan problem solving that t.a.r.p. represents, not less. we have a great show for you today. an incredible "gps" exclusive. we are going to introduce you to one of osama bin laden's brothers in arms. he'll take us inside pre-9/11 meetings, where he says he told osama bin laden not to attack the united states. now this man, noman benotman, has written an open letter to bin laden, urging him to recognize that his strategy of terrorism has failed. also, what in the world is happening in cuba?
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is fidel ready to declare the revolution over? but first, a terrific "gps" panel with cnn's new primetime anchor, kathleen parker, french philosopher extraordinaire bernard-henri levi, and others. we'll tackle u.s. politics, middle east peace, iran, and much more. finally, a last look. fighting poverty one step at a time. let's get started. to discuss all of the news from this week both at home and abroad we have one of our star-studded "gps" panels. kathleen parker is the anchor of cnn's new show "parker spitzer," which debuts two weeks from tomorrow. she's also one of america's most widely syndicated columnists. bernard-henri levi is france's best known, some people would say most notorious intellectual and philosopher.
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dan senor is a senior fellow on the council of foreign relations and author of a wonderful book on israel's economy. and chrystia freeland is global editor at large at reuters. welcome to everyone. >> thank you. >> first let's talk about the economy is improving, public anger still seems high, and as a result it appears not only at that time republicans are going to do well but that the tea party among the republicans are doing well. is this a good thing for the republicans or a bad one? the most recent news being of course tea party candidate does well in delaware, ousting the republican establishment. >> right. well, the tea party is quite the phenomenon. and i think it's actually ultimately going to be bad for the republican party. the tea party groups are so animated, and they're electing people that we don't think are going to do very well against democrats. in the general. and the example in delaware is perfect. christine o'donnell, who defeated the more mainstream republican candidate, has -- she
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has a very difficult record to defend once you get into it, and the establishment republicans are fairly appalled that she has won. >> but the "wall street journal" editorializes that actually this is a one-off, for the most part this is good news for the republicans. would you agree? >> yeah, i agree. i think that o'donnell was an exception. i think most of the candidates, the tea party candidates that won, and particularly those that took on the establishment, will probably win their general election. i think what's interesting about the tea party movement is in the 1980s and 1990s the fringe right of the republican party, those fights were fought, they were culture wars. right? they were fought over abortion, they were fought over prayer in school and flag burning. what's motivating the tea party movement are not those issues. this is about spending. it's about bailouts. it's about the growth of government. and i think what's interesting is that a number of these tea party candidates are actually quite tolerant of people who are liberal on the social issues because the motivating force and the energy behind the tea party movement is about fiscal issues, not about social issues. >> well, i agree with dan, and i think what is really interesting
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about the tea party but sort of about the republican anger more generally is i think it is really -- this is an it's the economy, stupid, election. i think what they are voting about is the economy isn't working for them. and what's really happened now is globalization and technology revolution are great for silicon valley. they're great for wall street. they're great for super smart americans. but the middle class is being hollowed out and people don't know what to do. >> there are figures just out that we've got the highest level of poverty in 50 years. so there's plenty of people other than the tea party activists who are suffering right now. >> you think this is not so much about cultural issues. and i think you're basically right. but i am struck by the fact that, you know, on immigration you look at john mccain as a kind of fascinating case. i mean, here's a guy who was the author of the immigration bill with ted kennedy. having to run away from it and run hard right in the arizona primary. you look at the ground zero islamic center slash mosque.
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to you does it seem as though from france that what you're watching in america is the rise of a certain kind of nationalism that is also rising in europe? >> not really. you know, we often say in europe that europe is the country of ideology and america the country of pragmatism. america deals with facts, growth and so on, and europe with great ideas. it is not so true. today you have a huge rise of ideologies in america. and these tea parties, i'm not so sure that they are going back to facts and root problems and so on. i hear ideology. as we had in the '60s and the '70s in france -- >> what is the ideology you here? >> for example, the hate of the state. the idea that he spent too much. the idea that the welfare state
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is socialism. this mosque issue, which was completely mad. you have 1% of muslims in america, 1%. we have 10% in france. is that really a problem which should inflame all the nation? no. the great america, which was pragmatic, would have had another attitude toward this problem, which was not such a big problem. a mosque two blocks away from the sacred land of ground zero. come on. this is not facts. this is not economy. this is ideology of the worst sort. >> but it's an emotional response i think to our economic situation. people are very insecure. there are no jobs. it's not going to get better anytime soon. and so you're looking for someplace to put blame. and so there's this anti-immigration -- >> well, it's classic -- the mosque in particular is classic displacement. it's looking for the other, looking for the enemy. i think immigration, actually, is more concretely tied to the
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economic situation. and i think if you are lower middle class, then you really do feel that immigrants lower your bargaining power in the marketplace. and it's probably true. >> i think we can't -- it would be remiss to skip the race factor because what you're talking about when you talk about immigration now, especially these more highly skilled workers, are people from other countries with darker skin and we are seeing -- the tea party is primarily male, primarily white, primarily over age 45, and there is this sense that despite our wonderful history of immigration and immigrants that this country is going elsewhere. and we know the statistics down the road, what is it, by what year whites will be the minority. i mean, there's a very he strong emotional sense that the country is becoming something else that is exclusive to them. >> i do really think that both on the right and on the left elites haven't done a very good job of thinking about and responding to the insecurity of the less educated middle class
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or lower middle-class americans. and that insecurity is real. and if you're in the middle, especially as kathleen said, if you are over 45, it is absolutely terrifying. >> you're talking about the middle class getting squeezed. and i think this is actually the big problem for the western world, which is that you still have a very competitive high value-added sector, whether it's making bmws and mercedes, google, apple, all that stuff. the stuff -- there's always stuff to do at the bottom. you know, you still have services that are needed that can't be outsourced. but in the middle the average guy or woman in france, in the united states, you know, in most of the western world, they're facing competition from a billion people all over the world. and what happens to the politics of western societies when you have this kind of pressure? >> number one, it is not the first time america and the western world is in this
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situation. remember the '30s. remember the '60s, when you had in america riots going to blood, to death, racial riots and so on. so you have in your very close past some situations which are much worse than the situation of today. number two, you can consider all that we are saying today also like a sort of boiling, a sort of general national huge brainsto brainstorming. america is today under brainstorming. ideas are launched, exchanged. always when ideas are brainstormed, you have some stupidities and you have some great ideas. you have both. and out of that will come some solutions. so the world is changing. we lost our north and south and west and east. and we are and you are in
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america in the process of recovering it. and when i see this boiling situation in america, i am more optimistic than pessimistic because you really had worse periods and you always triumphed of that and you will again. >> all right. with that moment of optimism we're going to make some money, take a commercial break, and we will be right back. >> you are america, the greatest democracy in the world. america is founded on the ideas that anyone can practice and worship -- and worship his faith the way he wants.
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and we are back with our star-studded panel to talk about all kinds of politics all over the world. kathleen parker, dan senor, chrystia freeland, and bernard-henri levy. kathleen, you were talking about during the break how it's been difficult to have a rational discourse about the mosque. >> right. well, i wrote a column, as i
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guess probably most of us at this table have, in support of building the mosque near ground zero. not on it but near it. and i got these just, you know, floods of letters from people, many of whom were appreciative. and by the way, my column was translated all over the world. i've gotten letters from countries, muslim countries all over. which has been really gratifying and lovely. but from the united states i've gotten quite a different taste of support for the -- not support for the mosque. and what i've seen is this leap of logic from oh, if you support the mosque then the next thing you know you're going to be living under sharia law and i will be the next stoning victim. the assumption is that you give one muslim, you know, a cookie and he's going to impose sharia law and that's the end of freedom as we know it. >> but doesn't the american opposition to the islamic center near ground zero feed into a similar -- a similarly stereotypical understanding of
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america? and doesn't it justify that kind of attitude about america? if you lived in a -- >> let's allow dan who is an opponent of the mosque to speak. >> you are? >> yes. >> i just don't see how you can -- all right. go ahead. >> i think that the imam has the right to build the mosque. i'm not suggesting he doesn't have the right to do it. and he's actually absolutely constitutionally protected in pursuing it. and he can't be formally stopped by government. but just because he has the right to do it doesn't mean it's the most constructive thing to dpop i think -- >> i understand. i've heard thargment a hundred times about other things. but in this case if you're saying that one imam should not build a mosque here, then you're essentially saying that all muslims are culpable for what happened -- >> no, no, hold on. those are your words. those aren't mine. >> that is the logical -- >> no, no, no. we are simply saying that muslims or anyone else have the right to build this kind of religious center there, but it's an issue that's still very raw for the majority of new yorkers. a majority of new york residents are opposed to the mosque. i would venture to say --
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>> majorities can be wrong. that's not an argument. >> a majority of new york city residents who voted for obama and are extremely liberal and progressive. >> even people who voted for obama and are liberal -- >> we have to say the truth. you are america, the greatest democracy in the world. america is founded on the ideas that anyone can practice and worship -- and worship his faith the way he wants. if you withdraw this point, there will be a -- >> america was founded on the idea that we're going to have a -- we're going to talk about more than one subject. >> american compatriot. >> he's running for office in new york. >> nobody has ever lost money betting against the arab-israeli peace process. so here we are again. kathleen, would you say that this is -- >> this is the one? this is the time? >> is it going to happen? >> you know, i've been watching this on the front page of my
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newspaper for my entire life. and so i have to say i'm not very optimistic. but there's no basis for optimism. >> i am a little more optimistic than i was a few months ago for two reasons. one, when president obama and prime minister netanyahu met on july 6th at the white house, the one-on-one meeting, not the one with the other members of the nsc. the one-on-one meeting, something happened in that meeting because netanyahu came out of that meeting and was able to go full speed ahead on these direct negotiations dealing with final settlement issues. and president obama's language also changed on iran. he went from saying before that meeting a nuclear iran is unacceptable to i'm determined to stopping iran from getting a nuclear bomb. it was much more active. i think there's a connection between the two that is giving netanyahu some confidence. if the americans are serious about doing something on iran, he will be more committed on the israeli-palestinian track. and i think that's more progress than anyone would have thought. it's limited but it's more progress than anyone would have thought. >> you've been following this all your life.
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what do you think? >> i am a little more optimistic for two reasons, two technical reasons. not big ideas. technical reasons. first one, the peoples there are fed up. exhausted. the moderate palestinians and the israelis are just fed up of seeing this problem, this puzzle always the same pieces in one way, in another way, since 40 years. i'm like you. i'm older than you. much more. but since such a long time i see the same pieces. they are fed up. another too. you have a president today, for the first time he did not wait the last year of his second mandate, the last year of his last mandate, to take care of the problem, as w. bush did and as bill clinton did. remember, taba and camp david. the last year, the last months, racing to have his credit on the
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possible peace. obama did one new thing. the first year of his first mandate he took the problem in his hands. so it does not mean that he will succeed. it means that there is for the first time since long a real american will to help. a real goodwill between the two parties. and that is the second technical good news. >> practical, not philosophical. >> it is not philosophical. it is practical. i am fed up with philosophy in this conflict. fed up. it's a dead end. >> one more argument for optimism which actually should have been dan's because it's dan's book which has made me -- given me one more reason for optimism and it's "startup nation." that israel is actually one country which has been remarkably successful in this post-industrial global economy. and to me that has to be hopeful. you know, israel really is a silicon -- a whole country of silicon valley. and i think that that sort of
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rise of this highly technical, you know, well-off, affluent middle-class israel has to be hopeful for the peace process. >> you're seeing venture capital investors in israel like shimon peres's son and others who are actually starting venture funds to invest in israeli-arab entrepreneurs and even in part of the palestinian territories pf salaam fayed, the palestinian prime minister, says we've got some promising start-ups in ramallah but we need the mentoring from israeli technologists and israeli venture investors. and that has opened, albeit it's between israel and the west bank versus israel and gaza but that has opened up a channel of communication that i don't think k3i69ed before. >> bernard-henri levy, chrystia freeland, dan senor, kathleen parker, thank you all very much. and we will be back. >> i would like bin laden to understand, the muslim world really against his point of view, i think it's the right time to say stop, enough, we don't need you. it's as simple as that. we don't need you. (announcer) energy security.
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now for our "what in the world" segment. there's been lots of understandable anger here in the united states about the unemployment rate, which continues to hover around 10%. but imagine a country firing 10% of its workforce, essentially in one fell swoop. that's what cuba did this week. the government in that country announced that 500,000 workers, 1 out of 10 in the labor force, would lose their jobs by spring. now, cuba's official unemployment rate was under 2% last year, the eighth lowest in the world. that unemployment rate must now technically go up sixfold. of course, the reality behind all these make-believe numbers is that cuba's economy is in deep trouble. after being devastated simultaneously by a hurricane and the world financial crisis, the cuban government, operating on an absurd socialist system, simply cannot afford to keep paying all the people that it promises to pay, even though it pays them a pittance.
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forced by all these troubles, cuba has finally been putting in place a series of reforms that have at least a whiff of capitalism to them. the government has started to allow foreigners to take 99-year lease deals on properties, opening the way for private golf courses, hotels, resorts. and if you're not interested in shaving down your golf handicap, you can actually get a shave and a trim in cuba without paying the government for it. ever since the revolution, all barbershops in cuba have been state run. but now havana is setting some of them free, letting them set their own prices and wages and letting them make profits or losses. in a speech last month president raul castro said his government would allow even more private business in cuba. and then there's what fidel castro reportedly said to the journalist jeffrey goldberg. "the cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore." later castro said his words had been misunderstood. this is of course the classic definition of a gaffe, when a politician accidentally tells
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the truth. now, i think it's fair to say the future of cuba's communist economic system probably lies in the hands of one man. but it's not fidel castro, and it's not raul castro. they're not really going to change it. it's barack obama. the one thing that could be truly transformative for cuba would be open trade with america. but it can't happen because the u.s. has a strict embargo in place since 1959. president obama has taken some baby steps in the direction of liberalizing relations with havana, easing travel restrictions for some, allowing unlimited remittances to be sent to families there, and expanding telecommunications between the two countries. the politicians in washington, all scared of losing cuban-american votes in miami and in new jersey, will not do what is blindingly obviously good for cuba and america. this is a pity because this is the time to flood cuba with commerce and contact and thus transform the country.
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it would strengthen civil society in cuba, weaken the cuban government's vise-like grip on the country. who knows? it could even lead to regime change in cuba, which was the purpose of the embargo all along. and we'll be right back. >> bin laden, he is like an average person. >> he's not strategic? >> no. he's an average -- >> he's not particularly smart? >> no. sure i'd like to diversify my workforce,
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unitedhealthcare. to learn more, visit us at i'm candy crowley following the top story this morning. deadly car bombings rocked baghdad. arwa damon joins me for the latest developments there. arwa? >> reporter: hi, candy. and at least 29 people have been killed. well over 100 wounded in those attacks that took place within minutes of each other at 11:15 in the morning. the target so far appears to be the iraqi civilian population. one of them taking place when a minibus exploded in front of a cell phone shop. the other one happening at a fairly crowded intersection.
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additionally, there was a magnetic bomb that was placed underneath the vehicle of a minibus driver, killing him and his son. and overnight also a magnetic bomb placed underneath the vehicle of a ministry of interior official. just going to illustrate the fear and anxiety that iraqis continue to live with, especially when they are out in traffic approaching these checkpoints. many saying that checking underneath their vehicles has simply become part of their daily routine, candy. >> our arwa damon. thanks so much. up next, more "fareed zakaria gps." of the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel or restaurant workers who lost their jobs to the spill. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. our job is to listen and find ways to help. that means working with communities. restoring the jobs, tourist beaches, and businesses impacted by the spill. we've paid over $400 million in claims
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in the year 2000 noman benotman was a top-ranking commander of a successful terrorist organization, the libyan islamic fighting group, or lifg. it was an ally of al qaeda. that's how benotman says he found himself at osama bin laden's mud house in kandahar. that same year, having breakfast with bin laden, watching bin laden's children play, he was attending a meeting osama bin
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laden had called, a kind of davos for islamic terrorists. at the meeting bin laden told him of the plan for the september 11th attacks. and amazingly, benotman says he dared to disagree with bin laden, to tell him he shouldn't attack the united states. he'll explain why. more recently, benotman has denounced terror altogether. and last weekend, on the anniversary of the september 11th attacks, he published an open letter to bin laden, calling for the world's best-known terrorist to recognize that his strategy had failed and to call it quits. what was the meeting with bin laden like? and what caused benotman's change of heart? you're about to find out in a "gps" exclusive. i was in london this week and spoke to noman benotman in our studios there. >> just this week you have put out an open letter to osama bin laden in which you ask him and
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ayman al zawahiri, his number two person, to renounce terror altogether. what made you write this letter now? because you have been working against terrorism for some time. why did you feel it was worth sending a personal message to your former associate, bin laden? >> i think from my assessment it's really the right time because i believe now we are -- if you take it from a muslim perspective and muslim countries and societies, we are in a state of crisis. and enough is enough. from a muslim perspective al qaeda really now start to -- messing around with the dna of islam itself. so i think it's the right time to say stop, enough, we don't need you. it's as simple as that. we don't need you. >> take us back. 2000. there was a kind of grand conference, if you will -- >> yeah. >> -- of terrorism. right? and you were brought in as the most important person heading the libyan movement. there were others there.
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but bin laden throws a dinner for you. describe, first of all, the scene. this is now in kandahar, right? this is taking place in kandahar. >> yeah. because i told him and my colleagues, you need to stop the war against the u.s. because you're provoking the united states of america and the afghanian people, they will pay the consequences. >> your basic point to him was this will backfire, if you go after the west -- >> and before that i told them, gentlemen, my assessment, the outcomes of the jihadi movement after like 30 years or maybe 20 years of fighting and struggling, it's a total failure. it was a shock for all of them. >> you said 30 years we've been doing this, it isn't working -- >> total failure. but at the time they believed i was wrong. and i'm so sorry to say, but history proves me right. you know? >> and you said there will be a strong response, there will be an overwhelming response. >> yes. >> and you won't be able to -- you will find it more and more difficult to -- >> i told him it's going to be the entire region if you
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escalate. because i know that they talk about something big. i told them if you escalate the level of the conflict against the u.s. and you insist to attack the homeland, you know, it's going to be really, really tough retaliation. but bin laden, when he run out of ideas or arguments, he told me directly, okay, i've got one operation, it's already there, and i cannot like cancel it because it's going to demoralize my organization. i cannot do this. but he doesn't -- >> this was the september 11th operation? >> yeah. after that i recognized. but at the time he -- like he didn't tell me exactly it's going to be the 11th of september because i know a lot of people even from the level -- the leadership level, they've never been told about exactly what's the plan. >> until then they viewed the american responses as quite feeble. they said to you the last time when we bombed the embassies in east africa they launched 75
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cruise missiles at us and they killed maybe 15 people. so what was that -- what were they predicting the american response to 9/11 would be? >> yeah, what they mentioned at the time they said this is going to be, okay, because of the -- if we escalate the level of the conflict it's going to be 200 cruise missiles, and we can manage that as al qaeda organization, you know, because they can deploy the group and the personnel in rural areas in the mountains and caves, so it's not going to be problem for them. they never, ever imagined they're going to fight against the u.s. soldiers or even the nato soldiers like in very direct or close contact. they believed they are paper tigers. >> so when you were in kandahar in 2000, you spent hours and hours with bin laden. what is he like as a human being? >> he is like very humble person. as a human being he was very
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humb humble. i feel like easy go. yeah. very polite. even when there's like debate or, if i may say, like arguing. it's very hard to provoke him. >> is he charismatic? >> yes. and you know, charisma is something you can't gain. it's something you're born with. but there's something -- i should say here a lot of people, when they work very close for any reasons -- you don't need to be al qaeda member. but if you have any chance to deal with bin laden at the political level or strategic level, i believe the vast majority of the leaders or the intellectual people, they shared with me the point of view, bin laden, he is like an average person. >> he's not strategic? >> yeah. he's an average -- >> he's not particularly smart? >> no. at that level, when you talk about like developing strategies, launching a conflict like this one, you know, like at the global scale, and even a lot
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of issues. and even it's -- dr. zawahiri, he used to share this point, dr. zawahiri, the second in command, he used to share this point of view with me, with other people, and even his entire group, the egyptian jihad, they stronglysu. other guys from different -- >> so did zawahiri, ayman al zawahiri, the second in command of al qaeda, the egyptian son of a doctor, is he -- does he see himself as the brains of al qaeda? >> i think he is. >> all right. we are going to take a break. when we come back, we've talked a lot about the past. we're going to talk about the future of al qaeda. where is it now? what should we worry about? when we come back. >> it's extremely nonsense idea to just -- you know, to commit your life to fight against the entire world. you know, to believe like your duty is to force every single human being to be a muslim by
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force. this is exactly the bottom line of al qaeda and the understanding of islam, you know, which is a crazy idea. i want to give my 5 employees health insurance,
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and we are back with noman benotman, a former associate of osama bin laden, who is telling us about the past, present, and future of al qaeda. why did you renounce terrorism? >> when i became islamist or jihadist or, as you mentioned, terrorist, if you like, despite i not agree with this term -- >> and you said you don't agree with the term because i'm guessing you saw yourself as a freedom fighter or a national liberation movement. >> yes. kind of this. rebel, if you like, or whatever. because myself at the personal level, i've never, ever committed like any crime about -- against any, if you like, civilian target or whatever. i'm proud of myself, you know,
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during the fight against the soviet union. i was a very armed soldier. i do respect my ak-47. you know. i do respect it a lot. >> but you did find in the jihad against the soviet union. >> yeah. >> along with bin laden. >> yeah. >> and why did you renounce it all? >> that's it. because it's the political agenda. always i believe it's just a political agenda. it's manmade. it's not islam. because islam, it was there more than 1,500 years ago. i've never, ever subscribed to this idea of like fighting against the world. i am politician. i understand exactly what's the meaning of politics. it's a very crazy idea. it's extremely nonsense idea to just -- to commit your life to fight against the entire world, you know, to believe like your duty is to force every single human being to be a muslim by force. this is exactly the bottom line of al qaeda and understanding of islam, you know, chris a crazy idea. that's why i'm strongly believe, 100% committed to complete
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disarmament of all islamic groups, complete, without a doubt about this. >> what kind of person agrees to become a suicide bomber? >> i see a lot of people, they said okay, al qaeda giving me meaning. i live here in this x country but have no hope, i have no meaning. i'm not associated to my country. so al qaeda here comes and tell them, okay, you are muslim, i will tell you exactly who you are. you are a muslim. and -- which is islamist. i will give you the meaning. i can make you make good use of your life and then you'll be in paradise. if you see how the way they've been recruited, then they carry on their operations, it's a very, very limited time. usually, at all days -- >> meaning? >> it means like some of them just within two months, three months. usually, to be a real fighter you need to go through like many years of training. >> so it's almost -- are you saying that they've been brainwashed and you can't -- >> yes. >> -- that the spell won't last too long? you push them out the door
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pretty fast. >> i'll tell you something, al qaeda comes via the internet, which is strategically they located them in very good and strategic position in the virtual or the cyberworld and explaining to people, okay, what you see and -- this is our position as a muslim and this is because we are muslim, the whole world against us, and we can help you to do something to sort out the problem. this is the solution. >> so al qaeda today. you said something when we were talking earlier, you said -- i talked about osama bin laden being in a cave in kandahar and you smiled and said he's not in kandahar. you think he's in pakistan? >> yeah, it's -- it's a very sensitive issue. but i don't believe he's in afghanistan. i don't believe that. that's my assessment. i don't believe that. >> there's only one other country he could be in. >> some people, they believe he's in washington, d.c., you know. crazy people. >> but what is your sense of how many people are left in al qaeda
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in afghanistan, pakistan? >> i think a few hundreds. it's an insignificant number. al qaeda presence now, i think there's a shift, if i might say, in terms of like the -- at the operation level from now they call it al qaeda, the headquarter there in pakistan, afghanistan, they call it the general command, which mean like the leadership of al qaeda. the official name. i think there's a shift from the general al qaeda, general command to yemen, towards yes, ma'am en. now, i think if you assess the situation there, the number has been increased recently. we talk here about a few hundreds, maybe 200, 400 personnel there, mainly in shabua and abiya, southern part of yemen. but they're very active. >> do you think the united states is fighting this battle correctly? >> i think the united states, it's very important. you cannot ignore the u.s., whether you like it or not. but the problem, i think we have
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failure of communication between the muslims, including governments and officials, with the americans. so we need to improve the level of communication so the american efforts to control extremism and terrorism doesn't appear as if al qaeda would like to market it to the muslims like america fighting against islam itself. that's why i really appreciate many american officials recently, the issue about burning the koran where president obama, he was very clear about his like position against this issue and he said we are not in a war against islam, we fight against al qaeda. al qaeda harm us, not the islam. secretary of state clinton, when she said like she was against the burning of koran. even secretary of defense, you know, gates, he phoned the guy himself. he spoke with him. i really appreciate this. and we should admire this. this is exactly the kind of cooperation we need. >> so you wrote this letter and
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the end of it you say "i believe i am expressing the views of the vast majority of muslims, who wish to see their religion regain the respect it has lost and who long to carry the name of muslim with pride." and you give a lot of details in this letter to convince bin laden of your credibility. do you think he will read this letter? and do you think it will make an impact? >> yeah. i am 100% sure he will read it and the people around him. so i'm thinking about the young muslims, which they still at the age maybe they will, as i told you, want to be a terrorist, want to be al qaeda. it will give them like a second thought about it. i'm giving them, because terrorism, i believe it's a circle. it used to have just one gate, which allows you to get in. the problem is we need to open gates to help you to get out of that circle. this is my work. i believe it will help a lot of people, you know. our youth or young muslims. to think about other choices, other opinions from someone like
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me. i know exactly this business, you know, the field of jihad or terrorism or organizations. so i'm giving them my experience. please don't do it. al qaeda, it's a human being organization. bin laden, he's just a human being. he's not a prophet. and he's capable of doing a lot of deadly mistakes. >> noman benotman, thank you very much. this has been a great pleasure. >> thank you very much for having me in your program. thank you very much. >> and we will be back. because of one word, imagination and reality have merged. because of one word, a new generation-- a fifth generation-- of fighter aircraft has been born. because of one word, america's air dominance for the next forty years is assured. that one word... is how.
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now for our question of the week. do you think t.a.r.p., the bank bailout, restored the american economy? or was it a waste of money? let me know what you think. don't forget to subscribe to our podcast on itunes.
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that way you'll never miss a show. and don't forget, it is free. now, this week's book. tony blair's new memoir, "a journey." i was really surprised by how frank and revealing this book is. it is the ultimate inside look at britain, trans-atlantic relations, the run-up to the war in iraq, and blair's personal thoughts on everybody from lady di to dick cheney, from barack obama to the queen. pick it up. now for the "last look." i bet these photographs will bring most of you back. back to the 1980s, that great decade of excess. this was of course the amazing shoe collection of imelda marcos. she was the wife of ferdinand marcos, the president of the philippines, who declared martial law and flaunted his elaborate lifestyle while his people starved. emblematic of that lifestyle, imelda's almost 3,000 pairs of shoe