Tuesday, January 17, 2006

John Kerry on The Situation Room from Jerusalem

A while ago, I posted that John Kerry would be doing a live interview with Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room. Kerry is in the midst of a tour of the Middle East and held a press conference earlier today in Jerusalem.

I've just received a copy of the transcript of the CNN interview and a video (QuickTime) is on the way...

BLITZER: Senator Kerry, thanks very much for joining us. Welcome back to "The Situation Room," this time from Jerusalem. We've got a lot of ground to cover right now.

Let's talk, first of all, about your trip over the weekend to Pakistan. What did officials there tell you about this U.S. air strike that targeted the number two Al Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri?

KERRY: Well, obviously, they were very concerned about the loss of life, as are we, of any innocent civilian. But on the other hand, they were also clear that it was their belief there were foreign intruders in that particular target area. So they understood what we were trying to accomplish, and I think they were trying very hard to make the best out of a bad situation.

BLITZER: Do you have any problem with the U.S. government targeting Al Qaida leaders for assassination in third countries?

KERRY: Well, first of all, assassination is a questionable term when you consider that we have been chasing these people and fundamentally at war with them since they attacked us in New York City on September 11th. And we have a joint agreement with the Pakistanis, thanks to their cooperation in that war which is at some risk to them and to President Musharraf, for the ability to do what -- you know, hot pursuit, if you want to call it that.

There's a lot of thought that goes into that kind of targeting. There's a lot of intelligence work that is done by both sides as to what's happening. And I think that the record shows that it has not been indiscriminate.

Does it have its risks? Of course it has its risks.

But nobody should underestimate the degree to which, in every country that I've been in the last week or so -- from India to Pakistan to Afghanistan to here in Israel, and I'm about to go to Jordan and into Iraq -- that the leaders of those countries are permitted to eliminate the threats to not just their governments, but to all innocent people by those who have decided to kill innocent bystanders.



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