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CNN PRESENTS: In God's Name
Aired September 23, 2006 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND MODERATOR: I'm Christiane Amanpour.
Today, the West and the Islamic world appear increasingly to be at war, not just a hot war, but a war of ideas, a war of cultures.
So how can there be peace if people fight in God's name?
ANNOUNCER (voice-over): "In God's Name: A Global Summit with President Clinton."
Now, from New York, here's Christiane Amanpour.
AMANPOUR: Thank you. Thank you.
We're here in New York City during the 61st U.N. General Assembly meeting and the Second Annual Clinton Global Initiative.
The mission of both organizations is to find peaceful solutions to the world's most urgent crises and with that as our background, we're conducting our own global summit on religion and war, God and country.
So let me introduce our special guests: Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, the former Algerian foreign minister who's held numerous diplomatic posts, including most recently as the U.N. Secretary General's special representative for Afghanistan and Iraq; Dina Habib Powell is the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Culture and one of her important missions is to try to project American values and diplomacy around the world; the veteran Israeli statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shimon Peres, is currently Israel's vice premier; Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, is an outspoken advocate for women and children's rights; the former U.S. Senator, George Mitchell, brokered peace between Northern Ireland's Catholics and Protestants in 1998; and journalist and internationally syndicated columnist, Rami Khouri, heads a department of public policy and international affairs at the American University at Beirut.
And last but definitely, not least, the former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, the head of the Clinton Global Initiative, which hopes to solve and helps to solve such issues as religious conflict, AIDS and poverty.
(APPLAUSE) Thank you, Mr. President, for being here and thank you for all of you distinguished guests and players in this important issue that we're going to discuss.
Let's go right to it.
Mr. President, I would like to ask you first, you made a speech not so long ago about essentially some of the divides that are going on now between West and between the Islamic world. And you said what is the central intellectual heresy in every faith that values death over life and allows really decent people of profound faith to be turned into salivating, unthinking, storming killers? What did you mean by that and what is your answer?
WILLIAM CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My answer from...
AMANPOUR: To that, what is the central ...
CLINTON: My answer to that question is from a religious and philosophical point of view is that the heresy is believing that your faith is not only true, which we all believe, but that you can be, as a human being, in full possession of the absolute truth, turn it into an absolutely true political program and then decide that those who don't accept it are less than human and deserving of death.
So my belief is that all religious dialogue is possible if we recognize that we have something to learn from one another. Not that our faith is not true, but that we can't be in full possession of that faith in this lifetime as fallible human beings.
AMANPOUR: It seems though, that that is a central conundrum as you've highlighted.
Queen Rania, you are queen in the Islamic part of the world. You have set yourself out as a moderate and you've tried along with your husband, King Abdullah, to build bridges and try to seek peace.
I think most people try to seek the sensible center, but it appears that the conflict is happening on the fringes, particularly in the Islamic part of the world.
How does one compete for ideas, combat that fringe behavior, which is trying to wrest control and authority?
HER MAJESTY QUEEN RANIA AL-ABDULLAH OF JORDAN: Well, let me just begin by saying that, you know, the name of our - the title of our panel discussion 'In the Name of God' and I'd like to complete that phrase. 'In the Name of God most merciful, most compassionate."
This is a phrase that Muslims all over the world repeat several times a day during prayers, before embarking on anything. So among all the qualities that we associate with God, mercy and compassion are the ones most frequently used and if they lead to anything, then what can mercy and compassion lead to but peace? And so in answer to your question, I think what baffles me most in this day and age is how little we know about each other and that has led to a great deal of stereotypes and prejudices which have pushed people to the extreme.
And to get to the moderate majority, I think there needs to be much more communication, much more dialogue in order to find the common ground and also we need to deal with the core grievances that have pushed people to the extreme, chiefly, supremely chief among them is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which has been left to fester for too long and has led to so much despair and as you know, the extreme ideology feeds on that despair.
So we have to deprive the extremists from the oxygen that keeps their fire of hatred burning and that is these - this core grievance and come to the realization that to find peace - peace will never be built on the rubble of destroyed homes or through the barrel of the gun. We have to put it on the negotiating table and deal with these issues once and for all.
AMANPOUR: Let me turn to Dina Habib Powell, assistant U.S. secretary of State, because there is a sense that the United States now is failing. Its moral authority around the world has been diminished because of certain issues such as Abu Ghraib, such as Guantanamo. The "Financial Times" in London has said that the battle for hearts and minds in the Muslim world has sadly, unfortunately been, quote, a spectacular failure.
How do you, in your role in this vital period of our history, project American values that everybody holds dear, in other words, the universal values of human rights, democracy, principal morality, plus deal with some of the grievances that the queen has mentioned?
DINA HABIB POWELL, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, as her majesty so eloquently began, she talked about the important need for people to people dialogue, and that's probably one of the most important tools that we use. We actually now have a major interfaith program where we bring clerics from Saudi Arabia, rabbis from Israel, Catholic leaders from the United States and they actually come together and talk about how important each of their faiths are and the fact that their faiths are built on peace and the dignity of human beings.
I recently had a chance to sit with very prominent religious clerics from Saudi Arabia and one of them said to me, I was really struck today, I was in an American university and it was time for me to pray and rather than having to leave and go to the mosque, the director said, please use our student prayer room. We would be honored.
He said you don't just respect Islam in America, you celebrate it.
And I feel I do have to address the grievance issue. I think sitting with us is one of probably the most passionate presidents we've had on the issue of Israel and Palestine and President Clinton spent so many years working this issue and absolutely should be commended. But I also think that it was actually during some of those years that 9/11 was being planned and I raise that to suggest that no one can deny that we must address these critical issues that burn in the hearts of people in the Middle East. But I think that we also have to, as the civilized world, say that we need to be careful of ever justifying violence, indiscriminate killing of women and children.
AMANPOUR: I agree and I am sure that nobody, certainly on this panel would ever justify that kind of indiscriminate violence but you bring up a point that we will continue with, when we return. We will when we return deal with the Iraq war, consider how has it radicalized the two largest Muslim populations there and actually around the world, the Sunnis and the Shias who are now locked in sometimes mortal combat.
When we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back. Iraq has descended into chaos and some would say it is on the brink of civil war between the Sunnis and the Shias there. They are killing each other at alarming rates. Often sometimes there are dozens of bodies that were found on the streets every day.
So let's talk about Iraq, because it is, when we talk to many people around the Islamic world even in Muslim populations in Europe. It has been the single most radicalizing influence in recent years.
You mentioned the business of justifying indiscriminate killing. I want to go to Rami Khouri. Iraq has been a -- let's say, hasn't turned out the way everybody hoped. People hoped that it would spread democracy, promote a different reform in this region. But some people also say that this has launched a clash of civilizations between East and West.
Do you accept that theory or not?
RAMI KHOURI, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT: I would say that very few people in the administration in the United States probably thought it would spread democracy and human rights and very few people around the world shared that view.
The result, what we see today in Iraq, has been a catastrophic combination of two of the most deadly traditions in modern Arab history, which is Arab dictatorship and western unilateral militarism, joined together to give us what we have, which is a country in deep trouble and much violence.
It has acted now to be a new prod or spur to anti-American terrorism and terrorism against Arab regimes and Arab societies and Arab people. So it is about the worst of all possible worlds and we need to understand how we got into Iraq to be able to get out of it and most importantly not to repeat that same kind of mistake.
AMANPOUR: I want to move to Israel's vice premier, Shimon Peres.
Again, we've talked about grievances. The Arab-Israeli conflict, the ongoing, festering conflict as you know, because you've devoted your life to trying to solve it, is still the underlying grievance. It's an old conflict but do we need new ideas?
SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: I believe we can find a solution because while politics divides, economy unites. What really brought changes since the Second World War in our time was an economic change, not a military invasion. In China there wasn't any military intervention or in India, it changed.
And it's not a clash among civilizations. In my judgment it's a clash among generations because in every religion we have a different generation and you can see how everything has changed and they refer to the Lord of all is, we say that every person was created in him image but none of us has a right to become a God, to become superior.
And we must understand that the problem of today is not how to separate states from religion but how to separate religion from terror. Our problems are not differences but differences that are being supported to use with arms and death and killing. That is the greatest problem.
I do hope that in the not far away future we shall find a new approach with the Palestinians. We will not give up. Our enemies are not Muslims, are not Christians, are not Arabs, are not Palestinians. The enemies of all of us is the use of terror all over the places unnecessarily and without any hope for the future. They don't carry a message. They carry protest, hate and a lack of vision for the future.
AMANPOUR: Can I turn to President Clinton on that issue?
AMANPOUR: You tried really hard and there was, for various reasons, failure, or not total success at the end of your administration on trying to forge a peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Since then there's been nothing. It's sort of dead in the water. Shimon Peres mentioned terrorism.
The question that a lot of people are increasingly asking is, is it sufficient to lump all violence as one enemy and to call it all terrorism? Or do we have to distinguish between terrorism for terrorism's sake, the Al Qaeda terrorism, and those who have legitimate grievances despite their illegitimate means? And what can we do now to restart this vital area of peace?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I think you always have to ask yourself, in the face of any kind of protest, where is the legitimacy to the grievance? But the essence of any free people is the distinction between means and ends, and a limitation on power. The essence of any democracy is not just majority rule. It's minority rights and the recognition of human rights. But I think, to go back to the Palestinian issue, I think that first the effort has merit. I want to emphasize that. In the first -- after the Intifada started and the peace process basically collapsed, in the next four years, after we left, there were three times as many Palestinians and Israelis killed by violence as in the previous eight years. So, even though we didn't get to the end of the agreement, the effort kept more people alive, because people had a sense of hope, a sense of process, a sense of movement.
And the economic distress of the Palestinians has deepened in the midst of this. Now, my view is in a funny way, all this trouble we've had, between Israel and the Lebanese, and the coming of the U.N. force there, the uncertainties about Iraq, the intemperate statements and uncertain designs of the Iranian government and the continuing misery of the Palestinians, actually gives us a new opportunity to try again.
President Abbas is trying to get a national unity government. If that national unity government says, OK, we accept where we are and the commitments of the past. Then that's pretty much like where we were -- and you can ask Senator Mitchell this -- with the IRA and the Sinn Fein. In other words, the IRA didn't actually disarm and let its weapons all be destroyed for 10 years after we started this peace process. But they accepted the legitimacy of the outcome. In other words they said we're prepared to embrace politics over violence.
That's what -- that's what this unity movement among the Palestinians does, then I think the Israelis, the United States, the Europeans, everybody else, we could get behind this thing and we might be able to get an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Everybody knows what the deal is going to look like within five degrees. It is just a question of how many people are going to die before we get there?
AMANPOUR: And on that note, we're going to take a break. And when we come back, we'll ask the assistant secretary of State about that and also we'll talk to Lakhdar Brahimi and George Mitchell about Northern Ireland and Iraq, Afghanistan, trying to forge peace where it doesn't look possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's referred to as "The Troubles"; Northern Ireland's violence and riots that span four decades, starting in the 1960s. Reasons behind the conflict? Ethnic, between British and Irish and religious, between Protestants and Catholics. 36,000 were injured and over 3,500 people died, most of them young men in their early 20s.
In the mid-1990s, the British and Irish governments began all- party peace negotiations. Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell worked as a peace envoy to help guide the talks. In April 1998 the Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement was signed, creating a Northern Ireland Assembly that gave shared power to both Protestants and Catholics. But even eight years later, getting both sides to work together continues to be a struggle.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back. We're continuing our discussion about how to bring peace to seemingly intractable conflicts. We hear a lot about preconditions, whether it's Arab/Israelis, whether it's Iran and the United States, over the nuclear issue. Whatever issue there is, there seems to be preconditions.
Senator Mitchell, you had to deal with one of the -- at the time -- most long-standing conflicts; the Protestants and the Catholics in Northern Ireland. Tell me about preconditions. Where there? How difficult were they to overcome and what do we need to learn about preconditions?
GEORGE MITCHELL, FMR. U.S. SENATOR, FMR. NO. IRELAND PEACE NEGOTIATOR: There were preconditions. And the most important one is the one that President Clinton cited. When I went over there, there were problems because not only had the conflict continued for many years, but there had not been discussion with those who had been engaged in conflict. And it's not rocket science, but just common sense to say that it is sometimes hard to stop a war if you won't talk to the people who are fighting the war.
So, what the British and Irish governments asked me to do was essentially to conceive a way to get into the process. And I devised this set of principles, which required each party to commit itself to exclusively peaceful and democratic means in the process, to accept the legitimacy of the result of negotiating process, and if they disagreed to seek to overturn it through democratic, not violent means. So, the only precondition was the total commitment to give up force or the threat of force and to commit to democratic and peaceful means.
Along with that, you have to do several things. The first is to dispute and defeat the concept that conflict is inevitable or that it can't be stopped. Conflicts are created, conducted, sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings.
Belief in the inevitability of conflict is bad for several reasons -- not least of which is it creates an irresistible temptation to engage in pre-emptive action, which might not be justified and which might otherwise be foregone.
The second is the one we talked about, the need to talk to everyone involved.
And the third is to respect and understand the points of view of all concerned. You said earlier, about terror. Terror is not an enemy; it is a tactic. It was not invented on 9/11, although that tragedy was larger in scope and effect. It has been used for a long time, throughout human history.
And you have to understand that some coherent political groups use terror -- even though they shouldn't. Some groups that have clear political agendas use terror -- even though they shouldn't. And you have to distinguish between them and take action that is tailored to the circumstance and the group you're dealing with.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me turn now to Ambassador Brahimi then, who has had to deal with some of these issues, bringing peace amongst peoples who -- you know, it's sometimes difficult as we have discussed. You have just written an opinion piece, saying talk to Hezbollah, for instance. And yet as you know, most people just identify them as terrorists and therefore, we're not going to talk to Hezbollah. It's the Lebanese government or nothing.
Tell us what needs to be done. Do we need to think out of the box in order to try to bring peace in some of these places where we haven't been able to?
AMBASSADOR LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, FORMER U.N. SPECIAL ADVISOR: I think as Mr. Mitchell has just said, separations are different and in every case, you have got to tailor your approach to what kind of problems you have.
In the case of the Palestine/Israel, this is one of the most complicated and difficult problems and there, I think the fundamental thing to know is that these two peoples will never solve the problems alone. They need help. They need outside help. And that outside help I think, let's say bluntly, is not available.
The (INAUDIBLE) needs on the margin of other events. They make a statement and they go back home. And they don't do much more than that.
Whereas, what you need is really an engagement of the panel. To say that Hamas has got to fulfill a number of requirements, that is quite acceptable. There is no problem with that. But to say that you are not going to talk to them or that you are going to starve the people of Palestine and yet, expect them to do what you want them to do, is I think anathema to any negotiator, to any mediator.
The problems we have dealt with are always extremely complicated. People kill one another because they think they are 100 percent right. And you want to take them from that position of total certainty to a position of listening and accepting the point of view of the other side. That requires a lot of patience and a lot of talking to the people who are involved in this situation.
When I was in Lebanon, I once said you know, if I wanted to meet (INAUDIBLE) I would stay in Paris. They are all there. If you go to Lebanon during the civil war, you have got to talk to the people who are carrying guns and killing one another.
AMANPOUR: Dina Powell, the United States administration, the Bush administration is judged as not wanting to talk to the bad guys, perhaps not wanting to be seen to reward the bad guys, but the bad guys are negotiators who've said are the ones that you have to talk to, whether it be Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, North Korea.
And now we're hearing even from President Chirac of France that maybe the stiff preconditions that you've put forth talks with Iran over its nuclear program, might have to be scaled back in order just to get the negotiations started.
Can you tell us a little bit about is there an adjustment being made in this administration to try to tackle some of these incredibly important programs? I mean, what is more important, for instance, than the threat of nuclear proliferation?
POWELL: You know, Christiane, I recognize the need to really think through how we deal with each of these very difficult issues and the bad guys, so to speak.
We're not doing enough talking about the good guys. And as someone who travels in the region quite a bit, you know, one of the things that we need to do is to really strengthen the good guys, so to speak. You know, Ambassador Brahimi speaking about the Lebanese.
I mean, when you look at what happened when the Lebanese took back their country, when Prime Minister Seniora is really trying hard to forge a democratic and peaceful Lebanon.
You know, Iraq is incredibly challenging right now and so difficult and I recognize why you ask isn't that even you know part of the problem right now, the feelings, the strong feelings about Iraq.
But I'm not willing to forget those purple-stained fingers quite yet. Twelve million Iraqis at great threat to their lives, stood in line. We usually in the United States complain if we have to wait 10 minutes. There were you know, threats with their lives. They showed up. They voted. And what did they vote for? They voted for a unity government comprised of Sunni, Shia and Kurds. And I do think sometimes we have got to stand by the good guys.
AMANPOUR: There's probably no doubt about supporting the good guys. The question is how to get them to overcome the forces of destruction?
And we'll pick up that conversation when we come back after a break.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back. And continuing our conversation on how to solve some of these problems and issues that sometimes appear to waged in the name of God, I want to ask President Clinton, your CGI, the Clinton Global Initiative, tackles some of these issues and you are going to be discussing religion and global conflict.
What can you do -- OK, you're out of office now, what can you do? Is there new thought and new ideas to somehow support the forces of moderation and democracy and try to win the battle against those who don't?
CLINTON: I think there are many things that can be done. And I think it's very important for all of us who are not in positions of political power, not just to sit back and say, OK, I agree with my government or somebody else on this and I disagree on that, but alas, there's nothing I can do.
Last year, Queen Rania and an Indian American named Eboo Patel, who runs a interfaith youth project out of Chicago, agreed that they would set up a religious reconciliation effort between Americans and young Jordanians.
We had another person here last year who organized a program to bring young Israeli Jews into contact with young Arabs from the whole region. And of course, the Seeds of Peace program in America is legendary. All (INAUDIBLE) to bring people together first in the Middle East and then elsewhere.
I think these things are quite useful because especially when there is no peace process, especially when there's uncertainty about Iraq and people's reaction to it.
We have two choices those of us who are not in politics. We can let all these young peoples' attitudes about those who are different from them be defined only by the headlines and only by the bad news and only by the continuing conflicts or we can try to create for them a different and I think far more realistic context.
For those of us who are not in power, we should be trying to nurture this what we might call alternate reality because it is a reality and it will feed back into the political context and the attitudes people have.
AMANPOUR: And you just hit the nail on the head, obviously. Everybody is searching for that other - for the sensible center, for the moderate center and yet as we know and we are faced with everyday, it is the extremism that seems not just to grab the headlines but to grab the agenda.
For instance, in Jordan last year, 2005, 170 respected imams from around the world, Muslim clerics came to order a fatwa and issue a fatwa against terrorism and against the kind of wanton killing of civilians saying it was not in Islam's name and the very next day those English radicals got on the tube system in London and blew themselves up and killed 56 people and it appears that the extremists, the bin Ladens and the bin Ladenism are trying to, I guess a war within Islam as well, trying to cast aside those people you and others are trying to reach, the moderates, the people who believe in a peaceful future and they're giving the power to individuals, for instance bin Laden himself has power that he has taken and issues Fatwas. But he's not an imam, but it grabs the attention and it grabs the reality and it grabs the agenda.
What do you do about that?
QUEEN RAINA: Well, the truth of the matter is I think the longer the violence continues, the more the moderate majority are shrinking and I can say that for example, two months ago probably there were more moderates in the Arab world then there were now because during that time there was the Lebanese war and the people saw the bodies of dead children being put in plastic bags, the homes that were destroyed and people are not believing in peace anymore. So the voices of moderation, of diplomacy, of peace are becoming neutralized and marginalized in that part of the world. So until people can see the dividends of peace and moderation then they will not really believe in that ground, so I think it is very, very important for us to empower these voices by allowing them to deliver to the people, for people in the Arab world to start to see a significant change in their lives, to see that moderation actually does work.
And I just want to refer to something that you were saying when you referred to the bad guys. I think that's something really in the Arab world we find very frustrating.
AMANPOUR: Let's just put quotes around that. "Bad guys."
QUEEN RAINA: Quote around that and in the war on terror, different groups are lumped together, whether it's Hezbollah or al Qaeda or Hamas or the Iraqi insurgents or the Muslim Brotherhood where in reality each one of these groups is very distinct and different and each one of those groups have to be dealt with in a separate way. You have to understand their issues in order to deal with them effectively.
Hamas in Palestine, for example, denounces al Qaeda. Hezbollah has a different agenda. So a more sophisticated and nuanced approach to understanding the different groups and the different issues in our part of the world is very, very important.
AMANPOUR: What happened in Lebanon? What has happened in Lebanon in the wake of the war in terms of people's ideas and ideals?
KHOURI: I think several things happened in Lebanon. First of all people reacted very angrily to the fact that the Western world, much of the Western world, especially the U.S. and England basically told Israel to keep going and attack Lebanon.
Many Lebanese thought the United States and England and others were supporting Lebanon as a model of democracy and peaceful transformation and the rule of law. So it highlighted to many people the fundamental contradiction that they complain about in their own societies, in the behavior of Israel, in their own societies and the Western powers. Most people in the Arab world that saw this in Lebanon want to be close friends with the West. They want a peaceful Middle East. They want to live in a reasonable, moderate, prosperous society ruled by the rule of law.
But they're seeing is an advocacy of certain principles by the Western powers but not an application of those principles and this is the real dilemma that I think is at the heart of the behavior of many people in the Middle East ...
AMANPOUR: Can I just turn to Prime Minister Peres, Vice Prime Minister Peres? You, the Israeli government is having a lot of soul searching about that war. You are having all sorts of inquiries and commissions about not just what went wrong militarily but are you also looking at how perhaps something different might have happened in terms of trying to win hearts and minds?
PERES: I talked earlier about preconditions. We don't have any preconditions. The only condition we have is to be for peace. We think this is between two parties. Not just referring to Sunnis or Shiites or Arabs or Druze and that the one party includes Arabs, including Palestinians and us would really like to achieve peace one way or another.
There is a group headed by Iran that wants to conquer the world. They don't look for peace. They look for domination. And the problem with the nuclear bomb that Iran is developing goes together with their wish to gain the hegemony for religion.
And I asked myself as an Israeli why did Hezbollah attack us? I can't find a reason. When I asked myself what is the purpose of attack, again, I don't know. Why did they start it? What for?
And our wish is very much like the Lebanese one, an independent Lebanon with territorial integrity to live in peace. All of this further pessimism in my judgment is a little bit overrated. We can and we should do differently with the United Nations, with other people, with all religions and achieve a better world as we should.
AMANPOUR: Well, if you think the pessimism is overrated, that's a good thing.
And we're going to take a break and talk about another part of the world which is very much in our consciousness and that is Darfur in Sudan.
Here is a different kind of conflict. Some call it ethnic, some call it religious, although they are both Muslims fighting in that war, and what can be done about it, when we come back.
ANNOUNCER: Darfur, a region of Sudan in Africa. Since 2003, bands of nomadic tribesman called the Janjaweed killed between 15 and 30,000 non-Arab villagers. The economic-political violence has left more than a million Sudanese homeless. The United Nations labeled Darfur the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. They say as many as 180,000 people may have died from illness and malnutrition in the region.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to our conversation. We're going to change tack a little bit and go to Darfur in Africa. And I actually want to first ask Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi. You, as we've mentioned, have had to deal with quite a lot of these difficult problems in your career.
What can be done about solving the Darfur problem? America has called it genocide. Many people believe it is that and it goes on. BRAHIMI: There was a tendency in the West to look for the good guys and the bad guys and it was decided that the government was the bad guys and the rebels were the good guys.
I think it's a little bit different. There are more bad guys, unfortunately, than that.
AMANPOUR: So what's the solution as a negotiation?
BRAHIMI: I thin the solution now is really to convince the government that the United Nations is going there to help them and to help the people of Darfur and the people of Sudan to end this crisis as they are already helping them solve the problem in the north and the south.
And to send this mission of the United Nations and let them do the job.
AMANPOUR: Senator Mitchell, what would you do if you were given the portfolio on Darfur? Make peace between the government of Khartoum and the rebels there. What would you do?
MITCHELL: Well, I think it is necessary to convince the government but also to make it clear that the current and past situation will not be tolerated and that there will be forces sent in with the government's consent if possible but without it if necessary. I don't believe we can simply say at this time in human history that no action can be taken within a nation state no matter what is occurring unless that government consents.
AMANPOUR: Two hundred thousand people dead, maybe 2 million have left their homes in the Darfur region. As citizen power is becoming increasingly powerful demonstrations in the United States and elsewhere asking the government to do something about Darfur. Will the Bush administration do more than talk?
The president is talking now a lot now about trying to do something there. Will he appoint a special envoy? Is he going to take this issue by the horns?
POWELL: The president is going to appoint a special envoy. He'll be appointing former administrator Andrew Notsia (ph) to go the region but I think the United States is doing a great deal more than talking right now. It's working very closely with the United Nations to do just what Senator Mitchell is describing, which is to show what a former colleague of mine Mike Gerson (ph) called muscular multilateralism. That is what is absolutely needed in this effort. The world community has to say this is genocide and therefore we have got to do something about it.
We cannot continue to see these horrific deaths and what is going on right now and I think Senator Mitchell has it exactly right that what we need to do is get the UN to act and to try as hard as they can with the Sudanese government. But history will judge us if we wait for permission to save lives. AMANPOUR: Well, I have to come to you on that point. Dina Powell has talked about muscular multilateralism, but that's one of the excuses that was made for Rwanda on your watch. Do you believe in retrospect now that you can't just wait for the rest of the world to do something about it, that you have to take leadership?
CLINTON: Yes, but I think this is actually more like Bosnia and Kosovo if you think about it, except there we did have religious differences. Here it's the Muslim government sanctioning the killing of Muslims indiscriminately. But it's much more. If you look at, in Bosnia before we got to NATO action, we had 250,000 dead and 250,000 refugees. In Kosovo we moved more quickly, but it was the same sort of deal where the local government would never admit to having an international force there with any muscles.
We failed in Rwanda but it was over in 90 days. This thing has been dragging on and on and on. We know and I understand, the United States is actually - I think President Bush has had a good position on this and his military options are limited because we've had so much of our assets tied down in Iraq and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan, but somehow we've got to find a way out of this.
If we wait for the president of Sudan to give us permission, Lord knows how many of those people are going to die. Yes, I agree that the rebels are not blameless, but most of the people who have died were not rebels. Most of the people who have died were helpless people in those camps and let's not forget that.
AMANPOUR: On that note, thank you all very much indeed and we'll be back in just a moment.
AMANPOUR: Thank you and welcome back. We have run out of time but since this is the Clinton Global Initiative and we're trying to address issues at not just the UN but the Clinton Foundation is also trying to address, with all our distinguished guests, we want just a very quick, final thought, from you, sir, before we finish up our program.
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I'd like to thank the participants here but your questions and their answers prove one thing that we should leave here hopeful about. Most of the world's conflicts are over politics, power and resources. They're not about faith. Faith becomes a cover for people's political differences and their justification of unnecessary violence.
So we should continue the interfaith dialogue and keep trying to work on it and at least to remove the veil of religious legitimacy from terror and other kinds of illicit conflicts. I found this immensely reassuring that no one even pretended that our religions drove us to these points today.
AMANPOUR: Thank you, Mr. President, thank you to our distinguished guests. And with that thought, that perhaps it's not religion in the end, we tried to raise some questions. We've perhaps had some answers for you but there will be many, many more questions and answers that we need to find.
Our challenge is trying to compete for peace because who, as we've asked, who really wins if we fight in the name of God?
Thank you very much. I'm Christiane Amanpour. Goodbye.
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