Mokhiber: Ari, two questions. The New York
Times this week published a letter from Theodore Sorensen, a former legal counsel
to President John F. Kennedy, in which he said that the President --
I'm well aware of what he said, Russell. I'm well aware.
Mokhiber: Well, if I
could just read you the relevant question. "[President Bush has not yet openly
reprimanded his press secretary, Ari Fleischer, for suggesting that "a bullet"
is the cheapest way of accomplishing his goal of regime change in Iraq.] Is it
possible that the United States now endorses for other countries a policy of presidential
assassination, the very epitome of terrorism, after our own tragic experience
with that despicable act?" And he [Sorensen] asks whether the President has reprimanded
you. Has the President reprimanded you?
Ari Fleischer: As far as that is concerned,
on the policy, as you know -- I think you were here when I said on the record
that that is not -- and people heard it the day I said it -- that is not a statement
of administration policy.
Mokhiber: But did the President reprimand you for saying
Ari Fleischer: I think I have made the views clear of where the White House
is on this.
Mokhiber: Second question. The President has called both North Korea
and Iraq two parts of an axis of evil. He says they both have weapons of mass
destruction. He says they both threaten their neighbors. He says that both leaders
-- he compares them to Stalin. So, other than the oil that Iraq controls, what's
Ari Fleischer: Between North Korea and Iraq?
Ari Fleischer: How many of Iraq's -- how many of North Korea's neighbors have they
Mokhiber: There was the war, right?
Ari Fleischer: I said lately.
And I said by the current -- and also, of course, by the current leader. Saddam
Hussein has ordered the Iraqi military to attack Iran. Saddam Hussein ordered
Mokhiber: That's when he was our guy, right? On the attack on Iran. Iran,
Ari Fleischer: Well, if you have some disputes
with the policies that were in place in 1979, you're welcome to bring those up
with leaders who were here in 1979. Saddam Hussein ordered his military to attack
Iran. Saddam Hussein ordered his military to attack Kuwait. Saddam Hussein launched
the missiles at Saudi Arabia and at Israel. It's a very different matter, and
a very different leader.