Mokhiber: Ari, two questions.
A group of family members of victims of September 11 are marching this
week from the Pentagon to New York to protest the war. They were here on
Monday in front of the White House.
One of them is Amber Amundson, who is the 28-year old widow of Craig
Amundson, who died at the Pentagon.
She wrote a letter to the President in which she said:
"When we buried my husband, an American flag was laid over his casket.
My children believe the American flag represents their dad. Please let
that representation be one of love, peace and forgiveness. I am begging
you for the sake of humanity and my children to stop killing. Please
find a non-violent way to bring justice to this world."
They want to meet with the President. Is the President willing to meet
Ari Fleischer: Russ, you asked me a similar question about a month ago
about the same family. If there is any meeting, I will of course keep
you posted -- about any meetings that the President has.
The President and I think most Americans understand that the purpose of
this campaign is to save lives, not to take lives. That's why the
President is so determined to defend our country.
He also is very respectful from the messages he has received from these
families. He understands their thoughts that are heartfelt. He
understands them, he respects them, he differs.
He believes that this mission is saving lives.
Mokhiber: Second question.
In the New York Times, William Safire charges that the President has
seized dictatorial power by replacing the rule of law with military
kangaroo courts that can conceal evidence, make its own rules, and
execute the accused with no review by a civilian court. He says these
are similar to courts in the Soviet Union and the current Communist
In your view, how are they different from those kangaroo courts?
Ari Fleischer: The President obviously completely disagrees and so too
do many people who take a look at this issue. And I dare say, based on
something I heard on National Public Radio this morning, so too do an
overwhelming number of Americans disagree with that assessment.
So, the President, as I've told you before, and you've heard it from
the President himself, believes it is a helpful option to preserve this
right to have a military tribunal, just as Franklin Delano Roosevelt did
in World War II, for those cases where the President thinks it will help
again to protect lives, to protect jurors, and to maintain the need of
the government to have secrets as the campaign against terrorism is
Any information that would be brought to light at trial, for those
cases of people that are deemed to be terrorists.