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Ari & I: September 19, 2002

Russell Mokhiber questions White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

Russell Mokhiber questions White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer gestures as he speaks to reporters at the White House briefing room April 2, 2003 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Russell Mokhiber: Ari, you said earlier that "Democracy is God-given." Didn't Thomas Jefferson have something to do with it?

Ari Fleischer: I cited the Declaration of Independence and the author of our inalienable rights.

Mokhiber: Who is the author of our inalienable rights?

Ari Fleischer: That's what I said -- it's Jefferson.

Mokhiber: Oh, I thought you said "Democracy is God-given"?

Ari Fleischer: Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independent rights that we hold these truths, these self-evident truths that these rights were created by, given by the creator. Our Declaration of Independence says that.

[Note: The Declaration of Independence, in relevant part, says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted by Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."]

Mokhiber: Second question. Has the Bush Administration estimated how many American soldiers and Iraqi civilians will be killed in the event of an invasion?

Ari Fleischer: The question the President worries about -- and much of the world worries about -- is how many people will be killed if Saddam Hussein is allowed to develop nuclear weapons. And he has a history of showing that once he gets his hands on a weapon, he uses it.

Mokhiber: But has the estimate been made by the Administration of how many American soldiers and Iraqi civilians will be killed if we invade?

Ari Fleischer: I'm not aware of it, I don't know, I'm not aware.

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