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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview with Jon Kyl, Dick Durban, Sarah Ferguson

Aired December 4, 2001 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: risk taker, headline maker, just back from Afghanistan, journalist, best-selling author, Sebastian Junger. CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour has been covering the action in Afghanistan too and she will join us from London.

And then, what should the United States do with American Taliban fighter John Walker? That question and much more with Republican Senator Jon Kyl, member of the Judiciary and Select Intelligence Committees; and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who serves on Judiciary and Select Intelligence too.

Plus, September 11, a day of loss and life changes for Sarah Ferguson -- a heart-to-heart with the Duchess of York.

And then, the magical Sarah Brightman sings "Winter Light." They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with in Miami, Sebastian Junger. He wrote that great book, "The Perfect Storm." He also wrote the best seller "Fire." He's just back from a trip to Afghanistan where he covered the war for ABC from the frontlines. And in London is Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent. She's also back in London where she lives after her tour of duty in Afghanistan.

By the way, we will be showing clips of Junger's reporting out of Afghanistan from a National Geographic special which aired after his trip there a year ago. Observations -- starting with you, Sebastian -- you were on one of the first tanks to enter Kabul with the Northern Alliance forces. What was that like?

SEBASTIAN JUNGER, JOURNALIST/AUTHOR: Well, I was behind some of the first tanks that broke through the Taliban frontlines. The Northern Alliance didn't get into Kabul until the following morning. We were among the first journalists. They didn't actually enter first with tanks.

It was an incredible scene. The residents of Kabul were absolutely jubilant that the Northern Alliance had come in. I know there's a lot of hand wringing, a lot of second-guessing about whether the Northern Alliance should take control. The locals there were absolutely thrilled. They were terrified of a power vacuum after the Taliban pulled out the previous evening.

KING: So they were happy to see them, like similar to liberation in World War II?

JUNGER: Absolutely. They were shouting, America, America and Massoud, who is the assassinated leader of the Northern Alliance, killed just two days before the September 11 attacks. They were hugging the soldiers. People were flying kites, playing music, everything that they couldn't do under the Taliban. They were also attacking Taliban fighters who were stranded in the city. And interestingly, the Northern Alliance, having killed some of the Taliban fighters that they caught, were also protecting them from the mob. It was a very interesting situation.

KING: Christiane, from your observations on the scene there, what is the feeling toward the Northern Alliance as you viewed it?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think I would definitely second what Sebastian said. I got in about 24 hours after he did, the day after Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance. And certainly having been in Pakistan throughout the beginning of the crisis, we constantly heard how everybody was so terrified of the Northern Alliance and how that was the last thing people wanted to see.

But once it did happen, from my observations, the relief that the Taliban had been driven out overpowered the sense, if there was any, of dread or doubt about the Northern Alliance. And I think what should be pointed out is that the Northern Alliance was very aware of what the international community was thinking and saying about it and perhaps what residents of some of those cities, because the fact of the matter is, that back between '92 and '96, there was mayhem and the Northern Alliance was partly responsible for that.

So I believe that some of the people like Dr. Abdullah, Haron Amin, many of the people whom you've had on your air, were very, very conscious about what they had to do when they took Kabul. And I think that we have seen that borne out.

KING: Sebastian, you have been in Afghanistan a few times before, first in '96 to do an article about terrorists, right? How much has it changed?

JUNGER: Well, it's changed a lot. In '96, the Northern Alliance was still in control of Kabul. At the time, they were called the government of Afghanistan. They were driven out shortly afterwards. And then the Taliban came in and that was a radical change.

Now it's a time of incredible flux. People are trying to figure out what's going to happen. What has remained the same is the incredible poverty, starvation, huge rates of disease, of infant mortality, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Unfortunately, Afghanistan is changing politically, but not economically. And I think the world really has to step in right now to put that country back on its feet.

KING: Christiane, is this a difficult story to cover for you?

AMANPOUR: Look, I think it's a difficult story to cover for everybody. You've seen that in the space of about ten days, eight journalists were essentially slaughtered, three of them were in the wrong place at the wrong time on a frontline in the north, and another one was robbed and killed during a robbery. And four were killed going along a road that a whole bunch of other people have been on as well. So it's a very dangerous and difficult situation to cover.

Added to that, it's very difficult to get access, A: with the U.S. military and B: with the Taliban. In fact, it's very much easier for journalists to get access with the Northern Alliance. So it is quite a difficult story to cover.

But also, you know, like Sebastian, many of had been there before and it's a very, very interesting and important story to cover, not just the political changes there, but what is going to happen to Afghanistan in the future. And, certainly, the people there have been listening to their radios throughout this crisis since September 11 and they firmly believe that the world is not going to look away again this time and will come to help them. And they desperately want it.

KING: Sebastian, how do you compare this one to other regions you've covered?

JUNGER: Well, it's a very, very exotic country. I mean, just as a place to be, the landscape, the people are absolutely stunning. It really is like going almost to another planet, at least for someone who was brought up on the East Coast of the U.S.

As far as covering wars go, I'm amazed at how much access the Northern Alliance has granted. I mean, basically, journalists were given the freedom to get themselves killed if they wanted to. And Bosnia was actually quite hard to get close to the frontlines. In Afghanistan, hey, if you want to go forward with the first tanks, go ahead. And you saw that in the incredible death toll of journalists in just a few days there. It was really horrifying.

KING: And we're showing scenes now of your coverage for ABC. Why, Christiane -- I guess this is for both of you. We have asked it before and I guess everybody still thinks it -- why do you like this kind of thing? Why do you like to cover crises?

AMANPOUR: Well, I think asking it that way kind of misses the point. You know, of course, many people do think it's an adventure and many people, you know -- I probably did as well when I started out. But the bottom line is that this kind of work, I believe and I'm sure many of my colleagues believe, is important, it's vital, it's part of, you know, the information age that we live in. I believe, particularly, that for American viewers, the scope of America's strength and reach in the world makes it vital that American viewers have information about what goes on in the world. I've always believed that and I believe that tripley and quadrupley so since September the 11th. And I hope that, you know, at the risk of a little promotion for our craft, I hope that international news gets much, much bigger play in the United States now.

KING: We'll ask Sebastian about that too when we come back with Sebastian Junger and Christiane Amanpour. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shooting is regular.

JUNGER: They're shooting at us right now. They have seen us on this rooftop and they don't like it. You can hear them whistle. You hear the bullets whistle as they go by. They don't like us being here because they know we're watching them. Maybe they even saw the TV camera. So they're trying to get us to get out of here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ABC PRIMETIME THURSDAY")

JUNGER (voice-over): Then, suddenly, the shooting is replaced by another barrage. The two sides regularly call each other on the radio, call it a war of words.

(on camera): They're just trading insults on the radio from this side to the Taliban and back, the most horrible things about sisters and mothers.

(voice-over): Eventually the verbal volley trails off too. The light fades. At this post, as well as on the other, the fighters put down their arms, at least for awhile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Sebastian, the same question to you we asked of Christiane. She says it's because it's important, a lot of reporters certainly don't get attracted to this kind of thing. Why do you like it?

JUNGER: Well, I also think it's important. I think journalists, particularly now, it's very important for them to act as a bridge between the industrialized world, America, and the third world. These two worlds are colliding in maybe a disastrous way. I think it's very important.

Personally, I grew up in a very safe, protected place in a suburb of Boston. And I grew up wanting to see something else. And of course, Afghanistan is about as far away as you can get from Belmont, Massachusetts as there is. And that sort of thing has always drawn me.

Most of my experiences as a print reporter, mostly for magazines, TV is a bit of a new thing for me, but either way, it doesn't matter. The experience, personally, is something that I carry with me forever. It's extraordinary.

KING: Christiane, it is a tougher kind of journalism, isn't it? It's certainly tougher than the city council. AMANPOUR: You know, each beat has its own rigors, if you like, its own discipline. I believe that certain people are suited to certain things. I think this particular discipline, which is the coverage of wars and various crises and disaster, takes a particular kind of stamina, a particular kind of passion, a particular kind of discipline, and physical and mental stamina.

And the desire to do it and to do it right, as right as we can, as well as we can.

KING: Sebastian, do you see an end picture here? How do you see this all coming out?

JUNGER: I assume you mean in Afghanistan.

KING: Yes, just Afghanistan.

JUNGER: It's very complicated. I'm not even sure I want to dare guess. My worry is that the Taliban, well, the foreign fighters, the Arabs, al Qaeda, will slip across the border into Pakistan and that the entire problem will shift into a country that, frankly, is more complicated than Afghanistan is.

Pakistan has been part of the problem, of course the Taliban were created at the urging of Pakistan intelligence about ten years ago. And it's a country that we really have to be careful of. I think militarily on the ground in Afghanistan, things will be OK. I think there will be low levels of violence for quite awhile, maybe like in Northern Ireland, but I think the war is just about over.

KING: Christiane, what do you see from your standpoint?

AMANPOUR: Well, I think Pakistan was part of the problem. I think there's a reason to be somewhat hopeful about Pakistan. They completely shifted their Afghanistan policy September the 11th. Many pundits believe that the issue would be so hard for Pakistan to tolerate that it could implode. It hasn't happened. That's a reason for optimism and I don't believe it will happen.

In Afghanistan, I hope that once the war on terror is over and it seems to be going very well from the American point of view, that the Taliban are routed, that this kind of fundamentalist radical repressive regime is prevented from ever coming back there, and that there is some commitment to reconstructing Afghanistan to make sure not just that the people there have a chance at a decent life, but that this does not become a safe haven and a sanctuary for anarchy, lawlessness and terrorism as it has been for the last ten years at least.

KING: Sebastian, do you see any outlook for stability?

JUNGER: I think there's a good chance of it if the world wants to make that happen. Ten years ago or so, the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan after a long, brutal war there. And unfortunately, for everybody, for the Afghans and for the west, the United States also pulled out with financial aid. They stopped, they ended their interest in Afghanistan.

I think that would have been a great moment to put the country back together. Of course, it lapsed in to a rogue state. I think we could keep that from happening again, but we really need to focus on it. It really is the kind of prevention that could go a long way in the future towards avoiding the kinds of things that happened on September 11.

KING: Thank you both, very much. Sebastian Junger, author of the best selling book "Fire," and of course "The Perfect Storm." And Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent. Sebastian in Miami, Christiane in London.

When we come back, Senators Jon Kyl and Dick Durbin. We will talk about tribunals and what to do about the Walker case. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUNGER: I just talked to a guy who, an old guy, and he was in a town the Taliban took over, and he told them to find weapons and he couldn't find any. So they bayoneted him, and he has this huge scar running up his stomach but he survived. So, this time when the Taliban came he split.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE in Washington, two prominent members of the United States Senate and both members of Select Intelligence; Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona is the ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information. And Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is a member of that committee and a member of Select Intelligence as well.

Where do you stand, Senator Kyl, on this military tribunal idea offered by the president?

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: I think that the idea has merit in this circumstance. We had witnesses before us today, two college professors, law professors, who would admit that they are liberal and proud of it, two conservative lawyers with experience in the area. All four of them agreed the circumstances here warrant military commissions, that they were Constitutional and appropriate.

The law professors, one said he would whittle it down a bit, they both thought it would be nice to have Constitutional, excuse me, congressional authorization as well. But neither expressed the view that it would be improper without it.

KING: How did you view the hearing today?

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I thought it was a good hearing. It raised some interesting questions. I think this is an important weapon for America to have. I can envision circumstances where a military tribunal would be the right thing to do for the good of justice and for the good of America. But I also think we heard a lot today, giving us cautionary notes.

Just a few months ago Secretary of State Colin Powell was sending out his report on the world and was pointing to specific countries, Peru and Nigeria, and saying their use of military tribunals is awful. It violates the rule of law and the United States condemns it.

So we have to take care that as we put this together it stands up to scrutiny before the world community, that the United States is doing it the right way. And all of our protests, I've made them on behalf of Illinoisans who have been held in courts overseas, all of our protests notwithstanding, we have to do the same -- at least follow the same standards as we want applied to Americans.

KING: Do you see any hypocrisy here?

KYL: No. That's fine. The hypocrisy I see, or maybe it is not hypocrisy, but the concern I have is that there have been criticisms of rules not yet put in place. The president asked the Defense Department to develop the rules and regulations for these military commissions, and people, all of a sudden started criticizing before the rules were even written.

So I would say, give the president, the Defense Department, the benefit of the doubt, let's see what develops. They should meet the standards that Senator Durbin has pointed out. I think they will. There's no record in the past of the United States acting otherwise.

KING: You are nodding your head. You agree?

DURBIN: I do agree. I think what we're waiting for is some additional information. When we got together on a bipartisan basis and passed the anti-terrorism bill in cooperation with the Department of Justice, we had all but one senator vote for that. Very strong bipartisan support.

We really set out some standards defining terrorism, talking about procedural safeguards. And I think this came just a week or two afterwards, and a lot of us are waiting to hear the details.

KING: Secretary of defense Rumsfeld, who will be on this show tomorrow tonight, said that young John Walker, the 20-year-old American found with the Taliban, will get all the rights to which he's due. How do you see that going?

KYL: Well, apparently that's because of the way the president issued the executive order, that American citizens would be entitled to be tried in what we call Title Three Courts...

KING: So, if he is charged with something, it would be in open court?

KYL: Apparently that's the situation. But others from foreign lands, who fought with the enemy would be subject to a trial in these military commissions, at least if they're caught abroad. KING: From what you know, should he be charged with something. Senator Durbin?

DURBIN: It's hard to answer that at this point. In fairness to him, and remember, that is the cornerstone of our system of justice, let's get the facts in, let's find out what he did, what he was involved in as best we can before we draw any conclusions.

KING: The attorney general answers to judiciary, does he not?

KYL: He does.

KING: You have to approve him and send it on. What do you think, Senator Kyl, of his actions thus far with regard to detainees?

KYL: I think it's been, frankly, a bit of a surprise to some who were critical at first, and yet there hasn't been any suggestion by anyone that I've heard of yet of a mistreatment. And as a matter of fact, there have been situations in which members of the Muslim and Arab community have been permitted to sit in with Muslim Americans who have been invited to -- or Muslims who are in this country who have been invited to come in and tell what they know about any situation. I've heard no complaints at all about that.

And very few, I think just one complaint about people who were either arrested or held on some kind of an immigration charge. So...

KING: You think so far...

KYL: I think so far it's going very, very well and it is very strongly supported by the American people.

KING: The attorney general will testify for you, before your committee on Thursday. What are you going to look for, Senator Durban?

DURBIN: Well, go back to the point I made earlier. We cooperated with the Department of Justice and the attorney general to give them more power to deal with terrorism. I thought it was the right thing to do, to modernize our laws on wire tap and the like, to take into account cell phones and the obvious things that terrorists might use nowadays.

And clearly, now that we're talking about military tribunals, there are more questions to be asked and answered. How far will are we going to take this? What are the safeguards that we are going to put in place? On the question of detention, for example, we have had some people come forward. The Texas doctor for example, who, for six days couldn't make contact with an attorney. I don't think we want to see that sort of thing occur.

I will certainly concede the fact that in the earliest days here, when the United States was clearly worried about another incident like September 11, some things were done quickly and probably not as professionally as they're being done now. We want to hear from the attorney general the steps that are being taken to follow due process.

DURBIN: And it is certainly not their intention ever for anybody to be denied due process.

KING: How is it going in Afghanistan? We have a minute left, guys. DURBIN: Extremely positive. The best part of this is probably not visible, and that is the cooperation of nations around the world with the United States, intelligence gathering, arresting those accused of terrorism. Before September 11, that was rare. Now it's more commonplace. And it gives me hope that we'll not only win in Afghanistan, we will win the ultimate battle against terrorism.

KING: Senator Kyl?

KYL: That is going to be the next test. And of course, we're not done with Afghanistan and al Qaeda yet. But we're going to then have to find the sources of terrorism, in all of these other countries, and using the kind of resources that Senator Durbin has pointed out, roll up these organizations in each of those countries, so that the sponsors of terrorism are not going to be able to foster it, so that it continues to strike and even if we cut off the head of Osama bin Laden.

KING: We will watch the hearing Thursday with great care. Thank you both, very much. Always good having you with us. Senators Jon Kyl and Dick Durbin.

When we come back, a very personal story of grief and loss and recovery from the Duchess of York. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They think they can run and we'll tire. They think they can hide and we will tire. But they have sorely misunderstood America. They don't understand our will and our determination. This great land is united to bring freedom to the world. We will bring them to justice and we will prevail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The last time she was with us to tell this story, she got caught in incredible traffic in Southern California. Things have eased off a bit. She is in New York tonight. I'm in Washington. She is Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. She has an international charity, Children in Crisis, has helped get aid to Afghans for six years.

She lost her charity's offices and many friends in the attack on the World Trade Center. She is in New York for charity events now, for kidchartitiis.org. It supports her United States-based charities chances for children.

How do we refer to you? As what? SARAH FERGUSON, DUCHESS OF YORK: What would you like to say? Hi, Fergie, or Sarah.

KING: Fergie, Sarah, what? What do you like, what is correct?

FERGUSON: I'll answer to anything, Larry.

KING: OK, Ferg.

FERGUSON: OK, Love.

KING: Tell us the situation on September 11. You have offices. Give us the situation regarding you and that building.

FERGUSON: Well, we had an office on the 101st floor, which was part of Canter Fitzgerald, and Howard Lutnick has been very, very good to Chances for Children for many years now and indeed to children in crisis in Milan and London.

And I was just coming out of the "Good Morning America" studios and I looked up and Johnny, my assistant said, you know, an airplane has just gone into our office on the 101st floor. I just couldn't believe it. I looked up, it was a clear blue sky. I said it simply wasn't possible. And then I realized of course it was a terrorist attack and then, you know, then I just like, couldn't believe it, because we lost many friends in the building. And Howard lost his brother and it was just like, totally devastating.

KING: What, did Cantor Fitzgerald give the space to you?

FERGUSON: Yes. They very kindly gave us an office there, and they have given us offices all over the world, actually.

KING: Where now, is it located?

FERGUSON: Well, we went to Credit Suisse First Boston, who gave us a temporary office. And now Michael Bloomberg has given us office space there. And Chances for Children has come out of the rubble. I mean, you've heard me talk about Little Red, Larry, this little doll.

KING: I want you to explain that.

FERGUSON: Well, she is the charity logo. She was designed by me six years ago in order to sort of give children a chance to see that they too can donate to the charity. And she was sitting in the window of the 101st floor and she fell into the rubble, and a fireman found her, picked her up, put her in his hat and walked out.

In fact, CNN reported it. And I was watching CNN and I saw her come out. And I said that sure is a sign that Chances For Children must go on. And we must continue to fight for the rights for children, not only in this country, but in Afghanistan.

KING: And we just saw the picture then. How did they get the doll back to you? How did they know it was yours, finding a doll in that rubble?

FERGUSON: Well, actually, the fireman was heard to say, we must go on finding the owner of this doll because maybe it's a child that's caught in the rubble. And we heard that they were saying this and so we immediately let them know that it was Little Red and that it was part of Chances For Children.

KING: Did that attack deflate you or energize you?

FERGUSON: Larry, it just made me so determined that we must not forget that children have a right to a healthy, happy childhood and that children have a right to dream. I think the most important thing we can do is give health care, education and protection.

KING: Yes, but the devastation of it all, knowing people, knowing your offices were in there, even the finding of the doll, how did you deal with all that?

FERGUSON: Well, Larry, it completely changed my life. You know, it was the most tragic, it was just the most devastating time. And since then, it's just been so difficult because, you know, you just long to do something. And there was nothing. You felt so hopeless.

What I did was I immediately started a fund called the 9/11 fund, where we raised a small amount of money, but enough to hopefully help some children to remain in their houses this Christmas because we are using the money to pay for some of the rent and the mortgages for the children that have lost either a mother or a father.

KING: What do you make of the reaction of New Yorkers and Americans in general?

FERGUSON: I think they have been completely humbled by the whole event. I think the American people have realized that there are other countries out there that need to be talked about and there are children and men and women all over the world that, you know, that really need looking after. And I think we owe it to the Afghanistan people now that we must not forget them. And now they have come out of the darkness into light. You know, I think the American people now realize that we must all support and rally around to give those people a chance.

KING: What about the reaction in your home country?

FERGUSON: Well, I think that solidarity between Britain and the U.S. is quite extraordinary. And I think that the British people are 100 percent behind the American people and wanting to, you know, do as much as we can. I think it really is an extraordinary unity and I think that that's what's good about the American people. On the day of the disaster, they rushed around supporting each other and I think that's a great inspiration.

KING: How and why did the Duchess of York get interested in Afghanistan in the first place?

FERGUSON: Well, Larry, six years ago, you know, what I'm like, you know, with my tenacity. And I remember ringing up children in crisis and saying we have got to go into Afghanistan because that's exactly what children in crisis is about. It's about forgotten children. And they all said to me, no, no, we have got to stick to the projects we know. And I said, no, we have got to help these young girls get an education.

There were children, there were young girls on the top of an orphanage and they were jumping off the top of the orphanage because they didn't want to be there. And it's called the orphanage from hell. And indeed, since then, we have been working, doing 95 home- based schools underground so that women and young girls can get an education because Children in Crisis believes that an education stops ignorance because ignorance does, you know, start wars.

KING: But how have you had to deal -- you had to deal with the Taliban, didn't you?

FERGUSON: Well, yes. I mean, it was quite extraordinary because the day before, you know, a week before September 11, the Taliban banned any form of e-mails, satellite telephones, fax machines, and any form of equipment whatsoever. So there's no communication outside Afghanistan. And our office in Kabul managed to bury the fax machine and the satellite telephone. And last week, we got a message back from our office saying our fax is up and running, our telephones are working, you know, we're ready to work. And we're very excited by that. They showed great courage by burying the equipment.

KING: How often have you been there?

FERGUSON: Well, I haven't been recently, but I'm going to go soon. As soon as I get the "all clear", I'm off there because I really want to support the new Kartasay (ph) day center where we, just before September 11, we were managing to feed and educate 500 children. And since, you know, 85,000 children per year die of diarrhea, I think it's very important that we heighten the awareness of the needs in that country.

KING: So, tell me how it works? If people give money to your charity, it goes where to do what?

FERGUSON: Well, if people give money to the charity, it goes straight, straight to where the needs are. We work with a group of charities. We're not saying we're the only people there. We like to work in teamwork, as that's how charity work should be. It's not who gets the pat on the back. It's there should be no egos. We should all get out there to give children a chance. And if you give money to this charity, it does get there because we make sure of it.

KING: How do people get in touch with your charity?

FERGUSON: Well, they can get in touch with it through Chances For Children and if they ring CNN because I haven't got the 1-800 on me number -- number on me right now, but -- or Children In Crisis in the U.K.

KING: You see education as the key here to empowering Afghans, right?

FERGUSON: I think it's vital. I think that boys and girls should be allowed to be educated together, to rebuild their lives and to get a sort of social behavior because up until now, young girls haven't been allowed to be with boys. There's been no education for women or young girls. And I think it's very important if Afghanistan is going to rebuild itself, that once you've plowed the fields, you have got to sew the seeds. And I think sewing the seeds of education, teaching children to read and write.

I mean, 69 percent of the Afghan population are illiterate. I mean, that is a major statistic. And, you know, 23 percent only go to primary schools. It's really time to get hold of the 26 million Afghans and say, come on, it's time to read and write.

KING: By the way, we'll be taking calls for the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. If you wish to call in, you can contact us and we will put calls through to her as we move along here on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

What do you make of how women were treated there?

FERGUSON: Well, you know, that was what really annoyed me five years ago. You know what I'm like, Larry, I get quite strong on the rights of women. And, you know, a woman walking down the street with a sack over her face -- a barisha (ph) it's called -- and then if she made too much noise with her heels on the pavement, she was whipped and beaten in front of everybody. If her lipstick was too bright, that caused her to be beaten. They were never to have music or radios. They were never allowed even out of their houses during the day. They weren't meant to be seen and not heard. And I just couldn't bear it.

And, in fact, a friend of mine, Amy, who was in Kabul for the last four years, wrote to me a lot, saying please get our plight out. And it has taken this war in order for people to sit up and listen to the plights of the women and children in that country, and I think so.

KING: We'll be right back with Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night, the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, will be the special guest. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with the Duchess of York at our studios in New York. Let's take a call, Brazil, Indiana, Hello -- Hello? Are you there?

CALLER: Sarah, I wanted to thank you for all you've done for the rights of women. My question is, are you going to include the Afghan children in your organization to be benefited by what you do for all the other children in the world?

FERGUSON: Yes, absolutely. Thank you for that question. I think that's one of the most important things we can do, is continue to send funds to our organization over there and make sure that these children have a right to a childhood, actually.

KING: Wasn't it difficult with the Taliban in control to get the money and resources through to them?

FERGUSON: Yes, it was impossible. But we did it because we believed in that. We believed that you go underground and you go in through different organizations and all the charities glue together and really, you know, anything is possible if you want to.

KING: West Lake Village, California, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Sarah. I'm not sure how to address you but I think you're a wonderful woman and I just wanted to tell you that. I would also like to know with all the devastation that you have experienced since you came in to public awareness in our country, how have you or what has sustained you during all of the tragic events of your life over the last few years?

KING: Good question.

FERGUSON: Well, thank you so much for that question. I have to tell you that if it wasn't for the American people, I'm not sure my children would have their mother like they have, because the American people have given me confidence and strength and they have accepted me for just being me, as Sarah, and I can't thank them enough. Really, I owe so much to them.

KING: How, by the way, Sarah, have your children reacted to this? How old are they?

FERGUSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is 11 and Beatrice is 13. And I think I have always brought them up to be very truthful. I believe that we have no right to put our children in cotton balls, and they must see things head on because then they don't get frightened. And they have certainly been very aware that the situation in Afghanistan has been very difficult for many years now. It's very -- such a poor country, and then also that the devastation on September the 11th. I just talk to them all about it. And then they seemed to understand how lucky they are, and I think it's very important that they don't forget that they live very well.

KING: You have a way of dealing with tragedy. I mean you lose a friend and die. You lose your mother in a car accident. Loss has been a part of the Fergie story.

FERGUSON: Yes, it has, Larry, but it's made me much stronger, thank heavens. It's been touch and go many times, as you know, Larry, because you've been such a dear friend to me. But I have to tell you, I think now at 42, I must have just begun to grow up a bit and really I've, I'm taking life right on the nose.

And thank heavens for the support that I've had from this country, because without it I wouldn't have a job. I wouldn't have the friendships I have, and if I can do anything to this country, just keep coming back here and keep walking around and just being here. I'm very grateful. KING: We all got to see Howard Lutnick and his reaction -- emotional reaction -- to what happened to his company at Cantor Fitzgerald. Have you spoken to him in the convening weeks?

FERGUSON: Yes, absolutely I have. Howard and Allison have been devoted friends to me. I will never be able to thank them for what they have done for me. And that's why we were very insistent that the 9-11 fund that I started, much of the money will go to the Cantor Fitzgerald fund because there's no way I can thank them for what they have done for us, and the pain he's gone through, and what he's done to support the families. He's a great man and really, he's got such an extraordinary heart.

KING: How is he doing?

FERGUSON: He's doing all right. I think he's just, he keeps on going every day. He has great faith, he has a wonderful, loving family. I'm very, very lucky that I can call him a friend.

KING: Los Angeles for Sarah Ferguson. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Sarah, you look really beautiful.

FERGUSON: Oh, thank you.

CALLER: You've changed so much. You look wonderful. The question is, how can young women in this country help the women or the children, the female children in Afghanistan in terms of education? What can they do, the young women in America to help them?

FERGUSON: Well, I think the first thing to do, is to really understand how lucky we are, you know. The first thing we must do is keep our hearts wide open with love and compassion for our own families, and to never forget that we have got -- these women have been locked up in darkness, not only with their clothing, but in their housings for so many years now. We have just got to continue to talk about their plight and really reach out and see how we can help them.

The ways of doing it, is that, just to think, if the average wage is $800 a year, then we need to send black board, chalk, books, information, clothes, you know. We need to really, sort of, wake up to the fact that these people need to be brought into the year 2001.

KING: Were you scheduled to visit the offices that day?

FERGUSON: Yes, I was, yes, later on in the day.

KING: What did do you all that day?

FERGUSON: Well, you know, as I was saying, I felt so hopeless, so the best thing I could do was start the fund. And thanks to Tommy Hilfiger, who gave me my first donation of $10,000, we were able to kick start it. And once I had that focus of knowing that I was able to do something to help these poor people, I felt at least I was giving back to the American people in a very small way, but it's not much. KING: Were you running around the city? Were you trying to phone people?

FERGUSON: Yes.

KING: What were you physically doing?

FERGUSON: I was running around the city trying to telephone my CEO, Ken Marlow (ph), and Johnny, Johnny was with me, but Johnny's friends. We were so concerned because so many people had helped us at Chances for Children at Cantor and we wanted to know if Howard and Allison were all right.

But also I actually wanted to go to St. Vincent's or to hospital to see if I could help. But everyone said that I was just going to get in the way, because so there were so many people who were there. So I just thought the best thing was to get out of the city and go and lay low somewhere and start the fund.

KING: Minneapolis, for the Duchess of York. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. I do appreciate very much what she is doing for the children, and I'm very much interested in doing the same kind of help for African children. Could she give me some tips on how to get started, please.

FERGUSON: Well, yes, absolutely. The children with HIV Aids in Africa? Or in Sierra Leone? Is there a specific country you would like to help in Africa?

KING: Ma'am, did you hear the question?

I think she may be gone. Let's assume it probably is the Aids situation.

FERGUSON: OK, well, I mean, the most important thing is Children in Crisis. If you would like to -- we can help you there, if you would like to write to us, we can give you lots of advice there. We build tented schools in Sierra Leone to give education, and also I'm working really hard now on HIV Aids in Africa, so we would be delighted to give you as much help as possible if you would like to write to us.

KING: Do we know, the numbers may be incredible, how many children might be considered in crisis, children hungry in the world every night?

FERGUSON: Well, I mean certainly there's 15 million in Africa alone. You tell me, Larry. There's so many, so many numbers. There's 50,000 children die, there is 50,000 children to one doctor in Afghanistan alone. So, I mean, I don't know the figures.

KING: What do you think they should do at the site of the World Trade Center?

FERGUSON: Gosh, Larry. KING: Everyone has some opinion.

FERGUSON: Well, I think maybe a garden and a peaceful place to go and sit and think and just remember.

KING: You would not build buildings again?

FERGUSON: Well, I personally wouldn't because I love the sort of, I would love to think that you could go and sit there quietly and listen to the birds and smell the flowers and just be at peace and remember all the people that lost their lives on that day.

KING: What's happening in your life now, other than that?

FERGUSON: So much, Larry.

KING: Like?

FERGUSON: Like, well, I'm writing four children's books called "Little Red" and her adventures after the rubble. I'm also helping to write a film script about a horse called Heather Blaze. I'm working for Weight Watchers Wedgewood in Westfield and my children -- I'm trying to be a good mom, which takes up a great deal of my time.

KING: Are you back and forth across the ocean?

FERGUSON: Yes. I spend most of my time in the clouds. And everybody always says, well, after the disaster, they said there's no way you're going to go back to America, are you? Of course, you know, my immediate reaction was yes, tomorrow, you know. There's no stopping me. This is a great country and it deserves 100 percent support.

KING: Any news on the royals front?

FERGUSON: They're all very well, I think, Larry, better ask them. I think Prince Andrew is coming to see you soon, isn't he?

KING: He's coming in February?

FERGUSON: OK, well, we better get him in the chair, hadn't we?

KING: Yes, we better. I think Charles took Camilla to a big reception the other day, did he not?

FERGUSON: Did he, Larry? I don't know, you tell me.

KING: I'm told, I'm not a royal expert, but I'm told that big things are happening in Jolly Old.

FERGUSON: Oh, goody. Don't know.

KING: You don't care anymore?

FERGUSON: Didn't say that, Larry.

KING: No or no?

FERGUSON: You can't lead me tonight. I'm, you know, here.

KING: I'm just asking.

FERGUSON: You can ask all you like, Larry, but let's go back to what we're here for.

KING: All right. How do people get in touch with Children in Crisis? FERGUSON: Well, hopefully, Larry, by now my office has put up the 1-800 number. I think your office has it there. Children in Crisis is based in Europe, and there should be an address coming up on the screen soon too, for that.

KING: We have got the number, 1-800-364-5310. I'll repeat that again. If you want more information on Children in Crisis, it's 1- 800-364-5310. We now have it up on the screen and I thank you, Sarah, it's always great seeing you.

FERGUSON: Larry, thank you so much.

KING: I'm glad everything worked out and we made it this time.

FERGUSON: Sorry about the traffic last time.

KING: The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. That number again 1- 800-364-5310.

We always close on a musical upbeat note. Sarah Brightman will provide it, right after these words. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joining us now in Los Angeles is Sarah Brightman, the musical star, multi platinum recording artist. Her newest album is Sarah Brightman classics. She is going to sing one of those classics for us now, "Winter Light." Why this song, Sarah?

SARAH BRIGHTMAN: I just felt it was a very peaceful, beautiful song and I felt with everything, you know, that's happened in America, I felt it was a very beautiful and peaceful song to sing for everybody.

KING: I thank you so much for being with us. In Los Angeles, here doing "Winter Light" is the lovely and talented Sarah Brightman.

(MUSIC, SARAH BRIGHTMAN SINGS "WINTER LIGHT")

KING: By the way, earlier tonight we were at a Christmas party at the home of the vice president. I will tell you that Dick Cheney is looking very well. And one of the people at the party was Donald Rumsfeld. He will be our special guest tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. Tune in for that. Stay tuned now for NEWSNIGHT, hosted in New York by the ever present, omnipresent Aaron Brown. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


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