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CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND

Week's Best Interviews With Dan Rather, Frank Lindh, Donald Rumsfeld; Norway's Prime Minister Discusses Humanitarian Aid Crisis in Afghanistan

Aired December 8, 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, as allied forces close in on al Qaeda positions, one Taliban fighter turns out to be an American. Compelling conversation with his deeply worried dad Frank Lindh. Plus, Dan Rather on the scene in Afghanistan. If it's a hot story, he wants to cover it in person.

And then, a one-on-one with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Where was he September 11?

And Norway's prime minister tells us about his country's role in the war against terrorism. All next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Thanks for joining us. There were some incredible stories this past week, and we had some incredible guests to go with them. We start with the saga of a 20-year-old American John Walker, a convert to Islam who fought for the Taliban. U.S. authorities found him wounded at the sight of that bloody prison uprising in Mazar-e Sharif. On Monday, we talked with John's father Frank Lindh and with "CBS News Evening" anchor Dan Rather who was on the ground in Kabul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Why? Why are you there?

DAN RATHER, "CBS NEWS": Well, because there's a war on. Americans are involved in the war. It's one of the most important stories of our time. One of the, perhaps the most important story of the early part of the 21st century.

I think it's important to walk the ground. It's very hard to be credible on something as important as war, and stay in a windowless room on the west side of Manhattan or somewhere in midtown. I couldn't be any other place, Larry.

KING: All right, Dan is standing by with us. We'll have him ask questions as well. But right now let's go to San Francisco. Frank Lindh is the father of John Philip Walker Lindh, the 20-year-old United States citizen turned Taliban fighter, taken in to military custody in Afghanistan. This is Frank's first live interview.

What is the story, Frank? What attracted your son to go over? FRANK LINDH, SON BECAME TALIBAN FIGHTER: Larry, my son was a convert to Islam when he was 16, just in high school age here in California. He attended a mosque in San Francisco, began to really study in earnest while he was there, and then he went overseas to study Arabic in Yemen, which is a good place to study Arabic because the old form of Arabic is spoken there.

He came back home after about a year in Yemen, then he went back to Yemen to continue his language and religious studies there in Yemen. Then in November of 2000, he went to Pakistan. He was there in a mosque in Pakistan in a city called Bannu from November until May, the first of May this year.

At that point, he had told us he was going to go up to the mountains of Pakistan and spend the summer because of the heat in Bannu during the summer. And with my blessing, he did leave. What we didn't know until Saturday night, was that John apparently went to Afghanistan rather than farther up to the hills of Pakistan.

KING: When, Frank, was the last time you had heard from him?

LINDH: At the first of May, Larry.

KING: Did anything in your mind lend you to think that he might be with them? Anything from a prior correspondence before May, any statements he had made to you that might lend you to think that he would join or be part of that group?

LINDH: No, Larry. John -- he's a very sweet kid, very devout, very religious. He is certainly devoted to this religious conversion that he had to Islam. But to me, John was always the same kid. He always had the same sense of humor, the same family relations with his sister and his brother. And so I had no indication or reason to be concerned that he would put himself in danger like this by going to Afghanistan.

KING: What were you thoughts after September 11?

LINDH: Well, our thoughts were very troubled, Larry. We were very concerned because there had been this long period already where we had not heard from John, and now of course we have this, the terrible, terrible tragedy here in the United States. And demonstrations in Pakistan, where we thought John was, against the Americans, so we began to be even more concerned about the lack of any communication, thinking that John might be in some danger there in Pakistan.

KING: Now, Frank, what are you going through? You're obviously overjoyed that your son is alive, you haven't heard from him so you know he's alive. Yet you know, he might be charged with something, right?

LINDH: Well, I don't know, Larry. Our first concern is we want to see John. We want to see him. His mom and I both want to see him. We have hired a lawyer. We're very interested in getting information from the government as to where John is now. Let me say, though, we're also very grateful that the Special Forces picked him up. We know John is safe and we are very grateful for that information.

KING: What, as you look back and think back, he was raised Catholic, was he not, Frank?

LINDH: Yes.

KING: What took him to this extreme route? We understand being attracted to another faith and many do go to Islam and other type of faiths as they move through life. But why this far, do you think?

LINDH: Larry, I really can't answer that without speculating. Until John disappeared on us, so to speak, on the first of May, I had nothing to see there other than a kid who, a boy really, who had converted to a religion that I respect and that seemed very healthy and good for him.

He was very devoted to it, devoted to the intellectual study and the study of Arabic, the memorization of the Koran, even by Islamic standards I think John is an outstanding student, a really devoted student, who ultimately wanted to attend the University at Medina, in Saudi Arabia. And I supported that, I thought that was a noble thing, and I was proud of John for pursuing that alternative course. Different, certainly, from where I grew up.

KING: Boy, now, when the Cole was bombed, is it true you that you expressed displeasure with that and he did not?

LINDH: Yes, Larry. We did have a difference of political views on that issue. John -- I was upset and I was concerned about the fact that these young Americans who were killed on the Cole were the same age as John. And we just had a little father/son debate, much like my dad and I used to have over Vietnam War, frankly. We had a father/son disagreement on that.

KING: How are the two siblings handling this?

LINDH: Well, I have to say, I'm doing my best to remain composed, but we're all very, very upset with what John went through in this prison. It really defies description. And to think that our son, he's really not much more than a boy, that he went through this horrible experience in the prison and who knows what leading up to that, as parents and as family, we're very troubled and very concerned for his welfare.

And that's why we're -- go ahead.

KING: I'm sorry.

LINDH: I was going to say, that's why we're so anxious to see him as soon as possible. We want to give him a big hug. I also want to give him maybe a little kick in the butt for not telling me what he was up to, and for not getting my permission, because I would not have given him permission to go to Afghanistan.

KING: All right, what do you -- what are your expectations the government is going to do? LINDH: I don't know, Larry. I spoke with an attorney today. I have hired the attorney to represent John. I hope the government recognizes that John does deserve to have representation. But John is a good boy. I don't know of any information, any suggestion of any information indicating that he's done anything wrong. Therefore, I hope that John can be debriefed by the government and then come on home.

KING: There's no indication, thus far, that he was doing anything militarily with the Taliban.

LINDH: Larry, I know only what I have seen on CNN and on the -- online. It does indicate in those reports, this is hard for me to reconcile with the John that I know, but he was carrying an AK-47, according to one story. So he appears to have been a combatant with the Taliban.

KING: Frank, before you leave us, Dan Rather is in Kabul. Dan, do you have a question for Frank?

RATHER: I do, Larry. I've been listening very carefully. Let me, first of all, say that any father can certainly relate to what Frank is feeling. But Frank, you said your son had done nothing wrong. He's been quoted as saying that he supported and supports the attacks of September 11. Whether there's anything legally wrong with that or not, there are going to be many, many Americans, and I have to say candidly this one, who would say that for whatever reason he said that, that that was wrong. I would like to get your reaction to that.

LINDH: Well, Dan, I'm very troubled by that statement as well. I would just ask you to consider the fact that he was being pressed by a reporter after being pulled out of the basement of a prison where he went through that horrible ordeal.

All I can say is that I don't think his mind was working -- I don't think he was thinking straight at that moment. I don't think anybody could be thinking straight after that kind of an ordeal. I just ask...

KING: Sad stories of war. You just ask what, Frank?

LINDH: Ask that people have a little mercy, and think about what he went through before he made that statement.

KING: Thank you, Frank.

LINDH: Thank you.

RATHER: Frank, I think you know that Americans are filled with mercy. Thanks.

LINDH: Thank you, Dan, very much.

KING: We'll be right back with Dan Rather from Kabul on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN WALKER, TALIBAN FIGHTER: I was a student in Pakistan, studying Islam and I came in to contact with many people who were connected with the Taliban. I lived in the region, in the northwest frontier province. The people there in general have a great love for the Taliban. So I started to read some of the literature of the scholars and of the history of the movement and just thought, my heart became attached to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with Dan Rather in Kabul. They are saying this is the first war ever where the servicemen worry about the people back home. And today, as you probably know, Governor Ridge issued another alert, to be on the alert for possible threats here. What are your thoughts on these continuing alert statements?

RATHER: Well, I take them at face value, Larry. It's very hard for me to conceive how any American would think otherwise. Yes, it's frustrating to have alerts sounded and then have nothing happen. On the other hand, that's a blessing. I think Americans understand, this is a war. This is a real war. There's nothing phony about this war. There is nothing peripheral about this war, that we have it all on the table in this war.

We found that out on September 11. And let me mention, Larry, that I haven't been surprised, but it's been satisfying to get the sense, I have yet to speak to a young American soldier or anybody in our service who doesn't know why they are here. They have September 11 right up here, all the time. A lot of them have it on their sleeve, all of them have it in their heart. And they know why they're here. And I think they would agree when you say look, we're in danger over here and they are in great danger, no one should misread the rather promising headlines about this war and say well, it's nearly over, and our troops are -- they're in some danger but not much. None of that is true.

But also, we Americans are in danger at home. We are in danger of something akin to September 11 happening again. We pray it doesn't happen. But we have to be ready and we have got to steel ourselves. It's time for us to toughen up. I think we are in the process of doing that. It is going to be a long war. Patience and understanding is required.

KING: We have an enormous humanitarian problem coming. There are stories that tens of thousands could die this winter.

RATHER: No question about it, Larry. Those stories are true. I mentioned it earlier in the program, and I mention it again to underscore it. What's happened to, particularly the children and the women of this country, but to the population as a whole really, is unimaginable to most Americans. They have been at war 20 years. These last four, five years have been particularly difficult on civilians caught in the middle.

Winter is coming on. The humanitarian aid effort, which everybody, including those in Washington keep talking about, has yet to materialize. The 10th Mountain Division is trying to hurry up with this big airbase outside of Kabul to help build a sort of ground zero pipeline for the relief effort. But it's a race against time, and I will say on the streets of Kabul and out in the countryside, where we have been quite a bit these last few days, Afghans, while prizing the United States for helping come in and rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, are asking a lot of questions about why is the humanitarian aid so slow in coming?

They don't say it in an arrogant way, they don't say it in any sense of, well, we deserve it, it's just they're begging, and that is very hard for Afghans to do, to beg. But they are begging, and they know this winter is going to be tough unless that humanitarian pipeline gets open and gets opened in a hurry.

KING: Eight reporters have been killed. Does that give you some pause?

RATHER: Sure. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say of course it gives me pause and to be candid, you think about it a lot. And I have those journalists very much in mind. There's some indications, no proof, some indications, Larry, that at least one journalist who was killed in Jalalabad was killed by the Taliban, not for money, not for his equipment, but as an act of just terror against that journalist.

But you know, if you're going to be a reporter and not just play one on TV, then you have to take risks. And particularly when American young people are putting their lives on the line, as members of our service, then I can say perhaps if one of those few times an anchor would say the story is not about me, it's not about my worries about danger.

There is some danger here, I do think about it, you just put on -- get through it, because the story is worth it.

KING: Is there a lot of talk about bin Laden? And have you run into people who might be looking for that bounty?

RATHER: There are a lot of folks looking for that bounty. The kind of money, the last time I checked it was something like $25 million and headed upward, there are a lot of people interested in it, but not many people are talking realistically about being able to find bin Laden.

I have talked to a number of high ranking members of the Northern Alliance government here including the foreign minister, and they are absolutely convinced that Osama bin Laden is still in the country. Most of them believe that he is probably in the mountains west of Kandahar, and if, Larry, if you wanted to keep ahead of the news, I think you might look to those mountains west of Kandahar as the next big focal point in the war.

So that's where they think he is, somewhere there. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RATHER (voice-over): We've met Mohammed Hassan working on this mine-working crew. He has survived 23 straight years of war, and wants to make his homeland safe.

(on camera): Does he think he can stay alive now with this mine- clearing work?

(voice-over): "It depends on God," Mohammed tells me. "If he wants to us die, we die. And many have."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back. Wednesday, I sat down with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, always a great interview. And we started with the news of the day.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING: What can you tell us about the death of the three troops and the 19 injured in the B-52 accident?

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, I guess the most important thing I can say is that it's a terrible tragedy and our heart goes out to the families and the friends of those fine people. We lost some Afghans also in that same incident.

There's an investigation under way. The first report was that there might have been a car bomb. The later report is that it looks more like it was an errant piece of ordnance that landed, a so-called JDAM, a 2,000-pound bomb, which is, I think, probably the most likely situation. And as we know, in every conflict there are unexpected, unintended deaths. And it is a shame, but it happens.

KING: How, Mr. Secretary, though, who makes the call? Does the president call the relatives? I mean, when someone dies like this.

RUMSFELD: The services have a whole set of procedures and they see that it's done. And the commanding officers of the units are involved and the chaplains are involved. And, of course, it's such a terrible tragedy for those families.

KING: What's it like for you?

RUMSFELD: Oh, it just...

KING: It can't be just dismissed as casualties of war.

RUMSFELD: Oh, no, no, no, no. These are human beings. They've got brothers and sisters and wives and children and parents.

KING: Have you ordered a thorough investigation?

RUMSFELD: Oh, you bet.

KING: Will this stop any other B-52-type occurrences?

RUMSFELD: No. In every...

KING: Things go on as planned.

RUMSFELD: Well -- oh, indeed. But in every conflict, in the history of any country, there are really threat categories of casualties, and one category are combat inflicted by the enemy; another are inflicted by friendly fire; and the third are the kinds of things where we lost two crew members in the helicopter in Pakistan, where it was neither. It was an incident or an accident or something that occurred that was not in a combat zone. And there's a reasonably predictable percentage that fall into each of those categories, and it's just the nature of what's happening.

I mean, the real people responsible are the Al Qaeda and the Taliban for attacking this country, because we wouldn't be in this war. We didn't pick this fight. This is something we've got to do to defend the American people. And thank goodness there are wonderful young men and women who are willing to voluntarily put their lives at risk so the rest of us can live in freedom.

KING: Today aside, is this effort going as seen?

RUMSFELD: I think what the public is seeing is what is happening. I think that they can -- the American people can feel that it's a tough job. It's a dirty job. It's going to take time. There isn't any army we can go out and defeat. There's no navy we can sink. There is no air force we can shoot out of the sky.

It is a very complicated process where we have to apply pressure on the terrorist networks all across the globe by arresting people and interrogating them, by gathering intelligence from people who live next door and know something, by the countries that have friendly intelligence services, by freezing bank accounts, by working with people, like the opposition forces in Afghanistan, to try to root out the Taliban who've been harboring the Al Qaeda terrorists. It is a complicated, long, difficult, messy, dirty job.

KING: Is there, therefore, possible to be a victory day?

RUMSFELD: Well, there won't be a...

KING: Celebration one day?

RUMSFELD: ... signing ceremony on the Missouri, like there was for -- when the war ended -- World War II ended.

It isn't going to end in a sense of a climatic victory. We're going to be successful. And we're going to be successful, because the president is absolutely determined to stick out.

KING: But how will we know? In other words, we could have stopped something today, right, at an airport that might have been stopped. How will we know we're successful?

RUMSFELD: That's the problem. We know we are having success, because we're making lives very difficult for these terrorists. And we're making lives difficult for them in Afghanistan, the amount of real estate they can move around on is vastly restricted today. Their money is short. They're having trouble communicating with their troops.

But they're still there. They're still alive. The senior leadership for the most part is there. But we're going to get them.

Now, we're also making life difficult around the world in a number of other countries.

So you're quite right. We could have, today, this hour have stopped or prevented by -- because of an arrest in the Philippines through Malaysia or in Saudi Arabia or someplace else, stopped a terrorist attack in the United States and not even know precisely that for two, three, four months.

KING: Because of this, therefore, do you support all of General Ashcroft's moves?

RUMSFELD: Well, I think Attorney General Ashcroft is doing a good job for this country. He's a serious person. He's a thoughtful person. He is working very closely with the president, and has undertaken a series of steps that are -- fit the circumstances that we're in.

We have to recognize that weapons of mass destruction exist. There's no question but that the terrorist networks will be willing to use them. There's no question but that the terrorist networks have relationships with countries that have weapons of mass destruction. And that means that we've got to be vigilant, and we have to go about this task in a serious, purposeful way. We have to do it in the American way, and we have to do it in a way that's respectful of our values. And certainly the president and the attorney general understand that and will do that.

KING: But none of these measures give you pause, or make you think this is not the American way?

RUMSFELD: Well, take the one that I'm involved in, the so-called military tribunals.

KING: Right.

RUMSFELD: The president has signed a military order, designating me, as secretary of defense, to be responsible for a military commission or tribunal, in the event one is required. There's been a lot written and said about it on talk shows and so forth. A lot of it's been interesting and thoughtful and constructive. Some of its been, kind of, shrill, I've thought, and not terribly well-pointed, or well-aimed. Sometimes -- there's an old saying in the Pentagon: ready, fire, aim.

(LAUGHTER)

RUMSFELD: Getting it a little mixed up. And I've taken some of things I've heard about this subject to be a little bit of that. Instead of ready, aim, fire, there's ready, fire, aim.

KING: But you agree with the concept of a tribunal?

RUMSFELD: Oh sure. I mean, we've got a history in this country from the Revolutionary War on of using a military commission. It has some distinct advantages. It's a tool that ought to be available. Obviously, it would receive very limited use. It hasn't received any yet; the president hasn't designated anybody. But when it does, we're going to be very careful and measured and responsible with respect to the use of that authority.

KING: A lot of bases to cover. We'll be right back at the Pentagon, with the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld. This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Let's touch some other bases, Mr. Secretary. Are we trying to capture or bring Mullah Mohammed Omar to trial? Is there a price on his head?

RUMSFELD: Oh, you bet there is. He is the one who rejected every single one of the president's and the United State's requests that he turn over the Al Qaeda leadership, and Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants. He has been every bit as vicious and terroristic in his behavior. I don't know if that's the quite way to characterize it. He has been harboring the terrorists, and has been every bit as strong and anti-innocent people as has Osama bin Laden.

KING: Would you classify him with Arafat?

RUMSFELD: No. I'll stick to the Al Qaeda.

KING: I mean, it's been said that Arafat harbors terrorists, and if you harbor them...

RUMSFELD: Oh, I see what you're saying.

KING: In other words, can you draw a line between them? Or is it apples and oranges?

RUMSFELD: Well, in the first place, I think what we have is we have a situation where Mullah Omar and the Taliban have harbored the Al Qaeda in that country, and the Al Qaeda unquestionably have been involved in killing thousands of innocent Americans, men, women and children of all religious faiths, from two or three, four dozen countries.

Now, that is a sizable event that occurred. And they are threatening additional attacks on the United States of America.

KING: And it's different from the Palestinian-Israeli situation? RUMSFELD: Well, it certainly is from our standpoint.

Now Mr. Arafat, clearly, has a background as a terrorist. There's no question there are terrorists as part of the Palestinian -- in his general geographic area. He has been an interlocutor, however, with the Israelis over a period of time, which is something one could not say about Omar or Osama bin Laden.

KING: I ask it of you, because you served so many posts, and one of your posts for President Reagan was special envoy to the Middle East.

RUMSFELD: It is, indeed, one of the posts I served in.

KING: So you have experience. And Colin Powell last week said that of all of the problems this is the toughest.

RUMSFELD: It is a tough one, there's no question.

KING: Is it...

(CROSSTALK)

RUMSFELD: All of our adult life, that's been a problem for the world and for the people in that region. It's a terrible, sad situation.

Israel has, of course, a very energetic, vibrant economy, and the neighboring countries are quite poor and don't have very good economies. And if they could create a peaceful environment there, there's no question everyone would benefit in the region.

KING: But it's tough.

RUMSFELD: There's just so many people in that part of the world who would like to shove Israel into the sea and not have it be there. And until people are willing to accept the presence of Israel, Israel, obviously, is not going to be able to make a deal.

Mr. Barak, the last one, went quite a distance, and Mr. Arafat walked away from that. And now we see these terribly vicious suicide bombing attacks coming out of the Palestinian community, which is just so vicious.

KING: And we understand Israel's retaliation.

RUMSFELD: Well, I must say, I do. I think that a country that is that small does not have a big margin for error. It is impossible to defend against terrorists in every place, at every moment, against every technique. The only way you can do that is to take the battle to them.

And therefore, you use the word "retaliation." I don't think of it as retaliation. I think of it as self-defense. What we're doing is self-defense.

KING: We're not retaliating?

RUMSFELD: No, I mean, it's not retribution or...

KING: Revenge.

RUMSFELD: ... or revenge. In my mind, goodness, no. That's not what I'm about.

What I'm about is, we've got a wonderful country. And thousands of Americans were killed, and they were killed by people who have vowed to do it again and again. And we can't let them do that. We simply are not going to change our way of life.

We're free people; that is what we are. And we're not going to live in a fortress, and we're not going to live underground in tunnels, and we're not going to spend every minute of our waking days looking around for someone, afraid they might kill us.

We can't function that way.

We need a peaceful, stable world for this economy of ours, for people to have opportunity, for people to be able to go to school and know their kids are going to come home safely. And that's why we're doing this. We're not doing this to be retaliating or for retribution or revenge.

KING: And where, Mr. Secretary, do you think or do we know it will stop? What are you views on going to Iraq, other nations that harbor terrorism?

RUMSFELD: Well, what...

KING: What's your view?

RUMSFELD: I don't know what will be decided by the president. It's certainly something that is at that level for our country.

KING: It's his goal?

RUMSFELD: You bet. And what the rest of us can do is to discuss with him and offer advice and counsel and -- but the reality is that there are a set of countries on the terrorist list that have a history of engaging in terrorist acts and in harboring terror. Many of those countries have weapons of mass destruction. We must not make a mistake on this issue. Because if weapons of mass destruction come into the hands of terrorist networks that are vowing that they will engage in vicious acts against our country and our deployed forces and our friends and allies, that means not thousands of people dead, it means tens of thousands of people dead. These are enormously lethal, powerful weapons.

KING: So you have to think about taking action?

RUMSFELD: Absolutely.

KING: Premeditated action, preempted action? RUMSFELD: Exactly. We have no choice but to say to ourselves, "What do we owe the American people as part of this government of the United States? What does the president owe the American people?" And he has to make that judgment.

And he made that judgment. He said, "We are going to go after the Al Qaeda. They have done a terrible, terrible thing, and they're threatening to do more. And we can't let them do that. We can't let them keep killing thousands of Americans."

So we're going to go find them. We're going to root them out, whether they're in Afghanistan or some other part of the world. And they are all over the world, they must be in 40 or 50 countries -- the Al Qaeda organization.

We'll be right back with more of Secretary Rumsfeld. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

DARRYL HAMMOND, ACTOR (as Donald Rumsfeld): Do we plan to cease bombing during Ramadan? I suppose my answer to that will be, I'm not going to tell you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Do you like being kidded on "Saturday Night Live"?

RUMSFELD: I must say I found it amusing.

KING: You watched it?

RUMSFELD: I did not watch it, no. And someone gave me the tape, and then I saw it on CNN -- a part of it...

KING: And?

RUMSFELD: Well, it's amusing. It's in good fun. And I thought it was clever.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Touch some other bases. Is it very important that the coalition hold?

RUMSFELD: No.

KING: It's not important?

RUMSFELD: No, let me explain my answer.

First of all, there is no coalition. There are multiple coalitions. And the project of going after terrorism involves every aspect of the globe and a whole variety of different ways of doing it: financial, economic, political, diplomatic, military, overt, covert.

Countries do what they can do. Countries help in the way that they want to help. It is not a single coalition for a single project -- for the entire project, it's a single coalition for a single project. And those countries that want to supply intelligence are doing it, those countries that want to supply law enforcement assistance are doing it.

And that's the way it ought to work. I'll tell you why. The worst thing you can do is to allow a coalition to determine what your mission is. The mission has to be to root out the terrorists. It's the mission that determines the coalition. So it's what element of that task do countries want to help with, and that then is the coalition...

KING: But the task is preeminent.

RUMSFELD: The task overrides everything. We have to go do this to defend this country.

KING: Bin Laden: Is it a must to get him, one way or the other?

RUMSFELD: Well, sure.

KING: Absolutely, because he was a symbol or not as a symbol?

RUMSFELD: I'm afraid the truth is that if he were not here, if he disappeared off the face of the Earth, which would be a wonderful thing for the world, the Al Qaeda network would still go on. So we have a bigger job than one person, and I think it trivializes it slightly to personalize it into a single human being.

But he's important, let there be no doubt, and we're after him, and we intend to find him and get him.

KING: What do you make of this, kind of, tragic case of young Mr. Walker? His father was on our show the other night. Captured in the Taliban area, an American, 20 years old.

RUMSFELD: Well, I don't know quite how we're going to handle him yet. We're thinking about that. And, I mean, the fact is he was in the prison uprising where an American was killed and is an Al Qaeda member. He was fighting on the Al Qaeda side, the non-Afghan forces, against us, against the people in that compound where an American was killed.

You know, how do you handle that? Well, I guess you can look throughout history and see how things like that are handled.

KING: You think he might be brought to trial?

RUMSFELD: I'm trying to think precisely what I should say...

(LAUGHTER)

... to be honest with you, because I don't want to... KING: That's why I like you, Don.

RUMSFELD: I don't want to -- I mean, here, what we know at this moment is there is a person who says he's an American and probably is, who was fighting with the Al Qaeda forces against Afghanistan opposition forces and against U.S. forces that were with those people. He was found in a prison, having been captured. And there was an uprising in the prison, and they killed an American.

KING: You're building a case.

RUMSFELD: I didn't build a case; he did. His behavior is what it is. And I think that, when someone does that, why, the United States has an obligation to very seriously make judgments about how that ought to be dealt with. And we will make those judgments, and we're in the process of thinking that through, and I don't want to be prejudging anything.

KING: Speaking of casualties of war, we've interviewed his brother and sister, the pilot of that American Airlines plane that went into this building can't get buried at Arlington Cemetery because he wasn't of a certain age...

RUMSFELD: Oh, no, no, Larry. No, no, Larry. That will all be worked out.

KING: Are you going to get him buried here?

RUMSFELD: Well, I don't know, but you've got very limited space at Arlington Cemetery. There are a set of rules that the Congress and the department have worked out over years that are assumed to be fair and reasonable.

In every case that comes along, somebody would fall inside the rules or they fall outside the rules. In this particular case, the pilot, obviously, was a very fine person. He served on active duty. He served in the Reserves. He is, I believe, eight years younger than the age when the rule permits a person under that aspect of the rules to be buried in Arlington Cemetery.

On the other hand, his father's buried in Arlington Cemetery. There is a family plot, and it may well be that in the course of discussion with the Army that they'll find ways to work those things out.

KING: You were right here when the Pentagon...

RUMSFELD: I was.

KING: And someone told me that you had spoken to a congressional delegation...

RUMSFELD: Right here in this room.

KING: ... in this room about terrorism that morning. RUMSFELD: I had said at -- I had an 8 o'clock breakfast -- that sometime in the next two, four, six, eight, 10, 12 months, there would be an event that would occur in the world that would be sufficiently shocking that it would remind people, again, how important it is to have a strong, healthy Defense Department that contributes -- that underpins peace and stability in our world. And that is what underpins peace and stability. It's the fact -- we can't have healthy economies and active lives unless we live in a peaceful, stabile world. And I said that to these people.

And someone walked in and handed a note that said that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. And we adjourned the meeting. And I went in to get my CIA briefing right next door here, and the whole building shook within 15 minutes. And it was a jarring thing.

KING: And you ran toward the smoke?

RUMSFELD: Yes.

KING: Because?

RUMSFELD: Oh, goodness, who knows? I wanted to see what had happened. I wanted to see if people needed help. And went downstairs and helped for a bit with some people on stretchers. And then I came back up here and started to realize I had to get back up here and get at it.

KING: I know we're out of the allotted time, but Gary Hart has said that he expects -- his commission previously said this would happen. You were pretty prophetic that morning. But it's going to happen again.

RUMSFELD: Well, we have to recognize that it's a dangerous and untidy world. There's a lot of very powerful, lethal weapons that exist and ways that people can impose enormous damage. And we have to be vigilant. We have to be willing to invest to see that we have the kinds of capabilities that we can deter and defend and, where necessary, preempt.

KING: But it's an every-minute job.

RUMSFELD: It is. It is.

KING: Thank you, as always.

RUMSFELD: Thank you. Appreciate it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: When we come back, I'll be joined by the prime minister of Norway. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND from Oslo, Norway Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. He's the prime minister of Norway, met earlier this week with President Bush. Is Norway in this, Mr. Prime Minister, for the long haul, the war on terrorism?

KJELL MAGNE BONDEVIK, NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER: Oh, yes. I assured President Bush in our meeting last week that we are standing firmly by the people of the United States in fighting terrorism, and I think it's necessary to emphasize that we have to fight terrorism both in short term and in the long term.

KING: And the long term entails what do you think?

BONDEVIK: I think that it is necessary to underline that this is not a fight between religions, and we have to analyze the causes of terrorism. And I think it is necessary to combat poverty, to increase and expand dialogue between religions and to resolve regional conflicts so that terrorists not misuse this in their pursuing of their objectives.

KING: Mr. Prime Minister, knowing of your close relationship geographically to Russia, you're a member of NATO. Are you encouraged by Russia's actions since September 11?

BONDEVIK: Oh, yes indeed, Larry. I think a positive outcome of the tragic attacks on the United States on the 11th of September is the increased cooperation between Russia and the United States and between Russia and the Western world as a whole. And as a neighbor of Russia, this is also to the advantage of Norway, and I talked with President Bush about this, and we fully agree that we are now in a better climate between Russia and our Western countries.

KING: You -- the country of Norway is going to take over the chairmanship of the Afghan Support Group. What can you tell us about plans of dealing with that terrible humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan?

BONDEVIK: Yes, from the 1st of January, we would take over the chair for the Afghan Support Group, and our main task in this regard is to coordinate the efforts of the donor countries. And I think now the positive outcome of the conference in Bonn and the setback of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan have paved the way for a more effective development aid to the people of Afghanistan, and they need it because they have suffered for many years under civil war, Soviet occupation, and now the war during the last weeks.

And it is a positive outcome of what is happening, that the aid now comes into Afghanistan in a more effective way, and that many countries have doubled and tripled their aid to the Afghan people. And Norway will as chair of the Afghan Support Group play a key role in these efforts.

KING: Concerning the Middle East, I know Norway is one of the major mediators between the two parties, you delivered a message from Mr. Arafat to the president. Are you -- is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Are you encouraged by anything happening in the Middle East to tell you that peace is possible?

BONDEVIK: Well, to be very honest I must say that I'm not so optimistic for the time being. But I have frequently had telephone conversations with both Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Sharon during the last days, and I have urged Arafat to do his utmost to arrest more terrorists and to stop the terror against Israel.

And I have urged Prime Minister Sharon to end his attacks on Palestinian targets in order to avoid an escalation of violence in the region, and I have urged them to keep contacts between the parties in order to get the peace process back on track. And I discussed this with President Bush, and we will do what we can and to be -- to the disposal of the parties, also from the Norwegian side.

KING: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. I look forward to meeting you in person. From Oslo, Norway, the prime minister, Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.

We'll go to break and we'll close it out tonight with Mariah Carey performing for our troops overseas. Don't go away.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tonight, a special close for you from the biggest selling female pop artist in the world, Mariah Carey. She recently went to Kosovo and Macedonia to give U.S. front line troops some holiday cheer. Mariah took a helicopter to four remote sectors to meet with the soldiers, and then dazzled about 2,000 of them with a holiday concert. Here is Mariah Carey singing a medley of two of her hits, "Never Too Far" and "Hero." It's dedicated to the men and women in the U.S. armed forces.

Tomorrow night, Tom Cruise. Until then, good night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIAH CAREY SINGS MEDLEY OF "NEVER TOO FAR" AND "HERO"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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