Return to Transcripts main page
Piers Morgan Live
Interview with Gordon Brown; Interview with Pervez Musharraf
Aired May 26, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, two world leaders, two very different views of America -- former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You think he's arrogant?
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: I think so.
GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think he is a great president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: On President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: If you look at what President Obama has achieved, then half the al Qaeda leadership has been wiped out in recent years as a result of the efforts of the Americans.
MUSHARRAF: No country has a right to intrude into any other country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: There's too much division in Pakistan for the fight against terrorism to be effective.
MUSHARRAF: The situation in Pakistan is more complicated in that there is al Qaeda, there's Taliban, and Taliban spreading Talibanization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: There were two the most powerful men in the world. Now, they can speak freely.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: The special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. has been showing some -- well, some strains lately, and President Obama's state visit is meant to smooth over any rough patches. But is it working?
Joining me now is a man who knows a lot about that special relationship, former British prime minister, Gordon Brown.
Mr. Brown, thank you for joining me.
MORGAN: President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron jointly wrote a piece in which they describe the relationship as not just special, but as essential.
And they went on to say, "When the United States and Britain stand together, our people and people around the world can become more secure and more prosperous."
What do you say to that?
BROWN: I think it's an indispensable relationship, that's how I would put it. And I think it's based on values. It's not just based on history and common actions we've taken together. It's based on a shared approach to the world that's about liberty, it's about the dignity of the individual, it's about fairness, it's about opportunity.
And, you know, I think the new special relationship of the last 50 years -- because after all, when you kicked us out 200 years ago, the Americans --
BROWN: -- kicked the monarchy out of America as well, and now, love the monarchy.
I think for the last 50 years, what's really happened is -- when you have in almost every single battlefield of Europe and every single cemetery, war cemetery, American and British soldiers lying side by side, who were part of that amazing sacrifice of what we call the greatest generation. That is what has cemented our relationship.
So, when an American soldier dies, the British people mourn. And when a British soldier dies, the American people mourn. And I think that is at the heart of why we are so close, this joint, shared sacrifice that was made so many years ago for the liberty of the world.
MORGAN: When you were British prime minister, did you get a sense that Britain was special to the American administration, or is that just a form of words these days? How important are we in the scheme of things?
BROWN: No, no. I think when Britain and America work together -- and actually, I think it's now Britain as part of Europe and America work together -- there's very little we cannot do.
If you look at the success of NATO in ending the Cold War, Europe and America worked together. When Europe and America, with Britain, right to the center of Europe, don't work well together, then things start to go wrong.
So, I think the indispensability of the relationship has shown we couldn't get a climate change agreement, we haven't managed to move forward on trade. If Europe and America, but particularly Britain and America, were able to work more closely together, you could see more results that I think work to the benefit of the world.
And I think the lesson of the last 60 years is when we work together, and Britain's the bridge, really, here, you can actually achieve so much.
MORGAN: President Obama's been in Britain this week and created quite a storm. I mean, he's an incredibly charismatic guy. And in Ireland, as well, amazing scenes there.
How do you think he's doing as president?
BROWN: I think he's a great president. It's not only a historic presidency, the first black president, the first one who has shown that America can repair all the wounds of civil rights and the Civil War. He's actually a person of great personality, great intellect, very caring.
And also, I think, very reflective. I think he understands America's role in history, he understands where America wants to be.
And, you know, it's a huge change from 50 years ago. I was telling someone the story just a day or two ago. John F. Kennedy came to Britain to meet Harold Macmillan, who was then the prime minister. And they had a great relationship, the two of them, one younger, one older.
And John F. Kennedy arrived, and Harold Wilson -- at Downing Street -- and Harold Wilson -- Harold Macmillan was still asleep. He had slept in.
BROWN: And they had to -- John F. Kennedy had to sit in Downing Street reading his newspaper in the waiting room for half an hour.
MORGAN: Is that right?
BROWN: Now, if that had happened now or on any presidential visit that I was involved in or now is happening, the slick second- nature of these visits, if anything goes wrong like that, there would be a national outcry. MORGAN: David Cameron would have to resign if he fell asleep on President Obama.
BROWN: It would be a bit -- and then you have this instance of where Harry Truman invited Clement Attlee, who was the British prime minister in the 1940s, across to Washington. And, of course, they were deep in the negotiations that brought about NATO and the Marshall Plan and everything else.
And Harry Truman was invited by Attlee to the Washington residence of the British ambassador. And I think it was near Christmas, and so they spent the time singing. Clement Attlee, I got, that played the piano. Harry Truman did the singing, at the --
MORGAN: Did you ever do this?
BROWN: -- the Americans were calling --
MORGAN: When you had President Bush?
BROWN: -- the Americans were calling the tunes.
MORGAN: Were President Bush and you ever around a piano?
BROWN: I don't think he would appreciate my singing talents. But you know, President Bush and I used to talk a huge amount about history. He was a very avid reader of history. The image that was presented of him in America and around the world is quite different from his real life where he read -- he would talk to you about history books he'd read about American history, European history.
And when we brought him to Downing Street and we had -- we had a dinner for him, we discussed who he would have liked to have invited. You might have thought he would have wanted some of the celebrities or something. He wanted a group of historians so he could talk to them about American and British history. And he enjoyed that evening.
MORGAN: Given events as they've been unfurling in the Middle East, in particular, do you think that President Bush's legacy will improve over time? Because, obviously, he was a very unpopular president, both in his own country and here in Britain.
BROWN: I think there's a big decision that was made in 2001, and really, we're seeing it played through with the death of Osama bin Laden. How great was this terrorist threat? And I think Bush -- people will look back and say President Bush, I mean George W. Bush, did make the right decision to recognize that this was a major threat to the civilization of the world, that it had to be taken on.
Now, the next set of decisions are controversial. But I don't think people can doubt the first decision, that when you have the bombings in New York, the planes going into the buildings, and you have America trying to recover from that, it had to be the right decision to say, "We are going to take this terrorist threat on."
And I think President Bush will be remembered, actually, for taking that terrorist threat on.
Now, in Afghanistan, he obviously did the right thing, because he kicked al Qaeda out of Afghanistan. Perhaps we should have spent more time following that through.
But, equally, at the same time, we now have Osama bin Laden -- is no longer alive. Al Qaeda is in disarray. If you look at what President Obama's achieved, then half the al Qaeda leadership have been wiped out in recent years, as a result of the efforts of the Americans. So, it was a historic decision.
MORGAN: What's the big mistake for President Bush? And obviously, you voted as well over here, as did Tony Blair. Was the war in Iraq, given all we now know, was that a mistake, do you think?
BROWN: No, I don't think so, but I think you've got to distinguish between the rightness of the case -- and, of course, the UN and the whole world supported the rightness of the case -- and then the follow-through.
And I think the follow-through became very difficult, because in the modern world, you can't just have a just war. You've got to have a just peace. And if you cannot plan through a reconstruction that leaves a country in a position where it can build for the future quickly, then you've got to question what was going on.
So, I think when all these inquiries are finished, people will conclude that the justness of the case against Saddam Hussein was proved by his unwillingness to ever hold to the United Nations resolutions. But there should have been far better planning of what lay next or what could lay next before things happened.
MORGAN: There's been a wonderful state dinner here with Her Majesty, the queen, and other members of the royal family. A huge royal wedding recently in Britain as well.
Is part of the special relationship between Britain and America connected to the royal family, do you think?
BROWN: I think the royal family is incredibly popular in America. I was actually speaking in America, and it was an economic speech, but I think when they were asking me what I was going to say, they would've preferred if I'd given a speech about the history of the royal family.
MORGAN: Why do you think Americans are so fascinated by the British royal family?
BROWN: I think it's about Britain. It's about our heritage, it's about the fact that so many people in America descended from either Britain or from Ireland. MORGAN: You were heavily involved in the Princes Diana Memorial Fund, worked with the princes and other members of the royal family.
When you saw what happened to Princess Diana, who you knew -- and I knew, for that matter -- and we saw the attention that she got and the relentlessness of it, leading to the terrible event of her death, do you worry about the attention, now, on William and Kate, these new superstars of the British royal family?
BROWN: I think it was a tragedy what happened to Princess Diana. And I did not know her, really. But I do know that the pressure on her family and on her children has been immense.
And I think it's a remarkable tribute to these two young men that, despite all the publicity and the attempts to catch them out and everything else, they've grown up to be very good -- I would say citizens, but very good members of the royal family.
And I think it's true to say that Prince William has got a special place in the affections of people, not least because of the success of his wedding.
MORGAN: Oh, yes. I mean, I was there covering it, and I thought it was an incredible success, the wedding. To me, it felt like we were getting a huge re-energizing of the British monarchy, particularly around the world. Did you get that sense?
BROWN: I think that was important, but I think you've got to look forward, as well. And it's going to have to be a modern monarchy in the future.
Now, I think our alliance is about economic cooperation, it's also about cultural cooperation, it's also about how we deal with some of the other problems in the world -- climate change, trade. And I think we could be a bit more successful in the way we deal with these in the future, and I think this common partnership of Europe and America -- and, in fact, Europe, America, and Africa working together, that would be something that I think could achieve a lot of --
MORGAN: OK, let's take a short break.
When we come back, I want to talk to you about the IMF, the scandal, obviously, that's enveloped the organization, what it means for the global economy, and what you would do now to really restore the global economy back to where it was pre-crisis.
MORGAN: Back now with the British former prime minister, Gordon Brown.
Mr. Brown, obviously, huge events going on in the IMF. You knew Dominique Strauss-Kahn very well. You worked alongside him for a long time. What did you make of this scandal that erupted, and what does it mean for the IMF in terms of the global economy and how he runs it.
BROWN: It's a personal tragedy. I mean, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was steering the IMF through what you might call the difficult post- crisis period where you're trying to avoid a world depression, and very successfully, I think. The G-20, the IMF, the World Bank came together to do that.
But you know, the next stage is quite different, and the next stage is about this decade. Americans must look at this decade with some insecurity, because unemployment's high, youth unemployment's high, living standards are not rising. America can't consume a huge amount more. It's got to export to the rest of the world for its prosperity.
And the same problem exists for Europe. So, you need some global growth arrangements. Some expansion of trade, expansion of growth, that would suit America and Europe, but also suit China. So, that's the first challenge.
The second challenge that Dominique was starting to face is: we are not certain that we've got financial stability. Nobody can say that we've done enough, yet, to avoid a future financial crisis.
And, of course, we've got the other problems, because we've got the Middle East and Africa, and you've got massive youth unemployment. You've got 35 percent of young people in Egypt out of work.
MORGAN: And you also have a massively higher population. Being in that lower age bracket, so you have many more young people, and many of those are unemployed and feeling --
And also, they're getting information through social networking, to a better world, aren't they? Which creates its own problems.
BROWN: Absolutely. And the expectations and the aspirations are so high as against what the experience is. And we know that economic discontent has started again in Egypt, even with the change of regime.
We know that in Tunisia, there's real problems because young people feel that they haven't got the opportunities. We know that you need to create about 50 million jobs in the Middle East and North Africa just to meet that population bulge.
And you know that if they don't get jobs there, then this migration will spread across to Europe, cause social problems there. Or it will become a security problem in Africa.
Now, that's why you need this sort of major initiative that I think the G-8 and the G-20 will have to look at. You need something equivalent Middle East and North African development bank that will actually make its business to reduce youth unemployment and to build the infrastructure and investment as necessary. It's a major project for the world.
MORGAN: When you think about the IMF for a moment, how important is the IMF to the global economy?
BROWN: You see, for 50 years, the IMF was dealing with national problems. So, you know, if a country -- Argentina, Brazil, or Indonesia, or in Britain, in one case, fell into problems, the IMF would take action to bail it out, to both rescue it and say what it had to do.
Now, you're dealing with something quite different since the financial crash. You didn't want what you might call a global problem that cannot be solved without a global institution or a global action.
So, financial instability affects all of us. You cannot have financial stability now in one country if you've got instability in another country.
MORGAN: Does the IMF become more important --
BROWN: Of course.
MORGAN: -- since the financial crisis?
BROWN: Very important. It's got to coordinate the approach to financial stability. It's got to make possible greater global growth and trade. Otherwise, America and Europe, as I say, who have to export, will lose out. And, of course, it's got this responsibility to the poorer countries of the world, with the World Bank.
MORGAN: Given how important the IMF now is, it leaves a big blow if the guy running it has been embroiled in this huge scandal, isn't that right? I mean, apart from everything else, from all I hear -- and I'm interested in your observation on this -- he was very good at the job.
BROWN: Dominique Strauss-Kahn is an old friend of mine, and we worked very well together when he was finance minister.
I think what's happened in the last two or three years is now you've got the G-20, which President Obama helped create. You've got what's called the Global Growth Plan, which the IMF is hoping to administer. You've got these trade negotiations that are faltering. You've got the climate change agreement that's never actually happened.
And, so, your international institutions, whether it's the IMF or the G-20 or whether it's the World Bank, are going to become far more important in future years. And I think it's to the benefit of America and countries like Britain that we have strong international institutions that carry legitimacy, but also are effective and efficient.
MORGAN: But there will be people listening to you, Mr. Brown, saying, well, you sound like the perfect guy for the job. Why don't you take over the IMF?
BROWN: I'm way beyond all that. I was actually in charge --
MORGAN: Way beyond it?
BROWN: Well, I was in charge of --
MORGAN: You're not 106, Mr. Brown, come on.
BROWN: I was in charge of the selection process when I was chairman of the IMF committee in the early 2000s. And this is a long, prolonged selection process, which is being -- it's being miniatured, if you like, into a few days.
But, the whole of the world's got to be consulted. You can't have one country without listening to another country and another country. And you'll get, in the next few weeks, the views from India and from China and from Africa and from Latin America --
MORGAN: If you were offered the job, would you take it?
BROWN: I don't think it comes to that, to be honest. I'm not interested in running a campaign for a job. I'm more interested in saying what the proper agenda is for the future. And, you know, I was offered the job on one occasion previously, and I think the issue for me is how you can get the world to work together.
So, this candidate, whoever does it, has got to be able to bring a consensus of the world together. And I think that's going to be a very important thing --
MORGAN: Another short break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about the world since you left office. Not from, necessarily, an economic point of view, but just what is happening to this planet of ours.
MORGAN: Back now with the former British prime minister, Gordon Brown.
Mr. Brown, we talked earlier about the economics of the world and, obviously, you were at the absolute forefront of trying to save the world from this financial crash.
In terms of the world generally, you came up with an interesting quote, say market need morals. And it struck me that actually what the financial crisis taught us was probably the world could do with better moral leadership.
There was a kind of fundamental breakdown in moral guidance, I felt, from many countries, from many people in positions of power. Would you agree with that?
BROWN: Well, I think we've got these big problems that require people to take a longer-term view than just their own selfish individual or national interest.
So, you've got climate change is a huge problem. You've got terrorism that's a huge problem. You've got the issues of security with this mass migration that could take place anytime of large numbers of people from the Middle East, from North Africa, and Africa. And you've got these economic problems that arise from financial instability, which is basically a market failure.
And I think if we as a world asked what we have in common, what are the values we share in common, can you build your institutions on a stronger basis -- I think you would then conclude that there had to be greater cooperation between the major countries. You would have to have a -- not just a G-20-type organization, you'd have to have a constituency system that every country felt it was represented. And you'd have to build a number of better multi-lateral institutions where people could find that at least they were addressing the problems we face.
MORGAN: Has the Internet eroded political power in the conventional sense?
BROWN: Yes and --
MORGAN: Because as you're seeing all over the Middle East, you see, as we said, these young oppressed people, unemployed, but angry, but also able to get information about how other people live, and saying "That's what I want." That didn't exist before.
So, you're seeing, now, people power, driven from the floor up, aren't you?
BROWN: It's because of the Internet that we know about events in Burma, we knew about the fraud elections in Zimbabwe, we knew about many different things that were going on in Egypt. We knew about some of the things going on in Iran.
MORGAN: Is it the end of despotic rule as we know it?
BROWN: I think foreign policy cannot be conducted by a few elites that just talk to each other and never consult the public. I think that day is over. The diplomacy which is just a few privileged people carving up the world around them, popular protests.
Now, the Internet's been called a shouting match without an umpire. So, you've got people shouting at each other across the world.
What will happen over the next few years is that social organizations will emerge, and you will have people across frontiers able to communicate with each other, to organize with each other, including Russia, China, and many other countries, and they will come to common causes that they want to promote.
Now, whether that's an end to torture or whether that's an environmental campaign, you will find worldwide campaigns that build up, and suddenly the elite leaders of a few countries are under enormous pressure to do something about it, without them having realized that this movement was even starting in the first place.
And that really is very significant, because it will change economic policy, it will change environmental policy --
BROWN: And it will change the way we see the world.
MORGAN: It will also mean that trust between countries will never be more important. You saw a real breakdown, I think, when Osama bin Laden was found to have been living right in the middle of Pakistan for five years in a compound next to a military and intelligence base.
Were you surprised when you heard that?
BROWN: No, because Pakistan is the epicenter of terrorism. We've got to recognize that even in Britain, we were following, perhaps, 2,000 potential terrorists who were living in Britain, 20 or 30 groups that were operating within Britain.
And most of them had -- some from Somalia, some from Yemen, but most of them were taking their orders from Pakistan.
And I think that will be true of any Western European country, true of America itself --
MORGAN: Do you think anybody at high level in Pakistan would've known that Osama bin Laden was there?
BROWN: The question in Pakistan is, you've got the army, you've got the security services, you've got the politicians, you've got the business class. You've got a very divided political system. Until there is unity in Pakistan, until people come together, then the attack on terrorism, the fight against terrorism, will be ineffective.
And this is the real problem that we face. Afghanistan is soluble if we had stability in Pakistan. Terrorism in Pakistan needs the local government, the local people, to come together with these -- almost with nonsectarian politics, and with the army and security services working with them to deal with the threat.
There is too much division in Pakistan for the fight against terrorism to be effective.
MORGAN: And finally, what do you miss most about being prime minister?
BROWN: I can tell you what I don't miss.
MORGAN: Yes, do that.
BROWN: Well, what you don't miss is the British newspapers.
MORGAN: Of course. BROWN: What you don't miss is your ability to travel -- you now have an ability to travel abroad without people asking lots of questions. I enjoy my time coming to America in particular.
I don't miss the pomp -- I don't miss the pomp and circumstance. I suppose I miss -- you know, we had started a big project to reform the world economy. I mean, when we started to deal with the banking crisis --
MORGAN: Do you feel personally that you're given a bad rap on this? Because the Americans, when I talk to them about your role in eventually saving the world's economy, are very effusive in their praise, including the president.
But when you're here, and it may be down to the media and their allegiance and so on, but you get such a battering when many in other countries consider you are one of the people who saved the economy.
BROWN: Well, 90 percent of the British media, as you know, is conservative. Look, we made two big decisions that I think were important.
One is, we decided the problems of the bank were structural. It wasn't just cyclical, it wasn't just a sort of passing problem. We had to completely restructure the banks, and every other country, then, recognized that to be the case. And we've got to follow that through.
And the second thing we realized is that the world couldn't solve the problem without coming together. So, we created an organization, the G-20, which met in London, to do that.
I think the issue, now, is the follow-through. Because if I'm right that global problems cannot be solved simply by one country or two countries working together on their own, but needs this form of global cooperation, then whether it's climate change, or whether it's security, or whether it's terrorism itself, or whether it's population and migration, but particularly when it's economics and financial stability, we have got to find a way of working together better.
And people look to America for leadership, and America is the leading country in the world. Whatever America is in a position to advocate working with other countries, it can achieve.
And I think the -- the real lesson of this is America's role is still absolutely central to everything that happens in the world. And I want to back the leadership of America and what they try to do to make the world a safer place, as President Obama has done with the death of bin Laden. It's also made the world a more prosperous place.
And I think the verdict has still got to be passed on how we have done in coming out of this crisis.
MORGAN: Mr. Brown, thank you very much, indeed.
BROWN: Thank you. MORGAN: Lovely to see you again.
Next up, another form world leader, Pervez Musharraf, he was the president of Pakistan. Could he be again?
MORGAN: Pakistan is one of the United States' most crucial allies in the war on terror. But now there are tough questions on both sides about that relationship. Joining me now, the one time, perhaps future president of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf.
Mr. President, thank you for joining me.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: Thank you.
MORGAN: Quite clearly, there is a problem in the relationship between America and Pakistan right now. A lot of it centers around the discovery that Osama bin Laden was living right in the middle of what appeared to be a intelligence compound for all this time.
How would you describe the relationship as it stands?
MUSHARRAF: There certainly is a trust deficit, but it has been persisting since the last one year. Not because of OBL alone -- Osama alone. There were incidents of mistrust in the past. Therefore, the final culmination was this, that there was total mistrust, and therefore Pakistan was not even told.
And as people take it, there was a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty. Therefore, it has led to a lot of more misunderstanding. I think -- which is extremely detrimental to the cause of fighting against terror.
MORGAN: I mean, there's no doubt that most world leaders now say that Pakistan has become the center for world terror. Do you accept that?
MUSHARRAF: To an extent, yes. But the real fight is in Afghanistan. If we can win in Afghanistan, we will win in Pakistan also. It is not vice versa. If we win in Pakistan, Afghanistan still stays.
So I don't believe that. There is no doubt that the situation in Pakistan is more complicated, in that there is al Qaeda, there is Taliban. And Taliban spreading Talibanization into settled district. And then there's extremists in our society.
And then there are Mujahadeen who are involved with Kashmir in India, all of them developing a nexus. So the situation is more complicated in Pakistan, all right.
MORGAN: Is it -- but there is obvious frustration and concern in America, not least because, of course, Was Pakistan has a reputed -- at least 100 nuclear weapons. If the country continues to deteriorate in terms of stability, this becomes a very dangerous situation for the world.
MUSHARRAF: If Pakistan disintegrates, then it can be dangerous. Otherwise, if Pakistan's integrity is there, and which I'm sure it will be there as long as the armed forces of Pakistan are there, there is no danger of the nuclear assets or strategic assets falling in any terrorist hands.
MORGAN: We talked about disintegration, it is all relative, isn't it? I mean, 35,000 Pakistani people have been killed in terror related incidents since 9/11. There are suicide bombings every week now in Pakistan. To a neutral observer, it does appear that you country, Pakistan, is going through a form of disintegration.
MUSHARRAF: I wouldn't call it disintegration. As I said, the armed forces of Pakistan keep the unity and the -- and the four provinces of Pakistan certainly are not looking for separation. But, therefore, there's no doubt in my mind that disintegration will not be possible.
And therefore, any -- outside world, I would like to say also -- understands that disintegration of Pakistan already harmed the integrity of Pakistan, will really be extremely dangerous for -- for the world -- for the region and world.
MORGAN: You understand why President Obama and his administration feel pretty angry when they discover that the most wanted terrorist in American history is living right in the heart of Pakistan, right next to a military base? I mean, it defies credibility. I'm not saying that you knew anything, but certainly that nobody at any high level in Pakistan had any idea that Osama bin Laden was there.
MUSHARRAF: I don't think anyone had an idea. I don't think so.
MORGAN: You worked -- you worked in that compound. You worked in the base, next to the compound in Abbottabad for two and a half years.
MORGAN: Is it credible that no one else in that base, in all this time, would have had any idea?
MUSHARRAF: Well, that's a very -- when you say I worked there -- no, I was trained there. I was a cadet when I got in the army.
MORGAN: That means you know it very well.
MORGAN: You know where that house is. You know the proximity.
MORGAN: I'm not suggesting that you knew for a moment. What I'm suggesting is does it seem likely to you, with all these military intelligence people around this compound, that nobody knew anything?
MUSHARRAF: There's normal. All the military intelligence people, there must have been a detachment, headed by a major or a lieutenant colonel and a few people, about eight ten, people. That is the detachment anywhere, all over Pakistan.
It is not that there was swarming with intelligence people around. Not at all. And the -- the issue -- yes, indeed. It is a terrible mishap. It's a terrible failure. But to think that there was complicity at the strategic level, at the government level, is -- is certainly not there.
The people around, thousands of them living around this house, they also didn't know that Osama bin Laden is inside. So I really -- I have certain reservations on this issue, whether he was there for five years. I can't imagine that.
But if we were there, well, again, it was a great failure, failure of the intelligence detachments over there who should have known.
MORGAN: Hold that thought, Mr. President. Coming up, more on the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan.
MORGAN: Back now with General Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan. If you had been the president of Pakistan when this raid took place, would you have been entirely comfortable with what the Americans did, in terms of dropping Navy SEALS into the compound, killing Osama bin Laden on the sovereign soil, not telling anybody in the Pakistani government? Would you have been happy about that?
MUSHARRAF: No, not at all. Not at all. Not the least. In fact, in my time, it was very, very clear that we don't want anybody to intrude across cross borders, no force. We decided on intelligence cooperation. All the dozens of al Qaeda people that we got, all the important ones, were intelligence cooperation. Locate them, identify them.
But the action was invariably by Pakistan forces. Never did any outside --
MORGAN: How would you have reacted if you had been Pakistan's president?
MUSHARRAF: Well, I would have certainly reacted, very angrily. This is a violation of our sovereignty.
MORGAN: Is it, therefore, illegal what the Americans did?
MUSHARRAF: It is absolutely illegal, yes.
MORGAN: So it was an unlawful assassination?
MUSHARRAF: Now you are getting into the legality of -- he was a world class risk. He has caused --
MORGAN: I'm referring to the mission itself. If, as you say, it was an illegal raid on sovereign territory, therefore it becomes an illegal, unlawful assassination. It can't be anything else.
MUSHARRAF: Well, I think that -- I -- I don't want to get involved in these legalities of the issue.
MORGAN: You did say -- that's why I asked you if you thought it was illegal. If it is illegal, then the killing of bin Laden becomes an unlawful assassination.
MUSHARRAF: -- killing. I will agree.
So what would you have done if you had been president? You have this unlawful assassination, as you see it, on your sovereign soil. What could Pakistan -- what should Pakistan have done?
MUSHARRAF: Well, I don't think I would have looked at it from international law point of view or legalities or jurisprudence points of view. Here is a terrorist who needed to be death with. There's no doubt he should have been dealt with.
The modality used was wrong. It should have been Pakistan forces to deal with it. U.S. forces violated our sovereignty. And certainly it would have -- it would certainly have brought a very bad name. My reputation within my own people would have gone down.
Therefore, any leader in Pakistan allowing this -- his own reputation is at stake, and rightly so. Therefore, I would have -- wouldn't have liked it, objected. But I would not have objected to the killing of Osama bin Laden, whether it was violation of any law or --
MORGAN: What you would have liked is the American administration to have informed you.
MORGAN: And possibly included Pakistani forces in the raid. Is that what you are saying?
MUSHARRAF: No. I would have certainly insisted that it be Pakistan's special forces going to deal with it.
MORGAN: Here is the problem. You are President Obama; you know there has been a breakdown in trust between Pakistan and America at a high level. The trust is not what it used to be. There are good reasons for that.
You get intelligence that Osama bin Laden is in this compound. And you have to make a choice: either we tell the authorities, the government of a country that currently we do not trust, and who we may think -- we may suspect know that Osama bin Laden is there, that some of them knew this.
Why, if you are President Obama, could you possibly take the risk under those circumstances of not acting unilaterally?
MUSHARRAF: Well, no Pakistani and no leader in Pakistan will allow this as a justification for any intrusion into Pakistan. Nobody can do that. No country's leader -- would America allow such an action by Mexico or somebody? I mean, let's treat all countries with sovereign equality.
MORGAN: President Obama said this week on British television for his state visit to Britain that if the same event arose again, he would do the same. If it happens in the future with other known terrorists in al Qaeda, he would take the same action. We have a clear flash point between Pakistan and America.
MUSHARRAF: Yes. I think this is putting the Pakistan leadership and government on the dock. I think it is -- it is not a very responsible statement.
MORGAN: You think it is irresponsible for President Obama to say that.
MUSHARRAF: Yes, indeed.
MORGAN: Because it basically implies that America has rights in terms of taking action on this sovereign soil, as in Pakistan, we saw with bin Laden, that it has a right to deal do that, when you say it has no right to do that.
MUSHARRAF: Certainly no country has a right to intrude into any other country. Actually -- I mean, if technically or legally you see it, it is an act of war. Therefore, I think it is an irresponsible statement. And I think such arrogance should not be shown publicly to the world.
MORGAN: You think he was arrogant?
MUSHARRAF: I think so. I think it is arrogance that we don't care. We don't care for your national opinion. We don't care for your people. We will come in and do the same thing. This is -- this is arrogance.
MORGAN: When you say an act of war, that's pretty serious language. Would you see another raid by the Americans to get rid of another al Qaeda terrorist in exactly the same circumstances, without informing the Pakistani government -- would that be an act of war?
MUSHARRAF: Theoretically, technically, yes, indeed. It is an act of war. Any violation by forces of a country's sovereignty is an act of war, theoretically. Now how to deal with it is the question. I leave it to the government there how they want to deal with it, diplomatically, through dealing, through protests, or through physical military action and military response.
It could be a serious situation. We must all understand that. The world should understand it. President Obama should understand it.
MORGAN: We will take a short break now. When we come back, I want to talk about your political future and the rumors that you may well launch a new bid to become president again of Pakistan.
MORGAN: Back now with General Perez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan.
Mr. President, there is a growing clamor in Pakistan for you to possibly return in the next election in 2013. Will you consider doing that?
MUSHARRAF: Yes, I have already taken a decision. I did consider the situation in Pakistan. And I saw that there is a requirement of creating another political option. Otherwise, Pakistan is going in the wrong direction.
Therefore, I have made my -- formed my own party. And I do intend absolutely to return to Pakistan. I have set the date of 23rd March, 2012, well before the election in 2013. I will.
MORGAN: Do you believe you can win?
MUSHARRAF: Well, I have entered into politics because I do believe I can win. As far as going back as president, that's an issue. We've got a parliamentary form of government. The party has to win. And then if my party wins and has a majority, then one has to decide whether one becomes a prime minister or a president.
MORGAN: You've been in this interview quite outspoken about President Obama, called him arrogant, in terms of what happened in the raid on bin Laden. You say it would be an act of war if it happens again. In fact, it already has been.
If you become president, you will know that Pakistan is very reliant at the moment on American aid. Three billion dollars a year is a lot of money. Are you worried that if you ramp up the rhetoric over the search for the terrorists in Pakistan against the Americans, they might respond and say, we're yanking our money?
MUSHARRAF: Well, first of all, I didn't say act of war. Yes, technically and theoretically, it is. Any intrusion -- I was talking theoretically -- it is an act of war. Anybody intruding with force in any other country is an act of war, theoretically.
But I didn't say that one would like to declare it as an act of war. I think it has very serious repercussions.
MORGAN: The point I was making is obviously, if you create to much of a rift with America, with President Obama, if you go back into power, they won't forget that. And Pakistan is reliant on this aid money. It's a lot of money every year.
MUSHARRAF: Money is coming. It is there. It assists Pakistan. There's no doubt about that. But that doesn't mean that Pakistan can give up its sovereignty, its national interests.
Now this has to be dealt with in a diplomatic manner. We have to reduce this trust deficit. We have to restore trust. It was there for six or seven years when I was there. We had good trust. And we were taking action. And we were very frank and straight and direct.
MORGAN: Have you always personally been 100 percent honest with America?
:MUSHARRAF: Five hundred percent honest. I don't believe in dishonesty. I believe in telling a person right straight, because then that is how trust is developed. The moment you are hiding or telling -- distorting facts, that is when the trust deficit starts.
MORGAN: Do you believe the current Pakistani administration has been 100% honest?
MUSHARRAF: I don't know. I don't know. I can't comment on that. Certainly, the mistrust is that Pakistan army or the ISI assists the Taliban. And the bone of contention lies in North Waziristan not being attacked and Afghani, who is one of the leaders of this Taliban is not being dealt with.
Now, I don't know what discussions take place. But if I was there, I would certainly -- there has to be a reason why it is not being done, a strategic reason, or maybe it will be done a little later. But whatever it is, the concerns of the United States and the coalition must be given straight and clearly through the United States.
What is the reason that this is not happening? And they must devolve whatever concerns of Pakistan is, absolutely, directly. That is what diplomacy is, really. And we must do that. We will -- Pakistan I know will want to address this issue against al Qaeda and Taliban.
All that is happening. Isn't there a disconnect that while everyone accuses the ISI and the army that we are involved with the Taliban, and look at what they are doing. Look at what happened in this base, the naval base. And look at what has been happening all around.
But yet we are being blamed that we are with the Taliban. And the Taliban are doing this to the army. They have attacked our general headquarters. Isn't there some disconnect? Isn't there something wrong in this logic?
Obviously, there is something wrong in the logic. The problem is that there's maybe -- maybe I'm saying people are not talking straight and up front.
MORGAN: The problem in the logic comes when you discover that Osama bin Laden is in the middle of Pakistan, because clearly to the Americans, a lot of them will be thinking this is not a coincidence. He's either been harbored there or somebody knew he was there. Otherwise it doesn't make any sense.
So I think the problem with the Taliban relationship with Pakistan is it becomes suspicious. MUSHARRAF: No, if this was the case, it doesn't stand with logic. If there was complicity, and he's there for five years, I get directly involved. That means I was complicit. I would like to give a logical --
MORGAN: Had you been president --
MUSHARRAF: Let me complete this. Now, if that was the case, I would like -- I would have wanted to take leverage out of it. When I was at the receiving end in the 2007, I should have done something with this Osama bin Laden card and gained advantage.
So obviously it is illogical. It is not the case. May I also add --
MORGAN: You mean you would have traded the information that you had bin Laden?
MUSHARRAF: I would have done something to turn the tables in my favor.
MORGAN: You wouldn't have just handed him over to the Americans?
MUSHARRAF: I don't know.
MORGAN: Wouldn't that be the responsible thing to do?
MUSHARRAF: I would have used this card to my favor. That is what I'm saying. I wouldn't have left it to the next government. You hand him over to the next government.
MORGAN: Can I just question the ethics of that for a moment? If you're a layman like me, and you say you would have used the existence of bin Laden in Pakistan to your advantage --
MUSHARRAF: You must understand my logic. I'm saying if I was complicit, if I knew, I would have done that. If I was being analytical that I knew and I'm harboring and hiding him, I would have done this maybe.
MORGAN: If you had known for a fact where bin Laden was, would you have handed him over to America?
MUSHARRAF: Let's not get into the details of something which didn't happen. Obviously --
MORGAN: Well, it might happen again. That's why I'm asking.
MUSHARRAF: I can't answer you right away. It's not a simple question/answer issue. It's a very serious issue.
MORGAN: Let me make it simple. Bin laden is dead. If you go back into power and you become president again, and you discover that a senior member of al Qaeda, who has without any doubt been committing atrocities, is living in another compound near Karachi or somewhere, would you tell the Americans? MUSHARRAF: I would like to take action. Why should I tell the Americans? However, there is intelligence cooperation. Even finding that man out, in my time, it was always -- intelligence had always been cooperating.
Technical intelligence has -- are more with the United States. So to locate a person, it was always been in ISI and CIA together.
So they would know already. And if they don't know, yes, indeed, I would like to inform them, but take action myself,
MORGAN: Mr. President, thank you very much indeed.