Transcribed interview between John Pilger and Douglas Feith

The following was transcribed from a Flashpoints broadcast of portions of journalist John Pilger's documentary film Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror

PILGER: Isn't there a problem for us in the West of honesty about the reason for going to war in Iraq — and that was weapons of mass destruction?

FEITH: I don't think that was a lie. We went to war in large part because of the concern that weapons of mass destruction in the ... in the hands of the Saddam Hussein regime ... a regime that used such weapons ... in particular nerve gas...

PILGER: ... and was supplied by the United States and Britain with these weapons of mass destruction ...

FEITH: No, I don't believe that's accurate.

PILGER: Well, yes they were. Most, most of the weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein weren't built by him. The machine tools and the ingredients for his biological weapons all came from other countries, many of them from this country and Britain.

FEITH: I don't think that's right. I think, I really think that the...

PILGER: Well, it's on the record...

FEITH: Well...

PILGER: ... in the Library of Congress...

FEITH: I think that... I think that the premise of your question is wrong.

[...]

PILGER: Why is it wrong for dictators and terrorists to kill innocent civilians, and right or excusable for the United States to do exactly the same.

FEITH: Well, the United States doesn't do it, and if we did it it would be as reprehensible as... as what the terrorists do.

PILGER: The United States doesn't kill... innocent civilians?

FEITH: No, the United States does not target civilians.

PILGER: Hmm. Those of us on the outside who look at September 11, where 3,000 people died in that tragedy, but then look at the thousands who have died since, wonder about double standards here. Could you address that?

FEITH: I think that the... I think that the... numbers that you're... talking about are... are questionable, so let's... let's leave aside your...

PILGER: Why are they questionable?

FEITH: I... I don't accept your assertion that we've killed thousands of... of innocent people. But... let me get...

PILGER: There's a lot of... There's a lot of studies... and examination of facts on the ground that suggest indeed thousands. I mean in Iraq at the moment... there are studies that are talking about 10,000. But I don't want to get into numbers, but certainly thousands seems a fair figure.

FEITH: I don't... I don't know that that's true, and... and I don't accept the assertion.

[Cut to Dennis Halliday]

DENNIS HALLIDAY: If you ask an American student how many people died in Vietnam, he'll tell you 58,000. In other words they dismissed the 2, 3, maybe 4 million Vietnamese who were killed by the United States and its allies in that war. So this is an ongoing issue. Mr. Powell, Colin Powell, General Colin Powell I think was quoted as having said he's not interested in civilian casualties...

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Last modified: Tue Nov 18 11:47:45 CST 2003