Katie's Interview on Planet Ramsey Clark: The Tougher Part

It's hard not to reproduce the entire transcript of Katie Couric's interview with Ramsey Clark today. MRC's Geoff Dickens transcribed it all, since I said "transcribe Clark's insane parts" and he said "it's all insane." Let's start with where Couric does her job as a journalist. Near the end of the interview, Couric finally arrives where she should have begun, on the grave human rights abuses of Saddam. Windows Media or Real Player

Couric: "He's being charged with killing, the killing of 148 people from the village of Dujail in 1982. He's also likely to face subsequent charges, the gassing of 5000 people in the Kurdish, Kurdish village in March of 1988. The, the Iran-Iraq war during which about a million people were killed. The invasion of Kuwait and the violent suppression of the Shiite uprising back in 1991. Do you believe he is guilty of any of these crimes or any crime at all?"

Clark: "Katie I believe absolutely in the presumption of innocence. Not as a rule of law but as a rule of life. If you can't presume someone is fair, you can't judge them can you? Not to presume fairness is to prejudge. That's prejudice. So of course you presume but you think a lawyer's supposed to go around talking, 'well I think he's guilty of this or that or maybe this?' Can a lawyer do that for his client? What kind of a relationship can you establish with your client if you don't have a good relationship how can you represent him effectively? So the very question is asked all the time and it's not a good question."]

Actually, it was not a good question. A better question would have borrowed from Christopher Hitchens. Ramsey Clark told the BBC that the Dujail slaughter was defensible because war with Iran was raging: "He (Saddam) had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt." Isn't the BBC a reliable media organ? Didn't other media outlets (maybe even NBC) capture the reality of Dujail? Back to the transcript:

Couric: "Meanwhile, for lawyers that's for sure, you've been called, 'the war criminal's best friend, the Devil's advocate, traitor, Saddam's chief apologist.' You represented Slobodan Milosevic, another hated man who was responsible for great cruelties against humanity. Does it bother you that you are associated with these individuals?"

[Clark: "Well I'll tell you I as I said I've been lucky. I remember Dr. King saying one time, 'Never hate because hate will destroy your soul. You won't be able to judge fairly.' If you reduce yourself..."

Couric: "But do you think your clients, do you think your client follows that advice?"

[Clark: "And does that matter? I follow it. I can't, I can't control him he does what he does. I haven't detected particular hatred in his life. He's a person that's very much at peace when you meet with him. Peace of mind and he says what's on his mind. When the judge says, 'Look if you come back in the courtroom we'll give you a radio, a box full of clothes,' two things he would like to have he says, 'that's a cheap bribe. Nonsense. I do what I think's right.' I respect that."

Couric: "Ramsey Clark. Mr. Clark thanks for coming by this morning, we appreciate it."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis