Dan Rather on David Letterman Show One Week After 9-11

Dan Rather, anchorman for CBS News, appears on The David Letterman Show shortly after 9-11. The show had been off the air for a week.

file deleted

Below are transcript excerpts:

RATHER: President Bush made what I think is his strongest statement yet when he went to the Pentagon this afternoon. He was Giuliani-esque -- I don't think he would mind me saying that, no. He looked the camera straight in the eye -- unblinking -- and said "Osama Dead or Alive."

[Audience applause]

RATHER: And with what we're dealing with here, which is not one man [Bin Laden], it's a hydra-headed operation that's in 55 countries around the world. Now granted, the focus is on, and we should understand, not just Afghanistan -- Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

RATHER: They hate America. They hate us. This is one thing that makes this war different. They don't want territory, they don't want what we got -- they want to kill us and destroy us. It's a heavy statement, but it's true -- they seek to accomplish our death. Death as a people, as a society, and a culture.


RATHER: Who can explain madmen, and who can explain evil.

RATHER: Saddam Hussein, if he isn't connect to this, he's connected to any other things. He's part of this 'Hate America' thing. You have to understand, Saddam Hussein is somebody I have sat this close, eye to eye.

LETTERMAN: The other day, Dick Cheney -- who to me seemed like the real deal -- Dick Cheney was talking about how counter-intelligence and espionage is dirty business, and maybe now we were going to have to get down in the mud with these people, and I thought well Holy God wasn't that the way it was supposed to be?

RATHER: This [war] will be long, the casualties will be greater. Let's face it, we've already had more casualties, I mean five thousand of our fellow Americans have been killed already. When we talk about casualties, we've suffered casualties, but there will be more. When we send out sons and daughters into this kind of war, into this Twilight Zone that they're going, there will be great casualties. Now, it remains to be seen whether we have the staying power, that's basically up to you, and me, and everybody in the audience, and every American, whether we have the staying power, whether we have the will to stay with it, is the big question. But you say 'Will it do anything?' I certainly think it can, but what would we think of ourselves if we didn't try.

RATHER: This will take years, this may very well take another four, eight, ten years. The world's view of us, in many places with many people, is we just don't have the stomach to stick anything out. Well, we were great during World War II, but this is a new generation, they're all spoiled.

Dan Rather, CBS News Anchor
Interview on "The David Letterman Show"
September 17, 2001


More details and similar videos can be found here: