Throwing its weight behind the battle to fight AIDS would "redescribe" America to the world. Interview for The O'Reilly Factor - highlights here.
In a wide-ranging and combative interview with Fox TV's Bill O'Reilly, Bono discusses why the US election campaign appears to be ignoring the greatest crisis in the world, why he is a 'non-partisan guy' and how 'Brand America' can shine again.
Here¹s a couple of choice segments from the discussion and you can read a version of the entire transcript here.
BONO: Two things happened on 9/11. There was the one that's reported, of course, the attack on America. But the one that has not been reported, and reported with less disgust, is what happened in the aftermath, which was those pictures around the world of people jumping up and down, celebrating the Twin Towers turning to dust. They were the most disturbing images for me as a fan, and a person who loves America.
... I don't care who you are, a politician, you stop that. How did this happen to us? This is the America that liberated Europe? Not just liberated Europe, we built Europe with the Marshall Plan which cost, by the way, 1 percent GDP over four years. That's when "Brand USA" was at its brightest.
Right now "Brand USA" has taken some blows and some knocks. And I'm saying there's an opportunity here. The Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe as a bulwark against Sovietism in the Cold War. It was smart. It wasn't just goodness of heart, which it also was. It was smart. And I'm saying in a hot war, here's a chance now to redescribe ourselves and be a bulwark against other militarism.
O'REILLY: And you believe that the worlds negative opinion of America would change if America took the lead to save people in Africa?
BONO: One hundred percent. They are. America is taking the lead.
O'REILLY: But more aggressively.
BONO: I have to say this. President Bush has done it, John Kerry is big on AIDS. (But) why is it not an emergency? How can three of these a week, three Madison Square Gardens a week, how can -- you know, a giant stadium every two weeks disappearing, you know, a preventable, treatable disease like AIDS, how can that not be an emergency?
O'REILLY: Because those people aren't in our eye line. Look at Darfur in the Sudan? I submit to you that in theory, you are correct. And I'm glad you're doing what your doing by the way. I admire you greatly for doing it. But I think, in practice it becomes more complicated. And I think you're right. If the United States got out in front of this, started to introduce U.N. resolutions, that's the way to go. But the world really has to come together.
BONO: They will on this. See, this is a war -- this is winnable. There is actually -- it's really winnable. There's more lives at stake. It's a war against a tiny little virus, as Bill Frist says.
O'REILLY: But action has to be efficient and people in the United States, most of us, are struggling to make our own lives solvent, and to ask them to give more money to people who aren't going to help themselves is foolhardy. But I do agree we have to find a way. Why hasn't the United Nations taken a more aggressive posture in fighting the AIDS epidemic which they are cut out to do?
BONO: I don't think that's true. I mean, the Global Health Fund to fight T.B., AIDS and malaria was set up by Kofi Annan. And this administration is funding it, it's actually got bipartisans...
O'REILLY: Do you think you're doing a good job over there?
BONO: No one's doing a good enough job. Let me just say this. I have myself seen people queuing up to die, three in a bed, two on top, one underneath.
BONO: People who don't want to even admit they have the virus, because it's such a stigma. They say they've got T.B. When you see people dying like that, you just ... want to reach out and do the right thing. We have these drugs, these anti-retroviral drugs are great advertisements for America...
O'REILLY: Now what do you want America to do?
BONO: Get the message because these are great advertisements for America products. For your technology, your ingenuity. Imagine China, when Europe was going through the Bubonic Plague and lost -- 1/3 of Europe died in the Middle Ages to the Black Death. Imagine, say, China had a treatment for the Black Death and hadn't because it was difficult or expensive. What would we think of China now?
O'REILLY: You want American drug companies then to send to Africa all the drugs they can possibly...
BONO: I'm not asking drug companies to behave like philanthropists. I'm saying we, our governments, United States and Europe, have to deal with this problem. If we don't, we will reap a very ill wind. This is -- it's not just being bleeding hearts here. The strategic implications. There's 10 million AIDS orphans in Africa right now. There will be 20 by the end of the decade. ... This is chaos... And the war against terror, which you talk about every night, is bound up in the war against poverty. I didn't say that. Colin Powell said that.
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