Richard Branson is a British entrepreneur known for his philanthropic projects and his taste for adventure. He is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., a conglomerate of separately run companies which include radio stations, airlines, and mobile phones. The Virgin Group now owns around 200 companies in over 30 countries. Virgin also plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years in a venture called Virgin Galactic.
Branson was born in 1950 in Surrey, England, and was educated at Stowe School, where he established a national magazine, Student, at the age of 16. He is married with two children and lives in London and Oxfordshire.
Richard Branson: Going back to [Robert] McNamara, he said that there is too much power vested in one individual--the [U.S.] president--at the time. And you need more people to be able to make those decisions before you go into a war situation. You had a situation there that [George W.] Bush had been given permission to take a momentous decision of taking his country down a terrible path. There needs to be more checks and balances to make sure that mistakes like that don’t get made again.
But it’s also, I think, almost a spiritual approach. I think you’ve got to come more from the premise that war is evil, and that war is unnecessary, and that war is going to kill children. And it’s going to kill women. It’s going to kill pregnant woman.
Unbelievably in Iraq, they’re still using cluster bombs in a war that everybody knew was going to be won in a week. I mean why scatter cluster bombs all over the place for children and women to be maimed straight after the war?
We’ve got a lot of questions we need to ask ourselves, both in Britain and America, as a result of what happened there, and just to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Recorded on: July 5, 2007.