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CNN CAPITAL GANG

Richard Lugar on Anti-Terrorism Tactics; Caspar Weinberger Discusses Military Objectives; Wesley Clark Expounds U.S. Strategy

Aired September 29, 2001 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK SHIELDS, HOST: Welcome to CAPITAL GANG. Excuse me. I'm Mark Shield with Al Hunt, Robert Novak and Margaret Carlson. Our guest is Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Thanks for coming in, Dick. Good to have you here.

President Bush promised victory against terrorists and assailed Osama bin Laden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will starve the terrorists of funding, turn them against each other, route them out of their safe hiding places and bring them to justice.

I consider bin Laden an evil man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: But the secretary of state urged caution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Let's not assume there will be a large-scale war. I don't know whether we should even consider a large-scale war of the conventional type.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: But that prompted conservative William Kristol to write, quote: "11 years ago, then-President Bush overrode Powell's resistance to fighting Saddam. Bush was vindicated in doing so. Will the current President Bush follow Powell's lead? Or will Bush lead and demand that Powell follow?," end quote. A CNN-"TIME" poll shows 86 percent of Americans favor military action against terrorism. Bob Novak, which advice will President Bush follow, that of a secretary of state, or Bill Kristol?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Well, the safest thing you can say is that George W. Bush is a lot closer to Colin Powell than he is to Bill Kristol. There's no doubt about that. And he's a lot closer to his way of thinking, because I don't believe that the president wants to attack Iraq, because we don't want Saddam Hussein or because the Israeli government wants to get rid of that government. Only if it is clearly determined that there is a link to the events of September 11 between Baghdad and the -- and the terrorists will the president act.

But I do believe that the president and Secretary Powell have just about decided on a military action in Afghanistan. Where that goes, it's hard to tell, but because I think they could get rid of the Taliban by using indigenous forces without making a military strike.

SHIELDS: Dick Lugar, your take on this?

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R), INDIANA: I think that essentially the president has a good Cabinet. He's got a good debate going on there. Each one of us tries to find who's or what, but I heard Rumsfeld and Powell in a long briefing with the Senate, and they were mightily close together.

Seems to me the situation is one of developments, how well do these alliances work out? Who is willing to share what? I would agree with Bob that clearly Osama bin Laden, the camps, the Taliban are probably targets, probably military action there. But there could be more. The president has certainly set the stage for that. But it's going to take a while for all those planes and ships and troops, the advanced guards, the people on the ground that might have the laser beam in from the camps to be in place.

And it seems to me this is why the call for patience is useful. I don't think they have made mistakes thus far. And even though the American people would like attacks right now, it seems to me we'll all have to be patient too.

SHIELDS: Well, I have to say, it strikes me, Al, that the American people have shown enormous patience and restraint. I think they are very mature. In talking to pollsters who are talking with them regularly, the attitude seems to be, we want to act intelligently and effectively rather than immediately. And -- but the president seems to be responding to something, whether it's within his own party, that the counsel of impatience is coming in his direction somewhere.

AL HUNT, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": See, Mark, I disagree. I think that this administration over the last 19 days, whatever it has been, has been appropriately deliberate.

SHIELDS: I agree.

HUNT: I think they deserve credit for that. I think that Bill Kristol is a surrogate for Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle and others. I think that fight would be waged later. The question of -- I think you have to view this in sequence. At some point, that issue will be joined and it will be a real fight.

But I think Dick Lugar is right, they are pretty much together on Afghanistan right now. We don't know everything, obviously. We don't probably know most of what is going on, but we can see that they are apparently sending special forces in, probably with the Brits to get a lay of the land. Air power is probably getting ready to go. I think they are trying to squeeze Osama bin Laden.

Now, they may not know where he is, they may not find him right now, but they have him on the run, he's hiding. When he's running and hiding, it means he can't operate. So, in that sense, I think, you know, they're off to a good -- there is anecdotal evidence at least that the Taliban is, as Bob suggested, in some form of disintegration.

So, I think short term things may be headed in the pretty good direction. Big question is, though, what happens if we are successful, what happens after the Taliban and Afghanistan?

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: The impatient chorus -- Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer and Charles Krauthammer -- have been surprising shrill, doing everything but calling General Powell, Secretary of State Powell, a war wimp for not wanting a big bang immediately, and not wanting to go expand to Iraq, when he's responsible for building a coalition and the broader the coalition, the narrower the target needs to be.

I think the target is even narrower than Afghanistan, it's Osama- stan, which is the caves and the places where he's hiding, if we can find him. We're going to have to link up with some people who know, we're going to have to keep Pakistan on board, which is not easily, it's a delicate task, and find him intelligently before we start indiscriminately shooting.

NOVAK: Let me raise this about Afghanistan.

SHIELDS: Go ahead.

NOVAK: Even as we speak, I think there are freedom fighters being infiltrated from Pakistan into Afghanistan. I think the state of the Taliban forces is such that a lot of their fighting people can be turned. There are very well informed people who tell me that the Taliban could be history in a month, four weeks from now. And that -- that you could find, in that case, there is no place for Osama bin Laden to hide, no help for his organization, and what does that mean for the president if this could be done without having a great expenditure of American firepower and manpower and blood?

CARLSON: You know, the only people who really know how to fight in Afghanistan are the anti-Taliban forces, the Northern Alliance and whoever else can come in from Pakistan. We need their help. The Russian and the British forces couldn't learn how to fight in Afghanistan. You have to be able to stand on the side of a rock and shoot.

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: What kind of a post-Taliban Afghanistan can you envision?

LUGAR: Oh, I doesn't envision anything there. What I envision right now is that the fight is here in the United States. I think the door to door business that the FBI is doing is critical for our safety now. If there are residual forces here, we have got to smoke them out.

You know, it's very interesting for everybody to speculate on violence, on what the war over there, but the fact is the effectiveness of the war here is producing leads back into Germany, back into Britain, back into Saudi Arabia. This is the rooting out of these terrorists, the network of money and all the rest of it, defining what this war is about.

SHIELDS: I would say this, and as Dick Lugar's reaction, I think we have made enormous progress in the three weeks. When Bob speaks about the freedom fighters in Pakistan going in Afghanistan -- three weeks ago, we were talking about the heroic freedom fighters in Chechnya who are now terrorists today, and three weeks ago Pakistan was a military despotism and a nuclear rogue. Now, they're our principle ally.

LUGAR: That's a foreign policy change that's very big. But there are a lot of possibilities. I don't want to try to draw too much here, but obviously the relationship with Russia has changed a whole lot. The Chinese foreign minister, his visit was very interesting. You know, leading down the trail, there is really talk about a new world order again, how you put things together so that you have a more peaceful world.

SHIELDS: Last word, Dick Lugar. Dick Lugar and the GANG will be back with making airlines secure again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back. President Bush traveled on Air Force One for the first time since September 11, arriving at Chicago's O'Hare field.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: One of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry, is to tell the traveling public, "get on board."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: The president announced airline security measures, including armed air marshals on board, but not arming pilots. The CNN-"TIME" poll shows 61 percent support for armed pilots. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta appeared on four network morning television programs Wednesday morning, and on ABC made this forecast about the closed Reagan National Airport in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: It will definitely reopen, it's temporarily closed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: But on the other three programs, he said the question was still under discussion, and the White House said to disregard the secretary's ABC answer. Margaret Carlson, are the airline security changes making Americans feel safer?

CARLSON: Well, they are coming back, not in droves, but coming back to flying. The lines were long, as we saw on TV yesterday. It takes about an hour.

I think, you know, in World War II, they rationed sugar, they need to ration what you take on an airplane. Do it in a ziplock bag, one change of clothes, and it will go faster. But the biggest split in the administration is not on whether to drag Iraq into this, but whether or not to open National Airport. And it is inevitably got to be open. It is intellectually inconsistent to say it;s safe to fly but not out of National, because the difference in flying from Dulles or National and the monuments is three minutes versus one minute, and that plane came from Dulles that was hijacked.

So it is definitely going to be open. The lobby of 535 members of Congress is strong enough to get it open. And on top of that, an airline is going to go broke or bankrupt if it doesn't open, and that's U.S. Airways.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak.

NOVAK: You know, I've never understood, Margaret, how making the lines longer, putting National Guardsmen with M-16s in airports, how that makes people feel safer? It doesn't make me -- I feel safe enough anyway. We are not going to -- I find...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: No, I don't -- I think all this is just tremendous overreaction. But I'll tell you one thing, there's not a fight going on in the administration. Norm Mineta was right in what he said on ABC, he was just premature.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: It is -- they get a little mixed up. The president is fighting some of the bureaucrats at the National Security Council, but it is going to reopen. It's a done deal, and the idea of that airport closed is a real inhibition on people going on airplanes.

SHIELDS: Al, you're not an enthusiastic flier, and it must have been reassuring news for you to find out two generals now have been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) domestic airlines. That was a confidence builder.

HUNT: Another thing, and you know, I'm sorry that we dare have the audacity to inconvenience Bob with curbside check-ins...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: And I think there ought to be inconveniences. I think it ought to take longer, there ought to be more security, we ought to federalize all airport security, at least in major cities. Hyannisport may not need it, but Logan Airport does -- Logan Airport does need it.

I think Bob, however, is right, that Reagan National will open. It should open. It's also the Secret Service that I think that is complaining about this, and that's the only way to assure people it is safe to fly again. I also think that Dick Lugar's colleagues are going to probably end up federalizing most of airport security.

SHIELDS: Yeah, what about that, Dick? It strikes me that that would be a confidence-builder, to know that there is a uniformity of training, of personnel policies and technology at every airport you go through?

LUGAR: Well, maybe so, but this opens up a whole raft of arguments that are about to start. That is, how many federal employees, and who pays for them? And likewise, as an adjunct to that, money to people who have been unemployed for a while, or who are going to be unemployed, in airports, in the entertainment industry, what have you. My guess is as the reports come in, we'll find that steel and autos and a lot of people are losing money in this country. And the demand for some unemployment compensation retraining, various other things, it all begins at this point, under the idea of security.

Do you have to do this with airlines? In other words, you gave money to the airlines and the employees said, what about us? We're going to go through this, I think, because the economic freeze that is on in this country, the loss of the GMP is going to bring people into other arguments. Very rapidly, they will forget the airport security argument -- not that it's unimportant, but beginning to think about their jobs and their security.

And what is happening at the airports is, in essence, a choke point in terms of economic growth. We're not able to ship goods and services the way we were before. All of this has got to wind up fairly rapidly, or we're going to have such a downer in the economy that we'll have a whole lot of other arguments to discuss.

NOVAK: Let me just add one thing about security. I don't know why we have to have armed air marshals, which is going to be very expensive, when we can have the pilots carrying guns.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Wait a minute. The American people want it, the pilots want it, the pilot union wants it. And I think if we have more secure cockpits with a pilot with a gun, I'd feel reassured.

HUNT: How about cabs and school bus drivers too?

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: ... Should they arm school bus drivers, Bob?

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: They are both loony arguments, Bob.

SHIELDS: That's the last word, Al Hunt.

Next on CAPITAL GANG: anti-terrorism against civil liberties.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back.

As part of his homeland security program, President Bush sent a package of anti-terrorist legislation to the Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Our laws fail to make defeating terrorism a national priority. Indeed, we have tougher laws against organized crime and drug trafficking than terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: But concern for civil liberties was expressed on both the left and the right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN CONYERS (D-MI), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: There are a number of provisions in your measure that give us constitutional trouble.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BOB BARR (R-GA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Why is it necessary to propose a laundry list of changes to criminal law generally, and criminal procedure generally, to cast such a wide net? And why is it necessary to rush this through?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: The CNN/"TIME" poll showed 56 percent public support for more government power to combat terrorism, compared with just 33 percent support in 1995.

Al Hunt, is the nation facing sacrifice of some personal liberties in the war against terrorism?

HUNT: Mark, I hope not. We have to make a distinction here between privacy, which despite Bob's objections we are going to lose some, and liberties -- basic liberties which we should not relinquish.

I think John Ashcroft overreached and tried to enact some of his old agenda in this package. For instance, I doesn't think we need vastly expand surveillance power without a court order in non- terrorist activities. I don't think we ought to have unlimited detention of aliens.

But we are going to have greater surveillance. It's absolutely unavoidable. I think there's going to be a conscientious on that, and I think it will be enacted fairly rapidly.

SHIELDS: There's no argument, is there, on cell phones. I mean, just some of the technology that has no been covered in the past, right Dick?

LUGAR: I think there is some argument. But I think that John Ashcroft has been pretty good in massaging the language of this. He's been pretty forthcoming, so that those that were hard-liners on either side have had to give some ground. I think it's going to pass; I think it needs to pass.

But Americans, by and large, are not going to want intrusion when all of us are involved. Many people see civil liberty as a question of just a few people here, there and beyond. When it comes to massive invasion of our mail and our message and all this type of thing, my guess is this is a different story. We've had the wire tapping since the '70s -- late '70s on the Carter administration, under a court order. And we're going to have an extension of that. It's appropriate. It's broken up terrorist cells for many years in our country.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, Al Hunt made a good point off the air about money laundering. He said there was a strong report -- a validated report that the terrorists were trying to buy a 757 jet aircraft and that that would be impossible to do without massive money laundering. Now, is that somehow an invasion of privacy?

NOVAK: The bureaucrats in Europe -- the OECD want to get into all of our accounts, they want to violate our privacy. And that is the whole point. Whenever there's a terrorist incident, the people who like big government and they like intrusion on civil liberties always want to take advantage of it. And I'm afraid that the Ashcroft program violates that.

I gave great credit John Conyers and Bob Barr for being courageous enough to say this isn't necessary.

What is necessary is to give Tom Ridge at the homeland security office enough power to get the FBI into line so it shares information with local police agencies. That's what has to be done, not more restrictions on the freedom of Americans.

SHIELDS: Margaret, does Bob Novak make sense?

CARLSON: He has one point, which is that some of the powers are there and the competition among agencies keeps it from being shared and being used effectively. And if Tom Ridge were given more than a Cabinet title and given a Cabinet department, he might be able to bang those heads together and make it useful, without doing too much more.

I worry that any legislation that John Conyers and Bob Barr both object to can't be good -- to bring those two together. And we are, you know, perhaps in this atmosphere being hasty and going a little bit too far on this unlimited detention. We always want to tap the bad guys, I agree; but, you know, we all get tapped. And here's the thing I disagree on: Money should be traceable. Just because rich people are the ones using these money laundering laws doesn't mean we shouldn't get more disclosure there.

HUNT: Margaret's got it absolutely right. You're right on money laundering, and Bob is wrong. But Bob and you are both right, I think, on the homeland security.

Dick, I think that your Senate is going to have to make this a Cabinet-level agency, statutory authority, give him a budget. He can't work as an ad hoc adviser to the president in something this incredibly important.

LUGAR: Well, I think the power of Tom Ridge has the ear of the president. We can give him the statutory authority, but at the same time he's got to have the ear of George Bush, who says, go out and do it, referee the quarrels and get on with it.

SHIELDS: If he had the real ear of the president he would be vice president today.

Thanks for being with us Senator Richard Lugar.

We'll be back with the second half of CAPITAL GANG. Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger is "Newsmaker of the Week." "Beyond the Beltway" looks at military tactics with General Wesley Clark. And our "Outrages of the Week."

But first, the latest news after these messages.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back.

I'm Mark Shields with Al Hunt, Robert Novak and Margaret Carlson.

Our "Newsmaker of the Week" is Caspar Weinberger. Caspar W. Weinberger: age 84; residence, Bar Harbor, Maine; religion, Episcopalian; Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School; combat infantry officer in World War II, later serving on General Douglas MacArthur's staff; President Nixon's budget director and President Reagan's secretary of defense; currently chairman of "Forbes" magazine.

Al Hunt sat down with Caspar Weinberger earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUNT: Mr. Secretary, what is the most critical decision facing the Bush administration in the weeks ahead?

CASPAR WEINBERGER, CHAIRMAN, "FORBES" MAGAZINE: I think the rallying and marshaling of public opinion is very hard to -- it's hard to maintain the kind of spirit we have now without some sort of major thing that could be called a victory. HUNT: Let's talk about the operational considerations for Afghanistan. Is air power effective in that environment, if we talk...

WEINBERGER: Air power is about the only thing that is effective. It's the worst territory and terrain in the world for tanks, for infantry and that. They've got a series of very sharp mountain ranges -- really razor sharp, and no valleys or flat land at all.

HUNT: So should ground forces be restricted to special forces?

(CROSSTALK)

WEINBERGER: Well, I think a traditional infantry division is going to have a terrible time in there because there's so many places for ambush. So yes, I think it will have to be special forces, and I think a substantial amount of air war.

But the main thing is to identify where these targets are.

HUNT: Mr. Secretary, there are powerful forces inside this administration that say Afghanistan, even Osama bin Laden, are really secondary concerns; that the real issue here should be taking out Saddam Hussein, whether he was involved with September 11 or not, because he has the weapons of mass destruction.

As you know, there are our powerful voices that say, wait a minute, that may be something we take up later; it's militarily more daunting and it would fracture the coalition.

Which side is more persuasive?

WEINBERGER: Well, of course I think we should have taken out Saddam Hussein a few years ago. That's the only disagreement I had with the conduct of the Gulf War. I'd like to see him taken out. I'd like to see the Iraqi people take him out. But I think that's impossible because of the way the country is ruled by him.

I think you do it sequentially. I think you take out the terrorist networks in Afghanistan, and I think you have to be ready to proceed against Saddam Hussein.

HUNT: Do you think that the United States military now is ready to wage multiple offenses if necessary?

WEINBERGER: Not now, no. I think the military lost a substantial amount of capabilities in the eight Clinton years. As a result, we don't have the kind of start on these very sophisticated, very capable weapons that basically won the Gulf War.

HUNT: If we are going to talk about ending regimes here, there is an implicit commitment there about nation building. If you end regimes, you have to replace them with something. Does that concern you?

WEINBERGER: Well, no. The thing I thought would have been best in the Iraqi -- in the Gulf War, was to get Saddam Hussein out and put him in a jail cell next to Noriega and maybe try him someday. But then have a mainly Muslim army of occupation.

HUNT: Seventeen years ago you enunciated the Weinberger doctrine on when to use military power.

WEINBERGER: Yes.

HUNT: One of your critical considerations was whether the political and military objectives of the United States have been clearly defined.

WEINBERGER: That's right.

HUNT: In this war on terrorism so far, have they been clearly defined?

WEINBERGER: I think they're starting to, yes; I think so. President Bush, I think has been handling things extraordinarily well. And I think he is stating those objectives and reaching them. Carrying them out is going to be difficult because it's not a traditional war. You can't do the blind bombing. You can't just go in and throw a few bombs at Kabul because you're mad.

HUNT: Final question, with the benefit of hindsight many experts say that the United States over the last 20 years should have responded more forcefully to previous acts of terrorism. In October 1983, as you know all too well, terrorists killed 241 marines in Lebanon. With the benefit of hindsight, do you wish that we would have declared that as an act of war?

WEINBERGER: Well, it was, practically speaking, treated that way. The problem there was that we did not identify actually who did it. We knew that there were all kinds of something like 31 terrorist groups, but the actual perpetrators we did not find.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, is it clear that President Bush is really following the Weinberger doctrine, with a clear outcome to the war?

HUNT: No, Mark, and I tell you why. I think the most interesting and insightful analysis came from one of Cap Weinberger's predecessors and successor, same man, Donald Rumsfeld, who wrote a column in the "New York Times" this week, in which, among other things, he said: "Forget about an exit strategy, we are looking at a sustained engagement that carries no deadline."

This is different than any other war. I don't think we have any analogies. Just one more point about Cap Weinberger -- I think his observation about 1983, that we couldn't retaliate because we didn't know who to retaliate against, that's true of most terrorist incidence, unfortunately.

SHIELDS: Bob, one thing that surprised, he talked very openly about an invasion and toppling of Saddam in Iraq, and he said mainly a Muslim army of occupation would be required. Do you see that as a reality?

NOVAK: That is nation building, which is not a very good idea in my opinion. I think it violates the Weinberger doctrine. I've had people in the administration tell me about when this war is over, and I always ask them, "how do you know when the war is over?" And I think that's what really is very difficult to know when the war is over.

We've had reports on CNN this week that this atrocity of September 11 was planned in Germany, in the United States and in the United Arab Emirates. And are we supposed to bomb Germany and the United States and the United Arab Emirates? I think this is -- I've been trying to get my hands around this, because there a lot of things I don't know that are secret, but I think it's a very confusing proposition, and American people want something simplified on it.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: This is why it's frustrating to think of going against the Taliban alone in Afghanistan, because it is something called Osama-stan, which is in so many different places. One thing that Weinberger said that was interesting, though, is that he sees this being done sequentially. He wants to get at Iraq an finish the job there, but do it sequentially, do Afghanistan or the Taliban first.

SHIELDS: That's right. Last word, Margaret Carlson. Next on CAPITAL GANG, "Beyond the Beltway" looks at U.S. military tactics with General Wesley Clark.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back. "Beyond the Beltway" looks at military tactics in the war against terrorism. The U.S. military's mission was set by the outgoing chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. HUGH SHELTON, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: We are going to ask them to take on a tremendous responsibility as they embark on one of the most difficult missions that the military has ever been given. It will require every bit of their courage, their intellect and their warrior spirit to hunt down and destroy the groups that are the enemies of the civilized world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Joining us now from Little Rock, Arkansas is General Wesley Clark, the former supreme commander of NATO and now CNN military analyst. Thanks for coming in, general. Wes, is the U.S. military trained to execute the mission we just heard described by General Shelton?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Now I can hear you.

SHIELDS: I'm sorry. OK. Is the U.S. military trained to carry out the mission just defined by General Shelton?

OK. Bob Novak, go ahead. I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: I'm not an expert, I would hope that General Clark would join us, but I think the whole problem is, as we had earlier in the program...

SHIELDS: Go ahead. He can hear us now.

NOVAK: OK. Before your thing went out, Wes, OK, Mark asked you whether U.S. military is trained to execute the mission that General Shelton talked about this week?

CLARK: I think we are trained to execute that kind of mission. The mission requires a lot of individual and small unit skills from our special operations forces and it requires excellent command and control at the top, and it requires the merging of lots of information and support from interagency and from within the coalition. We are good at all of that. We can do this.

SHIELDS: General Clark, Wes, do you think -- we just had Secretary Weinberger, former Defense Secretary Weinberger, saying almost sequentially after the Taliban is removed and Osama bin Laden was captured, disabled, executed, that a move on Iraq was a logical next move. Does that make sense to you militarily?

CLARK: Well, I think this is -- it's too early to call this. The president has said that if there are states that continue to support terrorism, then we would move. We know that Saddam Hussein is trying to develop weapons of mass destruction, probably still has the stuff that he's hidden. He should know that he's a target, but to make that call right now, it's too soon.

I think what we have to do is concentrate on the terrorist network first. We are working on Afghanistan, and then let's let the intelligence unfold and the diplomatic pressures intensify on those states that might have supported terrorism in the past, and then let's see where we go.

NOVAK: Wes, do you see a large expeditionary force in Afghanistan thinking of the catastrophes visited in the past years upon British and Soviet forces?

CLARK: No, I don't see a large expeditionary force, but on the other hand, it's going to take a certain mass of people dispersed in small groups to be able to really get a grip on this issue. How many people that is and where it is depends on the intelligence. The better the information, the smaller the point of the spear can be.

We can do all the heavy lifting, all the big strikes and so forth from well outside Afghanistan. It's a question of what's the precision of the information, and how many targets do we want to keep our eyes on, and it's too soon to know that right now.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: General Clark, it strikes me that you say the U.S. is capable of doing this, but do you agree we need Pakistan to launch some of this and to help out with their what Bob calls freedom fighters? I read this very interesting factoid this week, which is that 12,000 parents in Pakistan name their children Osama, and it strikes me that this is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and this is a sign of just how delicate using Pakistan in this situation is.

CLARK: It is very delicate. Pakistan is in great danger on this. Pakistan's let this go too long, and this is an opportunity for Musharraf to set Pakistan on a stronger, more Western-oriented course, but he's going to have to deal with domestic problems. We know that. That's the reason why I think the administration has been very wise in not pursuing a rapid series of strikes here.

Yes, it would be advantageous to have support from Pakistan, and not only basing an over-flight, but Pakistan has a lot of information. They also have networks of people, and they're a base of support for the Taliban, so all of that can be cut off and all of the assistance from Pakistan is essential. But this takes time, and so it has to be worked step by step in a very deliberate fashion. It seems to me that's what the administration is doing.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: General, let me go back to the operational issues involved in Afghanistan. And we read a lot, and we talk about using special forces there. You said we can't really use a big expeditionary force, but talk for a moment, if you would, about both the potential for special forces, coupled with air power, and also some of the limitations or problems, for instance the difficulty of getting helicopters in and the like.

CLARK: Well, we can get helicopters in there, and we may well set up some operating bases in and around Afghanistan, and we may want do defend those bases. That's a decision that commanders will have to make.

But I think the key point here is that the special forces give us the eyes on the ground, the ears on the ground, the ability to be up close and personal with an adversary that it's going to be difficult to identify from 15,000 feet. But with people on the ground, you can. Then you can do your striking from as far away as necessary.

NOVAK: Wes, if the United States decided to go into Iraq for whatever reasons, would the build-up that was required under Desert Storm be required in this case, and would a force of the size involved in Desert Storm be required at this time?

CLARK: Well, Iraq doesn't have the same strength that it had prior to Desert Storm. The military has been starved. He's probably about half the strength, although they've done some modernization and there has been some collusion with people like the Serbs and elsewhere at some point, so he may have some more modern technology. He does have the potential of using some weapons of mass destruction, but I don't think the force will be the same size, and certainly we've taken measures over the last decade to speed our build-up, so I wouldn't expect to see a six-month build-up for something like that.

SHIELDS: Wes, what do you see the role of the United States Marines in this operation?

CLARK: The Marines could do various things. They can hold -- they can do an amphibious or move on a port, so they can be in a littoral area. They can launch inward. They could hold a base that was somewhere hundreds of miles from the ocean, but the most important thing is they're there, and they've got the skill, the flexibility, the logistics. It's a complete package, and it gives our commanders there a lot of flexibility.

SHIELDS: OK, thank you very much for being with us, General Wesley Clark. The GANG will be back with the "Outrage of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: And now for the "Outrage of the Week." The public bailout of the nation's private airlines signed into law by President Bush did not cut the million-dollar pay of airline bosses by a single nickel. But how about the thousands of airline working families now enduring unemployment? While millionaire CEOs are rewarded, jobless airline workers should at least get health benefits for 12 months. Not on your life, says Republican House leader Dick Armey, who says such aid would be, quote, "not commensurate with the American spirit," end of quote.

What is commensurate with the American spirit, Mr. Armey? Giving bigger tax cuts to the richest 1 percent, while consigning working families to charity and welfare? Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Jesse Jackson has a past record for winning releasing of Americans abroad as an unofficial diplomat, but he was out of line challenging President Bush's no negotiation policy with Afghanistan's Taliban regime. Jackson claimed the Taliban invited him, but a Taliban spokesman said Jackson offered to mediate release of Americans held in Afghanistan. Then Jackson told CNN, quote, "it is not important how the contact was made, but that the contact was made," end quote.

Jackson for now is not going, but he sure did get lots of TV face time out of this.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Mark, when Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer realized that his warning that Americans better, quote, "watch what they say" ran a foul of the constitution, presto, it disappeared from the official transcript. Fleischer is the master of such sleights of hand. Remember when the White House was vandalized by departing Clintonites? When the GAO found otherwise, Ari said, "oh, never mind." There was good reason for Bush not to return to the White House September 11, but Ari had to add the frightening explanation that someone knew the code for Air Force One. Perhaps Ari should watch what he says.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Mark, one of the heroes of September 11 was former FBI Agent John O'Neil who led the investigation into the terrorist bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. Mr. O'Neil recently retired from the FBI and was director of security at the World Trade Center. He got out after the first crash, but then went back in to save others, and lost his life.

The outrage is Yemen officials who complained about O'Neil's aggressiveness and refused to cooperate in the probe. Only now, they are starting to offer necessary information on the terrorists.

SHIELDS: Bob, can I put you down as undecided on Jesse Jackson?

NOVAK: Well, I like Jesse OK, I just don't believe that he should be dealing with the Taliban when the president says there are no negotiations.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Bob, right.

SHIELDS: OK, that's it. This is Mark Shields saying good night for the CAPITAL GANG. "THE POINT WITH GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Tracking the Terrorists," is up right now.

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