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Special Edition: America Strikes Back

Aired October 14, 2001 - 21:00   ET



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I said no negotiations, I meant no negotiations.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, U.S.-led air strikes pound Afghanistan for the eighth day, as President Bush rejects another Taliban proposal. And as the number of people exposed to anthrax in the United States rises, so does fear of a widespread bioterrorism attack. From Atlanta, we're talking to an expert, Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Jeffrey Koplan.

As military action continues amongst more warnings from the Taliban, in Washington, we'll brief Senator Richard Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. Joining him, senior Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence as well, Senator Richard Lugar. And in Albuquerque, Senator Pete Domenici, member of the Governmental Affairs and Appropriations Committee.

Can the anti-terrorism coalition hold? From D.C., George Will of ABC's "THIS WEEK." In New York, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. In San Francisco, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Richard Holbrooke.

And finally, it's a tragedy that has seared America's soul. Here to talk about healing in Detroit, spiritual leader Marianne Williamson. They're all next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

And one note, stay with us. At the end of the program, a special message from Paul McCartney, direct to viewers of this show. And a first. You're going to hear his new song dedicated to what happened on September 11.

We begin with Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He comes to us from Atlanta, preparing a report to give to Health and Human Service Secretary Tommy Thompson. What's it going to say, doctor?

JEFFREY KOPLAN, CDC: We've been working on this outbreak now, since it began. The requests and with the cooperation partnership with state and local health officials. First in Florida, then in New York.

We currently have two cases. One case in Florida, with two other individuals with evidence in exposure. One case in New York. Affective public health measures have been put in place. People are on antibiotics, who need to be. The investigation continues in both places.

KING: Tests are still being carried about suspicious envelopes in other areas?

KOPLAN: There are the reports of envelopes to many state health departments and certainly to law enforcement officials. We here have many of those. Some of them are proven false at a state level. When they require a followup or consultation is needed, we get consulted.

KING: Are you saying there are only two we really know, know nationally?

KOPLAN: There are two situations where there is a known exposure and we -- and each of those situations, there is an individual who has contracted the disease anthrax. In one case in Florida, it's inhalation anthrax. And that describes the root of exposure. It comes in by breathing.

In the other case in New York, it's cutaneous anthrax, which is a lesion of the skin, a sore on the skin, a wound on the skin.

KING: Is our concern correct or overdone?

KOPLAN: I think it's a case of striking of proper balance. We're not going to say it's -- this is not a serious issue. We take it extraordinarily seriously and have -- are mounting a vigorous investigation in both places, and have put ourselves on a level of work that matches anything we've done before.

By the same token, this is a disease that is relatively hard to contract, is treatable. We currently only have two cases of the disease. And some other people exposed. Clearly, there's an intent for disruption and chaos and fear, but we think that this is something that we can deal with well, and that the medical establishment in the country and the health officials in this country can also deal with.

KING: People though being tested, are being put on Cipro as a precaution and told to take it for seven days. If you don't have it, come off it. If you do have it, you're going to have to stay on longer. Is that a good idea?

KOPLAN: People who are exposed, who we feel have a reasonable chance of exposure to these two outbreaks, have been instructed to take this antibiotic Ciprofloxacin or Cipro. It is a strong antibiotic. It has side effects attached to it.

For people who we feel would benefit from it, we absolutely advise it and provide it for them. For those that don't need it, much as with any other medication, there's no reason to take it if it's not necessary. KING: There are reports of people seeing powder everywhere. They report powder on airplanes and the like. What do you do in that event?

KOPLAN: I think the principle mechanism by which, at least the two cases that we're investigating, and then we've heard of some others, that the principle means of exposure apparently has been through the mail. And one thing that we have learned through consultation with law enforcement colleagues and the postal service, is if you receive a suspicious letter or package, and I think it pays. It doesn't pay to be fearful and it doesn't pay to be -- have your life disrupted by this.

But it does pay to be vigilant. And if you receive a letter or a package which is suspicious. And we've asked, "What does suspicious mean?" Well, suspicious means most of our letter we're familiar with. They're bills. They're letters from friends, people we know, return addresses that we understand.

If something comes that doesn't fit that, it's not something you usually get. It's from a strange place. The handwriting doesn't look right. There are stains on it. You can feel something inside of it before you open it. Put it down, cover it. Wash your hands. Call local law enforcement.

KING: How easy in anthrax to get and to distribute?

KOPLAN: Not easy. It requires thousands of spores to cause an infection. And so, as we can see, even though there was an attempt to infect a lot of people in the Florida episode and probably in New York as well, but unfortunately someone did become ill with it in Florida and died.

And we have a case in New York of someone who became ill with a skin lesion. But nevertheless, while some other people were exposed, it is not a widespread illness, an infection.

KING: Yes, for example, when was the last time you saw anthrax in the United States?

KOPLAN: CDC investigates every year or two, one or two cases of anthrax, usually caused by some kind of association with animals or wool or tanning hides or being a veterinarian or a farmer.

KING: Is the government supposed to do something in the way -- can the government take an overt act here?

KOPLAN: Well, the government on the public health side, is taking more than an overt act. We have swung into gear with heavy involvement at federal, state and local level in all of these sites or wherever there is a threat throughout the country.

So I think the public can be assured that we have both taken this seriously and are trying to be proactive in finding other cases, stopping them in their tracks. And so, there's no other cases. And so, it's important to know that this is not a contagious disease. People do not spread it from one person to another.

KING: Is the blood test reliable?

KOPLAN: There are a variety of tests that are done. We in our laboratories at CDC use a wide spectrum of tests. And we test everything from blood to biopsy to human tissue to the powder itself to environmental specimens and nasal swabs. But all of these are used for different purposes to help define the epidemic.

The blood test that has been talked about, a cyrological test, is helpful, but is not necessarily diagnostic. And certainly, one test cannot be used alone, to make a conclusive diagnosis.

KING: All right. Thank you, Dr. Koplan. We'll be calling upon you again.

Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, he has one of the most important jobs in this country. He's director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in the famed CDC, coming to us from their base in Atlanta.

When we come back on this live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND, Senators Richard Shelby, Richard Lugar, and Pete Domenici. Don't go away.


TOMMY THOMPSON, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: There's no question it's bioterrorism. It's a biological agent. It's terrorism. It's a crime. It's terrorism. But whether or not it's connected to al Qaeda, we can's say conclusively.



KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND, a live edition on this Sunday night, in Washington, Senator Richard Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Senator Richard Lugar senior Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence Committee. And in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Senator Pete Domenici, Governmental Affairs and Appropriations Committee.

Senator Shelby, are we getting two signals here? One part of government is telling us live, go be happy, fly, shop. Another part of government is saying warning, watch out. Who's right?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), SELECT INTELLIGENCE VICE CHAIR: I think we're getting two signals, but I thought that you having Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, head of CDC on tonight to let the American people not only hear someone that was that informed, but the calming influence that he had, I believe, on so many people tonight.

He's a man that knows a lot about anthrax. He knows about the properties. He knows whether to be scared to death or just be alert for it. I thought his statements tonight were very calming and reassuring, not only to me, but to the American people.

But Larry, you're right about the message. We have to be alert. And we have to know where we're going and what we're looking for and what not to touch.

KING: Senator Lugar, do you agree with what Senator Shelby said?

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Yes, I think that was right on target. I think until September 11, many Americans felt a sense of invulnerability that things did not happen to us on the American continent. We now know that they do. And the public's been overwhelmed by warnings, some of them from our government, some very terse, some without much explanation.

I thought the doctor's explanation on anthrax was very good. And I would just add additional information that there are about 5,000 cases of anthrax somewhere in the world each year, but not in the United States. About 4,000 plus deal with so-called cutaneous anthrax. That is, getting it by the touch.

It is not contagious, as the doctor pointed out. It can be cured by antibiotics in almost every case. People who die from it are untreated. Other cases occur in the wilds of game preserves and where hygiene is not very good with agricultural animals in various parts of the earth.

But anthrax need not be a killer. It needs vigilance. And people ought to be treated. And the tests are important, but we've got to get the message across that this is something that's been going on in the world for a long time. We can live with it if we're alert.

KING: And how do we deal, Senator Domenici, as you said the doctor pointed out things very well and very calming, with fear?

SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R-NM), GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, actually, I believe all of us have a heavy responsibility, including those who are making the news, what you just did, having the great doctor on is very important. I hope that's done over and over, so the American people will get the facts.

They will respond perfectly if they have the facts. Actually, there is no reason to fear. Frankly, there is very little chance that anybody will be able to produce this spore or this pathogen and distribute it in large quantities to a lot of people.

So what we're talking about are people doing -- using small quantities of it. And we have plenty of experts out there, who will soon determine exactly where it came from, its origin, and what can be done about it. We have a laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, believe it or not.

They're very expert. They're busy working on this. And when they're prepared to tell us their expertise, will be amazing to the American people.

KING: Now let's turn to the military end. Senator Shelby, is -- obviously, apparently, there's a mission ahead here. There's a goal in mind. This is not a difficult, thus far, military mission, is it?

SHELBY: Well, you can only say that this is the first part of probably a military mission or that will be difficult. But I think it's one that we can win at. There will be changes in our mission. Some of them, it will be announced by the president, the secretary of state and so forth. But I think we have to go now or soon to the second phase.

Until we eradicate Osama bin Laden and his followers, his camps and everything that goes with it, and bring about some kind of a more stable government to Afghanistan, we're not going to get very far.

But I believe we're going to do this. I believe the administration, led by President Bush, sees what needs to be done and is determined to do it.

KING: Senator Lugar, are there any things left to bomb?

LUGAR: Probably and probably we'll do some more bombing. But it seems to me, we take for granted the fact that things have gone extraordinarily well and they need not have gone that well. In other words, we've done a very good job of building coalitions of countries that allow us to have basing rights, overflight rights, even nationals of their own countries involved with us.

The startup of this war has been superb. And we're in place now to prosecute whatever we want to do. Either it be bombing or commando raids or intelligence operations. These are the kinds of situations we could not have anticipated a month ago. And I think full credit goes, as Senator Shelby has pointed out, to our president, to Secretaries Rumsfeld, Powell and our commanders in the field.

KING: Senator Domenici, the Taliban offered today to hand over bin Laden to a third country, didn't ask for proof, if the United States stops the military action. The president turned that down. Why and did you agree with that decision?

DOMENICI: Well, I agree wholeheartedly. I think the president has done a marvelous job. And from what I understand, my fellow Americans and fellow New Mexicans agree, that he's doing a wonderful job.

We cannot negotiate once they have done what they've done, been given plenty of time to respond. We can't start negotiating before we have accomplished our goals. Our goals are clear. They're forthright.

I want to say to the American people, in the year 1996, we did something with a bit of foresight. We passed a bill which is commonly known as Nunn/Lugar/Domenici. And believe it or not, we will have ready for this new domestic Homeland, you know, the governor who's going to take over our Homeland Defense, we will have ready a major prevention approach that we've used in 126 American cities.

We're spending $700 million to get the first responders together, so that they can communicate better with each other. What we need now is to make sure that that is led out of Washington, as part of a national work. And it will indeed put us on a path to having some real preventiveness built into problems that might arise in our communities.

KING: Very good news and a lot of foresight.

Senator Shelby, there are reports in some circles, I think an article in the "New Yorker" that the United States military, and you're in Intelligence, missed an opportunity to kill the Taliban leader Mullah Omar on the first day of the bombing. Do you have any comment on that?

SHELBY: I wouldn't comment on it at all. But I can tell you, there have been lost opportunities all along. Whether this was one, I'm not sure.

KING: What do you expect of Secretary of State, Senator Lugar, Senator of State Powell's visit to Pakistan and then onto India?

LUGAR: Well, it's critically important that he have good visits in both cases, because he's in a very delicate maneuver. He has to bring confidence to the Pakistan leader and confidence to the Indians, while the Kashmir situation continues to flare up on the side.

But it's timely gesture on his part, on the part of the president sending him. We really have to make sure that these alliances we put together, the countries that are major in the area, are stable, ready to work with us, ready to stay the course.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back. We'll take some calls for our senators. Then our panel of distinguished Americans, George Will, George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke. And later, Marianne Williamson and that special I told you about. Stay tuned for it from -- message from Paul McCartney. And you're going to hear a piece of music you have not heard before.

Among the guests tomorrow night, Judith Miller of "The New York Times," who has made news, in addition to writing about the news, and the former president of Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev will be with us. We'll be right back.


BUSH: There's no need to negotiate. There's no discussions. I told them exactly what they need to do. And there's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty. Turn him over. If they want to stop our military operations, they've just got to meet my conditions. And when I said no negotiations, I mean no negotiations.



KING: Senator Domenici, what's the state of the coalition? We've got Egypt condemning Israel for its role in Arab suffering today. We've got Christian Muslim violence in Nigeria. What's your read on the stability situation?

DOMENICI: Well, look, I was thoroughly amazed and very pleased with the effectiveness of our leadership under our president and our Secretary of State of bringing such a broad based coalition together. I think from it, might come a new world order, incidentally, as an aftermath, an unexpected.

I think we should've expected the countries you just mentioned to have some difficulty, because of the make up of their population and the pressures on them. But I believe if things move ahead quickly, as I believe they will, they're going to stay on our side. And we're going to come out of this with a very rare coalition that might indeed send a right signal that terrorism is on its way out.

KING: Senator Shelby, they tell us that the country is vigilant. And how do you define that word in this case?

SHELBY: Well, I'll say they're alert and they're resourceful. I'm speaking of my fellow Americans. And they're going to survive. And we're going to win this war because of what happened on September the 11 woke us up, alerted us as to the real danger and to the destruction of life by terrorists.

It's terrible that something like this happened. And I wished it never happened and would never happen again, but it was a real wakeup call for all of us in America. Something a lot of us had warned about, but until it really happens, you don't feel it.

We feel it now. We know there's an enemy out there that would destroy our way of life. And that's why America's coming together.

KING: Senator Shelby, are you satisfied with the work of George Tenet, the head of the CIA?

SHELBY: Well, you know, I think George Tenet, I've said this before, I personally like him, and I think he's done some good work. I believe myself that you need new leadership in all of our intelligence agencies. That is, to bring them together, to make them more, coordinate them more, manage them differently and so forth.

But that's another day. That would have to be done with a broad support from the White House and the Congress. But I can tell you, there have been successes, but there have been too many failures. I hope we don't have another one.

KING: Is Governor Ridge going to get the clout he's going to need, Senator Lugar?

LUGAR: Yes, he will, because the president of the United States is right by his side. And that's the clout that he needs. It would be very difficult for us in the Congress to fashion all the legislation necessary to give him budget control and to knock heads and to merge agencies and what have you.

But the American people expect, right now, whether it's the CIA, the FBI quite apart from the Homeland situation, that Ridge is responsible for, for people to get on with the job and to break down the bureaucratic situation. That's what Ridge is there for. And that's what the president wants. That's what the people expect.

In the same way that we've had great success in coalition building abroad, we've got to build the coalitions at home. And I'm satisfied that that's occurring in the bipartisan work in the Congress, as well as in the Homeland situation that Ridge is now responsible for.

KING: Senator Domenici, is government going on? Are other things being discussed, bills being passed? Are we functioning?

DOMENICI: Absolutely. And let me say, I've been in the United States Senate 29 years when there were a lot more Democrats and Republicans and vice versa. Since this incident, the twin towers and the Pentagon, I have never seen anything to match this.

The unity of purpose of the locking of arms, the moving of important legislation, the working together, the joining with our president, has left our people, as I see this, they're looking at us and saying, that they're arising to the occasion. They're actually joining together, hitting the kinds of things, acting the way we would like them to. And I hope we can do that for the next two or three weeks.

Business is going as usual. Now we need to do something on the economy. And then, do whatever our president asks us with reference to our Homeland Defense and giving our military everything they need.

KING: Let's take a call for our senators. Baltimore, Maryland for Senator Shelby, Lugar and Domenici. Hello?

CALLER: Yes, good evening.

KING: Hi. Go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, I'm calling to ask if anyone has any updated information on the eight Westerners that are being held by the Taliban?

KING: What do we know about that, Senator Shelby?

SHELBY: I don't have any up-to-date information on it. I understand they're still being held, the last I'd heard. And there has been no breakthrough. But you know, if the Taliban, in my opinion, wanted any kind of graces of the world, they would've released those people immediately.

KING: Senator Lugar, do you know anything we don't know?

LUGAR: No, I don't.

KING: Do you, Senator Domenici?

DOMENICI: I'm sorry, I say to your caller, we're sorry we don't know anything more, but we hope it works out. KING: Do you, Senator Shelby, do you endorse the secrecy aspect of this war effort? It's going to be a large more secret than the past one?

SHELBY: Well, Larry, I have been a big proponent of dealing with leaks, trying to bring about a stronger legislation to punish anyone, including members of Congress, who willfully and knowingly leak classified information.

I believe that there are too many leaks. I believe that leaks will cause us to lose lives and also compromise missions. I believe right now, while we're on operations type situation in Afghanistan, that although I've been briefed, just about every day at very high levels, I've told people that were briefing me, I said, "I don't need to know all of that. I don't know need to know about all the specific operations."

And I believe what we should do is let the secretary of defense, led by the secretary of defense, and our troops carry out their mission.

KING: Senator Lugar, we have freedom of speech. There are some Americans, not many, some novelists, some writers, some in the broadcast end, who have spoken out against certain aspects of what the government's doing. Is that OK or should they be mute?

LUGAR: No, they should not be mute, nor have they been mute. There's been remarkable tolerance, as a matter of fact, at a time that most are very angry listening to that sort of nonsense. You know, the fact is that the people did not give a lot of space to Adolf Hitler 50 years ago or to Hirohito or the Japanese warlords, that thought that they ought to have op-ed pieces or ought to appear on television or give their messages and let the American people weigh the issue would've been inconceivable.

People have to realize we're at war. But having said that, the fact is that peace marches have occurred. People have written op-eds suggesting that the military cease fire or do various other things. I think that is wrong headed, to say the least, but I watch it. I listen to it, as do most other Americans.

KING: Well, the onslaught against them, Senator Domenici, I mean, there are a lot of people who, you know, calling them traitors or something for having opinions that are maybe not the norm?

DOMENICI: Well, look, this great country, you know, it's rock solid for a lot of reasons. And clearly, among those reasons are our freedoms. And among those, our freedom of speech. Now obviously, we don't want to place very many limitations on our freedom of speech. And we've changed some legislation to let our FBI and others, give them a little more ability to track down these terrorists, and not to lose track of them because you can't do wiretaps and the like.

I think the fact that that passed with only one abstention in the United States Senate, that bill, would indicate that we understand what we're doing is right. We can hear those who don't like it, but we ought to move straight ahead doing what we think is right.

KING: Thank you all very much. Senator Shelby, Lugar and Domenici. We are watching a live edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. George Will, George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke are next. Don't go away.


JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. GENERAL ATTORNEY: I believe that it's very unlikely that all of those individuals that we are associated with or involved with the terrorism events of September the 11th and other terrorism events that may have been prepositioned and preplanned have been apprehended.

We are doing everything possible to disrupt, to interrupt, to prevent, to destabilize any additional activity. And we are on our alert, and we will continue to act aggressively in every respect to prevent additional activity.


KING: We now welcome three distinguished Americans. The writer and broadcaster, George Will, joins us from Washington. In New York, George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader. Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Will have come together on other occasions of a less-important note, but still the delightful world of baseball has brought them together in the past. And in San Francisco, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Let's start with George Will. What do you make of, first, your overview of this -- of the anthrax, the bioterrorism, the dealing with fears?

GEORGE WILL, ABC "THIS WEEK": Well, we're in the process now of overreacting to fairly small, possibly in part copycat, improvised and wholly unpersuasive attacks, if we want to dignify them with that name. But it is causing us to think outside the box and to think of new institutional arrangements, and it's all in that sense, if I may use the word, healthy for the body politic.

KING: And Senator Mitchell, what are your -- what's your read on this? Earlier, when we spoke to the Center for Disease Control, he put a moderate tone on it that what I'd think reduce fears.

GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I think he did, and I thought his statement was factual, reasoned and persuasive. I think people obviously have to be more vigilant than they were in the past. You've got to look at the envelopes that you're going to be opening now. But I don't think there is cause for widespread panic or fear, and my hope is that this series of incidents will quickly pass.

KING: Ambassador Holbrooke, is this an example of terrorism in fact succeeding?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Well, I think it's an example of a fact that after September 11, even the smallest incident -- and I agree with George Will's characterization of it -- has the echo chamber affect of a third tower falling down. These are minor incidents, but they are another wake-up call.

Anthrax is not an easily communicable disease, but we are not prepared for smallpox or nuclear weapons. And let's be clear: If the men who did this thing on September 11 could have put nuclear weapons on those planes, they would have done so.

So we need to get our act in order in order to prepare for the worst-case scenarios, but let's not overreact to these events in anthrax.

KING: George Will, terrorism needs and wants publicity, does it not?

WILL: Certainly. That's what's it about. It's an attempt to magnify.

KING: So what does a free society do when faced with a glimmer of how much publicity do we, the collective we, give them?

WILL: Well, they -- you have to say they've earned their publicity. You can't knock down 220 stories of skyscraper and not get noticed. We're going to cover these things as news stories.

But, in fact, the point is not just publicity. It is to terrify. And it is the function of leadership, such as we got tonight from the Center for Disease Control, to put these in perspective and tell these people this is an enormous, strong country that now when you have 280 million Americans alerted and healthily suspicious, it's going to become much more difficult for this kind of thing to happen.

HOLBROOKE: Larry, not just that, but they have an additional goal beyond what George said in my view, and that is that they are trying to create a war between religions and cultures -- the West vs. Islam. President Bush has been very good and very clear, as has Tony Blair, in stating that this is not a war against Islam. It's a war on terror.

Nonetheless, the fact is that many people in the Muslim world are misinterpreting what's happening because of our completely justified military actions in Afghanistan. And we have to be very clear. bin Laden is not stupid, and he wants to lure -- to make the Muslim world react against us as though rather than he causing this, it was caused by our action. And that is the key danger we must fight against right now.

KING: Senator Mitchell, does, therefore, that put us between a rock and a hard place?

MITCHELL: Well, Larry...

KING: I mean, it's not a war against Muslims, but we're bombing Muslims.

MITCHELL: Well, that's true, but we have also fought to protect Muslims in Bosnia, in other places. And so our enemy is not Islam. Our enemies are criminals who pervert Islam to their ends.

I think if I could go back to the earlier question, Larry, about freedom of speech and things of that type. The terrorists will win if we somehow surrender or compromise the very freedoms that our men and women are now fighting to protect and which means so much to us in this country.

I think people have a right to speak out, even those with whom we disagree. Disagreement with the policies of our government is not evidence of lack of patriotism. It's evidence of free speech, and even those who are wrong in our country have a right to be wrong publicly.

KING: I don't have it in front of me, but, George Will, did you describe these bombings as some sort of a cave -- bombing of caves?

WILL: Well, I did say that. We are a great industrial civilization up against people who quite literally live in caves, and we should not neglect this fact that we are at enormous advantages, but our advantages carry a certain vulnerability with them.

But, Larry, when America uses power, it makes people angry, but it gets their attention. When we went into Grenada, very shortly thereafter the government of Suriname expelled their Cubans. When we seized Noriega in Panama, very shortly thereafter, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua said, well, let's have elections, which in fact he lost. It broke lose some log jams, and I'm not -- it seems that when the United States acts, people don't love us, but they're apt to follow.

KING: You -- would you agree with that, Ambassador Holbrooke?

HOLBROOKE: I agree with that. Of course, we used military force in Bosnia, and end of the war, we used military force against Serbia. Milosevic was out of power within a year.

The difference here is that Afghanistan is a very different situation, and I think the critical imperative for us is to succeed quickly in Afghanistan. After all, overthrowing the Taliban is not going to improve our security against terrorists. It's only a step on the road to capturing Osama bin Laden.

And we're going have to -- we're going to have to get this coalition that needs to be formed around the king in place very fast so that the groups can push the Taliban out of the capital of Afghanistan and move forward to put together a post-Taliban coalition in Kabul, to put together a U.N.-backed group that can help run the country, because the Afghans cannot run it themselves, and they're going to need a security force.

And the sooner we get there, so that we can focus on al Qaeda itself and Osama bin Laden, the better.

KING: Senator Mitchell, what's the next move following the bombing?

MITCHELL: Well, I don't think any of us should preempt the options of the president and the secretary of state and the secretary of defense and others in our government in the planning that they're undertaking. The published reports so far obviously suggest a ground defensive by those indigenous Afghan forces, which oppose the Taliban, supported by American airstrikes, combined with the possibility of some special force activity by United States forces.

But I don't think we should be the ones making that decision. That's obviously up to our government, which has our full and, I think, very strong support.

KING: We'll be right back with George Will, George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND, a live edition for this Sunday night -- don't go away.


KING: George Will, what's the affect of propaganda the Taliban is going to take international journalists a tour of the bombing damage?

WILL: I don't think it matters. Now, Larry, the international journalists are going to see that war creates rubble, that there is imprecision, that there is collateral damage, but the United States is not running this with a finger -- a whetted finger in the air, and it is not running it with polls in mind.

KING: Are you surprised, George Will, at how well the Senate and the House have come together in all of this?

WILL: I'm not surprised really. I mean, this is so unusual an American experience to have violence inflicted on the continental United States from abroad. What we had one balloon float in and start a fire in Oregon in the Second World War? That was it? No, this is a wholly new experience.

What does interest me, Larry, is that the left dissent on campuses and elsewhere is so utterly peripheral and marginal that no one is even feeling it terribly necessary to denounce it.

KING: Senator Mitchell, as a veteran, you're the only one of this group that served in the Senate. Are you surprised?

MITCHELL: Not at all, Larry -- the reasons George suggested, and others. The fact of the matter is when several thousand Americans are killed in a direct attack like this, most people -- the overwhelming majority of people, and certainly the members of the Senate and House, don't think of themselves as Democrats or Republicans. They think of themselves as Americans. We are Americans first, and people are reacting in that way.

And I think that the congressional leadership on both sides have performed very well in what is obviously a difficult situation. You're going to have some instances where there will be disagreement, and it's a very hard thing to draw a specific line and say you can't go beyond this on any of these issues. But I think so far they have earned and deserve the credit and support of the American people for the way they have handled themselves.

KING: And, Ambassador Holbrooke, as the former ambassador to the U.N., is the world impressed when it sees something like that?

HOLBROOKE: Oh, it's absolutely critical that the world see that the kind of divisions, which weakened us in other things like the Vietnam War don't exist here. And the unity on international issues is critical. I give very high marks to Senator Daschle and Congressman Gephardt for their leadership.

I was not happy, however, to see bipartisanship fraying at the seams on Friday over some domestic issues, and I think it's noteworthy that some of the president's own party are trying to go further than he wants them to go in carrying previous pre-September 11 battles into the post-September 11 world on the domestic front.

But I agree completely with what the two Georges have said concerning the vital importance and impressive nature of bipartisanship.

KING: Port Huron, Michigan, we'll take a call for George Will, George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke -- hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Yes, my question is: If it is determined that bin Laden and the al Qaeda network is behind this bioterrorism, would the U.S. use nuclear power?

KING: Ah! Go on, George Will, you want to start with that?


WILL: Well...


KING: ... determined fact?

WILL: Well, the target is simply not proportional here. Of course, it wouldn't use nuclear weapons. One of the great achievements of the United States is to have nuclear weapons, which since Nagasaki, have not been used in the world, and we're not about to throw that precedent away over this tent dweller.

KING: George Mitchell, do you agree?

MITCHELL: I agree. One of the things that has helped very much in creating, and I believe, in sustaining this coalition has been that our government has proceeded carefully and methodically in a focused way and with the response that is proportionate to the situation. The use of nuclear power would be completely disproportionate to the situation. It would not be effective to achieve the purposes that we want. It would kill very large numbers of people who are themselves innocent. I think it would end the coalition and turn the whole world against us.

So I do not think it should or will be used.

KING: Ambassador Holbrooke, is this coalition going to hold?

HOLBROOKE: I think it will. The NATO countries have been magnificent led by Prime Minister Blair.

But I am troubled by the so-called moderate state responses, particularly two critical countries: Egypt and Saudi Arabia. If you read their press in the Arab world, it is appalling what is being said. Mubarak of Egypt and the Saudi Arabian Royal Family are very shaky. We're learning a lot more, and it's ugly about how many Saudis were complicit in the financial network, which we have to close down.

And I think that the greatest weakness right now in what we are faced is the fact that leading Muslim leaders -- religious leaders, not the political leaders, all over the world are either being silent or failing to adequately state that the people who did this are not following Islam -- which is a great religion -- they are rather pursing the most obscene goals by the most obscene means.

And a lot of people are being misled all over the world now. Read the press outside the Western alliance.

KING: But, George Will, isn't one of bin Laden's goal to overthrow or overturn the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia? Aren't those two of the governments he dislikes the most?

WILL: He -- that is a goal, and that is a goal that would serve his ultimate goal, which is to get the United States out of that region.

But, Larry, when we talk about this coalition, there is a sense in which it's useful, obviously, for banking systems, intelligence, police, landing rights, over flight rights and all of the rest. But what this war on terrorism comes down at the end to unilateralism by the United States in multilateralist drag, if you will permit me to say so.

The fact is we are going to lead and people will follow if we lead. You know, George Cannon (ph), the great diplomat, once said that in negotiations as the number of participants increases arithmetically, the difficulty of reaching an agreement increases exponentially. And the same is true with acting with a coalition that gets so big, it's cumbersome if it's really involved in the heart of the matter. And in this case, the heart of the matter is military, and we're going to do it.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on you again -- a great panel -- George Will, George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke.

We're going to take a break and come back and talk about the healing the soul of America with one of our spiritual leaders, Marianne Williamson from Detroit -- don't go away.


KING: Something special coming from Sir Paul McCartney.

Joining us now in Detroit is Marianne Williamson, spiritual leader, author of "Healing the Soul of America" -- hi, Marianne.


KING: Many people are asking the same thing: Why did God let this happen?

WILLIAMSON: Well, God didn't do this. Human beings did this. We have free will, and the issue is not what God did. The issue is what people did. And the issue is not just where God was on September 11, but where he is right now.

I think Americans are very good at praying once a catastrophe has occurred, but I think we need to evolve in our understanding to recognize the power of prayer and the consideration of God as a preventative. We need our spiritual power now every bit as much as we needed it on September 11.

KING: Do you see this at all as a punishment?

WILLIAMSON: Oh, God no, it's not a punishment -- of course, not. But it is a challenge for the human race to evolve into the next stage of our spiritual development. You know what we need to heal are the thought forms and the feelings that cause us to create war and mass destruction on this kind of a level, because ultimately if we are to survive as a species, we have to become a human race for whom the thought of war is unthinkable. War is increasingly becoming something that would be unsurvivable for the species itself.

KING: What boggles the mind, though, is that if God is omnipotent, he could have prevented it, could he not?

WILLIAMSON: No, God created the law of free will, and God created the law of cause and effect. And he himself will not violate the law. We need to be thinking less in terms of what God did and more in terms of whether or not we are following those laws.

You know, it's not enough, Larry, to get through this if all we're going to do is wage war. We have to wage peace. That's the law of the spirit is the waging of peace, because if we simply seek to manage the effects of hatred, which does need to be done, of course. But if all we do is manage the effects of hatred, then hatred will simply stalk us the next decade or the next generation. We need to dismantle hatred itself.

And hatred is our real problem. It's not just, for instance, a nuclear bomb that's a problem. It's hatred that will push somebody to press that button. So we need to understand the spiritual malaise of hatred as much as we need to understand any of the external powers that hatred or military action we'd be involved with.

KING: What do we do, though, when our spiritual side and our upfront side all get angry?

WILLIAMSON: Well, God would have us move to the highest level of our nature, and that means that we need to understand that our capacity to deal with the spirit -- the darkness of the spirit with the light of the spirit as our greatest power.

Karl Jung once said that only spirit can cure spirit, and Franklin Roosevelt said that we need to do more than end war. We need to end the beginnings of all wars.

I think in the United States, we have a bias -- we have a cultural bias against a discussion of internal realities, so that we will discuss external things. You know, we see a discussion of inner matters, spiritual matters, sometimes this touchy feely, mushy thinking, fuzzy thought. That's why, to be honest, even in the last month -- and you see it, to be honest, programs like this -- you see sometimes women asking the questions, but mainly men giving the answers, because we are stuck in this bias that has to do with a rationalistic approach to problems analyzing strategy.

And now we're coming to understand, I think, spiritually in this nation that there is as much power in the soul as there is in group force. There is as much power in listening and understanding and humility as there is, for instance, in military action.

KING: Do you find something positive out of all of this?

WILLIAMSON: Oh, yes! You know, at Alcoholics Anonymous, they say that every problem comes bearing its own solution. And clearly, the president, for instance, has talked about the compassion that has emerged in this society. We are loving each other, and in that love and that realization of our interconnectedness, we are not only finding a way to heal from the grief of what has occurred, but to endure what is occurring now and to transform what is occurring now.

When the president said we have to think differently because it's a new kind of war, we have to think differently because it's a new world. We have to think differently, we have to love differently.

KING: Yes.

WILLIAMSON: For us to understand...

KING: Well said.

WILLIAMSON: I'm sorry.

KING: It was very well said.

WILLIAMSON: Thank you.

KING: Thank you Marianne.

WILLIAMSON: Thank you.

KING: Always good having you with us. WILLIAMSON: Thank you.

KING: Marianne Williamson -- you always feel better after you hear from her than before -- spiritual leader and author of "Healing the Soul of America."

In a little while, we'll tell you about tomorrow night's guests and lead you into the next segment following LARRY KING WEEKEND, a live edition.

We've got something special for you. We were given a special song to debut tonight from Sir Paul McCartney himself. It's his new single "From a Lover to a Friend." It won't be released until October 29. Both Sir McCartney's royalties and the record company's proceeds from the sales of the single will be donated to aid the families of New York firemen and police officers.

On October 20, Sir McCartney will front an all-star concert at Madison Square Garden to benefit the families of the victims. We have some words from Sir Paul McCartney given to us that he wanted to pass on to our viewers.

Here is what he said: "We're doing this big concert in New York to stand up for Democracy, to honor the rescue workers and to benefit the victims of the attacks, and I hope that the sales of the new single will help raise more funds. America is one of the greatest democracies on Earth, containing people from all races and religions, and this attack on September 11 was a threat to that freedom. This is why we all need to stand up and be counted, and why I'll be standing on stage at Madison Square Garden with a bunch of mates in a show of solidarity.

"I was very pleased to see that President Bush had an Islamic prayer read at the Washington memorial. That made the point that the current conflict is not an attack on Islam, but just the opposite. We're involving in striking a blow for the freedom of all religions, including Islam. To some people, the West may appear to have millions of faults, but the West doesn't allow Hitlers. That is our strength. It may be our only strength, but it's a bloody good one."

Here for the first time, Paul McCartney's, "From a Lover to a Friend."



KING: Tomorrow night: Judith Miller and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Next is a special report with Judy Woodruff.




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