CNN LARRY KING LIVE
America Strikes Back: Interview With the Crown Prince of Bahrain
Aired October 25, 2001 - 21:00 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.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight on Capitol Hill, final passage of a landmark anti-terror bill and the discovery of more anthrax hot spots.
At the White House, coalition building as the president names Bahrain a major non-NATO ally, and we'll have an exclusive interview with the crown prince of Bahrain, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa.
Also joining us from Washington, Senator John Warner, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and former secretary of the Navy, and with him Senator Max Cleland, also a member of Armed Services and decorated Vietnam veteran.
In Houston, Secretary of State in the first Bush administration, James Baker.
And back in Washington, Bob Schieffer, anchor and moderator of CBS's "Face the Nation."
Plus, John Ondrasik and his band, "Five for Fighting," with "Superman": the song New York firefighters have made their own.
They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We begin with the crown prince of Bahrain, who today met with President Bush. His country was selected now as a major non-NATO ally, joining Australia, Argentina, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, South Korea, and New Zealand. Did you expect that to be coming, Your Highness?
SHAIKH SALAM BIN HAMAD AL-KHALIFA, CROWN PRINCE OF BAHRAIN: Well, we're certainly very pleased that it has come. We've been working for a number of years for it. And I think it's a recognition of the solid friendship between our two countries and the longstanding relationship that exists between them.
KING: Did Bahrain have any doubts in getting involved in this war on terrorism?
KING: Period, none.
AL-KHALIFA: Period, none. It's the right thing to do and we support it wholeheartedly.
KING: Anyone in the country in opposition there? Have there been any protests in Bahrain? There have been protests in other Arab nations.
AL-KHALIFA: There have been. I think there was one protest at a mosque where six guys were protesting the actual attack on Afghanistan. They were not in support of any terrorism or anything like that. Other people joined into the demonstration, but it dispersed peacefully.
We're a peaceful people. We find these attacks atrocious, and they must be condemned wholeheartedly.
KING: What's your read, since your commander in chief of the Bahrain defense force, your read on the military action thus far? I guess it's a small defense force, huh?
AL-KHALIFA: It's -- it's big for Bahrain, and it does a lot of good work. And I think our read on the military situation is that it's progressing according to plan. We are very thankful that the United States has been very careful not to target civilians and has attempted to do so with great care.
KING: What did the conversation, what did it, how did it go with President Bush today?
AL-KHALIFA: It went very well. He's a -- he's a very good guy to meet with. And actually, I was honored that he spared some of his very valuable time to meet with me today. And we talked about the longstanding relationship. We talked about our commitment to stand by values of freedom and our real feeling of friendship between our two countries.
KING: What do you make, Your Highness, of in many parts of the Arab and Islamic world this anger at the United States?
AL-KHALIFA: Well, I think it -- we must differentiate between September 11 and the attacks on Afghanistan. Wholeheartedly, all of the Arab and Islamic world condemns the attacks of September 11th. When it comes to the action in Afghanistan, there are more divisions, and I think it has large -- it has a large part to do with issues that affect the U.S. directly, such as the foreign policy of the U.S. And it also has to do with internal conflicts, and the aspirations of the people for a better life, mainly economically.
KING: Does Bahrain feel the United States is too pro-Israel?
AL-KHALIFA: Well, I think what we would like to see coming out of the peace process -- out of the United States vis-a-vis the peace process is a balanced approach that takes into account the suffering of the Palestinian people as well as the suffering of innocent Israelis who have been attacked by terrorists exploding bombs outside of the discotheque and things of that nature.
But the Palestinian people as well need to have someone recognize their suffering and the sacrifices that they've made.
KING: A major article, front page today's "Wall Street Journal," about Bahrain, calling it the oasis of hope, and it says: "Bahrain's bold rebuff to its Islamic rebels," "democracy and rights," "Gulf nation frees prisoners, plans elections in effort to mute radical threat," that "Bahrain may be an example for the Arab world."
What sets your country apart like this?
AL-KHALIFA: Well, first of all, I think it's a continuation. There was question asked yesterday on Capitol Hill: What's the difference between a moderate Arab state and a radical Arab state? I think this clearly defines it. Us in the GCC and in Jordan, Egypt and Morocco are all trying to make our countries a better place to live for our citizens. And we certainly don't support terrorists or fund them or even condone their activities or harbor them. So this is the real difference.
And Bahrain is continuing a proud tradition of openness and dialogue with its own people, because we feel it's the right thing to do, it's the noble thing to do, and we're very proud of it.
KING: Taking this kind of position, have you seen violence in your own country from extremists, from your country or elsewhere?
AL-KHALIFA: We haven't seen any...
AL-KHALIFA: In regard to the war on Afghanistan?
KING: No. In regard to your historically trying to be almost the role of a peacemaker.
AL-KHALIFA: Well, we have had incidents in the past. And I think every country goes through that sort of -- those sort of growing pains, where people feel disaffected from a policy or a system that is being promulgated by the government, and they sometimes react with violence.
But it's the duty of every conscientious leader I think in the world today to rise to the aspirations of its people and to do the right thing in regard to their -- to their views.
KING: And how do you see Afghanistan post the war? Let's say the Taliban is gotten rid of in some measures. How do you see a new government being formed?
AL-KHALIFA: Well, I think, Larry, that what we must be working for is a broad-based government. You know, the Taliban claim that they, you know, they're fighting for Islam, but they're excluding a significant part of their own population who are also Muslims. So I think that the broad-based government that comes into Afghanistan must be representative of all the major ethnic groups that are there, and it will need a unifying force. And I think his majesty, Zaher Shah, who is the exiled king of Afghanistan, seems to be an acceptable rallying point. And I hope that that is done soon.
KING: And you have also taken anti-anthrax measures, right?
AL-KHALIFA: Well, we continue to monitor this very unfortunate and despicable act, and we are taking measures as necessary. Yes, sir.
KING: Thank you very much for being with us, and thank you very much for -- and welcome to our country, any time.
AL-KHALIFA: Thank you so much, Larry. It's an honor and a pleasure to be here.
KING: My pleasure. Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain, today, as the president said, he intends to designate Bahrain a major non-NATO ally. We'll get thoughts on that and other things from Senators John Warner and Max Cleland, former Secretary of State James Baker still to come. And our man Bob Schieffer will be aboard, too. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The attacks of September 11 were acts of terrorism against America, orchestrated and carried out by individuals living within our borders.
Today's terrorists enjoy the benefits of our free society, even as they commit themselves to our destruction. They live in our communities, plotting, planning, waiting to kill Americans again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome two distinguished members of the United States Senate, and of the Armed Services Committee: Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, ranking member of that committee, and former secretary of the Navy and a veteran of course; and Senator Max Cleland, Democrat of Georgia, member of the Armed Services, and a famed, decorated Vietnam veteran.
This was a busy day for armed services. This morning they had a hearing on bioterrorism and lessons learned from the Dark Winter exercise about smallpox. And this afternoon a hearing on the role of the Defense Department and homeland security.
Overall picture, Senator Warner: domestically -- first take the domestic issue on anthrax. Made that any progress do you think, or is it on the down curve?
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: You know, Max -- I say Max and I have spent probably a third of our day now working on either the issues in the war against terrorism abroad or here at home. And I have adopted a policy on anthrax that we are on a steep learning curve, and I think the best advice and knowledge comes from the experts who have devoted their careers and lives to this subject. We've got a lot to learn.
KING: Senator Cleland, what is your thoughts on this -- well it is not an epidemic -- it is an epidemic of concern.
SEN. MAX CLELAND (D-GA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, concern is the right word, Larry, not panic. We are going back into the Dirksen building tomorrow. I'm going to pick up my life and move on and so will members of my staff and other people, too. Not that we aren't alerted to the dangers that we face. But, we will have a clear office tomorrow to go back into in the Dirksen building,so that will be two of the three Senate offices open: Russell and Dirksen.
We don't know when we will get Hart opening up, but I think we are going to go back and just with a certain resolve. And the resolve is that these terrorists are not going to win. They are not going to allow us, we are not going to allow them to drive us out of our offices and compromise our country.
WARNER: I agree with Max. I agree with him a hundred percent. I misread your question. I thought you were asking about the technical aspects of anthrax. We've got so much to learn about that, but I think on the whole the Congress has done a pretty good job under some conditions where we were deprived or our offices.
KING: But Senator Warner, others are saying that there is major room for improvement, that agencies didn't -- did not "interwise" well. Many in the public feel they are not getting the straight story. Postal workers feel that you got a break above them.
WARNER: You know, I sympathize with those postal workers. We got to them too late with the information and perhaps some of the medical knowledge that we had at the time. But, you know, at this point, we shouldn't be trying to do more than learn from our mistakes, rather than criticize and move forward united on every front to stop this war, terrorism, abroad and at here at home.
KING: Senator Cleland, would that satisfy you if you were a postal worker?
CLELAND: Let me just say -- I agree with John, but let me just say here -- it is obvious that our government has to be better organized, better coordinated to deal with something like this. There is no question about that. Secondly, we have to communicate to American people. I mean I think we need a spokesperson every day that has credibility, to communicate every day with American people, and give the story, the best story that we have.
We have had a number of stories come out. We have had a number of agencies get involved. For my own money I would rather have the CDC as a spokesman, run all these tests through the CDC, let them be the central clearing house. I think we got in trouble with the postal service, the postal workers, when we sent some of the material that was anthrax to the Army in Maryland, and the CDC didn't get hold of it.
We didn't coordinate well, and I think the postal workers got the raw end of the deal. But I think we have learned from that, and I think our challenge now is to coordinate our own agencies better.
KING: Senator Warner, what did you learn today about smallpox and the threat of that?
WARNER: Well it is quite interesting. Our former chairman, a dear friend of mine and Max's, Sam Nunn, and the center for strategic studies in Washington, have put together a very carefully organized briefing, showing how, should the smallpox be brought back, and let's not start an alarm here, there is a very little chance of it being brought back, but as Max would say, it is never too early to get this nation prepared.
Our president and his cabinet are taking the first steps now to order the necessary vaccine, and we are going to hopefully be ahead of the curve so that if that were ever introduced, our nation could quickly combat it, and move on.
KING: We are going to stockpile 300 million doses. Is that correct, Senator Cleland?
CLELAND: I think so in terms of smallpox vaccines, or dilute the existing smallpox vaccine one to five, and the experts say that might be acceptable. The real key here, Larry, is that our public health agencies from the CDC to the NIH, all the way down to the state and local health departments have got to be brought up to speed.
They are now part of this war on terrorism and have to be funded as such. I have been going after major funding for the CDC in Atlanta for a couple, three years now. It is obvious we have to have a Marshall plan to dramatically upgrade that agency. I think it should be the lead agency to fight this germ warfare attack on our country.
WARNER: On the home front we had our briefing today from the senior military, the vice chairman of the joint chiefs, together with the secretary of the Army, whose is in charge of homeland defense, and our military looking at all of our assets to combat terrorism here at home if that be necessary.
The only one area, and it is one that Max and I are working on together, is the degree to which they can perform any police duties. That is owing to a very old statute called Posse Comitatus. But other than that, they are on standby night and day and indeed watching, as you and I are working here in America -- hopefully half of us are going to rest here shortly -- they are on duty and ready to respond.
KING: Senator Feingold was...
CLELAND: May I respond to that, Larry?
KING: Yeah, go ahead, Max.
CLELAND: One of the things that I learned was that September 11 we are in a new ballgame here. We are not just at a crime scene. Right now the FBI is the lead agent in terms of counter terrorism. I think September 11 we moved away from just counterterrorism on a crime scene -- we have moved into war.
I think the Defense Department has got to step forward and take a greater role in this effort. I asked the question today, if the Navy has the Coast Guard mobilized under its command in wartime, we are in a war on terrorism. Why is not the Coast Guard now mobilized under the Pentagon instead of the Department of Transportation?
I think we have got to think through this, because we are in a war now, not just a crime scene.
KING: Senator Warner, Senator Feingold, the only senator to vote against the terrorism bill today. Did you have any questions about it?
WARNER: No. There is clearly an argument by those who feel that we have made an intrusion into our civil liberties, and perhaps civil rights. But as Max said, and as I say, and as you say, we are at war in this nation. By and large the measures that we have adopted were those asked by the president. They were debated both on the floor of the House, as well as the Senate, strong votes in both chambers, and basically the law, with regard to terrorism, is brought up in parallel to the law regarding narcotics and drugs.
And additionally, technology, whether it is cell phones or the Internet or e-mail, had gotten out ahead of the laws, and we brought them up to date to encompass those avenues of communication.
KING: Did you have any concerns, Senator Cleland, even though you voted for it?
CLELAND: No, I voted for it and I was glad to support it. It is about time we did something like that.
KING: We will be right back with more. We will include some phone calls, and then we will meet the former secretary of state who has been through these waters -- James Baker.
This is LARRY KING LIVE. Right back with Senators Warner and Cleland after these words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On the civil defense front we are taking every measure to improve both our prevention capability and our response capability. The enemy has shown the capacity to inflict great damage on the United States, and the only safe way for us to proceed is to assume that there will be more attacks.
In this conflict for the first time in our history, we will probably suffer more casualties here at home than will our troops overseas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We are back with Senators John Warner and Max Cleland.
Senator Warner, Iraq, yes or no?
WARNER: At the moment, I would say that we better be very, very careful in establishing the facts. If there is linkage between Iraq and the anthrax here in Washington, or linkage between Iraq and any of the terrorism on 9-11, let's go for it. But until that is established, we've got to be very cautious. Otherwise it would fracture, in some respects, the coalition of nations now helping us in Afghanistan.
My own view, and this is strictly mine, is that we best take Afghanistan, bring it under control, achieve those objectives we can, before we start elsewhere.
CLELAND: I agree.
KING: Senator Cleland, you agree?
CLELAND: I couldn't agree more. Let's keep our eye on the ball here. What is the goal? The goal is to kill or capture Osama bin Laden and his terrorists cadre and roll up their cells around the world so we don't face this threat anymore. That is the goal. Let's keep eye on that ball. It is tough enough to achieve that. I think that John is absolutely right and I couldn't agree more.
KING: Senator Warner, we take actions against terrorism, but we tell Israel not to. Is that do as I say, not as I do?
WARNER: Boy, that is the toughest question that any of us here have. I watched Secretary of State Powell yesterday, and indeed again today, here on the Congress, testifying on those issues. Clearly, the people of Israel are being subjected to terrorist acts. There is no doubt about that.
Whether or not the Israelis return disproportionate harm on the Palestinians, then it is in the eye of the beholder. But it is awfully hard for those of us here, oceans apart, thousands of miles away, to sit in judgment of that conflict which is gone on now for almost nine to 10 months.
Let's hope that we can somehow bring that to some type of satisfactory and mutually satisfactory closure, because, in my judgment, it is part of the core problem of this terrorism that is being directed at the United States of America.
KING: Senator Biden -- I want to bring that up in a minute -- let's get a call in quickly -- Harrisburg, Kentucky, hello.
CALLER: I was curious, the second person that got anthrax at NBC, why they -- if they were put on Cipro as a precautionary, why they went on and got anthrax?
KING: Do any of you know that?
WARNER: I wouldn't attempt to answer that.
KING: I think that would more fit a scientific panel.
OK, Senator Biden -- this is for you, Senator Cleland -- on the Foreign Relations Committee before the Council on Foreign Relations, praised the president, but said he hopes the bombing he doesn't last too long because it plays into every stereotypical criticism of us, that we are this high-tech bully that thinks from the air we can do whatever we want.
He warned the United States would pay an escalating price in the Muslim world for every hour and every day the bombing goes on. You share that view?
CLELAND: I think we have to look at our military effort in a total context here, and that is in terms of our objective. If the bombing helps us obtain our objective we should pursue that with every effort we can muster. So I don't rule out whatever we have to do to accomplish our objective in the fastest way possible.
Because I think ultimately, a great offense, a great strategic offense against the terrorists, is ultimately our best defense, including bombing, as well as ground troops.
WARNER: Larry, short answer on that. I have a great respect for Joe Biden. I have been at this very table with him many times, in your studio and on the floor. Let's face it, bad choice of words, but his basic message is that we have got to keep our eye on other nations which are holding together politically and internally in their governments, in a very fragile manner, as we conduct this absolutely essential war against terrorism.
KING: Victoria Kansas, hello.
CALLER: Hello. I would like to ask the question, surely someone should have seen something. I mean these terrorists or whoever is doing this anthrax thing, must have been buying some kind of other supplies like maybe even Cipro, or masks or something. You know, has no one seen anything or is anyone investigating this?
KING: Have we been blind sided, Senator Cleland?
CLELAND: We have been blindsided. No question about it. Part of the problem is that a lot of the evidence went up in flames with the terrorists who made the sacrifice of themselves. A lot of that evidence is now gone. But we are piecing things together. I think this has been a very sophisticated operation from the beginning, well thought out, well planned on enemy's part.
And I think probably, in my opinion, the anthrax came from a very industrial source that is not garden variety. It is highly sophisticated and it meant a highly sophisticated highly well-financed effort to get it to this country.
KING: Senator Warner -- sorry, go ahead.
WARNER: Let me just say, your caller raised good questions, and today the director of the FBI briefed members of the Senate and I cannot divulge his responses but I can assure that questioner, that there were answers to those questions that she raised and that sometime in the future they will be forthcoming.
But at this time every single resource of our nation, be it military, or law enforcement, diplomatic, economic, money laundering, or the like, we are on every way trying to stamp out this terrorist attack and get to the bottom of anthrax.
KING: Senator Cleland, must bin Laden be killed or captured for this to be a success?
CLELAND: Either one, that is the goal. It is a standard military objective, and if he resists, you have to use force to overcome that. If he doesn't resist, you capture him and his cadre as well. The point is, the terrorist has to lose.
When I was in Vietnam many years ago, the old adage about fighting guerrillas was if the guerrilla doesn't lose, he wins. In this case, if the terrorist doesn't lose, he wins. We've got to win this one. And there is no question about it.
KING: Thank you both very much, Senators John Warner and Max Cleland. We, as always, will be calling on both of you again. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Senators Patrick Leahy and Mitch McConnell will be aboard tomorrow night.
Bob Schieffer still to come, but we are going to spend some time with the former secretary of state James Baker! He is with us next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We cannot let Osama bin Laden pretend that he is doing it in the name of helping the Iraqi people or the Palestinian people. He doesn't care one wit about them. He has never given a dollar toward them. He has never spoken out for them. He has used them as a cover for his evil criminal, murderous, terrorist acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joining us now from Houston, a gentleman with an incredible career of distinguished service to this country, the former Secretary of State under George Bush, Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, as well as White House chief of staff for both Reagan and Bush, James A. Baker. Secretary Baker joins us from Houston.
By the way, on the night of September 11, Secretary Baker, you were on this show. That terrible day.
JAMES BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: That's right, Larry,
KING: And we asked you if you had a suspect here. And you said you have no inside information, but to you it's Osama bin Laden. How did you know it that early on?
BAKER: Well, I didn't know it for sure. I didn't have a suspect, but I am familiar with some of the past history with respect to Osama bin Laden. And it just seemed certain, almost certain to me, that this was the person responsible for what happened.
We knew even back there in the days when I was in government that he was disaffected. After that time, we learned that he was planning terrorist acts and developing terrorist cells, that he'd moved to Sudan, then to Afghanistan. So he was the most likely suspect. And I suppose now that most people are convinced he's the culprit.
KING: But there was a time, historically, when we helped him against the Russians, did we not financially?
BAKER: Well, that's correct. We helped him. He helped us. At that time, the objective, as far as he was concerned, was to get the Soviets out of Afghanistan. And that was, of course, our objective as well.
KING: How do you assess, to this minute, the administration's performance domestically and internationally?
BAKER: Well, I think the -- I think the President, the administration, have done an absolutely bang up job in the foreign policy and national security arenas, Larry. I can't -- and I haven't heard any criticism. And Frankly, I can't think of anything that would rise to the level of a critical point.
This is going to be a tough job, though. I think I may have also said I don't remember whether I said or not on your program, that this was going to take time.
KING: You did.
BAKER: This coalition, it maybe a bit easier to pull together in the first instance, because the world saw horror of what happened on September 11, but it's going to be, perhaps, more difficult even than it was for President Bush's father and for our administration to keep that coalition together, and keep it supportive of continued action. And this action, a war against terrorism, is going to take a longer time, because we're dealing with a very, very shadowy enemy.
On the domestic front, I'm aware of the criticism that surfaced in the last day or so about not speaking with one voice. Perhaps that is justified. I don't really know. But I do think it would be advisable if, as in the national security and foreign policy arena, they would designate one principal spokesman to answer the questions that quite properly come from the public and from the press about what's happening on the, you know, on the anthrax front and that sort of thing.
KING: So you agree with Senator Cleveland, who said there'd be a spokesman who speaks almost daily to the American people?
BAKER: I think that would be a good thing to do. We have that on the international side with Secretary Rumsfeld, occasionally Secretary Powell, and the President. And I think that would be an appropriate thing to do on the domestic side.
KING: What's your assessment, so far of General Powell?
BAKER: Well, I think Colin's doing an absolutely superb job. This coalition was cobbled together in a lot quicker time than we got ours pulled together. It's interesting to me to note, Larry, that all of the arguments about where the President's head was on policy with respect to China, and with respect to Russia, and with respect to other issues, where people were surmising that perhaps the Secretary of State was the odd man out, that's all gone by the boards.
And as it turns out, the President has pretty well come down on the side of the Secretary of State. That, to my way of thinking, having been in that job, measures up to an A plus performance.
KING: Building a coalition, you had to do it. Powell is now doing it. You have to do things like, I mean logical things like Bahrain. And you heard the Crown Prince earlier. They get a status as a major non-Nato ally. You changed things with regard to Pakistan.
You have to do -- this delicate, isn't it?
BAKER: It's very delicate. And this is, perhaps, even more delicate if I may say so, Larry, than what we were faced with. Because as I said a little bit earlier, alluded to, we had a known enemy. It was a state. We had a fairly discrete objective, kick them out of Kuwait, get them out unconditionally. It was something that, as it turned out in retrospect, we could accomplish quite quickly.
This is going to take quite a bit of very, very complex diplomacy, in addition, to effective military action and effective action in other areas such as intelligence, economic sanctions, political sanctions, and the like.
And there are going to be a lot of trade-offs, an awful lot of trade-offs. We're seeing some of them even today, where Pakistan is quite reluctant to go along with us in bombing let's say the frontlines of the Taliban, up there north of Kabul, because they don't want the Northern Alliance to be the successor government in Afghanistan.
And yet, we have to keep the packs happy and we have to make sure that we get an appropriate follow-on government there. So you've got all these kinds of trade-offs coming.
KING: Let's include a call for Secretary Baker. Calgary, Alberta, Canada, hello. CALLER: Hi. My question is, do you think that in retrospect, sending in assassin type S.W.A.T. teams would work better than air strikes? And also, can we can we win against this enemy, which seems to be so evil, they'll stop absolutely nothing?
BAKER: Well, it appears...
KING: Good question.
BAKER: It appears that it is a good question. And it appears that they will stop at absolutely nothing. If indeed it's true, as the Defense Department thinks, that they are even attempting or thinking about poisoning the humanitarian food assistance that the United States is dropping to Afghan civilians, and you know exactly what people mean when they say they would stop at nothing.
I think what you're going to see is a combination of air strikes and surgical strikes on the ground, special operations forces. We've seen a little bit of that already. I don't think that -- and I'm not I'm not privy to inside information when I say this, but I really don't expect that the United States is going to get bogged down in a massive ground war in Afghanistan, the way the Soviets did, for instance, and the way even before the Soviets, the British did, both of whom pretty much lost it there.
KING: Secretary Baker, no one had to deal more with the Mideast than you over all those years. And the question was asked earlier, we'll ask it of you. Israel gets a cabinet member killed and threatens to take major retaliatory action. We tell them not to. What if we had cabinet member killed by a terrorist?
BAKER: Well, that's as John Warner said a little earlier on your program, that is very difficult, Larry. But it is not appropriate in my view or correct, I should say, in my view to equate this with a response in that situation with what we are doing in Afghanistan, because -- well, for a couple reasons.
First of all, the Palestinians and the Israelis had been engaged in negotiations for peace for quite some time. Those negotiations are, you know, on shaky ground now, but these are the only two parties. And ultimately, someday, they have to be the partners for peace. And ultimately someday, they've got to negotiate together.
Secondly, there is an agreement between them called the Oslo Agreement, which basically says that as long as someone is in custody, or in prison, they cannot be extradited to the other party. The Oslo Agreement of I think 19 amendment of 1995.
So when Israel says well, we're not going to relent. We're not going to pull back, the way the United States has requested or because we're really striking back at terrorists the way you do, we're not going to do that until these perpetrators of this act have been turned over to us. That really is not consummate with that Oslo Agreement.
On the other hand, I wrote an op-ed piece that was published a day or so ago in "The Financial Times" in which I said that I think Arafat ought to step up to the plate here. And he ought to offer to turn these people over after they're arrested and convicted if they're sentenced to anything less than 25 years in prison without parole.
I also said I think both sides should stop the targeted killings that are going on, because frankly, there is no military solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Larry. It's going to have to -- it's going to be solved only by a political dialogue. And they've got to get back to that.
KING: So the difference between America and Afghanistan, and Israeli-Palestine is apples and oranges?
BAKER: Well, I don't know that it's apples and oranges. I mean, yes, terrorism is terrorism. On the other hand, you have a negotiation going on there between Israelis and Palestinians. You have certain agreements that are have been agreed to and are on the table.
They are the only two partners for peace. We would never -- we will never negotiate peace or anything else with the people that perpetrated the kind of act that took place on September 11. It's a different -- I think it's a different situation from that standpoint.
KING: Hoosik Falls, New York, another call for Secretary Baker. Hello. Are you there? Hello? I'm sorry. I hit the wrong line. There's nothing on 6. All right. I'm sorry. We've missed that call.
The Iraq issue, Mr. Secretary, a dilemma, is it not? What to do?
BAKER: Well, what to do is pretty much, I think, again what Senator Warner just said in answer to that question. That's where I come down. My own -- maybe I'm a little bit harder over on going after Iraq if there's any evidence whatsoever.
I suppose you'd have to say convincing evidence, but if there's evidence that Iraq supplied this anthrax, then it seems to me that it is incumbent upon us to take some action. And there are some actions that we could take.
On the other hand, I agree with Senator Cleland that we ought to keep our eye on the ball, in terms of what our first objective is. You know, when this attack first went down on September 11, we had some people in Washington, freelancing a little bit, I think, and saying "we are now going to end states that sponsor terrorism."
Well, you know what that means? What that means is we would have to occupy and change out the governments of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and probably other countries. So we ought to be careful that we don't define our objectives so broadly that we can't accomplish it.
So first thing we ought to do is what we're doing in Afghanistan.
KING: Mr. Secretary, you miss being on the job at times like this? BAKER: I do not really miss it, Larry. I put in about 15 years of public service. And I enjoyed it a lot. I wouldn't give anything for having done it, but I wouldn't give anything for life after politics either.
KING: It's always good to see you. Thank you so much for your input.
BAKER: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Secretary of State and former Secretary of the Treasury, former chief of staff, James Baker. When we come back, one of the better journalists around, Bob Schieffer of CBS Mews. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We are working on a broad front across the world. One portion of the world is Afghanistan. One portion of the problem in Afghanistan is UBL, Usama bin Laden.
Now have we made progress? And I said, and I at great risk will say again, that until you have you him, you do not have him. So what is progress? Until he is no longer functioning as a terrorist, he is functioning as a terrorist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, an old friend, Bob Schieffer and the anchor and moderator of "FACE THE NATION," on CBS. And he's also CBS' news chief Washington correspondent. Are you concerned about yourself?
BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're taking all the precautions, Larry. As you know, I have spend most of week up on Capitol Hill covering the Congress. So I was over at the Hart building on day that this letter was opened. I've been all over Capitol Hill.
I took my Cipro, like the doctors told me to do. And so did all of the people on my staff. Some of our cameramen have put on a 60 day protocol, because they spent most of the day that letter was opened in that building at that time. Everybody said it was safe. And then of course, they changed the view of that. So, I think we're all trying to take proper precautions, but you know, we're functioning. We're doing our job.
KING: Do you think the postal workers have an argument that they've been treated a little second rate in this?
SCHIEFFER: Well, there's no question that they told those postal workers that it was safe to go back to their jobs. And then, two of them died. So I would -- yes, I would say they've got a little complaint coming there. But the other part of it is, Larry, people say is this -- was the Congress getting special treatment? Was there some sort of discrimination here? I don't think that was the case at all. I think it was more a case that it's quite clear now in retrospect, that the government simply didn't know and didn't recognize the dangers that were there.
I think it's fair to say that all these agencies are really kind of feeling their way along. I think there was a whole lot of soothing syrup that was issued by government spokesmen in the beginning. And too much of it in my view.
I think people tended in the beginning, the objective seemed to be to try to downplay the seriousness of this. I think people were trying not to set off panic. But in the meantime, I think what they did was, is they underestimated the problem of a serious situation here. I think the American people are grown ups. I think they can handle the truth if our officials will give it to us. And I think now, we're kind of coming around to that. But in the beginning, I'm not sure that was so.
KING: From a journalistic media standpoint, is it a thin line between -- Bob, between informing and alarming?
SCHIEFFER: Well, absolutely. But I always tell when I go to journalism classes and things and talk about things like this, I say look, the reporter's job is simply to find the truth. The reporters job is simply to evaluate, as best you can, from the best sources you can possibly get what the true picture is. And that's what we have to keep doing.
Yes sir, we don't want to alarm people. But at the same time, you never want to underestimate the problem, Larry. Just get the story out. That's my rule.
KING: It had no history with this, of course. So how do you assess the government's performance?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think I think they're trying. I think everybody is very sincere about it. I think they're now coming to understand just how serious this is. But I think they're also coming to understand, how much they really didn't know in the beginning.
And sometimes, I think that's what government spokesmen needed to do, was not only tell us what they knew, but also, give us some explanation as to what they didn't know. Because clearly, when this thing first struck, and who in God's name could have predicted something like this happening, even from the beginning, when those planes banged into those twin towers in New York?
As someone said, this is not necessarily a failure of intelligence. It's a failure of an imagination. None of us could have anticipated something like this. But having said all that, it's mandatory to get the truth out, get the story straight, let people know exactly how serious this situation is and try to move from there, it seems to me. KING: In other words, internationally, you can keep information of the nature that might affect national security, but domestically, no, domestically what you know. you let us know?
SCHIEFFER: Well, you have to let us know, so we can make plans and plan for it. I mean if you don't know it's a serious problem, you're not going to get the public to be willing to back serious measures that have to be taken. There's not very much that I think of that needs to be kept secret from the American people. I think they can handle the truth, as Jack Nicholson said in that movie.
KING: Where were you that morning?
SCHIEFFER: I beg your pardon?
KING: Where were you on September 11?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I was at home. And I was just getting ready to get ready to go to work, Larry. And my wife was watching television. And she said, "Come in here quick, there's been an accident. The World Trade Center is on fire."
And we stood there just transfixed, as we watched those first television pictures coming in. And I watched for a while. And I said, Well, I get better get onto the office. We don't know where this is going to go."
So I went in to take a shower. As I was getting dressed, she called me back and said this is no accident. They've just hit the other tower. Well, I got, you know. headed for the office as quickly case get there. As I was driving up to the Capitol, I got a call from our bureau chief on my car phone, said don't go to the Capitol, they're starting to evacuate that.
So, you know, I think back on it, Larry. And if that plane, that those brave passengers brought down in Pennsylvania, if indeed had been headed for the U.S. Capitol, as many people now think it was, perhaps I owe my life to those who brought that plane down because most of the time, I'm at U.S. Capitol. And I was headed there.
KING: Bob, we'll see you real soon. Thanks so much.
SCHIEFFER: Great to talk to you, Larry.
KING: Always great to have him. Bob Schieffer, anchor and moderator of "FACE THE NATION." And he's also a fixture at CBS News as their chief Washington correspondent.
John Ondrasik has quite a hit on his hands. He and his band "Five for Fighting," that's a term from hockey, you get five minutes for fighting as a penalty, have got a message through a song that has been taken on as the national anthem of firemen and the like. We'll hear it and him, right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We have heard so many stories about lives lost in the past few weeks. Tonight, we're delighted to tell you about a new life. Karen McHale, who is Kathie Lee Gifford's assistant, lost her husband in the World Trade Center attack on September 11. Last Thursday, October 18, she gave birth to their son, Colin Thomas McHale, named after his father. And we wish them well.
Joining us from New York is John Ondrasik. John is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist. He's with his band. They're behind him. The band -- the name is "Five for Fighting." That's the penalty given in hockey. You get five minutes for fighting. The song we're going to hear is "Superman." It was in his "America Town" album.
How did you come up with a Superman song that suddenly becomes the theme of everybody?
JOHN ONDRASIK, SINGER: You know, ironically, Larry, "Superman" really is about us, in that we can't be everything to everybody, whether in our job or with families. But you know, I noticed before September 11, the song seemed to help get people through tough times. And now, I think we've seen, I wouldn't say ordinary people, but every day citizens, people we walk by every day, perform superhuman feats.
Whether, as you said, you guys were just talking about the passengers on the plane in Pittsburgh, or firemen, or as we speak, guys who were jumping out of helicopters in Afghanistan. So it's a salute to them.
KING: All right, let's hear it. We always end our program on this kind of note. Here's John and "Superman."
KING: Tomorrow night among our guests, Senators Patrick Leahy and Mitch McConnell. That's edition of LARRY KING LIVE, and we now turn the proceedings over to New York and the "SPECIAL REPORT" with my man Aaron Brown.
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