CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview with Lynn Chapman, Wilbur Chapman
Aired January 7, 2002 - 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, an exclusive primetime interview with the parents of Sergeant Nathan Chapman, the first U.S. soldier killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan. Lynn and Wilbur Chapman join us from Fort Lewis, Washington.
And then another primetime exclusive: The father of the accused shoe bomber, Richard Reid, speaks out from London. Robin Reid blames himself for his son's plight.
Plus, Afghan updates with journalist and best selling author, Sebastian Junger, CNN's Bill Hemmer on the ground in Kandahar, CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour in London.
And with us from Washington, former Senator Sam Nunn, co-chair, CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; Senator Richard Lugar, senior member of the foreign relations and select intelligence committees; and Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the budget committee. They are all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We begin with Will and Lynn Chapman -- Wilbur is the name, but he likes Will better -- they are the parents of Sergeant First Class Nathan Ross Chapman, the first U.S. soldier killed by hostile fire in Afghanistan. Their son's remains are due to return to the United States tomorrow.
Will, will the remains go directly to Fort Lewis? Is that where the burial will be, do you know?
WILBUR CHAPMAN, FATHER OF NATHAN CHAPMAN: Yes, that's where the service will be. And the burial will be at Mount Tahoma National Cemetery, which is close by.
KING: Lynn, how did you learn of your son's death? How did this news come to you?
LYNN CHAPMAN, MOTHER OF NATHAN CHAPMAN: The Army sent a chaplain and a casualty officer to the house. I answered the door and they were there.
KING: Did you kind of sense something right away, Lynn?
L. CHAPMAN: Oh, when I saw them, yes. It was obvious what it was. They were very professional.
KING: Were you home, Will? And if so, how did they handle it?
W. CHAPMAN: I wasn't home initially. I came about 15 minutes after they did. I'll let my wife tell you how they handled it. And I can tell you after I arrived, they were very professional, very considerate, and I thought they did as good a job as you can do at that type of thing.
KING: Got to be the hardest thing to do. Lynn, how did they handle it?
L. CHAPMAN: Very well. I knew immediately what it was. And they came in and told me, were very considerate, waited with me until my husband came home. They were very thoughtful. And you could tell it was a hard job for them to do.
KING: Will, did you know your boy was in Afghanistan?
W. CHAPMAN: No, we didn't. He told us he was going on a mission. And I think the term he used, he was being deployed and he couldn't tell us where he was going. And many of our friends and my wife immediately thought of Afghanistan, but I didn't because of the unit he was assigned to out here at Fort Lewis, their area of responsibility included the Far East, but not Afghanistan. So I thought there was a chance that perhaps he'd be going to the Philippines or some place like that.
KING: Lynn, did he always like the service? Did he want to be a Green Beret?
L. CHAPMAN: He wanted to be a Green Beret, but he went into the service right after graduating from high school. And it was a surprise to us that he chose that. He hadn't told us of his interest before, but it was a good thing for him and we supported him in that.
KING: Were you as well surprised, Will, as your wife was that he went to the service?
W. CHAPMAN: Not so much that he went into the service. I guess I was surprised by the -- he had already made up his mind. It was not a case of, I'm thinking about it or what do you think about it. He had already decided that's what he wanted to do. And it was more of a declaration of fact. And that's what caught me by surprise.
But I was certainly happy to hear that he was going to do that. I'd spent 21 years in the Air Force and I was very high on a military career. And he had decided early on that he did not want to go to college. So this, I thought, was the best choice if he wasn't going to do that.
KING: Lynn, I spoke with your daughter-in-law yesterday and today, Renae, and she feels that you are like her parents. Did you accept her right away? Was that a happy thing for you, that marriage and those grandchildren?
L. CHAPMAN: Absolutely. She's a wonderful daughter-in-law. She loved Nathan dearly. And, of course, she loves her children. I was so glad to get here, share our loss. And we are going to spend time helping her through this initial period.
KING: Did you talk -- Will, did you talk with your daughter-in- law on the phone right after you learned?
W. CHAPMAN: Yes, shortly after that I talked with her. She had been notified just shortly before we were. She would be the primary person that they would contact. And so, at that time, I thought she was doing pretty well, holding up very well.
KING: Will, what do you make of the story that tribal elders believe a 14-year-old boy may have been the person responsible for killing your son?
W. CHAPMAN: I don't know if I make much of that. That could be true. And even if it is, it doesn't -- you know, whether it's a 14- year-old or a 41-year-old, our son is still dead. And I guess it makes no difference to me.
KING: Now, Lynn, you knew when he was in the Green Berets, and he had been in action before, right, you knew that every day was kind of risktaking for you. How have you handled this worst of all tragedies, the loss of a child?
L. CHAPMAN: It's very hard. I can't say it isn't. But we've had tremendous support and we'll continue to get support by our friends, my family, the Army. His buddies here spent a considerable amount time with us this afternoon sharing their memories of him and we shared our memories with them. I couldn't have done it and I won't be able to get through it without the support of everyone around me.
KING: Will, were you watching President Bush when he mentioned your son yesterday?
W. CHAPMAN: I don't think I caught it live, but I did see videotape of his comments, and we were very appreciative of those.
KING: He said that he lost his life for a cause that is just and important. Do you believe that?
W. CHAPMAN: Yes, I do. Nathan believed it. And that was why he was serving in the Green Berets. He believed in this country. He believed in the fight for freedom and knew it was a continuous battle, and he was willing to do his part. And his buddies this evening told us something that we didn't know, that he was always one of the first to volunteer, and in this particular case when they were looking for a man with his skills to go to Afghanistan, he was the first to volunteer.
KING: And I believe my brother's wife's cousin was his commanding officer, who spoke very highly of him as well. In fact, everybody liked Nathan. And he regarded the special forces comrades, did he not, Lynn, as kind of a second family?
L. CHAPMAN: Yes, he did. And he spoke of that on Christmas Day when we last spoke to him.
KING: What did he say?
L. CHAPMAN: Well, my husband expressed, you know, concern that he was away from his family on the important day. And he said, yes dad, but I'm with my second family. And it -- it kind of broke us up.
KING: I asked Lynn how she's dealing with it. Will, how are you dealing with it? You served in the Air Force for a long time. You understand the military faces this plight every day they are in the military. How are you dealing with it?
W. CHAPMAN: You understand those risks and you are -- you think you are prepared for something like this, but I don't think you really are. But, right now, I think I'm still trying to absorb it. At some point, I think it's going to hit me fully. Dealing with media over the last couple of days, because of the circumstances of his death, I think has just postponed the inevitable, but it's going to come.
KING: You think there's kind of either a denial or you are sort of like put it in another place, Will?
W. CHAPMAN: I think I've just put it in another place for the time being. It's not denial. I've accepted the fact that our son is gone.
KING: When they -- when the remains arrive tomorrow, will you be there at the airport, Lynn?
L. CHAPMAN: Yes, we plan to do that.
KING: And the funeral is when, Will?
W. CHAPMAN: That's on Friday. There will be a service at a chapel and then the burial will take place shortly after that.
KING: And burial will be where, Will?
W. CHAPMAN: At Mount Tahoma National Cemetery.
KING: That's a cemetery for people who served in forces?
W. CHAPMAN: It is a national cemetery, yes.
KING: Yes. Thank you both very much. You have all of our sympathies and condolences, and we salute your son on his service to his country.
W. CHAPMAN: Thank you, Larry.
L. CHAPMAN: Thank you.
W. CHAPMAN: If you don't mind, I have a short statement here from Renae. As you know, she's not appeared before the media. And she asked if we could read this one statement.
KING: Please. W. CHAPMAN: She said Nathan would be happy that the nation supports what he believes in: justice and freedom. Nathan would also like to thank the nation for keeping his -- for helping his family when he can't.
KING: Well said. Will and Lynn Chapman, thank you both very much from Fort Lewis, Washington.
When we come back, another parent who grieves in a different way. Robert Reid is in London. He's the father of Richard Reid, the now famous accused shoe bomber. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can assure the parents and loved ones of Nathan Chapman that he lost his life for a cause that is just and important. And that cause is the security of the American people. And that cause is the cause of freedom in a civilized world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. Joining us from London is Robin Reid, the father of Richard Reid. If you need a little background, if you don't know this, Richard Reid is the 28-year-old man accused of trying to ignite explosives hidden in his shoes while flying from Paris to Miami on December 22. He was arrested in Boston, where American Airlines flight 63 made an emergency landing and on December 28, a federal judge in Massachusetts denied Richard Reid bail and remanded him to custody where he currently is.
Robin Reid, his father, is in London. Have you had any contact with your son, Robin, since the arrest?
ROBIN REID, FATHER OF ACCUSED "SHOE BOMBER" RICHARD REID: No.
KING: Have you made an attempt to reach him?
REID: Not at the moment. I've been too busy trying to get the family condolence, you know, family support.
KING: Does he have a lawyer? Is everything in place in the United States for him?
REID: Say again?
KING: Does he have a lawyer? Is he well-represented in the United States?
REID: I'm not sure. I have, you know, as far as I know, yes.
KING: How did you find out about all of this? How did you learn when you heard about this incident that it was your son?
REID: The newspaper.
KING: They called and said what?
REID: No, I read it in the newspaper.
KING: Oh, you read it in the newspaper?
REID: I picked up the daily. I read it in the daily newspaper. Woke up, went to breakfast, had the paper and there is my son's face peering out at me.
KING: What was your reaction?
KING: Did you -- you had no inkling that he -- I'm sorry. You had no inkling that he was inclined toward political activity or terrorist activity or felt this way about things?
REID: No. I mean, the last time I saw my son he was going off to Afghanistan to follow the Muslim faith.
KING: So that's all you knew? He was a product of divorce, right?
REID: Say again?
KING: You and his mother are divorced?
KING: All right. When you crossed paths with him -- you were in jail, right? He knew about -- were you close to your son?
REID: Not very close. His mother made it difficult for me to keep in touch with him.
KING: So -- do you have any other children?
KING: What do you make of why your son did this? What's your feeling about it?
REID: Mostly the same as mine are. We are rejected by people. I mean, my son is what I call a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ,a product of one race and another, yes? I'm a product of two races, English and Jamaician. Neither race welcomed me. No race will say that we are a member of theirs? You hear? We are outcasts by everybody.
KING: In other words, you are neither black nor white?
REID: Yes, that's true. That's it. You hit the head on the nail.
KING: So he found comfort, do you think, in the Muslim faith? REID: A little bit, yes, because the Muslim faith accepts you as you are. I became a Muslim myself a little bit.
KING: What do you make, though, of a hostile act, of carrying it to that extent? A lot of people may be feeling that way, but to carry it to the extent he did, what do you think caused that?
REID: Rejection, because he'd been rejected by people, by, you know, people that don't -- I mean, I've been rejected. I mean, I've not turned to that extreme myself, you hear? But I mean, I'm not made to feel welcome anywhere I go. Now I know how my son feels.
KING: He is under a suicide watch. Are you concerned?
REID: Say again?
KING: He is under a suicide watch in the -- where he's being held, they are watching him very closely, fearing he might wish to harm himself. Do you fear that?
REID: Oh, I fear for him, yes. I mean, it's possible that he could commit suicide. You know? I mean, it would be the one way out for him. Nobody would want to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) whether it was him or that.
KING: Do you plan to come to the states?
REID: I hope to get -- be able to get to the states, if I can and see my son, if they'll let me into America.
KING: And what do you think his fate might be? What do you think will happen to him?
REID: He'll be -- well, I hope he's put into an institution where they can help him, like a hospital or something like that, where they can try and sort his mind out.
KING: We wish you luck, Mr. Reid. Thank you. Richard Reid, the father of Richard Reid, the accused shoe bomber.
When we come back, we'll get caught up with on the action in Afghanistan with Sebastian Junger, Bill Hemmer, and Christiane Amanpour on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. Bill Hemmer will be joining us momentarily from Kandahar. Joining us in New York is Sebastian Junger, the famed journalist and author. His latest best- seller is "Fire". He has an article, by the way, in the February edition of "Vanity Fair". "Massoud's Last Conquest" -- a terrific piece by the way -- in the February "Vanity Fair".
And in London is Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent. She has covered the conflict and political situation in Afghanistan, just back from a well-deserved, by the way, vacation. Christiane, do you head back to Afghanistan, like, soon?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm sure I'll be heading back at some point. And there's a lot of work to be done over there, as you know, and also elsewhere in the region.
KING: All right. Sebastian, what do you make, first, of this story that we discussed earlier with the parents of Mr. Chapman, that he may have been killed by a 14-year-old. Does that surprise you?
SEBASTIAN JUNGER, AUTHOR: Well, in a way, sadly, it doesn't surprise me that much. It's a country just full of guns and people -- kids start working very early in that society. They start plowing fields at age 10. They start helping their fathers, and unfortunately, they start fighting very early also.
I don't know -- you know, I don't know anything more except that he's 14. I don't know why he would have an occasion to shoot at an American soldier. Doesn't sound like he was Taliban. It really is a perplexing situation.
KING: Christiane, do you have any thoughts on that, the age of this young man and possibly killing people?
AMANPOUR: Well, without knowing the full details of exactly what the circumstances were, I think, of course, it does reflect the sadness of that society, and the lost generations really.
Again, without knowing exactly what went on, we know that for so long, you know, the basic daily existence of people there has been through the gun. And if you even go to schools there and you look at their textbooks, I mean, everything, just about is done in terms of military references, like, you know, their mathematic tables or adding and subtracting, all involves one kalishnikov plus one kalishnikov equals two kalishnikovs. So, you know, it's a really militarized society. Again, without knowing exactly the details of that, it's a militarized society.
But I do think in the months since the United States has waged its campaign there, certainly with all the people that I've talked to there, there has been a desire to get out of that kind of mindset and to get out of that kind of militarized daily life.
KING: Bill Hemmer now joins us from Kandahar. The same question we've asked of Sebastian and Christiane we'll ask of you. Are you surprised that this death of Mr. Chapman may have involved a 14-year- old?
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Apparently not, Larry. Based on what the Pentagon is saying here, this was an ambush and a situation that we understand where this Green Beret, a member of the A-team, working along with 24 others in eastern Afghanistan, apparently what they were trying to do, according to the reports that we have, they were trying to verify the word of a U.S. bombing that killed a number of civilians, possibly as many as 100. U.S. teams on the ground trying to indeed check out and see if that indeed was the case there. But as Christiane mentioned, we certainly do not have all the facts right now. We are several hundred miles from that area, difficult for us to really pinpoint and know what tribal leaders are saying right there. But when we went to bed late last night, we got the indication that tribal leaders may make a decision today. So certainly this is something that is not going to pan out any time soon, possibly over the next couple of hours. I should say, as we mention that, deadlines have a way of afloating here in Afghanistan. So there's no way of knowing if today indeed is that day, Larry.
KING: Let's discuss some other things. Sebastian, allied war planes have intensified attacks on targets along the Afghan/Pakistan border. How long is this -- it seems I guess we are impatient in the United States. How long does this go on?
JUNGER: I think it sort of is drawing to an end. I mean, there's a limited number of al Qaeda in the hills there. They probably don't have much food. Some of them undoubtedly have gotten into Pakistan. It's just a guess, of course. I would expect in the next few weeks the military operation in Afghanistan will pretty much be wrapped up.
Then there's the huge task of helping the Afghans promote security in that country. Around Kabul, it seems quite stable. The outlying provinces, it's not. It's not a military operation, but to pacify the wilder parts of Afghanistan is really -- I mean that's the next very important task over there.
KING: In the overall picture, Christiane, how important is the capture, one way or the other, of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar?
AMANPOUR: Well, I think in the overall picture, the ultimate test will be whether they are still able to operate. And so far, there's been nothing heard from Osama bin Laden, apparently since early December. There have been no tapes that have surfaced, no word, no nothing, since that last one which may have been taken in early December.
So I think the test is whether they are put out of action. Obviously, for people who want to see a resolution, it's very important to see whether they are either dead or whether they will be captured. I think that what's very interesting, obviously, is the number of people who have been captured and turned over to the United States officials and who are being interrogated and who potentially may be able to give some information.
But it's very, very difficult, and I think U.S. officials after -- sort of saying that we are going to go after them here or get them there or this and that, having said a lot publicly, now realize that this may be not the way to go publicly anymore, and just try to see what they can achieve, when they can achieve it, rather than trying to put a finite time frame or deadline on -- or result on getting these people.
KING: In that regard, Bill Hemmer, how about the handling of the detainers, going from Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay. How is that working?
HEMMER: I tell you, Larry, this is going to be one of the more difficult and more sensitive military operations and government operations for that matter as well. You are talking about, at a minimum, 300 detainees here in Kandahar shipped halfway around the world to Guantanamo Bay.
It's our understanding that all of the detainees here, of which there are 300 right now, will indeed go there. And these military planners, Larry, really trying to put a plan together here now. They are considering two options, one by ship and the other by air. I understand through talking with sources here, air is the preferred route, one straight shot all the way to Guantanamo Bay.
But you can imagine, these men have been wanted for some time and the security will be extremely tight, especially after that lesson that the Northern Alliance and special forces learned back in November after the uprising in Mazar-e Sharif. They want to take no chances. And it really -- if the military could have its way, no one would know about this operation. It will be as top secret as they can keep it.
KING: We'll be right back with Sebastian Junger, Bill Hemmer, and Christiane Amanpour. Still to come, Senators Richard Lugar and Pete Domenici and former Senator Sam Nunn. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Before we ask in a moment about the senators visiting, your article, Sebastian Junger, about Ahmed Shah Massoud, the guerrilla commander assassinated before September 11, the fascinating piece...
JUNGER: Thank you.
KING: What -- he was quite a person, wasn't he?
JUNGER: He was an extraordinary person in my opinion. He was the leader of the Northern Alliance. He was a brilliant guerrilla fighter against the Soviets. And against three to on odds he held the alliance together fighting the Taliban. And in a sense we really owe him one.
If he had conceded to the Taliban - if they had taken over Afghanistan during these past few years of war we would have had no allies on the ground and Afghanistan would have been a much, much more difficult military operation for us.
KING: If you get "Vanity Fair" the February issue there's a terrific piece by Sebastian Junger. There's also, by the way, "The Perfect Storm."
Bill Hemmer, tell us about the senators on. We have nine senators visiting. How's that going? What's its purpose?
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can tell you they came to see things here first hand on the ground. They were north of here - north of Kabul actually - the Baghram Air Base about 25 miles north of Kabul.
And they came in basically to meet with top government officials here to figure out wheat they're hearing from half a world away and what's happening here on the ground.
And I think, Larry, what it points out primarily is the intense relationship that developed instantly between the U.S. and right now this Afghan government Hamed Karzi (ph).
And going forward certainly this is a relationship that is going to have to be solid and have to be consistent and this is just another branch of that. We've seen it through the White House and through the Pentagon - Donald Rumsfeld was here about a month and a half ago. And this is just the first steps of a very long mission.
You consider right now the involvement of the U.S. military here in Afghanistan. Christiane knows it as well as anyone. When U.S. troops went into Bosnia in 1995 to this day in Bosnia alone you have about 18,000 troops still stationed there - a mix of NATO troops and U.S. men and women.
You can anticipate in this country at least that many eventually and they're going to be here for a very long time to get this country back on the right course, Larry.
KING: And, Christiane, Prime Minister Blair is on a whirlwind - right - India, Pakistan, Afghanistan? Do you think that will be successful?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that he has been very successful. I think his leadership has really stood out along side President Bush throughout this campaign ever since September 11th. And he has really led, if you like, the physical diplomacy in that region. He's been to the region now several times. He's the first world leader to go to Afghanistan not only to provide support and thanks to the British troops and others there but to also meet the new interim government and to pledge that the West will not turn away again and, again, to say that perhaps looking away in those vital years of the last decade may have contributed or, in fact, did contribute to the lawless of the society in Afghanistan.
I just want to say a word about Ahmed Shaw Hazood (ph). I interviewed him in 1996 just before the Taliban took over. And I think part of his greatness - he was really a fantastic and legendary guy. Obviously he had his flaws as well. But one of the things that he achieved which is now being demonstrated is he realized that it is not possible for Afghanistan to continue and the Northern Alliance to continue just by arms alone.
And while holding off the Taliban for all that time and before holding off the Soviet Union he came to the realization not too long ago that diplomacy and negotiations and talks would have to be part of their strategy. And you've seen a lot of the new Northern Alliance leaders who are at the fore now - Dr. Abdullah and other members of this new interim government who reflect Ahmed Shaw Mazoo's (ph) vision that there had to be some kind of change in Afghanistan's strategy away from just the purely military to negotiations as well.
KING: Sebastian, are you optimistic about all of this? Is this going to work - this - when it ends in two weeks? And the United States' involvement in the new government? Is Afghanistan ever going to be stable?
JUNGER: Well, it's a country that fascinates me. I could even say maybe that I love the place. I've been there three times. And so I have to be optimistic - I don't want to not be.
Vietnam put itself back together after years and years of terrible warfare. I think Afghanistan can also.
What is crucial - it doesn't take that many people with guns to destabilize a country - certainly a country that's that poor. It's not that hard to keep it destabilized.
There are always people invested in chaos - they benefit from it - like warlords. If the West stays interested - if the West stays involved I absolutely think it can be done.
We have put together I think a very impressively coalition government there right now. I think we've done just about everything right thus far. And certainly the Afghans are willing to work hard - they want peace also. So - yes.
KING: Bill Hemmer, everyone we've talked to, and since this is fairly new territory for you, has told us how much they love or like very much the people of Afghanistan. Do you share that view.
HEMMER: Without question, Larry. These people are very warm and very welcoming. They're very curious, too. And when we're in the town of Kandahar we can see that quite clearly, too. And that people want to share their stories and talk with us and meet with us and figure out our own lives just as we want to figure out their own lives.
It is a quite curious countryside and quite curious people here.
I'd like to make one other note though, Larry, about the current military operations for people back in the U.S. wondering about future operations. I personally do not see this winding down in days and weeks to come. I actually see more of a build up here.
And I think eventually over the next coming weeks and months what we're going to see here - every five days or six days or seven days we're going to hear about a secret mission carried out either by Marines or Special Forces or members of the 101st Airborne Division specifically, Larry, going after certain Taliban and Al Qaeda targets whether it's in the southern part of the country or the eastern part of the country. The Pentagon has warned for some time that there will be pockets of resistance in this country for a time to come and there's one report indicating that as many as 300 Al Qaeda fighters might right now dissolve themselves back into the city of Kandahar itself.
And if that's any indication you can imagine over the spectrum of this entire country how many people might be hiding out there right now that eventually are going to have to be sought out by the U.S. military and it's allies in this coalition here.
KING: Let me take a call. Ellijay, Georgia - hello?
CALLER FROM ELLIJAY, GEORGIA: Yes. What kind of conditions do our troops live under as far as food and shelter and recreation and so forth, please?
AMANPOUR: Well, I have not yet had the privilege of seeing a single U.S. serviceman in Afghanistan. I think that has been one of the main frustrations of all the journalists here. But I think Bill Hemmer has been with the U.S. troops and perhaps can answer that question a little bit better than I can.
HEMMER: Thank you, Larry. I can tell you this - conditions here are sparse, spartan and very raw. When the Marines came here about four weeks ago the Marine expeditionary unit - the MEU they call them - the 15th and 26th - about 1,800 strong eventually here.
They came in here no heat, no electricity, no running water - they still don't have that. In fact, two days ago was the first day they actually installed some I guess you call them minor showers for some of the guys living in holes for the past month here in Afghanistan.
We sleep on the floor at night here in the terminal. Half the windows are blown out of the building. That's a result of the U.S. bombing when Special Forces moved in here to rat out the final Al Qaeda and Taliban members who had occupied this Air Force -- I can -- or this airport rather.
I can tell you it is very raw. But, again, this is what the military does and they do it so well. We have seen the build up on a daily basis right now. And I can tell you it's been quite impressive. They're moving everything by air, Larry. And every night we get as many as 30 to 35 giant cargo planes bringing thousands and thousands of tons of cargo. And it's just the beginning right now. This is going to go forward for weeks and months to come, as I mentioned before.
KING: And we'll be calling on all of you again probably tomorrow night. Thank you Sebastian Junger, Bill Hemmer and Christiane Amanpour. When we come back Sam Nunn, former United States Senator from Georgia, and current members of the Senate -- Richard Lugar and Pete Domenici will join us. Don't go away.
KING: By the way, before we meet our senators -- the parents of the late Mr. Chapman, we want to let you know that his wife, Renee, his daughter, Amanda, is 2 -- his son, Brandon (ph) is 1. A fund has been set up for the children -- the Chapman children.
If you'd like to donate it's Post Office Box 620020, Dallas, Texas, 75262. You can also make donations through any branch of the Bank of America -- any branch of the Bank of America -- to the children of Chapman.
We welcome now in Washington Sam Nunn, Co-Chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Former U.S. Senator, served as Chairman of Armed Services, Democrat, of course, of Georgia.
In Washington as well is Senator Richard Lugar, senior member of the Foreign Relations and Select Intelligence Committees, member of the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Republican of Indiana.
And Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the Budget Committee, member of the Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services also a member of the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Republican of New Mexico.
That initiative was founded one year ago by Ted Turner and Sam Nunn. What does it do, Sam? What is its purpose?
SAM NUNN, CEO, NUCLEAR THREAT INITIATIVE: Larry, Ted Turner had the vision of trying to tackle an unfinished problem. And that unfinished problem is the way we have handled -- we and the Russians -- have handled the nuclear materials, the nuclear know how, the biological materials, the chemical materials -- all of those things that are the residue of the Cold War. But many of them are not being properly safeguarded -- particularly in the former Soviet Union.
So this initiative in an overall broad sense has identified these materials and this know how that could be available to terrorist groups. It could proliferate as a clear and present danger not only to the United States but also to the world.
And we have looked at the response of governments and we have looked at the threat. And then we have identified the huge gap between the response and the overall threat. And we're trying to help the governments fill that gap.
We would play only a small role compared to what governments have to play but we hope to stimulate both our government, the Russian government and the governments all over the world to better secure nuclear weapons, material and know how -- and the same thing for biological and chemical.
KING: Senator Lugar, is there any legislation attached to this initiative at all?
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R), INDIANA: No legislation but the original Nunn-Lugar Act 1991 and Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act of 1996, of course, is basic in propositions that got us started working with the Russians to destroy their weapons of mass destruction and to try to contain them, to try to secure them, identify them. We're still opening that part of it up.
The important thing about Nuclear Threat Initiative, however, and Pete Domenici and Sam Nunn and I have been busy with members of the administration because the president has said essentially we want to root out all terrorists. But the second proposition is we want to identify every country that has materials and weapons of mass destruction. We want to know where they are, we want to know that they're secure, we want to have programs to destroy them if possible. That is a big order. That is the architecture of the war.
And this is an important war to win. We think that the Congress and the administration thinking through this together can make a big headway. And the Nuclear Threat Initiative Group offers the research facilities, leadership, staff, Sam Nunn, to get the job done.
KING: Senator Domenici, this may sound Polly Ann-ish, would we all be better off if there were no nuclear weapons anywhere period or is MAD still an alternative?
SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: No -- I think Mutual Assured Destruction -- MAD -- is on the way out, if it isn't already gone.
But I believe the challenge to human kind is one that we can really -- we can meet and match.
And, first of all, we miss Sam as far as our teamwork on the Hill. But I've been chairman of a subcommittee for five and a half years that funds all of the Department of Energy's nuclear activities including non-proliferation.
We have been very fortunate for the last six years that we have moved dramatically to fill some of these gaps with Russian in terms of the scientists -- seeing if we can keep them from leaving, in terms of plutonium and highly enriched uranium -- seeing if we can contain it in that country, and obviously materials accountability and the like have been part of our great mission through our national laboratories.
Now I think what we're saying is, "What's next?" And I think there's some big things next. Leading it all is what Dick Lugar just mentioned and that is can we find a way under American and Russian leadership to make international arrangements so that terrorists will not have weapons of mass destruction.
KING: Do we not get nervous, Sam Nunn, when we hear about conflicts between India and Pakistan -- two nations that have the weaponry? NUNN: We do. And that's certainly one of the most dangerous places in the world. The diplomacy in the last few days has been encouraging. But the shelling, the confrontation that is present there makes us all realize that India and Pakistan don't have the safeguards and don't have the experience and don't have the warning systems that we and the Soviet Union had but they've got nuclear weapons. So it's a very dangerous spot.
And I want to echo what Senator Domenici and Senator Lugar said -- I think keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists is the number one security problem facing the globe. I would like to see -- and I believe I can speak for all three of us here -- a partnership between the United States and Russian asking other nations to join. It would be a partnership against catastrophic terrorism.
I think this counter partnership is absolutely essential not only in the nuclear area but also in the biological arena where the Russians, if anything, know more than we do because they unfortunately over the period of the Soviet Union's existence -- for a long period of time -- they cheated on the biological treaty.
But we need their help in detection, we need their help in intelligence, we need their help in vaccines, we need their help in all of these things -- and we also need to get the world involved in that.
KING: Do you expect that help, Senator Nunn?
NUNN: I think this is -- with the relationship between President Bush and President Putin I think we have a tremendous opportunity now to move forward with a different kind of sustained effort with Russia asking China, asking our allies to join. It would not be simply U.S.- Russia.
But we would not only deal with the health problem and the nuclear problem but we would deal with the infectious disease problem -- not just terrorism but also infectious disease. We can help Russia a lot with their public health system. This is a real opportunity for a partnership that transcends the friendship between two presidents and goes from people to people.
KING: We'll be right back with more of our senators -- include a phone call or two as well. Don't go away.
KING: We'll take a call for our panel. Brooklyn, New York -- hello?
CALLER, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: Hi, Larry King. How are you?
CALLER: I'd like to know how the negotiation is going between Pakistan and India and what role we would have in that? KING: Senator Lugar, what's the latest to your knowledge?
LUGAR: Well, we have a big role. But what a great opportunity -- before September 11th we would have had no role. We have not paid a whole lot of attention to either country. Now both are very strong allies. They both understand that the war is being fought and there cannot be a Kashmir war being fought simultaneously with this.
It offers an opportunity for us to help President Musharraff (ph) of Pakistan to get rid of terrorists in his own country that have been undermining his government. It gives an opportunity for the Indians to know that they've got a strong friend who now they want to work with militarily as their president has visited over here.
So this is a great opportunity. And just as was said earlier I think in the program Pakistan and India are the two new nuclear powers. The need for a Nunn-Domenici Act in India and Pakistan is evident to work with them and to work with them in a concentrated way to secure those weapons.
KING: Colorado Spring -- hello?
CALLER, COLORADO SPRINGS: Hello?
CALLER: My question is -- is what is the reasoning behind moving all of these detainees out of Afghanistan and move them half way around the world to Cuba?
KING: That's another topic. But, Senator Domenici, do you know why they're doing it that way?
DOMENICI: Well, I'm sure in all respects this is going to be a very complicated and difficult trial and they don't want to be trying them there in a new country that's trying to establish its own order and its own rules and regulations. They want to get it away from there so it can be done independently from the happenings in that country.
Could I make a comment before we leave the subject with reference to...
DOMENICI: . . . with reference to what we are trying to do in terms of non-proliferation -- that is, mass destruction items. Actually we have three great national laboratories and the Department of Energy that are matched up with the Nunn-Lugar Bill, which is the Department of Defense.
And when you add it all together there's a great effort that we're beginning to convince our president that he ought to support more whole heartedly to both destroy this material like plutonium, highly enriched uranium. These are very exciting programs. And if we can get our president to reach out and even do more we can all say that perhaps terrorism had some good positive results.
KING: Senator Nunn, when we have a thing like September 11th is one of the obstacles to your goal the fact that there may be many elements in the United States less inclined to want to reduce on nuclear weaponry?
NUNN: That may be true but I think when people realize the huge inventory that we have and the huge inventory that Russia has -- when they realize that President Bush had I don't know how many minutes to decide whether to give an order on September 11th to shoot down a passenger plane with Americans on it. But whatever number of minutes he had there he probably has even less if one of his generals walked in and said, "We have a warning, Mr. President. We may be under attack."
One of the fundamental things that the United States and Russia should do and I think must do -- not only reduce the numbers of weapons, which we now are agreeing to do, but also to increase the decision time before either Russia or the United States would have to decide to launch a whole huge attack on each other.
That means that we must be absolutely certain about warning, it means that we need to help the Russians with their warning systems as strange as it may seem. Because if their warning systems go wrong, Larry, it means that we could be devastated with a nuclear attack.
So we have a huge stake here. The Cold War is over. We wish them well with their free enterprise system and their movement toward freedom. And we've got to increase decision time on both sides and reduce these nuclear dangers. And that means also reducing the numbers of weapons.
DOMENICI: And that doesn't mean that the national laboratories that support our nuclear effort will be downsized. Their technology and science will have to be even better and better equipped to handle worldwide problems. But reducing the levels is an absolute must.
KING: Senator Lugar, what about biological and chemical and toxic weaponry?
LUGAR: Well, that's always been a part of our quest -- these are weapons of mass destruction. This country -- the United States -- decided a long time ago to get out of the biological and chemical business. We pledged to do that and we're active in doing it. It's apparent that in Russia -- we've had a dispute even in this country as to whether to help the Russians destroy their chemical weapons, which they've pledged to do.
Now we've finally decided to help them and, even more importantly, to reach to our NATO allies -- the Germans, the Norwegians, the Canadians -- who are going to put money to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the destruction. One-seventh of all the chemical weapons there.
On the biological situation the Russians have not opened up many of their military situations even now. I've visited a good number of the civilians ones and we've made good headway in working with those scientists in isolating the dangers of that.
But this is still fraught with disaster if we do not have more cooperative relations with the Russians.
And then having gotten that -- the two of us -- a full court press on everybody else to find where it is and to suppress it.
KING: Senator Nunn, frankly, are you optimistic about reduction of and eventual elimination of nuclear weaponry in the world?
NUNN: I'm optimistic about the reduction. I'm not sure I can foresee far enough in terms of total elimination because the verification procedures would be extremely difficult there. But I do believe that we can reduce. And I believe that the United States and Russia -- if we do expand our cooperation and assume world leadership and ask Russia to join us and get China and the allies to join we can do something about keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists.
Larry, there are 43 countries in the world that have research reactors. Those research reactors produce small but lethal amounts of weapon grade materials. Those are not all secured. We are asking for a catastrophe unless we enter into a race -- a race to keep weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, chemical and biological -- out of the hands of people who would use them.
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to you all and we expect to have many visits with you and lots more discussion of this in this year and the years ahead. The insanity around us in a sense. Sam Nunn, Senator Richard Lugar, Senator Pete Domenici. We'll take a break. And when we come back we'll tell you about what's coming up tomorrow night and about a special guest on a special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND next Sunday. We'll be back with that information right after this.
KING: I can't tell you about Sunday night until maybe tomorrow or the next day. So wait with baited breath.
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, will join us among other guests tomorrow evening. Joining us from New York now is Aaron Brown, the host of NEWSNIGHT. What's up tonight, Aaron?
AARON BROWN, HOST, NEWSNIGHT: I'm waiting with baited breath about Sunday.
KING: Well, while we bait the breath aside we turn it over to the Gotham City -- New York and NEWSNIGHT and its host, Aaron Brown -- Aaron.
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