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CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN

U.S. Set To Begin Massive Military Exercises in Qatar

Aired December 6, 2002 - 22:00   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening everyone. I am in Qatar, in Doha, the capital of Qatar in the Persian Gulf. And I'm here because the U.S. military next week is set to begin a massive military exercise, a war gaming exercise that could very well determine what war with Iraq would look like if, in fact, there is to be a war.
And Iraq is what leads off our broadcast tonight, because in just a few hours Iraq is set to hand over documents detailing its weapons of mass destruction. And that got us thinking about a term we hear in our office, perhaps it's a term you've heard in your office as well. It's called malicious compliance.

Malicious compliance is when your boss tells you to do something and you do it even though you know it's not going to have the desired result. We think we are going to see a classic case of malicious compliance in Baghdad in a few hours. Because, all along, Iraq has said it has no weapons of mass destruction. So you'd think they could just hand over a blank piece of paper.

Not likely. What is likely is that they will hand over thousands of pages of documents, perhaps as many as 12,000 pages, all essentially saying the same thing. A classic case of malicious compliance. And so leading off "The Whip" tonight it is to Baghdad we go, and our own CNN Nic Robertson, who is standing by. Nic, A headline, please.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, as you say, that document only hours away from being handed over. We know that it's going to be thousands of pages long. But it's the content that's got everyone guessing. That's what we're waiting for here, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Nic, back to you in a moment. A lot of anticipation at the United Nations as well at this moment. Michael Okwu is standing by there. Michael, a headline.

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, after that document makes it here to the United Nations, members of the Security Council may not be able to see it in its entirety for days, if not weeks -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Michael back to you shortly.

A big shakeup today at the White House. Suzanne Malveaux is covering that for us. Suzanne, a headline.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, eager to turn this economy around, a major shakeup with the Bush's economic team. But it didn't come completely as a surprise.

COOPER: Checking back with you in a moment. Staying with politics, there is still a race to be decided in Louisiana. Candy Crowley's standing by for that. Candy, a headline, please.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. There really is an election in December, and it's a doozy here in the bayou. Nobody this evening knows who will win in tomorrow's runoff election.

COOPER: All right, Candy. Thank you. Back with all of you in a moment.

Also later on in the program tonight, Ben Stein. Yes, that Ben Stein. You know him, you love him as a game show host. He is also a very accomplished policy economic (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He will be here to discuss the economic shakeup in the White House.

We've also been noticing a lot of reporters have been pretending that all along they've been able to pronounce Qatar correctly. We're going to look at that and at some other countries which often lead us into confusion.

But we start off this evening in Baghdad with Nic Robertson, who is waiting, along with much of the world's press corps, for those thousands of pages of documents that we expect to see in just a few hours. Nic Robertson in Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Appearing calm and in control, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was seen in his most recent TV appearance conferring with his top officials. How they direct Iraq's accounting of its weapons of mass destruction this weekend will determine global reaction. U.N. Resolution 1441 calls for Iraq to give accurate, full and complete declaration of all aspects of its programs to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, as well as all other chemical, biological and nuclear programs, including those which it claims are for purposes not related to weapons production or material.

So far, Iraqi officials, apart from denying possession of weapons of mass destruction, have given a few clues as to what it may contain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It contains new evidence with regard to the new sites, the new activities, which had been conducted during the absence of the inspectors.

ROBERTSON (on camera): The hand over, however, will likely have maximum media exposure. Iraqi officials have so far been keen to show they are complying with Resolution 1441. From here, the document will be hand carried to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, and to U.N. headquarters in New York, where analysts will compare it to a one million page database compiled from previous inspections.

(voice-over): For now, though, even the simplest of questions have yet to be answered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, we don't know what the document would look like, how much of it would require translation. We don't know how many pages it will be.

ROBERTSON: Inspectors here suspect it will be some time before they can follow up on any point in the declaration.

JACQUES BAUTE, WEAPONS INSPECTOR: But it's out of question to speculate now about its content and to speculate about the events after we've gone through it. We need some time to go into details. That's a fact.

ROBERTSON: Regardless of content, as Iraq's declaration reaches New York, more inspectors will be arriving here.

DIMITRI PERRICOS, WEAPONS INSPECTOR: As of next week, we are going to have a very large increase in the number of people. Every second day there will be another 20 or 30 people joining here.

ROBERTSON: Already among the skeletal ruins of one chemical warfare site, inspectors have accounted for some of Iraq's old mustard gas munitions. What else may be lurking in other closets could be revealed this weekend.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: Now some of the things U.N. inspectors suspect could be in those closets, 1.7 tons of VX nerve agent, 3,600 tons of chemical agents, 3,000 tons of chemical precursor agents and 7,000 liters of anthrax -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, Nic, how will that jive with what Iraqi officials have been saying for the last couple of months, that they do not have any weapons of mass destruction, any chemical, biological type of weapons? If they show up in these documents, how are they going to explain it?

ROBERTSON: That's a very interesting question, and that hasn't been answered at all by Iraqi fishes up to now. One interesting thing, just in the last few days weapons inspectors here turned up some mustard gas munitions. Now they said they expected to find them, but if they found them, and Iraqi officials knew they were there, why does Iraq say that it doesn't have weapons of mass destruction?

So perhaps these items are going to be accounted for. Perhaps Iraq has put them out of its mind as being active munitions, active parts of its weapons program. Just not clear.

They do say they're going to go into detail on a lot of things that have been happening. Perhaps dual use equipment. That is items that can be used in civilian industry, but can also be used to produce weapons of mass destruction. There's going to be some new revelations there, they say.

But that question of what about all of these other things the U.N. knows about? Very unclear how they'll address that, or if they address it, how that jives with the statements that they have no weapons of mass destruction.

COOPER: All right. Well the world is watching. Nic Robertson, I'm sure it's going to be a very busy several days for you. We appreciate you joining us this evening. Thanks very much, Nic.

We're going to go now to the United Nations. One journalist today said that these documents are the undisputed media star of the moment. We're talking bigger than Winona, and that is saying a lot. Bigger than Whitney, bigger than even Princess Diana's former butler. The media star is several thousand pages long, we believe. And it is going to be making its way from Iraq to the United Nations, and that is where Michael Okwu is standing by.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OKWU (voice-over): The U.N. Security Council will not get a chance to review Iraq's declaration of its most dangerous weapons until Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix does. And in the words of a key diplomat here, that may take some time. Referring to the document's potentially sensitive information, Blix said he did not want to provide a manual for weapons of mass destruction.

HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: I think that all the governments in the council are aware that they should not have access to anything that anyone else doesn't have access to. So if any parts relate to -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE), none of them would like to have it.

OKWU: Western diplomats tell CNN that Russia, the United States and other countries were concerned that detailed documents on how to manufacture weapons could fall into the wrong hands, and giving out such information could violate international weapons treaties.

BLIX: There will be large parts that will be in Arabic. And as we understand it now, it is unlikely that anything will be in CD ROMs. So we will have to achieve -- attain that, and that's bit of mechanical work to have it translated. We have a translator standing by.

OKWU: Blix says the document will run some 10,000 pages. Though council members hope to hear from Blix by Tuesday about when they will get hold of the document, a source says Blix will probably give them an initial assessment the week of the 16th.

RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: The point is, does it disclose their programs? Does it name the people? Does it identify the facilities?

OKWU: Iraq is required to include all past and present chemical, biological and nuclear programs, as well as programs for long range ballistics missiles. Blix said he's also expecting to read about new dual use programs, where civilian programs in these areas that can be diverted for military use. Iraq's ambassador said the document will prove Iraq is clean. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said, again and again that we have no more destruction weapons at all. Everything has been destroyed and we have no intention to do that again. So Iraq is clean of any kind of mass destruction weapons.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKWU: Now, the thinking all along is that intelligence agencies all around the world, most notably in Washington, D.C., would compare the information that they have independently with information in the document. That way they would be in a better position to ascertain whether Iraq was being compliant, was being forthcoming. That will be much more difficult if member states of the Security Council cannot view this document in its entirety. And you can imagine behind closed doors in the upcoming days, that will be one of the issues that they will be trying to resolve and quickly -Anderson.

COOPER: No doubt. Michael Okwu, thank you very much. Appreciate the report tonight.

One of the things that the media has been criticized for is being too tough on the Bush administration. Do you think it's been too tough, all those reporters with terrier-like tenacity pestering the White House, asking for evidence against Iraq, not just White House assertions? What does the media want? Well, some say they want -- what they want they've actually got.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why can't you present your own evidence, for god sakes? Nobody's stopping you.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think, Helen, the burden is on Saddam Hussein to comply.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you lay it out on the table? Why don't you share it with the American public?

FLEISCHER: I think the burden of proof lies with Saddam Hussein.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been moments in American history when presidents that decided that it was worth while to make some intelligence data...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: If you're wondering why reporters are so insistent to see proof, this is why: May 26, 1960 at a United Nations meeting. The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (ph), exposed evidence that Soviet espionage was alive and well. Demonstrating how the United States seal, which hung on a wall in the American embassy in Moscow, was bugged.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now here is the seal. I'd like to just show it to the council. It's got a beautiful piece of carving. You'll note how it opens up into two pieces. Go ahead, open it up. And here is the clandestine listening device. You can see the antenna in the area, and it was right under the beak of the eagle.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military data on the island of Cuba.

COOPER (voice-over): Two years later, President Kennedy revealed there was proof that Soviet nuclear warheads existed on Cuba's mainland, 90 miles from the United States. A week later, America's Ambassador, Adlai Stevenson, put the question to his Russian counterpart. The world was watching.

ADLAI STEVENSON: Do you, Ambassador Zorin (ph), deny that the USSR has placed and is placing medium and intermediate range missiles and sites in Cuba? Yes or no?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will have your answer in due course.

STEVENSON: I'm prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over, if that's your decision.

COOPER: Finally, the proof out in the open. President Kennedy received word the Soviets would dismantle and pull nuclear warheads out of Cuba. Twenty years later, September 1, 1983, Korean airline Flight 007 is shot down by Soviet fighters despite initial reports that the plane had landed safely on an island off the Japanese coast. After a nine-year investigation, proof of what really happened. U.S.- intercepted cockpit voice recordings from Soviet search and rescue aircraft revealed the fact that the Soviets knew they had shot down a Boeing 747 with American passengers on board.

RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What can we think of a regime that so broadly trumpets its vision of peace and global disarmament and yet so callously and quickly commits a terrorist act to sacrifice the lives of innocent human beings?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Coming up ahead on NEWSNIGHT, what is behind the highly classified U.S. military presence here in Qatar, and, also, what's up with the name? Is it Qatar or Qatar? Potato or potato? We'll try to sort the whole thing out just ahead.

Also, a look at the economic shakeup at the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Remember when Paul O'Neill took over as Treasury Secretary? It started off kind of oddly. His first decision was to help clean up the Treasury building to make it safer. I mean, sure, workers kind of liked it, but business leaders kind of looked at it and shook their heads and just kind of wondered what was going on.

Who knew there would be so many odd moments to come. All of those off the cuff remarks that left the markets guessing and confused and nervous. And then there was that trip to Africa with Bono. What was that about?

That was around the same time all those kings in industries were beginning to crumble. Oh, yeah. There were a lot of odd moments. Clearly someone in the Bush administration decided the time was right for a change. Suzanne Malveaux has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Paul O'Neill is doing a fine job as Secretary of Treasury.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): President Bush just four months ago defending his economic team, but Thursday night a tough decision aides say. Mr. Bush asked for the resignations of two top advisers: Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Bush's economic adviser, Larry Lindsey. The resignation widely rumored for months, coincided with the release of a report Friday morning showing an unemployment hike to six percent for November. The highest level in nearly nine years.

JIM MILLER: The president can start off and convince people that the economy is doing well and can set his agenda for this coming Congress.

MALVEAUX: The two got the call from the Chief of Staff, Andy Card, Thursday night to have their resignation letters ready first thing Friday morning. In a three-paragraph statement, O'Neill says, "I hereby resign my position as Secretary of the Treasury. It has been a privilege to serve the nation during these challenging times. I thank you for that opportunity."

Publicly, the White House refused to say O'Neill and Lindsey were pushed out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did President Bush ask either O'Neill or Lindsey to resign, or did he request anybody else to ask for them to resign?

FLEISCHER: I have answered it as directly as I can. The individuals resigned, as you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that a yes or no?

FLEISCHER: The individuals resigned, as you know.

MALVEAUX: The president offering nothing but praise.

FLEISCHER: The president is, as I said, very grateful for their service.

MALVEAUX: But administration sources say Mr. Bush felt the two failed to inspire confidence in the markets and lead the economy in a new direction. O'Neill is known for his quirkiness and sometimes outspoken nature. His straight shooting remarks sometimes put him in hot water. He downplayed the possibility of recession, questioned the benefit of Bush's tax cut, and called a congressional economics stimulus package show business.

As for Lindsey, administration insiders say he lacked the presence and political skills required to be the White House economic spokesman. But as one administration official put it, Lindsey was collateral damage from the mounting criticism of a sluggish economy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: The White House says it could name replacements as early as next week. On top of the list for Lindsey's position, economist Steve Friedman (ph). And for O'Neill's, possibly Secretary of Commerce Don Evans or Carla Hills (ph), former trade representative for Bush Senior -- Anderson.

COOPER: Suzanne, is there any one thing in particular that the White House is demanding that whoever replaces O'Neill has?

MALVEAUX: Well, they're certainly asking for someone who has experience, who has a great relationship with Wall Street. Somebody's who's also able to communicate with Congress. They say these are some of the things -- at least some administration sources are saying -- these are the some of the things that we're lacking in the past.

COOPER: All right. Suzanne Malveaux, thank you very much from the White House.

We go now to Louisiana. The elections there are not over, believe it or not. This is not a repeat of NEWSNIGHT from back in November. Louisiana, where the politics are as bitter -- at the risk of sounding like Dan Rather, the politics are as bitter as the gumbo is hot. Here's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. That's good.

CROWLEY (voice-over): It's against the rules to write a story about Louisiana politics without a comparison to jambalaya, that spicy, multi-ingredient state specialty dish. So here you go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have eaten gumbo today, and jambalaya, red beans and rice. Are we not the Louisiana team?

CROWLEY: The food is always good, but the going is unusually rough for Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who struggles to find the sweet spot between her urban, mostly anti-Bush African-American base, and white conservatives, many of whom are pro-Bush.

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: I don't perceive that I'm running against the president. I have supported the president in many instances when his policies have been right for Louisiana. I am running not really against anything. I am running for the state of Louisiana.

CROWLEY: All Republicans want for Christmas is Suzie Terrell in the Senate. A self-described member of Louisiana's new breed of reformers, Terrell is a popular gal these days, flaunting her friends in high places.

SUZANNE TERRELL (R), LOUISIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: What's important is that I'll have the president's ear on issues that are important to Louisiana.

CROWLEY: A Terrell win would make history. There hasn't been a Louisiana Republican elected to the U.S. Senate since the Civil War.

Suzie and Mary are not playing well together in these final days. They rarely looked at each other in the last debate, and they have loaded up the airwaves with nasty ads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we really know about Suzie, a paid lobbyist for a foreign drug company?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mary Landrieu broke her word again.

CROWLEY: They have fought over tax cuts, abortion and Mexican sugar imports, but in this incredibly close and final Senate race of the '02 election season, it's hard to ignore the Bush factor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: A Republican victory tomorrow night would pad the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate and give George Bush a little insurance against any possible defections. A Democratic victory would keep Democrats with a foothold in the south, increasingly Republican now, and it would also give Democrats a reason to celebrate the New Year -- Anderson.

CROWLEY: Candy, we were hearing from people that they were sick of seeing campaign ads back in November. I can only imagine how people in Louisiana feel being subjected to more and more ads. What kind of turnout is expected?

CROWLEY: You know, they really don't know, because they haven't had one of these runoffs in a while. Louisiana loves politics. I imagine they are less offended by the constant ads. And I mean they are constant, sometime back to back, the same ad.

They love politics here and it's very competitive. So they're hoping for a pretty good turnout. But a lot of times in these runoff elections -- people just went to vote in November -- you do see a decrease in other states. It's possible you'll see one here. But they have been working fairly hard over the last two days to get out their bases.

COOPER: All right, Candy Crowley, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

When we come back, we are going to look at Qatar. There are a lot of Americans here. Do they hate us here as well? We'll find out. Also, why is Qatar so important in any potential attack on Iraq.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We are very pleased to be joined right now by retired Major General Don Shepperd, a 40-year veteran of the Air Force. A man who has hundreds of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Vietnam under his belt. Before retiring from the Pentagon he was also head of the Air National Guard, is that correct?

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): Correct.

COOPER: And you're now in private consulting, defense consulting.

SHEPPERD: Right.

COOPER: Let's talk. The U.S. military has come to Qatar. They're at about three bases here in the country. They say it's to give them flexibility. What does that mean?

SHEPPERD: That's really true. In wartime you never know what's going to happen. You've got your plan, but when you launch your plan, then the other side takes over and you have to react to what the other side does. We've had a lot of discussions with Saudi Arabia about whether or not we're going to be able to use their bases, their air space, same thing for Turkey.

Lots of things can change even after the war breaks out. So we need flexibility, places to go. We've got a good command post headquarters at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. We need a mobile headquarters to go other places in this big area.

COOPER: Well, we need that because the Saudis have basically indicated that they are unwilling to support unilateral action against Iraq.

SHEPPERD: Yeah, that's the latest word. But in this region of the world, lots is said and others are done. You don't know what's going on behind the scenes. I feel certain that when crunch time comes, the Saudis and others are going to want to be on the winning side. So I think we'll get cooperation.

COOPER: Because we have a very high tech base in Saudi Arabia.

SHEPPERD: Big time high tech. Again, what this is about is flexibility, being able to take this not just to Qatar, but other places in this region. There's 25 countries in this region and we need other places to go. It's the first time we've had an ultimate command post with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) capabilities just like they have at central command in Tampa.

COOPER: And it's quite remarkable, from my understanding. I mean especially this modular headquarters that was designed by Ratheyon Corporation. And they've been flying it over here for the last month or so. There are about 600 employees of CENTCOM who are here now. And they're going to basically have this massive computer war game. What's that going to look like?

SHEPPERD: Yeah. Well most exercises you see, shooting and airplanes taking off and ships sailing, what have you, none of that this time. It's going to be a lot of electrons flowing.

What you're doing is you're trying to test your connectivity and your communications. Can you talk to the satellites, can you talk to all of your deployed forces from all of the services? What can possibly go wrong, and can you protect it? And then when you run your various warplane scenarios, are you really going to be able to carry them out, and what have you not thought of? That's what this is about.

COOPER: And in the next week -- this is -- it's called internal look, the exercise, and it is said to begin, we believe, on Monday. A lot of this is classified information, so there's a lot we don't know. But basically General Tommy Franks is, as you said, testing out his communications. Who is he going to be talking to? There are commanders in all different regions and all different countries.

SHEPPERD: Yeah, well, remember, as we're going on, as we're talking right now, there's still a war going on in Afghanistan, where we're taking on activities. We're still doing northern and southern watch. People are flying up there. They're being shot at.

So he's running a war while he's taking this internal look. So what he's going to do with this internal look is conduct the wars that are already going on in the region. And then he's going to be talking to his Marine, Navy, Air Force forces simulated around this region to make sure he can talk and everything works when the crunch time comes, if it comes.

COOPER: And in Air Force, that's in Saudi Arabia. Marines are in Bahrain. We have officers in Turkey as well, in Diego Garcia, I believe. So we have -- this whole region is very heavily inundated right now.

SHEPPERD: Very, very much covered. And also remember that a lot of this -- what will come to these forces if they're moved over here is support for the United States. But he has to be able to talk back to the United States. Do video teleconferences. All of the things he can do from Tampa he has to be able to do from here in this mobile headquarters.

COOPER: From what we know, the public information that's out there, would the United States be ready to strike Iraq next week if we needed to?

SHEPPERD: The answer to that is really no. We can do it. We can react if we're attacked or if we have to attack because our hand is forced. We can attack, the United States, anytime with airpower.

But if you're going to need to get forces -- ground forces in place, it's going to take some time, in the neighborhood of 30 to 60 days. Something of that sort. So no, we're not on the verge of war. We're not able to strike in the way we would want to strike. It's going to take some time, Anderson. And this is to test the capabilities that will be needed if we need them.

COOPER: We are certainly building up our resources in this region.

SHEPPERD: Indeed.

COOPER: All right. Major General Shepperd, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

SHEPPERD: Pleasure.

COOPER: All right. Literally just flew in here, so we very much appreciate you talking. Get some sleep. We'll be right back with more with Ben Stein and a look at the White House and the economy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Coming up on NEWSNIGHT, Ben Stein and the shake-up at the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It has been awhile since we got to use the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid," so we thought I made sense to talk to the man who invented that phrase and helped Bill Clinton get elected to the White House.

Host of "CROSSFIRE" James Carville and his colleague on the right, the bow-tied Tucker Carlson. Earlier tonight they went toe to toe on the shake-up at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Thanks, Anderson.

James, it's not clear to me, A, whether this is good for Republicans or Democrats, but it's even less clear to me what Democrats would do if they were able to choose the new treasury secretary. They have no idea.

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Let me tell you what's clear to me and every American. This administration's economic policies and/or lack thereof is disastrous for Americans. I don't know who's good for Republicans or Democrats. But I can tell you what, if you're an investor, you're a worker, you're a retired worker this administration is a pack of clowns.

And so -- we do know that. And by the way, they just admitted the failure by firing the architect of those policies, Mr. Lindsey.

CARLSON: He was not the architect of the policies.

CARVILLE: Of course he was. He was the architect of this tax cut that has had disastrous economic consequences.

CARLSON: Is that true? The one that 12 Democrats voted for.

(CROSSTALK) CARLSON: You've done what Democrats I think are very good at doing, which is whining and complaining. Senator Fritz Hollings today said we are the cry baby party. We are good at attacking the Bush administration but we have no other alternative vision.

CARVILLE: The winner of the 2000 presidential election, Vice President Gore recommended that President Bush get some new people. Thank God president Bush took his advice on this.

CARLSON: Who do you recommend?

CARVILLE: He said he ought to fire the people he's got. I would recommend Bob Rubin and Larry Summers, who is better than any body in the whole Republican party, myself.

CARLSON: I think it may be time to get over the Clinton administration.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: There is no Democratic economic position.

CARVILLE: There is.

CARLSON: No there isn't. They can't agree on one.

CARVILLE: John Kerry articulated a very good one. Let's get some tax cuts right now. Do away with the exempt $15,000 in the payroll tax. Get some money in people's pocket. Quit acting like everything is fine when unemployment rate is sitting at 6 percent.

There are many things that can be done. This administration does not know whether to wind its behind or scratch its watch. It didn't know when it came in and it still doesn't know what to do.

CARLSON: Part of me to, be fair, and I hate to be fair with you, admits though that you -- you don't have a leader. You don't have a presidential candidate. You don't have one person who speaks for all Democrats and the party is, of course, famously fructuous.

So it's difficult to come up with a Democratic position. But even given that, Democrats in the Senate didn't even pass a budget for the first time in like 30 years. There is no budget.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: President Bush didn't even propose a budget. What you're trying to do is -- you can't exempt the fact that these policies have been a disaster. We have high deficits, high tariffs. They don't work. And don't blame Democrats because Democrats are not running the show. The policy has been high deficits and high policies.

CARLSON: You have no idea what you're talking about.

CARVILLE: What's happened to the deficit since this administration has taken over?

CARLSON: It's gone up because of the recession and the war.

CARVILLE: What's happened is that steel tariffs have gone up.

CARLSON: Unfortunately, I'd love to crush you, but I think we need to go back to Anderson -- Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Why can't those kooky kids just get along?

My next guest, Ben Stein has a very odd resume. And I can say that because I used to host "The Mole" and now I'm sitting on like a '70s wet bar chair in Qatar reporting for a very serious news program, so I know about weird resumes.

Ben Stein is not just a brilliant host of a very funny game show, he is also a very serious economic policy wonk. And I think he always knew that Qatar was always pronounced "cutter" and never "Qatar."

Ben Stein joins us from New York. Ben, thanks for being with us.

BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: I'm honored to be here. That was quite a thing I just watched with Mr. Carville.

COOPER: Yes, it was. But I'm sure they, you know -- they hugged each other afterward. There was a lot of love in that room.

STEIN: Yes.

COOPER: Let me ask you, how serious is the shake-up at the White House right now?

STEIN: I think it's serious. I think it shows concern on the part of the president about the economy.

But you know, the economy is really not in such bad shape. Six percent unemployment is not a particularly high number compared to most recessions. Industrial problems are recovering rapidly. Interest rates are very low. Productivity is very high. There's a lot of economic growth last quarter.

I think there's a perception that things are a lot worse than they really are. Things are really not that bad.

COOPER: But what about company corporate profits? I mean...

STEIN: Well, corporate profits are -- corporate profits fell dramatically because of the bubble effect. Corporations lost a lot of money in their own stock portfolios, lost a lot of money in their pension plans. That caused a gigantic hit.

There's a gigantic bubble in lost profits in telecom, fiber optic, lots of other high tech sectors. There are many sectors of the economy that are very strong. Health care is very, very strong. Drug sector is very, very strong by and large, though there are some exceptions. Home building is still very strong. Some commercial construction is very strong.

This is still quite a strong economy, but I think the perception is getting way ahead of the reality. Things are not that bad but we want to make sure they get better.

And I think we do not want a loose canon like Mr. O'Neill, who's a brilliant man. And I worked with him a lot 25 years ago. A brilliant man but a loose canon. They want to get somebody who's a team player, unified message going out there. Same message from everybody.

COOPER: And do you think that's why it didn't work out for Paul O'Neill? He was just a loose canon?

STEIN: Yes, he said a lot of whacky things. He was a kind of a whacky guy. You made a very -- few very good points as about that early on in the show. He is a whacky, whacky guy.

Larry Lindsey is much more of a team player and I think a brilliant man. And I am just very sorry to see him go. But I guess they will get a team in there who is all for tax cuts and all speak with the same voice.

But I don't think there's anything much Republicans or Democrats could do to change what's going on. It's a business cycle. You can't tame the business cycle. You can't end the business cycle. Nobody's been able to do it. We're not going to do it any time soon. Just let the business cycle work itself out. Soon the recession will be over and everybody will be laughing and happy.

COOPER: Well, some people in the administration saying they might have some picks as soon as next week. Whose name do you expect to see?

STEIN: Well, the rumors are Charles Schwab from Charles Schwab Discount Brokerage Firm. Possibly Mr. Evans, who is secretary of commerce, and possibly Mr. Feldstein who is a professor of economics and a very brilliant man. But it could be somebody else all together.

I think whoever it is, it doesn't make much difference. We'll still have the same program. Tax cuts, a larger deficit to stimulate the economy, continued low interest rates gunning the money supply.

It's not going to really matter a heck of a lot, but personalities has something to do with policy. And there will be a perception that the government is trying to change things. And maybe that perception will increase business investment.

But I don't think it will. I mean, gosh, the interest rates for good, quality buyers are already very, very low. I don't think a different face is going to make people borrow more or less. COOPER: Well, you talk about perception. How do you think this is going to be perceived? I mean, I do not know much about economics and as an outsider, you know, you see the chairman of the SEC stepping down. Now Paul O'Neill. Is the perception that these are all positive developments are that this is just getting worse and worse?

STEIN: No, Mr. Pitt was an unqualified disaster. He should never have been chosen. It was a serious mistake.

COOPER: Stop mincing words. Stop mincing words, Ben.

STEIN: I'm sure he has many friends who like him and he's a talented guy, but he was not the right guy for an administrative, executive post like that. He was the loosest of loose canons.

Mr. O'Neill, genius guy. One of the smartest men I have ever met in my life, but a little too eccentric. Used to going his own way, head of an enormous aluminum company, used to being his own boss, not really a team player.

Larry Lindsey, it's a mystery to me why he is gone. I really think he was a great guy.

They will get guys who give the appearance of a football team. Mr. Bush is a quarterback. They're all going to take their place for Mr. Bush and they're going to follow his game plan and there's not going to be any sniping or snide comments made from Africa by any body.

COOPER: Ben, only about 30 seconds left.

How is the war going to affect the economy?

STEIN: It won't hurt it much one way or the other. It will be over very short order. And we're basically paying the money to ourselves. Doesn't hurt us if we pay ourselves money to buy ammunitions and it will basically stabilize the oil flow and take a big risk out of the economy.

COOPER: And, Ben, you have a new book "How To Ruin Your Life." Is that what it's called?

STEIN: Well, we don't need to talk about that. That only has to do with my living -- my earning my living.

One of the points in "How to Ruin Your Life" is to just say anything that comes into your head and not worry about how other people feel about it. And I guess Paul O'Neill followed that advice a little too much.

COOPER: OK. He certainly did. Ben Stein, thank you very much.

STEIN: Thank you, sir.

COOPER: Thanks for coming in.

STEIN: Thank you, sir.

COOPER: All right.

We're going to go take a look at some of the stories coming up in our "National Roundup" right now, some of the stories from around the nation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper live in Qatar.

We're going to bring you some stories now from around the nation. Tonight the National Defense University gave its American Patriot Award to George Herbert Walker Bush, the first President Bush. It was a real who's who of Republican politics, I'm told, not to mention CNN's morning lineup.

Paula Zahn was there. She emceed the event.

We go now to the war on terror. Federal agents targeted a Massachusetts software firm early today, looking for evidence that the company may have tied to al Qaeda. Ptech, which has several government agencies in its customer base, denied any connections to terrorism.

And now the story you've all been waiting for: the fate of Winona Ryder. Yes, we know you were waiting that. She got three years supervised probation and 480 hours of community service for felony shoplifting.

And in North Carolina today, crews worked through the day today to restore power after the storm that hit the East Coast this week. More than a million people across the Carolinas were still without power and it may stay that way for several days.

As I mentioned I am here in Doha, Qatar. And if there is going to be a war against Iraq, Qatar will be a central focal point for operations and planning, not a -- which is quite a big surprise, considering few people even knew where Qatar was just a few weeks ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): It's Friday evening and Doha's most popular meeting place is packed. The City Center Mall.

In the middle of desert it's a shiny palace of plenty. There's Hardee's and Hilfiger, the latest in lingerie. Mercedes, even Madonna.

Only 750,000 people live in this emirate, most of whom are foreign workers. Qatar only has 150,000 citizens, nearly half of whom are under the age of 15.

Mati (ph) and his friends dress just like American teens. They break dance and say they love hip hop and rap. But ask them what they think of the United States, and they quickly change their tune. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate America.

COOPER: America doesn't stand with the Palestinians, he says. They stand with Israel.

You hear it from just about everyone in Qatar. It's not the American people we hate, it's the government, its support of Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's happening in Israel, that's an example. Why? There's not people dying every day. See how many people are dying every day.

COOPER: Amed (ph) and his friend are convinced America is literally run by Jews.

(on camera): You think that the American presidents are Jewish?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. All.

COOPER: In spite of what many might say about the United States, Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Hamed bin-Halifid al-hani (ph), has decided to allow the U.S. military an important presence here. The thinking is that America will help protect Qatar from its larger, stronger neighbors and help modernize the country.

It's estimated there are several thousand U.S.troops now in this country, working on three separate bases. You'd find hard pressed to find any sign of America's soldiers. America's culture may be on display here in Qatar. America's military is not.

(voice-over): U.S. Troops and aircraft are hidden behind barbed wire and fences. At the Al-Uday (ph) Base, there's a 15,000 foot runway capable of handling any aircraft that might be used against Iraq.

At the al-Salia (ph) base, U.S. Central Command has assembled a mobile headquarters from which it can coordinate a war.

Most Qataris will tell you they trust the judgment of their Amir. However, there is concern -- concern that U.S.military action against Iraq will make Qatar a target, concern that an even greater U.S. presence will upset what remains of Qatar's culture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem that Americans wherever they are, they're like changing the culture of the countries they are going to. They want it to be like American culture. That's the problem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Next on NEWSNIGHT live from "Cutter," or is it Qatar?

What's in a name anyway? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: I think we've all learned this week that just because you know how to spell the name of a place doesn't mean you know how to pronounce it.

I'll get to Q-A-T-A-R in a moment. But there are plenty of examples. Like Lester in England. It's spelled L-E-I-C-E-S-T-E-R.

And do not even get me started about U-R-A-N-U-S.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Let's start with the place furthest from where I am. Actually, I guess it's furthest from where anybody is right now.

All the time I was growing up, that planet was pronounced Uranus. Then came some kind of universal memo I've never actually seen a copy of, but that must exist. Because now everyone says Uranus. OK, I guess I understand that one.

Now here I am in a place I always thought was pronounced Qatar, like guitar. But it isn't called that. Now I know it's Qatar and the people here call themselves Qataris. Kind of like silverware, without the l.

And how about this place? Used to be Peking. Now, it's Beijing. What's up with that? Have you ever try to order Beijing duck? Blank stares and giggles. That's about all you'll get. It's still Peking duck.

And the folks on the Indian subcontinent, they want us to now say Mumbai, instead of Bombay. Mumbai is the real name of the place, which was Anglosized under the British to Bombay. Does that mean you ask for Mombai gin? Or is it like Peking duck?

And then there used to be a debate about where the capital of Russia was Moscow or Moscow. Pretty dumb, really, because it never really was either of those. All along it was Moscowva.

Constantinople is now Istanbul. Rhodesia is Zimbabwe. Burma is Myanmar and Saigon is Ho Chi Minh City. Do you think history books are going to have to be rewritten to change that notorious wartime broadcaster's name to Ho Chi Minh City Sally?

JOHN CHANCELLOR, FORMER BROADCAST JOURNALIST: Good evening.

COOPER: And here's someone I grew up watching, a very fine broadcast journalist and anchor who announced late in his career that he was tired of having to mispronounce his name just because everyone else did. Henceforth, he said, his name was not John Chancellor. It was John Chancellor.

Potato, tomato. Let's call the whole thing off.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Aaron Brown will be back on Monday. Thanks for joining me live from Qatar, or is it Qatar? Have a good weekend.

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