CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Reaction to U.N. Report
Aired February 14, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Three months after the adoption of resolution 1441, the period of disarmament through inspection could still be short.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Are they serious? Are they going to disarm? Are they going to comply? Are they going to cooperate?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, GUEST HOST: Tonight, after another dramatic day at the United Nations, where do we come from here? More inspections or war?
We'll ask Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence. He's joining us from Salt Lake City.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Governor Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
In New York, Republican Chris Shays, chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security.
And in San Francisco, Democrat Ellen Tauscher, of the House Armed Services Committee. She's just back from the Middle East.
On the ground in Kuwait, "Newsweek's" Kevin Parino.
And just back from Kuwait, "Newsweek" foreign correspondent, Colin Soloway.
Also joining us, "TIME" magazine's White House correspondent, Jay Carney.
Then, heated debate with conservative talk show host, Janet Parshall and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of the liberal weekly, "The Nation."
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Welcome to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Tucker Carlson filling in for Larry King who is off tonight. First up, Senator Hatch, do you think that the developments in the U.N. today will delay war with Iraq and if so, for how long?
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Well, I don't think so, but the Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany are doing everything they can to delay it, and of course, that's in spite of the fact that we have the group of eight European nations and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 10, plus many other nations in the world that I think will support because they realize this is really serious stuff.
CARLSON: Governor Bill Richardson, in the end, do you think, if the U.S. does go forward to war, do you think we will get the support of France and Germany?
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: In the end, I will, but I do think today's developments -- it was not a good day for the U.S.
Hans Blix's report was much too squeamish. That diplomacy -- I think the Bush administration has played this smart. They've used diplomacy. They've been to the U.N. I think they've got to go again, but I think the developments today do delay some kind of a conflict that I think we will be in. I agree with Senator Hatch.
But I do think our diplomacy has to be two part.
One with NATO, which I think that issue of defending Turkey is resolvable with France and Germany and Belgium.
And then back at the United Nations. France and Russia at the Security Council have not yet used the word veto. That is significant, as a U.N. ambassador, not that word be used.
Now it's going to be uphill. I did hear the French today. They were very strong, but I'm still not totally of the view that it's a lost cause in the Security Council.
CARLSON: But Governor Richardson, as someone who cares about the U.N., do you think the U.N. risks becoming irrelevant, in the words of administration officials, if it doesn't act?
RICHARDSON: Well, it does because these Security Council resolutions, 1441, they're very clear. It is clear that Saddam Hussein, by having that missile with greater range than is permitted -- that is a violation. I had hoped that Blix said -- he's kind of said that's a problem, but not a violation.
So I think Blix played a little politics here and, you know, a lot of these weapons inspectors have to answer to 15 countries, to the U.N. secretary-general, to what he perceives is international sentiment and I think he may have felt that he gave the United States, with his first inspection report, some assistance and now he's balancing it.
So politics, international politics is just as intense as it is in the U.S. Senate or in a governorship. CARLSON: Senator Hatch, Mohamad ElBaradei today, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, said that he'd like another six months for inspections. Can the U.S. wait that long to go to war, do you think, with Iraq?
HATCH: Well, probably not, because when you get into the summer season and the heat it would be very difficult to put our young people in harm's way under those circumstances because of the heat and because of -- they would need to wear special equipment, special clothing and so forth.
They'll do anything to delay this. I just really don't think we can stand by and let it happen. We know what's going on there. We know that Secretary Powell really outlined, I think, in specific terms, what was wrong. We know that Saddam is not reducing weapons. We know there -- he hasn't explained weapons gap.
We also know that there's a connection between Saddam Hussein and his regime and al Qaeda. There's not much question about that. Al Zarqawi is there. We know that he's been one of the planners for al Qaeda.
If you just add it all up, you know, they're asking 100 inspectors to find weapons of mass destruction in a country the size of California. It's so easy to hide these things. If you had a 1,000 inspectors or 10,000, they would be able to hide them.
They got over 1,000, you know, secret agents in their, directorate alone, making sure that these inspectors can't find anything.
CARLSON: But I suppose, Senator Hatch, the argument is by -- the argument the critics make, anyway, is that inspectors may not find all of the weapons, but their presence prevents Iraq from doing anything, so what's the hurry? Why go to war now, as long as we have inspectors? And what do you say to that?
HATCH: Well, first of all, Iraq is doing a lot of things. They're supporting terrorism all over the Middle East and other parts of the world. They support the Egyptian Islamic jihad -- the Palestinian Islamic jihad, Hamas. And you name it, they're right there. And they certainly support al Qaeda. There's not much doubt about that in anybody's mind who looks at it seriously. We just can't sit back and wait until they actually use a weapon of mass destruction against Israel or anybody else. Even the other nations in the Middle East are upset.
You know, look --the U.N. Has had every chance. This has been going on for over 10 years. They have violated 17 U.N. resolutions. Is the U.N. going to become just irrelevant in foreign policy? I think France and Belgium and Germany and to a degree, Russia, you know, less than the other three, I think they're basically playing a game that really is very detrimental to the world and to world peace.
TUCKER: Well, Governor Richardson, let's get back to France. It does sometimes seem like the guiding principle of French foreign policy is to obstruct American aims. Do you think that's true and if it's not true, what exactly is bothering the French and why do they seem to be putting little roadblocks in our way?
RICHARDSON: Well, I had to deal with the French for two years and they are very frustrating. But in the end, when I was there, they would come around and be on our side on many Iraq resolutions.
This time it's more serious because I think they do want to have domination -- military domination of the European Union. And so this is an opportunity for them to stake out a lead.
But I don't think in the end, France or Germany are going to put the survival of the NATO alliances, which is one of the cornerstones of our foreign policy, up for a political win, which I think this is it right now, And it's not in our interest to say, All right. We're going to discard what NATO says. We're not going to go to the U.N. Security Council again.
I think diplomatically, for us, the cost is too high. I know Senator Hatch and here in New Mexico, a lot of people are very frustrated. But my question is what is the rush, strategically, in terms of the United States? I think we can afford -- I wouldn't wait much longer, but I would, you know to put it out and say that perhaps one more series of inspections to look at the missile, to look at the mustard gas.
There's no question Saddam has not complied. There's no question that Saddam has basically been playing games. But if it means getting France and Russia's support so it's a united effort and we have a coalition and the Saudis then back us and we keep the NATO alliance intact, I say we'd be a little patient. Not much longer, but...
CARLSON: I wonder if coming out of this though, governor -- I mean, there's a joke going around the administration now, you know, going to war without France is like going hunting without an accordion. Sort of a measure of the bitterness at France.
I wonder if, at the end of all this, America will ever have the same relationship it used to with France? Or is it right?
RICHARDSON: Well, I think our -- yes, our relationship with Germany has been damaged already because of this situation. The Germans have not been with us. This has cost Germany a seat on the U.N. Security Council so they're paying a cost, too -- a permanent member and this is a cost.
But, look, France, always acts this way. This time it's more durable, but I do think we've got people like Colin Powell and many in the Department of State and the administration that are skilled at building coalitions. The vice president, many others.
All I'm saying is we had a bad day. It was not a good day. But let's not abandon diplomacy, that's my message. CARLSON: Well, Governor Richardson, Senator Hatch, if you'll just hold one moment. We'll be joined in a minute by two members of Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut and Ellen Tousher of California.
We'll continue our discussion on LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLIX: Through the inspections, conducted so far, we have obtained a good knowledge of the industrial and scientific landscape of Iraq as well as of its missile capability. But as before, we do not know every cave and corner. Inspections are effectively helping to bridge the gap in knowledge that arose due to the absence of inspections between December 1998 and November 2002.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE without Larry King. I'm Tucker Carlson sitting in. We are talking about Iraq and we are joined tonight by Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut, he's the chair of the Subcommittee on National Security; also, by Ellen Tauscher, a member of Congress from California, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. She just returned up in the Middle East. And of course, we have Senator Orrin Hatch and Governor Bill Richardson also.
Congresswoman Tauscher, today in his report Hans Blix said that there were vast amounts of anthrax and VX nerve gas unaccounted for. Does this mean they're still in Iraq? What does it mean?
REP. ELLEN TAUSCHER (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, Tucker, I don't think that anybody's confused that Saddam Hussein is a bad man. I think that the court of public opinion is that he is someone with a voracious appetite for weapons of mass destruction, and that he needs to be disarmed. I also don't think that the United States has to convince anybody that we could with even a small number of allies go after him with his military force and disarm him and have regime change.
The real question is whether the Bush administration is willing to credibly persuade our allies in the Security Council and unite them for peaceful disarmament, and that's really where we are today.
CARLSON: Congressman Shays, one of the complaints that the arms inspectors have voiced is that there is information that the United States government has about where the weapons are in Iraq, that we're not giving to the inspectors. A, is that true? And B, why?
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: First, I don't think it is true. And so I can't answer the why, but, you know, this was not a good day, not for the United States, but for the U.N. They haven't lived up to 17 resolutions, and it's really about time that two countries wake up, Germany and France. We've united the other countries, and the Eastern European nations part of NATO understand we need to step in. We have Persian Gulf nations that are willing to go into Kuwait.
So we really just have a few countries that are making it very difficult. Time buys us nothing now. It is Saddam Hussein -- people said he blinked. He hasn't blinked. He's manipulating us. The U.N. has blinked, sadly.
CARLSON: Senator Hatch, it's striking if you look at a map that Eastern Europe is unanimous in its support of an American effort against Iraq. Why do you think that is?
HATCH: Well, the group of eight countries, not just Eastern Europe and France, -- excuse me, Portugal and Spain and Italy, you go right -- around the horn there, they're all in favor of supporting the United States.
It's France. And you know, France will come around in the end. I really believe it. They're putting themselves in the position where it's very difficult for them to -- the real disappointment, even more than France, we expect this type of stuff from France, we always have it. Bill Richardson, I think, has been very accurate there, but Germany is a real disappointment, and I think our relationships are damaged with Germany.
But, look, there are eight European countries that are supporting the president, including the U.K., which is Western Europe, and I might add there are 10 Balkan and other countries called the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 10, that's 18, and that doesn't count Australia and the whole bunch of other nations that I think will be there when we have to go in, and if we don't go in, I mean, let's just face it, 100 inspectors in a size -- in a place the size of California, we didn't really find weapons of mass destruction before, until the Kamal (ph) brothers, the Kamal (ph) brothers defected, and of course, we all knew what happened then.
CARLSON: Bill Richardson, the White House in the last couple of weeks has offered a new or more precise rationale. They say Iraq is sponsoring international terror. Do you believe that's true?
RICHARDSON: Well, yes. There's no question that they have training grounds in Iraq. There's no question that Saddam Hussein has ties with many terrorist organizations. What is not, in my judgment, totally convincing, and I read Secretary Powell's statement very carefully, and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, was the link with al Qaeda. Yes, there's -- they probably share joint wishes and joint relationships in the sense of being against the United States, but intelligence operational links that are serious, I'm just not yet convinced.
Now, that doesn't mean that that might not happen and that should not be a consideration.
My view is that it is critically important that the United States not let Saddam Hussein get away with this. Had I have been in the Congress I would have voted for the military resolution authorizing war. The question is, how do you do it, the question is when do you do it and with whom? I want us to do it with our allies. I still think a U.N. resolution, a Security Council resolution is possible. I still think we can, even over the weekend, fix this NATO problem that France and Belgium and others have created, and then we proceed.
I just don't see the geopolitical rush to go in next week, because Hans Blix did a bad report. We should do it on where the situation is in the international war on terrorism. I think we've got to address the North Korean issue, too. I think that, Powell and others are doing through diplomacy, and they're doing it well.
CARLSON: Congresswoman Tauscher, what about that? You said that also like Governor Richards, we need to get all of our allies on our side. But do you think all of our allies, specifically France and Germany, are really serious about disarming Saddam Hussein?
TAUSCHER: I don't think anyone wants to give Saddam Hussein a pass. I was in Munich last weekend with Secretary Rumsfeld. I met privately with the French defense minister, Michelle Alliot-Marie. I think we've made it very, very clear that Saddam Hussein is a very bad guy who needs to be contained, and at a minimum have to disarm, and that perhaps we'd have to use at some time military force to do that.
But unless the United States is going to step forward and take real leadership and regain our ability to credibly persuade, we're going to have a disunited Security Council, which is what Saddam Hussein is taking advantage of right now. The reason that he's laughing his way all the way to the chemical weapons depots is because he understands that he has successfully pitted the United States against our own allies, partly because -- partly because the Bush administration has not taken the time to listen and persuade that this is an imminent, credible threat that will not damage our ability to fight the war on terrorism, which is what the rest of the allies are committed to.
CARLSON: Do you think any of that responsibility lies, however, with the countries that have not yet been persuaded? You seem to be saying, maybe I'm misreading you, that France and Germany are not persuaded and that's the fault of the United States?
TAUSCHER: They tell us over and over again, they're not persuaded. They've told me. They've told anyone that will listen to them that they believe that the war on terrorism should be our first priority. They also believe that Israel and Palestine is a priority, and they don't see us actually engaged in that effort.
I think they're listening and trying to persuade -- and be persuaded, but they believe, I think many of them, that they've already made a decision and rushed to judgment to use force.
CARLSON: I want to get Congressman Shays in here -- Congressman Shays. SHAYS: Tucker, the bottom line is Germany and France both know that Saddam Hussein has all three weapons of mass destruction. There's no doubt. The French helped the Iraqis build a nuclear electric generating plant whose sole purpose was to create weapons grade material. So this kind of thing is almost a facade and a joke.
We are working night and day to persuade countries. We have succeeded except with France that has been at party with Iraq, and when you get to North Korea, we've been working with the Chinese, the Russians, the Japanese, the South Koreans. We've been working night and day on this effort. The president has a coalition of 40 countries helping us in Afghanistan. I just think it's not quite fair to suggest that we haven't been working with other countries.
CARLSON: OK, we're almost out of time. But before we go, I'd be remiss not to ask Governor Richardson who's had a lot of face-to-face contacts with North Korean diplomats. Governor Richardson, does the United States face an actual threat from North Korea, and if so, what is it?
RICHARDSON: Well, it is a threat. George Tenet, our CIA director talked about missiles reaching the American mainland. I think that's accurate. Their are an unpredictable regime with possibly nuclear weapons. So they are a threat.
Now I think the Bush administration is correct in saying this is serious, but it is not a crisis and the way you resolve this is through diplomacy, through other countries getting to them. What I would like to see the administration do is do face-to-face talks with the North Koreans at a preliminary level. You don't want to reward them with a meeting when they're making all these threats, but we've negotiated with them before. Sometimes it's been successful, other times it hasn't. The way you deal with North Korea is directly. Face-to-face.
RICHARDSON: And I believe that we want to put that issue on the back burner.
CARLSON: OK. In Santa Fe, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, talked about as a vice presidential candidate, thanks for joining us. In Salt Lake City Senator Orrin Hatch, thank you. In New York, Congressman Chris Shays. And in San Francisco, Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher. Thank you all very much. I'm sorry we're out of time.
We'll return. We have an excellent roundtable of reporters, some of whom will be covering the war in Iraq when and if it happens. We'll be right back on LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: We are facing a difficult situation. More inspectors, sorry, not the answer. We need immediate cooperation. Time? How much time does it take to say I understand the will of the international community and I and my regime are laying it all out for you and not playing -- yes, not forming commissions. Not issuing decrees, not getting laws that should have been passed years ago, suddenly passed on the day when we are meeting.
These are not responsible actions on the part of Iraq. These are continued efforts to deceive, to deny, to divert, to throw us off the trail, to throw us off the path.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Tucker Carlson, sitting in for Larry King.
If we go to war in Iraq, then news of the war will be filtered through three of the people we have on tonight. In Kuwait, Kevin Peraino, who's a correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine. In Washington, Colin Soloway of "Newsweek," famous war correspondent. And Jay Carney of "TIME" magazine, their fabled White House correspondent.
Kevin Peraino in Kuwait, are there signs of an American military buildup there? Is it obvious that a war is imminent?
KEVIN PERAINO, "NEWSWEEK": Yes, there are signs. There's a full division of American Army troops here, that's about 15,000 men and women out in the desert here. There are also a lot of Marines here. And you know, you -- they are pouring into Kuwait each day.
That said, there aren't, I think, as many troops as some people expect. I think there are a number of divisions that have not yet deployed from the U.S. that are on their way now and probably won't be here for several weeks yet.
CARLSON: Colin Soloway, you just got back from Kuwait, I think on Wednesday.
COLIN SOLOWAY, "NEWSWEEK": Yes.
CARLSON: Are the Kuwaitis aware? Is there a sense in Kuwait that this is about to be the hub of a massive war?
SOLOWAY: Oh, yes, the Kuwaitis have no illusions about what's going on there. They can see a thousand troops coming in a day. They see the huge convoys. They see the security precautions that have been brought in and lots of Kuwaitis are quite concerned. A number of people are sending their families out of Kuwait, sending them to other countries for fear there might be some sort of preemptive chemical or biological attack on the part of Saddam. Sot they're very much aware.
CARLSON: What about the cultural changes? You think of Saigon being transformed by the Vietnam War. There are worries in Kuwait that, a culture where you can't drink, for instance, that it's going to be polluted by the presence of all of these American troops. SOLOWAY: I don't think it's much a problem for the Kuwaitis. I mean, first of all, the Kuwaitis, most Kuwaitis remember very clearly who liberated them from Saddam Hussein back in 1991.
And secondly, in Kuwait, the U.S. presence is not really very visible within the city. Within places where people live. The troops are mostly out in the desert. You've got tens of thousands of troops sitting out in the desert close to the Iraqi border.
But in the towns themselves the Americans make a big effort, both for security reasons and also for cultural sensitivity, to keep their troops out of the city. So you really don't see the sort scenes that we've seen, at least from TV and the moves in Saigon, of troops wandering around hooking up with girls, drinking in the streets. There's nothing like that, really in Kuwait. And plus the troops aren't allowed even out in the desert to imbib alcohol.
CARLSON: Sounds like a grim assignment.
Jay, is the White House planning on allowing access to this war?
JAY CARNEY, "TIME": Well, yes. Actually to its credit, this administration broke with the tradition set by President Bush 41 during the first Gulf War in which they severely restricted press access in covering the war with something that that President Bush did in Panama as well.
And -- but this time around the Defense Department has made it clear that they're going to embed journalists with American forces, give them access, supposedly to some of the front line fighting if and when it comes. And that's a very encouraging sign. There'll be restrictions, of course, but this is a vast improvement over what we've seen in the past.
CARLSON: Well what's the calculation here? Why is this White House willing to do it whereas other White Houses have been hesitant?
CARNEY: I'd like to think charitably that they realize that it was a mistake. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I think they may hope that in the aftermath they won't get the negative stories where the press looks back at what happened during the war and realize that they were getting a lot of whitewash nonsense out of the Pentagon in terms of how many bombs were striking their targets and what was exactly happening on the ground because no one knew.
There was really not a lot of firsthand coverage of the first Gulf War and I think that they believe, A: because their cause is right and B: because the war should be, they hope, swift and victorious. That having people on the ground makes sense.
CARLSON: Kevin Peraino in Kuwait, give us a sense of what your life is like these days. What can't you do? Where are you living? Quickly tell us what it's like a war that hasn't started?
PERAINO: Well, basically what we do is we're based in Kuwait City and then the military allows us to go out and spend time with the troops. We'll go and spend four days at a time, maybe, and we live out there. And basically, out there it's these periods of training. We're out there for urban training a week or so, a couple of weeks ago.
And they do these things and they practice storming a mock town, they call Chinatown. It's a few miles from the Iraqi border. They do these big kind of brigade size exercises where they roll all their tanks across the deserts and these elaborate synchronized formations to practice the command and control. So that's basically -- that's what goes on out in the desert.
CARLSON: OK, Colin Soloway, we're running out of time for this segment. But, quickly, is there among reporters you know, are people anxious to get to Iraq? Are people nervous about it? Is it considered a good assignment or a bad one?
SOLOWAY: I think that people, at least the people who do this sort of foreign coverage and war coverage and such, a lot of people are -- we're just waiting to go, really.
I think just like the troops, I think most people would like to go and get it over with. And I think the opportunity to work close low with the U.S. military unit if it works as well as the Pentagon claims it will.
I think we'll be -- this will be the first time since Vietnam that we'll be able to work as closely with the military as then. So I think most people are looking forward to it. I think there's going to be a lot of squabbling over, you know, who gets what inbeds and who goes with what unit, but I think overall, that it should be a pretty positive experience for both sides, I think.
CARLSON: OK. Well if reporters are already arguing about beds, that means it's real.
We're going to take a quick commercial break. We'll be back with just a moment with our reporter's panel here on LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. The Larry Kingless edition. I'm Tucker Carlson. We're talking about the war in Iraq with our panel of reporters.
Jay Carney from "TIME", whatever happened with the epic battle you chronicled so well between the hawks and the doves in this administration?
CARNEY: Well, it ended, the battle ended with the superhawks claiming victory when Colin Powell basically abandoned the side of the doves. And he who has so much credibility both abroad and at home and was the leader of the dove movement within the administration, and therefore, within the country at the policy level, basically decided that he had had enough of the U.N. He had had enough of French intransigence and enough of Saddam Hussein and he has now become the administration's leading spokesman in favor of war sooner rather than later and action, in fact, with or without the U.N.
It's incredibly surprising because you have Colin Powell, who has made multilateralism such an important goal and who is our leading diplomat arguing in the U.N. today, where you have a situation where if the U.S. Goes on war without U.N. -- full U.N. support, you could be changing the nature of world alliances that have existed for 50 years. I mean, we could be back in a situation, when this administration talks about coalitions of the willing, ad hoc coalitions depending on a ,you know, the situation case by case, where you have rotating coalitions, like we had, you know, prior to the first World War, you know, were it's like -- this week I'm with Germans and next week I'm with the Russians and then we're all going to gang up on the French, it creates a potential for a lot of instability.
It may not be that we have any other choice, but now that we've laid it on the line, I think that's where we're headed.
CARLSON: So quickly, just to make sure I got it right, there wasn't any specific piece of evidence that pushed Powell over. It was that he driven crazy by the French?
CARNEY: That's basically the line coming out of the State Department. I mean, I think he was convinced by the bits of intelligence that he unleashed last week at the U.N., as well as some of the stuff that he isn't allowed to say because it would compromise our sources. But he's been won over and now they all speak with one voice.
Kevin Peraino in Kuwait, are reporters and the soldiers preparing to go into Iraq, preparing for chemical weapons? Is there the expectation that there are going to be chemical weapons used?
PERAINO: Yes, I think they're going in with that expectation and when you go out there, you see them training with -- they call it NBC gear, nuclear, biological and chemical. It's this he big, camouflage charcoal suit and gas mask. They do things like practice putting their mask on in nine seconds or less. That's sort of the standard that they work with. They're also issued atropine, which is the antidote to nerve gas. It's this big long needle that you have to jam into your thigh that counteracts those.
But, I mean, you know, even when you're out there and you see sort of how far these forces are spread apart and you see the sun blazing down -- you know the sunburns up chemicals pretty quickly out in the desert -- it's still a little scary. I mean, you think of -- you hear stories about Hilabja, which is that town in northern Iraq in 1998 that Saddam gassed and ended up killing 5,000 people.
I mean, he doesn't just use one chemical. It's a cocktail of chemicals. I mean, there are nerve gases, mustard, you know, gas, blister agents, choking agents, blood agents. So it's a pretty scary situation no matter how hard you prepare for it. CARLSON: Are the troops concerned that it's going to get hot? I mean there's a lot of concern here that we need -- the American troops need to move quickly before the temperatures get up to the 120s. Are the soldiers worried about that?
PERAINO: Yes, and I think last year, April 7 was the first day that it got up above 100 degrees. It does get hot pretty fast after you get out of March. But there are things that -- you know, I don't think it's quite as bad as everybody says. They have these different levels. They call them mop levels, one through four, and it's different stages of wearing the suit.
You know you don't have to wear the whole suit and the mask the entire time. The mask and everything is pretty claustrophobic, but, you know, you can operate wearing just the pants and the upper part of the suit without wearing the whole thing. It's not quite as oppressive as you might imagine.
CARLSON: Now Colin Soloway, you spent a lot of time in Afghanistan -- filed some very dramatic reports from there. How do you expect it will be different covering the Iraqi war because presumably you'll be with the military this time.
SOLOWAY: Well, that's going to be the biggest difference, I think, at least compared to the Afghan war back in 2001 and early 2002. There, we were pretty much on our own. In fact, the military kept us pretty much at arm's length.
This time, being with -- if we are actually embedded with units, it's a very, very different experience and having embedded with units in Afghanistan, this summer, my experience was that you're pretty much plugged into everything that's going on. If you're with good commanders, they'll -- on the understanding that you're not going to report where you are and what their plans are ahead of time -- he'll pretty much tell you everything that's going on and you'll pretty much be clued in as to...
CARLSON: And those are the only two ground rules? No reporting where they are and what they're going to do?
SOLOWAY: Those are the basic ground rules and usually commanders -- usually commanders who have you are usually happy to have you. They're happy to have people reporting on their men and they're proud of what their men can do and so they're quite happy to show you what they're doing and tell you how they're going to do it and let you see it happen.
SOLOWAY: And that will be a very big difference.
I think for the reporters who are planning to work independently of the military. For instance, we'll have people, you know, who are with the military and then people who are going in on their own. That may be much more difficult because the military, I don't think, wants to have, say, unilaterals going around, driving around in the desert in our vehicles.
SOLOWAY: That may be difficult and there are certainly concerns that the military will try and block them from moving independently.
CARLSON: Now Jay Carney, quickly, if there is a war against Iraq, there will likely be troops there during the 2004 presidential election. What is the White House feeling about the political implications of that?
CARNEY: Well, right now, I don't think the White House is thinking specifically about that problem. That will only be a problem if it were losing American soldiers in skirmishes and there's a lot of upheaval in Iraq, it's costing a lot of money, which it inevitably will.
If there's instability in Iraq and the promised liberation of Iraq turns sour, that will be a political problem. Right now, however, politically for this year, the White House is looking that the war, when it happens, as something of a boon to the president, in looking at it purely in crass political terms that, you know, his domestic agenda is basically going to be stalled until this conflict is resolved.
A swift victory against Saddam Hussein, which most of the Congress now supports what he's doing in Iraq would, I think, empower him to get some of what he wants done domestically, which then of course, will help him politically down the road in 2004.
SOLOWAY: Isn't that what they said in 1991?
CARNEY: Well, it is what they said in 1991, but this president is keenly aware of the fact that he has to pay attention to the economy, which his father didn't. Whether he can turn the economy around is another story.
CARLSON: Well, things change quickly in politics.
Thank you all for joining us. Kevin Peraino, in Kuwait, I can't even imagine what time it is there. Thanks very much for joining us. Jay Carney from "TIME" magazine here in Washington, Colin Soloway, thank you all very much.
And when we come back, it's not a consensus on Iraq. There's much argument. We will have an argument here on the set in Washington, LARRY KING LIVE, it's going to be fascinating. We'll be right back.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I speak about the war on terror, I not only talk about al Qaeda, I talk about Iraq, because after all, Saddam Hussein has got weapons of mass destruction and he's used them. Saddam Hussein is used to deceiving the world and he continues to do so. Saddam Hussein has got ties to terrorist networks. Saddam Hussein is a danger, and that's why he will be disarmed one way or the other.
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CARLSON: I totally missed that. Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE, and now the debate over Iraq. Here in Washington, joining us Janet Parshall. She is a radio talk show host, host of the "Janet Parshall's America," and in New York, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the editor of "The Nation" magazine.
Katrina, let me start with you. If at this point the United Nations doesn't act forcefully to disarm Saddam Hussein, won't it be devaluing its own authority?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, THE NATION: Tucker, it interests me that the value of the U.N. is defined by its willingness to go to war. The U.N. was designed to prevent war, not to be a smoke screen for war, and this issue of how Iraq is flouting resolutions -- well, take the governments of Morocco, Turkey and Israel. Each of them, each of their governments has violated more resolutions than Iraq. Inspections are working. A majority of Americans want inspections to continue. I think the key question, Tucker, is, would we be safer, would the international community be safer if we went to war? No. The risk of use of weapons of mass destruction would be increased. Al Qaeda would have a recruiting project. The Middle East would be destabilized, and the costs of war, which aren't even included by this president in his budget, are estimated to be somewhere between 100 billion and 1.9 trillion over 10 years, and the unmet needs of this country must be addressed at this time.
CARLSON: But Katrina, before we get -- please, I just want to stick with the U.N. very quickly, here, though.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, I'm sorry. I think...
CARLSON: The other guy does it, not necessarily a good argument. I just want to get back to this idea of the credibility of the United Nations. If the U.N. says, as it did in Resolution 1442 (sic), to Iraq, unequivocally, you must disarm or face serious, significant consequences, Iraq doesn't disarm, ignores the United Nations. Really, doesn't the U.N. have to do something about that, or risk never being taken seriously again?
VANDEN HEUVEL: As I said, the legitimacy of the United Nations is, as an international body, to avert war, to prevent war. Inspections, robust containment, beefing up inspections, providing inspectors with more reliable intelligence will disarm Iraq more effectively than war, which will, in essence, according to the director of the CIA, lead to more terrorist retaliation, undermine the fight against al Qaeda and make America less secure and possibly unleash those very weapons of mass destruction into the hands of rogue terrorists in Iraq if there is a war and the country falls into chaos.
CARLSON: Janet Parshall, what is the hurry exactly? We have the country surrounded, Iraq. The world's attention is focused on it. Why go to war now?
JANET PARSHALL, HOST, "JANET PARSHALL'S AMERICA": Well, because Katrina talked about containment. You know, we've been doing that for 12 years, and in the interim, he's made more VX nerve gas, more anthrax and as you heard even Hans Blix say today, they reconfigured the silos and the missiles so that they are now in breach, in material breach, I'd like to point out, of the restriction of 93 miles, which means now they can fire on their neighbors and play offense rather than defense, which in theory was why they had their missiles in the first place.
Look, this is about the United Nations as much as it is about Saddam Hussein. And whether or not they have the backbone and the strength to put in place their own resolutions. In November, 1441 came down, and with one voice, the nations of the world said this man must be disarmed, if he will not disarm himself.
And as Colin Powell said so clearly today, this isn't brain surgery. We know what a country looks like when it disarms. We have got the example with South Africa. This man is not disarming. The onus is not on the U.N., the onus is not on the United States. The onus is on Saddam Hussein. Disarm, that's what you've been told to do by all these countries and he's not doing it. Time's up.
CARLSON: Well, then, why should this administration pay any attention at all to the United Nations?
PARSHALL: Because we have a good president who said if he could, he'd love for there to be a complete, unilateral consensus. But you know, it's about selfishness. It's about a nation saying, I've got my own best interest at heart. You know, one of the reasons why France and Germany is a little bit cautious here is because they're afraid folks are going to go into Iraq and they're going to see stamped "made in Germany" or "made in France" on some of that stuff, and they don't want that to be found.
The bottom line is we do have a huge consensus. You heard before, Congressman Shays talk about the European countries. We've got Australia. We've got a coalition. What we've got are some friends on the left saying no, no, no, no. What we want is every nation in the world to be singing off the same page, and that's not going to happen any time soon.
CARLSON: Now, Katrina, you just said a minute ago that we need to continue inspections. Inspections, of course, go hand in hand with sanctions, and sanctions hurt the weakest people in Iraq, women and children. Is it humane to continue with sanctions?
VANDEN HEUVEL: First of all, inspections between 1991 and 1997 destroyed 95 percent of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The inspections were more effective than Gulf War I. I think there should be military inspections. I think sanctions on the Iraqi people, the civilians of Iraq, should be lifted. They simply weaken any potential opposition to the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
And if I might add, it's not just the left. It is -- this weekend, this weekend, over 10 million people in over 500 cities are going to rally in opposition to war, for continuing inspections, for alternatives to war. Is America going to array itself against world opinion to that extent? Undermining the very global cooperation we need to fight the real threat of stateless terrorism? Instead we are offering imperial arrogance by a president, if I might add...
PARSHALL: Oh, my goodness.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Contain Bush! Contain Bush!
CARLSON: Can we just back up for one second. We just have a couple of seconds left in this segment.
VANDEN HEUVEL: He's done more to isolate the United States than to isolate terrorist threats.
CARLSON: But you said, you used the phrase, "military inspections." Does that imply that...
VANDEN HEUVEL: Sanctions.
CARLSON: ... those inspections would have military force behind them, that someone would force Iraq to disarm? Is that what you're suggesting?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I thought you were discussing sanctions. I said there should be military -- there should certainly be sanctions on military equipment, so that the corporations who sold this country the weapons of mass destruction were now trying to disarm it of no longer have the ability to do that.
I mean, one reason -- you know, we have the receipts for some of these weapons, and perhaps we could provide more reliable intelligence to the inspectors to effectively disarm Iraq.
CARLSON: OK, on that note, we're going to take a quick break. We're with Janet Parshall and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, and we'll be right back. This is LARRY KING LIVE.
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MOHAMED ELBARADEI, DIR. GEN., IAEA: I think we still have a chance if we continue with our work, if Iraq provides full cooperation. We should still be able to avoid the war.
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CARLSON: Welcome back. The Iraq debate continues. Janet Parshall, Tariq Aziz, essentially the No. 2 man in Saddam Hussein's government met with the Pope today.
PARSHALL: He did indeed.
CARLSON: Pretty strongly came out against American war against Iraq. What do you make of that?
PARSHALL: I think it was sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing because what happened is after he met with the Pope, Tariq Aziz was part of a press conference. He took (UNINTELLIGIBLE) questions from the entire world press. And a reporter from Israel raised his hand, and he said, I want to ask you a question. If in fact there's a strike against Iraq will Iraq in turn then fire on Israel? We remember 191, 39 Scud missiles went over to Israel.
Well, with unbelievable arrogance and a real reflection of this regime Tariq Aziz looks at the reporter from Israel and he said, "Answering a reporter's question from Israel is not on my agenda," and just absolutely refused to do it at which point the Press Corps hooted and howled and some got up and turned and walked out of the room.
Excuse me, you just met with the Pope. Didn't you just tell the Pope that you were going to cooperate? That there was going to be compliance? That there was going to be absolute peace? The man didn't last five minutes in his promise. That's why this resolution, time's up.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, this administration has been pretty specific in allegations tying Saddam Hussein's government to international terrorism. It said that Saddam Hussein's Iraq trained members of al Qaeda, that they had a formal relationship going back to 1993. Do you believe that?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I think the Bush administration has done a real disservice to the American people in these last weeks with one of the most relentless campaigns of deceit, of propaganda in modern times.
There is fragmentary, inconclusive, circumstantial evidence of any lengths. In fact, intelligence community analysts believe that this information has been used to make the political case for war has been exaggerated and politicized.
What is heartening is that even -- even with this campaign, majority of the American people want to continue with inspections and that this weekend...
PARSHALL: And this weekend will be the biggest amalgamation of liberals on the face of the Earth. And for the first...
PARSHALL: ... we have polls this week that talk about the American people saying enough is enough is enough. The case has been made. And, Katrina, you know the irony is there are some liberals out there whom for the...
(CROSSTALK) VANDEN HEUVEL: Janet, Janet, if I might add, if you want to talk about religious leaders, labor leaders about people in Jasper, Texas, in small towns in Colorado, hundreds of thousands...
VANDEN HEUVEL: The 90 city councils who have passed any war resolutions...
CARLSON: You said that the Bush administration has essentially made up these links between Iraq and international terrorist organizations. But it was George Tenet, that Clinton appointed head of the CIA, who in very specific terms said, Look, these are the terrorists, some of them by name who live in Iraq under the protection of Saddam Hussein. One of them killed an American in Jordan. Is all of that made up? Is that what you're saying?
VANDEN HEUVEL: I am talking about a campaign of deceit. For example, allegations of Iraq having a nuclear program which were denied by the International Atomic Energy Agency. And the circumstantial, fragmentary evidence to draw links between al Qaeda and Iraq to scare the American people. If we are truly scared about al Qaeda let's go to war with Pakistan. We are...
PARSHALL: When Secretary Powell was speaking today was he being deceitful when he was talking about the VX nerve gas that isn't accounted for or the anthrax that isn't accounted for or the missiles that aren't accounted for? Or the reconstituting of the missile silos? Even Hans Blix has recognized that. That's not deceit, Katrina, that's a fact. An absolute fact.
And the bottom line is, in the 12 years of so-called containment, this evildoer has gotten even more evil in his doing, and the bottom line is 1441 said material breach, you have until a certain date. He didn't meet it. It's not about a smoking gun. It's about smoke and mirrors and that's the game that Saddam Hussein has been playing.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Iraq is a brutal dictatorship. Is it is a weakened, degregated military. And Colin Powell, what he did with that al Qaeda tape the other day in drawing links, the links to be drawn is that if we go to Iraq, al Qaeda will find in that war a recruiting project for decades to come endangering American security. This administration's foreign policy endangers American security at this time and isolates this country.
CARLSON: OK, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, I believe we will find you at the upcoming peace march. Janet Parshall, we will not find you there, but we thank you both for joining us here on LARRY KING LIVE. Thanks a lot and I will be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. Larry King himself will be back tomorrow night with Priscilla Presley, Sunday night Bob Schiefer. I'm Tucker Carlson. Thanks for joining me. "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown is next from Kuwait.
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