CNN SHOWDOWN: IRAQ
Aired March 4, 2003 - 12:42 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Turkey's decision, at least for now, not to play host to U.S. troops, the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the continued North Korean defiance, all critical issues. How do they play out as far as a possible war with Iraq are concerned? Sounding off right now here in Washington, the political commentator Deborah Perry, and in San Francisco, Norman Solomon. He's the co- author of "Target Iraq." Thanks to both of you for joining us.
Deborah, I want you to listen to what Senator Edward Kennedy said this morning, very, very outspoken, in saying, this is not the time to go to war against Iraq.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: What I'm concerned about sort of go it alone, my way or the highway, foreign policy of this administration with regards to Iraq is that it's going to inflame the Middle East. We're squandering the goodwill that we have built up after 9/11, and this is going to -- and our principal focus and attention today ought to be on what is happening in North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Those are three fair points, aren't they, Deborah?
DEBORAH PERRY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Certainly they are, but at what point can we afford not to go to war? We've been waiting since 1991, when Saddam Hussein has been in compliance of an earlier resolution prior to 1441 after the first Gulf War.
So the question becomes that we're not in it to go alone at this point. I think Senator Kennedy certainly has valid points. It's not just the Middle East that's going to be in flux, but really, France has also positioned the entire European Union to be at odds with one another.
So it's not just about the United States; it's our way or the highway. We know we have obviously allies in other interested parties on board. But at what point can we afford not to go to war?
BLITZER: What point is that, Norman?
NORMAN SOLOMON, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think there's so much evidence that lot of people around the world have picked up on, that the United States has an extremely arrogant position. I think the latest example of that is a memo that came to light, mentioned today in "The Washington Post," initially published on Sunday in "The Observer" in London. I have read the memo here. It's really a stunning national security agency memo from the United States government about plans to wiretap the delegates of member countries of U.N. Security Council, six of them in particular mentioned, to wire tap their home phones, their office phones, monitor their e-mail, spying on their communications. This is caused an uproar in the last 48 hours in many countries around the world. We're kind of oblivious still here in the United States.
In Chile, which is a swing vote on the Security Council, the press and the government are apoplectic (ph) furious, they're furious -- how dare the United States government bug, and spy on and monitor the private communications of the representatives of sovereign governments at the United Nations? It's absolutely outrageous.
BLITZER: What about that point, Deborah?
PERRY: Well, it's interesting, because obviously, intelligence, not just on the military side, but on economic intelligence, has been happening for decades now. Countries are spying on us, we spy on other countries. This is a case, I'm certainly not privy, or don't have any direct knowledge to this memo, but it's nothing that we want to get into the habit of doing. We want the U.N. Security Council to be able to proceed forward on their own. And we know at this point that if we don't have unanimous support on this resolution, that we may be pulling it back at this point.
BLITZER: Norman, with the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, are you now a little bit more reassured that the Bush administration can engage in the showdown with Iraq and continue the war on terrorism at the same time?
SOLOMON: Well, I think it's an important distinction, because a war in Iraq has nothing to do with challenging terrorism. The links are not there. They've been alleged. They don't stand up. I think many people in the world, including many in the United States, are scratching their heads. What's the deal here? How can the United States claim it's fighting terrorism while it launches an attack on Iraq, which most analysts, I believe, have come to the conclusion would actually exacerbate the threat of terrorism, including in the United States?
BLITZER: What about that, Deborah?
PERRY: We know there are hard direct links between terrorism and Iraq, and this has been going on for some time. So while we act about talking about whether our efforts in terms of being able to eradicate terrorism as best we can, we are in fact just by the capture of this last individual, but also going after Saddam Hussein. So we know that he doesn't support alliances, not only within Iraq, but surrounding communities, and that extends to Northern Africa, and Central Asian Republic, to the former Soviet Union.
BLITZER: Deborah and Norman, please stand by. I want to go to the White House. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com