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CNN CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT

France Refuses to Support New Resolution Under Any Circumstances; Will U.N. Defeat Stop U.S. From Invasion?

Aired March 10, 2003 - 20:00   ET

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

CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: Good evening. I'm Connie Chung. Tonight, France says it will vote no on the Security Council resolution for war with Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: The U.N. vote looms.

JACQUES CHIRAC, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): Our position is that whatever the circumstances France will vote against because as things stand it believes that there is no need to make war to achieve the objective, i.e., the disarmament of Iraq.

ANNOUNCER: Will the U.S. get Security Council backing to strike Iraq? If not, will the United State invade anyway?

Is the U.S. already at war with Iraq? Do increased overflights and psychological warfare operations signal the first phase of hostilities?

When the U.S. faces war, the decision falls on one man's shoulders. Tonight, the burden George W. Bush is facing. The weight of the presidency.

Abducted or a runaway? A week after Lindsey Ryan disappeared, was she caught on tape in the company of a convicted killer?

And "Our Person of the Day." A winner hands down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, Connie Chung.

CHUNG: Good evening. Tonight, France declares the U.S. has lost. President Bush has been campaigning for a second U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing an invasion of Iraq.

With four nations in favor, five opposed and six undecided, the president has been hopeful of winning the nine votes needed. The U.S. is pressing the point that new U.N. reports show Iraq was developing a drone jet capable of dispersing biochemical weapons.

But now France says too bad. Even if the U.S. does get nine votes, France will exercise its veto.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIRAC: Our position is that whatever the circumstances France will vote against because as things stand it believes that there is no need to make war to achieve the objective, i.e., the disarmament of Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: Russia, another permanent member with veto power, delivered much the same message today. Russia, France and other nations want more time for inspections, which continued today as Iraq reached the halfway point in its demolition of about 100 missiles.

Joining us now with the latest on the diplomatic battle, Senior U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth. Richard, now that France and Russia are saying they will vote no on a second U.N. resolution, the U.S. is saying that it will agree to some modifications. Can you explain?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think first we should still remember that despite Russia and France saying they will vote no, it's still a big step to veto a resolution like this and there's still a chance that that could be worked out. That's why they refuse to use the "v" word, veto.

As for so-called benchmarks and modifications, the U.S. and Britain seem to be moving towards allowing some tests for the Iraqi government to comply, some new tests of how serious Baghdad is on cooperating. That'll get more countries on board, but it may extend any type of deadline for Iraq to cooperate past March 17.

But the U.S. doesn't want to give them a blanket list that the inspectors have come up with. They just have given up almost on that angle. But they'll do anything to try to get more support. So that's so-called benchmarks. It's close to a Canadian compromise proposal that's been floating around for several weeks.

CHUNG: I see. Richard, let's look at the boards. In other words, who is for, who's against and who are the undecided? Obviously, for, the U.S., Britain, Spain and Bulgaria. Against, France, Russia, China, Germany and Syria.

Undecided, there are six countries. Richard, can you bring us up to date on them? What happened today?

ROTH: Today those six undecided members huddled amongst themselves and others to try to come up with some type of strategy that could bridge the divide between the big powers. They're increasingly frustrated because they feel they're going to be left holding the bag trying to vote on this big issue and they don't have as much power as the other ones with vetoes. So they're desperate for some sort of compromise. You can listen to the Angolan ambassador now and sense his mood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ISMAEL GASPAR MARTINS, ANGOLAN AMB. TO U.N.: We are not yet there. We are not yet there. We are not yet raising hands. We are not sitting in the council voting. We are still looking for a position that can be acceptable by all the members of the council. That's what we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: And then all of these countries, Connie, some minister may say something to one reporter late in the evening and it moves on the wire services as a bulletin and the ambassador here is descended upon by hordes of journalists only to say we have not made up our mind yet. It's still a real poker game.

CHUNG: All right. Richard Roth, thank you.

Joining us now from London, former Assistant Secretary of State Jamie Rubin. Jamie, now that we know what France and Russia say they're going to do, and if the U.S. is indeed willing to go along with what they call some benchmarks, isn't the U.S. strategy very simply that they just need to help Britain out?

JAMIE RUBIN, FRM. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, clearly, the purpose of this second resolution is to respond to the urgent requests of Tony Blair, the prime minister of Britain, and the prime minister of Spain, who have said that going for a second resolution, even if one risks a veto, is preferable to not going at all.

So the U.S. is getting dragged into a negotiation at this fairly dramatic meeting last Friday, where all the foreign ministers were. The British opened the door to changes. They said they would amend this resolution and propose this March 17 date.

Now they're stuck with the possibility that some of these swinging six countries you referred to are going to try to drag this out and come up with a compromise. Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the U.N., spoke for all of those six countries today when he urged the great powers to come to an agreement. That's what they want.

And to get an agreement is going to be very tricky because the French have never said what would it take for them to agree to the use of force, what kind of non-compliance by Iraq is enough for them? And that's the big outstanding question.

CHUNG: Well, then, Jamie, are you surprised that the United States is willing to go this extra mile?

RUBIN: Well, I'm not completely surprised. There are several political and military factors that suggest that the Bush administration can go a little longer than they've previously indicated. First is obviously the responding to their closest ally Britain, and the Spanish prime minister, who's asked for the same thing.

Secondly is they were probably taken aback when the Turkish government didn't allow the United States to deploy troops there. That may have slowed the timetable a little bit.

I don't think they're going to compromise very far. I can't imagine they'll go very many weeks ahead. But the British had suggested March 17. Maybe they'll go another week and they'll put in some real tests for Iraq to meet.

I'm sure they're going to try to make those tests very difficult because they believe Iraq has not really made the strategic decision to comply. And so they're going to make the test difficult. And I can't imagine they're going to allow the deadline to slip too far.

CHUNG: And there is a potential change in Turkey because there's a new prime minister who'll be taking over and there just may be another vote in parliament. So that may be one reason for a delay. Can you explain what Richard was talking to us about a little earlier? A no vote does not necessarily mean a veto.

RUBIN: Yes. When the permanent members, in this case Russia and France and China, vote no, if they're voting no along with most members of the council, that's not a veto.

A veto really is when Russia and China or France is alone or just the three of them and everybody else on the council agrees. So 12 members, for example, vote yes, and Russia, China and France vote no. That's vetoing the resolution under U.N. rules of procedure. The resolution is not passed.

But if Russia and France just join most of the countries or half of the countries in voting no, it's not technically thought of as a veto.

CHUNG: Now, Jamie, if the U.S. does need to proceed without a second resolution, does it say that the U.N. is irrelevant? Or is it a sobering moment for the United States that we indeed are not as powerful as we think we are?

RUBIN: Well, Connie, I think it's both. Clearly, the United Nations system has not been able, if this vote doesn't pass, to find a way to enforce resolutions that have been on the books since 1991. That's 12 years.

On the other hand, I think the British calculated, and certainly many in the administration may have calculated, that if the president of the United States and the secretary of defense and the secretary of state really pushed hard that we could convince the world to come behind us.

And this war in Iraq, whether one is for it or against it, one has to acknowledge that it is a divisive issue. There are many, many important countries in the world who just haven't accepted the American view.

CHUNG: Jamie Rubin, thank you.

If there's an irony to all the diplomatic wrangling over going to war, it's this -- as pretty much everyone from Baghdad to the Pentagon will tell you, the fighting has already started. U.S. and allied forces have patrolled Northern and Southern Iraqi air space for years. It's not unusual for them to bomb Iraqi targets. And it's not unusual for Iraq to fire back.

What is unusual is the increasing frequency with which it's happening lately. CNN's Frank Buckley is aboard the USS Constellation in the Persian Gulf, where U.S. pilots are quite used to flying into harm's way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dawn over the Persian Gulf. We're in the cockpit of an F-14 Tom Cat in the head of its pilot. We've attached a camera to his helmet. He's taking us into the southern no-fly zone. He's taking us into Iraq. The jets on this mission are from squadron VF-2, the bounty hunters, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation.

This lieutenant, who asked that we not use his name, is the pilot taking us in. This is his second deployment here, and he says that coalition pilots' familiarity with tanking procedures like this one, the geography, and Iraqi defenses will give them an edge if there is war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being able to fly over the country or the terrain that you may potentially have to operate in will always give you an advantage.

BUCKLEY: Coalition aircraft frequently come under fire while over the no-fly zones. This video from an unmanned Predator. Pilots have always been authorized to return fire, but some analysts say that recent coalition attacks on Iraqi facilities suggest U.S. and British aircraft are already prepping the landscape for hostilities.

Constellation's air wing commanding officers, Captain Mark Fox, says pilots are simply responding to Iraqi violations of no-fly zone rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wouldn't be dropping bombs if they weren't shooting at us.

BUCKLEY (on camera): The aircraft flying these missions are also being loaded with ammunition that is produced down in this compartment of the ship.

We are not descending into the ship's magazine. What we will show you is not explosives. But it is classified until it's dropped in Iraq. This is psychological ammunition that's being produced here, in the print shop of the USS Constellation.

(voice-over): Leaflets with various messages, including telling Iraqis not to fire on aircraft, are being dropped in both no-fly zones. The Constellation alone has produced more than 3 million leaflets.

On this mission, no one comes under fire. The war has not begun. Still, flight operations are already around-the-clock.

Five aircraft carriers are now in the region, and the number of sorties has gone up dramatically from 250 on a normal day in the southern no-fly zone, to 900 called for in one recent air plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You definitely have to be on your game because it's crowded.

BUCKLEY: And it's bound to become even more crowded if the war gets under way.

Frank Buckley, CNN, aboard the USS Constellation in the Persian Gulf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: Joining us now is CNN military analyst, retired Major General Don Shepperd. General Shepperd has close to 40 years of air force experience. He flew 250 combat missions during Vietnam and headed the Air National Guard during the Gulf War.

Welcome, sir. Thank you for being with us.

DON SHEPPERD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): My pleasure, Connie.

CHUNG: General Shepperd, the increase of the flights over the no-fly zone and special operations in northern Iraq would make anyone believe that we, the United States, are at war already. Are we?

SHEPPERD: Connie, the answer -- short answer is yes. It's getting ugly diplomatically out there, and it's been ugly militarily for a long time.

The northern and southern no-fly zones have produced missions on a weekly and more recently almost a daily basis that are shot at by anti-aircraft fire and by missiles in Iraq. The crews will tell you that. We've talked to them. And now the frequency has been increasing in the last few days and few weeks, Connie.

CHUNG: What's the strategy behind increasing the frequency?

SHEPPERD: Yes, well, up until a couple, three years ago we basically attacked the sites that were firing at us. And we found out we were playing their game. They would park the missile sites and anti-aircraft sites next to civilian installations that would receive collateral damage when we attacked. So we reserved the right to attack any piece of the air defense system. And that's what we've been doing for the last couple of years and even more so recently.

There are also reports that we have been to attack within southern Iraq surface-to-surface missiles and surface-to-surface rocket sites. That has not been confirmed by the Pentagon, but it's been reported by the press. That makes perfect sense to me. You're not going to sit there and let them bring in a whole bunch of missiles that can attack our troops that are massing in Kuwait and risk the destruction or injury of those troops.

CHUNG: And there are indications that we are doing psychological battle with the Iraqis as well with leaflet droppings. Can you explain those to us?

SHEPPERD: Yes, that's an important part of information warfare and psychological warfare. Drop the leaflets, basically try to encourage the people around Saddam to not fight. We don't want to kill anyone in Iraq. Lay down your arms, and you will not be harmed.

And we think that probably will work against the Iraqi army. There was not a lot of resistance put out by the Iraqi army during the Gulf War. The Republican Guard and the special Republican Guard, we don't know if it will work. But we would like those people to turn against him, and we would like to not have to kill them. That's what the psychological warfare is about.

CHUNG: Can you bring us up to date on the weather situation? It is getting hotter there. There's sandstorms and high winds. How much of a problem is this going to be for us?

SHEPPERD: Well, it's a problem, but it's overplayed.

We practice regularly in hot weather in the California desert and in the Nevada desert and the Arizona desert. We know how to fight in hot weather. Where it becomes a real problem is wearing chemical and biological outfits when the temperatures get above 100 degrees. It's absolutely miserable. We know how to do it and so the hotter it gets, the worse it is for our troops. But of course, the worse it is for the other side as well.

CHUNG: And finally, General Shepperd, Iran and North Korea are flexing their potential nuclear arms and muscles. How will that affect the United States in terms of how quickly it needs to get done with Iraq and move on to these other crises?

SHEPPERD: Well, we're going to get done with Iraq as soon as we can get done with Iraq. We'd like it to be a very short war. Not because of Iran or because of North Korea, but because we need to have it -- we need to have it done with and then we need to get Iraq reconstructed.

Korea, we hope we'll be able to find a diplomatic solution there and we're at the very early stages of dealing with Iran and the potential nuclear problems there, Connie.

CHUNG: All right. General Shepperd, thank you so much for being with us.

SHEPPERD: My pleasure.

CHUNG: Right now, tonight's look at "The World in 60," has other news that could affect the course of war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHUNG: Turkey could get a new government soon, reviving hopes that parliament might change its position on American troops using Turkish bases if the U.S. invades Iraq. A new prime minister in Turkey is poised to take office this week.

Pakistani officials said al Qaeda's operational mastermind, now in custody, claims he met Osama bin Laden last December. The officials said Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is answering their questions but they still do not know where bin Laden is.

Palestinian legislators approved the creation of a new prime minister post. While the prime minister would handle negotiations with Israel, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would still have final say in any peace deal.

Islamic rebels hijacked a passenger bus in the southern Philippines. A hostage was killed before soldiers and police were able to free passengers. One kidnapper was also killed.

NASA is downplaying data that indicates an astronaut may have tried to override the shuttle's autopilot moments before NASA lost contact with the Columbia. Officials emphasized that at no time did the shuttle show signs of being under manual control.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Still ahead, could celebrity protests against a possible war with Iraq lead to a new Hollywood blacklist?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite the mud-slinging and the empty threats of blacklisting by certain groups, I will continue to speak out.

ANNOUNCER: Marquee names and voices of dissent when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT continues.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: President Bush has said many times that Iraq is a threat to America and to America's freedoms. He also points out that one of those freedoms is the right to disagree with him about Iraq. But some celebrities say those who disagree are not being heard, so they've made their anti-war sentiments known. Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Janeane Garofalo. And today, Jessica Lange joined their ranks and defended her right to do so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA LANGE, ACTRESS: I will continue to speak out, and I'm in great admiration of all of those who feel to compelled to speak out because, after all, it is our right, as a citizen, to speak out against something that we sincerely and deeply believe is wrong-minded and that will do damage beyond our imagination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: But how free are Americans to speak out against the war? Expressing anti-war sentiments has gotten some Americans in hot water. And celebrities don't appear to be any different. Sean Penn says he lost work because of his views. Some musicians claim the Grammys clamped down on anti-war statements, a charge the Grammys denied.

What's going on here? Well, Paul Bond is a "Hollywood Reporter" correspondent, and he joins us from Los Angeles. Paul, thank you for being with us.

PAUL BOND, "HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": Thank you, Connie.

CHUNG: The Screen Actors Guild put out a statement condemning anyone who is blacklisted because of his or her views on the war. Is this a problem?

BOND: Well, the Screen Actors Guild seems to think it's a problem. I mean, but there's no blacklisting going on in Hollywood. I mean, if moviegoers choose to not see a movie because a star's a celebrity activist they disagree with, I mean, that's perfectly within the moviegoer's right and it's perfectly within the right of the directors and the producers and the casting directors to not cast that person in their movie. We took a poll at the "Hollywood Reporter" that says 44 percent of Americans might not see -- might not pay to see a movie that stars one of these celebrity activists whom they disagree with.

CHUNG: Sean Penn was quite vocal about his anti-war position. He went to Iraq. And now he claims that he was denied a role for it. What is the status of his case that he's filed against the producer in question?

BOND: Oh, sure. It's actually competing lawsuits. Steven Bing filed a lawsuit against Sean Penn and vice versa. And Sean Penn is claiming he lost a $10 million part because Steven Bing changed his mind about casting Sean Penn because of Sean Penn's visit to Iraq and his subsequent appearance on "Larry King" talking about his visit to Iraq. And you know, Steven Bing allegedly thinks that Sean Penn is appearing very anti-American nowadays, and people don't want to shell out money to see Sean Penn. So he said, sorry, Sean, I don't want to cast you in my movie. And it's Steven Bing's movie. He's bank rolling it. He's producing it. He wrote it, he might direct it. He wants to cast somebody that Americans want to see.

CHUNG: Is there any fallout, Paul, because Martin Sheen has been quite outspoken about his anti-war views, and he is the star of "West Wing," after all.

BOND: Oh, sure, there might be fallout. You know, it's hard to quantify why people are tuning out "The West Wing." But of course, NBC executives are worried that Martin Sheen's anti-war activism, his peace activism, his what appears to be un-American, you know, speeches and such are hurting the ratings. And you know, that cuts across, you know, a lot of celebrities. A lot of celebrities...

CHUNG: But "The West Wing" was up against a reality program. So isn't that the real reason?

BOND: Well, it's hard to say what the real reason is. But it's easy to say that, yes, there are NBC executives who worry that Martin Sheen's anti-war activism might hurt ratings.

CHUNG: Now, there's a rumor that the presenters list and invitations to the Academy Awards are being affected by who is for the war and who is against the war.

BOND: There are rumors that the Academy is taking that into account. And it could be true. You're never going to get the Academy or ABC to admit that. But you know, if they have not invited a certain presenter and that presenter goes out and bashes America or comes out against the war, it's very possible that ABC or the producers might say, we don't want this person to be a presenter, so we're not going to give them the invitation that we had planned.

You know, I don't think ABC or the Academy is going to rescind any invitations, but if they haven't made the invitation yet, sure, they might take that into consideration.

CHUNG: In the past, Paul, we've seen Vanessa Redgrave and Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere use these award ceremonies to present their views. Is there any evidence that that is going to happen at the Academy Awards?

BOND: Well, the evidence is historic. You know, celebrities usually like to weigh in on big political issues. And the Academy Awards, at a time where we're about to launch a war or might even be at war, of course, they'll probably use this as a platform, and we even took a poll at the "Hollywood Reporter" about whether or not people want to see such activism at the Academy Awards show, and 77 percent of Americans said they don't want to see it. And of course, you know, ABC and the Academy producers, they're aware of these type of numbers.

And -- but when you get right down to it, if they're really concerned about good television, maybe they just ought to say, you know what, you've got 30 seconds to make your presentation speech, say whatever you want. You know, that might make the best television, especially if there is a celebrity with the courage to go on the Academy Awards show and actually speak against the grain in support of George Bush and the war on terrorism.

You know, in Hollywood, that takes a lot of courage nowadays, because so much of the entertainment community is on the peace movement side.

CHUNG: All right. I thank you, Paul Bond, for being with us.

BOND: Thank you.

CHUNG: Hollywood also kicks off our "Snapshot" tonight with high kicks and all that jazz.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG (voice-over): Crime paid off for "Chicago," which won big at the Screen Actors Guild awards. The movie claimed several top honors, including one for lead actress Renee Zellweger.

The lights are still off on Broadway, where a strike by musicians is causing a $1.2 million box office loss per performance. Producers and musicians are deadlocked in a dispute over the number of musicians required at performances.

New inductees to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame -- The Clash, AC/DC, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, the Righteous Brothers and The Police.

Here's an excuse to get cozy. It's good for your heart. A new study says brief hugs and romantic hand holding reduce the harmful physical effects of stress.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Still ahead -- making the decision to go to war is the loneliest moment a president can face. How is George W. Bush handling the pressure? CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT returns in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: President Bush has been working the phones the past few days, calling world leaders, lobbying members of the Security Council for their support of the U.S.-backed resolution on Iraq. But Mr. Bush places much less emphasis on the need for that support. While the decision to send Americans into combat has tormented past presidents, Mr. Bush is said to be focused and unequivocal about his mission after 9/11. Mr. Bush carries the burden of being the one man to make a decision that could mean life or death for thousands of people.

Joining us now is Allan Lichtman, history professor at the American University in Washington.

And I thank you so much for being with us, Professor Lichtman.

ALLAN LICHTMAN, HISTORY PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: My pleasure.

CHUNG: It's been said that one of the loneliest and toughest decisions a president can make is to go to war. What do you think President Bush is going through now?

LICHTMAN: I think President Bush has pretty much come to a decision about what he is going to do. This is a president who, after 9/11, believed that he had found his historic and indeed divine sanctioned mission as president. And that was to protect the United States from international threats and pursue evil in the world. And he sees going to war, if necessary, against Iraq as part of that mission that he's taken on for himself. CHUNG: Now, his father told Hugh Sidey of "TIME" magazine -- or at least it's being reported by Hugh Sidey -- that his father said that, just before the Panama crisis, that he, the night before, the first President Bush, he couldn't move his arms. He couldn't move his neck. The tension was so clear to him.

How is President Bush dealing with the pressures, do you think?

LICHTMAN: I think he's dealing with them extremely well.

This is a president who came in with a reputation of knowing nothing about foreign policy, of not being focused. He was the Texas frat boy. Well, you haven't seen any of that in his approach to this crisis. He's been careful. He's been somber. He's been solemn. He's been on message, very focused. You saw that in his recent press conference.

Look, history is going to judge this president by the outcome of this war. Can we succeed in our mission? Can we minimize American and Iraqi casualties? What will it mean for the war against terrorism? What will it mean for international stability? And, of course, what will it mean for the economy here at home, the well-being of Americans, and an election that George Bush has to face just next year?

CHUNG: Well, I'm glad you brought up the election, because there are many who would believe that that really is the underlying reason, that it's not just this mission that he feels he acquired after 9/11, but, in fact, it's all political.

LICHTMAN: I wouldn't say it's all political. I do think Bush believes he has this God-given mission.

But it is very political. Robert Novak, a conservative, a supporter of George Bush, wrote a chilling column recently in which he said politics really was behind this, that George Bush has no faith in his own remedies for the economy, and that Bush and his political advisers believe the only way to get the economy going, the only way to reignite enthusiasm for this president and get him reelected is to go to war.

I hope to God that's not true, because that is truly, from a conservative, a chilling moral indictment of this president. But politics enters into everything in Washington, as you know.

CHUNG: Can you talk to us a little bit about that feeling of loneliness? The kind of decision that the president is making is not made by committee. It's not made by anyone else in that White House. It is made by President George W. Bush.

LICHTMAN: True enough. American presidents have held the fate of the country, the fate of the world, the lives of thousands, even of millions, in their hands. President Truman said being the president is like riding a tiger and you have no choice but just to keep riding.

Look, with the fate of the world in the balance in the Cuban Missile Crisis, it really did come down to decisions by President Kennedy, who largely resisted the pressures of many advisers for a military solution. Throughout American history, a president and perhaps a small group around him, without Congress, without the American people, have made life-or-death decisions. No less here.

It will come down to George Bush. History will judge George Bush. This is not something -- for all those who think Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld pulls George Bush's strings, this is not something that can be put off on anyone else. George Bush will get the historic credit or blame for what he does.

CHUNG: All right, Professor Lichtman, thank you.

In a moment, we'll look at how these pressures are affecting President Bush's chief ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

But first, this month, CNN is looking back at some 80 days that changed the world, as chosen by "TIME" magazine, which is owned by our parent company. The occasion is "TIME" magazine's 80th anniversary.

And today, a look at one day that changed the world because of a bus ride.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANE MCWHORTER, PULITZER-PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR: The first thing you need to get out of your mind about Rosa Parks was that she was this little old lady who got tired one day and refused to give up her seat on the bus.

Rosa Parks was a 42-year-old seamstress from Montgomery. Rosa Parks had left her seamstress job on Thursday afternoon, December 1. She got on the bus, sat down. Some white folks got on. And all the seats were taken. Rosa Parks's three seat mates got up. She moved from the aisle seat over to the window seat. So Rosa Parks was taken to jail. She was tried. And there was this great outrage.

And almost the entire black population stayed off the bus. This was really the beginning of what we think of as the modern civil rights movement, because it became a mass movement for the first time. During that period in the mid-'50s, there were a lot of anti-colonial struggles going on in Africa. So this was sort of part of this global movement for black independence. And it was certainly inspiring to the nations in Africa that there was this uprising in the cradle of segregation, the American deep South.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: We're focusing tonight on two men who are making the toughest decision a national leader can make: the decision to support war. Both President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair say war is a last resort, but they also say Iraq has done nothing to suggest war won't be necessary. President Bush, as we've noted, has said that Iraq must be disarmed, with or without U.N. approval. But his prime ally, Prime Minister Blair, wants the U.N. Security Council approval. Today, Blair's foreign secretary said the proposed U.N. resolution might be open to revision to gain support in the Security Council.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We are examining whether a list of defined tests for Iraqi compliance would be useful in helping the Security Council come to a judgment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: But some members of Parliament remain skeptical. A member of Blair's own Cabinet threatened to resign if the U.K. goes to war without Security Council approval. Ultimately, whether Parliament or the U.N. approves, the decision to go to war lies with Prime Minister Blair.

And joining us now is BBC Washington correspondent Justin Webb. And in Palo Alto, we have columnist Christopher Hitchens.

Thank you both for joining us.

JUSTIN WEBB, BBC WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Pleasure.

CHUNG: Justin Webb, is Blair fighting for his political life on this issue?

WEBB: No, he's not.

He's fighting a desperate short-term battle. And if things go desperately wrong in Iraq, then he could indeed be finished. But I think, in the longer term, assuming that the war, if it happens in Iraq, is reasonably short and reasonably successful, then I think he'll be all right. But he's certainly in a scrape, a scrape that's going to last, well, for the duration of the period up to the war and the war itself.

CHUNG: Christopher, you've covered Prime Minister Blair. Why would he stick his neck out and find himself in this political pickle?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, COLUMNIST: Ah, well, I don't have to be an axis journalist to answer that, at least.

If you look up the speech that he made in the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations meeting in 1999, you'll see that he said that, after the eclipse of Slobodan Milosevic, which, if you remember, had to be done by NATO, because the U.N. couldn't get round to it, that the problem of the one-party, one-leader, aggressive, fascistic state was still with us and it was exemplified by, among others, Saddam Hussein.

I mention this because he was saying this before George Bush was saying it. So, the claim most often made against him by the left of his party, that he's Mr. Bush's poodle, is shown by one demonstration to be entirely false.

Second, the excerpt you showed just now from Parliament makes it very plain that most of the critics of Mr. Blair are basing their objections purely on pragmatism or on prudence, whereas the Blair position is one that this is a matter of principle, that an aggressive dictatorship is a threat morally as well as politically and physically and has to be dealt with it, and it would be perhaps preferable if we got to pick the time of the confrontation, rather than leave it to them to decide, as Saddam Hussein always has in the past.

CHUNG: Justin Webb, is there any turning back for Prime Minister Blair?

WEBB: No, I don't think there is.

I think he'd be absolutely mad to turn back. He's come all the way down this road. He's going to have to carry on to the end, because he seems to seriously believe -- and who knows -- he might be right -- that he will, in the end, be victorious and that those principles that Christopher Hitchens mentioned will be borne out and we will all come to accept and his critics will come to accept that, actually, he was right. He's almost become a kind of Churchillian figure, in the sense that he's above party now.

HITCHENS: Could I just say one more -- maybe 1 1/2 more things?

Blair, until now, has always been accused -- rightly, in my opinion -- of paying too much attention to opinion polls and to spin and to popularity and also flaunting too much his Christianity, his piety. He's now in a position where the opinion polls have turned solidly against him and where the Christian churches are all either neutral or pro-Saddam Hussein.

So I think this could be very good for Tony Blair. It could really help to grow him up, to find out how valueless the opinions of mass polling are and how unreliable an ally the religious turn out to be. This really is an epiphany, with any luck.

CHUNG: Justin Webb, to what do you attribute his bonding with President Bush and sticking with him in this very, very difficult period, when world opinion is quite against him?

WEBB: I mean, in a sense, it's a very dull answer. But when the two of them first met, the only thing they could think of that they had in common was, they both used Colgate toothpaste. And no one could work out how on earth it was George Bush who revealed that. No one could work out...

HITCHENS: I think that's where the bonding comes on, Justin.

(CROSSTALK)

WEBB: Exactly. But that was a pretty bad start.

But now, I think it is genuinely the case that Tony Blair became convinced that this was the right thing to do. And Christopher Hitchens says he was convinced of it even before George Bush...

HITCHENS: Oh, I know. There's no question about it.

WEBB: And he was actually a person, right from the beginning -- we all got him wrong when we said he was led by focus groups and the rest. He did, it turns out, have seriously held core beliefs, and that this attack on Saddam Hussein, if it comes, is the result of some of those beliefs. So he believes in it and carries on doing it because it is part of the man.

CHUNG: Justin Webb, do you believe that Prime Minister Blair is sitting there in a very lonely position, and feeling so?

WEBB: Well, he must feel lonely. He certainly looks pretty tired. And the British press occasionally makes a great deal of the shadows under his eyes, etcetera. But, at the end of the day, a few nights' sleep, when they eventually come, will presumably cure that.

He is in a lonely position in his party. I don't think he cares about that. You know, he's been in a lonely position in his party for many, many years. He was in a pretty lonely position in his party when he became its leader. I remember interviewing him before he became its leader and it was very obvious talking to him afterwards that he had a great project in readiness for the party, although the party wasn't quite aware of it at the time.

He has, of course, moved his party back into the center of British politics, against the views of probably a great majority of that party, though he managed to do some short-term convincing at the time. He is a lonely figure in British politics.

(CROSSTALK)

HITCHENS: And again, you see, on the human rights question, Mr. Webb, Tony Blair would say that he was leading the party from and to the left on this. He'd say he takes the radical position. They take a conservative one.

And on the matter of human rights and on the liberties of the Iraqi people, he's surely correct, as an internationalist, to say he's more socialist than they are. He can not only say that, but he can point out to most of his backbenchers that they wouldn't be elected if they ran on their own politics. They had to be elected on his coattails. And he would be right.

WEBB: And this, of course -- this gives him his great power now. And this is something, particularly for an American audience, that is not always utterly clear, that this guy really does run the show. Someone once described the British prime minister as an elected dictator. And at the end of the day, he doesn't have to go to the people until, what, 2006, the summer of 2006.

All sorts of things could happen by then. Christopher could be secretary-general of the United Nations. I could be Connie Chung's chief researcher. All sorts of oddnesses could take place.

(LAUGHTER)

HITCHENS: Inshallah. Inshallah.

WEBB: Inshallah. Exactly.

So, at the end of the day, he will have a view to that long term and that's why he won't be too worried.

CHUNG: All right, well, I'll look forward to that day.

Thank you so much, Justin Webb, Christopher Hitchens. We appreciate your being with us.

ANNOUNCER: Next: Could the missing 14-year-old believed to be traveling with a convicted murderer have been caught on tape?

The latest on the cross-country search when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: It's now more than a week that a 14-year-old girl, Lindsey Ryan, has been with a convicted killer who's on the run. What remains a mystery is whether she's a hostage or a runaway.

CNN's Jeff Flock has the latest on the hunt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Lindsey.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CHICAGO BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Fourteen- year-old Lindsey Ryan looks happy in this home video with her friends. Authorities say what's surprising is that, when she was last seen, at this gas station in Northern California, she appeared just as happy.

JAN MICKELSON, GAS STATION ATTENDANT: Didn't try to get any message across or anything. She just asked for gas and prepaid and went out and got gas, because she just acted happy. I mean, she had a big smile on her face and everything.

FLOCK: It's the latest sighting of Lindsey and 56-year-old convicted murderer Terry Drake, who authorities say lured her from her Michigan home more than a week ago.

MICKELSON: When she smiled, she had braces and they had black bands on them. Kids don't wear black bands around here. So, that struck me as funny. And then her hair color was real, real black.

FLOCK: That black hair, apparently dyed to confound those looking for her, doesn't make sense to her parents, nor does her apparent cooperation with Drake, a church acquaintance who later began instant-messaging her on the computer.

CAROL RYAN, MOTHER OF LINDSEY: I go crazy with the thought of, how dare he? How dare he? FLOCK: Each time she's been spotted, five times now previously along Interstate 80 headed for California, Lindsey has appeared unharmed and has made no attempt to get away. A woman at a Wal-Mart in Wyoming says Drake told a clerk there he had cancer and was taking a cross-country trip with his niece.

(on camera): But you say he used the cancer thing to someone else?

C. RYAN: At church.

FLOCK: In your church?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he did.

C. RYAN: Yes. He was all depressed: "Please pray for me. I know I got cancer."

FLOCK (voice-over): Authorities say there is no evidence Drake has or ever had cancer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Lindsey.

LINDSEY RYAN, 14 YEARS OLD: Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put the camera down. I can't see you.

FLOCK: And even though security camera tapes, too, apparently show Lindsey as happy now as in her home videos. Authorities say it could all change quickly.

NICK ROSSI, FBI: This is not a 14-year-old girl running away with her 18-year-old boyfriend. This is a young girl with a 56-year- old man who has killed before, who's heavily armed, traveling cross- country.

FLOCK: California has now turned off its AMBER Alert for Lindsey. With the victim apparently as serious about not being caught as the suspect, it's the first time a California AMBER Alert has ever failed.

I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, in Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: Finishing a marathon is pretty great on its own, but the way one competitor did it makes him our "Person of the Day.'

Bob Wieland crossed the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon on Saturday, 173 hours and 45 minutes after it started. Wieland lost his legs in Vietnam. But unlike many of his peers who compete in wheelchairs, he does marathons on his hands, more than 26 miles in L.A.

And our "Person of the Day," Bob Wieland, joins us now from Los Angeles.

Thank you, Bob, and congratulations.

BOB WIELAND, RAN MARATHON ON HANDS: Well, thank you so very much, Connie.

CHUNG: Bob, I know that this is the third time you've run the L.A. Marathon. And you've run the New York Marathon and I think the Marine Corps Marathon. But the most incredible trip that you took was from California to Washington, D.C. It took you four years to go across country on your hands. And you visited the Vietnam Memorial when you got to Washington, in addition to a number of other things.

Why did you do it, Bob?

WIELAND: Well, that Race Across America was just to bring awareness of both world and spiritual hunger. And I know we impacted literally thousands and thousands of people and were able to make some sizable contributions to some very well-known charities and pitch in any way that we can. And a lot of it had to do with just some of the things that I'd seen firsthand during my tour in Vietnam.

CHUNG: Aren't you good? I know that the other runners in this marathon, the L.A. Marathon, were really inspired by you. Will you tell me what you saw when you would pass them and they would pass you?

WIELAND: Well, the almost 23,000-plus runners, when they saw me on the course, many of them just wanted to come up and touch my hat or my running shoes or my jersey.

And, in fact, a number of them ran like a half a mile to almost a mile down the course and -- listen -- turned around, came back and said: Hey, can we get your photo? So, it was very touching, Connie. And again, I just wanted to be an encouragement to all the runners. But what had happened, all the runners and people of L.A. had encouraged me. And it was only literally by the grace of God that we crossed that finish line. I had a tremendous support crew, led by a gentleman named Sammy Maloof (ph), who is a Hollywood stuntman and my best friend.

And they just encouraged me to press on for that finish line.

CHUNG: Oh, well, thank goodness. I'm glad they did, because I loved seeing you crossing that finish line.

Bob Wieland, thank you so much for being with us.

WIELAND: Thank you, Connie.

CHUNG: Tomorrow, we'll have the latest on the U.S. showdown with Iraq.

And coming up next on "LARRY KING LIVE": As the U.S. prepares for war, six of the most powerful senators in Congress face off.

Thank you so much for joining us. And for all of us at CNN, good night and we'll see you tomorrow.



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