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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Middle East Ambassadors React to War With Iraq

Aired March 23, 2003 - 21:00   ET

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

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: LARRY KING LIVE with CNN's continuing coverage of the war in Iraq.
Tonight, we'll talk with the mother of one of the U.S. soldiers taken prisoner by Iraq today.

And we'll learn what those POWs might be going through from three men who were taken prisoner during the '91 Gulf War, Air Force Colonel David Eberly, the senior ranking coalition POW, plus Marine Major Joseph Small and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dale Storr, also reporters on the front lines with the troops, plus Air Force Lieutenant General, Retired, Larry Farrell, U.S. Army Colonel, Retired, David Hackworth.

And the view from Iraq's Middle Eastern neighbors with ambassadors from Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt.

We begin with Nic Robertson in Amman, Jordan. That is his new post. How do you intend to be there, Nic, and then when do you move on and where to?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Larry, really as short as possible I hope. I'd like to be able to go back to Baghdad or at least back into Iraq.

That really just depends on how swiftly coalition forces can prosecute this war against leadership in Baghdad. If they can move into that capital quickly, then I think from here we'll be able to get back into Iraq fairly swiftly.

For now the plan is for me to remain here. We have a lot of other good correspondents in the region and we all just have to take our turn on this story as it develops.

KING: Do you have any reaction, Nic, to this incredible day this has been, this POW story?

ROBERTSON: This is -- Iraq is perhaps getting the best propaganda they can for their own people at this time when all the other images coming into Iraq speak of Iraqi defeat, Iraqi defeatism, surrenders, et cetera.

This sort of image is going to play very well for the Iraqi leadership. It's just the sort of thing they need to bolster their troops and it's just the sort of thing the coalition doesn't need at this time. What it needs is Iraqi troops to surrender and give in without a fight. This won't help that cause and that for the coalition is not a good thing.

KING: By the way, to your knowledge, Nic, is that a violation of the Geneva Convention to show their pictures?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. You have to ask permission for any wartime captive if you were to film them or even interview them. So, unless they gave their express permission to do it then it would be a violation, yes.

KING: Let's go to Gary Tuchman by videophone. He's in an air force -- he's at an air base near the Iraqi border. What can you tell us from your vantage point, Gary?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, we do come to you from this base in the desert not far from Iraq.

This is a base where the 8,000 servicemen and women have worn chemical suits much of the week, where they've had sirens on at least 12 occasions over the last couple of days from missile alerts, and where an Iraqi missile landed very close by. But, nevertheless, it has not stopped the procession of warplanes heading down the runway and going to Iraq with planes like this one behind me, this A-10.

A short time ago, we talked with the commander of this base who also flies the F-16, a fighter plane. That's another plane that's at this base. He's flown two missions today, and this gives you an idea of how varied the responsibilities are. There's a plane, an F-16 going right past us right now. I'm going to wait one second so you can hear me.

That just tells you the variety of what they do. He's had two very different missions today. His first mission was to fly the F-16 over southern Iraq and drop leaflets urging surrender. Another plane is going by as we're talking.

His second mission several hours later was to drop bombs over Iraqi positions. That gives you an idea, Larry, of what's going on here. Many of these pilots fly two missions to Iraq each day.

KING: Thank you very much, Gary.

By the way, you remember we told you that story last night about the ITN journalist taken. Well, Terry Lloyd, the ITN journalist that we talked about last night with his friend and showed you pictures of, he was officially announced as killed today.

Let's go to Ryan Chilcote. Ryan is our CNN correspondent embedded with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, 3rd Brigade, inside Iraq, looking much the worse for it. Do you feel as bad -- what is -- you look kind of weird, Ryan. What's that on your face?

RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know the absolutely -- the trip from -- I guess I won't use that word, 72 hour convoy trip, road trip from Kuwait here to Southern Iraq. I'm standing at what the military calls a FARRP, a forward area rearming and refueling point, in the middle of the desert.

Basically, this is a gigantic gas station and weapons depot for helicopters and it's a really big thing for the 101st that it will allow them to move their troops now on helicopters deeper behind enemy lines, behind Iraqi lines.

It will also allow them to use their very powerful and destructive Apache attack helicopters much more effectively. They can spend a lot more time destroying targets and a lot less time taxiing, if you will, all the way back to the rear, all the way back to places like Kuwait.

So, but the trip here, 72 hours, beginning with a series of count them four Scud alarms, three before we even left Camp 1 the next day. That's what prompted this gear that I'm wearing here. It's a bit like a ski parka but actually it's a chemical protective suit and both I and all of the troops have been in these for the last three days moving through the desert at about 50 miles per hour, absolutely caked in dust, basically, you know, toasting inside of vehicles.

The 101st Airborne, you know, the one problem with covering these guys, they just never stop moving. They never stopped for more than two hours the entire three days. All they stopped for was basically to refuel and to switch out drivers. So, you know, pretty brutal trip here but they're here and they're ready to go -- Larry.

KING: Ryan, one other thing for you. What was it like to go through Iraqi towns?

CHILCOTE: Yes, well pretty interesting. The 101st Airborne's 3rd Brigade went through three towns and the first one pretty warm reception, a lot of Iraqis out both young and old, a lot of them clapping, a lot of them waving, a lot of them shouting to the troops.

And the American soldiers for their part, they didn't really stop in that first town but they did throw some MREs particularly to the kids. MREs are those Meals Ready to Eat, basically the field rations for U.S. soldiers.

And they, you know, tossed these and Skittles to the kids and, you know, the kids were holding those very proudly basically accumulating them, a real warm reception in that first town, not at all like the second town.

The 3rd Brigade came into the next town in the middle of the night and the Iraqis there not welcoming them, not applauding them but actually just watching them really.

As one soldier put it, it was pretty eerie. He remembers coming in and seeing a gigantic mural of President Saddam Hussein and thinking gee, we need to get out of this town as quickly as possible because the Iraqis inside, the civilians, were kind of milling around and not being very, I guess, welcoming at all. So, not such a positive reaction there.

The third town, again, a positive reaction, in fact the ground commander even got out of his car. He said hey, spoke with some of the Iraqis, said we're here. We're your friends. The Iraqis asked him are you sure you're here to stay because you were here in '91. Well he said yes.

They asked him what do you want? He said regime change in Baghdad. They said well then that's good. That's fine. Obviously, these people have no love lost in Southern Iraq for Saddam Hussein, so the Americans there well received -- Larry.

KING: Thank you, Ryan, Ryan Chilcote embedded with the Army's 101st Airborne and on the move.

Let's go to Frank Buckley embedded with the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Constellation in the Persian Gulf. The Constellation is bound for Baghdad. What's the latest from where you are, Frank?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, air operations continue here aboard the USS Constellation. We've been hearing and seeing planes take off throughout the night.

It's about 10 after 5:00 in the morning here. We're told that the jets that are leaving from this aircraft carrier are going to hit a number of different kinds of targets in Iraq going after military installations, hitting leadership targets, also going after air defense.

In addition to that, they're also still dropping leaflets, Larry. These aircraft are flying ahead of the coalition troops and they are dropping leaflets on the Iraqi troops recommending, suggesting to them that they in fact give themselves up. In other case, the leaflets will give them the frequencies of different radio stations for listening to for information from coalition forces.

So, the operations continue on this aircraft carrier through the night, very busy place to be -- Larry.

KING: Thank you, Frank, and thank you Nic Robertson as well. We'll be checking back with you again tomorrow we're sure, and Ryan Chilcote and Gary Tuchman and, of course, Frank Buckley, and as any reporter checks in with us, we check in with them.

In a moment, we'll introduce you to our five gentlemen from the military. CNN received the first pictures of American soldiers killed and captured in action in Iraq shortly after the Pentagon said that fewer than ten of its troops are missing. They later raised that number to 12.

The pictures were transmitted by Al-Jazeera, the Arab language satellite network. The video was shot by the state run Iraq TV. Now, we want to let the audience know that these pictures and the interviews were disturbing. This single image has no identifiable features.

In other images, it was apparent some soldiers had been shot, some of them in the forehead. We do not know their identity. Five other soldiers were also interviewed and each gave their name and home state in the United States. The Pentagon tells CNN that it is notifying the families of those captured and those who were killed.

Let's meet our members of the military.

In Richmond, Virginia is Colonel David Eberly, United States Air Force, retired. He was Senior Allied POW during the '91 Gulf War. He was held for 43 days, shot down on the fourth night of the war campaign, evaded the enemy for three nights and then captured, wrote a book about it called "Faith Beyond Belief."

In Spokane, Washington Lieutenant Colonel Dale Storr, the Washington Air National Guard, as U.S. Air Force Captain he spent 33 days as Iraqi POW during the '91 Persian Gulf War, was shot down while flying a tank killing mission in an A-10 Thunderbolt, the Warthog aircraft.

In Milwaukee is Major Joseph Small, United States Marine Corps, Retired, POW during the '91 Gulf War, was held for nine days, shot down over Central Kuwait while flying an OV-10 Bronco, aerial observer flying with him was killed.

In Washington, Lieutenant General Lawrence "Larry" Farrell, United States Air Force, Retired. Prior to his retirement from the Air Force, Larry served as the Air Force's Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, during the Gulf War was deputy for Air Force programs, served at the Pentagon, former command and combat pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours.

And, our regular standby in New York, Colonel David Hackworth, Hack as he is fondly called, United States Army, Retired, the most highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam war, award winning military correspondent, syndicated columnist with a column called "Defending America." His best selling book is "Steal My Soldiers Hearts."

Let's start with Colonel Eberly. What was it like to be a prisoner of the Iraqis?

Well, Larry, first let me thank you for letting us contribute to this story, and I think we need to pick it right up with the pictures that were shown. The fact that Iraq has -- the leadership has shown these pictures shows us right off the bat that they are not abiding by the Geneva Convention Accords.

They, themselves, replicate President Bush's characterization of this regime as being brutal and the pictures that they have shown of these dead soldiers just typifies that regime.

Now, how did it feel? Well, I faced -- my back seater and I faced a wall of automatic weapons and so, although I'm a fighter pilot at heart I've got to tell you that my level of concern I was scared. Clearly, my degree of fear had hit the maximum limit.

KING: We have a picture of you as a POW. How were you treated?

EBERLY: There again I think we have to go back to the Geneva Convention and say that clearly Iraq, 12 years ago, did not subscribe to the accords of the Geneva Convention, the four aspects. First, they showed several of us on TV. They then attempted to interview me a couple of other times on TV, which fortunately didn't work out very well for them. The message that they were after was not the message that I was willing to give them. And then, the way that we were treated, I would have to stretch it to say that it was humane treatment.

KING: Lieutenant -- you're stretching it to say that. Lieutenant Colonel Dale Storr, you spent 33 days as a POW. How were you treated? Lieutenant Colonel Storr can you hear me?

All right, we'll skip over to Major Joseph Small. Major, you were also a prisoner for nine days. How were you treated?

MAJ. JOSEPH SMALL, USMC (RET): I'd have to echo what Colonel Eberly just said. At no time did I feel that I was treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, Larry. The treatment consisted of beatings, whippings, being placed in a target area. At no time was I treated with what I would consider at least civilized behavior.

KING: I'm going to interrupt you guys a second and go to the Pentagon. Jamie McIntyre has a report on those supposed chemical plants in Iraq -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, the U.S. military has secured a facility in Southern Iraq that may have produced chemical weapons, although it's unclear exactly what is there now.

Pentagon officials say that the suspected chemical weapons facility has been secured and at least two Iraqi generals are in custody and may be providing information to the United States. Apparently, they surrendered to U.S. forces.

This story was first reported by the "Jerusalem Post," which has a reporter embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division. Some of those troops were among those who took this facility. About 30 Iraqi troops, according to the "Post", "Jerusalem Post""and a general turned themselves over to U.S. forces.

The key question here is whether this is clearly a chemical weapons facility or whether it could be considered a dual use facility. The U.S. is not going that far but what they are saying is they have secured this facility.

It's a suspected chemical weapons production site and two Iraqi generals are cooperating with the United States, providing information and that may help provide some of the first answers about where are these weapons of mass destruction that Iraq claims it does not have -- Larry.

KING: Thank you very much, Jamie, on the scene it would seem 24 hours a day.

Let's go by phone to Karl Penhaul of CNN about an Apache attack on the Republican Guard in Iraq. What can you tell us, Karl?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, that attack, Larry, started just after midnight local time and continued for about three hours. I flew on the Black Hawk helicopter which was the command and control helicopter for one of the Apache attack helicopter battalions taking part in that fight.

The whole mission started out early this afternoon in Northern Kuwait. The Apache attack helicopters had been stationed in Northern Kuwait until this point.

They then flew deep into Iraq, refueled, took on more ammunition at a staging post which has been set up, and then flew on to fight against these Republican Guard units, which are dug in in an area close to the town of Carbalo (ph) which is on the approaches, on the southern approaches toward Baghdad.

The unit specifically was the 2nd Armored Brigade and the Medina (ph) Division of the Republican Guard, and military intelligence before the fight showed that this unit did possess some 90 T-72 tanks and a number of towed artillery pieces.

What seems to have taken a little bit by surprise, the Apache helicopters that were flying the mission with the extent of the antiaircraft fire that the Republican Guards were able to put up, they didn't seem to have any particular trace on the Apache helicopters but just by simple detection and also hearing them come put up very heavy barrages of antiaircraft fire.

Some of the U.S. pilots have reported that their aircraft did take fire but so far there's not been a full assessment of how many aircraft may have been damaged. It's also too early, Larry, to say how successful the Apache mission was. There's been no battles damage assessment as the military calls it, no assessment yet of what position the Apaches actually managed to destroy -- Larry.

KING: Thank you very much, Karl, and there will be daylight in about an hour.

When we come back, we've straightened things out in Spokane and we'll talk with Colonel Dale Storr and we'll talk with retired General Larry Farrell and our man David Hackworth and more with our military and ambassadors still to go. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We've straightened things out in Spokane where Lieutenant Colonel Dale Storr is. He's with the Washington Air National Guard and he spent 33 days as an Iraqi POW. What was it like for you, Colonel Storr?

LT. COL. DALE STORR, USAF (RET): It was a very difficult time. It was a miserable existence. It was a long time. It was one of those things you just don't know when you're going to get out but you live through it and you endure it and you get over it.

KING: General Farrell there's nothing much you can do once a person is taken is there? I mean there are no chains of communication or do you deal with the Red Cross? What do you do when someone on your side is taken by their side?

LT. GEN. LARRY FARRELL, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET): Well, our pilots are pretty well prepared, Larry, and so they've got good training and they've got good equipment. The big problem is most fighter pilots never think they'll get shot down so when they do have to eject it comes as a great surprise and at that point in time where every fiber of your being is pulling you in 1,000 directions is when you need to have your wits about you at the most.

So, they're trained to first survive on the ground, to evade, and then to make contact with potential rescuers, and so they have to keep themselves free long enough until help arrives. And so, they're really on their own for quite a while.

KING: And once taken, Colonel Hackworth, is there nothing you can do? There's no diplomatic channels and the like?

COL. DAVID HACKWORTH, U.S. ARMY (RET): Well, especially the Air Force, but also our Special Forces and even the individual soldiers are very well trained on survival techniques, how to escape, how to maintain yourself under that intense pressure of torture and threat and brutality that all of those heroes that you have on the program tonight have witnessed.

KING: By the way, we are now being told that air raid sirens are being heard in Kuwait City, air raid sirens in Kuwait City.

Colonel Eberly what kept you going? Colonel Eberly in Richmond, what kept you going?

EBERLY: Yes, can you hear me now?

KING: Yes, I hear you, go ahead.

EBERLY: Clearly, my faith in God, my faith in my country, and my faith in my fellow airmen as well as the love of my family and friends kept me going. Clearly, as a prisoner you must keep your mind focused.

I actually never viewed myself as a prisoner, Larry. I just thought that I was carrying the war to the enemy with a little bit of disadvantage and I certainly underline what General Farrell had said about the spirit that you have to take into this.

You must maintain a positive attitude at all times and while you may be in essence fighting with a blindfold, your handcuffs, your legs shackled, you can take them on one-to-one and it's that kind of an attitude that clearly will take you through to the end of the journey.

I think we need to focus not so much on what happened to those of us in the last Gulf War. We need to put our arms and our hearts and our love around the families of these young men and this woman that were taken today and we need to tell them that their sons and daughters, their soldiers, are going to make it through this alive because their country is not going to give up on them.

And they're going to march into Baghdad and release those people and bring them home with the same honor that they did with us.

KING: Major Small, do you somehow feel at all like you failed when you're captured?

SMALL: At times they can make you feel like they've got you a little bit over a barrel, Larry. I kept up the attitude that they could break my body but they're not going to break my spirit and if at some point I did something that I really didn't want to do under their force, I tried to bounce back and follow our code of conduct as best I could. The idea was to keep bouncing back, keep faith in your country, in your God and your family and in yourself and in your training and that saw me through it.

KING: Colonel Storr, how would you gather these five are doing? It would be a guess.

STORR: Well, you know, it's tough Larry. Yes, it's all speculation on my part. The first few days are a real shock to your system, obviously. You've never been in an environment or a situation like that. Hopefully, your training kicks in. You get over that initial shock of being captured and you start resisting in any and every way that you can. Just like Colonel Eberly said, you know, you're still taking the fight to the enemy just under a little bit of a disadvantage.

KING: General, is the contact with the people back home important and is it kept up constantly? In other word, does the military not in enemy hands keep in constant touch with the wives and mothers and parents?

SMALL: You bet. You bet. Back home we have family support centers and we have family support groups. They group up as the unit deploys. They do things together. They talk on the phone a lot. They meet together. They go out to lunch.

When something like this happens, everybody is there. They come together helping the families that are grieving. And so, it's very important the support they get and we really -- we look at the military as family in the beginning anyway and that's kind of how we deal with it as a big large family matter.

KING: We're going to take a break and get headlines. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We're with you seven nights a week through the duration. Heidi Collins will have the headlines. There will be a short message and we'll come right back.

And, still to come ambassadors from Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, all ambassadors to the United States in a panel discussion. We'll be right back after Heidi Collins and the headlines. Don't go away. (NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back.

The all-clear siren is now being heard throughout Kuwait City. Things are status quo there.

We're going to take some phone calls for our guests.

But, first, General Farrell, has anything surprised you about the action thus far?

FARRELL: No. I think, actually, on balance, the campaign has gone fairly well. There have been some good things and some bad things, and the good things are the speed with which they're moving, the condition of the oil fields, and the lack of chemicals.

But we've had some nasty surprises today, and I would anticipate more surprises in about two or three days when our troops get to Baghdad. In the vicinity of Baghdad, I think, is going to be a crunch point, but, up to now, I was surprised today by the action in An Nasiriyah, like a lot of other people were.

KING: Hack, we've discussed surprises with you before. Do you expect more when they get nearer to Baghdad itself, the troops?

HACKWORTH: Well, looking at it in perspective here, we're at D plus five, the fifth day of the air war, the third day of the ground war, and let's compare it with Normandy, 6 June 1944.

On the third day of the war, Ike's guys were a couple miles inland. On the third of this war, our guys are 300 miles inland.

Ike's guys in 1944 had 5,000 casualties. Our folks, up to now, have had about 200-plus casualties. But most of the casualties came from that convoy that went the wrong way.

We are told there are only 12 dead, but that figure is probably three or four times that high. It was a significant disaster, and I have confirmed that from two sources that are basically on the scene.

So it -- the problem is this, Larry. We're -- we're going high diddle diddle right up the middle, which would make George Patton very proud, and we're leaving our flanks not secure, and there are stay- behinds that are eating up our soft logistical tail.

These are people that are not tankers, they're not fighters. They're people that are supply, logistics, and they don't know how to handle combat such as this.

So you've got guys -- the same that we experienced in Vietnam -- that are back in the rear that are called stay-behinds, and their purpose is to...

KING: Are you...

HACKWORTH: ... inflict casualties on the soft tail. That's what's happened. It was a big risk, big gamble, and we've got to secure our tail.

KING: Are you disagreeing then with what they did?

HACKWORTH: Well, war is a gamble, Larry. It's a high-risk, ugly, ugly game. I think that if I were running the campaign -- it's one of the worries that I've had because I've pretty well known through sources what the -- what the game plan was, that we should have had armored cav units that were dropping off in places that could be likely ambush places.

This was the drill of Vietnam. This was the lesson of Vietnam. We don't learn from the past. That's the sad story.

KING: Let's get a phone call in. El Paso, Texas. Hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Yes. Go ahead, lady -- ma'am.

CALLER: Yes, I was wondering why does it take so long to get a hold of family members, you know -- you know, about the POWs and everything. Why does it take so long to get a hold of the family members?

KING: General Farrell, would you know that?

FARRELL: Well, in some cases, we get a hold of them quite quickly. In some cases, we -- we have difficulty in -- and here's where Colonel Hackworth can probably help.

In a ground action like this, far removed from the headquarters, you don't have the details that you're able to for sure know exactly what happened, who died, who was -- who -- captured, and so it's difficult to go to the families when you don't have the information. In some cases, you can't find the families, even when you have the information.

So there's a lot of factors at play here.

KING: Anything you'd add, Hack?

HACKWORTH: Yes. The brutality that we witnessed today, we experienced especially in the Pacific campaign in World War II. I remember the little 19-year-old kid in Korea seeing American soldiers with their hands tied behind their backs by North Koreans...

KING: But...

HACKWORTH: ... shot in the head...

KING: ... her question was about...

(CROSSTALK)

HACKWORTH: ... very...

KING: Her question, though, was about...

HACKWORTH: ... brutal opponent.

KING: Her question was about notifying families, why that...

HACKWORTH: Well, the problem is that, in the mix of combat, you don't know who's down and who's not down. The Army hasn't been able to sort out how many people they're missing from this convoy.

It could be up to a hundred people that are dead, wounded, or just flat missing, wandering around the battlefield, and your personnel people are very reluctant to say this guy's down when they don't know for sure.

KING: Yes.

Colonel Eberly, how was your family informed, and was it quick?

EBERLY: It was fairly quick in the sense that, although no one saw the missile hit our aircraft, it was approximately 9:00 to 10:00 at night East Coast Time, which, you know, would -- say maybe six hours after we did not return.

As was just mentioned, since no one saw us get hit, no one heard a radio call, we just simply did not show up back at Al Qur, and, by the time they searched the other bases that we possibly had diverted into, then they determined that we were missing in action.

Now the story goes on, though, that Barbara did not find out that I was alive until about a week later when my picture showed up on television.

KING: What about in your case, Colonel Storr?

STORR: Well, actually, I had two brothers over in theater during Desert Storm.

One of them -- my brother Dave -- was a Marine aviator flying Prowlers out of Bahrain, and he had been notified by his commander that I had been shot down, and Dave immediately called my squadron, and they filled him in with the details of my shoot-down, which led him to believe that I had actually been killed in -- in the incident.

And Dave was able to call my mother directly from his squadron and inform him that I'd been shot down and I was missing. He never actually told my mom that I was dead, although he believed it himself and told my brother Doug, who was an Air Force pilot at the time, that -- the same news.

They kept it from my mom until after the war. Fortunately, I came back alive.

KING: And, Major Small, what were the circumstances dealing with your family and information?

SMALL: Well, mine was very similar to Colonel Eberly's where I did not have a wingman, so nobody actually saw us go down. I was shot down in the middle of the day about 1:00 in the afternoon in -- Kuwait time, and so it was very, very early morning back in the States at that time.

There was a search initiated immediately. Once they got some details that they could give to my family, then my wife was met at the front door by representatives of the rear detachment back at -- in North Carolina.

KING: Take another call. Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi. I want to first say that -- my condolences to the soldiers and the families that's in Iraq.

But my question is do you believe that the U.S. position in Iraq is really worth the lives that are being lost now, and what about the democracy in the U.S.

KING: OK. What are your feelings tonight, General Farrell? It's a fair question.

FARRELL: Well, it's one that makes everybody nervous, but, when you have something worth fighting for, you have to step out and go do it, and -- I'm like everybody else. When this came up -- I'm nervous about it because we've got a lot of -- we've got a lot at stake here. We've got a lot of our blood and our treasure at stake.

But I think September 11, 2001, changed the whole equation. We can't sit back and wait for terrorists to come to this country and attack us, and we know that -- we've ignored this for years and years -- that terrorists are supported by states, rogue states.

Iraq is one of those states, Syria is another, Iran is another, and, strangely enough, some of our allies in the Middle East have some of those elements within their country.

So we've got to go -- we've got to go forward and take care of this problem.

KING: Tampa, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Larry, my question for your panel is: With the killing of American POWs today, what effect will this have on the morale of soldiers fighting on the front lines? If they were caught in the same moment and -- perhaps would they also make a decision when it comes to making POWs less likely when they see the Geneva Convention thrown out the door?

KING: Ah, fair question.

Hack, do you want to take it first?

HACKWORTH: Well, I can recall an experience in Korea and also in Vietnam that it makes you very angry, and the problem you have in a combat situation -- the most dangerous time is when you take a prisoner because you might have a buddy that was just killed or a leg blown off of a friend, and, suddenly, you've got this guy in front of you that did it.

So the most dangerous time for the prisoner is when he's confronted with another combatant. Once you get in back a little to the rear beyond platoon, at company and battalion, then they're milking him for intelligence information, and his life gets progressively easier.

KING: Would you -- Colonel Eberly, would you agree that harm will not come to Iraqi prisoners of war?

EBERLY: Absolutely. Our record as a country can show clearly that we treat them under the accords of the Geneva Convention, and I can only reflect back -- and I'm sure that Joe and Dale will remember this -- when we were bussed out to the airport to be flown back under the International Committee of the Red Cross.

We sat in the busses and watched the Iraqi prisoners come through the airport. They were all carrying a bag of goods. They obviously had some food. They were all dressed in appropriate attire, and in -- somewhat you could see in their face that they -- they were, in fact, unhappy to be coming back home.

In our case, it was a little bit different. They did dress us up a bit for the homecoming, put on some clean yellow duck (ph) stuff, but, in fact, we had lived pretty much a life of squalor for our period of time there.

KING: Colonel Storr, do you amen that?

STORR: Yes, Larry, I do.

I remember prior to my shoot-down -- I flew a couple weeks before -- after the war started before I got shot down. I remember seeing Colonel Eberly's picture on CNN, Cliff Akery's (ph), Guy Hunter, Jeff Zaun, and I don't want to say it inspired me, but it did motivate me to fight that much harder and to finish this war as quick as I could to get those guys home, and I think seeing these pictures on the news, as horrible as they are, I think if our guys in the trenches see that, I think they're going to feel a lot the same way.

KING: And, Major Small, would you be assured that they would not harm Iraqi prisoners that they may possess?

SMALL: I would like to think that that would the case, Larry. I think, in part, it becomes a leadership problem at the small unit level, where the sergeants and the young lieutenants and those that Colonel Hackworth mentioned earlier. In the heat of battle when they do take somebody prisoner that the leadership that -- will come out and the training will come out. It's been this -- our country's stated goal that we will treat prisoners of war humanely, and I think we have a track record that proves that out.

KING: General Farrell, is this war going to lengthen, do you think? It's -- they were predicting 30 days at the outset. What do you think?

FARRELL: Well, if they predicted 30 days, I would think, right now, that's a pretty good prediction.

But I think it's bad to set a time limit on something like this because there's a lot of unknowns, and the biggest unknown, it seems to me, is -- is whether or not the two Republican -- the first unknown is whether the Republican Guard Divisions that will be guarding Baghdad to the South, the Hammurabi and Nebekanezer, whether or not they will offer resistance when our troops get there. That's a big unknown. If they don't offer resistance, they elect to surrender their arms, it could go very quickly.

But the -- then the next one to be taken account of is the Republican Special Guard, which is in Baghdad. So that's another unknown.

So 30 days? Maybe. It depends on how it goes, but we hope it goes smoothly. But, if it doesn't, there could be some tough fighting when we get there.

KING: Thank you all very much.

In a moment, we'll be meeting our ambassadors.

First, let's check in with Dr. Sanjay Gupta who's with the surgical team in Kuwait.

What can you tell us, Doctor?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Larry, yes. Really interesting here. For the first time, we've seen an abdominal operation for a gunshot wound here in the desert.

We're just behind the front line with an organization called FRSS, Front Line Resuscitative Surgical Suite, the first time it's ever been used.

You can see just behind me over my right soldier they have just completed an operation. It was a gunshot wound to the abdomen. It came from the left side, went to the right side. It had a couple of holes in the intestines. They've been able to repair those. They have just closed. The patient's doing very well.

Again, this is the first time this has ever been done, Larry.

KING: Amazing, Dr. Gupta. This whole thing -- the technical abilities here are extraordinary. And he's right on the scene, isn't he?

We'll meet the Kuwait, Turkish, Jordanian, and Egyptian ambassadors to the United States next in a panel discussion. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Just a little Jewish guy from Brooklyn, so forgive me if the pronunciations are a little off, but we'll do our best. They are all in Washington. Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Farruk Logoglu, the Turkish ambassador to United States. Ambassador Karim Kawar, the Jordanian ambassador to the United States, and Ambassador Nabil Fahmy, the Egyptian ambassador to the United States. First to each, thank you, gentlemen, for coming.

Ambassador Sabah, what is the mood in Kuwait right now?

AMB. SALEH AL-SABAH, KUWAITI AMB. TO U.S.: Well, Larry, life was close to normal today. Things were as usual, but of course, we had a scare this afternoon, Washington time, evening Kuwait time, when there was a fifth attack against Kuwait by a missile lobbed from Iraq. But luckily enough, the missile was intercepted and destroyed. So people are a bit anxious, they are a bit scared, which is quite normal and to be expected. But all in all, life has gone on as normal.

KING: Ambassador from Turkey, your prime minister today described the conflict as "fire erupting in our neighborhood." What is the mood in Ankara?

FARUK LOGOGLU, TURKISH AMB. TO U.S.: I believe as a neighbor of Iraq, there is a lot of concern, a lot of apprehension, some of it in the form of demonstrations, but we are a member of the coalition, we are trying to be helpful to achieve the objectives set by the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441. But it's not an easy period for the people and for the government of Turkey.

KING: You are -- the government of Turkey is in a tenuous position, aren't you?

LOGOGLU: Not in a real fundamental sense. We have made the ultimate decision of siding with the U.S., being on the right (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We have decided to be a member of the coalition, and we are a member of the coalition, so we had made our determination to be helpful in this effort.

KING: Ambassador Kawar, the Jordanian ambassador to the United States, there were protests today in Amman, I think we're going to show those, against the war. What is the feeling there?

KARIM KAWAR, JORDAN'S AMB. TO U.S.: Larry, there is a lot of tension in Jordan, as you can see. We have tried everything we can to avert a strike to the region. Yet diplomacy has failed. We have to grace ourselves for the worst. We are fearing that there will be a flood of refugees that will be coming to our borders. Having to care for them is a big responsibility, beyond what we can do. We call on the donor countries also to support us in that effort.

KING: Ambassador Fahmy, what is the story, the feelings in Cairo?

NABIL FAHMY, EGYPT'S AMB. TO U.S.: Very anxious, very difficult, Larry. Egypt, as you know, was the pioneer of peace in the region. Nevertheless, our people have lived through at least four Arab-Israeli wars and two wars where Iraq was fighting Iran and invaded Kuwait. We would like to look onto a period which does not involve war , and that is a source of anxiety and worry in our region.

KING: The Arab League foreign ministers meet Monday in Cairo. We'll start with Ambassador Sabah and go around again. Do you expect anything definitive to happen there?

AL-SABAH: Well, the Arab world, like any other geographical area, there are deep divisions within the Arab world, but at least as we are concerned, as Kuwait is concerned, we are going to push for two things. Number one, we're going to try and have our countries adopt a position that we see, that what is happening to Iraq is the responsibility of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government has been given ample chance to comply with Security Council resolutions, to even leave the country, and unfortunately, the Iraqi regime decided not to and decided to stay put, which has brought us to this point.

The other thing that we would like to see the Arab League do is condemn these missile attacks against Kuwait, because after all, three of the missiles that were lobbed at Kuwait had trajectories toward Kuwait City, which is a populated area of civilians. It is not an act of self-defense on the part of Iraq. It was a direct attack against the population of Kuwait. So we would also like to see the Arab League condemn that.

It is not going to be an easy meeting, by no means, but it's an important meeting at this time, I think.

KING: Turkey, of course, is not a member of the Arab League. What, Mr. Ambassador, what will Jordan bring to the table?

KAWAR: Larry, I think the question is for me. We are of course concerned about the humanitarian crisis that will be faced. Again, many Iraqis will suffer as well. For us in Jordan, we will try to call for the end of this conflict as soon as possible.

KING: And what is Egypt's position going to be regarding the conflict at the conference, Ambassador Fahmy?

FAHMY: What we are going to do is basically focus on solving the conflict from where we are today and try to solve that through peaceful means, by bringing the hostilities to an end as soon as possible, and finding resolution through full compliance with the Security Council resolutions. This has to be resolved on the basis of what international law has determined, it applies to everybody, and of course, it also applies to Iraq.

KING: And Ambassador Logoglu, I know the United States has made it clear, does not want Turkish troops coming in, fearing a conflict with the Kurds. What is your position?

LOGOGLU: I want to put this in perspective. We have been hearing a lot about this in the American media, recently. Turkey is a member of the coalition. Turkey is working very closely with the United States in this effort over Iraq, and we do not have any hostile purposes or hidden agenda with regard to Iraq.

The reason why we want to be there is to address the humanitarian crisis that's already there. We also have some concerns with regard to potential terrorist threats that might emanate from northern Iraq against Turkey, but at the end of the day, we want to be helpful to the effort that's being made by the coalition there, and currently, we are in discussions with the U.S. authorities about how this Turkish presence can be arranged, and I hope we will get a resolution of this discussion within the next few days.

KING: Ambassador Sabah, what is your reaction to this prisoner of war situation today?

AL-SABAH: Well, I think, Larry, that's very tragic. It's a humanitarian thing, and I think that there are rulers and regulations, the framework on the issue of the POWs, and we would hope that Iraq would abide by these rules and regulations and treat the prisoners of war humanely. What we saw today was of course a very inhuman way of dealing with prisoners of war. So it's a terrible (ph) situation, and you know, we're used to seeing Iraq over and over and over again not abide by international rules and regulations, so in a way, I think it's expected from Iraq, but I hope they would change their ways.

KING: Ambassador Kawar, what is the after plan? Is Jordan concerned about what happens after the fighting?

KAWAR: Larry, we believe we are dealing here with two fronts. One is the Iraqi front, but also there is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is being overlooked. It is very important, for the sake of the Arab and the Muslim world, to address the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have suffered. It is very important to address this issue in parallel, as we are looking at the Iraqi crisis. But we hope that the conflict in Iraq would not grow beyond the boundaries of Iraq, that the territorial integrity will be maintained, that peace and stability will be reinstated, and that we do not give a false hope that democracy can happen overnight in Iraq.

KING: Ambassador Fahmy, do you fear the use of chemical or biological weaponry by the Iraqis, especially as the troops get into Baghdad?

FAHMY: Egypt, about 12 years ago, in 1990, suggested that the Middle East be a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, be they nuclear, chemical or biological, and that we apply the same standard to everybody. We ourselves have made that commitment, and frankly, it is something we look forward to all the countries in the region, be it Iraq, Iran, Israel or anybody else. Therefore, we do condemn any use of chemical or biological weapons by anybody anywhere. KING: And what, Ambassador Logoglu, is the position of Turkey, just to make it clear, with regard to air space and Americans use of it?

LOGOGLU: The Turkish parliament approved the use of Turkish airspace for overflights, and the Turkish government authorized actual use of this facility, and to the best of my knowledge, the airspace of Turkey has been used by coalition aircraft in the last day or so. So it's there, it's operation, and I think it's a key element of the coalition effort vis-a-vise Iraq.

KING: Ambassador Al-Sabah, did you expect more retaliation against Kuwait than has thus far occurred in the fifth day?

AL-SABAH: Well, we expected the worst, but I think, you know, five missiles in the past three days is nothing to be happy about. Of course, we readied ourselves to the worst, and thankfully that three missiles were intercepted, two fell in unpopulated areas, and thankfully again that none of the missiles carried any weapons of mass destruction. So we were ready for the worst, and we are going to remain to be vigilant on this issue.

KING: Ambassador Kawar, are you optimistic or pessimistic about overall peace in this region?

KAWAR: I have to be optimistic that peace will be achieved, and that it would be very important for the U.S. to play its key role in bringing the conflicting parties back to the negotiation tables to achieve a long-lasting peace. I hope we're not too far from that day.

KING: As my mother would say, from your lips to God. Thank you very much, ambassadors from Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt.

We'll be back again tomorrow night with another edition of LARRY KING LIVE and an array of guests. And, when we can, including your phone calls.

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