CNN LARRY KING LIVE
War Panel discuss War in Iraq
Aired April 3, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight explosions around the blacked-out Baghdad and the coalition assault on Saddam International Airport. Is the military end game under way? Plus, those Iraqi TV tapes of Saddam Hussein. U.S. intelligence analysts are pretty sure they were made before the start of the war.
Among those joining us, Bob Schieffer of CBS News and Al Jazeera's correspondent at CENTCOM forward (ph) Omar al Issawi. And his network's taking flak, by the way, from Baghdad, as well as Washington.
We begin with our man, Nic Robertson, on the scene at Ruwaished in the Jordanian-Iraqi border. Now, Baghdad is in the dark, but that was not caused by coalition forces, is that right, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Larry. It appears to be that Iraqi authorities have decided to switch the power off in Baghdad. First at about 9:00 in the evening Baghdad time, the power went off in the eastern part of the city. Shortly after, it went off in the western part.
Now, it's not clear why Iraqi authorities have chosen to do that now because they've left the lights on through 14 days of aerial bombing. Possibly, they're beginning to feel, for strategic importance and safety, that it's time to shut down the lights because the coalition forces are getting close.
But the Iraqi authorities have also made some other changes in Baghdad tonight. They have closed the checkpoints in and out of the city. That's on the main highways, where civilians come and go from the capital. Those are closed tonight. And we heard from a source in Baghdad that Iraqi authorities have now gone to a neighborhood very close to the Saddam International Airport, where coalition forces have tonight arrived for the first time -- they have gone to this neighborhood, driven around with loudspeakers on vehicles and told the civilian population that they should leave their homes and move towards the airport tonight, Larry. So some substantial changes in Baghdad tonight, as we speak.
KING: Why do you think they want them to move toward the airport?
ROBERTSON: Larry, very difficult to gauge. We've heard talk before about Iraqi authorities using human waves to buffer their forces, put civilians between their forces and the coalition forces. And this move that we're hearing the Iraqi authorities have put in place overnight would seem to set up that type of scenario. It would move civilians out between their forces and the coalition forces, so the potential there for some very difficult decisions for the coalition forces.
Certainly, with daylight, Larry, we're going to get a lot more clarity on exactly what's happening around the airport, the amount of control that the coalition forces have and exactly whether or not Iraqi authorities have had any success in trying to encourage these people out of their homes.
KING: And Nic, does this look to you like the beginning of the final days, so to speak, the siege of Baghdad?
ROBERTSON: Huge psychological message for the Iraqi leadership, much more pressure than we've seen today, huge psychological pressure on the Iraqi people. Impossible for the leadership now to deny, as they have been doing, that the coalition is close to Baghdad. This is something that they cannot pull the wool over the eyes of their people any longer about. As we talked last night, this scenario has not seemed as likely tonight. It seems the coalition much closer to Baghdad, definitely a quantum leap forward in the amount of pressure on the Iraqi leadership, Larry.
KING: Thank you very much, Nic Robertson. By the way, joining us in just a couple of minutes, Bob Schieffer, and he'll be with us throughout the program. Later, Senators John Warner and Dianne Feinstein, Brigadier General David Grange and Colonel David Hackworth, plus a panel of correspondents, all on board on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Speaking of correspondents, let's go to Irbil in northern Iraq. Jane Arraf, CNN correspondent, is standing by. What's the latest from your vantage point, Jane?
JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, there was a really dramatic example on Thursday of cooperation long-awaited between U.S. special forces and Kurdish fighters. Now, this occurred on a bridge on the key road to Mosul, and it was after Iraqi forces retreated from a ridge that we've been overlooking for about a week, moving back the front line about four-and-a-half miles. Now, at this bridge, Iraqis started lobbing mortar shells at the Peshmerga, the Kurdish fighters. At that point, the Kurds, in conjunction with the U.S., started air strikes, a small number of U.S. special forces on the ground calling in those air strikes.
The Iraqis kept fighting. They lobbed dozens of mortar shells, as well as artillery, some of it landing just a few hundred meters from where we were. So certainly, the battle continues. The front lines continue to shift. And for the first time, we're seeing up close that cooperation between the Kurdish fighters and the U.S. special forces here -- Larry.
KING: Thank you, Jane Arraf in Irbil, northern Iraq.
Let's go to the Pentagon. Jamie McIntyre, of course, stands by there. That's his post, and he mans it ably. Jamie, this airport story. Is it about to be taken? JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is. I would be surprised if, by daylight, we don't see that they have a significant presence there. The U.S. forces are in the process of securing that airport. They have to bring forces in, establish a perimeter. But this is a key strategic facility. It's a big airport. It's just southwest of the city center. It'll give the United States a huge base of operations and give General Tommy Franks a lot of options for proceeding from here.
This is not -- you know, the war is not over, but this gives the United States a lot of leverage in conducting operations from this point, as they move to seize key installations in the city and isolate the leadership of Iraq.
KING: So the airport, Jamie, will be the main entrance point?
MCINTYRE: Well, it'll be a main base of operations. They specifically left the runways untouched. They didn't bomb them so that they could use them to bring planes in and probably helicopters initially. And they'll be able to flow a lot of forces in and be able to operate from that area.
KING: Why do you think, Jamie, that Iraq ordered many of its citizens to head toward the airport?
MCINTYRE: I'm puzzled by that. I'm not sure what they had in mind there. I don't think that there's going to be a lot of -- if they didn't meet a lot of armed resistance getting to the airport, it's very hard to mount an attack on it after they get there because of the air power that the United States has. It baffles me what that's all about. I wouldn't be surprised to find that not too many Iraqis had actually decided to follow those instructions.
KING: Would you say that optimism is high at the Pentagon?
MCINTYRE: Well, they're very conservative here, but you've definitely got a feeling today that there's a lot of optimism. Also, they know, though, that this is the most dangerous time. They don't want to be overconfident. They have a lot of different contingency plans to deal with what happens in Baghdad, including the possibility of chemical weapons, which we haven't seen yet. And I'd say they're cautiously optimistic.
KING: Now, what about those videotapes of Saddam? Have they conclusively arrived at the fact that they were done before the war?
MCINTYRE: No, I don't think you can be conclusive about this. In fact, the CIA was quick to respond with what some of the Pentagon officials were saying by pointing out that they've reached no definite conclusion, although they agree it's likely that all of these tapes that have aired on Iraqi television were likely recorded before March 19, the date that the United States tried to take out Saddam Hussein.
But they say -- the Pentagon says that they've done a pretty thorough review of all the tapes. They've looked at all the evidence, including who's on the tape, who's in the pictures, what the background is, and they've pretty much concluded there's no evidence that any of those tapes that were made after March 19. There's nothing in there would indicate it, and they're leaning toward the conclusion they were all pre-taped.
KING: Thank you, Jamie McIntyre.
Now we go to Washington, and the gentleman will be with us throughout the program, Bob Schieffer, the anchor of the CBS News "Face the Nation," the CBS News chief Washington correspondent and the author of the runaway best-seller on "The New York Times" called "This Just In." And Bob Schieffer -- it's always great to have him with us.
Would you say, Bob, that from a coverage standpoint, this is the best reportorial war?
BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS, "FACE THE NATION": I think the reporters who -- the so-called embeds who are with the troops going into Baghdad have just done an extraordinary job, Larry. I can't think of when I've been prouder of a bunch of reporters. I have to watch these guys, and they're a brave bunch of guys and they are doing a terrific job. You don't see anybody panicking. You don't see anybody losing their composure. They are just reporting it as they see it, and I think they're giving us a tremendous picture of what's going on.
I know there's been some criticism from some of those back here in Washington who say, Well, you know, they really don't have the big picture out there, but I think they're giving us a very accurate picture. I don't know what we would know about this war if they were not there. They are telling us what they're seeing, and what we're seeing is some very dramatic stuff. I think we can all be proud of them.
KING: Your old friend, Walter Cronkite, was on the show the other night, and he praised it, as well, but he didn't like the word "embedded" so much because it sounded like they're in bed with the troops, meaning that they can be swayed for -- from objective reporting. What do you think?
SCHIEFFER: Well, there's no greater admirer of Walter Cronkite than Bob Schieffer, but I haven't seen that as a problem. I think you can call these guys what you want to call them. The job they're doing is establishing their reputation, not the labels that have or the titles that they have. Watching your Walter Rodgers, as he makes his way in that lead cavalry unit up toward Baghdad, watching our guys, like Jim Axelrod (ph), and the job they've been doing -- this is one brave bunch of people, and they are just really doing a tremendous job, as far as I'm concerned, Larry.
KING: Bob, you'll be with us throughout the program, and one of the segments we're going to have is with Brigadier General David Grange and Colonel David Hackworth, both retired Army heroes. What do you make of the criticism from the Joint Chiefs that some of these generals, retired generals and colonels and the like, should not be criticizing? SCHIEFFER: Well this, is America, after all, and people are willing to -- or should be allowed to say what they wish to say. I must say, though, as I sit here tonight, Larry, I think back to last week, when we were all gathered around this same global table, and the tenor was very much that somehow the Pentagon had blundered into Iraq with the wrong plan, nothing was going right, that people were going to have to be hung out to dry because they were putting lives at risk. And tonight we're watching American troops who have all but taken the airport in Iraq.
Now, I agree with Jamie McIntyre, who was on just before I was, when he said, you know, everybody's got their fingers crossed here. This is not a done deal yet. But I think we've seen a remarkable military undertaking. The part that I criticize is the part of the group of people who were saying this was going to be a cakewalk. I don't know anybody connected with war or who's been around a war who ever thinks it's going to go as it's expected. But I think we're seeing a remarkable thing unfold here, as these American troops began to push into Baghdad. I think when dawn comes, we're going to see that we're basically in control of that airport.
KING: And dawn is minutes away. What turned it around, from the criticism of last week to the apparent success of this, in your opinion?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I'm not sure anything turned it around. I think what will probably mute the criticism somewhat is that it seems to be working. But these troops moved into Iraq. I think it was pretty obvious, as the general on the ground there said, General Wallace, this is not the enemy we war-gamed against. But so what? They paused, they regrouped, and then, when they had the strength, they moved on again. Nothing ever goes quite as it is expected to go. Nothing ever goes according as the plans say it's going to go when you get into a war.
But the important thing was they went in. When the resistance showed itself, they took care of it. And then, when they were able to move forward, they did that. And I don't see how you can criticize the plan, at this point. I said last week they were not going to give prizes for who stuck to the plan the closest. The prize was going to go to who won. And so far, it seems that the United States is doing pretty well on that front.
KING: Secretary Rumsfeld today, Bob, ruled out any possibility of a deal, somehow a deal, whether Saddam surrenders or something. Does that mean that this is, like, unconditional to you?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think so, and I think we're in a position to impose that kind of deal, at this point. We, after all, gave Saddam Hussein every opportunity to leave the country. We said that if he would leave and disarm the country, then none of this would be necessary. He chose not to do that.
I think the most interesting development of the day, Larry, besides this good news that we're obviously seeing on the battlefield, are these reports we're now seeing that Saddam Hussein -- the film that we're seeing of him -- was apparently filmed before these attacks began. It seems to me that any general in the position that Saddam Hussein is in at this point would want to show himself to rally his troops for one last stand. You have to ask, Why has he not done that? Why has he chosen to present himself only on tape? It leads me to believe that there's a growing possibility that he may not be with us. He has either left the country somehow or, in fact, he was killed in that first attack.
KING: All right, Bob Schieffer's going to remain with us. When we come back, we'll be joined by Omar al Issawi, correspondent for Al Jazeera, Christine Ockrent, the journalist for France 3 television, and freelancer Bettina Luescher. That's all next right after these words.
KING: Joining us now for a panel discussion in this segment, in Doha in Qatar is Omar al Issawi, correspondent for Al Jazeera. Bob Schieffer remains with us on board in Washington, D.C. In Paris is Christine Ockrent, the journalist for France 3 television. She interviewed Saddam Hussein in 1991. And in Berlin is Bettina Luescher. She is a freelance journalist and commentator and previously worked for CNN International.
Omar, why was Al Jazeera tossed out of Iraq?
OMAR AL ISSAWI, AL JAZEERA TV CORRESPONDENT: Well, late on Wednesday night, the Iraqi Ministry of Information informed our Baghdad bureau that they were withdrawing the accreditation of our local Iraqi correspondent and that another correspondent, who had been sent from Al Jazeera to Iraq to cover events, was being expelled and was to leave Iraq as soon as possible. No explanation was given to us at all, and we're still awaiting an explanation as we speak right now. But basically, what we did is, we decided that we were going to freeze our operations in Baghdad, or in Iraq as a whole, until we received an explanation.
KING: Do you have any reason to think why they did it?
AL ISSAWI: Not at all, Larry, really. I mean, it is a mystery to us. We're still trying to find out why this is happening, but it seems that we're taking it from all sides.
KING: Christine, is the mood in Paris changed at all with the apparent success of the coalition? Are there some now different views, or is it pretty much structured remaining strongly against?
CHRISTINE OCKRENT, JOURNALIST FOR FRANCE 3 TELEVISION: Well, Larry, the news was, of course, watched with a great deal of interest. It so that happened last night, for us, I was able to interview the French prime minister on my program. And Jean-Pierre Raffarin has said, you know, once again that in -- for the French government, this war is wrong, but he also pointed out that, of course, France would always be on the American and British side. Now, you know, you can take it from there.
KING: And what about in Berlin, Bettina. What's the mood there? Is German thinking starting to change or remaining intractable?
BETTINA LUESCHER, GERMAN JOURNALIST AND COMMENTATOR: Well, the German public is still very firmly opposed against this war. They're following it very closely. The news networks are having record ratings. People are glued to the television sets.
But for example, I think the government is in repair mode. They said today -- Chancellor Schroeder went to the parliament, and he said -- for the first time, they're talking about regime change in Iraq, that they would accept that. They said they are hoping that the dictatorship in Iraq can be overcome. So I think what the Germans are trying to do is, they're trying to be critical, but at the same time, they're trying to repair their relationship with the United States.
KING: Bob Schieffer, do you see it that way? And if you have any questions for any of the panelists, Bob -- you're sort of, like, the co-host the rest of the way -- you'd be welcome to jump in.
SCHIEFFER: Maybe I could just ask a question about Omar because I'm very interested in Al Jazeera being ejected from Baghdad. Omar, do you think in any way -- or do you sense this may have been connected to any kind of change in the regime there? Could this signal that somebody new is calling the shots there? Or do you have any idea why this happened?
AL ISSAWI: I really couldn't say one way or the other, Bob. I mean, we saw the Iraqi information minister on TV in his last press conference. He made no mention of the Al Jazeera situation. He seemed as confident as ever in the way that things are going. Obviously, though, something is not on, so to speak. Something is happening. And we, frankly, don't know what. And I think in any war situation, when you've got a siege that's developing, as we see, of a major capital, that things will be changing on the ground. That's for sure. But it's open to interpretation, too.
SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think it's something you did, or is this some change of opinion with the Iraqis?
AL ISSAWI: Well, I've been asked many things by people. They said the correspondent who arrived from Doha, he didn't get a visa in. And I said, Well, what about our Iraqi reporter over there? I mean, he's a local. So why would his accreditation be withdrawn? We've just been covering the conflict as we've seen it develop, and we've been saying the same things. Maybe they interpreted -- the Iraqis interpreted -- something that one of our correspondents said that didn't seem out of line to us. Maybe they have other reasons. I really don't know. Maybe they've seen some pictures that they didn't want broadcast.
Really, this is open to conjecture. however, we're still waiting for an explanation from the Iraqis. But I think this goes just a long way to kind of dispel a lot of the accusations at Al Jazeera, that we're a tool of the Iraqi regime.
KING: Christine, "Le Monde" did a poll, and I want to see if this is right. Did they poll the French people and 33 percent said that they hope Iraq wins this war? Is that true?
OCKRENT: Well, no, Larry. The question was not quite as direct as you put it. It is true that it was a very worrying poll because it showed that only 52 percent of the French people are actually hoping for an American victory and 23 percent are sort of saying, Well, you know, maybe it would be nice if Saddam would stay.
Now, this figure has to be put in reflection of what happened in France over the last presidential election, when you have the extreme right, you know, Le Pen, the sort of, you know, neo-fascist crowd, who are very close to Saddam, historically, and also the extreme left, who traditionally are pacifists and are also very pro-Arab. So if you add up those two extremes, you pretty much come close to the same figure. But indeed, it was a very worrying poll.
I would just like to add one point, you know, reacting to what the correspondent from Al Jazeera just said. It has to be noticed that there are many French journalists and TV crews actually in Baghdad and that the coverage of what's happening in the Iraqi capital is quite remarkable on the French media. And the French media are very eager also to show the manipulation which the Iraqi regime, or whatever is left of it, is still trying to do to Western journalists.
KING: Bob, how deep do you think the cleavage is now between the United States and its once very friendly -- France and Germany?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think it is in the United States' interest, probably, in the long run, to internationalize this whole situation in Iraq as quickly as we can. But let's make -- let's put the cards on the table here. It's going to be very difficult. Public opinion in this country is running very strongly against France, and almost to the same extent against Germany, because of the -- of the attitude that they took toward this in the beginning.
So I think it's going to take some very clever diplomacy, but I think, in the end, I think it would be good to have France and Germany involved because, after all, we're going to have 32 million people in Iraq that the United States is probably going to have to find and figure out some way to feed before all of this is over, and that's going to be an enormous load. It's also going to be very much in the United States' interest for the rest of the world to come to understand that we did not come to Iraq to occupy it but because we saw Saddam Hussein as a threat to our national security.
So I think, in that sense, it probably will be good to bring in other countries somehow, under some kind of United Nations umbrella. But there's not much loss -- love being lost, with all due respect to our correspondent friends there, for the French government, at this point, in the United States, among the American people, I would have to say.
KING: Bettina, concerning Germany, do you think it's reparable? Do you think Germany will have to be part of the occupation?
LUESCHER: Well, part of the occupation is not so certain. As you know, as the American secretary of state, who has just been in Brussels today -- he has been talking to the European allies, and they're trying to figure out how Iraq should be run. And of course, what you hear from many of the European countries, that the U.N. should take the lead role there. Well, of course, the Americans believe that first it should be the United States and Britain. So there could be some more differences here in the future.
But I do think that the relationship can be repaired. Both countries need each other. Of course, the Germans need the Americans more than the Americans need the Germans, but they both need each other. There's mutual interest, and there's a lot of work on the international community and in international politics where these countries can work together.
KING: We thank you all. Bob Schieffer will remain with us. Omar al Issawi, the correspondent for Al Jazeera, discussing the throwing out of his paper from the country of Iraq in a shocking move. Christine Ockrent, the journalist for France 3 television, getting us the view from Paris. She interviewed the French prime minister just a few hours ago. And Bettina Luescher, the freelance journalist and former commentator for CNN International, reporting from Berlin.
When we come back, Bob Schieffer and I will be joined by Brigadier General David Grange, former commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, known as the "Big Red One," and our man on the scene, Colonel David Hackworth, United States Army, retired, the highly decorated Vietnam veteran. They'll be with us when we get back. And later, Senator Warner and Senator Feinstein.
This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. Remaining with us in Washington is Bob Schieffer, the anchor of CBS News "Face the Nation," author of "This Just In," a terrific book. And David Grange, United States Army, retired, former commanding general, former Army Ranger and special forces officer. He's also a CNN military analyst. And in New York, Colonel David Hackworth, the highly decorated veteran, award-winning correspondent. His book is "Steal My Soldiers' Hearts." We'll ask Bob to participate in the questioning, as well.
We'll start with General Grange.
Has the battle turned, is victory in sight.
GEN. DAVID GRANGE, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, victory is in sight. I don't think it is right around the corner. I think coalition forces are going wait a while before they take any bold move into Baghdad because of certain preconditions that still must be met before that happens, but there's no doubt in my mind that victory's in sight.
KING: Hack, how do you see it?
COL. DAVID HACKWORTH, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I read it the same way. There has been no question from the first round in this 14-day event that we would not win it. This is Paul Bunyan with a sledgehammer trying to destroy some ants in anthill. There has been no question that we will win this fight and if you look at the amazing maneuver so far that the 3rd Mech Division, the U.S. Marines have moved 350 miles and at a great risk because they had guerrillas and some regular units that are cut off to the rear.
But they prevailed and dropping off the 101st and 82nd to the rear to clean up a big mess guerrillas. And the real question that General Franks is going to have to ask himself, will he give up initiative and tidy up the battlefield, bring up the 4th Mech or go for broke? And that's a mighty decision.
KING: General, what did you mention that we have the coalition has to wait a while before going in to Baghdad? Certain things have to come into place. Things like what?
GRANGE: I'm sure the coalition forces are going to want to destroy or at least make combat ineffective the remaining Republican Guard division remnants around Baghdad. There are some forces in the north that have to be contended that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Tikrit and those areas and Tikrit and those areas, influence is somewhat Baghdad.
There's command and control targets that I believe will be taken down. So it even degrades that capability more than it is today. There is also some work that's going to be done, I believe, with winning the -- getting the will of the people to want change in Baghdad. I believe there's a lot of citizens of Baghdad that want change, but the people of Baghdad have to want it before it can really happen. And there's a few more things that have to be done to ensure that.
KING: And, Bob, I'll ask Bob a question. One thing for you, Hack. With the airport, do you expect the airport to be taken momentarily?
HACKWORTH: I don't know. The plan was, early in the piece, the original plan was to drop the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd and grab it. But they were tied up doing rear security so they've used other forces to do that. It's a very important launchpad, staging base for the operation.
The real question I keep asking myself is where is the Republican Guard? So far the 3rd Mech and the Marines have only had light skirmishes with light infantry. They haven't had any serious head-on fights with the Republican guard. Where are they? Are they destroyed as a lot of people suggest or are they in hiding? Is there a trap out there? So I'm a little bit concerned about where they really are.
KING: Bob, do you have a question?
SCHIEFFER: Yes, I'd like to ask both of the military men, at this point does it appear to you -- and mind you, we all understand we're looking at this from offshore through very heavy lenses. But at this point does it appear to you that there is anybody in control of these Iraqi forces or does it now appear that these are just units operating on their own? KING: General Grange, do you want to go first?
GRANGE: What I believe is happening it's very loose though. I think there is some command and control remaining. They're not known to delegate authority to the subordinate units.
But in this case if units are cut off and they are very loyal and they do follow the last order, they may still be in control with certain fighting elements that I believe Hack is referring to it. But I think most of us degraded but there's some leadership still in Baghdad that have some influence even if it's through what the call low tech. Low technology means of communication, which is like a messenger. I think that's still there.
HACKWORTH: Yes. We have the ability to read their mail through radio intercepts. So they know that. So they're going to use messengers, runners, the old traditional way of getting the message across to commanders which slows things down.
At the same time, we're not intercepting that kind of message and so we think they're broken down. My guess is it's just a flat guess, is they knew this would be the prevailing situation and they had kind of a game plan, game book and they're on day 14 of this and they're reacting accordingly.
KING: Bob, I know you served a lot of time in Vietnam, reporting on Vietnam. I interviewed General David Shup (ph) once, the commandant of the Marine Corps. And he said next to the Marines, the best fighting crew he ever saw were the North Vietnamese Regulars. In that regard, General Grange how good are the Iraqi as a fighting force?
GRANGE: I would rather fight the Iraqi military any day than the North Vietnamese army again or the North Koreans or some other forces that could be adversaries in the future for our country or others. The NVA are very good. Some of the best infantry in the world. The Iraqi military, not so good.
KING: You agree, Hack?
SCHIEFFER: I would just add to that and I'm sure the General would say he'd also probably rather fight the Iraqis from what we've seen thus far than even the Viet Cong irregulars. They haven't made much of a show thus far it seems to me.
HACKWORTH: My take on it is there was pretty few people in the world that are as tough as those Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese. I would say the Iraqi army if you compared them with the French army of World War II they capitulated, surrendered to the Germans in six weeks. The French army at World War II would look like supermen compared to the Iraqi army.
KING: Hamilton, Ontario, as we include phone calls for our panel. Hello? CALLER: Hi. The question is for General Grange and Colonel Hack.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Earlier there was some criticism about the so-called armchair military guys who have been making negative comments about what's been happening on the field. What are your comments on what's been said?
KING: General Grange?
GRANGE: Well, I've been asked this many times in the last several weeks. I don't think there's anything wrong with a veteran, former military field commander to comment on a particular conflict that's ongoing.
But you have to caveat it by saying that -- and I really mean this, that if you don't know the plan if you're not there, even though you have may have a feel for it, you don't know all the information and why certain decisions are being made. So you have to be a little careful about that. and so you have to qualify your statements.
KING: Hack, you were a critic.
HACKWORTH: Yes. And I still am. My criticism is we didn't have sufficient combat force on the ground. Now the 4th Mech is there, a mighty outfit. We've flown in which tells me that automatically we didn't have enough force when you had to fly in mechanized units from Germany and Fort Polk, and we are getting the right size force on the ground.
Bout sounding off, I think it is the moral ride of anyone that knows battle to sound off about it as long as Dave Grange says you know what the hell you're talking about. But bottom line is that if it's saves one soldier's life, then sounding off is more than adequate.
KING: Michigan City, Indiana. Hello?
CALLER: Good evening, Larry, gentlemen.
CALLER: I'm very concerned about the potential collateral damage effects of chemical weapons on the good people of Baghdad. Do either of you military specialists believe that General Franks may be very patient and try to negotiate an ending to this rather than maybe provoke a chemical or biological attack by the regime?
KING: I'd like all three to answer, it's a good question. General Grange?
GRANGE: I don't think we need to negotiate anything with the enemy in this regard. I think they'll try to convince certain enemy commanders to surrender and continue to threaten not to use things because of a repercussion.
But I think that if they were going to use it, they're going to use it anyway because the ones that would make that decision don't care. They don't care about their people. So every effort will be made not to allow chemical use on a battlefield. But to negotiate with them or plea, I wouldn't do that at all.
KING: Bob Schieffer?
SCHIEFFER: I would agree with the general. Absolutely.
KING: Not negotiate. You will maybe make it a three to nothing vote, Hack?
HACKWORTH: You never disagree with the general.
GRANGE: Sure you do.
HACKWORTH: Bottom line is we're reaching the most dangerous period right now. If some desperate captain who is a fanatic, has chemical weapons in his mortar, in his artillery piece, a rocket or exceeded the front with land mines with these things, it is a very dangerous period. And what we need to do is really exploit the information program to let them know that there's a better way of doing this and don't use those weapons.
SCHIEFFER: You know, Larry, one thing to add to this, we all hope to God that they do not use chemical weapons. And if a weapon should be used, that no -- none of our soldiers would be injured by it.
But to use a chemical weapon would be the worst political mistake that the Iraqis could make because it would show to the world once and for all the reason that we've come in there. Because we believe that these people had these weapons of mass destruction and that they would be willing to use them. So I think that is one of the things that argues against them using it. I mean, world opinion would turn totally against something if they did that.
KING: Bob, what would happen to world opinion if we do not find any.
SCHIEFFER: Well, that would be the worst of all cases, it seems to me, but my sense of it is we'll find them once we get this fighting stopped.
KING: Billings, Montana. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, my question is for Colonel Hackworth.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Yes, Colonel Hackworth about seven days ago you were on the same program suggesting this would be another Vietnam. How do you see it now and how come you were so...
HACKWORTH: I'm afraid you're mistaken. When I first came on the show which was about 15 nights ago, Larry says how long do you think the war would last and I said 30 days. Never would this be another Vietnam, simply because the terrain is different. The enemy is different. It's a totally different situation. There's no way that this guy has a jungle to run into. He doesn't have sanctuaries in North Vietnam or Cambodia nor does he have super powers like China and Russia backing him up. He's out on a limb and they're cutting the limb off.
KING: Ellijay, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Hi, yes. Thank you. I'd like to ask Bob Schieffer.
Bob, what do you think about the statement that Senator Kerry made that there should be a regime change in Washington instead of Iraq.
KING: He didn't say instead of, he said in addition to.
SCHIEFFER: I think that was a political statement made by somebody who's running for president and should be taken in that context. I'm not sure I'd take it that seriously.
KING: In that context, Bob, what do the Democrat do in this situation with a popular war? Do they not mention it? Do they stay on domestic issues, what?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I think at this point, you know, if the -- if it becomes an unpopular war that will all take care of itself, but we would all become bogged down here if we were unable to form a situation put together a situation there that could lead to a Democratic government. If we take a lot of casualties. Nobody will need to say too much about that, but it will reflect on this president. It will make it very difficult for him to be reelected. But you're going to hear -- this is America. You going to hear all kind of statements made by people who are seeking office. But I think again they have to be taken in that context.
KING: Thank you very much, General Grange and Colonel Hackworth. We'll call to both of you again. We are going to take a break. And speaking of politics. Bob Schieffer and I will be joined by Senator John Warner, chairman of Senate Arms Services Committee, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence. They're both next. Don't go away.
KING: We're back and we'll be including more phone calls in the segment. Bob Schieffer the anchor of CBS News "Face the Nation" remains with us. Joining us now in Washington is Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, former secretary of the Navy and chairman of the Senate Arms Services Committee. And Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, member of the Select Committee on Intelligence and a ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security.
Senator Warner, the appropriations bill just passed, how big a vote?
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), CHMN., ARMED SERV. CMTE.: Five minutes ago, I can't give you the accurate vote, but it was well beyond the majority of the Senate.
KING: And how much money was appropriated.
About 78.7. Isn't that correct Dianne, you were right there?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), TERRORISM, TECH. SUB-CMTE.: That's correct, John.
WARNER: I think we both cast a vote for it.
FEINSTEIN: That's right. I think everybody did. As I went through voting I noticed at least what I saw were all ayes.
WARNER: It's for the men and women of the armed forces who tonight are courageously are brilliantly carrying out a well thought out plan by the president, General Franks, Secretary Rumsfeld, and we're now in, hopefully, the final days, perhaps a week or so of this conflict. But let us stand and marvel at the progress they've made, the sacrifices that our nation has made in the cause of freedom.
KING: By the way, Senator Feinstein, are they due for a pay raise?
FEINSTEIN: Pay raise went through. I'd just like to comment. I think the plan is sound. I think what's been very interesting to watch is that the American forces do have patience that they have been targeted and pinpointed, that they have really tried to avoid human catastrophe wherever possible, that our men and women as John Warner, has said has been superb, even giving medical assistance on the battlefield to wounded Iraqi officers.
I think the war has turned. I think it's on our side, substantially now. And I believe, you know, that there's a very strong likelihood that Saddam Hussein is either mortally wounded or dead. And that there has been a break in the command and control. We'll see, but I'd be very hopeful that this war can be concluded shortly.
KING: Do you share that view about Saddam Hussein, Senator Warner?
WARNER: Well, both Dianne and I sit on the Intelligence Committee and each morning we have a brief of the Senate give upon by the Pentagon. I'd have to say that the facts are not there for us even to give a firm conclusion, and I just hesitate to speculate. There does seem to be a very fractured and disoriented command and control, that evidence is there before us.
And now in this ring around Baghdad that we have moved our troops into, I think that General Franks and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs has said let's exercise patience and caution, the tough days could be ahead of us.
KING: Bob, do you have a question for either Senator Warner or Senator Feinstein.
SCHIEFFER: No, but I'd like to say on this Saddam Hussein front. I'd go back to the question I asked the Al-Jazeera reporter. Does he think that their reporter was expelled from Baghdad because of something the reporter did or because there may have been something -- there may have been some sort of shift in attitude in the Iraqi command. He at this point says that he's unable to answer that question. But you go back to the evidence that seems to be piling up. We have only pictures of Saddam Hussein that were taken, we now believe before this attack began.
He has at this point chosen not to show himself on live television at any point. And then we see things like this Al-Jazeera reporter being removed. Something is going on there, and then it seems to me that the case is building that something has happened to Saddam Hussein. There is nothing to argue that he should remain in hiding at this point in this war. He needs to be out there leading his troops and because he's not, there has to be some reason for that, it seems.
WARNER: If he's alive and has any judgment powers left, he knows that he is finished. His regime is finished and there is no escape. So I'm not so sure he should pop up.
KING: Senator Feinstein, the former CIA Director James Woolsey was the Cold War was the third world war and now we're in the fourth world war, and that's with rulers of Iran, the fascists of Iraq and Syria and Islamist extremists of al Qaeda. Do you agree?
FEINSTEIN: Think it's a proactive statement. I'm not sure this is that time to make that kind of statement. It's certainly not a diplomatic statement to make.
KING: But is it true?
FEINSTEIN: No. Not necessarily. I don't agree that it's true necessarily. I think that the United States doesn't need to be the one power to be unilateral in the reordering of the world. I think the United States really needs to work with allies. I don't want to see our country become the most hated nation on earth, Larry. I want to see us be good listeners. I want to see us be good allies and I think that we have a lot of fences to mend out there.
WARNER: Larry, I would say that if all goes as we anticipate and, indeed the facts, are there tonight for a conclusive riddance of these WMD and the regime, I think the world will stand back and take a look at the credibility and the honestly with which our president and the prime minister went before the world and argued case for the use of force and use it only after the diplomacy failed.
I don't think that this victory, which I think will come shortly would portray that we're going to be on a marching crusade unilaterally hence forth. I've heard Colin Powell today when he said, look, in the aftermath of this war, we'll all work together as partners. That's the word he used including the United Nations, not to run Iraq after the war, but to take its role with prisoners, and oil for food program, medicine and the like. So I'm very proud of this nation and the leadership that we've had thus far and I don't think it lays the foundation that we're going Maraud around the world to correct every wrong unilaterally.
KING: I'm sorry, did you say something, Dianne? I'm sorry, Dianne.
FEINSTEIN: Yes, I was because right now we've got every hot spot, significant hot spot, very hot. You have the India-Pakistan situation which could have devastating repercussions. You have North Korea, which I view as a much more imminent and serious threat to the United States, certainly than Iraq. It's assumed they have nuclear weapons. They have a delivery system. They're improving that delivery system, and they're extraordinarily good in the nuclear business.
They've also forward deployed their troops and it is a potentially dangerous situation. That has to be diffused, but I think the most important thing that the United States has to spend its political capital doing is forging a solution to the Israeli- Palestinian crisis. If that crisis gets settled it sends a very loud signal in a positive way about United States' power and authority, justice and righteousness.
KING: Bob, do you agree?
SCHIEFFER: I certainly agree.
KING: Bob first and then...
SCHIEFFER: One important thing for the administration to do. The president is on the record. He has said that he wants a road map now and he's going to publish a road map leading to a solution to that problem. He's come out for a two-state solution. I think the credibility of the United States will be greatly enhanced if he signals that he is really serious about that.
As for Admiral Woolsey's statement that we're not in the World War IV, I'm not sure I would agree with that, I think almost everyone would agree, we have entered into a very complicated situation. The good news is we're going to win this war in Iraq. Everybody thought we would and that is good news, but the other news is that once we have won the war, we've got to figure out what to do with Iraq and 32 million people there. And that's going to require help from people around the world.
KING: You want to get a comment? But, Senator Warner, go ahead.
WARNER: First with my good friend Dianne Feinstein. She's right on target and she's worked courageously here in the Senate to foster the peace process, and to bring about a peaceful settlement in the Middle East crisis. Recently I suggested that both sides examine the possibility of NATO coming in at their invitation providing peacekeeping forces so that the talks can get under way.
And secondly, as to Bob's comment, the next week, my committee, Armed Services will be holding hearings on post conflict, and how our nation does not desire in any way to rule Iraq. We will maintain the security only so long as it takes to put in place an Iraqi government. One chosen by the people of Iraq and then we'll step side.
KING: Elizabeth, in Tennessee, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I'm glad to talk to you. I'd like to say I'm proud of you especially that little Ryan Chilcote. I am so proud of him. He is so brave.
KING: Do you have a question?
CALLER: Yes, I do. I would like to know that once we go in ask take Baghdad and take the country, and then we don't find Saddam then what happens? Do people look over their shoulders the rest of their lives or what happens?
KING: What happens if we don't find him, Senator Feinstein?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I think this. Expect I would be hopeful that as we surround Baghdad we should secure the rest of the country and see that a government of free, open, transparent, I'm being redundant, but a free and open government of the people is set up. It, doesn't have to be set up in Baghdad, for that matter, but that the country begins to function again. I don't think this is going to be very easy.
I think security, I think avoiding terrorist attacks, I think seeing that the economic reconstruction, that the humanitarian and assistance gets where it should get and that the country is stable, becomes a very important and necessary element. I think Baghdad in itself wants this -- once it sort itself out whether Saddam is present or is not present, then I think back channel discussions that are going on with various members of government, of the military will, over a period of time sort itself out.
KING: We'll get one more quick call. Springhill, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Larry, I'd like to know. When we liberate Iraq and you know, we install a government of our choosing, and are we going to supply them with weapons of mass destruction like we did with Saddam?
KING: Senator Warner.
WARNER: Well, first, it will not be a government of our choosing, but of the choosing of the people of Iraq. As near as a Democratic form of government as can be achieved. Now as to the weapons. This nation, Iraq... KING: You have less than a minute, senator.
WARNER: I agree with Dianne, the borders must remain intact. Keep it intact, stabilize the nation. But then it has to have such weapon, not ones of mass destruction, but such weapons as necessary to defend itself against Iran or against other attackers. It is to be a sovereign nation and they have the right to those armaments for self protection, but not weapons of mass destruction.
KING: We thanks Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California.
And Bob Schieffer, thank you so much for your work tonight, appearing with us throughout the program.
And we'll be having him back as frequently as possible to offer insight and enlightenment on this situation.
Tomorrow night among our guest, will be Colonel Tom Bright reporting right from the Command Center in Qatar. Christopher Dicky of "Newsweek" will be aboard. Lieutenant General Paul Funk of United States Army, retired. And army vice -- Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason will be with us from London. That's all tomorrow night.
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