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David Bloom Remembered

Aired April 6, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: British troops rumble into Basra, battling toward the center of Iraq's second biggest city. We'll the latest from CNN's Christiane Amanpour and CNN's Nic Robertson. Plus diplomatic perspective on post-war hopes from two key ambassadors and a lot more.
We begin with Christiane Amanpour, who's with us from London tonight. Christiane, your overall assessment now as we head into the third week of this event? Where are we? What's the end game?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's the end game is an interesting one. And I'm sure your military analysts will have a lot more to say on that. But it's true, what is the end game and what will they do now that they're encircling Baghdad?

Certainly, when I was there last week in the Basra area, the chief general in charge of British land forces was saying that, you know, we're very patient. We're not going to go in and raze the city. We're not going to go in and get engaged in urban warfare. That is not our aim. And we're going to do it on our terms.

And they were constantly probing going in, doing it as often and as much as they could. And clearly, they're stepping up that effort.

In terms of what's going on in the political end game, certainly President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, the two main allies in this campaign are meeting in northern Ireland in Belfast for what's being called yet another war summit. It's about their third meeting in about a month.

And then apparently, the post-war situation is going to be discussed. So things seem to be certainly over the past week to have moved rapidly. And I guess it's always been a question of once you storm through the desert, how do you get the big cities, especially since the initial reports are attempting to get them by implosion, attempting to get them by having the people on site in a spontaneous uprising have not materialized at this point.

KING: Nic Robertson, who is in Ruwaitia (ph), that's at the Jordanian-Iraqi border, CNN senior international correspondent. Nic, we've landed a C-130 transport plane at the Baghdad Airport, now named the Baghdad Airport. Does the end look in sight to you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's very interesting, Larry. I talked to one of my sources in the center of Baghdad this evening. And I said did you know that coalitions landed this aircraft out of the airport? He said no, they've absolutely no idea. They didn't hear it land. They didn't -- they was absolutely no indication.

And this is the sort of perception there is in Baghdad at the moment. There's almost a tale of two cities. There's the areas on the periphery of the city that the coalition forces control, those images we see of coalition forces going into Republican Guard areas, clearing them out. And then there's what the Iraqis in the city are seeing. They're seeing an increase in the number of armed fighters on their streets.

Indeed, the sources I'm talking to say they're surprised at the number of guns, the number of people with weapons on the streets, Republican Guard fighters, Fedayeen fighters, the Baath Party, the ruling political party, their fighters out on the streets.

And many of them when questioned saying they're absolutely prepared to continue to fight. So it is a sort of tale of two cities. But caught between those two cities, if you will, is a civilian community, who our sources tell us are very concerned now. They feel that they're getting caught in the crossfire. The hospitals are getting more and more casualties coming in. The civilians say they think the coalition forces are shooting at them. They think that the Iraqi forces are shooting at them. And somehow, they're getting mixed up in the conflict. And that is really what's making them very afraid about the situation. And they say they just want the conflict to be over. They just want it to be settled, Larry.

KING: Nic Robertson and Christiane Amanpour will be with us throughout this entire hour. They'll be questioning ambassadors and generals. And then we're going to have a major discussion about the media and some of the tragedy that occurs of being the media in this war at the end of the program. So Christiane and Nic will be with us throughout.

Let's go to Jane Arraf in Erbil, northern Iraq. We've got some details, Jane, on that friendly fire incident and whatever else you have to report. Jane Arraf in northern Iraq.

JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, Kurdish officials were saying what they believe happened in this horrific accident that killed at least 18 Kurdish fighters and injured 45 was that essentially the wrong air strike was called in by the United States.

Now this was a convoy of Kurdish officials with a very senior Kurdish military commander, who happens to be the brother of the political leader in this part of Iraqi-Kurdistan, they were in a convoy approaching the frontline, a ridge on the frontline when this bomb dropped.

Now we spoke to Special Forces on the ground just a few hundred meters away. They say they didn't know what happened. They just looked behind them and heard this loud flash, realized that something very bad had happened, and sent medics back to try to deal with the wounded.

Now the frontline that they were on is a ridge. It's still about 80 kilometers, about 50 miles from Mosul. Now the Special Forces there were holding it down. They had retreated earlier in the day when Iraqi tanks approached, kind of a rare sight on the northern frontline.

They called in air strikes. They sent across mortars, gunfire, and guided bombs, laser guided bombs from F-14s. And at the end, said they had managed to take out possibly up to 10 Iraqi tanks. And were still holding that ridge -- Larry?

KING: Thank you, Jane. By the way, Jane, one other thing. The son and brother of a key leader in the Kurdish controlled area in northern Iraq were injured. Is that correct?

ARRAF: They were, absolutely. One of them, Waji Barzani, has been flown to Germany by U.S. military helicopter. He had been critically injured. The other, the son of Massud Barzani, who is the defacto president in this part of the Iraqi Kurdistan was more lightly injured, but very unfortunate occurrence -- Larry?

KING: Thank you very much, Jane Arraf in Erbil, northern Iraq. Let's go back to Christiane Amanpour in London and Nic Robertson on the Jordanian-Iraqi border.

Christiane, in London, what are the analysts -- what are they telling you about how well this war is going? Is it just about what they expected? Worse? What are they surprised at?

AMANPOUR: Well, you can imagine that over the past two weeks, and certainly I've been away in Iraq for most of those, but the headlines have been see-sawing. You know, at the beginning, there was a great deal of resistance on the ground in Iraq. People did not expect it. And I can tell you from first hand experience interviewing the soldiers that I was with on a daily basis, they were incredibly surprised that the Iraqis fought.

You know, they think -- I think they had been given the impression, certainly, by the rhetoric coming from the two capitols, London and Washington, that this was going to be a cakewalk and that they were going to -- in fact, people you know, used those words to me, that they had been under the impression that the Iraqis would not fight, that they might even lay down their arms and fight with them, as they had, you know, some had lead us to believe that might happen.

So I think the headlines in the newspaper reportage and the television reportage in England, certainly, reflected those uncertainties in the first couple of weeks.

Since then, there have been blaring and confident headlines about in Baghdad and in Basra and the end is near, the noose is tightening. Basically, reflecting what's going on on the ground.

So the polls are also shifting in England from a very heavily against the war, and against Tony Blair personally in terms of his personal popularity approvals. Things are shifting in his personal popularity has risen.

A lot of people have predicted that even this country, which was very much against the war, would shift once "our boys were on battlefield." And the British people, which are very patriotic and have a great fighting spirit, as you know, over the years, rallied around. And that had been expected. So that is, you know, falling into line with what had been predicted before the war started.

KING: And Nic Robertson, what about opinion in Jordan? Is that changing at all? What do you hear from Amman and points west, east, north, and south?

ROBERTSON: There is growing concern, Larry, particularly as the conflicts begin to focus around senders of population. A million people normally live in Basra. Five million normally live in Baghdad. And there's a lot of concern politically that this campaign is dragging out all the capitols in this region, not necessarily wanting the water go ahead, but when it did, wanting a swift conclusion so there would be limited political fallout in their own countries.

The people in these countries, watching what's happening in Iraq on the satellite -- on the Arab satellite broadcast stations, in the region, seeing Iraqi civilian casualties, and as the coalition forces gather around the capitol, as we've seen in Baghdad for the last few days, more and more images coming out of the hospitals of injured civilians. That drives up the level of concern, the level of anger and anxiety on the streets in these countries. And that puts the heat on the politicians in Jordan and neighboring countries. Again, it -- they want to see this resolved swiftly. The capitols present -- the capitol, Basra, present the biggest challenges for the coalition. And certainly the leaderships in these countries around here recognize that, Larry.

KING: We'll be joining our generals shortly. And both Christiane and Nic will be able to ask questions of them as well.

One more each for both of you. Christiane, the landing of the C- 130 at Baghdad Airport, symbolic or more than that?

AMANPOUR: Both, I would say. Certainly symbolic. They own the skies to the point that even a lumbering C-130 can fly through Iraq and land there. And also, obviously, in terms of logistical support, and what they need to ferry, if it's the beginning of a series of air -- of transport planes into Baghdad and further, then it's important. It's definitely important to have a bridge head right there on the outskirts of just about in the city.

KING: Nic, are you not surprised at the high amount of casualties suffered by the opposition?

ROBERTSON: Certainly the figures the coalition is putting forward, 2000 to 3000 already dead in this last few days in Baghdad. Of course, what we don't get to see on Iraqi television, and what the journalists in Baghdad don't get to see, are the military casualties. Just yesterday, journalists tried to go to one of the frontline hospitals twice. The ministry of information told them they could. And when they got there, they were turned back. Red Cross officials who'd been into the same hospital said two-thirds of the casualties were military. We just don't get an accurate assessment of that on the ground. That's because Iraqi authorities essentially...

KING: Yes.

ROBERTSON: ...control that information. But it would seem to be expected. Those are the people the coalition fighters are going after. So it's far more likely that Republican Guard, Fedayeen Baath Party fighters are going to be on the -- high on the casualty list, Larry.

KING: We want to bring our generals in. And we'll do that right after these words. We'll meet General Wesley Clark and Brigadier General David Grange. They'll be joined with Christiane Amanpour and Nic Robertson, as we go to break, watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They wondered did I do all of this? Or did all these people come out here just for me? That would be his spirit now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And once a Marine, always a Marine. And we felt that it's really our duty to come down here and pay respects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was always the one that always got the ladies, for crying out loud. You know, he always had terrific smile and the Tom Cruise type smile.


KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent remains with us in London. Nic Robertson, CNN's senior international correspondent remains with us on the Jordanian-Iraqi border.

Joining us now in Little Rock is General Wesley Clark. General Clark served as NATO supreme allied commander from July of '97 to May of 2000. He wrote about his experiences in a book, "Waging Modern War." He served as commander in chief of the United States European Command. And he's CNN's military analyst.

And in Oakbrook, Illinois, Brigadier General David Grange, U.S. Army retired, former commanding general of the first infantry division known as the big red one. Former Army Ranger and special forces officer. He also, CNN military analyst.

We'll start with General Clark. General, since this is your first appearance on LARRY KING LIVE in this go around, what's your assessment of the war to this minute?

WESLEY CLARK, GEN. (RET.), FMR. NATO SUPREME CMDR., CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think the war is pretty much worked out as most of us expected it would. But we said five to seven days to get to Baghdad. And then we would encircle it. And then, another seven days or so, 10 days maybe, to take it apart.

And that's about the way it's going. We saw that air power would overwhelm the Iraqi forces if they stood and fought the open desert. It did. We saw that the superiority of the U.S. forces at the individual crew, platoon and small unit level was absolutely overwhelming, and that the Iraqis really wouldn't be able to put much of a fight.

I think many of us were surprised at the tactics in terms of his ability to deploy the Fedayeen early in the south, and contest control of the cities. We'd heard the promises, the rhetoric from a people who should have known. And we'd also heard members of the Iraqi opposition say that the Shi'ia in the south would turn the south over to the coalition as soon as the war began.

That didn't happen. But other than that, the actual military outcome has been about what most of us expected.

KING: Brigadier Grange, your assessment to this minute?

DAVID GRANGE, BRIG. GEN., FMR. CMD. 1st INFANTRY DIV., CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think it's going well as planned. I mean, no war is going to get over exactly like people want it to end. It's going to take some time to do it right. And I think the coalition forces want to have conditions in the right places on the battlefield before they do certain actions.

As an example, go into Basra, go into Baghdad. It's no sense going in there when the conditions are not in your favor. Whether it has to do with involving the people of Iraq, or rear area security issues, or resources, whatever the case may be. It's a very -- it's a wonderful, I think, display of the combination of special operating forces, conventional forces, and the jointness of the different armed forces of the United States and the combined work between Great Britain and the United States as they had applied their power in this particular conflict.

KING: Christiane, do you have a question for either General Clark or General Grange?

AMANPOUR: Yes, both or either. I just want to know from an Army perspective, what do you when you've besieged this capitols of these two big cities? How do you get the conditions right, as I think General Grange just said, or take it apart as General Clark said, to get in and control it?

I mean, it's obviously a lot is the psychological factor. People have been expecting an implosion from within. What do you do to actually get it without urban warfare?

KING: General Clark, do you want to handle that?

CLARK: Let me start with it, and then Dave Grange may want to come in, too.

KING: Sure.

CLARK: But I would think that the first thing you do in any case like this is you isolate the city, so it doesn't get reinforced. And then you identify the centers of resistance. That's already been done. To some extent, that's what the bombing campaign was about.

Then you conduct your probes. You identify. You psychologically demoralize. You use your technological advantages to set off -- to offset his advantage in infantry forces that he will have on the ground in any particular location. You find where you have an advantage in there. And then you begin to seize it.

You may end up cutting the city up into sectors. You may take out key portions of resistance. And you want to draw the enemy out, so that you can use your advantages, fire power, night vision, overhead technology against him.

KING: General Grange, anything you'd add?

GRANGE: I just wanted to say that if you take, for instance, the city of Basra with the British fighting down there, they could've rushed in right away. And this -- and having the conditions right is extremely important because there's windows of opportunity in all fights. And you want to take advantage of that when it is the best for you for a minimum amount of casualties, civilian casualties.

And I think that's exactly what they did. They isolated the town so it couldn't be reinforced. Or if enemy forces broke out, they could be engaged. They wanted to keep the civilian casualties down. So they did surgical strikes within the city, very selective, much dependable -- dependent rather on intelligence.

And then when the conditions were right, they went ahead and went in because of the people of Basra, just like it's going to be in Baghdad, if the people don't want the change, then really, the military kind of has to wait for that because otherwise they'll be a lot of casualties. And it's unnecessary to just wait for the right conditions.

KING: Nic Robertson, you have a question for either or both generals?

ROBERTSON: Well, it follows up on what General Grange was saying, but this is open to General Clark as well. Obviously at this time, it is key to make sure that you win the hearts and minds, to reuse that well used phrase, if you will, to win the hearts and minds or keep the hearts and minds of the people.

But as you're attacking the military forces in the city, how do you effectively get that message across to the civilians whose houses may be being used as shields by the Iraqi military, who feel themselves caught up in the frontlines of a conflict? How do you -- I mean, it's so critical now, it seems, to get that message convincingly to the Iraqi people.

How do you do it?

KING: General Grange, do you want to take that one first?

GRANGE: Well, you know, Nic, I think what happens is you have to -- just the feel for this -- for the battlefield. You have to have actual intelligence. And a lot of that information comes from not only the technological advantages you have from overhead satellite imagery, from intercepts of signals intelligence, but actually working with the people to get pieces of information, and the piecing all that together.

And it takes a lot of time. It's like military intelligence, combined with police intelligence. And you kind of take that streetwise information, combined with the high technology, and paint a picture for your particular part of the fight.

And you almost have to have this feel for it, which involves people on the ground, interacting with as many people as you can, realizing it's very dangerous, because you don't know who's friend or who is foe. And you have to just feel that out.

It takes a lot of skill. It's the same thing in a peacekeeping operation as it is in combat, to be able to do this.

KING: General Clark, that's no walk in the park?

CLARK: No, it isn't a walk in the park. And Nic's asked the right question because if we're going to have success afterwards, we have to win the battle up front the right way. And of course, the guys on the ground understand that very well.

And there is an art to it, as Dave Grange explained. But to some extent, there are always going to be civilians who suffer and get caught in this. Time is a big factor. You've got to play the fish the right way is what we're saying. You've got to work the intelligence. You've got to let the Iraqis show their brutality. You've got to let the people understand that the coalition threat's really there, that it's not going to go away, that the end is inevitable.

And eventually, bit by bit, the Iraqi, the Baath Party and others, will become isolated from the people. And they will not be protected by the people. They'll be -- the people will just filter away. And you'll have the enemy alone.

That's what's happening in parts of Baghdad now, listening to the reports. In fact, the Iraqi government's even doing this. It's clearing people out of buildings so they can use the buildings as fortification.

Well, that's fine. That plays into our hands because wherever they are, once they're identified there, they'll be destroyed there. What we don't want to do is hurt the people.

KING: Christiane, you have another question?

AMANPOUR: Well, yes, how long does that kind of operation take? I mean, we talk about, you know, waiting for the right conditions. Basra has been now more than three weeks. It took the British very, very short amount of time to surround Basra. And they'd been waiting quite deliberately outside. Yes, they've made significant probes, but how long do you think that kind of operation takes? And if in Basra, which is smaller, how long in Baghdad? Or is it not a question of size?

KING: General Clark?

CLARK: Well, I think that first of all, Baghdad's a different target. Secondly, the United States Armed Forces is going to operation a little bit differently from the British forces.

The presumption in Basra was that if Baghdad fell, Basra would be undercut. So it didn't make sense to put a lot of effort and take a lot of risks with Basra.

That's not the case with Baghdad. We've already made our thunder runs into the city. We're going to be making more of those. And as the United States forces do that, they're going to bring the fight more directly to the Iraqi resistance more rapidly than the British did in Basra.

So I don't think you can directly say the length is comparable to the size, but the military guys would tell you we'll take as long as it takes. They'll read the situation on the ground. My guess is the resistance is pretty crumbling. My guess would be that a lot of those convoys fleeing toward Syria had some pretty important people in them, and that when the Iraqis understand who's now behind them, and who's already left, that resistance is going to crumble.

KING: General Grange, you want to add anything?

GRANGE: Yes, a quick addition to that. These raids, these thunder runs, these armored raids throughout the city, special operating forces operating in the city, where the leadership of the Iraq regime can't sleep at night. They're nervous. They're looking over their shoulder constantly.

The ability to land a C-130 in an airfield that still is not totally secure from indirect fire or shoulder fired missiles at aircraft, but the ability to that, that demonstration is important to the psychological impact.

And so, you have to win this information war, as the psychological aspects of that, as well as the kinetic, the fighting, destroying this tank or that bunker, whatever.

You have to combine those things. And that sometimes takes a little bit of time. But the guy on the ground right there, gets that sense that he's developing it. They're learning more about Baghdad right now than we could possibly imagine with what's going on.

KING: Christiane, you have a follow up?

AMANPOUR: Yes, no, I just wanted to ask you, because certainly the psychology of this has been very important. I mean, look, clearly the war plan and clearly the civilians in the defense establishment believe that psychological pressure would have as much effect as military pressure.

And certainly, we were briefed very heavily that it would be the south that would rise up first, and particularly Basra, and implode first, and so-called welcome the liberators first.

And that would then have that ongoing and knock on psychological effect on Baghdad. And it hasn't happened in the south yet for all sorts of reasons, no doubt. So I'm just interested whether you think that the psychological -- the dependence on psychological warfare in this war has worked out as you expect it at this point?

KING: General Clark?

CLARK: Well, I think it's too early to judge. Obviously, the greatest hopes and the greatest expectations weren't fulfilled here. But Psyops tends to be something you can only evaluate the effectiveness of after the campaign.

So it's possible that without the psychological operations, the resistance would have been much greater. We just don't know. But certainly the early expectations were disappointed.

However, as people have been saying, there may be a tipping point in this. And what we're seeing in Basra, as you know, is that the top leadership is fleeing. Once they flee, Basra falls apart. The same thing's going to be happening in Baghdad.

KING: Nic, you have one other question quickly?

ROBERTSON: I do. I have a quick question for both the generals or either general. We saw with the -- where PFC Lynch was snatched from Iraqi hospital in Nasiriya. The doctor there or whatever doctors have been giving information to the coalition forces about PFC Lynch in the hospital, clearly there's a lot that goes on that we don't see about.

Give us an idea, if you will, about what's going on around Baghdad, that we're just now seeing and hearing, because we get such a very limited view through the television lens, if you will, of actually what's going in the war?

KING: General Grange?

GRANGE: Well, I think there's a lot of that going on. And there's a lot of contact with everyday working people, as well as some high officials to get information, to try to get the -- a feel for the morale, the chance of hope to continue with this war going on everyday.

I think that the rescue operation, because of the Iraqi participation and given the information for that, that needs to be exploited a little bit. And I mean exploited in a good way. Take a million dollars out of the reward for bin Laden, the $25 million. Give a million dollars to that Iraqi citizen, that put his wife and family on the line to help an American soldier, and you'll have an effect. Those kind of things are so important to make this thing go.

KING: Thank you, General Grange. And thank you, General Clark. We'll be calling on both of you again. Nic Robertson in -- on the Jordanian-Iraqi border and Christiane Amanpour in London will remain with us. And when we come back, we'll be joined by Ambassador Salem Al-Sabeh, the Kuwait ambassador to the United States and Ambassador Faruk Logoglu. He is the Turkish ambassador to the United States.

And later, Wolf Blitzer will join Nic and Christiane and Walt Rodgers and I for a discussion about the late David Bloom.



KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. Christiane Amanpour, CNN chief international correspondent remains with us in London. And Nic Robertson, CNN's senior international correspondent remains with us at the Jordanian-Iraqi border.

We're joined now in Washington by Ambassador Salem Al-Sabeh, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States and Ambassador Faruk Logoglu, rather, the Turkish ambassador to the United States. I'll have a couple of questions and then we'll have both Christiane and Nic fire away as well.

Ambassador Sabeh, are you happier than you were last Sunday? Are events going to your liking?

SALEM AL-SABEH, KUWAITI AMB. TO U.S.: Well, I think events are going well, Larry. But we're not done yet. I mean, there are still some hurdles that I think the coalition forces have to get over, basically Baghdad and Basra. And then, there are areas up north that have to be addressed, like Tikrit and to Mosul and Kirkuk.

I mean, we're far from the end line, I think. But we're getting closer. Day by day, we're getting closer, but we're not there yet.

KING: And what ambassador to you is the end game?

AL-SABEH: The end game, Larry, to me is when the very last Iraqi is freed from his fear of the current regime. I think if I have to characterize it, that's how I would say it. When the very last Iraqi is free of his fear.

KING: Ambassador Logoglu, the strained relations between Turkey and the United States, are they less strained after the Powell visit?

FARUK LOGOGLU, TURKISH AMB. TO U.S.: Yes. I think Secretary Powell's visit was a very productive visit. The American side was very pleased. The Turkish side was happy with the outcome.

And I think now there is in place some additional facilities and support being provided by Turkey to the effort, the coalition effort in Iraq.

KING: Do you have reactions, Mr. Ambassador, to the fact that many conservatives in Congress and now they're calling for a change of opinion toward Turkey and part of the United States, trying to strip a billion dollars in aid to Turkey? Are you concerned?

LOGOGLU: Yes, we are concerned. We understand part of that feeling, the feeling of disappointment and frustration with what they feel the U.S. failed to get from Turkey.

But the outcome of the vote in the House was very strong majority in favor of Turkey. And the quality of debate indicated to us that even if there is disappointment with Turkey, there is a lot of appreciation of the importance of this relationship between our two countries. And I think that bodes well for the future.

KING: Christiane in London, a question for either ambassador?

AMANPOUR: For either and both ambassadors, in fact, now that the war appears to be going faster than it certainly was in the last couple of weeks, the whole debate certainly has shifted to post-war, who will run it, how will it be run, who will get the reconstruction contract?

I want to know from both ambassadors whether you support the U.N. administration and then back to the Iraqis? Or do you support U.S. military occupation and for how long? What do you think should be the post-war scenario?

KING: Ambassador Al-Sabeh, you can go first.

AL-SABEH: Well, I think first and foremost, Larry, Iraq is -- should be ruled by the Iraqis themselves. And they should choose which way they should go. Now having said that, we understand that there's going to be -- there's going to have to be a period of stabilization in which peace and security will be maintained or breathed on in Iraq. And let's not forget also that the weapons of mass destruction have yet to be found.

So after that period of stabilization, we would very much rather see the Iraqis come together and decide their future. Now I think that the United Nations would play a very crucial role in that part, because the United Nations has experience in nation building. It has the agencies that could help in that endeavor.

So I think the international community, through the United Nations, should enable or enforce the Iraqis to choose what's best for them and get on with their life, and build their future.

KING: Ambassador Logoglu, how do you see it?

LOGOGLU: Well, I agree with my colleague from Kuwait. You have to engage the Iraqi element from day one. This is a country that belongs to the people of Iraq. And it should be ruled by the Iraqis.

But that's very clear that in the initial stages probably for a number of months, the U.S. will want to have the upper hand. And this means the United Nations will at least at the beginning will have to have a limited role.

I think as things -- events start to unfold, that the balance may shift, but the primary objective will be to leave the ruling of Iraq to the people of Iraq.

KING: Nic Robertson, do you have a question for either or both ambassadors?

ROBERTSON: To both ambassadors, we know how much in this region pictures of civilian wounded, particularly the women and children in hospitals, have been played very highly in some programs. And we know about sensitivities in both your countries to that.

How is this conflict playing out in your countries with the people?

KING: Good question. Ambassador Al Sabeh, you go first.

AL-SABEH: Well, whoever watches Kuwaiti TV, Larry, would very quickly come to the conclusion that Kuwait is very supportive of what's happening, and the Kuwaiti people are very supportive of what's happening.

But I think the larger Arab -- or the broader Arab need, it's true. It's showing some disturbing pictures to the broader Arab public. But I think there's also an opportunity here for the United States.

I think the United States at this point in time probably there's a lot of anger towards American in the broader Mideast region. But I think once the Iraqi people are liberated, I think things are going to swing around, and the public opinion in the Arab countries are come to realize or will come to realize that what American did in Iraq is actually free the Iraqi people.

But I'd like to stress another point here, Larry. This -- the point of the necessity of dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian question at the same time.

I think has a very, very strong opportunity or big opportunity at this point in time to change hearts and minds across the Middle East, not only in Iraq. If people in the Middle East see that the Iraqi people have been liberated and then look around and see that the Palestinian people in a sense have been liberated by being given their own homeland, I think that is going to swing the feelings around dramatically in the Middle East region.

KING: Ambassador, what's the feeling in Turkey?

LOGOGLU: I think they must remember that there was very strong opposition to this war, even from the start more than 90 percent of the Turkish public was against this war. And now, with these images of civilian casualties, these feelings are really fortified. And there are very high emotions.

And therefore, our hope and our prayers are that this war is over quickly, as for that -- there is the level of suffering on all sides would be kept at a minimum. But there is...

KING: Ambassador... LOGOGLU: ...already too much suffering.

KING: Ambassador Al-Sabeh, your country has called for a meeting often foreign ministers of the Gulf cooperation council. That meeting to start tomorrow in Kuwait. Why?

AL-SABEH: Well, Larry, first of all, I'd like to explain to your viewers what the GCC is. The GCC is the regional grouping of six Arab Gulf countries, comprising of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the U.A.E. and Amman.

It's sort of like the EU in Europe. Now the reason, the main point on the agenda tomorrow is to how best collectively provide humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people. How to help the Iraqi people rebuild their life, at least in the initial stages as far as humanitarian assistance is necessary.

The meeting, of course, has not taken place yet. So I don't know what the outcome will be tomorrow, but I know for a fact that the main agenda item for tomorrow is how best to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqis.

KING: Mr. Ambassador from Turkey, does Turkey want to play a part in post-war Iraq?

LOGOGLU: Very much so. We are a neighbor of Iraq. We have a good relations with the people of Iraq. We have experience in Iraq. We have just four composite Iraq.

And our private sectors and everything else we have in Turkey is poised to assume a role in the reconstruction of Iraq. We made us another contribution. We are still making us some other contribution in Afghanistan, in nation rebuilding that.

But Iraq being a neighbor of us, we expect to do more. We want to do more. We want to be helpful to the people of Iraq.

KING: I only have about two minutes left, and then we'll have our major discussion with Christiane, Nic, Wolf Blitzer, and Walt Rodgers about the passing of David Bloom and about journalism and this war.

What -- does Ambassador Al-Sabeh, does Saddam Hussein have to be caught or captured or found dead for there to be a final end, end to this?

AL-SABEH: I think that would really help, Larry, because what's happening now with the Iraqi people, I think the reason we didn't see any uprisings in Iraq is because of fear and skepticism. Fear because they know that Saddam Hussein is still there. His people are still among the general population.

So it is very important for the Iraqi people to see and then to the person himself. And only that, I think, will bring comfort and the Iraqi people will be confident enough to rise up and really express their true feelings. So yes, it is important.; KING: Ambassador Logoglu, what do you think?

LOGOGLU: Well, I think it's symbolically important, but the real thing is to get first military control of the country, and to transform that military control into political control.

That can be done without even get Saddam not caught or not killed. But I think it can be done.

KING: Thank you both very much. Christiane and Nic remain. We'll be joined by Walt Rodgers and Wolf Blitzer. We'll talk about David Bloom's passing and other things. That's right after these words.


KING: Christiane Amanpour remains with us in London. Nic Robertson remains with us on the Jordanian-Iraqi border. Joining us in Kuwait City is Wolf Blitzer, our CNN Anchor. And embedded with the U.S. Army outside Baghdad is Walt Rodgers, the CNN correspondent.

David Bloom, as everybody knows, passed away. On one personal note before we start with Wolf and go around, David Bloom started his career at WTBJ in Miami. I worked there for eight years. I left in the late -- around 1970 David Bloom began his career at WTBJ somewhere around 1984.

Wolf Blitzer, how well did you know him? What do you make of this?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I knew him very well. Larry, I'm shocked and I'm so sad about what happened. It's just hard for me even to believe this. You know, I spent many years covering the Clinton White House. He spent fewer years, but they were intense. You know, covering Clinton was never dull. We were always traveling.

And so, you know, all the network White House correspondents, we traveled together. We lived together. We spent more time with each other than we probably spent with our own families covering that White House during those years.

So I got to know him really well. And when he was at the White House, he worked together with Claire Shipman. They were both represented NBC News. And so, he was just a very, very great guy, a dear friend, and it's, you know, I'll miss him forever. It's just so sad to know that he's gone.

KING: Walt Rodgers, did you know David Bloom?

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I did, Larry. I met him just a few weeks ago. We were in the same embed class with the U.S. Army back in Kuwait City. He was an extraordinarily gracious young man. He would walk into the room, immediately walk up to me, introduced himself.

And here was a young man who possessed supreme self confidence. I watched him during the embed process. And it was fascinating to watch. He was a supremely confident journalist. He knew this was going to be his war. He was determined that he was going to be the war correspondent of this war. And he was going to leave his mark.

I must say, out here -- each of us who knew him in the embed class was extraordinarily shocked and very saddened because war is dangerous as it is, but to come this way and to have to die like that was just perfectly awful -- Larry?

KING: Christiane, you're not a doctor. They're calling this natural causes, an embolism, but could war being cramped up in tanks and certain kind of living conditions to your knowledge cause an embolism?

AMANPOUR: You know, I really have no idea. And I'm certainly not equipped to talk about that at all. I would just say that I did also briefly know David, very ,very briefly as a field reporter back then. And I would say that I have to tell you that in the first couple of weeks of this conflict, the journalism community has lost an enormous number of people in Iraq, both combat-related and non-combat- related.

KING: Yes.

AMANPOUR: But in the end, it's all because they were covering the war. There are about eight people: David, Michael Kelly, Gaby Rado, Terry Lloyd of ITN, two people still missing, an Iranian cameraman who stepped on a mine. It's so profoundly shocking, and I have to say profoundly depressing because it's just so sad when those of us in this journalistic community, who put everything on the line to do that, and get killed or die in any form.

And of course, you know that any time one person dies, there's a huge reverberation. Their families, their friends, their wives, their children. It's just unbearable. And it's terribly, terribly sad.

KING: Nic, in addition to telling us whether you knew David and what you thought of him, does it give you pause?

ROBERTSON: I didn't ever have the pleasure of knowing him, Larry. It does give me pause. I'm extremely moved just listening to Christiane. I think she reflects the feelings that we all have. It is terribly sad and you cannot but feel for his family. You cannot but pause and think there for the grace of God go any of us. One never really knows what can happen. Of course, this was very, very sad.

And we do pause. And there will be days in the future, when we'll pause and think about it -- all of our -- all of the colleagues who have fallen through this, Larry.

KING: Wolf, how would you explain the delayed public what drives the kind of journalists that wants to go where David Bloom and Michael Kelly and others go?

BLITZER: You know, it's just in our blood, you know, Larry. It's our career. And that's what we do. You go into a dangerous assignment before you leave. You say to yourself, well, maybe I shouldn't do this, but then you do it because there's a certain momentum that pushes you to do it. and then while you're doing it, it's great because your adrenaline is pumping. And you're really moving with the story. And you're exhilarated. And you just love every second of it.

And then when you finally get home and you realize, you know, I did something that was really pretty risky, maybe I shouldn't have done that, and you ask yourself, you know, was that the smart thing to do. And you go -- that's at least the cycle. I felt it myself over the years.

You go through, but then you go out -- you go ahead and you do again until at some point, you say you know what? I'm getting too old for this kind of stuff. Let a new generation of younger kids do it.

KING: Walt Rodgers, why do you do it?

RODGERS: Because I love it, Larry. I would like to pick up on the question you asked Christiane about the cramped working conditions and could that have been contributed?

I can tell you that we have had to be contortionists, so packed are we with gear in an Army Humvee. So yes, from my non medical point of view, the cramped conditions we work under could easily have contributed to David's death.

Again, it's a terrible thing. I was recalled -- I was asked about this earlier. And I was reminded of that line from the John Dunne, the 17th century metaphysical English (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who wrote "every man's diminishes me." And as I reflect on David's death, it occurred to me he was a fine member of our craft and of our, you know, that is journalists and war correspondents.

And certainly, his death diminishes each of us and our profession -- Larry?

KING: Christiane, you've always hesitated at getting personal, but frankly in view of the events and what you expressed earlier, why do you do what you do?

AMANPOUR: Well, I'm a professional. These are important historical events. I've dedicated my career to talking about people and how the world affects them and trying, I think more than anything, really, to bring an understanding of the world to an American audience, who does not get much of that kind of news.

And to, you know, I believe it's a public service. And we join up for this profession, at least that's my guiding principle, because there's a certain responsibility. Those of us who have the privilege to go to these place and work in this profession have a responsibility.

But the incredible and increasing, it seems to me, human toll in the ranks of the journalists, you know, you can't help but think about it. You just -- it's very, very dramatic. And I would say that in the first two weeks of this war, we've probably taken proportionately the highest hits that I can remember.

KING: Wolf, how does the -- your family handle it? We know what David Bloom's family's going through tonight. How does your family handle it when you go where others fear to tread?

BLITZER: You know, it's a good question, Larry. You know, my heart goes out to David Bloom's family, his wife Melanie and the three beautiful young daughters. And I also think of Michael Kelly, the columnist who died in this Humvee accident over the past few days and his two beautiful young boys, Tom and Jack, and his wife. And I think of these five young kids and their wives that are just going to be left behind. And it's a heart wrenching, you know, thought to have to think these talented young journalists, what happened and why they're gone?

And I happen to agree with my friend Walter that as much as people say these are natural causes, you know, I'm not being a doctor. I have no idea about embolisms and all of this. But I have to believe that being in that cramped Humvee and being in that kind of tense situation probably contributed to his untimely death.

My family deals with it like any other family. They're nervous, but they know this is my job. This is my passion. This is what I've been doing for 30 years. So I think more or less they get used to it. I don't think my mother will ever get used to it, but I think the rest of the family knows who I am and what I'm all about.

KING: Walt Rodgers, how does your family deal with it?

RODGERS: I think my wife prays a lot, Larry. I have a lovely, loving devoted wife of over 31 years. I'm also interested in the way my sons have reacted to this. You never know as a father how your sons feel about you, although the younger son once said very recently, "Dad, I'm very proud of you." And I thought that was terrific.

So I know I have the support of my family. And I'm extraordinarily grateful for it, although my wife did make me promise this would be the last war -- Larry?

KING: Christiane, does having a young child now change anything about how you approach this?

AMANPOUR: Yes, everything, everything. I just can't look at anything the way I did before. I can't go into the kinds of situations that I've been in all my career. The same -- with the same abandon that I did before. And it has a very, very profound effect on me, I must say. It's very difficult.

KING: All right, the obvious, Nic. Would you mind it if CNN said come home, Nic.

ROBERTSON: If they said go home?

KING: Come home? ROBERTSON: I would mind it, absolutely. This is...

KING: You would mind it?

ROBERTSON: This is where I want to be. I would mind it. I want to cover this story, Larry. I billed it as -- I'm as Christiane said before, it's a privilege to be able to do this. This is our vocation. And we do believe in bringing the news, the stories, the understanding to the audience.

And absolutely committed to doing that. If CNN this moment told me go home, I'd be devastated.

KING: Wolf, what made David a great journalist?

BLITZER: He was so enthusiastic, he was so curious. He was so talented, and he had that unique television ability to look into the camera, Larry, and to convince the audience that A, he knew he was talking about. They liked him. They trusted him. And I think it was just a natural ability that he had, because I knew of -- you know, we had spent so much time together. I knew all about his childhood growing up in Minnesota, going to college out in California, starting off in small markets, winding up in Miami, and then going to work for NBC News, and eventually winding up after covering the O.J. Simpson trial, winding up at the White House, which is the pinnacle for a reporter in network television news.

He just had that natural strength. But you know what? He worked really, really hard. Many times, he would be at the White House early in the morning, to do the "TODAY SHOW," and he would stay late into the evening to do "NIGHTLY NEWS." And then he would stay afterwards to do MSNBC and live shots.

I mean, he was a hardworking guy. And you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't work hard, you're not going to make it in this business.

KING: I only have 30 seconds, Wolf. And the one thing he had also, you can't invent, was the camera liked him?

BLITZER: You know, the camera loved him. And I think we loved David Bloom. We will miss him. We'll always remember him. I still am having a hard time really understanding that he's gone because he was such a terrific guy. And I really feel bad for every -- all of his family and his friends, everybody at NBC News. It's just a heartbreak to think about it.

KING: Thank you all very much. Walt Rodgers, embedded with the U.S. Army outside Baghdad. Wolf Blitzer in Kuwait City. Nic Robertson and Christiane Amanpour in the Jordanian-Iraqi border and in London for spending the entire hour with us.

David Bloom's NBC colleagues paid tribute to their friend and co- worker today. And here are just some of the things that Katie Couric, Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw had to say.


KATIE COURIC, NBC'S "TODAY SHOW": I really think when I watched his reporting that he was there for the story and not for the glory, although he was getting plenty of the latter as well. And you know, I want so much to be profound this morning, but I think it's impossible to find just the right words to describe how wonderful David was and how sad we all are that he's gone.

TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: I'd always called Dave the Bloomster. He would always smile and say, "That's my second favorite nickname. The first is Dad." How he loved his three little girls and his wife Melanie. They will be part of us forever.

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: I came here to cover the war for Baghdad. And on the plane over, I thought about the moment when I would meet up again with David Bloom. How I would kid him about all the air time and the praise he was getting.

Then when I arrived, the awful crushing news. It helps some that all of you have gotten to know him better in the last two weeks to know what made all of us so proud, that in his generation, there simply was no one better.

And this was a perfect assignment for David Bloom because as a reporter, he was a warrior, fearless, hardcharging, always eager for the next difficult assignment. He'd arrive on a story and within 24 hours, he'd have a note pad full of the secret cellphone numbers of the best sources.

When he made mistakes, he'd own up. No excuses. His love of his life, his wife Melanie and their three darling daughters was so exuberant, it was contagious. And so, this is hard. Our grief is great because a hole is so large. And it's also a reminder to all of us of what other families and friends in this war are enduring as well.


KING: David Bloom would always kid me about having worked at the same station that I worked at, except of course, he regarded it as a young experience, while I was the old man at WTPJ in Miami.

He will be sorely missed. Say an ave. Fredricka Whitfield is next with news headlines and Anderson Cooper hosts "NEWSNIGHT" tonight. And we'll be with you tomorrow night. Thanks for joining us and good night.


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