CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Panel Discusses Fate of Baghdad, What May Have Happened to Saddam
Aired April 11, 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: Thank you, Wolf. Tonight President Bush declares Saddam Hussein is out of power, but the war is not over. In Baghdad, a third day of lawlessness. And U.S. and Kurdish forces take the northern city of Mosul without firing a shot. In the aftermath, though, looting and arson. We'll hear from reporters on the scene in Iraq's capital city and a lot more.
We begin with Nic Robertson, back in Baghdad, our CNN senior international correspondent. What's the latest from there, as dawn approaches, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Larry, it's been a relatively quiet night, perhaps a little less shooting than last night. But the looting that we saw earlier in the day was quite significant. Four more government ministries looted, many hospitals. The 600-bed al Kindi (ph) Hospital was looted. That's now, we're told, shut down. Professionals around the city, engineers who work the power grid, not showing up for work. Doctors who should be working in the hospitals not showing up for work, concerned about the security situation. So the general looting is really affecting the functioning of this city in a broad way, even outside the disruptions on the street.
And as I was coming back to this hotel last night, late in the evening, just before dusk, it was an almost anarchic situation -- smoke billowing through the city from the many fires. I saw three different banks burning, gangs roaming around the streets. It's a very, very lawless feeling these days, Larry.
KING: Stay right there, Nic. Let's check in with Ryan Chilcote, the CNN correspondent who entered Baghdad with the Army's 101st Airborne Division. He's in southern Baghdad.
Ryan, we understand that you have some members -- spotted members of the 101st stopping looters, right?
RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The 101st Airborne's 2nd and 3rd Brigades, a good two thirds of the division, moved into southern Baghdad just yesterday -- today, your time. This is really the first time that a light infantry unit has moved into the capital in such large numbers. Really, what we've seen up to this point has been tanks, but the boots on the ground, as the military likes to refer to them, the soldiers on the ground are really going to open what will probably be a new chapter in the fighting here, and later on, probably in the policing of the city. As we rolled in, we saw a very large number of destroyed equipment along the way. On the American side, we saw a couple American tanks destroyed, a Jeep and a refueling truck. On the Iraqi side, a lot of cars and a lot of military vehicles.
The troops also got a situational report from a unit from the 3rd Infantry Division that had been here patrolling part of this area previously. They described a very harrowing scene -- daily attacks, the 3rd Infantry Division told the 101st, daily attacks against American troops in this area.
The troops, though, today saw very little contact. What they did see a lot of -- and I know people are seeing this throughout the city -- they did see a lot of looting, a lot of people moving up and down Highway 8, which is one of the arteries into downtown Baghdad, moving around with a lot of tires and clothing. I later learned that there is both a textile factory and a tire factory here. That is what the run appears to be on in this part of the city.
We also went -- the 101st hit a meat and poultry factory in this area. There they hoped to find Iraqi and Fedayeen fighters. Instead, they again turned up a lot of looters. Really, the place -- I got to go inside -- looked like it had been picked dry. I -- it's tough to know how much longer this looting can go on because I'm not sure how much is really left.
But the 101st is here. They're setting up camp. And looting is obviously, as you mentioned, one of the things that they're going to have to deal with. They just sort of dealt with it in a cursory way. Like I said, they were looking for soldiers and ran into looters. They detained them, but then they let them go -- Larry.
KING: Thank you, Ryan.
Nic Robertson, who's responsible to take care of the looters? Is it -- is there an Iraqi police force or is there a Baghdad police force? Is it the servicemen? Who?
ROBERTSON: There is no Baghdad police force out in action. It seems that most any of those officers who had previously been associated with the last regime just wouldn't want to show their faces, or they feel that they're not backed by any authority. The prisons are not working. The judicial system is not working at this time. So they are not showing up for work. We're just not seeing them on the streets at all.
The coalition are here, and their primary aim at this time is still to defeat the Iraqi leader, president -- or the former president, Saddam Hussein, defeat his regime. And that remains their primary task, and that's what they're doing. They just don't have the numbers of troops here (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that are needed to stop this type of looting, Larry.
KING: In Kuwait City, joining us is Tamara al Rifai. She is a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross. And what is the Red Cross assessment of the medical system in Baghdad, which we understand has all but collapsed? What's the latest there, Tamara?
TAMARA AL RIFAI, RED CROSS SPOKESPERSON: Yes, according to our team there in the field in Baghdad, the situation is absolutely catastrophic. I mean, ransacking, looting. Almost none of the hospitals, the 33 hospitals in Baghdad are working anymore. So people have absolutely no access to medical treatment. And we're not only speaking about the people who were wounded in the war over the past weeks. We're also talking about people who have chronic illnesses, such as people who need dialysis, for example, or people who -- diabetic people. So nobody has access to medical care. We're talking about five million people.
So for us, and especially for our medical team in Baghdad, we are totally shocked by the situation, really. We are very, very concerned.
KING: Well, Tamara, where are the doctors? Where are the nurses?
AL RIFAI: Yes, as far as we understand, most of the hospitals are either completely looted -- I mean, nothing, from beds to covers to medical supplies, everything -- or they're closed because of fear of looting. So the medical personnel and the support staff -- nurses and technicians and everyone -- have not been showing up to work, actually, either because they don't want to cross the city because of what's happening or simply because they don't want to leave their houses because they know that their houses would be looted. So not even the medical personnel is working in the facilities that almost no longer exist because they're being completely destroyed.
KING: Have why you heard anything, Tamara, about prisoners of war at all?
AL RIFAI: No, not at all. We're actually very concerned, and we feel very much for the families of those POWs. I know that we were in discussions with the authorities in Baghdad about it, but at this point, the only thing we can say is just hope they're fine and hope that whoever is taking care of them is doing it according to the humanitarian norms.
KING: Let's go back to Baghdad and check in with James Bays of ITN. James, what's your report on the latest from your vantage point?
JAMES BAYS, ITN: Well, Larry, I've been out and about again in the city over the last 24 hours, since I spoke to you last time, and I think it's fair to say the security situation here certainly hasn't improved. I think it's deteriorated, as you heard in Nic's report, a really lawless state of affairs if you go out and about in this city at the moment.
KING: I guess, in a sense, it's understandable, but -- so nobody's being arrested, James? People just go in and loot a hospital, and they take out a bed and nobody stops them?
BAYS: Yes, you've seen those pictures. I've been speaking to Marines on this side of the river and the U.S. Army on the other side of the river, and they gave me some idea of what they expect to happen next. The first thing they're doing is trying to restore the water and the electricity, but they say their units are now fanning out to try and restore law and order. Another thing they're doing is they're trying restore the police force. They're going to find members of Saddam Hussein's former police. They're going through them. They're interviewing those former police officers to see if they're people that they can trust, and they're going to try and get them back on the streets.
KING: James, is that not the responsibility of the coalition? Law and order.
BAYS: Under the Geneva Convention -- yes, under the Geneva Convention, Larry, it is the responsibility of the occupying power to protect the citizens, but I think they need Iraqi help on the ground. These U.S. forces -- they have translators with them, but the main problem they have is with communicating with the locals, telling them that, If you do loot, you're going to be shot on sight, that you should stay at home, that you should avoid traveling at night.
These sort of messages they need to get out, and the message is not getting out at the moment, and we're seeing some pretty tragic scenes. Not only have we got the gunmen on the streets, I've heard of a number of incidents where innocents have wrongly approached a checkpoint. They've driven too fast through a checkpoint, and a tank has just opened up on them.
KING: Tamara, what does the -- what can the Red Cross do?
AL RIFAI: Well, at this point, what we can do simply is to ask the coalition for their intervention, really. We cannot start sending any more supplies into hospitals if we know they're going to be looted anyway. And this is a perfect example. I mean, one of the main hospitals in Baghdad, the al Kindi hospital, which is a hospital we've been working with for ages now, has been completely looted, including all the medical supplies we've given lately.
So for the International Committee of the Red Cross, yes, we've launched an appeal today for the coalition forces, which are the only forces, really, in the capital now, to do all they can to protect the basic infrastructure.
Now, I would just like to note that this has started happening, in the sense that one of the main -- other main hospitals in Baghdad, the Medical City, was starting to be looting and destroyed, and the coalition forces did interfere to stop that. So yes, there could be a potential for that. But for us, it's very clear. As it was said on your show, actually, earlier, it is the obligation of the coalition, as a temporary, at least, occupying power, to ensure that the basic infrastructure is protected, so that people have access to at least their basic medical needs and water and electricity.
KING: Thank you, Tamara. And speaking of that, James, is the coalition still putting up against pockets of resistance?
BAYS: Yes, I think we hear from the edge of the city that there certainly are men with guns. There certainly are things going on. But I think most of the time, these are people who are out for themselves. I don't think they're necessarily fighting for Saddam Hussein now. I think most of them aren't. They're taking their guns, they're settling old scores and they're trying to get what they can for themselves in this country, this desperately poor countries, where many workers earned as little as $5 or $6 a month.
KING: And James, any word at all about Saddam Hussein?
BAYS: Well, that's the big question, where is Saddam Hussein? Where are his key ministers? We don't know whether Saddam Hussein was in Baghdad during the war. We saw pictures, but it wasn't clear whether they were recorded in the city during the war. We do, though, know that many of his close ministers were here because we had press conferences during the time of the war and we met many of those ministers. We met the minister of defense. We met the minister of information almost every day. We met the deputy president. We met the deputy prime minister.
Probably the most fascinating press conference of all was the interior minister, when he came in with his chrome-plated Kalashnikov and started firing or pretending to fire in the air, saying what he was going to do to coalition forces. Those people I met and saw with my own eyes. They were in the city, and some of them may well still be in the city now.
KING: Thank you, James. Thank you, Tamara. Thank you, Ryan.
When we come back, Bob Woodruff of ABC News will join us. He was embedded with the Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq. He's a very close friend of the late David Bloom, and he's returned home for services for Mr. Bloom. Robin Wright will be joining us, the chief diplomatic correspondent for "The LA Times." Nic Robertson will be back aboard. And then later, Lieutenant General Paul Funk (ph) will be added, as will Brigadier General David Grange.
And if you missed it at the beginning of this program, Mohammed al Douri, the Iraqi ambassador to the U.N., has left New York and the United States, we believe going to Paris and then, we believe, going to Damascus.
We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
KING: Let's run down the panelists in this segment. Staying with us in Baghdad is Nic Robertson, CNN senior international correspondent. In New York is Bob Woodruff, ABC News correspondent. He was embedded with the Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq, 1st Division, 5th Regiment, 1st Battalion Light Armored Reconnaissance. Good friend of the late David Bloom, the NBC correspondent who died of pulmonary embolism while embedded with a mechanized unit of the Army's 3rd Infantry in Iraq. And in Washington is Robin Wright, chief diplomatic correspondent of "The Los Angeles Times, author of "Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam." She was in Iraq in November, has been reporting on the regime of Saddam Hussein for more than two decades.
Bob Woodruff, how did you learn about David's -- are you home only for David's funeral, and then you're going back?
BOB WOODRUFF, ABC NEWS: I'm not sure exactly, at this point, Larry, what my plans are. I would assume that I'll be going back some time. But yes, I did pull out because what happened to David. I was informed shortly after his death by my wife when I called into ABC and they said that she needed to talk to me, and then she told me that he had passed away.
KING: How did you meet?
WOODRUFF: Well, Larry, I don't know if you knew this already, but we met at a roast for you, actually, down in Washington. We had a mutual friend...
KING: The Judy Woodruff Spina Bifida roast?
WOODRUFF: That's right. That's exactly what it was. Exactly what it was. You know, how many people meet at a rubber chicken roast like that? But we did. And our wives hit it off. Our wives hit it off, and they had a lot in common, with husbands like us and they didn't have to explain anything to each other. So we became very, very close friends, family friends. Our kids became friends. And it's tragic, what's happened.
KING: What do you make of the reports, Bob, that David had warnings?
WOODRUFF: I don't know. I mean, I haven't -- I wasn't there, and I haven't been able to speak to the people that were embedded with him, with the 3rd Infantry Division. That's who I think these reports are coming from. He certainly did not say that to his wife, who I have spoken to. It wouldn't surprise me, though. I mean, it doesn't -- it doesn't seem sinister or anything untoward about it. I think that's probably what happened. And we were in very cramped quarters, all of us who were embedded. It was a very uncomfortable situation. It was an unnatural position to sleep in. I often had my legs falling asleep, and other parts of my body falling asleep, just because of the way we were sleeping. And I wouldn't be surprised if that was what led to this.
KING: What was the experience like for you?
WOODRUFF: Well, I think all of us underestimated the physical brutality of what we were living in at the time. You know, the sandstorms, initially, as we were coming up, were -- was weather I'd never seen before, nothing I'd ever experienced. I'd experienced whiteouts and snow and mountains and horrible rainstorms, but this is like nothing I'd ever seen. Not having a shower for, you know, a month at a time was certainly difficult.
But otherwise, the Marines were terrific, that we were with. I have a great deal of respect for them, much more respect than I ever had even before, which was quite immense. And it was a real experience of a lifetime, as a journalist, to see what we saw when we came into a country like this.
KING: Robin Wright, you're a diplomatic correspondent. You've been -- traveled the fields. Would you want to have been embedded?
ROBIN WRIGHT, "L.A. TIMES" CHIEF DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I guess I would much rather have been in Baghdad. I've covered a dozen different wars, and I tend to like to be out there as a free agent and not beholden any -- either side.
KING: Nic Robertson, would you wanted to have been embedded?
ROBERTSON: I would like the opportunity to do it one day, Larry. I've been very interested to see the way it's worked for the journalists, to see the level of access, to read the accounts, read the reports. It's been interesting to watch it from the outside. I, like Robin, would rather have been able to remain here in Baghdad and cover it from here. That's the sort of reporting I normally do. But as a reporter, one is always inquisitive, so it is a different experience and a different angle to look at the story from. So yes, it is something that I would like to try.
KING: I'd like you all to comment on what Secretary Rumsfeld said today, starting with Bob Woodruff and then Robin and then Nic. He said that looting is the result of pent-up feelings of oppression, will subside as Iraqis adjust to life without Saddam. He said, "Freedom is untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here."
That seemed to have an awful lot of understanding about looting, Bob. What did you make of it?
WOODRUFF: Well, I think he's absolutely right. But you know, we really saw this coming very early. I would say almost two weeks ago, as we were coming up through Iraq, we saw the first signs of looting about 50 miles south of Baghdad. And the coalition forces, the U.S. forces, the Marines that I was with really didn't have the time or the resources to try to stop it. The only thing they were doing was looking to see if any of these looters might have been soldiers or somehow connected to the Iraqi military. And if they did have some connection to the Iraqi military, then they would take them into custody and process them as EPWs, as enemy prisoners of war.
But they were not trying to stop the looting. They didn't really have the capacity to do that. In fact, they were looking at this looting as a symbol, almost as a positive symbol that this regime was crumbling because, as Nic knows, and Robin and everyone else who's covered these conflicts knows, this is one of the first signs that a regime is collapsing, when people no longer obey the law. And the Marines were looking at it as a sign that they were making some progress and this thing was starting to collapse.
KING: Robin Wright, what do you make of it?
WRIGHT: Well, frankly, I found his remarks a little bit dismissive of what is perhaps the biggest problem facing the U.S. military as it tries to consolidate its control over Iraq. Frankly, I also found it a little bit naive to think that -- you know, that Iraqis were going to go out and celebrate and then turn around and return to their desks the next day.
I think the thing we need to be concerned about, particularly, is is this a sign of a potential further deterioration, so that it's not just the physical spoils that people are looking for, but also the political spoils and looting and reprisals that could lead to even deeper instability in the country and perhaps even herald the kind of trouble we all are worried about among different -- different ethnic and religious groups and also between -- or potentially against Iraqis who were in some way affiliated with the regime, but mainly because that was their only ticket to some kind of income -- the lowly police officers, lowly army officers. That was the way to feed their family, and they may not be responsible for some of the regime's atrocities but pay a price for it.
And this is where it's terribly important for the military to get in there and do something. And you can't blame the individual soldiers, but the military planners should have seen this coming, particularly because it started a couple of weeks ago.
KING: Nic Robertson, what's your read on what Rumsfeld had to say?
ROBERTSON: Well, I think it's the speed with which the regime finally fell and the fact that the coalition forces weren't -- didn't have a stronger footprint on the ground at that time. And that, again, would have been a function of the military planning.
For my mind, it is -- the looting is a function of pent-up poverty. The last time I witnessed it on this scale, I believe, was in Albania, I think 1997, when the pyramid investment scheme collapsed and looting broke out first in the south and the north, and then eventually spread to the capital. And people were going to all the warehouses, anywhere they could find access to anything of value. And certainly, that's what we've seen here.
But it's gone beyond that in Baghdad. It's gone to the stage of burning down the government buildings, burning down the supermarkets. I was staggered today to see one particular building I knew very well to be completely burned to the ground, a neighborhood supermarket. And it's the fact that the buildings are being destroyed following the looting and the fact that some very valuable equipment is being stolen from hospitals, for example, really sets back getting Iraq on its feet in the way the coalition wants to do. It's going to make the job much harder to rebuild not only the institutions, but the buildings, as well.
KING: Bob Woodruff, don't some of the actions shock you?
WOODRUFF: Yes, it absolutely shocks me, Larry. And I think part of it, too, was even though the U.S. military believed it was -- believed that this could go very quickly from the beginning, they did meet some resistance on the way. And then everything moved extremely quickly at the end.
For example, our battalion that I was with expected to meet Republican Guard units very early on in this campaign, just north of An Nasiriyah. We moved up north, and they were gone. They disappeared. We expected to meet them again as we moved toward the east side of Baghdad. Again, they vaporized and went away.
We saw a lot of forces coming back, men between ages of 20 and 40 in trucks, going south away from Baghdad. None of us knew whether these were potentially Republican Guard units or not. But what surprised all of them, one in the beginning was the extent of Iraqi nationalism. They didn't expect to see these kinds of paramilitary groups resisting them, based on what they perceived as Iraqi nationalism. And then secondly, after they did meet that resistance, what really surprised them was that the Republican Guard vaporized so quickly. And frankly, I think, towards the end of the campaign, I'm not sure they were prepared to get into Baghdad as fast as they were and prepared to stop looting and start building a civil society there.
KING: Robin, isn't it a fact that oppressed people, when seeing freedom, will react in many ways we might not consider normal?
WRIGHT: Absolutely. And Nic was very right in pointing out that this is a reaction to poverty. For many of these people, this may be their one chance to get out come get some physical asset that they can do something with, be it for their own lives or to sell it on the street afterwards. So it's an -- it's a predictable reaction, but it's also something that shouldn't be allowed to go on any further because, you know, the government -- the U.S. government's going to have a hard time finding a replacement, just finding -- going in to find the chairs and the tables for people to sit at. And some of these ministries are now in flames, and finding the files to figure out how to make them work is going to be a real trick now.
KING: How about the image of the United States now, Nic? Has that changed at all in the last few days? Are people still very up about the coalition?
ROBERTSON: Yes, some people are still up. They are still up, but it is being undermined, to a degree, by the fact that the troops on the streets are watching the looting happening. As some people have put it to me, it's lowering the level of respect that Iraqis have for the coalition troops, for the U.S. troops, the Marines and the infantry that are here. So to a degree, that's not going to -- that's not going to help with the long-term work that needs to be done here. The respect needs to be there from the Iraqis for the international community and for what the international community intends to do.
However, having said that, when the coalition does turn its hands to stopping the looting, as it will inevitably have to do, it will have to impose some sort of security on Baghdad. The situation right now just cannot go on if the city is to function as a city at this time, if people are -- if people had to live their lives, have money in their pockets and buy food in their stores just to get by on a daily basis.
So I think, perhaps, when the situation turns that corner, respect will go up, and perhaps -- perhaps the coalition can look on a slightly better relationship with the people. But it's not undermined in an irreversible way, but certainly, it needs to be repaired, at this stage, Larry.
KING: Nic Robertson remains with us, so does Bob Woodruff and so does Robin Wright. And when we come back after the break, we'll be joined by Lieutenant General Paul Funk, United States Army, retired, and Brigadier General David Grange, also United States Army, retired. And the panel can also respond and, if they wish, ask questions of the retired generals. Fredricka Whitfield will have the news headlines. There'll be a word or two, and we'll be right back.
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be taking phone calls, by the way, in this half hour. Remaining with us in New York is Bob Woodruff, ABC News correspondent, just back from Baghdad and Iraq. In Washington, D.C., is Robin Wright, the chief diplomatic correspondent of "The Los Angeles Times." In Baghdad is Nic Robertson, CNN senior international correspondent. In Washington, now is Lieutenant General Paul Funk, United States Army, retired. General Funk commanded the 3rd Armored Division during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He subsequently served as commanding general of the United States Army Armor Center and commanding general of the 3 Corps in Fort Hood, Texas. And in Oak Brook, Illinois is Brigadier General David Grange, United States Army, retired, former commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, known as the Big Red One, former Army Ranger and Special Forces officer, and he is a CNN military analyst.
We'll start with General Funk. The president said today that while Saddam is no longer in power, the war will end when Tommy Franks says we have achieved our objectives. Tommy Franks -- is that the way it is going to end? Franks will announce one day, General Funk, it's over?
LT. GEN. PAUL FUNK, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I suspect that General Franks will announce that first to Secretary Rumsfeld, and then probably the president. And I mean, they may very well allow him to make that announcement, but I'm sure it will be timed, Larry.
KING: And how does it end, General Grange? How does this -- what's the end game?
BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think the regime, one of the objectives is the regime is removed, and it's just about there. I think they're trying to confirm a few other things. I think the fall of Tikrit, and then they can say that objective's been accomplished, and then, of course, is to look for weapons of mass destruction. There are -- establishing some type of rule of law, and as we've noticed the last few days, there are some challenges with the rule of law, but that's to be expected and they'll get that under control. And then I guess you can say that it's over. The bottom line is, though, that Iraq has to be -- end up better than it was before, and it doesn't take too much to do that, but it has to be a lot better than when the bombs started to be dropped.
KING: Bob Woodruff, Yogi said it ain't over until it's over. When in your opinion is it over?
WOODRUFF: I don't know, it depends on what it is. What the definition of it is. I mean, as we've always said from the very beginning in this, that the military campaign would be the easy part of this, and I think that's beared itself out pretty much. The more interesting story and the more difficult story to cover as journalists and certainly for the United States will now be to try to put this country on a future footing and build the society back up and prevent civil war and keep it at bay. And if that's successful, then I think we've won, but in terms of the military campaign, I don't know how that will be defined. It certainly seems that mass numbers of surrenders from the existing troops, as they exist, and the end of snipers and potshots coming from the local populace will indicate an end to this.
KING: Robin Wright, they're going to have a meeting Tuesday in Nasiriyah, the United States convening a meeting to discuss Iraq's future. Is that the first major step?
WRIGHT: It is the first step. There will be a series of meeting to try to allow various Iraqis to emerge as a new generation of leaders who brainstorm over the form of a new government. It will end up with a conference in Baghdad in which they'll come together to decide who will participate and the form it will take.
In terms of the issue of when does this war end, the -- to a certain degree it will end or the U.S. military intervention will end once you get an interim Iraqi authority in place and beginning to assume some of the responsibilities from the U.S. military, and that's the moment when we may be able to judge whether this has been a success and whether that Iraqis will be able to live with the kind of guarantees that will provide for freedom.
KING: Nic Robertson, when, in your opinion is it over? Or is it over now?
ROBERTSON: No, it's not over, Larry, and I think General Grange said, as General Grange said, Tikrit has yet to fall and that is the main bastion of Saddam Hussein's regime. So perhaps when that has fallen, but I think really, it will end when the people of Iraq and Baghdad and all the cities around the country get back to not a normal life, but get back to a routine, regular life, doing their jobs, getting paid, going to the stores, being able to buy food, feed their families. When that happens, then it will be over, but it will be -- it will have to also be over in a military way, as General Grange also said, and Bob Woodward -- Mr. Woodward -- Mr. Woodruff said, that when the convoys stop being attacked and when the military isn't taking potshots, but I think for the Iraqis it will be over when they feel their lives are back to some sense of normality, Larry.
KING: General Funk, what's the coalition's responsibility vis-a- vis looting?
FUNK: Clearly, they're responsible for establishing order and maintaining order, Larry. I mean, this is -- this has to be done, and I suspect that the commanders will do it pretty quickly. You reported earlier that the 101st was in town. That's going to have a big impact. The Marines are there. Both of them have had considerable training in crowd control and in restoring order, and I suspect that order's already been given.
Certainly the restoration of services are important. The water, the sewage, the -- particularly the hospitals. To see those pictures of hospitals that have been looted, which Robin mentioned earlier, it's really important that we get back in there, start helping those people and providing rudimentary care immediately.
KING: How about General Grange, rooting out the evildoers, rooting out the key members of the Baathist Party. Is that going to be difficult?
GRANGE: That is going to take a while. But you know, as I've been listening to the discussions, one thing I think I'd like to bring up from the previous question, Larry, if you don't mind, and that is that these campaigns are run in phases, and so when is it over -- for a major combat operations, it's just about over. And then it will be a transition to a phase known as stability operations, stability and security. I'm not sure how they're going to name it, but that is where you transition and take care of security of the nation, the rule of law, which you're always going to have ambushes, sniping, land mines, rooting out evildoers. That can take quite a long time, just like in Afghanistan.
And the thing about the looting, I think most people expect that some of that will happen. I mean, look at the size of the looting from the riots in Los Angeles, in the United States of America. These things happen with people when these type of emotions are released.
So I think they'll get a handle on that, but it will require a good number of troops until a civil authority can replace the soldiers and Marines doing those tasks.
KING: How about, General, those people who are in jail in Iraq for various sort of political reasons or criminals?
GRANGE: You know, that's a great question. When we did the operation in Grenada, we flew in on Black Hawk helicopters and our mission was to take down the Richmond Hill prison, and we knew some of the enemy forces, but we never were told who we were going to release from the prison.
And you know so one of my sergeants said well when we get there who do we let out? And we really didn't know. And so that's going to be tough to sort out. I don't mean to make a joke out of it, but it does happen and who do you trust to give you the names of who you should let out and who you shouldn't? It's going to take a while to sort that out as well. KING: Think about it, Bob Woodward (sic), supposing you're a bank robber and you're in jail for 20 years in Baghdad? How does the military know you're a bank robber next to the guy next to you who happened to have spoken out once against the regime?
WOODRUFF: I don't know how to deal with. I would think it's your lucky day though when these troops come in. I assume -- I think you're going to think that they are going to assume that if you're in Saddam Hussein's prison that maybe the enemy of your enemy is your friend and you might as well -- you're going to be released. But the other thing...
KING: I'm sorry. Go ahead, Bob, we'll go to calls in a minute.
WOODRUFF: I was going to say that you know Kuwait is very interested in this question, too. They believe -- they have believed that there could be as many of 600 of their own prisoners of war still sitting in Iraqi jails and they're watching this very carefully. I know there's been some false reports that some of them have been discovered, but there are quite a few political prisoners that the Kuwaitis believe they're being held there and they're going to be watching this very closely.
KING: Robin Wright, that is a dilemma, is it not?
WRIGHT: It sure is. And there are not only Kuwaitis, but there are also Iranians who are looking for remains or prisoners of war left over from the Eight Year War between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s. There are a lot of people to account for and it's going to be very tricky sorting out who's in prison, where they are and trying to account for a lot of missing people.
KING: Virginia Beach, Virginia. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I have two questions. The first one is the main question. Out of all of the government buildings that the Iraqis have been looting, have the troops gone in there ahead of time to see if there was any important papers or documents that would lead us to like weapons of mass destruction or any signs of where Saddam and his henchmen are?
And the second question is talking about the rebuilding of Iraq. The U.S. companies going in to help. Would that not send a better -- like make the U.S. look a little better in the eyes of the Arab people if instead of us just going in and, you know, tearing their country apart, at least this way we are going in and helping to rebuild it?
KING: General Funk, you want to take the first part?
FUNK: Yes. I think first of all, if the U.S. soldiers have been in there already, then I can almost promise you that there have been documents secured.
Unfortunately in many cases I don't think they've been in many of the governmental buildings and so those records will be lost. And that's going to make it more difficult when we start trying to find people, account for people and even to report to their families. I mean there will be birth certificates and all that sort of thing, official records that are going to be lost in these kind of looting and fires. So I think this is going to be a pretty difficult problem.
KING: General Grange, how about companies going in to help?
GRANGE: Well, you know, I think the transition to reconstruction is going to happen pretty quick. There's a lot of people lined up to do that. The real controversy is not going to be to have companies that will receive monies from the international community or from the United States to rebuild part of the infrastructure or the civil systems within Iraq, but who gets the contracts from different nations? I think that's where we'll start seeing some friction.
KING: We're going to take a break. We thank Nic Robertson for joining us. He's got a lot more work to do as day dawns in Baghdad. Thank you as always, Nic. Nic Robertson our CNN senior international correspondent.
Remaining with us, in our remaining moments with your phone calls, Bob Woodruff, Robin Wright, Lieutenant General Paul Funk and Brigadier General David Grange. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.
KING: Tahoe City, California, back to phone calls. Hello?
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
CALLER: Yes, I was kind of curious as to how we were going to go about playing these policemen and fire people after they've got done burning all their money. Are we going to foot the bill or is the United Nations going to foot the bill? How is this going to go about? Obviously these people don't want to work for free. Are we going to be paying these people?
KING: Bob Woodruff, you want to take it first?
WOODRUFF: I think unlike a lot of countries we've gone into before and tried to rebuild, the Bosnians and Afghanistans of the world, Iraq has tremendous national resources. I mean certainly the United States is going to foot a major bill on this. But it does have the ability, Iraq does, to generate a lot of income in the future and I think that's going to help it when it comes to rebuilding in the future and the U.S. will be able to amortize that bill and put it off on some other future Iraqi oil revenues, I would imagine.
KING: Robin Wright, you want to add to that.
WRIGHT: Well I think the emphasis has to be in that case on the future. There's going to be a period which the United States is going to be, have to be responsible for ensuring that people get paid and that there's an injection of cash to reequip hospitals and ensure that law and order is restored and to get the system going again, basically, to jumpstart it.
So I think you're likely to see fairly hefty price tag. And I think the administration has begun to estimate some of the that money, which was reflected in the president's recent supplemental budget request. But I suspect they'll end up having to go back and perhaps even back again.
KING: Big budget bill passed today. General Funk, do you have a thought on that?
FUNK: I think it's critical that we get some sort of currency established and even a banking system established. And I think at least I've read and heard on this network that there's been some preliminary work done there and we have to do that. And as the man asked, we have to put people back to work and there has to be a way to pay them. So I think that's a good point.
KING: General Grange, that is the coalition's responsibility as well, isn't it?
GRANGE: It is the coalition's responsibility initially. The international community will be involved. The World Bank, I think, will get involved.
Look what happened in Bosnia. Initially there'll be some type of money or item that will take the place of the Iraqi currency until that void is filled. For instance in Bosnia it was the deutchmark. That's the only thing that was worth anything when we were there. Then later on they developed their own currency and it's just now catching on. It takes a while.
So I think greenbacks, gold, whatever, until the jumpstart from the resources happens.
KING: Hiawatha, Kansas, hello?
CALLER: Yes, Larry. A question for your panel.
CALLER: If Saddam Hussein and/or his sons were located and it was confirmed they're were alive in Syria, would the United States go after them?
KING: General Funk, good questions. Supposing they're alive and in Syria? What do we do?
FUNK: I don't think so. I know we've even made some public statements and so on, but I believe that we would not go after them. I think it would be something that we're not prepared to take on at this time. There would be a lot of negotiations. There would be a lot of effort behind the scenes, but I don't think we'd go after them.
KING: What do you think, General Grange?
GRANGE: Enormous pressure placed on Syria, and I would say God help them if they left the country.
KING: Toronto, Canada. Hello.
CALLER: Hi there, I'm calling regarding the weapons of mass destruction.
CALLER: Colin Powell in his presentation to the U.N. said that the U.S. has strong and credible, not only information, but also evidence that Iraq has them. Now the Pentagon is saying that they have to go to the people of Iraq to lead them to the weapons of mass destruction. Isn't that a bit of a contradiction and basically saying -- stating that the U.S. was acting on a hunch, that they didn't really know.
WOODRUFF: I think this is the question that really needs to be answered now, Larry. Where are these weapons of mass destruction? I can tell you that the Marines that I was with looked for them everywhere that they could. Obviously, the military mission was the predominant mission, but they did come across a couple of houses they had first thought may have chemical weapons-making facilities inside or gas masks and chemical suits and things like that, but they never found anything of real significance, and this is the question, I think, for journalists and for everyone after this war is over, the military campaign is over, to answer. Were there -- were there weapons of mass destruction? They were known about. Was this a failure of intelligence? Have we just not found them yet? And if there was never any weapons of mass destruction, that is going to be a very, very important thing to look into.
WRIGHT: Absolutely. I think the...
KING: Well, the whole question would be asked, was Colin Powell -- was he accurate or not accurate?
WRIGHT: I suspect that there is a strong case, a strong case will be made and they will find chemical and biological agents. The big question to some degree is will they find weaponized chemical and biological weapons that could have been used against troops? I think there was a calculation that the Republican Guard had it and had it in locations that they could have used it against American and British troops. The fact that they haven't, they weren't used and they haven't been found in the areas in the south is of some concern.
Now I'm told that the primary biological weapons facilities are between Baghdad and Mosul, and this is the area on the road to Tikrit, to and from Tikrit, and so I suspect there will be a lot of people looking up there, but it is interesting and to some degree worrisome that the United States has not found, whether it's Scud missiles, chemical or biological weapons, or to a less degree, nuclear evidence. I think there was less concern about nuclear material, but the other three certainly.
KING: General Funk, you want to chime in?
FUNK: Sure. I think it's absolutely important that we find them for our own credibility. The truth is we had the same thought, and in fact had intercepted a message saying -- during the Gulf War, the earlier Gulf War that they'd released chemicals to the Republican Guards, authority to use them to the division level. On the other hand, we didn't find them, but part of the problem was is you have to mix them, and their manufacturing was so poor as I understood it that they couldn't mix them until just before they used them. I don't think they ever got their act together. We now know, of course, that there were some agents somewhere in those ammunition stocks.
KING: General Grange.
GRANGE: In 1998, other than American and British inspectors documented that in fact Saddam's regime had biochemical weaponry and items to make weapons. And so it has not been accounted for. Whether it was poured in the Euphrates river, burned, or hid in bunkers between Baghdad and Tikrit, is to be determined, but I believe the coalition will find some of that stuff.
KING: Sprague River, Oregon, hello.
CALLER: Hi, how are you doing tonight?
CALLER: My question is why is Turkey so afraid of the Kurdish people having their own country? And what we will do if Turkey decides to move into northern Iraq?
WRIGHT: Well, the Turks have always been nervous about the Kurds, in part because the Kurds span four countries -- Iran, Syria, Turkey and Iraq -- and the largest Kurdish population in the world is in Turkey, and there's always been a fear that if the Iraqi Kurds get some kind of autonomy, or more importantly, push for an independent state, that that would be a threat to the national security of Turkey.
The United States has worked out an agreement with Turkey that there will be an alert system in effect if -- and there will be a kind of mechanism to talk about it if the Kurds make any kind of move, but they've guaranteed in the last 48 hours that the Kurds will pull out of Kirkuk and not be -- not, you know, try to establish an independent state. And there's quite a dialogue going on to prevent the kind of problem that the Turks have anticipated. I don't think it's going to become the issue that many had feared on the eve of this war. KING: We have about three minutes remaining. General Funk, is militarily now, is it pretty much -- has what intended to be accomplished, been accomplished?
FUNK: Yes, I think so, Larry. Tikrit, of course, has always been a target. Originally you would have thought that had we had forces up there in strength we perhaps could have come south and tried to take it earlier, but I don't think there's any doubt that we've accomplished the majority of the objectives of the military force, that the military force wanted to. The question is the transition to peace, and that's what's going on now, but we still do need to take Tikrit.
KING: Lawton, Oklahoma, last call. Hello.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last call in Lawton, Oklahoma.
KING: Go ahead, Lawton. It's you. Go ahead. Are you there?
KING: Yes, speak.
CALLER: Yes, I'm calling from Pleasanton, California.
KING: Oh, I'm sorry, they told me Lawton, Oklahoma. Go ahead.
CALLER: That's OK. Anyhow, my question to the panel is, is there any legal money system currently right now in Iraq?
KING: Good question. Bob Woodruff. Can someone go down to a store in Iraq and buy something with something?
WOODRUFF: As far as I know. I haven't been in Iraq in a couple of days, and when I was I was traveling with the U.S. Marines who weren't using any money for anything. Last time I was in Baghdad was last May and it was fine then, but they were selling us money on the streets from what I understand, their currency is collapsing. I think they're (ph) better off using cigarettes and U.S. dollars.
KING: Robin, do you know?
WRIGHT: The irony is that in northern Kurdistan, the liberated area that has been for a decade, they developed -- they had their own currency. It did not have Saddam Hussein's face on it, and in the end the economy was so strong in the north that the dinar was stronger in northern Iraq than it was in the rest of Iraq, and it may return for the time being as an alternative currency until there is a formal replacement.
KING: We only have 30 seconds. General Funk, the coalition will be responsible for the currency, too, right?
FUNK: Absolutely. KING: Thank you all very much. Bob Woodward, ABC News correspondent, Robin Wright, chief diplomatic correspondent of "The Los Angeles Times," Lieutenant General Paul Funk of the United States Army, retired. He commanded the 3rd Armored Division during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. And CNN military analyst, Brigadier General David Grange, United States Army, retired. He was the former commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, known as the Big Red One, the former Army Ranger and Special Forces officer as well.
Fredricka Whitfield will have news headlines, and then right around the corner is "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown. We'll see you again tomorrow night. I'm Larry King. Thanks for joining us. Good night.
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