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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Saddam Hussein Captured; Interview With Simon Henderson
Aired December 14, 2003 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. PAUL BREMER, U.S. CIVILIAN ADMINISTRATOR IN IRAQ: Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.
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PAULA ZAHN, HOST, PAULA ZAHN NOW: Saddam Hussein in U.S. custody. What exactly does this mean for American policy in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world?
And an obvious seismic change in the landscape of the war on terror. Will Saddam's apprehension free up resources to focus on the hunt for Osama bin Laden?
And does this historic capture mean George W. Bush is unbeatable in the 2004 elections?
Good evening. Glad to have you with us tonight. Welcome to a special Sunday edition of our program.
On a night like tonight, there is only one thing you need to know. Nine months after he was chased out of Baghdad, former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has been captured.
U.S. troops found him hiding near Tikrit in a dirty, concrete hole inside a small, walled compound. U.S. officials say it was barely big enough to lie down in. And Iraqi leaders say Saddam was sharing it with mice and rats.
Let's go now to our team of correspondents around the world. Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us from Tikrit, near where Saddam was found. Baghdad bureau chief Jane Arraf has reaction from the Iraqi capital.
Senior White House correspondent John King is standing by in Washington with the latest from the Bush administration. And senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has the latest from the Defense Department.
First up, let's go to Nic Robertson in Tikrit. Good evening, Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, TIKRIT, IRAQ: Good evening, Paula.
Well, this former presidential palace was the place that the search for Saddam Hussein was initiated from. It is the base for the 4th Infantry Division.
Some 600 soldiers swarmed onto a farm about 10 miles south of here on the Tigris River. They searched two farm buildings, found nothing. They came across a small hut. They found a ramshackled bedroom with clothes strewn around the floor.
They found a dirty kitchen. Outside of that dirty kitchen on the ground, one of the soldiers spotted a rug on the floor. He pulled the rug back, found a Styrofoam cover, lifted off the Styrofoam cover.
Inside he saw a pit in the ground, a hole in the ground. Inside was Saddam Hussein.
According to the coalition officials, no shots were fired as Saddam Hussein was brought into captivity. He did have a pistol. He chose not to use it.
Within an hour of being taken out of that hole on that farm, Saddam Hussein was on his way to an undisclosed location for interrogation. He underwent healthcare checks on the way there.
The people of Tikrit, however, who have been in the past staunchly loyal to Saddam Hussein - this is his home town, his home area - today when we talked to them were not jubilant as many other Iraqis were. They said Saddam - the capture of Saddam Hussein means nothing. He is just a man. We'd rather have him in power.
They also say that it will not affect the anti-coalition forces. They say that these people are fighting for Iraq and not for Saddam Hussein.
More from the Iraqi capital now from my colleague, Jane Arraf.
JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF, BAGHDAD: Thanks, Nic.
Well, here in Baghdad, people are still trying to come to grips with those incredible images, so different from the Saddam they knew who held such power over them for so many years.
When the news came out, there were celebrations in the streets, small groups of people dancing in the streets, setting off gunfire, but a lot of people sitting at home waiting to see what happens.
Later that night, there was an explosion down the street. It had been feared it was another car bomb. It would have been the second today. But, in fact, it was, according to military officials, an Iraqi policeman who was smoking a cigarette as he was refueling his car that caused that explosion.
Despite that, no one thinks that this is over yet.
We're now going to hear from our John King at the White House - John.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON: Thank you, Jane. Here at the White House, a mixture of celebration and caution. Mr. Bush was told first Saturday afternoon at Camp David that perhaps Saddam Hussein had been captured. The final word - the definitive word - came shortly after 5:00 a.m. this morning.
Mr. Bush then coming into the cabinet room here at the White House shortly after noon to deliver an address to the American people, Mr. Bush calling the capture of Saddam Hussein the end of a dark and painful era. And he said it was a turning point for the Iraqi people.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq.
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KING: Mr. Bush careful, though, not to call it a turning day for the military mission in Iraq, mindful of the lessons learned in the seven months since he declared major combat operations over.
You see the President here tonight, attending a Christmas celebration in Washington, clearly in an upbeat mood. But one senior official here at the White House saying tonight there is a possibility the violence could actually increase in Iraq, because of the reaction by the insurgents to the capture of Saddam Hussein.
So the administration saying the military mission continues, but the President today also paying tribute to the troops involved and to the intelligence they gathered before conducting that dramatic raid.
And for more on how this all came about, Jamie McIntyre now at the Pentagon.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON: Well, John, after months of frustration, the U.S. military captured Saddam Hussein in an operation that went like clockwork. Here's a tick-tock.
Operation Red Dawn was born at 10:50 a.m., Saturday, Iraq time.
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LT. GEN. RICARDO SANCHEZ, U.S. FORCES COMMANDER: We received intelligence on the possible whereabouts of Saddam Hussein. Two likely locations were identified near the town of Ad Dawr.
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MCINTYRE: The two locations just south of Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit are codenamed Wolverine 1 and Wolverine 2.
By 5:00 p.m., the final piece of the puzzle falls in place - actionable intelligence from an Iraqi informant. An hour later, 6:00 p.m., raider brigades - 600 soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division - moves quickly under the cover of darkness, backing up the Special Operations Task Force 121, spearheading the hunt.
The soldiers are after a high value target, but many don't know it's Saddam Hussein.
By 8:00 p.m., the targeted areas are secured, but Saddam hasn't been found. The area is sealed, and a meticulous search gets underway.
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MAJ. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO, COMMANDER, 4TH INFANTRY DIVISION, IRAQ: Hussein was found hiding in an underground crawl space at 8:26 p.m. Soldiers captured him without incident. He was in the bottom of a hole. There was no way he could fight back, so he was just caught like a rat.
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MCINTYRE: At 9:15 p.m., a helicopter whisks the captured dictator to a secure area, which Pentagon sources say is the Baghdad International Airport. There, former regime members, already in custody, ID him, and he's given a medical exam.
It would be another hour-and-a-half before the top U.S. commander, General John Abizaid, would have enough confidence to inform the Pentagon that Saddam Hussein's days a fugitive had ended - Paula.
ZAHN: Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, thanks for the update.
A little bit earlier this evening, I spoke with Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. He had much to say about the capture of Saddam Hussein.
I started it off by asking him if he thinks it will bring U.S. troops out of Iraq any faster.
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN, (D) DELAWARE: Only if we internationalize this process and use this as an excuse, Paula, to bring NATO in and bring other forces into Iraq.
I think what it's going to do, most importantly, is it's going to gain us extended cooperation from the Iraqi people, identifying the bad guys who continue to do things against the coalition forces.
ZAHN: But here's my question to you. Given the divide of our allies over the issue of going to war with Iraq, are you really optimistic you can nationalize this force?
BIDEN: Absolutely. I spent an hour-and-a-half with Jacques Chirac in his office. You know well enough to know you don't give a minority senator that much time unless you're sending a message.
He specifically told me - and we went into great detail - he would not object to NATO forces being involved in Iraq. He also said that he would consider U.S. - or French - forces, if the environment changed.
I talked to him about how the President had made a major change, saying Bremer's out of there at the end of June, Iraqi sovereignty is turned over. What was he willing to put on the table if we went back to the United Nations?
This is an overwhelming opportunity with the capture of Saddam for the President to go back to the U.N. and say, OK. We know when Bremer leaves, you've got to be followed on by something else. Let's pick a high commissioner now who will take that job when the time comes.
ZAHN: So what you're basically telling me, it is your belief, with Saddam gone, that you may actually see French, German and Russian troop support?
BIDEN: If, in fact, the President internationalizes this, if the President continues the path he recently moved on, which was to say, we are not going to keep Bremer there in charge.
For example, Paula, we have - and you've covered Kosovo - we have an international high commissioner there reporting to the United Nations Security Council, including us.
ZAHN: In the meantime, we can't ignore how dangerous Iraq is ...
ZAHN: ... for U.S. troops on the ground. There's a lot of talk about the insurgents, whether they'll want to hang on to their threads of power and stand up and fight, or fade into the background.
What do you see happening?
BIDEN: I think they'll stand up and fight initially. But the real value here, Paula, is now, with Saddam being gone, we're going to find out that, in fact, we're going to get cooperation from the Iraqis exposing who the bad guys are. That's the best thing we have to look forward in the near term.
But there will still be violence. The President was right.
ZAHN: Do you see a situation where the expectations has been raised so high with the capture of Saddam Hussein, that the Bush administration can't live up to them?
BIDEN: Well, I think the President helped that in his four- minute address when he said, let me make it clear to everybody. There's going to be continued violence, and there's a lot of work to be done.
There was no banner behind him saying, you know, mission accomplished. And to his credit.
And as long as the President keeps banging away at how much this is going to take, how much it's going to cost and how dangerous it is, and bring in other folks, I don't think the expectations will exceed our capacity.
ZAHN: Finally, with Saddam gone and the economy improving, do you see any way George Bush is beaten in 2004?
BIDEN: Sure I do, but I hope, in fact, George Bush, for the same of America, we - hope we go into the next election with Iraq secured.
I mean, if my choice is to have to wish for an insecure Iraq and American soldiers in trouble, or George Bush winning, I choose George Bush winning. I mean, and I'm not for George Bush. I have fundamental disagreement with him on a lot of issues.
So, this is a single event. The President has another opportunity to get this right. And I think he's doing - and I think he has a phenomenal opportunity. If he takes advantage of it, he should be given credit for it.
But there's many other things that are going on that show a fundamental difference between the Democratic candidates and George Bush and why the Democrats should be the next president.
But that's, quite frankly, if, in fact, we win the war in Iraq and win the peace in Iraq and that helps George Bush, so be it. It's in the interests of America that happened.
ZAHN: Senator Biden, thanks so much for joining us on the weekend. We appreciate your time.
BIDEN: Oh, thank you for having me.
ZAHN: And more on what Saddam's capture means for the U.S. and its allies as we talk with former - that would be Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke.
And the hunt for Osama bin Laden, what Saddam's capture means for the search for the terrorist mastermind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the issue in Iraq is that we can plan operations and we can be unilateral. We can go anywhere in that country on air or ground.
It's not the situation in Afghanistan.
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ZAHN: Also, Howard Dean is quick to react about today's stunning news. Has President Bush made it all but impossible for the Democrats to get into the White House?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GEN. RICARDO SANCHEZ, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES IN IRAQ: For the last several months, a combination of human intelligence tips, exceptional intelligence analytical efforts and detainee interrogations narrowed down the activities of Saddam Hussein.
This effort led us to conduct this raid last night on this rural farmhouse where we apprehended Saddam.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Well, the hunt is over. You heard it. Saddam has been captured. So what is the mood right now within the Bush administration and the Pentagon?
I am joined by regular contributor and former Pentagon spokeswoman, Victoria Clarke.
I'm also joined by Saddam biographer, Simon Henderson, and CNN military analyst and retired Air Force general, Don Shepperd, joins us as well. Welcome to all three of you.
Tory, I'd love to start with you this evening. How important was it for the Pentagon to take Saddam Hussein alive?
VICTORIA CLARKE, FORMER PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: Well, I think it was important. I think Secretary Rumsfeld maybe earlier today said, it's not completely under your control. I mean, their instructions are to capture him if possible, kill him if you have to.
But there's such intel value in getting him alive. There's intel that he - information he can and, we hope, will give. And then you can also use what you learn from him on other detainees that you have.
So I think it was quite important to get him alive.
ZAHN: Simon, you've studied this man for a long, long time. You don't necessarily think that is the case. Why?
SIMON HENDERSON, SADDAM HUSSEIN BIOGRAPHER: I think it's useful, insofar as that he can then go in front of some sort of legal tribunal in the new regime of Iraq. And this will help the new Iraq to form itself.
I don't find it useful in that Saddam is essentially a survivor. And if he survived after being captured, then he will still think that at some point along the line, there is a chance that he can get back into power.
And although to us this probably appears completely ridiculous, the very fact he's alive will make some Iraqis - perhaps quite a few Iraqis - think much the same. ZAHN: Simon, are you surprised he didn't kill himself? He had a bunch of weapons in there with him - a pistol and a couple of rifles.
HENDERSON: I'm surprised he didn't fight and kill a few Americans. But then, what I suspect happened was that the U.S. Army didn't knock on the hatch and say, it's the U.S. Army here. Come out with your hands up and surrender.
They probably got one of their Iraqi or Arabic-speaking colleagues to say, master, the Americans have gone, but we must find another hiding place. And he stuck his head out and that was it.
ZAHN: General Shepperd, help us better understand tonight, the real triumph of this raid. Not a single shot fired, no injuries.
You're talking about finding a man living like a rat under a piece of Styrofoam and a rug, with boats standing nearby along the banks of the Tigris River, apparently human intelligence tipping the U.S. off to his whereabouts.
MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Indeed, Paula.
Basically, I was there about six weeks ago and we talked to Major General Ray Odierno, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division.
I asked him straight. Look, do you think he's still alive? Do you think he's still in Iraq? And he says, I think he's alive. I think he's in Iraq. I think he's in this area, and I think we're going to get him.
And he also said later, I think we've come close, certainly within 24 hours.
This speaks very well to the training and the discipline and the values of American troops, that they were able to pull this off.
In the end, it'll be interesting to see what the real story is, but it could be that some 19- or 20-year-old kid was the one that flipped that hatch and got Saddam to come out, and then in the end didn't kill him when they had the chance. This is good news for America. It's good news for Iraq, Paula.
ZAHN: General Shepperd, let's talk a little bit about the human intelligence that we have been told led to this raid. There's been a lot of skepticism about it and a lot of criticism of what people consider downright false intelligence leading up to this war with Iraq.
What does this tell us?
SHEPPERD: Yes, human intelligence is always tough. It's been especially tough in Iraq, where we have a dearth, if you will, of Iraqi experts over there working with us, especially in 35 years of a regime that's kept its thumb on everything in that country. Basically, when we were over there, we were told intelligence is getting better everyday. Our problem is not the volume, it's sorting the good from the bad. And some of it is intentionally false to draw us into traps.
So they were able in this particular case to act on two reports, one of which was off and one of which was on. So it's an indication that intelligence, in this case, worked, Paula. But there's plenty of work still to be done all around Iraq.
ZAHN: Tory, one of the first images most Americans caught of Saddam Hussein was the really pathetic-looking picture of him being physically examined by a U.S. official.
Is it true the Pentagon actually had a heated debate about whether to go public with that image?
CLARKE: I don't know if I'd call it a debate, but there was a lot of consideration given to the pros and cons of releasing photographs and videos of Saddam Hussein.
Our government, as it should, for a long time has had a very clear practice of not holding up detainees and POWs to any kind of public ridicule or criticism. I mean, people have been reprimanded for doing something in which we thought they mistreated POWs, for instance.
And we also know - they also know, that there will be some people in the Arab world who say that's exactly what you're doing, holding him up to ridicule.
But it was so important to demonstrate to the Iraqi people and to the world that they have Saddam Hussein, it was so important to demonstrate that he was being treated very, very appropriately and very carefully, that that outweighed the concerns. So a lot of consideration and a lot of thought went into that, saying, if and when we get him, what will we do with the images that we have?
ZAHN: Victoria Clarke, Simon Henderson and General Don Shepperd, thanks to our trio tonight.
CLARKE: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: And does the fact that Saddam Hussein is caught make it easier for U.S. troops to get out of Iraq on a new timetable? We'll be talking about that live with former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke.
And then there is reaction in the Arab world. Anger against the U.S. has been on the rise in the Muslim world. With this signal a warming of relations?
ZAHN: Here's about - about the fact that the capture of Saddam Hussein is a welcome step forward for U.S. policy in Iraq. But how much does it change the military and political situation there?
Joining us now is Richard Holbrooke, former Assistant Secretary of State. Always good to see you, sir.
RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Paula.
ZAHN: There's been some debate today about whether you will actually see a decrease in the insurgency movement, or an increased risk of violence against U.S. troops. What do you think?
HOLBROOKE: I think the troops have to be on guard for an increase. The war isn't over.
I talked yesterday, by chance, to a senior coalition authority figure back from Baghdad in New York. And we talked about what would happen if Saddam was captured, as we assumed - or killed - as we assumed would happen.
And he said that there's so many other elements attacking Americans, and the Baathists are going to fight for their lives. So I think we should assume that this is a huge, positive event - good for America, good for Iraqis - but the war isn't over.
ZAHN: So you really see a scenario where you can create a power vacuum, and where ...
HOLBROOKE: No, I wouldn't say that.
ZAHN: Well, let me just ask you this. Maybe I'm not phrasing it correctly.
But you have a situation where some of these insurgents, who weren't necessarily loyal to Saddam Hussein, will work darn hard to hang on to any vestige of power.
HOLBROOKE: There are four or five different elements trying to kill Americans right now. About 80 percent of the incidents come from Saddam loyalists and Baathists. They're going to continue. They're not going to stop because he was killed. But it will be a blow to them. And we don't yet know what the central command and control structure is that led to this.
Then there are the al Qaeda terrorists, jihadists, an increasing number of Iraqis who are just angry at the U.S. even though we liberated them.
We have to deal with all of this. But let's not kid ourselves. Let's not focus on the dangers tonight, let's focus on the positive opportunities here.
The most important opportunity, Paula, comes from the fact that he was captured alive, and not killed. We have a chance, in a trial, to expose to the world what Saddam was about, let witnesses testify against him and show that the cause of overthrowing him - which I always thought was legitimate - was legitimate.
That will have a huge international effect in the Arab world, in the European public opinion and so on.
ZAHN: So you have faith that this trial would work and Saddam Hussein wouldn't turn it into a mockery of the process?
HOLBROOKE: There are a lot of different ways this trial can unfold. First of all, you can't turn it over to the international tribunals that are trying Milosevic and so on. They don't have the death penalty. They move too slowly.
Second of all, you can't turn it over to the Iraqis, because they don't have the judicial system. Some kind of mix situation where the U.S. runs it, but brings the Iraqis in, as public as possible, bringing witnesses in from all over the world to show the world.
Now this has happened to Milosevic from Yugoslavia. His trial in the Hague, broadcast live, has completely wrecked his public position in Serbia. And I think the same thing would happen here.
So the fact that he was captured alive, that he didn't choose to kill himself and those incredible pictures of him with a pencil flashlight in his eyes, this is a huge public, positive event for us.
ZAHN: Yes, we, in fact, have an interview with a POW coming up at the end of the hour. And he said it brought him the greatest sense of delight ...
HOLBROOKE: An Iraqi?
ZAHN: ... to see him looking - no. Actually one of our own that was held for three weeks.
ZAHN: Just to see him looking so undignified and pathetic.
ZAHN: I had a question for you. Senator Biden talked about the same opportunities you just mentioned, in opening to internationalize a force in Iraq.
And he seems fairly confident that if the Bush administration and with this James Baker mission reaches out in the right way, you could very well have Russian, French and German troops on the ground serving side by side. Do you see that happening?
HOLBROOKE: Well, it is an opportunity. But the key word in what you just quoted Senator Biden as saying is "if."
This administration's behavior towards the French, Germans and Russians earlier this week was quite unnecessary. And they have to learn - this administration has to learn - and they don't seem to want to, that they can't do it alone, except in the military front.
Now, are they going to use what happened today as an opportunity to reach out? There's nothing in the way this administration's behavior over the last three years that would suggest that they would do this. They only reach out to other countries when they're reeling from setbacks.
Today is the biggest, best day of the whole Iraq mission, including the statue. Better to capture Saddam than have the statue fall over in a public square.
So I don't understand the theory that they would turn today into an opportunity.
As for Jim Baker and his mission, it's an important mission. But it's been compromised by the backdrop to it.
Final point on this issue, on internationalization. In the end, it is in our national interest to internationalize it to reduce the risks on Americans, to reduce our casualties, and most importantly, to accelerate the transfer of power to Iraqis on the political side while continuing to provide them with the security.
Will they do this as a result of today? That's their decision. But you can't, on the basis of what they've done in the last two years, assume they will.
ZAHN: Former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, thank you for your insights tonight.
Tony Blair says Saddam Hussein's capture brings unity to the Iraqi people. We're going to hear from the British prime minister, who spoke with President Bush today.
And the trial of Saddam Hussein. Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin will tell us who should preside over it and why.
And with Saddam now in custody, many in the Arab world are celebrating. But will it harm relations with the U.S.?
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back here at the bottom of the hour, here's what you need to know right now. President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair shared a phone call right after the news of Saddam Hussein's capture. In London, CNN correspondent Matthew Chance is outside the Prime Minister's home at 10 Downing (ph) Street. What's the latest from there? Good evening Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, LONDON: Paula, thank you very much. It was after that brief conversation between Tony Blair and President Bush, which according to Downing (ph) Street officials; the two leaders discussed reconciliation in Iraq, and how to move that country forward following the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Tony Blair then went on to appear before the television cameras to talk about what must have been for him, a leading advocate of the war in Iraq. A very very welcomed development indeed. But he chose his words very carefully to try and strike the right tone for the British public. This was not a victory speech. Instead, he thanked the coalition forces and the security services responsible for making this capture, and stressed that it was an opportunity more than anything else for the people of Iraq to unite, is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The shadow of Saddam is finally lifted from the Iraqi people. We give thanks for that. But let this be more than a cause simply for rejoicing. Let it be a moment to reach out, and to reconcile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: Well the capture of Saddam Hussein has certainly been welcomed by people who oppose the war in Iraq, and those who support it as well. But it doesn't spell the end of Tony Blair's problems. Remember people in Britain were told that the main reason they went to war in Iraq wasn't to capture Saddam Hussein, but to capture the weapons of mass destruction that Tony Blair had insisted were in that country. The weapons of course have not been found yet Paula.
ZAHN: Matthew Chance in London, thank you for that late update tonight. Now that Saddam Hussein is a prisoner, who gets to try him, and on what charges? Joining us now is our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin (ph), and Leila Sadat, a professor of international law at Washington University in St. Louis. Welcome both.
Leila, first of all, where do you think Saddam Hussein should be tried?
LEILA SADAT, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well Paula, thank you so much for having me on the show. I think the best solution would be an international tribunal. Either a hybrid tribunal such as the one we have for Sierra Leone (ph), or an addition to the Adhock (ph) tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, a chapter seven tribunal backed by the power of the security council.
ZAHN: Let's talk about this hybrid idea. That's something that our previous guest put forth as well.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: (UNINTELLIBLE) mentioned that. But the three structures in place now are, there is an Iraqi tribunal that has just been set up. And I think many people would like to see the Iraqis dispense their own justice to him. Let the real victims of his injustice bring him to justice.
ZAHN: Are they capable of doing that...
TOOBIN: Don't know...
ZAHN: ...within the structure of the Iraqi governing council that so few people seem to have faith in?
TOOBIN: Have any confidence in? And after all, who were only appointed by Americans. The other possibility is some sort of international tribunal, where Milosovic is being tried now. But those have been extremely slow. They do not have the death penalty. And the Bush Administration has been very hostile to international courts of any kind.
Third possibility is an American military tribunal. What is about to happen it appears in Guantanamo Bay. That has the problem of looking like Victor's (ph) justice. That we are imposing it. Something that involves the Iraqi people, but has some sort of structure that would allow it to proceed in a way that appears fair. I think that's probably the best idea.
ZAHN: Leila, isn't that the challenge? Trying to find, whatever this hybrate (ph) format is, that it gives the Iraqis some sort of say. Of course the people who have suffered so much under his dictatorship.
SADAT: Absolutely Paula. But I think we have to be very careful in structuring any kind of tribunal. I agree with Jeffrey that the tribunals in the Hague have been slow. But one of the reasons they've been slow is it takes an enormous amount of time to start up an investigation, hire prosecutors, train staff, and train judges. The Iraqis will not only face all of the problems that the ad hoc tribunals, if the Iraqis are forced to go it alone, they'll do it without the resources of the United Nations, they'll do it on their own government budget. If you look at the special statute that has been created, it looks like this is intended to be something funded purely out of the government's resources, although I understand congress will give them an appropriation for the first year.
What I fear very much, if we throw it back to the Iraqis in an idea of being seduced by having the Iraqis do it for themselves, in fact what we'll end up with in one or two years, is absolutely no justice whatsoever. They won't be able to afford it, and it simply won't be supported by the international process at all.
ZAHN: Jeffrey Toobin, you get the last word tonight.
TOOBIN: Public, it has to be a public event that persuades the world who Saddam really was.
ZAHN: Thank you both. Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and Leila Sadat. Now that U.S. has captured Saddam Hussein, will it make it any easier to capture the other most wanted man in the world, Osama Bin Laden? National Correspondent Mike Boettcher investigates.
MIKE BOETTCHER, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It ended at a storage shed, down a carefully prepared spider hole. But the hunt for Saddam Hussein had months ago already been narrowed down to a small area around his birthplace of Tikrit. So too, with the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, which has focused on an area known as Southern Waziristan, in Pakistan's tribal area.
Will similar tactics yield another success?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These situations are totally different.
BOETTCHER: Start with the terrain. The area around Tikrit is flat, with some urban areas. But most importantly, it has been under U.S. control since April. The area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is mountainous. Sparsely populated, much harder to move around, even by air.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well the issue in Iraq is that we can plan operations, and we can be unilateral. We can go anywhere in that country on air or ground. It's not the situation in Afghanistan. And the terrain is totally different.
BOETTCHER: Another important difference, the U.S. can't act alone in hunting Bin Laden. It must rely in large part on Pakistan, and it's ability to produce the sort of human intelligence that led to Saddam's capture. Nor will Saddam's capture now mean more resources going into the search for Osama, which is being conducted by the same special operations task force, 121.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to continue the press forward on the rest of the Bathists that they still have on their list, and going after these insurgents. And in Afghanistan, they are going to still continue to press toward finding Osama Bin Laden.
BOETTCHER: The bottom line, what worked in Iraq may not help in Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
BOETTCHER (on-camera): Consider this, for all the focus on the hunt for Saddam Hussein, he was only on the run eight months since the fall of Baghdad, the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is now in it's third year. Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.
ZAHN: Today's victory for President Bush may smell trouble for the Democratic Presidential candidates. Will they have to overhaul their campaigns to have a shot at winning the White House? Plus, they were held in Iraq for weeks, two U.S. service men, former prisoners of war join us in an exclusive interview. Find out what they have to say about Saddam Hussein and his capture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really enjoyed seeing him with his mouth open, and they were sticking things in it. Because of course he's a dictator, and used to having his thing -- having things his way. So for me it was a lot of gratitude.
ZAHN: We turn now to the political ramifications of the capture of Saddam Hussein. The Democratic Presidential candidates had attacked President Bush for failing to catch the former Iraqi dictator. Well today they are applauding the capture. Well at least some of them are. And you can bet they are reassessing their campaign strategies. Joining us from Washington, Judy Woodruff, anchor of CNN's "INSIDE POLITICS."
Here at the studio in the studio with me, I'm joined my CNN's senior analyst Jeff Greenfield, and regular contributor and "Time" magazine columnist, Joe Klein. Welcome trio.
Judy, first off, there's a lot of discussion today about whether this all but guarantees George W. Bush reelection. What are you hearing now?
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN's INSIDE POLITICS: Paula, it's way to early to say. We are still 11 months, 12 months from the election almost. But you have to say it is a good day for this president. Let me just tell you what one Democratic pollster, veteran Democratic pollster Peter Hart (ph) had to say. He said this validates the argument that George Bush had been making -- he said this President needed a scalp, it was something his father didn't get. He got that scalp in Saddam Hussein. So even the Democrats are giving the President credit.
ZAHN: (UNINTELLIBLE) major poll out just late this afternoon showing eight out of 10 Americans foresee (ph) this as a huge achievement for the Bush Administration. Where does it go from here? How does this play?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well first, I don't know what the other two think. Other than...
ZAHN: We could ask them, but we don't have time tonight Jeff.
GREENFIELD: This -- look, all of the Democrats today said hooray, good thing. Some of them tried to talk about their notion -- now it's time to internationalize it. Two of them took a shot at Howard Dean. John Kerry, and Joe Lieberman. But you know, this is chapter 450 in let's rap this election up before anybody's done anything. One of the keys is, it seems to me, that the premise of the Bush war in Iraq was this was a major effort to stop terror. In fact Dick Cheney called Saddam Hussein the visible face of terror that has threatened us, including 9/11. So before we know what the real political fall out is, we have to know what's going to happen.
Not what politicians say or polls say in the hours after an event happens, which are almost always useless, but if terror attacks continue, if the Bathists are able to keep mounting attacks, it's one thing. If they stabilize Iraq, what Senator (UNINTELLIBLE) said to you a few hours ago is true. If that happens, it's all going to be to Bush's credit, as it ought to be.
ZAHN: I know you have a very strong concern about the insurgency movement, and the impact the capture will have on that, if any impact at all.
JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, "TIME": Well the problem is that we don't know exactly what the insurgency movement is. Look, the last time we had a terrific day in Iraq, when Saddam's two sons were killed, within a couple of days after that, the big bombings began. I don't think that we can count out the fact that there's going to be continued trouble there. I think that this is a real opportunity. And as for the Democrats, it was going to be -- this was going to be the major issue of the campaign for them. It may still be.
But I'll tell you what Paula, a great many of them would be happier if it wasn't. Because they don't feel comfortable talking about foreign policy, and they don't have very much to say. In fact, Howard Dean hasn't really laid down any details of how his policy in Iraq would differ from the President's.
ZAHN: Judy, let's talk a little bit about what the President attempted to do in his address to the United States, or U.S. citizens in terms of trying to strike that balance. Not appearing to be to jubilant, continuing to recognize the risk that U.S. troops on the ground face. What kind of feedback have you gotten from elect officials down there to the address?
WOODRUFF: People are giving the President credit, people around the President. They're giving them credit for not boasting, for not wanting to pat themselves on the back. Because as the President himself said, there is still going to be violence. This aftermath of the war is not over. You know Paula, I call the chairman of the Democratic Party in Iowa, we know the Iowa caucuses, just five weeks away. He said in effect, undecided voters are going to take a look. Joe and Jeff are right. It's early, we don't know what's going to happen. But certainly when you look at the news today, the Presidents statement, when you look at the uncertainty over what's going to happen in the weeks ahead, this in a sense throws things up in the air. It gives these candidates a chance to make their arguments again.
David Yepson (ph), long time reporter for the "Des Moines Register," said to me today, this is a whole new ball game in a sense. He said people are going to take another look at Dick Gephardt, and Howard Dean here.
ZAHN: Let's talk about the non-candidate, Hillary Clinton, making some very nuanced remarks about this today. Saying it's to early to tell, or to determine who's victory this really is.
GREENFIELD: I think that's what all of us have been saying. I'm missing the nuance.
ZAHN: In terms of not getting -- giving the Bush Administration any credit at all for the capture. I don't (ph) think that's terribly nuanced.
KLEIN: Yes, I think that that's unfortunate. Interesting thing, tomorrow morning Hillary Clinton's giving a big foreign policy speech. Tomorrow morning John Edwards is giving a big foreign policy speech. Tomorrow afternoon Howard Dean is giving a big foreign policy speech. There's a lot of late night rewriting going on today.
ZAHN: That means you'll be back here tomorrow night as well as you Jeff.
GREENFIELD: And in fact what's interesting is that the most politically astute note -- if you want to put it that way -- was struck by Senator Vine (ph). And who of course is one of the few Democrats not running. When he said you know, if it all works out well, and that's to the Presidents credit, that's fine with me. Which is the kind of grownup, non-carping (ph) statement that you wonder whether any of these candidates are ever going to figure out, you know, it really probably is a good thing to put things first in terms of what's in the interest to save the Iraqi people. Peace, democracy, and the United States. And then we'll worry about politics. They've got it -- I won't use the exact phrase I had, but they had it backwards.
ZAHN: Use the exact phrase you were going to use Jeff.
ZAHN: You almost had it there. All right. Joe Klein, Jeff Greenfield, Judy Woodruff. Thank you so much for stopping by with us on this historic day.
Coming up two soldiers who spent three weeks as prisoners of war in Iraq, American soldiers join us for an exclusive interview on what they have to say about the capture of Saddam Hussein.
ZAHN: Welcome Back. Some of the strongest reactions of Saddam's capture obviously is coming out of Iraq and the rest of the Arab world. To talk about that, I am joined now by Middle East expert Fawaz Gerges of Sarah Lawrence College. Welcome. What is the Arab reaction?
FAWAZ GERGES, MIDDLE EAST ANAYLIST: I think the Arab world is very conflicted. (AUDIO GAP) Palestinians felt very saddened by the capture of Saddam Hussein after all, they live in a state of siege, and the Israeli occupation, and they were supported by Saddam Hussein. Kuwait has expressed their elation and they celebrated his capture because he invaded Kuwait in 1990.
ZAHN: Egypt increasing security at the U.S. embassy.
GERGES: Absolutely. (UNINTELLIBLE) Paula, regardless of how Arabs feel about the capture of Saddam Hussein, most of them tend to be very suspicious of an American foreign policy.
ZAHN: So where is the window of opportunity here in the United States?
GERGES: The capture of Saddam Hussein represents the window of opportunity. But three major steps must be taken.
ZAHN: Like what?
GERGES: First, Saddam Hussein must be given a fair and transparent trial. The trial itself must provide a sense of reconciliation, and internal healing.
ZAHN: Which means the involvement of the Iraqi people.
GERGES: Absolutely. Not just the Iraqi people, but also strong international supervision to ensure credibility, and legitimacy of the trial.
ZAHN: What else?
GERGES: Secondly, I think the Administration must welcome and accept the internationalization, the Iraqi project, give Iraqis time and space to (UNINTELLIBLE) state on society. And thirdly, all Iraqi communities Paula, including the Kurdish community must be given a state in the emerging order in Iraq.
ZAHN: Let's talk about how Iraqis are reacting in divergent ways.
GERGES: Absolutely. And this is what...
ZAHN: There are those now who might view Americans as liberators, not occupiers, with Saddam gone, right?
GERGES: What we need to understand is actually how the capture of Saddam Hussein plays itself on the Iraqi scene. Yes, the capture of Saddam Hussein will present a major psychological breakthrough for Iraqis. But there are three questions. Will the United States exploit this small window of opportunity? To convince Iraqis that the United States is not there to stay. That the United States is not there to exploit their resources. That the Untied States is not there to create a hypocratic government, which receives it's orders from the United States.
How can the United States replace the (UNINTELLIBLE) military occupation with the logic of a legitimate Iraqi authority with international supervision.
ZAHN: Do you have any faith in the Iraqi governing counsel at this hour?
GERGES: No I don't.
ZAHN: So what's going to replace it? What body do you put in place that can go the distance?
GERGES: I'm extremely skeptical about the ability of the Bush Administration to take the needed steps not only to replace the logic of American military occupation with the logic of a legitimate authority, but to internationalize the Iraqi project. To bring in the international community, to give Iraqis time and space, to argue, to debate, to decide the future of that country.
ZAHN: You're basically asking them to reset the Iraqi National Congress.
ZAHN: All right, that's exactly what you are doing. Fawas Gerges, thanks for joining us tonight.
An exclusive interview with two former prisoners of war in Iraq, held there for three weeks. We're going to find out what they have to say about the capture of Saddam Hussein.
ZAHN: And now, an exclusive. Look at these pictures of Chief Warrant officers Ronald Young Jr., and David Williams, taken prisoner after their Apache helicopter gun ship was shot down last March. The men, both members of the 1st cab division were POW's for three weeks, until they were finally rescued. Tonight, Saddam Hussein is the prisoner. And Ronald Young joins us from the CNN center in Atlanta. David Williams joins us from Ft. Hood Texas. Welcome to both of you, thank you for your time this evening.
ZAHN: So Ron, did you take any personal satisfaction in seeing Saddam Hussein as undignified, and as humiliated as he looked in the first video released?
RONALD YOUNG JR, CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER: Absolutely. I really enjoyed seeing him with his mouth open, and they were sticking things in it. Because of course he's a dictator, and used to having his thing -- having things his way. So for me it was a lot of gratitude.
ZAHN: And Ron, what else went through your mind when you saw those images for the first time?
YOUNG: I really just couldn't believe it. It was exhilarating really. I was almost shaken I was so happy. I just really wish that the guys who have laid their life on the line, and had lost their life would have been here to see this.
ZAHN: David, did you ever see this day coming?
DAVID WILLIAMS, CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER: I did Ma'am. It was only a matter of time.
ZAHN: And how many nights have you prayed for this outcome?
WILLIAMS: Well I prayed every night, mostly for the soldiers. But I knew that his time was up.
ZAHN: And David, when you saw these pictures for the first time, what went through your mind?
WILLIAMS: Well at first, it was about 5:30 this morning, and I sat up in the bed, and watched -- turned on the TV. And I had to adjust my eyes because I couldn't believe it. Then as the doctor was examining him. But I was happy to see that. Get a little taste of his own medicine if you will.
ZAHN: Was there a part of you that took sort of a sick delight in that? Given the conditions under which you were held for almost three weeks.
WILLIAMS: Well, you know -- looking at that hole, I got a vivid memory of a place that I once saw. And it was good to see -- like I said, get a taste of his own medicine.
ZAHN: Ron, how many flash backs have you had, since you saw these searing images of Saddam today of your own captivity?
YOUNG: You can't help but think back to your own captivity especially what me and Dave and the other five POW's went through. But the thing is is he'll still now never actually go through what we've gone through. What we went through was the bombing of Baghdad and all that type of stuff, and running while people were shooting at us and things. And I don't think he'll have to go through half of it. But it still is very gratifying for him to be there.
ZAHN: Finally Ronald, tonight the President and Donald Rumsfeld both thanked all of the men and women in the armed services who have lost their lives in the war with Iraq. Do you wish all your fellow soldiers could be here today to witness this dramatic development?
YOUNG: Absolutely. I wish we could have a parade down Main Street of every city in America, and thank those guys for what they have done. The 4th ID (ph), they did a great job. I've got a lot of friends over there, and they are a great group of guys. We have to thank the Marine Corp. (ph) who saved us. I mean, our military is just full of great fighters, and these guys deserve to be looked at as heroes, and for what they've actually done. I mean they're terrific. It's an unbelievable development.
ZAHN: Well you know the rest of America looks at you two as great heroes. We're delighted to have both you with us tonight. Chief Warrant Officers David Williams, and Ronald Young. Best of luck to both of you.
WILLIAMS: Tank you Ma'am.
YOUNG: Thank you.
ZAHN: And we wanted to thank you all for being with us for this very special edition of our program tonight. It has been an extraordinary day. Tomorrow morning, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and an interview with retired General Wesley Clark. The Democratic President will at the Hague testifying in the war crimes trial of (UNINTELLIBLE). Again, thanks for joining us tonight, LARRY KING LIVE is next. Have a good rest of the night.
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