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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
War in the Middle East
Aired August 8, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, after 28 days nearly 900 killed, most of them civilians, there's no let up in the Mid East bloodbath. Israel shells Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp after more than 140 Hezbollah rockets are fired at Israel today.
And, tomorrow, Israel will decide whether to widen the war even more meanwhile a war of words at the U.N. over the cease-fire so many are still waiting for so desperately.
From Beirut to northern Israel and beyond all the latest, it's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
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KING: Hi, thanks for watching.
We begin tonight with our round-up of CNN reporters blanketing the Mid East and giving you the best coverage on television. Senior National Correspondent John Roberts is positioned in northern Israel. International Correspondent Michael Ware stands by in Beirut. "Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer in the thick of things in Jerusalem. And, Chief National Correspondent John King has the latest from Washington.
Let's start with John Roberts in Israel. What's this about a shakeup in the Israeli military brass, John?
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What appears to be a major shakeup, Larry, until now Major General Udi Adam, a famous figure here in Israel whose father was killed in the original Lebanon campaign back in the early 1980s had been in charge of the Northern Command. He was the one who was prosecuting this war.
Tonight, though, Major General Dan Halutz, the Israeli Army Chief of Staff, said that he was appointing his deputy, Moshe Kaplinski, to oversee and coordinate all the actions of the Northern Command.
This would seem to indicate that even though Halutz says that he has absolute confidence in Udi Adam and the other commanders up here in the Northern Command that he doesn't really. That's why he's appointing a guy who is his deputy, a guy who he knows very well to oversee this. It's being seen here in Israel as a very big slap in the face to Adam.
There has been a lot of criticism here in Israel, mostly coming from the hard liners, the conservatives, to say this ground war is not going the way that they had hoped it would.
This was the Israeli Army that in 1967 absolutely defanged three of the major Arab powers in the region in six days. And here they are 28 days out and they're still hitting the same Hezbollah positions that they were before.
There's also this idea that tomorrow may come a decision from the Israeli Security Cabinet to dramatically expand the ground war. Sources have told me that perhaps that means putting another division, 5,000 troops, into southern Lebanon, increasing the number of air attacks, increasing those pinpoint strikes by Special Forces.
Tonight, Larry, in an area not far from where our base of operations is but several miles from where we are tonight this is what we're seeing on the ground. We have been waiting for this for more than a week, a major ground offensive in the northern part of the Galilee Peninsula.
Tonight it's happening, heavy armor going in, a lot of troops going in on the ground. We see them in their black face and their camouflage getting ready to go across the border. We see tanks and armor moving across the border, a lot of firing, those tanks firing. We see rockets being fired on the ground, a lot of heavy machinegun fire.
A major operation that we have been anticipating for sometime appears to be underway now as they open up that front on the northern tip of the Galilee Peninsula, what may be a bracketing operation to cut Hezbollah off, to sort of starve them of materials, of supplies, of food for that matter, to try to wear them down so that they can suppress those Hezbollah positions in anticipation of some sort of force coming in, in the next couple of weeks, couple of months to try to stabilize that area.
The question tonight, though, what shape is that force going to take? Will it be the Lebanese Army? Will it be an expanded United Nations force? Or, will it be that multinational force that has been talked about between the United Nations, France, and the United States -- Larry?
KING: Thanks, John, John Roberts in northern Israel.
Michael Ware in Beirut what's this about this attack on a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Larry. As the fighting continues in the south and the Israeli air campaign continues to pepper targets across Lebanon, the most recent development is as you say an airstrike by a helicopter gunship on a Palestinian refugee camp in the southern city of Sidon. In this camp it's been established for 50 or 60 years up to 70,000 to 100,000 Palestinians who have been here some of them for generations. What we're told by the head of Fatah in Lebanon was hit was an administrative building killing one person and wounding six. This seems to be part of an ongoing broadening campaign by the Israelis.
We saw attacks earlier this week against a popular front for the liberation of Palestine. We're now seeing Israelis hitting groups, who as far as we know are not currently involved in the fighting -- Larry.
KING: And what about Tyre is there still a Tyre?
WARE: Well, Tyre is still there, however the roads in and out are clearly cut. It's been increasingly isolated and the Israeli Defense Forces declared the entire southern region below the Litani essentially a free fire zone for any kind of vehicular traffic of any description.
So, Tyre now is in a very difficult predicament. The question is do the Israelis move to Tyre to cut off those launch sites they keep talking about or do they wait for an international force or the Lebanese Army to do it -- Larry?
KING: Thanks, Michael, Michael Ware in Beirut.
Now, to Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem, John Roberts has already said, Wolf, that they're expecting a major decision tomorrow about expanding the war, any clue about which way they're going on that, Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": I would say based on everything I'm hearing here in Jerusalem it's likely the Israeli military is going to go forward with a major new offensive, a ground offensive in southern Lebanon to push those forces all the way up to the Litani River.
The downside, Larry, is that many more Israeli soldiers are probably going to get killed and injured given the nature of the enemy, the Hezbollah forces who have grouped there over these past several years, a lot of bobby traps, a lot of landmines, a lot of improvised explosive devices. They've been spending six years since the Israeli withdrawal getting ready for this.
There's a lot of second guessing I have to tell you, Larry, here in Israel about the way the Israeli military has conducted this war over the past month. Originally there was a sense that a massive airstrike campaign could get the job done. That clearly didn't work.
Then they decided to move forces on a relatively modest level into southern Lebanon. That hasn't necessarily worked. So now the cabinet, the prime minister and his security cabinet, they have to decide whether to really start mobilizing even more Israeli forces and move in, in bigger numbers, and try to get the job done. It's a difficult decision for the Israeli government, a difficult decision for the Israeli military.
One footnote, clearly the decision to send General Kaplinski in to take charge of Israeli operations in southern Lebanon is an indication that a lot of the leadership here aren't happy the way things have unfolded so far.
KING: And, Wolf, any response from Prime Minister Olmert to the Lebanese proposal about 15,000 troops to the border?
BLITZER: The Israelis are receptive to that and Prime Minister Olmert at a news conference earlier today said it was an interesting idea. Other Israeli officials think it has some momentum.
They don't want to pull out of south Lebanon until they know for sure that; a) Hezbollah is not going to rain rockets any longer on northern Israeli; and, b) Hezbollah is not going to be able to get more weapons coming in from Iran or Syria or elsewhere and they're not sure the Lebanese Army has the wherewithal to get the job done even with an expanded multinational or international stabilization force.
There's a lot of diplomacy going on at the United Nations right now. Israelis are anxious to see it work. They're not convinced though that this decision by the Lebanese government to deploy 15,000 regular Lebanese Army forces in the south is going to do the job.
KING: Thanks, Wolf.
And speaking of the United Nations, John King is in Washington, where do things stand there with regard to the resolution, John?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, it's interesting tonight. We're hearing from U.S. officials here in Washington increasing concern that perhaps they might not get to a vote on Thursday.
Now, remember the Bush administration initially wanted a vote last Friday. It has already slipped to the plan to have a vote this Thursday, two days from now. And now tonight because of new concerns raised by the French, some are saying they might not get there by Thursday.
What happened today was quite dramatic. You had the special Arab delegation come and address the Security Council and what the Arab delegation said is that if the plan goes forward as now drafted by the United States and France, they voiced a concern there could be a civil war in Lebanon because the plan as now drafted allows those Israeli troops to stay in Lebanon for quite some time until there is a new international force.
The Arab delegation was warning that you would have civil war. Perhaps the Lebanese government would topple and perhaps you would see extremism across the region if the Israelis were allowed to stay.
Well, after that meeting, Larry, the French said "We need to take those concerns into account. We need to change the language in the resolution." And I'm told tonight by Bush administration officials that that deeply concerns the U.S. side because any changes you make might push the Israelis away from supporting this resolution. So, the back and forth is very delicate, very sensitive and they're still working at it hoping, Larry, to vote on Thursday but that's in doubt tonight. KING: Does it look to you like it's going to go beyond Thursday?
J. KING: You would have to say based on the back and forth tonight. But as you well know from these situations often the diplomats start talking in very dire language, start talking about things collapsing. Sometimes they even collapse and that gives them the urgency to get back together.
Secretary Rice is supposed to be in New York on Thursday. The other foreign ministers, the key foreign ministers are coming in. They wanted the foreign ministers to cast the vote on this cease-fire plan so they could say finally at just about the one month mark they had a plan to end the fighting but it is a very delicate tradeoff. And, again, the Israelis don't trust the Lebanese Army. The Israelis don't trust a simple expansion of the force that's already -- the U.N. force already in Lebanon.
They want a dramatically empowered new international force. So, every concession you make now to the Arabs will cost you on the Israeli side and they don't trust each other. They don't like each other. Everyone is getting tired in these negotiations.
The goal is still Thursday but we'll see what happens. They would have to put a plan on the table tomorrow to get a vote on Thursday and as of this hour tonight, Larry, that's in doubt.
KING: Thanks, John, John King, CNN's Chief National Correspondent.
Back with more as John Roberts and Michael Ware remain with us. And we're joined by George Mitchell. Don't go away.
KING: We're back.
John Roberts remains with us in northern Israel, Michael Ware in Beirut, and George Mitchell, the former Senate Majority Leader and international peace negotiator is in Northeast Harbor, Maine.
What do you make, George, of what apparently is this racking up by Israel?
GEORGE MITCHELL, FMR. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I think, Larry, from their perspective it increases the pressure on the Lebanese government to accept the resolution as it now stands or with only modest modifications. Meanwhile, in New York, the negotiations are going on.
The U.S. and France both have an interest in being seen to be working together on this, the U.S. because it's not then just the U.S. and the whole rest of the world on the other side, the French because it enables them to play a prominent role in a region where they have a long history and experience, particularly with Lebanon.
The French are clearly more wanting to accommodate the Lebanese, the U.S., of course, more wanting to accommodate the Israelis, so I think they will be working really together trying to stay together and figure out a way to find a middle ground for all of this.
But, meantime the Israeli stepped up offensive would place tremendous pressure on the Lebanese government because it could face a choice between accepting a resolution that it does not find acceptable or having their country subjected to continued, indeed increased, destruction.
That's a tough position. And, as one of your correspondents mentioned earlier that might result in the collapse of the Lebanese government with truly unforeseen consequences.
KING: Michael Ware in Beirut, we have an e-mail from Barbara in Memphis, Tennessee. "It's been reported that 40 percent of the Lebanese military are Hezbollah members or supporters. If the Lebanese government sends 15,000 troops to patrol the southern border, what's going to prevent them from aiding Hezbollah in re-arming and re-supplying weapons to be used against Israel" -- Michael.
WARE: Well, clearly this is a very thorny issue here. This is the source of Israel's distrust of the Lebanese Army, not just its lack of overt capability but clearly there's a significant proportion of the Lebanese Army drawn from the Shia community.
And, of course, there's some pockets within that with much stronger ties to Hezbollah. Certainly I've seen in Hezbollah- controlled areas a great sort of partnership or coordination between the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah.
What this could mean though it could play both ways. Yes, there's an argument from the Israeli side that this would allow Hezbollah ongoing oxygen to continue its operations.
However, this is also a form of dialogue, a channel to Hezbollah. If an accord can be found between the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah, perhaps then the attacks could cease. Hezbollah would not be disarmed or de-powered per se but perhaps there could be a cessation of hostilities -- Larry.
KING: John Roberts, if Israel -- does the public support Israel's apparent increase of the war effort?
ROBERTS: You know, Larry that remains to be seen. Certainly support has been high here in Israel for the ongoing campaign to push Hezbollah back from the border. Those hundreds of rockets that we see falling every day only reinforces that notion.
But there is I'm beginning to sense a certain weariness with the war here. Here in northern Israel the local economies are under extreme stress. There are apple orchards and peach orchards all around here. There is nobody there to pick the fruit so the entire crop could go to waste.
And they're really hoping that something is going to happen very soon on the diplomatic front. You know there is an old diplomatic saying about this region, Larry that in the Middle East every breakthrough is preceded by a crisis but not every crisis precedes a breakthrough.
And it's not clear at this point which way that's going to go. We do appear though tonight to be on the very tipping point of either moves toward a diplomatic solution or an increase in the ground war that could see these operations last for weeks to come that this could not be over in days, as many people are beginning to hope.
KING: Thanks, John, John Roberts and George Mitchell and Michael Ware will be returning.
We're going to take a break. And when we come back, Alan Dershowitz and James Zogby return to debate the question of Israel's activities there in the Middle East.
And, by the way, we're paying close attention on Connecticut's Senate race in the primary, the Democratic primary between the incumbent Joe Lieberman and the challenger Ned Lamont. We'll have a discussion about it and as soon as we get any definitive result, the polls have been closed over an hour, we'll pass it along to you.
Don't go away.
KING: Now to look at the Israeli situation we call on Alan Dershowitz. He's in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, the Harvard law professor and author of "The Case for Israel." And, in Washington, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, he's a Lebanese American.
Alan, in your blog yesterday posted in today's Huffingtonpost.com you write, "We must stop viewing Lebanon as a victim and see it as a collaborator." What do you mean?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: That's the great tragedy that 88 percent of Lebanese today say they support Hezbollah. The president of Lebanon says he supports Hezbollah and its leader. The Lebanese Army has begun to collaborate with Hezbollah. Many, many Lebanese civilians are allowing their homes to be used for Hezbollah launching.
It's a terrible tragedy but Lebanon is becoming like Austria was in the Second World War. They are not Hezbollah's first victim. They are Hezbollah's major collaborator. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be very sympathetic to the civilians who are caught up in this.
But the Lebanese government is making a terrible, terrible mistake. They're picking the wrong side in the beginning of a major war between democracies and terrorism. They're supporting the terrorists for whatever reason and understandable maybe but they're on the wrong side and tragically their citizens are paying a heavy price.
KING: James. JAMES ZOGBY, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: Well my sainted mother would say "Aye" (ph). In Arabic that means shame on you, Alan. And I read that blog and the one that preceded it where you argued that there were degrees of being a civilian.
And the point you were making was not dissimilar to the point that terrorists always make and that is that in a war there are no civilians. Everyone on the enemy side is culpable.
The fact is, the simple fact is, is that one-third, almost 300 of those killed in Lebanon, have been children under the age of 13. I saw a funeral march in Tyre today where 13 people were killed because Israel bombed a funeral march. The fact is, is that why people in Lebanon say they support Hezbollah today is because they oppose the barbarism of this war.
And, frankly, I think that we ought to be able to speak out and say "We're not going to return to the law of the jungle. We're not going to support killing civilians. We're not going to target the government of Lebanon. We're going to play by different rules."
But frankly, Israel hasn't played by the right rules and they've taken a terrible consequence here, both in terms of civilian life but I think also in terms of their own morality.
DERSHOWITZ: Well this is a war, this is a prelude to the future unfortunately. What's happened is this is a surrogate war, much like the Spanish Civil War was, a surrogate prelude to the Second World War. It's a new kind of warfare in which terrorist armies, like Hezbollah, hide among civilians and challenge democracies, either to do nothing or to fire back in which case civilians are killed.
I shed as many tears as you did over the children of Tyre and all the others but every one of those deaths is blamable only on Hezbollah. Israel doesn't want to hit civilians. It wants to hit military targets.
If the greatest generation of Americans who fought the First World War had -- Second World War, rather, had to live by the standards that Jim Zogby understandably imposes on Israel, we would have lost that war.
The United States attacked military targets and in the process killed many, many civilians. That was necessary to win a war and that's going to be necessary to beat terrorism here too.
ZOGBY: Day after day after day where Israel continues to say "We intended to hit and we missed" the fact is, is that at some point you have to hold yourself to a moral standard. Those are the rules after World War II that we actually imposed on ourselves and on others.
If this is the new kind of war you talk about, if this is the war for a new democracy and a new generation in the world, we ought to be setting a higher standard, not returning to the law of the jungle.
The fact is, is that if we are to hold ourselves to this higher standard and say "We want you to be like us," then what lesson are we teaching the world? We're teaching the world that the law of the terrorists is the law we'll use is that we will hit civilians with impunity and frankly you will like it or you -- we don't care if you don't like it because you're going to pay the price anyway." That is disgusting and I think most people share my outrage that you would make that argument.
KING: Alan, is Israel losing worldwide except in places like maybe Great Britain and the United States the perception battle?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, of course, and that's Hezbollah's great weapon. Hezbollah hides among civilians in order to elicit attacks from Israel on its military targets hoping, Hezbollah hopes that many Lebanese civilians will die and then they win.
They win because the media and international public opinion turns against Israel. And when international opinion turns against Israel, it only encourages Hezbollah to do more and more hiding among civilians.
ZOGBY: Oh, Alan.
DERSHOWITZ: As Golda Meir once said "We can forgive you for killing our children but we can never forgive you for making us kill your children." And what would any democracy do if rockets were being rained down?
KING: By the way...
DERSHOWITZ: Last week Jim Zogby called them a joke. He said it was a joke these Katyusha rockets. We know somebody from Newton who was killed with a Katyusha rocket. Twelve Israelis were killed yesterday. Three Arab Israelis were killed yesterday.
Any democracy would go after the Katyusha rockets after saying in advance and warning the civilians "leave town." Anywhere a Katyusha rocket comes from has to be a military target.
KING: And, James, shouldn't Israel -- what does Israel do if Hezbollah keeps attacking them, not retaliate?
ZOGBY: Look, Larry, we can start this history at any point you want and I agreed already at the very beginning that the action that Hezbollah took to kidnap these two Israeli soldiers was a provocative one. It shouldn't have happened outside of the Lebanese government as they acted and they were repudiated by the Lebanese government.
But the barbaric bombardment of Lebanon that began shortly thereafter are what started the Katyusha rockets flying. The fact is, is that there is at this point a war being fought by both sides with wanton disregard for civilians.
Lebanese have paid the price ten times to one and the infrastructure of Lebanon has been totally destroyed. But, for Alan to make the case that this is what Hezbollah wants that they win a victory when these children die is gross.
ZOGBY: It is a way of absolving...
DERSHOWITZ: It's true. It's gross and it's true.
ZOGBY: ...a guilty client. It's something he's done time and time again. But the fact is, is that saying "I didn't mean to rape her but she had a short skirt on" doesn't cut it. You at some point have to say "stop the madness." You cannot be killing these children, these innocent people and saying "It's your fault. I didn't mean to do it." That's total racism to use that argument. I'm sorry.
DERSHOWITZ: Jim, I expect better from you than to make the argument that I'm a defense lawyer. Let me make my argument.
ZOGBY: I expect better from you, Alan, than you...
KING: One at a time -- Alan.
DERSHOWITZ: This is not -- this is not about -- let me make my point please.
DERSHOWITZ: This is not about excusing crime. This is about saying there is crime and the crime is being committed by Hezbollah. It's a crime against humanity deliberately to hide behind civilians and to say to a democracy "We're either going to kill your civilians or you will have to kill our civilians."
We must put an end to this type of warfare. This is the beginning of a world war in which this kind of terrorism will be used against democracies. And the question is are democracies going to be impotent in the face of this or will the international community finally say to Hezbollah and others "You cannot hide behind civilians? You cannot use civilians as a shield. If you do, you are responsible for every death caused by that." That is the law today in the United States and should be the international law as well.
KING: Alan, hold it. Alan, hold it. James, you have one minute. It's yours. Go ahead.
ZOGBY: And what you're saying, Alan, is that we will use every barbaric means at our disposal to stop you, which makes us no better -- which makes us no better than those we claim to fight against. At the end of the day here, there are lessons that we have to learn.
DERSHOWITZ: They try not to kill civilians.
ZOGBY: Alan, I didn't bother you. Please stop.
KING: Alan, let him finish. ZOGBY: The fact is, is that this is a war that is being fought by illicit means and it's not the first time in the Middle East. I lived through 1982 and I saw what Israeli did then. The Lebanon that is being destroyed today is one that took years to rebuild.
Frankly, no good will come of this. And I think we need to listen to the Lebanese government. We need an immediate cease-fire and the Lebanese need to be able to patrol the south. Israel needs to withdraw. We cannot allow the Lebanese government to fall. We need an immediate cease-fire. The best way to end this is simply to end it.
KING: I thank you both very much. We'll be calling on you again. Alan Dershowitz, hold it, the Harvard law professor and author of "The Case for Israel" and James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, Lebanese American, great to have them both with us expertly presenting each side of the case.
As we go to break the results in Connecticut are still not yet known. Ned Lamont the challenger, there's the headquarters of Joe Lieberman, the incumbent. The winner will get the Democratic nomination to go to the United States Senate. And we still don't have a result but we're going to check in on both sides right after this.
KING: We have an extraordinary situation in Connecticut. Joe Lieberman, running for re-election, has supported the war in Iraq. Mainstream Democrats have come into the state supporting him. He's been challenged by Ned Lamont, who's put up his own money in this race. Lamont was ahead in the polls. The election was today. Candy Crowley is our CNN national correspondent. She's in Hartford. What's the latest?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest, Larry, is that I must tell you, first of all, there's no exit polls here, so no way to kind of predict how this is going. This is actual count votes. And all night long what we've been seeing is a Lamont lead over Joe Lieberman.
But steadily, as more and more votes have come in, Lieberman has closed that gap. The last we heard it was 49 percent with Lamont 52 and Lieberman 48. But then a cheer went up from this crowd and we're checking on it right now. I believe that Lieberman has pulled ahead.
So this may be a very long night here because it's very hard to predict what's going on in this race. First of all, it's August. They generally don't have their primaries in August. Everyone was in disagreement over whether a big turnout on which it appears today would favor Lieberman or the challenger Lamont. So looks like we're going to have a pretty exciting night, almost as exciting as this race has been, Larry.
KING: Reverend Al Sharpton, the former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, who supported Mr. Lamont in this primary -- a couple of days ago in the Quinnipiac poll, Al, Lamont was I think 13 points ahead. What happened?
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Well, I think that it was incredible when you look at the fact that two months ago he was in the 20s. Whatever happens tonight, Larry, we are seeing the beginning of a strong and vibrant coalition that has began to take back the lead in the Democratic Party. This is the beginning of the end of those that have gone to the right and have tried to lead the Democratic Party to the right, the Democratic leadership council.
To think that Joe Lieberman, the vice presidential nominee of 2000, is literally fighting for his career, no matter what the results, this changes the whole paradigm in the Democratic Party debate. It will shape what will happen in November, and it will shape the candidates for '08.
KING: But if Lieberman wins and he'll be a major favorite in November, how does that change things?
SHARPTON: Oh, because every Democrat that is watching this race knows that they do not want to have a challenge like this. Ned Lamont has never ran for office before, has no experience before, and for him to be able to come this close or in fact win -- imagine in those states where you have progressive candidates that have more political experience and more of a base. I think that that is why you're seeing people like Hillary Clinton and others start finding their target in Donald Rumsfeld, because the footsteps in Connecticut are being felt even before the results come in.
KING: Now joining us is Lanny Davis, former frequent guest on this program, former adviser to President Clinton, a Lieberman supporter and friend. Now, Lanny, I know you're opposed to the war in Iraq. You're a liberal Democrat. You would seem to be for Lamont.
LANNY DAVIS, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I want to tell my old friend, Reverend Al Sharpton, Joe Lieberman votes with the Democrats 90 percent of the time in the Senate. Every liberal Democratic organization in the country has supported him, seven out of seven Connecticut newspapers. For 40 years he's fought for civil rights, civil liberties. And Reverend Al Sharpton and I both know that the objective facts are that Joe Lieberman is a progressive Democrat who happened to believe since 1991, Larry, way before George Bush was president, that Saddam Hussein should be overthrown.
In '98 the Senate voted 98-0 with President Clinton's support that Saddam Hussein should be overthrown. And Joe Lieberman supported that war. Even though I disagree with him, his total record suggests that he should be reelected as a great Democrat.
KING: Lanny, though, if you disagree with him and he continues to support the war and that's such a major issue, haven't you wavered at all?
DAVIS: Haven't I personally wavered?
KING: Yes. DAVIS: I've argued with Senator Lieberman that the decision to go into this war was a mistake. But now that we're there, Larry, he has been very openly critical of President Bush. The distortion in this campaign is that Joe Lieberman has been cozying up to George Bush.
He opposed George Bush not having allies, not providing body armor. He said as president he would have asked Rumsfeld to resign three years ago, he made that statement. The facts that are that while he supported the overthrow of Hussein and he supported the invasion along with 29 other Democrats, he has opposed George Bush's Conduct of this war openly and repeatedly, and that's what I think is happening in tonight's election.
The facts caught up with the distortions, and this great Democrat that Reverend Sharpton should agree was in Mississippi in the '60s, fought for consumers in the '70s and the '80s, was a great Democrat in the '90s, and won the presidency -- the vice presidency as far as I'm concerned in 2000 running against George Bush.
KING: Thank you all very much. We'll continue, we're going to do lots more on this and especially, I guess, in the nights ahead, tomorrow night with a post follow-up. Candy Crowley reporting for us from Hartford, and in Hartford, Reverend Al Sharpton, who supported Mr. Lamont, and Lanny Davis, who supports Senator Lieberman. And still too close to call. No exit polling in Connecticut. So they're going to be there a while. Don't go away.
KING: Before we get back with our panel, let's go to Beirut and meet Cassandra Nelson, senior global communications officer for Mercy Corps. What's the humanitarian situation like? So many bridges and roads damaged. Do we have -- would you call it a crisis?
CASSANDRA NELSON, MERCY CORPS: It's definitely a crisis, Larry. In terms of aid getting through, almost all the convoys that have been scheduled over the last 48 hours have been canceled going down south. In terms of road access, bridges are out. There's barely any fuel left in the country for us to drive our trucks down there. It's just going to be exceedingly and exceedingly more difficult to reach the people in need.
KING: Mercycorps.org is the Web site. Mercycorps, one word, dot org. Tell us what Mercy Corps does.
NELSON: Well, basically, here in Lebanon we're focused on delivering food, water, blankets bedding, and other basic items to the people most in need. These are the people that have had to flee their homes because they were being bombed and shelled or the people that have actually been stranded behind the battle lines and can't get out because they either don't have enough money to hire a car or the roads now have become too unsafe to transport them out. So our goal is to get these people just the basic supplies so that they can survive over the coming weeks and hopefully we get a cease-fire soon so we can move on to something like rebuilding the country. KING: Thank you, Cassandra -- Cassandra Nelson of mercycorps.org. They do outstanding work.
Back to our panel. In Northeast Harbor, Maine is George Mitchell. George, I'm sure you heard the debate between Alan Dershowitz and James Zogby. What do you do when both sides sound right?
GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, it's awful difficult, Larry. This is an extremely complicated situation. But I do believe that there will be progress in the next few days on trying to bring about a resolution that is approved by the Security Council, that will end the violence.
I think it's a profound error to think of this as World War III. It can spiral out of control in the region and with unforeseen consequences. So I think it's absolutely imperative that the United States take the lead and pursue with great energy and determination bringing it to a conclusion in a way that will be acceptable and protective of the Israelis from the kind of strikes they've had. And I think that is possible. I don't think this is a mission impossible. I think it can be done.
KING: John Roberts in northern Israel, what is the major complaint against the Israeli military tactics inside the military? They made changes today. What's the major complaint?
ROBERTS: The major complaint is, Larry, that the ground operation began too small, too slow. There are many people in Israel who wanted to see a larger-scale ground operation, that if they were going to try to push Hezbollah back from the border, they needed to do it from Metula all the way west to the Mediterranean Sea and they need to do it en masse and they needed to do it quickly.
What they're doing here in Israel is they're watching the military get bogged down in towns like Bint Jbeil and Ayt Al-Shahab, continuing to take heavy casualties in both of those towns. Another three IDF soldiers were killed today. Don't forget, in a Katyusha rocket site just down the road from where I'm standing right now, 12 soldiers, 12 reserve soldiers who had just been called up to the front, were killed when they were gathered in an area where that rocket came right in.
That was actually the location where we were broadcasting from about five days ago. We were standing in the exact spot that that rocket came in. So they see the casualties mounting on the Israeli side, and they say how is this war being prosecuted?
Just behind our hotel, Larry, there was a ridge line near the old infamous Al-Khayyam Prison, that we have seen attacked repeatedly over the last seven days. Many military analysts say you shouldn't be attacking the same position after seven days, you should have overran it, you should have controlled it.
So it's a strategy that many people can't quite figure out, that they take the area around these towns and yet they don't go in there and clear them out. I spoke with General Shuki Shachar about that today, to say what exactly is the strategy? And he said we don't want to go into those towns, what we want to do is control the area around it, cut Hezbollah off so that they run low on munitions, they run low on food, they don't get resupplied, and therefore they began to wither as a fighting force.
But Larry, Hezbollah's been dug in for six years here. They've got supplies to last them a long time. They've obviously got a tremendous number of rockets. So that's a strategy that's going to take a long time to finally come to fruition.
KING: Michael Ware, frankly, how long can Lebanon, if they don't get a resolution, how long can Lebanon hold on like this?
WARE: Gee, that's a tough question to answer. I mean, the things that people are desperate for are fuel for cars and generators. The hospital will soon have to go into power rationing itself. There's crises already in the dispensing of medicines. The government itself is heaving under the pressure.
I mean, they're pulling together with a sense of, as they say, national unity. But this has the potential to drive at every cleavage within the society. So physically, emotionally, it's hard to tell how long this country can hold on in the state it's in now.
And at the same time what we're seeing is Hezbollah having its image as a national defender embellished, as the one that people turn to to protect the soil of Lebanon, is being enhanced day by day. This is a role that the Lebanese army has not been able to and cannot hope to fulfill.
So even those who were not widely regarded as Hezbollah supporters are now turning to them or their sympathies are starting to soften toward them simply out of frustration at nowhere else to go. Larry?
KING: Thanks, Michael. We'll check back in with our panel before we lock things up. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper in northern Israel. He will host "ANDERSON COOPER 360" at the top of the hour. What are we covering from your standpoint tonight, Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, a lot to talk about tonight. We'll be looking at the late-breaking developments on the diplomatic front. France seems to be changing its tune somewhat. We'll try to find out exactly what's going on there at the United Nations.
Also on this side of the pond we're going to take a look at Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, the man who wants to be a leader in the Muslim world. What are his core beliefs, though? We're going to take a look at his past speeches, give you a sense of the man maybe you haven't heard before.
And you're going to meet some Americans who are fighting in this conflict, fighting, and some of whom have died fighting for the state of Israel. All of that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.
KING: That's Anderson Cooper at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific with "A.C. 360." And we'll be back with more. Don't go away.
KING: Let's check in with Sonia Khush. She's the emergency team leader with Save the Children in Lebanon. If you want to get in touch with Save the Children, the Web site is savethechildren.org.
These children must be very frightened, Sonia. True?
SONIA KHUSH, SAVE THE CHILDREN: The children are very frightened, Larry. They've been displaced from their homes. They're living in schools and other public buildings and with other families who they may not know. They're worried about their future. They don't have a lot to do during the day. So we're trying to address that by creating activities for them.
But their future is very uncertain. You know, they're wondering whether they'll be able to go back to school in the fall. That's a really critical issue for us. We really advocate that they get back into school. But right now, they're afraid. They don't know what their future holds.
KING: Now, many pregnant women have been displaced. Some giving birth -- how are they doing all this?
KHUSH: Well, that's a really critical issue, Larry. For example, in the city of Sidon alone, there are 1,200 women in their ninth month of pregnancy. Save the Children has been monitoring the condition of these women. And for example, when we find a woman who is about to deliver, we take her to a hospital immediately. We make sure she has all the health care that she needs. And then we take care of the newborn as well. We don't send them right back to a settlement full of displaced people, because that's not where newborn babies should be at that stage. We find a safe place for them to go where they can get the care that they need, a clean environment with clean water. And it's a really critical issue, the issue of newborns.
KING: Many of the people killed are children, right, Sonia?
KHUSH: That's correct. We estimate maybe 30 percent or 40 percent of the civilians that have been killed are children. And that's a really stark issue. You know, the number of civilians that have been disproportionately affected by this conflict. Women and children that have nothing to do with the politics of this region. You know, we're really concerned about the high number of children that have been affected. And it's not just the killing. It's the long-term impact that this is going to have on the emotional and mental well-being of children.
KING: Thank you, Sonia. Sonia Khush, savethechildren.org if you want more information.
George Mitchell, quickly as we make a round robin of our panel, what do you make of the replacements of the military people in Israel?
MITCHELL: I think John Roberts hit it on the head, Larry. There's a good deal of internal dissatisfaction with the pace and of course with the absence of a decisive swift victory, and this is an effort to bring new energy, new leadership, and I think possibly to expand the war in an effort to create pressure on the Lebanese government to accept the resolution that it obviously so far hasn't accepted.
KING: And John, quickly, do you agree with Wolf Blitzer's assessment that they're probably going to go with increased military action tomorrow?
ROBERTS: You know, Larry, that's an open question. Certainly the Israeli security cabinet is taking it up. It's probably likely that they would approve it. Will they follow through on it, though, or will just the threat of an expanded military operation be enough to bring that pressure that Senator Mitchell was talking about to bear on the Lebanese government?
You know, this situation right now appears to be, even though the diplomatic moves are going forward, somewhat intractable. So it may be that Israel has to put more boots on the ground, and it could number more than 5,000 in the next 48 hours, to really try to ramp up the pressure on Lebanon.
KING: Thanks, John. We'll be checking in with you again tomorrow, as with George Mitchell and with Michael Ware.
We'll come back with Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, our CNN military analyst. Don't go away.
KING: This just in. Associated Press tells us with 55 percent of the vote counted in the Connecticut Democratic primary, Lamont has 52 percent, Lieberman, the incumbent, 48 percent -- 52 to 48 in favor of Lamont; 55 percent reporting according to the Associated Press.
Let's go to Washington. Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, U.S. Army retired, our CNN military analyst. Tyre in Lebanon, they've probably been hit the hardest. Can you give us an overview?
BRIG. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Larry, I can. In fact, as the IDF continues its attack against Hezbollah, Tyre has become what's called a tactical center of gravity. So let's get in a little closer and show you what that really means.
It's only 12 miles. Again, these distances are pretty close to the Israeli border. But as you get into Tyre, you can see how it can become very isolated very quickly, frankly, very easily. There are only six major roads about 40 feet in width that lead into Tyre. But more significantly, there are two choke points. In other words, everything that comes into Tyre has to go through those two locations. So it really adds to its isolation.
Now, as you move out of Tyre and you head to the north, six miles, there are three bridges. Two bridges and a dam that go across the Litani River. Let's focus in on those just very briefly. As you move to the west, this major road heads up to both of these two bridges.
This bridge here, Larry, spans about 75 to 80 feet of the Litani River, and it's about 50 feet in width that gives them about four lanes of traffic one way, either into Tyre or out of Tyre for international aid relief or evacuation.
As you head to the east a little bit, you've got the second bridge, which is about half the size. It spans about 90 feet, but it's only 20 feet in width. So you can get about two lanes of traffic. And a little further to the east, Larry, is a dam which provides both power and irrigation. That can only accommodate foot traffic or one lane, probably small vehicles.
But when you pull out, you then look at the Litani, and the significance of the Litani is that it's got six expanses that go across the Litani River, which really adds to that isolation of Tyre.
KING: We only have about 20 seconds, General. If Israel goes in full force on the ground, what could happen?
MARKS: Larry, they'd need to go in in full force if they want to achieve their goals. They've got to get more forces up to the Litani River.
What has happened over the course of the last four weeks is that most of the Hezbollah fighters have either engaged, attrited the Israelis, or they've evacuated and they've expanded to the north. So there will be fewer Hezbollah fighters for the IDF to go after.
KING: Thanks, General. Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, United States Army, retired.
That's it for this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Let's head to northern Israel. Anderson Cooper stands by to host "AC 360" -- Anderson.
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