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CNN Larry King Live
America Strikes Back: The Anthrax Scare
Aired October 17, 2001 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, anthrax anxiety escalates on Capitol Hill. The House of Representatives shuts down. The Senate closes its offices, but stays in session.
Joining us from Atlanta, the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, from New York, Governor George Pataki. His Manhattan office carries the anthrax taint. In Washington, House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt; also in D.C., Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairing a Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on bioterrorism earlier today.
Then later, Senator Bill Frist, the Senate's only M.D. and ranking member of the Public Health Subcommittee; and than an assessment of the war on terrorism from Senator John Kerry, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and retired General George Joulwan, former NATO supreme allied commander; plus some very special perspectives from Jehan Sadat, widow of Egypt's assassinated president Nobel Prize winner, Anwar Sadat -- all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE, as we begin things, Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is in Atlanta at our CNN headquarters.
What do we know and what don't we know right at this minute, Doctor?
DR. JEFFREY KOPLAN, CDC DIRECTOR: Larry, what we know is that we've got a couple of cases of anthrax in Florida, a number of people on antibiotics. They're not going to get sick and they're not going to get ill. We have got a building down there that is being looked at and cleaned up, and trying to get people back to work.
In New York, there is two cases of anthrax, again, a number of people in a couple of work sites who are on antibiotics. We are looking to both assess the environmental extent of exposure in those workplaces and get people back in them as soon as possible, so that -- these have been terrible events, caused a lot of confusion and anxiety for a lot of people. But I think we've got them under control.
KING: How about in Washington?
KOPLAN: In Washington, we are seeing a similar pattern of a letter, incriminating letter, with a toxic substance in it, anthrax -- again, no one ill at this point. But we have identified people who have been exposed. Many folks are showing up concerned and anxious about it. But the folks that need it will be given antibiotics and they will not get sick.
KING: As you know, following you, the governor of New York will be on, and key members of the United States Senate. And they all obviously have some concern.
What do we mean by, as a -- give me the difference between exposure and infection.
KOPLAN: Well, with many diseases and many viruses and bacteria, we get exposed. Some we get exposed to every day and we don't necessarily got sick or get infected.
In this case, with anthrax, being infected or being a case is being sick with the disease. You not only have it around you, but somehow you bring into it yourself. Either it gets through your skin or you breathe it in or you ingest it and then you get ill it from.
But what we see, for example, in the Hart building in Washington is, people were exposed. There was anthrax in an envelope. It got up onto the table and possibly into the air, but that no one is sick and no one is going to get sick, because they are going to get antibiotics that are effective, take them for a course that is sufficient to prevent this illness. And there will not be any cases of illness there.
KING: Is there something called very pure anthrax, which makes it very potent anthrax?
KOPLAN: That is not really an issue for us in this investigation. Our concern, is there...
KOPLAN: Well, because there is anthrax. We have found anthrax. We have isolated it from Florida, from New York. And now another laboratory has isolated it from Washington. And we have seen it can cause disease. And we have seen, in one unfortunate instance in Florida, that it can cause death.
So the characterization of it in its physical properties, I think, is important for the investigation, but, at the moment, it is not altering how we are approaching it from a public health perspective.
KING: When you sweep a building or offices, like the governor's office in New York or the House building, does that -- do you kill the spores?
KOPLAN: The term sweep, I'm not quite sure how are they using it.
I think there are two things that are going on. First, there is an environmental determination of: How far do those spores go? And ways to do that involve two ways. One, you see lot of people who want to get nasal testing. They want to get a nasal swab for anthrax. That is not a clinical test. It is not a test that helps determine whether an individual has or hasn't been exposed or will or won't get sick.
It really is a test of how much spread or how far those spores have traveled in the environment. It helps us, along with testing surfaces: desks, floors, corners. And it is those two things that we'll go through the workspace for. So, in the case of the Hart office building in Washington, the folks there will look for levels of environmental contamination in that suite, in the offices next door, elsewhere on that floor, on other floors, and then determine what type of cleanup to do and how extensive it has to be.
KING: Is there any purpose for manufacturing anthrax other than harm?
KOPLAN: It can sometimes be used for testing in some laboratories that are veterinary, or for other purposes, for some kind of testing, maybe for antibiotic use, to see what whether they might be effective against it. But for a large-scale manufacturing of anthrax, I cannot think of a useful purpose.
KING: So if every lab that could make anthrax in the world were gone, we would be better off with no harm?
KOPLAN: Well, unfortunately, there are places where it is needed and might be useful. And I indicated, there may be an agricultural or veterinary value in getting some more information. And you have to use anthrax from that, because, remember, it occurs naturally.
It occurs in soil. It occurs on some animals. And veterinarians and some farmers and some other occupations are at risk for it. So we need to know something about it. And, in addition, to say they can't work with it or not to have it doesn't mean people of malevolent purposes and malicious ideas are not going to find a way to make it on their own.
KING: And what are you saying to the public at large?
KOPLAN: We're saying to the public at large what we have been saying all along: Yes, this is something we are all concerned about. We didn't -- we don't want this to happen. But it is here. It is a disease that we didn't know a lot about before, in general. We in the medical profession have been familiar with it. And the more you know about it, the more comfortable you can be that we can deal with it together and prevent unnecessary illness.
It doesn't spread from person to person. There have been limited instances of its being introduced in certain circumstances over the last couple of weeks. Once these occur, if we identify them quickly and deal with them properly, we can really prevent all illness from occurring. So, from that, there is the issue of mail. How do you we deal with it? How do we tell a letter might be suspect?
And I think, for most folks, the mail they get is relatively familiar to them, whether it is bills, letters from people. We can recognize that. If you see something that is unusual, treat it as unusual and potentially dangerous.
KING: Thank you, Doctor. We will be calling on you again. It is always good to see you.
KOPLAN: Thank you.
KING: Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When we come back: the governor of New York, George Pataki; and then the minority leader of the United States House of Representatives, Dick Gephardt -- lots more to come.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: We will not let this stop the work of the Senate. There will be a vote this afternoon. We will be in session and have a vote or votes tomorrow. And I am absolutely determined to ensure that the Senate continues to do its work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We are back with the -- first, with the governor of New York, George Pataki.
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Larry, good being with you.
We had some concerns about some possible correspondence or other sources of contaminants in the office. So we had some people checked. And the good news is that their tests came back negative. No one in the office has tested positive for anthrax or exposure to anthrax.
The bad news is we did an environmental assessment, and one place did turn up with positive indications of anthrax. Fortunately, it's a relatively confined area where the state police are. Visitors don't go to that part of my offices, the general staff doesn't go to that office.
So we're confident that we can get the offices cleaned up, decontaminated, and back open hopefully by the early part of next week.
KING: Weren't the governor of New York's New York City offices in the World Trade Center?
PATAKI: My offices were in the south tower of the World Trade Center, I moved, I think, in 1997, and you know, that's one of the emotional things, when you go down to ground zero. And I used to be there every week, knew a lot of the people who worked in the building, and it's very sad to see. But we're going to get through this. We're going to get through the aftermath of September 11. We're a strong country and a strong people.
And I think that when you look at this, since September 11th, the major effort has been to frighten us, to break our spirit. It's not going to happen. We're going to continue to succeed and do well in New York and in America.
KING: Before September 11, nobody got powder in the mail, nobody thought of anthrax. Since September 11 we hear about it daily. Are you tying the two together?
PATAKI: Larry, I think it's logical that in people's minds you draw that conclusion, that this is all post-September 11, but in any specific incident I don't think it's appropriate to conclude what the source of that powder or anthrax may have been. The FBI, and in the case of our offices the FBI with the state police, are doing a thorough investigation. I'm confident everything that can be done to find the source is being done. And I'm even more confident that we'll be able to have the offices clean and ready to go in a relatively short period of time.
KING: But logically, aren't you worried?
PATAKI: Well, I think all Americans...
KING: I mean, somebody delivered that to your office, right? It had to come from somewhere.
PATAKI: Well, it got -- it got there somehow. We don't know how. I think since September 11th all Americans have a heightened sense of our vulnerability, and we have to take commonsense steps to increase our security and to make sure that we exercise a little more caution in our daily lives. But we can't allow these proponents of fear and terror to take away our confidence and to prevent us from going around our ordinary day's work.
You know, tonight after running our office, I went over and watched the Yankees win the playoff game and had a hamburger, and Times Square was full of people. And yes, we have to be more vigilant and we have to stand together, but we can't allow fear to prevent us from going about our lives as Americans.
KING: Did you talk to your employees?
PATAKI: We have. We talked to our employees, and I'll tell you the spirit is just tremendous. My secretary, who had the greatest concern, who was tested, was in working today. We had people coming in and working today, and volunteering to stay tonight. And the spirit is very high.
Obviously, there's a level of concern and anxiety that New Yorkers and Americans didn't have before September 11. But there's also that sense of common purpose and that commitment to not allow these mongers of terror to take away our belief in America.
So we're going to get through this and we're going to have good days ahead as we look to the future, Larry.
KING: Governor, do you think that commitment will last if these stories continue to break on a daily basis?
PATAKI: Oh, I do, sure. And it has to last. And what we have to gain from this is not increased anxiety but increased confidence.
Just take a look in my offices, not one person is sick. Not one person has tested positive. This is an effort to frighten us and disrupt our daily lives. And yes, we're going to have to do things differently with a greater sense of the need for security and commonsense precautions, but I believe that the American people have been unified and really in a strange way brought together that I haven't seen in my lifetime.
And it is tiring. It is anxious moments. But on the other hand, the spirit among the American people, and certainly here in New York, is still high and I believe it's going to stay high.
KING: Thanks, governor. Always good seeing you.
PATAKI: Good talking to you, Larry.
KING: The governor of New York, George Pataki. Now let's go to Washington, and standing by is the congressman known to all of us, the House minority leader, Dick Gephardt, Democrat of Missouri. What's the latest there?
REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Well, Larry, we've shut down the House. The Senate will shut down tomorrow. The office buildings are shut down entirely, and we're going to go through all of them and make sure there are not other hot spots, people who need be tested are being tested, and antibiotics are being given to the people who need it. We're going to get through this and we're going to get through it in the right way.
KING: All right. I asked the governor the same thing: Nothing before September 11th about anthrax and power and deliveries to buildings, and now everything. Do you tie the two together?
GEPHARDT: Well, logically, you've got to think and have suspicion that they're tied together. But obviously, we can't prove that at this point. The FBI, the CIA are looking at all the evidence, and they're going to try to find out first who sent the envelope so we can apprehend them. And then if it came from another country, we've got to tie that down as well.
I think in due time we're going to find out where this came from and we're going to find out who did it. This -- this cannot stand.
KING: Have you and your staff been tested?
GEPHARDT: No, we haven't. The problem, as you know, was on the Senate side: unfortunately, in Senator Daschle's office, Senator Feingold's office. But a lot of people on the Hill are being tested. We just thought that to be careful we ought to get all of the young people out of these buildings, and try to find out if there are spores, hot spots in other places so we can avoid a problem. We have a responsibility not only for people's personal safety, but to prevent further attacks.
KING: Is it a victory for terrorists if you have to close down the business of the country until Tuesday?
GEPHARDT: Not at all. We finished what we needed to do this week. We'll be back on Tuesday. We weren't going to be in session beyond tomorrow anyway, so we really haven't missed a beat.
The anti-terrorism bill has been worked through. We had a meeting later in the day, and the anti-terrorism bill I think can be passed on Tuesday and signed by the president. And we've got a stimulus package, got to finish our budget.
We're going to get our work done and get it done quickly and on time.
KING: What's all this done to you, Dick? Personally?
GEPHARDT: Well, it -- it worries everybody. But we've got to be calm, cool and collected. This is a challenge to our country and our people. This is the state, unfortunately, of modern warfare. And we've got to deal with it, and we will deal with it.
Not only will we confront it and increase our homeland security, which we're doing every day, but we're going to find the people who did this and bring them finally to justice. Finally, we're going to have a long-term set of ideas to prevent and diminish the army of terrorism, not increase it. That's what we've got do for the long future.
KING: Most things, congressman, I guess are after the fact. Should we have been better prepared?
GEPHARDT: No question about it, Larry. I said on the floor the other night that, you know, we can all point fingers at the CIA or the FBI, but frankly, that isn't going to help us a lot right now. We need to know where we went wrong, and the truth is we're all at fault. This was a failure of everyone in our country. None of us took this seriously enough when the dormitory blew up in Saudi Arabia, when we had the bombs at the embassies in Africa. We always thought it would happen somewhere else.
Well, now it's here. Now we know it. And now we're taking definitive day-by-day action to defeat this foe and to make sure we prevent these things from happening in the future.
KING: Did you speak to your staff?
GEPHARDT: I've spoken to the staff. They've been great. All the people on Capitol Hill have been fabulous. Obviously, people are concerned, but the ones that need to be tested are being tested. The ones that need antibiotics are getting them. And we're going to find the other hot spots, if there are any, and the buildings will be ready to go Tuesday morning and we'll be back to work.
KING: Are you going to St. Louis?
GEPHARDT: America is -- I'm going to St. Louis tomorrow night and work in the district and talk to people there.
Americans have responded in an inspiring way. This country is strong and resilient, and our people are showing us the way.
I told the president the other day, if all of us here can be half as good as the American people have been, we're going to do just fine.
KING: Well said. Thanks, Dick.
GEPHARDT: Thank you.
KING: Congressman Dick Gephardt, the minority leader of the United States House of Representatives.
When we come back, we'll go to the other side of the Hill and meet Senators Joseph Lieberman and Bill Frist. Senator Frist, by the way, is the only medical doctor in the United States Senate. They're next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: We thought that the best and prudent situation was to ask and do an environmental sweep to make sure that we didn't have any anthrax spores loose and moving around any of our office buildings or in the Capitol itself. We felt that was the most prudent thing to do so that we could move forward and get the work done that this Congress has to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, and both in Washington: Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, chairman of the Government Affairs Committee, held a hearing today on bioterrorism, and a member of Armed Services as well, and former candidate for the vice presidency of his party; and in Washington as well, Senator Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, the only medical doctor in the Senate, ranking member of the Public Health Subcommittee, of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and a member of Foreign Relations committee as well.
What's the latest you can report, Senator Lieberman, on the conditions vis-a-vis the Senate?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, obviously, the anthrax package appeared at Senator Daschle's office; 31 people have now been tested positive for exposure, not infection.
A lot of other people, including me and my staff, were in that ventilation stack in the Hart building. We went down for our nasal swabs yesterday. We are on Cipro. We have been advised the that prospects of us being infected are extremely low, and if that should happen, the antibiotic will take care of it. So I don't know about others, but I have reached the angry stage again.
I am just feeling so furious that people would do what they have tried to do to us, would send anthrax poison to young people opening mail. And I'm very proud we are going to be in session tomorrow. There is a certain defiance to it which is justified.
KING: Do you think the House is making a mistake closing down?
LIEBERMAN: No. I think they had their own decision. They may well have been more efficient than we are and finished their work for the week. We haven't.
LIEBERMAN: And I'm glad we are going to be there tomorrow.
KING: Senator Frist, what's the story regarding your office, your wing of the Senate?
SEN. BILL FRIST (R), TENNESSEE: Well, Larry, there are three different Senate buildings, as you well know. And I'm in the Russell building. And the next building over is the Dirksen. And the next is the Hart.
The decision was made today because of the Hart exposure and the number of positive, again, exposures, or what's colonization -- again, as Joe said, not disease -- to go ahead and close the next two buildings, the Dirksen and the Russell building. Now, we are going to still be in session. We're going to be operating. We are going to be operating in a normal way tomorrow, except our staff is going to stay at home.
As you talked about earlier in the show, surveillance activity will be carried out over the next three days in the three Senate buildings, as well as the three House buildings.
KING: Are you as angry as your fellow senator?
FRIST: Of course I'm angry.
Whoever is doing this -- and, clearly, it is criminal activity, using the mail with bioweapons, possibly terrorist activity. We just don't know at this stage. Whatever it is, they are accomplishing their goal.
And the goal is to personalize this feeling of terror. Today, I spent most of the day talking to about 300-400 staff people. And they have those basic questions: Am I going to get the disease? What is anthrax? If I got powder on my shirt and I went home, will I infect my family? That sort of fear, that sort of insecurity, even though there are very good answers to those questions -- not everybody hears them at the same time -- does cause people to be afraid.
KING: Senator Lieberman, we have a reward out for bin Laden. If it turns out this anthrax is domestic terrorism, would you put a reward here, too?
LIEBERMAN: Sure would. It is a crime. It is an outrage. And we ought to pursue to the end whoever did this. I start -- I'm not in law enforcement anymore. But I start with the presumption that this is associated with bin Laden and the terrorists who struck us on September 11. Obviously, if the evidence leads otherwise, then I will accept the evidence.
KING: Do you make any conceptions of what it is, Senator Frist?
FRIST: Well, Larry, it is interesting in that we have a lot of new evidence today, evidence that people have not had to think very much about in the past. And that is the germ, the bacteria, the spore.
You have to divide what happened in the United States Senate into two categories. One is the public health response. And that is under way: surveillance, communication, diagnosis and treatment. And the other is the intelligence, the forensic itself. Because the amount of anthrax sent to Senator Daschle's office was significant, it has gone through the preliminary tests so that we an address the public health aspect. But, in addition, now it's going to laboratories around the country that you'll look for that fingerprint: the size, how much potential this would have to infect. That is: Can it be aerosolized easily?
There are all sorts of fingerprints that now we can look at. And I'm absolutely confident, given the fact our epidemiologists and scientists are so good, we are going to figure out where this came from.
KING: Do you agree also with a reward for domestic terrorism?
FRIST: Well, of course I do. Again, as you think of domestic terrorism in terms of science and in terms of creating germs that can be used as weapons, the whole idea of money becomes important, because a lot of this technology can be bought somewhere in the world. So it would be important to put that money out there.
KING: Let's include some calls for Senators Lieberman and Frist.
La Grande, Oregon, hello.
CALLER: Hello. Thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: For the senators: Why can't the pranksters and hoaxsters, etcetera, et al, be charged with treason? In my opinion, they are as equally guilty of terrorism as the other people are. KING: Senator Lieberman, what do you think of those pranksters who might be caught?
LIEBERMAN: Yes, equally outrageous -- just create fear, which is, of course, what the terrorists are trying to do. And that Americans would do that as well to try to break our will is just intolerable.
You can't charge them with treason, but they can be charged with crimes. In my own state of Connecticut, apparently -- allegedly, there was a hoax that emptied one of our state office buildings. That person is being prosecuted. And that should happen with whomever does this. Come on, let's pull together. Let's not make this into an occasion for pranks. It is an occasion for unity and response.
KING: Senator Frist, Senator Schumer is pushing for the government to start buying the generic form of Cipro. Bayer has the patent protection, but there is generic form, I guess, due to come out. Would you favor bringing that out now so that people who don't have the money can afford the lesser price?
FRIST: Larry, it's probably premature.
Today, on the anthrax that we know was here in Washington, D.C., the sensitivities -- meaning what antibiotics could be used to treat it -- include everything that was tested: penicillin, doxycycline, tetracycline, the fluoroquinolone Cipro. And that's true for all anthrax that we have seen this far.
The FDA is working very hard, and, indeed, just today had FDA approval to use penicillin and doxycycline for the treatment of anthrax today. We have about two million doses of Cipro that, because of a federal program that is a new program over the last two years, we can get to anywhere within the United States within 8 to 12 hours. So, right now, given my best judgment, we have plenty of Cipro. But in addition to that, the anthrax that we know today is sensitive to a whole range of antibiotics.
KING: And, therefore, anybody, even people without means, who are exposed can get this?
FRIST: That is exactly right. Even as a bioweapon -- if anthrax is used as a bioweapon, today we have sufficient doses to engage in treatment.
You will see the president put money on the table right now in a proposal that he made -- Secretary Thompson made -- to increase that level from two million probably up to about 10 million doses in the very near future.
LIEBERMAN: Incidentally, Larry...
KING: Yes, go ahead.
LIEBERMAN: ... the same was said by Secretary Thompson today about smallpox and having an adequate inventory of pharmaceuticals to treat any possible outbreak of smallpox. So we are going to be ready.
FRIST: Larry, that is important, because anthrax -- as we look at what's needed, is support for our public health infrastructure, so that whether it's anthrax or smallpox or tularemia or the new pneumonic plague, that we are prepared as a nation to combat whatever it is. We need to focus on anthrax, but we need to have that public health infrastructure.
KING: Doctor, have you ever seen a case of anthrax?
FRIST: I've never seen a case of anthrax. There have only been about five cases in a year on average of the type that is on the skin: treatable, very easily treatable once it's diagnosed.
There have only been, as you know, 20 cases now of the inhalation, the type that you inhale in the last 100 years. In fact, 99.99 percent of physicians have never even seen a picture of the anthrax rash. And I should say that if you are interested in seeing the rash itself, you can go to my Web site, frist.senate.gov. And I say that to physicians as well, because that's where you can actually see what that rash is.
It's a very distinctive rash.
KING: That's on your Web site right now.
FRIST: It is, and as a physician, it's important that people can recognize that -- that rash as we see these outbreaks. It is the size of a pencil eraser to about a quarter. It's black, like anthrax means coal is black. Very distinguishable rash.
KING: Ellington, Connecticut, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I have a three-part question. My first -- about anthrax. My first question is the people that are filling these envelopes and sending them, with their exposure, won't they become ill? Won't that be obvious as they're being put throughout the mail?
No. 2, when the employees of whoever is being exposed to this, when they're put on antibiotics, how long and will it make them immune if they're re-exposed to anthrax? How long does it live when they do the environmental sweep through the offices? How long -- I mean once they clean it, and then they're going to determine that it can't go back in. But can it still live on the surface for how long?
KING: Excellent questions. Does the sender get ill?
FRIST: Let me start real quick. If you're a terrorist or you're a criminal and you're mixing this, you can protect yourself because of the three types: The cutaneous has to go through an open cut, so you can wear gloves. The inhalation has to be inhaled, so all you have to do is keep it settled down, keep it contained or wear a mask. So -- so, that sort of answers, I think, that fundamental question.
In terms of the decontamination end of things, when people go through and decontaminate an area, you can use a type of bleach which will actually kill the spores itself. For spores that are on your hand, simple hand washing will take care of that.
KING: To Niagara Falls, New York, hello.
CALLER:, Yes. Hello. With -- with possible tragedies still going to happen, wouldn't it be a waste of taxpayers money to spend it all on this production of Cipro and then have no money left to take care of whatever tragedies might happen?
KING: Senator Lieberman.
LIEBERMAN: Well, I -- I'd say that one of the reasons we have not to be afraid is that we're a mighty nation. We're not only mighty militarily, we're mighty economically, not to mention our principles. And the economic might means that we have the wherewithal to do whatever we need to do to meet this crisis. That includes the medical, the public health, as well as the military and law enforcement.
So don't fear: We're strong enough to deal with this. And most of all don't let the terrorists strike fear into us, to have us think that we;'re weaker than in fact we really are.
If we stay together, we're going to defeat them and we're going to come out of this stronger than we were before.
KING: Thank you both very much. We'll be calling on you again. Always good to see you: Senator Joseph Lieberman and Senator Bill Frist, of Connecticut and Tennessee respectively, Democrat and Republican respectively. Americans first.
You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. The prime minister of Australia, John Howard, will be with us tonight, other members of the Senate as well. That's tomorrow night.
Coming next, Senator John Kerry and General George Joulwan, United States Army retired, the former NATO supreme allied commander. We're fighting a war on two fronts: The domestic one's going on here. There's another one going over there. And we'll talk about that after this.
KING: We're going to turn our attention to things military now. We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Also in Washington, General George Joulwan, United States Army retired, former commander in chief of the U.S. European command and former NATO supreme allied commander.
We'll start with the general. How are things going as you assess the operation so far against the Taliban?
RET. GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Well, Larry, I think the American people can take great pride in how our forces deployed in three weeks. We set the force. We have three carrier battle groups south of Pakistan, another one in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
I think the first phase of this operation has gone extremely well. The attacks against their air defense, their air fields, and now, this phase is against their military. And we now have what I would call air superiority.
And so, that's how it, as I see it, is going. We're going to run into an issue now of winter coming up in four weeks and Ramadan on the 17th of November, and all of those constraints are going to be weighed by our military commanders, looking for some political guidance and political clarity for the next phase.
KING: Senator Kerry, do we have to consider things like Ramadan? Do we have to take into consideration great holidays?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It depends on what phase of the war we're engaged in, whether we do that. Certainly, the chase for Osama bin Laden and the pressure on him, I'd say no.
But with respect to the overall effort in Afghanistan as a whole, probably to some degree, and certainly, with respect to the fragility of Pakistan, I think there are three key things we need to achieve here right now, Larry, first of all, we need to get a government in place of the Taliban as rapidly as possible. And I think that is conditioned by the winter approach and by Ramadan. And hopefully, we will, I think you're already seeing the intensity of the bombing in the last couple of days, the specific targeting is beginning to unleash the ability of the Northern Alliance to move.
But we do want to replace the Taliban with the best governing structure possible to facilitate the rest of this operation. So the second component is you hopefully have some kind of broad governing council, and then you have a United Nations presence that is going to assist in sort of creating a workable government out of that.
And thirdly, you're going to need a security force to guarantee the ability of both of the first two things to work, and that must be predominantly Muslim. And that will facilitate our ability to press the hunt for Osama bin Laden in all of the ensuing weeks and months until we get him.
KING: General Joulwan, what is the specific military goal right now in the bombing? What do we hope to accomplish?
JOULWAN: Well, I think two things. One is to gain air superiority. I think we've done that.
The fact that we are now flying these AC-130 gunships at very low altitude and spotter aircraft at low altitude demonstrates that we now have air superiority. The second part of that is to try reduce the military of the Taliban. That to me is a center of gravity, as I would call it, and that's what we're going after now.
The issue, though, Larry, in my opinion, is that perhaps the military is a little bit in front of where the political decisions are right now. We haven't made a decision of how much support we're going to give to the Northern Alliance. I think Secretary Powell's visit to Pakistan and India was to shore some of that up.
So until we get the political clarity, all options could be on the table, but what we need now is some political decisions on what next steps to take, particularly with regard to the Northern Alliance. They have troops on the ground, and I think we need to get some success, I would think, before winter sets in.
KING: How thrown back are we, Senator Kerry, by terrorist occurrences? If there are some terrorist problems that occur in cities in Europe or more in the United States, what does that do to the effort over there?
KERRY: Nothing. It won't change it...
KING: Nothing at all?
KERRY: ... one iota. No, not one iota.
It will even increase the intensity of it probably. My suspicion will be it'll simply raise the support level in this country. It will raise the intensity of our effort, and probably speed up some of the decisions that the general just referred to that need to be made.
KING: Ellijay, Georgia, we include some phone calls, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Senator Kerry, after Afghanistan, should Iraq be next on our agenda?
KERRY: It ought to be on our agenda today, but not as a military priority initially. It should be on our agenda. It should never have left our agenda in the context of the U.N. inspections. I mean, it's always been incomprehensible to me that at one moment Saddam Hussein was this enormous threat who merited our bombing and our no-fly zones, our putting our young people in harm's way, and raising the stakes, if you will, of the confrontation, and then all of a sudden it disappeared.
I think we did all of ourselves a great disservice by allowing that to happen. We must reconstitute the pressure on Saddam Hussein's regime to be inspected and to be held accountable to international standards for proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. And we need to build that over a period of time. But not allow that -- and I emphasize this -- that cannot take priority over the operations in Afghanistan today, and it would be a tinderbox with respect to the Muslim world and some of the coalition today if we were to move in a premature fashion.
KING: General, the president said, "Mark my words" -- he said this to Asian news editors today -- "people are going to get tired of the war on terrorism, and by the way, it may take more than two years." What -- is there going to be a victory day here? What's the overall -- how do we know we've won?
JOULWAN: This is a very different type of fight that we're in, Larry. We've had a sea change in our thinking since the 11th of September. This is going to be a struggle that's going to take a long period of time.
To root out these terrorist cells -- this is not the Fulda Gap of Germany where you had the Soviets on one side and NATO on the other. This is going to take a great deal of effort.
It's much akin to what we were trying to do against the narcoterrorists in the drug fight. It's going to take a lot of time and cooperation by a lot of countries, a lot of agencies, and we have to have a different way of doing business in order to be successful. And we may not know when victory will come. But it may come not in two years or four years, but it will come, but it will take perseverance, focus.
And we can't lose our focus to what Senator Kerry said. We've got to keep our focus right now on the Taliban in Afghanistan and get that job done right.
KING: And Senator Kerry, so this could be a nightly event on this program for three, four years?
KERRY: No, no. I don't believe it will unfold that way, Larry. I think the general is correct. I agree with everything he just said. And I've been deeply involved in the war against narcotraffickers, and the general was critical in helping us wrap up a couple of the cartels in South America. So he knows what he's talking about, about the length of time and complication. But -- and here's the "but." After Afghanistan and after this initial effort, I would anticipate that there are going to be many more clandestine operations, much more information-gathering, intelligence-gathering, and a more sporadic process of targeting than we are witnessing at this moment.
This is -- this is in many ways the easiest and clearest step. We need, as the general just said, we need to build our intelligence- gathering capacity. We're going to have to build the cooperative efforts with other countries. We're going to have to forge new partnerships.
There is an enormous amount of public diplomacy that we're going to have to engage in, and frankly, a much more engaged and robust foreign policy over the course of the next years.
KING: Do you think, general, the public is prepared for that?
JOULWAN: I think so. I think there's been a reawakening here to this threat. Public support, political will, all of that, is going to be extremely important. But we have to get away from thinking of an insular approach on our foreign policy. We have got to stay engaged globally.
It's going to take not the United States as the world's policeman, but the United States as the world's leader. That leadership is going to be so essential.
And the perception was we were pulling back. We have got to stay engaged. NATO is engaged with us. We've got to build up our allies and our friends. This is going to take an effort, and the United States must provide that leadership. And I think the American people will be supportive of that.
KING: Senator Kerry, in 30 seconds, how's your office doing with regard to the anthrax thing?
KERRY: My folks are terrific, Larry, and thank you for asking. We've got a lot of young people who came to Washington to do good and to work for their country. They're scared. I think about 75 percent of my office was tested, because many of them were in the other building or passed through there during that period of time. But they're all coming to work. They're energized. They understand this moment's importance in history. And I think they're a great example to the rest of the country of the way another generation is going to commit itself to this cause.
KING: Thank you both very much, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and General George Joulwan, the former supreme allied commander of NATO.
When we come back, a great lady: Jehan Sadat, widow of the late president -- 20 years ago he was killed -- Anwar Sadat. She's next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: This nation is strong! This nation is united! This nation is resolved! This nation will defeat terror wherever we find it across the globe!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The New York Police are going to provide our musical close in a little while. We welcome now to LARRY KING LIVE Jehan Sadat, the widow of the late president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat. She is a senior fellow, the Sadat Chair for Development and Peace at the University of Maryland in College Park.
Mrs. Sadat, do you fear for President Mubarak?
JEHAN SADAT, WIDOW OF ANWAR SADAT: Well, sure, I'm very concerned about his security. But I believe he is taking care of it, and there are so many things in Egypt to make me feel satisfied really.
KING: Really? So you're not overly worried despite what's going on in the world and possible fears?
SADAT: Well, it is -- what's going on in the world, it's frightening a little bit, yes. But I believe in Egypt Mubarak, our president, is really doing his best to the people. That's why we're not frightened.
KING: Your husband was the victim of a vicious, not terrorism, certainly an assassination attempt beyond all realm of sanity. How did you and what -- how can you help other people deal with that, people who've lost people meaninglessly?
SADAT: It's very hard, Larry, because, you know, it's sometimes you say why it happened to me. And I feel the same for the people who lost their loved-ones in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Really, it's a tragedy, innocent people and doing nothing, and they are punished like that. It's unfair. Unfair.
KING: Was it -- do you have any advice as to how to deal with it? You had to deal with it.
SADAT: Yes. Well, I faced it really courageously, because I believe in faith, I believe in God, and I had to continue my life and I had to do my best, because, I mean, staying at home and crying, it will not help. I have to do something and I have a message for peace. This is what I'm doing.
KING: That's what you're working on and teaching.
SADAT: Yes. Yes.
KING: Why is the United States so hated in your region of the world?
SADAT: You want me to be honest, Larry, and you know that I love the American people so much, and I'm living here half of the year. Because the people in the Middle East look to the United States as the most powerful country, as the most strongest country in the whole world, and they want them to try to solve the problem in the Middle East between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And this is what President Carter has done with us. He brought Prime Minister Begin and Sadat together and he helped a lot.
That's why they are looking to America to help, and they didn't see anything until now.
KING: Do you think the coalition can hold?
SADAT: Oh, sure. Sure. Sure. We are looking -- not me only, but millions and millions of Muslims all over the world looking to the help of America to bring about the peace in the Middle East between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And I wanted to tell you, this is for the benefit for the Israelis also to live in peace among all these Arabs around them, and the Palestinians will live together with the Israelis.
I mean, it's not a big thing for America to do, and that's why we wanted them to help.
KING: Mrs. Sadat, a fanatic killed your husband.
KING: And we as a nation now have to face fanatics. Is there any way to deal with people who are willing to do a horrendous act and give up their own lives at the same time?
SADAT: Well, you have to be very cautious. You have to do what you are doing, to do your best. They shouldn't stop us from going on in our life or otherwise. We are -- I mean, pleasing them by staying at home -- we have to continue our life. But to be cautious, to do what we have to do, and to get on our life. And again, solving the whole -- the conflicts are much more -- will help much more in bringing the peace and calming down the terrors. Did your husband fear assassination?
SADAT: He never feared anything, Larry. He was aware of what is going to -- he was aware of the -- because he received many threats before that because he's doing, making peace with Israel he will be killed for it. But it didn't stop him at all.
KING: He was a great man. Do you still think of him?
SADAT: Oh, all the time, sure. Sure.
KING: We would love to have his counsel now. It's hard to believe it's 20 years.
SADAT: That's true. That's true, Larry. That's true.
KING: Thank you so much, Jehan.
SADAT: Thank you, Larry. Thank you very much.
KING: Jehan Sadat, widow of the late president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat. She's a senior fellow at the Sadat Chair for Development and Peace at the University of Maryland, College Park, suburb of Washington, D.C.
Tomorrow night, the prime minister of Australia, John Howard, and some major members of the United States Senate, and when we come back an extraordinary police officer is going to close things out for us musically. Don't miss it. Don't go away. We'll be right back.
KING: We're joined now in New York by police officer Daniel Rodriguez. He is -- his patrol area is the Manhattan south, one of the official National Anthem singers for the New York PD. As he prepares to do a song to close things out for us, the police color guard will be coming in behind him.
He was at City Hall on September 11th.
Have you been to ground zero, Officer?
OFFICER DANIEL RODRIGUEZ, NEW YORK POLICE: I was at ground zero for the first 10 days. Then, of course, when the memorial services began, I started to do my services as a singer.
KING: You sang the other night at the playoff game, did you not?
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, I did. I think I brought them a little luck. We did very, very well. I was very satisfied.
KING: Yeah, they won then and they won again today, did they not?
RODRIGUEZ: I believe so. Yes, I have been so busy I haven't had a chance to see the score. But if they won, I'm very happy.
KING: They won. The color guard is behind you. Here is Police Officer Daniel Rodriguez, one of New York's finest, with Irving Berlin's "God Bless America."
(MUSIC, DANIEL RODRIGUEZ SINGING "GOD BLESS AMERICA")
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