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Resolve Lacking Among Two Former U.S. Allies, French and Germany

Aired February 6, 2003 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the CROSSFIRE tonight:

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The game is over. All the world can rise to this moment.

ANNOUNCER: What to do about Iraq and when?

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think we are reaching an endgame in a matter of week, not a matter of months.

ANNOUNCER: Is the U.S. focused on the wrong target?

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: I also think that North Korea is equally, equally as urgent a problem.

ANNOUNCER: Can Washington line up all of its allies?

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: The world is increasingly seeing this from the United States' point of view.



ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. President Bush says the game is over with Iraq. We'll ask two members of Congress about Iraq and the other game, the one where we know the bad guys already have nuclear weapons.

Later, the president has the Turks, the Pols, the Hungarians and the Brits at his side, but should he wait for the French, the Germans and the Russians?

But first, let's begin with the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert." President Bush today said he would welcome a new U.N. resolution authorizing military force against Iraq, but warned the Iraqi dictator "the game is over," unquote.

Meanwhile Secretary of State Colin Powell went to Capitol Hill today. But before the secretary could get much traction making his case for war against Iraq, he had to answer sharp questions about America's policy toward North Korea.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said that North Korea, which has a full-blown nuclear weapons program, is a more serious threat than Iraq which does not now have nuclear weapons.

Kerry said President Bush's policy toward North Korea is, quote, "fuzzy," unquote, and criticized Mr. Bush for taking options like a military strike and even economic sanctions off the table.

Secretary Powell insisted the president has retained all of his options. He went on to try to explain why diplomacy is a good policy, when dealing with a Korean mad man without a nuke, but a bad policy when dealing with an Iraqi mad man without a nuke.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: That's an excellent point, and I'm glad -- you phrased, I think, it in a fair way and the answer, of course is it's really dangerous to deal with a mad man with a nuclear weapon which is why you want to prevent Saddam from becoming a mad man of with a nuclear weapon. And that's part of the point of the whole exercise, seems to me.

BEGALA: The farthest thought -- I mean I don't think very many people believe he's very far to getting a nuclear weapon. The question is why are we taking even economic sanctions off the table against North Korea, but we are not even trying...


CARLSON: You can criticize American policies toward North Korea and I think there's a lot to criticize. But to say that it's a greater threat, therefore we shouldn't address the Iraqi threat is really a non sequitur.

BEGALA: No, we should address it with more -- I think we're not addressing it, frankly, in North Korea. We should address it, I think, with a little more steel over there where there is a greater threat.

CARLSON: Well, you may be right. I don't think the Clinton approach works. I agree with you.

Tariq Aziz knows what he's doing for Valentine's Day. On February 14 the deputy prime minister of Iraq will meet with Pope John Paul II. That's also the day, not coincidentally, that weapons inspectors will deliver their final report to the United Nations. It's expected to be quite harsh.

Aziz is hoping for a useful photo-op. As a top aide to Saddam Hussein for 40 years, Aziz is an architect of modern Iraq and it's police state. And he's complicite in its many crimes. Will the pope publicly scold him for enslaving millions of people and murdering tens of thousands more? Probably not.

On the other hand the pope had no trouble scolding the United States recently for being mean to Iraq. "War against Iraq," he said last month, would like all wars, be, quote, "a defeat for humanity."

Really? Is humanity worse off now that the Nazis are gone, that the Soviet Union has collapsed and Baby Doc, Pol Pot and Idi Amin have been swept away by all force? Of course not. Their defeats were victories for humanity and Saddam's will be as well.

BEGALA: Oh now where do I begin on this? First, let me correct your history. The Soviet Union fell without a war. It fell because of containment. Now let me correct you...

CARLSON: Actually there were dozens of little wars all around the world during the Cold War.

BEGALA: We never marched on Moscow. Now let me correct your reporting. The Holy Father gave a speech on January 1 of 2000 where he called for world day of prayer for peace. And he did say that a war is a defeat for humanity. You know what else he said? An I'm quoting...


BEGALA: And I'm quoting from the Holy Father. He said, "At times brutal and systemic violence has to be countered by armed resistance." He said, "There is a duty in some cases of humanitarian intervention," and he listed when, Just War Doctrine of the Catholic Church goes back to St. Thomas Aquinas. War has to be a last resort and many people wonder if...

CARLSON: Yes, no, I am familiar with this.

BEGALA: ... you should address a wrong, not be preemptive. It should be proportional. We don't know if it will be in the violence. And we should protect non-combatants, which I know the American military will do to the best of our ability. But you ought to be fair to the Holy Father, Tucker. This is not just a political speech.

CARLSON: Actually, I think I am being fair...

BEGALA: You were massively unfair.


CARLSON: I think it's quite unfair of the Pope to be used as a propaganda tool by Tariq Aziz is on the very day that that report goes to the U.N. It's a shame.

BEGALA: Tucker, with all due respect, I don't think the Pope needs to take lessons from you on standing for human rights. He's one of the great men... CARLSON: Well I wish in this case he would because he's making a mistake.

BEGALA: The American economy is in its worst hiring slump in 20 years, according to the U.S. Labor Department. More than 2 million people who had jobs when Bill Clinton was president have lost them since George W. Bush took office.

Wage growth, a hallmark of the Clinton boom has stalled from most Americans. Two-thirds of Americans were losing ground in the wages, while the wealthiest ones (UNINTELLIGIBLE) are seeing their wages rise faster than inflation.

Who says the Bush economic plan isn't working? Looks like it's going exactly according to plan. The rich get the goldmine, the rest get the shaft.

This, of course, is a sharp departure from conditions under President Clinton when the poorest Americans actually saw their wages rise faster than the middle class. A classic rising tied that lifted all boats.

President Bush had no comment on the bad economic news. He would, however, like you to know that Saddam Hussein is an evil, evil man. He is, but, that won't fix our economy.

CARLSON: Actually, he's never made the argument that it will fix our economy and in fact, I know it's not news to you that Saddam Hussein is an evil, evil man and that is the most pressing story, not simply in this country, but in the world. And it's important for both parties, not simply the Republican Party to think clearly about what to think about it and I wish the Democrats would.

BEGALA: Well, see they are. I wish the president would think clearly about what to do about fixing the economy. We are in a big deficit. He throws in more tax cuts, which makes the deficit worse. It's like the captain of the Titanic calling out for more icebergs. It's a bad policy.

CARLSON: Federal prosecutors in New York now say they have enough evidence to file criminal charges against Martha Stewart. The charges would stem from Stewart's sale of ImClone's stock just one day before the company tanked.

Stewart can soon face trial on charges of securities fraud, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI. Potential penalties include years in prison. Surveys show the public overwhelmingly believed Stewart committed a crime, but she does have at least one defender. Shortly after the scandal broke, Senator Hillary Clinton offered her support.

Quote, "She was one of the first people to call me," Stewart told CNN's Jeffrey Toobin. Senator Clinton's message, quote, "You know, you have to hang in there. It's a process."

Of course, the process. Not the crime, not the insider trading, not the shareholders you may have shafted, or the laws you may have broken or the public trust you violated, but, quote, "the process." That's Hillary Clinton's take on it. No doubt she told Marc Rich the same thing. Besides, it just the process...

BEGALA: Martha Stewart, like every American, ought to be entitled to a presumption of innocence. And maybe if Hillary Clinton hadn't been hounded by an out of control right-wing prosecutor, has a little bit more sympathy for somebody's being hounded by the press the way Martha Stewart is. I don't know if she's guilty or innocent. I suspect you don't either.


CARLSON: But the idea that a federal criminal investigation is just part of the process, it happens to all of us. That really does betray a certain attitude that I think is interesting.

BEGALA: She didn't say that, though, Tucker.


CARLSON: According to Martha Stewart, she said that. I believe Martha, Paul.

BEGALA: She said it's the process and it is. And the process cleared Hillary Clinton despite the best efforts of the vast right wing conspiracy.

A leading House Republican says he actually approves of the forcible internment of Japanese-Americans during the second World War. Howard Coble is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

He said some Japanese-Americans, and I quote him here, "were intent on doing harm to us, just as some of these Arab-Americans are probably intent on doing harm to us," unquote.

Ronald Reagan who turns 92 today -- happy birthday, Mr. President -- disagreed. He signed a law apologizing to Japanese-Americans and paying them reparations. One of those Japanese-Americans who was locked up is Norm Mineta. He is today President Bush's secretary of transportation.

Another is Bob Matsui, one of the most senior and respected member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Congressman Mike Honda of California was also interned as a child.

One Japanese-American who was not locked up, thank God, was Daniel Inouye. He lost his arm and won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism while fighting for Congressman Cobel's freedom to say really stupid things.

Shame on him. CARLSON: You know, I have to say, it's hard to know what he was saying and it's impossible to excuse it. It's appalling, this is one of the darkest chapters in American history. One of the darkest chapters in the history of Democratic Part, which did this. Democratic president, Democratic Congress responsible for interning these Americans, it's appalling and I hope he apologizes for it. I do.

BEGALA: And as I say, Ronald Reagan turns 92 today. We do keep him...


BEGALA: ... in our thoughts and prayers and he did sign that law. God bless him.

CARLSON: Well, good for him. I agree. Rounding up American citizens. There's no excuse for that.

Perhaps you missed this week's lingerie show featuring scantily clad women. No, it wasn't a rerun of CBS' Victoria's Secret fashion show. That was last year, though still fresh in the memories of many of us.

It was the Lane Bryant fashion show, an event featuring models who are, as the put it in the program, plus size. Roseanne was the mistress of ceremonies

CBS took a pass on the program opting for slimmer, more conventional far and that, say the interest groups, is discrimination, bigotry aimed at the overweight. The nearly 10,000 fats rights activist signed a petition to protest the decision. Their position: viewers should have to watch heavy set underwear models whether they want to or not.

This, of course, is the latest frontier in the civil rights agenda of the Democratic Party. Laugh if you want, but stay tuned for next year's Sports Illustrated plus sized swimsuit issue.

I, for one, can't wait.

BEGALA: Well, nice try trying to pin it on the liberals. You know who's also behind this? One of the groups that we have on here a whole lot on the right side of the table, the Concerned Women of America.

CARLSON: Is that right?

BEGALA: It's ultra right wing, very nice women...

CARLSON: They're not ultra right wing. That's embarrassing though.

BEGALA: They're pretty right wing, Tucker, and they're behind this thing and I think it's just....

CARLSON: They're not more right wing than I am, Paul.

BEGALA: I think it's silly.

CARLSON: I think it's silly too and I would be embarrassed.

The White House hopes Colin Powell's U.N. Speech will start a buildup of momentum that will topple Saddam Hussein. The next two members of Congress tell us if it's working.

Later, that finger you feel in America's eye, it belongs to the French. How much longer will U.S. interest will be thwarted by people who eat mostly cheese? We'll debate it.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Senate of foreign relations committee today that the standoff with Iraq will be -- quote -- "reaching an endgame in a matter of weeks." That doesn't give the Democratic Party much time to come up with a coherent policy toward Iraq. They're not even trying.

On the Senate floor today, Democratic leader Tom Daschle was desperately attempting to change his subject, complaining that while the Bush administration was focused on Iraq, even more ominous developments were taking place in North Korea.

Two members of Congress are stepping into the CROSSFIRE tonight, Vermont Independent Representative Bernie Sanders, and Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama.

BEGALA: Senator Shelby, welcome back.


BEGALA: Congressman Sanders, too.

REP. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Good to be with you.

BEGALA: Our president, before we get to Secretary Powell who was on the Hill today. Our president spoke out at the White House and I want to play a brief snippet of what he said and ask you about it.

Here's our president.


BUSH: We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons.


BEGALA: He was speaking, of course, about Iraq. Why does that policy not also apply to North Korea, where we seem to be waiting to see what they will do with their nuclear and other weapons.

SHELBY: I think, right now, that the emphasis is on Iraq. That's where so much of our energy and efforts have been and North Korea came up big on the screen. I think we'll deal with North Korea in time, one way or the other. We hope its peaceful, but right now our emphasis is and should be, I believe, Paul, on Iraq.

CARLSON: Congressman, doubtless you saw this, but I want to play a very short clip from the president's press conference this afternoon that I think just about says it all.

Here's the president.


BUSH: We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field command commanders to use chemical weapons, the very weapons the dictator tells the world he does not have.


CARLSON: So this tells you the two things -- the only two things he needs to know. He's in violation of 1441 and he'll do anything with chemical weapons, doesn't it?

SANDERS: Well, the CIA has already told us that if he, in fact, is invaded, as a last recourse, he might well use those weapons.

But the issue is how do we prevent international terrorism? My strong feeling is that the most powerful nation on Earth wages a unilateral invasion against a weak, Muslim nation it's going to result in an antiAmericanism, instability and more terrorism, not less terrorism.

BEGALA: And, in fact, Senator Shelby, even as we're going on the air, there's a new report on the wire citing intelligence officials saying there's increased chatter about impending, perhaps, chemical and biological terrorist attack.

Isn't this a good point, Congressman Sanders makes?

SHELBY: Well, I think we should be alert. We know that there's more signal traffic. If we do go into Iraq, as it looks like we will, the chances of a terrorist attack are against us here, our soft targets, with our allies is much greater. We know that. But I believe we'll be hit with terrorists whether we're in Iraq or not.

BEGALA: Yes, sir, but I guess my question is to put a tighter point on it, Why don't we go after al Qaeda first?

I agree with the president that Saddam Hussein is a bad man and that he has bad weapons he ought not have. But why not go after al Qaeda first, which has shown the capacity to come into our country and murder our people, and then deal with Saddam Hussein. It seems to me we've got the cart before the horse. SHELBY: I think we got to deal with both. If you look at what Saddam Hussein and Iraq is really up to, they're up to the nuclear option. That's what they want. And if they get the nuclear option, they've got the engineers, they've got the know how, all they need is some plutonium or enriched uranium and not a heck of a lot of that. If they get it, it changes the whole political, economic and military dynamic in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Make no mistake about it.

CARLSON: Now Congressman, many have said, well, what is the threat, specifically that America faces from Iraq and I want to put a picture up they think answers that question.

This is a photograph of Lawrence Foley, who was a 60-year-old American diplomat. He was killed October 28 in Jordan, we recently learned by terrorists operating out of Iraq.

Isn't that the threat right there?

SANDERS: Well, but you also know that recently the BBC released the report that came from British intelligence that was leaked which says that British intelligence could not find a really substantial connection between Osama bin Laden and Iraq.

Furthermore, our own FBI and CIA -- "New York Times" this Sunday. They said they were very disappointed -- this was again leaked -- very disappointed that the administration was using evidence that really did not exist.

So is it possible? Sure, it's possible. But here is the issue. Everybody in the....

CARLSON: Wait, wait, wait, wait. I'm sorry. I think we're making news here. Possible Colin Powell, the secretary of state, got up before the U.N. yesterday and said in no uncertain terms that this happened.

Are you saying he's lying?

SANDERS: I'm not saying he's lying. I'm saying...


SANDERS: Are you saying British intelligence is lying? Are you saying that FBI and CIA agent, who had worked on this...

CARLSON: But he said categorically in a way they didn't. Do you not take his word?

BEGALA: Let me actually read the comment that Congressman Sanders is talking about, Senator.

It was in "The New York Times." This is the reporting: "Some analysts at the CIA have complained that senior administration officials have exaggerated the significance of some intelligence reports about Iraq, particularly about its possible links to terrorism, in order to strengthen their politically argument for war.

At the FBI some investigators said they were baffled by the Bush administration's insistence on a solid link between Iraq and Osama bin Laden's network. Quote, "We've been looking hard for this for more than a year and you know what? We just don't think it's there." a government official said.

Doesn't that suggest that, yes, our president is politicizing intelligence information?

SHELBY: I don't think so at all. I think what he's doing, he's bringing forth intelligence information. That's what Secretary Powell did yesterday. To show and to make the case against Iraq. I thought he made the case. I don't know what else you've got to do to show that the man is in material breach of all of the U.N. resolutions and we should get rid of him.

BEGALA: I agree with the first half of that. We're not the U.N.'s army. We're the United States's army. And the case he's got to make to me, and I thought he did terrific, but he didn't answer the case for me which is why war, why now? Why not al Qaeda first? Why aren't we hitting al Qaeda? We have the last four months we've killed a grand total of 23 al Qaeda members. We have two attacks on al Qaeda, one in a bus in Yemen that we hit with a predator missile and the other the other day, the day before yesterday in Afghanistan. That's hardly a full out war if we kill 23 guys in 4 months.

SHELBY: Let me respond to it. We have not killed all of them. There are a lot of them in this country, But we have taken down their sanctuary which is Afghanistan. We have being knocked out so many of their leaders. We dispersed them around the world, which they don't have a central leadership now. We haven't won the war, but we make a heck of a lot of progress. But if we ignore and let Saddam Hussein continue to be in powers are he's going to have a nuclear bomb and then we're going to have real, real problems.

SANDERS: Let me just ask the senator a question. The alternatives should not be invading a country, killing thousands of people, spending $100 billion, alienating the whole world or nothing. There are other alternatives.

CARLSON: Wait. But Mr. Sanders, we are going to get to that in a second in the next segment. I don't want to skip right over the evidence that has come out just on our show. The secretary of state and the president both say there are al Qaeda members living in and operating out of Iraq.

SANDERS: The al Qaeda members in the United States.

CARLSON: But please, address the question. You said a second ago that Mr. Foley who was killed in Jordan, may or may not be killed from a terrorist in Iraq. I'm asking you do you believe the president's assertion that there are al Qaeda cells operate operating with the knowledge of the Iraq I government?

SANDERS: The answer is I don't know. There are people -- you heard what Paul Red -- there is CIA and FBI agents in this country who do not see that. The British intelligence does not necessarily see it. But let's get back to the real point. All of us are frightened about terrorism. We want to wipe out international terrorism.

What is the best way to do it?

I believe that what we've got to do is keep the inspectors in there, keep the helicopters right in front of Saddam Hussein's face, and if he does any act of aggression then you go after him.

SHELBY: These inspectors -- wait a minute.

BEGALA: You go first.

SHELBY: Wait a minute. These inspectors headed by Hans Blix, let's be honest about it, they're not going to find anything. They couldn't find anything in Korea and they're not going to find anything because maybe they're not looking hard enough.

BEGALA: But our intelligence did. I can't say enough about Secretary Powell and the respect I have for him. And he showed a punch of pictures and it didn't mean anything to me, but when he says they're weapons plants, I believe him.


If we find them and photograph them, why can't we bomb them. Why don't we just bomb them tomorrow, tonight, now. Why do got to do all this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to take over their whole country, depose their government, invade Baghdad and patrol the streets? Why don't we bomb the facilities that we're taking pictures of today?

SHELBY: We can bomb them, but it's probably just a few of the ones we need to go after. There's not just one or two. We don't know where the others are.

SANDERS: It seems to me there are two argument they hear from the administration. One is that Iraq may attack the United States.

Does anyone seriously believe that the Iraqi army will pull into California?

I don't think so. The other argument which is more important is that they may supply bacteriological or chemical weapons to terrorists. And that's a possibility, that's a real issue. But the point is in Georgetown University there are chemists who can make those weapons. They are made all over the world.

CARLSON: But they are not Saddam Hussein, congressman. I'm sorry, I must say that's a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) point to make. Because chemists at Georgetown don't have motives to destroy the United States and Saddam does.

SANDERS: But you have many other countries like North Korea, like Syria, like Pakistan. Osama bin Laden is worth a whole lot of money. He can buy these weapons all over the world. So I don't think...

BEGALA: We'll have to take a break. We'll have more. Please keep the seats. We will pick up on this argument and discuss reports from U.S. intelligence sources that perhaps they have been pressured. Please stay with us.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. More U.S. forces are deploying for a possible war with Iraq. The 101st Airborne Division got its orders today. The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk is expected to join four other carriers taking up positions within striking distance of Iraq. In the CROSSFIRE to debate war and peace, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Vermont independent Congressman Bernie Sanders.

CARLSON: Mr. Sanders, you said a moment ago what the U.S. needs to do is make certain that the inspectors stay in Iraq. And we know now, that the 1990s when there were inspectors in Iraq, that Saddam Hussein kept up his chemical and biological weapons programs, kept up his nuclear program, trained al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan.

We know that during the current inspection regime that terrorists were able to which from Iraq into Jordan and kill Laurence Folly, the American diplomat. So, where's the evidence that it prevents Iraq from doing bad things.

SANDERS: We know that after the war in 1991, Saddam Hussein has not waged any offensive attacks. Basically he has been, in my view, substantially contained. This is my concern. If the United States believes it has the right to wage a preemptive war against Iraq or any other country any time or place we see fit, why will China not say the same thing with regard to Taiwan? Why -- we are going to plunge. This is the point. We are going to undermine the United Nations, undermine international law, plunge this world into international anarchy where any country...


SANDERS: Lets punish them. You don't have to invade them.

BEGALA: Let me sort of ask you -- wait, it's a big question. OK. If you were president, Shelby, and you know what? You'd be first among a lot of Republicans in my eyes. It probably hurts you with your folks for me to say it.

SHELBY: No, it would help me.

BEGALA: And they came to you and they said senator -- President Shelby, what's our greatest foreign policy challenge. Would it be Iraq, would it be North Korea, or it would be al Qaeda? Which is -- I think we have it the wrong way. I think it's al Qaeda first. But clearly, our president disagrees.

Would you organize foreign policy around Iraq? Or would it be al Qaeda or Korea? SHELBY: I think you've got to organize it around all of them. The terrorists are a threat by al Qaeda and others. North Korea, and the Persian Gulf made up of Iraq.

BEGALA: And our president has held that balance correctly in your eyes?

SHELBY: I think the president's doing well. I think that we're going to see in just a few days whether the U.N. is relevant or irrelevant. I hope they're going to be relevant to ourselves.


CARLSON: And what about that, Mr. Sanders? You just said that it's of paramount importance that the United Nations have teeth and be respected as an international body. And yet Iraq has stuck its finger in the eye of the U.N. and made a joke out of the United Nations. I would think you'd be mad at Saddam Hussein.

SANDERS: I am. I'm furious. Look, let's be clear. Saddam Hussein is the -- this guy is an evil, terrible tyrant. But we don't want to make a bad situation worse. Who speaks for the United Nations? Let the United Nations speak for themselves, not the United States of America.


CARLSON: But shouldn't you, as a friend of the U.N., say to the U.N., do something about it?

SHELBY: He said who speaks for the U.N. I submit no one speaks for them and they could become nothing in a few weeks. I hope that they back the Security Council if we go back to the Security Council. That France and Germany and others come on board like they should, but if they don't, we're going to do, and our president's going to lead, what's in the best interest of the security of this nation. And the American people are going to go back it.

BEGALA: Let me ask you, Senator. If the presidents goes back to the Security Council, CNN sources tell us they think the vote would be 11 to four against us. If we lose a vote 11 to four, we should go to war...

SHELBY: We ought to do what's in our best interest. We will not be alone. There will probably be at least 10 other countries with us. And at the end of day, once we get rid of Saddam Hussein and his problems there that he's caused, other people will fall in line. There's nothing like respect for the United States when they're successful, and I predict they will be successful.

CARLSON: We're almost out of time. I just want to ask you quickly, is there anything, is there any evidence that would convince you that Saddam Hussein needs to be deposed by force by the United States?

SANDERS: If Saddam Hussein commits an aggressive act against this country, I will be the first person to support military action against him. I don't think that -- the evidence is clear that that has not happened yet. Last point I want to make, Senator, at a time when we're cutting back on veterans programs, Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare, this war is going to cost over $100 billion, and we the taxpayers of this country are going to have to pay that. I would rather use that money for our needs.


SHELBY: The security of this nation is paramount to all of us as citizens. The freedom that we cherish, that's number one. Make no mistake.

CARLSON: OK. Senator Shelby, Congressman Sanders, thank you both very much. We appreciate it. Thank you.


Coming up, we'll look beyond Capitol Hill to the rest of the world. France and Germany have decided they disapprove of the United States. Should we care? That's our debate. We'll be right back.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you from the George Washington University here in downtown Washington. At the White House this afternoon, President Bush said Saddam Hussein is making his choice. Now the U.N. must make its own. The president says the United States will welcome a second Security Council resolution on Iraq, but he added, "Resolutions mean little without resolve."

Resolve has been decidedly lacking among two former U.S. allies. Here to debate what's wrong with France and Germany, and there's a lot, are former National Security Council spokesman P.J. Crowley and former U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency director Ken Adelman.


BEGALA: Mr. Crowley, good to see you, P.J. Thank you both for coming back. We will get to bashing the French in a moment. I know that's the favorite occupation of the right these days. But I want to ask you to draw in your experience as an arms control expert in the administration of President Reagan.

So many people this week -- Secretary Powell revealed I think persuasive evidence that Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons. And they seem shocked, almost like the gambling at Rick's Cabaret (ph). Let me read to you something "The Washington Post" reported over a year ago.

"The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses such as anthrax and bubonic plague." Knowing what we know about Saddam Hussein we shouldn't be shocked since he had two decades ago the precursors for these weapons that he developed them.

KEN ADELMAN, FMR. ARMS CONTROL DIRECTOR: OK. But a lot of the precursors, Paul, of those weapons are stuffed that's used -- chemicals that's used in pharmaceutical products anyway. OK? So you can't say because it's a precursor that therefore he's going to design and use it for poison gas.

BEGALA: Was it unwise? I know its hindsight, and I'm trying not to be unfair. Was it unwise to approve those sales?

ADELMAN: It was not unwise at the beginning of the 1980s after Iraq and Iran were at war and Iran had just taken our hostages for 444 days. And Iran seemed like the bigger power in the Gulf War and the bigger enemy to the United States. That wasn't wrong.

I think that we cut it soon enough. But listen, you can't do everything perfectly. To the extent that Saddam Hussein used any of those precursors -- and not chemical weapons, but precursors -- to gas his own people or to gas his neighbors or something, gives us added responsibility to get rid of the guy.

CARLSON: Well, if it is in fact true that American products were used in gas attacks, that's appalling.

ADELMAN: Yes, but you can buy at the Drug Fair (ph), American products...

CARLSON: Well if that turns out to be true, I must say, I'll be shocked and discouraged about the behavior of our government, I have to say.

ADELMAN: These are precursors. OK? Because they can be used for safe and they can be used for bad things.

CARLSON: OK. Well, on a happier note, let's beat up France, P.J. Crowley. I want to put up here maybe the dumbest thing I've ever heard. This comes from the French foreign minister -- it is, you're right.

This was his response -- this is France's official response to the evidence that Colin Powell laid out yesterday at the United Nations. Here's what he said. "Iraq must cooperate actively. This country, Iraq, must completely immediately meet the requirements of Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei by adopting legislation prohibiting the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction."

So here's the French solution, pass a law against it. Saddam ought to pass a law against weapons of mass destruction. What do you think?

P.J. CROWLEY, FMR. NSC SPOKESMAN: Look, Tucker, when the Supreme Court delivers your certificate of election you get the White House, you get Air Force One and you get the French. And so, I mean, President Clinton found common cause. President Bush, the elder, found common cause. It's up to President Bush as the real leader of the free world to inspire France and other countries to follow rather than lecture them or intimidate them or frighten them.

CARLSON: But wait a second.

ADELMAN: Why is that up to the French to do something reasonable? Their performance yesterday was just so bizarre and so...

CROWLEY: I'm not here to praise the French.

ADELMAN: But why is it up to us...

CROWLEY: Because we are the leader of the free world. And our president is the leader of the free world.

ADELMAN: But if they act like jerks, why is it our responsibility...


CROWLEY: It is important for us to act as one. We did it in the Gulf War 12 years ago. We did it in Kosovo. We haven't done it here. It's up to President Bush to show the leadership to do it.

ADELMAN: Really? I don't think so.

CARLSON: Actually, let me put up on the screen -- I want to put -- by our count, there's something like 19 countries that have announced so far that they're with the United States or will be if we go to war. Here they are: Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Turkey -- I'm just going to let it run as it rolls. The point is, look, France isn't on there. Who cares?

CROWLEY: France is a NATO ally. I mean, wait a second. The president looked into the soul of Putin and said here's a man I can trust. Why isn't he looking into the soul of Jacques Chirac?

CARLSON: Because nobody wants to look into Jacques Chirac's soul, that's why.


CROWLEY: He could offer his je ne se croix, but he couldn't pronounce it.

BEGALA: That does suggest, I do think, a lack of experience on the part of our president. Vladimir Putin...


ADELMAN: I don't why you guys are putting the onus on the president.

BEGALA: Because, first of all, President Putin is the leader of his country and we have to deal with him. But let's not pretend he's our buddy Puti Poot (ph), as the president calls him. He's a soulless KGB operatic (ph). And yet the president found common cause with him. Why can't he find... ADELMAN: The Russian policy is better than the French policy. Someone told me recently...

BEGALA: Because we dropped our opposition to their activities in Chechnya, which I think was probably prudent. Governor Bush as a candidate said he'd cut off all assistance to Russia if they continued their offensive into Chechnya. As president, he's flip-flopped on that, I think prudently. But that's why they're with us now.

ADELMAN: Someone told me the other day that the French are good at two things. At vigorously fighting with their friends and vigorously surrendering to their enemies, but I would think that's a little too much.

CARLSON: For Pete's sake, isn't this what it's really about? I want to put up quickly a quote from Mark Stein of the "Jerusalem Post." He says, "Through it all, France is admirably up front in its unilateralism. It reserves the right to treat Francophone Africa as its colonies, Middle Eastern dictators as its clients, the EU as greater France and the U.N. as a kind of global condom to prevent the spread of the American virus."

France is upset about the power of the United States. It has been for decades. And that's why France is opposing this.

CROWLEY: Well exactly. I mean, Don Rumsfeld said France and Germany are part of the old Europe. I'm not exactly sure what that means. Last time I checked, they are actually part of the present Europe. It's important for us to maintain a relationship with Europe.

We are better off when we act as one. His predecessors have inspired the world. It's up to George Bush to try it now.

BEGALA: Well put, P.J. Crowley. Hold on just a minute, Ken Adelman as well. We're going to come right back. We're going to take a quick break. In a minute, we will ask whether the French really are against a war in Iraq or just against America. And how long must we wait to here those words, oui, oui.

Later, our quote of the day comes from an expert in manipulating emotions. You are watching CROSSFIRE on CNN, the most trusted name in news.


President Bush today accused Saddam Hussein of authorizing field commanders to use chemical weapons. He said the United States will not wait for a rogue state to unleash such attacks. He said nothing about North Korea, a rogue state, however, that reports say could unleash nuclear attacks if it wanted to.

We are talking foreign policy with U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director Ken Adelman and former National Security Council Spokesman P.J. Crowley.

CARLSON: Now, P.J., you hear other countries, not our allies -- or sometimes our allies -- say we need to continue the inspections regime. In light of that, it's amazing to me that in 1998 -- you were there -- inspectors kicked out. In 1999 the Security Council says, look, we need to put back together an inspections regime. There was a vote on it on the Security Council.

France, Russia, China, Malaysia all abstained from the vote. They did not support it. These are four countries that are now saying we need to keep inspectors in there. This is disingenuous at best, is it not?

CROWLEY: Oh, well I think it's a moot point. I mean the president said today the game is over. I think the State of the Union and Secretary Powell's impressive performance yesterday indicate this is an administration that is going to war. All I'm saying, and I think Democrats agree and the American people agree, is that when we do this we have to go multilaterally as part of a coalition. Because for going in at the start will be very important because the president really hasn't talked about what happens after we win.

And this is going to be long. This is going to be expensive. And I don't know how the president is going to pay for it, among other things.

BEGALA: Ken, isn't one of the reasons that sanctions failed because some American corporate executives decided to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the law, selling equipment to Saddam Hussein, including Halliburton, which was run by Dick Cheney at the time? Isn't that why the sanctions fell apart. You're not troubled by the fact that Halliburton...

ADELMAN: No. I don't believe what you're saying.

BEGALA: Let me read you from "The Washington Post" on June 23, 2001.

ADELMAN: Paul, I have not seen one arrest of a corporation or one legal accusation. Forget about "The Washington Post" -- legal accusation...

BEGALA: Right, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They used it as London-based subsidiaries, perfectly legal. I'm not saying that. I'm asking you if it was helpful to the American national interest for corporations to sell...

ADELMAN: I don't know anybody who violated the law on that. And I don't know what Halliburton...

BEGALA: I don't either, and I want to be careful. I would never accuse...

ADELMAN : Is that a big factor? No, it's not a big factor, because...

BEGALA: You don't think the undermining the sanctions is problematic?

ADELMAN: No. I don't think it was a big factor at all. I think what really undermined the sanctions was...

BEGALA: If Al Gore had sold oil field equipment to Saddam Hussein, what do you think...


ADELMAN: But there wasn't a government selling -- violating the sanctions. A, I don't know how much they violated the sanctions. Because if they violated the sanction...

BEGALA: I don't think they did.

CARLSON: I'm sorry to move to the present from this...

ADELMAN: Of all the issues on Iraq, that's about the least of importance.

CARLSON: I second that emotion. P.J., I want you to respond to this. John McCain said today the following quote: he said, "The French seem to go where the oil contracts are." Now I don't know if that acquisition is fair, but I think it's significant to consider. And the motives of other nations are important to consider because you are saying it's vital that we convince them. But if we have other motives that aren't up front, aren't above board, it's important to know that, isn't it?

CROWLEY: There's no question that oil interests by Russia and France have complicated our policy in Iraq for some time. You know, that said, they're a factor. They're in the Security Council. We're going to have to deal with them when Blix comes back next week.

They are going to be there. So will be the Chinese, so will be the Germans. And when the United Nations is acting, the lead dog is the United States of America. And it's up to us to bring the rest of the world with us to get the job done in Iraq.


ADELMAN: I'm the only one at this table that's served two and a half years at the United Nations. All right. You have a choice in the early Reagan administration -- and it's his birthday today, so we should pay tribute to President Reagan.

BEGALA: We have and we do again.

ADELMAN: Oh, good. But the fact is that you have to realize there you can either do one of two things. You can get something done and cobble together the best coalition you can, or you can look for a unanimous decision and talk something to death. You can gum a problem to death.

CARLSON: That's an ugly image.

ADELMAN: And I think that we have spent enough time on Iraq. We have to just get on with it. CARLSON: OK. Unfortunately, we are completely out of time. Unlike the U.N., we can't go on forever. But thank you very much, Ken Adelman and P.J. Crowley. Thank you. Thanks.


CARLSON: Coming up later, the people have spoken and they're a tiny bit annoyed with Paul. One is, anyway. We'll give voice to his feelings in "Fireback." But next, our quote of the day is yet from another member of the Democratic Party's foreign policy brain trust. You'll recognize him. We'll be right back.



BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. You know, great actors say the secret of their craft is not so much the ability to manipulate their own emotions, but rather the ability to manipulate the emotions of the audience. And there's no doubt that two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman is a terrific actor.

So he speaks from experience when he reviews the performance of the Bush administration in revving up support for a war in Iraq. His comments are the CROSSFIRE quote of the day. "For me, as an American, the most painful aspect of this is that I believe that the administration has taken the events of 9/11 and has manipulated the grief of the country. And I think that's reprehensible."


CARLSON: Hoffman goes on to say that the United States wants to go to war for oil. I know a lot of honorable people with honorable motives who are opposed to this war, and I respect them. That is a dumb thing to say, and I think that puts him out of bounds of responsible critics of this war.


BEGALA: I do think it's wrong for Bush to collapse the two together. We should deal with them separately.

CARLSON: That's a whole separate argument that he was not making. But we can debate it here in CROSSFIRE.

Next in "Fireback," we'll hear from a viewer who accuses one of us of "snarling and surfing." We'll leave it to you to figure out what that means. We'll be right back.



BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. It's time now for "Fireback," where you, the viewer, get to take charge. Doug Martin in Westerville, Ohio writes about our debate over going to war, "Yes, I agree that Saddam Hussein is a bad man that needs to be dealt with. But the war on terrorism was originally started to get Osama bin Laden and the terrorists responsible for 9/11. Someone please remind W. that it's al Qaeda, stupid."

I'm trying, Doug. I'm trying.

CARLSON: The president says there are al Qaeda cells in Iraq. If you believe he's lying, I guess...

BEGALA: No there are, but there are al Qaeda cells in Buffalo, New York, too.

CARLSON: James Streetor from Claypool, Indiana says, "Please tell me why the sometimes eloquent and always loquacious Tucker Carlson snarls, snurfs and makes ludicrous or absurd statements whenever someone on the left connects President Bush to current events?"

My question is, what does snurfs mean? If out there you have any idea, please e-mail us at CROSSFIRE. We'd love to know.

BEGALA: Those are the little cartoon characters. The little blue guys with the funny hats.

Rich Galloway in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a great town, "Paul Begala's boisterous and incessant Bush bashing is tired, old and boring. It is tantamount to tabloidism."


BEGALA: Well...

CARLSON: Actually, I believe the tabloids.

BEGALA: I think criticizing your president is tantamount to patriotism, not tabloidism, but that's just me.

CARLSON: Ben Sumerau from Gulf Breeze, Florida writes, "I understand that the French U.N. ambassador was told to stop waving his hand in the air because it was inappropriate to surrender at the U.N. meeting."

BEGALA: Oh my.

CARLSON: But you know what? It's his habit. They can't help it. They immediately surrender -- yes.

HEATHER BRANFORD: Hi. I'm Heather Branford (ph) from Naperville, Illinois. And many people criticized the Bush administration before 9/11 for not responding to al Qaeda attacks. How can we now expect Iraq to be ignored in the same way?

CARLSON: Well I think you can write those -- I mean there are serious critics of President Bush who have substantive criticism that's worth paying attention to. But there are others who just, you know, whatever. There's nothing -- he can't do anything right. He believes that attacking Iraq is part of the ware now in al Qaeda.

BEGALA: He does, and that's an honorable position. Others -- and I count myself among them -- disagree and think that in fact attacking Iraq can make it harder to win the war against al Qaeda. That's why a lot of people are trying to beg him to shift the focus back to the focus he had so ably after 9/11.

CARLSON: Actually that's not why. I mean I think you just articulated something believable. I believe you believe it, and I respect it, and you may be right. We'll find out. But I think a lot of his critics don't take it to that level. It's purely political, the attack.

BEGALA: No. That's like saying -- which I've never said -- that he wants to go to war only for politics. I don't believe he does. I think that there are -- this is a serious deal. There are honorable people on both sides of the debate.

CARLSON: I know it is.

BEGALA : We shouldn't just say that the left attacks him.

CARLSON: I'm not just saying that. But I'm saying some do and it's a shame.

BEGALA: OK. From the left, I am Paul Begala. Goodnight for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night, Friday night, for yet more CROSSFIRE.



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