ElBaradei, Blix Say no WMD Found in Iraq, Though Nation Needs to Cooperate More With Inspections; How Big is the Terrorist Threat?
Aired February 14, 2003 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.
In the CROSSFIRE tonight: report card day at the United Nations.
MOHAMED ELBARADEI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: We have, to date, found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq.
HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: We do not know every case an corner.
ANNOUNCER: Should weapons inspectors get more time?
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are facing a difficult situation. More inspectors, sorry, not the answer.
ANNOUNCER: Should the U.S. act even without the U.N. and all of its allies?
And with terrorists out there somewhere, how scared should you be?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're working overtime to protect you.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight on CROSSFIRE.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, James Carville and Robert Novak.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE and happy Valentine's Day. Not that there was any romance in the air today at the United Nations. Tonight we'll debate whether weapons inspectors should get more time and when the U.S. needs to act sooner rather than later, no matter what some of our allies say.
But first, we've got a valentine for you, the "CROSSFIRE Political Alert." The chief U.N. weapons inspectors told the Security Council today they haven't found evidence Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction. Then again they also said Iraq has not accounted for weapons it used to have. And while Baghdad cooperation with inspectors are increasing, it could be better.
Hans Blix is contradicting U.S. contention that Iraq is attempting to hide illegal weapons. Inspectors' bottom line, it's too soon to tell whether Iraq possesses prohibited weapons, but they are confident that inspections are working and they could use more time.
ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: Yes, and they told CNN they need about six more months. They ain't going to get six months, James. Do you think so?
CARVILLE: I think this administration wants to go to war in the worst way and I think they're doing it.
NOVAK: At the U.N. Security Council, Secretary of State Colin Powell responded to the report of the weapons inspectors. He asserted that Iraq has been in violation of Resolution 1441 since December and it should face, what he called, serious consequences.
Secretary Powell clearly was not happy with the U.N. inspectors saying that they are getting more cooperation from the Iraqis and asking for more time. Nor did he enjoy the favorable reaction to that from the French and Germans.
Later in an interview with our own Andrea Koppel, Powell was asked whether the Iraqis now had weeks or days. The secretary replied, "We're talking weeks. Time is running out on Baghdad."
CARVILLE: It is. Today "The New York Times" reports that in state after state, Republicans are being forced to raise taxes to balance budgets that are deep (UNINTELLIGIBLE) caused by the Bush recession and stupid tax cuts.
Well, now I have a better idea. Why don't they follow their own philosophy in the central tenet of modern conservatism? If they want to raise revenue, cut taxes. That's supply side economic gospel being preached by President Bush by the Hoover Institution, "The Wall Street Journal," (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the whole right wing freak show.
Hallelujah. I'm a convert. Balancing budgets by cutting taxes and raised money especially taxes for the rich. I wonder why you good little Republican governors haven't thought of that already? I mean, what's the deal here? If it works, do it!
NOVAK: You leave off the second half of it, James. The second half is you also have to cut spending. Cut down in government, cut down on all that big spending that they pass over the years...
CARVILLE: Supply side said if you want to raise revenue, cut taxes. I'm saying if you want more money for these states...
(CROSSTALK) NOVAK: Congress last night approved a $400 billion spending bill including 11 leftover appropriations bill that lawmakers just didn't get around to passing last year.
Congress added $10 billion for national security, but added lots more described by a four-letter word, P-O-R-K, pork! Since Alaska's Senator Ted Stephens heads the Senate Appropriations Committee, Alaska got plenty of goodies such as half a million dollars for the Tungas (ph) Coast Aquarium and $100,000 for the good old Sea Otter Commission.
A veteran appropriator, New York's Congressman Jose Serrano as usual poured money into his Bronx district including a badly-needed $450,000 for the Bronx Arts Council. And the king of pork, West Virginia's own Senator Robert Byrd gets $150,000 to modernize his own office.
CARVILLE: Wow. That's $1500,000. Why don't you put about Bush getting $23,000 to pass out goodies to his campaign contributors who come by the White House?
In political campaigns we use a device called focus groups to test public opinion. They help hone our message in. The White House would love us all to believe that George W. Bush is not a poll-driven -- that he knows what he thinks, he knows what he does, he knows right and wrong.
But eureka. According to "The Chicago Tribune" Tom Ridge, Bush's very own secretary of homeland security's been using focus groups to help the administration to speak to us about the most sensitive of all of the best ways to prepare the government in the event of terrorist attack. Maybe we have the focus group to thank about duct tape for a while.
Mr. President, why don't you just tell the focus groups to end and just do the right thing and tell us what the hell is going on? Why...
NOVAK: Can I ask you a question and give me a straight answer for once?
CARVILLE: I would love to do nothing else, Mr. Novak, but...
CARVILLE: Isn't it true that your boy, Bill Clinton used polls, focus groups, anything he could to figure out...
CARVILLE: We didn't on a matter of homeland security to use a focus group to tell people whether they need to use duct tape or not.
CARVILLE: Bush spent twice as much polling in the first two years as President Clinton did.
NOVAK: Well that's inflation.
CARVILLE: Yeah right.
NOVAK: The Reverend Al Sharpton seeking the Democratic nomination for president was supposed to speak this afternoon at Miller High School in Corpus Christi, Texas to celebrate Black History Month, but it was canceled because of threats, the school received including some callers who mentioned being with the Ku Klux Klan. Instead he shifted the venue to a church in Corpus Christi.
I wonder who really phoned in those threats? Not the same people who tried to burn down the Reverend's headquarters in Harlem the other day. Surely not the Democratic regulars who are trying to enlist other African-American presidential candidates to dilute the Sharpton vote.
Would the Democratic Party stoop to such dirty trick, James?
CARVILLE: Let me tell you. I had a conference call this morning. It was me and Terry McAuliffe and Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt and we decided we would do that because we were so scared that -- and we put Carol Moseley-Braun in the race because we wanted to split the black vote with Sharpton.
NOVAK: You finally admit it! You finally admit it!
CARVILLE: Yes! All of that is a giant conspiracy and Hillary was in on it, too.
NOVAK: You heard it here first.
Hans Blix says his teams haven't found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq yet. In a minute, we'll ask whether that means weapons inspectors should get more time and if President Bush decides time's up should he ignore much of the world's opinion?
Later, is Washington doing enough to help the rest of us prepare for terrorist attacks?
NOVAK: Hans Blix today told the U.N. Security Council that after 11 weeks, his inspectors have found no evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, but he added that Iraq has not accounted for many of the banned weapons it once had. Secretary of State Colin Powell responded by telling the Security Council that Saddam Hussein is playing tricks on them. Is it time for more inspections or for war?
In the CROSSFIRE, former National Security Council Spokesman P.J. Crowley and former U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director Ken Adelman.
CARVILLE: Mr. Adelman, everybody knows that the wimpy, pathetic Old Europe French and Germans say we should take more time. Even the Russians and the Chinese. You know what I mean. The pathetic nations that they are say we should have more time.
But let me show what's a more pathetic, stupid weak-kneed, jellyfish, appeasing people say about that too. Oh, wait a minute. Fifty-nine percent of Americans say we should give the inspectors more time to take action -- why is 60 percent of this country weak, pathetic cheese-eating, soft-headed, afraid to confront the real world people?
KEN ADELMAN, FORMER ARMS CONTROL DIR.: I wouldn't characterize them like that at all. I would...
CARVILLE: Well that's the way you characterize the French and the Germans.
ADELMAN: Well the French and the Germans have taken a position that which I this is very objectionable. What they are saying basically is the kind of combination we're talking about, of the terrorist network and weapons of mass destruction is something that we should buy off. We should give them weapons of mass destruction. We should just appease them, basically.
CARVILLE: So 60 percent of American people say we should give them weapons of mass destruction?
ADELMAN: No, I didn't say that at all. I'm saying once the president decides that this is something we're going to do and go to war, you're going to see those numbers change so that 80 percent of the American people will support the president. I don't think there's any doubt that the American people are behind President Bush on this.
P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER NSC SPOKESMAN: I think people are behind the proposition that we have to deal with Iraq. They also want to make sure it's done within the context of the United Nations.
It's not in our long-term security interest to ignore the United Nations, ignore the views of our allies. When you look at our overall security threats -- to do North Korea we're going to need China. To do nonproliferation, we're going to need Russia. Do Israel and Palestine we'll need Europe. To do the war on terrorism, we're going to need all of the countries across the world.
If it takes more time to build the consensus so when we act, we act with the United Nations and we act in a way where it's the international community against Saddam, we'll be better off.
ADELMAN: But that's a false logic. It's a really false logic because the coalition is not building. We have -- James mentions three countries in Europe that have problems with this. Or really two countries in Europe...
CARVILLE: Well, Russia, Germany. If you count Russia, three. And China which is a minor nation in the world.
ADELMAN: But China has nothing to do with this situation.
CARVILLE: They don't? Well they got more people in China than they got in Europe and Russia combined.
ADELMAN: But the fact is 18 countries in Europe have signed documents, their prime ministers, their leaders have signed documents in support of the president.
ADELMAN: You are talking about Britain. You're talking about Spain. You're talking about Italy. OK? But it's just not true.
NOVAK: Mr. Crowley, the secretary of state is not a war hawk. I think you'll agree with that. He is a sober person. And his argument is that the inspectors shouldn't be given more time, don't need six more months as they suggested and this is the reason he gave. Let's listen to the Secretary of State.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: These are all process issues. These are all tricks that are being play on us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: I think that the administration has made the case that we have to deal with Iraq, and -- but then they go to the false logic that says we can't wait forever. No one is suggesting that we wait forever, but the administration has not made a compelling case that we have to act tomorrow.
And if we act precipitously, if we act alone, it's going to be about us. It's not going to be about Saddam. And this is the kind of situation that in the long term, when you look at the overall war on terrorism, it will further radicalize the region and it will make it much more difficult for us to succeed in the greater war on terrorism.
CARVILLE: Mr. Adelman, let me -- let me go to what Mr. Blix said today. And I think we can stipulate, just my mature geography, I think, it was about 7,000 miles away from Iraq is about the distance. And the chief sticking point here is they got some missiles and they're supposed to not have missiles in more than 93 miles. And they might have some go 150 miles.
Why should I sit here worrying about a terrorist attack, give a rat's, you know, patootie about whether Iraq has a missile that can go 93 miles or 150 miles and why are we going to start a war over 57 miles that a missile can go if we're 7,000 miles away from it?
ADELMAN: Well we're not. But...
CARVILLE: We're not 7,000 miles?
ADELMAN: But that's a ridiculous kind of point, James.
CARVILLE: Why? ADELMAN: I'll tell you why. Because what we are talking about here is the combination of weapons of mass destruction with somebody who has supported terrorism. What we're talking about here is the integrity of the United Nations. What we're talking about here is making the United Nations more than a laughing stock like the League of Nations and because the resolution said -- the resolution says, P.J., immediately, immediately Iraq had to comply.
Now everybody's saying give them more time, let's wait. You are violating -- you are violating...
ADELMAN: James, you didn't listen to me. Let me try it again from the top, OK? Let me try it again from the top. You listen, watch these lips.
CARVILLE: I'm watching.
ADELMAN: We are talking about weapons of mass destruction which Saddam Hussein is definitely building in (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And a connection with terrorism, which he definitely has and an integrity of the United Nations that we have to preserve because the United Nations now has 16 resolutions saying it has to disarm and you want 17, you want 18, you want 23, it's not about the...
CROWLEY: Ken's had no greater success in convincing James than Colin Powell had in convincing the United Nations today.
NOVAK: What's your position in response to what he says?
ADELMAN: I believe that we will ultimately have to deal and I believe we'll ultimately have to deal with Iraq militarily. But they have not made the case yet that it has to be alone. It has to be together.
NOVAK: We've got to take a break. In a minute we'll ask our guests whether the Iraq crisis really is a defining moment for the United Nations.
And later, should the United States be listening to the French instead of making fun of them?
We'll also take you outside Washington's Beltway to see how another part of the country is dealing with the terrorism alert.
CARVILLE: Welcome back. A remarkable thing happened inside the U.N. Security Council's chamber today, when people watched the French foreign minister got done making speeches against the United States Iraq policy. There was applause (ph). Is the U.S. tearing the U.N. apart, or is the United Nations losing its credibility? In the CROSSFIRE, former U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director Ken Adelman, along with former national security spokesman P.J. Crowley.
NOVAK: Mr. Crowley, the thing that prominent supporters of this war, the president and Secretary of State Powell and Ken Adelman have been trying to make the point is that there is a nexus, a connection between Baghdad, between Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda, and let's listen to what Secretary Powell said at the U.N. today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: And I would submit and will provide more evidence that such connections are now emerging and we can establish that they exist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOVAK: If he can establish that they exist, there's really no reason for delaying the military attack, is there?
CROWLEY: But the connections between Iraq and al Qaeda are not divisive, they're not consequential. Whether there are operatives in Iraq, as far as I can tell, there are al Qaeda operatives virtually in every country of the world.
NOVAK: Even in Detroit?
CROWLEY: But I think it weakens -- and Buffalo. I think it weakens the administration's argument. There's sufficient understanding and long-standing understanding that Iraq is a problem and needs to be dealt with. We don't need to stretch this to try to find some link to 9/11, which the administration has tried to do for almost two years now. We need to deal with Iraq. We need to deal with it the right way. We put ourselves in a much more difficult position with respect to the larger war on terrorism if we do this the wrong way, and right now the administration, for all of its supposed foreign policy acumen, is not selling their product effectively to the international community.
CARVILLE: Ken, I like you. You come on the show.
CARVILLE: I think you are a good American. Let me show you what people think of our beloved country and our closest ally, traditionally, historically and even today. I want to show you in Great Britain, they were asked, who possesses the biggest threat to world peace? The United States, our Atlantic cousins, 32 percent, Iraq, 25, North Korea, 26. What's going on here, man? Here's our country, the United States of America -- I -- I disagree with this administration, I don't think that -- I think they have their policies erroneous. But what's causing people around the world to hate our beloved nation? ADELMAN: Well, there is a wave of anti-Americanism that has been around there for a long time. When I was in the Reagan administration, everybody said that it has been unparalleled. I think part of the reason has been that this, what I call the Iraq-a-thon has just been going on way too long. And I think that when you say we need to line up all these allies, we had all those allies 14 months ago. We had very good support around the world, and I think that there's an old lesson here that policy (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a vacuum.
ADELMAN: ... it's way too slow.
CARVILLE: So you're saying -- you're faulting the administration's policy of being too cautious?
ADELMAN: Oh, my God. I think what they're saying is hit me, hit me at the U.N. and elsewhere and just dragging everything out way too long. I think it is absolutely clear that Saddam Hussein has been defying the United Nations now for 12 years. It should have been handled with the Clinton administration.
ADELMAN: It should have, I agree with that, P.J. But it should have been handled in the 12 years before that. After 9/11, there was a clear link -- there was a clear link with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq...
CARVILLE: The president told the newscasters that they there is no link between 9/11 and Iraq. That's what -- that's what President Bush said. There's no sense trying to make one.
NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) give his opinion.
CROWLEY: But the fact is over eight years, the Clinton administration did do as much as it could to contain Saddam Hussein and...
ADELMAN: I don't know what that means, certainly let inspectors not go after '98, and nothing happened.
CROWLEY: I credit the administration for getting the inspectors...
ADELMAN: ... big speech at the U.N.
CROWLEY: I credit the administration for getting inspectors back into Iraq. That is a positive. I think that the world -- the good will that we had on September 11 we have let go because the world hasn't -- does not accept the link that the administration has tried to make between al Qaeda and the war on terrorism and Iraq. ADELMAN: When all is said and done, you know, the United States was hit on September 11, OK. It wasn't Europe.
ADELMAN: And No. 2, James, listen to me. Number two, is in a future attack, which every American really worries about, it is going to be the United States.
ADELMAN: And I don't want to tie our foreign policy to France.
CARVILLE: Iraq didn't hit us, al Qaeda did, man. You got the wrong guys!
ADELMAN: Iraq tried to assassinate an ex-president of the United States, and it tried to bring down the World Trade towers in 1993. Yes, it did.
NOVAK: Let P.J. respond. Go ahead.
CROWLEY: You know, what the world thinks of the United States does in fact matter. This is about global leadership. It is up to the United States of America to show that global leadership. It's up to the United States of America to show that global leadership, it's up to the president to lead, not lecture. If he leads, the world will follow. He hasn't led effectively.
ADELMAN: I think that there is something to be said that had he led much earlier and not waited for Belgium to go along and France to go along, you know...
CARVILLE: Let me show you Britain on Valentine's day. I think it's "The Daily Mirror" right here. "Make love, not war." (UNINTELLIGIBLE). OK. Thank you very much, Ken. Thank you very much, P.J.
NOVAK: OK, thank you, gentlemen.
The jury has returned a sentence in the case of the dentist who killed her husband with a Mercedes. We'll have details next in the CNN news alert, and then, does the long list of countries that support the Bush administration's Iraqi policy outweigh the big names that are missing? We'll ask a former U.S. secretary of state, Lawrence Eagleburger, and there are worries about terrorism here in Washington, but what if you live outside the Beltway? Stay tuned to find out.
NOVAK: Today's U.N. Security Council meeting made it clear some big names are still opposed to taking military action against Iraq. In just a minute we'll ask former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger whether the Bush administration should be concerned. And later, we'll ask Miami's police chief whether they are as worried about terrorism down there as they are up here in Washington.
You're watching CROSSFIRE on CNN, the most trusted name in news.
CARVILLE: Welcome back. It's been a week since the country went on high alert. The terrorism here in Washington, and there are probable anti-aircraft missile batteries in the streets and extra security officers everywhere. And who would have thought that dozens of rolls of duct tape would be harder to find on Valentine's Day than a dozen roses?
People sure are scared. Should they be? And what are America's so-called first responders doing to protect us? Let's go down to Florida and check with John Timoney, the city of Miami's chief of police.
NOVAK: Chief Timoney, welcome. As James said, people up here in Washington have been frightened to death. Are they scared down in Miami too?
CHIEF JOHN TIMONEY, CITY OF MIAMI POLICE: There's a cause for concern, obviously. But really Washington and New York, both cities that were hit pretty hard on September 11, and especially New York, my home town, my old town, you know, they've been attacked four times. Two were foiled, but there were two successful ones. They had 2001 and 1993.
And so I speak on a daily basis to the people of New York both in and outside the NYPD. And people, you know, they're on edge. And rightfully so, I think.
NOVAK: And are you on special precautions in Miami because of this alert? Are you doing things differently down there than you would normally?
TIMONEY: Yes. We ramped up the coverage. There are certain Jewish institutions that are possible targets. Clearly, for the first time since I've been looking at these color alerts, the notion of -- it's the first I've ever heard where hotels, large hotels were mentioned, as you're well aware.
All along the beach and along the bay in Miami there are huge hotels that offer possibilities. Then again, you know the cruise lines, as you're well aware, there's been incidences on cruise lines in the past. That's always a possibility.
There are two huge events this week in Miami. Quite literally, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the city for the flower show and for the national boat show. And, again, any time you have a large amount of people congregating at once, there's always the possibility of some untoward act. And so we have extra police out there in uniform, in plain clothes, and other city agencies are on a higher state of alert.
CARVILLE: Chief, the toll on the police, I mean this just has to be very taxing for people like yourself and the men and women in your force to be on this degree of alert. Does it worry you that fatigue will set in? And are you concerned about some of our people being well intentioned, but just being tired and losing their judgment in making a mistake or something like that?
TIMONEY: That's always a concern. There are two concerns. One is fatigue and the other is complacency. So while there's a lot of people across America that ridiculed the warning systems when they go from yellow to orange, I actually don't mind them, because I think every once in a while to calibrate them, bring them up or bring them down, it reminds people that we still have a threat out there.
There are people looking to do us harm. And so those alerts, while they're very important for the public, they're also meant to remind police departments and police officers you've got to stay alert out there.
CARVILLE: I've heard this before and you mentioned it now. Are cities and jurisdictions with large Jewish populations -- I mean there's obviously some reason to think that these people might target synagogues or buildings, condominiums, or buildings with large Jewish populations. Is that true?
TIMONEY: I mean that's true. And, of course, there's a history. If you look -- I was down in Buenos Aires a few years ago. The Israeli embassy was blown to bits. Lots of people killed.
And, of course, all you have to do is look at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Every day there are issues there. You see the anti-Semitism across France, across Europe, Germany. And so the Jewish populations are a particular target.
NOVAK: Chief Timoney, the government has come in for a lot of abuse and criticism about asking people to go out and buy duct tape, although they sure have been out buying it in Washington. And the Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, who I think is a very good man, Secretary Ridge, had this to say about duct tape. I want you to listen to it and try to explain what he meant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We do not want individuals or families to start sealing their doors or their windows. It is very appropriately listed in the list of supplies for an emergency supply kit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOVAK: Is he saying we should buy the duct tape but don't use it? TIMONEY: Yes. Now, now, Robert, don't be -- Governor Ridge is a friend of mine. He's a good man. What he's saying -- you know, you get questions all of the time in public forums or on your e-mail or your Web site, and so this is just an effort to tell people what you should store.
You should store maybe a gas mask, extra water, extra provisions. And in this case, duct tape isn't as crazy as something the media is trying to make it out to be. God forbid there would be a biochemical attack, at least it would give you some solace that maybe using duct tape would give you an extra hour or two until help came along the way.
CARVILLE: This is a serious thing, and I'm trying to take it seriously here. So you would recommend people buying duct tape, but don't put it up until you actually have -- no -- until you get notice of it. Believe me, I'm not...
TIMONEY: You're trying to be cute.
CARVILLE: No, I'm not. I promise you, I'm not trying to be cute.
TIMONEY: James, you're a lot of things. Cute isn't one of them.
CARVILLE: No, I'm not trying to be. All I'm saying is, people really want to know. What you're saying is it might be a good idea to make a list of provisions to have on hand in case something happens?
TIMONEY: Exactly. And bottled water and a whole host of other things.
NOVAK: Let me ask you this, Chief. An official I know in the government was going to take his kids to Disney on Ice at the MCI Center downtown. That's just about three blocks from where I live downtown.
He was going to take his kids. And he said he decided he was going to eat the tickets, wasn't going to use them, because it was too dangerous downtown and big crowds. I thought that was silly, or is he just being a cautious father?
TIMONEY: No, I understand it. But I think I agree with you, Robert. You know, we've got to live our lives as normal as possible. And clearly, if we stop going to major events, sporting events, or what you just pointed out, I think that -- I know it's a cliche, but the terrorists have won.
And so, yes, while we have to be cautious and we have to have our wits about us, we really should try to be as normal as possible and go to events unless told otherwise. I mean live your life normally. If we find out -- we who are in a position of authority -- if we get intelligence, we're going to let the public know.
NOVAK: Chief Timoney, thank you very much. We sure appreciate it. CARVILLE: Thank you, Chief.
TIMONEY: Bob, good seeing you. James, good seeing you.
CARVILLE: I'll try not to be cute. I wasn't trying to be cute.
NOVAK: The Republican Party has a couple of new members. And guess which CROSSFIRE host convinced them to switch sides? They'll fire back and answer in a little bit.
And before that, we'll ask Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger whether the U.S. should go it alone against Saddam Hussein.
CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in Foggy Bottom in beautiful downtown Washington, D.C.
President Bush said it again today, Saddam Hussein will be disarmed one way or another. But is war really an option at the United Nations when countries like France and Germany and Russia and China are against us? In the CROSSFIRE from Charlottesville, Virginia is former Secretary of State of the United States of America, Lawrence Eagleburger.
NOVAK: Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us. Now you're a former diplomat. You spent most of your life as a diplomat. Surely you're not as cavalier as Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney as those boys are about this tremendous breach we had with our longtime allies, the French.
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: What do you want me to say there, Mr. Novak?
NOVAK: Are you as cavalier as they are?
EAGLEBURGER: Look, I guess I'm not as cavalier, but I must tell you -- let me back up. I didn't think that the administration started this whole exercise the right way. I thought that the vice president, the way he came on at the beginning, made some serious mistakes in talking about this whole exercise in the chest thumping way he did.
I was very nervous about that. I was nervous about the way in which he started out so much as if this was a unilateral exercise. I thought the president later on, when he went to the U.N., was excellent. And I thought it went on the right track thereafter.
After listening to the U.N. today, first of all, I think the U.N. is well on the way to becoming the League of Nations. I have to tell you, and I'm sorry to say it, of course I'm upset by the fact that we aren't getting along with what I guess we should call our allies. But at the same time, when I see the way the French and the Germans and so forth have conducted themselves, I have to tell you that Colin Powell was right today.
The issue isn't over inspections, it's over the question of disarmament. And the way these people think, particularly the French when they talk about this as an inspection problem, it's not. It's whether Saddam Hussein is or has disarmed, and that's the issue. And I'm sorry, I have to tell you, much as I am upset by the way in which we've had a breach with our allies, I also have to tell you I think that the United States is right and they're wrong.
And if that's the case, then whether we are not in sync with them or not has to take second place to the issue of whether Saddam Hussein has disarmed. And he hasn't.
CARVILLE: Mr. Secretary, Mr. Adelman was on here, and he made Bob's point. He said that it was a mistake to go to the U.N., it was a mistake to try to build support. That we should have gone in immediately. And that this time that we've taken to do this has nothing but cost us support around the world.
You were an advocate of going to the U.N. early. Why is Mr. Adelman wrong and your approach proven to be right, when so many people in the world now hate us?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, I'll tell you. First of all, because I am never wrong. But that aside -- seriously, the fact...
CARVILLE: You have something in common with me, Mr. Secretary.
EAGLEBURGER: I know. That's why I said it. Because I knew we'd agree on this.
No, but seriously, if you're going to be -- if you're going to have an alliance -- and we have one -- it seemed to me, implicit in that, that you had to start by trying to deal with the alliance. And then if it doesn't work, then you have to say, look, we've done our best to try to get our allies to agree with us on the wisdom of our course. And we couldn't convince them, and therefore we're going to have to go our own way.
But if we had done it the other way, that is, done what the vice president was talking about early on and simply gone in there like gangbusters, I will tell you, I think the world reaction would have been far worse. It hasn't worked so far. I must tell you, given the attitude of the French and the Germans, I don't think there's anything we can do that will convince them, because I don't think they want to be convinced.
NOVAK: Well, disagreeing with you, Mr. Eagleburger, is your long time friend, colleague, business associate, Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state.
EAGLEBURGER: I've met him, yes.
NOVAK: Yes. Let me put up on the screen something he said this week. And I'm going to read it.
"In the end," he said, "French realism will not permit France to stand aside while its strongest ally, which has stood by us through two world wars and the Cold War, pursues its vital interests with a coalition of the willing." Do you agree with that or do you disagree with that?
EAGLEBURGER: I hope he's right. I pray that he's right. All I can tell you at this stage is it doesn't seem to be the case. And the more that the French act the way they have been acting and acted today, the harder it's going to be for them to climb off this high horse they're on and get with the program.
The only thing I can think of that may bring them around is that they're -- you could see the saliva dripping off their teeth, because they want some of that oil. And they may decide that they have to come in because they want some of that Iraqi oil. The French greed may well lead them to be more reasonable at some point. The only thing I can tell you is this war is not about oil.
CARVILLE: Well let me just -- I understand you're utter contempt for the French, but the Germans, the Russians and the Chinese have the same position they do. Do you have the same contempt for the Germans, Russians and the Chinese that you do the French?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, certainly you can put the Germans in on the same list. No, wait a minute. The Chinese and the Russians obviously come from a different position. They have never, for example, been as close allies to us as the Germans and the French. Beyond which, if you take a look at the way the French and the Germans have acted in NATO, where they have refused even to permit planning to defend Turkey in the event that this Iraqi -- that the Iraqi war, if there is one, might lead to an attack on Turkey, they won't even let NATO plan on how you would defend Turkey.
Now, as far as I'm concerned, that is a real slap at the whole concept of NATO. And it puts France and Germany in a totally different category. I disagree with the Russians and the Chinese, and I think they're wrong. But I don't think that I can put them in the same category with old allies such as the French and the Germans.
NOVAK: Let me give you a quick yes or no answer because we've got to finish.
EAGLEBURGER: I've got to go, I know.
NOVAK: The U.N. inspectors asked for six more months to inspect.
EAGLEBURGER: Out of the question.
NOVAK: Out of the question? EAGLEBURGER: Out of the question. Another month maybe...
NOVAK: Lawrence Eagleburger, former secretary of state, thank you very much.
EAGLEBURGER: My pleasure, sir.
NOVAK: Next in "Fireback," one of our viewers questions James' use of duct tape.
CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Now we've had our turn on our part of the show. We go to your part of the show, "Fireback," where you can tell us what you think. Our first one is from Meggie K. from Franklin, Pennsylvania.
"We're losing allies. The economy and the stock market are losing ground. American people are losing confidence. Maybe in 2004 we can lose President Bush." A bright young woman.
NOVAK: Sounds like a Democratic speechwriter. OK. Bob Rogers -- last night we had Jesse Jackson, Jr. on, a congressman who is suing the president to stop him from going to war. And Bob Rogers of Scottsdale, Arizona, says, "Sue the commander-in-chief over his authority to command? It just goes to show what lengths the Democrats will go to throw business to their scrupulous trial lawyer buddies."
NOVAK: Bob, that's exactly what I said last night.
CARVILLE: All right. Here we go. Gary Waldron of New York, New York: "It seems that whatever you give James he'll put it somewhere on his head. First trashcans, now duct tape. What's next?"
Here you go, baby.
NOVAK: He had duct tape on his mouth last night. Mike Ney of Lake Charles, Louisiana -- that's Carville country -- says, "Bob, please stand up to James. I was a Dem for over 20 years, but listening to him and what the party has become, I've switched to (R) and so has my wife. Keep up the right side and don't let him cut you off all the time. Don't be so nice to him."
Mike, I'd like you to sit next to this guy and try to get a word in edgewise. It ain't easy. A question from the audience?
PHILLIP BRODY: My name is Phillip Brody (ph) from Ridgewood, New Jersey. I have a question for James. Why are we so worried about Saddam when North Korea can attack Los Angeles with a nuclear missile?
CARVILLE: Well, I'm not sure North Korea can do that, but I think we ought to be a hell of a lot more worried about al Qaeda than North Korea, than (UNINTELLIGIBLE) missiles can go 150 miles or some ridiculous thing.
NOVAK: All right. Another question, please.
AARON MCGINNIS: Hello. My name is Aaron McGinnis (ph) from (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Nebraska. My question is, should the U.S. boycott French products?
NOVAK: No, that would be silly. But what happened to your football team?
CARVILLE: I'm going to go have my glass of Bordeaux when I leave here.
JOSEPH PATRICK: Hi. My name is Joseph Patrick (ph). I'm from Corpus Christi, Texas. Al Qaeda didn't have the weapons that could reach us from Afghanistan, but they did anyway. And isn't that the whole point about Iraq, is making sure that those weapons don't fall in the hands of terrorists?
NOVAK: Well there are plenty of other places (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You ought to be in Corpus Christi today, because one of the great Democratic candidates is down there, Al Sharpton. Are you a Sharpton man?
PATRICK: No. That may be why I'm here in, D.C.
CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is more fascinating than Al Sharpton (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You know -- no more questions, thank you.
Today is Valentine's Day and we here on CROSSFIRE, we're just part of -- a very small part of the show. And Bob and I want to send a valentine to the wonderful staff that makes CROSSFIRE possible. And we're going to roll their names on the screen here. Thank you very much.
These are all of the people that work at CROSSFIRE. Happy Valentine's Day and thank you to all of you. From the left, I'm James Carville.
NOVAK: From the right, I'm Robert Novak. I agree with you, James. Join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.
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