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Iraq Destroys 4 Al Samoud Missiles; Bush Wants Democracy in Middle East; Bob Graham Will Run for President in '04

Aired March 1, 2003 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.

I'm Mark Shields with the full GANG. That's Al Hunt, Robert Novak, Kate O'Beirne, and Margaret Carlson.

In an interview, CBS's Dan Rather asked Saddam Hussein whether he would destroy short-range Al Samoud missiles as demanded by U.N. weapons inspectors. The Iraqi president replied, quote, "Which is that? Which missiles are you talking about? We do not have missiles that go beyond the prescribed ranges by the U.N.," end quote.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The world has waited a long time for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. He is a master of disguise and delay. He'll say, Oh, I'm disarming, after he said he has no arms.

MOHAMMED ALDOURI, IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: President Saddam didn't say that we will not destroy Al Samoud. He never said that. He said that we have no missiles (UNINTELLIGIBLE) more than 150 kilometers. We accepted that these missiles be destroyed by you, United Nations.


SHIELDS: Today, Iraq destroyed four Al Samoud missiles.


HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: That is a very significant piece of -- a real disarmament.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Iraqi actions are propaganda wrapped in a lie inside a falsehood.


SHIELDS: Meanwhile, neither Russia nor France ruled out using a veto to block a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing force against Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) IGOR IVANOV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Russia has the right of veto. If the interests of international stability demands it, Russia, of course, will exercise its right.


SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne, does today's Iraqi destruction of missiles weaken the U.S. case?

KATE O'BEIRNE, CAPITAL GANG: Mark, I don't see how it possibly could. Saddam Hussein destroying a couple of missiles is the latest ruse in a 12-year pattern. When the heat is on, he'll take some small steps that unfortunately is normally enough for his supporters at the U.N., which is why they're working on their 18th resolution. So this one won't matter any more than the previous times should.

I -- it seems to me the administration's case about whether to remove Saddam Hussein got stronger today. The arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was a huge arrest that the CIA, FBI, and Pakistani intelligence cooperated in. Those who've been wondering, Can the United States lead a war to get rid of Saddam Hussein while fighting an effective war against al Qaeda? it seems to me his arrest is an emphatic yes to that question.

And it looks like Pakistan is no longer a safe haven for al Qaeda. The swamp is being drained, and Iraq is next.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak.

ROBERT NOVAK, CAPITAL GANG: I think it's a stretch to say that it's time to send bombs into Baghdad because we nabbed a leader of al Qaeda. I really can't...

O'BEIRNE: Then they can do both. I didn't say that.

NOVAK: ... I can't, I can't, I can't fathom the, the...

O'BEIRNE: But they can do both.

NOVAK: I can't fathom that logic. As a matter of fact, the -- it is an embarrassment -- not an embarrassment, it is a difficulty in justifying an attack on Iraq, which is inevitable, there are all those troops there, I don't think there's going to be any pulling back. But it makes it more embarrassing when they are going along, the Iraqis are going along with what the weapons inspectors say, and we have not yet pinned down that they have weapons of mass destruction.

I mean, that is, that is, that is the problem. And we have a case where support around the world is not increasing, it's diminishing. And I don't think it's going to be a permanent problem, but the fact that today they did not get sufficient strength in the Turkish parliament for an authorization of 60,000 troops is part of that problem.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, it -- Bob Novak does make a good point here. Support internationally is not growing for the United States' position.

AL HUNT, CAPITAL GANG: No, it's not. But, I mean, Bob, look, there may be people who still think O.J. didn't do it, and I suppose there are a few people who think they don't have weapons of mass destruction. But I think the overwhelming case is that they do. Even, I think, the French and some of the opponents of war right now acknowledge that.

I think that -- I think what, what, what occurred today -- and Kate's right about the games that Saddam plays -- I don't think it undermines the case. But what I think it does is, it complicates it. It may cause, it may cause some delay.

I still think it's conceivable they could win a second -- the U.S. could win a second resolution in the U.N., or at least get a majority vote. That would be far, far preferable for not so much the war, but afterwards.

But I think the war planners tell you that they would like to go in by mid-March, Mark, and they certainly want to go in no later than early April. You can't keep those forces over there indefinitely. And I think some of the Gulf War states are terrified if we don't do it soon. I think Bob is right, it'll either be two weeks or four weeks, that's essential.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, but the -- how much of a setback, if any, was the Turkish parliament's decision today?

MARGARET CARLSON, CAPITAL GANG: If the Turkish parliament holds and troops cannot go to Turkey, and you don't have a northern front, and you have to go back south and up through Kuwait, it could delay the troops being in position for as much as six weeks, which upsets the weather terribly. You know, General Shepperd today said four to six weeks.

And the calendar is quite determinative here, because, as Al says, the weather goes very bad about the beginning of April or mid- April.

Kate is right, when Saddam Hussein says yes after months of no, it's just what he thinks he has to do to mollify the U.N. However, Bush made a terrible mistake. He could possibly have a tremendous victory here, which is disarm without war. But he immediately escalated to, No, there has to be regime change as well, which had been dropped from his rationale...

NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), they've never given it up.

CARLSON: He -- but he had dropped it for a while, because that does not fly. What flies is disarming Saddam Hussein, and sure -- doing that, I think, was a big strategic mistake for him.

SHIELDS: Let me just ask this, seriously, I don't know, I mean, before we said we had all this information about where their weapons were. What Hans Blix has said, they have, they've been totally available, when we've said we're going to go somewhere to inspect, they've been available.

Have we just not told the U.N. inspectors, or are we reluctant to do it? I mean, or is it, in fact...

NOVAK: I don't, I don't, I don't think...

CARLSON: If you give the intelligence away, you may compromise the sources.

NOVAK: I don't think we know where these, these weapons are. I think the big problem -- and I talk to people who -- in other embassies and in other countries -- and we are, I think, at this point, as much disliked as we've ever been in my lifetime around the world. There's just a very harsh attitude taken by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Maybe that doesn't mean anything, Kate, but it is, it is, it is -- this war is going to go ahead, and God, God willing, we're going to do very well on it.

But I just think there is a enormous hostility toward the Americans that goes well beyond Paris.

O'BEIRNE: Well, a popularity contest on the part of some of these Europeans, I don't think is an important, an important event for the United States to win. We certainly have plenty of friends in Europe. In fact, the majority of them are with us, remembering how American leadership was so crucial throughout this century to protect and defend them, and they are 100 percent on board about the need to disarm Saddam Hussein.

So the popularity contest shouldn't bother you either, Bob. You normally don't care much about people...

HUNT: No, but Kate...

O'BEIRNE: ... being crazy about you.

HUNT: ... but Kate, I, you know, I am with you on the war, and I think the burden of proof is on Saddam. He is the one who has not revealed -- he was supposed to destroy these weapons. He's given no accounting at all.

But, but, but where Bob is right, I mean, even the, even the Spaniards, who have been real allies on this, said, Rumsfeld, shut up. And you can't go and conduct -- you can't leave a post-Saddam world, a new world order...

O'BEIRNE: A quick point, though.

HUNT: ... if most of the world...

O'BEIRNE: A quick point, though.

HUNT: ... is against you.

O'BEIRNE: We are waiting this week, holding our breath to see if Cameroon, Angola, and Guinea give a thumbs-up to us defending... NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

O'BEIRNE: ... our national security. I don't think the American public...


O'BEIRNE: ... has focused on exactly which countries were looking to sign off on this.

World approval cannot be what dictates...


O'BEIRNE: ... whether or not we defend our own national security.

CARLSON: But we can't...

NOVAK: And even, even the Christian Democrats in Germany, our friends, are very upset with the whole attitude we take.

HUNT: And we can't go it alone.


O'BEIRNE: Well, that's Colin Powell's job, Bob. What happened to your friend Colin Powell in making all these friends?

CARLSON: And you, you cannot pick and choose when you want to be part of a world government, which we are going to need from time to time.

SHIELDS: And I'd just say in closing, that is that we have made concession after concession, we've put three Chechen, Chechen groups on the terrorist list to mollify the Russians. We gave Bulgaria market status, we conferred upon them. I mean, this is not a coalition of conviction any way you cut it.

THE GANG of five will be back with the president's postwar vision and a general's postwar nightmare.

And later, CNN's Christiane Amanpour reporting directly from the Arab summit.


SHIELDS: Welcome back.

President Bush set forth as an Iraqi war aim not simply disarmament of Saddam Hussein, but a new democracy in the Arab Middle East.


BUSH: The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder, they encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of the desire for freedom in the Middle East.


SHIELDS: President also addressed Israeli-Palestinian peace.


BUSH: The new government of Israel, as the terror threat is removed and security improves, will be expected to support the creation of a viable, a viable Palestinian state.

As progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end.


SHIELDS: Meanwhile, the retiring chief of staff of the U.S. Army was asked how many U.S. troops would be needed to occupy a postwar Iraq.


GEN. ERIC SHINSEKI, ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF: Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: We don't know what the requirement will be, but we can say with reasonable confidence that the notion of hundreds of thousands of American troops is way off the mark.


SHIELDS: Bob Novak, has President Bush laid out a clear road map for peace in the Middle East?

NOVAK: No, I don't, I don't believe so. I believe this was a Wilsonian speech. I was stunned by it, and I don't -- anything to do with Woodrow Wilson...


NOVAK: ... I don't, I don't consider a compliment. I don't believe that it is a real -- it is a desirable or a realistic goal to try to turn the Arab Middle East into a pavement of democracy. It just can't be done.

What it looks like is that -- it looks like an Israeli road map to making the Middle East more -- safer for Israel. Now, I was very disturbed that the president predicated his support for a Palestinian state on an end to terrorism. When's that going to come? And he said when the tension is over, then they should stop building, the Israelis should stop building settlements.

A few weeks ago, a few months ago, there was no such caveat, he just said, Stop the settlements, and Israel ignored us.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, the Mitchell plan laid out that the settlements had to stop immediately. The president certainly moved that way back, and said it was really up to the judgment of the Israelis whether in fact they felt secure, and they'd made that kind of progress, before they even thought about ending settlements.

CARLSON: That must be a backroom deal with Sharon to keep him quiet while the Iraqi war proceeds and get him not to do anything, because the settlements ending has long been a predicate for settlement in the Middle East.

Among the many things that Paul Wolfowitz said this week about how wrong the general was -- who, by the way, commanded the peacekeeping troops in Bosnia -- about what would be needed in Iraq was that there would be no ethnic strife as there was in Bosnia. Well, there's going to be strife, whatever kind of strife you call it, whether it's religious and ethnic, probably.

And in the -- you know, we had 80 percent of the Gulf War paid for by our partners, multilateral partners. We have no help this time going on the inside, I mean, on the going-in side. And maybe we'd have some on the outside if we could get this to be a U.N. resolution, the Security Council vote to do it.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, this is what you've been talking about forever, though, is that the president had to lay out the postwar Iraq. He had failed to do so, and this week he listened to you.

HUNT: Mark, it was a very coherent, a very well-written speech, and it reflected the view of Paul Wolfowitz that this really will be a transformational experience, and that post-Saddam Iraq will be a launching pad for democratizing the entire region.

It remains to be seen, when George Bush finds out, however, that there are, that there are real political and economic risks in that, does he want 100,000 American troops in Iraq in September of '04? Does Karl Rove want that?

If, if, if, if he means what he says, what he said the other night, this is nation-building that dwarfs anything Bill Clinton ever dreamed of.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne, the president did set a far higher standard of what victory and success is all about. I mean, we measure it not simply by marching through Baghdad, but by democratic city council elections being held in Baghdad.

O'BEIRNE: Well, the president's exactly right. Stable democracies do not, do not spawn murderous ideologies. The most promising thing for our security over the long term are introducing stable democracies, however we can encourage them, in the Middle East.

I think it's highly desirable. I don't disagree with Bob with respect to the fact that it might not be all that realistic. It is a very tall order. But I think this is the -- you're wrong, Al, I think this is the president's vision thing over the long term, because only that, I think, will make us safe over the long term.

SHIELDS: Kate, I'd just say this, when they talk about who's right about how many troops is going to be required, I'd take the word of General Eric Shinseki, who's been through this, rather than some...

NOVAK: Can I, can I say, can I say...


SHIELDS: ... civilian, some civilian...


NOVAK: ... can I say one word...



O'BEIRNE: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE), that is a ridiculously high figure. The only, the only figure is 100,000. He's been in a bad mood since the name of his successor was leaked a year ago, and people suspect he wants to run for the Senate.

NOVAK: Can, can, can, can I just say...

HUNT: In terms of telling the truth, he's better than the Pentagon.

SHIELDS: That's right.

NOVAK: The people, the people I have checked, the sources I have checked, say there is no way of telling how many troops there are, and the General Shinseki was off base...

O'BEIRNE: Right.

NOVAK: ... in putting out that number, no question about that.


HUNT: ... 100,000 rather than 200,000?

O'BEIRNE: No, he said several hundred thousand.


NOVAK: ... several hundred thousand.


SHIELDS: ... as many as we have there now.

HUNT: Let's see what General Rove thinks in...

NOVAK: You know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)... HUNT: ... in the fall of '04.

NOVAK: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE), he's supposed to retire in June, he ought to leave now, because he's on a -- I mean, that, that is, we don't want uniformed officers going the wrong way.

HUNT: What do you mean...


HUNT: ... going the wrong way? The wrong way?

NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), repudiating their civilian chiefs.

HUNT: He answered a question...


HUNT: ... at a congressional inquiry.


O'BEIRNE: Based on nothing. Based on what?


SHIELDS: Based upon his experience in Bosnia and his experience in the field.


SHIELDS: Next on CAPITAL GANG, Senator Bob Graham, presidential candidate number nine.


SHIELDS: Welcome back.

Senator Bob Graham of Florida, recovering from heart surgery, filed papers reflecting his own intention to seek the Democratic nomination for president. Age 66, he was elected to the Senate 16 years ago after serving eight years as governor of Florida and 12 years in the state's legislature.

Last year, as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he voted against the Iraqi war resolution. He called instead for the U.S. to concentrate against international terrorist groups.


SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), CHAIRMAN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It is a dereliction of duty to the American people not to disable those organizations to the maximum extent possible before we get into that position where we are the bull's eye of Saddam Hussein's attack. And we have the capability of such disablement.


SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, should Bob Graham be considered a serious candidate for president?

CARLSON: You know, the Democrats, instead of having a smoke- filled room, are having their candidates come by way of the -- an ICU. This is the second candidate to be, you know, hobbled by serious...


CARLSON: ... surgery. I'm sorry, no, that's not...

HUNT: Ain't laughing.

CARLSON: If he -- yes. If he puts his heart into it, he'll be a serious candidate.

No, Bob Graham is a set -- you know, been in the Florida legislature, the Senate now, was governor for two terms. He is a very serious candidate by any measure. And perhaps Dick Cheney has made it safe for officials with heart trouble, you know, to run for office. And in that way, it's safe for Bob Graham.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne, serious candidate?

O'BEIRNE: Mark, it's so striking to me that at this time 12 years ago, there wasn't a single candidate declared, and now the field keeps getting more crowded every week.

I think Bob Graham is a serious candidate for vice president, and that's probably the race he's going to be running here for vice president.


HUNT: This guy's a real political heavyweight. He's a two-term governor of the most important swing state in the country, probably, won statewide office down there five times, won big, been a thoughtful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

So, yes, in that sense, I think he -- you know, you got to take him seriously. The question is not is he, is he, is he serious, the question is, is he viable? Because there are a lot of political heavyweights, Howard Baker and Bill Bradley have been incredibly serious and not viable. And I guess I'd be surprised if he's viable. You're not going to be VP if you don't run a good race for president.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, if, in fact, in 2000 Al Gore had chosen Bob Graham instead of Joe Lieberman, he'd be president of the United States today.

NOVAK: We'd be calling him Mr. President Gore.

SHIELDS: That's right.

NOVAK: There's no question about that. I think he's -- I think Bob Graham is a lot more serious than a lot of the other people running. He is a relatively moderate Democrats as the Democratic Party is today, who is -- who has a principled position in opposition to the war. He's no Dennis Kucinich, he's well thought of, he's a great advocate of capital punishment, he has been a strong advocate of welfare reform.

I take him seriously. I don't know who's going to win this nomination. Very strange things could happen. He looks like a long shot, but who's the short shot?

CARLSON: You know, he's very tough on terrorism as a result of serving on the Intelligence Committee. But "TIME" magazine had a report about a year ago on a diary that he keeps of every single thing he does, every move he makes...

NOVAK: Well, don't you?

CARLSON: ... which I think he's going to have to burn. I, I, I, I know you do, Bob, because it's history.

SHIELDS: What is a great advocate of capital punishment?


NOVAK: ... you know what it is? It's a guy who actually executes the murderers and the rapists...

CARLSON: It's...

NOVAK: ... and doesn't just talk about it.


CARLSON: Bob, Bob would pull the switch.


HUNT: ... you forgot, you became a Catholic...



HUNT: ... remember?


NOVAK: And it's OK for a Catholic to be for capital punishment...


CARLSON: Bob would actually pull the switch.

(CROSSTALK) CARLSON: That's what a great...

SHIELDS: ... is that, is that what your Holy Father tells you?

O'BEIRNE: He voted against...

NOVAK: There, there, there is not, it is, it is...

O'BEIRNE: He voted against giving the president authority...


O'BEIRNE: ... this past fall, but he voted for the Gulf War resolution in '91...


NOVAK: I tell you what, I tell you what...


NOVAK: ... I tell you what, we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a new thing here. I am going to raise religious questions from now on...



NOVAK: ... when I get your socialist communist dogma coming from you.

HUNT: We -- oh! We Episcopalians (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: Bob, Bob's pope is for the death penalty.

SHIELDS: That does it. Stay tuned for mass for the shut-ins. We'll be back with a CAPITAL GANG Classic, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan averting a U.S. attack on Iraq five years ago this week.


SHIELDS: Welcome back.

Five years ago this week, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan went to Baghdad to cut a new deal with Saddam Hussein on weapons inspections. That averted an American bombing threatened by President Bill Clinton.

Your CAPITAL GANG discussed this development on February 28, 1998. Our guest was then-congressman Robert Livingston, Republican of Louisiana.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, February 28, 1998)

HUNT: Knowing Saddam, he is going to do what he always does, which is retreat and cheat. And when he cheats, President Clinton has to be prepared, should be prepared, to go in with massive force.

O'BEIRNE: This is what happens when you subcontract American foreign policy to the secretary general of the U.N. He came back with empty promises, the kind of thing that Saddam has been promising since 1991.

SHIELDS: I think that this is a good deal. I think that it strengthens the position and it makes it a lot tougher for those people in the international community who'd like to take a walk and like to take a bye on this.

REP. ROBERT LIVINGSTON (R), LOUISIANA: The question is, I think, is whether or not Hussein's going to live up to it. I think Al's correct. He probably won't. If he doesn't, we ought to de-recognize the Iraqi regime. We ought to indict Hussein as a war criminal, because he is. And we ought to support an Iraqi resistance and give it all we've got to get rid of Hussein once and for all.

NOVAK: Instead of having -- relying on the secretary general to do our diplomacy, instead of de-recognizing and calling him a war criminal, why don't we sit down and negotiate with him? We don't need a war with Iraq. Let's get off of this nonsense and back to serious business.


SHIELDS: Al Hunt, was Kate O'Beirne correct in saying that President Clinton in 1998 made a mistake in letting Kofi Annan negotiate on behalf of American interests?

HUNT: Who am I, Mark, to say that Kate O'Beirne is not correct? But I would remind my distinguished...

O'BEIRNE: Excellent question.

HUNT: ... I would remind my distinguished colleague that less than two years ago, this administration, the Bush administration, was talking about relaxing the sanctions on Iraq. The only reason we're about to go to war is 9/11. And if Bill Clinton had been president, he'd have done virtually the same thing.

SHIELDS: Anything you want to say different, Bob?

NOVAK: Well, Al is as wrong as he's ever been. There's been a intention by people at high levels of this administration to get Saddam for years. They never liked what happened 10 years ago. I'm sure you're aware of that. And it's all finding a reason to get after him, and now they've found a reason, and we're going to get after him.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Right. Anyone would feel different after 9/11 about Saddam Hussein and not want to give him yet another last chance. What Bush has the opportunity to do, it seems to me right now, is by -- with a little more time, perhaps actually accomplish the unthinkable, which is to get him disarmed... (CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... to get him -- It may be too late. But there's a Canadian proposition out there that...

O'BEIRNE: When, when you look at those tapes, it's like Ground Hog Day. Five years ago, he wasn't doing what he promised to do seven years ago. Madeleine Albright was threatening the severest consequences, which never happened. Kofi Annan was praising Saddam Hussein's courage. And here we are.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

Coming up in the second half of CAPITAL GANG, our "Newsmaker of the Week" is war correspondent Joseph Galloway. "Beyond the Beltway" looks at the Arab summit with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. And our "Outrage of the Week."

That's all after the latest news following these significantly important messages.



ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.

SHIELDS: Welcome back to the second half of CAPITAL GANG.

I'm Mark Shields with the full GANG, Al Hunt, Robert Novak, Kate O'Beirne, and Margaret Carlson.

Our "Newsmaker of the Week" is Joseph Galloway, consultant to Knight Ridder Newspaper war coverage.

Joseph Galloway, age 61, residence Falls Church, Virginia, graduate Refugio High School in Texas, before becoming a 19-year-old statehouse bureau chief (UNINTELLIGIBLE) UPI.

Worked (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Victoria, Texas, "Advocate," United Press International, and "U.S. News and World Report." Four reporting tours in Vietnam, awarded the Bronze Star as a civilian for rescuing wounded American soldiers. Co author of "We Were Soldiers Once, and Young," the basis of the movie, "We Were Soldiers."

Al Hunt sat down with Joseph Galloway earlier this week.


HUNT: Joe Galloway, you've been a long-time advocate of the military being more open with the press. Pentagon says it's going to be different this time if there's war in Iraq. Will it?

JOSEPH GALLOWAY, KNIGHT RIDDER: Well, the proof is in the pudding. And they're certainly moving in that direction, Al. The idea that 500 correspondents are going to be embedded with the units going into Iraq, the land, air, and sea units, the -- across the board, with their equipment, their satellite phones, their TV uplinks, the whole nine yards, subject to some very basic operational security rules.

HUNT: Now, there are still some military leaders who say the press and the military have different objectives. And they worry that an uncontrolled media could imperil military operations. They say, Look at what happened in Vietnam.

GALLOWAY: What happened there was the press did its job. It did its job. It pointed out the flaws, it was critical when it should be. And I think, you know, the media didn't lose that war.

HUNT: Conversely, there are some journalists who worry about this concept of embedding with military units, as you know. Another one of the great press veterans of the Indochina War, Sidney Schamberg, said you can't really be critical of a operation that you're embedding with. A journalist ought to roam independently.

GALLOWAY: There's no way to roam, really, independently in a place like Iraq, with tank divisions attacking. And if you've got a lot of journalists running around there loose on their own in SUVs, a lot of them are going to get killed.

HUNT: You are the co-author of a marvelous book that was turned into a marvelous movie, "We Were Soldiers Once." With that movie and with "Black Hawk Down," has there been a seminal shift in the way Hollywood depicts the military, Joe?

GALLOWAY: Well, those two movies have given us that shift. I, as someone who knows Vietnam and that war rather intimately, I've walked out of most of what Hollywood has produced to that point.

HUNT: Nobody has better military sources than you. The military people that you respect the most, what do they say? Do they think it's likely to be swift and short, with minimal casualties?

GALLOWAY: They're not saying that. They're saying it's probably going to be tougher than the last time, and it's going to last longer, because the mission is so different. The mission the last time was just to get him out of Kuwait, and that was done in 100 hours.

HUNT: A number of military people say what worries them most is the postwar phase, that the U.S. military is stretched pretty thin right now to take on new burdens.

GALLOWAY: Terribly so. They have been stretched to the limit for a long time. We're engaged in so many places, and the Army especially has come down in strength, four divisions are not there any more.

You want to know my nightmare, it would be that midway through what war we were fighting in Iraq, suddenly North Korea strikes, because we...

HUNT: Yes, everyone's... GALLOWAY: ... we are not set up to deal with that. We -- everything we have in the way of heavy forces is gone or going to Iraq.

HUNT: Unruly public spat this week between the top Army general and Secretary Rumsfeld and Secretary Rumsfeld -- Secretary Wolfowitz at the Pentagon over whether it will require 200,000 troops or less post-Saddam.

GALLOWAY: I'm kind of out of that loop right now, but if you're talking about General Shinseki...

HUNT: Yes, sir.

GALLOWAY: ... and he's saying that we're going to need 200,000, I would say he's right.


SHIELDS: Amen, Joe.

Al, do you think this is going to produce better reporting than the Gulf War did?

HUNT: Yes, I don't think there's any question, if the Pentagon keeps to what it says it's going to do, I think more access will produce better reporting, sometimes more critical reporting, but on balance it will be better for American consumers and for the American military.

And I would just say, I know Bob doesn't go to movies much any more, but Bob, you ought to see that movie "We Were Soldiers" with Mel Gibson, you really would enjoy it.

O'BEIRNE: Terrific movie, terrific movie.

NOVAK: You know, the Gulf War was probably the most poorly reported war we've ever been in, the still unanswered questions, in fact, the reporters don't even ask them. And so I would say that this -- the fact that there are going to be reporters out with the troops in this war is going to be better than the last one, although that won't be hard.

O'BEIRNE: As an institution, the military ranks far higher in trust and respect on the part of the American public than the media does. So if there's a conflict between what the media wants and the military's obligation to protect operational security, the public sides with the military.

CARLSON: Well, the press doesn't learn that much from Donald Rumsfeld's briefings, because he's so charming and engaging, and in fact...

NOVAK: Charming?

CARLSON: Yes, in his way, yes, I think he is, I think... O'BEIRNE: Women find him charming, Bob.

CARLSON: Yes, unlike you, Bob. We -- you wouldn't know charming.

HUNT: I'll take Bob.

CARLSON: It's the most highest-rated program on...

NOVAK: A lot of generals would be interested in hearing that.

CARLSON: ... on any cable, on any cable channel. We'll learn -- the, the press will learn more when they are in bed, so to speak, with the military in Iraq.

SHIELDS: Last word, Margaret Carlson.

Next on CAPITAL GANG, "Beyond the Beltway" looks at the Arab summit with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.


SHIELDS: Welcome back.

An Arab summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, came out strongly against a U.S.-led attack on Iraq.


AMR MOUSSA, SECRETARY GENERAL, ARAB LEAGUE: We shall definitely oppose the war. We cannot be a part of it or contribute to it or sympathize with it. The vast majority of world countries and the world people are against it.


SHIELDS: But the leaders of the Arab League call on Saddam Hussein to obey U.N. Security Council resolutions.


PRINCE SAUD AL FAISAL, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: Iraq should what they ask it to do, and quickly. If they have weapons of mass destruction, show them. If they don't have weapons of mass destruction, account for them.


SHIELDS: The representative of the United Arab Emirates went further, calling on Saddam to resign as president.

Joining us now from Sharm el-Sheikh is CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.

Christiane, is there any real hope among the Arab leaders for avoiding a war with Iraq? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, some of them believe that the momentum is inevitable, and others think that they have to do every last possible thing they can to avert it.

And, you know, with all the sort of twists and turns in what's going on in the diplomatic arena, people, you know, try to take some hope. People are encouraged that Saddam Hussein has started to disarm the Al Samoud weapons, the missiles. People are asking, What's going to happen with the Turkish vote? Is that going to radically affect things? People are wondering what's going to happen in the Security Council.

I think that they said -- at least one official said to me today that Saddam Hussein is on his knees, and he's capitulating, and all we need is more time. That's the view from most of the people here.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Christiane, how would you interpret that public spat between Libya and Saudi Arabia, in which Gadhafi accused the Saudi Arabians of bringing the colonial Americans into the Middle East? Is that a -- does that have any serious significance?

AMANPOUR: Well, it does, actually. I mean, the spat was quickly papered over, and it was quite spatty, if you like, for Arabs, because they're very, very careful about the way they talk to each other, certainly in public. And as you know, it's always very flowery, complimentary language.

And then here, on live television -- which, by the way, was quickly interrupted -- this outbreak of hostilities, if you like, in the diplomatic sense.

But it does highlight something very crucial here, the idea of a new colonialism, the idea of a new, quote, "imperialism," the idea, frankly, of an occupation of an Arab country by American troops is really making the people of this part of the world very uncomfortable. That's not fake, that's not posturing.

They're very, very uncomfortable by the idea of a full-scale, hundreds of thousands of troops strong, occupation of Iraq -- the way it'll look, the way it'll make people in the region react, memories and experiences of colonialism are still very raw here, and basically underpin a lot of shortcomings in this region.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Christiane, the Arab leaders at this summit decided not to take up the proposal by the United Arab Emirates that Saddam Hussein resign and go into exile. But there must have been some discussion with all of them in the same place. Do you hear, is there any back-channel conversation about the possibilities of averting war by Saddam Hussein going into exile?

AMANPOUR: Well, it's interesting, I asked somebody about that today, because that has been going back and forward. You remember a couple of weeks ago, there was an article, in fact, in "TIME" magazine by a senior Saudi, a senior aide to the foreign minister, in fact, who floated that very notion.

But then, of course, then they all denied it, and Saddam Hussein then said he wouldn't go into exile, and what an impertinence it would be to ask him go into exile.

But certainly people have been thinking that. And one analyst told me today that what the leader of Abu Dhabi did was bust the hypocrisy block, if you like, and put voice to what many people are just fervently hoping would happen, and had the courage to basically say it in public.

It didn't go anywhere. Iraq was obviously at that meeting, and reacted quite angrily to it, and the rest of the Arab countries. Also, they're saying that, you know, it's not about regime change. They're awfully kind of concerned about exactly what is the aim of the current crisis with Iraq, and they're trying to focus on the disarmament issue.

So yes, it's something that a lot of them say they'd like to do, but so far it hasn't really taken off.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: Christiane, this week President Bush said that he hoped a post-Saddam Iraq could serve as a democratic example to the Arab world. Has that prompted any interest in these countries, talking about political and economic reform?

AMANPOUR: Well, pretty much the only countries that have actually responded to that, in some small way, are (UNINTELLIGIBLE), which have said, Yes, we Arab countries have to deal with democracy in our countries. But it's not really at the battlefield that democracy is brought to bear.

Saudi Arabia has talked about internal reforms. In fact, it floated a paper here that said that time was too short, so they'd have to deal with it at the summit next year in Tunis.

Obviously, talking about democracy flowering in this region directly impacts many of these leaders, who are not democrats, who are, by the way, American allies.

So it has sort of rubbed people somewhat the wrong way.

But, you know, they are concerned about the issues of reform. But I think quite a lot of what's been coming out of the White House this week has rubbed people the wrong way, especially the notion that getting rid of Saddam Hussein or war in Iraq is going to further the Middle East peace process, for instance.


HUNT: Christiane, let me get you to pick up on that. What do -- what is the general expectation of a war with Iraq? What is the general expectation of the effect that it will have on the Palestinian question? And what expectations do people from the Arab League have of the administration in a post-Saddam phase?

AMANPOUR: Well, let's take the Palestinian question first, because that really is the priority of the leaders here. I mean, they're basically saying the administration is trying to tell us that the road to peace with the Palestinians and the Israelis lies in Baghdad.

Here, they're saying quite the reverse is true. If the Palestinian-Israeli issue had been solved, and if this administration had actually done what it needed to do, what America traditionally does, which is keep engaged in that issue, and if the situation was not as violent as it is right now, then leaders here actually said that the United States could invade Iraq, walk through Iraq, and everybody in the region would accept that.

I mean, that might be a little exaggeration. But what they're trying to say is that they believe that the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been neglected, that not enough work is being done in terms of American diplomatic work and exercising political pressure and political will, particularly on the Israelis and the Palestinians to do what they need to do.

And so they're very, very upset about that. And they, if at all they're going to support any kind of war once it starts, for them, indispensable quid pro quo is after that, an exceptional effort by the administration on the Palestinian question.

So that's very, very important, which is why I've used a lot of time on that.

In terms of a post-Saddam Iraq, I think what frightens people in Saudi Arabia most and others, although they don't say it per se, is, first of all, chaos in Iraq. They're not convinced that there is a plan that's been articulated that really will deal with a post-Saddam Iraq.

And they're worried about what they call a Shi'ite crescent developing in Iraq, the Gulf, and Iran, and they're concerned about that, particularly most of the Arab countries we're talking about is Sunnis.

SHIELDS: Christiane Amanpour, thank you very much for being with us.

THE CAPITAL GANG will be back with our "Outrages of the Week."


SHIELDS: Now for the "Outrage of the Week."

Senator John McCain, who knows what he is talking about from painful personal experience, said, quote, "War is awful. Nothing, not the valor with which it is fought, nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war. War is wretched beyond description. And only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality. Whatever is won in war, it is the loss the veteran remembers," end quote.

But war apparently is a lark for those online entrepreneurs seeking cash bets for a pool on when war with Iraq will begin or end. This is not the final four. This is life and death.

Bob Novak.

NOVAK: The leftist-dominated U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco believes one bad outrage deserves another. A three- judge panel last year declared the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag is unconstitutional because of the phrase "under God."

Astonishingly, the full 24-judge circuit court basically has upheld that ruling, despite nine dissenting judges. Both decisions were written by the notoriously leftist judge Steve Reinhardt, a former Democratic National Committeeman. This is the federal judiciary President Bush is trying to reform with new judges, and the Democratic senators are filibustering.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: You better not get raped by a cadet at the Air Force Academy if you want any kind of justice. The knee-jerk reaction to female cadets who reported sexual assaults was to punish the women and protect the men. Many victims just dropped out of the academy.

Senator Wayne Allard sharply criticized the commandant of the cadets, General Gilbert, who blamed alcohol and civilian dress, rather than interrogate the accused.

An embarrassed Pentagon wants to re-enroll some of the women, and Air Force Secretary James Roach called the perpetrators, quote, "bums."

Apparently the academy forgot Tail Hook.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: For years, the United States military transporting troops has used Shannon Airport in Ireland as a refueling stop, long known for its friendly service.

No more. Irish antiwar protesters have attacked aircraft with paint, hatchers, and hammers, so military charters have been forced to stop using Ireland's west coast pit stop.

If our soldiers aren't welcome to land in Ireland, then we civilians should refuse to. Make sure you spend St. Patrick's Day in the U.S. of A. this year.


HUNT: Mark, our three children spent their early years in "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." A cherished moment when they actually met -- was when they actually met Mr. Rogers. For more than 30 years on public television, this insightful, sweet man told children about hope and understanding and inclusion.

Critics of federal funding for public TV claim it's unnecessary with the multiplicity of alternatives, but this vaunted marketplace hasn't come close to another Fred Rogers, who made America a better place.

SHIELDS: A better and more caring place for generations of children, Al, I think you added.

This is Mark Shields saying good night for THE CAPITAL GANG.

Coming up next, "CNN PRESENTS: Showdown Iraq -- On the Brink."


in Middle East; Bob Graham Will Run for President in '04>

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