CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Aired April 8, 2003 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: More bombs fall on Baghdad, after another strike targeting Saddam Hussein. When the smoke clears, will the Iraqi leader be dead or alive?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is in charge, do you think, right now in Baghdad?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government of Iraq is there.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know whether he survived. The only thing I know is he's losing power.
ANNOUNCER: Casualties of war. The conflict takes a growing toll on coalition forces, Iraqis and international journalists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basra is now free, and the final elements of the vicious barbarous (ph) control extinguished.
ANNOUNCER: But British forces now face a new problem. Civilians, venting their anger at Saddam's crumbling regime.
CNN live this hour, Judy Woodruff reports live from Washington with correspondents from around the world. A special edition of "INSIDE POLITICS" "The War in Iraq," starts right now.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. President Bush due back in the United States later this hour after his meeting in Northern Ireland with his main partner in the war, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Here in Washington, Pentagon officials say they still don't know if Saddam Hussein survived a bomb attack targeting Iraqi leaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTORIA CLARKE, PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: I'm not losing sleep trying to figure out whether he was in there and what happened. What matters is that the regime, whatever elements of it remain, is losing more and more control over the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: Coming up, we'll go beyond the public pronouncements for the inside story on yesterday's massive strike on Baghdad.
Plus, the European Union's secretary-general is in New York. I'll ask him what he knows about Saddam's grip on power and the plans for rebuilding Iraq once the regime is gone.
Now the latest on the questions surrounding the fate of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. At this hour, there is no definitive answer on whether he is dead or alive. U.S. warplanes took aim yesterday at a building in a Baghdad neighborhood where Saddam and, perhaps, his two sons were believe to be. In the attack, a U.S. bomber dropped four 2,000-pound bombs on the building. The strike was based on what U.S. officials are calling time-sensitive intelligence.
What was that so-called good intelligence that prompted the air strike? CNN national security correspondent David Ensor has been talking to CNN's -- to his sources about what led up to the attack. He joins us now with what he has learned. David, tell us what they are saying.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the sources included human intelligence on the ground in Iraq and there is more and more of that as the U.S. gains more and more control in Baghdad. And it was felt that it was time sensitive. The thing was turned around faster than it's ever been done before, within 45 minutes Pentagon officials say, from the moment that they first heard that U.S. intelligence believed that Saddam might be in this building.
Within 45 minutes there were bombs on that building. That's four times as fast as the last time, which was, of course, March 19, the beginning of the war when they, again, tried to get Saddam.
Now, they are being careful about whether they did this time because it looks like last time they were wrong. They thought they had him now. He's very elusive and resourceful man, and his resourceful regime. And there are hardened bunkers deep under ground, under a number of areas in Baghdad.
WOODRUFF: David, they think they are wrong because of that video the other day where he made a current reference to something that happened clearly a day or two earlier. How do they come to any conclusions at this point about whether he's dead or alive? How confident are they sounding to you?
ENSOR: It may be awhile, they say, before they have a real conclusion. They are obviously monitoring Iraqi communications. If they hear anybody referring to his status saying the boss is dead, that will obviously play into the intelligence. In the end, it might have to be forensics that solve the mystery. But for the meantime, they are continuing to look for him and for his sons on the assumption that they may still be at large.
WOODRUFF: David, are you able to say whether, as the war has gone on, the intelligence has gotten better, has it stayed the same, has it deteriorated? What about the quality of the intelligence they are getting? Are they characterizing it for you in any way?
ENSOR: Well, whenever you say you must be getting more human sources on the ground to senior intelligence officials, they will say to you, we already had quite a few before the war. And I think they feel they had fairly good intelligence already. Obviously, they're get more sources. And now there are CIA units as well as special operations troops all over Baghdad.
WOODRUFF: OK, David Ensor.
So, Wolf, the mystery is still very much with us.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I assume it's going to be there for a while. Thanks very much, Judy.
In the last few minutes, we've seen some flashes streaking across the skies of Baghdad. We don't know precisely what they are. We don't know anything about these flashes other than it's been a relatively quiet night. But only in the past few minutes we've seen these flashes go by. We're going to continue to monitor what's happening over the skies of Baghdad, as well as in the streets as best we can, and bring you updates, of course, as we get them.
In the meantime, U.S. official say coalition forces now are able to move at will in and around the Iraqi capital. They say the city is isolated after heavy fire from the air and on the ground. But the Pentagon says someone still is giving orders to Saddam Hussein's elite forces and death squads, though the orders are not necessarily being followed. From their positions around Baghdad, U.S. forces pushed deeper into the city again today, capturing a military airfield in the southeastern section of the capital.
In Baghdad, a candlelight vigil was held for three international journalists killed in the line of U.S. fire. The Pentagon says U.S. forces were defending themselves against enemy fire.
About 50 miles south of Baghdad, soldiers of the 101st Airborne waged an intense firefight against Iraqi militia forces inside an agricultural complex near the town of Hillah.
And British troops in the southern part of Iraq say they have near total control over the city of Basra. With the Iraqi rulers now looking out of power, looting has broken out in parts of that city with residents taking furniture and other items from stores and offices. Reporter David Bowden is embedded with British forces inside Basra. And he has more now on efforts to secure the city.
DAVID BOWDEN, SKY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I'm speaking to you from the top of the presidential palace in Basra, Hugely symbolic, of course. Taking this was taking Saddam's seat of power. And, of course, militarily the coalition forces here say they are pretty much in control and Basra is now locked down. The big problem, of course is not from soldiers, but from the locals who tend to vent their anger on the old regime by going out. They are looting. They are torching establishment buildings. And that has been a real problem for the local forces here, the coalition forces to try to get a handle on.
One of the marine's commanders here said to me the problem is we're equipped for war fighting. We're not equipped to police the area. So we are hoping that they just get on with it after 24, 36 hours, they calmed down. They vent their anger against the old regime. And it all quiets down and the looting stopped. But it has been a major problem, and I think an expected one. I was speaking to a tank commander who said they put aside three or four days to take Basra, expecting quite a fight. And they did it in as many hours. So, this place really did fall like a house of cards, but, of course, it's a house of cards that is now burning.
What they are trying to do is get the people, as I say, to police themselves, get it out of their system. And then just get on with their lives. They said that they can't go around with Challenger tanks SA-80 assault rifles and start shooting people just because they're stealing typewriters from office blocks. What they are going to try and do is get some material up here for more traditional policing, batons, batons rounds, bullets etcetera, so that they do have to start doing more formal patrols then they can do it like that.
BLITZER: David Bowden reporting. One more note on Basra. British forces say they are working with a nearby tribal leader to help form a leadership committee to govern the province in the days ahead.
Judy, I'm going to take a break. I'll be back at the top of the hour with a full hour of coverage on the late developments in the war in Iraq. Until then, back to you in Washington.
WOODRUFF: Thanks, Wolf, and we'll be watching. You have a much- deserved break coming up.
Well, U.S. military officials have now confirmed another five American deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The total number of coalition troops killed now stands at 127, 81 Americans were killed in combat, 15 by friendly fire or in accidents. Meanwhile, nine British troops were killed by hostile fire, 20 by non-hostile fire, and two other deaths are under investigation.
Abu Dhabi TV is quoting official Iraqi sources as saying more than 1200 civilians have been killed and more than 5100 wounded. Iraq, for its part, is not releasing figures on military casualties. But U.S. officials believe that thousands of Iraqi troops have been killed and more than 7,000 have been captured and taken prisoner of war.
An International Red Cross official in Baghdad is voicing his concern for civilians in the war zone. He says air strikes on the city's infrastructure could lead to a humanitarian disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROLAND HUGENIN-BENJAMIN, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: We have to express our concern about the fact that one war station was hit by bombing. And, most likely, a large segment of one of the poorest suburbs of Baghdad is going to go out without water now. These are civilian infrastructures and they should be spared at all costs, otherwise, we are really going to face a major problem in that city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The Red Cross official says he was at the Palestine Hotel just moments before the tank shelling, when two journalists were killed, several were injured.
When we return, we will look past the war in Iraq. An Iraqi dissident will join me with his views on what happens once the fighting stops, whenever it does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 3:58 a.m., explosions reported around the Palestine Hotel where many international journalists are staying. Central Command later confirms a U.S. tank shelled the hotel in response to sniper fire. The blast kills two cameramen, one from Spanish TV another from Reuters. Three Reuters journalists were injured.
5:33 a.m., CNN's Martin Savidge embedded with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines says the marines have found chemical protection suits and antidotes for chemical weapons in a field beside an industrial complex in southeast Baghdad. Nearby, they found abandoned weapons and artillery pieces nearby, which they demolished.
7:00 a.m., U.S. Central Command says the coalition may never know if Iraqi president Saddam Hussein survived a U.S. air strike yesterday. A B-1 bomber dropped four 2,000-pound bombs on a building in a residential area of Baghdad, after getting intelligence reports senior officials were meeting there, possibly including Saddam Hussein and his sons.
Brigadier General Vince Brooks also confirmed that a U.S. A-10 Warthog aircraft was shot down by an Iraqi missile today. The pilot ejected and was rescued.
9:12 a.m., CNN's Walter Rodgers traveling with the 3rd Squadron 7th Cavalry says a senior officer tells him pockets of resistance remain in Baghdad, but there is, quote, "no longer any organized military resistance in the city."
12:31 p.m., CNN's Ryan Chilcote reports a firefight near Hillah, 50 miles south of Baghdad. The 101st Airborne's 3rd Brigade battled with Fedayeen Saddaam fighters. Three U.S. soldiers were injured when an Iraqi paramilitary threw a grenade at them.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: That update on developments today. Well, U.S. Marines today found, we've learned, what appear to be U.S. military uniforms at a prison outside of Baghdad. But no sign of American captives. With me now for the latest on this from the Pentagon is CNN's Barbara Starr. Barbara, my sense was at the Pentagon briefing they didn't want to say very much about this so now they are saying more?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, officials are quietly confirming some very disturbing details. They say U.S. marines who moved through the Rashid military prison in southeastern Baghdad, did find a pile of what is described as uniforms in the style of desert camouflage worn by U.S. military personnel.
Now some of these uniforms, we don't know how many, had blood stains on them. And officials now quietly confirming two of the uniforms had name tags of Americans currently being held prisoner of war by the Iraqis, according to these officials. But they are not able to tell us the names of those people. They are looking at these uniforms very closely. They will try and conduct DNA analysis on all of them.
Now, the Al-Rashid prison was something of specific interest to the military, because the Iraqis, apparently, according to these officials, have a long history of holding military PoWs at that facility. So the U.S. wanted to take a very quick look at it and see if there was any information that would lead them to the whereabouts of the PoWs. This is what they found.
And you are right, Judy. At the Pentagon briefing earlier today, we asked about it. We were not told very much, others than a statement that the U.S. would certainly engage in intelligence analysis and planning, to see if it could learn anything about where the PoWs are.
And one final detail, a wrap-up from a POW of 12 years ago, U.S. officials are confirming also to CNN there is now a team of CIA and defense intelligence agency analysts who are preparing to go into Iraq to look for information about what might have happened to Navy Captain Scott Speicher. You will remember, of course, Captain Speicher was shot down on the first night of Operation Desert Storm 12 years ago. His fate has never been resolved. There is no reason, officials say, that they have any information that he may be alive.
Of course, they do believe at this point he is no longer alive. But they want to get these intelligence officials into Iraq get access, direct access to Iraqi documents, and intelligence officials inside Iraq, and see if this will give them the final opportunity to learn what may have happened to Scott Speicher 12 years ago -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Barbara. I want to also ask you about a combination of what's coming out of the Pentagon and what Nic Robertson is reporting from his sources in Baghdad. And that is, U.S. military appearing to take up and holding positions on the main roads, on the highways, but the Iraqi military or what's left of it, the Fedayeen, the special Republican Guard, disappearing, so to speak, into the residential areas, the smaller streets. My question is, at the Pentagon, are they saying that the next step is to take on what is left of the Iraqi military no matter how deep into these neighborhoods and -- of Baghdad that they have to go?
STARR: Well, Nic is quite correct. The Pentagon has exactly the same analysis that Saddam's Fedayeen, the paramilitary fighters, the Republican Guard the special Republican Guard, all of these people are disbursed throughout the residential neighborhoods of Baghdad in very small groups. Let me say, they have one particular concern about a place called Saddam City on the east side of Baghdad, a Shia enclave.
They are very concerned that eventually the Iraqi regime or what's left of it may coalesce in that neighborhood and use the Shia, which are very definitely anti-Saddam Hussein, as a human shield against the U.S. military. The strategy of the U.S. military at this point is to continue to move through the Baghdad neighborhoods. Indeed, to keep taking over larger and larger parts of the city, flush out, as they say, the opposition where they find it.
But there is every indication that, in fact, that's exactly what they plan to do. Keep taking control of Baghdad, neighborhood by neighborhood, even though they know these opposition groups are still throughout the city -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, raising the question, as always, Barbara, of civilian casualties. Barbara Starr reporting for us from the Pentagon with information about PoWs.
Well, when we come back, an author who left Baghdad, who left Iraq many years ago and now wants to speak about the great interest he has and what happens to his country next.
WOODRUFF: A leading adviser to the Iraqi opposition is with me now, Kanan Makiya. He's going to be talking with me about Iraq after the war and a number of other issues, including, perhaps, humanitarian aid. Mr. Makiya, you are a professor at Brandeis University. You are the author of "Republic of Fear." You've been an adviser to the Iraqi National Congress. Before I ask you about all of that, though, what are you thinking, what are you feeling as you are watching all this video coming out of your native country?
KANAN MAKIYA, AUTHOR: It's a mixture of emotions, Judy, ups and downs constantly every day. I think the war is now going much better than it was at the outset of the war. The participation of Iraqis in their own liberation is a very warm feeling. There are now thousands of people gathered there, members of the Iraqi National Congress. They are in Nasiriya at this very moment.
They took the city of Amara the day before yesterday, and Iraqis everywhere are necessary to this effort to help, so to speak, assuage the confidence, to build the confidence of the local population that, in fact, the United States means business this time.
WOODRUFF: That's what I want to ask you about, because, you know, very well, Ahmad Chalabi has been helped by the United States. He's now inside Iraq with hundreds of fighters and others supported by the Iraqi National Congress. Why should the Iraqi National Congress, which is only one of several opposition groups be given this sort of leg up, this advantage as the end of the war approaches?
MAKIYA: You know, Judy, that's, unfortunately, something people are seeing is just not true. This is a necessity driven by the war. This was a war that started off with no Iraqi faces. There were no Iraqis on the ground.
You had situations where people didn't speak Arabic were trying to communicate to Arabic speakers, trust us this time, after they had let them down in 1991, 1996 and 1998. You need Iraqis there. And it was imperative of the war effort itself that drove CENTCOM, which had no position on the Iraqi National Congress, to ask Iraqis to participate. And Dr. Chalabi and the INC responded.
WOODRUFF: But we keep reading there is disagreement among different Iraqi opposition groups. Is that accurate? How much disagreement is there? And why should the Iraqi National Congress be taking the lead in the post-war Iraq?
MAKIYA: Well, I don't think, if necessary, everyone is welcomed to be there, but it happens to be one of the more efficient groups, one of the more well-run groups. And the group with the best connections inside the country. When the city of Amara was taken the day before yesterday, it was taken by troops loyal to ...
WOODRUFF: Where is the city of Amara?
MAKIYA: City of Amara, in southern Iraq. It was taken Iraqi National Congress Units, thousands of people who support Ahmad Chalabi personally. Now, they came out of confidence that they were now Iraqis participating in their own liberation. They don't know what American intentions are. They need other fellow Iraqis who can have the right, know their family connections, have the right cultural queues and so forth, to give them the feeling that they are able to do this. And that is, in fact, what happened in Amara.
WOODRUFF: As you know, there is a debate at this point about how much of a role the United Nations should have in directing the reconstruction of Iraq. The U.S. and Britain saying, at this point, it appears it's going to be primarily a U.S.-Britain run effort, although we are hearing the U.N. will have some role. In your view, how important is it that the U.N. be involved? And how quickly should the Iraqis themselves be involved in this?
MAKIYA: The U.N. could be involved in things that it's good at, humanitarian relief, perhaps, that kind of thing. But, unfortunately, the United Nations let us Iraqis down, in the run-up to this war. And I don't think that the United States and the coalition forces, haven taken the burden of this upon themselves, should now relinquish it to an organization that was not committed to this process of change inside Iraq.
WOODRUFF: And how long before the U.S., whether it's General Jay Garner or someone else, turns over control.
MAKIYA: We are working on that right now. I'm working with officials in the American government on exactly that process. How the interim Iraqi authority, which is an all Iraqi body will take over. It will be weeks, but it will be gradual and in stages. And one thing that is absolutely crystal clear is American intentions in this effort, coalition intentions are to have Iraqis rule themselves, but it will be a staged process.
WOODRUFF: Kanan Makiya, who was born in Iraq and now is fighting to get his country back.
MAKIYA: Thanks very much, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thank you very much. We appreciate you coming in to talk to us today.
MAKIYA: Thank you for inviting me.
WOODRUFF: Thank you. Still ahead, President Bush on the fate of Saddam Hussein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: That grip I used to describe that Saddam had around the throats of the Iraqi people, are loosening. I can't tell you if all 10 fingers are off the throat, but finger by finger it's coming off. And the people are beginning to realize that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Mr. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair may see eye to eye about Saddam Hussein, but did they reach any new agreements about rebuilding Iraq? That story coming up after a break and these scenes of war.
WOODRUFF: President Bush is due back at the White House soon. He was in Northern Ireland for a quick meeting with his staunch ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Our senior White House correspondent, John King, also went along. Here's his report.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush said it is unclear whether Saddam Hussein was killed in a dramatic Baghdad bomb attack, but that there is no doubt his grip on power and the Iraqi people is slipping.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can't tell you if all 10 fingers are off the throat, but finger by finger is coming off. KING: Post-war Iraq was the urgent focus of the Belfast summit. And Prime Minister Blair says Royal Marines in Basra already are meeting Iraqis eager to help in a post-Saddam government.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And this new Iraq that will emerge is not to be run either by us or indeed by the U.N. That is a false choice. It will be run by the Iraqi people.
KING: A joint summit statement called on the United Nations to play a vital role in the reconstruction of Iraq, and for new Security Council resolutions endorsing a post-war interim Iraqi authority. But the coalition allies envision a largely supportive U.N. role with no formal authority or powers. That is unlikely to satisfy Security Council members who opposed the war to begin with and now worry about too much U.S. influence when the shooting stops.
BUSH: I hear a lot talk here about how we're going to impose this leader or that leader. Forget it. From day one we have said the Iraqi people are capable of running their own country.
KING: Iraq was not the only focus. Mr. Bush came to help the prime minister's effort to revive the stalled northern Ireland peace process, and he promises to devote similar energy to a new push for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But selling their vision of post-war Iraq is the immediate challenge, and it won't be easy.
(on camera): President Bush promises to prove his skeptics wrong by keeping the United Nations involved. And Prime Minister Blair is warning that the Iraqi people will suffer the most if the pre-war bitterness resurfaces now in the U.N.'s debate over post-war Iraq.
John King, CNN, Belfast.
WOODRUFF: And, as we listened to John King's report, we can tell you that President Bush has just -- his plane has just landed at Andrews Air Force Base, just close to the Washington area, the president having flown back to the United States from that meeting in Northern Ireland in Belfast with the British prime minister, Tony Blair.
You just heard John reporting about it. They primarily talked about the war in Iraq, the aftermath of Iraq. But they also discussed the Middle East and, as well, getting the Northern Ireland peace process started up again.
It has been said that Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq with an iron fist. I guess you can say in the past tense. His regime has left behind some disturbing evidence to support those claims. The abandoned secret police headquarters in Basra is just one example.
ITN's Bill Neely is with the Royal Marines and he takes us on a tour of Basra's chamber of horrors.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BILL NEELY, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): Saddam Hussein's Iraq is a state of terror, and this is where it's planned and perpetrated, the headquarters of his secret police, this one in Basra. No British soldier has been here yet. Today, as I walked in, I met Iraqis, none of whom had ever been inside willingly.
What was to follow was a horrific education in terror and torture: in the smoking basement of the bombed building, a warren of cells. Here, prisoners were tortured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course.
NEELY: People died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People died, people in prison without court, without trial.
NEELY: Any people who Saddam did not like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. Of course.
NEELY (voice-over): The building is crumbling. Down we went, further to cells that had no light, little air, cockroaches, filth, and, on the ground, a gas mask and bottles of chemicals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can imagine this every day, every month. So many people come here, but we don't know about them at all.
NEELY: These ordinary Iraqis had been terrified to come here, until today, though one student on the left had been here before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was one of the prisoners here.
(on camera): For how long?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight, nine, eight years.
NEELY (voice-over): And his crime for eight years in jail? He prayed too much and was seen as a dangerous radical.
(on camera): More cells.
(voice-over): But the Mukhabarat headquarters had more horrors to reveal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they tied their hands behind and hung them and hung them for many days.
NEELY: These men had relatives murdered here. So desperate are they to tell their story that they began reenacting what they and their brothers and friends have suffered.
The hook in the ceiling is for one purpose only, another hook in a different cell and a different form of torture. Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq through fear, torture and execution. And it happened here to tens of thousands of Iraqis that Saddam's secret police deemed dangerous.
This man cowered for months, crammed with 300 mothers into a huge cell. Hamid Fatil (ph) may look like he's acting, but he was tortured here, along with his two brothers, who were executed.
This man was here, too, with his brother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They sentenced him to death. And they sent him to Baghdad and killed. He was hanged there, hanged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a prisoner under the name of Ahmed Adis Aeid (ph).
NEELY: They kept records of prisoners, these and their fingerprints all that's left of them, apart from the photographs they took of exactly what they had done.
(on camera): If there is an evil center to Saddam Hussein's regime, then it is surely here and in other places of torture. And there's plenty here that we simply cannot show you. In this block, it was men over here, hundreds of them, and women and children here.
(voice-over): To call all this a chamber of horrors is a cliche. And this place is beyond cliche. The hundreds or thousands who died here who were given no trial, no voice, cry out.
On the ground, I found a book called "The Psychology of Interrogation," as if the men who worked here for Saddam needed a handbook. I was glad of the fresh air and glad to leave, glad I could. No one knows yet whether the new Iraq will be the kind of place where these children can grow up free of the fear, the horror of torture.
Bill Neely, ITV News, Basra.
Journalists killed in the line of duty in Baghdad -- how neutral are reporters in a war supposed to be? Our Jeff Greenfield examines that question when we come back.
WOODRUFF: Well, the journalists' death raise questions about the tactics of U.S. troops trying to take control of Baghdad. They also serve as a reminder that many of our colleagues covering this war are putting their lives on the line every day.
Some thoughts now on the dangers from our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (voice-over): When an Al- Jazeera reporter was killed today, the network charged it had been targeted by U.S. force. Central Command said, no, its forces were trading fire from a hotel where the network was housed. At a nearby hotel, two other journalists, a photographer from Reuters and another from Tele 5 Spain died, another case, CENTCOM says, of coalition forces returning fire.
A Kurdish journalist died in a U.S. friendly-fire accident in the north. And an American writer/editor, "Washington Post" editorial columnist Michael Kelly, was killed when his Humvee plunged into a canal while evading Iraqi fire.
(on camera): It is an elementary fact of life during wartime: A press pass provides no protection.
(voice-over): Famed World War II reporter Ernie Pyle was killed by a sniper on an island in the Pacific. Famed combat photographer Robert Capa, who took a classic photo of a fighter's death during the Spanish Civil War, himself died from a land mine in Indochina. Sean Flynn, son of the famous actor Errol Flynn, disappeared in Cambodia in 1970.
More than 65 journalists of many nationalities died in Southeast Asia. ABC News producer David Kaplan was killed by sniper fire in the Balkans in 1992. Sometimes reporters, like "The Wall Street Journal"'s Danny Pearl, die in covering a different kind of war. Pearl was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan.
The casualty count helps put the ongoing debate about journalistic neutrality into a sharper light. The 600 journalists embedded with American troops in Iraq will be threatened by the same fire as the troops they are covering. Their safety, their lives, may depend on those troops. Neutrality in a firefight? Not likely. And that raises a bigger question. Are they supposed to be neutral on the outcome of the war?
In an interview with broadcasting and cable magazine, CBS News President Andrew Heyward said of the neutrality notion -- quote -- "It's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. This story is going to be told from a U.S. point of view. We are American reporters, the ones with the troops."
(on camera): Now, none of this means journalists will ignore unsettling news: military setbacks, lack of supplies, the infliction of civilian casualties. Reporters who ignore or distort facts are betraying their craft no matter what and no matter how much that may anger the people running a war.
But whether in the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany or South Africa or Iraq, respect for the facts does not require a reporter to throw his values over the side.
Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.
WOODRUFF: And tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE," Al-Jazeera correspondent Omar Al Issawi will talk to Larry about the death of his colleague and the continuing plight of journalists in a war zone. That's tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific.
Just now, we want to show you scenes from Andrews Air Force Base just moments ago, President Bush returning to the United States from his summit in Northern Ireland in Belfast with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the president back on American soil after a quick two-day trip, less than two-day trip to Belfast, he and the prime minister discussing, of course, the war in Iraq, what happens after, as well as the peace process in the Middle East, and restarting the peace process in Northern Ireland.
The president then climbed aboard Marine One, the helicopter, heading back to the White House, where he will arrive pretty soon.
Still ahead: How is the world reacting to the war in Iraq? When we return, our Richard Quest takes a look.
Stay with us.
WOODRUFF: Newspapers around the world continue to devote a great deal of space to the war in Iraq.
In London, CNN's Richard Quest has been keeping track of how some of the major papers are reporting on this war.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Staff Sergeant Chad Tucet (ph) of the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion 7th Infantry Regiment is this morning a very famous man across Europe. Well, his picture appears in lots of European newspapers on the front page, lounging in one of Saddam Hussein's Iraqi palaces, from Britain's "Daily Telegraph" to "The Times." "The Sun" has it on the front page as well. Even "Yvel" (ph) of Germany has the staff sergeant enjoying a cigarette.
If you ever wondered what an Iraqi palace was like, there's no shortage of pictures in all the world's newspapers. For instance, "The South China Morning Post" from Hong Kong has a picture of a palace, albeit bombed by coalition forces. And that same picture appeared in "Liberation" from France.
Finally, a man who comes in for praise and criticism is none other than Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahhaf, the man who said that coalition forces weren't at the airport when they'd overtaken it and that coalition troops weren't in Baghdad when you could hear the sound of their tanks. Most newspapers agree, whatever he's been saying, he deserves an award for P.R. spin.
Richard Quest, for INSIDE POLITICS, London.
WOODRUFF: And coming up next: the secretary-general of the European Union on what should happen next in Iraq.
WOODRUFF: The secretary-general of the European Union met just a short time ago at the United Nations with its secretary-general, Kofi Annan. Javier Solana is with me now from the U.N. to talk about where Iraq goes from here.
Mr. Solana, first of all, U.S.-led forces seem to virtually have the run of Baghdad. But they say they are not leaving until the regime is completely gone. Now, with Iraqis holed up in neighborhoods, hiding around the city, are you at all concerned about how long that may take?
JAVIER SOLANA, EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN POLICY REP.: Well, I hope that the conflict will be as short as possible, so that it will end as soon as possible, so that the suffering of the people and the difficulties that the Iraqi people still continue to have will be as short as possible. That is the position that we have. And we are very much in the hope that that will be the case.
WOODRUFF: In your view, has the war been worth the price that's been paid?
SOLANA: Could you repeat it?
WOODRUFF: Do you believe the war is worth what has gone into fighting and winning it, the loss of life and so forth?
SOLANA: Well, it's very difficult to make a declaration of that of that nature.
I think that the war is a reality already. And what we have to do now is to turn the page and begin to think about a future of Iraq, of an Iraq which is free, which is democratic and that is able to incorporate themselves to the family of nations. That we would like to cooperate, to construct together with the United Nations.
WOODRUFF: Your understanding of what happens once the regime is gone is that a U.S.-led coalition will be running Iraq for a time. Is that a good solution for you in the immediate aftermath of the war?
SOLANA: Well, I think we have to look at the process in a very pragmatic manner. I think that it will be necessary for the coalition to guarantee the security of the country for a period of time. I don't think that anybody will doubt about that.
The question is when the United Nations, the international community will enter into the helping to reconstruct and reconciliate the country inside, economically, politically and the humanitarian point of view. But I think it will be necessary for a period of time for the coalition to run the question pertaining to security. I don't think anybody is questioning that. WOODRUFF: Mr. Solana, how concerned are you about the division in Europe between those who are supporting the U.S., mainly Spain and Great Britain, in particular, and, on the other hand, France and Germany?
SOLANA: Well, I'm concerned about that, naturally, because I would like to have as much consensus, not only the European Union, but as much consensus also in the Security Council and between the European Union and the United States. And to that, I'm trying to work. And I hope very much that, in the post-conflict, we'll have the possibility to recuperate this basis consensus better all the various agents and among all the various agents.
WOODRUFF: And are you optimistic that's going to happen?
SOLANA: I would like to be optimistic. I know very well that the task that we have in front of us is not going to be easy. It's not going to be simple. But I think, with goodwill and with a pragmatic approach, we'll be able to overcome the difficulties among all of us together.
WOODRUFF: Javier Solana is the secretary-general of the European Union.
We thank you very much for talking with us.
SOLANA: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. It's good to see you.
Well, that is it for this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington.
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