PAULA ZAHN NOW
Interview With Former President George H.W. Bush; Interview With Howard Dean; Interview With Hans Blix
Aired September 8, 2003 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States. In a rare, exclusive interview, the former president reflects on the fall of Saddam Hussein and the pressure and criticism that George W. Bush, his son, must face.
Was he right all along? In another exclusive, former U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix speaks candidly about the pressures he says he faced from the United States and looks back at the decision to go to war in Iraq.
And Andy Roddick comes of age by winning his first grand-slam title at this year's U.S. Open. We'll be talking with the new champ.
Hello again. Glad to have you with us tonight, day one of our new broadcast, one we hope will become part of your daily life. Also ahead tonight, as part of my exclusive interview with former President George Bush, the former Naval pilots on what he calls perhaps his highest honor.
Presidential hopeful Howard Dean, among the top-running Democrats, is here to answer some questions about the upcoming race. Plus, former weapons inspector Hans Blix tells us why he thinks the U.S. has so far failed to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And we'll have the first of a series of reports from Christiane Amanpour about the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
First, though, let's bring you up to date on some of the things you need to know. U.S. troops may be getting closer to getting some help in Iraq. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he is hoping to meet in Geneva on Saturday with the foreign ministers of the Security Council's five permanent members. Annan says he wants to move toward a consensus on a new resolution that would establish more international involvement in Iraq.
Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon is in critical condition tonight after undergoing surgery following a massive stroke. The 73-year-old governor was found unconscious in his hotel room this morning after he failed to answer phone calls or knocks at his door.
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is in College Park, Maryland. The former Vermont governor is on the campus of the University of Maryland for a speech tonight to kick off his campaign for Maryland's March primary. We'll be speaking with him as soon as he wraps up that speech. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush says he has every confidence that the United States is on the right track in Iraq. His son, the current president, George W. Bush, has just told the country he will ask Congress for $87 billion for reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan next year. The Bush administration is also asking the United Nations for some help.
Recently, I talked with the former president about the pressures he knows his son is facing, as well as his own reaction to developments in Iraq.
ZAHN: I know you don't want to talk policy, but I am just wondering if you could you tell us, when you see pictures of U.S. troops on duty in Iraq, what you think, what you feel.
GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, my heart goes out to them.
One of the things I miss -- maybe the most -- about being president is interacting with and being commander in chief of the armed forces. I found that, working with, then, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney and the general field commanders just extraordinarily rewarding. And so, when I see these kids in action, I just count my blessings.
Which service -- where do they find such men? I should say, where do they find such men and women these days? And they volunteer. It's an all-volunteer force. They are the best. They are there for the right reasons, feelings of patriotism, love of country. And so it -- it really resonates with me, Paula.
ZAHN: Is there anything you could say that you would be comfortable talking about in terms of watching your son, the current president, through this process?
GHW BUSH: Well, just pride, just pride in him.
And I'll tell you something. It hurts more when one of your own, be in office or not, is criticized than when I was criticized, much, much more. It's much more painful to me, and to Barbara, too. But the president says: "Don't worry, dad. Don't worry about it." And he's probably right.
I said, "I read this such and such an article."
And, "Don't read that stuff."
It's not that he's an escapist, but he don't want to see me concerned, I think.
ZAHN: So you really think it's possible for a parent to internalize this more than your son, who is under this incredible pressure right now?
GHW BUSH: Well, there's no question, enormous problems.
But I know now what I've known all along, that he's strong, and that he can bear the burden, and that he's doing this all for, I would say, the right reasons, serving for the right reasons. So, I have that underlying feeling of confidence in his strength and in his character, his ability to carry on through difficult times. If I didn't know him personally like this, I would say, how can anybody take the pressure that's on in these various theaters around the world, the various problems we face?
But he's got good people and he's strong. And he'll do OK.
ZAHN: How seriously do you take what you read about him? You say, sometimes, you feel the jabs.
GHW BUSH: Yes, I talk back to the TV set.
ZAHN: Do you throw stuff?
GHW BUSH: No, I don't throw anything. But I have total control of the clicker in our family. And Barbara gets furious at me, but I just turn the damn thing off if I don't like it, or -- then I'll go back, sneak back and see what this so-and-so is saying.
It doesn't do any good, incidentally.
ZAHN: It doesn't?
GHW BUSH: No, it doesn't. You don't feel much better for it. It's a little juvenile. But what the heck. I'm only 79.
ZAHN: It gives you that momentary feeling of relief.
GHW BUSH: It does. It's great.
ZAHN: Are you able, at a point in your life now, where you can read a piece that's negative and just say, "I'm not going to finish that"?
GHW BUSH: Well, yes, I can do that.
I find myself philosophizing about some aspects of press, the press. And I read stuff that really burns me up. But if it's an editorial opinion, fine. That's the opinion of the writer. And I might not like it. Indeed, I might hate it. But that goes with freedom of expression.
ZAHN: I know, in one of our last conversations, you talked about how you feel -- or, at least during the campaign, you felt everything you thought your son was feeling at the time. Is it that way now, during his presidency? GHW BUSH: Well, except he -- you know, he -- I saw a friend of his the other day, a friend of mine, came to stay with us here. And he said, "Your son told me to tell you not to worry so much."
So, I do. I am concerned. I do worry. But I think the point is, it doesn't do much good. And he doesn't. He just keeps his head down, makes a decision, leads. And the polls say this or that. Heck with it. He just goes and does what he believes in his heart is right. And he -- so, I worry more, but it doesn't do any good. No, it doesn't do any good.
ZAHN: You told us quite pointedly in one of our last conversations what you thought of Saddam.
GHW BUSH: I don't think there's any point in talking dirty here on this program here.
ZAHN: What do you think now that he's out of power?
GHW BUSH: Well, I think I'm very glad he is. And I think it's much better for the Iraqi people.
My view is, look back in three years, you're going to have some form of democracy there, Iraq for the Iraqis. And we're going to say, what's all the fuss about? But, in the meantime, you mourn the loss of life, the loss of the lives of Americans who are trying to help establish a democratic Iraq for the Iraqis.
So there's ups and downs. But, in the long run, I have every confidence that the course we're on is going to prove to be the right course.
ZAHN: And we'll have more of my exclusive interview with former President Bush in our next half-hour.
Now a leading critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy. Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has called President Bush's address to the nation last night -- quote -- "nothing short of outrageous."
Howard Dean joins us tonight from College Park, Maryland.
Thank you for joining us.
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me on, Paula.
ZAHN: Our pleasure.
Governor Dean, I wanted to start off with something that you discussed this morning on the morning television shows, where you essentially said, as president, you would like to bring home at least half of the American troops in Iraq right now. That would be some 70,000, to be replaced by some 70,000 foreign soldiers. Is that realistic?
DEAN: Well, actually, they would actually have to be replaced by more than 70,000 soldiers.
General Shinseki advised that we needed 200,000 troops when we went into Iraq. The administration refused to do that. I always think it's a bad idea for civilians to not take advice from military people. And I don't think our troops are being well-served because of that decision.
We need to internationalize the occupation of Iraq and make it a reconstruction by the United Nations and NATO forces, not simply by our soldiers, who are over there serving as sitting ducks. The president told everybody that al Qaeda was in Iraq and they were in cahoots. That was not true. But it turns out that there probably are al Qaeda there now, and our troops are their targets. And we need to replace our troops with foreign troops to reconstruct Iraq, which is going to take some considerable amount of years.
ZAHN: So you're saying you're comfortable telling families and loved ones of some of those 70-odd-thousand or so that you say you would be confident to bring as president, that that is what would happen under your presidency?
DEAN: If I become president, I will restore our relationships with our allies that this president has so badly damaged.
And I will go to Europe before I'm inaugurated, begin the process of restoration, so that we can get the help we need, not only from our European allies, but from other allies such as Egypt and Morocco. We ought to have a significant contingent of Arabic-speaking troops in Iraq helping us to keep order. We need to train Iraqis. The president has said that he's going to do these things. But even the secretary of state says the best we can do is 20,000 troops. That's not good enough. That's not good enough to stop the back-to-back six- month tours, not good enough to bring home the Guard and reserve troops that deserve to be home.
ZAHN: Help us understand your numbers tonight. Our sources at the United Nations say, at best, you could pull some 2,000 troops out of Europe, our sources at the State Department say, at best, some 15,000 to 20,000 troops out of Asia. How would you make up the rest?
DEAN: We are going to have to get a bigger commitment.
I think this president won't be able to do it, because he's so poisoned our relationships with allies with his occasional fits of pique. We need a new president in order to get out of the situation that we're in, in Iraq. We are in a quagmire in Iraq. Our soldiers, whose pay the president tried to cut a couple of weeks ago, are sitting targets. We need to do better than this, but we need an international relationship with other countries based on cooperation and not confrontation. ZAHN: There are people out there tonight who believe that you are being irresponsible in using the set of numbers you are talking about. Help us understand how you arrive at the math here this evening, that you believe, as president, somehow that you would be able to bring 70,000-plus foreign troops into this equation. What are you basing that on?
DEAN: I -- if you -- let's look at what the first President Bush did, who was your previous guest.
He brought in large numbers of thousands of troops. I believe we had nearly six figures worth of troops from Arabic countries in the first Gulf War. President Bush's father succeeded very well. And I was a supporter of the first Gulf War. I was a supporter of this President Bush in the Afghan war, although I deplore the way he's handling the occupation. Imagine relying on warlords to police four- fifths of the country.
So it is possible to do. It has been done before. It was done by the former President Bush. And it can be done again. But the former President Bush, I thought, did an excellent job building an international coalition. This president has not been able to do that because he's offended so many people in the United Nations and our allies around the globe.
ZAHN: Are you essentially making a campaign pledge tonight that, if elected, you will bring 70,000-plus American troops home?
DEAN: I can only do that if I can restore our relations with Europe and with other countries around the world from whom we can get those troops.
I believe I can do that, because my style is to work with people, not to humiliate them publicly and not to dismiss them publicly, as this president has done.
ZAHN: Finally, Governor, you were quoted in a recent AP story, saying -- quote -- "I can get snippy, no doubt about it."
Is that an ongoing challenge for you with the strains of the campaign trail?
DEAN: Only when pressed very hard by difficult reporters.
ZAHN: You didn't lose it tonight yet.
DEAN: Not yet.
ZAHN: Governor Howard Dean, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
DEAN: Thanks very much, Paula. Thank you.
ZAHN: Appreciate your time. Still ahead: Former President George H.W. Bush calls it the thrill of a lifetime, as the next aircraft carrier in the U.S. fleet is named in his honor -- more from our exclusive interview when we come back.
ZAHN: So what else should we have noticed from President Bush's speech to the nation last night, besides that $87 billion figure he mentioned about rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan?
"TIME" magazine's Joe Klein joins me from Jacksonville, Florida, to put the president's speech into plain English.
Always good to see you, Joe. Welcome.
JOE KLEIN, "TIME": Good to be here. And congratulations on the new program, Paula.
ZAHN: Nice to have you with us on night one.
Let's talk a little bit about the president's complicated speech. Do you think he accomplished what he set out to do?
KLEIN: Well, I think that this was a speech more about body language than about words.
You have to contrast it to the last big speech he gave about Iraq, which was on the aircraft carrier last spring and was entirely triumphant, announcing the end of major combat operations. This was a lot more somber and subdued. It was the announcement that, we have a serious problem here. He was saying, hey, folks, we got a big problem here.
The others things that he said were that, hey, rest of the world, we need a lot of help with this. And, finally, he said to the American people, this is going to cost a lot of American money.
ZAHN: There's also a lot of analysis today of what exactly the president said about the ongoing war on terrorism.
Let's listen to that small part of the speech now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there. And there, they must be defeated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Well, I guess you know the Iraqis are saying al Qaeda wasn't there before. They came because of this power vacuum in Iraq right now. Was that straight talk on the part of the president?
KLEIN: Well, that's true. The weakest part of the president's case going into this war was that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein, a secular dictator, and the religious fanatics of al Qaeda. Now what we're seeing is that there is at least a common purpose among the international radicals who are crossing the border, going into Iraq, and the remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime, the Baathists, who are also part of the terrorism activity against us.
We have got a real mess on our hands there. And it's in part because the administration did a great job planning for the war, but a pretty lousy job planning for the period after the war.
ZAHN: Well, let's talk about what the Democratic front-runner, Howard Dean, is saying about what to do in the aftermath of this war. He's suggesting that you should actually cut American troop strength in half and make up the difference with international troops. Is that realistic?
KLEIN: Well, that isn't realistic.
And Howard Dean, if he wants to be a serious player in American politics, is going to have to do some research on this. We're hoping to get maybe 20,000 troops from Asia, from India, Bangladesh, from Pakistan. If Dr. Dean knows where that other 50,000 is going to come from, he has a responsibility to tell us exactly where it's going to come from.
The problem here, Paula -- and this is a very serious problem -- is that it is going to be hard to move more American troops in, because we're stretched thin. And it is going to be hard to get troops from other countries in, because they just don't exist. And the real answer is to "Iraqify" this as quickly as possible.
ZAHN: You may not know this, Joe, but you were very much on candidate Dean's mind this morning on "The Today Show" when he was asked to respond to one of your pieces in "TIME" magazine where you wrote: "As his campaign gains altitude, he seems to change a position a week. In the debate, he changed two, first on American troops in Iraq, then on American labor standards on trade."
When asked to respond to that, he said, you're a good journalist, but you are wrong on both counts.
Did you get it wrong?
KLEIN: Well, no, I didn't. And it's sad that he would have to go that direction.
The two things that he changed were, first of all, on troops. He said on "Meet the Press" last June that there was a need for more American troops and more American money. Now, as you've seen, he's saying that there is a need -- that we can do with less -- fewer American troops.
On trade -- and this is a very important issue because it affects the economy and it affects the price of things. In the past, he said that countries we trade with should meet American standards on the environment and labor. Now, in the debate last week, he said they should meet international standards, which is kind of a fuzzy, indecisive way of putting it.
I think that Governor Dean is now playing in the big leagues in politics. And he's just learning that, when you deal with issues like war and the economy, you have to be very precise in your words. You have to speak in plain English. And he's trying to fudge a little bit at this point positions that he took earlier.
ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your focusing in on plain English from both sides of the aisle tonight, as you analyze the president's speech and Howard Dean's campaign.
Joe Klein, thank you for dropping by.
KLEIN: My pleasure.
ZAHN: In just a minute: a troubling question from Afghanistan: Are the Taliban making a comeback? We're going to ask chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
And then, a little bit later on, if you saw him over the weekend, you would never guess the rankings say he isn't quite on top of the tennis world. I'll be talking with U.S. Open champ Andy Roddick.
ZAHN: It was the first battlefield in the Bush administration's war on terror, but now, two years after 9/11 and the overthrow of the Taliban, the news from Afghanistan is not good.
As chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports in the first of a three-part series, terrorists may be mounting a comeback.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A U.S. patrol back from two days hunting in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was units up in the hills placing, looking for terrorists.
AMANPOUR: But they have returned empty-handed after a brutal mission.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were walking uphill. We got upwards of 50, 60 pounds on our backs. It's hard to breathe. We're not used to the area.
AMANPOUR: And so it goes in America's war on terror. Two years after September 11, Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar are still at large. Some 9,000 U.S. soldiers are still trying to pursue them and the remnants of their network. ERIC LOPEZ, U.S. ARMY: It's tough. It's a real cat-and-mouse game, figuring out where they're going to be, what they're going to do, and trying to counter that.
AMANPOUR (on camera): The American forces call this the most evil place in Afghanistan. This is where they have taken the most casualties. They say the major threat comes from just seven kilometers beyond this wall, the Pakistan border. And, at the same time, the fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar has started issuing threats against the American forces.
MAJ. PAUL WILLE, U.S. ARMY: Well, Mullah Omar can go ahead and urge all he wants to, but it is not going to do any good.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): But this summer has seen an alarming upsurge of terrorist activity. The Taliban are regrouping in the hundreds. And almost daily, they fight pitched battles with Afghan government forces. The death toll is rising rapidly.
The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan told us that Mullah Omar cannot win back much territory, but can cause severe trouble for American troops.
LT. GEN. JOHN VINES, U.S. ARMY: Does he have the capability of encouraging other people to do it? Of course he does. He moves furtively. He has what's known as good tradecraft.
AMANPOUR (on camera): What does that mean?
VINES: It means that he knows how to avoid exposure and being caught. He's very good.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): While Washington tries to play down the Taliban resurgence, insisting they are no more than a handful, General Vines estimates there are hundreds of them, some affiliated with al Qaeda.
So why is this happening two years into the war on terror? Rand Beers left his terrorism beat with the Bush administration because he believes it took its eye off the ball when it started to focus on Iraq.
RAND BEERS, FORMER SPECIAL ASST. TO THE PRESIDENT: We've given the Taliban and al Qaeda an opportunity to retrench and to start to come back. That should be a real warning call for everybody that there's a lot more still to be done in Afghanistan.
AMANPOUR: Indeed, senior U.S. military officials in Afghanistan told CNN, the Bush administration has tried to fight the war on terror here on the cheap, not putting in enough soldiers and not spending enough money or effort to reconstruct the country.
The Bush administration rejects those charges. Nonetheless, it's belatedly acknowledging the need to prop up the new Afghan government by urgently diverting $1 billion to Afghanistan. DAVID SEDNEY, U.S. CHARGE D'AFFAIRES: We remember what happened on September 11. That's why we came to Afghanistan, to get rid of the Taliban and al Qaeda, the terrorist state that was there. And that's the fundamental reason why we're here. In terms of the additional resources, that is going to make us able to accomplish those goals better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning, what we have covered so far is the preparation for battle.
AMANPOUR: Much of the funding will go towards getting the Afghan national army up and functioning. As yet, only 5,000 are trained. They hope to have 9,000 to 10,000 by next year.
A senior U.S. diplomat told CNN that President Bush sees additional funding now as good business, enabling the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan quicker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let these guys get security.
AMANPOUR: But out where they're waging their struggle against the terrorists, a U.S. commander tells CNN, talk among soldiers is that they'll be here at least another 10 years.
The time we spent with these U.S. forces just happened to be the bloodiest week in Afghanistan since the Taliban fell 23 months ago.
Christiane Amanpour, Orgun, eastern Afghanistan.
ZAHN: And still to come, my exclusive interview with U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix.
We'll be right back.
ZAHN: U.S. investigators have yet to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That comes as no surprise to Hans Blix, the former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations. I asked him in an exclusive interview over the weekend whether he feels vindicated by the U.S. failure so far to find a smoking gun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANS BLIX, FORMER U.N. CHIEF WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Well, the matter is a bit too serious to certainly have any glee. I would like to look forward more than backward. But of course, I cannot fail to notice that some of the things that they expected us to see that they have turned out not to be real weapons of mass destruction.
ZAHN: So what are the specific arguments you can point to that either the United States or Britain made which you thought either were false or where spin was involved? BLIX: I've not ever suggested that they were sort of willfully and consciously lying, but I think that they wanted to jump to conclusions. I said in the Security Council that if something is unaccounted for, it doesn't necessarily mean that they exist. And I think there was that tendency to jump to that conclusion.
ZAHN: Your colleague, Mohamed ElBaradei, who headed up the International Atomic Energy Agency, suggested in an interview that you felt very intimidated by the United States, that -- almost that there was kind of an expectation that you would help build some sort of effort to go to war. Is that true?
BLIX: No, not quite. I think he has exaggerated or misunderstood it somewhat. There was certainly in the media a lot of spin directed to me, but I must say that my relations both with Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and the ambassador and deputy ambassador in New York were perfectly civil all the way through. Of course, they would have hoped and they would been happy to see if we had said, Here Iraq has violated, here they have -- here is the smoking gun. We have found it. And when we didn't do that, well, then they were disappointed. And then they overinterpreted their own intelligence. Well, then, perhaps they said, Well, is this organization up there, are they withholding something? We certainly did not.
ZAHN: So you never felt that any member of the United States administration or delegation put pressure on you to build a case for war?
BLIX: Well, that's perhaps going a little too far in the other direction. I've talked about the ones at the level which I had policy discussions, with the secretary of state and Condoleezza Rice and the embassy in New York. But there were other conversations that sometimes were very heated, yes.
ZAHN: Does the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found so far suggest to you that none will be found?
BLIX: Yes. I would have been more cautious a few months ago, but I think that -- we were there for three-and-a-half months, after all, and we did not find any smoking gun. And now that the U.S. and the U.K. have been there for quite some time, and they have the opportunity to interrogate people, they've had the whole cream of the Iraqi establishment in custody and people aren't -- should not be scared any longer to answer in the interviews. With this long period, I'm inclined to think that the Iraqi statement that they destroyed all the biological and chemical weapons which they had in the summer of '90, '91 may well be the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And we hope you'll be joining us again tomorrow night, when we'll have Part 2 of my interview with Hans Blix. We'll hear his views of what he thinks now that Saddam Hussein is gone.
With just three days to go before the second anniversary of 9/11, are Americans any safer? I'm joined by two guests. From Washington, Roger Cressey. He is the former director of counterterrorism for both his -- this administration, the Clinton White House. And Gerald Posner joins us, as well. His latest book, "Why America Slept," details the missteps he says the U.S. made in the years leading up to 9/11.
Welcome gentlemen. Glad to have both of you with us.
ROGER CRESSEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNTERTERROR DIRECTOR: Glad to be with you.
GERALD POSNER, AUTHOR, "WHY AMERICA SLEPT": Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: Mr. Posner, I'm going to start with you this evening. You have written extensively about America and its security. Aren't you comfortable in saying tonight that we are, indeed, safer, as Americans, than we were on September 10, 2001?
POSNER: In some areas, Paula, we're safer. We've made great strides in the last two years in protecting ourselves and increasing security and getting better information and disrupting the terror network. In other areas, we've made very little progress. But are we safer? The reason I say no is because we're still dealing with a foe who ends up hating us more than they love live. And when you're dealing with people who are desperate, even though they may be on the run and splintered, they are capable of pulling off -- and they want to desperately -- an operation not just in Iraq, but in the motherland, in the U.S., as well, to restore their credibility, get their recruiting and fund-raising going. So we're still at great risk here.
ZAHN: Mr. Cressey, do you agree with that assessment?
CRESSEY: Well, Paula, it is a bit of a mixed bag so far. On the positive side of the ledger, we've done much better at aviation security, dealing with cockpit security and bringing additional screeners into the equation. But there's still some serious gaps. A lot more needs to be done on port security, on critical infrastructure protection, both our physical and cyber-security, as well as in the first responder community, finding the resources and developing a plan to help our first responders. So domestically, that's where we stand. Internationally, we've had some significant successes in disrupting terrorist cells, but frankly, we took our eyes off the prize with regard to Afghanistan, and now, as you know, we're allowing the Taliban and al Qaeda to reconstitute. And that's a significant failure right now.
ZAHN: You say we're allowing that to happen. Mr. Posner, you don't certainly believe the United States is encouraging that to happen.
POSNER: Yes, I don't believe so. I think we're stretched a little thin, and I don't necessarily think that Iraq's a great mistake, although I don't think there's any link, and I didn't find any link, between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Yes, he would have patted bin Laden on the back for the 9/11 attacks and he loved the fact that they were attacking America, but there wasn't a direct link. I always thought that was weak by the Bush administration.
But there is some truth to what the Bush administration says, which is if we could ever be successful in this great, risky experiment of establishing an incipient, chaotic democracy in Iraq -- the regimes that sponsor terror are all neighbors to Iraq. And it is Syria. It is Iran. It's the theocracy there. It's the dictatorships. It's Saudi Arabia. As you know, as I disclose in my book, there are long links to al Qaeda. It's Pakistan. And these countries are threatened more by the idea of democracy flourishing in the Middle East than almost anything else. That would really be a blow to terrorism if it could come through.
ZAHN: Mr. Cressey, back to you. I want you to analyze the latest CNN/"Time" magazine poll, which shows that 72 percent of Americans think it is likely that an act of terrorism would occur somewhere in the United States in the next 12 months. In your judgment, is this a concern that should affect all Americans, not those just living in Washington, D.C., and New York City?
CRESSEY: Well, Paula, it's always tough to put percentages on this. But set aside the next 12 months. I think in a period of three to five years, there's a very high likelihood that al Qaeda or one of its affiliates will be successful because we do live in an open and free society and it is next to impossible to guarantee 100 percent success in stopping every terrorist plot, every terrorist attempt to try and conduct an attack inside this country.
ZAHN: Mr. Posner, back to you. I just want you to also analyze this. That same poll found that only 43 percent of Americans actually worry about a terrorist attack than they do about an economic downturn.
POSNER: Well, I think that makes sense. I mean, you talk to individuals in Israel -- and I have before -- they don't worry about a terrorist attack each and every day. But if you ask them if they expect another terror attack in the near future, maybe 95 or 99 percent would say yes. So I think it's wise for Americans to believe an attack may be coming, but not necessarily to make it such that their daily activities are changed.
I think Roger hit a major thing when he said three to five years. Remember, our foes on this, Islamic fundamentalists, have patience. After the first World Trade Center attack, it took them five years before they had the double African -- East African bombings. Took them another two years for the Cole. They wait. And they don't necessarily -- they aren't on a time limit that says they have to do it by the 2004 election. So they may well wait until our guard is down a little bit more, and then strike.
ZAHN: Gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there this evening. Mr. Posner, Roger Cressey, thank you both for dropping by this evening.
When we come back, there is a claim there's some new evidence in a case that put a Kennedy cousin behind bars for killing a 15-year-old girl more than 25 years ago, and we'll be talking with tennis superstar Andy Roddick, the day after he won his first Grand Slam tournament.
ZAHN: There is a surprising new twist in the case of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, now serving a 20-year sentence for killing 15- year-old Martha Moxley back in 1975. CNN has learned that Skakel's attorney plans to petition for a new trial based on what she says is new evidence. Over the weekend, "The Hartford Courant" reported that one of Skakel's former classmates claims two of his friends killed Moxley.
To look at this new development, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Does this bring to mind...
ZAHN: What is the deal...
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We are in...
ZAHN: ... with this new information?
TOOBIN: We are in the unified theory of scandals here because, remember, the whole reason the Moxley case -- one of the main reasons the case came back to life after 20-plus years was that Mark Fuhrman, the detective from the O.J. Simpson case...
TOOBIN: ... wrote a book saying that Michael Skakel did it. Now we have Kobe Bryant's cousin, who was a classmate of Michael Skakel's. Kobe Bryant's cousin says two African-American friends of his confessed to him that, in fact, they were the real murderers, they killed Martha Moxley 28 years ago.
ZAHN: All right, go through some more of the details of the story because it's fascinating. His claim is that these two young (sic) met her at some social activity around some church event?
TOOBIN: That's right. He claims that these friends of his met Martha Moxley a few days before the murder somewhere in Greenwich, and they decided, for reasons unexplained, that they wanted to "go caveman" on her, right, kill her and then -- and he said, I want no part of this. He left the night of the murder. He says he left them in Greenwich the night of the murder. They then committed the crime, and a couple of days later, told him that they had done it.
ZAHN: Do you buy this?
TOOBIN: I think it is a long, long shot that there's any basis for reality in any of this.
ZAHN: Now, why would he wait this long to come forward? What would be the incentive?
TOOBIN: Because he didn't want to get involved, he didn't want to have any...
ZAHN: Get involved? He's injecting himself right in the middle of it!
TOOBIN: I mean, don't...
TOOBIN: It doesn't seem very rational to me.
ZAHN: Mr. Prosecutor!
TOOBIN: No, I mean, I'm telling you, that's why I think it's pretty crazy. Also, this -- the events of this night have been investigated exhaustively. We're talking about -- according to Kobe's cousin, you've got three African-American men there. This is an extremely white community.
TOOBIN: No one has ever claimed seeing these three black guys there. Very hard to prove that this -- that this is legitimate stuff.
ZAHN: So you believe this is a long shot? You don't see a new trial around the corner?
TOOBIN: I think -- this -- they would have to prove that this information was not available to the defense team and it would make a difference. They are a long way from proving that they get a new trial. But look, maybe it's out there. Let's -- let's listen to the evidence.
ZAHN: ... story, it's hard to get your head out of it because it's absolutely fascinating.
TOOBIN: You know, 28 years and counting.
ZAHN: So what do you think of our new home?
TOOBIN: Pretty cushy. I like it.
ZAHN: You like it?
TOOBIN: I like it...
ZAHN: ... hang around with us.
TOOBIN: Oh, OK.
ZAHN: ... see you back again (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Jeffrey Toobin. TOOBIN: I hope so.
ZAHN: Good to see you.
TOOBIN: Good to be here.
ZAHN: America has a new king of the courts. Coming up, I'll be talking with the newest U.S. Open champ, Andy Roddick. And then a little bit later on, part two of my exclusive interview with the former President Bush. Stay with us.
ZAHN: Welcome back. The future of U.S. men's tennis is now. Twenty-one-year-old Andy Roddick broke through yesterday to win his first ever Grand Slam title. Roddick beat Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 to win the U.S. Open. And the champ joins me now.
Andy Roddick, congratulations!
ANDY RODDICK, U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: Yes. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
ZAHN: There was a point yesterday at the end of the match where you kept on saying, I can't believe it. I can't believe it. I can't believe it. You were really that stunned?
RODDICK: Yes. You know, growing up, I never thought anything like this would be possible. I was just hoping that tennis would be a springboard to get a -- you know, a college scholarship or, you know, to something like that. I never dreamed it would come to this.
ZAHN: Has it sunk in yet?
RODDICK: It's starting to today. You know, I've actually had to talk about it a bunch today. And you know, I woke up this morning and read about it, so I figured it had to be true. And you know, so it's definitely starting to sink in.
ZAHN: There is your moment of triumph. You look like you just weren't going to let go of that trophy ever!
RODDICK: I didn't want to. You know, you don't know how many times something like this is going to happen in a life, so I definitely wanted to cherish the moment.
ZAHN: And it's true that you don't have any of these trophies prominently displayed at home. Your mom has them all?
RODDICK: Yes. I live about five miles away from my parents in Florida, and I don't have a trophy of mine in my house. I give them to my mom. She enjoys them.
ZAHN: A lot of people watching you during this tournament said Andy Roddick has grown up.
ZAHN: You feel that way?
RODDICK: I think so. You know, it's -- it's tough. The more you're exposed to something, whether it be, you know, a tough match or the spotlight or whatever, I think the more you're exposed to it, the easier it is to start dealing with. And so I definitely think I've grown up a lot over the last year or so.
ZAHN: How much do you credit your new coach, Brad Gilbert, who really is brand-new to your life -- he's only been with you four months -- for this turn-around in terms of the way you approach the game psychologically?
RODDICK: It's amazing. I mean, I think, since we got together, I've won six out of eight tournaments and won 19 straight matches now. And I mean, he just brings a really simple -- simple approach to the game. You know, he comes in, he says, OK, this is what you can do best with your game to beat this person on the day. Go out and try to do it. You know, there's not a lot of hoopla, there's not a lot of rah-rah going on. It's just, Here's what you need to do. Go try to do it, and try your best.
ZAHN: But he has gotten inside your head.
RODDICK: Yes. Definitely. And I think we were lucky because our first tournament together, I won, and so that gave me confidence in the relationship. And luckily, he talks a lot, and I talk a lot also, so there wasn't beating around the bush when we first got together. We got to know each other pretty quickly.
ZAHN: Well, congratulations. I actually got to watch you Saturday...
RODDICK: Oh, thanks a lot.
ZAHN: ... during that match that no one ever thought you were going to win.
ZAHN: You were almost as surprised by that as you were by your final one yesterday.
RODDICK: Well, obviously, I was down match point in that match, so I was extremely close to packing my bags and heading home. But you know, I got through it and, you know, I feel blessed.
ZAHN: And look what you're heading home with now.
ZAHN: Again, congratulations.
RODDICK: Thanks a lot.
ZAHN: Thanks for stopping by on...
RODDICK: Yes. No problem.
ZAHN: ... night one of our new show.
RODDICK: I know. Good luck to that. I hope it works out.
ZAHN: Thank you, and good luck to you. We'll be following you for many years to come.
RODDICK: Thanks a lot.
ZAHN: We won't ask you how many more years we'll be following you. I know you're getting sick of that question. How does it feel to be the future of American tennis? I didn't ask you that.
RODDICK: Thank God.
ZAHN: Again, good luck.
This past weekend, former President Bush watched with emotion as a new aircraft carrier was named in his honor. Coming up, more of my exclusive interview with the former president. Stay with us.
ZAHN: And more now from my exclusive conversation with former President George Bush. First a little history. In 1943, at the age of 18, George Herbert Walker Bush became the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy. In 1944, his plane was shot down over the Pacific. He parachuted into the ocean and was rescued. Well, before this decade is out, the Navy will have a new aircraft carrier named in honor of the former president.
That said, we pick up our conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
You have streets named after you. You have wings of buildings named after you. You even have a barbecue sandwich at Otto's (ph) in Houston named after you. What does it mean to you?
BUSH: The barbecue sandwich?
ZAHN: No, not that one.
ZAHN: What does it mean to you that the USS George H.W. Bush will eventually be commissioned in your honor?
BUSH: Well, it means a lot. The very fact that the Navy has named that ship for me five years in advance of its christening, six years in advance of its commissioning, means everything. It's perhaps the highest honor. I was thrilled when they named the intelligence center for me because I loved my short period at CIA, but this is -- this means a lot because I loved working with the military when I was president. And of course, I was a Navy pilot flying off a much smaller carrier. And it's just an emotional and wonderful part of my life, the Navy.
And for this honor -- it's hard to describe, Paula. It's -- it's -- I think if I hadn't been in the Navy myself and I hadn't flown off of a rolling deck, a pitching deck, and I hadn't done what I was supposed to do, I don't think I'd feel quite as emotional as I do about the fact that they've named this carrier for me.
ZAHN: What else does it symbolize to you?
BUSH: Well, I mean, in terms of U.S. power, it means a lot. I mean, our carrier force is fantastic. And the men and women that serve on the carriers are fantastic. The pilots are unbelievable. So we have this degree of excellence, in terms of warfare, epitomized by an aircraft carrier. So it's a combination of the personal honor, having CVN-77 (ph) bear my name, but it's also -- as a former commander-in-chief, I have such respect for the Navy and for the use of our air power, Naval air power, that I -- it's hard to describe how much it means.
I think it ties in, but I don't want to sound, you know -- I've never liked really talking too much about my own service. It was just like everybody else in the country that was doing what he felt was right. But on a personal basis, the fact that I was flying in combat off a carrier makes the excitement of the naming of this new ship for me even greater than it would have been.
ZAHN: So you feel it very deeply.
BUSH: Very, very deeply. A great honor. And I always thought they did that kind of thing for dead guys, but here I am, and I want to be around -- hell, I'd even eat broccoli if I could make it for another five years.
BUSH: You know?
ZAHN: And we may join you to record that moment, Mr. President.
ZAHN: Thank you very, very much...
BUSH: Good to see you again, Paula.
ZAHN: ... for joining us (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And we want to thank you all for being with us tonight, our first evening of many. Thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement in advance of the show. Tomorrow night, we will be back. We'll have national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. Again, thanks for joining us tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Good night.
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