Meet the Press – NBC ~ 13 April 2003
|Presenters: Meet the Press – NBC ~ 13 April 2003||April 13, 2003|
RUSSERT: Mr. Secretary, welcome.
RUMSFELD: Thank you.
RUSSERT: Tell me about the great news with the American POWs.
RUMSFELD: About, oh, six or eight or nine kilometers south of Tikrit, the American Marines were approached and told that there were some Americans in a certain location. And they went and found seven American servicemen.
And they're in good health. As I recall, two have gunshot wounds, but basically they're in good shape. We're delighted.
And of course, we're still anxious and concerned about those that are still missing. And the families of these seven are in the process of being notified.
RUSSERT: The Iraqis provided us access to them or led them to us?
RUMSFELD: It's happening all over the country, where an awful lot of Iraqis are being cooperative. And in this case, they advised us that there were Americans at a certain location.
But in city after city across the country, people are coming up and telling us where the Ba'ath Party members are that are causing the problem, where the Fedayeen Saddam terrorists are. And that's a good thing.
And they're also volunteering to help restore order in cities where there's been disorder. In some cases, there's actually joint patrols going on with local people, with U.S. and coalition military out policing the area and restoring order.
RUSSERT: Let me show you this deck of cards, which you are very familiar with. This is the seven of diamonds, this gentleman right here, Saddam Hussein's science adviser. Surrendered yesterday.
What will happen to him now?
RUMSFELD: I don't know. There are all kinds of arrangements that have been thought through that where the people will be addressed in a responsible way. In some cases, I suspect it will be the Iraqi people will make judgments about people who have done--engaged in war crimes. In other cases, it may be other institutions.
RUSSERT: But not us?
RUMSFELD: I wouldn't rule out anything. I think those are things that people who think those things are thinking about. And those are lawyers and that type.
RUSSERT: He said yesterday that he did nothing wrong and that he can assure everyone that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction.
RUMSFELD: Well, that's wonderful.
RUSSERT: You don't believe him?
RUMSFELD: No, my goodness, no.
RUSSERT: You are fully confident we will find weapons of mass destruction?
RUMSFELD: The intelligence community has been, over a period of years, reporting all kinds of information about the chemical and biological activities and the reinstitution of the nuclear program in that country.
We also know that the Iraqis have learned to live in an inspection environment. They've hid things. They've done it well. They have things underground and well dispersed, and documentation's dispersed.
The only way we're going it--the inspectors didn't find anything. We're not going to find anything until we find people who tell us where the things are. And we have that very high on our priority list, to find the people who know. And when we do, then we'll learn precisely where things were and what was done.
RUSSERT: Do you think some of it may have been sent to a neighboring country?
RUMSFELD: It's possible. We've seen reports to that effect.
RUMSFELD: I'd rather not get into it.
RUSSERT: How important is it for the United States to find weapons of mass destruction? Because it was the stated cause of the war to disarm Saddam Hussein.
RUMSFELD: Oh, clearly, it's on the priority list to be done. It's not the kind of thing you spend much time doing when you're in a war and you're trying to win the war and stop the violence and stop the killing.
But it is something that people are trained to do, and they're organized. And there will be exploitation of possible sites in an orderly way, as soon as the environment is sufficiently permissive.
RUSSERT: Let me go back to this famous deck of cards. I could ask you to pick a card, any card. (LAUGHTER)
RUSSERT: But I'll take this one on top, the ace of spades, Saddam Hussein. Where do you think he is?
RUMSFELD: Well, he's--there are people around who think he's dead, and there are people around who think he's injured, and there are people around who don't know, and I'm one of the latter. I'm without an opinion. I've not developed conviction on the subject.
I've seen reports from people who claim they were eyewitnesses to certain things, people who suggest that they were in close proximity to something that happened, and--but I don't have enough multiple sources, and tested sources, that I could develop conviction and say, well, I think he's dead, I think this is what happened to him. I just don't know. We'll find out.
RUSSERT: Saddam said, ``I was born in Iraq, I will die in Iraq.'' Is that his last stand or his last lie?
RUMSFELD: I don't know. If he's dead, he didn't have much of a choice. He didn't have time to make the choice, anyway. If he's alive, he may try to escape yet. He's done it once before.
RUSSERT: He escaped once before?
RUMSFELD: You bet. He got out of the country years and years ago, after a attempted coup, and went to Egypt, as I recall.
RUSSERT: So you think he might try to run?
RUMSFELD: I don't know.
RUSSERT: General Tommy Franks said today that we have samples of his DNA, which we can use to assess various places where we think he may have been bombed. Can you confirm that?
RUMSFELD: No. I just happen not to know.
RUSSERT: You do not know?
RUSSERT: And you wouldn't know how we got it?
RUMSFELD: I don't know.
RUSSERT: But you don't doubt General Franks?
RUMSFELD: I don't doubt General Franks at all. He's doing a terrific job. He's an enormously talented general officer, and he and his team deserve just a wonderful credit for the job they've done, and for the way they've led these fine young men and women in uniform.
RUSSERT: Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, our troops are in Tikrit as we speak this morning.
RUMSFELD: They are.
RUSSERT: What kind of resistance are we meeting?
RUMSFELD: Very little. Apparently an awful lot of the people there have fled, and there are people who do not have a lot of admiration for the Ba'athist regime that are there who are helping.
RUSSERT: Even in his hometown?
RUSSERT: It's somewhat ironic that, when we went into southern Iraq, which we thought we would be welcomed much more--much better than we were, the Fedayeen and others put up some resistance, and the conventional wisdom that, once we got north, to Baghdad and, God forbid, Tikrit, the elite Republican Guard would dig in and fight to the last man, it just hasn't happened.
RUMSFELD: Well, there are layers of security forces. There was the regular army, never considered to be terribly loyal to Saddam Hussein's regime. The Republican Guard, the more elite group, they took a lot of punishment from the air, and, by the time the fighting came, they had pretty much pulled down from the north and up from the south, in the Tikrit-Baghdad area, and they had some fight in them, but the air power was overwhelming for them, and then there were some battles on the ground, and then they dissipated, and left.
Then there's the SSO, and then there are these so-called Fedayeen Saddam people that are a bit more fanatical, but what's left is still in that area, in Baghdad, and then there's some foreign fighters. We've been finding people from other countries engaged in battles, most recently in Baghdad, over the last 24 hours.
RUMSFELD: Some were from Syria, the largest number, I think, from Syria. We'd seen them coming in. They were bringing busloads in of them for a while. We turned a number of busloads back.
RUSSERT: You have warned the Syrians several times, one about shipping night goggles to the Iraqi forces. Did we find any night goggles in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Oh, yes, we've found night goggles in Iraq.
RUSSERT: And you warned the Syrians about harboring members of Saddam's regime. Can you confirm that members of Saddam's regime fled to Syria?
RUMSFELD: Oh, there's no question but that they did, absolutely, including some left and went to Syria and stayed, and some have left Iraq, gone to Syria, and transited to other countries.
RUSSERT: Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax were reported to have fled to Syria. Do you have any information on that?
RUMSFELD: Nothing that I want to discuss about individuals.
RUSSERT: Also suggestions that Syria's harboring terrorists, Hamas, Hezbollah, others. Is that your view?
RUMSFELD: Oh, Syria's been on the terrorist list for years. They have worked with Iran and been a transit route for the Hezbollah down to Damascus, down to Beirut, which they still occupy, Lebanon, Syria does, and then down toward Israel. That's been the route, through the Bekaa Valley. And, you know, they've been a very active sponsor of terrorism.
RUSSERT: What happens if Syria doesn't change their behavior?
RUMSFELD: Oh, that's above my pay grade. Those are the kinds of things that countries and presidents decide. That's broad national policy. I'm a participant, but I'm certainly not a decider.
RUSSERT: But could they be risking the future of their government?
RUMSFELD: Well, I guess to a certain extent you're known by your friends, and being on the terrorist list is not some place I'd want to be, if I were a country or a leader of a country. I don't quite understand a country that foregoes the economic opportunity that comes from interaction with the world community and the opportunities for their people by creating an environment that's hospitable to enterprise and to economic intercourse, why they want to live like that, why they want to think that the only way to sustain their dictatorships is to repress people and to deny them the fruits of economic interaction with the world. I think it's a shame.
I don't know what motivates people, except preservation of a regime. I mean, you look at dictatorships, and basically they get up in the morning, and the single most important thing is not looking out for their people, it's, how do we preserve the regime, how do we continue our ability to control everything and repress everyone and control the press and deny freedom of religion and enlarge our prisons and force people, in the case of other countries, to live on subsistence food. I just don't get it.
RUSSERT: Is there a lesson for Syria as to what happened in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Well, I think that we've got a lot of work left to do in Iraq. You say ``happened.'' It's still happening. We still have fighting to do. Our troops are still being killed and wounded, and God bless them. They're doing such a wonderful job.
We then have to make this transition through this period of some disorder to a period of order, and the opportunity for the Iraqi people to fashion their future, and it's not going to be the United States that's going to be fashioning their future, they're going to fashion their future.
And they have an opportunity here to be liberated, be free, and fashion an Iraqi solution to how they want to live their lives, and that's a wonderful thing.
RUSSERT: I want to get to that--one last question on Saddam Hussein. How important is it that we capture Saddam or find his body, so that the people of Iraq know that he is gone forever and cannot be in the hustings with his Republican Guards, living underground, plotting a return?
RUMSFELD: Well, I mean, from my standpoint, I have trouble--we know he's not running that country. He was, and he isn't. So that is an enormous accomplishment. That regime is history.
RUMSFELD: That's such a long time. (CROSSTALK)
RUSSERT: But Iraqis are concerned that he still might be out there looming and plotting and waiting to come back.
RUMSFELD: Oh, no, no, no. He either is a dead, or he's going to be caught, and we'll find him. The world will find him. He's not a person that has a lot of friends, in the Arab world or anywhere else, and we'll find him.
RUSSERT: Let me turn to the situation, the nonmilitary situation, if you will, in Iraq, and that is the whole issue of looting. This was the scene with the museum of antiquities, which housed treasures dating back thousands and thousands of years from the beginning of civilization, and it was ransacked and destroyed. About 170,000 items. The head of the museum said, ``Our heritage is finished.''
What happened there? How did we allow that museum to be looted?
RUMSFELD: How did we allow? Now, that's really a wonderful, amazing statement.
RUMSFELD: Now, let me just say a word here.
RUSSERT: Well, wait a minute, wait a minute.
RUMSFELD: No, let me be precise, because it's an important point.
We didn't allow it. It happened. And that's what happens when you go from a dictatorship, with repressed order, a police state, to something that is going to be different. There's a transition period, and no one is in control. There are periods where--there was still fighting in Baghdad. We don't allow bad things to happen. Bad things do happen in life, and people do loot. We've seen that in the United States. It's happened in every country. It's a shame when it happens.
I'll bet you anything that, if they--when order's restored, and we have a more permissive environment, and--that there'll be opportunities to ask people to return some of those things that were taken.
RUMSFELD: We've already found people returning supplies to hospitals.
RUSSERT: What the heads of the museum will say is that they actually asked for the U.S. to help protect it and that the U.S. declined. Is that accurate?
RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness, look, I have no idea. We have got--we've got troops on the ground, and who do you know who he asked and whether his assignment at that moment was to guard a hospital instead? Those kinds of things are so anecdotal.
And it always breaks your heart to see destruction of things, but...
RUSSERT: The Red Cross said hospitals were also looted. Does that surprise you? I mean, it is one thing for the Iraqis to ransack, loot Saddam's palaces and steal his faucets. It is quite another to loot their own museum and hospitals. Did that surprise you?
RUMSFELD: Surprise me? I don't--disorder happens every time there's a transition. We saw it in Eastern European countries, when they moved from the communist system to a free system. We have seen it in Los Angeles, here in our own country. We have seen it in Detroit. We have seen it in city after city, when there was a difficulty.
And it always breaks your heart. You're always sorry to see it. And it isn't something that someone allows or doesn't allow. It's something that happens.
We know the people--there are people who do bad things. There are people who steal from hospitals in the United States.
So, does it is surprise me that people went into a hospital and did something? I guess it doesn't surprise me. It's a shame, it's too bad. And we're trying to get medical supplies in those hospitals that were robbed, and we're doing it, and we're having good success at it.
RUSSERT: Earlier this morning, I spoke with Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, who is on the ground in Iraq, and asked him about looting and what his own people could do about it. Let's just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSERT: What can be done to stop the Iraqis from looting their own country?
CHALABI: Iraq is a--has been a country devastated by Saddam Hussein. Civil society is destroyed. Thirty-five years of repression. It's understandable that people are angry and they're doing such acts.
Immediately, Free Iraqi Forces must be deployed in Baghdad and other parts of the country, so that the looting will be stopped in complete coordination with the U.S.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSERT: Free Iraqi Forces, are there enough of them to be distributed around the country to help the U.S. troops stop the looting and restore order to Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Well, what--there's a combination of things. There are U.S. and British and Polish and other countries' forces that are in the country. And as they create a presence, we find that the local people come forward and start assisting and cooperating.
And policemen come back to work, medical workers come back to work. The firemen are coming back to work. And in some cases they're engaging in joint patrols with the people from that village or that city, and that's a good thing.
It is the presence of coalition forces that give people enough confidence that there is going to be order there to allow the local people to come up and say, ``Well, let's get our arms around this and get it going.''
Clerics are coming out and urging people not to loot and not to engage in destruction. And every hour that goes by, it's getting better and more peaceful and more orderly in that country.
There are also in some cases Kurds, in some cases Shi'a, in some cases Free Iraqi Forces that are participating in this, and that's a good thing that they're able to do that.
RUSSERT: Some ministries were burned. Probably some pretty interesting records in there about Saddam Hussein and his regime. Do you suspect that some pro-Saddam folks may have burned those ministries and destroyed those records?
RUMSFELD: I think that's likely. There's no question but that one of the things we're most interested in is the records. We want to see where things are and who's who. Who are the people that are going to potentially pose the problem for the new Iraqi government, as it's formed? And we're looking for Ba'ath Party records and that type of thing.
And certainly, the intelligence services ministry and some of the ministries of defense and special Republican Guard and those groups--I don't doubt for a minute but that people did not want that information known.
RUSSERT: The regime is gone. And yet last Wednesday, there was still enough communication where they were all able to call in sick. The information minister, who was making a fool of himself, but a lot of other minders, they all decided not to show up to work on the same morning.
Is there still some communication structure in place for the Saddam regime?
RUMSFELD: Oh, I think you've got to assume that there were sufficient redundant systems, including couriers. You know--telephones, couriers, wires, cables, shortwaves. There are all kinds of ways people can communicate.
So, the fascinating thing to me, you said the minister of information was making a fool of himself. And it does look foolish to stand in Baghdad and say that there's no one--no Americans in Baghdad, when everyone's looking at the split screen seeing that there are Americans in Baghdad.
RUSSERT: He said, ``The Americans are not at the airport. I will take you there.''
RUSSERT: The journalist said, ``Take us there.'' He said, ``I can't do it right now.''
RUMSFELD: The thing that surprises me is not that. What surprises me is that people are surprised. He's been lying like that for years, over and over. And media carries it as though it's true.
RUMSFELD: It's been happening a month ago, two months ago, three months ago. He's been lying exactly the same way. And yet it's been carried and transmitted across the globe as though it were true.
It's only when people had split screens and could see it that they finally said, ``Oh, my goodness, this fellow lies. Isn't that amazing?'' There's gambling in the casino.
RUSSERT: Let me talk about where we go from here. Again, I talked to Ahmed Chalabi about the future of Iraq, the Iraqi interim authority. Let's watch and listen to that and come back and talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSERT: How long do you think it will be before the Iraqis will be able to set up a new government?
CHALABI: Very quickly. General Garner now is going a great job. He's in touch with us. He's come to Iraq. He will start working very soon. And he will--and after he finishes his job of restoring basic services, the interim Iraqi authority will be established.
And that interim authority will be an authority of Iraqis, chosen by Iraqis. And it will be able to function as an authority in the country immediately after General Garner's job is finished, which should be only a few weeks.
RUSSERT: So you believe that General Garner's job will be finished in a few weeks, and then the Americans can leave?
CHALABI: Americans are--I'm not saying that Americans can leave. I am saying that the Iraqi interim authority will be able to function. It is the U.S. plan to have General Garner finish quickly, and that is the decision of the U.S. government. Their government has also decided to support the establishment of the Iraqi interim authority. We're happy about that, and we will work to do so.
The interim authority will draft a constitution, put it to public referendum. Once the constitution is approved, we will have free elections, and there will be a freely and democratically elected government.
This process should be under two years, and I think the U.S. forces should remain in Iraq until the first democratic government is installed in Baghdad.
RUSSERT: What role would you like to play in any new government?
CHALABI: I'm not a candidate for any government position in Iraq now.
RUSSERT: But if you were asked to run to be the new leader of Iraq, would you accept?
CHALABI: It's not about me personally. I do not want to answer this hypothetical question. It is not important to be in government positions to serve Iraq. It is very important to be devoted, to be with the people in their hour of trial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSERT: That timetable that General Garner will have an interim government in place in a few weeks, would you think that's a pretty good timetable?
RUMSFELD: Jay Garner is doing an excellent job. His title is civil administrator. He is working to see that the country begins to supply the medical needs of the people, the food needs, the water needs. And the overall authority at the present time, obviously, is General Franks.
And the task is to create an environment that is sufficiently permissive that the Iraqi people can fashion a new government. And what they will do is come together in one way or another and select an interim authority of some kind. Then that group will propose a constitution and a more permanent authority of some kind. And over some period of months, the Iraqis will have their government selected by Iraqi people.
At the present time, the war is still going on, and it's a little premature to be setting timetables and dates. I just don't know. The first task is win the war and eliminate the pockets of resistance.
RUMSFELD: The second task is to see that these basic needs are met and that order's restored, and then to get the Iraqi people to think through exactly what kind of a model they want to select their own government.
RUSSERT: Let me show you some comments by a man you know well, Brent Scowcroft, who was former President Bush's national security adviser. He said this: ``I'm a skeptic about the ability to transform Iraq into a democracy in any realistic period of time. What's likely to happen is that the meanest, toughest ones will rise to the top for at least a couple of generations.''
And then Scowcroft went on to say this, and let me add this: ``What's going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win, what do you do? We're surely not going to let them take over.''
It's interesting theory that if, in fact, Iraq has a democracy and people come together and vote, they may vote for someone that we may not particularly like.
Turkey, modern Islamic state, wouldn't allow us the base troops there. Could we get a government in Iraq that is not to our liking, and will we allow that to happen?
RUMSFELD: The basics principles that President Bush has properly put forward are these: that the Saddam Hussein regime has to go; that the new Iraqi government, whatever it is, be selected by the Iraqi people; that it not have weapons of mass destruction; that it not threaten its neighbors; that it be a single country; and that the people of that country be free to put themselves on some kind of a path toward a representative system that protects the rights of the minorities and the ethnic groups in that country.
Now, the people who will be participating in that process will be people who generally subscribe to those principles. They will not be the Ba'athist Party people, they will not be the Fedayeen Saddam people, they will not be the leftovers from Saddam Hussein. And they will not be people who have committed war crimes and the like.
I'm not smart enough to know how many generations it takes. I do have a lot of confidence in people. I mean, I've watched the American people over this past period of two years, and the American people have a good center of gravity. They get what's going on in the world. I think people in many countries--people said the Japanese couldn't have a democratic system. People said that Nazis couldn't be replaced with a democratic system.
I think people basically want to be free, and they recognize that the way to do that is to participate in a system where you get something--freedom--and you give up something, because you participate in--you know, you give up the right to go around killing people. You give up the right to use violence to settle your scores.
Is someone smart enough to know that the Iraqis are, for whatever reason, unique on the face of the Earth, that they're not capable of living in a free system? I don't know that. I'm hopeful that's wrong.
RUSSERT: But there are suggestions that if there are free elections in Jordan or Saudi Arabia, and Osama bin Laden's name was on the ballot, he would be a very popular candidate. How do you prevent that from happening in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: I guess it does take time, and it takes information, it takes free press, and it takes free discussion. And if you have a system where that has been denied for a long period of time, it is quite true that people end up not understanding what really are the facts.
And to the extent they're lied to repeatedly, over and over and over again, and people are put in jail for having differing views, it's not surprising that they end up thinking things that aren't true.
Now, how do you get from there to here? It takes some time. Brent's right in that regard. But I think that the solution to the problem is the freedom to talk and the freedom to speak and the freedom to discuss and the freedom to make mistakes. I mean, look at the mistakes we've made in our own country.
RUSSERT: Let me refer you to some comments made by Jim Woolsey, the former head of the CIA, and ask you to respond to them.
```We're now engaged in World War IV.' Woolsey described the Cold War as the Third World War, and said this Fourth World War could last for some time. He said the new war is actually against three enemies, the religious rulers of Iran, the fascists of Iraq and Syria, and Islamic extremists like Osama bin Laden's Al Qaida network.''
You concur with that?
RUMSFELD: Oh, I don't think I'd put it that way. It seems to me that the Cold War was a war, and it was a difficult period for people. It required us to be patient, it required us to invest when there wasn't an immediate threat that you could see at your doorstep.
And it took successive generations and successive presidents of both political parties to have the stamina and the will and the foresight to resist the expansion of the Soviet Union and communism in this globe.
And it was a good thing, and we won it. And we won it with patience and perseverance.
I think we're in a new period. And it is a different period. It's not so much the threat of conflict by states, but it is--the danger is real. And the danger is that there are weapons that can kill tens of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people, that are increasingly available across the globe.
RUMSFELD: And there are states and terrorist networks that seek those, have those, and intend to use those capabilities.
And that poses a problem for people who want to be free, because free people are vulnerable to terrorists. We can't defend it every moment against every possible person we see. We can't live in fear constantly.
So we have to go out and find those networks, as the president has said since September 11th. And we're doing a good job at it. We're arresting people all across the globe--I say ``we,'' I say this large coalition of countries.
RUSSERT: There are some suggestions there's a checklist, that if Syria, Iran, North Korea does not get rid of their weapons of mass destruction, that they could very well meet the same fate as Iraq at the hands of the United States.
RUMSFELD: You know, war is the last choice always. And I have no idea how the world's going to roll out over the coming period. But my hope and my prayer is that countries will not continue to seek to acquire chemical and biological and nuclear weapons.
RUSSERT: And if they do?
RUMSFELD: That's for others to decide. I'm secretary of defense of the United States. My job is to be prepared and have organized and trained and equipped people who are prepared to defend our country.
RUSSERT: What about a country like Cuba, which has just executed some political prisoners, a major crackdown over the last few weeks. Would we ever consider trying to liberate the people of Cuba?
RUMSFELD: American people tend to want to go about their lives as free people. What we want to do is--we care about the people of Cuba, who are repressed in a dictatorship, who--people are imprisoned and killed and denied rights to speak their minds. And that's sad, it's unfortunate.
But the American people, for the most part, are people who want to go about their business. And we recognize we can't try to make everyone in the world be like we are.
We hope they have freedom, and we hope they have the opportunity to say what they want and practice freedom of religion and freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. But we recognize, in a complicated world, that there are countries that live differently.
So, it isn't a matter for the United States to try to have everyone else be like us...
RUSSERT: But if they have weapons of mass destruction, that's a different matter.
RUMSFELD: But to the extent our country is threatened, or our people are threatened, then the president and the government--that's the first responsibility of government, is to see to the protection of the security of our country.
RUSSERT: Colin Powell had a doctrine that--the use of overwhelming force in any military situation. This particular war seemed to focus around--and we've talked about this before--speed, flexibility, and use of intelligence data real-time.
Has speed, real-time intelligence, flexibility--the Rumsfeld doctrine--replaced the Colin Powell doctrine of overwhelming force in 2003?
RUSSERT: Well, first, I don't think there was a Powell doctrine. I think it was Cap Weinberger who fashioned that list. And it evolved over and became called the Powell doctrine, but my recollection is it was Cap Weinberger's doctrine.
And second, it certainly is--I wouldn't call it a Rumsfeld doctrine. I think it's the law of physics. In this case, speed was more important than mass. And in fact, the plan that General Franks and his team and the president and the National Security Council and I were all involved in, worked, and it worked brilliantly.
And General Franks deserves a lot of credit and his wonderful team of people--Tim Keating and General Moseley and General McKiernan and the people who implemented it.
What they did by starting the ground war first, instead of the long air war, they avoided an enormous amount of innocent people being killed and collateral damage.
They--the surprise of it, we had no strategic surprise, but we gained tactical surprise by having the ground war start ahead of the air war. Everyone was expecting an air war. No one believed that he would start the ground war without the 4th Infantry Division, which was still up in the Mediterranean waiting to come in through Turkey.
And the effect of it was that the oilfields were not burned. There are not masses of refugees. There are not masses of internally displaced people. There was not massive collateral damage.
RUMSFELD: The neighboring countries were not hit with Scuds and ballistic missiles, because of the speed that was--that General Franks and his team, the Marines and the Third Infantry Division and the British forces in the South, what they did was accomplish a victory here, an achievement, an accomplishment in a relatively short period of time--what has it been? Three, three-plus weeks is all--in a way that preserved that country for the Iraqi people and preserved the oil wells.
Think of the environmental disaster when Saddam Hussein's crowd burned all the oil wells in Kuwait. It was just a terrible thing that happened.
So, I think that speed will be seen, when this is over and be written about by military historians, speed will be seen as having achieved a lot in this instance.
RUSSERT: And before we go, Mr. Secretary, I'm just being told in my ear piece that Saddam's half-brother has just been captured. Another one of the 55.
RUMSFELD: There are a couple more in there that I think aren't around.
RUSSERT: And we will be watching. We thank you for joining us with your views today.
RUMSFELD: Thank you.
RUSSERT: Is Syria protecting senior members of the Saddam regime, harboring terrorists, even pursuing weapons of mass destruction? We'll ask their chief of public diplomacy. Emad (ph) Mustafa is next.
RUSSERT: And we are back.
Mr. Ambassador, welcome.
The ``Washington Times'' has a front-page story yesterday that Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax--I'll show you her picture on the screen here, she has a meeting with Saddam Hussein, there she is, sitting there at a meeting headed by Saddam Hussein--that they have fled Iraq and are now in Syria. What is your response?
MUSTAFA: Well, my response is the following. You know, it's been a campaign of misinformation and disinformation about Syria since even before the war started, and this is just an ongoing series of false accusations.
And let me tell you this today. Every day you will have new reports against Syria, accusing Syria of things it has not done. It's not about what Syria has done, it's about how they are trying to portray Syria here, by certain groups and individuals in Washington.
And of course, happily I can say that lots of senior people in this administration, from the State Department and senior officials at the CIA, are very unhappy about this campaign against Syria.
RUSSERT: So, no member of the Saddam Hussein regime fled into Syria?
MUSTAFA: I mean by just trying to say no, I'm giving credit to those accusations. Can't we say that it's not about the daily press release against Syria, it's something more sinister behind this?
RUSSERT: But that's a very specific question.
MUSTAFA: Yes. My answer is no.
The ambassador to the United Nations from Iraq, AlDouri, is now in Syria. He flew there.
MUSTAFA: Probably he left--if I'm not wrong--I mean, it's none of my business, but he left the New York airport, he went to Paris, then probably he went somewhere else.
I really--I have to explain this to you. We do not require visas from any single Arab national. So, any Arab, from Morocco, from Kuwait, he can go to Syria. This is a very different story.
RUSSERT: Well, that's the point. Let me show you exactly... (CROSSTALK)
RUSSERT: That's an important point. Let me show you...
MUSTAFA: He left New York airport...
RUSSERT: Right. Let me show you on the screen exactly your policy here. It says: ``Syria has long maintained one of the most liberal entry policies in the Middle East. Anyone holding a passport from any Arab country can enter or leave. `If anyone's going, it's beyond our control as the government,' said the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry. `We have long borders with Iraq, and we can't put a policeman on every single meter.'''
You've heard Secretary Rumsfeld say specifically that senior members of the regime are in Syria, that Syrian fighters have gone to Iraq and have been killed there, and that Syria is harboring terrorists from Hezbollah and Hamas. What is your response to that?
MUSTAFA: Well, the responsive is very easy. First, you have a huge U.S. army in Iraq that has secured Iraqi western borders, and you are controlling the situation there. If you have problems, please let the U.S. Army deal with these problems.
Let me say this. It's about diversion of attention. The chaos and the lawlessness and the catastrophes, human catastrophes that are taking place in Iraq today are really embarrassing lots of people in this administration, and the only way to deal with them is to divert attention. And they will keep on doing this and accusing Syria of things that Syria is not doing, just to divert attention.
Please, let us go to the basics and understand what's going on here.
RUSSERT: But you also saw the pictures of celebration...
RUSSERT: ... of Iraqi children hugging and kissing U.S. Marines, flowers, tearing down Saddam's statue. What does that mean to you? If in your mind the war is so wrong, then why are the Iraqi people so happy?
MUSTAFA: You want the answer? All right, it's very simple and straightforward answer. Look, how can the Iraqi people, decent people, be celebrating when their historic capital has been bombarded with B-2s and Tomahawks and missiles for 15 days, and huge casualties, civilian casualties have been inflicted? And then people that were really decent people were really at their homes.
What happened is, people who were looting and thieves and hooligans, once they will see the crewmen from the press, they will just draw the V sign and then continue their looting.
Yesterday, decent people from Baghdad that were very angry came out, and they had their first expression of what they thought about the U.S. troops. I saw it on CNN. They were shouting, decent people from Baghdad that were not looters, they were shouting, ``Yankees, go home!''
RUSSERT: So the Iraqi people have not been liberated? Do they not have more freedom now?
MUSTAFA: Is liberation about the destruction? Have you seen hospitals being looted, universities in Iraq? Those universities are public property being destroyed and smashed.
RUSSERT: We seem to be at a...
MUSTAFA: Archaeological--you know, those archaeological artifacts, they are not Iraqis', they are yours, they are mine, they are everybody else.
MUSTAFA: This human tragedy, is this the liberation of Iraq? Have you heard about what happened in Mosul? People are terribly, terribly upset about what happened in Mosul.
RUSSERT: We seem to be at a very interesting juncture of relations between Syria and the United States. Members of Congress, led by Congressman Engel, have introduced the Syria Accountability Act.
This is what he said: ``Syria must end support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop producing weapons of mass destruction and long-range ballistic missiles, stop arming the Iraqi war machine,'' and the possible penalties, ``Prohibit U.S. businesses from operating in Syria, restrict Syrian diplomats, block Syrian airline flights, freeze Syrian assets.''
What will your government to do try to convince the United States that you are not harboring terrorists, not harboring members of the Saddam Hussein regime, and not possessing or pursuing weapons of mass destruction?
MOUSTAFA: I will answer these questions. They are very important questions and it's a good opportunity for the American public to hear this, because this is really very important.
First, let me remind you of reports in the Washington Times in which General Myers said that we did never, ever see any movement of weapons of mass destruction from Iraq to Syria or the other direction.
And then in the same ``Washington Times'' journal, top CIA officials were saying there is very good and strong and positive cooperation between the CIA and Syrian security apparatus about combating terrorism, and this campaign, this present campaign is about undermining such positive cooperation. However ...
RUSSERT: That's not saying, excuse me, one second. You just ...
MOUSTAFA: Let's go back to weapons of mass destruction.
RUSSERT: You just heard Secretary Rumsfeld, at this very table, in that chair, say that you're harboring members of Saddam's regime.
MOUSTAFA: Please, please, let us be sure about this. Let me remind you of this. Let's start with the weapons of mass destruction, and then I will move to this accusation.
Syria is not only accepting, it's warmly welcoming, it's our desire, our wish, please help us free this region from all weapons of mass destruction.
We will not only accept the most rigid inspection regime, but we will welcome it heartily, please, come, go, wherever you want. It's not that we will be cooperating, we will be happy. Go everywhere, but please, to every country in this Middle East.
Every country, and we will be very happy. You know very well that Israel is the country that is stockpiling nuclear weapons. This is an official stand of Syria.
Please come, please inspect every country in the Middle East. It's not that we will accept, we will be very happy. Please help us free the Middle East from weapons of mass destruction.
This is a very serious ...
RUSSERT: So you will, this morning, you will open up all of Syria for inspections?
MOUSTAFA: All of the Middle East, please do it.
RUSSERT: Including Syria?
MOUSTAFA: Of course, but please do this. We need this throughout the Middle East. We need it.
RUSSERT: Let me ask you about a comment made by the top Muslim leader in your country, and I'll show you on the screen: ``I call on Muslims everywhere to use all means possible to thwart the aggression, including martyr operations against the belligerent American, British and Zionist invaders. Resistance to the belligerent invaders is an obligation for all Muslims, starting with those in Iraq.''
Do you denounce those comments?
MOUSTAFA: Let me tell you this. Usually, in our region clergymen tell secular people like myself what to do. We are not in the habit of telling them what not to say.
He is not an official of Syria. By the way, he is the leader of the Kurdish, the Kurdish community in Syria. He is a prominent Kurd in Syria. In Syria, if you read the United States Department of State reports, Syria enjoys liberty and freedom of religion.
What can I say to any ...
RUSSERT: Who are the Zionist invaders? There are Americans, there are British, who are the Zionist invaders? What's he referring to?
MOUSTAFA: OK, OK. OK, I will you. Shall I answer you this? All right. First, let me just start by saying, who am I to tell Mufti who is 88 years old what to say and what not? Second ...
RUSSERT: Do you agree with him?
MOUSTAFA: I have my own secular opinion, I am a liberal secular, I represent modern Syria, which has a very serious reformist agenda, which is encompassing everybody and asking everybody to participate.
I'm not going to say to this respected Mufti what to say or what not to say. We belong to very different school of thoughts. But let me answer the question that you did ask me about Zionism.
You know, the United States of America has a population of 270 million people, intelligent, clever people, intellectuals, diplomats, politicians, everybody.
And out of all those people, the person that has been chosen to rule Iraq is closely linked to Ariel Sharon, and has been praising what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza.
What about sensitivity toward the feeling of the Arab people? Can't people see or think here in the United States that at least, please, some respect for the dignity of the people there?
Out of 270 million Americans, you choose a military ruler to rule Iraq who is closely related to the extremist factions in Israel?
MUSTAFA: I'm not saying closely related to Israel--I'm saying to the extremist factors of Israel, the people that are really anti-peace and anti-cooperation and anti-understanding.
RUSSERT: Well, somebody will suggest that the sheik's comments, and perhaps reinforced by yours, are outrageously anti-Semitic.
MUSTAFA: Of course this is not. We believe that we have hope with peace with Israel. We cannot have peace with Israel with people that are really extremist in their views. Syria has made a strategic option, a very important strategic option.
We want peace with everybody. We are not going to go into war with anybody. This is not an extremist position. This is a very moderate and secular position. We hope the United States will help us have peace and reform in Syria. We do not hope to see more and more tanks and warplanes...
RUSSERT: Do you believe there's a potential of war between the United States and Syria?
MUSTAFA: No, I do not believe this. I'll tell you why. Because we believe that the American values and we believe in American fairness.
We don't think that extremist people will further push the agenda. It does not serve the long-term interests of the United States to be seen as attacking one country after another. This is not good.
We believe in lots of good American values, and we would love to see those American values applied in the West Bank and Gaza.
RUSSERT: Mr. Ambassador, we thank you for your views.
MUSTAFA: Thank you very much.
RUSSERT: And we'll be right back.
RUSSERT: That's all for today. We will be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.
This Week – ABC
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning from Doha, Qatar, home of U.S. Central Command, where General Tommy Franks gave us some good news this morning--missing American soldiers safe in Marine hands.
But, he cautions, don't expect declarations of victory any time soon.
ANNOUNCER: This morning, in his first television interview since the war began, face to face with General Tommy Franks, the mastermind of the battle plan.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The war will end will Tommy Franks says we've achieved our objectives.
ANNOUNCER: An historic week--Baghdad falls, and fighting gives way to looting. What next for Iraq and U.S. troops on the ground?
From ABC News, this is a special edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, War With Iraq.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There are lots of smiles here at Central Command this morning. They're smiling at the word from Iraq that U.S. troops have rescued missing American soldiers just north of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town.
General Tommy Franks first confirmed that the soldiers were safe in an interview with me earlier this morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: General, we've just received word that six soldiers who were missing in Iraq...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... have been found.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What can you tell us about that?
FRANKS: Just--actually, as I walked out 20 minutes ago to head over here, George, my staff came up and said, Great--good news, general. We have, in fact, located, and they appear to be reasonably healthy, six of our youngsters who were missing.
What we don't know right now, George, is whether these are six of the youngsters we had categorized as prisoners, of which--some of whom we've seen on television--or whether these are from the category of troops that we have listed as missing in action.
So we're not sure yet, but we are very happy that we have these six Americans back with us now, and they're in safe hands.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And for the latest, we now turn to ABC's Martha Raddatz in the Pentagon.
You know, Martha, you heard General Franks there say a couple of hours ago, they weren't sure exactly how many soldiers they had and who they were. Anything new?
RADDATZ: Well, I can tell you for certain, there were seven, George. It is still not clear, Central Command is still not confirming, who they were, who was recovered in this operation. But they say there are seven.
Now, there were five POWs from the 507th Maintenance Unit, and two Apache crew members who have been seen on television in POW videos. The Pentagon, an official here, says it--he believes we are talking here about those seven POWs.
But there are other Americans missing. There are Navy pilots missing. There are two Marines missing. There are more than six missing Americans who were not classified as POWs. They are classified as something called DSWUN, which means duty status, whereabouts unknown.
So this is still not confirmed that they were the POWs, but they believe here at the Pentagon that they probably were, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Martha, what more do we know about how this all happened today?
RADDATZ: I'm told by a Central Command official that this was not a rescue mission. What happened is, some of the Marines were in this area called Samarra. It is actually between Baghdad and Tikrit. The Marines were walking down the road, and some Iraqis came up to them and said, Look, if you just keep walking, you're going to run into seven Americans.
Of course, the Marines continued on. They found the seven Americans. Unclear whether the seven missing Americans were walking or whether they were sitting on the side of the road. But it sounds as if they were somehow released or escaped on their own. Obviously since the regime has crumbled, that was probably a little bit easier to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Martha.
And now for the rest of that interview with General Tommy Franks. You'll see that this operation was developing as we were speaking to General Franks this morning.
When I first asked him about the POWs, he said he couldn't confirm anything right away. He'd have something in about 12 hours. Twelve minutes later, he was able to confirm that six of the POWs were in safe hands, as you just saw.
But you'll also see from this interview that General Franks is not yet ready to declare victory, which is where we began.
STEPHANOPOULOS: General Franks, thanks very much for being with us.
FRANKS: My pleasure.
Well, President Bush couldn't be more clear. He said on Friday the war is over when you say so.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How close are we?
FRANKS: Oh, gosh, I think we're very close to having made a real good start. I like what we see. I mean, I think it would not come as any surprise to you that we phase these things when we talk about them, we phase them when we think about them.
And what we've seen up to this point is, up through the part that we call decisive combat operations, we like what we see. But if you take a look at the objectives that we set out for ourselves, moving all the way through, giving Iraqis an opportunity to establish a government of their own choosing, then we still have some work to do.
And so we're going to continue that. And I think it's very difficult to predict how long that will take.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said before the war to Peter Jennings that victory would come when the Saddam Hussein regime was disarmed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hasn't that happened?
FRANKS: Well, one does not--one doesn't know until we've had a chance to do the sensitive site exploitations of all of these areas, you know. And there actually are potentially thousands of these areas inside Iraq where we are actually going to go tromp around, and we're going to go...
STEPHANOPOULOS: For weapons of mass destruction?
FRANKS: ... for--looking for weapons of mass destruction, looking for evidence of terrorism, looking for links between terrorism transnational and terrorism state-sponsored. And so we just have an awful lot of work to do to get that done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it could be quite some time before you actually declare victory.
FRANKS: I think so, sure, yes, yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Weeks, months?
FRANKS: It's very difficult to say. I think that the early predictions were that we would be days or weeks before we had done the work that is required to do in order to, oh, remove the regime. Let me say it that way.
And I think that if one looks at the ability of this ex-regime to command and control forces and activities inside Iraq, I think great progress has been made. Feel very, very good about that.
But if you look at humanitarian assistance, the need for law and order, the issues of providing these people an opportunity to govern themselves, well, a lot of work remains to be done.
And I think it would be unwise of any of us to have an expectation--I mean, and that's what we're talking about, an expectation--that we're going to get that kind of work done in weeks or in the next two or three months. I just don't think it will happen.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to get to those issues in a second. But first, is there any remaining Saddam Hussein regime in any meaningful sense of the word?
FRANKS: Let me give you just--let me give you a possibility, and I'll say that there is absolutely no remaining piece of this regime when I have satisfied myself that it is not possible or feasible for some small cell of diehard or, as Secretary Rumsfeld says, dead-enders who are sitting out there someplace with some incredibly powerful weapon of mass destruction that could be either moved out of Iraq into someplace else or could be used against our troops inside Iraq.
And so it can be something as small as that that we're going to have to keep our eye on until we say, OK, we feel like we're finished with this thing, and it's all done.
Now, on the other hand, at the macro level, in terms of the decisive military combat, how are we doing, George?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Seems pretty well.
FRANKS: Seems to me like it's OK. There is no remaining army under command and control of this regime, no navy, no air force, and so forth. So we feel very good about that.
But the use of the term where we say, OK, regime is totally gone--well, I think we'll be thoughtful before we use that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it might be some time.
FRANKS: Could be.
STEPHANOPOULOS: General al-Saadi, Saddam Hussein's top scientific adviser...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... surrendered...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... yesterday.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As he surrendered, he denied any knowledge of weapons of mass destruction, said Iraq simply didn't have them. Is he saying anything different to coalition forces?
FRANKS: Have not--to be very honest with you, I--when you told me what he has said up to this point, that was in the category of new news to me. You should know that, on any given day, we have people on this battlefield talking to tens or scores of people.
And it is not likely that, in any given 24-hour period of time, I will have seen the precise, you know, transaction that's gone on. And so I had not read that.
But it does not surprise me. And that's one of the reasons that I said we'll take our time, and we'll do the site exploitations, and we'll do the interrogations of the people that we need to do, until we satisfy ourselves that we have everything that they have the ability to tell us.
STEPHANOPOULOS: In your pack of cards, I think he's the Seven of Diamonds...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... of 55 leading Iraqi--people in Iraqi leadership.
FRANKS: Seven of diamonds. This is the one you mentioned, Saadi.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How important is General Saadi?
FRANKS: Can't say. Can't say. Don't know. I know that the way one finds himself in that deck of 50-plus is because we believe there is some importance to them. And so we'll talk to all of them, the ones that are still alive.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there anyone left in the Hussein regime high enough up who can actually surrender for the regime?
FRANKS: Well, he's either dead or he's running a lot. But he is not commanding anything right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: If he were running, don't you think you'd know it?
FRANKS: Hard to tell. It's actually hard to tell. Let me take you back. You and I, maybe 15 months ago, had a similar conversation about bin Laden.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I remember.
FRANKS: And so, you can say, Well, is he alive? Well, at that time, I had no absolute proof that he was still alive. But, I mean, gosh, that's 15 months ago. This is a man who wants to stay hidden, he wants to survive.
And so if you sort of cross that over and talk about Saddam Hussein, I don't know that I could say that if he's still alive, I would know about it. No, not sure. And so until I see convincing proof that he's dead, we're going to continue to look.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Also missing are seven POWs. Private Jessica Lynch is actually coming home today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do we know anything more about the other seven?
FRANKS: Yes, we do. And I suspect that we'll see some form of breaking news within the next 12 hours on that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you believe they're still alive?
FRANKS: I--let me just leave it, George, by saying, within the next 12 hours I think we'll have some news on those POWs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And nothing more you can tell us now?
FRANKS: Not right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to come back.
FRANKS: OK, good.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's turn to those issues of law and order...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... right now. A lot of critics are saying you should have been better prepared...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... for the looting in the first days...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... military police on the ground, stationed tanks in front of hospitals...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... government ministries. How do you respond to that?
FRANKS: Gosh, I think a lot of critics have said a lot of things since the 19th day of March, and so wouldn't want to respond specifically to the critics, but let me tell you what is the case right now.
As these combat units, going all the way back to, gosh, I guess the 21st or so, when we actually started operations up in Iraq, each of these units has civil military operations people with it, each of these units has military policemen with it, they have engineers, they have electricians.
Did you know that as we sit here right now we have, in the case of Umm Qasr, a civil affairs team that is on the ground, has been on the ground, both U.S. and a similar force from the United Kingdom? They have restored water levels to better than the people in Umm Qasr have had since before--I mean, since well before this war started a few weeks ago.
The local Iraqis themselves around Umm Qasr, based on some encouragement and work with U.S. and United Kingdom people, have established their own initial framework for governance. They have already begun to rehire Iraqis to operate the Umm Qasr port, and the list goes on and on and on. The levels of food in that little city right now are better than they were prewar, and that's just a microcosm.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you expect the other cities...
FRANKS: Oh, of course.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... to follow in time.
FRANKS: Of course. You know, one of the things that I think is maybe--oh, I'm not going to say unfortunate, but let me just add a little light to one issue.
There have been people who have said--they have talked about this Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, a very powerful organization, as if nothing was happening within Iraq to support or provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, because everyone was waiting for ORHA, as we call it, to be online.
Well, in fact, ORHA has established some offices already inside Iraq. But more importantly is this bridging activity that I described. We wanted to be sure that we had some capability with all these combat units in order to be sure that when we're in this transition from decisive combat into providing governance for the Iraqi people of their own choosing, that we covered this particular period of time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Part of that...
FRANKS: And I think it's going very well, George, actually.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Part of that bridging is creating a police force...
FRANKS: You bet.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... in Baghdad, in Basra.
FRANKS: You bet.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've put out a call to the police in Baghdad to come back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Tell us how you expect them to work, what kind of vetting process you have. And it's got to be tough, though, because so many of these police must be tainted...
FRANKS: Oh, of course they are.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... because of their ties to the Saddam Hussein regime.
FRANKS: Of course they are. And--but what you find is that you will find a different situation in Al Basra than you find in Osamala (ph), and it will be different than the situation you find in Mosul, and that will be different than the situation you find in Baghdad.
And so the way it actually works, in a very practical sense, is when our units complete operations in and around one of these cities, what they do is, they begin to look to contact the senior leadership in these cities. And we know very quickly whether these are Ba'ath Party officials or, in fact, whether they have been resistant to the regime.
How do we know that? Well, because one of the things that our troops do is, they get to the places where the records are maintained. And if, for example, you look in police files, you can find the names of men who have been listed as being antiregime over a period of years. When we find such a man named in local police records in one of these cities or one of these towns, we recognize immediately, maybe this is a person we should go talk to.
And so when you begin to do that, you begin to identify very quickly who you think you can work with, and you begin to work with them. And we have already seen in, gosh, three or four or five of these cities, some of the civil administration come in, and--people that we believe initially we trust, and they say, Here's a list of 50 policemen who have been on the job, and they'd like to come back to work. And that actually is happening right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But how difficult is this job for (inaudible)? Because you're asking them basically to combat Iraqis and defend them at the same time.
FRANKS: Sure, well, it's difficult. You remember the very early days of the human shields, and the fact that there were people who said, Well, gosh, in an environment where these Iraqi irregulars are using human shields, there's no way that coalition forces will ever be able to work through this problem. And-but look where we stand today. So it does represent issue.
But on the other hand, we have the brightest, we have the most capable youngsters doing this work that probably we have ever seen. I have a lot of confidence in them. And I think they have proven to all of us, since the day this started, that they can be trusted. And you know some examples just like I do where they've proved it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me turn to the broader issue...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... of postwar reconstruction, building this political base...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... in Iraq. One British newspaper called you the MacArthur of Mesopotamia.
FRANKS: Oh, well...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you don't like...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... that analogy. But why don't you tell us--that was a very successful effort...
FRANKS: Sure it was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... to reform and democratize Japan after World War II.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why isn't that model appropriate here?
FRANKS: Gosh, I don't know. How long did it take to settle the issues in postwar Germany?
FRANKS: How long did it take to settle the issues in postwar Japan?
FRANKS: The question is, if you have a nation that has such tremendous mineral wealth and such tremendous background of culture and history, bright people and willing people, and you remove the yoke from them, why not give them a chance to determine what it is that Iraq's future is going to look like? We believe we can do that. And we want to work with the Iraqi people in order to permit them to do this kind of work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're starting that process on Tuesday in Nasiriyah.
FRANKS: That's correct.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Group of Iraqis...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... both from inside the country and outside the country...
FRANKS: That's correct.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... are coming together to start the process of building a government. How did you choose who would show up, and what do you hope to accomplish?
FRANKS: It's a very interesting question. What we did was, we looked to the policy level in our own country for people--for names of people both within and outside the country, and we also talked to regional leaders. We talked to people in the international community. We also talked to people inside Iraq, the people who have come up and represent very large tribal affiliations. And we've invited them to come to this meeting. I think Secretary Rumsfeld calls it the big tent.
What we want is, we want an organizational meeting where people can come together and can begin themselves to decide how they want in the future to determine an interim government.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And how long do you expect that process to take?
FRANKS: I really can't say. And I don't think, George, we'll be able to say until after this first meeting, because we don't know how it'll go.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were in Afghanistan this week. About 18 months after the fighting there...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... we still have about 8,000 troops there.
FRANKS: Actually more than that. It's above 9,000.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A year from now, how many troops do you expect to be in Iraq?
FRANKS: Well, I think it's tough to say. You know, we have talked about that within my own staff, and I've talked to people in Washington about it for months.
There--I could play for you two or three different sorts--two or three different scenarios. If you have a scenario where law and order is extremely difficult, where there is recalcitrance at every level, then one winds up with a pretty good-sized force package in there.
On the other hand, if you see what at least we have a smattering of right now, and that is willingness by the Iraqi people to take charge of their own destiny--I'll give you--did you know that we have already had oil workers, Iraqi oil workers, from the northern oil fields and the southern oil fields, come to us and say, Well, we're ready to go back to work now? People in civil administration have already come to us and said, Well, we're ready to take charge of our destiny and go back to work.
Now, in that kind of a model, if it turns out to be country-wide, then the footprint of coalition forces in the country is much, much smaller. And so, gosh, it could just be a huge range.
And what I learned a long time ago, George, is that it's possible to build an unreasonable expectation by what one says. And so I wouldn't want to do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But is it reasonable to expect--there's been some Senate testimony that you're going to need about 75,000 troops, at least for this first year, to keep the peace, to deter mischief from Syria and Iran.
FRANKS: Yes. Well, I guess that's a view. But there were also people who said early on that we needed 50,000 troops in the north of Iraq in order to have any possibility of removing the regime, and it just didn't turn out to be so. The number turned out to be closer to 3,000 or 4,000 than 50,000. And so I think it's premature for us to marry a number.
What we're going to do is, we're going to condition-base the force structure that we have in the country, because it's proven out for us to be pretty wise to do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Two more questions. You now have a lot of soldiers under your command who killed for the first time, about to go home.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I want to read you something that one of them told the ``Christian Science Monitor'' after a battle near Najaf, where wave after wave of Iraqis were killed.
This is what he said. ``For lack of a better word, I feel almost guilty about the massacre. We wasted a lot of people. It makes you wonder how many were innocent. It takes away some of the pride. We won, but at what cost?''
How do you answer that soldier?
FRANKS: I don't think you give a good, discrete answer that says anything more than, You've done your duty. You have proven one more time, for the world to see, that we are a humanitarian people above everything else.
Not only do we have an incredibly powerful military--and, George, we do--but we also have case after case after case of the American soldier who's been in a heck of a firefight take the first prisoner, and the first thing he does with the prisoner is hand him a bottle of water, maybe hand him a pair of socks.
And so to this specific soldier, what I would say is, You've done your duty and your nation thanks you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've been called the most important soldier in the world. You're on the verge of winning your second war in two years, and no one really has your perspective, working with the Pentagon, working with the White House, knowing what the troops on the ground are going through.
Knowing what you know, what's the untold story of this war?
FRANKS: Oh, I think it will take a long, long time for the world to appreciate the true valor and the true capability of the youngsters on the ground, youngsters from three-star generals all the way down, who are doing an incredibly good job. It'll take a long time for all that to be known.
I think, perhaps more importantly, my view tells me that this is perhaps the most joint and the most combined effort ever in history. And I think it will take a while for all of that to be recognized.
I'm very proud of our national leadership. I'm very proud of our country, the people in our country. I'm very proud of the soldiers and the airmen and all these kids at sea who are doing the work up there on the ground. And I think in the days, weeks, and years ahead, the full extent of their work will be better known.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you very much.
FRANKS: George, thanks a lot.
ANNOUNCER: When This Week returns, Saddam Hussein's chief science adviser, what his surrender may mean. We'll hear from a former U.N. weapons inspector.
Then our round table, with George Will, Michel Martin, and Fareed Zakaria.
STEPHANOPOULOS: When Iraq's top scientist, General Amir al-Saadi, surrendered yesterday, he became the highest-ranking member of Saddam Hussein's regime in U.S. custody.
Now, General Franks said he can't say yet how important General al-Saadi will turn out to be. But for more on who he is and what he might be able to say, we now turn to ABC's Dan Harris, who was in Baghdad yesterday when General al-Saadi surrendered.
And Dan, General al-Saadi was taking no chances. He surrendered with a television crew.
HARRIS: This was by design. The surrender was captured on TV by a German television crew. Why the Germans? Dr. al-Saadi's wife is German, as a matter of fact. In fact, you see her on the videotape as he kisses her goodbye. She knew the reporter here for ZDF, which is a state TV station in Germany. She asked this reporter to essentially set up the surrender.
Dr. al-Saadi wanted cameras there to ensure his security as he handed himself over. You see him coming out of his house, again, kissing his wife, and then getting into a car with a pair of U.S. soldiers.
He is potentially important because he was involved in designing weapons of mass destruction for the Iraqi regime in the '80s and '90s. He worked on chemical weapons, he worked on missiles as well. So he is potentially important there.
He also was involved in liaising with the U.N. weapons inspectors in the months leading up to this war. And he became particularly well known because he was really the public face of the propaganda effort from this regime in the months and weeks leading up to the war.
He held a series of news conferences, and in fluent English, because he was educated in Great Britain, he simply batted away the repeated allegations from the Americans and the British that Iraq was harboring weapons of mass destruction. He argued repeatedly and strenuously that those weapons had been destroyed and that these allegations were simply politically motivated.
And again today, as he--yesterday, rather, as he handed himself in, he stuck to his tune. He said that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction and that he is--and time will bear him out, and that he was never told what to say throughout this entire process, and he was always telling the truth.
So it's unclear, based on these public statements from Dr. al-Saadi yesterday, how much the Americans will be able to get out of him, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dan, you heard me say to General Franks that General al-Saadi was the Seven of Diamonds on that pack of 55 leading members of Saddam Hussein's regime. Is there any sign in Baghdad of any of the other 55, or are they all simply vanished?
HARRIS: To the best of my knowledge, they have vanished. I went out today and went to the homes of several of these people in the 55. The most luck we had was at the home of Hoda Amash (ph), the only woman on the list. She's the highest-ranking female in the Iraqi regime, or the former Iraqi regime. She's a Ba'ath Party member. And she actually--you see her pictures quite frequently when Saddam Hussein is meeting with his cabinet. She's the only woman in the room. She often wears a head scarf.
We found her house. It was intact, and it was being guarded by people who said they were her cousins. They said Hoda Amash was not there. We could not verify it. These men were arguing in quite angry tones that Hoda was out in the streets fighting on behalf of the government. Again, no way to verify that either.
We also went to the homes of Uday Saddam Hussein, the elder son of Saddam Hussein, and also his half-brother. These homes had been completely looted, indicating that these men had simply run.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks, Dan.
And now for more on what General al-Saadi might now, we turn to Dr. Richard Spertzel. He used to be the chief biological weapons inspector for the United Nations.
And Dr. Spertzel, I know that you worked with General al-Saadi. What can you tell us about how central he was to the regime and what he might know?
SPERTZEL: Well, I think you have to start out with the position that he held. During at least the latter part of the 1980s, he was the senior deputy to Hussein Kamal, and Hussein Kamal held two hats. He was both the director general of the Military Industrial Commission, responsible for all the weapons of mass destruction, but he was also head of the Special Security Organization.
And the biological program, for example, was not under MIC, it was under the SSO. So you--the chain of command for the biological program went from Hussein Kamal to Amir al-Saadi down to the Ahmed Mertada (ph), who was the head of the Technical Research Center.
So he was the only one within MIC that understood and knew what the biological program was. So that was the situation up to 1991.
But he continued to serve as the special scientific adviser to the regime.
Now, if we move a little forward in time, in 1994 and 1995, UNSCOM had reliable evidence that studies with chemical and biological agents were being done on the prisoners at the Abu Garai (ph) prison. And as indicative of that, when we get a document search at that prison, there were complete records of all the prisoners up through '93 and '96 and all.
Mysteriously, there were no records for '94 and '95.
So in that sense, Amir al-Saadi should be able to tell us a lot about the biological and the chemical program prior to 1991 and certainly the biological and probably the chemical program after 1991.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But from what you say, he would also be implicated in war crimes if it were testing of biological weapons. Could that have been a motive for his surrender?
SPERTZEL: Indeed. He may be seeking a form of amnesty, which would also account for him taking the initial position that Iraq has nothing. But privately, he may be saying, Look, this is what I can offer. However, this is what I want for it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you have no doubt that his denials are not credible?
SPERTZEL: There's no question in my mind whatsoever his denials are not credible. He was making these denials to us in 1995, and the special commission proved repeatedly that the denials that he was saying simply wasn't true.
On one occasion, he and Ahmed Mertada led us--and I happened to be the chief inspector on that particular team--to a site just outside of their Al Hakam complex, where he claims that certain field tests were conducted. When we sent a sampling team in to verify it, and all of a sudden they changed their mind, they said, Such tests never took place.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Dr. Spertzel, thank you very much.
Face the Nation – CBS
SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation, good news: Seven missing Americans have been found in Iraq. Who are they, and how are they? That's our first question for the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
Seven soldiers have been rescued north of Baghdad. We'll get the latest on them and on the progress of the war from the secretary of defense.
Tom Friedman of the ``New York Times,'' who is just back from Iraq, will join in the questioning. And I'll have a final word on the Iraq endgame. But first, Secretary Rumsfeld on Face the Nation.
ANNOUNCER: Face the Nation, with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer.
And now from CBS News in Washington, Bob Schieffer.
SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. The secretary of defense is in the studio with us this morning, and he will be here for the whole broadcast.
Also here, Tom Friedman, just back from Iraq, the foreign affairs columnist of the ``New York Times.''
Well, some very good news, apparently, Mr. Secretary, about these Americans. What can you tell us?
RUMSFELD: Well, it is correct that seven American servicepeople have been located, and they are in U.S. hands at the present time. I'm told they're all in good shape. There are two that have gunshot wounds, but they're in reasonably good shape. And that they are going to be brought into--probably into Kuwait. And certainly their families are being notified at the present time.
Needless to say, all of the loved ones of the people who are missing or prisoner of wars are anxious to know what's up and worried about their loved ones.
SCHIEFFER: How did we find them?
RUMSFELD: What happened was, as I understand it--I was talking to the Central Command this morning before I came on here to your show--some Iraqis told the American military that there were seven American servicepeople in the area, told them where they were. And they were somewhere, oh, six, eight, 10 kilometers south of Tikrit, as I understand it.
And the servicepeople went up and found them. And they've rescued them, and they're en route.
SCHIEFFER: And as I understand it, you don't intend to give us anymore detail than that until these families are notified. Once they are, then you'll reveal who they are and so forth.
RUMSFELD: Exactly, exactly. Their names and their units will be made public after the families have been notified. And that should--you never know how long that is going to take, but it's the proper way to handle it.
FRIEDMAN: Mr. Secretary, how do you see the political structure now evolving in Iraq? The war is over. What happens next? Will it be Tommy...
RUMSFELD: The war isn't over, Tom. It is--there's still people being killed. We lost some people last night. There are pockets of resistance. There are Fedayeen Saddam people, these death squad people who are going out, trying to kill people.
We just found--oh, I don't know--I think it was 80 vests filled with explosives and ball bearings. And the inventory list suggested that there were another 30 that are not there.
So there are people, suicide types, who are out. There are a number of non-Iraqis who are in the country, particularly in Baghdad, we find, and there was a...
FRIEDMAN: Are these from Syria?
RUMSFELD: A lot from Syria. Most from Syria, it appears.
FRIEDMAN: There were actually Syrian soldiers or nationals? How would you describe...
FRIEDMAN: Syrian nationals.
RUMSFELD: That's what were were told.
FRIEDMAN: Involved in operations against American forces?
RUMSFELD: Absolutely. In a firefight, a lot of them got killed last night.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what would they be? Like intelligence agents, or are they people there with some official...
RUMSFELD: I have no idea.
SCHIEFFER: ... tie to the government? Or just people that wandered in there?
RUMSFELD: People were busy fighting them. They weren't asking their biographies.
SCHIEFFER: I understand.
RUMSFELD: And we did see busloads of people coming out of Syria into the country. Some we stopped. The ones we could find, we turned them around and sent them back. And some we've impounded and put into enemy prisoner-of-war camps...
FRIEDMAN: Are the Syrians going to pay a price for this?
RUMSFELD: ... and others are getting killed.
SCHIEFFER: I mean--that--I mean, the reason I asked that, I mean, it seems to me that people wouldn't just be sitting around in Syria and say, ``Gosh, let's go over to Iraq.'' These people must have been sent there with a mission and they must have had some connection, wouldn't you assume...
RUMSFELD: On one of the buses...
SCHIEFFER: ... to the Syrian government?
RUMSFELD: On one of the buses, they found something like several hundred thousand dollars and a number of leaflets that suggested that people would be rewarded if they killed Americans, which is not surprising. Saddam Hussein's regime was paying $25,000 to people who blew up shopping malls in Israel--suicide bombers.
FRIEDMAN: Is the Syrian government going to pay a price for this? Should they?
RUMSFELD: Oh, I'm sure they already are, if you think about it. I mean, who in the world would want the invest in Syria? Who would want to go on tourism in Syria?
RUMSFELD: The government's making a lot of bad mistakes, a lot of bad judgment calls, in my view, and they're associating with the wrong people.
And the effect of that hurts the Syrian people. It hurts the Syrian people because reasonable people don't want to be associated with a state that's on the terrorist list. They don't want to be associated with a country that's engaged with Hezbollah and moving terrorists down and terrorist materials and equipment and explosives down through the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. They don't want to be associated with a country that's still occupying their neighboring country of Lebanon.
SCHIEFFER: But is that enough, Mr. Secretary, just to be on the terrorist list? I mean, should we take some other action or contemplate some other action?
RUMSFELD: Oh, that's for presidents and countries to decide, not for me.
SCHIEFFER: What if we find out that Saddam Hussein is in Syria? That if he is, indeed, still alive, that he's there?
RUMSFELD: Then I think Syria would have made an even bigger mistake.
SCHIEFFER: What would we do about that?
RUMSFELD: The last thing I would do would be to discuss that.
RIEDMAN: Mr. Secretary, I want to take you back to when the war is over. Let me rephrase my question. How do you see--because, obviously, you've learned some things now by this engagement with Iraq, the way the country has, you know, fallen out since the war.
What kind of political structure do you see evolving? That is, kind of, where will Tommy Franks and Central Command be? What kind of Iraqi input into this do you see happening? What will be the first steps, in terms of the political reconstruction of Iraq? What are you expecting?
RUMSFELD: I would think of it this way. That it will be a transition that will occur over a period of time, that there will be a number of things occurring near-simultaneously.
The first thing that has to be done is the war has to be won. We have to stamp out these pockets of resistance that exist. We have, then, a great deal of work to go out and look for weapons of mass destruction and explore these sites, to find terrorists in the terrorist areas that we know of.
We have to find people who can help us find these things and who can find the Ba'ath Party records and the intelligence services records and hope that they haven't all been burned and destroyed.
And we're actively looking. We're using rewards. We're using carrots and sticks, both. And we're finding an awful lot of people starting to cooperate with us, which is a good thing. So all of that work has to go forward.
We have to, second, see that we provide the humanitarian needs for the people of that country. It's just terribly important that they have the water and the food and the medicines. And we've got an excellent group of people organized and assisting, and the international community's participating.
And it's not perfect, but I know that our folks--President Bush, from well before this started, when once he believed it might have to happen, said he wanted the humanitarian effort to be right in parallel with the military effort. As a result, our forces, when they went in, brought water, brought food, they brought medical supplies for the people as they passed from the south up to the north.
The other thing that has to happen is the Iraqi people have to figure out how they want to have their government selected, and what kind of a constitution they want to have, and what kind of a case they want to have for that.
It's going to be their decisions, not ours. And Tom Franks, needless to say, will be there and will see that the security environment is such that these kinds of things can happen.
But there will begin to be meetings of Iraqis, and they'll begin to figure out a way to fashion an interim Iraqi authority. And then they will very likely figure out a way to fashion a new constitution. And then that constitution will have a mechanism to select their permanent government and leadership.
And it will happen as soon as is possible, we hope. The Iraqi people--some people of skeptical of whether or not the Iraqi people are capable of self-government. I'm not. I think it may not be perfect, and certainly there's going to be some bumps along the road. But the Afghan people are figuring out how to do that, and they had a process that was uniquely Afghan, and I suspect the Iraqis will figure out something that's uniquely Iraqi.
FRIEDMAN: Do you see an Arab role in terms of, we're going to have a security structure there under General Franks. Do you see possibly bringing in NATO or certain friendly Arab countries to participate in that peacekeeping role once the war is won?
RUMSFELD: Well, I was with, oh, I'm going to guess 50 ambassadors from countries that have been a part of this coalition. It's kind of amusing, when you think back. Everyone said the United States was acting unilaterally and going it alone. We weren't. We had some 50-plus countries that had been participating, and I was with many of them last night.
And as they walked in and shook hands, they, one after another, said, ``Our country is ready to supply 3,000 people for a peacekeeping force. Our country is ready to supply a medical unit. We're ready to assist with this. We're ready to assist with that.''
And that process has been going forward, and it is accelerating at this stage. And I do anticipate--I have said from the beginning that we would be...
FRIEDMAN: You do anticipate what? Finish that sentence.
RUMSFELD: That there will be a great many countries that will be involved in this process. There already are. Another country, Spain, has some troops in the ground in the port city of Umm Qasr, where you were recently.
SCHIEFFER: Including Arab countries?
RUMSFELD: Sure, why not? And certainly Muslim countries.
NATO--I've suggested to the secretary-general that I thought that that would be a good thing, if NATO wanted to do that. Obviously France would be opposed, I'm told, but they're opposed to a lot of things. So that shouldn't be a problem, because you can do it at 18, instead of at 19, countries, since they're not a member of the Defense Planning Committee. So I would hope that NATO would play a role.
The United Nations is playing a role and been very helpful, and we expect that that will grow.
SCHIEFFER: What about Germany?
RUMSFELD: I can't speak for any country.
SCHIEFFER: I mean, would they be welcomed if they wanted to help?
RUMSFELD: Oh, look, the needs there are real. We've got to find people who are willing to assist. And I'm certainly hopeful that a lot of countries will participate in various ways.
FRIEDMAN: You know, the French foreign minister today said that the time was not right for the United States to put pressure on Syria by accusing it of aiding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime.
Do these guys piss you off?
RUMSFELD: The French?
RUMSFELD: Oh, goodness. I think I'll leave diplomacy to Secretary Powell.
FRIEDMAN: Why? Why start now?
RUMSFELD: You know, I'm always a believer that people ought to--sovereign nations and individuals ought to have their own views, and they ought to argue them and debate them and discuss them. And I think that's good. That's healthy. And I like debate and discussion and competition of ideas. I think that's healthy.
I think what is not healthy is when someone tries to define themselves by their opposition to others, as opposed to what they're for or what they're doing.
And the comment you just cited suggests that the truth doesn't have any value. And the truth does have value. And the fact of the matter is that Syria has been unhelpful. And pretending that that's not the case, it strikes me, is to deny the truth. And I don't think you can live a lie.
SCHIEFFER: Let me shift just a minute from diplomacy to intelligence matters. David Martin of CBS News has learned that we have custody, I guess is the word, of the head of the Iraqi nuclear program. Can you tell us anything about that?
RUMSFELD: I'm sure there were a number of people who have been or were involved at senior levels of the Iraqi nuclear program. And I have been told that one of those individuals may be in custody, but I wouldn't want to get into who it was or...
SCHIEFFER: Well, the name we have been given is Jafar al-Jafair (ph).
RUMSFELD: I'll let the people who do this announce names. I don't do that.
SCHIEFFER: All right.
One of the things that he has apparently told U.S. officials is that the Iraqi nuclear program ended in 1991.
RUMSFELD: That's been the standard mantra from the Iraqis over a sustained period of time.
SCHIEFFER: Do you believe that?
RUMSFELD: Did you believe the minister of information of Iraq when he said there were no U.S. forces in Baghdad? There hasn't been much that they've said that is believable. Anyone who's watched them over the years knows that they're liars, skillful to be sure, and they've been able to get the world's press to carry their lies around as though they were true, without saying, ``Be on notice, caution. These people lie repeatedly.''
And it wasn't until they had the split screen with the U.S. forces at the Baghdad airport and the minister of information saying they weren't there that the people said, ``Well, my goodness, he is lying. Isn't that amazing?''
SCHIEFFER: Let's take a break right there. We'll come back in just a moment.
SCHIEFFER: Back again with the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.
Mr. Secretary, what is the latest on Saddam Hussein? Do we believe he is dead? Do we have DNA, that if we do turn up a body, we will be able to identify it? Just tell us what you can tell us about the whole business of where he is or if you think he is dead.
RUMSFELD: Well, there isn't a day that goes by that we aren't given intelligence information. And when I say intelligence, I shouldn't say that. It's scraps of information, and it's this report or that report.
And if you add it all up and inhale it, I think reasonable people come to the conclusion that we don't know, that there are people who think he is dead, there are people who think he was badly injured, there are people who think he may be alive.
I don't chase those rabbits. My attitude is, we'll find out, and eventually he will be through. But...
SCHIEFFER: Do you think we'll ever know?
SCHIEFFER: We will know?
RUMSFELD: I think so.
FRIEDMAN: Mr. Secretary, in the vacuum that was naturally created between the collapse of this regime and a new order, obviously, there has been a lot of chaos. We've seen looting in all the major cities now.
What are you doing to secure that situation now? Are you sending more troops? Are you devoting different units to securing different ministries now?
There was a report in ``The Washington Post'' today that the oil ministry had been secured but the national museum hadn't. People were raising questions about that.
What are you doing to secure the situation?
RUMSFELD: People raise questions about everything. That's fair enough.
There have been more troops arriving in the country every day for the past three weeks. Ever since they went in three weeks and two days ago, additional troops have been arriving. They have been going up, oh, anywhere from 1,500 to 3,500 a day. And--ours and some other countries' as well.
They are also able, as the war was being won, and is in the process of succeeding, the troops have been spreading all across the country. There are places where we have a control in a way that people can go out in the streets and do what they do and start rebuilding their lives. There are places where we do not have that kind of control at the present time.
And we do find that everywhere we do, when our terrific young men and women in uniform go into a town and create that presence, the security, and see that there isn't anarchy, there is not disorder and that people can safely go out in the street, people are coming in and volunteering. They're volunteering to engage in joint patrols with our people. The clerics are calling for people to not loot, not riot. The humanitarian assistance flows in. And the beginning of a return to a more normal situation is occurring. And it's a good thing.
And they're doing that in the south. They're doing it now in the north. There are patrols. In Baghdad, to be quite honest, is a very big place, and that is not the case yet. And that is sad, it's unfortunate. But it will be the case in very short order, and that's a good thing.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, you talked just a minute ago about the Iraqi information minister and some of these statements that they're putting out. A lot of the Arab world, as you well know, the information they get about this comes from Al-Jazeera, the Arab television network.
What do you think...
RUMSFELD: I wouldn't say the Arab...
SCHIEFFER: Well, one of them. It's certainly is the main one...
RUMSFELD: It is one of many.
SCHIEFFER: Do you believe Al-Jazeera is anything more than an Arab television network?
RUMSFELD: It puts out television images in Arabic and in Arabic language. And I don't watch it carefully. People who do tell me that it has a pattern of being anti-U.S., anti-West.
And I've also seen pieces of information that suggest that they're influenced by people like Saddam Hussein's regime.
SCHIEFFER: Do you have any information that would lead you to believe that it goes beyond being influenced, that perhaps they've been infiltrated by Saddam's people?
RUMSFELD: Oh, I've seen allegations to that effect, but I don't watch it so I can't speak from certain knowledge.
But it's unfortunate that the people of the world don't see as open and accurate a set of images in Arabic as I think they might. And anything that can be done about that, I think, is a good thing.
I think the free press and free television and the opportunity for people to do things badly and to do things well and to gain supporters and listenership when they do it well and lose it when they lie and don't have balance, I think that's the answer to it.
SCHIEFFER: What lessons should North Korea and its leaders draw from what they are seeing on television in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Oh, I think the circumstances are quite different. But the United States is attempting to see if there isn't a way to deal with this problem from a diplomatic standpoint.
It's a terrible risk to the world that if North Korea does, in fact, go through the reprocessing of nuclear materials and end up with sufficient materials to make six or eight more weapons in three or four or five months, that would be not a good thing.
If they started selling that material to countries around the world and we ended up with a large increase in the total number of nuclear powers in the world, that's not a happy place.
SCHIEFFER: Would we stand for that?
RUMSFELD: That's up to other people.
But I think what the world needs to do is recognize that these weapons are enormously powerful--biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, radiation weapons--and that they can kill tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of human beings, and that that's a risk to the world.
And the idea that those things could get into the hands of additional terrorist states, terrorist networks, is something that the world needs to grasp.
And I think that the like-thinking countries in the world, free people, need to, through international organizations and collectively, recognize how serious that threat is.
SCHIEFFER: Are you still convinced we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness, there's been so much intelligence, CIA material about what's been going on in that country, that if we can find the right people who will tell us where they've located them, then that's the way we're going to find them.
The inspectors didn't find them, and certainly we're not going to find them. It's not like a treasure hunt where you run around and dig down and see if there's a tunnel someplace. You've got to find the people who dug the tunnels, the people who've worked in those operations.
SCHIEFFER: And you think we will?
RUMSFELD: I do.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Mr. Secretary, thanks so much.
RUMSFELD: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: Back with a final word in just a minute.
SCHIEFFER: Finally today, watching our military crush Saddam has left me in awe, and my guess is most Americans feel the say way.
But as smoke clears over Baghdad, here's the part that worries me: Are we emphasizing the right reasons for going to Iraq? I believe there was good reason for what we did. Saddam posed a grave threat to this country and had to be disarmed.
But all of this talk lately about how this may be a part of a larger effort to remake that part of the world leaves me a little uneasy, mainly because it only fuels the hatred for us there.
And make no mistake, it is real hatred. Not many will miss the maniac Saddam. But there is always a natural resentment to powerful outsiders, and we are the ultimate powerful outsider.
And there is resentment because some are convinced we came there for the oil. And, as it always is, because some believe Israel is somehow behind all of this.
The way to counter this, it seems to me, is obvious. Bring in as many nations as possible to help restore order and share in helping to rebuild Iraq. Then we must leave as quickly as we came. That won't take away from our victory, but enhance it.
We scored a spectacular success in Iraq, but real security will depend on what comes next. If we want to take down the barricades and metal detectors and stop undressing at the airport, we must rebuild our traditional alliances and convince the Arab world they have no reason to hate us.
Getting out of Iraq may be as important to our long-term security as going in was.
That's it for us. We'll see you next week right here on Face the Nation.
Fox News Sunday
SNOW: I'm Tony Snow reporting from the headquarters of U.S. Central Command at Doha, Qatar.
Major news this morning. U.S. troops today, near the city of Samarra, in Iraq, found seven previously missing colleagues. All seven reportedly in good health. Details next on ``Fox News Sunday.''
A week that changed the world: Saddam falls. Iraqis cheer the liberation of Baghdad. Allies streak through Iraq, while humanitarian supplies flood into cities shaken by looting and desperate for help.
But despite coalition battlefield successes to date, it's too early to declare the war over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The war will end when Tommy Franks says we've achieved our objective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Today we will bring you the mastermind of the coalition war plan, General Tommy Franks.
Plus, we'll review seven amazing days with Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol and Juan Williams.
This is the April 13th edition of ``Fox News Sunday.''
Good morning. I'm joining you live from the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command at Doha, Qatar.
Before we bring you my interview with General Tommy Franks, let's get an update on Operation Iraqi Freedom. We begin at the Pentagon and Fox News national security correspondent Bret Baier.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Central Command now confirms seven American soldiers were recovered today about 95 miles north of Baghdad. And it is believed at this hour, at least some, if not all of them, were American prisoners of war.
The recovery happened about 95 miles north of the city of Baghdad on the way to Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. U.S. Marines made this recovery. They were alerted to the seven American soldiers' location by an Iraqi citizen. They were found near the city of Samarra.
General Tommy Franks released some of the details of that recovery in a tapes interview with Tony. Here's an excerpt of that interview that you'll see in its entirety shortly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKS: I don't have the full content of the, you know, the way they were picked up. But what I'm told is that someone came up to our Marines who were moving along the road headed toward Tikrit and said, ``Here shortly you're going to come in contact with a number of Americans, and just so you know, they're there.'' And so, the tip came from an Iraqi.
And so I believe our guys picked them up on the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: There are officially seven American prisoners of war, five of them from the 507th Maintenance Company out of Fort Bliss, Texas, and two Apache helicopter pilots out of the U.S. Army's 227th Aviation Regiment.
Now, reporters on the ground with the Marines today say one of the seven recovered today was an African-American woman matching the description of the only woman listed as a POW or missing.
Now, yesterday, Private First Class Jessica Lynch, the first rescued prisoner of war, arrived back in the United States at Andrews Air Force Base, surrounded by military security, seen here. She was escorted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where she is being treated today.
As for action on the ground in Iraq, U.S. commanders are reporting that they are not encountering any major resistance as they move into Tikrit. They have been reporting some sporadic firefights but no substantial Iraqi troop resistance, as U.S. troops on the ground now transition from combat operations to stabilization.
SNOW: Bret, thank you very much.
And now let's get the latest from Baghdad. For that, we go to Jennifer Eccleston in Baghdad.
JENNIFER ECCLESTON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. Well, Iraqi liberation on full display here. Baghdad residents took out to the street today to demonstrate their right to free speech, something they haven't been able to exercise in almost 30 years.
Now, about 100 residents of Baghdad came out today to protest. It had initially an anti-American flair: ``Down, down, George Bush. Go home, USA.'' But that quickly turned.
And the residents then started to approach the issue today on two themes: First is that Baghdad desperately needs the utilities that have been shut down now for a number of weeks--electricity, water, and sanitation devices.
They also were concerned about the idea that Iraq needs to be run by the Iraqis. Now, the person in charge, the retired major general Jay Garner addressed their concerns earlier, yesterday, from Kuwait City. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJOR GENERAL JAY GARNER (RET.): This is a journey. We just started on the journey. And I know where we started. I don't know quite when it's going to end. But it will end as soon as we hand this nation back to the Iraqis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ECCLESTON: Another concern today at this demonstration: the restoration of law and order.
ECCLESTON: As you've seen now in a number of videotapes over the last couple of days, widespread looting throughout Baghdad, neighborhood by neighborhood, armed gangs and individuals, going into shops. They even went into the Iraqi National Museum here and looted some historical treasures.
U.S. officials, Marines here on the ground meeting with members of the Iraqi police department, trying to get together some forces that they can go on joint patrols of the city to maintain some peace and stability here in Baghdad.
Also to mention today, a big catch by United States and coalition forces the surrender of General Amir al-Sadi, the chief scientific adviser to President Saddam Hussein. He turned himself over to the Americans yesterday, captured on German television.
He still maintains that Iraq doesn't have any weapons of mass destruction. But if there are weapons of mass destruction here, and the Americans need to know about it, this is the man who will certainly be able to take them to them.
Back to you, Tony.
SNOW: Jennifer, thank you very much.
Earlier this morning, I interviewed General Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. Central Command and the mastermind of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I began by asking him about the seven Americans found this morning north of Baghdad.
SNOW: General, we know six or seven American servicemen today have been found in Samarra, which is a town between Baghdad and Tikrit.
SNOW: Is it your fear that they were being housed there as human shields?
FRANKS: As a matter of fact, I don't have the full content of the, you know, the way they were picked up, but what I'm told is that someone came up to our Marines, who were moving along the road headed toward Tikrit, and said, ``Here shortly, you're going to come in contact with a number of Americans, and just so you know, they're there.'' And so the tip came from an Iraqi.
And so, I believe that our guys picked them up on the road.
SNOW: All right. And they are in good condition?
FRANKS: That's to the best of my understanding, yes.
SNOW: Up and walking?
SNOW: And how soon can one expect to see them?
FRANKS: Well, I don't know, but you can bet that about as soon as I walk off of this--walk off this little soundstage here, I'm going to go see what kind of details I can get from them.
SNOW: Are you getting this sort of intelligence now on the ground from Iraqis?
SNOW: They're leading you to Americans?
FRANKS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
SNOW: They're leading you to former regime members?
SNOW: They're leading you toward weapons of mass destruction?
SNOW: So, you think...
FRANKS: Now, the difficulty--now, let me caveat it a little bit. The difficulty you have is that so many Iraqis, which we see on TV, thanks to you, waving, you know, waving flags and hugging and so forth, and these average Iraqis come up just in huge numbers and say, ``Come here, we want to show you something, and let me tell you where something is.''
And in many cases, they are pure, but they don't know themselves. And so we just established this huge (inaudible) list of places we want to go and things we want to look at. And yes, the Iraqis are helping very much in getting that done.
SNOW: So there are some things on that list.
FRANKS: Oh, absolutely, sure. And we go to every one of them.
SNOW: Including possibly other Americans?
FRANKS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
SNOW: Do you think you're going to be able to get out all the POWs and MIAs?
FRANKS: Oh, gosh, I don't think we could predict that at all. I think it would be a true blessing if we were able to do that, and I don't think we--I don't think we can count on it.
But I can tell you this. Even though we can't count on it, we can work at them hard. And we have been, and we will.
SNOW: How many towns right now in Iraq are still under regime control?
FRANKS: Well, actually, I don't know of any. But the fact is that there are a lot of cities in this rather large country. And I think you have seen, and certainly I have seen, as these wonderful young troops from U.K., Australia and Americans have moved across this country, they have covered a lot of ground in a short period of time.
And in many cases, we have simply bypassed villages and towns and so forth. And now we will go to each and every one of them, and be sure that we don't have some last, small stronghold in that country.
SNOW: How long do you think that will take?
FRANKS: I really don't know, Tony. I told someone a little bit earlier that you actually have--let me use the term ``bookends.'' If you have a really fractious sort of country, where everything is just wrong everyplace, then the number of soldiers involved in taking care of that is rather large, and the amount of time required to do it is rather long.
On the other hand, if you have at the other bookend, if you're able to see that the Iraqis themselves are taking charge of their governance and their police functions and all of that stuff in the large majority of these cities and population centers, then a much smaller force and a much shorter period of time.
FRANKS: And actually, Tony, right now, we don't know where we are between these bookends.
SNOW: Based on what you've seen, though, you have Iraqis coming up and giving you intelligence...
SNOW: ... that has led to the freeing of American citizens.
SNOW: Is it your estimate that they believe Saddam Hussein is dead and therefore they can act freely?
FRANKS: Wouldn't say that, but what I would say is that it is obvious to us that it has become obvious to them that Saddam Hussein can no longer harm them.
SNOW: Characterize the resistance.
FRANKS: I'll use the term ``spotty.'' We have had our people in some places where they had a hell of a fight, and I think that's been pretty obvious. We have had our people go to other places, where in fact, we were ready for just a huge fight and, in fact, had been greeted by people who were simply saying, ``We're pleased all the regular army people have left, and here's all their equipment.''
And so, highs and lows, in terms of where this enemy has chosen to fight.
SNOW: How many of the remaining fighters, what percentage, give me a rough estimate, of those remaining, are foreigners?
FRANKS: Oh, gosh, I don't know, because I'm not sure how many fighters there are. But let me give you this, which may be better insight than that really soft answer.
We have divided Baghdad into block zones, that's the way we describe the work that's going on in downtown Baghdad. And I think there are 55 or 60 zones in that city. Probably 10 to 15 of those zones, we're not sure about yet. And we expect to find groups of five to 25 hardcore folks, who, as Don Rumsfeld calls them, dead-enders.
And we've seen that, I think you've seen in recent days a heck of a fight our people got in around one of the major mosques in one of those block areas in Baghdad.
Now, we have found, in some cases, that these hardcore people are Iraqis, Special Republican Guard or Ba'athists or SSO and so forth, but we've also found a number of foreigners involved in those populations. And I'm not sure right now what the breakout would be between Iraqis and foreigners.
I do know that we are seeing a number of foreigners, and I mentioned earlier, we're seeing a number of Syrians. These are mercenaries. I mean, we've seen the recruiting pamphlets that were used to bring these people into Iraq.
SNOW: Do you believe the Syrian government could have prevented their coming into Iraq?
FRANKS: Oh, gosh. I mean, I could give you some--I could give you an opinion, but if I did, it would be the opinion of a soldier rather than, you know, a policy opinion.
I would say this: I believe that any nation that wants to control its borders can do so.
SNOW: If fighters come across those borders going after Americans, isn't that an act of war?
FRANKS: Well, I wouldn't go there at all. I mean, that's not a call that I think any soldier would make. I do know that, in a number of cases, we have stopped people coming into Iraq, and in some cases, we have taken them as enemy prisoners of war. In other cases, we have sent them back on their way. And so, that's probably the best I could do.
SNOW: Have coalition forces intercepted any Iraqi--intercepted and captured any Iraqi leaders making their way out of the country?
FRANKS: It's hard to say, because, well, I'm not going to give you a cute answer. I will say coalition forces and some Iraqis with whom we have contact have taken some people trying to escape from Iraq.
SNOW: So some of those leaders, whose names we may not yet know, are in custody now?
FRANKS: Right. That's correct.
SNOW: Where are they?
FRANKS: Well, I wouldn't tell you that.
SNOW: You sure?
FRANKS: Come on, Tony, you know I wouldn't tell you that. They're in western Iraq.
SNOW: What was your reaction when you saw the Saddam statue toppled?
FRANKS: Personal reaction: a degree of vindication of one view, not vindication of, you know, the usual plan, does it vindicate the plan and all that. That's not what I'm talking about. Vindication of one particular notion.
I believe that we have believed for a long time that this population of 25-million-plus Iraqis lived beneath a yoke of a regime which they viewed as a terrible regime.
FRANKS: And the sign of the Iraqis, especially the man with the sledgehammer, you remember the scene, brought to my mind the fact that that is exactly right, these people really do want a way of life where they can take advantage of the tremendous wealth that they have in their country, something that the average Iraqi has not been able to take advantage of for decades now.
SNOW: There has been a lot of talk about when the war ends. Does the war end only when the first democratic ballot has been cast?
FRANKS: I don't know. I think that's up for our president to decide, along with...
SNOW: He said it's up to you to decide.
FRANKS: Well, actually, I think President Bush said the same thing with this that he said in Afghanistan, and that is, I'll know when the military phases of this operation are over because the ground commander, and in this case, it just happens to be me, will tell me, and that is absolutely true.
We have a phased operation, Tony. We wanted to set conditions, we wanted to conduct decisive combat operations. Let me describe that for just a second. The destruction of the Republican Guards and the regular army forces and the Special Republican Guards and so forth. Decisive military operations. And that's where we are now, and we're moving toward the end of that.
And when I sense that we have accomplished each of these phases, then I tell Secretary Rumsfeld, and we tell the president of the United States. And then he forms judgments about the way ahead.
SNOW: So Secretary Rumsfeld said they're moving on to stage four, which is stabilization.
SNOW: Stabilization may take some time. Now, you've heard a lot of people saying, ``Why didn't you expect looting? Why didn't you anticipate this?''
SNOW: Did your armies succeed more rapidly than even you anticipated?
SNOW: Did the seizure of Baghdad take place before it was possible even to get in place the means of stabilizing?
FRANKS: Tony, I think your question is a very good one. I think that the only part of the question that I--and it's not the question, it's the notion of the criticism that I bristle to just a bit--is the implication that a great many things haven't been done during the course of this what I described as decisive combat operations.
I think you know that several military organizations and civil affairs and engineers and electricians and people who do water work and that sort of thing, have been with--and military policemen, have been with each of our combat formations as it has, as that formation has moved through Iraq.
And, actually, I had not seeing anything going on in Baghdad or in Mosul or Kirkuk or anyplace else that I thought was terribly surprising. I count back during the fall of the wall, the Berlin Wall, and in so many other places where, when the yoke is removed, the people just become wild.
And I think the measure of merit for us is how quickly is this lawlessness, looting and so forth, controlled. And I don't believe that a period of two, three, four or five days is a sufficient period of time for us to begin to criticize ourselves and say, ``Oh, gosh, if we had just had more of this and less of this, it would have been better.''
And so I'll just say what I guess you've grown accustomed to hearing me say.
The plan's working just fine, and we're remaining on the plan. So we feel pretty good with it.
SNOW: We're going to take a quick break. When we return, General Franks talks about weapons of mass destruction.
SNOW: Now, the conclusion of my interview this morning with General Tommy Franks.
SNOW: Weapons of mass destruction. You've said today that there may be 2,000 to 3,000 possible sites?
SNOW: These are individual sites you know of...
FRANKS: Individual sites, right.
SNOW: ... you've targeted? You're ready to visit one by one.
SNOW: So you have absolute confidence that there are weapons there?
FRANKS: I have absolute confidence that there are weapons of mass destruction inside this country. Whether we will turn out, at the end of the day, to find them in one of the 2,000 or 3,000 sites we already know about or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will tell us, ``Oh, well, there's actually another site,'' and we'll find it there, I'm not sure.
But I am sure that there weapons in the country, yes.
SNOW: Have any weapons left the country?
FRANKS: I don't believe so. I don't believe so.
SNOW: So the rumors that Syria may have some, you're not buying it?
FRANKS: Not up to this point. I think that what we do is--let me answer it this way.
In this sort of a military campaign, what you want to do is you want to move to isolate the centers of power very, very quickly. We're pleased with the way that happened.
We believe that that isolation occurred in a way that the remnants of this regime may have an opportunity for one or five or 55 of them to escape, but not to move--but not to move items and so forth outside the country.
SNOW: What lesson do you think terrorists or regimes that sponsor terrorism should take from this war?
FRANKS: Hard for me to say. If I were a terrorist or a sponsor of terrorism, my take-away would be that the president of the United States and that the people of my country are joined by, perhaps, a community of nations larger than any we may have ever seen on this planet, with incredible resolve to stand in the face of this problem: terrorism, the export of violence, trafficking in weapons of mass destruction.
So, if I were looking for a lesson to take away, it would be, whoa, these people are really resolute in this matter.
SNOW: Do you believe last week was the beginning of a new era of democracy in this region?
FRANKS: Don't know. One can hope.
I think what we are so proud of is governments which permit their populace to be involved in a process that provides them freedom, provides them liberty. And I think what we will see in the month and years ahead in Iraq will provide a bit of a model for how that can be done.
Because, Tony, it will be the Iraqi people who decide how to do that, and they will do it on their terms.
SNOW: Do you expect to be in Baghdad--you, personally--within the week?
FRANKS: Well, that would be my guess. But not necessarily for a parade. I mean, I may just go there with a very small staff for the purpose of seeing my people.
I call these people with whom I work the band of brothers, and they are absolutely incredible. I'm talking about a ground component commander by the name of David McKiernan. I'm talking about a naval guy by the name of Tim Keating. I'm talking about a special operator, whom you got that coffee cup from the other day, by the name of Gary Harold (ph). I'm talking about Buzz Moseley, our air component commander.
I think it is entirely fitting for this band of brothers to sit and talk and have a chance to see their young people who are doing this hard work in and around Baghdad. And so I will seek an opportunity to make that happen.
SNOW: Let me ask a couple of parting questions.
FRANKS: Yes, sir.
SNOW: First, if you can, give us a one-or two-sentence summary of this war.
FRANKS: Pride. I have--I have great--I'm very proud of my country. I'm very proud of my country, because the people of America support what this is all about. I'm proud of America's leadership, because, in every case, the leadership of the United States of America has given me everything that I've asked for to do this.
FRANKS: I'm very proud of the troops and all their leaders, from not only our own country, but also United Kingdom, Australia, and there are others, who are participating in all of this, because it actually is a unified effort, and we ought to all be very proud of it.
And so pride is what comes to my mind.
SNOW: OK. Very quick answer to this one, then one more, and I'll be done.
Are you happy with the embeds?
FRANKS: I think I said very early in this effort, I'm a fan. I'm a fan of media embeds, and it's for a very simple reason: I believe that the greatest truth that's available to the world about what's going on is found in the pictures that come from the front lines where the war is being fought.
I believe that every step we remove ourselves from the fact of the picture, we become less precise in our description of what's happening. And so, if we believe in the First Amendment to our Constitution, and if we believe in the power of having our country know the truth, then the embeds have carried us a long ways in the direction of making that happen.
SNOW: Finally, you got a pack of those cards?
FRANKS: I can probably get you one, Tony.
SNOW: All right.
FRANKS: Thanks a lot.
SNOW: General Franks, thank you so much.
FRANKS: God bless. Thanks a lot for doing it right. We appreciate it.
SNOW: And I'm counting on getting those cards soon.
Again, General Tommy Franks.
When we return, stories you won't see on any other Sunday show, and our panel on Operation Iraqi Freedom.
SNOW: Now let's check out some political stories we found this week Below the Fold.
Chief weapons inspector for the U.N., Hans Blix, is accusing the United States and Britain of fabricating evidence to justify war with Iraq. He told the Spanish newspaper ``El Pais'' that he'd taken umbrage that the war had been planned in advance. He added, ``The threat of banned weapons could have been contained by U.N. inspectors.''
A seemingly different Blix, the same day, told the Swedish newspaper Auftan Bladetz (ph), ``Maybe I could've gotten tougher with the Iraqis back in December.'' He also revealed that when negotiations broke down with the Iraqis, quote, ``We drank coffee together in New York.''
A junior-level Iraqi diplomat left New York this week, but not before trashing his apartment to the tune of $8,500 worth of damage. The landlord wants the city to repay the damage since there is no government left to foot the bill.
Actress Jane Fonda told a Canadian audience the other day, quote, ``It's hard to imagine a happy ending to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.'' She added that Americans are so ignorant of reality and of history. The following day, Baghdad fell.
And now it's time for our panel: Brit Hume, Washington managing editor of Fox News; Mara Liasson, national correspondent for National Public Radio; Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard; and Juan Williams, national correspondent for National Public Radio.
Panel, before we begin, I want to play a piece of tape that sort of summarizes an absolutely amazing week in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALDOURI: No questions. I said to your people there that the game is over. My hope now is peace for everybody, OK? This is what I have. I have no more.
QUESTION: Since you're only going to say it once, let us just get it set up.
QUESTION: Just that we're here. Let me just ask you, sir...
ALDOURI: No, I have no, I cannot answer your questions. I told you, I repeat it again, the game is over. I hope that peace will prevail and the Iraqi people, at the end of the day, will have a peaceful life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: That, of course, was Mohammed AlDouri, the former U.N. representative for Iraq. He has now hightailed it out of the United States.
Brit Hume, an absolutely amazing week. Three weeks ago, people were wringing their hands about the progress of the war. Now it appears that that no major city is controlled by Saddam Hussein's regime. It is in flight.
And now we have welcome news today also that seven Americans, maybe all of the POWs, have been rescued north of Baghdad and just south of Saddam's hometown of Tikrit.
What do you think?
HUME: Tony, Tommy Franks is fond of saying--and many generals have believed this down through the ages--that, in warfare, speed kills. And it certainly did this time. It killed the Iraqi regime far sooner than I think anybody in Washington, where there was a considerable amount of hand-wringing going on, ever expected.
And Mohammed AlDouri was quick to pick up the point. At times, he seemed out of tune with reality, but he got it this week, didn't he?
LIASSON: Yes, and I think one of the mysteries that I guess we won't know until many, many months or years after the war is why the Iraqis didn't take all of the opportunity they had, when America was massing its forces over there, to protect itself and to prepare for the fighting around Baghdad. It seems like they left everything until the last minute, and then they didn't have enough minutes left when it came time to do that.
KRISTOL: Good thing, too. The war is not over yet, though, and there's actually been interesting fighting going on around the town of Al Qaim, which is right by the Syrian border on the Euphrates, I guess 10 miles inside the border, in Iraq, 175 miles from Baghdad, right on the Baghdad-to-Damascus road.
What's striking is we've been fighting there secretly, really, for two or three weeks. There are no embedded reporters with the Special Operations and the British commandos fighting there.
That was where the Iraqis launched the Scuds from in 1991 against Israel. The Iraqis had a nuclear uranium-extraction plant there, part of their nuclear program in the late-'80s that we destroyed in 1991.
That city has been tenaciously defended by Special Republican Guards and special Iraqi forces. One wonders what exactly has been going on there. I think that's a city. Al Qaim, that we'll hear more about in the near future.
And we'll hear more generally about the question of how many Iraqis were able to get across the border to Syria.
WILLIAMS: I think the big news this week was the toppling of that statue. It was a visual story told by television so effectively.
And I got to say that the reason I identify that as the key moment is because that was a moment of liberation for the Iraqi people. And it just sort of brings joy to your heart as an American, people who celebrate democracy and freedom, to see that kind of opportunity offered to the Iraqi people by American forces.
And in some ways, it validates what Dick Cheney, the vice president, what President Bush had been saying, that the Iraqi people would respond with enthusiasm to the idea of having Saddam Hussein deposed.
Now, that's not the whole story, obviously. The whole story, at this moment, involves also contending with looting, with the breakdown of civil order, anarchy especially. You've heard appeals from the Red Cross about lack of hospital and medical facility ability to care for injured Iraqis. That's a real concern, and that story will continue.
And America, to truly be victorious, has to cope with the aftermath of the military victory.
KRISTOL: Well, let me just say one word about looting. My friend P.J. O'Rourke...
SNOW: Juan, that's a good point. Let me just jump in for a second--go ahead.
KRISTOL: No, just, thanks, Tony, sorry, we have this delay here which makes it difficult.
KRISTOL: No, our friend P.J. O'Rourke, who's in Kuwait, told my colleague Matt LaBash (ph) on Thursday as they watch the looting on TV in Baghdad, ``Don't worry, Matt. Looting is the first stage of shopping.''
WILLIAMS: The first stage of shopping? Well, you just hope. But the thing is, when they tear through the national museum and all of those riches, which is really Iraq's, you know, inheritance to the world, I mean, it's unbelievable, and it's sad. And it suggests that there's a lack of order.
Now, the American forces have said, ``Listen, we're not threatened by the looters. The looters are not attacking American forces,'' so you can't use the right of self-defense in order to go after the looters. But the consequence for civil life in Iraq and the future of any kind of Iraqi society is pretty dark and desperate at this moment if that looting is allowed to continue.
LIASSON: Well, but General Tommy Franks told Tony this morning--he said something pretty interesting. He said, ``We can't restore order in two or three days.'' Now, he didn't say two or three weeks.
It sounds like, in pretty short order, the American military force there is planning to transform itself into a force that can keep order, because that is the first prerequisite toward Iraq becoming a functioning democracy.
HUME: And remember, there's a reason why there's been this steady flow of additional troops coming across the border at the rate of a couple thousand every day since this conflict got under way. And that is that knocking off Saddam's regime takes fewer forces than maintaining control of the place.
So, once reinforced, obviously, the U.S. forces will be able to do a lot more than they've been able to do so far to kind of keep calm and keep order in those cities.
The looting is a terribly ugly spectacle seen on television. But it, you know, when you think about what has now been lifted from those people--and we learn more about this every day from things that are found and the reaction of the Iraqis--I mean, this turns out, if it's possible to be so, to be an even more beastly, even more evil regime than perhaps we had imagined.
And it's brought about a shift in public opinion about the reasons for this war. Americans now think, and, you know, by a large majority, that weapons of mass destruction or not, this was worth doing. And it's awfully hard to look at the situation of what happened this week and not tend to agree with it.
WILLIAMS: Well, you see, the problem is that the way that the president justified it, Brit, was to say we were going in there because Iraq definitely had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat, not only a threat to the Middle East, but potentially a threat to the United States, and therefore could also feed terrorists these weapons of mass destruction.
This very weekend in Russia, you've had a meeting between French President Chirac, German Chancellor Schroeder. And what Putin said very carefully was, he said there--weapons of mass destruction were not used by the Iraqi government at their most desperate moment. No weapons of mass destruction have been found.
So, in terms of world opinion, I'm not sure that we've made a lot of progress on that front. But the progress has been made on the idea that we were liberators. Even in the Arab world, despite their resentment of the United States as a great bully, they've had to slow down and say, ``Wait a minute. The Iraqi people are celebrating.''
But this weapons-of-mass-destruction argument, that seems to have gone by the wayside.
LIASSON: Well, we've got to find them, and the U.S. is looking for them, and I think it is important that they do discover them.
SNOW: Mara, I'm going to cut in here for a second.
Juan, you raise a very good point, and it's one that I want to try to develop at further length here.
Let's talk a little bit, for a moment, about the larger impact. An official here describes the change as akin to the Six Day War, in that it has completely revolutionized thinking. It has shattered a lot of myths about American power and American willingness. And as a consequence, people now have to rethink America's role in the world and also our seriousness.
Bill, I'm going to let you take that one on first.
KRISTOL: Well, Tony, it's clearly been a shock in the Arab world. You know, there was some good reporting late this week. People who have been demonstrating against America a week ago, shocked by both American power and by the scenes of joy, the scenes of liberation in Baghdad. And I think that, you know, shock is a good beginning to rethinking. And I think we're likely to see a lot of that in the Arab world.
The other point is, this war's going to have a big impact at here at home. This is our biggest war since Vietnam. I mean, we had more troops over in the first Gulf war, but no one can doubt, in terms of the military, the size of the campaign, the difficulty, the ambition of removing of a totalitarian regime, this is our biggest effort since Vietnam.
It's the most successful, the most completely successful, I would say, the most importantly successful American war, since World War II. It is going to have a big effect on the way we think of ourselves, our role in the world, the military. I mean, it won't be quite Vietnam level, but I think a very big moment.
WILLIAMS: Well, I'll tell you what. That's what--this is exactly what worries me. I celebrate exactly what the president has done. Brit's over there, waving his head, but you know what, I celebrate what the president's done.
But it worries that if you, sitting here, Bill Kristol, are saying, ``Oh, this is a great thing for America.'' If we start engaging in wars of choice, preemptory wars, and suddenly say, ``You know what, maybe we should go on to Syria, because Syria's a little bit of a problem, and they may be, in fact, holding on to Saddam Hussein at this very moment,'' that worries me.
WILLIAMS: That should not be the lesson of what has taken place here.
HUME: Well, I don't know what you think the lesson should be, Juan.
HUME: But it strikes me that, if there's one thing--first of all, this is, for the purposes of making the world a better place, this is unambiguously a good thing which has happened.
The other thing is, the world and its peace has very little to fear from the United States of America. It has a lot more to fear from Syria.
And if we went after Syria--and there's no reason to think, at this point, there's any plan to do that, despite some hysterical goings-on in the media about it and in some quarters of the American left--that wouldn't be a bad thing either.
Look at what the United States is doing here, and look at the record of the United States military around the world in the century that just ended. The world does not have to fear the United States military. It comes as liberators, and it comes in self-defense.
And the idea that you're all worried now, all worried because we had a big win in Iraq, strikes me as a failure to remember history and an utter misapprehension of what the United States is all about.
WILLIAMS: I think it's not a matter of not remembering history, Brit, it's a matter of having a proper understanding of this moment in history, when the United States is the lone superpower on the globe.
WILLIAMS: The Cold War is long gone.
HUME: That's good.
WILLIAMS: You say we have nothing to fear, but I think, for the rest of the world, they look at American military might, they look at the speed that kills that you referred to earlier, and say, ``Oh my gosh, that means, if they disagree with me, I could be next, that means the United States acts unilaterally without the consent of the U.N.,'' that even our friends and neighbors, the Canadians, the Mexicans, everybody says, you know what, hold on, slow down, and the United States need not take heed.
Secondly, what's the United States going to engage in here? Remember President Bush was the guy who campaigned in 2000, saying he was opposed to Al Gore and Bill Clinton's notion of nation-building, of the United States going out and taking on every bad guy in the world, that we needed to take care of issues here at home first.
You know what? The Bush administration is going to be historically remembered for nation-building. In fact, it's being scored for not doing enough nation-building in Afghanistan as we speak. And if they keep their word and rebuild Iraq, that will be their major accomplishment.
HUME: So, at the end of the day, Juan, this is about a broken campaign promise?
WILLIAMS: Well, I'm just reminding you that there's a lot here--we're all so happy about the military victory and the speed of it and the limited number of casualties and getting back our POWs this morning. That stuff could just raise to the heavens.
But, Brit, I'm telling you, in terms of the political argument, don't go overboard, hold your fire, tighten your chin strap, and realize there's so much more to be done, and especially more to be done in terms of rebuilding our alliances and the idea of the world trusting us as the lone superpower.
KRISTOL: The main thing that's to be done is to continue what President Bush said this was part of. This war against Iraq is not the end of the war on terror and the war on dictators developing weapons of mass destruction.
We hope it's the last physical military war we have to fight for quite a while, but if Syria is worried now about harboring terror, if Iran is worried about...
WILLIAMS: That's good.
KRISTOL: ... (inaudible) and developing nukes, if North Korea is now much more worried, which they seem to be--they're suddenly being much more forthcoming, in terms of having multilateral discussions, China seems to be pressuring North Korea, they're worried that we might do this again--that is a very good thing.
And this war is the end of the beginning of the Bush doctrine. It is not the end of our foreign policy.
LIASSON: That might be a good thing, but Iran and North Korea might also be learning a lesson: We better get our nuclear weapons on board fast, because it's less likely that the United States is going to fight us militarily if we have them than if we don't.
But I think...
KRISTOL: They learned that lesson long before.
LIASSON: And they're on their way to doing it.
KRISTOL: Iran and North Korea have been going pell-mell for nuclear weapons for the last decade.
LIASSON: And it certainly doesn't look like they've stopped in the last couple of weeks.
KRISTOL: No. And we may have to stop them.
LIASSON: Well, whether we stop them militarily or not, or whether all of a sudden our diplomatic force has just been given a whole bunch of military muscle behind it that makes it more threatening, we'll see.
But I think there's something--first of all, as Brit said, nobody is saying that Syria is next on the list. As a matter of fact, Colin Powell has been out there trying to tamp down those kinds of expectations or worries around the world.
But I think there are some other forces in the United States that are going to mitigate against another military action soon, which is, President Bush wants to get reelected in 2004, and he wants to turn his attention back to the domestic economy. And I think there's going to be a lot of pressures on him to do that, and not get involved soon in another military action.
HUME: One final thought about this: Nations of the world have not much to fear from democratic nations. Democratic nations, if they have a problem, it's because they're slow to act militarily.
Anyway, I've said my piece. Tony, back to you.
SNOW: All right, Brit. Well, thanks.
We're going to take a quick break. When we return, we're going to take up some of those domestic topics. So stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I have absolutely no regret about my vote on this war. The same questions remain: the cost in human lives, the cost to our budget, probably $100 billion. We could have probably brought down that statue for a lot less.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we've gotten rid of them. I suppose that's a good thing, but there's going to be a long period where the United States is going to need to be maintained in Iraq, and that's going to cost the American taxpayers a lot of money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: So there you have it. You have Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, and Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and also presidential contender, weighing in on the war. They're still opposed.
Mara, what's the political fallout of these two comments?
LIASSON: Well, I think what's interesting is that the Democrats haven't changed their positions one bit. Howard Dean spoke at a Children's Defense Fund event where, for the first time, all nine of the Democratic presidential candidates shared a stage. Juan was one of the questioners there. And it was interesting. All the pro-war Democrats obviously still pro-war. All the anti-war Democrats, no change in their position.
What they are doing is they're pivoting to make a message that I think you're going to hear from almost every single one of them, regardless of their position on the war, which is, if we can spend X hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Iraq, why can't we spend the same amount of money, or whatever it takes, to do the same thing here to meet unmet domestic needs in the United States?
And they're going to take aim at President Bush's tax cuts, and I think that's one of the things you're going to hear a lot.
HUME: You know, Mara, that may well be a salable message, and you can sense just hearing it that it has a certain appeal, a certain ring to it.
The problem I see for the Democrats--and not so much Howard Dean, who seems, you know, only grudgingly to be able to acknowledge that the fall of this hideous despot was a good thing, he supposed, which is kind of a silly comment.
The problem that strikes me is more embodied in what Nancy Pelosi said, that we could have done this for a lot less. Of course she doesn't say how. I never noticed Nancy Pelosi with any plan beforehand as to how all this could've been accomplished. In fact, she never, so far as I know, favored particularly any course of action that would have led to Saddam.
There's a striking unseriousness about what she said, a certain almost juvenile childishness about it. That's not a serious foreign policy observation. She's a very senior member of the Democratic Party. Is that the best she can do? Is this the best the party can do?
LIASSON: I think that the party is very soon, in a number of months, going to be represented by the person who's going to be the nominee. And I think that the majority of the top-tier candidates in the Democratic Party voted for this war, and that's not the message you're going to be hearing from them.
HUME: The question I would ask about that is, is their message the one that the Democratic faithful want to hear? Or is Howard Dean more in tune with the Democratic faithful?
LIASSON: Well, I think that--we're not sure yet what happens to the war as an issue in the Democratic primary. It's just about over now. It certainly helped Howard Dean propel himself into the top tier in Iowa and New Hampshire because of anti-war sentiment there.
HUME: But by opposition.
LIASSON: Yes, by opposition. But now things are going to change. The war is going to, I think, recede into the background in terms of a point of debate in the Democratic primary, and other things are going to be debated more prominently.
I don't think, come September or October or November, you're going to hear the Democrats arguing about the war.
WILLIAMS: You know, at this Children's Defense Fund event that Mara mentioned, the line that really, I thought, got the most reaction, I think, was Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, when he said, you know, weapons of mass destruction here at home are hunger, homelessness, unemployment, that these are issues that the American people want attended to now.
And it picked up on what Howard Dean was saying, Brit, in the sense that there's going to be tremendous expense to rebuild Iraq, to give the Iraqi people, for example, universal health care. And the candidates on stage for the Children's Defense Fund are saying, how come here in America we don't have a health care system that can take care of our own people?
HUME: You know, Juan, it picks up on Howard Dean, you're correct about that. But you know who else it picks up on? That picks up on the thinking and the message of George McGovern, which proved to be wildly popular inside the Democratic Party and took its party to one of the worst defeats in its history.
So I would urge people who see the enthusiasm, as Mara and I have just talked about, in the Democrats' feeling on this kind of thing to remember what that kind of message has gotten them before.
SNOW: OK, now--sorry, guys, we have this time delay and I apologize for that.
There's another topic that's gotten people heated up this week. Comments made by Eason Jordan, who is the chief news executive for CNN, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
Let me read a relevant quote, and Juan, I want you to take the first shot at it.
Here it is. ``I knew that CNN could not report that Uday Hussein told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan. If we had gone with the story, I was sure he would have responded by killing the Iraqi translator who was the only other participant in the meeting.''
WILLIAMS: Well, to me, this is an outrage. It doesn't--I don't understand how you can make a judgment about what seems--appears to me, on the surface it--going soft, not telling people about the depth of the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, when, in fact, now, Eason Jordan says, you know, he thought the American people knew about it, no one was hiding it.
But he wanted access for CNN, and I think that's what he made the predominant issue in his mind. The consequence being that, to the way I look at it, he wasn't being forthcoming with CNN's viewers. That CNN's viewers should have known exactly, exactly how tyrannical, how awful, how despotic Saddam Hussein was.
And here's the other point, Tony. CNN's continued reporting lent some credibility, made it seem to the American people as if, ``Well, this is an ordered society. CNN, other news networks can go in there, operate freely and with some sort of, you know, First Amendment protections and freedoms.'' That was never the case.
KRISTOL: Well, what it means is that any tyranny threatens to kill someone who works for any news network, and the news network doesn't tell the truth about the tyranny. It's totally unacceptable.
If this man was in danger, they should have flown him out of Baghdad, they should have flown his family out of Baghdad. They should have gone to the U.S. government and tried to get the president of the United States to say, ``If you start killing people who are cooperating with American media, that's in effect an act of war against--virtually, against American citizens or American employees.'' This is just craven.
HUME: It is clear that reporters who wanted to stay in Baghdad had to be very careful what they said. That doesn't apply to people who have left Baghdad, which is what's so striking to me about this.
LIASSON: Yes, I think that raises some crucial questions about how media organizations behave in totalitarian governments.
WILLIAMS: Well, you know, he said lives were at stake.
SNOW: OK, Mara--well, Bill, you got sort of the last word.
Panel, I want to thank you very much.
When we return, my parting thoughts on seven days that changed the world.
SNOW: Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints.
For instance, Saddam's forces never fired a weapon of mass destruction. Desperate Iraqi fighters never killed 10,000 Americans, as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi recently predicted. And the Arab street, well, it has fallen more or less silent, and former protesters are now collecting donations for the people of a freed Iraq.
President Bush took a giant risk in waging this war, but he believed determined action might unlock breath-taking possibilities. You know what? He was right.
Saddam fell. Arab pro-democracy movements are now sprouting like crocuses popping through the spring soil.
Today Israel offered--or at least may have offered--to remove some settlements in exchange for peace, thus obliterating the demagogic use of Palestine as a cause celebre for Islamic terrorists, and also making possible perhaps a serious and durable peace in the Middle East.
And moving boldly on behalf of principle, the president proclaimed to the world that it's safe to demand freedom, democracy, and a belief in individual human dignity.
As a result, the past historic week has unlocked the pent-up yearnings of an entire world. None of the skeptics even dared to think of that.
That's it for today.