FTN - 10/6/02

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BOB SCHIEFFER, Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face the Nation, is the country ready for war with Iraq? President Bush will speak to the nation tomorrow about the dangers Saddam Hussein poses.

As the Senate debates a resolution authorizing the use of force, we will hear from all sides: from Senator Ted Kennedy, who is not sure this is a good idea; from Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, who is backing the president; and Republican Senator Rick Santorum, one of the president's earliest backers.

Gloria Borger will be here. And on less serious matters, I'll have a final word that may provoke the question, can a poetic license be revoked?

But first, war with Iraq on Face the Nation.

Good morning again. We think our job here on Face the Nation is to present all sides of every issue. And today, we are fortunate to have the leading spokesmen on all sides of whether or not we ought to go to war with Iraq with us today.

Senator Edward Kennedy is here in the studio. We begin with him this morning.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, D-MA: Good morning.

SCHIEFFER: Senator, you have emerged as perhaps the leader of those who have really serious reservations about this. You made a speech to that effect last week.

Let me ask you first, can you support the resolution that Congress is going to take up this week, the one that President Bush wants, that says he will have the authority to use whatever military force he needs if he decides it's necessary to go into Iraq?

KENNEDY: No, I will not support that resolution.

Let me say there's nothing more important that this country does than send its young people to war. We've shown that we were willing to do that after September 11. President Bush deserves great credit at galvanizing the nation and galvanizing the international community. And because we were able to galvanize not only our country, but the international community, we made very, very important progress in the battle against al Qaeda.

Saddam Hussein is a dangerous figure. He's got dangerous weapons. But the administration hasn't made the case that this is a clear and present and imminent danger to the United States of America.

I believe that we should go to the United Nations, have a strong Security Council resolution that will permit unfettered inspections by the United Nations investigations. And then they ought to come back to the Congress of the United States if they want a declaration of war.

I support a two-step process. The proposals that we have, with the exception of the Levin proposal, are basically a one-step process. It says that when you pass that resolution, you are authorizing the president of the United States to effectively go to war. I think a war ought to be the last resort, not the first resort.

I think we have to use the United Nations. I think they are absolutely essential to use for a number of reasons. First of all, I think you have the best opportunity to get success if you work through the United Nations. And secondly, if you don't -- if you're not successful, to have the members of those countries, the allies, on your side in any kind of potential conflict in that part of the world is going to give you a greater chance of success.

SCHIEFFER: But let me just ask you this, Senator Kennedy. Let's say you go to the United Nations and they say, "Sorry, we're not going to do it," then what do we do? You come back to the Congress. Would you then be prepared to support the president's use of force?

KENNEDY: First of all, I applaud the fact that the president has finally gone to the United Nations.

Secondly, it appears now that they're making important progress. Even the news as of today shows that they're making important progress.

I would not let the United Nations or any other particular country veto action by the United Nations. I wouldn't tolerate that. But I think we ought to exhaust every possibility of working with the United Nations.

We're making progress there. They have direct interest. If we don't work with them, and this becomes a conflict, by the United States and Great Britain in that region, it could very easily change the whole mix in terms of the Middle East war in a very dramatic way where it appears that the United States is just fighting against Islam. It would undermine what I'm most concerned about is our serious efforts in terms of al Qaeda. It would reduce the kind of cooperation and intelligence and other kind of allied support. And it may very well open up the possibilities where American troops and even the United States would be exposed by weapons of mass destruction.

SCHIEFFER: OK.

Gloria?

GLORIA BORGER, U.S. News & World Report: This morning I think I'm hearing you say, Senator, that you think the president is rushing into war.

Is that the case?

KENNEDY: Oh, there's no question in my mind that he has taken the steps, he is taking the steps to move unilaterally into Iraq and bring the United States, whether we had other allies or not, into Iraq. That's clear from both his statements and his actions.

And it seems to me the test has to be, is there -- we always reserve the right to protect. The president has that responsibility and duty.

It has to be a clear and present danger, and it has to be imminent. It has to be imminent. And that, as we saw, for example with the Egyptians and the Syrians on the Israeli border in '67, that attack was imminent and the Israelis took action.

But they have not presented the case to the Congress or to the American people that this is imminent. That case has not been made.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Senator, I heard you make that point in a speech. What would they have to do? What do you have to hear to be convinced?

KENNEDY: You know when it's imminent. Members of the committees would know -- the American people. When President Kennedy went to the United Nations and showed the missiles in Cuba and showed them arming those missiles, the American people knew that that kind of threat was imminent.
And we know when there is an imminent danger, but we haven't had that.

And it isn't just members of the Democrats, Republicans alike. You had Brent Scowcroft who is a Republican, who indicated that there wasn't really the tie-in with al Qaeda; there were contacts but no control by al Qaeda. In the middle of the summer, Mr. Mueller, Secretary Powell -- there was not that kind of an association.

What we are asking in the Congress, what has changed in the last several months that makes this an immediate threat? And that case has not been made.

BORGER: Senator, we didn't know that 9/11 was imminent. And a lot of members of Congress now investigating 9/11 say we couldn't have known. So how can you say we have to know it's imminent with Iraq when we didn't know that it was imminent with al Qaeda?

KENNEDY: Well, first of all, we are sensitized because of September 11th. We are living in a dangerous world. We know that. And we have to have a heightened sense of awareness and alertness in terms of intelligence activity.

But we are making progress on Aa Qaeda. We are making progress both here in the United States and around the world. I want to see that progress made. And we're restructuring our own intelligence agencies so that we can do that.

I'm not suggesting that we can block any individual act of terrorism, and what I'm not suggesting is that, particularly in the area of bioterrorism, the ability of the terrorist to make these kinds of concoctions that could be threatening in terms of bioterrorism is very, very real. It doesn't have to come from Iraq. It can come from places around the world. You can look at almost in the Internet in making this kind of a bomb.

But to say we're going in to Iraq because it's an imminent danger, when we can inflame the Middle East, open ourselves to weapons of mass destruction to American servicemen in that part of the region, the retaliation of Israel into Iraq with perhaps a nuclear weapon, the inflame that area in the Middle East so that the recruitment for al Qaeda will just increase dramatically.

We have to ask ourselves, are we going to be better off before the conflict or after the conflict? Let alone, how are we every going to get out of Iraq, and if we go it alone, who's going to be there, stay there and pay the bill? None of that has been laid out in the Senate.

We have been discussing the resolutions. We haven't debated the war. And that is a real failing, I think, in terms of this whole process.

SCHIEFFER: Senator, let me ask you this. Over and over in the speech you made when you made your case, you said that we seem to be turning from the war on terrorism to go after Saddam Hussein. Again and again, you seem to say there's no connection. Isn't there a connection?

KENNEDY: As of...

SCHIEFFER: I mean, how can you say that?

KENNEDY: Because I say it, because I'm quoting Mr. Tenet and I'm quoting the Intelligence Committee and those who have reviewed that up until the very recent days, the very recent days.

If you take Mr. Tenet's statements in the terms of the middle of the summer, if you take Mr. Scowcroft's statements in the middle of the summer, they could not find. They found contact but not connection.

Now on the floor of the Senate we're finding out because of information from detainees. So we have to take that. We don't know what these detainees, there's some connection.

But let me mention this. The support for terrorism is much greater in Iran than it is in Iraq. And that is the intelligence, that's today. And the support for terrorists are much better in Syria today, this minute, than it is in Iraq. So if this is a question of terrorism now, we've got a shifting sort of process.

Whatever we do, we ought to do it with all of our allies. That is the key.

SCHIEFFER: But let me ask you this, just one more question. Can't state-supported terrorism, can't a state like Iraq do a lot more from a standpoint of making these weapons than some little terrorist group like al Qaeda? Isn't the real danger here that Saddam Hussein can make this stuff and then give it to al Qaeda, and isn't that where the problem is?

KENNEDY: That is entirely possible. And there was -- as of mid summer and early fall, there is no evidence, absolutely no evidence, that they have done that.

And what is very possible is that when Saddam Hussein's back is against the wall, his back against the wall, won't he have a greater reason for doing it than he does today?

And we have not had that debate and discussion on the floor of the Senate. And we should because of its implications to the American people.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kennedy, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

KENNEDY: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: When we come back, we'll talk with Senators Joseph Lieberman and Rick Santorum, in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: With us now from New Haven, Connecticut, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut. Here in the studio, Senator Rick Santorum.

You heard Senator Kennedy, Senator Santorum. He said that what's happening in the Senate is you're debating the resolution, you're not debating the war. And he says we need to be talking about the war.

SEN. RICK SANTORUM, R-PA: Well, first off, number one, the president has not made the decision as to whether to go to war.

But what he has made the case, and I think he's made the case very clearly, is, number one, that Saddam Hussein has broken U.N. resolutions. And for the United Nations to be a relevant organization, they have to enforce the resolutions.

If they're not willing to enforce the resolutions to maintain peace in the region and stability for the world, then I think we have an obligation to go ahead and move forward. And we have, as you've seen already, support from allies around the globe in this mission.

SCHIEFFER: But you heard Senator Kennedy say he doesn't think there's a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. He's almost saying it's like the old joke, the guy who lost his billfold and he was looking for it over on the corner and somebody said, "Why are you looking there? I thought you lost it over here?" And he said, "Yes, but the light's better over here." He says they just shifted the focus here.

SANTORUM: Well, look, in 1998, Tom Daschle made an impassioned plea and that Senator Kennedy supported for a regime change. Why? Because Saddam Hussein was not living up to his promises after the Gulf War.

He has continually violated those agreements. He has weapons of mass destruction. We know it. He denies it, yet we know he has chemical and biological weapons. And he has shown in the past a penchant for using them in an unexpected way before anyone else is expecting it.

BORGER: Senator Lieberman, what about Senator Kennedy's charge that we know that an attack is imminent, that there is no proof that Saddam Hussein is ready?

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, D-CT: We don't know that an attack is imminent, but we know that he has violated the United Nations requirements with regard to inspections. We know for a fact that he has chemical and biological weapons, and he is developing very unsettling capacity to deliver those weapons on distant targets.

So, for me, you know, I have felt for the last 11 years that Saddam, as long as he was in power, would be a danger, because he continues to preserve the life-long goal he's had of being the dominant power in the Arab world. And that would be terrible for the Arab world, terrible for the Middle East and terrible for us.

So my question is not why are we doing this now, why are we confronting Saddam now. My question is, why didn't we do it earlier? Because I think if we don't confront him and either disarm him or get him out of power, he will do terrible damage to the American people before long.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Lieberman, let me ask you this question because it bears on politics. Your friend Al Gore, who you ran with in the last presidential election, has come out and said much the same thing that Senator Kennedy has said. In fact, he's probably gone beyond where even Senator Kennedy is.

You have said you would not seek the Democratic nomination if Al Gore decides to run. Doesn't this give you an excuse to say, "I'm sorry, I now disagree with Al Gore on a very important thing, and I'm not going to hold to that promise anymore"?

LIEBERMAN: No, it doesn't.

SCHIEFFER: Well, why doesn't it?

LIEBERMAN: First off, there was a speech that had many parts to it, many parts of which I agreed with. Al had a very strong denunciation of Saddam, a description of the threat he represents. Even said that there was no need for any additional resolutions, that the 1991 resolutions would be ample justification for taking military action.

The main point that I disagreed with was that a military action against Saddam Hussein now would damage our war against terrorism. I don't agree with that. Saddam Hussein is a terrorist. That's what our State Department says. He's listed as only one of seven countries in the world that is a state sponsor of terrorism. And he has supported terrorist groups that have killed Americans. That is the fact.

Also, there are connections, and have been over the last decade, between Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda. There are leaders of al Qaeda who went from Afghanistan to Iraq.

So I think Saddam is a terrorist. And if we get him out of power or disarm him, it will be not only a victory for Iraq and for the region, but it will be a major victory in our war against terrorism.

BORGER: Senator Santorum, say there is an attack on Iraq. After the war, the question Senator Kennedy was raising here today is, what kind of commitment would this country make to so-called nation-building? If we go it alone, or if we go it with one or two other allies, what kind of commitment would Republicans, do you think, be willing to make to keeping American troops in Iraq?

SANTORUM: Well, first off, I think you're looking -- look at the example of Afghanistan. Afghanistan, we are making a commitment. We have international support.

The problem in Afghanistan is Afghanistan is not a wealthy country.

Afghanistan was not really an advanced or -- it's very much a tribal culture.

Iraq is completely different. It's a very wealthy country, has enormous resources there. It is the fertile crescent. The beginning of civilization happened there. There was a vibrant middle class.

So this is a country that, once we establish some sort of stability in government, has tremendous potential to really be a very stable and stabilizing force instead of a disrupting force in the region.

BORGER: Are you're saying it wouldn't take a long time; it wouldn't take years and years?

SANTORUM: It may take years, but I think the potential for this country to turn from a pariah to a very positive influence in the region is really a great potential there.

SCHIEFFER: Well, what about these reports that are now leaking out?

Miraculously, it seems, that all of a sudden we're now hearing that the intelligence agencies believe there may actually be a coup against Saddam Hussein if indeed this threat of force is carried out. Do you take those seriously at this point, Senator?

SANTORUM: I do, because, again...

SCHIEFFER: Has anybody said that to you before?

SANTORUM: We've heard that before. At least I have heard that before in briefings that I've received.

And the fact that it goes back to the fact that this is a country that is not a tribal country, this is not a country that is a third-world country. This was a very advanced culture and civilization before Saddam Hussein came in and his despotism reigned.

So I think we have a great potential, if they see the writing on the wall, which they have not seen yet, that good things can happen in this region.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let's see what's under -- Senator Liberman, what's your take on this?

LIEBERMAN: Well, no, I'm encouraged to hear that the intelligence agencies think that our strength may lead to a coup attempt from within Iraq. I don't count on it, but it would be great if it happened.

But it does make a point quite different from the one that Senator Kennedy and others have made, which is somehow if we use our strength to confront Saddam and threaten him with war, that it will push his back to the wall and he will then use his weapons of mass destruction against us.

I think quite the contrary, when you're dealing with a brutal tyrant of this type. If we accept that his main goal is to survive, our strength may do two things. The first is to finally get him to let the inspectors in and go anywhere they want whenever they want and disarm. That would be a way to get out of this crisis.

The second is our clearly stated intention, and stated in a resolution such as the one I've introduced supported by members of both parties, to give the president authority to take military action in Iraq, may, in fact, encourage some close to Saddam to take their own action to eliminate him and make a military action unnecessary.

War is the last resort. We all agree with that. But when you're dealing with a bully and a dangerous bully like Saddam, the way to get him to do something you want him to do or get others to get him out of there is to be strong. And that's what we're doing now.

BORGER: Senator Santorum, is it fair game for a candidate's vote on a war resolution to become an issue in a political campaign?

SANTORUM: Well, I think Senator Kennedy said it's probably the most important thing we do. So obviously, if it's one of the most important things we do, it's obviously a grounds for electing or not electing somebody. It is a matter of conscience, but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't be able to vote their conscience at the ballot box, too.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask both of you, speaking of votes, what do you think is going to happen? Because the conventional wisdom around Washington right now is that, after this debate this week, at the end of the day, the president is going to get from the Senate and from the House the authority he's asking for. What do you think?

How many votes do you think he'll get, Senator?

SANTORUM: Well, I think they'll be substantial opposition. There's two other resolutions. Those resolutions will probably gather a significant amount of votes.

I think in the end the president will get what he's asking for, and I think it will be a very strong vote. Hopefully it will be over 60-65 votes.

But I suspect Senator Kennedy represents a significant body of people in the Senate, and I think it will be closer in the Senate than it is in the House. Let's just put it that way.

SCHIEFFER: Just a short time, Senator Lieberman, what do you think?

LIEBERMAN: Bob, first, it's important to say that the resolution that I've introduced with John McCain, John Warner, Evan Bayh, is the result of negotiations with the White House. It's a bipartisan resolution.

When the other amendments are offered, I believe they'll be defeated on the final vote. I believe there will be at least 70 votes in favor, and it could go as high as 80 or 90. And believe me, that will help avoid war and get Saddam either out or to do what the world needs him to do, which is to disarm.

SCHIEFFER: All right, gentlemen, thank you very much for being with us this morning. I think we may have added to the store of knowledge around here, at least for me you have.

I'll be back with a final word in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Finally today, as we shift from the serious to the not-so-serious, remember the poem that ends "and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout, but there is not joy in Mudville, mighty Casey has struck out"?

Well, when mighty Casey swung and missed, indeed it was a pity, but it couldn't match the shock that's befallen Gotham City. Nine to five, that's banker hours, but it also is the score that left the Yankees to go and rest while others play some more.

Bring out another crying towel, order extra booze. New Yorkers can't believe it, their Yankees never lose. October and no Yankees? Surely you're delirious. I think you must be joking. I know you're not world serious.

Ruth is spinning in his grave. Giuliani's in a dither. And all because Steinbrenner's team, for once, just ain't a winner.

So now it is to Anaheim that we must tip our topper. They caused the biggest, richest team to finally 'come a cropper.

Jeter and Giambi, still fine lads, strong and true. But in the New World, left coast rules. Whatever can we do?

Yep, there is no joy in Mudville, but Yanks, to ease your pain, remember it's not winning that always leads to fame. Remember mighty Casey who fanned the air that day. Not really what he wanted if he had had his way. But if Casey had not struck out and gone on to lose the game, I doubt that many of us would even know his name.

That's it for us. We'll see you next week, right here on Face the Nation.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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