FTN - 11/2/03

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BOB SCHIEFFER, Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face The Nation, more bad news out of Baghdad as 16 American soldiers are killed and at least 20 injured in the single deadliest day of the six-month-old occupation. All but one of those deaths occurred when Iraqi insurgents shot down a US helicopter. The other American died when a U.S. convoy was attacked. We'll go live to Baghdad.

Then we'll talk with the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, and the committee's ranking Democrat, Joe Biden.

Then we'll check in with Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt.

Amy Walter of "The Cook Political Report" will join us, and I'll have a final word on the new fad in books: liars.

But first, the late news from Iraq 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.

Well, this may be the worst day yet in Iraq. As you just heard, this helicopter has been shot down. At least 15 Americans are dead. We want to get the latest now in Baghdad. We go to CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier.

Kimberly.

KIMBERLY DOZIER: Bob, we've been speaking to U.S. officials here on the ground. They say what happened was two Chinook transport helicopters were taking more than 50 people to R&R. They were going to be leaving from Baghdad International Airport, when someone on the ground fired up to two surface-to-air missiles. One of those missiles struck one of the helicopters. It almost immediately went plummeting to the ground. The pilot apparently struggled somewhat to keep it up. The second helicopter landed, tried to salvage people from the crash. Dozens were wounded. And at this point we are still waiting to hear from some of the rescue teams on the ground. By the time we got there, there wasn't much left of the Chinook. They were trying to determine at that point if there was anyone still left to save.

SCHIEFFER: Now you say there were at least two missiles that were fired, you believe, but only one of the helicopters was struck?

DOZIER: Yes. One of the other helicopters was able to take somewhat of an evasive maneuver. Now there have been a series of attacks over the past couple of days. You mentioned the convoy attack here in Baghdad this morning. A second convoy was attacked in the town of Fallujah, right near where this helicopter went down. Now militants had promised over the past couple of days to deliver a series of violent attacks, marking some particularly holy days in the Muslim month of Ramadan. Now last night there was a car bomb found headed toward Baghdad. It exploded apparently prematurely. But today the militants made no such mistake.

SCHIEFFER: All right, thank you very much, Kimberly. Thank you.

Well, joining us now from Indianapolis is Senator Dick Lugar. He's the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate. And in Wilmington, Delaware, this morning, Senator Joe Biden, who is the ranking Democrat.

Senator Lugar, I have to ask you, how long can this go on?

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR, R-IN, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Well, the reconstruction's going to go on for a long while. We pray as Americans that we will not have days like this very often. It's the worst day in six months, as I understand, in terms of loss of life.

But the president is resolved to make sure that we go the course, and I support that, and I think a majority of members of the Congress do. At the same time, why, we all attempt to offer our constructive views about how we might progress better, and it seems to me the administration has made great progress with the Iraqis, particularly bringing now about 100,000 Iraqis into the security force, with the goal, as I understand, of heading to 200,000 by early next year to put an Iraqi face on the police action and, to the greatest extent possible, the security operations so that Americans will not be exposed any more than necessary.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Senator Biden, where did they get these missiles? I mean, these are sophisticated, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. We hear of these ammo dumps that are now unguarded, where all of Saddam Hussein's old weapons were being stored. Is that where these weapons are coming from? Because apparently, you know, they're using them -- last weekend we saw very serious incidents across Iraq, and now at least two missiles fired at a helicopter this morning.

SEN. JOE BIDEN, D-DE, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Well, we think these came from these ammo dumps and maybe as early on as immediately after Saddam was toppled. They're about six feet long. They weigh 30 to 40 pounds. You can put them in a big duffel bag. They're concealable. We have a program now, and have had one out there, offering $500 for anyone who would turn one of these in. And amazingly, 350 people have shown up to claim the $500. They're being sold on the black market for about $5,000 apiece. But it goes to the issue of: There's still another 600,000 tons of ammunition in these dumps, according to General Abizaid, stashed all over the country, and they're not being guarded. And it goes back to the original question: I mean, if we didn't need any more forces in there, why aren't we able to guard these dumps?

And so right now Senator Lugar is correct. There is this pell-mell effort to get the Iraqis trained up as quickly as possible. But when Dick and I were there in Iraq not long ago, our military people told us it would take us three years to get 40,000 trained army, and it would take us up to five years to get 75,000 cops on the ground. And I think what's needed now very badly is an urgent call for trainers from NATO countries, and to try very hard to further move -- get NATO involved in this, mainly to get to the point where we can actually stand up...

SCHIEFFER: Well...

BIDEN: ...an Iraqi force.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask Senator Lugar -- I mean, the president said this week that we are winning and that this violence just shows that the other side is getting desperate. But if this is winning, you have to ask the question: How much of this winning can we stand? I mean, isn't something, isn't the strategy, going to have to change? Aren't we going to have to bring in more troops just to protect our own people there? I mean, how can we continue down this road doing exactly what we seem to be doing now?

LUGAR: Well, winning includes getting power on, up to 4,400 megawatts more than ever was produced under Saddam. And it includes a banking system that is back and a currency and schools opening and guards at the borders and oil now coming not at the postwar era but very close to that. That is very important.

Now the other side is security. Now in that situation -- that's what we're focusing on this morning -- the idea clearly is to move more toward Iraqi forces. I would agree with Joe Biden, clearly, to get international support in there. There are 24,000 troops now, as I understand, from 32 countries, but that's not nearly enough at least to have an international presence that makes sense. We really have to move very swiftly on both of those fronts.

This is leading, I think, to a basic question. We did see the training operation of policemen when we were there in Baghdad, and there's danger in training too fast. But on the other hand, we've moved now, as I understand, to getting 50,000 Iraqi policemen out of the 72,000 or 75,000 quota, moving very rapidly with regards to vetting people from the Iraqi armed forces that have been discharged. You can say that's a change in view, but it's a constructive change, and it's one that is occurring very rapidly with some risk of Saddam types infiltrating into the process.

SCHIEFFER: Well, that brings up the question -- the secretary of Defense this morning said that the fact that Saddam Hussein is still alive probably gives encouragement to these rebels. And he said it may well be that he is giving them some direction, but there's no way to know. But I would ask you, Senator Biden, do you think this strategy is the right strategy at this particular point?

BIDEN: I think the strategy up to now has not been the correct strategy, notwithstanding that I agree with Dick Lugar that a lot of very good things are happening. But nothing ultimately is going to happen without security. And I think the idea of disbanding the Army the way it was done -- and General Garner's plans were very different than that -- the idea that we did not immediately move to get international help in there, the idea that we did not move rapidly to bring in 5,000 additional police from Europe, which we were told we needed, all of that we're paying a price for now.

But this is able to be turned around. This is winnable. But it seems to me, Bob, what we have to do is you have to maintain more security. And I'm going to say something very, very unpopular, going to get me in trouble at home. In the short term we may need more American forces in there while we're training these people up. And we have to be prepared to go back to our European friends and say, `We need more help. We're willing to give you more say in the formation of this government. We're willing to give you more impact here.' But because we've treated this all along, in my view, Bob -- and I've said this on your program before -- like we won some kind of prize, this is an awful, awful burden. We went in unilaterally, and now we are trying to win the peace unilaterally. We're beginning to change that, but we have to move more rapidly. It's urgent.

SCHIEFFER: Well, how -- let's see...

BIDEN: It's an urgent requirement...

SCHIEFFER: ...what Senator Lugar thinks about that. More troops in there now and going back to the Europeans and saying, `Look, we're going to give you more say on what happens here, but you've got to help us' -- what about that, Senator Lugar?

LUGAR: Yeah, both may be required. We have to win the war against -- on the security situation. It's still a war. It's not a withdrawal situation. I was impressed with Tom Friedman's piece in "The New York Times" this morning, which I think he at least...

BIDEN: I was, too.

LUGAR: ...suggests a summit with the French and the Germans, at least for two of them. Maybe it ought to be larger. But those countries have got to understand that success in Iraq is tremendously important for Europe, for them, for their security. This is not a tit-for-tat situation. And whatever may have been the arguments, we need our major NATO allies in there and in there fast.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

LUGAR: So we better contrive diplomacy to get there.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, let me ask both of you quickly 'cause our time is running out: Should we give up on this search for weapons of mass destruction? It's my understanding we have over 100 people looking for that and put those people to working on counterinsurgency instead.

Senator Lugar first.

LUGAR: Well, essentially, that appears to be what's occurring. But we need to continue the search to make sure that there are not stations that are going to bop up in the hands of the same people that are shooting down our helicopters. It's a security problem there, too.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Senator Biden in quickly please.

BIDEN: The answer is yes, but we need a larger strategy here, Bob. It's not -- terrorism isn't just all Iraq. Iraq is one of the theaters. We need a weapons of mass destruction program. We need new treaties, we need new alliances. We've got to beef up our old alliances. We've got to get on the ball here, and I think we're starting to move in that direction. At least I pray God we are. But we need a strategy. As Rumsfeld said in his memo -- he asked a rhetorical question: `Do we need a strategy?' Evidence there is no strategy now.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Thanks to both of you. Back in a minute, and we'll hear the views of Congressman Dick Gephardt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: And with us now is the Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt. Joining the questioning: Amy Walter of "The Cook Political Report."

Congressman, you supported taking military action in Iraq. Do you think now it was the right thing to do?

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT, D-MO, Democratic Presidential Candidate: I do. I base my determination on what I heard from the CIA. I went out there a couple of times and talked to everybody, including George Tenet. I talked to people in the Clinton administration. Clearly, though, the president has not done this in the way that I hoped that he would and advised him to do it from the beginning, and that was to get the help that we have needed from the beginning from the UN, from NATO, from other countries in the world. It's...

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you, do you feel, Congressman, that you were misled?

GEPHARDT: I don't. I asked very direct questions of the top people in the CIA and people who'd served in the Clinton administration. And they said they believed that Saddam Hussein either had weapons or had the components of weapons or the ability to quickly make weapons of mass destruction. What we're worried about is an A-bomb in a Ryder truck in New York, in Washington and St. Louis. It cannot happen. We have to prevent it from happening. And it was on that basis that I voted to do this.

But I, from the beginning, starting in the spring of last year, in many meetings advised the president that he had to go to the UN, start the inspections; that that was the only way to get the UN with us.
Unfortunately, in the end, he did not get the UN. But even after the hostilities have ended and he lands on the aircraft carrier and tells us the war is over, he still has not gotten the help that we need.

We cannot solve this problem alone. We need the help of lots of other countries, including France, Germany and Russia.

SCHIEFFER: Well, how do you get that? They've said they don't want to help.

GEPHARDT: You sit down with leaders of other countries and you talk to them, you collaborate with them, you treat them with respect, and you get the help that we should get from our friends. These countries are our friends. These are not adversaries. He did not do that. When he went to the UN finally he basically said we're going to do this with or without you. And he treated them in a way that you don't get the cooperation that you need. He did not do this correctly.

SCHIEFFER: Joe Lieberman, who's also seeking the presidential nomination of the Democrats, said on this broadcast last week that he felt we ought to get a new secretary of Defense. What's your view on that?

GEPHARDT: Harry Truman had a saying, `The buck stops here.' And that's the way I feel about presidents. I think presidents decide who the secretary of Defense is. I don't think Don Rumsfeld has done a good job for a long time. It's not my decision on who the secretary of Defense is. That's George Bush's decision.

SCHIEFFER: Well, if...

GEPHARDT: And I assume by him continuing with him, that he feels he is doing a good job. The buck stops on the president's desk. The president is responsible for what happens in foreign policy and defense policy and domestically. And if he thinks these folks are doing a good job, then he's going to stand behind him.

I don't think George Bush is doing a good job. That's why I'm out in the country seven days a week, 18 hours a day. I think this foreign policy, as I've said a number of times, has failed, because...

SCHIEFFER: OK.

GEPHARDT: ...he's not gotten the help that we need to do very complicated and difficult things.

SCHIEFFER: Amy.

AMY WALTER, "The Cook Political Report": Great. I just want to talk about some other issues that came up this week. The biggest number was this 7.2 percent growth in the GDP. A lot of talk about that this week. Does this growth in the economy undercut, then, the message that you and a lot of other Democrat candidates are talking about in terms of your economic message?

GEPHARDT: Well, first, I'm glad the growth is up. No one wants this economy to stay in the set of problems that it's faced in the last really two years. But I think it's too early to say that this is a sustained trend, or that this is going to keep going. I think a couple of things happened during the summer that helped this. One, there was a lot of home re-financings, and so people had money that they could spend. Secondly, the Democratic-induced parts of the tax cut went to the middle class and people got the benefit of that. And so that helped some. But we're still not seeing the job increase. We're still seeing unemployment. People are still being laid off. Jobs are still going to other countries like Mexico and China and so the underlying policies I do not think are working. And I don't think will work.

WALTER: But...

GEPHARDT: In addition to all that, we're creating a huge debt going forward for the country that's going to complicate economic growth and job creation out in the future.

WALTER: Well, the Republicans answer back and they say, well, the Democrats don't have -- seem to have an answer, either, and when they do have an answer, it's simply to rescind President Bush's tax cuts.

GEPHARDT: Well, that's just not true. My program is to lay aside the Bush tax cuts, but to use the money to help everybody in this country have health insurance that can never be taken away from you. And I argue that helps average families a lot more than the Bush tax cuts. In fact, I argue it puts between $2,000 and $3,000 a year into the average family as opposed to the $500 to $700 that the Bush tax cuts do.

The Republicans love to always say we're for increasing taxes. That's not true. We have a better plan, a better way of getting this economy to grow again. We are never going to solve the economic problems in this country until we solve the health-care problem.

WALTER: Well, let's talk about health care for a moment. I'm going to segue into that and talk about the Service Employees Union. They're the largest union now in the country. You've been a very big advocate in your years in Congress for labor issues. You're certainly running with that as a pillar of your campaign. Their members are very interested in health care. And yet word coming out from that union is that they're thinking either of endorsing Howard Dean or maybe staying neutral in this contest.

What does this say about you and your campaign, and also maybe about the issue of health care and its saliency even among these core Democratic voters?

GEPHARDT: Well, let's see what they do first. They haven't taken an action. They well may not take an action, but even if they endorse Howard Dean -- and I understand that might happen -- I don't think it's a knock against the health-care plan that I've had.

I've been endorsed by 20 labor unions, and international unions. I'm very proud of that. I come from a labor background. My dad was a Teamster, and that's the household I grew up in. And I've been proud to fight for working families my entire time in the Congress.

I never believed I'd get every endorsement of every union in the country, but I'm proud. And I think part of the reason that I've gotten this support is that my health-care plan is the best plan. It helps everybody. It helps part-time workers, full-time workers, it helps the unemployed and the employed. And a lot of the union members that I talk to out in the country are excited about a bold, realistic plan to finally help everybody get coverage of health insurance.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just talk about one thing. There's a new poll out today by "The Washington Post" and it says that the Democratic candidates at this point have made almost no impression on voters outside Iowa and New Hampshire.

GEPHARDT: I've been working hard, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Why is that? I mean, is it because there are so many of you that people just can't focus on it?

GEPHARDT: I think that's part of it. I mean, we have nine candidates, so we've had a lot of debates and joint appearances. But it's kind of a middle. People can't really figure out who's who and who's saying what. But that will change when you get to the first events. When you get to Iowa in January and New Hampshire and then seven states, it'll clear out fast. It'll winnow fast.

SCHIEFFER: And do...

GEPHARDT: And people will then -- once you get one candidate against the president, then you can get your message out.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think, just to talk to straight tactical politics -- can you win the nomination if you don't win Iowa? Because now you and Howard Dean seem to be tied out there.

GEPHARDT: I'm going to win Iowa.

SCHIEFFER: You're confident of that.

GEPHARDT: I'm going to win Iowa. I really believe that.

SCHIEFFER: Could you go on if you lost Iowa? I mean, I see no place...

GEPHARDT: I just...

SCHIEFFER: ...for to you to go after that.

GEPHARDT: I don't think the hypothetical that you've asked is correct. I'm going to win Iowa. I'm going to win because I have a bold, realistic set of ideas on health care, on education, on jobs, on trade, on pensions. These are the policies that people out there care about. I'm out there about once a week, and I do eight meetings a day and I talk to 50 and 100 people at a time.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

GEPHARDT: And people care about those issues.

SCHIEFFER: We have to stop there. Thank you so much.

GEPHARDT: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Good luck down the trail.

GEPHARDT: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: As someone who writes the occasional book, I have a passing interest in the best-seller list. Well, more honestly, when my book "This Just In" came out in February, the list became an addiction. I'd get up in the middle of the night to see if my book was moving up the Amazon.com list, just the way I used to get up in the middle of the night to smoke.

One thing I discovered was that most best-sellers today are about lying, which is why the parody Best-Seller List by Sean Kelly printed in yesterday's "New York Times" made me laugh out loud.

He had some real best-sellers about liars bunched at the top: "Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them," "Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right," "Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine."

But toward the bottom of the list, he made up some books that may soon make it on the list. Number 14, "The Liberal Media Won't Review My Book!" followed by "I Heard Fox Liked Your Book!" followed by "Oh, Yeah? Well, Shut Up!" followed by "No, You Shut Up! Bush Lied!" "Did Not!" "Did Too!" "Mom!"

Well, I called it parody, but as I read that list aloud, it sounded like a playback of what we hear on television these days, where what passes for political discourse usually comes down to, `I'm right, you're wrong, and everybody who disagrees is unpatriotic.'

I had this dream that someone came on one of the cable shows the other night, and after he spoke, the next person said, `Why, that's a very good point. I never thought of it until you said it.' It woke me up in a sweat. I thought I'd lost my mind.

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

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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