FTN - 12/2/01

face the nation logo, 2009

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation, two bombings in Israel rock the peace process, and the fighting intensifies near Kandahar.

We'll talk about it with Secretary of State Colin Powell.

There's been yet another suicide bombing in Israel with more casualties, this time in Haifa. This comes after yesterday's attack that left many dead and hundreds wounded.

All this as the United States steps up the bombing in Kandahar and the talks to form a new government in Afghanistan reach a crucial stage. What's next?

These are the questions for Colin Powell.

Gloria Borger is here, and I'll have a final word on the long war ahead. But first, the secretary of state, on Face the Nation.

And the news this morning from Israel is even worse than we have been reading in our morning papers. The morning papers tell of two attacks yesterday. Now there has been another in Haifa. Hundreds of people again injured in this latest attack. Now more than 200 people injured and dead in Israel over just this weekend.

To talk about it with us this morning, the Secretary of State.

Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming. I guess the first question must be, have you spoken to Yasser Arafat about any of this?

COLIN POWELL, Secretary of State: I spoke to Mr. Arafat on Saturday evening right after the attacks took place, and I told him that these are horrible acts of terrorism.

At that time we only had the Jerusalem attack. The Haifa attack took place later.

And I told him that it was absolutely necessary for him to take positive action now. It was a moment of truth, because these attacks were not only dastardly acts of terror against the people of Israel with the loss of life you just suggested, but they were directed attacks against his authority, his ability to control the Palestinian Authority. And he had to respond, and not just pick up the perpetrators but take action to make sure that there are not other perpetrators from these organizations getting ready to commit further acts.

And so it's a moment of truth for Mr. Arafat. We are there to help. General Zinni is on the scene. General Zinni has talked to him. We are prepared to try to get the two sides together to talk about a cease-fire. We will not give up.

But at the same time, Mr. Arafat, I think, must act.

And let me take this opportunity to express the sympathy that all Americans feel for the families of the victims of these terrible acts of terror.

SCHIEFFER: Well, what response did you get from them?

POWELL: Mr. Arafat responded with an acknowledgment of what I said to him and what General Zinni had said to him. He said rather specifically that he has expressed his condolences and that he's going to work on it.

And he acknowledged these were attacks against him as well as attacks against Israel.

And I said to him, well, if that is the case, you need to respond accordingly. This cannot be just, we'll round usome suspects and that will be the end of it. He has to go beyond that. He has to go after the organizations who are conducting these kinds of acts of terror and who are claiming credit for these acts of terror.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you, in light of this, how can the United States now say to Mr. Sharon, who is in this country, you cannot respond to this?

POWELL: No one said we were going to say that to Mr. Sharon. We are going to have a conversation with Mr. Sharon this morning. He will be seeing the president before he returns to Israel. And we will get his assessment. We will discuss the whole situation with him.

I know the pressure he is under, and I know the agony he must feel this morning. We share his agony. We share the pain of the Israeli people. But we always have to keep in mind, where do we go now? How do we make things better, not how do we make things worse?

SCHIEFFER: But the United States generally urges restraint on Israel after something like this happens. Has something changed here?

POWELL: No, I'm not saying we wouldn't urge restraint. We are not going to tell the prime minister, who has been freely elected by his people, to defend his nation. I don't know what he is going to do. I don't know that he will share it with us.

I know that the Israeli cabinet is meeting now back in Israel with Mr. Sharon, Peres and other leaders. So, I don't know what they might do.

But we always say to both sides, you'd better think about the consequences of what happens the next day or the day after. Will your actions make things better? Will your actions make things worse?

But we're not about to tell Mr. Sharon what he should do as a freely elected leader of a democratic nation.

GLORIA BORGER, U.S. News & World Report: You have made some demands on Mr. Arafat, it seems. Do you believe he is in control enough right now to do that?

POWELL: I believe that he has a level of control that would permit him to do more than he is doing now.

And in my speech in Louisville two weeks ago, I made it clear that the violence has to end, the terror has to end, the incitement has to end. The incitement is as much a problem as anything else, where you have leaders among the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian leaders, and you have media outlets throughout the Arab world which incite the people to this kind of action. That also has to be part of it.

So, we have put down clear markers. The president has and I have and all of my colleagues in the administration have, that the violence and the terror has to end or you else you do not have a basis to move forward.

BORGER: So, is there a timetable on this? Are you giving him a deadline?

POWELL: It's not for us to put out a deadline.

The deadline ought to be right now. Stop now. There's no need to take three or four weeks to do this. Make it stop now.

And use all of your legitimate power, but morthan that, use the power of your position as leader of the Palestinian people to bring this kind of action, this kind of violence to an end. And make a 100-percent effort, and get as high a level of results as you can.

He can't control every single Palestinian zealot or somebody who wishes to commit suicide. But he has to exercise more of the control that we believe he has.

BORGER: And if not?

POWELL: If not, then the situation will not improve. If not, we are not going to move forward. If not, we are trapped.

BORGER: Does he have to go?

POWELL: Please, Gloria, don't take me down these dead-end discussions. Let's stick with it.

The situation is that, if he isn't able to do this, if he doesn't do this, then we are not moving down a path toward a cease-fire and a path toward getting into the Mitchell plan.

What we need to do is to get a cease-fire in place, so that confidence-building measures can go on, as provided for in the Mitchell plan, and then we get to negotiations.

At the end of the day, this is only going to be solved by negotiations where the two sides come to the table in an environment of quiet, some level of quiet, some level of confidence that they can talk to one another without bombs going off, without actions taking place that contaminate an environment of discussion and negotiation.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, the terrorist group Hamas is taking credit for this, apparently. Is there a connection between Hamas and Al Qaeda?

POWELL: I don't know that there is a direct connection in this incident, but, you know, all of these organizations are knowledgeable of each other. But I don't have any information available to me this morning that there is some connection that would link the events of the September 11 or what's happening in Afghanistan to what Hamas is doing.

We have always identified Hamas as a troubling organization that participates in this kind of activity, and we have condemned their activities consistently over time.

SCHIEFFER: I guess the reason I ask that is because I suspect there are a lot of people out there who are wondering, in some way, is Osama bin Laden behind these sudden attacks?

POWELL: No, Osama bin Laden has never done a single thing for a single Palestinian. He has done nothing for the Palestinian cause. He has used his hundreds of millions of dollars to foment terror and violence. And then suddenly he tries to wrap himself in the cover of the Islam faith, and he tries to wrap himself in the Palestinian cause.

And he has no claim of being able to do that. He is a terrorist who does it for his own evil purposes.

SCHIEFFER: You have basically said this morning that Yasser Arafat needs to get serious. Give me an example of what you would see happening in the Middle East that would say to you he's gotten the message and he's trying to bring this to a halt.

POWELL: The arrest of eople who have been responsible for these kinds of actions and putting them in real jails, where they are not walking free several days later.

Going after the organizations and those activities within areas under his control, where these kinds of people are being trained.

Going after the organizations that are preparing future suicide bombers and cracking down on them.

And making sure that all those who work with him, the other Palestinian leaders--it's not just Mr. Arafat, there are other Palestinian leaders--stop the incitement, stop appealing to the passions that exist in the street.

The Palestinian authorities and leaders would say to you, well, the Israelis do things that are causing this situation to be the way it is. It is easy to simply go back into mutual recriminations going back and forth. And we've got to get out of that. We've got to get out of that, and we've got to get moving forward.

That's why General Zinni is there. He is ready to sit with security officials on both sides, not to just exchange charges, but to exchange ideas, so that we can begin taking small steps that will cause this situation to start to improve and get us moving toward a cease-fire.

SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about the war in Afghanistan and that part of the war and how that's going.

How would you describe the state of Al Qaeda right now?

POWELL: Al Qaeda is under enormous pressure, not only in Afghanistan but I think throughout the dozens of other countries in which it operates.

In Afghanistan, their options are being limited as more and more territory passes out of Taliban control. The Taliban is still hanging on in Kandahar and in some of the southern provinces and in the mountains to the east and to the south, but they're under enormous pressure.

The United States Marine Corps has now put a base in there, and that base provides a way of extending our operations and the operations of the tribes who are now rising up against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

So they're under enormous pressure. And I think it's just a matter of time before we achieve our objectives. I don't know how much time that would be, but the president has not blinked on this.

He wants Osama bin Laden. He wants Al Qaeda ripped up. And the Taliban has to be totally removed from power in Afghanistan, because they did not make the right choice several months ago.

And I'm pleased that things are now also moving in Bonn with respect to putting in place a provisional government. We're not there yet, but there has been some progress in Bonn in the last day or so.

BORGER: Do have you any sense right now of where Osama bin Laden is? There are conflicting reports about that.

POWELL: Well, obviously, I don't know exactly where he is or I'd be doing something else this morning with my friends at the Pentagon.


BORGER: Right.

POWELL: But we think that he is still in Afhanistan. And there is reason to believe that he is in the southern and eastern part of the country, but his specific location, I don't know.

But you can be sure we are looking, and we have quite a few ideas to pursue.

BORGER: Well if we have to go cave to cave to find him, will we do it?

POWELL: We will do whatever is necessary to bring Osama bin Laden to justice or to bring justice to him. And it's not just caves, there are other places he could be hiding--villages he could be, you know, quietly trying to hide in. And we will do everything we can to bring him to justice or bring justice to him.

BORGER: And what about taking Taliban leader Mullah Omar?

POWELL: Well, he is somebody else who I think who has to be brought to justice.

And we have heard different reports about him trying to cut a deal, but there are no deals to be cut. And we are in search of him as well.

SCHIEFFER: What does that mean, there are no deals to be cut?

POWELL: Well, there have been some suggestions that he could plea-bargain with one of the leaders within Afghanistan in some way and suddenly launder himself in a way that would make him acceptable or allow him to leave the country, but we're not interested in those kinds of deals.

SCHIEFFER: All right, let's take a break right here.

We'll talk about all this some more when we come, because the secretary is about to leave on an 11-day trip.

We want to ask you about that, too.

We'll be back in a minute.


SCHIEFFER: And we're back again with the secretary of state.

Mr. Secretary, one thing you touched on just a minute ago, and we want to ask you a little more about that, is the negotiations that are going on in Bonn, where they are trying to figure out how to form some kind of a government to govern Afghanistan once the fighting stops. How's that going?

POWELL: Well, I think rather well at the moment.

The very fact that you were able to gather these disparate elements of Afghan society in Bonn and have them talk to one another and begin the process of forming a provisional government was in and of itself an achievement.

There have been ups and downs, but the reports this morning are somewhat encouraging. I think the U.N. is about to put a specific proposal before the representatives who are there.

And with some luck and with good will on all sides, we should be able to see the emergence of a 20-or 30-person provisional government that would go back to Kabul, start to form this government and an administration to go with the government, and then prepare for a broader political effort to widen the reach of that government.

SCHIEFFER: Well, that raises a point. There's been some talk about perhaps breaking up Afghanistan. Where does the United States come down on that?

POWELL: No, I have seen those reports, but we are right now committed to on country. I don't think we want to start seeing this country break into parts. It's not viable right now as a country, it would be even less viable if you broke it into parts. And I don't sense that anybody who has gone to this meeting in Bonn is interested in that. And so we hope that it will stay together as one entity.

BORGER: Would the U.S. be part of any peacekeeping force there?

POWELL: Well, as you know, we have forces there now, and we do not see a permanent role for the United States as military peacekeepers on the ground. A number of countries have volunteered, and we're very pleased with the response of our coalition partners.

And once the provisional government has been established, and we get a better sense of what they may need and want in the way of international peacekeeping support and we figure out how to structure that, then I think they'll be more than enough other countries willing to participate in such an effort.

BORGER: Mr. Secretary, there's been an awful lot of talk lately about the next stage of this war, post-Afghanistan. And President Bush said this week that Iraq had to allow arms inspectors in the country or else. What did he mean by that?

POWELL: Well, his position is the same as the international community, and that is, under the provisions of U.N. Resolution 1284, the Iraqis have an obligation to let inspectors back in.

They claim they're not developing weapons of mass destruction. We think they are. The only way to resolve it is, let's send the inspectors in.

And I'm pleased that the Security Council this week, by a vote of 15-0, have essentially approved smart sanctions to come into effect several months from now. But they also reaffirmed the need for the inspectors to go back in.

When the president said he'll find out, he will find out. But the president has made no decisions with respect to what the next phase of our campaign against terrorism will be.

We're still in the same game plan that we established a couple of months ago. We're going after Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. We're going after the Taliban in Afghanistan. We are widening our net against Al Qaeda around the world. We are examining other terrorist organizations. We're looking at those nations who in the past have sponsored terrorism. We're watching Iraq because it has always developed weapons of mass destruction that are of a concern to us.

But the president has made no decision. And moreover, none of the president's advisers, those of us who have the responsibility to advise the president--myself, Secretary Rumsfeld, the vice president, Dr. Rice--none of us have made, individually or collectively, recommendations yet to the president as to what we should do in the next phase.

SCHIEFFER: So there are those, I'm sure, who are listening to you this morning that are saying, well, Secretary Powell just said we believe that Saddam Hussein is building weapons o mass destruction. Why do we need to go through this business of inspectors? Why don't we just go in now and take him out?

POWELL: Well, the president has never lost any of the options available to him. He will make a judgment in due course as to how to deal with the threat that continues to reside in Iraq.

But there is a way to deal with this that keeps the international community focused on this problem, and that is to let the inspectors in. And it was an obligation that Iraq had at the end of the war, and they were able to get rid of those inspectors in 1998. The international community still feels, and I think that is important for those inspectors to go back in, as does the president.

And so we believe he is developing these weapons. We don't think he has been as successful as he would like to have been because the sanctions and the work we have done to keep him contained have been effective. But nevertheless, that inherent desire of his is there.

SCHIEFFER: But is there a timeframe? Does he have a deadline he has to meet to let those inspectors in?

POWELL: His deadline was years ago, and those inspectors are still not in. We have not put any deadline against him now so that if he doesn't meet a certain deadline, something will happen. The president retains all of his options, and we'll be examining as we go forward.

BORGER: So if he lets those inspectors in, say, does that mean he's off the hook?

POWELL: No. If he lets the inspectors in, he is complying with what he agreed to as his obligation under U.N. resolutions.

The United States still continues to believe as a separate matter, that it would be better to have a different regime in Iraq. And as you know, we have supported the efforts of opposition groups to begin organizing themselves for a change of regime in due course. And of course you know we maintain the no-fly zones, and we keep military presence in the region to keep him contained.

Regime change would be in the best interest of the Iraqi people. It's the goal of the United States. But the United Nations' goal is the inspectors and getting rid of those weapons of mass destruction.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, how do you respond to the criticism that comes up from time to time, both within the administration and from those on the outside, that you're too cautionary, that you're too reluctant to use military force?

POWELL: Well, look at my record. I mean, I was chairman when we went into Panama on 48-hours' notice. I was chairman when we did Desert Shield and Desert Storm. And to the best of my knowledge, the advice that I provided to the president at that time, President Bush and to my boss Secretary Cheney, and the work that we did with General Schwarzkopf, succeeded.

And so it's one of these criticisms that's out there, and people like to use it as a stereotype.

We just went into Afghanistan without any disagreement from anybody ithe administration, without any cautionary notes coming from the State Department or from me. We went into Afghanistan and conducted a fine military operation, notwithstanding the criticism that comes from outside.

It's part of being a policy official in Washington, D.C.

SCHIEFFER: If you were Saddam Hussein, what would you--should you be worried right now?


SCHIEFFER: He should be worried?

POWELL: He should be worried. He is totally isolated within the international community. He is one of only two or three countries in the world that is sticking up for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. He is presiding over a despotic regime in a country that has been broken by 10 years of sanctions. And he has just about completely isolated within the world. Even the Russians are now taking a step sideways away from him.

SCHIEFFER: Secretary of State Powell, always a pleasure to have you.

POWELL: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Good luck on your coming trip to, what is it, 11 countries?

POWELL: Something like that. I have been afraid to count, but it's quite a trip coming up. But it's an important trip.

I'm going to Bucharest for a meeting of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe and then to other stops. But an important meeting in Moscow with President Putin and Foreign Minister Ivanov to move forward our U.S.-Russia agenda.

SCHIEFFER: Hope to talk to you about that later. Thank you so much.

Back with a final word in just a moment.


SCHIEFFER: Finally today, when we hear the president talk about the long battle ahead, I wonder if we really understand how long and how complicated this is going to be.

Yes, we must track down Osama bin Laden and his henchmen of hate just as we destroyed Hitler and his gang, and we will.

But that is just the first part. The real enemy is not Osama, it is the ignorance that breeds the hatred that fuels his cause. This is what we have to change.

I realized what an enormous job that was going to be the other day when I heard a young Pakistani student tell an interviewer that everyone in his school knew that Israel was behind the attacks on the Twin Towers and everyone in his school knew all the Jews who worked there had stayed home that day.

What we have all come to realize now is that a large part of the world not only misunderstands us but is teaching its children to hate us. We won't change that through short-term propaganda and spin.

We must take a longer view, financially, philosophically and relentlessly. We must help, encourage, force if necessary, those who control that part of the world to open up, to educate their people and let them connect with the rest of the world, to let them see through an independent press and television what it is like on the other side of the tracks.

Impossible? No. We did it in Japan and Europin a far more difficult time after World War II.

And, yes, it will be expensive, and, yes, it will take years. But it is in our own self-interest to do it.

Barricades and weapons can make us safer, but only when we conquer the poverty and ignorance that breed hatred can we be truly secure.

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

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