FTN - 2/23/03

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BOB SCHIEFFER, Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face the Nation, the case for and against the war on Iraq. Opposition to a war is rising worldwide, with hundreds of thousands staging anti-war demonstrations. Should that matter to the Bush administration? And what are the major arguments for and against it?

We'll hear from two members of Artists United to Win Without War. Actors Susan Sarandon and Mike Farrell. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, will take the other side.

Then we'll turn to politics and talk about the growing 2004 Democratic field with Time magazine columnist Joe Klein.

I'll have a final word on who won the first "Did you hear what so and so said?" primary. But first, the case for and against the war, 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: Good morning again. And joining us now from Toronto, Canada, Susan Sarandon; from Los Angeles, Mike Farrell; and in New York, Rich Lowry. We're going to begin with Susan Sarandon this morning.

Ms. Sarandon, welcome to the broadcast. We have asked you here today because you and other actors have formed this group called Artists United to Win Without the War.

And we want to begin to let people understand what your group is doing by showing one of the commercials that you're buying time on television station stations around the country to show. Let's just roll that commercial.


SUSAN SARANDON, Actress, Artist United To Win Without War: Before our kids start coming home from Iraq in body bags, women and children start dying in Baghdad, I need to know what did Iraq do to us?

(UNKNOWN): The answer is nothing. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with al Qaeda. Its neighbors don't think it's a threat. Invading Iraq will increase terrorism, not reduce it.


SCHIEFFER: So there is a commercial, and it is a powerful message indeed and very effectively delivered, I would say.

But, Ms. Sarandon, here is the question I would ask. How can you be so sure?

There are some very responsible people, both in this administration and in the Democratic Party, a number of whom are running for president, who say there is a connection, that Saddam Hussein poses a grave threat to this country.

So how can you say what you have just said?

SARANDON: Well, I think Saddam Hussein does pose a threat and that we should disarm him. It's not a question of whether or not he poses a threat.

What I was talking about was the link between the events of the 11th, which have been taken by this administration and used for their own purposes to advance their agenda. And as a mother of three who lives downtown New York City, I really resent that. Because there has been no direct connection made, at least I haven't seen it, between the events of the 11th and Iraq.

So the question is not whether or not -- I mean, to make that leap and say now we must invade Iraq, which as someone living in New York I believe the director of the CIA, William Tenet, when he says that it will make -- we will reach our highest level of danger if we invade Iraq. So as someone living in the United States with children, I'm concerned about a war, which to me is a failure of diplomacy, not an end in itself.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you. You say he is a grave threat and we should disarm him, but how do you do that? Apparently...

SARANDON: Well, Colin Powell has said that the most weapons were destroyed through the inspections in the '90s, in more so than even the war itself. I think that we continue to keep the inspectors in there, keep the eyes of the world on him. We take as much time as is necessary. This is not a game show; this is a very serious situation that does not have a time schedule. We make sure that the inspectors stay in there and we disarm them.

You know, it's been said by many experts, not just civilians like myself, that this is possible to contain Saddam Hussein with inspectors to disarm him. Colin Powell himself said that.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, let's get the other side of that, because Rich Lowry, I know you have written extensively that containment as a policy has failed. Why would you take issue with what Susan Sarandon has just said?

RICH LOWRY, National Review: Sure. Well, first of all, let me say I'm not sure whether I have enough TV and movie credits to appear on this panel.

But be that as it may -- look, we tried containment in the '90s, and it didn't work. As soon as Saddam realized there wasn't a serious military threat against him, he kicked out the inspectors; he divided France and Russia by giving them business contracts against us so they supported lifting the sanctions and easing the sanctions. So by 2000, he was selling more oil than he had any time since the first Gulf War. And all that revenue, of course, was being poured into weapons programs.

And that ad, by the way, is just factually incorrect. There is a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda. There is no division in the U.S. government about this anymore. Everyone agrees, there's 10 years' worth of contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. George Tenet said the other day that Iraq has provided chemical and biological training to al Qaeda.

And at the very least, we know Iraq has provided, at the least, safe harbor to a terrorist, Abu Zarkawi, who has unleashed a poison network across Europe and ordered the assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan.
So there's no question this is a dangerous guy, and he's trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just go back to one thing you said. You said there is a connection. Many people, even supporters of this administration and this policy, have said that the weakest part of the argument that Colin Powell made when he went before the United Nations was trying to link up Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

Tell me what those links are, as you see it.

LOWRY: Well, I don't think it's weak at all. Look, it's inherently a little bit murky, but George Tenet sat behind him as he made the case that there have been connections between Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda all through the 1990s.

And, Bob, this makes sense. People say that al Qaeda and Saddam are bitter enemies. That's not true. They do have some different interests. They have different strategic goals, because they both seek power for their own ideologies. But they share an important and fundamental interest, which is opposing America and wanting to kill Americans. So it makes sense that when it comes to that, they're going to cooperate.

And in the post-September 11th world, we cannot afford to wait until Saddam definitely gives al Qaeda chemical weapons or bioweapons or something even worse.

SCHIEFFER: All right, let's go to Mike Farrell.

And, Mike, welcome to the broadcast.

MIKE FARRELL, Actor, Artists United To Win Without War: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Many of us remember you all the way back in the days when you were the other doctor on MASH...


SCHIEFFER: ... and you really are part of the culture.

I want to ask you this question. Your group is saying more inspections are needed. But today Hans Blix, who is the chief inspector, is telling Time magazine that Saddam Hussein simply has no credibility.

Now, when the chief inspector is saying that, doesn't that sort of underline the argument that Rich Lowry is making this morning; that this man does pose a grave danger? I mean, if you can't trust him, so why have more inspections?

FARRELL: Well, I don't think the issue is trust, nor should it be.

Saddam Hussein, as far as I'm concerned, is a war criminal, Bob. But Mr. Lowry has made a number of misstatements I'd like to try to correct.

But with regard to what Mr. Blix is saying, the inspectors are on the ground there. They don't have to trust Saddam Hussein. They have terrific technological ability to determine whether or not the charges that are made by the United States are correct. And they have so far determined that they are not correct.

And if need be, we can enhance both the size of the inspections regime and the length of time in which they have to do their job. And that's exactly what we should be doing. Our argument is, inspections work, war doesn't.

If I might just speak to a couple of the points that were made?

SCHIEFFER: Sure, go ahead.

FARRELL: The idea that George Tenet sitting behind Colin Powell when he made the assertion that there was a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda is simply absurd. Yes, he was sitting behind him. He is a member of the administration. But he has said there is no connection, as have General Zinni -- Anthony Zinni, who headed the military command there, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, the Ambassador Dean, who was on the spot, I think you saw, with Susan. Any number of people have said, "Look, that connection simply does not exist. There is no evidence to support it."

Beyond that, as was suggested, Saddam Hussein didn't chase the inspectors out in 1998. They were withdrawn by President Clinton.

We have a number of misunderstandings that I think need to be clarified. And one of the ways in which they are clarified, thankfully, is by this debate and the opportunity for the American people to discuss these issues.

But what has been happening is the administration has been putting out a line that suggests that war is the only answer, and that they're promoting this war in a manner that has not been either fully analyzed or satisfactorily contradicted because there really hasn't been an opportunity.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Let's hold that part of the argument and let's go back to Rich Lowry.

And I'll give you a chance now, Rich, to respond to that. But I also want to pose this question to you.

Hans Blix also has said that Saddam must destroy all of the missiles that the U.N. inspectors have discovered because they do exceed the range allowed by the United Nations. Now, let me ask you this question. What if Saddam Hussein does that, will that be enough?

LOWRY: No. I mean, that's part of it, but he has to destroy all his weapons. I mean, Bob, this is not a complicated process, and as laid out in 1441, Saddam must just deliver, basically, all his weapons to Hans Blix and destroy them, and prove to us that he has destroyed them.

He has no intention of doing that. Even if he destroys a couple of missiles, that leaves all the liters of anthrax that he admitted to producing but has not accounted for, it leaves all the tons of VX that he admitted to producing but has not accounted for.

As far as what Mike was saying, I mean, he's just out of date. He needs to update himself on what George Tenet testified before Congress just recently when he said Iraq has provided training to al Qaeda.

And he also didn't address the Abu Zarkawi connection because he can't. It's just factual. It's a direct connection between Saddam and an al Qaeda ally who has been seeking to kill Americans and Europeans.

SCHIEFFER: Susan Sarandon, let me go back to you now. This week, apparently, the administration is going back to the United Nations and will ask for a new resolution endorsing some sort of action against Saddam.

If that resolution passes -- and today's newspapers are quoting people at the White House as saying the president is very confident that it will pass -- if that passes, and there is United Nations support for some future action unless Saddam disarms, would you then support a U.N. resolution and U.S. forces going into Iraq if that became necessary?

SARANDON: Well, "unless Saddam disarms" is a big piece of that equation. I mean...

SCHIEFFER: OK, but let's say he doesn't.

SARANDON: You know, I think certainly that so much of the world is against this and to go in unilaterally, to be the first nation that goes in preemptively as the only one allowed to start a war without any kind of aggression on the part of a nation is really a bad precedent to set. So I'm certainly against that.

And I think that we have to see what we're risking in terms of the U.N., when they don't -- when the Security Council is divided like this. Look what's happening to NATO.

And again, this time pressure to go in there. What is the point? Why are we in such a hurry? Even if we lose, what, 10,000 civilians, if we lose how many of our kids, you know, is it worth it really to jump into a war?

LOWRY: Bob, Bob, Susan...

SCHIEFFER: Well, is that your greatest fear, that if we do attack Iraq, that there will be repercussions in this country that will increase the danger to people in this country?

SARANDON: Well, that's -- well, clearly, I mean, if the head of the CIA thinks this is going to happen, I mean, I certainly think this will happen too.

But not only that, there's this huge economic drain, which means, you know, we haven't even mentioned al Qaeda, we haven't mentioned Osama bin Laden. So what's happening in Afghanistan? Why is our focus shifting? All this money that's going out, $36 billion to Turkey to try to get them...

LOWRY: Bob, could I just address...

SARANDON: ... excuse me, to try to get them on our little side here.

What's happening with the money for our own homeland security? All these neighborhoods are going broke trying to get first-response people to even have walkie-talkies. We don't have the money. Bring those kids home and let them protect our shores, is what I say.

SCHIEFFER: Susan, let me let Rich have a chance to respond because it is two against one today.

Go ahead, Rich.

LOWRY: Sure, well, Bob, Susan just made another counter-factual assertion, which is that this is a preemptive war unprecedented in American history. It does have a preemptive aspect to it, obviously, but it's mostly a war of enforcement. This has been going on for 12 years. He's in violation of the cease-fire agreement and 17 U.N. resolutions.

And it's not unprecedented in American history that we engage in a military attack on people who haven't attacked us. That's basically what's happened in every military engagement we've had since Pearl Harbor. You know, the Serbs in Bosnia did not attack us. The Serbs in Kosovo did not attack us. Yet liberals were very supportive of those wars.

Now, as far as a terrorist retaliation from Saddam Hussein, yes, al Qaeda is probably going to come and hit us again. We know that. They're going to do that no matter what, whether we go after Saddam or not.

And yes, Saddam himself may try to attack us, but it's odd that critics of this war, on one hand, would say Saddam has no connection to terrorists whatsoever, but if we do this we have to worry about Saddam launching a terrorist attack against us. It makes no sense.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Mike Farrell, that is a pretty good point, isn't it?

You can't have it both ways. You can't say there's no connection but then say if you do attack Iraq that you can expect counter attacks by al Qaeda in this country.

FARRELL: Many of our military officials have suggested that the greatest recruiting service we can do to al Qaeda is attack Iraq, because the Muslim world believes that what this is is a war on the Muslim world. And the fury that's going to be generated by it will push people into the arms of Osama bin Forgotten.

If you would simply allow the inspections to continue -- the inspections are doing their job. And that's what people refuse to accept.


FARRELL: Forgive me for the laughter. But this Mr. Zarkawi connection, he also was associated with Saudi Arabia. We haven't decided to do war on Saudi Arabia. There are any number of countries that people travel through, which does not create a link.

Both the military, the diplomatic and the intelligence forces in our country have clearly determined that there has been no substantive link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. And to pretend that there is, is simply to support this idea that the Bush administration keeps promoting, but it is unsubstantiated by fact.

SCHIEFFER: All right, we have to end it here. That will have to be the last word simply because our time has run out.

I thank all of you for coming. I respect all of you for your opinions, and I hope by airing all sides of this this morning, that we have helped our viewers out there to understand more about this situation.

We'll be back in a moment with a little more -- thank you -- in a moment.


SCHIEFFER: When it comes to American politics, nobody is more informed, I think, than Joe Klein, the columnist for Time magazine.

He's with us here this morning.

Well, Joe, I think we'd better first talk about a little of what we just heard. You write in your column this week that so much of the campaign, so much of the next election is going to depend on this war and what happens.
You just heard Susan Sarandon, you just heard Mike Farrell, you just heard Rich Lowry. It really underlines what you're saying. There are great differences of opinion about all this.

JOEL KLEIN, Time: Yes, there are, and they're not going to be resolved. In fact, you know, my sense is that people are kind of getting a little grumpy about this, because nobody said anything new, really, about this war since last fall, and they're waiting for what's going to happen next.

And I think that that's -- you know, I was out in Iowa this week with the Democrats and I think that's very much the state of play with them, as well.
They're just waiting.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, talking about we haven't heard anything about this since last fall, and that was, of course, in the midterm elections, but think back to the previous presidential campaign. In a way, it sort of underlines what's happened to our politics. I mean, I can't recall anybody saying much of anything during that campaign that has any relevance to what's happening today.

Everybody's talking about, "Well, everything's changed since 9/11," but the fact is foreign policy was not on the back burner, it was back in the cupboard and hadn't even been put on the stove during that campaign.

KLEIN: That is precisely right. And that had been the case since the end of the Cold War, which was one of the reasons why Bill Clinton was so successful. He ran almost entirely on domestic policy.

But now I think you're going to see that foreign policy is going to be at the center of the coming presidential campaign, and experience is going to be a very important factor in who the Democrats decide.

And I got to say, Bob, that, you know, usually at this stage of a campaign, with a whole big field of a lot of candidates, you know, it's easy to look on them as a bunch of dwarfs or buffoons, but the Democrats have some really serious and substantive and effective candidates out there.

Of course, there's another whole brigade of buffoons that are led by Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich and Carol Moseley-Braun, none of whom really have a chance to become president and are kind of cluttering up the stage at this point. But there are some good, serious candidates out there, too.

SCHIEFFER: Well, talk about one. You write in your column this week about Dick Gephardt. He's obviously been around the track before, and you compare him to macaroni and cheese. What do you mean by that?


KLEIN: Oh, yes, well, you know, you listen to him speak -- I was out in St. Louis for his announcement on Wednesday, and he handed out the text of the speech in advance, and it looked like a really good speech. And then, about 10 minutes into it, I realized that I was bored. Listening to him speak sounds like someone trying to walk up the down escalator.

But he is a very solid, serious guy, and he's playing that. He's saying, you know, he compared himself to a pair of old sneakers this week. And he's gambling that when it all comes down in the next year, people are going to be looking for someone with experience.

And I have to say, Bob, that in all the campaigns I've covered, this one is least in the hands of the candidates and most the hands of events and fate and things that they can't control.

And I think that on both sides, on President Bush's side when the general election comes but also during this primary process, it's going to be all about how the candidates react to the immense and often shocking events that we're going to see over the next year.

SCHIEFFER: Well, of course, we're a long way from knowing who it's going to be on the Democratic side. Are you willing to handicap it at this point?

KLEIN: I am never willing to handicap it. We are never so stupid as when we make predictions.

SCHIEFFER: Which is a good thing about you, Joe.

KLEIN: But I got to say, I was at the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, meetings in Washington on Friday and Saturday -- well, on Friday, and Howard Dean, the governor of Vermont, came in and he just blew those people away. It was one of the most effective speeches I've ever seen a candidate give.

Now, he doesn't have foreign policy experience, but I think that, at the very least, he is going to sharpen up the other candidates and he is going to make this a very, very interesting race.

SCHIEFFER: That's very interesting, and I think we'll end on that because I'm going to have a little something to say about that when we come back with a final word, in just a minute.

Thank you, Joe Klein.

KLEIN: My pleasure, Bob.


SCHIEFFER: Finally today, it was Ike who said, "I will go to Korea." Jimmy Carter said, "I will never lie to you." Walter Mondale beat back a challenge from Gary Hart for the Democratic nomination in 1984 by asking, "Where's the beef?" And Ronald Reagan posed the now famous question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

In every successful political contest, you will find a phrase or a one-liner that catches the public's attention. A few words that, agree or disagree, caused you to say, "Hey, did you hear what so-and-so said the other day?"

That's why I took notice when I called in from the road last week and a colleague asked, "Did you hear what Howard Dean said the other day?"

Dean, of course, is the Vermont governor and long-shot presidential candidate. He had stepped to the microphone at a Democratic National Committee meeting, accused his rivals for trying to copy rather than challenge the Bush administration, and then electrified the crowd by saying, "I'm Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."

Now, whether his analysis is right or wrong is not the point here. But with that one remark he has separated himself from the growing field of Democrats and won the first, "Did you hear what so-and-so said" primary. Just ask the better-known and well-financed Dick Gephardt, who formally announced his campaign with a big rally last week. Not many Democrats, though, were asking what he said.

It is a long way from knowing who the Democrats' nominee will be. But if I were one of those other candidates, I'd start keeping an eye on Howard Dean.

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