CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Showdown Iraq: Interview With Eugene Carroll
Aired October 2, 2002 - 12:31 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Today in our "Guns and Ammo" segment, we're talking about the military and strategic concerns in planning for a possible attack against Iraq.
And joining us now, the retired Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll. He is the vice president of the Center for Defense Information here in Washington.
We just heard Senator McCain say that there is a threat, and it is clear, it is imminent, against the United States from Iraq. What's wrong with the Congress giving the president the authority -- the authorization he is seeking to use military force, if necessary?
REAR ADM. EUGENE CARROLL, U.S. NAVY (RET): The president has not established to the American people or to the Congress the clear and imminent threat. Saddam Hussein is a forth-rate military power, heads of government. He has no means of striking out against the United States of America. He certainly can cause terrible destruction in the Middle East, but in no way does he threaten the United States. And...
WOODRUFF: You don't think, Admiral, that if he were to develop a nuclear capability -- and he could get enriched uranium on the black market, he's got billions of dollars -- within a few months, he could have a crude nuclear device that would undermine U.S. interests in that part of the world?
CARROLL: Very well put. A crude nuclear device is not a weapon. You have to be able to deliver it with reliability. There is no indication that he will be capable of delivering a reliable nuclear weapon in years.
BLITZER: But he's got missiles. He's still got ballistic missiles.
CARROLL: He doesn't have missiles that will reach the United States. Let's make that clear.
BLITZER: But he could reach U.S. troops in that part of the world, in Kuwait and elsewhere.
CARROLL: Yes, and he will do that if he had the weapon and if he's going under anyway. He is a madman bent upon maintaining his supremacy and power. If he sees it gone, then he'll use anything he has.
BLITZER: Militarily speaking, you're a retired admiral.
BLITZER: It would not be all that difficult, at least some of the experts say, to go ahead and get rid of Saddam Hussein for a world-class superpower like the United States.
CARROLL: Yes, well, of course, you're talking about violating the laws of the United States of America, as well as international law. That doesn't really bother anybody anymore. The fact is...
BLITZER: That's -- laws are up to the lawyers to decide. But if the president gives the order, militarily speaking, how long would it take, do you believe, to get the job done?
CARROLL: We're talking now about an overt U.S. action...
BLITZER: Right, a full-scale war to get rid of Saddam Hussein?
CARROLL: It's probably going to take us three to four months to caulk (ph) and go. But that's very...
BLITZER: To begin the war.
CARROLL: To actually initiate the war, which will be over in a very short time. We'll smash the cockroach into the sand once again. But we'll come out of it in worse security position, in worse political position, in worse economic position, if we do win the war. If you win a war and come out worse than you started, it's a very poor war to begin.
BLITZER: I got a military question from John in Los Altos, California. "It is not the right of the public to know that what the military is doing during a war. The public should stop demanding vital military statistics. All Saddam has to do is turn on his TV, and he'll know exactly how the U.S. is going to hit him."
Is this viewer, John in California, right? Should the media stop reporting what the U.S. military is up to?
CARROLL: Absolutely not. We know from past history that that leads to abuses. The American people are the citizens who determine the policy of the United States under the democratic process, and to do that, they must be informed.
BLITZER: All right, Jeffrey from Connecticut asks you this question: "Bush and Blair must be under tremendous pressure to release what they know about Iraq's WMD's" -- weapons of mass destruction -- "lest sources be unintentionally compromised and lives put at risk. The public and Congress do not seem to grasp that concept."
In the intelligence community, as you well know, Admiral, sources and methods are the crown jewels -- how the U.S. goes about collecting this information. Does he have a legitimate point, Jeffrey?
CARROLL: He has a legitimate point, but he has ignored the fact that we do know what the current status is. That they have revealed the degree to which Saddam Hussein has advanced, and the inspection process, which is imminent, is going to tell us even more. We don't have to hide anything from the American people. The threat doesn't exist today, and we'll know when it does exist.
BLITZER: Admiral Carroll, thanks for joining us.
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