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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Kennedy Responds to Powell's Comments

Aired February 5, 2003 - 14:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go live now to Capitol Hill. Senator Ted Kennedy reacting to Colin Powell's speech today.
SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: ... that North Korea places with weapons grade plutonium and with the new understanding that tactical nuclear weapons are also being considered for Iraq to bore into the bunkers, which raises some very important issues and questions that I hope Secretary Rumsfeld will talk about. He was going to appear tomorrow morning, and I intended to ask him about these reports, and now that has been canceled because of the memorial.

But this would add an enormously dangerous new dimension for the United States to be even considering using nukes to bore into some of the alleged places of hiding in Iraq to destroy chemical and biological warfare.

There ought to be a very clear statement by the secretary, by the president that that is not just on the table, but not in consideration. The policy implications of that would just be, I think, profound and be disastrous myself.

QUESTION: Senator Kennedy, if the president succeeds in getting a second U.N. resolution, seeks and succeeds in getting it, would that do anything to change your position on using force?

KENNEDY: Well, I think it's the American people that I most care about and concerned about. I think that we ought to -- whatever we're going to do ought to be done within the United Nations. I think our effort in terms of not only dealing with Saddam, but also dealing with terror depends upon working through the United Nations, our efforts in terms of getting a handle on North Korea is going to depend upon working with South Korea, China and the countries -- and Japan. So we have to work multilaterally.

The questions I've raised I think are still outstanding as to what answers that the American people want to know. The American people -- you were able to get a resolution through the Security Council. I think the American people want to know how we're going to get, once we get in there, how we're going to get out; what the loss for American troops are going to be; how long we're going to be stationed there; what the cost is going to be; what the collateral damage is going to be in terms of civilian casualties; what are the rules of engagement in terms of putting Americans in harm's way to stop the Kurds if they should go into their old home areas, which in the northern part have oil; are we going to be caught in that battle, are we going to be caught in the south. Those are questions that are enormously important, that'll affect the life-and-death situation for American troops. And I think the president owes to the American people answers to that, irrespective of where the Security Council comes up.

Thanks very much.

QUESTION: Senator, are you going to filibuster the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) nomination?

KENNEDY: We're only -- we're going to start speaking today. I guess we're not in tomorrow or the next day and there are a lot of people who want to speak.

PHILLIPS: Senator Ted Kennedy responding on Capitol Hill there to a recent speech by Colin Powell.

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