LIVE FROM THE FRONT LINES
U.S. Cuts off Oil Pipeline to Syria; Iraqis Frustrated as Order Restored; Modesto Police Says Body of Woman Not Yet Identified; Iraqi Operative Helped Map Escape Route for Jessica Lynch Rescue
Aired April 15, 2003 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Keeping the heat on Syria.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATES: We hope that Syria understands now that there is a new environment in the region.
ANNOUNCER: And cutting off its oil.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: That I cannot assure you that all the illegal oil flowing from Iraq into Syria is shut off. I just hope it is.
ANNOUNCER: And how do you bring Baghdad back to life?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea. I've never done this before.
ANNOUNCER: A city comes on line. One bureaucrat, one hospital, one police car at a time.
Former POWs get ready to come home and tell more of their stories.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She didn't say anything about her ordeal. All she mentioned was the fact that she had gotten shot.
ANNOUNCER: Plus, how an Iraqi spy helped rescue Private Jessica Lynch.
Winning a war, yet losing an election. Will the economy make this an example of like father, like son?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Instead of lowering taxes little by little the Congress should do it all at once.
ANNOUNCER: LIVE FROM THE FRONT LINES with Paula Zahn in New York.
PAULA ZAHN, ANCHOR: And good evening from the CNN broadcast center in New York. Glad to have you with us tonight. My colleague Wolf Blitzer has a very well-deserved night off.
President Bush said today the victory in Iraq is certain, but not yet complete. Tonight we'll look at what's left to do and what's already being done to get the country up and running.
We are also keeping our eyes on a developing story here in the United States. Authorities in Modesto, California, may make some announcements in the case of Laci Peterson, the pregnant woman who has been missing since Christmas Eve. We will take you there live when it happens.
But first today Secretary of State Colin Powell answered a question much of the world has been asking. Powell says there is no list and no war plan to attack someone else now that Saddam Hussein has been overthrown. That is likely big news in Syria, which a lot of people had speculated would be at the top of such a list, but before Syria's leadership could breathe a sigh of relief, Powell had some more to say.
For that, let's go to our State Department, Andrea Koppel. Good evening, Andrea.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESONDENT: Good evening, Paula.
Secretary of State Powell sought today to try to allay fears, not only in Syria but in the international community at large, very jittery over the fact that the U.S. could be preparing at some point in the near future to take military action, not only against Syria, but perhaps against Iran. Both countries which the U.S. accused of harboring terrorists and accused of having active weapons of mass destruction programs.
But Secretary Powell made it very clear, explicitly saying that there is no U.S. hit-list.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: We have concerns about Syria. We have let Syria know of our concerns. We also have concerns about some of the policies of Iran. We have maybe Iranians fully aware of our concerns, but there is no list. There is no war plan right now to attack someone else, either for the purpose of overthrowing their leadership or for the purpose of imposing democratic values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOPPEL: But at the Pentagon, mixed messages, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld parsing every word, refusing to rule out the possibility of military action against Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUMSFELD: I'm sure that no coalition forces destroyed a pipeline. We don't -- we have preserved infrastructure in that country. I am hopeful that they have shut it off, and I've heard that that has happened, but I cannot assure you that all illegal oil flowing from Iraq into Syria is shut off. I just hope it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KOPPEL: Obviously, the Bush administration concerned that Syria would continue to rake inasmuch as $1.4 billion every year, Paula, money that it has been taking, the U.S. says illegally, violating U.N. sanctions, pumping it from Iraq into Syria. The U.S. really turning up the heat on Syria. They've been trying for years to close down that pipeline.
But now again, Secretary Powell reiterating the U.S. could potentially sanction Syria, put additional sanctions in place, could potentially downgrade diplomatic relations. Concerned about that very long border between those two countries, across which Iraqi Ba'ath Party officials, war criminals could flee.
The U.S. hoping to capitalize, Paula, on the success that it had just over the border in Iraq, hoping to really put the fear of God, if you will, into the Syrian regime and into the Iranian regime and for that matter into any country that is harboring terrorists or has a weapons of mass destruction program.
I should point out that the Syrian government denies adamantly that it has any terrorists inside its country, that it supports terrorism or that it has a weapons of mass destruction program or it's harboring any Iraqi war criminals -- Paula.
ZAHN: Andrea Koppel, thanks so much for the update.
Meanwhile, there were no reports of combat in Iraq today, but there is big news in the war on terrorism.
U.S. sources tell CNN that U.S. personnel in and around Baghdad have arrested Abu Abbas, the Palestinian terrorist behind the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.
Our senior international correspondent is Nic Robertson is in Baghdad, keeping up with all of these developments, he joins us now.
Good evening, Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula.
Well, Palestinian sources are telling us that Abu Abbas was picked up about 50 miles west of Baghdad, close to the town of Ramarti (ph). It is understood from those same sources that on Sunday he tried to travel to Syria. For a reason we're not yet clear of, he was turned around at the border with Syria. He apparently head back toward Baghdad and that's when he was picked up, just when he was getting close to the outskirts here.
It's perhaps an indication of how the Saddam Hussein era is now becoming history. Elements of the associated with the regime and Abu Abbas, certainly given -- has certainly given permission from Iraq's leadership to live in Iraq in the early 1990s, and he returned back to Iraq in the year 2000 and had been living here ever since.
Certainly, his arrest an indication that things are beginning to change here. And one of the changes would be guns we see on the streets here. Now that the war is over, that the looting is beginning to slow down, some of the city's residents beginning to get their lives back in order.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): With a smile and a blast at Saddam, Muhammad (ph) reopens his bookstore, neighbors quick to point out he's not a looter. After a month's closure, dust thick on the shelves he prudently emptied before he left.
Gone so long, the clock stopped, but now he says it's time to restart his business.
"Today it's safer," he says. "I didn't hear any tank shells or bullets."
Next door, Muhammad (ph) the grocer is back at work. Candy and soda, all he can offer for now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time, when the night is coming, we are closing and I don't know the next day I see my shop safe or broke.
ROBERTSON: At the bakery, war didn't stop Abu Ahmed (ph) working, but now he says, making bread is getting harder.
"It's very difficult to do odd jobs. You have to share with everything", he says, "electricity flour, fuel, water, even salt."
At the counter, customers wait patiently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Losing the dignity of the Arab.
ROBERTSON: But seeing us, many vent pent-up anger, the lack of electricity and security.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish that I am nothing now. I wish that I had no mind to think that my country -- that I lost myself. Who can help me to feel that my country is still there?
ROBERTSON (on camera): Most stores here remain locked up and shattered, many businessmen, it seems, still feel it is too dangerous to open up just yet. The situation is still far from normal.
(voice-over) Increasing their efforts to restore that normality, U.S. Marines are now patrolling some Baghdad streets on foot, a more visible presence designed to help reduce looting. But unlike British forces in the south, these U.S. Marines still in full combat gear.
To help restore water and other much-needed services, Marines have been meeting with city planners and engineers.
The shift away from fighting the war, apparently not stopping the thinly-spread U.S. force from its original mission. This day another weapons cache discovered by the Marines in the center of the capital.
Possibly, however, the long day's taking their toll. This Marine snatches a quick nap in the chair Saddam's wife palace. Most in the city, though would likely prefer the Marines weren't this stretched and there were enough to get the job done quickly.
ROBERTSON: And what's really striking about the situation here is the anger of people on the streets here. Very frustrated, and the thing that they say they want most beyond the security is electricity. They say we've been promised it, we've been told electricity would be switched back on soon and they say they're still waiting for it. And indeed as I look around, most of the capital, Paula, is still very much in the dark.
ZAHN: Nic, I want you to take us back to yesterday when U.S. forces came into the Palestine Hotel, which is where a lot of foreign journalists happened to be staying and they conducted room to room searches of the hotel. What did you go through?
ROBERTSON: Well, I'd been in bed asleep, I'd worked the night shift and I'd been in bed for a couple of hours, and I keep boxes against my doors to stop people or slow people getting into my room.
Two Marines crashed through the door, guns pointed at me. I sort of woke up, throwing my hands in the air, screaming at them don't shoot, don't shoot. It was a really rude awakening, but certainly for the Marines a necessary part of providing security here at this location.
They believed that there were people in the hotel who they called "unfriendlies," that they were tracking down. They went to two different floors of the building, performed their searches and they did arrest and take away three people from the hotel.
Now this is a hotel where there were journalists and military presence, Paula.
ZAHN: All right. Nic Robertson and we're going to have to leave it there because we're going to go live now to Modesto, California, to catch up on a story we're been following for many months out there. And that is a story about Laci Peterson, who disappeared on Christmas Eve. She was eight months pregnant.
Let's listen to authorities now.
DET. DOUG RIDENOUR, MODESTO POLICE: All right. Since it's been awhile since we met, I just want to reiterate that we will not be talking about the investigation. You've heard that before.
So over the weekend you than there was a baby male that was found in the Richmond Marina and then yesterday a female body was discovered in the East Bay and it was reported that the bodies were approximately a mile away.
Our department was notified of the East Bay regional police invited us to observe the recovery of the female body. Detectives from this department responded and went over to the East Bay Area. Until the identities of the bodies have been made and they are connected to the Laci Peterson case, the Bay Area law enforcement agencies will remain in the jurisdiction.
The -- it's been reported in the media for the last day or so regarding the DNA of those bodies. It's going to take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to get those results. So I'm trying to update you the best of our connection with our department, as you know. Because of this we do not have jurisdiction over those bodies.
And I want to give Kim Peterson, who is representing the families, an opportunity to have a statement from the families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name?
RIDENOUR: Doug Ridenour, R-I-D-E-N-O-U-R.
KIM PETERSON, FAMILY SPOKESWOMAN: I'm Kim Peterson, P-e-t-e-r-s- o-n, executive director of the Carolson Kerrington (ph) Foundation, and Laci Peterson's family asked me to read this statement on their behalf.
Obviously, as you can understand, this is a very difficult time for our family as we await the results of the DNA testing. These past three and a half months have been a constant nightmare for us. From the beginning we have done all we can to find Laci and we'll continue to do so until she's found, but this waiting is the worst.
While in the news reports these are two bodies that have been found, to us they could potentially be our daughter and grandson, our sister and nephew, loving members of our family or possibly someone else's family who's experiencing our same pain. Please be considerate of that fact.
We believe that it's if this is Laci, God his allowed her to be found because our family needs to know where she is and what has happened to her. If this turns out to be Laci, we want the animal responsible for this heinous act to pay. We will do all we can to pursue justice for Laci and Connor.
We ask for your thoughts and prayers as we wait. We'd like to thank all of the people who have been so supportive of us during these past months. Your prayers, hugs, cards and e-mails mean more than you'll ever know. We don't know how we would make it through each day without all of you.
During this time of waiting we ask that you respect our privacy and our need to be together as a family at this time. We will not be conducting any interviews prior to the test results. Thank you. Laci's family.
RIDENOUR: Thank you, Kim. As we have in the past and will continue to do is to maintain the practice of notifying the media when there's a significant event that comes that we need to make public. We will maintain that practice and keep our promise to do that.
I will try to take some questions. Obviously, again, I can't talk about the investigation and so, first question. Yes, ma'am? Right here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is Scott Peterson?
RIDENOUR: I don't know where he's at.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you tried to contact him or tried to locate him?
RIDENOUR: Regarding Scott Peterson, I don't know where he's at and if I knew where he was at I couldn't tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but can you tell us where you guys stand as far as if he has been ruled out as a suspect? Where are we at with that?
RIDENOUR: We are still at the same place we were before. He's not been ruled out as a suspect, nor have we named him as a suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you placed him under any travel restrictions?
RIDENOUR: Again, those would be parts of the investigation we just wouldn't talk about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the police notify him after (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
RIDENOUR: My understanding that the police have been in contact with the Peterson family. Whether Scott was notified yet, I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... the tides in the Brooks Island, Port Isabelle area of Richmond, that area that Scott said he was fishing were those where the remains would be found?
RIDENOUR: I'm thinking that's probably one of those issues that we may have found out possibly through an investigation. Again, those are just areas that we won't talk about because they're part of the investigation ,if in fact, that's true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you identify the body and how long do you think it might take?
RIDENOUR: Again, it's not our case. We don't have the bodies in our jurisdiction, so that will be identified through the proper forensic testing within the counties in the jurisdiction that's been done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) body parts?
RIDENOUR: Again, it'll probably be through DNA and it's anywhere from, I think I said earlier several days to a couple of weeks or several weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
RIDENOUR: Well, I've heard that it could take longer, up to months, but that's -- going back to what you said, Rich, that's the statement I made earlier. So we have to stay with that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see what the labs are doing? Or what's the difference between (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
RIDENOUR: Again, I think that's -- you're going to have to ask the lab for that notification.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
RIDENOUR: I have not and I'm sure that the investigators, if that's a concern, they've been in contact with him, but I don't know if that specific question has been asked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What can you tell us about this woman's body found at the Delta Canoda (ph) canal?
RIDENOUR: The chief just told me that it's a top priority for the lab and they'll do it as quick as they can. Yes? Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The two bodies that have been -- that were found this weekend, has there been any other evidentiary or not even evidentiary or anything else that's been connected to this case found in the Berkeley Marina area or (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
RIDENOUR: Are you talking about the two bodies?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other than the two bodies.
RIDENOUR: Again, those are investigation things that I'm not going to talk about. Yes, go ahead?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell me about how many detectives there currently are on this case?
RIDENOUR: We still have the three primary detectives, one lead and two that's assisting. And we have the entire staff of the investigation division in this department, if necessary, to follow up on leads, if necessary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you explain how hopeful you guys are at this point that this is the answer you've been looking for?
RIDENOUR: I think we'll stay with the same statement we made earlier. We're always hopeful, we'll continue to be hopeful, but we also want to maintain our diligence over this investigation and do it in a methodical way that of course we've had since day one, we are continuing to do that. We're not going to allow the hype to interfere in the investigation. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've been an investigator a long time. Does it seem to be more than coincidence that a baby boy's body is found and a female adult?
RIDENOUR: You know, all I would be doing is speculating to that response. So I'm not going to respond to that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
RIDENOUR: Again, those would be investigation. We sent five investigators over there yesterday and they observed during that process. I'm sorry, let me go back to this young lady.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you supplied anything to them?
RIDENOUR: Again, -- again f you all remember what I said at the beginning I am not going to piecemeal and pick and choose certain parts of the investigation that we're going to reveal. I said at the very beginning that I'm not going to talk about the investigation, and it's going to be tough, as it always has been, for me to respond to your questions.
So if you can keep that in mind, and ask me a question that I'll respond to I'll be happy to do that. But if you want to continue to ask me about the investigation questions, I'm not going to respond to it. Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In general terms this is a homicide case?
ZAHN: For those of you just joining us, we're been listening to Detective Doug Ridenour of the Modesto Police Department talk about the latest findings in northern California of two bodies, the body of an infant boy and the headless body of a woman that washed up in northern California about 90 miles northwest of Modesto, California.
He says there cannot be any connection made right now with that case. He said it will take several days -- anywhere from several days or a few weeks to get results back on some of the DNA work that is being done. He said this will be a top priority for the lab.
About the only other thing he would say related to the investigation, because he told us up front that he's very limited about what he can say because he doesn't want to compromise the investigation at this point, that Scott Peterson, the husband of Laci Peterson, that's been missing since the day before Christmas, has not been ruled out as a suspect nor been named as a suspect.
And once again, Detective Ridenour when any connection could be made or any lack of association they would let all of us know covering that case.
We're going to take a short break here.
Coming up later on in the show, 500 people are quarantined in Canada. Some of them may have the deadly SARS disease. We'll have that story from Toronto for you. But next, an Iraqi citizen helped U.S. special forces find Private Jessica Lynch. Our Barbara Starr has some of the amazing details straight out of the break.
ZAHN: Welcome back.
CNN is learning some new details about the rescue of former POW Jessica Lynch.
An Iraqi spy on the CIA's payroll played a key part in her return. Armed with a video camera, he snuck into the Iraqi hospital where Lynch was being held and actually mapped a route to get her out of there.
Barbara Starr says it helped make rescue mission a success.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned that just hours before Private First Class Jessica Lynch was rescued by special forces, the CIA sent a trusted Iraqi operative, already on the agency payroll, into the hospital with a secret video camera provided by the Pentagon.
His mission, to tape the building's interiors, critical information for planning the daring raid. A rescue, the team would then tape themselves as it unfolded.
In the 72 hours before the April 1 rescue, the U.S. intelligence community began to hear whispers of Jessica Lynch's location. At least two enemy prisoners of war offered some information, indicating she had been at another location in Nasiriyah, but none of that could be verified.
Then a local Iraqi man informed nearby Marines that Jessica Lynch was at the hospital. His information needed to be verified but the CIA and the military were already working frantically on a number of leads all pointing to the hospital in Nasiriya. The Defense Intelligence Agency obtained hospital blueprints for the commando team. It was then decided to risk sending in the Iraqi operative with the hidden video camera.
The rescue team was actually a group of special forces, formed to hunt and capture regime leaders. They were diverted to this mission. It was Navy SEALs that went into the hospital while Army Rangers provided outside security and the Marines staged a diversion.
At the same time Air Force special forces were waiting outside to take Jessica Lynch to safety.
(on camera) The mission went off without a hitch. Indeed, by the time the special forces team got there, most Iraqi fighter had deserted the hospital and the role of the CIA operative would remain hidden until now. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
ZAHN: And on to some medical news now, while researchers have cracked the genetic code of SARS, CDC officials say it will take good old fashioned detective work and a lot of shoe leather to track down where the flu-like illness started in China.
In Canada they're doing much the same kind of tracking, too, after an outbreak of dozens of new cases there. CTV's Peter Murphy says it's shaking up ideas about handling infectious diseases.
PETER MURPHY, CTV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just when Toronto health officials thought they were getting a handle on the SARS outbreak, this new cluster of 31 patients, all of them from one religious community, all of it traceable back to Toronto's first SARS case.
The infections occurred when members of the religious group attended the funeral of a SARS victim here at this funeral home.
DR. SHEELA BASRUR, TORONTO CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH: We did not expect to see this number of people arriving within this tight-knit community. And as a result we have taken some additional, very strong measures.
MURPHY: Now every hospital in Toronto and every doctor has been warned to be on the lookout for new SARS cases. And all 500 members of the religious group have been put in quarantine.
BASRUR: If public health has put you into a quarantine, you must observe that requirement even if you still feel well because you are in quarantine because you could become sick.
MURPHY: The news of a new cluster of SARS cases comes on the same day as Ontario relaxed restrictions on its hospitals that had forced the cancellations of all elective surgeries in hospital tests and clinics.
(on camera) The SARS outbreak has changed forever how Ontario's health care system operates and those changes almost certainly will be incorporated nationwide.
As to the huge backlog of tests and surgeries caused by the outbreak, officials say it will be weeks, if not months before that's cleared.
Peter Murphy, CTA News, Toronto.
ZAHN: And still to come tonight, the president's poll numbers are up, but how long will that last? Could the economy be his Achilles heel? Well, the "CROSSFIRE" gang is going to debate just that. And here is Al Hunt and Bob Novak. Good evening, gentlemen. I guess it's Al first, I can't even see Bob.
AL HUNT, "CROSSFIRE" CO-HOST: It is. Paula, like father, like son. Will George W. Bush follow in his father's footsteps by winning the war or losing the economy.
BOB NOVAK, "CROSSFIRE" CO-HOST: Or will Bush's big tax cut be a winner for the president, the economy and America? We'll debate that in the "CROSSFIRE" as FROM THE FRONTLINE continues after this break.
ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Welcome back. I'm Robert Novak.
After winning the war, will George Bush lose the economy? Or will his big tax cut put the economy back on track and put him back in the White House? Our guests: former Democratic congressman, Tony Coelho, and former Republican congressman, Bob Walker. Joining me in the questioning, Al Hunt, of CNN's "CAPITAL GANG" -- Al.
AL HUNT, "CAPITAL GANG": Bob Walker, Republicans are euphoric that the stunning military success in Iraq will make George Bush virtually unbeatable next year. Yet his father was more popular in 1991 and lost the next year. And I doubt even you would argue that Bush is more inspirational than Winston Churchill was, who after guiding the Brits through World War II was thrown out of office in 1946. Why will it be different this time?
BOB WALKER, FMR. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, it will be different this time in large part because I think the economy is on the verge of recovering. And I think if the Republicans get their act together and pass the president's tax cut proposal, that that will be a stimulative effect for the economy. There was a big hangover from the war that affected the economy. And now with that removed, I think Bush's economic performance will look much, much betterer.
NOVAK: Tony Coelho, I gather the Democrats were praying for a military disaster in Iraq so it would destroy President Bush's chances. Now you're praying for an economic collapse. Is the Democratic Party depending on bad news?
TONY COELHO, FMR. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Boy, your questions are interesting. You know I was chairman of papa's campaign in Kuwait. I'm not afraid and most Democrats aren't afraid to go and solve problems worldwide. We do that. But let me tell you what the issue is here.
The issue is here is that the economy is in serious trouble. It was in trouble before the war, contrary to what Bob says. It was in trouble before the war; it is now in serious trouble. Unemployment is high. There's serious problems out there. This is a situation where he has to really address. He does not have a good economic team. He had a good foreign policy team.
NOVAK: Are you praying for bad news?
COELHO: Oh, I'm not praying for bad news. I'm praying for good news, because I want it to turn around. Because there are a lot of people out there, Bob, who are hurting, hurting bad. And this guy needs to concentrate on this economy.
HUNT: Let me pick up on that, Bob Walker. I was stunned a minute ago when you said this economy is doing better. Let's go to the videotape, as they say.
When George Bush took office, we had record surpluses. Now we have record deficits; $304 billion and climbing.
Unemployment's going from four percent to almost six percent. 2.6 million private sector jobs have been lost in the last two years. And the number of children in poverty for the first time in years is climbing rather than declining. Are those numbers you want to brag about?
WALKER: No, I don't want to brag about those numbers. But the fact is...
HUNT: You don't deny those numbers, though, do you?
WALKER: No, I think that's correct. But the problem is that a lot of that by, all economists' measurements, began at the end of the Clinton administration. We have never been able to get the recovery in part because the Bush tax cut did not kick in as a result of some of the war.
COELHO: You're blaming this on Bill Clinton two years later?
WALKER: No. All I'm saying is that all of the economists agree that the numbers of the economy started down at the end of the Clinton administration. The Bush administration has not been able to get the recovery they want, but that's in large part because we have not had the kind of economic performance that the war would permit.
COELHO: The problem is that Mr. Bush had an economic team that was a disaster. So much of a disaster he had to fire them. And it isn't because of Bill Clinton. You guys always want to blame Bill Clinton. At some point you've got to admit that George Bush is in the White House and he's got to take...
WALKER: And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) take responsibility for that.
COELHO: If you want to take credit for the war, you'd better take responsibility for the economy.
NOVAK: You're against the tax cut.
NOVAK: OK. When we come back, Democratic disarray over the war. With no current message, does any Democrat have a shot at the White House?
HUNT: Welcome back. I'm Al Hunt. Will President Bush's win in Iraq carry him to victory in 2004, or will the battle over domestic issues give Democrats the edge?
We're talking politics with a pair of former congressmen and real political heavyweights, Republican Bob Walker and Democrat Tony Coelho -- Robert Novak.
NOVAK: Tony, John Kerry, the senator from Massachusetts, was leading the Democratic (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in some of these polls, and then he said -- talking about a regime change in Iraq, he said, "What we really need is a regime change in the United States." Don't you think -- you can be candid with me on this program that comparing Saddam Hussein with George W. Bush is stupid.
COELHO: Well I don't know if it's stupid. It was a mistake. But I think -- you know, basically, I think John Kerry has bigger problems than that. But I don't care if you blame it on that.
NOVAK: Who's the front runner?
COELHO: I would say today of course it's got to be Lieberman because of name I.D. But Gephardt, watch Gephardt.
HUNT: Bob Walker, a big to do about John Kerry. But I remember back in 1991 -- being an old timer -- all of those Democrats who ran that year voted against the Persian Gulf War resolution. The Persian Gulf War was a great success; at least it seemed so at the time.
And there was that wonderful formulation, the Clintonian formulation, where he said, I would have voted with the majority for the war, but I agreed with the views of the minority. It didn't make any difference in '92, it's not going to make any difference next year, is it?
WALKER: No. I don't think that the war will end up being the deciding feature in the Democratic primaries, at least. And the question will be whether or not the economy is a driving factor. And there I agree with Tony.
I think Gephardt could emerge from that as the stronger of the candidates. Particularly if he's able to put together a base of union support.
Where it may make a difference is when we get to the national security issues in the general election campaign. And some of these people who have made rather foolish statements in the course of this last few months...
WALKER: Well, I think Kerry's statement was foolish. I think that Dean has kind of defined himself. Former Governor Dean has defined himself in ways that would be troublesome for them in the general election.
NOVAK: But, Tony Coelho, don't those Democrats really have a problem? The polls indicate right now that only 20 percent -- about 20 percent of the American people are against this war, after it became a winner. And only about 20 percent think that George W. Bush is doing a bad job. You're just in the small minority there, aren't you?
COELHO: And I think four of the Democrats supported the war, as I remember. And, I think if you look at the poll numbers, the majority of the people do not support Bush's tax cut. And if you look at the numbers, he's got trouble with the economy. I think the poll is very revealing.
NOVAK: Did you pay your taxes today? You're so rich, I hope you paid them.
COELHO: I didn't pay as much as you, but did I pay mine.
HUNT: I brought down the average income at this table considerably. Bob Walker, obviously you'd love to run against Howard Dean. Who would you least like to run against in 2004?
WALKER: I think the toughest candidate may end up being Gephardt, simply because he can coalesce the party around his candidacy. And Lieberman, if he can make it to the general election, certainly could be a tough candidate as well. But I think Lieberman has real problems in the primary season.
NOVAK: What about Senator Bob Graham of Florida? He's about to enter -- he's a serious adult candidate. What do you think of him?
COELHO: Well I think he has the best resume. But his problem is he hasn't been out in the field and he doesn't know the grassroots.
NOVAK: Doesn't know the territory. That was a musical, wasn't it?
COELHO: Well, he doesn't know the territory. Can you sing it, Bob?
NOVAK: I think we're out of time. Thank you very much, Tony Coelho, Bob Walker. And back to Paula in New York.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Bob.
Coming up next, American TV hits Iraq. Some are asking whether the programming is being used to inform the public or influence them. We're going to talk about it with the man in charge right out of the break.
ZAHN: Welcome back. Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, Iraqi television viewers are in for some big changes. One of them will be a new program called "Iraq and the World." It will include translated, uncensored editions of the U.S. broadcast network's nightly newscast, as well as programming from PBS and the Fox News channel. It will be funded by the U.S. government.
CNN, which is already seen in Iraq by way of satellite, is not participating and explained why in a statement today. "As an independent global news organization we did not think it was appropriate to participate in a U.S. government transmission."
Joining us now from Los Angeles is the man behind "Iraq and the World." Norm Pattiz is the chairman and founder of Westwood One Radio Network. He is also on the board of governors of the federal agency that operates the "Voice of America."
And in Washington is Mamoun Fandy. He is a research professor of politics at Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. Welcome, gentlemen. Glad to have both of you with us.
NORM PATTIZ, CHAIRMAN, WESTWOOD ONE: Thank you, Paula.
MAMOUN FANDY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Good to be here.
ZAHN: Norm, I'm going to start with you this evening. How soon do you expect this program to get under way.
PATTIZ: Well, the fact of the matter is that our locally originated programming, our live news programming which is emanating from Washington, is already under way. So we're doing two hours a night of live news to Iraq, which is being put together through the -- using the services of our radio (UNINTELLIGIBLE) news team. (UNINTELLIGIBLE), who is our news director, is putting that together on a nightly basis.
ZAHN: And then once you get all these other network feeds put together, what do you expect the impact of broadcasting them will be?
PATTIZ: Well, I think the mission of U.S. International Broadcasting is a journalistic mission. It's to promote freedom and democracy through the free flow of accurate, reliable and credible news and information. In so many words, to be an example of a free press in the American tradition.
So along with our own local broadcasting, which we will do nightly, we thought that giving examples, actual broadcasts from the U.S. network television companies, in the case of NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and Fox, would be an excellent example of a free press in the tradition -- in the American tradition, since they are in fact American broadcasters.
ZAHN: Mamoun, what kind of problem do you have with exposing the Iraqi public to these kinds of broadcasts?
FANDY: Well, I don't really have any problems with that. The major problem that I have, if I were an Iraqi now in Baghdad or in Basra, I'm not sure if the first thing that I want to see in the morning is to see Dan Rather or Peter Jennings. My priorities would be to probably have clean water and have things that I can see on the ground that can tell me that this process is really about compassion, about caring. It is not really all media hype, that it's something substantive.
So I'm not sure if -- I mean on the level of priorities, I think I have a problem with that. Secondly, I think, Paula, the basic thing is you cannot really parachute things in. I think it's a better approach to build it from the ground up.
If you want to build a model for free press, train Iraqis and let people learn how to practice free press. Arabs export everything from America, and they know that America has the know-how. But they want to see that they themselves have the know-how. So let the Iraqis do it themselves, and that would be the best message.
ZAHN: So professor, what you're saying then is Mr. Pattiz is wasting his time?
FANDY: I'm not sure if he's wasting his time, but you know I think there are things that are totally different. First of all, I would like to see, for example, two things. One, is that people in the Middle East have different news consumption habits. People in the Middle East have a differenteser aesthetic.
If you give them the nightly news, it just does not sound right, does not feel right. Al-Jazeera, although it's a great deal of propaganda, but still, you know, the aesthetic is appealing in many ways. So you really have to do something that's indigenous to really send things in.
I mean journalism is not about ordering sort of take-out meals. You have to really have a chef and have the cooks inside to have a journalistic meal that is locally produced.
ZAHN: All right, Norm, Mamoun raises the question and I guess the context in which these broadcasts will be interpreted. Do you subscribe to anything he's just had to say? The issue of priorities is a different discussion than we're having here about the impact of these broadcasts.
PATTIZ: Well, let me say this. Anybody who knows the region and knows the media environment in the region knows that there is a media war going on in the region and it's been going on for some time. And the weapons of that war include things like hate radio, incitement to violence, disinformation, government censorship and journalistic self- censorship.
And up until recently, up until a year ago, the United States really didn't have a horse in this race. We've been very successful with our radio (UNINTELLIGIBLE) broadcasts, and I think that we really have to engage the people of the region, and especially in Iraq, in the television medium. And if we are to be an example of a free press in the American tradition, then we have to broadcast in a way that is consistent with the journalistic principles that we use over here.
The programming that we do that will be originating from our Washington studios will be using Iraqi talent, as well as other people from the region. We will be interviewing people in the region. It will have a very strong local feel to it.
We'll be doing weather reports. But showing examples of the American press, I think it's an excellent way to walk the walk and show people that what a free press really looks like in a free and open society and in a pluralistic democracy.
ZAHN: Norm Pattiz, Mamoun Fandy, if you wouldn't mind standing by, we're going to continue our decision right out of this break. We'll talk about American TV hitting the Iraqi airwaves. We'll be right back.
ZAHN: Welcome back. We're talking about the U.S. government's plan to introduce Iraqi television viewers to the benefits of free press. The programs will be beamed into Iraq by way of transmitters and U.S. cargo planes that fly over the country. The broadcasts will run in blocks of six hours because that's how long the planes can stay in the air.
Let's talk a little bit more about what the impact of it might be. In Los Angeles, is Morm Pattiz, chairman of Westwood One Radio Network, a member of U.S. Broadcasting board of governors. In Washington, Georgetown University professor Mamoun Fandy.
Professor Fandy, just in closing tonight, what is it that you think the Iraqi public would react to? Do you think the equation would be any different if you were seeing international broadcasts from the BBC, French or Canadian or German broadcasts?
FANDY: I think probably if the package includes BBC, it includes Canadian and French and everybody else -- first of all, already BBC is a brand name in the region. And as you said, Paula, CNN did not join in this because I think the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of this and the whole thing is that there is a government-sponsored something.
And the Arabs are really sick and tired of all this government- sponsored of it. Anything that's government is viewed with tremendous cynicism in the Arab world, their own governments or any other government. So I think the issue of trust is really big here as far as the news consumers are concerned. And I think they probably -- give them a chance.
The Iraqis already are exposed to tremendous channels from all over the world. The issue is not really giving them yet another choice. The issue is really train Iraqi in a western tradition of journalism. And this is something that's really very tedious and laborious work. But people are going for basically have-baked ideas and put quick fixes.
ZAHN: Mr. Pattiz, you get the last word tonight.
PATTIZ: Well, I would simply say that I agree that eventually what we need to do is we need to have the Iraqis basically adopt the journalistic ideas and the journalist -- and the ways of dealing with journalism that are acceptable all over the world. And I think one of the best ways to promote that idea is to give them an example of what's done in a free and open society, and give them the kinds of examples of a free press and the kind of journalism that you see in American journalism through the programs that we will be beaming into the region.
ZAHN: Gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there this evening. Mamoun and Norm, thank you very much for your time.
FANDY: Thank you.
PATTIZ: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: I appreciate both of you spending a little bit of time with us. We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.
ZAHN: We don't know how many Iraqi troops or civilians have been killed or wounded in the war. An update now on one of those injured, a 12-year-old boy who has become the face of suffering in this war. Our Jason Bellini has been following the little boy's plight. He joins us by way of videophone from Kuwait City with the very latest.
Good evening, Jason.
JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula. We are waiting right now for the arrival here in Kuwait City of Ali Ali Ismaeel Abbas, the 12-year-old boy who lost both of his arms and also most of his family. He lost his mother, who was pregnant. He lost his father, his brother and two sisters, as well as several cousins. He's making his way here to this hospital because we understand that if he were to stay in Baghdad in an ill-equipped hospital he would not survive there.
Earlier, we were able to speak with the doctor who will treat him, who will assess him upon his arrival right here. In front of the hospital, in fact, the doctor is standing here right now waiting for him. And Dr. Imad Al-Najada, all he knows about the boy is from what he's seen on TV, where he's seen pictures of him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. IMAD AL-NAJADA, IBA SINA HOSPITAL: I think because of the extent of the burn he has, the pictures we saw on the TV, I think three-fourths of his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was involved. And if it is only the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), maybe it's 15 or 16 percent of his (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And total body weight is involved with the burn. And from the pictures, he had the full thickness burn, and he needs early -- as soon as possible -- excision of this necrotic tissue and try to cover it with a skin graft.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELLINI: Now, Paula, this boy will not be the first young person from Iraq being treated by the doctor here at Iba Sina Hospital in the emergency surgery ward. He's also treated five other children who are victims of the war, victims of various types of blasts. Children who have had their hands blown off, who have needed to have their skin grafted as well, because of the burns all over their bodies. He's getting a lot of experience with it and he's about to treat this young boy as well -- Paula.
ZAHN: We wish him well. Jason Bellini.
We've got to head straight to Washington, where our own national security correspondent, David Ensor, is standing by with some breaking news. It has something to do with Syria. What have you learned, David?
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials are telling me, Paula, that Farouk Hijazi, who is the former head of the Muchabarad (ph), the much feared Iraqi intelligence service, is in Damascus, according to U.S. intelligence.
Farouk, who was the former head of the Iraqi intelligence, has been the ambassador to Tunisia. And officials say he was in Tunis at the time that the war began. But he has since moved to Damascus, using a diplomatic passport.
Now there are some officials in the U.S. government tonight who are quite angry at Syria for harboring Farouk Hijazi. He is suspected by U.S. officials of involvement in the plot, the unsuccessful plot to try to assassinate President George Bush Sr. in Kuwait many years ago. He's also been reported to have held meetings -- and this is unconfirmed -- with al Qaeda figures in the past.
So this is a man the U.S. definitely wants to get his hands on. There are some U.S. officials who are quite angry that he's being, they say, harbored by Damascus. At the same time, he did make his way there on an official diplomatic passport, which presumably should have afforded him some protection and should have required, in most cases, governments to allow him to travel -- Paula.
ZAHN: So David, what is the next step for the U.S. government?
ENSOR: Well, the U.S. government is, needless to say, talking in fairly strong terms about this and some of the other issues that you've heard it raising over the last few days. This is just one of the reasons why the Bush administration is angry at the Syrian government. But this is definitely one of the key reasons, I would think.
This is a man that the U.S. definitely wants to get its hands on. The former head of intelligence, he may know a lot -- Paula.
ZAHN: Will he be arrested then? Is that the expectation? ENSOR: Well, he's in Syria. It's up to Syria whether or not they are willing to kick him out into Iraq or what steps they take. Obviously, they're under considerable pressure at this point from the U.S. and possibly others to take a step like that.
There are legal issues concerning whether his diplomatic passport protects him or not. And you can be sure that U.S. and other lawyers are looking at the fine print right now -- Paula.
ZAHN: David Ensor, thanks for bringing that news to us this evening. That wraps it up for this hour.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. I'm Paula Zahn in New York City.
As coalition forces consolidate their control over Iraq, the question more and more people have on their minds is this: what is next? Later on in this hour we're going to look into the question of who will run the new post-Saddam Iraq.
First, though, the timeline of today's events. Our timeline begins with U.S. Marines at 1:00 a.m. Eastern. The Marines raided the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad, looking for what sources say were weapons and people not friendly to the United States. Our own Jim Clancy was there and he says the door-to-door sweep was a rude awakening for many of the journalists staying in the hotel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: It was quite a wake-up call, I must say. I stepped into the hallway out of my hotel room today on the 17th floor, where I and some of the CNN staff are staying, and there was a 6'3" Marine pointing an M-16 at me. And my colleague down the hall, Linda Roth (ph), had just gotten out of the shower. She answered a knock on the door and she ran into the same thing.
I'm telling you, what a surprise. They had masks on, full gear, they were searching for people. And I put both of my hands up at that point. Linda Roth (ph), was holding a towel. Fortunately she didn't put both of her hands up.
But they did pick up three men on the floor and took them in for questioning. We're not sure the resolution of that case. We've asked the Marines. What they said they're doing is scanning everything inside their perimeter to ensure that there isn't any arms inside the perimeter, to ensure the safety of the hotel is being used really as a communications center by the Marines at times, as well as the headquarters, if you will, for the international media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Now during the 7:00 hour, the U.S. military talked about a void in security that led to the sacking of museums in Baghdad and other parts of the country. Museum pieces were destroyed, damaged or taken from museums and other cultural sites. Journalists report signs of professional theft at the National Museum of Iraq.
Glass cutters and missing items officials say normal looters wouldn't take. The military says the intense combat created a vacuum that let it happen. But efforts are under way to restore those sites.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIG. GEN. VINCENT BROOKS, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: Certainly, in the nature of military operations, it's most unfortunate that some Iraqis found it efficacious to take away some of these key antiquities from museums in downtown Baghdad when there was a void in security. We are hopeful that that can be restored; that those antiquities have not left the country, they have not gone on black markets. And we have efforts under way to prevent that from happening. And we would also ask those that have knowledge on it would provide that knowledge so that the antiquities can be returned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: In the next hour, Iraqi opposition groups and coalition leaders held what a U.S. official calls the first vote of the free Iraq. But the meeting wasn't without protest. John Vause has the details.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the first in a series of meetings which will ultimately decide the future of Iraq. But already deep divisions are beginning to emerge. The leader of the Iraqi National Congress, the many exile group, did not turn up today. Instead, he sent a delegation.
And also, for Shiite Muslims a protest in nearby Nasiriya. They, too, boycotted this meeting. They say they do not want the United States to have any part of forming a new government Iraq. "Iraq for Iraqis" is the call we constantly heard.
There's also concern about how long U.S. forces will stay in the region. Many people wanting the U.S. out immediately, others hoping that the U.S. and British forces will stay in Iraq and secure this country to prevent the scenes of looting and stealing that we saw in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party.
These meetings will be carried out around the country over the next coming few weeks. And then there will be one national meeting. And from that, the U.S. hopes the Iraqi interim authority will be formed. John Vause, CNN, Nasiriya.
ZAHN: Coming up in our second half hour: who will eventually rule Iraq? The process of finding the country's future leaders is a process with many more questions than answers at the moment. We'll look at both. And then during the 9:00 hour, new details how U.S. Special Forces knew exactly where to go rescue private Jessica Lynch. Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports from there.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned that the CIA sent a trusted Iraqi asset, a man that was in the pay of the CIA into the hospital hours before the rescue with a hidden video camera to tape the entire hospital. The route in, the route out, Jessica Lynch's room, everything was taped by this CIA asset with a hidden video camera to ensure that the Special Forces team would be successful.
The CIA asset was trained and equipped with this video camera by the Pentagon, by officials of the Defense Intelligence Agency. So for the first time now, we are learning that there was much more intelligence involved than the one thing we had heard about, which was a local Iraqi man who had come to the Marines with reports that Jessica Lynch was in this hospital. In fact, source tell us that was just an additional piece of information to what they already had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And how lucky she was.
When "The Timeline" picks up right after the break, ratcheting up the pressure on Syria. The Bush administration talks tough. Is Syria the next Iraq? Plus, Suzanne Malveaux with the latest from the White House.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, today French President Jacques Chirac called President Bush in what seemed to be the first steps towards reconciliation. I'll have more on that story when "Timeline" continues.
ZAHN: And welcome back. In the 12:00 p.m. hour, Ryan Chilcote reported the buried labs found near Karbala last week by U.S. troops were not mobile, chemical and biological weapons labs. The 11 cargo containers were filled with millions of dollars worth of high-tech equipment, apparently intended to make conventional weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
C.W.O. MONTE GONZALEZ, U.S. ARMY: Out here it's just a very vast industrial military complex. Based on our assessment of what we've looked at here, we don't find anything that links this facility to any sort of WMD program. It's all conventional weapons, production and storage facility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And then Secretary of State Colin Powell said the White House is concerned about Syria but the administration has no plans right now to attack another country. Over the past few days, the Bush administration has accused Syria of harboring former Iraqi leaders, and developing weapons of mass destruction. Syria has denied those claims. Sheila MacVicar has more on all of this. She filed this report in the noon hour.
SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: More words from Washington on Tuesday, as the war of words between Washington and Syria -- and most of it one-way traffic -- heats up. On Tuesday afternoon, it was Secretary of State Colin Powell's turn one more time to talk about Syria and the changes the U.S. administration is insisting it wants Syria to make.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We hope that Syria understands now that there is a new environment in the region with the end of the regime of Saddam Hussein. And that Syria will reconsider its policies of past years and understand that there are better choices it can make than the choices it has made in the past.
MACVICAR: From the Syrian point of view, they've been hearing these messages from the U.S. administration in private; some of them for more than a year. But publicly, very publicly now for more than two weeks.
Some of those messages are not conflicting, but they are different messages coming from different parts of the U.S. administration. Messages arguing that Syria should stop the flow of shipments across the border to Iraq; shipments which predated the war. That it should stop the flow of individuals going across the border to perhaps support the regime of Saddam Hussein. That border has now been closed.
There are issues that have to do with Syria's covert chemical weapons program. Issues to do with Syria's sponsorship for groups labeled as terrorist organizations. So many messages, in fact, that from Damascus and the point of view of the Syrian government it seems that the United States administration is conducting what might be called megaphone diplomacy, a lot of very loud words and not a lot of dialogue.
And the Syrians are saying, look, we want to talk. We want to try to resolve these issues. The risk for the United States is that it pushes the Syrians into a position where they feel that they have been publicly humiliated, that they have no dignity left, and they take up a stance which is much harsher than that which they intend.
The Syrians saying very much they want talk, they want dialogue, and they want to find a way to resolve some of the very complicated issues with the U.S. administration. Sheila MacVicar, CNN, Damascus.
ZAHN: And then there was more on Syria in the 1:00 hour. This time from the Pentagon. U.S. troops report they had shut down an illegal oil pipeline from Iraq into Syria. Oil industry sources say Baghdad has supplied Syria with some 200,000 barrels of oil daily for the past two years. All of it in violation of U.N. sanctions. But despite the troop's report, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offered this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUMSFELD: It's not unsure that no coalition forces destroyed a pipeline. We have preserved infrastructure in that country. I am hopeful that they have shut it off. And I heard that that has happened. But I cannot assure you that all the illegal oil flowing from Iraq into Syria is shut off. I just hope it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And then 2:00 p.m. at the White House. With the war apparently in Iraq winding down, now it seems the president is renewing his focus on the U.S. economy. White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux filed this report.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): With the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime, President Bush is looking forward in Iraq and at home.
BUSH: The regime of Saddam Hussein is no more.
MALVEAUX: Today, Mr. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac took steps towards reconciliation, speaking by phone for the first time since the beginning of the war. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German leader Gerhard Schroeder also agreed to make an effort to put their differences aside. While Mr. Bush acknowledges there is unfinished business in Iraq, he turned his focus on American tax day to fixing the sagging economy.
BUSH: The nation needs quick action by our Congress on a pro- growth economic package. We need tax relief totaling at least $550 billion to make sure our economy grows.
MALVEAUX: The president initially proposed a $726 billion tax cut package, and acknowledged for the first time it was dead. The Bush administration argues a bigger tax cut will create more jobs and strengthen the economy. But the House approved only $550 billion, the Senate even less, 350. Moderate Republicans and most Democrats say Bush's tax cut would only benefit the wealthiest Americans and increase the federal deficit.
The White House hopes the president's success with Iraq and his high popularity will influence Congress to move closer to his figure. But, as expected, his opponents aren't budgeting. Democratic Senator John Breaux said the president is wisely moving on this, but political popularity can only carry a bad idea so far. And a spokesman for Republican Senator Olympia Snowe said she believes $350 billion reflects what may be the highest number in tax cuts a majority of the Senate will support.
While the White House acknowledges that the military battle maybe subsiding, the president's focus on the tax cut battle will only intensify.
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's a good fight ahead when it comes to how to provide growth for the economy, and the president's going to engage in it.
MALVEAUX: Now tomorrow, President Bush takes his economic plan on the road when he travels to St. Louis to visit a Boeing factory. That's where he's going to be pushing his tax cut plan.
Also, Paula, the next couple of weeks, Cabinet members, as well as White House officials, will be fanning across the country, hitting some 46 states to do the same. And President Bush will be signing that war supplemental to clear the way for some $80 billion to pay for the cost of the war -- Paula.
ZAHN: Thanks, Suzanne. Suzanne Malveaux reporting from the White House for us tonight.
Then on to the 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour. Evidence that some members of Saddam's regime may have made it into Syria. U.S. officials say Saddam's former spy chief is now in Damascus. Let's turn to national security correspondent David Ensor, who has been following this developing story. He joins us from our Washington bureau -- hi, David.
ENSOR: Hi, Paula.
Well, Farouk Hijazi, who is now the Iraqi ambassador to Tunisia, but is the former head of the much feared Mukabarad (ph), the intelligence service in Iraq, is now -- U.S. officials say -- in Damascus in Syria. And there are some American officials who are quite angry about that.
They note they have evidence that Farouk Hijazi may have been involved in the unsuccessful plot to try to kill President George Bush Sr. in Kuwait some years ago. They also note there are reports that he may have met at one time or another with senior al Qaeda figures.
So this is a man the U.S. very, very much wants to get its hands on. As a diplomat accredited to Tunisia, he has a diplomatic passport, and apparently traveled on that passport into Damascus. But at this point, you can be sure that U.S. lawyers, Syrians and others, are looking closely at the legal rights and responsibilities of governments in this situation. The U.S. would like to see Farouk Hijazi kicked out in the direction of Iraq, where no doubt he'd be captured by the United States -- Paula.
ZAHN: So, just based on this story breaking tonight, what else are U.S. administration officials saying about Syrian officials continuing to say or deny any of the charges that have been alleged against that country?
ENSOR: To put it very concretely, the U.S. -- the Syrians deny that they have any senior Iraqi officials in their hands. Here's the name of one of them, a very senior one that U.S. officials tell me is in Damascus. The Syrians deny having chemical weapons, but Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday that the U.S. has evidence that the Syrians tested chemical weapons in the last 12 to 15 months. So there's two examples, and there are quite a few more -- Paula.
ZAHN: All right. David Ensor, thanks for bringing that to us tonight.
And then we move on to the next question, which is, is Saddam Hussein still alive? And if so, is he somewhere in Baghdad? We have a guest who thinks he might be. Coming up next.
ZAHN: The big questions in the aftermath of the war in Iraq: Does the list of Iraqi dead include Saddam Hussein? And where are all of the other top ranking members of the regime? As David Ensor broke just a little while ago, U.S. officials believe Saddam's former spy chief is now in Damascus.
Joining me now with some insight in all of this is Con Coughlin, author of "Saddam: King of Terror." Also the editor of the "Sunday Telegraph." I should know that, because I saw you a little bit earlier today. First off, what is the significance of U.S. officials now saying that Farouk Hijazi is in the Syrian capital?
CON COUGHLIN, AUTHOR, "SADDAM: KING OF TERROR": I think it's very significant. A lot of people have been moving towards Syria since the collapse of Saddam's regime. And we now have the name of a very senior official who is in Damascus.
The Syrians have been hotly denying everything, really, all the allegations against them over the last few days. Their involvement in weapons of mass destruction, the presence of Iraqi people -- rather Iraqi Ba'athist officials in Damascus. That they keep denying these thing us.
ZAHN: You believe that is true, though? You believe there are other Ba'ath officials there. You also believe that one of Saddam's ex-wives actually went into Syria with one of her daughters?
ZAHN: Is there any evidence to prove that?
COUGHLIN: Well, put it this way, we're not going to find her in Iraq, that would be the evidence. But his first wife, Sadida (ph), and her two daughters went to Damascus a couple of weeks ago, they picked up visas, and they've gone to another country.
Now the big suspicion is they've gone to France. And of course, today, Jacques Chirac had a long chat with President Bush, saying let's be friends. And he was denying any knowledge of what was going on in Damascus himself. So basically the plot thickens and it just gets curiouser and curiouser. ZAHN: Not if you read your book, though. Because you make it very clear that there has always been a very close relationship between Jacques Chirac and Saddam Hussein. Describe to us what you think we need to know about that relationship and what we can learn about this interaction today with Jacques Chirac and President Bush.
COUGHLIN: Well, actually, the relationship between Saddam Hussein and Jacques Chirac was a mutual appreciation society. It went back to the 1970s, when Jacques Chirac was the prime minister of France and approved the sale of a nuclear reactor to Baghdad that was later used to develop the nuclear weapons program in Iraq. That's how close they are.
But they also understood each other. Saddam Hussein understood Jacques Chiracs' (UNINTELLIGIBLE) positions (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who has put France first. Chirac understood Saddam as always putting Iraq first. And the two of them have this very deep understanding and mutual respect. One wonders now just where is this going to leave France.
ZAHN: Well you also say in some of the work that has been done by your reporters on your newspaper that there is a belief that the French in some way are helping process visas in Syria.
ZAHN: What are the implications of that?
COUGHLIN: Well, enormous, enormous implications. I mean here are the coalition forces trying to rebuild Iraq. If the French government, which of course was deeply opposed to the war, is merrily giving visas to former Ba'athist officials and giving them sanctuary or asylum in France so that they can regroup, they can think about how they might want to deal with Iraq if the coalition forces project doesn't work, I mean this is a serious act of treachery.
ZAHN: I asked a very direct question of the Syrian ambassador to the U.S. today, and he specifically denied that. Let's move onto another question. You'd expect him to, right?
COUGHLIN: But he's becoming the Mohammed Sahaf of Damascus.
ZAHN: Which would be in your vernacular the disinformation minister?
COUGHLIN: That's right.
ZAHN: Let's move on to the question of Saddam Hussein's fate. Why is it that you believe and people that work on your newspaper that he's still alive and potentially that he's still in Baghdad?
COUGHLIN: Well, like most journalists, I have very good sources. And my sources told me that Saddam survived the first bombing of his bunker in the opening hours of the war. And if you remember, people in Washington were saying Saddam was killed in that. I maintained throughout the course of the war that Saddam had survived that attack. The same people are telling me that, although they thought Saddam was in the restaurant at the time they ordered the air strikes, by the time the bombs landed, Saddam had gone. Now we don't know for sure, but the point is that coalition commanders are working on the basis that Saddam escaped that blast, which is why they're offering money for information leading to Saddam's capture and the capture of other regime officials.
ZAHN: Well we will look forward to following all these developments with you, as always. Good of you to drop by. Even twice in one day.
COUGHLIN: My pleasure.
ZAHN: You're our man tonight, Con Coughlin.
The fighting appears to be over, but the hard work of making the peace is just beginning. How do you keep the peace? Who heads up the new government? How long will U.S. troops stay? We'll talk about that when we come back.
ANNOUNCER: A historic meeting in the birthplace of Abraham, the first steps toward a post-Saddam Iraq.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Leadership will be identified. An interim authority will be created. And that interim authority will grow into a new government for the people of Iraq. And so this is a day of hope.
ANNOUNCER: Or is it? Boycotts and protests around the American- led meeting. Many Iraqis question: Who should run the show?
The answer may lie with this man, Lieutenant General Jay Garner. But should an American be in charge of rebuilding Iraq?
RET. LT. GEN. JAY GARNER, U.S. ARMY: It was the jewel of the Middle East at one time. It can be the jewel of the Middle East again.
ANNOUNCER: Is Jay Garner the right man for the job?
It played no role in the war. Should it have a say in making the peace? Where does the United Nations fit in?
This half-hour, LIVE FROM THE FRONT LINES, day 28: Who will rule Iraq?
(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: And Saddam Hussein's Iraq is in shambles. And now that the bulk of the fighting is over, the Bush administration is turning its attention to the question of what happens next.
Senior political analyst Bill Schneider has been looking into that -- hi, Bill.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Paula.
President Bush says the U.S. will leave Iraq when it accomplishes its mission. Has the mission been accomplished? Not quite.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our victory in Iraq is certain, but it is not complete.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): What does the U.S. have to do to complete the mission? It boils down to three things: provide humanitarian assistance to Iraqis who need food, water, shelter and medical supplies; maintain law and order, so Iraqis have a sense of security, turn over power to a government that has legitimacy with the Iraqi people, one that is purged of dangerous elements linked to Saddam Hussein's regime, but is not seen as a U.S. puppet.
Achieving those tasks involves several thorny issues. What role will the United Nations play? How much will it cost? And who's going to pay for it? It's not clear that either the U.N. or other countries will be willing to share the cost. It will take several years to restore full oil production in Iraq. And the Bush administration says Iraq's oil money will be used only for the Iraqi people and presumably not for U.S. military costs.
How long will the U.S. stay in Iraq?
BUSH: We'll remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more.
SCHNEIDER: The longer the U.S. stays, the more it will look like a military occupation. And, remember, Iraq has been governed by the Turks, the British, a king and, for the last 24 years, a totalitarian dictator, but never a democracy.
SCHNEIDER: The Bush administration points to U.S. success in creating democratic governments in Germany and Japan after World War II as a model. But it took four years of occupation for that to happen in Germany and seven years in Japan -- Paula.
ZAHN: So, Bill, when you try to analyze all this polling that's been done recently, what is the expectation of the America public about how long U.S. troops might be involved in any form in Iraq?
SCHNEIDER: Yes. Well, the CBS News/"New York Times" poll just asked that question over the weekend and they came up with a pretty clear answer. About half of Americans said they thought it would be less than a year. And about half, 46 percent, said more than a year, which means the median answer, the typical answer right there in the middle is about a year. So it looks like Americans expect about a year.
But that is a pretty quick schedule and a little bit risky. I think it could be well be longer than that.
ZAHN: And was there any question exploring what could happen if it did go longer, how public support might erode?
SCHNEIDER: Well, it depends on what happens if it went longer. If American forces, those trying to run the country, suddenly got targeted by terrorists, I think the patience would wear very thin. And it also depends on the U.S. economy, because, if the U.S. economy doesn't pick up. a lot of Americans are going to say: Wait a minute. Why are we paying to rebuild Iraq's economy? What about our economy?
And that will question will acquire a lot more pertinence.
ZAHN: Bill Schneider reporting for us tonight, thanks so much.
Now a roundtable discussion on the political future of Iraq. Sharif al-Hussein of the Iraqi National Congress will be joining us from London. Plus, our own military analyst, General Wesley Clark, joins us from Washington. And Mark Malloch Brown of the U.N. Developmental Program here in New York is also with us.
Welcome to you all. Glad to have you all with us.
I'd like to start with you, Sharif Ali.
Do you see any scenario under which Iraqis will accept an interim government that's in part put together by the U.S. government?
SHARIF ALI BIN AL-HUSSEIN, IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS: It is absolutely vital that it be absolutely clear that it is the Iraqi people that are choosing the interim government.
It would be very damaging to the United States and to Iraq for any interim government to give the impression that it was appointed by the United States. Nor should any head of this government have any connection to being appointed by the United States. What we need to have is a government that has credibility, legitimacy, and the support of the Iraqi people to be effective.
ZAHN: General Clark, do you have confidence that can you put that kind of government together, when you see the kind of ethnic strife we've already see surfacing, particularly some of the protests by Shiites in Nasiriyah that we witnessed?
RET. GENERAL WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Paula, it's going to be a process. And Jay Garner is going to have to take the Iraqi leaders from every faction and sect through that process. And then there's a possible chance to put it together. Maybe it won't look exactly like Jay had envisioned it. But I think that the Iraqi people have an alternative now. And we've got to work and work for the best and have -- give it a little bit of time to work, I think.
ZAHN: And, Mark, are you confident that this initial step will gain traction and acceptance?
MARK MALLOCH BROWN, U.N. DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAM: Well, everybody, wherever they come from, whether they supported the war or against the war, whether they're Iraqi or American or from some other member of the United Nations, all want as quickly as possible to have a legitimate Iraqi government representing the people.
The whole debate is about how to get there. And I think, as the first speaker said, there's a little bit of anxiety that, if America is to evidently the godparent of this new government, in any way seen picking and choosing its members, its legitimacy, both in Iraq and in the region as a whole, is probably hard to achieve, which is why, while we certainly don't invite such a role for the U.N. -- there's enough going on in the world -- we somewhere suspect that we will be asked to play a role in this as a kind of neutral broker to make sure that the selection of Iraqis is not seen as having been masterminded by the United States or anyone else, but is really Iraqis choosing for themselves.
ZAHN: Is that something Kofi Annan would be willing to take on?
BROWN: Well, he's made it clear that it's the kind thing we did in Afghanistan, that we've done in many situations. But the United States and others, who are very much in control of the situation at the moment, will have to decide that that's the best way of doing this. And I think at the moment, there's a hope that the most efficient, quick way to do it is for the U.S. to do it very quickly, while they have military control of the country.
And if they can do it and if it's legitimate, God bless them. I think it will achieve what we all want. But we do have our doubts whether this is really viable.
ZAHN: I want to quickly get back to Ali Sharif and Wesley Clark.
Wesley, I'll start with you first, just a quick reaction to any role the U.N. could ultimately play in this process. You just heard Mark just mention a neutral role. Given the intense divisions on the Security Council, do you see that coming to play?
CLARK: I think it's possible for the United Nations to play a role. And I think the United States and Britain would have to carefully work a resolution, the problem being, of course, that some of these states in the Security Council don't want to take actions that would endorse the legitimacy of the war. And so this poses a problem at the outset.
But I think that, in the long term, a U.N. mantle over Iraq could substantially help the United States in the region.
ZAHN: Ali Sharif, do you agree with that?
AL-HUSSEIN: I think most Iraqis would reject U.N. involvement politically in the process.
First of all, when the Iraqi people were being tortured and exterminated by Saddam's regime, the U.N. protested -- pretended that it couldn't interfere in Iraq because it would be interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. So why should they be able to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs now that the dictator has gone?
Secondly, Iraq is a sovereign state, is a full member of the United Nations, and it is not occupied by any power. The mandate of the United States to enter Iraq was on the basis of getting rid of weapons of mass destruction. If the U.N. were to get involved, then we would be extremely doubtful whether we would ever be able to get them out. And we have no confidence in the U.N. Security Council countries like France, Germany, Russia, China, including Britain and the United States, would ever come to agreement about the right time to leave Iraq.
Basically, it would be a recipe for a new colonization of Iraq. And that spells trouble for the entire international community.
ZAHN: We need to take a short break here. Our roundtable discussion will continue when we come back; plus, the slow process of restoring stability and trying to control the chaos inside Iraq.
Nic Robertson joins us live from Baghdad right after this.
ZAHN: And welcome back.
One of the more immediate goals inside Iraq is to find ways to control the chaos that has gripped much of the country. The process of turning a country from a war zone into a place where basic daily services are available is a very slow process, especially since all the fighting has not ended.
Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson now joins our roundtable live from Baghdad.
Nic, I wanted to give you an opportunity react to a little bit of the discussion in our last segment, the whole issue of all of the fissures we're seeing: the Shiites protesting against this potential interim government and what role the U.N. could ultimately play.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very interesting the position that the Shia community is taking here.
We went to Najaf, which is the holiest city in the world for Shias. It's about two hours drive south of Baghdad, the Shia community there racked with tensions about who's going to rise and have the predominant view, but overriding that, a sense that they need to have unity, because many in that Shia community fear that the United States in particular in all of this will try and divide the Shia community to minimize their strength, because they see themselves -- 60 percent of the population in Iraq. They see themselves as having a huge political mandate.
They don't want to lose that by divisions within their community. And they believe that the United States might try and divide them in order to conquer them. There is quite a high degree of skepticism throughout Iraq about how the new political process will be entered into, a level of skepticism that has been enhanced because of what Iraq has seen in the last few days of the United States occupation, if you will, so far, the looting that hasn't been stopped. Well, at least, it's certainly beginning to slow down right now.
But what's been very surprising, talking to people on the streets here in Baghdad today, is that many of them have not been aware of this meeting in the south of Iraq to address these issues, to address Iraq's future. The few people that had heard about it, on the one hand, say that they're very hopeful. They're fully aware that this is their future that's being discussed and that it's important that the outcome of these meetings is successful. And that's what they hope for.
But the overriding fear and concern that we hear from many, many, many people here, and that is that they say any new leadership must come from within Iraq, where they say that they don't want to have anyone forced onto them from either the United States or Great Britain or, for that matter, anyone from outside of the country. And that perhaps is the predominant feeling, but, again, very surprising that a large number people here in this city in the capital really did not know about that meeting or what was going on, Paula.
ZAHN: Let's bring Sharif Ali back into the discussion.
One of the things Secretary Rumsfeld mentioned is that Iraq is going to have to go through some kind of a de-Baathification process. What is the reality of that? How quick can that change come about?
AL-HUSSEIN: Well, I think with respect to the secretary of defense, that really isn't realistic.
There are two million Baath Party members in Iraq, which really make up the civil service, the businessmen, the professors, the doctors. All these people were forcibly enrolled in the Baath Party. A very small amount of them committed any crimes at all. And I think, really, the ones that have committed the crimes are the ones that should be concentrated on, not on persecuting the driving force of Iraqi society.
The risk is, if this program of de-Baathification continues, the 20,000 protesters that you saw in Nasiriyah and the 200 you see in front of the Palestine Hotel will turn into two million people trying to protect their jobs. So you really have to be careful about labeling people as Baathists merely because Saddam's regime forced them to enroll in the party.
ZAHN: General Clark, any thoughts about that and what kind of plan the military can create to confront that?
CLARK: Well, it is going to be a problem, Paula, because this is a dominant political party. There's a lot of people there, as we have heard.
But I think what the United States military will have to do is, we'll have to look through the evidence. We'll be listening to people in Iraq. There will be discussions of particular individuals, particularly top-level people who may have been involved in crimes. The United States is going to have to decide how it handles that situation. It could bar them from participation from public life or holding political office, or it could take legal action against them under some sort of an international jurisdiction or a war crimes trial of some type, if the evidence warrants it.
And this will be an important process that will have a huge political impact in Iraq. And I think those considerations are just really being made right now in Washington.
ZAHN: Mark Brown, what's being talked about at U.N. about the potential for U.N. peacekeeping troops being put in place?
BROWN: Well, I think, Paula, really, that the first issue is, we've got to stick, at least initially, with the coalition force. It's in there. It's securing the territory.
In too many cases, Afghanistan most recently, the U.S. was out much too quickly after the conflict. Here, the issue is to keep a major security force in place to sustain law and order, perhaps over a number of years. And, again, you come back to the point, if that is perceived as a U.S. force of occupation, it will build a huge political resentment against it.
If, however, it is the lead element of an internationally constructed security force, which is U.N.-approved and accepted by the people of Iraq, I think it will be seen as a major contribution to the nation-building of the country, because, in Afghanistan, where we could not persuade the United States or others to provide such a security arrangement, we, to this day, have problems of lawlessness, which are getting in the way of nation-building across the whole country.
So, again, whether it's an army of occupation or a U.N.- sanctioned, internationally legitimate peacekeeping, peace-building force -- and I think many Iraqis would want the second, but, obviously, resist the first.
ZAHN: We've got to take another quick break.
Coming up: the end game in Iraq. When all is said and done, what does the U.S. have to accomplish before it can leave Iraq in the hands of the Iraqis?
Bruce Morton looks to the past for some answers straight out of the break.
ZAHN: Eventually, U.S. troops will have to leave and the country will be left to govern itself again. The stakes are very high. But even with a plan, the final results are anything but guaranteed.
Bruce Morton has some historical perspective now.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After the war comes the peace settlement. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don't.
Some examples: The Civil War ended at Appomattox. And the peace that followed might have worked if President Lincoln lived, but he didn't. Vice President Andrew Johnson got impeached. The radical Republicans imposed Reconstruction, but the South resisted. The Ku Klux Klan burned crosses and reimposed legal segregation in the region, which lasted another 100 years. As a settlement, that one was a flop.
The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, another failure. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson thought a League of Nations would keep the peace, but he couldn't get his own country to join. And the treaty penalized Germany so harshly, reparations, loss of land, that some sort of rebellion against it was almost guaranteed. The rebellion turned out to be Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party. And it led to World War II, which killed more than the first one, including many civilians -- another settlement that failed.
The Korean War ended with an armistice. There has never been a treaty. And U.S. troops still guard the demilitarized zone half-a- century later. The settlement the French made in Vietnam failed. So did the one the U.S. made a generation later. That war ended only when the communists captured Saigon in 1975.
But they don't all fail. World War II ended when Nazi Germany and Japan surrendered. And what followed, the Marshall Plan to rebuild war-damaged Western Europe, the policy of containment, which limited the Soviet Union's empire, those agreements worked. Europe did rebuild. The two alliances, NATO and communists, had lots of nuclear weapons, but managed to keep the peace until the Soviet Union's collapse.
No region may harder for peacemaking than the Middle East. But even there, the agreement under which Israel gave the Sinai back to Egypt worked. Those two powers, with some outside help, have kept the peace.
(on camera): So, are there rules for what works and what doesn't? One seems to be, the chances for peace are poor when one side feels cheated, as Germany feels after World War I. Chances are better when each side gets something. The Soviet Union got to control Eastern Europe after World War II. The United States got to help the West rebuild. Finding something for everyone may be difficult in Iraq, with its many factions, Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and so on, but it may be what's needed to get a settlement that lasts a while.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
ZAHN: Now comes the time when the U.S. has to begin thinking of its own exit strategy in Iraq.
Let's hear what our roundtable has to say about that.
I'm rejoined by CNN military analyst General Wesley Clark, Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein of the Iraqi National Congress, and Mark Malloch Brown of the U.N. Developmental Program.
Welcome back, all.
Sharif Ali, I want to start with you now in this segment. Do you believe that democracy will ever take root in Iraq?
AL-HUSSEIN: Well, in fact, when Iraq was founded, it had democracy for 40 years at a time when most of the world was run by totalitarian states, either communists or fascists. And, in fact, its democracy record was probably better than some Southern states in the United States at that time. So there is a strong history of democracy in Iraq.
What we had a problem was with the dictatorship. And I think, of all the countries in the region that need to be democratized, Iraq has the best chance. It has the most sophisticated population, highly organized political groups, and a history of cooperating together. So I'm completely confident that, left to their own devices, there Iraqi people easily install democracy now that the dictatorship is gone.
ZAHN: General Clark, General Garner said today that it could take up to six months before any elements of self-rule could be handed over to the Iraqis. What do you think of that timetable? Is that realistic?
CLARK: I think that's a very rapid timetable.
And I think the real question beyond that in terms of the exit strategy is, first, you've got to get the weapons of mass destruction capability out of there. And, secondly, you have to assure that in the region and inside Iraq that the interim Iraqi authority, whatever it is, can handle its security needs. Or you'll have to keep U.S. forces there until they can.
ZAHN: You heard what the general just said. He said it's a quick timetable. Is that another way -- do you believe it's going to take a lot longer than that?
BROWN: I think it's going to take a lot longer.
ZAHN: Like how long?
BROWN: Well, years rather than months.
ZAHN: Before the U.S. can even get out of this initial interim process?
BROWN: The U.S. is quick to enter a situation like this, but it is also quick to try and exit it.
And they really now have a responsibility to restore security in the country. And I think they will come to recognize that's a multi- year commitment. But the issue is, in providing that security arrangement, that you don't undermine the political process of Iraqi self-rule that you want to create, which is, again, why you keep on coming back to the need for some kind of U.N. arrangement to this, so that you can provide security, while allowing an Iraqi self-government and ultimately democratic process to flower.
ZAHN: Let's bring Nic Robertson in here.
Nic, you heard what Sharif Ali said moments ago, that Iraqis are quite cynical about the U.N. and they felt that they were sold down the road by the U.N.
ROBERTSON: And there is that prevailing feeling as well perhaps about the United States, to a degree, at this time. And it's been a very short process here that that opinion has been formed the last few days with the looting. And I think Bruce Morton referred to this in his story, that it's about building confidence as well.
And if General Clark is correct, that the process of having U.S. troops here on the ground is going to be longer than six months, then perhaps it's going to be very important that that confidence is built quickly. And the way that those things are going to occur here is with, for example, the electricity being switched back on as quickly as possible, prioritizing those issues on the ground here, that will make the maximum difference to people as quickly as possible. Then they will begin to build confidence in those forces that have moved into their country. Without that, they will remain cynical and distant.
ZAHN: Well, I want to thank our whole quad of talent here tonight for helping us better understand this very complicated story and what might be ahead for the U.S. down the road.
General Wesley Clark, Sharif Ali Bin Al-Hussein, Mark Malloch Brown, and our own Nic Robertson, again, thank you for all of your insights tonight.
That wraps it up for all of us here. Please join me again tomorrow morning on "AMERICAN MORNING" at 8:00 a.m. "LARRY KING" is up next.
Thanks again for joining us tonight.
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