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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Inside the Regime

Aired April 19, 2003 - 11:00   ET

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

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Violence and affluence, the forces that define the rule of Saddam Hussein. His life was as lavish as his regime was ruthless.
ANNOUNCER: "INSIDE THE REGIME." From the CNN broadcast center in New York, Heidi Collins.

COLLINS: Welcome to this special CNN presentation, "INSIDE THE REGIME," a look at life in Iraq under Saddam Hussein not just for the Iraqi people but for the dictator himself. And nothing sums up the gap between the ruler and the people he ruled like Saddam's presidential palaces.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS (voice-over): They are the jewels of Saddam Hussein's now fallen regime. Dozens of palaces throughout Iraq, lavish symbols of a dictator who ruled with an iron fist.

JOEL SOLER, DOCUMENTARIAN: It's a way for him to make sure that in a thousand years, he'll be remembered as the great Saddam Hussein.

COLLINS: Today, they are in ruins, with the military, Iraqi citizens and journalists doing what was once unthinkable -- freely walking through the doors.

DAVID BOWDEN, ITN CORRESPONDENT: As we move towards the stairs, you can see throughout the house more marble, more beautiful woodwork.

COLLINS: All the palaces share the same wealth and opulence, but maybe just a different view.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can see this palace is really quite well maintained. Even now, it has this beautiful garden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can hear the bombs now. They are hitting...

COLLINS: Many were destroyed in 1991 Gulf War and were reportedly rebuilt at the cost of $2.2 billion. Like Saddam, the palaces were shrouded in secrecy until a rare glimpse for reporters in 1997.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are here with your cameras. We don't hide anything. COLLINS: Yet, there are claims that a palace architect was executed for giving details of the luxury inside. One person who got an inside look and lived to tell, French filmmaker, Joel Soler, who was granted unprecedented access for his DVD documentary, "Uncle Saddam."

SOLER: You know you don't see like small things. You just -- you see like grand things. For his ego, he like, like, big thrown and big dining room. Everything has to be with a lot of gold, marble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In early 2000, Saddam was just putting the finishing touches on an architectural extravaganza three times large than the White House. Some of these touches included a monumental pond in which it is rumored he hoped to fill with dolphins.

COLLINS: Along with these big architectural statements, there are also the subtle touches.

BOWDEN: The bricks are stamped with Saddam's name or symbol for Saddam, because he, you know, sees himself as this figure whose name will are revered, you know, hundreds and hundreds of years from now.

COLLINS: Saddam Hussein was not born to wealth, but some say he grew to crave it. Born to a very poor family, one notch above the very bottom of Iraqi social life, his peasant father died when Saddam was born.

AMATZIA BARAM, UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA: Then his mother remarried. He moved with his mother to a new home in a remote village, name of Uja, a little mud hut, mud floor, no land of their own. And his stepfather didn't like him at all. His stepfather, in fact, abused him in many ways.

CON COUGHLIN, AUTHOR, "SADDAM KING OF TERROR": Because of the poverty of his background, Saddam basically had to fight his way through his childhood, and I think this had a very big bearing on the character of Saddam, the adult.

COLLINS: Traits that seemed to rub off on his sons, Qusay and Uday. Like father like son, they lived lavishly. The eldest son, Uday, owned a collection of gold-plated guns. His home was reportedly littered with 50 and $100 bills charred on the corners. Neighbors say he used them to light cigars.

But Saddam Hussein's palaces were not just testaments to his wealth and power, they were necessities for an unpopular leader, said to be paranoid about his safety.

BOWDEN: Saddam lives a life that's really prescribed by the fact that people have been trying to kill him for a long time. Each of his, like, 20 or more palaces prepares three elaborate meals a day, as if Saddam were there, so there's a lot of good food being prepared for, apparently for the staff.

COLLINS: Some say a shocking waste in a time when millions of Iraqis were reportedly dying of starvation. BOWDEN: There are many people who feel that Saddam has all but destroyed their country.

COLLINS: But not their spirit. Now, Iraqis freely taking what they think they deserve, a piece of the presidential pie. Angry that their leader lived extravagantly while they suffered in poverty. As Iraq and its people begin the long road to reconstruction, the palaces remain, shattered symbols of Saddam's power, now an eerie testament to his fall.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: The public places of Iraq were filled with statues and pictures of Saddam Hussein as he wanted to be known. Powerful, inspiring, a unifying force in a country divided by ethnic and religious rivalries. Today, many of those images have been destroyed by the very people Iraq's former president once ruled. And now, inside his palaces, we're finding a less contrived and more personal picture of the dictator's life. CNN's Richard Blystone visited the last palace to be built, the Salom, or peace palace, in Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was built while more than half his people were living on food handouts. Their wretchedness far out of sight, beyond the outbuildings. And those who built it knew well what he wanted. Not nearly opulence, a monument to a demigod, pinned to this region's ancient deities, emperors, warrior heroes. Few got this chance to look up Saddam's nose.

These men say they worked in the gardens, just wanted to see what it was like inside. They offer beauty that this pile of marble never achieved. The dictator seems to have liked his furnishings expensive and tacky. But all the work that went into them is wasted now. Guess whose picture was in that frame? In the conference room, where lower powers agreed with higher powers. No question who is in power here now.

War and looting have done to this palace what the regime did to Iraq. And maybe it's best to come here after it's been well and truly looted. To come when there's no sense of virtue's triumph left, no feeling of satisfaction to be had. The lesson isn't in the now missing gold-plated bathroom taps. Just about anyone in the west who really wants to can have those. But the few great maniacal egos of history usually get this.

(on camera): It brings to mind Shelly's poem about the two vast legs of stone found in the desert and the words "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair and all about on every hand the loan and level sands stretch far away."

Richard Blystone, CNN, at Saddam Hussein's Salom palace, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: Iraq is about twice the size of Idaho, and to get a sense of just how vast its network of presidential palaces was, you need a little perspective. And for that, we turn to Miles O'Brien at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Miles, hello.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Heidi. Talk about conspicuous consumption, the palaces of Saddam Hussein. It really boggles the mind. Let's take a look at a big, wide picture of Iraq and give you a sense of where those palaces are from Basra all the way up to Mosul. About four of them down in the south, about 10 of them up in the north in the Mosul area, 50-plus palaces in this central area, in and around the environs of Baghdad. The total cost, just of the palaces built since the '91 Gulf War, $2 billion.

Let's zoom in on Baghdad, where there are no less than five major palace complexes. And when we talk about palace complexes, we're talking about an area that covers 12 square miles, a thousand buildings. And of course, it has been alleged over time that they might be places that would hide weapons of mass destruction.

Let's first of all take -- this is the Republican palace, which would be akin to the White House perhaps, here in the United States, the offices of Saddam Hussein, formerly. And let's show you some pictures that we have to give you a sense of the opulence inside these palaces. Everything covered in gold. Marble everywhere. Saddam Hussein favored waterfalls and man-made water fountains and pools. Interesting that this much money was spent on that in a country that has spent many years in drought. Obviously, that money spent on pumping stations and waterways could have been spent elsewhere to help the people of Iraq.

Now, let's go back to the Republican Palace. And I want to show you a little bit about what some of the damage that was done. If we move over here to another palace in that Republican Palace compound, I'm going to show you this picture was taken back in '92. Take a look at a recent image, which gives you a sense of the kind of damage that that precision bombing did on this particular palace. I point this out because many of the palaces were left pretty much intact. Some were singled out, like this one, and display significant damage.

Now, let's move on to the Sajud palace, also in Baghdad, about the side of Buckingham Palace. At one time this palace was open to the Iraqi people. No longer. Saddam Hussein shut it down, maybe some day it will be reopened.

Al Salom, another significant palace, which is in Baghdad, roughly translated, it means peace. It was targeted as well in the bombing campaign in the most recent war.

And let's go to the primary residence of Saddam Hussein, a palace called Radwanya. And Radwanya is very near to what was then called Saddam International Airport and is also the site of a very notorious prison there. Many of the people who were involved in the '91 uprising against Saddam Hussein were kept in a prison right on the grounds of Radwanya. It is -- contains barns. As you can see, it's got a significant mote, warehouses, animals, farms. Over the top in so many respects as far as its opulence.

And then Abu Garab, which is nearby, also near the airport, now Baghdad International. Originally, a baby milk factory, now a significant and opulent palace as well. It, too, featuring those significant waterways and moats, if you will.

Now, Tikrit. Tikrit is a place that's worth going to because it is the largest presidential compound, two and a half square miles, 100 structures. This is Saddam Hussein's ancestral homeland. The main palace right at the center here. The waterway once again all around there, the manmade lake. And there's the main palace. In addition, there are a hundred other structures there for VIPs, Saddam Hussein loyalists, and also right near that manmade lake, a fairly significant airstrip that would be good enough for a small airplane to go in and out of.

Back to you, Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Miles O'Brien in Atlanta, thank you.

Coming up now, getting the goods. Looters may have ransacked Saddam Hussein's palaces, but the buildings still have a tale to tell. Your palace tour is just ahead. Plus, when looks could kill. Find out which of the Iraqi president's sons was the man with the golden guns. Also after the break, dragons and dungeons. We'll tell you about the unlikely place of fantasy art in Saddam Hussein's private world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Many Iraqis over the past week caught a glimpse inside Saddam Hussein's palaces for the first time ever, giving them a true sense of just how lavish his life style really was. Rula Amin has this report on local reaction to his opulent life style.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They may have driven by and peeked through the gates, but they could only imagine what it's like inside. Saddam Hussein is out of his palaces, but the palaces are still off limits to Iraqis. The Marines have taken over. Only a few had a look inside, the looters.

(voice-over): At one mosque, where residents collected the confiscated spoils from the looters, a guard now has a chance to fill the dots. "They used glasses plated with gold," he says. "The looters got it from the house of Saddam Hussein's secretary, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)." They were drinking in gold glasses while our stomachs were empty," he says. It didn't look like it was gold- plated, but he is convinced. "And they used to use the best perfume," he says. "French. They were the only ones who can afford this. Look at the box," he tells me. "Look at the bottle. I'm 47 years old. Never saw something so wonderful," he says. "If this perfume was mine, I would have saved it in my heart. Why? Why where we deprived when Iraq is a rich country?"

At this apartment block a few feet away from one of the palaces, people knew what it's like inside. They used to work there. "I used to go nuts," says this driver. "I used to watch them and wish for the things they had."

Anifadan (ph), another former driver at palace says he was never able to make ends meet while he watched the leadership's lavish style of living. "I felt like throwing myself into the river whenever I compared how they lived and how we lived," he says. I asked him if he ever said anything about it. "Never," he says, only between me and myself.

The former palace workers insist on showing us their living conditions. This 10-member family lives in this one-bedroom apartment. "I'm 53 years old and I still can't own a house or a car," says the father. His wife interrupts him. She has other concerns. "The liberators promised us Iraq will be paradise after Saddam Hussein," she says. "Instead, we have no power, no water, and no security."

The neighbors next door with similar conditions. Nine people in one bedroom. "The president always lived better than the people," he says, "in all the countries. We kind of got used to it. But now, we have no security. It's just chaos and I'm starting to wonder, is if the old regime was better."

The frustration is real, but so is the eagerness for a better life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMIN: Now, those people saw an opportunity for a better life with the removal of Saddam Hussein, but the chaos and the lawlessness that followed is planting the seeds of doubt among those who were hopeful -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Rula, now that the Iraqi people are seeing Saddam's lavish lifestyle for the very first time, are they expecting or hoping to get some of that wealth back, perhaps for themselves?

AMIN: Well, they are, and it's not just the furniture and the chandeliers and the gates and the gold. It's -- many Iraqis believe that their wealth, their oil wealth, has been wasted not only on the palaces, but on wars, and wars that they saw no justification for. And so, they are hopeful that in the future, Iraq's wealth will be used to serve its people -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Rula Amin in Baghdad, thank you.

French filmmaker, Joel Soler, went to Iraq claiming he wanted to make a movie about local architecture. Instead, he came away with a rare glimpse of Saddam Hussein's way of life as president of Iraq. The end product is a DVD entitled "Uncle Saddam." For a personal account of the dictator's palaces and the man who lived in them, Joel Soler joins us now from Los Angeles. Hello to you, Joel. I'm wondering, what were the most quirky aspects of Saddam Hussein's life that you were able to uncover?

SOLER: I think it was his campiness. I mean if you go to all of those palaces, everything is so campy. And what really surprised me, actually, it's that thanks to one of Saddam's cousins, I was able to smuggle some footage, an exclusive interview with Saddam, talking about hygiene and giving a lesson how to clean a carpet with kerosene and Saddam telling that, you know, the men should shower once a day, but a woman should shower twice a day, because the smell of a woman is more noticeable than the smell of a man, according to Saddam Hussein.

COLLINS: Tell us what sort of sense you were able to get about his lifestyle from his entourage. Were they really able to talk to you about much?

SOLER: Yes, you know, I spent like two months with Saddam interior designers, Saddam architects, Saddam cousins. Some of them told me about, like, a weekend with Saddam. And you know one of Saddam's favorite thing is going fishing and he loved fishing. But fishing with grenades so when he go fishing, he go with scuba diver with a grenade and threw a grenade into the water. And so, suddenly, you have, like, 100 of fish dead. So, you know, this was Saddam lifestyle.

And for example, for his birthday, when he built his artificial lake, he brought people by buses, poor people, to show his new creation. I mean, those people, they need food. They need water more than an artificial lake. And that really surprised me.

COLLINS: How do you think, after learning what you have, that Saddam's lifestyle contributed to his downfall? I mean, what were the most egregious examples of his leadership?

SOLER: You know, what really shocked me is when I was in Baghdad, and I saw those people dying. I mean, I saw those family fighting to make, like -- to barely make $3 a month. And in the middle of Baghdad, I'm really -- and I really mean it -- in the middle of Baghdad, Saddam was building his new palace. And, you know, everything was so -- the contrast was so amazing, and everything happened in front of people face. And, you know, again, I'm not surprised that people today are, like, taking revenge.

COLLINS: Your documentary has been called satirical. How is this man's persona a farce?

SOLER: I mean, honestly, I think he is. I mean his ego was so big that I think it's his ego who lost him. I mean, he thought that -- until the end, he thought that the people would raise against the U.S. because of a love of a president, Saddam Hussein. And you should see the building, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Baghdad, I mean it's so megalomaniac. I mean everything is huge. Even, you know, in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Babylon and every one. Under bricks, he did engrave his name, saying the great Saddam Hussein did rebuild Babylon, making sure that in a thousand years, he's -- I mean he's still going to be remembered. And what really surprised me, I was able to smuggle a video where Saddam was saying in front of a camera, you know, "Food is not important. People shouldn't go to work for food. What is important is to build and to be a threat." I mean, how do you think a family who have -- or a father who have his children starving, how do you think a father will react on that? They had no way of reacting, because they knew, and the Iraqi people knew that if they would say something against Saddam Hussein, it will be death penalty.

COLLINS: Right. All right, Joel Soler, documentarian of "Uncle Saddam" joining us from L.A. Thank you so much for your insights on that.

Still ahead, for one of Saddam's sons, the need for glitz extended all the way to the gun cabinet. We'll talk with a "Time" magazine reporter who got a glimpse of Uday Hussein's private life. Find out what was inside his safe house inside Baghdad. And as the bombing ends, the rebuilding begins. We'll look at what lies ahead for Iraq after Saddam.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Wealth and power in Saddam Hussein's Iraq rested not with a man, but with a dynasty. At the top, stood Saddam and his two sons, Uday and Qusay. Their palaces tell us not just how they saw themselves but how they wanted to be seen. In one palace belonging to Uday, Saddam's eldest son, soldiers found an object that combines glamour and terror. James Mates has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMES MATES, ITV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The palace of Saddam's eldest son, Uday, well, anyway, one of his palaces home to what was, by any standards, and extraordinary collection of weapons. Where personal firearms were concerned, only gold plate was good enough for Uday. He was known as a playboy and a psychopath, a man who used his position to murder opponents or force himself on any woman he chose, but clearly to a man of massive personal vanity. This one a gift from daddy, engraved "A Present From Saddam Hussein." Of course, one golden gun was nothing like enough for Uday. Seventy-four gold AK-47s were found here, along with a selection in silver or nickel plate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's probably one of the most interesting pieces we found. It is a Browning, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MATES: For Uday Hussein, the notorious bully didn't mix it with the big boys. He had an arsenal here enough to equip a small Army, but none of it got used defending Baghdad. There was to be no glorious last stand for Uday or any of the sycophants who once filled that palace.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: That was James Mates reporting from Baghdad. The power of lust and the lust for power were both on show in Uday Hussein's riverside safe house in Baghdad. Simon Robinson of "Time" magazine had a look inside. He joins us from Baghdad now to tell us what he saw.

Hello to you, Simon.

SIMON ROBINSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Good morning.

COLLINS: Tell us, what were some of the most interesting things that you were able to see palace?

ROBINSON: Well, I, in fact, was not in the main palace, but in a palace or a rather large home next to the main palace, which seemed to be some sort of a safe house, although some neighbors described it to me, as well as a love nest, Uday's love nest. Some of the more interesting things that I found were his -- the transcript from his last year of university in 1988, which noted that he was first out of 174 in his engineering course. Surprise, surprise. I guess no one would have dared make him second. He got top marks in all the classes that he had -- that he took. There were a lot of letters, personal letters, both from, seemingly from girlfriends to Uday. One commenting on the fact that the first time she'd heard Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" was with Uday and that she would never forget that moment.

But also, very interesting letters, some to relatives of his and one to his father, Saddam Hussein. Some of the ones to his relatives seem to paint a very difficult relationship between the son and the father. One noted that the father seemed to want to go down in history and that Uday, after thinking long about it, decided that he had no love in his heart for the president. Another noted that Saddam Hussein had a vision of uniting Iraq or creating a greater Iraq, which included Kuwait, part of Iran, part of Palestine. And this letter was from the early '90s, around the time of the first Gulf War, of the invasion of Kuwait. And it said that it would start with -- Saddam Hussein would start with the easiest country, which was Kuwait.

COLLINS: Simon, after looking at all these things that you did come across, what sort of insights do these things give you into the life of Uday? What kind of lifestyle do you think he relished?

ROBINSON: A really lavish lifestyle, I think, is the best way to put it. There were also documents relating to expensive cars. He bought a Ferrari in the late '80s, a Lamborghini, I should say, from Kuwait, in the late 80s. He was also seeking out a Ferrari that was in Jordan.

There were documents, which showed that he had very expensive gold watches brought from Switzerland, encrusted with more than 50 diamonds. A lot of documents showing that he lived a very, very lavish lifestyle.

Also, interestingly, he seemed to have an interest in photography, at least there was a dark house -- a dark room in the house, and it had been burnt out. So it was very difficult to retrieve many of the photos, but obviously, a hobby of his.

COLLINS: You touched on this briefly already, Simon, but I am wondering were there any indications of the type relationship there was between Saddam Hussein and Uday?

ROBINSON: Just in those letters, there were references to his father, that his father was overreaching himself, and obviously, also a lot of mistrust and a lot of anger from Uday, who was the son who is overlooked to succeed Saddam. The youngest son was going to become the next president, it seems. And letters from around the time when that happened, in the early to mid '90s, there were letters to relatives indicating that Uday was really angry about this and bore a lot of resentment.

COLLINS: Simon Robinson of "Time" magazine in Baghdad for us. Thank you so much.

Coming up next, Saddam's money, and where it came from. In a country where so many grappled with poverty, find out how the former president made his billions. Plus, after Saddam's fall from power, Iraq fights to get back on its feet. We'll look at the reconstruction effort and what it needs to succeed.

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Once again from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, Heidi Collins.

COLLINS: Saddam Hussein's vision of his own place in history was vast, and it came with a fortune to match. It is not clear exactly how much money fueled the former Iraqi president's dreams of grandeur, but research into the dictator's finances shows he went to extremes to enrich himself, even at his country's expense. Serena Altschul has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SERENA ALTSCHUL CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Saddam Hussein's fortune, like the man himself, has long been difficult to track. Although estimates have ranged as high as $20 billion, "Forbes" magazine says Saddam was worth $2 billion when the war started, putting him in the middle of the pact on the "Forbes" list of "The World's 400 Wealthiest People."

NATHAN VARDI, "FORBES" MAGAZINE: What he still does have is the money that he's been able to take offshore in bank accounts, mostly, in the usual places like Switzerland or maybe the Caribbean. His banking network has been well established -- was well established years ago and it seems to remain intact, despite U.N. sanctions.

ALTSCHUL: The U.S. Treasury has long been on Saddam's trail for funneling money abroad. But even at home, he found clever ways to conceal his wealth. DAVID AUFHAUSER, TREASURY DEPARTMENT: A great deal of it is banked, alternatively, not just in monetary instruments, but in commodities, like diamonds or gold, also in product credit accounts with potential suppliers.

ALTSCHUL: According to a study by the Coalition for International Justice, the largest part of Saddam's fortune came from smuggling oil in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

JOHN FAWCETT, COALITION FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: The estimate at the moment is about 20 percent of the oil that Iraq is exporting is outside of the U.N. system.

ALTSCHUL: In 2001, according to the study, $1 billion worth of crude oil was smuggled through Syria, $450 million smuggled through Jordan, $400 million through Turkey and $200 million worth of oil through Iran. The study also says he made money off the U.N.'s Oil for Food Program, a program designed to use profit from Iraqi oil to feed Saddam's people.

FAWCETT: Virtually every contract for the purchase of oil includes a 30, 50, 70 cents per barrel kickback, that's money that does not go through the U.N. bank accounts. It goes straight to Saddam Hussein's family.

ALTSCHUL: Fawcett says that with the estimated 3.4 billion barrels sold since the U.N. program began in 1996, the kickbacks for Saddam and his inner circle ranged from one to $2 billion. The report also says Saddam and his sons, Uday and Qusay, made an estimated $50 million a year from cigarette smuggling.

Forbes' Nathan Vardi says the money he earned off the books and behind the backs of the U.N. was used to exert total control over the Iraqi people.

VARDI: He also managed to maintain his rule by, you know, having a monopoly on wealth in the country, paying off the right kinds of people. And also, you know, he would use money in order to build things that would make him look more powerful.

ALTSCHUL: And now, just like his palaces, his power is also in ruins. But the question remains, where is his fortune?

Serena Altschul, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Coming up, the war in Iraq may be drawing to an end, but a new fight is just beginning. We'll look at the campaign to rebuild a country shattered by fighting and neglect. And we'll take you inside Saddam Hussein's romantic hideaway to show you how Iraq's former president used to set the mood.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: It took just weeks to push Saddam Hussein from power. Rebuilding the country he ruled will take a lot longer and in its own way, could be a lot tougher because right now, today, the Iraqis need everything from water and electricity to a whole new government. Candy Crowley reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What next?

SERMID AL SARRAF, IRAQI JURIST ASSOCIATION: While they are welcoming the troops and they are savoring this moment of freedom and liberation, at some point, they're going to want to have direct control over their own affairs.

CROWLEY: In the prewar months, post-war Iraq was the source of some disagreement between the president and the prime minister, and great disagreement between the State Department and the Pentagon, and the usual disagreement between the U.S. and the U.N., philosophical bureaucratic struggles with little meaning where it matters.

RICK BARTON, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: All politics is local, and so, very quickly, it's -- are the schools working, are the teachers getting paid? Where are the police because it would sure be nice to have somebody here? Are they getting paid?

CROWLEY: Post-war Iraq will need food, water, medicine. It needs roads rebuilt and buildings repaired. It needs electricity. It needs phone service. And someone will have to clear away the remnants of war so that Iraqi children will grow old in the peace. And, oh, yes, they'll be needing a government too. It is an enormous, expensive, manpower intensive job. Reason enough, some experts believe to move from military to civilian control as soon as possible.

BARTON: You need a global pool of talent. The U.N. has identified some of those people. You need the resources of people who don't want to commit to the United States military, such as a number of our allies. The U.S. doesn't really want to own this job. If you walk down the street, there are very few Americans who say, "Yes, cut back on my local school because I'm ready to pay for that teacher in downtown Baghdad." So there is a burden sharing here.

CROWLEY: For now, the burden rests on the U.S., Britain, and this man, retired General Jay Garner, who will serve as Iraq's civil administrator. It's a big job, but Garner has dreams to match.

RETIRED GENERAL JAY GARNER, IRAQI CIVIL ADMINISTRATOR: This country has great vibrancy to it, and it has an educated population that was the jewel of the Middle East at one time. It can be the jewel of the Middle East again.

CROWLEY: Garner and the U.S. team will take control of Iraq's most sensitive ministries, oil, intelligence, finance. But it is possible lower level members of Saddam's Ba'ath Party will be able to keep their ministry jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to distinguish between just those who are affiliated with the Ba'ath Party and those actually committed crimes in their positions.

CROWLEY: It is evident in so many places, at so many levels, for so many reasons, that the cost of this war is immeasurable. How the peace is handled will determine if it was worth it.

BARTON: Modern wars have shown to us that if you really want to get a measure of a war, the measure comes in how you win the peace. We know who's going to win most of these wars now, and it's happening. So can we actually leave an imprint there that's lasting, that shows that we've made a difference? And so, for me, the key issue here is, do the sacrifices of war -- are the sacrifices of war matched by the investments of peace? And that's our test right now.

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Rebuilding Iraq won't simply be about repairing the damage caused by the war and looting. It will also call for making the country whole again after years of neglect by its leaders. To help us understand what Iraq needs most, both right now and in the years to come, we're joined by CNN Iraq analyst, Kenneth Pollack.

Hello to you, Kenneth.

KENNETH POLLACK, CNN IRAQ ANALYST: Hi, Heidi, how are you?

COLLINS: I'm fine. I'm wondering if you can tell us what exactly needs to be done with post-war Iraq and more importantly, what are the priorities? Where will they start?

POLLACK: I think the first way to answer your question is what doesn't need to be done. Iraq needs a great deal of work done on it. There is longstanding damage to the country, stretching back to neglect from the Iran/Iraq War, damage done from that war. There's obviously most recent damage from the recent invasion of Iraq mounted by U.S. and British forces.

But really, the question that I think is most important is the second one you asked, is the question of priorities. And even that is a hard one. For example, probably the highest priority right now is water. The Iraqi people have quite a bit of food still. The government distributed quite a bit of rations before the war began. But clean drinking water, bathing water, washing water, all that is necessary throughout Iraq and there are lots of Iraqis right now -- most of the population doesn't have access to clean, potable water. But the problem is you can't simply turn on the water plants. Turning on the water system, making the water system work also requires you to repair the electricity grid. It requires you to repair the transportation grid and it requires you to repair the communications grid, because all three of those things are necessary to make sure that water is delivered throughout the country.

COLLINS: And Ken, there has been much debate about who is going to do all this. What role do you see the U.S. playing? POLLACK: I think the U.S. has to play a major role in the reconstruction of Iraq. Whether or not the U.S. has to run the show, I think, is a very different issue. But very clearly, the United States has to play a tremendously important role to make sure that the operation is successful, to make sure that the reconstruction gets off the ground and moves down the right track. The U.S. needs to supply a lot of the leadership, especially early on. The U.S. needs to supply a big chunk of the security force. And it is absolutely critical that there be security throughout this country, otherwise, there's no way to even think about the reconstruction job economically, politically. And beyond that, the U.S. is going to have to put up a quite a bit of resources up front.

Down the road, if the U.S. and the U.N. can reschedule Iraq's debt, deal with reparations issues, Iraq's oil wealth ought to be able to pay for much, perhaps most or all of the reconstruction, but that's still a ways off. And in the near term, there are going to be some very important up-front costs and the U.S. is going to have to shoulder a good chunk of that.

COLLINS: That being said, what role do you see the rest of the world playing then, if security is finally a comfortable thing or they have reached secure areas? What would you see the world doing after that is accomplished?

POLLACK: Well, I think that there's also a critically important international role. As you heard Rick Barton and others saying in Candy Crowley's package, there are a lot of different roles for international presence in Iraq. First, there is a need for just lots of other countries. The U.S. is a very wealthy country. We have lots of skills and resources, but it will still tax our abilities to handle the reconstruction of a country of 24 million people devastated by three wars and 34 years of tyrannical misrule.

The more countries we have participating, the better off we'll be. The more resources we'll have, the more skilled personnel. And beyond that, there's also the issue of the U.N., which is critical for a whole variety of reasons. I'll name one of which though, which is the legitimacy of this entire operation. Already, you're seeing Iraqis deeply suspicious of the U.S.'s motives in Iraq. You're seeing Iraqis saying, "We think the U.S. is here to colonize us, to steel our oil, to suppress us, to subjugate us in various ways." Only having some kind of a U.N. -- strong U.N. role, perhaps even leading the effort at some level, is going to reassure the Iraqi people and the other Arabs that this isn't just a new imperialist operation.

COLLINS: No matter how you look at it, a huge task ahead. All right. CNN Iraq analyst, Ken Pollack. Thanks so much, Ken.

POLLACK: Thank you, Heidi.

COLLINS: Still to come, no, it's not the cover of some hair band album of the '80s. It is art from the walls of one of Baghdad's most forbidden places. We'll tell you about it just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: Coming up, dragons and dungeons. We'll tell you about the painter from New York state whose fantasy artwork wound up in Saddam Hussein's love nest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Finally, the harsh reality and pure fantasy. When U.S. troops broke into Saddam Hussein's Baghdad love nest, they found some art that you might not expect from a guy who's into statues of himself. On the walls, paintings of damsels in chains, muscular heroes and menacing dragons. Fantasy artist, Rowena Morrill from upstate New York, says she created the paintings back in the '80s. They were designed to go on the covers of fantasy novels. Rowena says she did them just for the money, and she's horrified that they wound up in Saddam's hands. Now the artist wants her work back. U.S. officials say she'll have to plead her case when Iraq's new government starts handling Saddam's assets.

That's the end of this special CNN presentation on life inside Saddam Hussein's regime. He may be out of power, but for the Iraqi people, their former president isn't out of mind. His palaces stand as a reminder that he knew luxury while many of them knew poverty. And whatever comes next for Iraq, the memory of those years remains. I'm Heidi Collins. Thanks for watching.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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