LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Interview with Bernard Kerick
Aired June 25, 2003 - 20:41 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAUL ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Is the recent violence in Iraq a major set back to reconstruction?
Bernard Kerik, is a senior policy adviser in charge of rebuilding the nation's police fire and emergency management departments. Among other things, he's just gotten back from Iraq. He'll be heading back there soon.
Appreciate your spending some time with us this evening. Welcome home.
BERNARD KERIK, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY ADVISER: Thank you.
ZAHN: Let's talk about the recent escalation of violence against U.S. soldiers, British Soldiers.
What do you think is the root cause of it?
KERIK: The root cause is the loss of power to these people. Power is money. They've taken a heavy loss. As freedom grows throughout Iraq you're going to see continued resistance for a while, until we weed these people out. There's been an enormous amount of actionable intelligence where we're going in to take out members of the Ba'ath party, members -- Saddam loyalist. That's going to continue. But as freedom continues to agree -- grow, the people that have taken the heaviest losses, all of these loyalists to Saddam they are going to continue to fight until the end.
ZAHN: And how do you view their opposition?
As organized, as guerrilla warfare, how would you characterize it?
KERIK: Maybe guerrilla warfare. It's not as organized as people might think. Where there is organization, we've been sort of knocking it out. You know, are they talking perhaps, Yes. But, you know, this isn't going to go away overnight. They're not giving up as easily as people would think. They have taken a tremendous loss, and it's going to continue for a while.
ZAHN: We know all the servicemen and servicewomen have been trained in advance of going over to Iraq.
Is there anything to prepare them for what they're facing now? You ran a major, you know, urban police department in many ways.
Are they more vulnerable than your police officers were here on the street?
KERIK: No longer today in the United States. Because you have to be prepared for terrorism, and that's a lot of what this is all about. Expecting the unexpected. Being prepared for anything. Not trusting nearly anyone. That's the way they have to respond in the streets of Baghdad. That's really the way you have to respond all over the world today, with the terrorist threat the way it is.
ZAHN: Take us inside the mind of these young soldiers who are serving their countries right now.
How nerve-racking is it?
KERIK: It is nerve-racking. But the 18th (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Brigade, is the brigade that oversees Baghdad, covers Baghdad. I've met with them. I was in Basra last week. I met with General Wall, who commands all of the British troops. And ironically I was with the military police in Basra. These guys, men and women, they're out there, they're doing a job. They're going to continue to do it. They're dedicated. They're courageous. They understand the threat. And unfortunately we take losses like this. And the freedom -- freedom comes at a cost. And I think we in the United States have seen that. And I think we're going to see it in Baghdad. But the Iraqi people, one day will be free.
ZAHN: Before we let you go. A quick thought on some of the exclusive reporting that's been done here at CNN today on now the public announcement that some of the parts that could potentially be used in the centrifuge to develop a nuclear weapon have been unearthed in a backyard.
How much of this do you think we're going to find?
KERIK: President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld have said for months, weapons of mass destruction are there. I'm confident when they find them, they're going to be buried. As I told you earlier, last week two weeks ago, we found a complete warehouse buried under dirt. No one knew it was there. We went into it, it didn't have anything in it. However, we have seen things that ironically you just wouldn't believe that are buried. That's the way they hid their property. That's what they did in this case. And I think when you find the big pot, if you will, it's going to be buried somewhere. And we have to just keep on looking.
ZAHN: Bernard Kerik, good luck to you.
KERIK: Paula, thank you.
ZAHN: That's a huge mission that we have ahead. Keep our troops safe.
KERIK: Thank you. ZAHN: I know you're doing your best to try to do that.
KERIK: Thank you.
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