Text: CNN's 'Late Edition' With Wolf Blitzer
Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001
Following is the transcript of CNN's "Late Edition," hosted by Wolf Blitzer with commentators Steve Roberts, Susan Page and David Brooks, and guests National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice; Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistani ambassador to the U.S.; Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Richard Shelby; New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; former national security adviser Zbiegniew Brzezinski; former secretary of state and national security adviser Henry Kissinger; General Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme commander; and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.
BLITZER: It's noon in Washington and New York, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 8:30 p.m. in Kabul, Afghanistan, and 9:00 p.m. in Islamabad, Pakistan. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for this special 2 1/2 hour Late Edition.
We'll get to our interview with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice shortly. But first, the latest on the U.S. response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Secretary of State Colin Powell says Saudi Arabia has been, quote, "very responsive to U.S. requests thus far." This was in response to reports that the Saudis were not being fully cooperative.
Time magazine is reporting that a manual on crop dusting was found in a search of a suspected terrorist hideout. The report raises concerns that such a plane could be used to launch a chemical or biological attack.
And Americans will gather at Yankee Stadium this afternoon for a national prayer service to remember the victims of the September 11 attacks.
We begin now near Camp David, Maryland, where President Bush is pressing ahead with efforts to strengthen an international coalition in preparation for a military response to terrorists.
BLITZER: And Pakistan's government is standing by its pledge to support the United States, despite protests in that country. CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour joins us live from Pakistan's capitol, Islamabad.
BLITZER: And this note: Later in the program, I will be speaking with the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Maleeha Lodhi. That will be coming up shortly.
But earlier this morning, I spoke with President Bush's national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, about the Bush administration's immediate plans in this new war on terrorism.
BLITZER: Dr. Rice, thank you once again for joining us. I know you've been very busy these last few weeks.
But how concerned should Americans be right now about additional terrorist attacks against them?
RICE: Well, there's no doubt that Americans need to be vigilant. They need to be patient about the security measures that are there at airports, at borders.
We are in a very active campaign now. The FBI has thousands of agents out hunting down the perpetrators of this crime. We're getting very good cooperation from intelligence services and from law enforcement networks abroad.
The best offense here--the best defense is going to be a good offense, to go after these terrorists where they live.
But, yes, we need to be vigilant. But as the president has said, what we don't want terrorists to do is change who we are. And so we are going to be very cognizant and aware of civil liberties.
We're going to be very cognizant and aware that just because people look a particular way, they should not be the subject of harassment either by the government or by their neighbors. It's important that we remain who we are. But it is a time to be vigilant.
BLITZER: When you say the best defense is a strong offense, does that mean that the president is ready to revise the executive order that's been in place for a couple decades, barring the U.S. from engaging in assassination of foreign leaders?
RICE: The United States is looking at all of the laws that we have on the books, all of the executive orders that we have. But I believe that the president believes that with the package that General Ashcroft is putting forward in the Congress, we will have what we need to do.
BLITZER: Right now, are there any specific terrorist threats that you're aware of that you want to share with our viewers out there?
RICE: No, we're watching the intelligence very carefully. And during a time like this, there is a heightened sense of sensitivity. And we are getting, from all over the world, a lot of reports. And one of the keys is to make sure that you're looking to see what's realistic and what is not.
But, again, I think if the American people will go about their lives, be patient about the security measures that are in place, be cooperative with the FBI and law enforcement as they try and figure out who did this precisely, I think we will be OK.
BLITZER: Law enforcement sources, intelligence sources have told me that their working assumption is that there are other Osama bin Laden operatives from the al Qaeda organization still at large in the United States right now. Is that a fair assumption?
RICE: I think it is best to assume that there are certainly other operatives at large. We know now that this network has been borrowing in to the United States for several years, at least a couple of years. And so it would not be surprising if not everything has been routed out in the first 10 days.
But again, there is a very massive effort under way. That effort is not just within the United States, but abroad as well. We are taking appropriate security measures. And, indeed, for the long term, the president's decision to appoint one person to oversee homeland security, I think, is a very good measure in and of itself.
BLITZER: As you know, the president issued a series of demands on the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, in effect, Thursday night in his address to Congress. The Taliban has rejected basically by saying, show us the proof, give us evidence that Osama bin Laden was behind this; in effect, rejecting the president's demand. What's next?
RICE: Well, the Taliban should recognize that this has a long history. This is September 11, but it is prior to September 11 also. We know that Osama bin Laden and his network, his al Qaeda network were behind the bombing of American embassies. Osama bin Laden was indicted for that. We know that they are associated with the bombing of the Cole.
So, to say give us evidence, at this point, is not helpful. And the president is not going to be deterred in acting in America's self-defense because the Taliban--which by the way is not a government that seems to care very much about evidence when it summarily executes its own people--the president is not going to be deterred in doing what he needs to do to defend the United States.
And this, Wolf, is self-defense. If you have any doubt about the degree to which this is self-defense, just look at those pictures from September 11.
BLITZER: The Taliban's deputy ambassador in Islamabad in Pakistan said this about your demands. I want to play it. Listen to what he said earlier on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): There are many probabilities who are the real culprits behind this. There is no evidence and proof given to us. We will not be ready to give Osama bin Laden without proof.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And just to nail down the point, he says he needs proof, he needs evidence, before they hand over Osama bin Laden.
Will you give the Taliban regime in Afghanistan any evidence, any proof behind what is in the public domain out there?
RICE: Well, again, let's be realistic. This is not a government given to western jurisprudence. So these calls for proof are somewhat misplaced.
But clearly, we do have evidence, historical and otherwise, about the relationship of the al Qaeda network to what happened on September 11. We will begin to lay out that evidence, and we will do it with friends, allies, the American people and others.
But the fact of the matter is, we're not going to jeopardize this investigation. We're not going to jeopardize the efforts of the FBI to disrupt this network so that it can't act again in order to satisfy the Taliban that Osama bin Laden and his network are responsible.
BLITZER: Now, today, Taliban officials are saying Osama bin Laden is now missing in Afghanistan. What do you say about that?
RICE: I would say that the Taliban is not trustworthy in this regard, and I don't see that we believe there's any evidence of that.
BLITZER: Do you believe they know exactly where he is and they're protecting him?
RICE: Well, I think it's probably time that they demonstrate what they know about Osama bin Laden.
BLITZER: Is there any hope whatsoever that the Taliban will hand over Osama bin Laden?
RICE: Well, let me be very clear. It's not just Osama bin Laden. He has lieutenants; it's very important that they be handed over as well. The president made very clear that this isn't one man, this is a network. It is also extremely important that their financial sources be cut off.
But the Taliban's role in this is to stop harboring this network, to stop harboring its training, to stop harboring Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants. And it's time for them to get about going in line with those demands.
BLITZER: Well, assuming the Taliban does not change, what is the United States do next in Afghanistan?
RICE: Well, in fact, this campaign has already begun. The president, as is well known, will sign an executive order about financial networks and really squeezing the life's blood out of his organization. It will ultimately not be able to function if it cannot have access to money.
BLITZER: You're talking about the al Qaeda organization.
RICE: The al Qaeda organization, yes.
The president is also mobilizing international intelligence and law enforcement efforts around the world. There are people in this cell being rounded up in various parts of the world, not just in the United States. So the campaign has begun.
But as to the Taliban, the president made very clear the other night that he will act, but he will act at a time and place of his choosing. He will act when it is most effective and in the way that is most effective.
BLITZER: Will that include, assuming the Taliban defies the United States, with a move into Afghanistan to overthrow that regime?
RICE: The president is going to do what is most effective. And he has a number of options. There are a number of assets that we can use in getting to the Taliban and making it clear to the Taliban that they have a choice here. But the president is going to do this at a time of his choosing and not one minute before that.
BLITZER: A spokesman for the opposition for the Northern Alliance, the group opposed to the Taliban in Afghanistan, spoke on Saturday on CNN. I want you to listen to what Harun Amin (ph) said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARUN AMIN (ph), NORTHERN ALLIANCE SPOKESMAN: We know the terrain, we know the turf, we speak the language. We can be of maximum use in Afghanistan, and I think that's something that the international community needs to really look at, capitalize on that. We can do a lot of the ground work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Is the United States prepared to work with the Northern Alliance, the opponents to the Taliban, in moving in Afghanistan?
RICE: There's no doubt that the Taliban, by its repressive measures against its own people, by it's really horrible campaign of terror against its own people, has produced enemies to it. And there are clearly a lot of Afghans who understand the Taliban has wrecked this country during its rule.
We are looking at our options. We have a number of assets that we can use. There are a number who may wish to join in this fight against the Taliban. If in fact the Taliban cannot be made to understand that the best course of action is to rid Afghanistan of what is really a foreign presence--the Taliban is allowing another occupation of Afghanistan. We talked about the Russians, but the Taliban, by allowing al Qaeda to sit there, is allowing another foreign occupation of what is already a very troubled and terribly humiliated land.
BLITZER: Well, just to nail down the Northern Alliance, will the U.S. fund and provide military equipment, work with these groups to remove the Taliban from power?
RICE: Well, we're working with a number of possible options, a number of possible assets around the world. And clearly we are focused on how best to use those assets to get the Taliban to do what it needs to do.
BLITZER: As you know, there's been some suggestions out there that the long term U.S. goal in Afghanistan should perhaps be to get a U.N. protectorate, to remove the regime, get another regime in place. Is that part of the long term U.S. strategy?
RICE: Well, I think all of these questions are down the road. We're taking this one step at a time.
But the Taliban needs to understand that the United States and its friends are not going to countenance a regime sitting there, harboring terrorism, training them, allowing their finances and then having them make hit and run attacks around the world, including the kind of horrible attack that they made on New York City and on the Pentagon. That's simply not going to be tolerated.
BLITZER: Does the exiled king of Afghanistan, who's now in Europe, does he fit into your thinking long-term at all?
RICE: There are a number of Afghans who understand what the Taliban is doing to their country and who are mobilizing against it. But our focus right now is on the Taliban and on making certain that they understand the choice that they face.
BLITZER: In an editorial this week in the Wall Street Journal, they said, ``If that's your narrow focus, you're probably making a mistake.''
Let me read to you what the editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal said this week. They said: "The terrorist threat won't vanish until Saddam"--referring to Saddam Hussein--"does. Indeed, if Mr. Bush decides to leave Saddam out of his war plans, so-called moderate Arab states are likely to be even warier of joining an anti-terror coalition, because they'll fear the U.S. isn't serious about a long-term campaign."
Is the U.S. setting its sights on Saddam Hussein and Iraq, as well as Afghanistan?
RICE: The president made clear in his speech on Thursday night that this is a broad campaign.
Now, there has to be an initial phase to this campaign. And the initial phase focuses on the Al Qaeda network and the country that harbors them most nearly, which is the Taliban and Afghanistan.
But clearly, when you talk about rooting out terrorism broadly, you're going to look at where terrorism exists--global terrorism exists, how it's supported, who supports it, and step-by-step you're going to have to go after all of those bases for terrorism.
But for now, the president is focused on making certain that he does what he said on Thursday night, and that's bringing the Taliban to account for what it has done.
BLITZER: So stage one is Afghanistan. Stage two might be Iraq?
RICE: Stage two--first of all, let me just say, stage one has already begun. Because it's not just the Taliban. It is also beginning to squeeze off the life's blood of these organizations.
They need a lot of things to do, to be successful. They need money, they need territory on which to train, they need to be able to hide in the shadows from intelligence organizations and law enforcement. So this campaign has begun to squeeze off what really matters to them most.
There will be some military operation undoubtedly as a part of this. The president has told the armed forces to get ready. We will see what happens with other states that harbor terrorism. We will see what we do about other threats to American interests. But right now, the campaign has begun against the perpetrators of September 11 and those who support them.
BLITZER: When you say the campaign has begun, that spy plane that was shot down, the unmanned drone over Afghanistan, was that part of this campaign? Was that a U.S. plane?
RICE: Well, I can't comment on this specific situation, but obviously we are involved in very heavy intelligence-gathering operations, not alone, but with countries around the world. We are engaged in very aggressive law enforcement efforts with countries around the world. And again, I want to emphasize, we are engaged with countries in trying to cut financially the blood supply to terrorism. We're getting very good cooperation from a whole array of countries, all over the world, especially from a number of Islamic countries.
I mean, the UAE has severed its ties with the Taliban. The Taliban is going to be very isolated, and it's going to have to make a choice about what it wants to do about this foreign presence on Afghan soil.
BLITZER: In addition to Afghanistan and Iraq, for years the U.S. government has listed Iran and Syria as countries that support, sponsor terrorism. What are you telling the Iranian government and the Syrian government right now about their support for such groups as Hezbollah or Hamas?
RICE: The United States government is making very clear that there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists; that, in fact, support for terrorism is support for terrorism.
But the president's words were very carefully chosen the other night, that, "If you continue to harbor terrorism, if you continue to harbor terrorists, then you are making a choice in favor of terrorism."
So we're open to the possibilities. We're exploring with countries that might want to change their ways.
But the president is very clear. This is not a single terrorist network. These terrorists, wherever you may find them, communicate, they help train each other, they help finance each other; the global threat to terrorism is what he's focused on.
BLITZER: So, just to nail this point down, if Iran and Syria continue to support and protect these terrorist organizations, will the United States react forcibly with them as well?
RICE: I think the president's been very clear that, while he wants to explore what is possible, that countries are going to have to make a choice.
BLITZER: You know that'll disrupt the coalition you're trying to put together?
RICE: Look, this is going to go in phases.
And, again, as we've said about the coalition, there are many, many roles to be played here by members of what is really a broad coalition, or really multiple coalitions.
For some countries, this will mean information. For others, it will mean sharing law enforcement. For others, it will mean financial assistance. But there can be no good terrorists and bad terrorists.
But, again, we really need to focus now on the fact that the campaign against the near-term perpetrators of September 11 has already begun.
BLITZER: Have you told Saudi Arabia to stop allowing its citizens to provide money to some of these organizations that many regard as fronts for some of these terrorist organizations?
RICE: Well, one of the key goals here is going to be to cut off this financial supply. And any country that has citizens or non-governmental institutions contributing money to terrorism is going to have to do something about it. And I think that's broadly understood by everybody that we have talked to.
The Saudis, after all, would be a target of al Qaeda and its network, because they are not, from the point of view of the al Qaeda network, fundamentalist enough. And so there's no doubt that the Saudis are enlisted in this campaign.
BLITZER: Will Saudi Arabia allow the U.S. to establish a command and control center near Riyadh or some place in Saudi Arabia from which to direct this campaign?
RICE: We've gotten very good cooperation with the Saudis on the things that we have asked them. We're continuing to do discuss details with them. But the fact is that we're getting very good cooperation from the Saudis, and I expect that to continue.
BLITZER: Where do the Israelis fit into this entire strategy?
RICE: The Israelis are, of course, our friend and our ally. And the president has been in touch with Prime Minister Sharon. I know that Secretary Powell spoke with Prime Minister Sharon just yesterday.
Israel is a democratic state that also faces terrorist threats. We do believe that out of the horrors of September 11 could come the possibilities for a new impetus for peace. And as a result, we have been encouraging the possibility of an Arafat-Peres meeting to explore what's possible.
We were encouraged by the words that Chairman Arafat spoke condemning terrorism. We continue to look for further action. We also have been encouraged that the Israelis have said that they want to stand down military operations and exercise restraint.
So this may, in fact, open a new possibility to make just a small step forward on the Middle East peace front.
BLITZER: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, thanks for joining us.
RICE: Thank you very much, Wolf.
BLITZER: And just ahead, the critical role of Pakistan. We'll talk with that country's ambassador to the United States when Late Edition continues. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back. Joining us now to discuss Pakistan's role in the war against terrorism is that country's ambassador to the United States, Maleeha Lodhi.
Ambassador Lodhi, welcome back to "Late Edition."
BLITZER: This report that Osama bin Laden, according to the Taliban leadership, is now missing in Afghanistan. U.S. officials--you heard Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld saying that's simply not credible. What is your view of that?
LODHI: I think there's a great deal of speculation that has been going on. We have no official word, and my country will have to deal with the situation on the basis of fact, and on the basis of what we know to be confirmed.
I can assure you that my country will deliver on its international commitments. We are bound by the United Nations Security Council resolutions which call for bringing to justice those who carried out the terrorist acts.
BLITZER: You're one of two countries right now, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which still formally maintain relations with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The United Arab Emirates severed ties earlier this week.
Does Pakistan plan on continuing that relationship?
LODHI: I think we need to put a couple of things in perspective. Pakistan reduced its diplomatic presence in Kabul once the U.N. Security Council resolutions, which were prior to the 11th of September, went into force. Our ambassador has been back in Pakistan for the last couple of months. And, similarly, we have reduced the presence, as we were called to do so by the U.N., of the Taliban representation in Islamabad.
However, at this point in time, we will proceed according to international law, and we believe right now, as we speak, there is a humanitarian disaster looming on our border. Aid agencies are reporting the massing of Afghan refugees on our border. We believe that we have to continue to keep a window open for Afghanistan, which, as you know, is a land-locked country.
BLITZER: As far as your government's position is concerned, the future of Osama bin Laden, his supporters, his followers and the Al Qaeda organization, who are in Afghanistan right now, what specifically has the government of Pakistan asked the Taliban government in Kabul to do?
LODHI: Well, we have impressed upon them the gravity and the seriousness of the situation, the fact that time is running out and that the international community has united against terrorism, and that we stand with the international community, and that they ought to respond without any delay to the demand of the international community, which has been expressed, as you know, in U.N. resolutions.
BLITZER: So, specifically, what does that mean, as far as Osama bin Laden and his supporters?
LODHI: Well, we've asked--we've conveyed the demand on the international community, and the demand is very well-known.
BLITZER: Should they be handed over to another outside group, another nation?
LODHI: That they should hand over those who have been found guilty of terrorist acts, and they should be brought to justice. That...
BLITZER: Who should they be handed over to?
LODHI: I think the international community is very clear on this front, that the person, or the people against whom there is firm evidence that they have carried out terrorist acts should be brought to justice.
BLITZER: But will Pakistan accept--if the Taliban says, "You can have Osama bin Laden and his followers," will Pakistan take them, and hand them over to the international community?
LODHI: Wolf, we're not there yet. I think that's very hypothetical. I think the important issue right now is what is the Taliban leadership going to do to respond to our urgings and appeals to them, as well as appeals by other Muslim countries, to do what is required of them to do because the international community wants them to do this.
BLITZER: Now, as you know, the Taliban regime has responded to some of the actions and statements that the government of Pakistan has taken so far. I want to you listen to what the Taliban's deputy ambassador in Islamabad said earlier in this week. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOHAIL SHAHEEN, TALIBAN DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO PAKISTAN: If Muslims (inaudible) extend cooperation to the infidels, assist them and carry out espionage activities for them, he is also considered as foreign aggressor and his murder becomes an obligation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And just in case some of our viewers didn't fully understand what the deputy ambassador said, he was basically saying, "If Muslims"--and, of course, Pakistan's an Islamic country--"If Muslims extend a hand and cooperate with the infidels"--meaning the United States--"he"--the Muslim--"is also considered as a foreign aggressor, and his murder becomes an obligation." That sounds like a direct threat to Pakistan from the Taliban.
LODHI: I can tell you my country is calm. I can tell you my leadership, my government is resolute and firm, that it stands with the international community to do what we think is right.
Wolf, we took a position on the basis of principle. It was a moral imperative that drove our decision, and we will do that.
At the same time, we do feel for the Afghan people, which is why we have impressed upon the Taliban leadership that they should do the right thing by their own people and not put their people at risk.
Right now, as I was mentioning before, aid agencies are warning of an impending crisis which is brewing on our borders as hundreds and thousands of Afghan refugees make their way to my country's border. As you know, my country already houses over 2 million Afghan refugees. We estimate that if the situation deteriorates in our neighboring country, Pakistan could end up with another 2 million refugees.
The time at the moment demands that the international community focuses its attention on this humanitarian disaster as we also deal with our response to those who have carried out terrorist acts.
BLITZER: As you know, President Bush is now taking steps to lift the long sanctions that have been imposed against Pakistan. Is there anything else specifically that Pakistan is seeking from the U.S. government?
LODHI: Well, first, let me say we are very pleased with this development. It was long overdue. We felt these sanctions, which were there for--some of them there for 11 years, were unjustified. My country was only sanctioned because we were trying to safeguard our national security. But we welcome this move.
There are still some sanctions left on Pakistan. We hope this is the start of a process which will lead to a sanctions-free relationship between Pakistan and the United States.
But one thing is very clear in our minds. When we took opposition and our president made his decision, a decision that he took to the people of Pakistan, what weighed the most on his mind was to do the right thing. There is no question of bargaining, of trying to solicit some kind of a quid pro quo.
The fact that the U.S. administration has taken this position is because we know that for several months the Bush administration had undertaken a review of their sanctions policy, and it is an outcome of that review. And I think it's a step in the right direction.
BLITZER: Sounds like a potentially new chapter in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, thanks once again for joining us. We hope you'll come back.
LODHI: Thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you very much.
And when we return, the congressional response. We'll hear from two senators with leading roles in international policy and intelligence matters: Democrat Joe Biden of Delaware and Republican Richard Shelby of Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act and act immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: President Bush warning the Taliban in his address to Congress on Thursday.
Welcome back to "Late Edition."
Joining us now are two key members of the U.S. Senate. Here in Washington, Senator Richard Shelby; he's the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee. And in Wilmington, Delaware, Democratic Senator Joe Biden; he's the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senators, welcome back to Late Edition.
Senator Biden, I want to begin with you. A new poll just coming out at this hour, a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll. Look at the numbers here. Do you favor military action in Afghanistan? American public, 82 percent favor military act in Afghanistan; only 13 percent oppose.
What are those numbers saying to you about the possibility of Congress passing a declaration of war?
BIDEN: Well, Congress already did that, Wolf. We've already passed a declaration, which I helped draft, which gives the president the use of force. It has the constitutional equivalent of a declaration of war. Gives the president all the power he needs to use whatever force necessary to deal with this situation. So, in effect, constitutionally, he already has a declaration of war.
BLITZER: Any additional, Senator Shelby, legislation that Congress should enact in order to give the president more authority? Does he have all the authority he needs?
SHELBY: I believe the president's got sufficient power. If he sees he needs some, he can ask us. But I agree with Senator Biden, that we've already given him the tools he needs, and what we need now to do is support him.
BLITZER: All right, Senator Biden, what's the goal of this mission?
BIDEN: The goal of this mission is to suck the oxygen out of the air these guys breathe. And the way do you that is you do it at least three ways: One, you deny them safe haven. Number two, you go at their economic infrastructure, bank accounts, et cetera. And number three, you begin to dismantle piece by piece their organizational structures around the world. And I think the president has all three of those under way.
I am absolutely confident with the kind of international cooperation the secretary of state and he have been able to put together, that you're going to see a real pincer movement on the ability of international terrorist organizations to cross borders as freely as they have and retreat to safe havens. I think they're beginning to see the end of that day.
And so I think this is a big deal. I think the 11th will mark not the beginning of the end of our way of life, Wolf, but I truly believe the beginning of the end of the way of life and the possibility of large international terrorist networks to operate.
BLITZER: Senator Shelby, that sounds like a very ambitious goal. It's going to take a long time, obviously, if it's going to be achieved. Is it too ambitious, though?
SHELBY: No, it's not too ambitious. It is ambitious, but I believe it's necessary. I believe that, as the president said, we're basically going to pursue these people wherever they are. There's not going to be any safe sanctuary, or sanctuary anywhere in the world. It can't be.
BLITZER: But, you know, Senator Shelby, they are here in the United States.
BLITZER: We heard Condoleezza Rice say they have to assume there are still terrorists at large in this country.
SHELBY: Absolutely. You know, there are nearly 300 million people in this country, and we've got to rout these people out. We've got to find them and we've got to get rid of them. And I believe the FBI is on the right track, and we've got to do this. You know, there are cells in this country, just like we know.
BLITZER: Are you concerned, Senator Biden, that in this search for terrorists here in the United States, some of the basic civil rights, the liberties of the American people could be diminished?
BIDEN: I was at the outset, Wolf, but I'm very proud of the president and my conservative as well as liberal colleagues in the Senate who have all--all--cautioned against the need to in any way effect our civil liberties.
For example, it changed the way in which we can wire tap someone with probable cause--that is, going to a judge and getting an order is an expansion of wire tap and no limitation on our civil liberties.
So, the kinds of things that the administration is asking for, the kinds of things, quite frankly, that I introduced when I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee after the bombing in Oklahoma City are things we can and should do without any impact on our civil liberties.
One point I'd like to make is that I don't think we should make these guys bigger than they are. I don't think we should increase the apprehension of the American people beyond what it is. There are other people in this country. There's the mafia still running around in this country. There's a lot of things that are in this country. But the likelihood of someone becoming a victim of a terrorist attack over the next year is about as likely as them winning the lottery or as likely as them being struck by lightning.
It is still horrendous for anyone who is the victim of an attack, and there is likely to be other screwballs out there totally unrelated to this who are going to--you know, sort of the Squeaky Fromme phenomenon. When these things happen, you're going to have people calling in bomb threats. And you may, in fact, have somebody do something serious. But I think this has been an incredible wake-up call.
BLITZER: Senator Shelby, you're the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Time magazine has a report out today that in one of the suspected terrorist hideouts they found a manual on crop dusting, which raises all sorts of fears of chemical or biological terrorism, if you will. How serious of a potential threat is that?
SHELBY: Well, it's always a threat, and we're dealing with crop dusting, very important to our agriculture economy and to our well-being. We cannot overlook anything today. When you find people that would be terrorists, or would have links to terrorist groups, thinking about crop dusting, you know, planes, thinking about how they could use them, we've got to go after them. We've got to do what we have to do, and I believe we will.
I want to mention one thing about civil liberties. Whatever we do, we're going to protect the civil liberties under the Constitution of the United States. But I believe, Wolf, that we can give the attorney general and the FBI the tools that they need to fight terrorism under the confines of the Constitution of the United States.
BLITZER: Senator Biden, if the Taliban regime in Afghanistan refuses to accept the demands of President Bush, defies the United States and doesn't hand over Osama bin Laden and his followers, should the U.S. military go into Afghanistan and remove that regime, take over that country?
BIDEN: Well, Wolf, I'm reluctant to comment on that because of access of information that I have as well as what Senator Shelby has in his role. So, let me kind of rephrase it.
Is it appropriate? Would the president have the right to? Would it be wise to take action against the Taliban if he decided? The answer is yes, but let me make a distinction here.
People point out that the Brits had been in years ago and the Russians were in and, in fact, they got themselves bogged down. Our goal would not be the same as the Russians were. We're not talking about, and no one I know is talking about, going in and occupying Afghanistan and putting in a puppet government. We're going in and talking about--if we go in, if that decision is made, if that's what happens--and going in and taking out infrastructure that exists that allows the support of international terrorist organizations. If, in the process, the Taliban is in the way, we will deal with them.
We won't do it alone. This is not going to be alone, whatever action we take. There is the prospect that if we take action, you would have the cooperation from the intelligence side as well as the possibility of other means from other nations, not only our NATO allies but potentially their Russian neighbors and so on.
So I think this is a different circumstance. If we're talking about going in and occupying that country, that increases the problem multifold.
BLITZER: All right, Senators, stand by. We have to take a very quick commercial break.
BLITZER: Welcome back to Late Edition. We're continuing our conversation with Democratic Senator Joe Biden of Delaware and Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama.
Now, Senator Shelby, in our new CNN-USA Today Gallup poll just out this hour, we asked the American people, do you support U.S. military action against Iraq at this time? Look at these numbers: Seventy-three percent say they favor such military action; 20 percent oppose. They're referring to Iraq.
Should the U.S.--as Condoleezza Rice, she said, phase one is Afghanistan presumably, phase two might be Iraq or other countries. Should Iraq be included in any kind of contemplated military action?
SHELBY: Ultimately that will be a decision by the president, secretary of defense, secretary of state to make. But I think we should follow the roads wherever they lead. You know, if Iraq ultimately is found to be involved in these terrorists attacks or others, you know, we've made no mistake in the past saying, look, Saddam Hussein needs to go, you know, he's a menace to society. And we'll go from there, but ultimately, ultimately that's going to be up to what we find and the president.
BLITZER: But, Senator Shelby, is there any indication that Iraq's Saddam Hussein may have been involved in the World Trade Center attacks and attack on the Pentagon?
SHELBY: Well, I won't comment on that. The only thing I would say, is we should not leave out and we have not left out where any of this leads to.
BLITZER: Senator Biden, if the U.S. does move against other countries, whether Iraq or Iran or Syria perhaps, the coalition that the president is attempting to put together would crumble very quickly.
BIDEN: Look, Wolf, I think we have to do what we can prove was done to us. I think we'll keep the coalition together if in fact we're able to demonstrate clear evidence that, wherever we go is the reason we're going there is we have proof of it. I think the coalition will stay together.
I don't know anybody talking about going into Iran, I don't know anybody talking about going in to Syria. I have heard discussion about the possibility of Iraq being involved.
I think we should--as Senator Shelby as I said, he and I shouldn't really be commenting on that at this moment. But wherever the evidence leads, I think you'll be able to keep the coalition.
BLITZER: Senator Biden, on the issue of Saudi Arabia and its cooperation, is it your sense that the Saudis are doing whatever the United States is asking them to do?
BIDEN: I predict to you they'll do whatever we ask of them. I predict also they will have to hedge what they say now. I don't think we should ask them publicly to do more than they need to risk doing. But I am absolutely confident that, notwithstanding some news reports that have been out, they will allow us access to and we will be permitted to carry on any operation that we deem necessary with their cooperation.
BLITZER: Senator Shelby, you're the vice chairman of the intelligence committee. You've been critical of George Tenet, the CIA director, for the failure to appreciate what was about to happen in these attacks. The president and vice president seem to still have strong confidence in George Tenet. Have you lost confidence in him?
SHELBY: Well, I believe now and I've always believed that we need a strong, very strong and powerful person heading up the CIA. I like George Tenet personally, I think he has some good attributes. I don't believe he's this man. But ultimately that's up to the president of the United States. And right now what we need to do is win this terrorist war and not blame everybody.
BLITZER: Senator Biden, I want to show you yet a third number from our new CNN-USA Today poll. It's the job, how the president is doing in his job. Look at this number. It's the first time in the history of this Gallup poll that a president has gotten a 90 percent job approval rating. Only 6 percent of the American people disapprove of the way the president is doing his job right now.
By the way, just for historic reference, his father got 89 percent, or 88 or 89 percent during the Gulf War. Ninety percent job approval rate for President Bush. What do you say about that?
BIDEN: Count me in the 90 percent. And I think the difference here is, not only is he doing a good job, not since Franklin Roosevelt has any president been in power when in fact the United States has been struck by a foreign entity or a foreign group of foreign individuals.
And so, I think--but not withstanding that, I think he's done a first-rate job. I've liked the balance he's shown, the patience he's shown, the tone he has shown and the methodical way in which he's going about this. And I've been speaking with him--although I haven't spoken with him in a couple days. I'm in constant contact with his Cabinet. I think he's doing a first-rate job, and as I said, count me in the 90 percent.
SHELBY: Wolf, bottom line is the president's providing the leadership under a crisis where we've been hit on our own soil. I believe that he's going to continue to do this, and we all are trying to support him. And I believe the poll was saying the American people are behind his leadership.
BIDEN: Wolf, can I say one thing?
BLITZER: Very briefly Senator Biden, go ahead.
BIDEN: We have a lot of things we can do to deal with biological and chemical weapons attacks if they occur. We're under way in doing that. They're very basic things from like having stockpiles of vaccine which we don't have all the way to having fire departments in every city having these $6 dollar masks that could take out 95 percent of any pathogen in the air. There's a lot of things we can do. I believe we will do them now. Some of us have been arguing for it for a while. I think we're going to focus on it now.
BLITZER: Senator Biden and Senator Shelby, unfortunately we are all out of time. I want to thank both of you for joining us on Late Edition. We'll have you back soon.
BIDEN: Thank you very much, Wolf.
SHELBY: Thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you.
And just ahead, we'll check the hour's top stories, then hear from New York's Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Plus, an analysis of past and present U.S. military actions from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Late Edition will continue right after this break.
BLITZER: Welcome back to Late Edition. We'll get to our interview with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in just a moment. But first let's go to Carol Lin in Atlanta for the latest developments.
BLITZER: And earlier today I had the chance to speak with New York's Mayor Rudy Giuliani about the progress of rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero and his city's attempts to return to normal.
BLITZER: Mr. Mayor, thanks once again for joining us. I know you're at the command center in New York. Are you being told there's any chance whatsoever that there could still be some survivors at that disaster site?
GIULIANI: I am told that there is very little hope, but that they wanted two weeks or a little more than that in order to make certain that they could find people. And we're still within that timeframe, and the experts say that there are still situations in which people have survived for this length of time, I think, survived even beyond the two-week period.
So, the reality is that we'll continue the operation exactly the way it is now for quite some time, because the same things that we have to do in order to react if we should be able to find anyone alive, those are exactly the same things we have to do in order to recover human remains in the very difficult circumstances that these men are facing in doing the recovery effort.
So I don't know the best way to describe it except to say the operation will remain exactly the same for quite some time for the foreseeable future. And as time goes by, obviously the chance of finding anyone diminishes greatly.
BLITZER: What is the key priority right now in New York?
GIULIANI: Beyond the rescue and recovery effort right at the immediate site of the attack, the immediate priority is to appropriately mourn and pray for those that we have lost, and then, with that strength, to go back to normal. Things are open for business, people should not be afraid. We should--if we feel afraid, the way to deal with our fear is to do the things we would normally do anyway.
People should be going to plays and they should be going to movies and they should be going to school and going to work and doing the things that they normally do.
People are constantly asking me, "What can I do to help?" And probably the thing that everybody can do to help is go back to normal, be Americans, do the things we normally do and show these terrorist cowards that they can't stop us, they can't affect us.
It doesn't mean you don't mourn and it doesn't mean you don't cry. You're going to do that anyway. But there's time for crying and mourning, and there's also time for getting back to our normal way of life, and that's what we should be doing now. We should work at it.
BLITZER: But you know, Mr. Mayor, there are people that are still frightened out there, especially in New York, especially around some of the other landmarks in New York. Is there any evidence whatsoever, any intelligence that's been provided to you to suggest that those fears are warranted?
GIULIANI: The fears are warranted in light of the attack and just the obvious nature of what we're facing. So I can't tell anyone not to be afraid. What I can tell them is to overcome their fear, not let that fear paralyze them, not let that fear stop them.
Everything is being done to protect the citizens of New York and the citizens of the United States by President Bush, in the case of New York by Governor Pataki, by me, by the police, by the National Guard, military surveillance. Everything is being done that can be done in a free society and even more than would normally be the case to protect everyone.
So people are as safe as you can be in life. You can't--you never have perfect safety in life or anything close to that. So people have to go about their normal way of life, and there's certainly enough safety for people to do that.
BLITZER: Last Sunday on this program you made the same point about trying to get back to some normal day-to-day activities, go see a play, go see a ball game. In this past week, have you seen some evidence that that is, in fact, happening?
GIULIANI: It's happening slowly, but it's happening. You know, on Friday night the Mets and the Atlanta Braves played at Shea Stadium and 40,000 people-plus showed up.
Last night the Metropolitan Opera gave a benefit concert, raised $2.6 million for the families of the people affected by this. And there were--not only did they sell out, but they had 3,000 people outside the Metropolitan Opera that watched it in open air. And I went out to see them, and I was very heartened by that. I said, "New Yorkers aren't afraid to go out. They're out in large, large numbers. They're overwhelming the Plaza."
So I do think things are going back to normal. But it's understandable. And I think some of this is--I think some of what we're seeing is not just fear. I don't think fear is the primary thing here. I think people are mourning. I think we are in a state of tremendous sorrow, and we're working our way through the sorrow. And I believe we're doing it as quickly and as effectively as we can. I'm very, very proud of the people of New York. I've never been prouder.
BLITZER: Mr. Mayor, we have seen some of the reports, and they're pretty disturbing, about looting that's going on around ground zero. What can you tells about that?
GIULIANI: Any theft that goes on down there is a sacrilege, as far as I'm concerned, and outrageous. But the reality is there hasn't been much. Any individual act is going to get a lot of attention, as it should. It's going to get a lot of attention from the police; we've arrested people. One of the deputy police commissioners, whose used to be on my security detail and is one of my closest friends, made an arrest himself the other day of people trying to steal watches. In my presence, two days ago, someone was arrested who was there in an unauthorized fashion trying to steal things.
But it's very, very isolated in light of the way something like that could happen. I would not describe it as looting. I don't think we've had that. I think what we've had is some individual acts of theft, and they've been more than containable by the police and the National Guard.
BLITZER: And we know that you're going to be attending a prayer service--a prayer for America at Yankee Stadium later today. What do you hope to accomplish at that event?
GIULIANI: I believe it's very helpful to see the leaders of all the different religious faiths, each of them represented there, the Jewish religion and the Muslim religion and the Catholic, Protestant, various Christian religions represented--the Orthodox faith. They'll all be represented, they'll all be praying together, demonstrating in song and in act and in prayer the fact that we're all united as decent, good human beings, that we're all united as children of God, that good people all around the world and of every different faith are together praying to God to unite us and to give us strength. I think that's just a really beautiful thing.
And I also think it's a way in which the families who are going through this, all of us who are going through this, understand we're not alone. We're all together, and if we have to, kind of, lean on each other to gain the strength to move forward, there are plenty of people to lean on it.
I certainly have had them. I've been leaning on very, very strong shoulders, and I'm not doing this alone by any means. I need a lot of help, and I'm getting it.
BLITZER: And a lot of people are getting help from you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you so much for joining us once again on this Sunday. Good luck to you.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
BLITZER: And just ahead, many economists are saying the United States and much of the world are now in a recession. Can the economy rebound in war time? We'll get an outlook from two top American businessmen. Late Edition will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Someone conducted an act of war on us. Our economy has slowed way down and this is an emergency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: President Bush earlier in the week talking about the impact of the terrorist attacks on what was already a sagging U.S. economy. Welcome back to Late Edition.
We now get some perspective on America's financial health from two guests. Joining us from New York is Robert Hormats. He's the vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, also a member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Here in Washington, Bill Marriott. He's chairman and CEO of the Marriott International Corporation.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us.
Mr. Marriott, first to you, you had two hotels right there at the ground zero vicinity. What happened to your hotels?
MARRIOTT: Our World Trade Center hotel was right between the two towers, the towers fell on the hotel and literary destroyed it.
BLITZER: And the second?
MARRIOTT: The second hotel was partially damaged with windows going out and that type of thing, but no structural damage. We hope to get it open in the next three to six months.
BLITZER: And you're going to reopen even in that location?
BLITZER: What about casualties? What about missing, killed, injured?
MARRIOTT: Well, we have two managers that are missing; they stayed behind to make sure that everybody was out of the building, and they just didn't get out soon enough and they're still missing.
BLITZER: So they're missing and presumed dead. It's almost a miracle, everybody else, all the guests in the hotel were evacuated?
MARRIOTT: As far as we know, we went room by room with the fire and police department, we cleared the hotel as soon as the strike hit, we evacuated the hotel and as far as we know, everybody--most everybody got out.
BLITZER: Robert Hormats, a lot of financial institutions were located down there at the World Trade Center, the complex, Goldman Sachs, you had any business dealings down there?
HORMATS: Yes, our offices are nearby, we weren't damaged. We were quite blessed. But we had a lot of friends and colleagues and other firms who are lost and are missing now, and there's a lot of mourning going on in the financial community and Goldman Sachs and other firms for those people.
It's been a tough time. We were up and running when the markets opened Monday, thanks to a great many people working 24 hours a day and so we're ready now. But the mourning goes on. I have some memorial services to go to next week and I think we all do. It's a very tough time for everyone in the financial community.
BLITZER: How--Mr. Marriott, how tough is it right now for the hotel industry?
MARRIOTT: It's very tough. We rely tremendously on air travel and, as you know, air travel is way down. And so we're going to have a very tough September.
However, bookings are holding for October. Many of the major groups that we have booked on our books in our major convention hotels are still there. We've called them, they say they intend to come to their meetings. And that's the whole point here is we got to get America moving, we got to get them back on the road again, we got to get people feeling good about traveling again.
BLITZER: Well, on that point, Mr. Hormats, how do you get the American public off of its edge, if you will? A lot of people are afraid to get on a plane, are afraid to leave their homes, if you will. What do you do about that?
HORMATS: Well, I think there are a number of things that are needed to boost confidence--personal confidence and economic confidence. Clearly I think from an economic point of view, the government has to do the right things and I believe is doing them. Federal Reserve's creating a lot of liquidity and I think we're going to see big fiscal stimulus over the next several months with tax cuts and additional spending.
But the other side of the confidence factor is the government has to demonstrate that it can launch a very effective set of actions against terrorism at home and abroad. And when you combine the economic measures with those security measures, that, I think, can help boost confidence over the medium term. But you really need both.
BLITZER: Mr. Marriott, what do you want, if anything, the government to do as far as your narrow industry is concerned, tourism, hotels, airline?
MARRIOTT: Well, first of all, I'd like to see them get Reagan National Airport open back up again.
BLITZER: Here in Washington?
MARRIOTT: In Washington, right, because if they do, I think this sends a very strong signal to the travelers that this airports are safe again and that National is safe, and they can provide the right kind of security at National. If we can get that open and going, that would be great.
And we also have to be concerned about the statements that many of our officials are making about impending terrorist events of which they don't have the backup information to sustain. Like, for instance, last week there were three cities that the government said were possible targets for an immediate attack last week, and, of course, it proved to be unreliable.
BLITZER: And that scares people from visiting those...
MARRIOTT: That scares people everywhere.
BLITZER: But this bailout, the $15 billion bailout of the airline industry, is presumably going to spill over and help your industry.
MARRIOTT: Well the airlines can stay in business, which they have to do, we'll be fine. As they go up, but they've been taking a while to come back.
BLITZER: Bob Hormats, I want you to listen to what Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said earlier this week at a Senate hearing looking ahead on the strength of the U.S. economy. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN GREENSPAN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: As we struggle to make sense of our profound loss and its immediate consequences for the economy, we must not lose sight of our longer-run prospects which have not been significantly diminished by these terrible events.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And in a new CNN-USA Today Gallup poll just out, we asked the American people how confident or not confident they were in the long-term prospects of the economy. Look at this: 91 percent of the American people still express confidence in the long-term prospect of the U.S. economy; only 8 percent are not confident. Are they overly optimistic, in your professional assessment?
HORMATS: I think it shows how wise the American people are. The American economy is going through some very tough times. Unemployment's up, consumer confidence is down, people have lost a lot of money on Wall Street in their stock portfolios. But the underlying economy still has enormous strength and resiliency.
We've done a lot of corporate restructuring over the last 10 to 15 years. The banking system in this country is much stronger than anywhere else in the world. We have a big increase in productivity over--in the course of the 1990s--much of it is going to continue. So there are strengths.
There are temporary disruptions. Those disruptions could slow the economy down for two or three quarters perhaps, but there's a lot of resiliency and we will come out of it, assuming that the government does the right thing, that consumers begin to go back to more normal kinds of activities, as Mayor Giuliani has suggested. And also assuming the government can take effective action against terrorism and make Americans feel more secure. Those things are important. If that occurs--if they occur, then I think we'll go back to a much stronger economic performance sometime next year.
BLITZER: And, Mr. Marriott, the fact is that Bob Hormats talks about temporary disruptions, but I think in the last week or so alone, if my math is correct, there were 115,000 layoffs, jobs mostly in the airline industry. I'm sure you're laying off people in your industry. How many are you laying off at Marriott?
MARRIOTT: Well, we're rescheduling our people or putting people in two and three days a week and trying to retain as many of our associates as we can because we think this is going to come back.
BLITZER: You think the economy will come back?
BLITZER: How long do you think it will take?
MARRIOTT: We think travel will come back. Well, the airlines are predicting a 60 percent drop in September, which is probably about right in terms of air travel.
We're predicting a 40 percent drop through the balance of the year, October, November, December. We think that may be a little too tough. But we're hanging in there at about maybe a 25 to 30 percent drop.
BLITZER: Bob Hormats, a lot of nervous traders on the stock market right now. Billions--billions if not trillions of dollars in equity have been lost. How nervous should the average person watching this program be right now about their 401(k)s, their stock portfolios in the short and long term?
HORMATS: Well, many people certainly have lost a great deal of money, and their 401(k)s, for the average citizen, are much lower now than they were six or eight months ago.
But it really depends on the long-term perspective of the investor. Someone who needs the money right away should be making an effort to be more diversified, but if you have a longer-term outlook, the stock market historically has come back. It may take some time, it may not come back to the boom period we had in most of the 1990s, but the probability is very high that it will come back.
But the point--the broader point is that diversification is extremely important if you're an investor. And a lot of people had concentrated a large portion of their portfolios in the high-flying technology stocks when more diversification would have been appropriate. And I think that's the point to emphasize going forward.
The market's likely to come back, but be diversified, so that your risk in any particular sector is reduced.
BLITZER: OK, Bob Hormats, always good to have you on Late Edition.
HORMATS: Thank you.
BLITZER: Mr. Marriott, welcome; this is your first time on our program. We hope that you'll be back. And, of course, our deepest condolences to those Marriott employees who are still missing, presumed dead. Thanks so much for joining us.
MARRIOTT: Thank you very much, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you.
And, when we return, the challenges and potential pitfalls of America's new war. We'll talk with two men who've served as close advisers to presidents: former Nixon and Ford Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Carter National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Late Edition will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back.
Joining us now with insight on how the United States should proceed in its new war are two former president advisers: in Kent, Connecticut, Henry Kissinger; he served as national security advisor to former president Nixon, later as secretary of state to both former presidents Nixon and Ford. And here in Washington, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, served as national security advisor to former President Carter.
Gentlemen, always good to have both of you with us.
And, Dr. Kissinger, let me begin with you. Some are saying this new war against terrorism could go on for years and years and years and years. Is this, in effect, a new Cold War facing the United States?
KISSINGER: Well, it's a new kind of war, and I wouldn't compare it necessarily with the confrontation with the Soviet Union, because that had a very large direct military component.
This one has a military component, but we have to be clear what the objectives are to be. One, we are to punish the perpetrators of the attack, to make it clear that you cannot attack the United States with impunity. Secondly, we have to act strongly enough, so that the moderates know that they have a permanent support of the United States. Third, we have to convey to those who support state terrorism that they will face comparable consequences. And fourth, we have to try to keep our alliances together while we do this. And those are difficult balances to strike, but they're doable, and we'll do it.
BLITZER: Dr. Brzezinski, those seem very formidable, those objectives that Dr. Kissinger just laid out. Has the United States ever fought a war like this before?
BRZEZINSKI: No, this is a new kind of a war, if you want to use the word "war." It's a prolonged campaign.
But we have to differentiate in it different phases. The first phase is response and retribution. And that's called for, the country expects it, we're entitled to it, and even the world needs a demonstration of American will.
BLITZER: All right, let me--on that issue of retribution, what do you specifically mean by that?
BRZEZINSKI: A strike, a strike at some of the bases and facilities. I wouldn't overpersonalize the Osama bin Laden issue, because we shouldn't measure success or failure by whether we get him right away or not.
But we ought to strike at some of the facilities. We know where they are, not only, incidentally, in Afghanistan.
Then, beyond that--and that will take then many more months--we have to determine which countries have sheltered or maybe even clandestinely supported terrorism. And if we can identify them, we'll have to take action.
And then, last but not least, there is the long-range, worldwide effort to tighten security, to make financial transactions more transparent, to detect the relationship between drug trafficking and terrorism, and in that we'll have to enlist the widest possible coalition.
BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, as you know, the Clinton administration, after the embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998, did strike Osama bin Laden, targets in Afghanistan, with cruise missiles. That proved to be very ineffective. What's to suggest an additional strike of that kind would be any more effective this time than it was the last time?
KISSINGER: Well, first of all, the rules of the game have changed. Under the previous rules, the terrorists could plan their attacks, launch them, face one or maybe two retaliatory strikes, and then go back to business. I do not visualize that this state of retribution that people are talking about will be confined to one strike. And, frankly, I don't know whether it should be confined to Afghanistan alone.
And I agree that it shouldn't focus entirely on bin Laden. What we have to do is to separate the terrorists from the states that support them. If they become individuals looking for refuge, and fugitives looking for survival, then, sooner or later, they are going to disintegrate.
And that should be the focus of our campaign. And I believe that we are capable of launching a sustained attack on these terrorist cells that will get them on the run, either by direct attacks or by getting the states that now support them to end their support. And we should not let states that support them escape their responsibility by joining the anti-terrorist coalition on paper unless they're actively willing to do something.
BLITZER: All right. Dr. Brzezinski, does the United States know how to fight a war like this war?
BRZEZINSKI: I think we do. And we'll also learn how to do it.
Bear in mind two factors. First of all, we have a very good national security team. I have no hesitation in saying that this is one of the best in many years. And that's very important. We should have confidence...
BLITZER: So you have confidence in the people surrounding the president?
BRZEZINSKI: That's right. These are tough-minded, able and experienced people. So that's point number one.
Point number two, the country is united, and the country is determined. And that's terribly important, because you can only do these difficult things if the country is united.
And last but not least, we have a great deal of international support, though we will have to differentiate carefully between real friends and false friends. Some countries will be in with us all the way from the start. And we should have them from the start if we make some strikes.
And I agree with Henry, they should be serious strikes. They should not just be some cruise missiles from afar, we should use our own forces.
But secondly, there will be countries that will try to take us for a ride and will try to charge us a price for their collaboration. And we shouldn't pay them politically nor financially, because most countries have a stake in this. And those who want to exploit this issue for some benefit are not real friends.
BLITZER: You want to name names?
BRZEZINSKI: No. I wouldn't name names, but I will say this. For example, I think we should welcome Russian help and work with the Russians on this. But we shouldn't pay them politically because a lot of these networks were established in the '70s, nurtured in the '80s, trained and armed. And hence, the Russians now have a stake also in dealing with this problem before turns against them with full force.
BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, as you well know, if these U.S. strikes expand, let's say, beyond Afghanistan, move against Iraq, for example, Russian support for this coalition, Chinese support, perhaps even French support may quickly go away. How do you deal with that problem?
KISSINGER: Well, I don't want to speculate what actions would or would not get support. Russia, I agree completely with Zbig, has at least as much to fear from these terror networks, I would say even more, than we do. So I think we will keep Russian support for quite a long while. Other countries, they don't have to support us necessarily as long as as they don't actively oppose us.
I think it is probably necessary to expand the retribution to areas beyond Afghanistan that leads to some places where we know that foreign terror places exist to make it clear that there are no safe havens anymore. Now, where these are and what we do this, I think Russia has to determine.
We have to strike a balance between looking timid and looking so unilateral that we lose all support. But we won't lose all support, we will lose the support of a few countries.
The Europeans, in their hearts know, that if this could be done to New York, to a country that has massive means of retaliation, they are totally defensiveless if the United States were to quit the game out of disgust with allied support. But we have got amazing allied support, and I would count on it for a substantial period of time.
BLITZER: Dr. Brzezinski, you've heard critics say that this desire to get this coalition together, in the end, could turn against the U.S. by handcuffing the United States and not allowing the U.S. to take the kind of steps that it should take in this war.
BRZEZINSKI: I very deliberately differentiate between partners--partners who go in with us--and a coalition which engages collectively in all of the long-term measures that are needed. We'll have a very broad coalition because most states are interested in stability and security. But real partners, real allies will be those who are going with us when we have to make the first strikes. And I would hope that we have some allies maybe even some symbolically in first strikes.
And secondly, they will be in with us in the second very difficult phase of identifying what countries, what governments not only tolerate it but, perhaps, quietly sheltered the terrorists. Because then we'll have to make some very difficult, discriminate decisions. And I would hope that we would have allies in that as well.
But I also want to emphasize that the first strikes should not be thought of merely as involving Afghanistan. There are a lot of terrorist facilities in the Persian Gulf, Middle Eastern area. And I think we have the right, maybe even the duty, to go after some of them.
BLITZER: And where else outside of Afghanistan do you suspect they are?
BRZEZINSKI: I don't want to name countries, but some of the facilities are outside of Afghanistan. And I think since the governments concerned have not acted against them, I think some direct action by American forces--and I emphasize forces, not just standard missiles--would be quite justified, even, I would say, required.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to take a quick break. We have a lot more to talk about.
We'll continue our conversation with Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinksi when Late Edition returns. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Our nation, this generation will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: President Bush in his address to Congress this week. Welcome back to Late Edition.
We're continuing our conversation with former Nixon National Security Advisor and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Dr. Kissinger, King Abdullah of Jordan was on ABC's This Week earlier today. He made a statement that I want to play for you. Listen to what King Abdullah said about his nation's, his kingdom's willingness to cooperate. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN: Today, we expect everybody in the international community to decide where they're going to stand. No sitting on the fence is going to be accepted by anybody. And if you've been supporting terrorist activities in the past, it's high time that you make up your mind whether you're going to continue or stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Jordan clearly a moderate Arab nation, very much inclined to work together with the United States. But if you look at the rest of much of the Arab world, you're probably not going to get uncategorical statements like that.
KISSINGER: That may well be true. But the Arab countries that are not yet under terrorist control, and most of them are not, have more to lose even than the United States. And the major threat, the immediate threat, is aimed even more at them than at us. We are just a symbol of--they want to turn us into a symbol of vulnerability so that they could go after their immediate targets.
So, I think we need to provide a checklist to these countries by which we will determine whether they are actually cooperating in the anti-terrorist campaign. And one principal component of that must be to stop the flow of financial support to terrorist groups or to charities that are fronts for terrorist groups.
We have to reassure the moderates, like the king, who was characteristically courageous, and we have to warn the ones on the fence that they have more to fear from us than from the terrorist if they continue to support the terrorists. It's a tough road, but we have no other choice.
BLITZER: Dr. Brzezinski, what should the Bush administration be telling the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, of Israel right now, in terms of dealing with this new war?
BRZEZINSKI: I would be saying that we have a common stake in isolating the terrorists, isolating them regionally, not just in the area around Israel. And that means helping the moderates and isolating the extremists. Without popular passions, the terrorists will be easier to identify and eliminate.
So I would say anything that can be done to advance the peace process. Have a meeting, let Sharon and Arafat meet. Either Sharon or Peres, but Sharon would be better actually because you'll be more dramatic. Anything of that sort would help.
It's a long road, and we will have to bear in mind that beyond dealing immediately with the most evident manifestations of terrorism wherever we can reach them, we have to undercut, in the long run, their base. Isolate the extremists by strengthening the moderates.
BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger?
KISSINGER: I would say this. The biggest progress towards Middle East peace has been made in the wake of two major American strategic successes: after the 1973 war and after the 1991 war.
I think symbolic meeting between Sharon and Arafat might be very useful. But for Israel to make concessions before a big success has been achieved against terrorism, will enable the terrorists to say that after they bombed New York and killed thousands of people, America exacted concessions which we wouldn't do before and would establish anti-American terrorism as the method for dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
So what we have to tell Arafat is this: If you want American support, you have to help us win the fight against terrorism. For peace, you need American diplomacy. But you can't get American diplomacy until you help us win the war.
But I would try to prevent Israel from doing things that will disturb the equilibrium, and I would not recommend that this is the time to make significant concessions.
BRZEZINSKI: Well, I certainly was not saying that, and I don't think Henry implied that I was, but it might sound that way.
KISSINGER: No, I didn't imply that you were. I said that as a general principle.
BRZEZINSKI: Right. I would say that the basic formula I would use is that Arab moderates and Israel should be on the same side because that makes it easier isolate the extremists who in turn support the terrorists. So we do have a stake and some resumption of the peace process, and the more dramatic and symbolic that is, the better.
BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, how vulnerable, how endangered potentially is President Musharaff of Pakistan? As you know, he's working, he's cooperating with the Bush administration with the U.S. right now, but there are opponents to his policy within Pakistan itself.
KISSINGER: Well, Musharaff has taken a very courageous decision. It's also overwhelmingly in Pakistan's interests because any other decision would have totally isolated Pakistan.
Nevertheless, he is running some risk, and I think that we should show our respect for that decision, which we have done, and also that we don't forget it after this struggle is over. I think he's under some danger, but he's pursuing a course which thoughtful Pakistanis must recognize prevents the total isolation of Pakistan and undermining of Pakistan. So it's also acting in Pakistan's own interests.
BLITZER: Dr. Brzezinski, you agree with that?
BRZEZINSKI: Yes, I agree with that. I would say that there are three Muslim governments that are very vulnerable. Pakistan is one of them, and Henry has just spoken to that. Egypt is also very vulnerable. The Muslim Brotherhood has been very active in Egypt. There have been very bloody incidents in Egypt. We have to very careful because that's a major, major country, and if it were to go sour, it would vastly complicate the situation in the Middle East.
And thirdly, the Saudi regime. Afterall, Osama bin Laden comes from Saudi Arabia, originates in Saudi Arabia. And our concerns that perhaps some of the princes were shaken down by blackmail to provide funds that have fueled a very large-scale international terrorist network. That's a very vulnerable government.
So we're dealing here with a region that's explosive. Doesn't only contain enemies of the United States, but even friends who could be blown up in the process of helping us. So how we conduct ourselves is absolutely strategic and central.
BLITZER: Dr. Brzezinski, Dr. Kissinger, I want to thank both of you for joining us, and we'll have both of you back, of course, many times. Thank you very much.
KISSINGER: Pleasure to be on.
BLITZER: Thank you.
And just ahead, what's the best military strategy for winning America's new war? We'll talk with NATO's former supreme allied commander, as well as a former Green Beret. Late Edition will continue right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back to Late Edition.
Military experts have said the United States should expect to fight a guerrilla war in Afghanistan. Would American troops be at a disadvantage?
Here to discuss that and much more are two guests. Joining us from Little Rock, Arkansas, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark, and with us here in Washington, Bob Bevelacqua, a former Green Beret.
Gentlemen, welcome to Late Edition.
And, General Clark, militarily, what is the United States seeking to achieve right now?
CLARK: Well, the first requirement is to position forces so we've got options, options to respond to the information, options to strike effectively at a time of our own choosing, as the president has said. So, right now, we're seeing the mobilization, we're seeing the deployment, we're seeing some indications of onward movement and positioning, readying to strike. That's the first requirement.
The next requirement is then to follow the intelligence. If we have indications that a strike by terrorists against us is imminent, and we can break that strike up by going after them somewhere, we should certainly do that. If we think we can disrupt the terrorist network and make them more easily detected and detained somewhere else, we should do that.
But we also have to understand, we're in a very long campaign here, and so we've got to be patient and follow the intelligence lead on this.
BLITZER: Bob Bevelacqua, you're a former Green Beret. Is this, from a special operations standpoint, going into Afghanistan? Presumably that would be the next immediate step. Is that an achievable, winnable objective?
BEVELACQUA: Yes, Wolf, it is. The fact that the Northern Alliance exists...
BLITZER: Which is the opposition to the Taliban.
BEVELACQUA: ... the fact that they've actually had Taliban leaders leave their organization and go to the Northern Alliance shows that there's destabilization within their organization.
I see a great SF fit for this mission with unconventional warfare. We don't have to go in and build it from scratch; the Northern Alliance currently exists. So you take advantage of the fact that there's a movement within the country that is supported by local dissidents. And I think it's a very good fit for SF.
BLITZER: General Clark, working together with the Northern Alliance, the guerrillas who are fighting the Taliban within Afghanistan itself, is that something the U.S. military should be engaged in?
CLARK: Well, it's something that we can do. The question is, is that the best way to accomplish our purpose?
I think there's no question but that the Northern Alliance has a role to play here, and if we want that to play that role, we're going to have to provide some kind of assistance to them. Whether that's with third-party assistance or us directly, we've got to leave that to the people on the ground who really know the circumstances. They're best to determine.
BLITZER: Bob, I want you to listen to what Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Powell, said earlier today on Meet the Press. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I can assure you that our military will have plans that will go against their weaknesses and not get trapped in ways that previous armies have gotten trapped in Afghanistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You're a former special operations, a former Green Beret, what do you need, assuming you're going back in--and you're obviously not going back in--but what do the special operation forces need to hear from the civilian leadership to reassure them that they're not getting sucked into another Somalia or Vietnam?
BEVELACQUA: Wolf, there's absolutely no comparison, what's going on right now. I think we are hearing exactly what we need to hear. With the approval rating--not that I've ever put much into statistics--but with approval rating that Bush is getting right now, I think it's quite obvious that what he's saying is right on the mark, and there is no reason to start questioning him now.
BLITZER: Is that your sense, as well, General Clark, that the military, the rank and file, the guys who--and the gals, I guess--who are going to be going and getting on the ground in a situation like this, are they going to be getting the kind of support they need from the civilian leadership?
CLARK: I think it's very clear we're getting support, but what we also need are clear objectives, and those haven't been made public yet. But we're certainly getting the support, the public support, that will ensure we get the leadership support.
BLITZER: As you well know, General Clark, the terrain in Afghanistan is ugly, as far as a military assault is concerned. I don't think they've lost a war, the Afghanis. They've been invaded by all sorts of forces, including the former Soviet Union, the British. It's not easy, going in there, is it?
CLARK: Well, the terrain is going to be tough in there, but if you look at the campaigns that have been fought, especially the Taliban's efforts in the mid to late '90s, the battles have really see-sawed back and forth. And so, the fact they're on the ground doesn't give them any special skill in using the terrain, it doesn't give them any real advantages over the Northern Alliance.
This is a very fluid battlefield. The mountains provide cover for the attacker as well as strength for the defender. So it plays both ways, and we're very good as using terrain.
BLITZER: All right, General Clark, Bob Bevelacqua, stand by. I want to take a quick break.
There's still another half hour of Late Edition ahead. We'll continue our discussion about U.S. military strategy, plus, a special conversation with Arizona senator and Vietnam veteran, Senator John McCain. Late Edition will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to Late Edition. We'll get back to our guests in just a moment, but first, here's Carol Lin in Atlanta with a check with the latest developments.
BLITZER: Now back to our conversation about U.S. military strategy in the new war against terrorism. We're talking with former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark, former Green Beret Bob Bevelacqua.
General Clark, we've heard the president say on few occasions, if necessary the U.S. will go in and smoke out Osama bin Laden and supporters from those caves in Afghanistan. Some have suggested that perhaps he's speaking literally of a need to go in there and smoke him out, if you will. Is there such a military contingency that you know of?
CLARK: Well, I don't know the specific plans, and if I did I wouldn't be at liberty to reveal them. But of course, we've got capacity to put people in there on the ground virtually anywhere we want. And if we don't have the it now, we'll have it very soon. And we'll be able to support them in there.
The question is, what's the mission? What risks are we willing to take? And how do you balance off the pursuit of Osama bin Laden with the diplomatic efforts that are under way and the larger campaign to roll up the whole organization? So, people will be looking at this from many different dimensions.
But, yes, I'm confident that we could literally do what the president has said.
BLITZER: When you were a Green Beret, Bob, did you ever train to go into a cave and find individuals and bring them out?
BEVELACQUA: Wolf, it's funny you mention that. When we were in Haiti, we actually did very similar-type activities. There was a group called the Zimlemdu (ph) that operated just north of Port-au-Prince that killed an American citizen, and we had go into very similar circumstances. It's all very doable.
I know the training that's involved to get these guys prepped, and the way country is right now backing everybody, the president, the forces, I think they would carry a bucket of gasoline into hell right now.
BLITZER: General Clark, as far as the military capabilities of the Taliban, assuming they're not going to hand over Osama bin Laden, how much military capability do they actually have?
CLARK: Well, they do have some heavy equipment. They've got some aircraft. They've got some helicopters. They've got some anti-aircraft weapons. Presumably, they've got some stinger missiles. Well, we know they don't have comprehensive defense capability, but where they mass, they've been able to bottle up the Northern Alliance pretty well and drive it back into the northeastern portion of Afghanistan.
So, we are not dealing with bunch of people on foot. Their campaign in the '90s was characterized by rapid movement, by maneuver, by being able to move forces from place to place in Pakistan very quickly. And so when we go in there, we know we have got to go in with a full array of capabilities. If we need heavy fire power, of course, we can always call that down from the sky.
BLITZER: And, Bob, I know you've been looking into the whole issue of homeland defense here in the United States itself.
How concerned should the American public be, based on what you know, about additional threats that may be out there?
BEVELACQUA: Wolf, I believe they should be concerned and they should practice what we call situational awareness/operational security. That is knowing what's going on around you, not walking about day-to-day business, business as usual. Do your day-to-day business, but recognize that things have changed. There are certain things that you need to look for to protect yourself and protect your family.
BLITZER: General Clark, Americans aren't used to being as suspicious as Bob would have us all be, are they?
CLARK: Well, we're not. I was in New York City last week, I was flying all over the country, and I noticed that we all have a new awareness of who we're next to and who's passing us by. I was walking through Penn Station and everybody was looking; it was very quiet. And it wasn't just this somber note of grieving, it was also a new awareness, a new sense of personal relationships in this country. And I think ultimately that, as much as anything, is going to make us much stronger.
BLITZER: I want to just ask you one final question, General Clark, before we have to leave it. Over the years, as you well know, special operation forces were always seen as the step-child of the U.S. military--not enough energy, not enough money, not enough forces being devoted to that, being devoted to other aspects of the military. Is that going to come back to haunt the U.S. military right now?
CLARK: I think we've got an absolutely superb group of people leading and serving at all ranks in the special operations forces in all of our services. We may end up wanting more of them, and we may want to expand these forces. But they've had very good resourcing, in terms of new technology and training opportunities.
So I think, as we look ahead, what we need to consider is how to transform the whole defense establishment a little bit. This was the debate before the terrorist incident began. It's going to be followed, and probably we'll see a shift toward more special operations forces.
BLITZER: General Clark and Bob Bevelacqua, thanks to both of you for joining us. We'll have you back.
And when we return, a conversation with Arizona senator and Vietnam war hero Senator John McCain. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back.
Earlier today I spoke with the Arizona senator, John McCain. The Vietnam War veteran and former POW shared his experience and thoughts about going into battle.
BLITZER: Senator McCain, thanks once again for joining us on Late Edition.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
BLITZER: There are a lot of Americans out there who are concerned that the U.S. may be getting sucked into another Vietnam-like conflict, except this time in Afghanistan. Given your background, your experience, is that a serious concern?
MCCAIN: No. I think that there can be failures, because this is a very, very difficult--probably the most difficult kinds of military operations that you could ever imagine. But I cannot imagine a Vietnam War scenario, because there's no way we're going to send a half a million men there, and we're going to be very judicious as to how we use force.
Look, I think that there may be people on the ground, but that would be for short periods of time, and that will be to carry out a specific mission.
Now, that mission may fail. And that's what the president, I think, was trying to tell us. There may be failures and casualties, but there's no scenario where we would have a half a million Americans, a return to the draft, the kind of scenario we had in the Vietnam War.
BLITZER: What happens if the Taliban continues to defy President Bush's demands, refuses to hand over Osama bin Laden?
MCCAIN: Then I think we develop, which I know they're planning on now, special operations, using our highly trained and specialized special ops--special forces, Delta Force, SEALs, those kinds of people that you can insert in on the ground for a short period of time, and then pull them out.
But, again, I would urge everyone who's watching to look at a map of the area. And that'll give you some idea of the challenge we face. Surrounded generally by countries that are not our friends. A thousand miles from the water, which means our aircraft carriers are going to have to go the longest kinds of missions for our planes off of carriers. The most rugged terrain in the world that you can imagine. And, of course, an enemy that is ferocious, ferocious: defeated the Russians and defeated the British a couple hundred years ago.
So the challenges are enormous, but we have the technical, military capabilities and the issue is, as the president said in his inspirational speech, we have to be patient.
BLITZER: After Vietnam, a lot of military officers said they want a very defined mission.
BLITZER: Is there a defined mission right now?
MCCAIN: I think there is in this respect: that we have to eradicate the threat to the United States of America from terrorist attacks.
Now we may never be able to totally eradicate it, but I am convinced that we will be able to reduce it to a minimal kind of challenge. And one way is to get them out on the run.
They have been able to do a lot of these things--media reports as many as 11,000 were trained in camps in Afghanistan. That's because they had sanctuary, they had safe harbor. When you don't have safe harbor, and you get on the run, it's a lot harder to carry out these kinds of operations.
And we're going to go after the money, we're going to go after a lot of the things that they've been able to get away with in the past.
But yes, it's doable, and the goal is to reduce, if not completely eliminate, the threat to Americans' lives.
BLITZER: So, what I'm hearing you say, instead of this being a conventional war, like the war against Iraq, in the Gulf War, 11 years ago, 10 years ago, this is going to be more like a war on drugs that the U.S. has been engaged in now for--what?--decades.
MCCAIN: Well, I hate to compare it to the war on drugs, because I don't think the war on drugs has succeeded, and one of the reasons is, we called it a ``war'' and didn't pursue it as a war.
I believe that this is an unconventional, very difficult, very challenging enterprise, but one that we have the capability--and will develop the capabilities--to address. A lot of it is going to depend on the degree of cooperation we get from countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan. Countries that a lot of Americans had never even heard of are now becoming important factors.
But I don't think that you've seen this kind of display of national will since December 7, 1941, and that national will, I believe, will cause the United States to prevail.
BLITZER: We heard Condoleezza Rice earlier in this program say that stage one will be the Al Qaeda organization, Osama bin Laden, Afghanistan, but there could be a stage two, maybe a stage three, other countries that harbor, support terrorists: Iran, Syria, certainly Iraq.
BLITZER: If that happens, if the U.S. engages in activities--actions against those countries, then the coalition that the U.S. is trying to put together could crumble.
MCCAIN: I think it could crumble, but I also think, as in the Persian Gulf War, we could get allies that perhaps we would not have gotten in the past, if they feel that there is a direct threat from these organizations that are harbored by these nations.
I also believe this, and I am an optimist; I am an eternal optimist. If we take care of the situation in Afghanistan, and the Iraqis and the Iranians and the Syrians and Libyans and others believe that we are dead serious--as Gadhafi believed we were dead serious after we bombed him--then I think that they may be--or they may make decisions that are very favorable to us.
The Syrians have to make a decision. The Syrians have a U.S. embassy in Damascus. They also had headquarters of a couple terrorist organizations in Damascus. We're now telling them, you have to make a decision, and if you make the wrong decision, then you're going to pay the consequences. If they believe the consequences are high enough, then I think they might make the right decision. And so, a lot of how they act will be dictated on our success or failure in Afghanistan.
BLITZER: So, for years the United States has included Syria on a list of countries that support terrorism as Iran, as Iraq, Libya, Sudan. But the president of the United States met with the president of Syria. What kind of message does that send?
MCCAIN: Wrong message. If you look at the list of terrorist acts, beginning with the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, through the bombing of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the USS Cole, Khobar Towers, shoot down Pan Am 103, when you look at that and other acts of terror that have been committed by these terrorists, our response has not only been ineffective, in some ways it may have been encouraging, because we would launch some cruise missiles, everything would watch it on CNN and then nothing.
So, from the terrorist standpoint, you might say, look, they have been encouraged in the past because of our lack of sustained response. But the president's message, which was so inspirational, is: My friends, the party's over. And I think they're going to get that message.
BLITZER: On that note, I want to thank you, Senator McCain.
MCCAIN: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: And up next, Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON: Being targets at home is new for Americans. We haven't had casualties in the continental U.S. since the Civil War.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Do Americans have the fortitude for a new kind of war?
BLITZER: Time now for Bruce Morton's ``Last Word'' on the world's newest combat zone, the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: We know now, because the president has told us, that the struggle against terrorism is likely to be long. We know too, because he told us, that civilians here in the United States can be attacked again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: And I ask you to be calm and resolute even in the face of a continuing threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: And if that needed underlining, Vice President Cheney was not in the House chamber when the president spoke--elsewhere for security reasons.
Being targets at home is new for Americans. We haven't had casualties in the continental U.S. since the Civil War and, before that, the War of 1812.
And it's hard to look around and feel especially safe. The airplane hijackings proved airport security was far from perfect. We know from unsuccessful efforts to stop drug shipments that America's long borders and coasts cannot, or at least have not, been perfectly sealed.
So here we are under a kind of threat we haven't seen before. The British during World War II faced the Nazis' bombing. The Battle of Britain, most agree, made Britain's people stronger.
How we Americans will react to this sense of being targets, we don't know yet. Will people want to move out of the cities, get away from Washington and New York? Too soon to tell, though this reporter grew up in cities and certainly has no plans to leave this one.
The United States has a pretty good record in its wars. We do well on bravery, on industrial power, on technology. We do less well on patience. Vietnam brought a lot of frustration. The U.S. was patient in World War II, but you could see progress being made. Everyone had maps with pins and moved them as the troops advanced.
This will clearly be different. Some splashy, big operations that we can see, of course, but others--hey, we wiped out that cell in Seattle--that may be invisible. It will be hard to know how well or how badly we are doing.
One thing for sure, security at home can and will be improved at airports and elsewhere. Paying security people more than the minimum wage would be a start.
So, a test of patience and a test of new kind of endurance for American civilians--being in the combat zone while the war goes on.
I'm Bruce Morton.
BLITZER: Thank you, Bruce.
And now a look at what's on the cover of this week's magazines.
Time magazine proclaims, "Target: Bin Laden," with the al Qaeda leader on the cover.
Newsweek examines "The trial of terror: Inside the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden," with a picture of him in cross hairs on the cover.
And on the cover of U.S. News and World Report, "Terror, Inc.: Targeting the bin Laden network."
And that's your Late Edition for Sunday, September 23. I'll be back tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern for a special edition of Wolf Blitzer Reports. We'll focus on the military options.
And this important programming note: Starting tomorrow night, our nightly program will move to new time--one hour earlier, 7 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. on the West Coast. We'll also expand from a half hour to a full hour.
CNN's coverage of "America's New War" continues now with Aaron Brown and a special preview of the prayer service at Yankee Stadium in New York. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.