Sunday, December 05, 2004

Somewhere in the Middle...

BROWN: A parallel to all of this, an Iraqi police station was attacked today. Ken, do you think that if you're the police chief anointed by the Americans, do you feel safer today because of the events? Because you've certainly been a target up to this point.

POLLACK: Well, I think that if you are that police chief, you're probably hoping that you're safer afterwards.

As you point out, one of the other big problems out there for so many Iraqis have been the attacks by those who oppose the U.S. presence. They are trying deliberately to go after any Iraqi who cooperates with the reconstruction, because they don't want to see it succeed.

And I think that those who have been cooperating are probably hoping that Saddam's death will cause at least a decrease, that many of Saddam's followers will give up the fight. They'll go home. They'll lose heart. Maybe they'll just lose the paycheck that has been causing them to keep up these attacks.

And that might make it easier for these very brave Iraqis who are standing up for the reconstruction to actually do the jobs they all want to do.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The capture of Saddam has not made America safer.

CROWLEY: "That statement," responded Senator Joe Lieberman, "says to me that Howard Dean has climbed into his own spider hole of denial."


ZAHN: Ramesh, yes or no? Are we safe? I can only give you time for a one-word answer here.

PONNURU: I believe we are safer and we're going to become safer as long as we don't listen to all of this left-wing rhetoric and continue to prosecute the war on terror.


ZAHN (voice-over): This is the face. This is the face of fear. This is the face of hate. This is the face of the dictator who instilled terror in millions of his people during his 24 brutal years in power. The murderer who presided over the genocide of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen. The tyrant who invaded Kuwait in 1991, leading the world down a winding and often deadly path.

It was then that Hussein's bold actions first put our military in harm's way. The swiftness of that war often makes us forget that 382 American troops died on that battleground.

After 12 more years of defiance and deception, it was Saddam Hussein who, in the words of the president, chose confrontation. It was Saddam Hussein's provocations that caused more that 100,000 United States soldiers to be put in harm's way again. And harmed they certainly were, in the deadliest American conflict since Vietnam -- 456 Americans mortally wounded, some as young as 18. Men and women, from big cities and small towns all across the nation, all dead because Saddam Hussein wouldn't relinquish power.

Then, finally a ray of hope on what George W. Bush called a hopeful day. But the pressing question remains. The families and loved ones of American troops and of course the troops themselves want to know, will this ruthless dictator's capture mean America's men and women in uniform will be safer? Is indeed the world itself a safer place? We can only hope.


CARVILLE: That Saddam Hussein be brought to justice by the Iraqi people, I don't know how anybody could argue with that. And obviously we'll find out more.

Tell us, and this is a day that -- tell us how the world is safer from terrorism now that Osama bin Laden is in jail and not a cave.

BLUNT: Well certainly James, the people in Iraq are safer than they were before.



DAN BARTLETT, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Well, Wolf, you know that the presidential politics will take its own course. The Democratic primary is spirited right now. There are many candidates saying a lot of things. There's a real battle going on for the heart and soul of the Democratic party. Many of the candidates all having conflicting views on what the direction is for their party. That will play out in its course. President Bush, of course, is focused on the nation's priorities and the nation's priority to make America safer, to make our country more prosperous and to make it a better country. And the steps taken in the war in Iraq and the steps taken by our U.S. troops in Iraq, particularly with the capture of Saddam Hussein has made America much safer.

BLITZER: Tell us how America is safer now that Saddam Hussein has been captured and is being interrogated by U.S. authorities as opposed to when he was simply on the run?

BARTLETT: Well, Wolf, I think it is important to take a step back. The fact of the matter is, Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator with weapons of mass destruction, used them against his own country, used them as he invaded another country. He was a threat to the world. He was a threat to the American people. He was a threat to his own people. And the fact that this chapter in Iraqi history is now closed is an important step forward because now, more so than ever, the Iraqi people can realize the future of their own country, which is going to be free and prosperous, which is a security interest of the United States and the entire world.


LIEBERMAN: When you are a great nation, when you presume to want to be president of the greatest nation in the world, you can't deal with one problem at one time. Five years ago, in 1998, John McCain and I introduced the Iraq Liberation Act, because we reached a judgment. Saddam Hussein was a ticking time bomb that would go off and kill a lot of Americans until we stopped him, and that law called for a change of regime in Baghdad. The man was a brutal dictator. He supported terrorism. He hated the United States of America.

Of course, we're safer with him gone. Our soldiers are certainly safer, because he was encouraging the insurgency that's going on and keeping so many of the Iraqis in fear. The world is safer any time a tyrant and mass murderer like this, hater of the United States, is captured. That's self-evident.


WALLACE: General, it's been alleged that, even after the capture of Saddam Hussein, that it did not make Americans any safer and, in fact, that this country is not any safer than it was on 9/11. What do you think of that?

MYERS: Well, I disagree with that. I think, certainly, for those Americans, for those Iraqis, as a matter of fact, inside Iraq, it makes them a lot safer.

We have seen an increase in the number of Iraqis coming forward to provide intelligence. Just like when his two sons were killed, we saw a large increase in the number of Iraqis willing to come forward, probably because they were not afraid anymore, to come forward and report on former regime elements that were trying to do either Iraqis or the coalition harm.

We're seeing that same surge again, and I think it's a realization that this Baath Party and all its remnants are never coming back to power in Iraq. There's going to be a new Iraq. It's going to be based on democratic principles. And so, I discount that.

I also think...


JIM LEHRER: What about the specific, his specific comment that drew a lot of heat from his fellow Democrats, which was that he did not believe the country was safer, our country was safer because Saddam Hussein was captured?

DAVID BROOKS: This guy could take jingle bells and turn it into a war song. He is bound to offend people with anything he said.