TALKBACK LIVE 3/4/03
Amy speaking about the escalating drumbeat for the Iraq War.
NEVILLE: Don’t know. Andrea Koppel, thank you very much for that insight. And coming up — oh, right now we’re going to have some guests joining us.
Max Boot, who is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “The Savage Wars of Peace, Small Wars and the Rise of American Power, ” and Amy Goodman. Amy is a journalist who hosts “Democracy Now,” a daily radio newsmagazine on Pacifica Radio.
AMY GOODMAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Arthel.
NEVILLE: Sure. Hi. How are you?
NEVILLE: OK, you know what? Amy, I’m going to start with you today then. Ask you this: Is it time for face-to-face discussions between top level U.S. diplomats and Kim Jong Il, because you heard about what happened recently.
GOODMAN: Yes, well, I definitely think it is. But I want to go back to something Andrea just said. She talked about the six countries that the U.S. is courting now to get their vote at the U.N. Security Council.
The big untold story that is infuriating these countries is that a National Security Agency, top secret memo, has surfaced in a British newspaper. “The Observer, ” that shows that the National Security Agency, even more secret than the CIA and much larger, is eavesdropping on, is tapping the home phones and offices, as well as intercepting the faxes of these countries on the U.N. Security Council so that they can sway the vote and get a sense of what these diplomats are talking about. The U.S. is engaging in espionage against these members of the U.N. Security Council.
That is a story that’s not being told. Today “The Baltimore Sun” did do a big piece on it, but the networks are not talking about it. And it’s one that behind the scenes these delegations, like Chile, for example, is saying, what? Are we back in the age of Augusto Pinochet and the dictatorship? What is the USA doing right now?
NEVILLE: Well, Max, clearly there are diplomatic discussions going on at many levels. Andrea Koppel just reported that some behind closed doors. Just your take on all of this. Do you think that still talking about the second U.N. resolution and perhaps a possible vote. Do you think a vote is necessary? And if in fact the second resolution is not passed, is it a good idea for the U.S. to go ahead with military action anyway?
MAX BOOT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I just want to correct something you said, Arthel, which is the second resolution. That is how a lot of people refer to it. But more accurately, you should talk about the 18th resolution. Because there have been 17 U.N. resolutions, passed already, since 1991. And Saddam Hussein has violated all of them. Now 1441, which was the last resolution passed unanimously by the Security Council on November 8 was a very strong resolution. It said Saddam Hussein has one final chance to disarm.
Now, I think everybody agrees at this point he has not taken advantage of that opportunity. He has thrown a few bones at the weapons inspectors in the form of the missiles that he is destroying. But he is not completing his task of disarmament.
And a number of Democrats, including Dick Holbert (ph), the former U.N. ambassador, say we don’t need another resolution, 1441 was enough. That…
NEVILLE: Right, and you know that’s why everyone is referring to this pending vote as the second resolution.
GOODMAN: Tell Tony Blair that he doesn’t need a second resolution. The vast majority of people in Britain, the vast majority of people in Spain, the vast majority of people in Italy, over and over again, the world is saying no to war. It’s why Tony Blair is pushing George Bush to get that second resolution.
NEVILLE: Correct. I have to take a break right now. Max, after the break I’ll let you respond. I do have to go to break right now.
Coming up next, Attorney General John Ashcroft calls him the single most wanted terrorist after Osama bin Laden. So what are authorities learning from terror suspects Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and does his arrest mean the White House is winning the war on terror? We’re back in a moment.
NEVILLE: All right. Max Boot, before the break, I cut you off. So, go ahead, if you would and complete your thought, Max.
BOOT: Well, it’s silly to suggest that we absolutely need an 18th resolution in to go in and dispose Saddam Hussein. In 1998 when Britain and America bombed Iraq in the Clinton administration, they didn’t even bother seeking a single U.N. resolution.
Recently when France has sent 3,000 troops into the Ivory Coast, France didn’t ask for a U.N. resolution. So I’m not sure why we should be bound by seeking an 18th U.N. resolution, when we already have 17.
GOODMAN: Ask the populations of most countries in the world. Just in the last few weeks, some 30 million people protested in the streets from Cape Town to San Francisco, saying no to war.
Right now a lot of people in this country feel that President Bush is destabilizing the world and it’s actually increasing the possibility that we will once again be the victims of a terrorist attack. It’s the front page of… (CROSSTALK)
GOODMAN: … a poll taken in New York says most New Yorkers are terrified that its…
GOODMAN: … the U.S. engages in a preemptive attack against Iraq that we will be attacked here at home.
BOOT: Amy, luckily we don’t live under mob rule. And that people who take to the streets with placards are not the ones who set policy. As a matter of fact, both houses of Congress have voted overwhelmingly, including a majority of the Senate Democrats, to give President Bush a free hand, and he is in fact supported by 60 percent of the people in the latest Gallup-CNN people.
In Britain Tony Blair has won a three to one majority in the House of Commons for his policy and we have the support of 18 states in Europe behind what we are doing, as well as most of Iraq’s neighbors.
So don’t talk to me about whether this war is popular or not. We have states of the world on our side, we have American and British public opinion on our side. And I don’t care what a few protesters in the streets are chanting about. That’s not how we run ourselves and that’s not how a democracy should function.
GOODMAN: Max, I think you need a new abacus. The majority of people in this country are opposed to war, as…
BOOT: What are you talking about? Look at the CNN-Gallup poll…
GOODMAN: You cannot deny it, Max. In fact, tomorrow, all over this country, high school and college students will be walking out of their classrooms in protest of war. We have never seen the mass rebellion against the U.S. waging war like we have seen now. And you still haven’t responded to that last point that the U.S. is engaged in a mass spying campaign against U.N. Security Council members that has just been revealed…
BOOT: Fine, well me respond.
BOOT: Let me respond to your conspiracy mongering. In the first place…
NEVILLE: Make it short, Max.
BOOT: There’s a lot of questions about whether that memo which was published in a British newspaper is authentic. But even if it is…
GOODMAN: The National Security Agency has not denied it.
BOOT: Amy, would you let me finish, please? Even if it is authentic it doesn’t trouble me that America is using our assets to spy on other communities around the world. That’s why we have an intelligence community. I think that’s what the American people expect our intelligence community to do, which is to gather intelligence.
And it’s not a scandal that they are doing that. They are protecting us. And I think you ought to be more supportive of the intelligence agency which this weekend captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the leading terrorists in the world.
NEVILLE: And you know what, Max? Thank you for that segway because coming up next we’re going to talk about that arrest and there are new developments. We’ll talk to him after the break.
In the meantime, Amy Goodman and Max Boot, thank you so much for joining us here on TALKBACK LIVE. We’ll see you again.
GOODMAN: Thank you.