This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 7, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The prime minister wants more U.N. involvement than the president. So who is right? Joining me now from Capitol Hill is Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi.
Senator Lott, always a pleasure.
SEN. TRENT LOTT, R-MISS.: Glad to be back with you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Where do you stand on this issue, sir?
LOTT: Well, first of all, we've got work to do still in Iraq. The war is not over. And then it will go through a process. I think it is perfectly correct, in fact, it is necessary, for the president and Tony Blair and the coalition leaders get together talk about what happens when the actual fighting stops and we begin to move toward the transition of getting this country turned back over to the people of Iraq. But as soon as that conflict is over, first, you will have to get things settled in, and make sure that you are not going to have a snipers. You've got to have some sort of security. So there will be a military role there for a while. And then you will begin to work towards a transition that eventually will lead to, you know, government by the people of Iraq. But the idea that we would just turn it over to United Nations, I think, is not the proper one. I don't think that they are the ones that should do it, could do it. I think the bureaucracy, the delays would be even worse. We're there. The British are there, the Spanish, the coalition members will be there working with the situation on the ground. And we are going to have to have a lead role at least for a period of time. Look, there can be a role and there will be a role for the United Nations. But for us to go in and to carry out what the United Nations didn't do for 11, 12 years, and then have them show up when the firing stops and say, oh, by the way, we can run this situation, I don't think that is responsible.
CAVUTO: That is the point, Senator, you are obviously a lot more politically decent about this than I think most people would be reacting to it. But it does seem a bit galling to then hand over to the body that rejected every element of this war, to essentially make itself a king-maker and decide life after the loss of American and British and coalition soldiers` blood. It just seems at the very least to be offensive.
LOTT: Well, I'm sure it is to American people. And I feel that, too. I'm trying be diplomatic about it, though. But also it is a question of who have do you really trust? I mean, does the United Nations have a long history here? Perhaps, clearly, in the humanitarian area they can be helpful. The United States has a long history in Japan, in Germany, in France, in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Afghanistan now, to working to try to do the right thing, to give the people in those various countries freedom and security and democracy, and the right to govern themselves. We are working on that right now in Afghanistan. We are credible. We have gone in. We have taken the risks. We have shed our blood. We want to make sure this thing is done right. We don't want people coming in there that are interested in doing business or who is going to control the oil. We are not going.
CAVUTO: Senator, that's an interesting point. The next point is deciding who does the business and all now. We ultimately are going to be arbiters in that. Now past the political process, moving to my neck of woods, the business process, should French and German companies then have a role in deciding post Iraq who gets what business?
LOTT: Frankly I don't think so. I don't think they have earned that right. And I think that their companies have quite often exacerbated the problem. We know they have helped with some of the equipment and the bunkers and other things that Iraq has. They have done business with the devil, Saddam Hussein. And now they are going to say, trust us, we can come in and help you? From a business standpoint, I think we are going to need to be, you know, cautious about that. But, I know that President Bush, and Prime Minister Tony Blair are going to work through this. They are going to have a plan that probably goes through three or four transition steps. We hope the world will help from a humanitarian standpoint, to help this country move toward governing themselves. But the very idea that there would even be a debate about who is going to be in charge when the firing stops is inappropriate, I believe, at this time.
CAVUTO: Yeah. All right. I guess we can rule out that Trent Lott French dinner for the time being, I guess.
LOTT: You know, I'm very concerned about the French but I'm trying to deal with it privately. I have expressed my concerns to the French ambassador. And you know I think we've got to look to the future. We have problem right now. There is a rupture in this country in attitude toward the French.
CAVUTO: You are right.
LOTT: At least with the people and I believe in the Congress. We are going to have to see some signs of Jacques Chirac that he is still our friend and not our adversary.
CAVUTO: All right. Sorry to keep jumping on you there, Senator, a break is coming. But always good seeing you, my friend. Thank you very much. Senator Trent Lott.
LOTT: Thanks, Neil.
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