Transcript: Sen. Richard Lugar on 'FNS'

The following is an excerpt from FOX News Sunday, April 11, 2004.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: For more on Iraq and what lies ahead, we turn now to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, who joins us from Sanibel Island in Florida.

Senator, welcome. Thanks for joining us today.


WALLACE: Senator, you just heard Ambassador Bremer say that they are purging some of the poison out of Iraq, and that it's better to do that now. Is that a fair assessment from what you see of what's going on in Iraq?

LUGAR: Yes, I think it is. I think, clearly, as he emphasized, the security situation is paramount. The dissident forces really have to be remedied, either through surrender or through going after them.

And furthermore, a huge training effort for both police and army, so that Iraqis can take those roles, and so that Mr. Brahimi, the U.N. representative, can circulate around the country and put together the government that the U.N. is going to suggest and give it its backing.

WALLACE: Let's talk about the Iraqis. As I discussed with Ambassador Bremer, we're seeing some wavering, some condemnation even, from members of the Iraqi Governing Council. At least one member of the government has resigned. And you talked about the military and the police; some of them have either defected to the other side or refused to fight.

I think some people in this country are wondering, why are we fighting for the new Iraq more than some of the people there?

LUGAR: Well, the army of Iraq was dismissed and the police fled after we took over. Now, essentially, we're rebuilding, but this is tedious work. The degree of training required for people to finally keep their courage when they're being overrun has to be very substantial, and we're not at that point.

So we are the security, the United States and allies, at this point, even as we try to train people.

I would say that a lot of Iraqis are prepared to be very brave, but on the other hand, not in the midst of the firefights that are going on presently.

And that's why security is paramount. It really has to be obtained decisively and quickly and yet, as Ambassador Bremer has pointed out, with cognizance that we cannot be shooting indiscriminately at Iraqis and lose the hearts-and-minds war at the same time. A very, very delicate operation.

WALLACE: But, you know, you just said that it's going to be tedious work to rebuild the army and the police. And we're facing this June 30th deadline. You heard Ambassador Bremer say again what President Bush said yesterday; that deadline is firm. Ambassador Bremer said that it would be dangerous to do it. In fact, it would put U.S. forces, personnel in Iraq in even more danger.

WALLACE: Do you believe that that June 30th deadline is hard and fast?

LUGAR: Well, the president of the United States has said that it is. I accept that.

I would just simply say that that means that our work has to be done swiftly and decisively, security-wise.

Then, with this government that has to be set up, the transfer of authority, very clearly U.N. Security Council resolutions have to cover all of this, so there's international legitimacy. A great number of other countries have to be invited, strong diplomacy to get them in, difficult as that may be, once of all -- to give it some international diplomacy.

And, finally, we need to be prepared. About 3,000 Americans are going over there in various roles. We need an ambassador there. No one has been nominated yet, and I gather someone will be in a few days, but that requires confirmation. All of that must occur now before June 30th.

So that is the clear road map the president has set, and each one of us has to contribute to that.

WALLACE: Now, just as a news hawk here, we hear it might be John Negroponte, the U.N. ambassador. Is that correct?

LUGAR: Well, I've understood that that's a possibility, but I don't know for sure.

WALLACE: You know, you talk about an awful lot of stuff to do, and, you know, security, politics, we don't even have a government to hand over power to. Can that realistically be done by June 30th? And if not, should we consider slipping the date?

LUGAR: Well, it can be done by June 30, and I think the will to do it after this horrible week is clearly there. But it means devotion of as much armed force to Iraq as necessary, and now. It has to be decisive, it has to be complete, it has to be convincing.

And beyond that, assignment of our own roles. We're going to have a hearing in our committee April 22nd, and I hope to hear, as I think I will, from the State Department what the plan is, who's going to go where.

But they need to get there long before June 30. Likewise the ambassador, so the transition is smooth.

And likewise some more of our allies. That commitment has to occur. That's going to require the same kind of statecraft that the president, Secretary Powell and others displayed when we turned the tide with India and Pakistan, with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, in order to be successful in Afghanistan.

It can be done, but these are very, very strong elements in a short period of time.

WALLACE: Now, the first thing you mentioned on that list -- we have less than a minute left, Senator -- is the commitment of as many forces as necessary. Do we have, in your opinion, enough forces over there, or do we need to send more?

LUGAR: We probably need to send more. I'm willing to lend credence to the military, that they have their requirements, they're going to ask for what they need. But it's clear that we're stretched, and the Iraqi security are not prepared yet to fight and to turn back insurgents.

So, something more is going to have to be required, on either our side or our allies or the Iraqis.

WALLACE: Well, obviously the allies are not coming over any time soon, and wouldn't come over until after June 30th. That's what they've said.

We have 135,000 troops there now. How many more do we need?

LUGAR: I don't know. That is a requirement that our military people alone, and the intelligence, which hopefully will get better, so that our military are better directed -- those are requirements that they can reestablish.>

WALLACE: But as many as it takes?

LUGAR: Yes. Clearly we're at war at this present moment. June 30 is there. It's a short period of time. Credibility is at stake. Now, that means you devote whatever you need to it and make sure it gets done.

WALLACE: Senator, thank you so much for joining us today. Please come back. We appreciate it.