This is a partial transcript of "Special Report with Brit Hume", May 20, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It will not be like Vietnam (search), and I will get our troops home from Iraq with honor. We're not going to be engaged in an active kind of death zone the way we are today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIT HUME, HOST: John Kerry (search) is not the only one talking about getting out of Iraq. The op-ed pages and the political talk shows this week in Washington are full of talk of defeat and failure in Iraq. What would that mean?
For answers we turn to Fox News contributor Mark Ginsberg, an adviser to several presidents on the Middle East who has recently been in Iraq.
Mark, welcome. Nice to see you.
MARC GINSBERG, FOX NEWS FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Brit.
HUME: Let's assume that this mission falters. Let's assume that the U.S. is unable to put in please an interim government that can -- that can put on elections. What then in your judgment?
GINSBERG: Brit, we either inadvertently or intentionally -- some people have lost sight of the fact that we, since 9/11, we're in a war against Islamic radicalism. Iraq is part of that. And there's a consequence to essentially saying that somehow we can separate Iraq out, and not realize the ramifications around the regions to our interests, as well as global interests in the event we try to pretend that by pulling out of Iraq, there's no direct consequence to our long-term national security as a result of that.
HUME: Well, let's talk little bit about what would happen, in your view, in Iraq if the U.S. simply either pulled out or was not able to establish an authority that would hold.
GINSBERG: For all intents and purposes, the Kurds in the north would largely will look to us for protection, the way they did when the No-Fly Zone was there. They would probably create an autonomous zone.
And the Turks, more or less, would try to do what was necessary to protect themselves from turning that coun -- letting the Kurdish area turn into a separate country.
HUME: So, there would be the possibility of combat between the Kurds and other parts -- and people who live in other parts of Iraq, as well as with Turkey.
GINSBERG: Absolutely. And then in the south you have a different situation. The Saudis do not want to see a Shiite country that would represent a Shiite portion of Iraq carved out on their northern border. And the Iranians would do everything possible to prevent the clerics from - - who are now led by Ayatollah Sistani (search), who...
HUME: Who is compared to the Iranians as a moderate, right?
GINSBERG: Exactly. There's a strain of Shiite Islam within Iran that wants political control and a theological state. They will want to transfer that into the hands of people like Muqtada al Sadr. There will be other Muqtada al Sadrs behind him in the event that we don't get control inside Iraq.
HUME: What about the central part of Iraq, the so-called Sunni Triangle (search)? What would you envision for that place?
GINSBERG: The failed state, it will be the worst possible scenario. It will be either a military confrontation with the remnants of an Iraqi army trying to get control over Sunni areas, such as in Fallujah or in Ramadi, or even in Baghdad. But for all intents and purposes, the bad guys, largely, have not been captured in the middle of the country, and they are going to be able to roam unless we basically seal that area off.
HUME: So you would anticipate that it is that part of the country, the Sunni area, which would become the terrorist haven?
GINSBERG: Yes, more or less. At the same time, they would try to continue to create havoc, in both the north and the south, in order to make it impossible for any government authority to restore security to the country.
HUME: So, what then is the signal that's sent to the rest of the world? I mean there are a great many people in that part of the world who think that the invasion of Iraq by the United States was a mistake. What would their reaction be to the departure of the United States, or the failure of the United States, in your view?
GINSBERG: That we were run out of a major commitment in our broader war against terror by a bunch of terrorists. And the terrorists would be able to claim, whether it's al Qaeda, or the sub cells around the Middle East, that they were successful in running the great United States Army out of Iraq.
The Arab countries that look to us to ultimately succeed in Iraq would face the trepidation of knowing that they would have an unbridled, Islamic radical effort to try to overthrow them, knowing full well that the United States would not intervene.
The Syrians would embolden Hezbollah (search), for example, to launch further attacks against Israel. There would be a further efforts by the Syrians, and by the Saudis, and by the Iranians to essentially carve their own deals with Islamic radical organizations. The U.S. word in the Middle East would basically -- if we have problems now, the U.S. word to our allies that need to be empowered in the Middle East would dissipate.
HUME: One would assume that Mr. Zarqawi, who has been such a problem recently, would be magnified by this development.
GINSBERG: Indeed. In fact, the Abu Musaab al Zarqawi's own terrorist organization would probably gain the greatest benefit of adherence to his cause, looking then to overthrow his first target, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Jordanian monarchy. Our strongest ally in the Middle East, King Abdullah, would be at greater risk.
In Algeria, in Morocco, in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia the radicals would be emboldened to, in effect, gain more adherence. Because the United States would not be there to stop, what essentially would be, a spread in the final confrontation of Islamic radicalism with what are, in effect, our allies in the region.
HUME: Let me ask you a question about Zarqawi while I have you here. What is his emergence tell us about the -- and he has been there, of course, and was there under Saddam -- tell us, if anything, about the preexisting relationships between the Saddam regime and the terrorists, including al Qaeda-linked terrorists, like him?
GINSBERG: Well, given the fact that we always knew that Zarqawi himself had probably gone to some safe haven inside Iraq before we invaded, he himself has had strong ties to the radical Islamic group that Saddam, more or less, tolerated on his northern border with Ansar al Islam.
GINSBERG: And we attacked that camp. But they also spread like roaches into Iran. They have now regrouped. And al Zarqawi has been able to get them to regroup and to be part and parcel of a coherent Islamic radical group to launch further attacks against us in Iraq.
HUME: Is it true that none of this would have happened, in your judgment, if we hadn't gone in there?
GINSBERG: No. Listen, I know that it's an easy argument to make that had we not gone into Iraq, these forces would not have been unleashed. The fact remains is that al Qaeda had already let so many sub cells be created. Whether Saddam would have cut a deal with the terrorists or not remains to be seen.
But we know those sub cells would have done everything possible to continue their efforts of wreaking havoc against our allies, the United States and Israel for a long time to come.
HUME: Marc, good to have you, sir. Thank you very much.
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