The following is a transcribed excerpt of "FOX News Sunday," Sunday, January 2, 2005.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: The crisis in South Asia will to the agenda here in Washington this week when Congress returns to session. For more on what our leaders can and will do, we turn to a pair of key Senators: Richard Lugar, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Carl Levin, ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.
Senators, welcome. And happy new year to both of you. Thank you for coming in today.
I'd like to get your reaction, first of all, to Mr. Egeland's comments today and to his criticism last week that the richer nations are stingy in foreign aid that they give to the poorer nations.
Senator Lugar, why don't you start?
LUGAR: Well, he was obviously misinformed about the figures. On the other hand, he made a good point, that long after this first burst of aid comes, the world — that is all of the nations involved, the United Nations perhaps as coordinator — have a very big job to do in reconstruction and always a job to do in feeding the children of the world.
The World Food Programme at the U.N. is constantly at that. Now, the United States provides the majority of the food for the program, but there were millions of starving people in this world every day prior to the tsunami. And so he makes a good point: We need to have some carry-through.
WALLACE: Senator Levin, there are lots of ways of looking at the question of U.S. aid. And if we emphasized the glass had full with Mr. Egeland, let's talk about the glass half empty.
The initial pledge, which was $35 million, is in fact less money than was going to be spent on President Bush's inauguration. And the current number of $350 million is still pretty small compared to the $13 billion the Congress allocated for hurricane relief in Florida last fall.
Is the U.S. doing enough? And is it even fair, this early on, to ask that question?
LEVIN: Well, I think now we appear to be on the right track. But the first few days were disappointing, and not in keeping with the great American tradition and generosity, either in the size of that first announcement, or the speed with which it was given. I thought the first few days of silence from the president was not in keeping with that tradition.
But now, a few days later, the president has made an announcement, which is, I believe, a generous step along that road. And the military support there is essential, and it is now there. We have helicopters that are now delivering food. There will be significantly more helicopters in the next few days.
And ships that are able to actually able to produce clean water are also on its way. And that is essential because our military capability is unique.
WALLACE: Senator Lugar, we gather from the Senate leadership that they plan to suspend all legislative business and get right to the issue of relief when you return to session this next week. What are we talking about? Do you have any sense? I mean, the number is $350 million now. What kind of a commitment are we talking about from this country and for what period of time?
LUGAR: Well, the $350 million is significant, because that is the amount of disaster aid we have in the whole budget. And President Bush took awhile to identify that money, but nevertheless, having done so, he's pledged it all. So that the Congress is going to have to work with the president probably for a supplemental appropriation going well beyond that for the amounts of money that are involved.
WALLACE: Are you talking about billions of dollars?
LUGAR: Ultimately, there could be, given all that is occurring in Indonesia.
A summit conference is going to occur of the Asian leaders there on Thursday, which is significant. It offers a remarkable foreign policy opportunity for the United States, dealing with those countries that have found us very unpopular to date, including Indonesia.
This could be a breakthrough coming out of this tragedy, in which we really demonstrate leadership. But that calls for money, and that kind of appropriation has got to be addressed.
WALLACE: I want to talk about the diplomatic opportunity in just a moment, Senator Levin, but your thoughts: How much money should Congress be prepared to spend?
And what about this idea that some of your colleagues, especially on the Democratic side, have talked about of taking some of the unspent reconstruction money from Iraq and channeling that right now into emergency relief?
LEVIN: I don't think we know the exact figure that we're going to have to end up spending. That's going to be dependent upon what those circumstances are that are unfolding. So, I can't give you a fixed number on that.
In terms of the reconstruction money that's going to Iraq, I think we ought to take a look at it, but we shouldn't say that we're going to do it until we assess whether that money can be spent on time in Iraq. If it cannot be for important projects, then we ought to consider using it in Indonesia and other places hit by the tsunamis.
WALLACE: Senator Levin, let's follow up on what Senator Lugar just brought up, and that's the idea is there an opportunity here, a diplomatic opportunity, for the U.S. to exercise what's called soft power, to show to the Muslim world that we care about more than just fighting terrorism?
LEVIN: Very much so. We failed in doing that going into Iraq. We did not rally the international community. We had no support from the Muslim world going in the way we did in the first Gulf War. That was a serious mistake and a serious failure.
And even though this is a tragedy and our first response ought to be as a tragedy and not look for political opportunity, nonetheless there is that political opportunity that exists with the response to the tragedy, to reach out to the Muslim world and let them know that our humanitarian instincts are across the board; that the whole world is our concern, not just the non-Muslim world; and that we view the Muslim world as an essential part of the whole world community and that we're going to seek to lead that community toward a safer, more secure world.
WALLACE: Senator Lugar?
LUGAR: Well, on the Iraq money question, the fact is, the Pentagon's already spending a considerable amount of money in this relief effort that may not be in the $350 million of disaster aid.
There are two warships that are there in Indonesia now, helicopters flying, over 40 of them, to drop aid, hundreds of personnel involved. But it appears to me that, probably, there's going need to be more involvement there.
The crossovers come quickly because we have to take up the Iraq supplemental appropriation bill that is just to fight the war. And that will be a debate before the Congress very shortly.
WALLACE: Let me ask you — let's switch, if we can, to Iraq.
Elections are literally four weeks from today, but there were two big developments this week. First of all, the biggest Sunni party says that it plans to boycott. And then check this out if you will: Iraq's ambassador to the U.N. suggested a two- to three-week postponement, saying if Sunnis don't vote in large numbers, quote, "far from stabilizing the country, this could be a recipe for a greater rebellion."
Senator Lugar, how much trouble are these elections in?
LUGAR: Well, they're not in trouble. They're going to occur. But the points made by the ambassador are correct. Everyone is pointing out it would be very helpful if Sunnis participated in large numbers.
The good news is that registration in the past — last week in Iraq was very substantial. I understand 2.1 million people came on to the rolls. This was all over the country. So there is a revival of interest, clearly, in the rest of the country.
The Iraqi politicians, ultimately, will have to work out something for the Sunnis. But my proposal has been that is likely to occur during the constitutional convention rather than during this election period.
LEVIN: What would really be helpful is if the king of Jordan and the Saudi leadership spoke up here now and basically told the Sunnis in Iraq that they, the Jordanians, the Saudis and other Sunni countries, are expecting to respect the outcome of this election.
Will the king of Jordan say something critical in the next few weeks, that even though this is election is going to have a lot of problems in terms of security, that Jordan plans on recognizing the outcome of this election, so that they take away any excuses from Sunni leadership, be it religious or political, to boycott this election?
We need that from the king of Jordan. We need that from Saudi leadership. We need that from Muslim countries. It has not been sought actively yet by the administration. It has not been forthcoming.
WALLACE: Finally, one last area I want to get into with both of you. The Washington Post reports this morning that administration officials are talking about possible lifetime detention for suspected terrorists, that they don't have enough evidence to take to court.
Senator Levin, I'll start with you. What do you think of that idea?
LEVIN: I think the Supreme Court has indicated that if Americans are going to detain people, that there must be some modicum, some semblance of due process for those people, and I think that that is required under our traditions as Americans.
WALLACE: So this idea of lifetime detention...
LEVIN: There's got to be some modicum of due process if you're going to detain people, whether it's for life or whether it's for years. I'm not saying they're entitled to go to a federal court, but there's got to be some minimum amount of due process given to people who are detained by America.
WALLACE: Senator Lugar?
LUGAR: I agree. There must at least some minimum amount of due process. I think it's very important that we argue that for a little bit.
WALLACE: But the idea of just locking these people away for a lifetime without that kind of — some review...
LUGAR: Is a bad idea. So we ought to get over it, and we ought to have a very careful constitutional look at this.
WALLACE: Senators, thank you both very much for coming in and discussing two very important stories today. Thank you.