This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 9, 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: Well, my next guest really hopes Saddam is still alive. He wants to put him on trial for war crimes. And he's introducing a resolution to do just that on Capitol Hill. Joining us now, Republican Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania who was just briefed by the defense secretary and General Myers just minutes ago.
Congressman, thanks for coming.
REP. CURT WELDON, R-PA.: Happy to be here, Neil.
CAVUTO: Can you tell me what those guys were telling you?
WELDON: Well, they are very cautiously optimistic. They gave us the assessment that most people are seeing on national TV about the way things are going, the reports from the cities, there is not the kind of uncertainty in the economy and society of Iraq that many people thought.
CAVUTO: But did either of those gentlemen, Congressman, say that the war is won?
WELDON: No, the war is not won yet. We've still got some pockets of resistance. We have got to secure the oil fields up in the north. And we have still got to continue to hunt down those leaders of Saddam's regime.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you something, Congressman. Did either of them hint to you what it would take for us to say, the war is won, or are we deliberately holding off because we want to make sure convincingly?
WELDON: We want to make sure convincingly. We've got the right amount of troops over there, the right capabilities. We are securing city by city. Baghdad's now beginning to become a very stable city, once again. And I think that they will see a matter of days before we declare victory. And we are going to continue to hunt down Saddam's sons and the rest of the thugs around him.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you something, Congressman, this desire you have to try Saddam. If we don't know what happened to him, let's say he did die in that bunker blast a couple of days ago, but there is no proof of it, and it's going to be hard to get proof of it. And this mystery lasts for a long, long time. Is he dead? Is he alive? Is that a bad thing?
WELDON: Well, I think we have got to pursue Saddam, his sons and those leaders of his regime, where we can document that they committed war crimes. When Tariq Aziz goes on national TV and declares it's a positive thing, that deliberate actions against our troops are in direct violation of the Geneva Convention, are accepted by the regime, then Tariq Aziz, I think, should be charged with war crimes. And so our legislation, which is both in the House and the Senate with bipartisan support, says to all of Saddam's henchmen, and to Saddam himself, we are going hold you accountable. We are going to hunt you down. You're going to pay the price for what you did not just to your people, to the innocent Kuwaitis, to the Kurds, you are going to pay the price for what you did to our troops.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you something, this is my own nutty conspiracy theory, so you are free to dismiss it, most rational people would. But something tells me that Saddam got out of town much earlier. Again, I could be crazy. And let's say he went to Syria. Let's say he is in another country with whom our relations are dicey, to put it mildly. What do we do?
WELDON: Well, in actuality, that is a very plausible theory, Neil. I monitor this situation very closely. And while I, like everyone else, had hoped that Saddam was in fact taken out in one of those hits, I don't necessarily think that is the case. And I think that the logical place for him would go would be to sneak like a snake over to Syria and go to Damascus. What I would say is what we are going to do. We are going to hunt him down. This is not over when the war ends. Saddam is going to be held accountable for what he has done to people over the past 20 years. The U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights called Saddam Hussein the worst human rights violator since Adolf Hitler. Just like Adolf Hitler, we are going to pursue him. And we're going to pursue those war crimes that he perpetrated on innocent people, on pregnant women, on children, and on our troops who were innocently slaughtered when they were captured by Saddam.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you, Congressman, while I still have you, we had Senator John McCain here a little while ago. He had a novel piece of advice, I guess, for the French and the Germans and the Russians, those who have contracts with the old Iraqi government, and those who are owed money, I guess, ostensibly, from the new Iraqi government, whatever it is, forgive them, let them go. Do you think the Iraqis should?
WELDON: Well, you know, I think in the case of the Germans, it is primarily their leader that's been the cause of the problem. In the case of the Russians, I think if it came to a vote, they would have abstained. In the case of the French, I'm not going to be sympathetic. Jacques Chirac, in my opinion, has no backbone. He has no credibility. He is a hypocrite. He forced us.
CAVUTO: Congressman, please speak your mind, we don't know where are you coming from.
WELDON: …civil war four years ago in Belgrade to remove Milosevic from power because he was a war criminal. He had America's sons and daughters go to Belgrade to risk their lives. And many were in fact injured and killed. And he did it without going to the U.N. because he knew he couldn't get a U.N. Security Council resolution through. So it was OK for Jacques Chirac four years ago. But now, because of Jacques Chirac's ties and French ties, it is a different story. I am not quite ready to relieve Jacques Chirac and the French yet. I want them to come to us and make the case as to why we should allow them to come back and benefit from the work that our sons and daughters performed and the brave acts of heroism over the past several weeks leading up to this siege of Baghdad.
CAVUTO: You can always come out of your shell, Congressman, and let us know how you really feel about the French.
WELDON: I will.
CAVUTO: The point is you think that this pow-wow that they are going to have with Putin and Schroeder and Chirac, that this is essentially a waste of time.
WELDON: It's a waste of time. And again, it was really a meeting between Putin and Schroeder, and Jacques Chirac stuck his big face in there, because he is trying to play a role that France, he thinks, should have that they lost. They lost their opportunity to maintain, consistency in terms of values. Again, four years ago, it was France that got us into a war in Belgrade without going to the U.N. because they knew Russia would not, in fact, approve, they would veto that resolution. And they used NATO, a defensive group, for the first time, in an offensive mode to take out a sitting leader. And so I have no sympathy for Jacques Chirac.
CAVUTO: OK. You have made that pretty clear, Congressman. Thank you very much. We appreciate having you on.
WELDON: My pleasure.
CAVUTO: All right. Congressman Weldon at the House Gallery.
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