Should the U.S. Seek U.N. Approval for an Iraq Attack?

This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, October 15, 2002 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.

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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: The United Nations Security Council began debating a new  resolution to deal with Iraq today. And the Iraqi ambassador continued to deny that his country possessed nuclear or biological weapons. But on a day when President Bush signed the congressional use of force resolution, some people are concerned that the U.N. approval may not be the administration's biggest concern.

Joining us now, our good friend, former Secretary of State Alexander Haig.

Hey, Mr. Secretary, you got to learn something from Saddam Hussein.  100 percent of the vote. He's really in charge.


HANNITY: It's good to see you, sir. Thanks for coming back.

I want you to comment, if you can, if we get started here on the multiple personalities of Al Gore. '91, he did the right thing. 1998, 1999, he supported a regime change. 2000, he's running for office. He supports a regime change. Last Friday, he said that the resolution was wrong. He denounced it. I mean, he's turning to the left of Hillary Clinton. I mean, what is it with this man?

HAIG: Well, his prospects for nomination and getting that nomination are rather grim, given the past track record. So he's going to have to grab something that's rather startling. And he has decided to move to the left branch of his own party.


HAIG: And I'm sure it's a political judgment rather than a substantive one, because his substance is usually dominated by politics.

HANNITY: You served in an administration surrounding Jimmy Carter.  Jimmy Carter recently gets the Nobel Peace Prize. And we know the comments surrounding this, that one of the reasons he was given this award was to send a message to George Bush. Now I contend if he had any character, any decency, he wouldn't be used in this fashion, and he ought to give the award back. Bill Bennett agreed with me last night. What are your thoughts?

HAIG: Well, I tell you, if one looks at the recipients over the years of the Nobel Peace Prize, it's been a rather spotty lot.


HAIG: And even turned his back after the Vietnam peace settlement, because he knew what he had in store for the United States after we naively ended that war the way we did.


HAIG: But this is the same problem with Mr. Carter. You know, he's worked very hard to be a very strong advocate of world peace, and a world that is shrinking in size.


HAIG: Sometimes it's been naive, in my view. And other times it's been very helpful. So I'm not going to gainsay his getting the Nobel Peace Prize.

HANNITY: All right, but you point out rightly so, they gave this award to Arafat. I think that's all we need to know. He's a terrorist.

But let me move beyond that. I mean, George Herbert Walker Bush had, as you know, many an occasion to criticize the antics, the shenanigans, the intern chasing, the impeachment, the lying of Bill Clinton. For the most part, he did I think, a pretty classy thing. He stayed out of it. He was quiet, he was reserved. He allowed matters to be handled by other people.  We're getting day after day it's Carter, it's Clinton, it's Gore. These attacks are day by day. Is this a change in philosophy of ex-president's and vice president's?

HAIG: Well, it is unusual in a historic sense. Mostly presidents don't comment on their successors, regardless of their party. Just as secretary of states don't nit pick their successors, regardless of party and regardless of personal disagreement.

I think it's an unprecedented departure from what has been a very honored tradition in our government. But those things seem to be gone in the new world order that we were praising a few years ago.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: General Haig, it's Alan. I know you're a former secretary of state. I'm so glad you're not here to bad mouth anybody, say anything negative about Democrats.

HANNITY: Presidents.

COLMES: I'm so glad that's the case. By the way, Al Gore's not being  inconsistent. We're talking about a resolution signed by the president today that gives more executive branch power to the president of the United States. That is not what Gore was talking about in '98. That was a different issue. You can favor regime change and still be against this resolution, which gives, in some views, in some people's view, too much power to the president to wage war.

HAIG: Alan, you've been drinking your Ovaltine again and you're worrying me.

COLMES: I love chocolate, love Ovaltine. No problem with that. All right, look, something - there's some breaking news here tonight, General Haig, about North Korea, and North Korea admitting it has a secret nuclear weapons program.

HAIG: Oh, yes.

COLMES: The administration considers North Korea now in material breach of the Nonproliferation Treaty. We have heard the Atomic Energy Commission, we have heard our own CIA say no evidence that Iraq has nuclear weapons. Now North Korea comes forward and says we have a nuclear weapons program. Aren't they more of a threat than Saddam Hussein?

HAIG: No, what they are is confirmation that all of these bozos, as the president said, are very bad people. I think he had North Korea in there along with Saddam and Iran's current policies.

So what we ought to be is on guard that the naivete that's been behind a number of our very well understood and very well motivated peace efforts in the past just simply don't hold up with this kind of an international criminal.

COLMES: My point is, General Haig, the policy to focus on Saddam Hussein, to have a resolution, to be revving up the guns of war against Iraq, when we're now finding out that it is North Korea that has some of the same weapons we were falsely accusing Iraq of having. There's some dispute about what Iraq actually has. Why not then focus our guns, metaphorically speaking, on North Korea?

HAIG: Now here's a rogue who's confessed. We're dealing with a rogue who denies continuously that he's violating his agreements.


HAIG: And he's the fellow who has used those weapons against his own people and against his enemies as well. So he's a proven character. It's a sterile debate to get into whether the fellow in North Korea or Saddam Hussein is worse. Saddam is far worse.


HAIG: But the guy up in North Korea isn't a very nice fellow either.  Now this confession may give you some signs for hope.

COLMES: Leon Furth, as you know, foreign policy adviser to Al Gore had an op-ed piece in today's Washington Post. He talks about this issue of putting a viceroy - and even Tommy Frank's name was mentioned -- to kind of run Iraq after we go in there to kind of take over. Let me show you what then-candidate Bush said as - when he was running for president about nation building.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I'm missing something here. I mean, are we going to have kind of a nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not.


COLMES: Was he lying?

HAIG: Are you asking me to comment on this?


HAIG: Well, you know, our fourth president, I think it was John Quincy Adams, who said you know, you don't spread human rights or American values with the point of a bayonet or with viceroys. You do it by example.  And that's what brought the Cold War to a successful outcome, the example of free markets overwhelmingly superior to centrally controlled economies.

And it's time we Americans got a little humble about intervening in the internal affairs of states. What we usually do is make the situation worse, as we did in Haiti recently. You recall that.

COLMES: Would you then agree it's wrong then to go in and set up  basically a military occupation of Iraq?

HAIG: I don't think that will be necessary. I think it will be necessary to go in there and to get a coalition pulled together with a federalist central government and a great deal of autonomy among the four major groups. Certainly the Kurds and the Shi'ites and the Sunnis and probably the Christians and the Bathists as well.

COLMES: Well, that's not what they're talking about doing. That would be great if that could all come together. You also have a situation there where on the security council, the permanent members don't all agree with us.

If we are a nation of laws, and we are to respect international law and resolutions to which we've signed on at the U.N., don't we have a responsibility to obey those agreements and not go against our fellow members of the Security Council if they're not going to cooperate?

HAIG: No, I think the biggest issue at stake here is whether or not we can ever rely on the United Nations to maintain or play a peacekeeping role. It's been notoriously unsuccessful. And if they fail again in this issue, I would say it's going to be a discredited world body, much like the post World War I efforts.

HANNITY: Mr. Secretary, there's one other point here. Those nations, by not enforcing the U.N. resolutions, have rendered the whole process meaningless. And as you say, they will lose all credibility here.

I want to go back to Alan's point about nation building. Nobody's talking about nation building. What we are doing is some people on the left have forgotten we've had an attack. We have been attacked as of September 11. We are at war. We're at war against terrorists.

As a result of our war, we were able to help free the women in  Afghanistan, and the girls in Afghanistan. They can now go to work and they can go to school. And similarly, as a result of stopping this madman from getting nuclear weapons, or having him enforce the agreement that he signed on to, will probably set the people of Iraq free. But that is not what we're originally setting out to do.

HAIG: Well, I hope that's what I said in very gentle terms by quoting the history books. I agree with that. And we Americans have developed a kind of arrogance in the Democratic party in particular where we think we have the ability to go around re-creating mirror images of American values and ideals in societies that don't even know what we are talking about. And when we try to do it, we generally drive them in the very direction we least want them to go.

HANNITY: Bill Clinton ordered the invasion of Haiti without the approval of Congress, I noticed. I didn't hear any criticism from the left back then.

HAIG: Oh, no.

HANNITY: What was our big national security interest in that particular case? I don't remember one. He couldn't get U.N. support for bombing in the former Yugoslavia, so what did he do? He went to NATO and he bypassed the U.N. And I didn't see any on the left criticizing that.  They're such hypocrites. It's unbelievable.

HAIG: You know, and a lot of innocent people were hit because we didn't have people on the ground spotting the targets, as we wisely did in Afghanistan.

HANNITY: Yes, all right. I want to ask in particular Schroeder in  Germany, and we have a New York Times piece today about the split between the U.S. and the French. You can always count on the French, Mr. Secretary. What are we to make of those criticisms, those two particular cases?

HAIG: I think France is going to be there when we need them. They usually are unless we're too dumb to explain to them certain Cartesian logical outcomes.

For example, they didn't support us against Libya some years ago. And they didn't because they didn't believe we were going to do it right. And one could make the case that we didn't because Qaddafi came out whole.

HANNITY: Barely.

HAIG: Continued for a number of years with terrorism, although it did get his attention.

COLMES: By the way, where was the right when Bush 41 went into Somalia? I didn't hear any outcry then about not going to Congress, but...

HAIG: Well, that's what I call the danger of modern populism,  presidents who get up every morning and put their finger to the wind to see what's going to make them popular today. And in that instance, one day it was popular to go in. And the next day is when we got some people hurt, it was popular to pull out. And I think both entry and exit were wrong.

COLMES: General Haig, thank you. We give you the last word. Thank you for being with us tonight.

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