This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, January 8, 2004.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We regret the loss of life of our brave young men and women and other coalition men and women and those civilians who have lost their lives, but they are serving in a good cause to give the Iraqi people peace and freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Secretary of State Colin Powell on the attack of a Black Hawk MediVac helicopter in Iraq that killed all nine soldiers on board. And hours later in Baghdad, a C-5 transport plane narrowly escaped death after being struck by a surface-to-air missile.
Joining us is War Stories host, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. He's also the author of "War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom," which is on "The New York Times" bestseller list this week.
Go out and buy it so we can do two weeks in a row, right?
LT. COL. OLIVER NORTH (RET.), U.S. MARINE CORPS: And the DVD in the back of it has...
VAN SUSTEREN: The DVD?
NORTH: ... the footage of those rockets that we discovered way back -- I mean what's astounding about all of this -- and you look at all of the aircraft events that we've had in the last seven days -- you have aircraft getting shot at by surface-to-air missiles that are incredibly profusive all over the country, Greta.
Ad I documented the discovery of a warehouse full of these things that had been broken into right there in the early part of May, 1st Battalion -- 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division and the 3rd Brigade had both captured these enormous weapons stores, and there we found crates of these things broken into, most of these SA-7s, SA-9s, SA-14s, which is an advanced version of the same thing.
In those warehouses right there that you see on the screen are weapons that are now being used against the American forces out there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ollie, the S -- the shoulder-to-air missiles -- they hit the DHL cargo plane. Now it's the...
NORTH: Right. Now C-5.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... C-5 transport. We've been, quote, "lucky" both of those returned safely.
NORTH: The good news about those rockets is -- one, they're very fast and they do home on a heat source like an engine. The really good news of these things is the warhead in that is only about four pounds, and so a big airplane like a C-5 is very -- or a large passenger liner is very unlikely to be brought down by this thing, unless it's on a very hard, sharp climb up.
Now that C-5 was hit on a climb out at about 6,000 feet. He's still climbing. He's still dirty as the pilots would say. His flaps are down, his wheels are down, he's just getting up air speed, and he still manages to make it back to base. The DHL aircraft are the same thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it seems to me - I mean there's so many of them. At some point, we're going to be unlucky. I mean -- I mean there is some technology to protect this aircraft. I mean it's on Air Force One. Israeli airlines have them. I mean -- yet our soldiers over there are all the time flying.
NORTH: Well, it's on all those helicopters. It's on all those helicopters. Both the Army and Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force aircraft all have those kinds of protective devices.
They're distracters, as they call them. They kick out flyers, they kick out chaff, and they've got the kind of very sophisticated adapters that you put on the sides of the aircraft that deny that the aircraft is even there that that missile is looking for.
The bad news is that that kind of stuff, like the flares put on a commercial aircraft coming into somewhere like Reagan Airport or Dulles Airport, would be kicking out flares every time they flew over a radar.
VAN SUSTEREN: But why not put them on the C -- the C-5 transport that's obviously -- that's flying in Baghdad.
NORTH: They've got them. They've got them.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it -- this one didn't today.
NORTH: This particular aircraft -- that device didn't go off because it didn't detect the incoming missile. It -- what I'm saying to you, Greta, is what we've got to be about is helping in every way possible to get this stuff destroyed.
When I was out there just a few weeks ago, you've got USA Environment, which is the name of the company at this one particular ammo depot. They've got 300-million tons of ammunition to destroy.
And the real, you know, problem they're trying to get their arms around is trying to get a hundred tons a day that they can blow up. Even at that rate, it's going to take them five years to blow all this stuff up.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let's switch to Pakistan. There's a lot of activity in the northern part...
NORTH: A lot of great news. A lot of great news in all of that part of the world. Ever since Saddam Hussein got captured, you've seen Gadhafi come around, you've seen the mullahs in Tehran open up, very quietly, to the American help that we've given after the earthquake.
Now you're seeing along the Iraqi -- or along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, places where we've been pretty sure that if Usama is alive, that's where he is, and I am told, can't confirm it, that we've got U.S. military personnel helping the Pakistanis in the search of that border area that they've basically left alone ever since 2001.
VAN SUSTEREN: And we left it alone primarily because it was a very hostile area to us. It was hostile even to Musharraf.
VAN SUSTEREN: The president.
NORTH: And because Musharraf's military has got a lot of Islamic radicals in it, he's been rather unsure of himself. Well, the good news is capturing Saddam Hussein has perhaps convinced some of them it's time to go along to get along.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thirty seconds left. Conventional wisdom is that bin Laden is in that area?
NORTH: Well, I've still got some conventional wisdom out there, Greta, that says the guy really is dead, that's why we haven't seen him. All we're getting...
VAN SUSTEREN: Really? Even with that audiotape out, you think that?
NORTH: All we're getting is people at the CIA and up the road at Fort Myers saying it sure sounds like it might be him.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you think he might be dead?
NORTH: I think there's a distinct possibility because we haven't seen him, and this guy is an egomaniac. I've seen a tape -- he has a bigger tape library than we have here at Fox.
VAN SUSTEREN: Funny. I want to take him alive, and I want to know that we've got him and that he's out of commission.
NORTH: Oh, I'd love to do it, and they would, too.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Ollie. Always nice to see you.
NORTH: Thank you.
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