JIM LEHRER: Now, two views of the war protests, and the diplomatic battle over what to do about Iraq. Those of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas. And Germany's ambassador to the United States, Wolfgang Ischinger. Sen. Hutchison, how important are these large anti-war demonstrations, do you believe?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Well, certainly I think we have to acknowledge that there are a lot of people who don't believe that Saddam Hussein is dangerous and that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he would put them in the hands of terrorists. We disagree with that, and that's why I think the president is moving ahead, trying to bring in allies, trying to tell them the information that we have. But clearly I think the number of people in the world are not ready yet.
JIM LEHRER: Why is it they're not ready? What do you think has not happened that should have happened to prepare them for this?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Well, I think for one thing, it does take a long time for people to come to terms with a war, and a pre-emptive war, which is new for America really since 9/11. We started it when we bombed Serbia, but after 9/11 I think Pres. Bush decided that we couldn't wait for the terrorists to have something much more dangerous than an airplane, like a chemical weapon or biological or nuclear weapon. So I think that is where the concept came from. But it is a hard one for some people to absorb.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Ambassador, how important do you these demonstrations were? There were some in Berlin, of course, and there were also all through Europe as well as in the United States.
WOLFGANG ISCHINGER: I think that these demonstrations show that there is a strong feeling out there not only in Europe but in many parts of this country also that if there is a way to get rid of this problem of the spread of weapons of mass destruction without using military force, all the possibilities need to be explored and exhausted before military force is supplied. That in a nutshell has been our position and in that sense I'm certainly not surprised at these demonstrations.
But let me add one point: I've been struggling as the representative of my country in America to explain that the dispute over the best way to move ahead to confront Saddam Hussein should not be confused with or should not be interpreted as a Europe opposing the United States, abandoning the partnership and the friendship with the United States. I think what we're having here is a dispute about the best way forward, and that's a very important issue. And our people, our citizens participated, as we see, actively in this, and I think that's living active democracy. That's good. I'm also very happy to see that the statement that the European heads of state just put out an hour or so ago demonstrates that Europe first is not really that old; it's still capable of getting its act together and in a very, very clear sense making Saddam Hussein responsible for the problem, and for the resolution of the problem, and by showing that Europe is not against the United States. It is simply saying let's give inspections more time, let's give the inspectors as much time as they believe they need.
JIM LEHRER: Sen. Hutchison, how could you see this dispute between the United States and Europe?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Well, I think Germany and France in particular have been very harsh against the United States. Chancellor Schroeder was elected on a harsh anti-U.S. sentiment. And I think that has not been healthy for the relationship to say the least. I think that Germany and France have been doing business with Iraq, their chemical companies have sold chemicals to Iraq, and I think that they have a lot to answer for. It is strained now, our relationship.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Ambassador, what about that? There were some harsh anti-American comments not only before Iraq came up as dramatically as it has the last few weeks.
WOLFGANG ISCHINGER: Well, I continue to believe that that is simply not the case. Yes, the Senator is absolutely right, there were statements that may not have been very helpful in managing our relationship. By the way, there have been a number of statements recently from this side of the Atlantic that many Europeans, many Germans didn't regard as so friendly.
JIM LEHRER: With Libya and what was the other one?
WOLFGANG ISCHINGER: For example. I would say let's deescalate, let's get back to the kind of tone that has been a tradition between ourselves.
JIM LEHRER: Go ahead, Senator.
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: I was just stunned when Germany, France and Belgium initially refused to give Turkey the aid that they would need to prepare for a war since Turkey is on the border with Iraq, but I do say that I appreciate that once France was isolated that Germany and Belgium withdrew their objections. I thought it was a little late because that is the essence of NATO that you would help any country that would be in danger, that is a NATO ally, and in my opinion Turkey should be held up and supported because they are a Muslim country is that a democracy, and we should be helping them and supporting them in their efforts to be helpful to treatment and democracy so on the one hand I thought it was late, but on the other hand, thank goodness you did finally do what was right which Turkey and by the NATO alliance.
JIM LEHRER: Anything you want to add on Turkey, Mr. Ambassador, the Turkish issue?
WOLFGANG ISCHINGER: Yes. Thank you, Senator, for making this point. I just want to add, in as far as the substance of this problem was concerned I hope we made it clear from the beginning that we would help Turkey and that we would wish to supply whatever Turkey needed in order to be protected. Our problem was not one of substance but of procedure. And I don't think we need to get into that again. It is resolved. I I'm as happy as you are that this issue that created so much bad feeling is now behind us.
JIM LEHRER: Let me go back to Sen. Hutchison, speaking of substance, Senator, the ambassador said that what's really at issue here - when you cut it all aside -- is not if we go to war, I'm paraphrasing, but when, and it becomes necessary. In other words as he said, let the inspections go first and then if it's necessary to do military action then do it, but not do it now. Do you agree , first of all, with his characterization of what the problem is, what the dispute it's about?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Well, I think Pres. Bush would agree that the last thing we want to do is go to war, it is the last resort. But I think the way we get there is the dispute, and Pres. Bush believes that we must deal from strength, not from weakness. And he believes, as do many Americans, that continuing to kind of dillydally around and say we need more time and not amass the troops and show you mean business is certainly not the way to show strength.
JIM LEHRER: Do you believe, Senator, that the time has come for the United States to move on its own.. even if the U.N. Security Council does not support it as a majority?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: I think it is premature to make that decision, Jim, but I think the president is moving along. There may be another U. N. resolution attempt; we want to bring in as many allies as we possibly can. We hope very much that the Arab nations that hopefully will be meeting would bring even more pressure on Saddam Hussein. I really believe there is still a chance that the Arab countries would be able to get Saddam Hussein to either be very, very open and cooperative, which he has not been, or leave the country and let that country start repairing itself. So I think there are other things left to do, but I think the president is doing the right thing by saying we mean business, we're putting our troops there, we're preparing and we want you to know that we're not just going to wait and wait and wait and wait and wait. We have seen the disastrous consequences of waiting too long.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Ambassador, how long is Germany prepared to wait?
WOLFGANG ISCHINGER: I think our principle is that it's not up to us to make that determination -- how long is useful and when it starts getting useless. I think we should listen to the inspectors. We have given them a mandate; that was done unanimously through Resolution 1441. The world asked that this inspection procedure be created, and I think as long as Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei report to the Security Council that they believe they can do useful work, we should let them do. That that's the mission that we ask them to carry out. So I would make our reaction dependent on their recommendation.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Ambassador, let me make sure that I do understand Germany's position on this correctly. Make sure I didn't misstate it a while ago; Is it your government's feeling that it is only a matter of, I mean you're not opposed to war period in this particular case, you just don't want to trigger it now, you're not saying you would never support military action against Iraq, is that correct or am I wrong about that?
WOLFGANG ISCHINGER: Well, let me put it my way. I would say we want a peaceful solution to this problem. And we believe there can be a peaceful solution to this problem. If at the end of the day, the peaceful process that we have created together does not work, we have just settled this declaration, that's then Pres. Saddam Hussein's responsibility, and that is why in the statement just about this in Brussels, the EU speaks of the use of force as the last resort. And I think that is the language that I would like to use. In other words, we think that talking about the use of force as a real option right now leads us away from the effort that we should continue to make, namely to make the inspection process work.
I do not ignore, and I think most Europeans do not ignore, that without the determination by the United States and all of the other members of the Security Council and of the entire world community to make Saddam Hussein understand that this is not a game, that this is serious -- that without that determination we would not be today where we are, and I'm even not ignoring that the military muscle that the United States has shown over the past several months et cetera -- of course I'm sure has had its impact on those to whom we are sending the message. I think all of this together it has been very useful, that's exactly the way we should continue.
JIM LEHRER: Senator, do you have a problem with what the ambassador just said?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Well, there are two things. I would say that if we had had a united front I think it would have been a much stronger message to Saddam Hussein, but with countries like Germany and France and Belgium continuing to drag their feet and show opposition, I think that has not been helpful to the cause, and secondly, his statement that the weapons inspectors should be given the time as long as they say they can inspect something, I think the key words there are as long as. I don't think that they can continue to just walk around kind of loose without any real focus.
We know that there are unaccounted for chemicals; even the Iraqis have said they bought chemicals from German companies and French companies and even way back from American companies. So those chemicals are not accounted for, there's sarin gas not accounted for. I think we need to step up what we ask from Saddam Hussein; we need to say specifically, show us where the remnants are, show us where you are destroyed these weapons. Give them something real that we ask for and if they don't give us that, then we all know they have not destroyed these weapons or they can't show that they're gone.
JIM LEHRER: All right. We have to leave it there. Thank you both very much.
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Thank you.