October 25, 2003 | Broadcast

CNN Live Saturday with Andrea Koppel

We’ll debate the issues with our guest, Clifford May, the president of the Foundation For the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism, and Norman Solomon, is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He’s also the author of “Target Iraq.”

Norman, let me begin with you, if I may.

How long do you think U.S. Troops should stay in Iraq and is the Bush administration, obliged, in your opinion, to give the American people an end game and exit strategy?

NORMAN SOLOMAN, AUTHOR, “TARGET IRAQ”: Well, really, the U.S. troops should be in iraq only as long as it takes for the United Nations to come in with U.N. authority over what happens on the ground. The fact is that this war and the invasion were based on deception, and now the occupation is operating under conditions of disarray. The opposition troops, the resistance efforts are now utilizing mortars. U.S. troops are dying and being injured every day, and meanwhile the whole occupation is foundering even while we have the White House continuing to disacceptable and try to whistle past the graveyard. I don’t think the American people are accepting that, and I think the lack of popularity of President Bush today reflects that fact.

CLIFFORD MAY, FDN. FOR DEF. OF DEMOCRACIES: Andrea, with all due respect I don’t think a word of that makes sense and I don’t think a word of that is true. We should stay in Iraq as long as it takes to do the job, and not a day longer than necessary. If the U.N. were in come in tomorrow…

KOPPEL: Clifford, what does that mean? I realize that’s the mantra. In practical terms that’s open-ended.

MAY: Imagine if somebody said to FDR after Pearl Harbor, how long are you going to stay in this war with Germany and Japan and he said well, I don’t know, we have to have an exit strategy, you can’t say that because you’re fighting a war.


MAY: Let me finish. I let you go on for some time, Steve. Let me finish up if I may. Let me answer her question, Steve. What we have there right now is we have not major combat operations but a low intensity conflict. We’re going to see a lot of these in the 21st century as we fight terrorism. Terrorists are being sucked in from around the Middle East and around Central Asia. You remember last time I was on this show, Osama bin Laden says he wants Americans fought in Iraq. We can’t cut and run. We can’t leave it to the U.N. They can’t fight this. We have to beat the enemy in Iraq. And help the Iraqi people establish a decent society and I don’t think that’s going to take terribly long, not as long as in Germany and Japan but we cannot do what Steven is suggesting, cut and run and leave it for somebody else to clean up.

SOLOMON: I don’t know who Steven is.

MAY: Norman, sorry.

SOLOMON: More and more Americans are getting sick of smart guys in TV studios talking about how they want other Americans to be killed in Iraq. It’s sickening to see at this point a blank check, an open- ended commitment to hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq. And we’ve got very complacent attitudes among the Bush defenders which are no longer being perceived positively.


SOLOMON: You talk about FDR. We just heard about FDR. Roosevelt said during World War II he didn’t one millionaire to created by the war effort. And we have the Halliburton no bid contracts being awarded by this administration. And we as taxpayers are supposed to pay through the nose to subsides Bush’s buddies.

KOPPEL: Norman, let me ask you this. Some suggested if the U.S. were to pull out its troops too early and we don’t know what the definition of too early is, but before an Iraqi government freely elected government is in place that Iraq would backslide into chaos.

SOLOMON: Well, there’s quite a lot of chaos now. The fact is that occupying troops and governments have a responsibility under the Geneva Conventions to care for the health and well-being and security of the troops and the country’s people. And the fact is that as Kofi Annan and many other observers have pointed out as long as the U.S. occupation continues, the resistance will increase. So the solution is to bring the U.N. in, cut loose that control over the country, and the oil…


MAY: Norman you need to let me get a word in here it’s not a debate. First of all 15 to 0 the U.N. has approved of what we are doing in Iraq. You are right we have an obligation, let’s fulfill it. And unfortunately what you suggest is the philosophy we had for more than 10 years in Afghanistan, where we allowed tens of thousands of al Qaeda terrorists to be trained. The result was 9/11, you don’t want any soldiers to do our fighting? Then American citizens here in America are going to do the dying instead. That’s the danger of what you are saying.

SOLOMON: That’s bogus. That has no connection to the war in Iraq. As a matter of fact, the influx of terrorists inside Iraq came after the U.S. invasion.

MAY: Exactly.

SOLOMON: It’s a fillment of prophecy that they existed before hand. The Bush lies are getting caught up with (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MAY: Stop with the lies, Norman. Let’s have a policy debate and not talk about lies.


KOPPEL: Gentlemen, both of you are talking and no one can hear.


KOPPEL: Unfortunately, we don’t have a minute and unfortunately, we couldn’t get on to the Iraq donors conference which just wrapped up in in Madrid which means we’re obliged to bring you back. OK, Clifford May, Norman Solomon, thank you for your various perspectives.

MAY: Thank you.

SOLOMON: Thank you.