November 12, 2003 | Broadcast

Wolf Blitzer Reports

What are the various options out there? I’m joined now by the former CIA director, James Woolsey.

Dr. Woolsey, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: Your former colleagues at the CIA drew up, apparently this gloomy assessment that things likely to get worse, not only in the Sunni triangle but beyond.

WOOLSEY: One of the generals, I think, said yesterday that over 90 percent of the attacks, though, that occurred in the country, including those outside the Sunni triangle, are coming from within that Sunni triangle. It’s there that I think they really have to win the war.

And it is a war, and they need to call it that. It’s a major insurgency by these defeated Ba’athists and probably some al Qaeda and al Qaeda-related terrorists coming in from outside working with them. We don’t know the numbers.

BLITZER: So what must the U.S. and its coalition partners do now that they haven’t been doing over these past six months?

WOOLSEY: A couple of things. They need really excellent intelligence, particularly there among the Tikritis, the Ba’athists and the Sunni triangle. They’re starting from one down, because they should have trained a lot of Iraqis to go in with them, which the State Department had the money to do, back in — it was long ago — it was 1998, but didn’t do it. Now, they’re having to catch up.

So they need Iraqis going in. They can’t do a lot of this themselves. They need information about who is who inside there.

I think, secondly, they do need a structure of some kind, an Iraqi structure that they can turn some sort of authority over to that will improve the…

BLITZER: Beyond the Iraqi governing council?

WOOLSEY: Well, Bernard Lewis, the great expert at Princeton on the Middle East, and I wrote a piece in the “Wall Street Journal” a couple of weeks ago that said why not use the 1925 constitution and appoint the governing council as the senate under the constitution? It’s appointed by a constitutional monarch. And there’s an elected parliament under it. They can amend the constitution.

So I think they’ve already got an interim constitution, if they’ll use it.

BLITZER: What about the Afghan model that Paul Bremer apparently is looking at right now, even though some say Afghanistan is a very different country than Iraq?

WOOLSEY: It is a very different country. But the nice thing about this 1925 constitution is it’s the Afghan model already in existence. The Iraqis didn’t decide to give up their 1925 constitution. It was taken from then by military and then Ba’athist coups. They’d have to appoint a temporary constitutional monarch, but that I think could be doable. He wouldn’t have to have long-term power.

BLITZER: Where do you stand on this debate whether NATO should take over? Or the U.N., for that matter.

WOOLSEY: Well, NATO couldn’t even reinforce Turkey before the war, when they were under threat last spring, because even though they requested it, the French vetoed it. So we can’t just wave a wand and say NATO will do such and such.

BLITZER: So General Clark is wrong, Wesley Clark, when he says let NATO take over?

WOOLSEY: Well I — How does one get past the French veto? I mean, I think that it’s good that we’re moving and working with the Italians, and our heart goes out to them, all of us, for that loss today. But the Italians, the Poles, the British, the Australians are a number of countries that are helping.

I think that’s probably better than relying on an organization that the French can exercise their veto in.

BLITZER: And in recent days, we’ve now seen U.S. air strikes against targets in Tikrit, Fallujah and now in Baghdad for the first time since April.

WOOLSEY: That’s probably good news. That probably means they’re starting to get much better intelligence on what to hit. And also that very small but excellent snippet that you had earlier about the arrest of some, I think, 36 people who were then probably involved in shooting down the helicopter from the cell of the Saddam Fedayeen. Those are the kinds of things we really need to see more of.

BLITZER: Where is Saddam Hussein?

WOOLSEY: I don’t know. If I had to guess, I’d say in the Sunni triangle.

BLITZER: Why is it so hard to find him?

WOOLSEY: When I was in office, we were trying to find Ibid in Mogadishu. And we commanded the skies, and we had people in many parts of the city. And we still couldn’t find him.

It’s hard to find an individual, particularly if he’s being protected by a clan, being hidden and the like. They need more Iraqis informing inside there. And it looks like it’s beginning to happen.

BLITZER: James Woolsey, thanks as usual for joining us.

WOOLSEY: Good to be with you, Wolf.