'NEWT GINGRICH - KERRY O'BRIEN - 7:30 REPORT - ABC AUSTRALIA - 4 FEB 2002'
World Events of Significance
US DEFENCE EXPERT OUTLINES CAMPAIGN AGAINST 'AXIS OF EVIL'
KERRY O'BRIEN: Newt Gingrich, the man who, as Republican speaker in the US Congress, once shook the foundations of Bill Clinton's presidency, and was even hailed as a future president himself before his career took a nosedive.
Gingrich is again, an influential voice in Washington, today, serving on President Bush's defence policy board.
He was also a vocal member of the US Commission on National Security which warned more than two years ago of America's vulnerability to major terrorist assaults.
President Bush's speech to Congress last week, is said to have surprised even some of his close supporters with its tough warning, to the so-called 'evil axis' of Iran, Iraq and North Korea, could easily have been borrowed from what Newt Gingrich was arguing even before September 11.
Mr Gingrich is visiting Australia and I spoke to him from our Melbourne studio.
[TVOTW Insert - THE FOLLOWING EXCHANGE WAS SUCH A GRAPHIC EXAMPLE OF THE TWISTED, MANIACAL*, DANGEROUS AND PROVOCATIVE RHETORIC COMING FROM A LEADING FIGURE IN AN ADMINISTRATION PRESENTLY CAPTIVE TO DEMONIC FORCES IN THE U.S. - IT WOULD BE REMISS OF TVOTW NOT TO PRESENT IT TO YOU IN IT'S PROPER CONTEXT.
TO DO THAT WE HAVE DESCRIBED THE EXCHANGE WITH KERRY O'BRIEN AS:-
"THE BUSH PROPAGANDA - THE BUSH DECEPTION"
WE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING BUSH SPEECH EXTRACTS AS A PRECURSOR TO THIS EXCHANGE.]
KERRY O'BRIEN: Having singled out Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the 'axis of evil', how do you think President Bush will convert his warning into practical response?
NEWT GINGRICH, FMR SPEAKER, US HOUSE OF REPS: I think he will approach each country very differently.
I think there are different situations.
I also suspect with a team led by Colin Powell and Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice and Don Rumsfeld, that he brings in an awful lot of very experienced judgment to bear on how to get the job done.
But, my guess is in the case of Iran, that he's going to focus on a political diplomatic outreach - about 80 per cent of the Iranian people have voted against the Ayatollahs, voted the dictatorship, they've had riots in the streets.
And I think there we have an opportunity to make a real alliance with the Iranian people.
I think in the case of North Korea, we will probably put diplomatic pressure on to block them from selling missiles and weapons into the Middle East.
And in the case of Iraq, I suspect that some point this year there's a very good chance that we will move to replace the regime of Saddam Hussein, and to move towards a democratic, free Iraq.
But I think they'll each be handled in a different way and each be handled at the pace that the President's comfortable with.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Will it be remotely possible to replace Saddam Hussein, as you put it, without military intervention?
NEWT GINGRICH: Probably not.
I noticed that the German Defence Minister said that we should look to political solutions and my answer is 'fine'.
I'd love for the Europeans to find a way to replace Saddam Hussein politically, but this is a dictator who's used poison gas on Iran, he's used poison gas on his own people. [TVOTW Insert - Supplied by the U.S.]
He has five different Secret Services.
He torches and kills people routinely.
And my guess is, that in the end it will take some kind of military action, although, as you've seen in Afghanistan, that can sometimes mean remarkably few Americans on the ground.
KERRY O'BRIEN: But when you say that he used poison gas on Iran, I mean, there was a period when America was actually helping Iraq against Iran?
NEWT GINGRICH: There was a period when we were more concerned about the Iranians than the Iraqis, but the fact is, we have never condoned using poison gas.
And I think the evidence is, that Saddam Hussein is actively trying to get nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
We had a defector recently, who said he'd been in over 20 sites last year where the Iraqis were trying to develop these weapons. [TVOTW Insert - Now shown to be a complete fabrication and lie. Absolutely no WMD's in Iraq.]
And I think one of the lessons of September 11 is -- if you know that somebody like Saddam Hussein is trying to get a nuclear weapon, don't wait until he uses it and then retaliate.
Pre-empt and make sure he can't use it.
KERRY O'BRIEN: What are the limits to which America would go to unseat Saddam Hussein and what are the limits beyond which it will not go?
NEWT GINGRICH: I can't speak for the President, but I would say that if our choice is to risk losing an American city or risk losing an allied city, to risk losing not just 3,000 or 4,000 people, as in the World Trade Centre, but potentially losing 75,000 or 100,000 people against a biological or a chemical or nuclear weapon, I think we'll go a pretty long distance to replace a dictator, who is after all, I think, indefensible.
I would simply say to any of our friends who are trying to explain why we should be patient, look at Saddam Hussein's record, look at what happened in New York City on September 11 and ask yourself, "Do you really want to allow this dictator to develop these kind of weapons and do you really have any doubt that he'd be very willing to use them if he could get them?"
KERRY O'BRIEN: What evidence is there of a direct link between Saddam Hussein and what happened on September 11?
And what is the burden of proof that the US would have to meet before it actually made a military intervention, beyond the word, for instance, of a defector?
NEWT GINGRICH: First of all, the US doesn't have to offer any proof to make a military intervention if the President of the US determines that the lives of Americans are at risk.
Section 51 of the United Nations charter allows nations to defend themselves and all the President has to do is declare that the US will not accept Saddam Hussein, who has by the way, violated the agreement in 1991 -- he agreed to allow inspectors permanently throughout the country -- he has violated that agreement.
And therefore I think, the burden of proof, again, I just want to suggest, is on those who would defend the survival of a dictator who is actively trying to get nuclear weapons.
KERRY O'BRIEN: But you believe America would be justified in using military intervention to unseat Saddam Hussein and secondly you would be prepared to do that without allies in the region?
NEWT GINGRICH: I believe that the US has justified in making the case to the world that this is a dictator, who is clearly, by the standards of your own ambassador, former UN inspector Richard Butler, trying desperately to get weapons of mass destruction.
We have many defectors who have now said this.
We have a considerable amount of evidence, including the surprising amount of material that was uncovered in 1991, 1992.
KERRY O'BRIEN: But but -- what what I'm asking you clearly is, do you believe America would be justified in intervening militarily to unseat Saddam Hussein.
NEWT GINGRICH: I believe, yes.
KERRY O'BRIEN: We've heard why you think he should go.
You believe there should be military intervention?
NEWT GINGRICH: I believe we should take whatever steps are necessary, starting with support for the Iraqi National Congress, which exists and actually has a substantial following.
But I think that as we just proved in Afghanistan, you could, I believe, have a substantial decisive effect on Iraq with a reasonable campaign.
KERRY O'BRIEN: And does it matter what your allies think about that?
NEWT GINGRICH: I think it matters but I think the burden of proof ought to be on the allies.
If they say to us, "Let's find a peaceful way to get this done," I think they should then be given a deadline to find a peaceful way to get it done.
But talking as a substitute, while he builds nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, I think is a very dangerous future for the entire planet, not just for the US.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Do you agree with the New York Times editorial that the September 11 does not give the US, as the editorial put it, "an unlimited hunting licence?"
NEWT GINGRICH: I think the right to protect people in an age of weapons of mass destruction gives countries who want to protect their citizens a significant licence to say to dictatorships, "We will not tolerate your threatening our cities and your threatening mass levels of death."
We have studies that indicate, for example, that a militarised anthrax could literally kill between 1 - 2.5 million people in a major metropolitan area.
I would just suggest to you that civilised countries ought to be able to find a way to come together to build overwhelming pressure on dictatorships, to guarantee that they do not develop weapons that in the first use, could kill several million people.
KERRY O'BRIEN: The name of Osama bin Laden was a surprise omission from the State of the Union address, don't you think, given that the majority of Americans, according to one opinion poll, won't regard the Afghanistan campaign as successful until or unless Osama bin Laden is captured or killed?
NEWT GINGRICH: Look, I hope much that we find Osama bin Laden.
I also know that finding one individual is a very, very hard thing to do and may take several years.
But let me just suggest to you, that what September 11 proved was that civilised countries, democracies, are vulnerable to levels of violence that seemed unthinkable on September 10.
I think that President Bush is very wise to broaden this campaign, to be against all terrorism and to broaden this campaign to include dictatorships that are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction because those are the primary threats to civilised life as we've known it, to continuing to exist on this planet.
And I would suggest, that every citizen of Australia or New Zealand, or Japan, or any country which has the rule of law of prosperity and safety, has a vested interest in ensuring that weapons of mass destruction aren't developed by dictatorships and don't become available to terrorists.
KERRY O'BRIEN: President Bush does appear to be taking America down a more unilateral course, in terms of his attitude to a number of international treaties and now with this get-tough message that, yes, he'd rather do things with allies, but if the allies aren't going to play he'll go it alone.
You don't think that that risks painting America as something of a cowboy on the international scene, given its power, given its status as the most powerful nation on earth?
NEWT GINGRICH: I think President Bush has personally faced the grief of being the commander-in-chief, the leader of the American people, when over 3,000 of his fellow citizens were killed in their own country, in their own office buildings, by people who hate them.
And I think President Bush has decided that it is his sworn constitutional obligation to protect the people of the US.
He would love to have as many countries helping him protect those people as he can, but he is not going to be weak, he is not going to be talked down, he is not going to be softened up by countries who don't feel the threat, who are willing to take the risk of losing a city before they're decisive.
And I would say again to our allies, particularly the Europeans, if you think there's a peaceful way to get Saddam to change, use it.
If you think there's a peaceful way to get the Korean dictatorship to change, use it.
If you think there's a peaceful way to get the Ayatollahs to give up their nuclear weapon program, do it.
But don't talk while they continue to work on weapons of mass destruction and then expect America to be idle until somebody has lost one or more cities before we take action.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Newt Gingrich, thanks for talking with us.
NEWT GINGRICH: Thank you.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Newt Gingrich will address the National Press Club in Canberra tomorrow.
TVOTW - ICOPO
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