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20 February 1998

TRANSCRIPT: TOWN HALL MEETING ON IRAQ AT OHIO STATE FEBRUARY 18

(Albright, Cohen, Berger outline U.S. goals in Iraq)  (11350)



Washington -- The United States is determined to destroy Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons via diplomatic or
military means, senior U.S. officials made clear in an "international
town meeting" that reached vast audiences in the United States and
around the world.


Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of Defense Bill
Cohen, and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger elaborated on U.S.
goals in Iraq during an appearance February 18 at Ohio State
University. The discussion was broadcast live worldwide by the Cable
News Network (CNN) both on television and radio.


After brief opening presentations, the three U.S. officials took
questions from members of the audience present in the university's St.
John Arena, which holds 13,000 people. Listeners from around the
United States phoned in their questions as did those from countries as
far off as Holland, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.


The 90-minute event was interrupted repeatedly by hecklers. But
Albright, Cohen, and Berger seemed to welcome the lively debate and
the informed and sharp questions they received.


"This really is a tremendous example of what democracy is all about,"
Cohen said. "The people who are here expressing opposition and
criticism would not be allowed to do that in a number of countries
including Iraq."


The three made clear the U.S. goal in Iraq is to have its leadership
comply with its obligations to allow U.N. inspectors unfettered access
to any and all suspected chemical and biological weapons sites.


"The United States does not challenge Iraq's territorial integrity,
nor do we want to see the Iraqi people suffer any further," Albright
said. "Our problem and the world's problem is with Iraq's leaders. And
today those leaders have a choice. They can allow U.N. inspections to
proceed on the world's terms, or they can invite serious military
strikes on ours."


Cohen emphasized that Americans have a choice to make. "With respect
to Saddam Hussein, we can deal with him now or our children and
grandchildren will have to deal with the spread of chemical and
biological weapons later. I think now is the time that we deal with it
and not later," Cohen said.


Berger emphasized the U.S. desire for a diplomatic settlement. "We
want to resolve this peacefully," Berger said, "but there are some
things worth fighting for. And those include fighting aggression,
fighting people who threaten their neighbors, and fighting to make
this world a safer and more secure place for my children and for
yours."


Following is the State Department transcript:



(begin transcript)



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesman



For Immediate Release

February 20, 1998



REMARKS BY SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILLIAM S. COHEN

AND NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SAMUEL R. BERGER

AT TOWN HALL MEETING



Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

February 18, l998



MS. WOODRUFF: Hello. I'm Judy Woodruff here at St. John Arena at Ohio
State University in Columbus. Normally, this is a place where the
Buckeyes play basketball, but today we are convened here because of
extraordinary events in a place almost 10,00 miles away --Iraq. It's a
country that the United States went to war with just about exactly six
years ago, and it is possible that very soon we may be engaged in a
military confrontation with Iraq again. It's a subject that ordinary
Americans have a vital interest in, and so it's very appropriate that
we have gathered here today ordinary citizens from the Columbus area a
cross-section of people interested in this subject.


MR. SHAW: Our panelists, the senior foreign policy advisors to the
President of the United States -- Secretary of State, Madeleine
Albright; Secretary of Defense William Cohen; National Security
Advisor Sandy Berger.


MS. WOODRUFF: We do want to remind you that this is not only being
televised on CNN in the United States and internationally, it is being
simulcast on CNN radio. And our audience in the United States and
around the world can call in with questions. I'm going to read out
those phone numbers, and I understand that we're going to be showing
the audience those numbers throughout the program. If you're in the
United States, you can call 1-800-310-4266; international calls, the
number is 1-404-827-3300.


MR. SHAW: And now, ladies and gentlemen, some opening remarks,
beginning first with the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.


(Applause.)



SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. On behalf of
my colleagues and myself, thank you very much for coming. During the
next hour and a half, we plan to discuss with you why the
confrontation between Iraq and the world matters to us as Americans;
how it developed; and what our strategy is for settling it in a way
that leaves us, our friends in the region and the entire world safer.


Iraq is a long way from Ohio, but what happens there matters a great
deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use
nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is
the greatest security threat we face. And it is a threat against which
we must, and will, stand firm.


In discussing Iraq, we begin by knowing that Saddam Hussein, unlike
any other leader, has used weapons of mass destruction even against
his own people. In fact, he is a repeat offender, having used them
both in the battle and against his people.


When the Gulf War ended seven years ago, Iraq was required to destroy
such arms, and a special United Nations commission, called UNSCOM, was
created to verify that and to see that weapons would not be replaced.
Despite repeated Iraqi obstruction, UNSCOM has uncovered and destroyed
more of those deadly weapons than were demolished during the entire
Gulf War. But the evidence is strong that Iraq continues to hide
prohibited weapons and materials. There remains a critical gap between
the number of weapons we know Iraq produced and the amount we can
confirm were destroyed. There is only one way to learn the truth:
UNSCOM's inspectors must have free, unfettered and unconditional
access to people, documents and facilities in Iraq. That is what we're
demanding, and that demand has been echoed repeatedly by the UN
Security Council and by the world.


Unfortunately, Saddam continues to deny UNSCOM access to dozens of
suspect sites. He's also trying to discredit UNSCOM, and to change its
character so that it will no longer be independent, and its
inspections no longer credible. As President Clinton made clear in his
strong speech yesterday at the Pentagon, the United States will not
allow this to happen. Iraq must permit UN inspectors to do their jobs,
as the Security Council has directed. If this does not occur, we must
be, and we are, prepared to use military force.


We support UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan to visit Baghdad
this weekend to gain Iraq's full compliance with Security Council
resolutions. A peaceful solution remains our preferred option; but it
must be a true not a phony solution. Make no mistake, if we use
military force, it will be because Saddam Hussein has refused to
accept a peaceful solution. If we do not use force, it will be because
Iraq has finally agreed to give UN inspectors


(Shouting from the audience.)



MR. SHAW:  Madame Secretary, excuse me, ladies and gentlemen.



(Shouting from the audience.)



ALBRIGHT: I would very much like to finish. I would very much like to
finish my statement.


MR. SHAW: Ladies and gentlemen, can we please have order in the hall,
please?


(Shouts.)



There are about 12 of you who are shouting. But most people would like
to hear the Secretary of State.


(Applause/Cheers.)



MR. SHAW:  Thank you very much.



ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much. I would like to finish my statement.
The United States does not challenge


(Shouting continues.)



MR. SHAW: If you feel that strongly about it, why don't you come down
here and write out your questions so that you can put them to the
officials here?


(Applause/Cheers.)



ALBRIGHT:  Can I finish my statement, and then we will be --



(Shouting continues.)



MR. SHAW: That will come in time. There are prepared statements. No,
your questions will come in about a few minutes.


(Shouting continues.)



MR. SHAW:  A question, not a statement.



ALBRIGHT:  I do believe that



(Shouting.)



ALBRIGHT:  Of course you will.



(Shouting.)



ALBRIGHT:  Of course you will participate.



(Shouting.)



MR. SHAW:  Not right now, no, not right now.



(Shouting.)



ALBRIGHT:  Of course we will, of course we will.



(Shouting.)



ALBRIGHT: We came here to listen, and we will, but I would appreciate
the opportunity of making our statement. Then we have a lot of time.


(Applause/Cheers.)



First of all, I'd like to repeat and say that the United States does
not challenge Iraq's territorial integrity, nor do we want to see the
Iraqi people suffer any further. Our problem, and the world's problem,
is with Iraq's leaders. Today those leaders have a choice: they can
allow UN inspections to proceed on the world's terms, or they can
invite serious military strikes on ours.


Now I'd like to turn this over to Defense Secretary Cohen, who can
discuss this further.


(Applause.)



ALBRIGHT:  Thank you; thank you for your attention.



SECRETARY COHEN: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary, and let me say
that for the past 24 years, I've had an opportunity to represent the
great State of Maine in the United States Congress. I've attended many
town meetings none nearly as loud as this, nor as large. I want to
thank CNN for giving all of us an opportunity to appear here before
you.


Walt Whitman said he heard America singing. I hope we can hear America
sing and not shout, during the course of today's hour and a half
discussion.


(Applause.)



The finest tradition of the university is to promote open speech and
debate, and hopefully we will have that opportunity in the very near
future.


Let me take a few moments to explain why Iraq poses such a large
threat and why we're considering military action in order to contain
it.


Saddam Hussein, as Secretary Albright has indicated, has developed an
arsenal of deadly chemical and biological weapons. He has used these
weapons repeatedly against his own people, as well as Iran. I have a
picture, which I believe CNN can show on its cameras, but here is a
picture taken of an Iraqi mother and child, killed by Iraqi nerve gas.
This is what I would call "Madonna and Child, Saddam Hussein Style."


(Shouting.)



Now, the United Nations believes that he still has very large
quantities of VX. VX is a substance, a nerve agent, which is so deadly
that a single drop can kill you within a couple of minutes. Anthrax is
a biological agent that kills people within five to seven hours seven
days, rather, after they breathe an amount the size of a single dust
particle. If you were to take a five- pound bag of anthrax, properly
dispersed, it would kill half the population of Columbus, Ohio.


Now, at the time of 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, he had also
loaded chemical and biological weapons into artillery shells, missile
warheads as well. He was working on a missile that would have a range
of nearly 2,000 miles. That means it could travel all the way from
Baghdad to as far as Paris, and perhaps other capitals in Europe, and
one day, perhaps, even to the United States. He has fired these
missiles against four of his neighbors: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran
and Israel.


And because of the threats posed by Saddam and his deadly arsenal, the
United Nations insisted that he eliminate all of these weapons of mass
destruction following the Gulf War. As Secretary Albright has
indicated, he agreed. He agreed to declare all of his nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons in 1991, and the UN set up this
special commission in order to destroy all the weapons and the
capacity to produce more.


But Saddam has delayed; he has duped; he has deceived the inspectors
from the very first day on the job. I have another chart which shows
exactly what I'm talking about. From the very beginning, he declared
he had not offensive biological weapons programs. Then, when
confronted with evidence following the defection of his son-in-law, he
admitted they had produced more than 2100 gallons of anthrax. The UN
inspectors fear that he may have produced as much as three times that
amount.


Despite Iraq's deception program, let me say, the UN inspectors have
done a remarkable job. They have destroyed the following: 38,000
chemical weapons; more than 100,000 gallons of deadly chemical agents;
48 operational missiles and 6 missile launchers; along with a
biological warfare factory. But the UN inspectors believe that Saddam
Hussein still has his weapons of mass destruction capability -- enough
ingredients to make 200 tons of VX nerve gas; 31,000 artillery shells
and rockets filled with nerve and mustard gas; 17 tons of media to
grow biological agents; large quantities of anthrax and other
biological agents.


These inspectors, again, they've done a good job, but their work isn't
over; and that's why we need them back on the ground, searching for
these deadly weapons that Saddam has used in the past and could use
again in the future. We hope that Iraq will agree to let the
inspectors do their work, but if Saddam refuses, we're prepared to use
military force to achieve that which he will not allow the inspectors
to do.


Our military goal would be to deliver a serious blow that would
significantly diminish Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, the
threat, and reduce his ability to threaten his neighbors.


Saddam holds the keys to ending this crisis; he holds the keys in his
hands. He simply has to let the inspectors back in to do their job;
and that's precisely why we're here today to explain why it's
important.


Thank you.



(Applause.)



MR. SHAW:  And now, National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger.



MR. BERGER: Dealing with the threat that Secretaries Albright and
Cohen have described, the threat from Saddam Hussein, demands constant
resolve by the United States and by the international community; and
at times, action. As long as he remains in power, we must be prepared
to respond firmly to reckless actions that threaten the region and our
interests. We've done that successfully over this decade.


President Bush led the Gulf War Coalition that ejected Iraq from
Kuwait and imposed tough conditions for a cease-fire, including that
he destroy his weapons of mass destruction. President Clinton struck
hard at Iraqi intelligence headquarters, after its agents plotted and
sought to carry out the assassination of President Bush in 1993. And
when Saddam threatened to walk over Kuwait again in 1994, massing his
troops on the border, once again we immediately deployed our troops,
ships and planes to the region, and Saddam backed down. And when the
Iraqi army forcibly seized Irbil and northern Iraq, we extended the
no-fly zone over Iraq, taking control of the skies over Iraq from the
southern suburbs of Baghdad to the Kuwaiti border.


Now we need to summon that will again.



What are the alternatives to this approach? Clearly, as Secretary
Albright has said, we want a peaceful solution; that is the best
option.


(Applause.)



But it must be a peaceful solution that establishes the right of the
UN inspectors to go in the country wherever they believe they have to
go to get rid of his weapons of mass destruction. Now, the
alternatives some have suggested that we should basically turn away;
we should close our eyes to this effort to create a safe haven for
weapons of mass destruction. But imagine the consequences if Saddam
fails to comply and we fail to act. Saddam will be emboldened,
believing the international community has lost its will. He will
rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. And some day, some
way, I am certain, he will use that arsenal again, as he has ten times
since 1983.


Now, others suggest that such Saddam is the problem, the only
effective solution is a ground invasion that would remove him from
power.


(Applause.)



(Shouting begins)



We have a divided house here.



The costs and risks of that course of action, in our judgment, are too
high and not essential to achieving our strategic interests as a
nation containing the threat Iraq now poses. It would require a major
land campaign, and risk large losses of our soldiers. We do not
support that option.


There is no question that the Iraqi people and the world would be
better off without Saddam. And we would gladly work with a successor
regime that is ready to live in peace with its neighbors and resume
its place in the family of nations. We have worked with Iraqi
opposition groups in the past and we will continue to do so in the
future.


But let me just conclude with this thought -- one that President
Clinton raised yesterday. In order to understand why this is so
important, we must remember the past and imagine the future. The 20th
Century, the lesson of the 20th Century, is and we've learned through
harsh experience that the only answer to aggression and to outlaw
behavior is firmness, determination and, when necessary, action. In
the 21st Century, the community of nations may see more and more of
this very kind of threat that Iraq poses now -- a rogue state with
biological and chemical weapons. If we fail to respond, Saddam and all
those who follow will believe that they can threaten the security of a
vital region with impunity. But if we act now as one, we will send a
clear message to would-be tyrants and terrorists that we will do what
it takes to protect our security and our freedom in this new era.
Thank you.


(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: The advisor to the President for National Security,
Sandy Berger. We are going to take a break now, and when we come back
in just a moment -- you can see we've got a big audience here. They
have a lot of questions. We want to try to get as many of those
questions in as we can here in Columbus and in our phone calls from
around the United States and the world. We'll be right back.


(Applause.)



MR. SHAW: We're at Ohio State University. We will go to our first
questioner here, and please be brief with your question. No speeches.
You have the floor, sir.


Q: I am an assistant professor in the Ohio State University. My
question is to Secretary of Defense, Mr. Cohen. The American
Administration has the might and the means to attack the Iraqi state,
but does it have the moral right to attack the Iraqi nation?


(Applause.)



COHEN: The question is also, does Saddam Hussein have the moral right
to use weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological, against
his own people? The United Nations has determined that he should not
possess chemical or biological or nuclear weapons; and what we have is
the obligation is to carry out the UN declaration and make sure he
doesn't pose a threat of the immoral magnitude to his neighbors, as
he's done in the past.


(Applause.)



Q: I'm an ER technician here in Columbus. My question is, this
Administration has raised concerns about Iraq's threats to its
neighbors. Yet none of these neighbors seem to be threatened. They
haven't asked for help; and in fact, they've come out publicly against
the bombings.


(Applause.)



Furthermore, the international community has been opposed to the
bombings. If nobody's asking us for their help, how can you justify
further US aggression in the region?


(Applause.)



ALBRIGHT: It is very clear that the problem here is one to the region
-- Saddam Hussein has invaded another country before; he continues to
try to develop weapons of mass destruction. And I have been to the
region; I have talked to the neighbors. They are concerned about what
is going on there. They have made it very clear that they are worried
about what Saddam Hussein is doing. And we are going to be a part of a
coalition helping them to resolve this problem.


I think we have to understand the following thing: the United States
did not create this problem; Saddam Hussein created the problem.


(Applause.)



Q: I want to preface it just a little bit no speeches, Bernard. I
spent 20 years in the military; my oldest son spent 25; my youngest
son died in Vietnam; six months later, his first cousin died in
Vietnam. We stood in the gap. If push comes to shove and Saddam will
not back down, will not allow or keep his word, are we ready and
willing to send the troops in? You see, I have no problem with asking
anyone of these guys in the Armed Forces to stand in the gap for me
now, that we stood in the gap back then. I want to know that's the
question, I think all of Congress wants to know. Are we willing to
send troops in and finish this job, or are we going to do it
half-assed?


(Applause.)



And then men at that time to come back and ask my grandson and some of
these other grandsons to put their lives on the line, if we're going
to do it half-assed, the way we did before.


(Applause.)



COHEN: If I could respond to a fellow Mainer, let me be as direct as I
can. I just returned from visiting our troops on the USS George
Washington. I visited our troops on the USS Independence. Each and
every one of those young men and women who are out there are prepared
to do whatever is necessary in order to contain the threat.


What we are seeking to do is not to topple Saddam Hussein, not to
destroy his country, but to do what the United Nations has said in its
declarations. And we want to insist that that's not only words, but
deeds; we want the enforcement of the UN declarations. And these young
men and women are prepared to carry out that mission.


We do not see the need to carry out a large land campaign in order to
try to topple Saddam Hussein. Our mission is to get the inspectors
back; if they can't get back, to make sure he can't constitute or
reconstitute this threat.


(Shouting/Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: We have a telephone call from someone in Winston-Salem,
North Carolina. If you're on the line, go ahead, please.


Q: Hi, my name is Tyler, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Briefly,
I've seen footage of where the US is expecting low casualties of the
people in Saddam's country. But I've also seen footage where he is
placing basically women and children as human shields around the
locations the UN cannot search. And I was wondering, sort of, what the
outlook is on that. I really don't know what to think as far as I
mean, basically, I've heard one thing saying that we're not planning
on too many innocent people; yet Saddam is trying to place a bunch of
women and children around these sites. So I really don't know who to
ask the question to, but does anybody have a response as far as that
goes?


MS. WOODRUFF:  Why don't we address that to Mr. Berger?



BERGER: That's a very, very good question. We have, in our planning
for this, have taken every precaution that we can to minimize civilian
casualties, because our


(Shouts.)



The reason for that is because our quarrel is not with the Iraqi
people. One cannot guarantee that there will not be civilian
casualties, or that Saddam Hussein will seek to, in a sense, create
his own casualties before the fact.


But I think that once the United States says that it is intimidated by
someone who has the brutality of killing his own people to protect his
own misdeeds, then we've rendered ourselves absolutely helpless as a
nation. So we will do all that we can to minimize the civilian
casualties; but in all honesty, we can't entirely eliminate them
completely.


MS. WOODRUFF: If I may follow, President Jimmy Carter, former
President Carter was quoted yesterday as saying that up to 100,000
innocent Iraqi civilians could be killed.


(Shouts.)



Is that something, Secretary Albright, that you think is a realistic
possibility?


ALBRIGHT: First of all, let me just say the following thing. I am
willing to make a bet to anyone here that we care more about the Iraqi
people than Saddam Hussein does.


(Applause.)



For the last seven years since the Gulf War, he has starved his
people; we have provided food. There is no limit on the amount of
humanitarian assistance that can go in. And I personally wrote the
resolution that allows there to be oil sold for food. So the point
here is that he does not care a fig about his people, and if he does
the totally uncivilized thing of putting women and children to guard
his regime, then the fault is his and not the United States that is
defending the United Nations.


(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: We said at the beginning of this session, you all have a
right to speak. You certainly have a right to speak; but the time you
take to react is taking time from other people


(Shouts.)



We're going to take a break, and we'll be back in just a moment.



MS. WOODRUFF: Back now in Columbus, Ohio, at Ohio State University, at
a town hall. And we have a question; yes, sir, go ahead.


Q: Secretary Albright, my question is, why do you think the other
members of the Security Council have been reluctant to support the
military action, other than Great Britain?


ALBRIGHT: Let me first of all say that what is very important to know
is that every Security Council resolution has been supported by
members of the Security Council, which is to give full implementation
of these resolutions that call on Saddam Hussein to allow the
inspection and verification to make sure that these weapons of mass
destruction are gone.


We have great support from members of the United Nations and the
Security Council. They, as we, would prefer a peaceful solution to
this, as we have said. We are supporting, and we've said that we agree
that Kofi Annan should go on this trip to Baghdad, and I believe that
we do have the support for what we need to do


(Shouts.)



ALBRIGHT: -- because we are fulfilling the Security Council
resolutions.


Q:  Thank you, ma'am.



MS. WOODRUFF: Did you have a follow-up question? Madame Secretary,
just a brief follow-up. These are countries, though, that were with
the United States during the Gulf War six years ago. They are not with
us now. Does that not make a difference?


ALBRIGHT: Judy, I think the situation is really quite different than
it was seven years


(Shouts.)



Could you please tell these people, I'd be very happy to talk to them
when this is over?


MS. WOODRUFF: Did you all hear? Secretary Albright said she would be
glad to talk with you after the program. We only have about 45 minutes
left. We would like to use that time to ask questions. I think most
people here want us to continue.


(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: Do you want to finish your answer? And then we have a
call.


ALBRIGHT: I think that the situation is quite different because that
was when Saddam Hussein invaded another country and there was a
situation whereby others there was a large coalition. But the truth is
that the coalition that we have now is also very large. I think people
do not realize that we have many countries that have been talking to
all three of us about their desire to support us. The situation is
different. It's not a cross-border attack, but the threat is great
because, as Secretary Cohen said, these weapons of mass destruction
are the biggest threat that we face in the future.


MR. SHAW: Overseas telephone call from Tel Aviv. Caller, please go
ahead.


Q: Hello, everyone. Good evening and shalom. This is Tel Aviv, Israel.
My name is Elaine. I have a question for the Secretary of Defense. I
would like to ask Mr. Secretary if he thinks that the ultimate goal of
this particular action, which the United States may or may not take,
should be the ultimate removal of Saddam Hussein from government?
Because it is obvious that, as Secretary Albright has mentioned, he is
a repeat offender. So does the Secretary feel that this would be the
only way to ensure the implementation and the compliance with UN
resolutions by removing the problem which starts this every few years?


COHEN: Thank you for the question. I think the difference that exists
between what is desirable and what is doable. I think everyone in that
region, as well as the world community, would welcome Saddam Hussein's
removal from power. We would welcome the opportunity, as Secretary
Albright has said, to deal with another regime and, hopefully, have a
much more positive and productive relationship.


But what is doable remains another question altogether, as Mr. Berger
pointed out. This would require, in our judgment, a rather massive
force of land forces, and we don't think that it's necessary in order
to contain him. We think that we can contain him as we have for the
past seven years and allow the Iraqi people at some point in time to
determine for themselves whether they want another seven years of
deprivation.


He has starved the Iraqi people of about $100 billion worth of
revenues, and he has used whatever revenues he has to build as many as
80 palaces. Now, we have one White House and one Camp David. I don't
know any need for 80 palaces which are of monumental size which are
starving the Iraqi people of what they need for their own subsistence.
So we think that we can contain him, and hopefully we'll see, and
sometime in the future another regime we can deal with on a much more
productive basis.


MR. SHAW: Mr. Secretary, a housekeeping question. How much does it
cost the American taxpayer each day to keep task forces in position,
as regard to this crisis?


COHEN: Well, there is the basic requirement that we have in any event.
We have our forces as they currently exist. There are some marginal
costs, additional costs that we would have as far as some of the fuel,
but basically we are paying for the armed forces that we have. We are
using all of the forces necessary in order to prepare for a military
option if necessary. The marginal costs are not monumental. I could
get you an exact figure, but basically our ships are being paid for as
we speak. This is in the annual budget for our aircraft carriers, the
annual budget for our fighter aircraft and so forth. All of the
military personnel are paid for on an annual basis. So the marginal
costs would have to do with some additional transportation and some
additional fuel.


MR. SHAW:  We have a question over here about a possible mission.



Q: Hi. Thank you very much. My question is for all three of you.
Saddam Hussein has made promises in the past to allow UN inspectors
in, and he has reneged upon those promises. I don't understand how a
military strike by the United States is going to ensure future
compliance. I'm seeing a pattern here and I don't see how one military
strike is going to end it.


(Applause/Shouts.)



BERGER: The UN inspectors who have been in the country since 1991,
'92, despite the fact that Saddam has tried to conceal, hide, divert,
have been remarkably successful. They have destroyed more of his
weapons of mass destruction since the Gulf War than were destroyed in
all of the Gulf War, so they are an effective institution even when
you have a Saddam Hussein who is trying to make life difficult for
them.


So the best result would be to get them back in. If they got back in
and they were given access to all parts of the country, we would
hasten the day when we were able to say that this country has no more
weapons of mass destruction. Now, if he keeps them out or he says
there are certain places you can't go -- it's a pretty good tip-off
that that's where he doesn't want them to go -- then we can try to
accomplish militarily what we are not able to do on the ground; that
is, we can try to reduce his weapons of mass destruction threat
significantly through a military action and reduce his capacity to
threaten his neighbors. It is, in a sense, trying to do to some
degree, but by military means, what the inspectors are being deprived
of doing on the ground. So they have been effective. It would be
better if they got back. If they can't get back, we will have to try
to accomplish the same objective in a different way.


(Shouts.)



MS. WOODRUFF: All right. We have a question from this corner here.
Yes, sir, go right ahead.


Q: This question is for Secretary Cohen. With the recent attacks on
the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing, do you have any
concerns that military involvement in Iraq will encourage terroristic
attacks here at home?


COHEN: There are always the potential worldwide there is the potential
worldwide that we could have acts of terrorism. One of the reasons why
we have been so concerned about the spread of biological and chemical
weapons is that they might in fact use chemical and biologicals, as we
saw during the subway incident in Japan with Sarin gas, what we're
talking about as far as spreading either anthrax or some other deadly
poison.


But the question really is, are we going to live in fear of these
threats and, therefore, be paralyzed from taking action in order to
reduce it, or take action to curb it as best we can? We cannot be
intimidated by the threat of acts of terrorism in order to alter our
policies. We have to be prepared to deter it, to detect it and,
obviously, to respond to it, but we can not be intimidated by the
threat of terrorism that would be directed against us here or abroad.


(Applause.)



MR. SHAW:  Next question, sir.  Next question.



Q: Yes, good afternoon. My question is for Secretary Cohen. I would
like to know, assuming that the United States does do air strikes on
Iraq, I was wondering what the United States is prepared to do if Iraq
decides to retaliate by attacking its neighbors?


COHEN: We have, obviously, taken that into account. We have planned
for virtually every contingency. Should Saddam Hussein seek to strike
out against his neighbors, we have prepared defensive measures. We
have deployed a number of defensive batteries. We have defensive
forces in the region and we would respond rather swiftly also should
he attack his neighbors.


So we have been coordinating very closely with all of the countries in
the region. As Secretary Albright has said, she has been to the
region. I just returned. They are well aware of the threat. They
understand that there is a bully in the region. He's armed and he's
dangerous. And therefore, they are frightened about it, and they want
us there, also, to make sure that he is not able to attack them
directly.


MR. SHAW: I have another question for Secretary Cohen. The question
reads, since we are unsure where Iraq's weapons are, how can we direct
a bombing strike against them?


COHEN: We have carefully selected the targets that will be necessary
in order to reduce his ability to threaten his neighbors or to deliver
weapons of mass destruction. We have reasonably I would say very good
evidence, in terms of intelligence, where these systems are in fact
produced, as far as the delivery systems. We have a good set of
options available for us, should it become necessary. So we're
confident that we will be able to diminish his capacity to
reconstitute these systems and to deliver them, and that will be our
goal.


MS. WOODRUFF: All right. We have a phone call, a question from Upstate
New York. Tell us who you are and where you are from. Do we have you
on the line? Yes. Go right ahead, sir.


Q: Yes. My question for the Secretary of Defense. There's been
information with regard to Iraq sending many of its weapons to
Algeria, the Sudan and Libya, and these countries would be armed with
the weapons. And I'm concerned for the American people, that these
countries put together send weapons of destruction at the United
States -- not to mention Russia, who has given a left-handed threat.
And I'm just concerned, if we have good protection on the distance
early warning system in this country, and we should consider that more
than anything else.


COHEN: First of all, there was a report that Saddam may be shifting
some of his assets to other countries. I have looked at the evidence
underlying that and have not been able to substantiate it. It is a
theory, but is not backed by any evidence, to date. You may recall
that, prior to the Gulf War, he did, in fact, transfer some of his
aircraft to Iran. That aircraft is still in Iran. So I think Saddam
Hussein is not interested in transferring many of his assets to other
countries, because he probably will not get them back.


But we have more than an adequate deterrent against any of the
countries that have been rumored to have received this. And with
respect to Russia, I just returned from a two-day series of meetings
with the Minister of Defense and members of the Duma, and the Foreign
Minister. And I'm satisfied that we have a strong relationship with
Russia. We have a number of issues that transcend this particular
difference of approach, and I don't foresee that it would be rarefied
into any other relationship other than the one we currently have. They
have a difference of opinion, but that difference is not going to
present insurmountable difficulties for us or interrupt the
relationship we have with them on a whole variety of issues, including
substantial reductions in nuclear weapons.


MS. WOODRUFF: All right. I understand we have another question on the
point. And if you would, perhaps you can direct it to Secretary
Albright or Mr. Berger.


Q: Yes. Secretary Albright, there are news media reports that Iraq has
moved much of their weapon industry in other countries. Would we
consider targeting them in other countries?


ALBRIGHT: First of all, as Secretary Cohen has said, we have no
indication that this is taking place. What we are concerned about is
Saddam Hussein, who has a record of using weapons of mass destruction
against his neighbors, as well as against his own people, and a brutal
dictator who is terrifying his people and threatening the region. And
our policy is to contain him. That is what we're trying to do.


MS. WOODRUFF: In connection with that, I just would have a follow-up
for any one of you, perhaps Mr. Berger. The concern that some have
expressed if we hit one of these biological or chemical weapons, a
concern about the agent being released into the atmosphere.


MR. BERGER: As I said before, Judy and of course, it's not appropriate
for any of us to discuss specific operational plans, should this
become should a military action become necessary. But it has been the
cardinal principle of the planning of this operation that we should
seek to minimize civilian casualties. Obviously, in any kind of a
military conflict, that is not possible -- particularly when you're
dealing with someone like Saddam Hussein, who uses people as shields.
But this issue has been taken into account, and we have no intention
of trying to wreak havoc on the Iraqi people.


MR. SHAW: Our international town hall meeting will continue in a
moment, from Ohio State University. We'll be right back.


(Applause.)



(Commercial break.)



MR. SHAW:  A call from Germany.  Go ahead, sir.



Q: Yes, I'd just like to state to Secretary Cohen, Secretary Albright
and Mr. Berger, as a member of the United States Services, in the
Army, I wanted to let you know that I give my full support, although
it is my duty to do in the United States Army. But just to let you
know that I fully agree with what you need to do; go ahead and do it.
If a soldier or member's life needs to be lost, let it start with
mine.


(Applause.)



MR. SHAW: If either of you has a reaction, I have a question here from
a person in the audience. The White House budget for VA medicine is
not sufficient to meet the needs of the current veteran population.
What happens if there are large numbers of new combat-disabled
veterans?


(Applause.)



COHEN: First of all, let me respond with respect to the participation
of our servicemen and women. You just heard in that call from Germany
of one young man who indicated how committed he is to carrying out the
mission that is required. We have a number of people here in the
audience today, also, who represent the United States military. Let me
indicate to all of you who are here and all who are watching that we
intend to take care of you; that we intend to minimize the risk to
your lives, to those who are willing to put it on the line for the
country. There can be no guarantee that there will not be casualties
on our part, as General Shelton had pointed out. But we have taken
into account every contingency. We will do our level best to minimize
the risk of harm.


With respect to the Veterans Affairs budget, obviously that needs to
be increased in terms of dealing with the veterans as far as their
needs. But we do not anticipate having significant losses or injuries
during this particular mission. That's why it has been very carefully
circumscribed in terms of the mission itself. And when the question
has been raised from the past, why not just go in, I might point out
that we had some 26,600 men and women who were involved in Panama,
trying to locate Manuel Noriega a very tiny country, and it took days
to try to track him down, at some considerable loss of life and quite
a few wounded. So this is something much more serious, and that's
exactly why we have really confined our mission to reducing his
capacity to intimidate his neighbors and to deliver weapons of mass
destruction. That's precisely the reason to minimize the risk to our
men and women, as well.


MS. WOODRUFF: All right, we have a questioner here. Gentleman in the
white shirt, go ahead.


Q: Yes, I have a question for Secretary Albright. Why bomb Iraq, when
other countries have committed similar violations? Turkey, for example


(Applause.)



--Can I finish? For example, Turkey has bombed Kurdish citizens. Saudi
Arabia has tortured political and religious dissidents. Why does the
US apply different standards of justice to these countries?


(Applause.)



ALBRIGHT: Let me say that when there are problems such as you have
described, we point them out and make very clear our opposition to
them. But there is no one that has done to his people or to his
neighbors what Saddam Hussein has done or what he is thinking about
doing.


(Shouts.)



Q:  What about Indonesia?  You turned my microphone off.



ALBRIGHT: I think that the record will show that Saddam Hussein has
produced weapons of mass destruction, which he's clearly not
collecting for his own personal pleasure, but in order to use. And
therefore, he is qualitatively and quantitatively different from every
brutal dictator that has appeared recently, and we are very concerned
about him specifically and what his plans might be.


Do you have a follow-up?



Q: Thank you. My microphone is off. There we are. What do you have to
say about dictators of countries like Indonesia, who we sell weapons
to yet they are slaughtering people in East Timor?


(Applause.)



What do you have to say about Israel, who is slaughtering Palestinians
,who impose martial law? What do you have to say about that? Those are
our allies. Why do we sell weapons to these countries? Why do we
support them? Why do we bomb Iraq when it commits similar problems?


(Applause.)



ALBRIGHT: There are various examples of things that are not right in
this world, and the United States is trying


(Shouts.)



I really am surprised that people feel that it is necessary to defend
the rights of Saddam Hussein when what we ought to be thinking about
is how to make sure that he does not use weapons of mass destruction.


(Shouts.)



MS. WOODRUFF:  The people who are shouting, just a moment.



Q: I am not defending him in the least. What I am saying is that there
needs to be consistent application of US foreign policy.


(Applause.)



We cannot support people who are committing the same violations
because they are political allies. That is not acceptable. We cannot
violate UN resolutions when it is convenient to us.


ALBRIGHT:  We --



Q:  You're not answering my question, Madame Albright.



(Applause.)



ALBRIGHT: I suggest, sir, that you study carefully what American
foreign policy is, what we have said exactly about the cases that you
have mentioned. Every one of them have been pointed out. Every one of
them we have clearly stated our policy on. And if you would like, as a
former professor, I would be delighted to spend 50 minutes with you
describing exactly what we are doing on those subjects.


(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: Secretary Albright had already said she was willing to
meet with some of you after the forum. Let's respect that. The more
time you take shouting, the more time you take away from people who
have questions.


Secretary, I do have a brief follow-up, and that is on this point.
There are many countries that have these biological and chemical
weapons -- six countries in the Middle East alone. You have stated why
Saddam Hussein should be singled out, but it is puzzling to people to
wonder why it's okay for these other countries to have biological and
chemical weapons, but not him.


ALBRIGHT: I think that it is clear that other countries have weapons
of mass destruction. It is a question of whether there is a proclivity
to use them, and Saddam Hussein is a repeat offender and I think it is
very important for us to make clear that the United States and the
civilized world cannot deal with somebody who is willing to use those
weapons of mass destruction on his own people, not to speak of his
neighbors.


Q: Good afternoon to the panel. I'm a major in the United States
Marine Corps and I run the local reserve center here in Columbus,
Ohio, for the Marine Reserves. My question is for the Secretary of
Defense.


Sir, with the large cuts in active military forces since the end of
the last Gulf War, what is the likelihood that large numbers of
reserve forces will have to be called up to support our forces
currently in the Gulf, if and when we decide to attack Iraq?


COHEN: I couldn't hear all of the question, but let me indicate that
we have the forces that are assembled and are in place to carry out
whatever military option we need to do right now, so I don't
anticipate any additional forces that would be called up or necessary
at this point.


MR. SHAW: We have a telephone call from Kansas City. Caller, please
state your question.


Q: Yes. My question is directed towards Mr. Cohen or Mr. Berger. I
would like to know, if there is an air attack, would the B-2 stealth
bomber be called into action? And if there was an ensuing ground war,
how long would you plan on the United States troops being in Iraq?


COHEN: First of all, there is no need for the B-2 bomber. We have the
B-52s; we also have B-1Bs in theater. They are more than sufficient to
carry out whatever military strike might be ordered by the President.
With respect to ground forces following any strike, there is no
anticipated need. We don't expect to, do not plan to have any ground
forces that would be involved in a land-type of campaign.


MR. SHAW: Sandy Berger, what is the White House assessment on this new
generation of so-called smart weapons?


BERGER: Well, let me put it this way, Bernie. I think that we have
gone over this time and again with the military planners. Most
recently yesterday, President Clinton and Vice President Gore went to
the Pentagon. They had a full briefing from our top military people,
from the Secretary of Defense, with respect to what would happen if
there was a military action here. And I am absolutely convinced that
we could accomplish our mission, the mission being, as I said before
and as others have said, to significantly reduce his ability to
threaten his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction or otherwise.


I am not going to get into capabilities of particular weapons systems.
There is much too much speculation about that in the press. We have
real people, real pilots up in those planes; and the less we discuss
the details of those plans, I think the better off we all will be.


MR. SHAW:  Let's follow this lady's question, please.



Q: Missiles landed in Israel during the Gulf War; yet, at America's
request, Israel restrained itself from was restrained from defending
itself. What will our country's posture be this time and how will
Israel be expected to protect its citizens in the face of potential
Iraqi aggression?


(Applause.)



ALBRIGHT: I have recently been to Israel and there have been,
obviously, discussions about this. Every country has a right to make
its own decisions about how to protect itself, and we are consulting
very closely with Israel.


MR. SHAW:  I have a question.



COHEN: In addition to what Secretary Albright, in terms of her
meetings, I also have met with the Defense Minister and we have
satisfied that full cooperation will accommodate Israel's defensive
needs as well.


MR. SHAW: My question from the questioner I'm a mere conduit notes the
disintegration of the Soviet Union, notes Moscow's trying to improve
relations with her Islamic neighbors and is pursuing her own vital
interests. The question, how do we convince the Russians that it is in
their vital interest to support an international coalition against
Saddam if push comes to shove?


ALBRIGHT: Well, let me say I have also spent a great deal of time with
my counterpart, Foreign Minister. Primakov. He fully agrees with the
fact that Saddam Hussein has to fulfill his obligations under the
Security Council resolutions and he has been working with all of us to
try to get a peaceful solution. They are concerned about Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction and I believe that we should all be
working on a peaceful solution. But if we can't, I am sure that we
will all be together in the end.


MS. WOODRUFF: We have an international call and it is from where? The
United Arab Emirates.


Q:  Hello?



MS. WOODRUFF:  I hear you say hello.  Go ahead.



Q: My question is that now we are waiting for Kofi Annan to come to
Baghdad. And if he comes back to what do you call to America
(inaudible) -- Russia, China and France, which are against the
American military action. Is America going to use what you call veto
against any opposition?


MS. WOODRUFF: Mr. Berger, did you understand the question? He's
talking about the UN Secretary General going to Baghdad this weekend.


BERGER: I'm not sure I precisely understood the question, but let me
try. As you all probably know, the Secretary General is going to
Baghdad tomorrow. He is going to seek to obtain from Saddam Hussein
compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, and we certainly hope
and expect that he will do so. That would be clearly the best result.


I think the question is saying what if he comes back and he is
unsuccessful. I think if he comes back and he is unsuccessful, that is
the point at which the President will have to decide whether a
military action is necessary.


MS. WOODRUFF: If he comes back and is unsuccessful, does that mean
war?


BERGER: Well, we have not set any artificial deadlines in this
process, and I don't want to prejudge either his trip, which we hope
will succeed, or what will happen when he comes back or the timetable
with which it might happen. When he comes back we will evaluate what
he has to say. We will listen to him very carefully. He is a very
smart man. And if it is a solution that solves the problem, that will
be terrific. But let's be clear what solving the problem is. It's not
just putting it under the rug so that we have it 60 days from now or
six months from now or a year from now. These inspectors have to have
access to everything in the country and the inspection regime has to
be preserved as a professional rather than a political operation. As
long as it meets those tests, we will be very pleased.


MS. WOODRUFF: So all of the give has to come from Saddam Hussein and
not from the UN or the U.S.


BERGER: Well, he is the one who is out of compliance with Security
Council resolutions. This is the instructions that the Secretary
General goes with, that not only come from us, but also come from
Security Council resolutions and other members of the Security
Council. There is a very easy way for this problem to be resolved, and
that is for Saddam Hussein to do what he said he would do to General
Schwarzkopf in that tent at the end of the Gulf War when he signed the
cease-fire agreement: destroy his weapons of mass destruction and let
the international community come in and see that he has done that.
Period.


MR. SHAW: Our international town meeting from Ohio State University
will resume in just a moment.


(Applause.)



MR. SHAW:  Welcome back to our international town meeting.



There's a telephone call from Oklahoma.



Q: Yes. My major question is this it's kind of a two-part question.
Are we ready to go back and do another strike if this one doesn't
work? And the second part of the question is, how many times are we
willing to send our children to go fight Saddam Hussein? Are we
sending our children and our children's children? How many times do we
have to go through this before we take care of it the right way?


(Applause.)



COHEN: The short answer to the first question is, yes, we are prepared
to go back if necessary. The second part of the question is, how many
times? We have spent the past seven years containing Saddam Hussein
with no loss of life to the American citizens. What we have to be
concerned about is, how long are we prepared to stay the course to
make sure that he doesn't develop weapons of mass destruction,
chemical and biologicals, which will pose a grave threat to your
children and grandchildren. And that's why we're taking the action
necessary in order to build up the diplomatic initiative or possibly a
military option if necessary.


So we are there to protect your children and grandchildren from one of
the most grievous types of threats that we'll ever see in the future
that is weapons of mass destruction.


(Applause.)



Q: This is for Secretary Albright. The US has put a lot of time and
effort into peace talks between Israel and (Palestinians) and the
Middle Eastern countries. If we go into Iraq, how will this impact
those peace talks? And do you perceive any type of backing away from
the table if that happens?


ALBRIGHT: I have spent quite a lot of time on this issue in the last
months -- 1997 was not a great year for the peace talks, but we are
determined to continue. These are two very separate issues that need
to be resolved. We will spend the time that's necessary. I've been in
touch with both the leaders there and others in recent days and weeks,
and we will continue to press that because that's an issue of great
importance to the United States.


MR. SHAW: An international caller is on the line from Holland. Hello,
Holland, can we have your question, please?


Q: Just after the Gulf War, the United States and all the other allies
tried to get the people in the south of Iraq to get an uprise. The
uprise started, and Saddam slaughtered the people and nobody not even
Holland helped them. Will this happen again? Because I don't think
that all the people in Iraq are waiting for the allies. That's my
question.


MR. SHAW: Thank you for your question. The question was, if people
inside Iraq rebel and rise up, will they be assisted, given that they
were put down the last time? That's a paraphrase.


COHEN: It has been our policy to support opposition groups. We will
continue to support alternatives to Saddam Hussein, politically. That
has been our policy, and will continue to be our policy.


(Shouts.)



AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Shut up!



(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: Bernie, I just wanted to follow up on that with a
question that a gentleman handed me, and wrote it on a card. I think
it follows well on that last question. And namely, he's asking why
doesn't the United States give military support to the democratic
opposition in Iraq? And this brings up the whole question of why
doesn't the United States give perhaps release frozen the Iraqis'
billions of dollars in frozen assets and make it available to the
democratic opposition in Iraq?


BERGER: I think, as Secretary Cohen has said, we have and we will
continue to support the democratic opposition in Iraq. I think one has
to be very careful, though. It actually relates to the point that the
previous caller was making. If you encourage and almost incite people
to rise up against their government, you incur a moral obligation to
come to their defense at the moment of peril.


(Shouts)



MR. BERGER: And we have had experiences in this country in the Bay of
Pigs, in Hungary in 1956, and in Iraq in 1991, where perhaps our
rhetoric has gone ahead of what we are prepared to do. And we have
been very careful not to let that happen again.


MR. SHAW:  We have a question over here.



Q: Yes. This question is directed to the whole panel. Now, if there is
no peaceful resolution to the problem and war is inevitable, and we
end up damaging the country even further, are we, the American people,
taxpaying people, going to be responsible for making financial
reparations to the country?


(Shouts.)



BERGER: If I could just answer that. Saddam sits on enormous
storehouses of oil. And as Secretary Albright said before, it's the
United States, since 1991, that has been trying to say to him to give
him the right to sell that oil, take that money, buy food and medicine
for his people, and distribute it under UN auspices, so we make sure
that it goes to people and not to tanks.


For five years, he refused even to have such a regime. We finally got
such a regime in place; he delayed it another six months. We're now
prepared to expand that regime. We would like to see him sell more oil
so that more food and medicine can get to the Iraqi people. And
believe it or not, he's resisting that.


So I think it is our quarrel is certainly not with the Iraqi people.
We would like to help them get the food, the medicine, the other
things that they need for their daily lives. There's one obstacle
standing in the way of that, and I think all of you know who that is.


MS. WOODRUFF: Do you have a follow-up to that? Does that answer your
question?


Q: Yes. It doesn't seem like Saddam Hussein is too concerned about the
people. Like I said, will we be responsible for that? Will we take
some sort of action if we damage their country further, and we know
that he's not going to do anything about it?


BERGER: I think we would be prepared, again, to use his oil revenue to
try to help his people. I don't think we need to take American
taxpayer dollars, if he's not prepared to use his own oil revenue to
help his own people.


MS. WOODRUFF: Before we move to conclusion, we want to give each one
of you an opportunity to say what you think is an important point that
you want to leave everyone in this hall and in our audience with. So
let's begin with Mr. Berger, and then Secretary Cohen.


(Shouts.)



BERGER: Let me say, first of all, to all of you here, we appreciate
this opportunity for a lively discussion.


(Shouts.)



Q:  Will I be allowed to speak?  Am I on?



MS. WOODRUFF:  Ask your question.



Q:  I'll give you my time, but I'm not going to give you my seat.



Q:  I was going to go to the podium.



MR. SHAW:  Sir, just ask your question, please.



Q: Okay, first of all, I want to apologize for disrupting earlier. The
reason I did was, I was told by this person here that I would not be
allowed to speak.


(Shouts.)



Further, this is not an open forum; it is a media event staged by CNN.
If this were a town meeting, if this were a schoolboard meeting or
some other town meeting in a democracy, people would be allowed to
make statements as well as ask questions.


MS. WOODRUFF:  Do you have a question?



Q: Now, the point that I would like to make the question I would like
to ask is, how can these people sleep at night; because we are not
going to be able to stop Saddam Hussein, we are not going to be able
to eliminate his weapons of mass destruction, all of them. President
Clinton admitted it. All he wants to do, Clinton said, was send a
message to Saddam Hussein.


If he wants to send a message, we the people of Columbus and Central
Ohio and all over America will not send messages with the blood of
Iraqi men, women and children. If we want to deal with Saddam, we deal
with Saddam; not with Iraqi people.


(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF:  Let's let Secretary Albright answer, please.



ALBRIGHT: Let me say that what we are doing is so that all of you can
sleep at night


(Applause.)



-- because we are facing we are in a very different kind of a world
where we are facing the danger of the spread of the weapons of mass
destruction. We had an initial example of this, as Secretary Cohen
said, in Tokyo. We need to really put a stop to dictators who have
weapons of mass destruction and threaten to use them against their
people.


I am very proud to represent the United States wherever I go. We are
the greatest country in the world.


(Applause.)



And what we are doing is serving the role of the indispensable nation
to see what we can do to make the world safer for our children and
grandchildren, and for those people around the world who follow the
rules.


Thank you.



(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: We only have a few minutes left, but we also want to
give you all a chance to make a concluding thought, Mr. Berger.
Secretary Cohen.


If you would please have the courtesy to let them speak.



BERGER: Part of what we fight for as a country is the freedom to
argue. And I appreciate all of you coming; I appreciate most of you
listening.


(Applause.)



We have certainly listened to you at least those who we could
understand. And I think the fundamental point here that I want to make
is two-fold. Number one, we want to resolve this peacefully.


(Applause.)



But number two, there are some things worth fighting for.



(Applause.)



And those include fighting aggression, fighting people who threaten
their neighbors, and fighting to make this world a safer and more
secure place for my children and for yours.


Thank you.



(Applause.)



COHEN: If I could just indicate to the audience, this really is a
tremendous example of what democracy is all about.


(Shouts.)



The people who are here expressing opposition and criticism would not
be allowed to do that in a number of countries, including Iraq.


(Applause.)



And what Sandy Berger has just said is, the people that you see here
in uniform and those who have served in the past and those are serving
us today are fighting for the right of each and every one of us to
voice our separate opinions. That is a celebration of democracy.


(Applause.)



Let me say, as Secretary of Defense, it is my obligation not only to
try and identify those problems that confront us today, but those
challenges of tomorrow. Most of you here have children and will be
building families in the future, and we have a choice to make. There's
an old expression that "you can pay me now, or pay me later." With
respect to Saddam Hussein, we can deal with him now, or our children
and grandchildren will have to deal with the spread of chemical and
biological weapons later. I think now is the time that we deal with
it, and not later.


(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: We are just about out of time. Time for a word from
Secretary Albright.


ALBRIGHT: Judy, Bernie, thank you very much; and thanks to everybody
here. I think this has been a remarkable occasion, and we have all
enjoyed it.


Let me say that we come to the end of the 20th Century, and we have
fought dictatorship and horrors throughout this century. This is a job
we must do. We need your support. We welcome your questions, and we
look forward to having more discussions with you.


Thank you all very much.



(Applause.)



MS. WOODRUFF: On behalf of all of us, we want to thank everyone in the
Columbus area for being here. We want to thank our viewers in the
United States and internationally. It's been noisy, but that's the way
it is in America.


Thank you all very much.



(Applause.)



MR. SHAW: Also, you'll get a chance to see and hear yourself again
tonight. This town hall meeting will be rebroadcast at 10 p.m.
Eastern. We thank Ohio State University, and we thank you.


Good day.



(end transcript)