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CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees - Transcript

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CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees - Transcript
Wednesday, December 14, 2005



You know, Senator John Kerry has been one of the president's most vocal critics on the war, taking issue with just about every decision that has been made. I talked to him earlier today.


COLLINS: Senator Kerry, you believe the Bush administration hyped and exaggerated the intelligence leading up to the war. But, today, the president talked about the faulty intelligence.

Let's go ahead and listen to a little bit of that sound from that speech today.


BUSH: And it is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that.


COLLINS: What did you think of his comments?

KERRY: Well, I'm glad that he's finally, after several years, acknowledging what many of us have been saying.

But the real issue is not just whether or not the intelligence was wrong. It's why intelligence that they knew was wrong was used in order to exaggerate the situation. That is still unacknowledged and unresolved.

COLLINS: I want to go ahead and play...


COLLINS: ... something else that the president said regarding that situation on the ground in Iraq.

KERRY: Right.

COLLINS: Listen for just one second.


BUSH: We have adapted our tactics. We have fixed what was not working. And we have listened to those who know best, our military commanders and the Iraqi people.


COLLINS: Do you think some of those adjustments have been successful?

KERRY: Yes. I think some of them are being successful. I think some of them are obviously helping.

And it is interesting, because what many of us have been saying in our criticism over the last two years was exactly what we were hearing from the Iraqis and from our own generals. And we would quote our own generals to the administration, but they had refused to move, until now.

I'm delighted the president has finally acknowledged that.

COLLINS: I have to ask you about something that Republicans have condemned you for, for some of the recent comments you made about the American troops.

You said this -- and I quote now -- "There's no reason that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, women, breaking sort of the customs of the historical customs, religious customs. Iraqis should be doing that."

KERRY: Well, obviously, obviously, what I have...

COLLINS: Explain that comment, if you would.

KERRY: I have said it before in -- in a different way, but I have said the same thing, essentially, which is that it's very -- you know, to -- to the families that see those troops come into a home in the dead of night, everybody here understands it's very upsetting to them.

Our own generals, General Sanchez, said that it was causing a counter-reaction. It was counterproductive. I'm simply quoting one of our own generals, who said that -- quote -- "our iron-fisted policies" -- that's a general speaking about the policy. And what I'm trying to say is, that Americans should not be the ones conducting a lot of those house searches, a lot of those efforts, except under certain circumstances, where I understand our special forces need to do it, with respect to very hard intelligence.

But the Iraqis ought to be policing the streets, policing Iraq, and standing up for Iraq.

COLLINS: But are they ready, Senator?

KERRY: And, obviously, obviously...

COLLINS: Isn't that -- isn't that the heart of this discussion?


There are lots of them who are ready. And there are -- and we have been told for month after month of the thousands upon thousands who have been trained. Look, we are not asking them to fight World War II. We're not asking them to go out there against an armed resistance that has got trenches and has -- what we're asking them to do to is provide basic security around buildings.

The fact is that you ought to be able to put more people out there to protect Iraqis in the Iraqi streets. And I don't think you need Americans doing some of the patrols that they are doing.

COLLINS: Senator John Kerry, the election is tomorrow. We, of course, will be covering it here.

KERRY: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thanks so much.


KERRY: Thank you.



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