Norman Schwarzkopf 1991 'This Week' Interview

The U.S. General is interviewed during the first Gulf War.
18:17 | 12/29/12

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Transcript for Norman Schwarzkopf 1991 'This Week' Interview
General Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia thank you very much for being with us happy to have -- Thank -- Sam -- -- is there with you and here with us in the studio are George will. And Cokie Roberts both of ABC news. That general is members of his cabinet said that Abraham Lincoln I'll ask you how goes the war. Well I think today we certainly have never surprises. I think the campaign has -- unfolding just about as we had expected except for the very nice surprise that we haven't taken very many casualties. General the hardest decision you'll have to make -- win. Is the optimum moment to us on the ground troops forward it's can you tell us the criteria by which -- make that decision what are you looking forward -- saying now is the time. While I think -- -- -- to tell you that I'd probably be telegraphing an awful lot of things. To the perfect tournament I would not want to telegraph. I would just idea that we have a very specific set of objectives. That we plan to accomplish and each phase of this campaign. We hope that by accomplishing those objectives that we -- our the overall objectives the United Nations and if we don't we're prepared. When certain milestones -- -- -- going to the next phase what do you make of what's happened in Iraq and Saddam Hussein before this war started he was making all sorts of close. He seems to -- folded like a wet banana what's happening. Well I can I think is miscalculated one more time. I think he had absolutely no idea what it was going to be up against but I think he's probably. In a state of semi shock right now try to figure what to do in other words you don't think there's some Machiavellian plan in which he has all of his fighters someplace and reinvestment and reserve. And suddenly at -- some day here they come. But I got all of us fighters of resentments were attacking all those resentments report a lot of hold them all the -- -- But frankly if he chose to launch all those fighters with -- welcome at this stage of the game because every time it -- that it was -- -- -- can we win this war by -- alone. I eight I don't know I think it's too early to -- and if we don't win it by -- alone. George askew at what point -- simply ask you when will you know that the decision has to be made to go into the ground troops. Again I think it's too early to say there's a lot of things -- to be accomplished. Between now and then and and I go to the criteria I don't -- and into the prices. General you have said that repeatedly as have your superiors that. You're not after Saddam Hussein -- not after in the individual why not why not go after him Menendez. Well you know. Rock is a very very large country. I think shell hole made it very clear the other day that we have a lot of trouble once before. What we're trying to go after one individual -- -- -- awful lot smaller and probably somebody who is awful lot easier to track so even if we wanted to go after Saddam. -- I don't think that's that's an achievable objective. It's and that's not the way we fight wars on -- we don't want to kill one person. General it. Can you tell us -- there is movement of convoys and military are coming south from Iraq to QA. Or have you already effectively broken communication not. And electronic communication of material. I think we've broken both. Thank debt yesterday is that you don't wanted to communicate too much to the enemy and we certainly appreciate that -- yesterday general Powell went out of his way to say the next target is the Republican guards which raises the following question. Is Iraq being cooperative in concentrated in the Republican guards as a as a primary target or are they dispersing. No other Republican guards have been dispersed for quite some time. There you know I'm sure they're going to be more dispersed based upon the attacks -- -- undergoing and I think we should very very cautious. About getting overly optimistic armored divisions. Are very very very tough things to knock out under the best of circumstances. When you're going after them over the -- weaponry we are -- this is not something that's gonna happen -- What about the theory that you could starve them out you've just said that you think you've broken effectively their lines of communication and logistics is it possible to just let them sit in their trenches in the Kuwaiti desert and the late finally. Come out. And then just kill him -- the air. I think that that's probably one of the alternative -- available but of course remember. Their finest fighting troops -- Republican guards are sitting in the Kuwaiti desert -- an Iraqi. Very post Iraq you're gonna have to go into Iraq if you -- a ground war I didn't say that. What if they're sitting in Iraq what's replied -- remember our objective is deliberate. Kuwait and to -- all the Iraqi -- if I may I understand that but George Bush -- said personally this would not be another Vietnam he has said repeatedly that he would not send US forces -- with one arm tied behind its back. Clearly if you have to stop. At the Iraqi border that's one arm tied behind your back. Well I think that and I say the last issue I solve all major. Magazine had three different strategies and -- I think just about. Every military analyst and expert that is writing or talking these days. This coming up whose own strategy so I just say that we have our own strategy not sure I guess what I was about to belabor what I'm asking you is whether to expel Iraqi troops. From Kuwait. It would be safe. It would be prudent as a military officer to say well over the line but they can -- the Republican guards can sit there. I'm try and falling apart but if you expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait is it safe and prudent. To say that you cannot go over the line and that the Republican guards can sit across the line in Iraq would US forces be safe under those conditions. All YA I think that if we -- Bollywood but I think the important thing famine is what the president said the other night. He's not -- -- behind her back and we're going to be overrun this campaign the way it's militarily Smart to run a campaign -- ahead. I didn't say that's -- market -- that a federal on the campaign to tell what happened. General. Is it not terribly Smart. To be calling up these ready reserves yesterday the order came for 200000 more people some of them are. Old some of -- not ready they're not drilled and drilled up wouldn't be smarter to go ahead and instant drafting get a teen heroes. Well I think I think probably there's somewhat of a missed interpretation of what yesterday did remember we have a lot of reservists -- here right now that came in for a finite length of time. And if if nothing had happened they would all have to go home otherwise. What yesterday did was make sure that those people already here can continue to serve for a longer period of time it also jobs that they're doing very well after. But it also added. The ready reserve to the selected reserves and and some of those people are not people who have been. Training at all for many years. -- but you -- remember the ready reserve have our people was certain very select balance. I'm not necessarily. Ha exclusively military towns but civilian jobs that would come and very helpful saw. That's it certainly is something that that we can -- I would I would never say for a moment. But they wouldn't be valuable to us. General the air bombardment of Iraq is continuing and will continue you -- And we're going to continue. Paul phase of this campaign until we've accomplished our objectives are -- and always on the world. Why we should terminate the air bombardment any time in the near future. That that this suggests general that they're still alive and -- number of targets not yet. Put out of commission are are reduced to whatever condition you want -- reduced to. We're kind of targets are you now working off. They now trust. -- we're working on very much the same targets so we're working on at the outset we -- over 250 targets. That we've gone after already we've -- an 80% success rate I think -- soldiers. Some targets were not too sure what we've done and therefore we're -- targeting them there's an ever expanding list of things to ignore after -- There's a lot of things that so we will go after -- reduces. Military came from one of the successes like gather you have is with electronic jamming and can just -- populated communication. Within Iraq. And you also I'm sure have -- ability to listen to him on what's going on electronically in Iraq can you tell us what can you tell us about how much you've done to disrupt command and control. From Baghdad or from wherever the command headquarters now lives. We have I would say that we have been very successful our objectives could disrupt command and control -- were continue to remarks as successful as each hour -- -- General I am going to interrupt here briefly. We'll be back with more questions in -- month. To view this may be just a bushel of corn. A but two months of the archer Daniels. Your golden -- to make two pounds of margarine. Souls of protein meal to raise three chickens. We even capture the surplus heat generated during processing and use it to accelerate the hydrogen running rose. A fresh vegetable. From what's left we distilled two and a half gallons of ethanol use to make cleaner burning high Arctic. And both food and fuel. From each bushels of corn. One more reason why -- He's known as supermarket to the work. General -- could direct this question to the Weather Bureau but I have you -- -- -- Is there whether there are bad enough to prevent you from taking the pictures you need to see what damage has been done. Though the weather. That is obviously gonna affect the photography. But there's a lot of other ways that we can determine what damage were doing until a photograph aren't the only way that we can determine how successful unsuccessful -- And we have a lot of other techniques. That can -- also Kamal what results I'd rather just leave -- that yeah I'd like -- perfect weather but we don't have it but we don't necessarily have to. You don't want to say -- these other techniques are. Not -- -- general let me ask you about that report that we had doomed from the Iranian news agency -- to a captured American flyers have been seen in Baghdad even think about that. Well of course we're Karen were carrying twelve people missing in action. That's -- -- conceivable that. And I hope they did get to the ground safely and are alive I'd much rather see that that's the thing I'm dead and so I'd say -- -- we have no confirmation but it's entirely likely that that's true that -- go back and pressure on the business of Saddam Hussein and what he's up to. Since originally obviously we saw that he was not effective in putting up the kind of an air defense that you had -- and prepared for. Now could he at this point get his defense -- together. Is it too late I think it's I think it's far too late for him to have any kind of integrated. Surface to air missile defense this. What he's doing right now literally he has no control. Whatsoever with a radar so every time an air strike comes and he just throws everything he's got up and -- which is great because it's gonna run out of ammunition if he keeps on -- do you agree then that we have achieved. Effective air superiority now. Now in order to achieve better air superiority have to get before we're no missiles being fired anymore McDonough and airplanes have -- -- -- -- so -- -- -- ways to go have you found on the scud launchers the mobile launchers. I don't think so idea. But we certainly have. Very good indications that we have to press them so oppressed for my guess is a better word and whenever rest opted to go after we have a very intensive campaign out there. To destroy -- I think the results thus far show that we've -- a pretty good job of keep them under control there were no scud attacks last night and Israel or in Saudi Arabia do you believe that was because you have knocked out their launchers -- because it was a tactical decision on his part I I think -- is probably because. If we have a knock them out we usually we sure got -- on the move and run. I think that's so large measure of why generally I could never say a 100%. General you said that that they will run out of ammunition if he keeps sending the airplanes up. Pet do you any indication that these sanctions that have been in place lo these many months. Are having any affect on his ability to fight. That he does not have the spare parts the ammunition the replacements that he would have had had the sanctions not been in place. Yeah we've -- innumerable reports. To that effect and I can on on spare parts -- -- aircraft spare parts for his thanks editors -- feels. I think that they the sanctions are definitely an effect on the ability to wage war with regard to to the problem of liberating curator itself. The Republican guards can't be any good to him unless they get to Q right. What will it be like trying -- is now and what sort of target -- -- before your mountain as the Republican guards try to come south to QA. They can they -- -- there is what I'm asking. All I think that you know they've -- some -- -- get -- -- not Manning. You know -- so you -- I know that their protector when you're on the -- really belong plume. Behind you we have a fantastic day capability and even better night capability which he's never had to -- -- given them out that the Republican guards can't get there -- the real problem my gather and QA them will be conscript troops some old some very young many of them tired ill fed ill housed and disgruntled. They would seem to be ripe for psychological warfare appeals can you tell us what's being done and that dimension to -- and weaken their resolve to fight. Now we've had quite an extensive psychological campaign going on for quite some time I would tell -- that. That we plan to give them safe conduct passes for -- that they come forth for -- safe conduct passes. Heavy -- extremely well we're trying to send a message Mattel no we're not our intention not to destroy all of them. That would be delighted if they just walk away from their weapons. And get this -- are they doing that now are Iraqi troops surrendering -- small numbers of surrender all across the front in the last couple of days. I think the number of -- larger when they find out what's really going on all. The State's small numbers you indicate that would just be piccolo there's not any mass surrender at this well -- they then those that have come across have indicated that. That there will probably more afraid of their own -- -- of their -- barriers -- problem but some very difficult for them to go forward because. You know they can't come across the mass with a mind -- how formidable. Are the defenses that they have been occupied Kuwait. At the present time I would say they're probably some of the most formal of offenses. That you could ever run into -- war can be 52 carpet bombing get a dog. We have a lot of things that can get at all and I certainly don't intend two. To withdraw American troops or or -- the coalition for other troops against these barriers were puppet master with regard I I asked this question no. Due respect to all service leaders. But in past wars we've had intense interest service competition let's get in the Marines have to have appease the army have to people -- terrible air force must be there. When you fight this battle if you have to fight it are you going to fight it in a way so that every service has a piece of it or you just gonna fight it in a way that makes most sense. I say about what ask that question is a fact that I've got superb upon commanders. Marines air force -- navy army we've all been in this thing together since August I got that has been absolutely not one single indication at all. A penny and -- service problem were working as a great team now. And it's going to be that entire team that does the job -- the time complements the target decisions Lyndon Johnson actually picked targets. Over Vietnam. In that war. Do you make the target decision the one of the things I'm most thankful for as -- fact that the president MySpace the secretary of defense and general Colin Powell. -- allowed the fifth commanders in the field to do with the commanders in the field think are correct obviously -- briefed them on what we're doing. Obviously if they thought we -- doing something don't they tell us about it and we changes but they're not allowing the commanders in the field to conduct this war general thankful for -- Generally -- sound quite pleased understandably with what you're doing and what you're doing -- we're -- let me ask you have to be discontent from moment. Is there any thing that you don't have that you would like to have this or some some asset that you think. It would be very useful -- have right now. Now I don't think so I think that as a matter of fact though we have been thin. Very very plays you know there's an awful lot of criticism of a very very sophisticated weapon system we have. In the past there's been a lot of criticism when people thought they aren't gonna work and -- of course you don't know what they are gonna work until they -- without a lot of firsts on this. And this campaign so far all those first have been very successful so so I wouldn't say there's I think right now that we're lacking. General -- watching those weapons work and when we saw those videotapes. That the other day is shown from Maria. I must say that the reaction here was one of great excitement hey look at that they've really blew up the thing. You see a building in a site it looks like a video game more than anything else is there any sign of danger that that you don't have any sense of of the horrors of war here that it is all just a game. You didn't say made treating -- like a game and you didn't say -- laughing and joking about a going on. -- human lives being lost when that happens and at this stage of the game is not a times for frivolity on the part of anybody. General I have one last question for you. We've been hearing a good deal for a long time about the Iraqi use nuclear capability either in existence are on the way. Where does it stand now have you been able to knock it out. I'm very very happy to tell you that we have. We've gone after nuclear capability his chemical capability and -- biological capability. And I don't know where it was before the starter but I can assure you. That has had a considerable setback if not a total setback. By this point again -- don't you think just more molest. I have no idea that's totally scenario dependent. Thank you general thanks very much -- being with us. Your -- walk and need to say we wish you the best to look. Thank you very much coming next Benjamin Netanyahu the deputy foreign minister of Israel. In -- moment.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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