Monitor Breakfast: Senator Richard Lugar

Selected quotations from a Monitor Breakfast with Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).

On need for President Bush to articulate next steps in war on terrorism:

"I think he has to list the countries with regard to weapons of mass destruction. They are a fairly known quantity. There might be a surprise or two. I think we know who has been doing something. What we don't know is how much and how far along."

On whether Iraq sponsors terrorism:

"I don't think that is clear. It is very possible that for his own purposes he may have given harbor to various types at various times... My own view is that they do have programs, if not materials (then) weapons of mass destruction. So leaving aside whether they sponsor terrorists around the world, they have fully the ability to supply or to use (weapons of mass destruction). It is a situation that has to be remedied.

Pragmatically the question then will be what can we do with Russia or with others so that they open up to begin with. It is not necessarily a remedy to go to war with Iraq and to try to change their regime. The problem is to isolate what they have. Now that may not be possible. The bottom line is that if you can not work it through diplomacy, ...then you may have military action. But by that point we have to line up the Russians, NATO, others, so that we have the same prospects for military success in a short period of time as we have had in Afghanistan."

On consequences if fail to get bin laden:

"It would be very disappointing if bin laden is not produced in a short period of time. But I am resigned to the fact he may not be. That would be too bad, but I am equally concerned about a number of the Al Qaeda people who are disappearing... Our mission still is to root out terrorist cells from that system..."

On whether action since Sept. 11 has made the US safer:

"...Probably qualitatively: somewhat by the fact that we have disrupted some of the chain of command... and perhaps their money sources -- although that remains to be seen. I think it I possible that the detention of suspects in the United States has disrupted for the moment or at least made more cautious those that might have planned or had in the works followup attacks. That may diminish over the course of time if we are not successful in really finding them in this country... ...There certainly is more sensitivity as to how people move, train, aggregate, finance than there was before."

On the likelihood of a second attack:

"This is why the alerts keep coming. There is not high confidence in our government that a second attack or something else will not occur. And the morale effect of that on the American people would be very, very tough. It is one thing to have commemorated Sept 11. -- the recovery, the courageous people there. But to find something is falling apart somewhere else after a big attack is another story. So I think we still are in the alert status."

On the effect of President Bush's decision to leave the ABM treaty:

"The fact is there is a new relationship and the ABM treaty is important to Putin but not as important as the relationship (with the US). That doesn't mean that the military people in Russia and others have the same attitude. (Putin) is probably way ahead of the crowd but nevertheless he has been very successful. He is a doer and pragmatically helpful... so that gives us some latitude. Our problem will be, after all is said and done: ...Can you intercept the rogue missile or two with chaff all around it and countermeasures? I hope we can. It cuts off at least one sort of attack from rogue nations. Russians are satisfied -- at least Putin is -- that we can never overwhelm the 1700 warheads they have left... Even the Chinese have been extraordinarily muted because they feel they have a new relationship with us too."

On whether voters want an economic stimulus package:

"Aside from articles in the newspaper, my constituents are not writing to me... They are not calling for a stimulus package. They might later on. This is why most members are worried. If in fact Congressional races next November are going to be fought over the domestic economy, then as an insurance policy it would certainly be well for us to vote up there on the scoreboard in December of this year -- that we were prescient enough to think about this... The conviction that any of these things are likely to create in a short term or even an intermediate term the payoff everybody hopes is lacking, and it is lacking with the pubic as a whole. The public is likewise somewhat skeptical seeing the argument and the whole shopping list..."

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