tv John King USA CNN October 20, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
left us, one of the oddest was gadhafi preparing for a speech trying to decide whether to appear with his coat buttoned or unbuttoned. now that he's gone, maybe we can stop asking how can a dig nater like that look at himself in a mirror. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> that's it for me, thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the news continues next on cnn. tonight, the libyan dictator gadhafi dies a bloody, violent death and the people he ruled by force for four decades celebrated as a fitting good riddance. cnn is about to air for the first time, video from misrata that showed the bloody body of moammar gadhafi, quite graphic and disturbing. if you have young children in the room, you might want them to turn away it might not be appropriate for all viewers. we'll show it now. several fighters seen surrounding the corps shouting slogans.
>> what you hear, shouts of god is great while others say, quote the blood of the martyrs will not be in vain. the camera tilts down, you see it there the head of gadhafi. wounds on his face, including a gunshot wound in the forehead. officials of the nur lew libyan government said he died of shotgun wounds to the head. suggests he deserves some credit for gadhafi's demise. >> our brave pilots have flown in libya's skies. our sailors provided support off libya's shores. and our leadership at nato has helped guide our coalition. without putting a single u.s. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives, and our nato mission will soon come to an end. >> i'm john king in washington. we'd like to welcome viewers not only here in the united states but around the world.
we consider the fallout of the breaking news, death of moammar gadhafi. there are many important unanswered questions tonight, including just how did gadhafi die. did his ruthless son saif die with him? the impact on the fast changing middle east in north africa. consider this, wildly popular online, across the arab world. red xs crossing out deposed dictators of tunisia, egypt. saleh waiting his turn. after two months on the run, what we know about his final minutes. we must warn you, again, some of these images are gruesome. footage aired on al arabiya shows a wounded but live gadhafi being dragged around by his hometown by armed men. gadhafi's corpse, a gunshot wound to the side of the head. transitional government announced the death and labeled today's libya's real day of liberation.
dan rivers in tripoli tonight, and, dan what can you tell us is the reporting continues to flow in on gadhafi's final moments? >> reporter: well, the ntc are putting out their side of the story, claiming that gadhafi, as you saw in that footage you just show there, john, he was alive when first captured, injured about alive. they say he was shot in the arm, because live. trying to take him to hospital when he was -- the vehicle he was in was caught in the cross fire between pro and anti-gadhafi forces, and at that point it was -- he was shot through the head, we don't know who by, but caught in the cross fire, they say, and died shortly before he arrived at hospital. they are desperate to contradict the other reports circulating and speculation here that he may have been executed by some of the ntc forces. there were earlier reports suggesting that some of the forces had shot him with his own
golden gun. they are putting out this story saying, no, he was caught in the k cross fire, trying to take him to hospital, they wanted him alive but he died before he got to hospital, having been shot in the head by a stray bullet. >> dan, help our viewers understand the significance of the government rushing to try to get that story out, in the sense that you see celebrations in the street. i assume many libyans are happy the dictator's dead, regards of the circumstances. but there are some in libya and around the world who wanted him brought to justice. i assume there are still some in libya who support him and would view an execution as a gross offense by the new government. >> reporter: that's right. i think, you know, there are several points here that you know the new government has been criticized severely with the way it's treating detainees, low-level detainees but nevertheless, amnesty, human rights, other human rights groups have criticized the way they've been dealing with detainees. if it transpired that their own
forces had executed most prized detainee of all, colonel gadhafi that would be a further blow to them. you're right there are people here we have spoken to who wanted to see gadhafi on trial. they wanted to hear him held to account and answer the questions about the brutal treatment that he meted out on the country for 42 years. now their chance of justice, of trying to explain and cross-examine gadhafi has been taken away. the ntc claim it was sheer misfortune, other reports that were circulating earlier suggesting that he was deliberately killed by the ntc. >> critical reporting by dan rivers. as you just heard, how exactly did gadhafi die? that's not entirely clear. we know nato alliance reports it fired on a pro-gadhafi convoy trying to escape sirte and gadhafi was in one of the vehicles and likely wounded in that strike. let's get more from our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence.
what are your sources telling you tone? >> reporter: well, john, a senior defense official confirms that a combined nato strike did hit a pro-gadhafi convoy earlier this morning. they say it was a combination of french fighter jets and a predator drone firing hellfire missiles, part of more than 400 times that the allies have dropped ordnance on libya during the last seven or eighth months dooring this campaign. also 145 predator drone strikes during this time. a nato official confirmed to us that moammar gadhafi was not killed in part of any strike on the convoy but that he was killed or died later, after being engages with the rebels. >> and, chris, one of the questions is the level of coordination. if there's a nato strike on the convoy and rebels show up moments later, and that's what happened, gadhafi hiding in a big tube, looks like a tunnel, a drainage ditch off the side of
the highway, you see the pictures, that's where they found gadhafi, the question is coordination. is the coordination that good? nato says we're about to streak a convoy, transitional forces should get out there? >> it's been extremely close for some time now. in fact, you know, there's an ongoing battle with nato continuing to insist that its mission was one of protecting civilians, not overthrowing a government. and yet you did see very, very close, close air support, coor nation of car gtargeting and st missions between nato forces and the rebels on the ground. this has been going on for some time that nato has been cooperating with the rebels on the ground closely. >> chris lawrence, live with breaking news. nato secretary-general says libya can, quote, turn over a new page and adds with the fall of gadhafi's strongholds, the end of nato mission is close at hand. so what next? u.s. senator john mccain an early advocate of using force to
push gadhafi from power and recently visited the country to confer with leaders of the transitional government. live from capitol hill. i want to start with your information. you've heard reports, gadhafi taken alive, then killed, you see the gunshot wound to the head when you look at the photos. the transitional government says in a cross fire. have you heard any information that leads you to question that, think perhaps someone who took him into custody might have executed him? >> i don't know, john. but in pursuant to the conversation you just had, i would have liked to have seen him in the criminal court because the guy has been guilty of numerous crimes, including the blood of americans on his hands because of the bombing of pan am 103, the disco in germany, you know, the list goes on and on. but i don't have any more information than you do on how he died, and done think anybody does, either. >> i want to talk about the security situation and your recent visit there. you made a very important point.
as we talk about it and report the details of the death of gadhafi, it is important to remember for many people around the world this is personal because of this man's crimes over the years. brian flynn, the brother of a lockerbie victim, j.p. flynn, he wrote this on cnn.com today. rather than wanting to see the kind of freak show snuff film of gadhafi worming its way through the internet as i write this, i would have far preferred to watch him from a front row seat in the hague as he, in true milosevic style, would have been made to answer for his countless, hideous crimes. it is a shame, senator, it is a shame, no one's going to miss gadhafi. but people in his own country, put to death and buried in mass graves, people around the world, whether berlin, pan am 103 killed business hi terrorists will never get all of the answers. >> that's right. the more exposure that these kinds of people get at the hague, the more lessons are learned and the more impression it makes on people. but it is what it is, and i'd
like to congratulate the administration. they helped out enormously. i think that they deserve great credit. i think greater credit goes to our british and french allies who really were leaders. i wish we had used the full weight of american air power and wouldn't have had so many casualties, but the fact is that this is -- this is another success for the obama administration and there was close coordination, as you mentioned between nato air and people on the ground, which weren't always libyans. >> i want to ask you about the situation on the ground now. some 20,000 surface-to-air missiles unaccounted for, other weapons, including mustard gas that gadhafi promised to troy but hadn't yet, what is your level of confidence in the transitional government to fine that stuff and keep it out of the hand of the bad guys and willingness to anow we have more sophisticated intelligence
operations? now that they don't need us anymore, to take gadhafi out, are you worried that they will not allow us to find that stuff? >> i'm not worried at all. they're very grateful to us, john. this is our chance, not only to send in people to secure these weapons so they don't fall into the wrong hands, though apparently there's already a substantial amount missing, but the best thing we can do right now is to announce that we are helping the libyans care for their wounded. they have some 30,000 wounded, we could say we're flying them to landstuhl, our military hospital in germany, we could send a hospital ship to sit there in the harbor in tripoli and help care for these wounded. they're overwhelmed, health care facilities by the wounded. remember, it's a small country. we have to get the militias under the control of the transition national council government. they are not now, and this is a very critical time to get that to happen, and then i guess also
we have to make sure that the abuses don't take place of the detainees and the geneva conventions are adhered to in the prisons. >> you had very kind words for the president of the united states about the administration's role in this. that was kind of you. i want you to listen to the president today. as we watch this in the wake of tunisia, egypt, gadhafi is not only out of power but dead, what message does this send to saleh in yemen, assad in syria? listen to the president of the united states. >> the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end. across the arab world citizens stood up to claim their rights, youth delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship and leaders that try to deny their dignity will not succeed. >> any evidence that this could topple assad, any evidence that iran, which many say is stronger in the region today than a few months ago, will be influenced
by this? >> i think every nation in the world is influenced by it. i think it's -- we should take the word arab out of spring. putin is less comfortable in his position today. i think the chinese even are less comfortable. i think something sweeping the globe. we may be left completely untouched because there is great dissatisfaction out there, by the way i'm not predicting anything more than what we may be seeing today, but look, people, thanks to social networking, thanks to a whole lot of the breeze of liberty and freedoms blowing around the world and i think it's one of the greatest and most transitional times in the history of the world, and we should be proud to lead it and to help. in the case of syria, look, assad has got to go but i don't know how you can intervene any more than we are in providing the kind of moral support and other support that is needed. each country and each one of
these revolutions is different and has to be treated differently, as well. >> if there's someone around the world, an activist in syria, maybe iran who says, why not my country, the nato alliance helped in libya, is this a template for the future? what are the barriers, the red lines you can't cross? >> it is a template for the future. what do you do next? i'm worried about egypt. we've not seen a lot of the progress we want to see but i think they can succeed. elections coming up in tunisia, let's see what happens there. i'm optimistic there. libya, they've never known any kind of government other than what they experienced under gadhafi. there's tribal divisions and all of that. so we need to come in and help them establish the building blocks of democracy. there are ngos that helped out in former soviet union after the berlin wall fell. by the way, libya's a wealthy country and so it's not as if
they're going to need financial assistance. so we can play a role of assistance and i think that america, i know for a fact from being in both benghazi and tripoli they like america, they appreciate the united states of america and they want to be like us. so let's not squander the opportunity. let's help them out. >> important words from senator john mccain on capitol hill, on the breaking news. thank you for your time. up next, more on the breaking news story including new details on the hunt for gadhafi. and here's the former libyan leader in his own words talking about democracy, if you believe that spoken in 2009 at the united nations. >> translator: democracy's not for the rich or for the one who terrorizes, for the one more powerful than us should have democracy, no. it should be the only nations at equal footing. 2 o0 [ be ] [ mom ] oote r? the prresso chicken noodle you made is so good. it's got tender white meat chicken. the way i always made it for you.
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agents under gadhafi's rule and those killed in pan am 103 and david cameron sounded a similar note, noting libya once supplied chemical explosives to the i.r.a. take a closer look at gadhafi's four decades in power. come over here, play this out, back in september 1969, richard nixon was the president of the united states, gadhafi launched a coup and took control of the country. then, in april 1986, this is when the disco bombing happened in berlin nightclub, killing three americans, injuring 299 others. reagan was the president of the united states then. listen to this. >> this mad dog of the middle east has a goal of a world revolution muslim fundamentalist revolution. >> mad dog of the middle east. that was ronald reagan back then. then we fast forward here. december 22, 1988, that is flight 103 lockerbie, 270 people killed. you see the devastation of the flight there. then in 2009, moammar gadhafi
was trying to make amends with the world. visited the united states for the first time. 2003 he decided to give up his nuclear weapons program, allowed to visit the united nations and gave one of his legendary rambling speeches. >> democracy is not for the rich or for the one who terrorizes, the one who is more powerful than us should have democracdem no. >> everyone should have democrat circumstance something of course never, ever happened in libya. make that go away. bring this down. my apologies for that. march 2011, the beginning of operation odyssey dawn, to remove gadhafi from power, the united states and nato forces participating in that. today, october 20, 2011, history books record mow car gadhafi killed. is legacy? what now for the region? joining us, former homeland security adviser fran townsend, professor. nicholas burns, a research fellow with the new america
foundation. fran, i want to talk you first someone who has met the man, the world will not miss him. but what is missing now that he will not be brought to justice? tell us more about who he was. >> you know i think, john, many people have said, i mean this was not a rational man to have a negotiation with. it was a very difficult conversation to have with him. and he had a very definite view of the world that was at times completely uninformed by the actual facts and reality. look, this is a man who so closely held power that it causes a vacuum, ntc will have to rise to that occasion. but there will be tribal differences, those pro-gadhafi loyalists who will melt into the population and you hope they don't come back but you can't be certain. we did see insurgency that formed in iraq after saddam was captured. and then, of course, there's the libyan islamic fighting group an affiliate of the al qaeda organization and you worry that
extremists will try to infiltrate libya to take advantage of the vacuum left after gadhafi's gone. it's a terrific success today and it really -- this is an opportunity for the libyan people to have the democratic form of government that they've wanted. but they have real challenges as they go forward. >> you have reported extensively from libya. if you read many articles you have skepticism that the ntc, transitional council, is up to the task. have they made progress? better prepared now than they were when you first started reporting on this crisis? >> well, john, as you know, i was in libya for six months, and they have made some progress but the problem is they don't have discipline over military units. it's not clear how gadhafi died. whether he died in custody or from his wounds suffered from the battlefield and that's a big problem that the ntc has moving forward. it's going to have to impose discipline. the real problem that the ntc nas society, three factions in society, there's a die-hard gadhafi loyalists that we saw
fight to the death, the libyan nationalists who appreciated gadhafi because he got rid of western influence and defied the west and fence sitters unsure of the revolution and the ntc needs to win over support of the second and third groups and not alienate the first group, and that's their big problems moving forward. >> nick burns, what about the world? criticism of the obama administration, people saying the president was leading from behind, he let the british and french and others take the lead in nato. president biden saying nato got it right. was this an isolated one-time incident? >> john, i think it might have been an isolate incident. they made the right decision to go into libya, without the nato air effort there would be no victory by the rebel alliance against the gadhafi forces, gadhafi would still be in power. i think president obama ought to fill vindicated.
what made nato go? n.? the fact that the arab league invited nato to go, intervene in the affairs of the state. the united nations security council blessed the operation. the third, the siege of benghazi, all combined to force the united states, the united kingdom and france, to put nato in that situation. none of those conditions will be present in syria, none are present in bahrain, none are present in yemen. so i don't think that we can look at libya as a template for what's going to happen down the road as the next arab regime is under threat, and certainly gadhafi and certainly saleh in yemen are on the ropes right now. either one of them can fall within months. not gadhafi, but assad in syria. >> and, nick, to you firsting i want to go quickly through the group, mccain says he's confident the new government will make the right choices in a region they could strike an alliance with iran, with assad. nick burns you first. are you confident they will say nato the united states stood by us, we will plant our feet with
them? >> i'm not confident. i think this group will try to be friendly with the united states and europe but it's a very loose alliance of rival militia groups. and the first order of business is going to be can they disband many of the armed groups, can he get them under control, and can they begin to heal the tribal divisions. there's euphoria today in libya, but the task of building a new libya is going to be everybody's difficult as driving the dictator out. >> all of the oil, the weapons, if i'm a radical jihadist, al qaeda has been weakened but i'd be looking at an opening there, right? >> definitedefinitely. look at algerian mali, they're looking to gain control of those weapons. and not only there, but also looking at movement of weapons to gaza through egypt. i was in egypt in a city, there were a lot of check points because people are afraid of these weapons. there's a proliferation of weapons throughout the region. >> fran will be back with us in a bit.
still to come, what was the role of the u.s. spies and drones in the death of gadhafi? the chairwoman of the u.s. intelligence committee joins us. tonight's truth, did the candidates who want to take president obama's job have anything to apologize now that e maki ng tomrows li clockwork. ♪ for all the different things our customers planned for. like a college education. or, the perfect wedding. ♪ ♪ i love ya, tomorrow! [ male announcer ] we're making them a better financial future. what can we make with you? transamerica. transform tomorrow.
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fluid unpredictable situations like libya and the broader arab spring. take mitt romney for example, today it's very black and white. >> the world is a better place with gadhafi gone. >> but back in march the former massachusetts governor suggested president obama took too long to authorize the u.s. military role in libya. a month later he suggested mr. obama's approach was quote underdeliberated. in august, there was this -- >> our involvement in libya was marked by inadequate clarity of purpose before we began the mission and the mission muddled during the operation and ongoing confusion in the future. >> is it fair to point out romney's drift on libya. he has plenty of company among the republican candidates. jon huntsman calls gadhafi's death positive news for freedom loving people everywhere but says that is no way a retreat from this -- >> i look at libya new york defined national security goal new york defined national security strategy at play new york defined exit strategy.
what are we doing? >> tonight texas governor rick perry said good riddance to gadhafi and called on the united states to work closely with libya. he didn't seem to think libya mattered all that much a month ago. >> americans don't want to see that young men and women going into foreign countries without a clear reason that american interests are at stake, and they want to see not only a clear entrance, they want to see a clear exit strategy as well. >> another republican candidate, michele bachmann, today agrees that, quote, the world is a better place without gadhafi. but a few months ago, she wasn't so agreeable, saying the president was absolutely wrong in his decision on libya. at the white house the incumbents seemed more than eager to address his foreign policy critics. >> we've taken out al qaeda leaders and put them on the path to defeat. we're winding down the war in iraq and had begun a transition
in afghanistan. now working in libya with friends and allies, we've demonstrated what collective action can achieve in the 21st century. >> all is fair in love and in politics. but as his republican rivals learned the hard truth that foreign policy debates can get messy, there are important lessons for president obama as well. first the economy. not foreign policy will be the defining election issue here in thes. lastly, president obama should have empathy when others suffer some campaign contortions on foreign policy. remember candidate obama promising to meet with leaders of iran and north korea in his first year in office, or his iron-clad promise to close guantanamo bay in the first year as well? the hardest foreign policy truth is always learned by the winner, being president is a lot more complicated and consequence than running for president. today's headlines, including how your computer may have helped one company turn $5 billion profit in one month.
insight into what the united states expects now libya's new government should do. talk to the head of the senate intelligence committee. gadhafi's complicated with american presidents including the first president bush. >> bush -- >> george bush senior, the father, when he addressed the matter with libya, he resorted to the united nations and never resorted to the means of. [ tires screech ] [ crying ] [ applause ] [ laughs ] [ tires screech ] [ male announcer ] your life will have to flash by even faster. autodrive brakes on the cadillac srx activate after rain is detected to help improve braking performance. we don't just make luxury cars. we make cadillacs.
welcome back. the latest news you need to know. a magnitude 3.9 earthquake rattled california's bay area, centered two miles from berkeley. the united states senate ready to vote on i portion of the president's jobs bill, provides the portion they're voting on provides more money for teachers and first responders. the united states senate, it might slip to tomorrow. microsoft reported a quarterly profit of $5.7 billion. record sales of more than $17 billion powered by the company's business productivity and server software. "the new york times" reports that six years after his stroke, the former israeli prime minister sharon responds to some requests, though he remains in a coma-like say and despite being fed intravenously.
in spain, the separatist group eta calls the cessation of armed activity. erin burnett "out front" coming up at the top of the hour. >> of course we'll be talking about the libyan story of the day. well, libya, as you know, has a lot of oil, in fact, it has the largest reserves of light sweet crude oil on earth. of course that's the oil our refineries want. we'll get to the bottom line of what libya means for america and talk about a big idea, talking about the jobs bill passing. an unusual alliance today between a democrat and a republican with a really novel way to fix housing. they put a bill forth. we'll be talking with senator chuck schumer about that. >> cooperation, what a concept. >> right. who thought? >> we'll see you in a few minutes. up next, the chairwoman of the senate intelligence committee is worried about the gadhafi's regime's missing
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from a classified briefing on the libyan developments. what did you learn about any role the united states might have played in finding gadhafi, flushing him out of the hiding? >> we learned nothing about the specifics of what happened to gadhafi. i think it's pretty clear, candidly, that he's dead and i think now there's an opportunity for libya to move forward to put all of this behind them, to show that they can make a real contribution to the world as a stable country with real democratic values. >> nato has said that it was involved in firing at a convoy and believes gadhafi was in that convoy and was wounded, and the rebel fighters came along quickly and took him into custody. any information at all on the coordination there? >> no, not at this time. >> what is your concern going forward in the sense that, i want you listen right here, this is peter bucard of human rights
watch, he said so many weapons are missing including dangerous surface-to-air missiles. let's listen. >> in every city we arrive and the first thing to disappear are the surface-to-air missiles. >> we're talking about some 20,000 missing surface-to-air missiles in all of libya. and i've seen cars packed with them. they could turn all of north africa into a no-fly zone. >> senator, what is the latest intelligence on tracking the missiles down? >> i have no intelligence on tracking those missiles down except that i believe that report is very likely correct and that there are thousands of these missiles missing, that there are arms depots that have apparently been raided that were not well-guarded and this is a problem. and i think that this new government of libya is going to have to show responsibility up front and that as a matter of
first instance they're going to have to see that weapons are secured and weapons are off the street and that reason prevails to develop a new government because as it turns out to be a government by force, a government by threat, a government by the brandishment of weapons that's not going to achieve anything. >> let's break that down a little bit. you started off saying you have no intelligence. that make me nervous, maybe frightened, in the sense that is there no cooperation? are there not u.s. intelligence assets on the ground looking for missiles? is the transitional government not making this a priority? is the obama administration and the other allies involved in nato not make this enough of a priority if you have no information? >> well, look, it's very new, the information will be put together, i'm sure, at some point we will be briefed. you asked me what we were briefed on today, and it really is that there is some evidence
that gadhafi is dead, we don't know exactly what secured that death, but it will be -- it will be coming forward. the gori details, gadhafi is a man that will not be long mourned, not be long remembered, no one wants to replicate another gadhafi. what is of importance is that we all look forward now and give the new government whatever support we can and that government measures up. it's going to be a tremendous challenge to bring reason out of tumult. i hope they can do it about. we want to help them do it but they now have to step up, put their government together, take over, develop a constitution, develop the rule of law, and that's very important. and it took the united states a long time to do it, so we need
to provide whatever help we can to see that there is a stable and democratic libya that emerges. >> you are among those who early on, during the conflict, before gadhafi fell from power two months ago who said you're nervous, some involved in trying to overthrow him had some ties to al qaeda, some of them might favor some radical islamist operations inside libya. are you convinced that either those elements have changed their ways or been rooted out of the transitional government, or is that a question mark? >> i take nothing for granted. i think to prove that you're right time, to prove that you can do it, it's a prove that you mean it, that you want a stable, democratic libya, and this is the time to show it. so we're going to see. >> and as we see, what happens? there was mustard gas, surface-to-air missiles, many other weapons in the depots bill up by moammar gadhafi giant question marks as to their whereabouts now. how do they prove to you, how do
they prove to president obama, to nato, that they are willing to cooperate fully in the search? dou do they have to have an open-ended commitment? >> i see by their statements and by their actions, if their actions are filled with recrimination and violence that tells us one thing. if their actions are to sit down and work out a governmental structure, bring people together, find an element of reconciliation in the process and move on, that tells us a very positive thing. you can't tell in the middle of battle, and battle has still been going on, and essentially gadhafi fell in one of the last instances of battle. battles should now stop. reconciliation should begin. a new nation should emerge. and leaders have to emerge to lead that nation. >> diane feinstein, chairman of the senate intelligence committee. thank you for your time.
>> thank you. at the time of transition, senator feinstein spoke about, we wanted to reflect on what just happened in tonight's number, 1.1 billion, what does that represent? how much the united states spent on the nato -- on its part of the nato operation. break that down this way. nato operation in place of 216 days, that's $5 million a day of american money, 5 million a day for 216 days. where did the money go? costs include this, daily military operations, involvement of the troops and other military personnel involved, the cost of the munitions used and dropped on libya, including things dropped from predators, fired from ships and the like. also humanitarian assistance included in that $1.1 billion. the weapons that we used, more than 70 u.s. aircraft involved in the operation. early on many u.s. ships. one navy ship for the duration, mesa verdicty, more than 7700 flights, sorties by american
jets, military operations plus 145 predator strikes and that's up to today one predator strike involved in that convoy that gadhafi was in this morning in sirte. that, the price to the american taxpayer part of the mission. remember that number $1.1 billion and that's not final. we'll get you a final number. next a republican senator in libya tells us how republican s recently innia and tells me what could emerge is a strong, pro-u.s. ally. [ boy ] hey, i thought these were electric? uh, it is, yeah, it's a chevy volt. so what are you doing at a gas station? well it still takes gas to go farther. but you're not getting gas. true. not this time. uh, don't have to gas up very often. so you have to go to the bathroom?
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on the senate floor today commenting on the death of moammar gadhafi, mark kirk recently visited libya predicted that country could turn into a new, very pro u.s. ally in the middle east. senator kirk joins us and back with us cnn national security contributor fran townsend who has been invited to libya before as a guest. i want to get your take on this, the new transitional government says that gadhafi was taken alive and we've shown our viewers and we'll show them again and these are graphic images and anyone with children in the room might want to turn them away. he was taken alive and the video and you see clearly he was shot in the head and he has a bullet wound in the forehead. they were driving him somewhere and the fight broke out between pro-gadhafi and the transitional government forces and he was wounded in that cross fire. there are questions tonight as to whether he was executed. do you trust the transitional council's explanation? >> i think it really doesn't
matter. he gave no quarter to hundreds of libyans that he killed. human rights abuses up the ying yang including his wife pouring scalding water on their nanny now recovering from third-degree burns in malta. if he was killed at the hands of his own people that's pretty much what he deserved. >> i don't think anyone will cry tears for moammar gadhafi except maybe his own family members, but in the sense of this new government as it tries to start up and the tribal packs in dispute with libya. isn't it important to get it right from the beginning. >> john, i don't disagree with the senator that there will not be tears shed, but they do have to now form a government and institute the rule of law, and they've got to have the credibility with the libyan people to do that. i don't think anybody ought to be spending a whole lot of time trying to figure out what happened because i don't think it matter, but i do think going forward, if there is a sense
that he was treated in a way that it is in violation of human rights not consistent with the rule of law, after all, the transitional government wants to be something better than gadhafi was and better in the eyes of the libyan people than moammar gadhafi. >> you were just there, so i want your perspective. you just heard senator feinstein say she doesn't have intelligence yet on the search for these 20,000 surface to air-missiles and there was mustard gas left over. are you confident and did you talk to the transitional government about allowing u.s. intelligence assets and military assets to get in there and find that stuff before it ends up in the wrong hands? >> i did and there were two stories and one with regard to the chemical weapons stockpile of gadhafi that i think we have a very good handle on its security and where it is and because the libyan rebel government is so pro-u.s. they're working with us well, but on the case of handheld surface-to-air missiles, in the
collapse of the gadhafi army, his vast arsenal of soviet weapons was looted now in the hands of dozens of militias and this is a big problem for the united states which is why secretary of state clinton outlined a program to buy back or gain jurisdiction of those weapons before they become a worldwide threat to civil aircraft. >> knowing the tribal packs and tribal rivalries and distrust, how likely are people going to say we'll get money for the united states or civil strive within the country or perhaps sell in the open market where they might get more. >> the american government has a long history of buyback for surface-to-air missiles. one of the places where this was a real concern was in afghanistan, and we know that we've suffered at the hands of these sorts of weapons. so i expect the buyback program is a good approach, but we can't kid ourselves that it is the 100% solution. once they are out this become a
real nightmare for all air assets both sifil and military. >> that the delicate moment, as this new government tries to get up and running and tries to earn the credibility of its own people as well as the world, what is the single most important thing the united states should do tomorrow to. >> to help the the libyan government unify the military so the militia in tripoli don't break out into warfare rue ining the tremendous gain that we've given and to help elections quickly so that this tech technokratic government win elections and we don't see the rise of an islamic party. >> any fears on your part this in six months we'll be having an egypt conversation saying where is the progress? >> we could. the big problem in the middle east is egypt. we could see an islamic government there by next april. indications are not in libya. overwhelming support for the
united states and the rebel government. i think they should trigger early elections to lock in their current popularity. >> fran, as we wind down the hour, as someone who has been in the room with moammar gadhafi, he is dead tonight. good riddance is the answer from most of the world. how will you remember this heinous man, i'll use that term. >> john, it was the -- my interaction with him really made clear in my mind that he was completely narcissistic and completely self-absorbed. he didn't care about his people. he didn't seem to care about the country, the infrastructure, and it was really striking to me that a leader could be so removed and so cold and callous to his own people, and so, look, that's what i took away from it. he was not a rational negotiator and he wasn't a rational leader and most of the time not tied to reality. >> senator, in closing, are you convinced now that he is dead, that anyone who stood with him is gone, they will fade away or will this new government have