Blitzer discusses impacts of wars in Iraq, U.S. fight against terror
Saddam Hussein’s lengthy reign meant three decades of strife for the people of Iraq. His regime was responsible for the death and torture of thousands of his own citizens, as well as deadly attacks on the country’s Kurdish territories and the invasion of neighboring Kuwait.Still, it made for good television.”Certainly, Saddam Hussein helped my career a lot in those early days [on CNN],” anchor Wolf Blitzer reminisced Tuesday, kicking off the first installment of the Aspen Institute Summer Speaker Series.Blitzer recalled his early days with the network during his presentation, “How the World has Changed Since the Iraq War,” at Paepcke Auditorium. The anchor’s topic drew a standing room-only crowd, leaving late arrivals to sprawl on the lawn outside the auditorium or cluster around outdoor speakers provided by the Institute. Iraq invaded Kuwait just two months after Blitzer joined CNN in 1990, allowing the novice broadcaster a firsthand look at the U.S. counterstrike. The latest conflict sent Blitzer back to the region, where he reported on the invasion of coalition forces and the fall of Hussein’s regime.Blitzer offered little perspective on the coalition’s latest dilemmas – the ongoing resistance of some Iraqi fighters, as well as the conspicuous absence of both Hussein and his alleged weapons of mass destruction.He did, however, offer advice on the country’s reconstruction efforts – involve the Iraqi people in the formation of a new government.”Let them take charge as much as possible, so it doesn’t look like a U.S. military occupation,” Blitzer said.The U.S. military is already bracing for future conflicts involving the ongoing investigation of international terrorist groups and the threat of nuclear weapons in North Korea. Blitzer cautioned military officials to keep an eye out for the less-publicized conflicts, including tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, that could threaten world relations.”When one of these events occurs in one part of the world, it almost immediately resonates in the rest of the world,” Blitzer said.A Q&A following Blitzer’s talk polled his opinions on a variety of subjects, including the much-publicized “road map to peace” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the search for both Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. Blitzer acknowledged that many Americans won’t find security until after their capture – the world won’t believe the war is over until that time.”We’ll see soon enough if the world’s more secure,” he said.[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is email@example.com]
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