updated 6/1/2004 11:00:38 AM ET 2004-06-01T15:00:38

Guests: Robin Wright, Janis Karpinski, Tom Selleck

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Tonight a special Memorial Day edition of


General Janis Karpinski, she denies knowledge that Iraqi prisons were abused on her watch. 

Plus battleground America.  We go to Missouri, the state that voted for the winner 24 out of the last 25 elections. 

And Tom Selleck is here to talk to us about playing General Dwight D.

Eisenhower at D-day. 

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews. 

The pictures of Iraqi prisoners being tortured at Abu Ghraib prison shocked the nation and hurt President Bush‘s credibility on the war. 

With new allegations of torture at other prisons, including some in Afghanistan, we brought together the best reporters on this story from NBC News and the “Washington Post.”

And we asked the “Post‘s” Dana Priest to examine the history of the CIA‘s use of torture and interrogation tactics. 


DANA PRIEST, “WASHINGTON POST” (voice-over):  1970, Kwan San (ph) prison, South Vietnam. 

American congressmen and staff discover secret tiger cages for South Vietnamese political prisoners.  They are beaten and starved.  Their legs are withered from the cramped conditions. 

“Life” magazine publishes the photos.  The world is shocked.

The 1980‘s, President Reagan‘s counter insurgency wars in Central America.  The CIA trained brutal Honduran Army intelligence units.  Battalion 316. 

Its interrogation methods?  Electric shock, suffocation, murder. 

In 1995, human rights activist Jennifer Harberry (ph) throws the national spotlight onto the CIA once again, this time in Guatemala.  She testifies on her husband‘s death by torture at the hands of paid CIA informants. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  My husband was kidnapped, held in a secret prison, tortured and assassinated without a trial through use of my own tax dollars. 

PRIEST:  One 1983 American interrogation manual incorporates CIA  tactics from 20 years earlier on the use of threats, fear and pain.  And adds lessons on interrogation garnered from the Vietnam War. 

The emphasis is placed on manipulating the subject‘s environment. 

THOMAS BLANTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVES:  The CIA went back in and with a pencil, marked through some of these lines so that the first time around, the manual says, while we do not stress these techniques, we want you to be aware of them. 

And the second time, there‘s a little line through those do not stress.  And it says on top, these methods.  And we want you to you avoid them. 

And its changes like that all the way through where the person who is being trained can see the words underneath.  I‘m not sure it fooled anybody. 

PRIEST:  In a post-9/11 war on terror, there‘s a new urgency to extract intelligence from suspected terrorists. 

Even top administration officials hint that past restrictions no longer apply. 

COFER BLACK, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORIST DIRECTOR:  This is a very highly classified area.  But I have to say that all you need to know is that there was a before 9/11 and there was an after 9/11.  After 9/11, the gloves come off. 

PRIEST:  Today‘s techniques, approved at the highest levels, include food and sleep deprivation, constant noise and stressful physical positions. 

Those who cooperate are rewarded.  Hot baths and meals.  Rest and sometimes money. 

But uncooperative suspected terrorists are sometimes secretly kidnapped or, quote, “rendered” for harsh interrogations to other countries, like Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. 

BLANTON:  So the problem that you get into, and the CIA is there with both feet, and with boots on, is the same problem we saw in Vietnam. 

Our allies put people in tiger cages.  And we could say, “Oh, it

wasn‘t us!”          

But was it?  We were giving the orders.  We were doing the training.  They knew what we wanted, which was information out of these people.  So where does the responsibility lie?

PRIEST:  They don‘t go to court, they never see a lawyer.  They just disappear.  That‘s the point. 


MATTHEWS:  So Dana, what we‘re seeing in all these horrible pictures of the last couple weeks is not the worst.  Some of these people are being slipped off to third countries where they have absolutely no scruples about what to do to prisoners. 

PRIEST:  That‘s right.  And that‘s at the CIA‘s hands. 

Abu Ghraib, the big question there, is did they take leeway given to the CIA to be harsher with terrorists and water it down, but use it in the military at Abu Ghraib? 

MATTHEWS:  So what actually you‘re saying is this is the tip of the iceberg, to use an old cliche.  Only this time we‘re seeing a softer treatment. 

So the guys would crap all over their backs.  The guys are being asked to do all these things sexually.  All that‘s nothing compared to what‘s being done by the third countries we‘re shipping these guys off to? 

PRIEST:  Unless Congress asks, we will never know.  These people leave.  They disappear.

MATTHEWS:  But are they sworn as members of the CIA to lie?  And if Congress calls them in and says, “Did you ever ship a guy off to Egypt or to some horrible Arab country in the middle of nowhere, where they‘ll do anything,” they‘ll say no?

PRIEST:  No.  In fact they tell Congress.  They tell a very small number of members of Congress on the intelligence committee, what they‘re doing.  Those people know. 

MATTHEWS:  How many people do you think have disappeared so far and have killed, by us, by rendering, it‘s called?  Sent off to some third country?

PRIEST:  It‘s impossible to tell but there are dozens. 

MATTHEWS:  What‘s the purpose of all this?  Is it to get intel or to kill people?

PRIEST:  It‘s to get intel by using very harsh techniques that the CIA itself will not use.  So they send them to Egypt, which has a well-documented human rights abuse problem, when they can no longer do anything with them. 

MATTHEWS:  Mik, let‘s talk about the military.  I mean, everybody in America looks up to the military.  Everybody.  And we want to always do that.  There‘s something clean about it.  These guys are not politicians.  They‘re not doing it for the money.  Right?

Is this besmirching the role of the United States military to be given these lousy jobs?  The M.P.‘s, I‘m talking about. 

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well—well, first of all, the M.P. were reserves.  They weren‘t adequately trained to do this.  They were dumped into the prison. 

They were told that they were going to have to stay there longer than they—They were due to go home.  And all of a sudden, they‘re told, “No, you‘re going to have stay for a long time.” 

MATTHEWS:  So they‘re already ticked off. 

MIKLASZEWSKI:  They‘re already ticked off.  But the—but what jumps out of the Taguba report is the—is the lack of command leadership was stunning. 

There was nobody telling these M.P.‘s what to do on a daily basis.  And as I understand it, when civilians would walk in, those low level military, those M.P.‘s would look at the civilians as if they had the authority.  And...

MATTHEWS:  Anybody without a regular uniform was a higher ranking officer?

MIKLASZEWSKI:  Absolutely.  A low ranking...

MATTHEWS:  So without the insignia, they said, “Well, you‘re even CIA or contractor but I‘m taking your orders.” 

MIKLASZEWSKI:  That‘s exactly what happened. 

Now, it doesn‘t excuse the individuals.  They shouldn‘t have been doing what they were doing.  They knew that it was wrong.  And they should have reported it up the chain of command and did not. 

MATTHEWS:  Can they get out of this by law?  In other words, when they go to court and try to defend themselves...


MATTHEWS:  They say, “This guy with the red hair came in and said to me”...


MATTHEWS:  “This guy who was eight feet tall came in.”

How will they identify the people who gave them the orders?

MIKLASZEWSKI:  They‘ll be able to identify them, because there is a record of who was at the prison. 


MIKLASZEWSKI:  And they‘ll be able to trot these people out.  But they won‘t be able to get away with what they did. 

MATTHEWS:  But they will be able to trace their—they will be able to trace the orders up, though, another rank? 

MIKLASZEWSKI:  And that‘s what General George Fay is doing right now. 

And that‘s the bigger shoe to drop. 


MIKLASZEWSKI:  Who in military intelligence was giving those orders? 

Who knew precisely?

There‘s already an indication that perhaps General Sanchez knew.  He denies it.  But this is going to go higher up the chain of command.  You can...

MATTHEWS:  And it stays in the news for weeks, right?

MIKLASZEWSKI:  Absolutely.


The contractors who were brought in, who were doing prison guard duty, some of them had horrendous records in the domestic American criminal system.  Yet they weren‘t properly screened.  They were in.  You know, how do you explain that?

The other thing is that the Red Cross repeatedly tried to get in and were facing resistance.  So there seems to have been from the very top on town, an attitude toward the International Red Cross that this was some sort of wishy-washy do-gooder group and that they didn‘t have a right to be in there.  That...

MATTHEWS:  It reminds me of Sergeant Markoff in the moving “Beau Gest.”  He was thrown out of the Siberian Army for cruelty.  Let‘s go—He ends up in the French foreign legion. 

Let‘s to go Robin.  Internationally, it seem that this doesn‘t make us look like the liberators over there.  We‘re using CIA tactics in our military prisons. 

ROBIN WRIGHT, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Absolutely.  And in fact there was a very interesting session at the Brookings Institution today in which one of the top scholars said the United States is today part of the problem, not part of the solution in Iraq. 

And that applies to a certain degree in the international community as well.  We are viewed, not only here but everywhere as contributing to the tensions in Iraq, to the volatility and to the violence. 

MATTHEWS:  Did all this come from the top?  If two or three months ago, we had heard, we‘re practicing a get tough policy with the prisoners, the average American would have paid no attention: “Tough, they deserve what they get.” 

When the pictures came out, all of a sudden, we‘re ashamed. 

But did the top people all the way up to the president know we were getting very tough with our prisoners and using these tactics?

PRIEST:  Absolutely.  The president signed off on a more aggressive post-9/11 go after the terrorists. 

Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Wolfowitz signed off on a version of interrogation tactics.  We don‘t know the full story yet, but they did sign off after long debate that included the military lawyers disputing some of this.  They signed off on...

MATTHEWS:  I hope we have a debate this summer where the president—the two guys running against each other, Bush and Kerry. 

I hope we have a national debate with 100 million people watching about what kind of tactics we‘re willing to use as a country against prisoners we take in and how rough we‘re willing to be.  Whether he CIA rendering to third party countries or our own guys doing it      or reservists like this. 

Because we‘re doing this stuff.  And you say it comes from the top. 

Then it ought to be voted on—Andrea. 

MARTIN:  In fact, there was a big debate internally over whether the Guantanamo prisoners, whether al Qaeda prisoners should be treated differently.  And they decided that they should be treated differently, that they are outside the Geneva conventions.  And that hasn‘t been fully addressed. 

Kofi Annan objected to it.  Colin Powell objected to it.  And in every meeting that Colin Powell goes to around the world, different countries, the Brits, other countries complain about prisoners who have not been adjudicated in Guantanamo. 

MATTHEWS:  And we‘re the good guys.

MIKLASZEWSKI:  And one of the people at the heart of this is the Pentagon general counsel, William Haines, who gave these very liberal interpretations of the Geneva Convention.  He‘s nominated now for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you Dana Priest, Andrea Mitchell, Jim Miklaszewski and Robin Wright. 

Coming up, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski on her role in the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  Coming up, does the abuse of prisoners in Iraq go beyond Abu Ghraib?  General Janis Karpinski, who oversaw 16 of Iraq‘s prisons, will be here when HARDBALL returns.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

According to “The New York Times,” an Army summary says that abuse of Iraqi prisoners was widespread and involved more prisons and military units than previously known. 

Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was in command of the Iraqi prison system at the time of the abuses at Abu Ghraib.  Earlier this week, the Army suspended her from duty. 

General, why were you suspended?

BRIG. GEN. JANIS KARPINSKI, FORMER HEAD OF IRAQ PRISONS:  I don‘t know all of the reasons for it.  I was not notified by official channels.  I found out from a media source and confirmed it through several phone calls.  But I have nothing in writing yet.  And I do not know the basis for it. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask about General Miller, General Geoffrey Miller.  He denies telling Colonel Pappas, the head of M.I. that was overseeing and working with your prison system, that he ever suggested or urged the use of dogs to try to get the truth out of detainees.  Is that the truth?

KARPINSKI:  I don‘t know, because General Miller never shared that—those instructions with me.  And...

MATTHEWS:  How about the Colonel Pappas?  Did he ever blame it on the higher-ups?  The dogs were their idea?

KARPINSKI:  He—He never mentioned anything about the use of the dogs.  But he was responsible for assigning them out there at the prison.  They did get assigned to Abu Ghraib just after General Miller‘s visit. 

MATTHEWS:  When you first saw the dogs, or saw them and heard them barking, why did you think they were in your prison system?

KARPINSKI:  Well, I was told they were there to—for the entry control points.  We had a lot of vehicular traffic and contractors coming on to Abu Ghraib to do work at that time.  And they were using them to—mostly for patrol and bomb dogs.  Not anywhere near the prisoners. 

MATTHEWS:  You never saw a dog near a prisoner?

KARPINSKI:  I saw them around the compound.  It‘s a general population compound, outside.  But a safe distance outside of the... 

MATTHEWS:  Never heard that they were being used to interrogate, to intimidate?

KARPINSKI:  No.  Absolutely not. 

MATTHEWS:  How do enlisted people in the Army, people who are involved in this, or getting hit by the charges, who are being arraigned last week and they‘re going to face serious charges, how do people like that get a hold of dog collars and leashes?  When—Are they issued to them?

KARPINSKI:  No.  Absolutely not.  Not to my knowledge. 

MATTHEWS:  Then how did they get them?  You see them in the pictures. 

KARPINSKI:  Yes, I did.  And somebody had to have handed them to—that equipment to those soldiers.  They did not, certainly didn‘t deploy with it.  And there was nowhere to buy that in Iraq. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you ever hear of military people who were in uniform and on duty being supplied with equipment to do their job the superior officers were unfamiliar with?

KARPINSKI:  Well, no.  Absolutely not. 

MATTHEWS:  You were unfamiliar with the fact they were given leashes and collars?

KARPINSKI:  Well, because they were working a separate mission.  And that cell block—from late September, Cell block 1a was under the control of the M.I. brigade and from October, Cell block 1b.  They asked for Cell block 1b to be relinquished to their control, and it was. 

MATTHEWS:  So you weren‘t at the top of the chain of command there? 

You were out of the chain?

KARPINSKI:  I was.  Yes, absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  So who was it at the top of the chain, who gave these guys and these women, people like Lynndie England, the leash and the dog collar she used in that picture?  Who gave it to her? 

KARPINSKI:  Well, somebody that was running the interrogation operation.  Because Cell block 1a and 1b, the detainees were there for a reason.  They were either in isolation, or they were being held individually from the general population compounds. 

And whatever methods they were using—there‘s widely published opinions, I guess. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you ever get written orders or a written release that relieved you of command and gave that command over to the M.I., the military intelligence, in those—in those corridors, halls?

KARPINSKI:  Yes.  An official order was published in November, relinquishing control of Abu Ghraib to the M.I. brigade command. 

MATTHEWS:  And who was the command leader?  Who was in charge there? 

Was it Pappas?  

KARPINSKI:  Yes, it was.  Colonel Pappas, the M.I. brigade commander. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you know that Colonel Pappas was using dogs as part of his interrogation techniques?

KARPINSKI:  No.  I did not.  I did not know...

MATTHEWS:  Did you know that he issued your people this equipment, like leashes and collars and that sort of thing?

KARPINSKI:  I did not. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you ever visit the prison and notice what they were doing with their time?

KARPINSKI:  Well, sure.  I was out at Abu Ghraib and then after... 

MATTHEWS:  Did they hide everything when you were there?

KARPINSKI:  Well, the cell blocks 1a and 1b was pretty much, at that time, the windows, the outside windows were covered up, paneled.  The inside cell doors that would access the cell block hallways, they were paneled.  You couldn‘t see. 

So there was ample time any time you announced somebody was coming into that cell block.  Certainly, if they had anything to put away, they would have put it away. 

MATTHEWS:  So when Sanchez, General Sanchez apparently visited that area for three times, three times in the summer, you‘re saying every time he showed up, people hid the dog collars, the leashes and the other equipment to torture the prisoners with?

KARPINSKI:  I don‘t know what they hid or if they hid. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, do you think Sanchez saw them in action?

KARPINSKI:  I don‘t know.  I can‘t say. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, were you there when he was there?

KARPINSKI:  No.  I was not.  Because the visits were only—I only became aware of those three particular visits because somebody from the M.P. battalion said, “Just want you to know that the C.G. is out here, but he‘s visiting the M.I. brigade.” 

MATTHEWS:  Well, why do you think the top man, top person, I should say, in the Army in Iraq would visit one prison three times in one month?  If it wasn‘t a spot where there‘s a lot of serious interrogation going on and a source of major intelligence needed to fight the IED‘s and to fight the RPG‘s and all the other firepower coming at our forces over there in Iraq?

KARPINSKI:  Well, I do know that there was a lot of attention being directed to the number of security detainees that were being held at Abu Ghraib.  And...

MATTHEWS:  So the mission there wasn‘t simply detention.  It was interrogation.  In fact, that became, that morphed into the main mission of your people.  In other words, your people‘s main role began as detention, and it became support for interrogation. 

KARPINSKI:  Absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you have any training in how to use dog collars and dogs?  Were they simply dragooned into service by the M.I.?

KARPINSKI:  There is no training in the military police field for that kind of—for that kind of use of that kind of equipment or... 

MATTHEWS:  So Pappas shows up with equipment and says, “Here‘s your dog collars.  Here‘s your leashes.  I want you to go to work intimidating prisoners.” 

KARPINSKI:  I—I don‘t think it could be said that succinctly.  I think that there must have been instructions provided, or it appears that there was instructions provided, techniques that were perhaps used in other locations.  And—and they implemented those techniques at Abu Ghraib. 

MATTHEWS:  Did anyone ever come to you, General, and say to you, “Look, I joined the reserves to serve my country and to defend it.  I did not join as a torturer and an interrogator.  This isn‘t the reason I‘m here.  I don‘t like using dogs to scare the hell out of people.  I don‘t like using dog collars on human beings.  I don‘t like dragging people around naked.  I don‘t like humiliating people by putting feces on them”? 

Did anybody ever come to you and say, “This isn‘t why I joined and came to work for Uncle Sam”?

KARPINSKI:  No.  They did not.  And...

MATTHEWS:  Didn‘t you think that was a bad—a bad statement about yourself that they felt they could not come to you and say, “Jesus, save us from this hell that somebody is putting me in?  This is not why I‘m not here”? 

KARPINSKI:  Yes.  Absolutely.  But if somebody gave them instructions, specifically, to tell them and told them, this was very sensitive information and it was not to be discussed outside of the cell block when they were being asked to do these particular things. 

MATTHEWS:  Very interesting.  So they were being intimidated into a kind of—against you.  They couldn‘t tell their higher-ups they were in the line of command.  They weren‘t even telling you, because they were intimidated not talk about it. 

KARPINSKI:  It seems believable to me.  Their colleagues in the same unit didn‘t have any idea that some of these things were going on. 

MATTHEWS:  More with general Janis Karpinski after this break. 

Plus MSNBC‘s Chris Jansing on the politics of the battleground state of Missouri. 

And later, Tom Selleck is here to talk about his role as the great Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with General Janis Karpinski. 

Just to recap that you had the overall responsibility over the prisons the United States maintains for detention purposes in Iraq.  However, several units under your control were passed over officially and by orders over to the military intelligence for intensive interrogation of many of those detainees.  And that that was basically taken from your command.  Is that right?

KARPINSKI:  That‘s correct.  They were—they were still assigned—excuse me—they were still assigned to one of my subordinate M.P.  companies but working for the interrogation effort. 

MATTHEWS:  They were like secunda (ph), as the British say.


MATTHEWS:  From another ministry. 

Let me ask you about this whole—I was in the Peace Corps.  I learned all these things in Africa. 

Let me ask you about this thing with—You say that they were basically under a kind of a code of omerte.  Not to make it too Mafia sounding. 

But these enlisted people who were serving the M.I. were basically doing some work—tough interrogation tactics, softening up, whatever the term was—outside your purview and outside your knowledge.  In fact, purposely outside the knowledge of their—of their colleagues in other units. 

KARPINSKI:  I believe that.  I mean, I—the M.P. company where these soldiers were assigned had not been assigned to Abu Ghraib that long. 

And for them, for this investigation or the system to suggest that they just decided one day they were all going to get together and obtain this equipment and do these terrible things to these prisoners, it‘s just unbelievable. 

MATTHEWS:  So the initial story we got in this country, we call it the spin, as you know, from politics, was that these were just a bunch of hotdogs sending back postcards or souvenirs to their friends back in the hills of western Maryland.  It was the whole anti-hick number that was being pushed by somebody. 

And then it turns out that this was part of an overall approach to try to get more intel out these prisoners, to use the detainees for more intelligence because we‘re under a stressful situation. 

So your basic position is that this was systemic? 

KARPINSKI:  I—Well, in this particular location, in this interrogation operations, that‘s absolutely what I believe. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with more from Brigadier General Janis Karpinski right after this.

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  This half-hour on HARDBALL, the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal with rMDNM_General Janis Karpinski, who was in command of Baghdad‘s Abu Ghraib prison.  Plus, Tom Selleck on his new role as General Dwight Eisenhower.  And the latest stop on our tour of the battleground states tonight, Missouri. 

But, first, the latest headlines right now. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  We‘re back with General Janis Karpinski. 

General, this week, you were put on suspension.  And General Sanchez, Ricardo Sanchez, was told he‘s leaving his post.  Do you think the military at the highest level is spinning this to make it look like you two are the bad guys? 

KARPINSKI:  Well, it certainly appears that way. 

When I left the theater, the investigation applying to me was completed and the decisions were made on the appropriate action to take.  So these latest developments and this suspension are just surprising. 

MATTHEWS:  And you never were notified in any formal way what the reason for the suspension was?

KARPINSKI:  No, not at all, still not. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you consider that a betrayal? 

KARPINSKI:  I consider it very extraordinary that they‘re treating an individual this way and not giving me any information for something that could certainly have a tremendous impact on my career. 


Let me ask you about Sanchez, watching that from a little bit of distance.  You served under this guy.  I never heard anything against him.  They announced that they‘re getting rid of him the same day they‘re saying they‘re tearing down Abu Ghraib prison.  Well, I‘m a little bit experienced in P.R.  And that‘s P.R. 

They‘re basically saying, we‘re not only getting rid of Abu Ghraib prison at the pleasure of the new government we‘re setting up over there, but we‘re also dumping Sanchez, all the same day.  Is that a coincidence? 

KARPINSKI:  I don‘t know.  It is certainly unusual timing, I think.

MATTHEWS:  Well, if I were him, I would think they burned me a little. 

Let me ask you about the Samarra prison.  You said that you knew nothing about dogs being used for intimidation of prisoners, simply for guard duty.  And we can understand that.  And you made it clear that when Abu Ghraib was used basically as a softening-up spot for detainees for the purpose of MIA, it was put under MIA.

Let‘s talk about another facility that came into the news today, Samarra.  What do you know about that and the use of asphyxiation techniques to get the truth out of detainees. 

KARPINSKI:  I‘m not familiar with the location at all.  That‘s, really, in the articles, that was the first time I heard even a reference to that particular prison.  It was not one under my control. 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, it wasn‘t?

KARPINSKI:  No, it was not.

MATTHEWS:  I thought you had plenary control over everything over there. 

KARPINSKI:  I had 16 prison facilities under my control.  And there was interrogation operations at Abu Ghraib. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you.  I know you‘re still in uniform, but you are on suspension.  Maybe that give you some freedom.  What do you think of this war? 

KARPINSKI:  What do I think about the war in Iraq? 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Is it going to achieve more friends in the world or more enemies?  Is it going to reduce terrorism or increase it?  Is it going to make America safer or more exposed? 

KARPINSKI:  I think, in the long term, yes, it makes America much safer, because I feel very strongly if we were not doing this now in Iraq, we would be doing this—we would be fighting this battle on American soil in several years.  That‘s my opinion. 

MATTHEWS:  Is it your opinion that we are winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people? 

KARPINSKI:  I know that we were while we were there.  We did an awful lot of good work.  We restored prisons.  We spoke to the local people in every one of our locations.  They shared insight with us.  They told us what they thought about people in the rural areas and why they were markedly different than people in Baghdad. 

We asked questions because we wanted to know and we wanted to do at this time right way.  We took their suggestions.  We did what we could to implement the things that they recommended to us.  We were making tremendous progress. 

MATTHEWS:  Who are the enemy over there, General?  When you were over there and you‘re walking around yourself, you‘re thinking about who might hit you, you‘re thinking about your men, your people, who do you think is our greatest danger over there in the field right now? 

Is it the outsiders who have come in, the al Qaeda types who have seen this as opportunity, a magnet for troublemaking?  Is it the Islamic people, a very religious people who are drawn to things like al Qaeda?  Or is it the basic old Baathist Party remnants, the resistance that didn‘t like what we did when we went in there? 

KARPINSKI:  I believe that—and, again, this is my opinion, because I‘m not an intel analyst. 

But I believe that there were softenings of the borders and there were opportunities for penetration into Iraq.  And I think some of the foreign fighters took advantage of those opportunities and probably some of the al Qaeda operatives and came across the border and then they could generate a lot of attention, do some recruiting very actively, found vulnerabilities throughout the theater. 

I do not believe that this is an effort of—on the Iraqi people, from the Iraqi people.  I think that they are very interested in achieving freedom and democracy and this road ahead.  And they recognize—collectively the population recognized the efforts of the coalition forces. 

MATTHEWS:  Is there anything you could have—do you think this Iraqi prison thing has enough smell to hurt us for years to come over there? 

KARPINSKI:  I think, as the details emerge, operating an interrogation facility at a notorious prison facility like Abu Ghraib was a big mistake.  It was not my decision.  But I think we can get over this if it is handled quickly, efficiently, and appropriately. 

MATTHEWS:  How many people are to blame? 


MATTHEWS:  Those seven underlings down there, the enlisted people from the reserves who have been arraigned, half of them have been arraigned by now.  The rest probably will.  Do you think—Sivits has already been charged and convicted.

What about the higher-ups?  What about the majors and captains who turned over these prisoners to the M.I. people, the people on the ground who were watching all this?  It seems to me that a lot of commissioned officers should be watching this and not just a bunch of enlisted people. 

KARPINSKI:  Well, as I said, I think, as the details emerge, likely personalities will certainly emerge, people that feel responsible now for stepping up to the plate and giving the information. 

There‘s still obviously actions ongoing with those seven soldiers. 

But, unfortunately...

MATTHEWS:  Is Colonel Pappas a good guy or a bad guy in this?

KARPINSKI:  Colonel Pappas?


KARPINSKI:  He was under tremendous pressure from his highers to get.... 

MATTHEWS:  From Geoffrey—from Geoffrey Miller.

KARPINSKI:  Well, General Miller was not his higher.  But he certainly...

MATTHEWS:  How about Douglas Feith and Cambone up at the Defense Department?  Were they pressuring these guys for intel? 

KARPINSKI:  People were pressuring the intel community on the ground in Iraq to give them more.


MATTHEWS:  Civilians at the Pentagon or just uniformed people? 

KARPINSKI:  I don‘t know. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think?  What was the scuttlebutt, that the pressure was coming from above the flag rank, above the generals, it was coming from the civilians who really wanted to win this war or what? 

KARPINSKI:  Well, the only time that I asked the question of the M.I.

Brigade commander, he said up. 

MATTHEWS:  And you felt it meant Pentagon. 

KARPINSKI:  Well, I felt that it meant people above him, yes, sir.

MATTHEWS:  It meant civilians?  Civilians? 

KARPINSKI:  I guess there is a possibility of anybody being involved in this. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, I appreciate that.  Good luck. 

KARPINSKI:  Thank you very much.

MATTHEWS:  Good luck, Janis.  Thank you very much for being so nice to come on the show, General Janis Karpinski. 

Up next, Chris Jansing on Missouri is so important in this presidential election.  And Tom Selleck tells us about his latest role playing General Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  Coming up, battleground America.  We‘ll find out why Missouri is so crucial in this year‘s battle for the White House; and later, Tom Selleck. 

HARDBALL is back in a minute.


MATTHEWS:  MSNBC‘s Chris Jansing has been traveling to the all important battle ground states.  Tonight she‘s in Missouri—Chris. 



The battle for Missouri‘s 11 electoral votes is really reaching a fevered pitch.  A new Zogby poll out shows John Kerry leading Bush by three percentage points.  Of course, the president won here back in 2000 by three percentage.

I‘ve been talking all week to both Democrats and Republicans. 

Everyone thinks this is going to be a fight to the finish.

(voice-over):  Battleground Missouri, the home of the Clydesdales and the arch, it‘s also something extraordinary in politics.  No state has a better record of picking the presidential winner.  So important, candidates have been here 10 times already this year.  And Congressman Dick Gephardt is on John Kerry‘s short list of potential running mates. 

Governor Bob Holden, in a tough reelection fight of his own, sees Bush-Kerry going to the wire. 

(on camera):  How close do you think this race is right now in Missouri? 

GOV. BOB HOLDEN (D), MISSOURI: I think it is within two to three points either way.  And I think it could move that direction.  I think, on Election Day, it will be within two points. 

JANSING:  Missouri Lesson No. 1, the state is a bellwether. 

(on camera):  It really does have a history of knowing who is going to be the next president, doesn‘t it? 

DAVID ROBERTSON, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI:  In the last 25 elections, Missouri has voted for the president—the eventual winner of the presidency, 24 times, 96 percent. 

JANSING (voice-over):  Lesson No. 2, Missouri is always close.  Take Clay County, where Jesse James staged his first daylight bank robbery and where, in 2000, the presidential race came down to a single vote, Al governor, 39,804, George Bush, 39,803.  There is a divided county. 

STEPHEN HAWKINS, MAYOR OF LIBERTY:  Yes, I would like to find that one person.  Maybe we could change his or her mind and it would make a difference. 

JANSING:  The local diner tells the tale.  At one table, Milt (ph), Nelson, Gary (ph) and Jimmy (ph), all will vote for John Kerry. 

NELSON DYKES, MISSOURI VOTER:  I‘m a Democrat, always been a Democrat. 

JANSING (on camera):  A lot more Republicans moving into this county, you know? 

NELSON:  That‘s why we‘re at the table by ourselves. 


NELSON:  We won‘t let them here.

JANSING:  At another table, nonsmoking section, Phebe and Ron Corn. 

(on camera):  Who are you going to vote for? 



CORN:  Because I know what I have with him.  With Kerry, I don‘t know what we got. 

JANSING (voice-over):  Which brings us to lesson No. 3, energize your base, the Phebes of the world. 

ANN WAGNER, CHAIR, REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MISSOURI:  At the end of the day, it is not who you get your message to and who may agree with you on your particular candidate.  It is whether you got that individual to the poll. 

JANSING:  State party chair and Republican National Committee co-chair Ann Wagner. 

WAGNER:  We get up every morning and run a race like we‘re running from behind, every single day. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is Joan (ph) calling from the Bush-Cheney campaign. 

JANSING:  Bush-Cheney ‘04 already has a dozen paid staff members in Missouri, ahead of the Kerry campaign, which only named its state chair last week and has been depending on outside groups for its ground game, the so-called 527s. 

Liberal groups like ACT, Americans Coming Together, say they‘ve registered 55,000 new voters in six months using paid canvassers mostly in the Democratic strongholds of Saint Louis and Kansas City. 

REP. WILLIAM LACY CLAY (D), MISSOURI:  We will register more voters.  We will activate.  We will energize.  We will have a turnout model superior to none. 

JANSING:  Lesson No. 4, know your geography. 

(on camera):  What does George Bush have to do to win?  What is the formula for him? 

SEN. CHRISTOPHER BOND ®, MISSOURI:  Still run strong in outstate Missouri, try to hold the losses down in the metropolitan areas. 

JANSING (voice-over):  Outstate Missouri, places like Cape Girardeau, a laid-back town of almost 36,000, where people sometime just sit and watch the Mississippi River go by, where the major tourist attraction is the boyhood home of native son conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

JAY KNUDTSON ®, MAYOR OF CAPE GIRARDEAU:  You go south 30 miles, north 30 miles, and you‘ll find some non-Bush supporter.  But in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, it is pretty to have safe to say that this is Bush country. 

(on camera):  You have got to go 30 miles to find someone for John Kerry? 

KNUDTSON:  Almost.  Almost.  You certainly do.

JANSING (voice-over):  George Bush won 95 of Missouri‘s rural less populated counties in 2000, Enough to eke out a three percent win, many of those counties essentially Bible Belt, where there seem to be a church on every corner and where issues like gay marriage may energize voter. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Senator John Kerry. 


JANSING:  So, not surprisingly, John Kerry‘s sixth visit to Missouri this year was to a Baptist church in Saint Louis.  He‘ll need to run up big numbers there and in Kansas city to win. 

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It will be Armageddon.  It will be a real war.  But I think Democrats are going to get their votes out. 

JANSING:  And lesson No. 5, know your history.  Sometimes to look ahead to November, it is instructive to look back.  Election night 1948, independent native son Harry Truman slipped away from the press and his family to a spa in Excelsior Springs and went to sleep not knowing if he had won or lost the presidency. 

MIKE DEVINE, TRUMAN LIBRARY:  He told people when he went to bed that if anything important should happen, they should wake him up, which they did around 4:00 in the morning. 

JANSING:  Wakened to find this now infamous headline which, of course, turned out to be wrong.  The hotel, by the way, is still operating in Clay County, decided by one vote the last time around.  This year, everything old may be new again. 

SEN. JIM TALENT ®, MISSOURI:  It‘s likely to be late on election night in Missouri. 

JANSING (on camera):  So what are the chances a whole new dynamic could be introduced into this race and that John Kerry would pick Gephardt as his running mate? 

Well, I asked the congressman about that.  And he said—I‘m quoting here—I really believe people vote for the two people for president, that vice presidential picks don‘t really have an impact,” which is not to say he wouldn‘t accept if asked.  And he is said to be on that short list—



MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Chris Jansing.

When we come back, actor Tom Selleck on his latest role, General Dwight Eisenhower. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC. 


MATTHEWS:  Actor Tom Selleck plays Dwight Eisenhower in a new TV  movie, “Ike: Countdown to D-Day.” 

Here‘s a scene where Tom Selleck, as Ike, convinces Winston Churchill  that he should be the supreme commander of all the allied forces preparing  to invade Europe on D-Day. 

Let‘s take a look.


TOM SELLECK, ACTOR:  If I am not given complete and unfettered command  of this situation, you can, if I may put it politely, sir, take this job  and put it where you choose, because I will damn well quit. 

America did not send a million of its finest men to stand by while  faceless aircraft destroy the Europe they‘re building to die to save. 

And I don‘t believe you rallied the British people to fight on alone.   All these long years to bear so much, only to see the great cities of  Europe become heaps of rubble. 


MATTHEWS:  What a great movie. 

SELLECK:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s coming out next Monday night, the 31st of May.


MATTHEWS:  It is a hell of a movie.  I‘ve seen it, Arts and  Entertainment. 

You play Ike pretty well.                            

SELLECK:  Well, it means a lot.  You know, for a kid who played army  in his dad‘s Eisenhower jacket and rolled up the sleeves. 

You know, I put that uniform on.  And remembered all—my mom‘s  maiden name is Jagger.  And I—When we went back to Detroit after we  moved to California when I was 4, I‘d go to all my aunts and uncles‘  houses, the Jagger boys and the Selleck boys, and these pictures and that  uniform were up on the mantle. 


SELLECK:  So it put a lot of pressure on me.  I really—I kind of  said to myself almost every day, “Don‘t screw this up.” 

Because I thought of my dad a lot, who died about three years ago. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think?  It is the 60th anniversary coming up  this weekend.  And tell me about D-Day.  What does it mean historically to  this country and to you?

SELLECK:  Well, I think it means everything.  You know, I don‘t think  people realize—we won.  So it gets a little glib and simple.  And we see  movies about it, and they mention the suffering. 

But Europe could have been a much different place quite easily.  You  know, the Germans might have been on the defensive, but they weren‘t  through. 

And without the resolve, I think, to invade the French mainland, you  know, it wouldn‘t have been that impossible for the British or the Germans  to sue for peace and end up with the Nazi...

MATTHEWS:  Well, there‘s another option.  The Red Army could have  swept right across Western Europe, and we wouldn‘t have had anything after  the war. 

SELLECK:  Yes.  It could have been communist dominated Europe. 

So—so it changed the world.  It certainly changed the people who  were there, which is just as important. 

MATTHEWS:  I thought Ike was—has been missed by history.  I want to  get to that, why—Maybe because he‘s a Republican and the media doesn‘t  do as good a job on Republicans as they do on Democrats. 

I know Harry Truman was dumped by history.  And then all of a sudden,  thanks to David McCullough, he‘s become every Republican‘s favorite  Democratic president now.


MATTHEWS:  But Eisenhower as a leader, why was his role important in  leading the allied charge in Europe?  I mean, you had Churchill.  You had  Stalin involved at the other end of the fight.  You had Roosevelt, Patton,  Montgomery.                     What was his role in all that? 

SELLECK:  I think he might have been the perfect guy in exactly the  right place at the right time, because of who he was.  Because of his ego,  which was—he certainly had one. 

But he seemed to be able to keep his eye on winning the war.  And he  was handling just that.  The great icons of the mid-20th Century and the  egos that‘s went with them. 

And he seemed to have that gift.  I mean, he was much more tough and 

tenacious than I realized until I—I got into this.  But he always had 

that charm to get out of the—after he made some demands, he could always 

·         he had that Ike grin and that ability to work with other people that, I  think, obviously, made him the perfect guy to be supreme commander. 

Let me take a—Here‘s a conversation in the movie about Eisenhower.   It has him with an old friend, Major Colonel Henry Miller, after he had  overheard—he‘d been overheard drunkenly revealing the invasion plans.   What a scene that was. 


SELLECK:  It might be easier if we didn‘t have so much history, Hank.   The stakes are way too big.  You‘ll have to go home.  Immediately.  And you  won‘t be coming back.  We both owe that to the men who will be dead in a  few weeks. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ll lose my operational rank.  I‘ll go home in  disgrace, a major.  You can‘t send me home.  You owe me something.  I‘m  part of the inner circle. 

SELLECK:  That‘s the worst thing you could have said, Hank.  There is  no inner circle.  Only those who live and those who will die.  And you  don‘t seem to get that. 


MATTHEWS:  You know, I just was taken with this movie, Tom. 

SELLECK:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  It‘s an amazing movie.  You play this guy.  I mean, you  took your hair off. 

SELLECK:  Yes.  Every day. 

MATTHEWS:  I kept thinking it was going to have to be Robert Duvall. 

SELLECK:  I didn‘t want to wear Ike ears, you know, and an Ike nose.   People know what I look like, so they‘d just be looking for the latex  lines.  I just wanted to get in the ballpark physically and kind of... 

MATTHEWS:  He smoked a lot.  But then I went and looked it up the  other day.  He smoked like...

SELLECK:  He smoked four packs of Camels a day.  I talked to John  and...

MATTHEWS:  Chain smoker.

SELLECK:  And John said—Duvall played him once in a miniseries in  the ‘70s.  And he said, “Well, Duvall did a good job but he smoked too  much.” 

And then John kind of said, “Well, no, he didn‘t, you know.  My dad  smoked way too much in those days.  He smoked four packs a day.” 

It‘s a real responsibility if you‘re doing something historically  accurate, and you‘ve got kids today.  I wrestled with it.  I think it was  germane to the picture.  It was very much who he was.  He wrote about it in  “At Ease,” stories... 

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t think you sold cigarettes.  I think it sold the  past. 

SELLECK:  I think there‘s great—When you make something right for  the time, you‘re going to say something ironic about today. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Tom Selleck. 

Make sure you tune into HARDBALL all this week.  We‘ll take a look at the media‘s role in the buildup to the war with Iraq.  And “New York Times” columnist Tom Friedman will be here.  Plus, beginning Friday, MSNBC has special coverage of the 60th anniversary of D-Day.  We‘ll have live programming all weekend.  And Tom Brokaw and Joe Scarborough will be in Normandy.   

Right now, it‘s time for the “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann.


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