Guest: Jay Ferriola, Barry Slotnick, Norman Schwarzkopf
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: More than 2,000 former U.S. soldiers called up to serve are fighting orders to go back to war. How will the military handle these reluctant troops? Tonight we‘re joined by General Norman Schwarzkopf. Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. In a moment, more than half of the former soldiers called back to duty from the individual ready Reserve are resisting new orders to serve in Iraq. We‘ll meet one of those men who refused the mandatory call-up. He sued and won.
But first General Norman Schwarzkopf led U.S. forces during Desert Storm and worked closely with Colin Powell when he was chairman of the joint chiefs during the first Gulf War. Welcome, General.
What do you make of this removal or departure of Colin Powell? Was he fired? Was he unsuccessful in getting his conditions met by the president for a second term appointment? Or what was it?
GEN. NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF, RET.: I don‘t think it was any of those. Colin I think made it very clear to his family and friends and a lot of other people that he really only wanted to serve one term. That he wasn‘t looking to run the whole two years or three years or four years or whatever it might be.
MATTHEWS: Why did he offer conditions about coming back, about a different line on the Middle East, about a different approach to some other policies? And he‘d come back under those conditions. What happened to that—is that a bad report?
SCHWARZKOPF: I think it is a bad report. He‘s not the type of guy that lays down conditions that he‘s going to do his thing or not. So I‘m not the least bit surprised. I fully expected him to serve one term. At the end of that time, to go on to bigger and better things or just to take a rest. He‘s been pretty darn busy the last few years.
MATTHEWS: The absence of Colin Powell, does that present the absence of a debate within the administration on foreign policy?
SCHWARZKOPF: I hope not. There‘s enough other people around who have various ideas regarding what is going to happen in Iraq, what is going to happen in Europe and those sorts of things. And I am sure that some of them are going to speak their mind and talk about what they believe.
MATTHEWS: Don‘t you see that—isn‘t there a sense of purge in this administration? The CIA director George Tenet who apparently had some problems with the war. General Powell who had some problems with the war. They‘re all leaving. The people who were gung ho for the war, Condi, Steve Hadley who jumped on a live grenade more or less, metaphorically with regard to that bad intel on Niger in Africa about the uranium supposedly going to Saddam Hussein from that country, all the people who were gung ho in the war, right or wrong about intel, and how they served the president‘s election, they are all getting rewarded. Isn‘t that the case?
SCHWARZKOPF: Well, you know Washington politics a lot better than I do. But I don‘t see it as them as being rewarded. I would hope that we‘re going to continue to see appointments that are going to balance out the ticket. But only time will tell.
MATTHEWS: Colin Powell said that he‘s, in the mathematical sense, he was asked the other day or a while ago where he stood in terms of ideology. I know you understand this part of it, General. If you want to put, say, Cheney up around 90, he said, and Don Rumsfeld and Condi Rice and Condi (ph) between 80 and 90, this is on the right wing span of things, and you put John Bolton and Douglas Feith at about 98, then I would be somewhere around 60, 65. That‘s Colin Powell putting his—he wanted to make the point he wasn‘t some lefty. He just wasn‘t as far right on some of these things as people like Doug Feith and John Bolton. Do you think that‘s about right from where you see it? Politically he‘s somewhere to the more centrist side of things than the others in the administration?
SCHWARZKOPF: I think his experience has taught him to be that way. Don‘t forget he‘s a man who has been to war many times and clearly understands what that is all about and what price you pay to do it. And I‘m quite sure that he, like anybody else who had been in his position, feels obliged to speak up and make sure everybody clearly understands what they‘re talking about when they‘re talking about going to war.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you. Did you ever venture an opinion on the war on Iraq, General? Have you ever said whether you thought it was good for U.S. policy to go to Iraq the second time?
SCHWARZKOPF: Basically the questions I always get is why did we stop the first time? And those are the questions that I have to answer mostly. Not about...
MATTHEWS: Well, why did we restart what you stopped is the question I‘ll put to you. Have you ever offered an opinion on the war in Iraq?
SCHWARZKOPF: Only with regard to why we stopped when we did.
MATTHEWS: So you‘re going to forestall this second—this new opportunity I‘m going to give you right now, General, with all due respect. Do you think we were right to go to war with Iraq?
SCHWARZKOPF: I think that we had to do something about Iraq. Period.
MATTHEWS: Did that have to be war?
SCHWARZKOPF: I‘m not going...
MATTHEWS: OK. I know. You have a right to reserve comment. Your answer is to me clear. Let me ask about this new administration. What do you make of the new layout? We have got Condi Rice at State, Rummy staying on at Defense, the vice president strong as ever somewhere in that bunker right in the middle of this administration. And the president. How do you see that all working perhaps differently than the first term?
SCHWARZKOPF: Certainly there were some people there who are very very confident. There are other people there who are not equally as confident. Some people have attitudes about the war that I don‘t necessarily share. But I made it a point. I had enough people second-guessing me during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. And all these wonderful ideas. But they weren‘t the people that had to live with them. I‘m always very, very careful not to second-guess decisions that are being made up front.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the former President Bush was second-guessing his son during the last year or two?
SCHWARZKOPF: I don‘t think so, no. I‘m very close to him and I consider him a very dear friend. I‘ve never heard him really talk about that situation in a negative way.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the new team then. If John Bolton is brought up to be deputy secretary of state, and Douglas Feith is promoted to a higher position, would those two moves suggest a movement to the right in this administration?
SCHWARZKOPF: I would say a leaning. I wouldn‘t necessarily say a movement. I would simply say a leaning in that direction.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the situation in Iraq. You chose not to go in. You recommended we not go in back in ‘91 because of breaking up that country into so many pieces. As you watched that country, the insurgency which continues, not just in Falluja, in the last couple weeks, all these months before, but also up in Mosul and around the country it seems to be breaking out in a lot of places. This insurgency in the Sunni area. And then you see the Kurds sort of waiting their chance to do whatever they want to do and to the formation of this new government. And you watch the Shia waiting to take control because they have the majority population. Is anything happening now that you wouldn‘t have forseen back when you decided not to go into Iraq?
SCHWARZKOPF: No, I don‘t think so. I think you‘ve summed it up very, very well what happened. We simply knew there was going to be conflict between the Sunni and the Shiites. We certainly knew that the Kurds were going to look for their piece of the action one way or another. It‘s not simple. It‘s very simple for people sometimes for people to say you should have done so and so forth. It‘s one thing to say you should have done it. It‘s another thing to realize and to be able to forecast what will happen if you do do that. And sometimes that causes you to slow down a little bit.
MATTHEWS: Is it your sense that the military action in Iraq right now, which has been brutally successful, retaking control of Falluja at a significant cost, and some evacuation on the other side so it‘s hard to tell where they‘re going, the continued effort to fight these insurgents, do you believe the insurgents are growing in numbers? Or they‘re being worn down to a smaller number?
SCHWARZKOPF: That‘s a good question. A lot of them are showing up.
There are the so-called foreign insurgents that are coming into Iraq. That‘s a lot of people that I don‘t think anybody expected to go into Iraq and be greeted the way they‘ve been greeted by the Shiites, for instance. So there‘s no question about the fact—I‘m sorry, about the Sunnis.
MATTHEWS: Right. Well, I‘ll accept. But the question is do you think the number of Iraqi insurgents has grown? In other words, the war we‘re fighting over there, if it is a war of attrition we‘re going to lose it, it seems to me. I‘m going to ask you, if your enemy keeps growing in strength, do you lose a war of attrition? Are we creating more enemy than we‘re destroying?
SCHWARZKOPF: I don‘t know. I don‘t know yet. There‘s certainly that possibility out there. But there are an awful lot of Iraqi citizens that are very very happy that we‘re there, too. So I think it is too early to really, really pin that one down.
MATTHEWS: When would you think a date would be appropriate to decide whether our program is working over there?
SCHWARZKOPF: Well, it depends upon the elections. If the elections are held and are successfully held, that‘s one major step forward. And then there are other actions like that that I think the recovery path for all of Iraq that would indicate that we are in fact winning. There‘s no question about the fact that we are, quote, “winning,” unquote, the ground war. If you want to add up the number of people that have been killed and that sort of thing. But we‘re a long way from accomplishing the democratization of Iraq.
MATTHEWS: If our successful military campaign in Fallujah and elsewhere yields a Sunni population which is recalcitrant, refuses to participate in the January election, allowing the Shia to win by default and therefore not really having an election, does that mean our campaign has been successful?
SCHWARZKOPF: No, of course not. We certainly have looked all along at having an election that involves all the parties that were concerned. As you pointed out earlier, there are a number of different party that are involved, very, very interested in the outcome, what‘s going to happen.
So—but I think it would be a very severe body blow if one entire population like the Shiites refused to , or like the Sunnis refused to participate in the government and refused to participate in the elections. That would be very, very tough on what we‘re trying to accomplish over there.
MATTHEWS; It‘s hard not to listen to you general with all your care with which you answer my questions and political, those perspicacity that they reflect, those hesitancies and not hear that you believe that you were right.
SCHWARZKOPF: To stop?
MATTHEWS: To stop in 1991. That the nest we were going into was going to fester, that it was going to resist, that the different forces were going to come apart. That the government, we would be better off having had a unified Iraq, even if it was a pain in the butt. Than to have a broken part of Iraq, which will—a piece of which would cause perhaps war with Turkey. The other piece of which will cause a unification or result in a unification with Iran, with the Shias joining hands across the border. And a recalcitrant Sunni population which is still highly resistant and hostile to us.
How is that not a terrible result? SCHWARZKOPF: Other than that everything is going well, right?
MATTHEWS: It sounds like you had a pretty good set of binoculars back in 1991, and you saw this coming. And like a good soldier, you warned your superiors and you‘re not, this time, in a position to do so with the same powerful effect that you had last time. Is that a fair summation, if don‘t...
SCHWARZKOPF: Well, you know—it‘s easy—it‘s easy—it‘s easy to second-guess and have an opinion if you‘re not the person that has to carry the ball.
MATTHEWS: Except that you didn‘t second-guess, you first guessed.
SCHWARZKOPF: Well, you know, there were a lot of other factors in why we stopped, not the least of which was that we were there under a United Nations mandate and it only said one thing. It‘s said...
MATTHEWS: I agree. You know, it‘s certainly the case. You were on a limited string. But you also were wise enough to see that had you a longer string, you still would have said let‘s not go in, right?
SCHWARZKOPF: Hindsight‘s 20/20.
MATTHEWS: Well, your foresight was 20/20.
We‘re coming right back with General Norman Schwarzkopf. And later more than 2,000 former U.S. soldiers called up to serve are fighting orders to go to war right now, saying they‘ve already fulfilled their military duties. This is a hot one. And good guys involved all over. How should the Pentagon deal with these reluctant warriors? You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, we‘re back with General Norman Schwarzkopf.
General, I don‘t know, the last couple days on this network and certainly on other networks, everybody has gone showing this tape of a group of U.S. Marines going into the mosque in Fallujah, and apparently shooting to death at least one wounded unarmed prisoner.
What did you make of those pictures that you‘ve heard about or seen?
SCHWARZKOPF: Well, you know, you and I have talked about combat in cities before and what a tough thing that is. This is a typical product of that. Look—just look at what you‘re looking at, a young Marine who was shot in the face the day before. OK, he‘s had to step through doorways, never knowing what‘s going to be on the other side and never knowing whether the next time he‘s going to die from his wound. He goes through that door and there are some people in there and his buddy yells behind him, they‘re faking it. They‘re faking it. They‘ve got guns. They‘re covering him up. And so on and so forth. And he shoots him. I‘m not saying it is right. It‘s just the nature of that kind of warfare, the most terrible kind. And that‘s what our young Marines are facing over there.
MATTHEWS: And what do you make of the question, is he dead? Then the other guy says, well, he‘s dead now.
SCHWARZKOPF: Well, that‘s the bravado, you know, that goes sometimes to relieve the tension. It‘s just the—it‘s the nature of the beast. And that‘s going on all over the city in this combat and city scenario. It‘s a very, very tough thing to deal with. And I‘m sure there‘ll be an investigation and you know, I‘m not going to second-guess what the outcome should be or will be. But it just—we talked about it before how tough it‘s going to be.
MATTHEWS: I know. I‘ve not been there. I don‘t judge yet. I‘m wait to see it.
But let me ask you this, a congressman from Texas, Sylvester Ryes, just a couple minutes ago, late this afternoon on a hearing—in a hearing, said well, this is a good reason why we should get rid of embedding. He said that it provides Al Jazeera with the propaganda we‘ve seen. In other words, by having cameras in there, when we‘re fighting these house to house hostilities, we‘re taking on people that are right there, people are getting killed right on camera, that does automatically, because these tapes, videotape, once they appear on one TV show, they can be picked up and used by another one. There‘s nothing stopping anybody from taking it right off the screen. Does that feed the enemy?
MATTHEWS: Are you for or against embedding, in other words?
SCHWARZKOPF: Well, you know, that was an argument that we had during the Gulf War that we never did solve correctly. We tried every single thing possible, the circumstances on how we were going to handle that and we never did, I think, satisfy either side of the argument as to what should be there. I think the American people have the right to see their news unfiltered. On the other hand, I think, we need to use some judgment as to what it is we put on television. And we‘re doing that. You know, we‘re not putting the actual we headings in there and some of these other stuff that‘s going on.
So, it is certainly not helpful, I think, when something like this happens and then we say, we‘re going to put it all quiet. We‘re going to make sure it didn‘t happen. No, we‘ve got to be open and above board. And I think we have been in this case. But...
MATTHEWS: What do you think the average trooper thinks, the average soldier out there. Would they—I mean, obviously, this happened with a camera. One reason it is almost exculpatory for the people involved is, the military involved is, they knew that what they were doing was being shot by cameras, so they must have felt they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. And that would be instinctive look at it from 3rd party like me, who hasn‘t been there.
But do you think soldiers fight less effectively or more effectively knowing that they‘re on camera, more or less?
SCHWARZKOPF: I think there are some that probably show boat. But I think the vast majority, their position is, you know, don‘t condemn me until you‘ve walked in my shoes.
MATTHEWS: Sure. But what is your view on embedding?
SCHWARZKOPF: I think embedding was a good idea. You know, as I said, we had a terrible time during the Gulf War with the press. We had thousands of member of the press over there, all of whom felt they ought to be in the front lines. And you know, we ended up having the press pools. And that satisfied those people where in the pools, and were out with the troops. And then when we rotate them, then they get mad because we brought them back in and put someone else out there. So, handling the press is a is a very, very tough problem. And It‘s—But—it‘s what we live with in a democracy I guess. I don‘t necessarily have to like it, but I can understand why we have it that way.
MATTHEWS: Yes, we certainly saw some heroics from MSNBC, with David Bloom out there on the Bloom-mobile, as it was called, going through—with the troops, going on an amazing advance into Baghdad. And all the heroic nature of our troops was on full display for our country to see. And I guess the parents back home, and the relatives and the loved ones, liked to see that. They wanted to see their guys and women leading the fight and winning.
SCHWARZKOPF: Absolutely, and when they‘re winning the fight, that‘s going to make us all feel a lot better about what‘s going on. But on the other hand, when you see something like this that happened, again, I‘m not excusing it at all. It was dead wrong. But those things do happen when you‘re in battle. I don‘t care whether it is in the cities or in mountains. When you know that you‘re out there and somebody has got a gun and he‘s pointing at you and trying to kill you, you know, you adopt an entirely different attitude sometimes about what you have to do.
MATTHEWS: You didn‘t mean dead wrong. You meant you don‘t know yet.
SCHWARZKOPF: Yes. I‘m just saying, you know, it just a—like I say, somebody shoots—somebody shoots at me, they‘d better be prepared to get shot back at.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about this tricky situation with the individual ready reserve. The sound of it sounds like if you‘re in an active or ready reserve, you have to expect in the worst circumstances of war, that you‘ll be called back to duty whether it‘s a guy who fought in World War II, like a lot of our fathers and uncles, who fought in World War II, and all of a sudden they find themselves back in North Asia fighting in the cold of Korea few years later. This happened to a lot of guys.
Is this something that military people should expect? We have people out there fighting it now. We‘re going to be talking to one of those people in a minute who successfully fought being called back. Is this part of the military culture to just say no, I don‘t really want to go back into the front?
SCHWARZKOPF: Well, I don‘t think so. I think it is pay back time for an awful lot of these people who are in the IRR. They‘re in the IRR, because they were active in other times and held very good positions and got a lot of benefits from it. We can‘t have a standing army, a huge standing army. The nation can‘t afford one. And that‘s why they have the I.R.R. which are group of people that in the event of a national emergency, we can call them up to fill certain vacancies out there that otherwise, we don‘t have continuous people in them.
MATTHEWS: So, that come with the duty. That comes with the benefits. You‘ve got to come back when you‘re called back. You should know that‘s coming.
SCHWARZKOPF: Yes. But on the other hand, there‘s ways to go about it. And from what I‘ve seen so far, it hasn‘t been handled very well. Some people have been let off. And other people have not been let off. And then the army, some offices appear to have lost some records and that sort of thing. So, that doesn‘t help the situation a bit.
MATTHEWS: We‘re going to talk about one of those cases when we come back.
We thank you very much. General Norman Schwarzkopf. We‘ll have more on the soldiers called into active duty. We‘re now fighting the military over it. They don‘t want to go back. We‘ll talk to one soldier who successfully got out of his redeployment. You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: As combat in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, the military is reaching far into its reserves for manpower. And some soldiers who have been called up for resisting the order.
One of the first to contest it was former Army Captain Jay Ferriola. He intended to sue the government, but the Army gave him an honorable discharge. But by fighting the order, Jay Ferriola set a precedent, former soldiers know they can contest the call-out. Jay Ferriola join us tonight with his attorney, Barry Slotnick.
Captain, thank you very much for joining us. Should I call you captain or Jay?
JAY FERIOLA, FRM. ARMY CAPTAIN: You can just call me Jay now, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Jay, let me ask you. How did you get out of being called back to Iraq?
FERRIOLA: Well, it was an issue where I did resign. And after we took the army to federal court, we got a letter, I got a letter saying that the Army has reviewed my case and now has decided to give me an honorable discharge. And that‘s what happened.
MATTHEWS: What do you think they decided upon? What was the key to you getting off? To win your case, in effect?
FERRIOLA: Well, you know, it is simple. I completed my eight-year obligation. I had an eight-year obligation and I completed it. I tendered my resignation properly, I sent the proper paperwork through.
And I want to make this clear. I was not in the IRR, I was in a reserve unit. My eight years were up. I completed my obligation. And I turned in my resignation.
I think after they reviewed all those facts, they decided that, hey...
MATTHEWS: So describe your commitment that you met to the military.
How many years of active?
FERRIOLA: Sure. It was an eight-year commitment. Four years of active duty and four years in the reserves.
MATTHEWS: Was that individual ready reserve?
FERRIOLA: Well, that was my choice after I got out of the active duty whether I go into the IRR, individual ready reserves, or I go into an actual reserve duty. When I first got out of the active duty, I did do the IRR and then later decided to get back in and get involved with the reserve unit then actively drill.
MATTHEWS: I see. So you decided to accelerate the whole thing?
FERRIOLA: I wouldn‘t say accelerate.
MATTHEWS: Still eight years, yeah.
FERRIOLA: I think so. Although, when I did get the orders to bring me back in, the first thing I did was go through the chain of command and try to resolve it that way. And I raised these issues, but nobody was listening. So that‘s why I had to go outside, get in touch with Barry Slotnick and then go to federal court.
MATHEWS: How many guys who were in your predicament, who were in your predicament, and are still in it? Who have felt they‘ve done their time and they don‘t want to go back?
FERRIOLA: I couldn‘t guess how many guys. I don‘t know. I would say quite a few. I don‘t know. I‘ve been getting a lot of e-mails from other officers, other soldiers saying that they‘re in the same situation.
But it‘s important that they understand, and everyone understands that, it is for people who have pled their eight-year obligation. They finished their obligation.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Barry Slotnick. When you came into this case, what did you face, Barry?
BARRY SLOTNICK, ATTORNEY: I faced the Army sending him an order saying it‘s Thursday, show up Monday morning at 7:00 a.m.
MATTHEWS: And did you see them within their rights? Or did you see them right away as being outside their rights?
SLOTNICK: We had to do a lot of research. Because as you well know, the Army has lots of regulations. And once you defeat another regulation, they add another one to it.
The Army was not so quick to admit that they made a mistake. The first thing that they looked at was, federal court. There isn‘t a federal judge that has jurisdiction over us, we‘re the Army. We‘ll deal with our people. And a federal court judge in New York said, I will rule on this case. He‘s got to return—or at least he has to report for deployment to Iraq Monday morning. See you guys Sunday for an emergency hearing.
MATTHEWS: But if it was so clear and transparent that Jay met his eight-year commitment, what was the argument about?
SLOTNICK: Well, to the Army it wasn‘t clear and transparent. They first suggested that his resignation wasn‘t appropriate. They then suggested that they had a right to call him up, because of national emergency declarations by the president.
The Army didn‘t give up. They finally issued an honorable discharge two days before we had final hearings, because they realized they were going to lose and they didn‘t want to have a judge‘s opinion saying the Army was wrong.
MATTHEWS: OK. We‘re going to get back. More with Captain Jay Ferriola and his attorney Barry Slotnick.
And when we return. We‘ll be joined by a retired Army colonel, Ken Allard, with some other perspective. You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: This half-hour on HARDBALL, a night-before peek into the Clinton Presidential Library, which will be dedicated tomorrow in Little Rock. And when we come back, how should the Pentagon deal with the thousands of former soldiers who have been ordered back into active duty?
But, first, let‘s check in with the MSNBC News Desk.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We‘re joined by again by Captain Jay Ferriola, who has received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, and his attorney, Barry Slotnick, and we‘re also joined now by MSNBC military analyst retired Army Colonel Ken Allard.
Colonel Allard, put this in perspective. What is the normal commitment that a soldier enlisted or officer give to his country when he or she goes into the military?
COL. KEN ALLARD, NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Chris, if you‘re talking about an enlisted soldier, he serves an obligated term of service that depends on his enlistment contract.
For an officer, it‘s a little bit different. From the time that I went into officer candidate school, what was drilled into me is that Uncle Sam never forgets, because, given the right set of mobilization circumstances, you can be called back to the colors at almost any time by the appropriate combination of presidential and congressional action.
MATTHEWS: Right now, what is the status of a person, say—how many years do you serve in active? Four years? An officer?
ALLARD: Well, the typical thing where an officer serves is, just as your other guest served, it was four years active, four years in the Reserve. And in a lot of cases, they also tack on to various parts of that commitment time in the Individual Ready Reserve.
But it does depend very much on the individual circumstances in which a person that has had various forms of training and for which he incurs various time frames of obligation. The management pool for that is the Individual Ready Reserve.
MATTHEWS: Is the situation now extremely urgent in the military, where we‘re having the effect of a draft, in other words, for people who are on the books who have served their reasonable amount of time, their usual amount of time in active and then in the Reserves, but they‘re being called back later than they normally would have been?
ALLARD: Well, what Jay did, which is very, very important to note, is that he served his time. He completed his military obligation. And then he took a positive step to resign.
At that point, that relieved him of the obligation. Once the Army was talked to in a way that it could understand, i.e., by a federal judge, they came to their senses. That‘s pretty much the way that it has to work. But I would just tell you that right now we are indeed coming up to a basic manpower crunch. Once again, we are coming to the spring rotation series in Iraq.
So things around March and April begin to get very, very dodgy, because 40 percent of that force that is there today in Iraq is a reserve force. Trust me when I tell that you that most of those reservists, although they‘re great patriots, did not serve with—or did not sign up originally with the thought of service in Iraq foremost in their minds.
MATTHEWS: Well, is this a behind-the-scenes draft, in effect, because it is causing people to do things they really didn‘t plan to do or think really they would have to do?
ALLARD: Well, Chris, I think what it really is is the fact that even before 9/11, we had some very, very strong indications that—where we stood in terms of uniform military manpower.
It was something that we simply had not really adjusted ourselves to thinking. So you have 9/11. You have the war on terror. You have Iraq. You have engagements around the world. What that has in effect done is to change the whole equation. And we‘ve been very, very slow off the mark to have our military manpower policies begin to catch up with our requirements. Bottom line, we do not have enough soldiers today and we won‘t have them tomorrow either.
MATTHEWS: Let me to go Jay Ferriola right now.
Jay, are you taking any heat from anybody who is saying you should have accepted your callback and without question?
FERRIOLA: No. No, I haven‘t.
In fact, from the majority of people that I‘ve spoken to or even e-mail that I‘ve received, it‘s been very supportive.
MATTHEWS: What about other people on the other side who think that they just—they‘ve had it? They just feel that they‘ve had enough pressure on them and their families, and whether they‘re within their contract or not, they just, look, I‘m not going. I‘m not going out there.
FERRIOLA: Well, I mean, that‘s not the right way to do it. If they‘re within their obligation, then they should go. That‘s just the way it is. I accepted that. I was called back in February 2003 when I was still within my obligation to go, and I went. They actually never sent us overseas. We were in Fort Dix for six months, but I was ready to go.
So, if they‘re within their obligation, then they should go. But, again, I completed my obligation and I did take the positive step and resign. And, at that point, you know, look, I did everything right. And...
Well, you did everything right because it is clear that the Army agreed you have done everything right.
MATTHEWS: In fact, you‘ve been given an honorable discharge. The case is closed. You met your fulfilled—you fulfilled your obligation of active and inactive duty. Case closed.
But are there a lot of people out there who are just simply upset with the fact that the military is putting unusual pressure our them to either to go to Iraq once, then come back and go home for a while, then go back. Are people in that circumstance? Are there many people that have gone once and are being sent back again?
FERRIOLA: I‘ve heard that. I‘ve heard that has been happening.
I can‘t comment on how they feel. But there is a lot of pressure, especially as a reservist, because you‘re doing two things. You have a civilian life you‘re living and then you also have to answer the call. So it is a lot of pressure. And I‘m sure there‘s a lot of people that are worried.
MATTHEWS: Well, according to the U.S. Army—we checked today, Captain Jay -- 14,000 people in the Independent Ready Reserve; 4,000 have been called back.
Barry Slotnick, you must be getting a lot of people calling you now, family members and officers and enlisted men saying, how does our family benefit from your legal brains?
SLOTNICK: We actually had to put in a new phone bank because of the calls. We‘re getting e-mails, and some of these calls are sympathetic. Every one of these calls is taken, listened to by someone who has got some legal abilities and an understanding. And a lot of them sound just like Jay.
MATTHEWS: Well, how many of them have met their full eight-year commitment? And how many are simply fatigued and want to get out?
SLOTNICK: We haven‘t done the percentage, Chris, but we know that a good number of the people that are calling us have met all of their criteria. There is a case in North Carolina that you‘re aware of where the man met his criteria, did his eight years, just didn‘t resign. And they called him back. That‘s going to the Court of Appeals.
SLOTNICK: And we‘ll see what happens there. That‘s correct.
MATTHEWS: And how good a case does he have?
SLOTNICK: I think he has got a pretty good case. The fact that he has not drilled, the fact that he hadn‘t gotten paid, the fact that everybody assumed he was out of the Army until suddenly the Army needed him, I think he‘s going to win.
MATTHEWS: What is it like meeting military people in uniform, Barry, as an attorney, a civilian?
MATTHEWS: And a guy with a beard besides.
MATTHEWS: What‘s it like dealing with military officers, who are snap-to guys, that say, what are you doing here?
SLOTNICK: Well, it‘s interesting, because they looked at me as being an outsider. What do we need lawyers for? We‘ll settle this on our own.
I dealt with the inspector general, who said, oh, Jay Ferriola, he has got to get back. This is a stop-loss order. You can‘t bring us to federal court. Guess what. We did. Jay won. He unpacked.
MATTHEWS: Which is the federal judge? What state is he in?
SLOTNICK: The Southern District of New York, federal court in Manhattan.
MATTHEWS: And is he under pressure now for having intervened here?
SLOTNICK: I think not. I think the Army at this point understands all of the law that we spouted to them. They understand the civilian issues. And I think that they‘re backing off of people like Jay only if they come to court represented. Otherwise, they‘ve been told to pack.
MATTHEWS: Are we going to see ads in “The Washington Post” and “The New York Post” that say, had it with the military, call Barry Slotnick?
SLOTNICK: No, I don‘t think so.
But I will tell you one thing that was of great concern to us. Jay was released on Friday.
SLOTNICK: The case was dismissed on Friday.
That Monday, a young man walked into the same federal courthouse and was told by the judge, pack. You‘re being deployed to Iraq. We later found out that he was a conscientious objector, which was not Jay‘s case.
MATTHEWS: And he didn‘t have a case even as a C.O.
SLOTNICK: No. He did not have a case.
MATTHEWS: Though, was he an actually recognized C.O. or somebody who wanted to be a C.O.? I remember this from the C.O. I wasn‘t claiming it, of course, but there were a lot of people who wanted to be C.O. and it turned out that a religious background wasn‘t consistent enough with that claim.
SLOTNICK: Our understanding is that he was—quote, unquote—“a wanna-be.”
MATTHEWS: A wanna-be, yes, that‘s a familiar circumstance when you face the gallows of reality.
Anyway, thank you very much, Barry Slotnick.
Captain Jay Ferriola, nice to have you on the show.
FERRIOLA: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Ken Allard, as always.
When we come back, we‘ll head down to Little Rock, Arkansas, where Bill Clinton‘s presidential library is going to be dedicated tomorrow.
And don‘t forget Hardblogger, our political blog Web site. Just go to HARDBALL.MSNBC.com.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, we‘ve sent Ron Reagan and David Shuster to Little Rock for special HARDBALL coverage of the opening of President Clinton‘s presidential library.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Tomorrow in Little Rock, former President Bill Clinton will dedicate the Clinton Presidential Library.
Here with a preview is HARDBALL correspondent David Shuster—David Shuster.
DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, this is the 12th presidential library. And for historians, fans, and enemies of Bill Clinton, it is all here on display, both the lowlights and the highlights of President Clinton‘s two terms in office.
SHUSTER (voice-over): On the banks of the Arkansas River, you first noticed the stunning architectural design. It was inspired by President Clinton‘s commitment to build a bridge to the 21st century.
Inside, there are 75,000 museum artifacts, nearly two million photographs and 76 million pages of documents. Today, the library conducted its very first television tour.
DAVID ALSOBROOK, CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY: On the right is an interactive timeline, starting with 1993, that covers the entire eight years of the administration. That‘s on your right.
SHUSTER: There are the recognizable symbols of the presidency, like Air Force One and presidential motorcades. You can see the Cabinet Room with interactive displays. And this is an exact replica of the Oval Office as it looked during the Clinton rules, right down to the items on his desk.
Nothing has been left out, from President Clinton‘s compassion in Oklahoma City to his diplomacy overseas to the impeachment battle. This alcove includes a video timeline, interviews with Clinton lawyers and descriptions of the combustible climate.
SKIP RUTHERFORD, WILLIAM J. CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL FOUNDATION: This presidential library system is a continuous journey in American history. And very few people have made that club. It‘s a small club.
SHUSTER: But for all the historical seriousness, the library also offers the lighter moments, like meeting sports heroes, dressing up for Halloween, or telling a black-tie one-liner.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody embellishes a little.
SHUSTER: There is a replica of a state dinner table, a formal gown worn by Mrs. Clinton, tributes to saxophones, and a memorial to the family pets. At a cost of $165 million, the construction of this library and park has prompted a flood of developments in an area that used to be a grimy warehouse district. Now there are nice shops and hotels.
And city officials expect this site to attract 300,000 visitors a year.
SHUSTER: The irony is, during the Clinton presidency, the Arkansans felt that there wasn‘t much in it for them, because all they got essentially was a special counsel, endless grand jury investigations that turned the state inside out. And the economy didn‘t really get helped that much when Bill Clinton was in office.
Now the economy is picking up. Again, with all the number of tourists they‘re expecting here, Chris, this is going to be a destination point and it has led to an economic revitalization here in downtown Little Rock, something that has not happened before—Chris.
MATTHEWS: David, what is the smell of the place? Each of these
libraries seems to have a different atmosphere. Reagan‘s sort of cowboy,
Hollywood—what‘s the right word? -- bon vivant, debonair. Nixon‘s is
much more introverted and kind of quiet and out of the wind and out of the
· away from the ocean. And Truman‘s is sort of about World War II and dropping the bomb. What is the feel of this place?
SHUSTER: Well, Chris, it‘s very high-tech as far as the interactivity. They have got a lot of flat-screen televisions and what not.
One colleague, though, who just toured the John F. Kennedy Library up in Boston along the harbor there said there‘s a different level of gravitas there, even though Kennedy was in office two years. It felt like there‘s a lot more substance to the Kennedy Library, whereas this one seems to have a little bit more flash. And when you try to jam in eight years of a presidency into a series of alcoves on one floor, it is pretty tough to do.
But, in any case, one of the things to remember, at least according to historians and to archivists is that what you see in the library, Chris, and for all the high-tech gadgetry and gizmos, is that, for historians, there is just an endless supply of documents for them to thumb through, if that is what they want to do.
Is there a shortage of greatness? And I mean by that, Kennedy put a man on the moon. That was his plan and we executed it. He created the Peace Corps. He created the Alliance for Progress. He created the new frontier and this whole totally new youthful approach to government, everybody getting involved in government and public service because of Kennedy.
What would you say was Clinton‘s big accomplishment that should justify even building a museum in the first place? What is it for?
SHUSTER: Well, Chris, it doesn‘t really transfer well when the first thing that Clinton supporters say is, 22 million new jobs. That doesn‘t really transfer too well to a new sort of high-tech library along the Arkansas River.
But, as far as they‘re concerned, they believe this reflects not only the Clinton presidency, but also a time of vast change in America, that, with the high-tech Internet boom in the ‘90s, the computer age that really dawned on the nation during the Clinton presidency, a lot of that is reflected. And even though that may not be as a result of anything President Clinton did, you certainly get that feel when you walk through the library.
MATTHEWS: Well, it sounds pretty airy to me.
Anyway, thank you very much, David Shuster.
MATTHEWS: When we come back, Ron Reagan will join us. He‘s been talking to a lot of the celebrities on hand in Little Rock for the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library. Maybe we‘ll get a different take from him.
And our coverage of the dedication begins tomorrow morning at 11:00 Eastern.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Traditionally, openings of presidential libraries are apolitical. But that doesn‘t mean invited guests don‘t have politics on their minds.
MSNBC political analyst Ron Reagan is in Little Rock and he is here to tell us about some of the prominent people he spoke with—Ron.
RON REAGAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey there, Chris.
Yes, you‘re right. Political or presidential library openings are apolitical, but—and for good reason, too. We‘ve got Eisenhower‘s here. We‘ve got Kennedy‘s. We‘ve got Carters. We‘ve got Nixon family members here, a lot of prominent Democrats. But we couldn‘t resist asking them, as apolitical as this is supposed to be, whether, with all this Clinton nostalgia around, this doesn‘t somehow set the stage for another Clinton‘s presidential run.
JAMES CARVILLE, FORMER CLINTON ADVISER: There‘s a lot of memories for me coming back here. And, you know, it probably is -- 2008 is—it‘s kind of far away for right now.
REAGAN: Yes, 1,400 and some odd shopping days away.
CARVILLE: Right. There you go. We‘ve got to get through this and the holidays.
But I think this—unfortunately, for Democrats, we‘ve got more memories more than anything else. So a lot of them will coming rushing back here.
REAGAN: Looking back to a Clinton, looking ahead to a Clinton, too?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I‘ll clearly let Senator Clinton speak for herself. I don‘t think she‘s made up any—and what I tell people, it‘s awful early.
I mean, Ron, we just got through this process. John Kerry got 56 million votes. We had every player on the field. It was a very close election. I mean, this is a special moment in America, and I think everybody comes together. I‘m not going to be partisan. I‘m going to be the greatest bipartisan ever, because this is about America here. There will be a new Terry McAuliffe tomorrow.
MCAULIFFE: For tomorrow.
HARRY THOMASON, FRIEND OF THE CLINTONS: And just talking to people, even people that you would think would not care to have a woman president, say, well, you know, that Mrs. Clinton, she‘s strong and she‘s tough, and she‘d make a good presidential candidate.
So not because I know her or because she‘s a friend, but I would have to say she‘s the front-runner. She is smart, firm, witty and intelligent, and I wouldn‘t bet against her.
JAMES LEE WITT, FORMER CLINTON FEMA DIRECTOR: I think she has the capability to do that, and I think she has a very wide range of support across the nation as a whole. You know, I think she ought to look at it seriously. You know, 2008 is some time off. But about two years from now, they‘re going to start campaigning again.
REAGAN: Well, what do you think about the whole gathering of Democrats here?
JOHN GLENN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I think it‘s great. And I‘d be glad to see it.
REAGAN: A lot to talk about, I guess.
GLENN: There are Democrats left, a lot of them.
REAGAN: Any front-runners besides Hillary, do you think, for 2008?
GLENN: Oh, no, I think it‘s a little early to be picking anybody at this point. What is it, 1,440 days now and counting.
REAGAN: Shopping days and counting?
MATTHEWS: So, Ron, how would you compare this library with that other one out in the Pacific Ocean?
REAGAN: Well, I think the one out there has a better view.
But I‘ll tell you, looking out at the sea of seats, they‘re expecting nearly 30,000 people. I remember the opening of that other library out there near the Pacific, and we had a few hundred people, I think. Of course, all the ex-presidents showed up. But they‘re really—this is a big show. And Bono and the Edge from U2 are going to play. It‘s going to be quite a production.
MATTHEWS: Well, how come they have such a good polling operation, the Democrats out there in Little Rock, and they had such a lousy one in Cleveland?
REAGAN: That‘s a good question. If they could get half these people who are going to show up in this audience to vote in Ohio, they would have been in better shape.
MATTHEWS: So it‘s a real carnival atmosphere. And you‘re saying all through your report that there‘s a real feeling of this being nonpartisan. Or are you saying that, or is that what they‘re saying and you‘re questioning?
REAGAN: Well, they‘re saying that. Of course, these have to be nonpartisan.
It is a very small group of people, ex-presidents, their families. And as—I named the people who are going to be here, the families, rather. But you can tell in the back of their mind, as John Glenn said, 1,400 and some-odd days, shopping days left until the next election; 2008 is on people‘s minds. And here, you‘re going to have a lot of prominent Democrats, Hillary Clinton, of course. John Kerry may show up, Howard Dean, John Edwards.
And they‘re all going to be here in the same place. And you know what they‘re thinking. They‘re thinking, me next.
MATTHEWS: They‘re thinking—they‘re thinking, this is a red state and they might be able to win it.
Anyway, Arkansas—thank you very much, Arkansas-bound Ron Reagan.
REAGAN: You bet, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Join me tomorrow at 11:00 Eastern for more live coverage, of morning live coverage of the opening of the Clinton Library. That‘s tomorrow morning at 11:00. And then I‘ll be back again at 7:00 Eastern for HARDBALL.
Right now, it‘s time for the “COUNTDOWN” with Keith.
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