The McLaughlin Group
Issues: Church Shootings Aftermath; The Pope and the Environment; Trump Candidacy; Al-Wuhayshi Killed
John McLaughlin, Host
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Taped: Friday, June 19, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of June 19-21, 2015
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ANNOUNCER: From Washington, THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, the American original. For over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: Massacre in Charleston.
GREGORY G. MULLEN, CHIEF OF POLICE, CHARLESTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience. It is senseless and it is unfathomable that somebody in today's society would walk into a church when people are having a prayer meeting and take their lives.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): On Wednesday night, Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old man from South Carolina, entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Mr. Roof spoke with the congregants who were engaged in bible study for about an hour. Then, he launched a vicious shooting campaign, killing nine worshippers.
On Thursday, Mr. Roof was arrested.
Police suspect Mr. Roof attacked the Emanuel Church because of his apparent hate for the black community.
Here’s Charleston’s mayor.
JOSEPH P. RILEY, JR., MAYOR OF CHARLESTON: The only reason someone could walk into church and shoot people praying is out of hate, the only reason.
MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this attack a wakeup call about racial polarization in the United States?
PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: I’m not sure it is, John. There’s no doubt there was a racial aspect here. When this guy drives 100 miles to go to a black church, which is having the Wednesday night meeting, and sits there and kills black people and uses the language he did.
But I see this as less in the legacy of the Birmingham bombing in 1963, with those Klansmen went in there and deliberately blew up those little black girls. I see this more in terms of Tucson and Columbine and Aurora and Newtown and the Navy Yard, here. And of these young guys, this guy has hopped out on this suboxone or whatever it is, drug, and he’s aggressive and he’s angry. And motivation may have racial, but I think it’s one of those mass murders and massacres.
And I think they mentioned it was a tragedy. It’s not so much a tragedy, as a horrendous atrocity.
ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, we don’t know all the facts yet. But I think this really bears all the markings of a racial act. And if you -- you know, look at the presidency of Barack Obama, I think most people applaud it, it’s a wonderful thing. But there’s a terrible irony that there is a part of this country that is almost staging an ongoing resistance to the racial changes that are happening in this country.
And this young man, the behavior exhibited -- and I imagine we’re going to discover that he’s influenced by white supremacy groups, if he had joined ISIS, people would have paid a lot more attention than we do when people join up with these hate groups in the country.
So, I think it is a wakeup call. And I think the president is clearly frustrated that this has -- problem in America has seems to have worsened in connection with gun violence since he’s been in the White House. And I think he pointed that we -- even though there’s a sense of futility in Washington that anything can happen because of the opposition of the NRA, he brought up guns and the easy access to guns and also the dark stain of racial animosity in this country’s past.
MCLAUGHLIN: Does the racial violence demonstrate the dangers inherent in using race as a political wedge issue?
TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: Yes. I mean, we have to be careful about this. Obviously, there are people still in this country, who for whatever despicable reason, want to go and harm our fellow citizens just because of the color of their skin.
We see that in a number of levels. You see in terms of the tone of threats to the first family. You see it in terms of acts like this.
And the difference between ISIS threats and the whether the FBI has prioritized in terms of, you know, taking just notice of specific threats is that the connection point between ISIS supremacism and ideology and violence tends to be much shorter and much quicker than in terms of racists. A lot of racists just are racists, but they don’t go on to do something.
But, look, the FBI does have a very effective group of people who infiltrate white supremacist groups. They are monitored closely.
The problem is when we have essentially someone like this, who’s a lone wolf that goes off and commits an atrocity like this, it is very hard to prevent, it’s going to happen now and again.
But I don’t think necessarily -- I tend to agree with Pat. I don’t necessarily think it speaks to some broader trend in society.
MCLAUGHLIN: What about England?
MCLAUGHLIN: England, and guns.
MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of licensing procedures?
ROGAN: It’s very much more restrictive in the U.K. But I’m big believer in the Second Amendment here. And one example I would use --
ROGAN: -- is the 2011 London riots. Complete collapse of state security.
BUCHANAN: Too bad there was no policewoman in there with a gun with one of her friends who could have turned around and killed that guy, the way those people, one off duty cop shot those two guys in Garland, Texas, before they could do their massacre.
MCLAUGHLIN: Do you hear that argument? What would the Brits say about his argument?
ROGAN: They would say, most people would say, more guns make people less safe. I would say, actually, Pat’s right. More guns and people who know how to use them would make more people more safe.
MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Listen, it was the kind of a tragedy that, of course, everybody begins to think about and talk about, excuse me, because it does have several things. One, it takes place in a church. Two, it takes place, you know, some young man goes ahead and kills so many people with -- it’s almost -- it’s like blood thirsty. It just shocks everybody.
But I don’t think this is typical of what is going on in this country. I think there’s been a huge improvement in race relations, a considerable improvement over the control of guns. It’s just some nutty kid who just went off and did this.
CLIFT: It comes in the context --
ZUCKERMAN: I don’t want to overstate it. I don’t want to overstate it.
BUCHANAN: I disagree with Eleanor here.
MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Hurry up now. Hurry up, Eleanor.
CLIFT: It comes in the context of numerous incidents we’ve seen around the country of black people being killed really without cause by the police. And I think there is -- this does bring an awareness of the vulnerability --
BUCHANAN: I think you’re riding an ideological hobby horse, here, Eleanor.
CLIFT: Excuse me, excuse me -- of the vulnerability that Black Americans live with in this country every day.
BUCHANAN: Look at the statistics on interracial crime in America.
BUCHANAN: Overwhelmingly, it is black on white. Are there police incidents? Yes, there are.
But if there were -- it’s not the Klan. You mentioned some supremacist groups. If he were in the Klan in the ‘60s, John, the FBI was in the Klan. They had it penetrated. Their guys were down there, frankly, and knew these guys doing the bombings.
ROGAN: They still have it penetrated.
BUCHANAN: But this guy is a lone wolf.
MCLAUGHLIN: OK. License to own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Once again, innocent people were killed, in part, because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): In light of the Charleston massacre, President Obama has again called for stricter gun control laws.
And last Thursday, Congressman Van Hollen introduced a bill into Congress titled the Handgun Purchase and Licensing Act. It would require background checks and firearms licenses on all handgun purchases, and it would limit purchases to those over 21 years of age. To obtain a firearms license, individuals would have to apply at a police station and submit photographs and fingerprints. The law would remove some federal funds to states that refuse to adopt the license rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: What are the prospects of the passage of Congressman Van Hollen’s Handgun Purchase and Licensing Act, Pat?
BUCHANAN: They’re zero, John.
But I will say this -- in Virginia, I’ve been a gun purchaser of these classic guns, old guns, and things like that. I don’t even use them. I don’t fire them. But every time I went there to pick it up, they called in to the state, which called the FBI, is this guy, does he have a criminal record, all the rest of it. Before you could pick it up, you’ve got to do that.
I don’t honestly have any problem with that phone call because we ought to keep the guns out of hands like nuts like this, and ought to keep them out of the hands of felons.
CLIFT: Right. And so, we should strengthen all of these programs. And there is some progress being made around the country. Ten states and the District of Columbia have embraced the law that Chris Van Hollen is proposing, and as does his home state of Maryland.
It is a voluntary program for setting up grants from the Justice Department, that, if a state wants to grant -- go through these permission procedures, the Justice Department will pay for it. This is hardly onerous.
The NRA is out there, you know, threatening, cajoling, doing everything within its power –
ROGAN: It’s quite onerous to tell an 18 year old you can’t buy a gun if you’re an adult.
CLIFT: -- to keep even this minimum law from being passed.
ROGAN: Yes. And also, there’s another point here. There are real problems with racism in America. It’s despicable. It needs to be addressed. It needs to be addressed in dialogue.
But something that I’m afraid Al Sharpton and his cohorts need to talk about more is the fact that the biggest threat to young black men is other young black men, in criminal activity in terms of gangs killing each other, and what that does to the vast majority of law-abiding, decent black families who are essentially being both by Democrats and Republicans.
CLIFT: Right now, the front page story is a congregation in Charleston, South Carolina --
ROGAN: I know -- but you compared that to cops killing people.
CLIFT: -- that was assaulted and these people, this congregation and the black community there is being extraordinarily gracious and forgiving.
BUCHANAN: Well, Charleston is a great city.
CLIFT: I’m not sure if that were a white congregation and a black shooter, if the whites would respond quite so graciously.
BUCHANAN: Eleanor, look at what happened to West Baltimore when they took the cops out because of those --
BUCHANAN: -- what was it the accusation?
They’ve got crimes of violence and shooting. Kids are being shot down. You’re talking about D.C. D.C. is horrendous in terms of shooting black folks --
MCLAUGHLIN: You think this country is too gun happy? Are we too gun happy here?
BUCHANAN: Look, I think we’ve got an awful large criminal population. Frankly, the good guys, to be honest, good, honest citizens, if they want to defend their families, and their lives and their friends, that they have a right to own a gun.
CLIFT: The president -- nobody is talking about taking away the right to own a gun. The president made the point that this is the only advanced country where these shootings happen with regulatory. And that requires us to look in the mirror and figure out what’s going on.
CLIFT: And the answer is not more guns, and more guns in churches.
BUCHANAN: Most of these guys are mentally deranged and they’re on drugs.
MCLAUGHLIN: You’ve got a final thought, Mort?
ZUCKERMAN: Yes, look, it does occur too often whenever it occurs. Frankly, I think there’s been a great effort in this country over the last couple of decades to try and get this under some control. But given the standards of America and given the role of guns in the history of America, it’s not going to be easy to say to everybody, you just have to take your guns away.
CLIFT: But nobody’s saying we’re going to take your guns away. We’re just asking for --
ZUCKERMAN: What happens then?
CLIFT: -- procedures, so they don’t fall in the hands of people who really don’t know how to use them.
ZUCKERMAN: You cannot predict that a 19 or 20-year-old person is going to effectively lose his marbles and go on and do this.
MCLAUGHLIN: Remember that shooting in Connecticut?
ZUCKERMAN: Yes, right.
BUCHANAN: It’s Newtown.
MCLAUGHLIN: Wasn’t that god-awful.
ZUCKERMAN: Yes, there are. These have happened.
CLIFT: And we don’t do anything after that.
ZUCKERMAN: They happen more in this country, for some reason.
MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, we’re gun happy in the country.
ZUCKERMAN: Yes, we are. It’s different in Canada, for example. You almost never have that.
BUCHANAN: Mort, we’ve got a higher violent crime rate in the country. There’s no doubt about it.
Issue Two: The Pope’s Environment.
PAPAL STATEMENT: Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): In Pope Francis’ view, Roman Catholicism must be concerned with more than issues of theology and faith. Francis has spoken on issues ranging from free speech, to war and peace, to what he sees as the excesses of capitalism. And now, the pope is speaking up about the environment.
In a papal guidance directive released on Thursday, Pope Francis castigated the international community, for what he described as its failure to confront global warming. Quote, "If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us," unquote.
MCLAUGHLIN: Question: By embracing climate, has the pope now made apostasy for Catholics to be climate change skeptics, or worse, climate change deniers, like Patrick J. Buchanan?
BUCHANAN: Are you talking to me, John?
MCLAUGHLIN: That’s part of the question.
BUCHANAN: All right. You know, Metternich says, John, that a liberal pope is a contradiction in terms. Metternich was mistaken. The pope when he speaks on faith and morals, speaking ex cathedra, speaks infallibly. But when he speaks on issues like climate change and political issues and the rest of it, he speaks as an Argentine Jesuit socialist, and there’s no infallibility to what he’s saying.
And quite frankly, he is squandering his moral authority by going out and by declaiming authoritatively on matters which the Vatican has no greater knowledge of, quite frankly, than the folks in the debate in the United States, who have been in it a great deal longer than the holy father himself.
CLIFT: Translation, the pope is infallible when he is enunciating on issues that Pat agrees with and not --
BUCHANAN: No, I would say faith --
CLIFT: Not infallible when he disagrees.
Listen, the encyclical is a teaching tool and I think he wants to frame what he regards really as environmental destruction for this planet. He wants to frame that moral terms as opposed to partisan political terms.
It’s going to make some -- there are at least five Catholics running for president. And they’ve all been calling for more religion in the public square, except when they don’t agree with it. So, they’re not going to adopt what he said, but this is a welcome addition to the public ideologue in a terrifically important subject.
MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, the church’s -- Catholic Church’s record is far from infallible on this issue or related to it, categorically, in the same category. I’m thinking of Galileo. Do you remember Galileo?
ZUCKERMAN: Yes. He lived right next to me.
MCLAUGHLIN: Was he complaining about there was no junk removal from --
ZUCKERMAN: I don’t know. We were very careful there. Make sure that we were on good terms.
MCLAUGHLIN: He had a theory of heliocentrism. Do you know what that is?
ZUCKERMAN: Please explain it to me.
MCLAUGHLIN: Please explain it to me.
ROGAN: I have no idea what it means.
CLIFT: They excommunicated him.
BUCHANAN: The Earth goes around the sun. Heliocentric.
MCLAUGHLIN: The Earth --
BUCHANAN: Copernicus was about 100 years ahead of him. And what was done to Galileo has been overrated, John.
MCLAUGHLIN: That the Earth orbited the sun.
BUCHANAN: Yes, the Earth orbits the sun. That’s a heliocentric universe, rather than a geocentric.
MCLAUGHLIN: Altogether contrary to sacred scripture by the Vatican, 1616.
BUCHANAN: Well, no. They told Galileo simply, you could not preach it. You should not preach it.
Copernicus had discovered the idea and preached it long before then.
MCLAUGHLIN: A church divided?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): While some welcome the pope’s activism, others are concerned by his politicking. Some, like Pat Buchanan, believe Pope Francis risks dividing the Catholic Church by entering the political fray.
Here’s what Jeb Bush, Republican candidate for U.S. president, and a Roman Catholic, said on Wednesday.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that remark of Jeb Bush?
ROGAN: Well, it shows -- it does show the tensions and, you know, Republican candidates who are Catholics, trying to grapple with respect for Pope Francis, but at the same time having their disagreements.
And I would say one concern that I have -- the environmental issue, the pope is talking about that. But some of the language he used in this, especially concerns me, when he’s talking about the notion of moral justice. And he has this real deep -- Pat is right -- a socialist hatred for capitalism.
The problem with that is if you look at Latin America, and he’s from Argentina. But if you look at what has happened there, in places like Venezuela or in Bolivia, and Cuba, with socialism, it has ruined lives. He should talk more about the disgrace of socialism.
CLIFT: He’s talking about inequality.
BUCHANAN: American free enterprise has ended more poverty than any other institution, John. The West has been the success. People in the third world are coming to the West because of free enterprise, capitalism, provides opportunity and growth out of poverty.
CLIFT: First, I want to know, what’s with the selfie of Pat Buchanan on the screen?
MCLAUGHLIN: I know. He pops up everywhere.
MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, what do you want to say?
ZUCKERMAN: I just want to say, here is a great religious leader. I think it is wonderful that he gets into these kinds of areas because it is absolutely true in what he is saying. It has a huge effect on a lot of people, particularly on younger people. And this is something that he’s concerned about.
BUCHANAN: He said we have custody of the planet. We ought to take care of it. We have dominion of it.
BUCHANAN: Stewardship. Fine.
BUCHANAN: But getting into -- and also calling the world because it’s a pile of filth, I mean, we’ve cleaned up America. We’ve cleaned up our rivers and air and all the rest of us.
CLIFT: We’ve got huge challenges ahead, and he knows it.
The encyclical is incredibly detailed about the dynamics of climate change. He gets into deforestation and species extinction.
MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor --
CLIFT: All the things that I worry about and Pat says are hooey.
BUCHANAN: No, no – you and I can disagree about them.
MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, it’s not difficult getting deep into climate change. It’s not that difficult.
CLIFT: No --
MCLAUGHLIN: And deforestation is not a particularly difficult concept.
CLIFT: Yes, but --
MCLAUGHLIN: So, he doesn’t get any credit for that.
CLIFT: No, he’s grounded in all that. It’s good.
ZUCKERMAN: No, but he gets credit for focusing a lot of attention of what is a series and growing problem.
MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. But what he’s talking about, something that’s going to be defidi definida (ph), definite because the pope has said it, and he’s borrowing trouble.
ZUCKERMAN: Not --
ZUCKERMAN: I have to say one thing. Not for me.
CLIFT: Not for me.
ZUCKERMAN: He’s not borrowing trouble with me, is all I can say.
MCLAUGHLIN: Or for me, for that matter.
CLIFT: We’re all Catholics now.
MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Did the Vatican do the right thing by declaring the science on global warming to be settled doctrine? Yes or no, Pat Buchanan?
BUCHANAN: It is not settled doctrine. There are men with fine minds who have different views about this. And the idea that he’s trying to settle it is a great mistake, as I say, that squanders his moral authority.
CLIFT: Scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in support of climate change and it’s not a theory. It’s happening. You can look around the world. It’s happening.
MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly. Quickly.
ROGAN: No, it’s not settled.
ZUCKERMAN: I think it enhances the pope, and it doesn’t diminish him, as you were suggesting.
ROGAN: It divides the church, which is a problem.
ZUCKERMAN: Yes. Well, the pope can handle, OK? But he’s --
ROGAN: Can he?
ZUCKERMAN: He is, it seems to me, putting forth a very serious thought about a very serious problem. I respect that.
MCLAUGHLIN: I think he’s borrowing trouble.
Issue Three: The Trump House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): He’s seeking a move from New York’s Trump Tower to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Yes, and promising to build a great wall along the Mexican border and to destroy ISIS, and to create millions of new jobs.
Donald Trump is running for president as a Republican, and predictably, he’s meeting a mixed reception.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Mr. Trump reportedly has a $9 billion net worth. Is that why the media takes his presidential ambition seriously? I ask you, Tom.
ROGAN: No, I think the media takes him seriously because of his showmanship, because of the way that he presents himself, because of the things that he says and it generates buzz, and it also plays to the ability to turn the GOP nomination race into sort of a circus.
CLIFT: I don’t think the media takes him seriously. The media takes him as one big joke, that’s going to perhaps get people to watch the debates. If he gets on the debate stage, he’ll be a human wrecking ball. He will go after all the other candidates. He will say lots of stupid things that the media will lap up. I’m one of them. And he does have the potential really to embarrass the Republican Party.
MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think you’re unconsciously jealous of Donald Trump?
CLIFT: No, I don’t think --
MCLAUGHLIN: And his money?
CLIFT: I’m jealous of his hair, John.
BUCHANAN: I think we’re underestimating his impact, John.
BUCHANAN: I tell you why, because he’s hitting the issue of China trade, of lost jobs, he’s hitting the mistake in Iraq, he’s hitting the Mexican people pouring into the border, all the rest of it -- unable to control the main -- unable to control the government. And I think he’s going to -- it’s going to resonate to an awful lot of people in those primaries.
CLIFT: His positions aren’t that much different from anybody else in the field, actually.
ZUCKERMAN: He’s a character. He, shall we say, has the largest ego of anybody I’ve ever meet when he talks about his network. He devotes the largest element in his network, his name he says is worth $3.5 billion.
Now, his name is shorter than mine, so I figure mine is worth a lot more. But setting that aside, look, he’s --
MCLAUGHLIN: How much is your name is worth, by the way?
ZUCKERMAN: It’s too early to tell, John. I’m just at the beginning. Look, I think -- look, I think he is a little bit of a joke, if I had to say this, OK? And I give you one illustration.
There’s a big crowd there applauding everything he says.
ZUCKERMAN: It turns out the next day, it happened to appear on "The New York Daily News", which I just want to mention, that he hired --
MCLAUGHLIN: That you work?
ZUCKERMAN: Yes. He hired all of these people to come. They’re getting $50 to sit there and applaud him. Now, that is not exactly my view of a natural environment.
Nevertheless, he’s a showman. He’s done very well. I wish him well. I don’t think he should be in public life. He does. We’ll find out what happens.
MCLAUGHLIN: You know, so you hire a canned applause, group to do some applause.
CLIFT: He’s creating jobs. Creating jobs.
MCLAUGHLIN: He’s creating --
BUCHANAN: Why shouldn’t he be in public life, Mort? Why shouldn’t he be in public life?
ZUCKERMAN: I have --
MCLAUGHLIN: All right. We’re racing now here.
Issue Four: The End of Al-Wuhayshi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We as the jihadists Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula mourn to our Islamic Umma, the sheikh the prince, the leader, the ascetic, Abu Basir Nasser Bin Abdulkarim al-Wuhayshi, may God rest his soul, who has been killed by an American raid which targeted him with two other mujahideen brothers.
MCLAUGHLIN: A U.S. drone fired a missile at three men last Friday in Eastern Yemen. Among them was Nasir al-Wuhayshi, leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as AQAP.
American counterterrorism officials were elated. After all al-Wuhayshi was not just the leader of AQAP, he was the global operations manager for al Qaeda in its entirety. Specifically appointed by al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Wuhayshi was regarded as charismatic and a keen, strategic intellect.
Under al-Wuhayshi’s leadership, AQAP launched multiple attacks against the West. These included the underwear bombing attempt of an airline around Christmas Day of 2009, the near assassination of a Saudi prince, who is now crown prince, in 2009 by a suicide bomber who had a bomb hidden inside his body, another underwear bomb plot in 2012, plots against U.S. commercial aircrafts, a plot against U.S. diplomatic stations in 2013 and the attack on the Paris magazine, "Charlie Hebdo" in January 2015.
Accordingly, Mr. al-Wuhayshi had long been a target for U.S. counterterrorism officials. That said, America’s struggle against AQAP is far from over.
Because of the collapse of the Yemeni government earlier this year, AQAP now controls vast territory in Yemen, and it also retains the services of Ibrahim al-Asiri, a bomb maker commonly regarded as one of the most skilled in the world.
Here’s how Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA explained al-Asiri’s importance.
MIKE MORELL, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIRECTOR: He is the guy responsible for producing these very sophisticated explosive devices, the one that the underwear bomber used, the one that was in the printer cartridge and the one that was in that nonmetallic suicide vest. So, he is very significant -- very significant -- probably the most significant after Wuhayshi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How important is al-Wuhayshi’s death for U.S. national security, Tom?
ROGAN: It’s a major success. It’s the biggest success since the killing of bin Laden.
And you know what? I profoundly disagree with President Obama’s policy in the broader Middle East, but he deserves, as commander-in-chief a lot of credit here, because this is a major victory. The problem as he notes, Morell notes, is that Ibrahim al-Asiri, incredibly talented bomb maker, unfortunately, a master of death, is still out there.
Another problem, very quickly, is that as ISIS rises and Iran rises, the Sunni Arab monarchies may begin to use AQAP as a buffer against the Iranian-supported Houthi rebels in Yemen, which is right next door.
So, this continuing situation in Yemen is something we have to really pay close attention to, the peace negotiations this week failed.
MCLAUGHLIN: Does President/Commander-in-Chief Obama know the way you feel about his strategy in the Middle East?
ROGAN: I’m not sure President Obama reads my blog.
BUCHANAN: John, this is one of the problems, though, in Yemen.
MCLAUGHLIN: He may read it now.
BUCHANAN: In Yemen, John, you know, the Houthi rebels almost took over most of the country and in -- Saudis are bombing them. But into that vacuum, al Qaeda has moved back.
And al Qaeda is to me -- ISIS is horrendous and horrible in what we do. But in terms of threats to the United States, al Qaeda is a greater danger. And some of our allies, excuse me, are aiding al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front. And this to me is a real problem and I don’t know why -- what we’re doing to stop it.
MCLAUGHLIN: Why does President Obama rely so heavily on drone strikes to fight Islamic terrorism? Eleanor?
CLIFT: Because they don’t put young American men and women in harm’s way. And this is a significant kill, if you will.
CLIFT: The problem is, as soon as you knock out one of these guys, somebody else rises and takes the place. So, I’m not sure this is a great strategy for the next president. I think this president is basically just punting until a new president takes in. And what’s happening in Yemen is, the Saudi air campaign which has really reduced the capital of that city to almost rubble, and I’m not quite sure what all of that leads.
MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Americans should fear a response attack by al Qaeda?
ZUCKERMAN: Yes. I think we’re going to be in for a much larger threat from al Qaeda in that region, al Qaeda and ISIS. We stand a chance, a real serious chance of losing some of our most important allies in that part of the world, because we are not doing anything about it and they have the momentum, they have the will.
MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Happy Father’s Day! Bye-bye!