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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,
ELEANOR CLIFT, AND LAWRENCE KUDLOW

TAPED: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2001
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 22-23, 2001

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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Q From aircraft engines that bring us together to appliances that lighten our chores to broadcasting that brings the world home, GE is working for people everywhere. That's why we're proud to support the McLaughlin Group.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: America's ultimatum.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) We condemn the Taliban regime.

They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.

Americans should not expect one battle but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Everyone agrees that President Bush's speech to the nation this week was a masterpiece. But did the commander in chief overreach? Al Qaeda terrorists, he says, are operational in 60 countries. They must all be extirpated. And the secretary of Defense is talking in terms of a five-year war mobilization, as a minimum. Is this overreaching, Michael Barone?

MR. BARONE: No, I -- John, I don't think it's overreaching. I think we need to reach very far to stop the people who had the will and capacity to do things like wreck the World Trade Center towers and have a plane go into the Pentagon.

I was very heartened by the fact that the president said: No negotiations. We are setting the terms. None of these negotiations that we've gone through some -- with these past crises with terrorists or those who harbor them.

And I was also heartened by his emphasis, which he's made since September 11th, on the fact that this is a wider war. The fact is that it's very likely that states, governments are sponsoring terrorism, and evidence is accumulating that the government of Iraq sponsored terrorism. If that is true, we are not safe so long as that government is in power. And I think President Bush laid the framework to take on this very difficult task.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Well, there's a debate within the administration, with the Powell -- Colin Powell faction of wanting to keep the goals narrow and begin with bin Laden, and then you've got the faction with the secretary of Defense's primary deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, apparently saying what Michael Barone is saying: that you got to go to Iraq, finish what Daddy started. I suspect Michael would be on the Wolfowitz side. I'm on the Colin Powell side. I thought the president's speech has perfect pitch for a domestic audience. But I think there were some major errors when you're talking about an international audience.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. CLIFT: Invoking God, saying God's on our side, we need to keep this secular. We don't need to join it as a holy war.

Secondly, he should have pointed out that this government has protected Moslems in Kosovo, in Bosnia, and to make it really clear that this is not a war against Islam.

MR. KUDLOW: But we're not against Moslems. He made that very clear on a number of occasions.

MR. BARONE: He made that point, but your position is a good addition.

MR. KUDLOW: I mean, that was a key point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's maintain the sequence here. I'm going to go to Tony. Do you think he was too bellicose, and did he overreach?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I don't think he was too bellicose. The question of overreaching is the central policy debate that we're going to have in this country or the administration is having. Whether -- how surgical, how broad? How much to risk polarizing how much of the world against us? These are huge calculations. It's not just 10- to 50,000 Islamic terrorists who are on the other side. There are good pieces of the Islamic population around the world, and the question is, how much of that do we want to take on by polarizing them? I think it's a question that probably we'll see played out over probably at least months before the decision will really be made.

MR. KUDLOW: But I think it's a step-by-step process. In other words, the dynamic here is, do we have in this country the political will to take on this demonic enemy, which has taken the fight to our shores and which created the greatest number of domestic casualties, I believe, since the Antietam battle in the Civil War? Do we have the will? What Bush did this week was generate that political will. He became commander in chief. He became the leader of the free world. He became the president of the red, white and blue states. This was huge. And he has the nation behind him. The polls are running 95-97 percent.

At that point, piece by piece -- I assume the first incursion goes to Afghanistan to get bin Laden, but whatever it is, we will know whether he's overreaching piece by piece, and I --

MR. BARONE: We've had one success that's very important.

MR. KUDLOW: -- and I believe that each success will build on itself --

MR. BARONE: This will create a great --

MR. KUDLOW: Let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear from Michael.

MR. BARONE: We've had success already with Pakistan. Many people told us, and not without some cause, that it would be difficult to get a Moslem state to agree with it. Pakistan agreed. Why was that? Because we gave them what I call the Stalingrad choice, why the Russian soldiers held at Stalingrad, because it was 100 percent sure if they retreated, they wouldn't go.

Pakistan knows we can take out their nuclear weapons and their military. They went with us. Now it's up to us to make sure that they produce the intelligence. These are the people that made the Taliban. We want to use jujitsu against them and roll up --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I ask you, can Pervez Musharraf, the leader of Pakistan, hold his country behind him? And isn't there a fear that if the president becomes too military in Afghanistan, that that will radicalize the already radicalized Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan? And if Pakistan cannot be held, if that government falls under Muslim fundamentalists, then the Muslim fundamentalists have the bomb, and then India says, "We're worried about you having the bomb, especially because of our altercation over Kashmir," and then India makes a preemptive strike. Does that worry you?

MR. BLANKLEY: It worries me tremendously. Look, we don't know everything bin Laden wants, but probably he wants to have as big a force on his side opposing the West. And the danger for us is that as we force the moderate Arab states to come on our side, we may undermine them and then have them overthrown from the angry streets. And then we start losing Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and Pakistan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BLANKLEY: And then we get bin Laden -- what bin Laden really wants, which is a cataclysmic fat bite of civilizations. So I don't know that it goes that way, but you've got to consider --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How are you going to handle Americans like Kudlow here, who beats his chest and waves flags, not realizing -- not realizing that you could open up a Pandora's box?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, it's not a question of beating his chest. It may well be the right position. I don't know yet. But --

MS. CLIFT: The administration really, I think, feels pressure to do something visible and militarily.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: I mean, that's the whole feeling you're getting. But quick strikes, military strikes, into the training camps may make us feel good temporarily, but the real answer here are probably these commando raids. And the notion that we're going to get bin Laden -- the Clinton administration probably spent six years trying to find him. Getting him does not end the war on terrorism, in any event.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BLANKLEY: They didn't make the kind of effort that this administration is making.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me state two things that I think we're clear on. He did not mention Saddam Hussein, so no overreaching there, thank God.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. Yes.

MR. KUDLOW: Right, not yet. Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And number two, he did not mention -- did he use the word "NATO" anywhere?

MR. KUDLOW: No. No --

MR. BARONE: He did not use the term NATO, and he did not talk about the United Nations.

MS. CLIFT: He -- (inaudible) -- Tony Blair.

MR. BARONE: He talked about our right of self-defense, and he mentioned Great Britain, which has support of the type we're going to need.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, I want to talk -- I want to talk about --

MR. BARONE: But we need to go in and do something about bin Laden here, and I think our success with Pakistan -- you guys are all worried, said, well, these people in the streets are going to take them out. Remember that these dictators in Pakistan and other parts of the Middle East are cunning and brutal people. We want to enlist, at least temporarily, that cunning and brutality on our side and not against us -- --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If that amounts to --

MR. BARONE: -- and we want to make them stand up for us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If that amounts to an underestimation of Arab rage and the role that Arab rage plays --

MR. BARONE: Everybody told us the Arab street was going to uprise during the Gulf War and it didn't happen.

MR. KUDLOW: It didn't happen. And it never happened.

Strength plays to strength. This is the point you're missing, John.

MR. BARONE: They respect strength.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It didn't happen? It may have happened --

MS. CLIFT: It's happened in New York and the Pentagon!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- at the towers in New York!

MS. CLIFT: Exactly. It just happened.

MR. KUDLOW: That's because we didn't finish the job in the first place.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him talk. Let him talk.

MR. KUDLOW: And the point I want to make is, about not finishing the job in the first place, to your important -- to your important point --

MS. CLIFT: Do you really believe -- do you really believe if you topple Saddam Hussein --

MR. KUDLOW: Let me -- let me make this point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, let him finish. Let him finish.

MS. CLIFT: -- that the World Trade Center wouldn't have happened?

MR. KUDLOW: Yes, I believe it is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly. Quickly.

MR. BARONE: Oh, yes.

MR. KUDLOW: But the point is, on this -- on the Bush speech and the policy behind the speech, it is very clear that the president has tilted away from the coalitions of Colin Powell and the State Department. We are not going to have 75 countries tell us what our goals and objectives are. In fact, Bush made it very clear, with his overt praise of Tony Blair, that if the United States and the United Kingdom have to stand alone and operate this thing, they are prepared to do so.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that the way you read that?

MR. KUDLOW: That is the way I read it.

MS. CLIFT: It's not how Tony Blair reads it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, we already know that --

MS. CLIFT: That's not how Tony Blair reads it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We already know that Norway, one of the members of NATO, has said that they don't regard the situation as risk prone to them as Bush does.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me --

MR. BARONE: Let them keep their fishing trawlers in port, and we and the British will go to war

MR. KUDLOW: We are going to do what is in the self-interest of freedom and democracy and preserving Western values.

MR. BLANKLEY: Wait a second.

MR. KUDLOW: We are not going to be held hostage to a lot of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you for that patriotic prose.

MS. CLIFT: I just want to say --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now let's hear from him.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me suggest at least two allies that make sense, Turkey and India.

MR. BARONE: Hear. Hear.

MR. BLANKLEY: Turkey, a completely Muslim country that nonetheless has vital national interests in opposing the kind of activities that we're seeing in the terrorism. India, that's had, of course, two generations of experience with Muslim terrorism. These are two countries that are not opportunistic in their alliance with us, like perhaps some of the other Middle Eastern countries, but in fact have Muslim components and have a vital national interest.

MS. CLIFT: I just want --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. We've got to get out.

MS. CLIFT: I just want to say I'm glad you guys are not at the table making policy, because this coalition that you just ridiculed, that Colin Powell is trying to put together, is important because you can't win this war militarily; you need --

MR. KUDLOW: Opportunistically.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.

MR. KUDLOW: Opportunistically.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. Excuse me.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's move on.

MS. CLIFT: You need --

MR. KUDLOW: Sometimes we --

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. You need foreign intelligence, you need foreign police work, and you need to track the money. And you need the coalition.

MR. KUDLOW: But the coalition should not dictate.

MS. CLIFT: This is a world fight.

MR. KUDLOW: The coalition does not dictate our goals and objectives.

MR. BARONE: Let us get the intelligence the French can provide. We don't necessarily need their troops.

MR. KUDLOW: Yeah, we can work with all these countries.

MR. BARONE: We can work with them on --

MS. CLIFT: It's this attitude that creates the problem that we now face.

MR. BARONE: -- as the president said, on different bases.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking over each other.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, make a quick point, because we've got to move on.

MS. CLIFT: I'm just saying this attitude that we can do this alone, or just we and the British, is the kind of attitude that creates the problems we're seeing now. What creates terrorism?

MR. BARONE: Eleanor, you can't literally mean that.

MS. CLIFT: I literally do. Repressive regimes around the --

MR. BARONE: Did that cause the trade center to be toppled? I don't think so.

MS. CLIFT: Repressive regimes --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question.

MS. CLIFT: -- around the world that we support.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many of the 16 NATO countries of Europe will support the U.S. with troops in President Bush's and the U.S.'s war on terrorism?

Michael Barone?

MR. BARONE: I think only one in a significant way, the United Kingdom. And that will be enough.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that deplorable?

MR. BARONE: It's not necessarily deplorable. Some of these other countries don't have the kind of troops that we want or need in these particular situations.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And they also have Muslim populations.

MR. BARONE: I think we'll get intelligence support from others, and we may get some troops from the Germans, I hear.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, let's not overly depend on the NATO countries and their fickle behavior over the past, particularly in the Achille Lauro and Reagan's bombing of Libya and the denial by the French of air rights to him.

Please move on.

MS. CLIFT: I don't believe the message that Tony Blair brought to this country this week is that he is willing to go it alone with the U.S.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do not?

MS. CLIFT: No. He wants the coalition kept together and goals to be sufficiently clear and narrow. We cannot take on Iraq in --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sixty countries?

MS. CLIFT: We cannot again go -- 60 countries?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that what the president mentioned?

MR. BARONE: We want them to clean their countries out --

MS. CLIFT: We're not going to take on Iraq now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- impression that we're prepared to take --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- unilateral action in order to extirpate those countries that may be --

MR. KUDLOW: Yes. Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- providing residence or --

MR. BARONE: John, Germany -- (inaudible) -- for terrorism, but they're going to cooperate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's move on. We're into hysteria on this side.

MR. KUDLOW: Don't rule out --

MR. BLANKLEY: Tony Blair --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just one moment.

MR. BLANKLEY: Tony Blair has been working very hard on the continent trying to bring some of the NATO allies around. I think the larger point is the broader our --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Blair will be successful?

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know. The broader the coalition, the lousier the common denominator. We're going to have to keep it relatively small, but not so small that it's just Britain and the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you point out that when Chirac was asked, in this country, this week, "Would you provide troops," he refused to answer? When he was asked, "Would you call this a war," he refused to answer. That's French support for you.

MR. KUDLOW: But you -- but we have not heard that from Germany yet, and I wouldn't rule that out, nor have we heard that from Italy yet, with the Berlusconi government.

MR. BLANKLEY: And Spain is going to be helpful.

MR. BARONE: Nor have we heard it from Spain. And John, we haven't heard it from Russia. Russia may involve itself in this as a major coalition member.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's all point out once again, emphatically, that the five of us agree that the speech was a masterpiece, and it was a necessary speech, a necessary speech in every way.

But as far as getting the cooperation of European members, I think if he gets one, he'll be fortunate, and that's the United Kingdom.

When we come back: Will the U.S. do better in Afghanistan than the Soviets did?

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: The Soviets' Vietnam -- Afghanistan, a 10-year debacle.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DONALD RUMSFELD: (From videotape.) The president is exactly right that we have to take this battle, this war, to the terrorists, where they are.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where they are is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

It's an historical battleground, and all too familiar to the Russians. In 1979, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan with an army of 100,000. They were absolutely certain that Afghanistan's ragtag rebel force, the mujaheddin, would be no match for the Soviet's armaments and its manpower, vastly superior in numbers and performance, they thought. How tragically wrong they were. Afghanistan would become Russia's Vietnam.

First there was the topography. Roughly the size of Texas, Afghanistan is mostly inhospitable, rugged mountains. For four years Russian General Valentin Varennikov commanded the Soviet army in that terrain. He warns the U.S. to think twice.

GEN. VALENTIN VARENNIKOV (Russian commander in Afghanistan): (From videotape, through interpreter.) You get the feeling God gathered up all of the rocks in the world and dropped them in Afghanistan. The Taliban can hide. You can't find anyone there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The anti-Communist mujaheddin were trained and armed by the U.S. and fought side by side with Osama bin Laden. With anti-aircraft weapons from the CIA, the wily mujaheddin would strike the Soviets from their mountain perches and race to their hiding places in the hills.

YEVGENY KHRUSHCHEV (former officer in the Russian Army): (From videotape.) Nerve 2Dwracking experience that you never know, day or night, when you get hit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For 10 years, the Russians fought the war, then, resigned to defeat, withdrew their forces.

Today mujaheddin fighters lead the Taliban and have harbored Osama bin Laden, and Afghanistan remains the most heavily mined country in the world.

Question. If our military becomes overextended in Afghanistan, will the next enemy to make a sneak attack on us necessarily be Islamic?

You got that figured out, Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, I got that figured out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does it mean?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, the whole question --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It means we'll be vulnerable, right?

MR. BLANKLEY: It's the whole question of a two-front war, the debate -- you know, a two-war policy -- can you handle two wars at the same time? I think, while it's a valid question, I don't think it's critical to this moment. I think that we can focus, and we have to focus, on Afghanistan first and -- World War II, we held off the Japanese while we fought Hitler first. I mean, you can have holding actions in one place and deal elsewhere.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, do you realize that our military forces are 40 percent smaller today than they were 10 years ago at the outset of the Gulf War?

MR. BLANKLEY: Painfully. Yes. Let me make a point about Afghanistan, because you're absolutely right when it comes to the difficulty of the terrain. In fact, winter is coming soon there. It'll be very hard to fight there on the ground. On the other hand, the Taliban is not popular. The rebels there are supported from Uzbekistan. We're supporting Uzbekistan. The Russians are. We have a reasonable chance to get the public in Afghanistan to support the opposition.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, what -- I will ask -- let me see how good you are on this panel. What's the biggest reason why our going into Afghanistan is a superior military position than occurred under the Soviets.

MR. BARONE: Well --

MS. CLIFT: Because --

MR. KUDLOW: The short answer is, we are not opposing our position. When we opposed the Soviet position --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, that's an okay answer.

MR. KUDLOW: -- that was crucial. And don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But there's another reason. It's somewhat allied to that. Can you give it to me?

MS. CLIFT: Well, because the mujaheddin in the '80s was being funded and supplied by the Reagan administration --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How much did we give them?

MS. CLIFT: -- and they had American Stinger missiles.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: And presumably the ragtag army there now doesn't have that kind of weaponry.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They got at least 2 billion from us. And the mujaheddin became to a great extent --

MS. CLIFT: The Taliban.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the current Taliban. And don't forget Osama bin Laden was also working side by side with the CIA --

MS. CLIFT: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the mujaheddin, currently largely the Taliban.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. KUDLOW: But that's all changed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, we gave a -- or there was a total of --

MR. KUDLOW: But that's all changed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- $3 billion flowed in. My point is, they don't have that today.

MR. KUDLOW: But it's not about caves.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And they need that today. So therefore we're in a superior position.

MR. KUDLOW: It's not about rocks and caves and mountains. It's about the changing power alignment. And again, if Putin and Bush are working together, that changes the entire game on paper.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Economy -- Economy Crumble

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy. Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America's successful because of the hard work and creativity and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What effect with the war rhetoric, the war rhetoric have on the economy, Lawrence Kudlow, especially consumer confidence?

MR. KUDLOW: Right at this moment, the war rhetoric with respect to domestic securities, home security, is creating a lot of unease and a lot of uncertainty. We know about the airports and the airlines and the consumer travel, and all that's dead in the water. I don't know how long that's going to last. I certainly think some round-ups here at home of suspects, as well as some successes overseas, will eliminate that.

But if I had one wish, John, in the Bush speech, which I thought was a fabulous speech, he's got to devote a little more attention -- the economy, which was going into recession before September 11th, is now going to have a much worse recession. Alan Greenspan is going to Capitol Hill and telling leaders we don't have to do anything for a couple weeks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No stimulus now! Put it off! That's what he said.

MR. KUDLOW: And I think Greenspan is dead-in-the-water wrong on this. We have to have business tax cuts, investment tax cuts, infrastructure spending, to get the airports going again --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you want to bail out the airlines, I suppose.

MR. KUDLOW: John, you've got to get them back in the air.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to bail out the airlines?

MR. KUDLOW: The government's going to have to take over the security.

MS. CLIFT: There are some things --

MR. KUDLOW: The government's going to have to take over their security. And listen, we must show the foreigners, we must show the terrorist enemy that we can have a strong economy at home to produce the resources to wage this war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me -- just want to underline one of his points. Currently, the security at all of our national airports is paid for by the airlines.

MR. KUDLOW: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They have -- since Pan Am 103, my information is that they have been very, very reluctant to improve the security --

MR. BARONE: John, there is one other factor that -- there's one other factor that's important here. Airline --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants the government to take it over. That's the point.

MR. BARONE: There's one other factor with the airlines. Passengers are -- if there's a further hijacking, passengers are going to do what those four or more heroic passengers did on United 93 and to risk their lives, submit to death, in order to prevent a tragedy like that happening again. And the terrorists should know that.

MS. CLIFT: Look, we're talking about the economy. The airlines need a bailout, and they should get one. I mean, it's part -- they're part of our national security, too.

MR. KUDLOW: It's not a bailout --

MS. CLIFT: But when people like you start lining up and saying now's the time to get every kind of tax cut you've wanted for the last some years, that's where Alan Greenspan is right. You know, hold back -- hold back --

MR. KUDLOW: Now's the time. Now's the time. Listen --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Capital gains -- did you mention capital gains?

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, Lawrence --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who has gains? Who has gains?

MR. KUDLOW: Greenspan is in favor of eliminating capital gains. Capital gains is in the game --

MR. BLANKLEY: Lawrence, let me make --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's got gains? Have you got gains?

MR. KUDLOW: John, people have been sitting on gains for 15 years, and we have to unlock --

MR. BLANKLEY: Lawrence, let me make a point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, exit question. What's the best single step Bush can take to calm the economy now, Michael Barone?

MR. BARONE: To calm the economy now, I think to keep on proceeding and prosecuting this war effort. The American people over the long haul will support him and, I think, (will listen ?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean straight ahead, onward and upward, right?

MR. BARONE: That's right. I'm not going to get into the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Call on the oil companies to give the airlines a break on fuel prices, so they can recover more naturally. (Laughter.) Let's all be patriotic!

MR. KUDLOW: Yes -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stop laughing at Eleanor. A constructive suggestion.

MS. CLIFT: It's a good idea.

MR. BLANKLEY: I agree with half of what Lawrence said. I think we do need a stimulus package. But the president has to show the leadership to make sure that it's a purely bipartisan -- it's terribly important that neither party put in their pet projects at the expense of creating a mood of partisanship at a moment like this. I think you can put together a package that both sides will agree with. It may not be the perfect package, but it'll be better than nothing.

MR. KUDLOW: No, Tony's got a good point. And there is a unity spirit up on the Hill. I saw it this week. I think there's a real deal with a broad-based corporate tax cut, maybe a rate cut, faster depreciation, maybe even a speed-up of the personal tax cuts, which Senator Daschle has favored. But the sooner we get going, the better.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The best single thing he can do to calm the economy now is put a cork on war rhetoric. We've heard W word. It's not necessary to raise it anymore. Proceed with the military action, but avoid the use of the word "war."

We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Are we headed to World War III, Michael?

MR. BARONE: I think we're in it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You see this as a world war?

MR. BARONE: I see this as a war that's extending across the world. It's different from World Wars I and II, but it is a war, and it is worldwide.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Boy, that is a recipe for disaster. I mean, I hope we're not headed to World War III, but I saw the unthinkable happen in New York and Washington last week, and I would not rule it out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. BLANKLEY: I think we're going down that path, depending on how broadly we approach the project, and --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean the scope?

MR. BLANKLEY: The scope of the project, and we -- it's not totally in our control, depends what the other side wants to do. But yeah, if you have to make a bet, I'd say we're into something that could reasonably be called a world war.

MR. KUDLOW: I actually think that successful prosecution of this war against terrorism will stop the nuclear World War III that everyone thinks about. And I think Bush understands that the stakes are just that high. What we do now will end the worst 2Dcase options there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president has to keep in balance a number of unpredictable variables and vectors, very sensitively, so as not to radicalize the Arab population and incur a number of other negatives. I think he can do it.

I will say no, not a world war in the sense of World War II.

Next week: Who is to blame for the massive Central Intelligence Agency breakdown?

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Arab-American abuse.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape) Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must not be intimidated in America. That's not the America I know.

ROBERT MUELLER (director, Federal Bureau of Investigation): (From videotape.) Vigilante attacks and threats against Arab Americans will not be tolerated.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Despite the concern of President Bush and FBI Director Mueller, anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment continue to be rampant in the U.S.

In Houston, a Pakistani Muslim describes the threat hurled at him:

NICK RIAZ: (From videotape.) The way you burned us, I'm going to burn you, and I'm going to burn your place.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then the hate-filled criminal who made that harassing remark set fire to the Muslim's auto shop.

Another target, south of Cleveland, Ohio. A rampaging 29-year-older rammed his car at 80 miles per hour into a mosque.

Even assaults are occurring on people who look like Muslims or Arabs, but in fact are not, like this Arizonan immigrant from India, a gas station owner who was killed as described by one eye witness:

EYEWITNESS: (From videotape.) He just walked up to the fellow that was shot and killed, put the gun in his back and fired.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Do more Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans need to show more solidarity with non-Muslim, non-Arab Americans? Why are they not denouncing terrorist violence with passion and intensity, as other Americans do?

That question was put by Tariq Massoud (sp), Muslim graduate student of Yale, at Yale, and author of a brilliant and earnest essay published in the Wall Street Journal Friday, September 14th, and also published in London's Daily Telegraph last Monday.

You understand the point that he's making, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: You're making the point that Muslim-Americans have not sufficiently denounced this?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct. He's making that point about his own.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't see that. Every time I turn on TV or have any exposure to the Muslim community, they are denouncing this. And it seems to me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they denouncing it --

MS. CLIFT: -- that what we need from the government side is some prosecutions here. And the president might want to rethink his opposition to hate crime legislation, because that's the kind of penalties we should impose on people who are --

MR. BARONE: Well, now, just a minute. Murder  2D 2D

MS. CLIFT: -- harassing these people.

MR. BARONE: Murder is murder, and there's a very serious penalty for it, the death penalty in Arizona. And of course that case should be prosecuted. I think some Muslims are speaking out admirably in the United States. I think it would help to have many more do so.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you read the article in question?

MR. BARONE: I think that they need to help us lead the way. It's been very heartening seeing blood drives among Moslems and Arab Americans, among -- seeing people who speak Arabic, Farsi, and other such languages come forward to volunteer to help our law enforcement in investigative things. But the more of this can be done, the better. And they should pitch that -- their talk to international Islam as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The point of this Muslim grad student is that if Muslims were to denounce with passion on radio talk shows what has happened at the Trade Center, then they would then be able to really object as forcefully as some are doing now. You understand his point?

MR. KUDLOW: It would give them a stronger moral case. It would give them a stronger moral platform. I think it's an excellent point. I thought it was an excellent article.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Some say that Americans brought this on themselves because of opposition towards the Arab world for 30 years in the Palestinian-Arab conflict and with regard to the last 10 years in Iraq.

MR. KUDLOW: I think there's a history here that is going to be difficult during this immediate, intense wartime period. But I also give President Bush a lot of credit for making that point, the tolerance point --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At the mosque.

MR. BARONE: And politicians of both parties have been making that point, left, right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want to say something?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, because --

MR. BARONE: They all deserve credit for it.

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