THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT AND MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN
TAPED: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2003
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 22-23, 2003
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Options to war.
(Footage of anti-war demonstrators in various cities.) They
numbered in the millions and came from all segments of society, in
capitals spanning the planet. Last weekend's unexpectedly strong
showing of energized anti-war protestors worldwide has led
policymakers this week to reevaluate tough measures short of war:
One, assassinate Saddam. If Special Forces can't execute him, a
CIA missile-firing drone can do so at his next public speech.
Congress would amend legislation barring assassination of heads of
Two, surgical bombing and rocketry, using the Begin Doctrine --
so named for former prime minister Menachem Begin, who ordered
Israel's air force to destroy Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 --
to level Iraqi facilities, all Saddam's palaces, government and
military installations, all deleted by precision rocketry.
Three, coup d'etat. Get serious about a coup, with the CIA
working jointly with the regionally superior French and Russian
intelligence services to topple Saddam and install a successor regime.
Four, expand inspections. Build on the French and German plan to
dramatically increase inspections.
Five, targeted sanctions, like the effective COCOM restraints
used the Soviets, barring from Iraq imports of dual-use materials,
kept up indefinitely, as we did in the Cold War.
To recap, assassinate Saddam, surgically bomb facilities,
instigate a coup d'etat, expand inspections, and force targeted
Question: Is assassination a realistic method of regime change,
thus averting a war, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, first, John, I think your smart sanctions
was thrown in there for humorous relief. But look, assassination, no.
We don't want to assassinate Saddam Hussein, for a couple of reasons.
First, we don't want blood on our hands. We're a great power. We
don't do things like that. But secondly, what would come to power is
maybe his sons or a junta. You would not have regime change with
The best possibility for us is have internally -- have the
generals or someone overthrow Saddam Hussein and then agree to open up
that country to intrusive inspections, to get this thing done. That
would be the one peaceful way, I think, consistent with national
honor, to do this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about at a public appearance with a
MR. BUCHANAN: You mean with a Predator and a Hellfire? I think
it would be a terrible mistake. We would kill him, we would not dump
the regime over, and I think there would be opprobrium on the United
States. John, we got into this stuff in the late '50s and early '60s,
and it backfired.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also, it could be a body double by mistake.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. We don't know where he is. We don't have
actionable intelligence. There's a whole system of body doubles. He
has 17 palaces. So assassination is unlikely to happen. But if
somebody put a bullet in his head, the president and a lot of other
people would declare victory and have a victory dance.
The fact that you say a great power doesn't want blood on its
hands and wouldn't assassinate one man, but is contemplating going to
war, which would kill many of -- innocent people, is totally
illogical, Pat, with due respect.
MR. BUCHANAN: We've got to disarm him is what we got to do.
MS. CLIFT: But assassination I don't think is the answer. The
only credible alternative is a beefed-up inspection team.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about surgical strikes? And I'm not
talking a la Clinton, which were relative pin pricks. I'm talking
about not a few either. I'm talking about hundreds, possibly
thousands, punitive raids -- not pin pricks.
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I don't think that's useful against biological
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why not?
MR. BLANKLEY: -- against biological and chemical weapons. But
more to the point, there's going to be a military entry by the United
States. It's either going to be forced -- that is, fighting, war --
or it's going to be invited should there be an internal regime change
by coup or some other method. But we're not going to sit back and let
a handful of people who might replace Saddam continue to manage that
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You just heard from Blankley, the determinate.
What do you have to say, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Look, I think if you're talking about surgical
strikes, if you would describe it, it's a half-measure. If you're
going to do it, you've got to do it all the way. You're going to have
to do it a full-measure, and you've got to make sure that you have a
regime change. That's the only way you're going to have the assurance
that the weapons of mass destructions are going to be contained. And
this is the critical thing. We're in a war against terror, and it's
going to go on for a long time. And he is the most deadly person that
we have to confront.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about a coup? Sandy Berger tried it in the
planning stage in the late -- in the late 1990s. And it failed
because of Saddam's people. They caught on to it.
MS. CLIFT: Well, he didn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But he didn't have the French and he didn't have
the Russians. I'm talking about a conservative effort to make a coup.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, that would be a good idea. Let me tell you
MR. BLANKLEY: -- the French actually would be on the other side.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right. That would be a good idea and, frankly, if
you could get the military to do it. But Mort is right and I think
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about instigating a coup. CIA,
French and Russians.
MR. BUCHANAN: But you've got to throw them out and then you --
the people who take over have got to open the door to everybody to
come in and clean that stuff out of there. I don't care if there are
thugs or whatever, taking out Saddam alone does not --
MS. CLIFT: Well, the administration's strategy is correct; if
you ratchet up the pressure enough, maybe you trigger the coup.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yep. I think --
MS. CLIFT: And I think there is still hope that that may happen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Buchanan's efforts at lampooning inspections is
pretty much on the mark.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But bear in mind that we're not talking about a
stand alone system of options. We're talking about our collective
series of options. They do exist; they have validity. The Europeans
think so and the French would cooperate.
MR. BUCHANAN: They can't overthrow him! They can't overthrow
him! Sanctions will not get rid of him! They have no --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the fact is we may not have the time to
establish a coup. But maybe they're at work now.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, not only that; the sanctions don't work;
the coup attempts haven't worked; the pin pricks don't work; even a
more robust regime of attacks wouldn't work. The only thing that
would work is if either his people force him out -- and they won't
force him out until they know we're going to war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way, George Bush was asked what he
thought of the protest last week. Here's what he said:
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) First of all, you
know, size of protests -- it's like deciding, "Well, I'm going to
decide policy based upon a focus group." The role of a leader is to
decide policy based upon the security -- in this case, the security of
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does this tell you about President Bush's
regard for public opinion, if anything? Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: That was a stupid and dismissive remark. And the
point is that he is bringing along a world coalition that he calls the
coalition of the willing when it's really a coalition of the bullied
and the bribed. The only way he's getting countries to go along with
this is coming across with huge sums of money and asking leaders to
overlook what is basically democratic expression in these countries.
MR. BLANKLEY: That is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.
MR. BLANKLEY: That is not technically true. Britain, Poland,
Spain, Italy, Czechoslovakia (sic) and Holland are not being bribed by
the United States. Turkey's not being bribed. Turkey has --
MS. CLIFT: Turkey is being bribed! (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Turkey has a huge economic burden. To allow our
bases to be there, it's going to -- there's going to be a drain on
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- right now. (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: They border right on Iraq, and there's a huge
financial consequence for it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've offered them $27 billion in loans and in
grants. Now they're holding out for 34, 35 (billion). What is this?
MR. BLANKLEY: Turkey has been our ally since the early '50s.
They have a cost to this, and there's long policy of assisting allies.
We assisted the British and the Soviet Union financially to fight
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. BLANKLEY: It wasn't -- we weren't buying their support, for
goodness sake, and it's a calumny to accuse them of that.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: I agree they deserve -- I -- excuse me. I believe
they deserve compensation, but this is a Turkish bazaar that's going
on, and they want their price --
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, this is ethnic --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A quick question for --
MR. BLANKLEY: This is ethnic stereotyping. It's ethnic
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me. I've got a
question for you, Mort. What's the cardinal lesson of Vietnam? Shall
I tell you?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Please do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sustained public support. Lyndon Johnson lost
it. This is the great lesson of conducting -- this president has no
universal public support; quite the opposite.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He does not have universal public support, but he
has public support in this country.
MS. CLIFT: They're ambivalent. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And he has the public support that will sustain
this operation for as long as long as it takes. We're not in for a
10-year military operation, as we were involved with in Vietnam.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mm-hmm. Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's the next subject.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We're not fighting nationalism here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We're fighting a thug; a tyrant who is hugely
unpopular within his own country, as every exposure to his military
and to his people have shown us; somebody who is one of the most
barbaric rulers of the last 20 years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Winston --
MR. BUCHANAN: You know, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Before you get any further worked up
-- I mean, you're entering hysteria here.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: (Chuckling.) Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Winston Churchill said, "I would deal with the
devil himself if it would remove the yoke of Naziism from the neck of
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right. Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you understand these moral imperatives
that you seem to be responding to are not -- it's not diplomacy;
you've got to deal with evil people. Don't you understand that?
Secondly, do you think this president has a mandate for war, in
the light of the polls, in the light of the world opinion? Of course
he doesn't have a mandate for war. You don't think he has a mandate
for war, do you?
MR. BUCHANAN: He doesn't have a mandate for war, but what he
does have is the allegiance and loyalty of a majority of Americans,
who trust him and who will follow him into war.
And Mort is right about this, John: this ain't going to be no
Vietnam. It'll be a matter of weeks -- at most, a couple of months --
before we're in Baghdad. It's not going to be a 10-year war.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but that overlooks the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out. On a war probability
scale from zero to 10, zero meaning zero probability, 10 meaning
metaphysical certitude, what's the probability of war with Iraq, Pat
MR. BUCHANAN: I'm taking it back a little bit, to seven -- I'd
say eight and a half. Eight and a half. The Turkish thing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not --
MR. BUCHANAN: Nobody in the region wants us to go to war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, doesn't that mean, Pat, it's very likely,
but not inevitable.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very likely, or likely?
MR. BUCHANAN: Very likely. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, I'm going to do percentages. I thin there's a
5 percent chance that we don't go to war. So where does that fit on
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Five percent.
MR. BUCHANAN: Nine-point-five. Nine-point-five. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're coming back, Eleanor.
What about you?
MR. BLANKLEY: Nine-point-nine, out of 10.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, why don't you go all the way? (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, there's always a chance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's always a chance. So one-tenth of 1
MS. CLIFT: You get two weeks in Turkey. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I say it's one-half of one-tenth of 1 percent.
It's as close to metaphysical certitude as you're going to experience
in your lifetime.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) The answer is a seven.
When we come back: Why is it that the military buildup of the
war is covered by the press endlessly, whereas the war's human costs
or morality hardly at all?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Once we're in, will we ever get out?
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE): (From videotape.) There is no
informed consent today. The American people have no notion what we
are about to undertake.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The ranking Democrat of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee is referring to the aftermath of a presumed
victory in Iraq. Americans know little or nothing of that aftermath.
Since last month, special task forces have been meeting in the Defense
Department planning for the war's immediate aftermath and an ongoing
Iraq occupation by the U.S.
Item: Civilian humanitarian crisis. Every war causes chaos.
Refugee aid, and shelter, and food, and uncontaminated water, and
medical care for the wounded, and all without a functioning Iraqi
government. The U.S. will have to provide immediate humanitarian
Item: Maintain order. U.S. troops will have to keep order in
Iraq's 10 largest cities, safeguard its oil fields, secure its
borders, prevent fighting between Iraq's religious and ethnic
Item: Seek and destroy WMD. Unless Iraq surrenders every nerve
gas container, Scud missile and concealed factory, the entire country
will have to be painstakingly searched -- a country about the size of
Item: Create a transition government. The White House hopes
for a democracy. Don't bank on it.
ANTHONY CORDESMAN (CSIS senior fellow): (From videotape.) I
don't believe that we are going to transform Iraq. We may start that
process. There is no chance in hell that we will finish it. It takes
too long to change a society and a country of 22 million people.
What I hear is a mixture of pious hope and the belief that the
default setting on the civilization of the Middle East is somewhere in
the American Midwest, and if we only push the right switch, the entire
area would become clones of Americans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Item: Rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. Yale
economist William Nordhaus, with the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences, estimates the cost of war and the Iraq occupation could
climb to $1.9 trillion over 10 years; roughly $200 billion a year, $16
billion a month, $500 million a day, $20 million an hour over 10
years -- in the worst case scenario.
To recap: The U.S. must manage the humanitarian crisis, maintain
order, destroy leftover WMD, create a transition government, rebuild
Why is this massive nation-building for Iraq an exit strategy for
the U.S., or is it, instead, a no-way strategy?
I ask you, Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I think actually we probably have more of a
follow-on strategy developed now than we have in any of our prior wars
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do we get out? How do we get out?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I don't think -- I'm not going to pretend I
have an answer. No one does. But I think, clearly, what we're
proposing, what the government has leaked recently is a rational
policy; start off with a military leadership, transition to a civilian
leadership as quickly as possible, try to bring developed
representative pieces of Iraqi society, get the economy up and
running, get the Iraqi oil fields financing Iraqis.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. BLANKLEY: One proposal we published in our paper, the
Washington Times, this last week was to propose that they privatize it
and allow Iraqi citizens to be shareholders instead of the generals in
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MR. BLANKLEY: There's a real chance --
MS. CLIFT: The administration has not --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.
Excuse me. Excuse me, Eleanor.
MR. BLANKLEY: There's a real chance to begin to build a
structured society. These are educated people --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. BLANKLEY: -- they have 4,000 years of civilization, and I
don't think one has to be excessively pessimistic.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will the occupation of Iraq be -- of Iraq be
like if the Israeli occupation of Palestine?
MR. BUCHANAN: Mm-hmm.
MS. CLIFT: Look, I think the administration has not been candid
about the money that's going to be involved and about the human costs.
And if you look at their track record in Afghanistan, in and out, they
protected Kabul. The rest of Afghanistan has descended into the
ownership of the old --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Warlords.
MS. CLIFT: -- of the warlords. And it is now the number one
exporter of -- of cocaine --
MR. BUCHANAN: Heroin.
MS. CLIFT: -- heroin, once again.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this --
MS. CLIFT: So I have no confidence in this administration's --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, my fear --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this more ambitious than we undertook with
Germany and Japan after World War II?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, but we don't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want me to explain why it is?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, well, let me --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ethnically, religiously and tribally a divided
MR. BUCHANAN: But, look, Japan was an enormous country and a
great power; so was Germany. Let me tell you the problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But what? The challenge here was longer, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: This is going to ignite. The challenge here is
not simply Iraq. The challenge is we are going to ignite that war of
civilizations, and Islamic terrorists are going to come into Iraq and
they're going to make that just like Gaza City and the West Bank. And
the American people, with $400 billion deficits, as Tony's been
pointing out -- and going to 500 (billion dollars) -- are not going to
pay $50 billion a year to rebuild Iraq.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're going to say, "Come home."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I've got a follow-up question for you. And the
question is this: Is Osama bin Laden getting everything he wanted?
MR. BUCHANAN: The three people who will be most chagrined if
there isn't a war are Osama bin Laden, Richard Perle and Ariel Sharon.
They all want this war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Do you think that Osama bin Laden is
getting more than he wanted? He wanted a division between the West
and Islam; he's got that. He now sees the West divided, hopelessly
divided. And he sees the destruction of mostly the transatlantic
union and NATO.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, in the first place --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that everything he wanted?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- if you think Osama bin Laden has brought all
of this about, I think that's a vast overstatement of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he didn't bring it about. But he's
reaping the rewards.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: What he has brought about is exactly the
opposite. He brought about the end of his regime in Afghanistan.
He's also brought about an awareness of this -- in this country of
what the war on terrorism is. And our first target, obviously, is
going to be Iraq in terms of going after Hussein.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mort, he's praying for this war five times a day.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MS. CLIFT: The consequences -- yes. The consequences --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We are involved in a major -- (word inaudible) --
war against al Qaeda that is going to go on for a long time.
MS. CLIFT: Right. Right. You know --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I've got further good news for you.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: So I don't think that -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I've got further good news. Okay, Iraq ruler.
The person named to oversee an occupied Iraq is General Tommy
Franks, U.S. Gulf force commander. He will be the supreme American
military governor. And all Iraq's ministries would be run by a senior
echelon of American military officers down to the third rung of
bureaucracy. A U.S. military commander ruling Iraq does not sit well
with the Arab world. "The appointment of a military governor in
Baghdad would ignite a Middle East powder keg," says a political
science professor in our new partner, Qatar.
Question: What's the rationale for an American military
commander ruling Iraq, do you think, Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The reason is that that is a country that once
Saddam is gone, is riven by a whole series of tribal and ethnic and
clan rivalries that we do not want to see ignited.
So we have got to stay there and install -- and work to install a
regime that can control that place and avoid those kinds of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to move on! I want to move on! I want
to ask this --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And that we can do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's -- yeah. And we certainly would not want
one of those factions to take over, nor do we want the -- what
Buchanan has described.
But what is the impact of a military ruler in Iraq, occupied by
the United States, by its immediate neighbor, Iran, which is a member
of George Bush's "axis of evil," as with North Korea.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute!
MR. BUCHANAN: What Iran will do is what it's doing in
Afghanistan, where it's moved in, got a position of influence in
western Afghanistan. It will move into the Shia regions, John. It
has already got its people moving into the Kurd regions. It knows
ultimately it is going to be the hegemonist when the Americans leave.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me remind you of this. It was announced
last week, a deliberate announcement by Iran that it is mining
uranium, enriching it as a nuclear fuel. What does that tell you?
MS. CLIFT: Right. Right. Well, what --
MR. BUCHANAN: It is a direct challenge in the teeth of the Bush
doctrine that says we are defying it.
MS. CLIFT: Well, what Iran -- what --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, it says we are going to develop the bomb.
MR. BUCHANAN: Obviously! That's the challenge to the Bush
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Right. What Iran --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. If Iran does it, is Syria going to do it?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well North Korea succeeded, Iran goes next, and
Libya will go --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Syria -- Syria's trying to get the bomb.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- Iran has it, Pakistan has it,
Israel has it --
MR. BUCHANAN: Israel -- Israel will stop them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the effect of this war going to be a nuclear
MR. BUCHANAN: It already is.
MR. : It already is --
MS. CLIFT: In a few short -- in a few short words -- excuse me!
MR. : It was going on way before this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me hear Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: In a few short words, what the president has done is
he has sent the message to countries that they should "pack heat"
because if you get a nuclear program, this president will back off.
That's what's going to come out of this, and Iran will accelerate
their nuclear program, and they'd be smart to do so.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well stated.
You were just over in that region. Where did you go? You just
got back today.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I was in Kazakhstan. And that is an indication
of how we oversimplify the problem, because the Central Asian
Republics, along with Indonesia and Turkey, represent moderate Muslim
countries. There are 130 million Muslims there, and they were there
at a conference to do one thing, to say we're opposed to militant
extremism, we're opposed to terrorism, and we want to have a dialogue
of civilizations, by which they meant a dialogue with the Christian
and Jewish communities. Now, that does not represent the Arab Muslim
world, but it represents the Central Asian --
MR. BUCHANAN: But they're --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him talk. Let him talk!
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- but it represents the Central Asian Muslim
world. So we have a -- that's a Muslim firewall to the expansion of
the extremism that we see in the Middle East.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you edified?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I was astonished by this because it wasn't
something that was just done in a small group, it was on their
television, a one-hour program that repeated all of the speeches,
including mine, I might add, that night to every one of those
MR. BUCHANAN: This is the Bishket group. But I'll tell you,
they're all facing Islamic fundamentalism, as the Russians are in
Chechnya. The fundamentalists are moving north. You're right,
they're anti-fundamentalist, because they're threatened.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. One thing we know --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But it's also good to have them on our side and
to know that the governments there are really helping out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let us assume there will be a war. How
long will the American military occupation last?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it will be at least 10 years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I agree with that. Although Condoleezza Rice says a
year and a half. She's fantasizing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hm. She's also the woman who said we could
not even conceive of an airplane striking a building in New York.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This was after --
MS. CLIFT: That was fantasy too.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- it was told to her what the sequence of
events was, and it was sitting on her desk.
MR. BLANKLEY: I think American military governance will last
about six months. Our presence, along with others, will last for
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Several years. How many years?
MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think it's a range. Nobody really quite knows.
That all depends how well the war goes, and what we find out in terms
of the reaction of the Iraqis. But I would say we will be there in
varying degrees between two and five years, greatly diminished after
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think -- we've been 50 years in Germany. I
think it will be at least half that.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the Bush doctrine has gone the way of the
Stimson Doctrine and the open-door policy, by which I mean it's going
to be utterly ineffectual because what we've talked about. North
Korea's challenged it; it's got nuclear weapons. Iran's going next.
I wouldn't be surprised to see other nations and Bush isn't going to
war against them all.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Georgia Senator Zell Miller will be the last Senate
Democrat the president gets for his tax plan as currently configured.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Venezuelan President Chavez will easily win his
recall vote in August.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: State and local tax revenues are going to be in a
sharp swoon and fall, and state and local governments are going to be
cutting programs all over the country. It's going to be much worse
than it's presently projected.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that Yasser Arafat will appoint a
prime minister for the Palestinian Authority by summer. His birth
name is Mahmoud Abbas, and his universally-used code name is Abu
Mazin; Arafat's deputy and a chief negotiator of the Oslo Accords.
Ariel Sharon will do business with Mazin and has met with him in the
past. A ray of hope.
Next week: What's the impact of the Washington, D.C. government
and its mayor's disgraceful failure to handle the snow crisis that
paralyzed the city, a city favored by terrorists as one of their two
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Make war on fat.
DR. LOUIS ARONNE: (From videotape.) The number of people in
this country who are obese has doubled in the past 20 years. One-
third of the people in this country are at least 40 pounds overweight.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And in New England, Maine has the highest
obesity rate, a health problem which costs the state an estimated $1
billion. In the past 20 years, obesity rates in Maine have increased
by 50 percent in adults, 200 percent in children. Lawmakers in
Augusta have introduced "the first comprehensive legislative package
to combat obesity," and this might become a trendsetter. The law
would force large chain restaurants to add nutrition labeling to their
menu items. Additionally, the law would ban the sale of soft drinks
and junk food in schools, and provide funding for bike lanes and
walking trails. This bill has sparked a statewide debate among
schools, corporations, parents and government.
Question: Can Americans win the war on fat?
MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughing.) I think there are options short of
war. (Laughter.) I think war should be a last resort -- (laughter)
-- and inspections, diplomacy, maybe some targeted surgical
operations, perhaps. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we also have to invoke the principles of
MR. BLANKLEY: You have to eat to live.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about old-fashioned gluttony, one of the
capital sins. Does that have any role to play here?
Pat? Do you remember gluttony?
MR. BUCHANAN: I remember -- oh, I can name all seven of them,
John. Can you?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead, try. (Laughter.)
MR. BUCHANAN: No, my belief is this.
Look. The kids -- I agree, when you're in the schools, they should
keep some of this stuff out of there, have the good foods in school.
But you've got to leave the American people alone. You should give
them the information. And look, if they're going to do this, one
reason they do it is you've got all these pills and things, they can
diet, they can get rid of it, they can stay healthy despite the fact
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, do we live in a super-sized culture? Not
only are our bodies bloated big, but our food portions are. And our
vehicles are big too, Pat, super-sized. Does that ring a bell? You
can't even get that Navigator in most of the parking garages in
Washington, D.C., aside from the snow.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) I can't get it in my own garage! But
MR. BLANKLEY: We need bigger garages.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I'm going to follow up on what Tony says. In
this particular case, I'm --
MR. BLANKLEY: Don't be cruel.
MS. CLIFT: -- for a preemptive strike. And putting up the
nutrition labeling in restaurants is a very good idea. Put little
Porky Pigs next to what you order. You know, they have hearts next to
the healthy portions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want more big government.
MS. CLIFT: I'm with -- Pat -- no, Pat said the American people
deserve information. I want full disclosure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I have another version of it, which is that you
could eat whatever you want, but you have to eat it in front of obese
men and women wearing bikinis. I mean, if that doesn't give you any
kind of incentive to cut back, nothing will.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who wears the bikinis, the fat people?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you this. What about putting a tax
on it, the way we do with cigarettes? Would you be opposed to that?
That's cut down cigarette smoking.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I am not in favor of putting a tax on food,
because I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you in favor of labeling, yes or no?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I'm absolutely in favor of labeling.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you?
MS. CLIFT: Yes. Absolutely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you? In restaurants?
MR. BLANKLEY: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Labeling menus?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. Leave 'em alone. Leave 'em alone.
MR. BLANKLEY: Every man for himself. Every man for himself.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN (?): Why should we?
MR. BUCHANAN: People know what --