THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT, AND JAMES WARREN
TAPED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2003
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 5, 2003
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Iraq insurgency.
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: (From videotape.) We will prevail. We will win because our cause is just. We will win because we will stay on the offensive.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Commander-in-Chief Bush laid down this stern warning to the Iraqi resistance direct from Baghdad in a surprise visit on Thanksgiving Day. But have we been able to stay on the offensive? The very weekend of the president's trip, guerrilla insurgents launched a wave of coordinated attacks against America's military partners with a degree of planning, preparation, target surveillance, delivery and near-synchronicity the likes of which had not been seen earlier. No fewer than four military partners were hit over two days.
Spain: seven intelligence agents killed in an ambush, the deadliest attack on Spanish forces since the war began, prompting three days of national grieving, with round-the-clock TV coverage.
Japan: two diplomats ambushed and killed.
South Korea: two civil engineers killed.
Colombia: one civil engineer shot dead.
Also this weekend, 100 Iraqi guerrillas launched a coordinated ambush against an American convoy. The result? The bloodiest firefight between American soldiers and Iraqi insurgents in seven months -- 54 Iraqis killed, five Americans wounded.
Question: How can we defeat the Iraqi insurgency if the insurgency knows more about us than we know about them? One spy in the right place, as you know, Patrick, is worth 10,000 men in the field. Who said that, by the way?
MR. BUCHANAN: Sun Tsu?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Napoleon.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. WARREN: He was quoting Sun Tsu!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to the question.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) He was quoting Sun Tsu. (Laughter.)
The answer to the question is this: Look, the enemy has adopted the Battle of Algiers strategy. They can't defeat the United States. They can't defeat our military. They're going to bleed us and provoke us in pinprick attacks so that the United States forces use their firepower and we kill considerable numbers of Iraqis. They polarize the community. Their hope is in the long term the Americans will be bled, they will tire of it, the American people will go home as the French left Algeria. That's not going to happen before November 2004. But after that, John, it is really an open question.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, it's a serious counterinsurgency that we're fighting, and that means that you're going to kill a lot of Iraqi civilians. And every time you kill an Iraqi civilian you create a whole family of people who want revenge. And the rise of the Iraqi nationalism is as much to be feared as the so-called guerrilla fighters.
And the administration is panicking. The notion that they're now going to re-create the Iraqi secret police or Iraqi warlords to try to gain intelligence is creating the seeds of a coup that could eventually overwhelm the U.S.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know what the question is?
MR. BLANKLEY: To answer your question specifically, I think that the lining up of forces, where you have over 100,000 -- we'll have as many as we need; they have presumably at this point 4,000, 5,000, 6,000; it could grow, depending on what happens -- suggests that we can sustain ourselves militarily there for a long time. And I think the model may end up being the Philippines after the Spanish-American War, where we won a quick, decisive battle, and then had a few years of nation building and insurgency fighting. General Arthur MacArthur, the father of Douglas MacArthur, was the first viceroy there. He ran that pretty effectively.
So there are models for success with insurgencies that are -- you know, the British fought insurgencies in the Pacific in the '50s. And so it can be done. It won't necessarily be done, but it's not a disaster by definition, and I think it -- we have been doing quite well. We took out -- was it 54 of their people? -- which somehow the American press --
MS. CLIFT: Wow! (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Which somehow the American press covered as a bad news story when it was, obviously, a very good news story.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: General Blankley has just rendered his view of things.
MR. WARREN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But my question was --
MR. WARREN: The "blame messenger" theory, yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the question is, do they have improved counter -- counter-information capability? For example, they knew pretty much exactly where Wolfowitz was staying. There are other indications in other things that they've done that they know -- for example, the U.N.; they wanted to kill the U.N. chief over there. What was his name? Vieira de Mello?
MR. WARREN: Right, the Argentine. But obviously, I mean it's no big secret which one hotel a top American official is going to be. I mean, what are you going to do, are you going to have the Dick Cheney deal and have him, you know, 10 feet underground for months as they --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But their intelligence seems to be superb.
MR. WARREN: Well, it's okay. But I think in focusing on this purely as a tactical and a military matter, you're losing sight of sort of a larger picture. We are not going to ultimately win there by going it alone. It's nice to have the president showing up there, and I commend him for his moral certitude. But I wish he had a little bit more moral authority, which is a reason I think, ultimately, as I've said all along, the United Nations is the only smart alternative.
MR. BLANKLEY: Because they have moral authority.
MR. BUCHANAN: The United Nations is not going to win a war for us that we can't win ourselves.
And where I kind of disagree with Tony, he was right about the Philippines and Malaysia. But we have never been -- the West has never been, the Russians or the Israelis or the Brits or the French or us has never been able to win an insurgency and an uprising against us in the Arab and Islamic world. Every single one has been lost. Now, we've got the most powerful nation behind victory here, but in the end, if the Iraqis won't fight and die for democracy, they're not going to have it.
MS. CLIFT: And you can't win it on the cheap. And I don't know what the election day calendar was with the Philippines or Malaysia, but the president wants to draw down the troops by November --
MR. BLANKLEY: No he doesn't.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, he does!
MR. BLANKLEY: You keep saying this! The president --
MS. CLIFT: Rumsfeld has said it. They want to draw down to 105,000, I believe --
MR. BLANKLEY: The president keeps saying --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, let her finish. Tony, let her finish.
MR. BLANKLEY: The president went to Baghdad and said we're going to stay as long as it takes to get these thugs. You come on the show and say he wants to skedaddle.
MS. CLIFT: That's -- I'm sorry -- I'm going to watch --
MR. BLANKLEY: And who do I believe? I believe him.
MS. CLIFT: I'm going to watch what he does and not what he says because the actions on the ground do not suit the rhetoric --
MR. BLANKLEY: You'll find out.
MS. CLIFT: And there's more cutting and running on the ground than there is in rhetoric.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can Koizumi stay the course?
MR. BUCHANAN: Certainly, Koizumi can stay the course as --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Koizumi is already saying he's not going to send any more diplomats over there.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, but it would be disastrous for these -- John, you don't realize; for these leaders, or any leader, after a horrible situation like both of them confronted, to pack up and run would be a horrendous political defeat for them and a national defeat.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Koizumi says he's not going to send any more diplomats until the situation is stable.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that's fine. He's not going to pull out the troops.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Aznar, however, probably can get through it, although the mourning, as we will see in a minute, the grieving that went on -- a nation grieves. And I'll make my point in a moment.
Ever since that horrific event last weekend, when the seven Spanish intelligence agents were hit by bullets and rocket-propelled grenades, their bodies stomped by Iraqi gangs, Spain was riveted on nothing else for over three days. The obsequies, the mourning, the agents' funerals were broadcast live on Spanish television. Bereaved family members joined with Spain's royalty, King Juan Carlos and other officials of rank, including Prime Minister Jose Aznar, who delivered a televised address to the nation. Speeches in Parliament paid homage.
The U.S. has now lost almost 450 soldiers in Iraq, 18 in one day when a transport helicopter was shot down, and almost 100 in Afghanistan. Private funerals -- family, friends, fellow citizens in their communities -- marked their losses, but no national ceremonies, no national officials.
Question: Is it shameful to have a virtual news blackout over these American deaths? I ask you, James Warren.
MR. WARREN: Yeah. I mean, we hide our coffins and we avoid showing up publicly at the soldiers' funerals. I think it has a pernicious effect of sort of desensitizing a nation that has modest interest in this whole subject of Iraq to begin with. And even though I laud the president for his moral certitude, I laud him for all the letters, apparently, he's sending, the private letters and probably phone calls, to each of the families, I think leadership also involves symbols, and I think on that front he has failed and showed a certain moral cowardice, as he did when he wouldn't even come out and announce that he was ending those steel tariffs and shafting the same union voters in those blue-collar states whom he has tried to curry favor with.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the argument that if he attends one funeral, he has to attend them all?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think there's a validity to that. I do think that the time should come fairly soon when he has some sort of a national ceremony. As far as the caskets are concerned, that's been the policy going back through all the Clinton administration and the administration before that, so there's nothing new there. He can't -- presidents have not traditionally visited individuals in public, because you can't pick one and not another. However, there should be at some point, I think, some national --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see a down side to presidential attendance at a military funeral or a memorial service?
MR. BLANKLEY: I do not. And I did a column months ago saying he should embrace the deaths of our combatants because if the public believes that these deaths are worth the sacrifice, they'll stick with it; if they don't, they won't. So that I don't think he should run from it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, is this nation a community? If one dies, do we all die?
MS. CLIFT: Look. I think we all have a vested interest in how our troops are doing overseas. And I think the president's behavior in shutting down coverage -- Bill Clinton never could have gotten away with that, if he had excluded all footage of returning coffins.
MR. BLANKLEY: No coffins -- that was --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor finish.
MS. CLIFT: It shows a contempt for the intellect of the American people, that if we pretend the coffins aren't coming back, that we won't acknowledge these deaths, that the deaths don't affect the body politic. So far, it's been working, with rare exception. The Jim Lehrer Newshour runs silence every evening of the people who have died.
MR. BUCHANAN: But John, it is not --
MS. CLIFT: And I think we're going to see more of that continue. We should.
MR. BUCHANAN: All right. It is not a vested interest. It is not a vested interest. We are all a national family. I think Tony is right, there ought to be a service for these dead soldiers over there.
But I'll tell you, this goes back to Vietnam. There is a sense on the part of the military and people in the administration that these things are used by some folks in the media to undercut morale at home, and people want to focus on it endlessly and endlessly to break down support for his policy. And as it's the president's policy, he makes the final call.
MR. CLIFT: Well, and he has to pay the price --
MR. BUCHANAN: Yup, yup.
MR. CLIFT: -- if at some point the American people wake up and say that maybe we're the ones who are being used.
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me just say one --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's bad public relations strategy, and the sooner Bush pulls the plug on this the better.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, look, let me go the larger point. There's going to be a lot of casualties all over the world -- in Spain, America, Britain, Turkey -- to this war on terrorism that's going to go on and on, and I think the public will, if they believe in the necessity of the war, come to accept that. But I think we should not ignore each death, and I think having newspapers publish the names --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --
MR. BLANKLEY: -- because these are men and women who died for us and we shouldn't be shuffling it to the back page.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The assumption of the White House is that if Americans focus on the deaths they will stop supporting the war.
MR. WARREN: Yeah, I disagree with that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that spurious? It is spurious.
MR. WARREN: Look, it's --
MR. BUCHANAN: Look at the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is spurious.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look at the Trade Center, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is spurious.
MR. WARREN: It's a plausible --
MR. BUCHANAN: At the World Trade Center they had pictures. The New York Times ran them again and again and again every year, every anniversary. It strengthened morale to show the faces of death.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly. Exactly.
Exit: Which contributed more to the boost in Bush's approval rating? The Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad or the strong news on the manufacturing front and the colossal 8.2 percent growth in GDP in the third quarter?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's roughly equal. The Baghdad thing was a triumph.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MR. CLIFT: I think it's the economic good news that has --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. CLIFT: -- got American spirits up.
MR. BLANKLEY: I think it those, sure. It includes the passage of the Medicare bill, which is a huge plus. Obviously the economy turning around is the fundamentals on which popularity is built. And obviously the president showing his face in Iraq was --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But what is your answer? (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: All three.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All three equally?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughing.) Equally!
MR. BLANKLEY: You can't calibrate it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, this is the --
MR. CLIFT: Everything Bush does in Tony's eyes!
MR. WARREN: This diplomacy is gagging. A veritable Blankley potpourri. I would say some of -- the manufacturing statistics are still very suspect.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which contributed the more? The more?
MR. WARREN: I would say the imagery of the Baghdad trip because the manufacturing figures are not at this point translating into real jobs, and those productivity figures are --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you've got an 8.2 percent --
MR. WARREN: The public --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- GDP growth rate in third quarter.
MR. WARREN: No, you're wrong -- you're wrong there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is what contributed more is the economic news, but the trip didn't hurt any either.
MR. WARREN: (Laughs.)
When we come back, a new map to peace in the Middle East: Will it make any difference?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Give Peace a Chance.
COLIN POWELL (U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE): (From videotape.) Why should we not listen to others who have ideas, such as the ideas that were presented in Geneva yesterday? What people were saying is that the current situation has to change. We have to find a way to peace.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The way to find peace that Secretary Powell wants to hear more about is the Geneva Accord, the name given to the fruit of an unusual collaboration between Israel's former justice minister, Yossi Beilin, and Palestinian Yasser Abed Rabbo. The Swiss government is sponsoring the proposed deal, even though it was brokered without the authority of Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Beilin and Rabbo see the existing road map done by the Quartet as all road and no map, plodding along with step-by-step incremental concessions, over-complicated, filled with gaps, tailor-made for inciting fresh terrorist strikes, and brain dead anyway. So, instead, the Beilin-Rabbo Geneva Accord goes straight to the final stage focusing on the critical issues separating the two sides. Here are the main points which echo what most people see as the basic outline of the overall compromise anyway.
Item: A two-state solution, a demilitarized Palestinian state.
Item: Jerusalem split into two capitals. Arab East Jerusalem to be part of Palestine; Israel to keep Jewish parts and adjacent West Bank settlements.
Item: Israel withdraws to pre-1967 borders. Some big settlements to be dismantled, but 75 percent of Jewish settlers remaining inside Palestinian territories and under Israel's protection.
Item: Israel gives new land to Palestinians, an area of the Negev Desert adjacent to the Gaza Strip; also, a safe passage route to be created between the West Bank and Gaza.
Item: No return for Palestinian refugees, from the 1948 Arab- Israeli War and their descendents, to Israel.
Item: Shrine to Arabs -- with Israel ceding sovereignty over the Temple Mount, called al Haram al-Sharif by Muslims.
Item: Israel retains control of Western Wall.
Item: Palestinians basic commitments; one, recognize Israel; two, end violence; three, disarm militants.
Question: Does this peace plan stand a chance?
MS. CLIFT: I wish it did. I think it shows that moderates on both sides can come to a plan that everybody knows this is what's going to have to happen. They can spend another 10 or 15 years killing each other, or they can actually cut to the chase and get this accomplished. And I think it's positive that Colin Powell is meeting with them.
But the two gentlemen from Palestine and Israel have very little standing with their governments. And I'm afraid Colin Powell's views don't hold a lot of water with this government either. So, I think it's a nice gesture, but I don't think it goes anywhere.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see Bill Clinton's laudatory comments in the New York Times on Thursday?
MS. CLIFT: But he's not president anymore!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you know you hold him in very high esteem.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, I do. I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know that 40 percent of the Israeli people, according to a December 4th poll, like the idea; 40 percent, up from what I recounted earlier about 35 percent -- (inaudible) --
MS. CLIFT: The Sharon government --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you remember that?
MR. BLANKLEY: As opposed to what former President Clinton said about Powell, look what current President Bush said on Thursday about Powell. He said, well as long as they stick with my theories about the road map and ending the violence and stopping the terrorism first, it's a nice thought.
The fact is that this is a proposal put forward by a politician who not only lost the last two elections in Israel, he was kicked out. He couldn't even run in the left wing Labor party, and then lost an election even beyond that. This is going nowhere.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, the two ways for this plan to go forward is that the public opinion of Israel and Palestine get behind it and they move towards a referendum, which is called for in both states to settle the matter. And everybody knows what the general solution outline is. Or a superpower has to get behind it. This superpower is not getting behind it. Bush doesn't want anything to do with that part of the world between now and November of next year; correct?
MR. WARREN: It's a rhetorical question, is it not?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it not? No.
MR. WARREN: It sounds like it. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If it is, you can still move it around.
MR. WARREN: Yeah, I mean the answer is the odds are long, and no surprise that diehards on both sides feel it's an absolute outrage and a sell-out. But I think, nevertheless, there is some momentum for peace out there, and the basic parameters of what's going to ultimately be the deal, which is two states sharing Jerusalem --
MR. BUCHANAN: John?
MR. WARREN: -- and limits on the number of Palestinian refugees who come back in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Sharon going to buy this?
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. BUCHANAN: This is more important. I disagree with Tony. George Bush, by letting Colin Powell meet with these folks and put his benediction on it, has undercut Sharon. The message there is that Bush and the administration see this policy, quite frankly, as the end of the game. They are not for Sharon's wall, they're not for his settlements, they're not for his outposts, they're not for his repression. I think the Israelis have good reason, the Likud government, to see this as Bush moving away not actually before 2004 but after it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well stated.
Exit question: Given that 2004 is an election year, how likely is President Bush to want to engage in the Middle East peace process? Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: A big zero.
MS. CLIFT: Unlikely.
MR. BLANKLEY: Not terribly likely.
MR. WARREN: Not terribly likely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're all correct.
(From tape: loud police siren; song played: "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do?)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they DON'T come for you? That's because COPS, which stands for Community Oriented Policing Services, that program is being phased out. COPS was signed into law in 1994 and is credited with placing over 100,000 new police on the street. At a cost of over $8 billion, it was the largest federally funded police program ever.
But the Bush administration's COPS proposal for '04 allocates zero dollars to hire new police. And strained city budgets can no longer afford to keep extra officers. City officials nationwide are questioning why the federal government is spending so much on law enforcement in Iraq while cutting it at home. The U.S. is outlaying -- get this -- $1.2 billion to train new Iraqi cops.
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: (From tape.) On this, the yeas are 51, the nays are 47, and the motion is agreed to.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As the administration's $87 billion dollar budget for Iraq was being debated, the head of the National League of Cities declared: "American taxpayers have been told to pay a hefty premium for services in Iraq because those services are highly specialized and because conditions there are dangerous. If that's the case, should the nation be cutting the investment in our own police officers who put their lives on the line every day?"
Question: What is the greater threat to American safety -- terrorism or criminality? James Warren?
MR. WARREN: On a day-to-day basis, criminality. Six hundred fifty homicides in the city of Chicago last week. And if you look since the --
MR. BUCHANAN: Last week?
MR. WARREN: Last year.
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh.
MR. WARREN: And if you look since the early 1990s, there is no direct link between growth in the number of police officers and crime rates. This was a 1994 invention of Bill Clinton. The fact is, it has always been more hyperbole than reality. We never got more than 40,000 cops. In fact, we got 30,000 who were actually computers, they weren't human beings. And money was spent in the state of Illinois on stuff like speed traps, on stuff like knocking down corn stalks on rural highways, and other silliness.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that an increase of cops, police officers, does not reduce crime?
MR. WARREN: There's not a direct correlation, no.
MS. CLIFT: Any inner city that has more cops on the streets is going to have a lower crime rate. And I think that's a direct correlation. Maybe the Clinton program didn't deliver the 100,000 cops, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing to deliver less.
MR. BUCHANAN: It was a terrible idea -- it was a terrible idea --
MS. CLIFT: And a lot of the reserves and the guardsmen in Iraq now are cops.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why was it terrible? Why?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because it was sunsetted. They were going to put all these cops out there for three years and then tell the city to pick up the salary. So the cops and the others took -- the cities took the benefits, and now it's run out.
Police is a local responsibility, Eleanor --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're broke, Pat, they're broke.
MR. BUCHANAN: They are not broke!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that as soon as Congress gets back in January, COPS will be restored.
MS. CLIFT: Absolutely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. We'll be right back. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction.
MR. BUCHANAN: Beilin and Rabbo may be nominated -- will be nominated for a Nobel Prize, and may get it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Howard Dean wins the District of Columbia primary on January 13th -- first in the nation!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Unemployment will be below 5 percent by Election Day.
MR. WARREN: Democrat Wesley Clark will testify against Slobodan Milosevic at the war crimes trial, but the White House will see to it that press are not allowed in, and may even censor the transcript.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will succeed in disarming and co-opting the rival warlords of northern Afghanistan into his government -- a major victory for Karzai.
Next week: Congress adjourns for the year. We'll give them a Group report card and an on-site report from Cuba.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Diplomatic deadbeats. A new scourge has afflicted American international relations. Is it war? Unfair trade practices? A new al Qaeda? No -- none of the above. The newest enemy of the United States is -- get this -- diplomats' parking tickets.
Foreign diplomats working and living in Washington and New York, the diplomats are using their diplomatic immunity to rack up huge parking fines, and are not paying the tickets. In New York alone, these unpaid fines total $21 million dollars, stemming from violations totaling 186,000 tickets.
The worst diplomatic deadbeats? Egypt: 18,000 unpaid parking tickets totaling almost $2 million. Nigeria: 9,000 tickets -- almost a million dollars. Indonesia: over 6,000 tickets, adding up to more than $731,000.
Now Congress is battling back the parking pestilence. The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to deduct the value of a foreign nation's parking tickets from the foreign aid given to that nation by the U.S., plus a 10 percent fee. When the Senate measure is reconciled with a similar House bill, it will go to the president for his signature.
Question: Is this enlightened legislation?
I ask you, Tony.
MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughing.) Yeah. I mean, I don't have a strong feeling. Look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to deduct it from the foreign aid?
MR. BLANKLEY: Diplomatic immunity has created problems for diplomats in the host countries around the world for hundreds of years. This is a relatively minor problem. I would, by the way, add some Americans, sometimes when they're abroad, and diplomats also, don't pay their tickets, from what I understand.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you were secretary of State, would you oppose this legislation?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I'd oppose it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because you'll get retaliation abroad. What they ought to do --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean our diplomats abroad break the law?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, listen, we've got terrorists --
MR. BLANKLEY: We saw terrorists --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that what you're saying?
MR. WARREN: With all the foreign aid there?
MR. BUCHANAN: Our guys park illegally because they're threatened by terrorists in a lot of cases. Let me tell you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Our guys --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- what you ought to do is put a Denver boot on these things or tow some of these cars away and make them come down to the pound and get them.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: You'll stop a lot of this nonsense by simply doing that at the local level.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Come on. We are -- some of our guys -- our guys overseas are paid to break the law, many of them. Espionage is a crime in every nation of the world, and our guys are over there under a phoney title -- you know, a commerce secretary or what have you -- and they're really CIA agents. They're espionage. So they're there to break the law, right?
MR. WARREN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, if something goes wrong, they're rendered persona non grata and they're kicked out of the country, and that's how diplomatic immunity is preserved. Well, we need that, so why do we fool around with any legislation --
MR. WARREN: Yes, absolutely silly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- against these scofflaws?
MR. WARREN: The next time Mubarak's in town, force him to take mass transit. I think that's what you have to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's punishment enough?
MR. WARREN: Yeah, it's enough.
MR. CLIFT: The reason we fool around with it is because foreign aid has always been a favorite whipping boy, and politicians can always they're cracking down on sending money to foreign governments. It's a silly issue, and --
MR. BUCHANAN: But it is --
MR. CLIFT: -- frankly --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we are all against --
MR. CLIFT: -- we're violators, too.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're all against the Senate's vote in favor of deducting these --
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I like it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- parking tickets from foreign aid?
You like it?
MR. BLANKLEY: I like it as a gesture.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A gesture?
MR. BLANKLEY: As a gesture, yeah.
MR. CLIFT: Meaningless.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I would have voted for it and then tell the State Department to ignore it.
MR. WARREN: Well -- yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, will the president veto this? He hasn't vetoed anything so far.
MR. WARREN: I know he ill veto it. I'm sure.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's got to preserve his record, right?
MR. BLANKLEY: Sure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this going to survive --
MR. BUCHANAN: You've got to have a yes vote if you're in Congress, John. (Laughs.)