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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; HISHAM MELHEM, ANNAHAR

TAPED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2005 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF AUGUST 6-7, 2005

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: The King is Dead.

Saudi Arabia's fifth king, Fahd Abdul Aziz, was buried Tuesday. King Fahd's half-brother, Abdullah, succeeded him. The transition was as smooth and polished as glass -- invisible -- probably because Abdullah has been serving as Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler for 10 years after Fahd had suffered a stroke.

Both men are the sons of ibn Saud, Saudi Arabia's first king, 1932 to '53. He was also the kingdom's founder, the state formally recognized by Great Britain in 1927.

In the '40s, ibn Saud forged an historic partnership with Franklin Roosevelt, a partnership spanning seven decades and six kings: ibn Saud, 21 years, then his five sons -- Abdul Aziz, 11 years; Faisal, assassinated, 11 years; Khalid, seven years; then Fahd, 23 years, and now Abdullah.

While the Saudi-American friendship has weathered many storms, some believe it is threatened today as never before by radical Islamic clerics and al Qaeda. Besides this, King Abdullah now faces what Saudis fear may be their greatest danger -- the so-called Iraq effect.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Saudi youths have crossed the lengthy Saudi-Iraq border to join the Iraq insurgency. The Saudi government faces the return of these even more radicalized militants, now battle-hardened and eager to topple the house of Saud.

The big question now is whether King Abdullah will make any substantive changes in Saudi public policy. On that, here's the new Saudi ambassador to the United States, Turki al-Faisal.

TURKI AL-FAISAL: (From videotape.) I cannot imagine that there will be any particular change in that policy, but rather a continuation of the policies undertaken by the late King Fahd.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the new Saudi ambassador right, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that's Prince Turki, John. And what the Saudi Arabians are doing is slowly reforming. And even though in the past they have been an enabler of terror and an appeaser of bin Laden, they are friends of the United States of America. They are indispensable right now. And the Americans who have been undercutting Saudi Arabia, that have been working to destabilize and overthrow that government, are not working in the interests of the United States.

The alternative to the Saudi royal family is chaos for bin Laden. I do think they ought to reform, but we ought to let them go at their own pace, because they know their country better than we do and their heads are on the line.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have used the exact language of Condoleezza Rice. She said they will do it at their own pace. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Well, their pace is designed solely to keep them in power. And Fahd was an anti-reformer. He dealt with the West, but he accommodated the extremists and allowed them to flower and bloom during his tenure. Abdullah is thought to be more of a reformer, and now he doesn't have the excuse that Fahd is holding him back anymore.

The problem is, they're all in their 80s, and nobody knows what comes next. And I think they and we are going to have to face the fact that there will be significant regime change in that country, sooner rather than later.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You must remember that Abdullah is a Bedouin and his genes are strong, physically strong. MS. CLIFT: Well, nobody's immortal. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is true, but he's a very able man and very clear in the head -- something like you, young man. Where have you been? You're all tanned up.

MR. BLANKLEY: Down in Florida, catching a few fish and swimming.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I thought you might have been in Saudi Arabia watching what's going on.

MR. BLANKLEY: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Attending the funeral, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I missed it. I wasn't invited, actually, technically.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you think? Any substantive changes? She says that he might change more in the direction of political reform.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think they've got the Brezhnev problem, a series of elderly leaders for a while at a time when there's a need for faster reform than the house of Saud probably is able to do in any event. Their decision-making process is a very slow one in the best of times, and the world is changing fast.

The circumstances in Saudi Arabia are changing fast, and they're changing at a very slow rate. And the question is whether they can change fast enough to keep up with the forces that are threatening to undermine both the house of Saud and us derivatively.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the rate of reform, Hisham? And welcome, by the way.

MR. MELHEM: Thank you. I think there will be no radical departures in relationship with the United States or on all policies. But I think Abdullah is a very cautious man. He knows there has to be reform, both politically as well as economically. And he will probably benefit from the windfall now on the oil prices to work on the economic issues. But I think politically he knows that there is a race with time against the Islamists and the radicals there, and he will have to reform.

But I think the Saudis sometimes are demonized in the United States by the left and by the right. And there are forces in Saudi Arabia who are trying to demonize the United States, too. What's happening in the region around Saudi Arabia is creating a great deal of concern in Riyadh, especially the situation in Iraq, and -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because of the returning Saudi -- currently the terrorists that are working over there, and they're going to come back to Saudi Arabia, and they're worried about them being battle-hardened.

MR. MELHEM: Well, not only that. I mean, for the last three or four years they've been having really a serious problem with the al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, which is waging a campaign of terror against the Saudi regime. And that's why you've seen the recent crackdown. And I think there is a belated recognition on the part of many Saudi officials, as well as academics and religious leaders, that they, at one time or another, contributed, willingly or unwillingly, to the creation of this monstrous movement that is now threatening their stability.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should Abdullah get credit for the reform that he has initiated and succeeded in getting in place? And that is, the lower level of the house or one level of the parliament over there -- there are two levels -- are now elected. Is that a significant piece of reform?

MR. MELHEM: No, there's no --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not a parliament, but what is it? Local --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Municipal councils?

MR. BLANKLEY: Municipal councils.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, it's essentially the same point.

MR. MELHEM: Municipal councils, in which only men participated. Now, obviously in our standard that's not enough. But for them, it was almost revolutionary. And I think the next time they are thinking seriously of allowing women, as they should, of course, to participate --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do the women want it?

MR. MELHEM: Of course they want it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A majority of women? MR. MELHEM: I don't know. I mean, I didn't conduct a poll, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I was in Riyadh. I was surprised at the number of women that don't want to be able to drive.

MR. MELHEM: No, but there are a lot of educated Saudi women.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

MR. MELHEM: And there are a lot of educated Saudi men.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do they all want it, too?

MR. MELHEM: Of course. I mean, they --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Haven't you seen op-ed pieces written by professional Saudi women who say, "We don't want that"?

MR. MELHEM: So what? So what? I mean --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, the Saudi women --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm not justifying it.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, that's not where the revolution --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know what the level of demand is.

MR. MELHEM: Look, I mean, they are serious about reform. It is slow. The pace is slow for my taste and your taste, I'm sure. But they are moving in that direction.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MELHEM: They have to do it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the professional class itself and the number of Saudi women who are professionals?

MR. MELHEM: It's a huge number. It's a growing number.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do they get credit for that?

MR. MELHEM: Of course they get credit in their own way. Look, I mean, they are not public, but there are fabulous women doctors, technicians. I mean, they are already --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think they'll get the vote?

MR. MELHEM: They will get the vote. Yes, definitely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Under Abdullah? MR. MELHEM: Under Abdullah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you want to say, Pat? Do you want to add to that?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He took your thunder, didn't he?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he didn't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I can see you're hesitating there.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, John, the revolution is not coming from women who want to drive. The revolution is going to come from Islamists. George Bush has ignited this whole (part ?). For better or worse, us going into Iraq has radicalized that region. And if the Saudi regime is threatened -- and I think down the road it is -- it's not going to be from ladies who want to drive or guys who want to go to graduate school.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we all agree that --

MS. CLIFT: And, in fact, if they opened --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that his central point is well taken, which he uttered earlier, that Saudi-bashing ought to really be controlled, in view of the fact, for continuing seven decades, they have been close to us and we have been close them?

MS. CLIFT: Our Saudi-bashing in this country is totally irrelevant. They are proceeding as they will. I go to his central point about the women. Frankly, if that society modernized a little more quickly and let women have an equal part, maybe that would overtake the other revolutionary force, the progressives.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will you accept the first point --

MS. CLIFT: That was the direction that the shah was heading in in Iran before he was overtaken by the forces of --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will you accept his major point that reform is one thing, stability is another, and if push comes to shove, stability trumps reform?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but you can't have continued stability without reform.

MR. MELHEM: Everywhere in the world --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What? MS. CLIFT: You can't have continued stability without reform.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, reform is coming, and he's bringing it at a pace. And if he doesn't want to do it as fast as perestroika -- we saw how perestroika created considerable instability, which continues today.

The criminal class over there is --

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make a couple of quick points. One, when we talk about reform, regretfully bin Laden may be the reform for a lot of these people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why do you say that?

MR. BLANKLEY: Because the reform is back to literalism, back to what they claim to be first principles.

MR. MELHEM: I think we exaggerate --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Osama the reformer?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, no --

MR. MELHEM: People in the United States exaggerate the importance and the influence of Osama bin Laden in Saudi Arabia. We shouldn't give him too much credit. There are a lot of Saudis --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean?

MR. MELHEM: Because there are a lot of Saudis who are opposed to Osama bin Laden, and they would like to reform their own country within their own cultural milieu and tradition.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know that the Muslim sentiment in favor of Osama has diminished because they are horrified at the massacres that have occurred?

MR. MELHEM: Exactly.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, the revolution is from the right.

MR. MELHEM: Exactly.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, the point is that it's secularism, socialism, modernism that is giving rise to the reaction, or the reform in this case. MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MR. BLANKLEY: Now, one other point about Saudi Arabia. While it's true there's been a lot of unuseful bashing of Saudi Arabia, it's also the case that they have been funding through the madrases these teachings that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stay up to date, now. Stay up to date.

MR. BLANKLEY: I'm keeping very up to date. The point is, we need to coerce them to do that without bashing them publicly.

MR. BUCHANAN: And the revolution is from the right, John. (Inaudible) -- said over there, more and more women are wearing the burqa and these other things. The real --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you confusing Turkey with Saudi Arabia?

MR. BUCHANAN: The real grassroots movement over there is back to fundamentals, back to Islam. It is red-state stuff for Saudi Arabia and that whole region.

MR. BLANKLEY: Wait a second.

MS. CLIFT: Wait a second. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a dangerous revolution.

MS. CLIFT: It may be your version of the red states, but I --

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I mean, it's your version. It's fundamentalism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me --

MS. CLIFT: Bin Laden would win an election in Saudi Arabia if it were held today.

MR. BUCHANAN: And Bush would win in Alabama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a stability scale, zero to 10, zero meaning zero stability -- the Saudi government is as unstable as Ecuador, let's say -- 10 meaning metaphysical stability -- as stable as Great Britain or Gibraltar -- how politically stable is Saudi Arabia? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: I agree with Eleanor. It's eight or nine today. But when this generation passes, we're talking four or five.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Right. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Today.

MS. CLIFT: It's only as good as Abdullah's health holds up. So I would give it 7.5. And after that, you know, we have no idea what's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: I agree with the same concept. It's sevenish for now. It could easily slip to three, two, in a fairly quick order.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is quite an enlightened group, wouldn't you say, so far?

MR. MELHEM: Yeah, I would say seven or eight. Look, this family is extremely politically resilient, and I'm not defending it necessarily, and they have been around. (There was?) Nasser in Egypt. There was Saddam in Iraq; invasions; the Iran-Iraq war; Iranian revolution; the takeover of the great mosque in 1979. They are very resilient, even though they are very conservative for my taste.

But, look, the alternative, as Pat said, it's extreme chaos and barbarism, represented by Osama bin Laden. There are a lot of enlightened, smart people in Saudi Arabia. Some of them are within the royal family. Many of them are in the Saudi society. And if you watch carefully how some people conducted their campaign on that limited elections, they were brilliant. They used text-messaging, Internet, organizations. I mean, they are really forcing the government to change.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They were ready to go, weren't they?

MR. MELHEM: They are ready to go. And I think if you look even at the Saudi press, which is not democratic and free, the margin of dissent is growing. And we watch these things carefully.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, and permissibility.

MR. MELHEM: That's true. And I think the campaign that Osama bin Laden raised, the violent, ugly campaign raised against the Saudi government and against Saudi society in general, is backfiring against him. And there are a lot of people -- you know, in the last few years they fired 2,000 clerics because of their extremist positions. That may not be enough, but we should not belittle these changes that are taking place in Saudi Arabia.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The alleged fragility of the Saudi government has been vastly overstated. I give it a nine.

Issue Two: Heartbreak in the Heartland. Twenty-seven soldiers killed within a five-day period in Iraq this week, most from Ohio. Fourteen of the Marines were killed by a roadside bomb of incredible explosive force, the deadliest single roadside bombing in the entire two-and-a-half-year war.

Also this. Item: American journalist shot dead: Freelancer Steven Vincent, who wrote a July 31 New York Times op-ed charging that Basra's police force had been infiltrated by Shi'ite religious factions. He was also a blogger who criticized Iraq's rising fundamentalism.

Item: Al Qaeda's ultimatum via videotape, broadcast on Al- Jazeera. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy: "Oh, Americans, what you have seen in New York and Washington and the casualties you witness in Afghanistan and in Iraq, despite all the media blackout, are nothing but the casualties of the initial clashes.

"As for the English, I say to them Shaykh Osama bin Laden -- may God preserve him -- offered you a truce. Until we live it in reality in Palestine and before all infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad, you will not dream of security. You shed rivers of blood in our land, so we exploded volcanoes of anger in your land. Our message to you is crystal clear: Your salvation will only come in your withdrawal from our land, in stopping the robbing of our oil and resources and in stopping your support for the corrupt and corrupting leaders.

"The truth, which Bush, Rice and Rumsfeld hide from you, is that the only way out of Iraq is immediate withdrawal, and any delay in this decision will only mean more killed and more losses. If you don't leave today, then you will inevitably leave tomorrow, but after scores of thousands of fatalities and double that number of handicapped and wounded people."

Question: Is Zawahiri correct that the U.S. will withdraw from Iraq sooner or later; the only question is how many casualties will be incurred before we withdraw? Hisham.

MR. MELHEM: Of course there will be more casualties, unfortunately, both on the Iraqi side and on the American side. I mean, I watched him. I listened to him in Arabic. I mean, unfortunately he looked very vigorous and very much in control and very healthy. There were no religious references as we've seen with Osama bin Laden before. It was strictly political.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the color of the head gear? Was that sending a signal, because it was white, not black? Did you read anything to that effect? MR. MELHEM: Well, he can't have -- well, black; I mean, usually a black turban is associated with the Shi'a and with the descendants of the prophet.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What has Zawahiri got totally wrong in that particular passage? What did he get wrong?

MR. MELHEM: He knows, like everybody, like all the insurgents in Iraq, that the United States is about very serious to withdraw from Iraq, beginning to withdraw next year.

MR. BLANKLEY: John, what he got wrong --

MR. MELHEM: And I think they are using this. They are going to wait for the United States to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did he get London wrong?

MR. BLANKLEY: What he got wrong is the Americans -- and I don't think the British either -- are going to be susceptible to Tokyo Rose kind of propaganda. This is propaganda aimed to break our will, and I don't think it's going to have that effect.

MR. BUCHANAN: It is not aimed at us, John. Look, he hit all four issues. Number one, we're exploiting their oil. Number two, we're backing all these tyrants. Number three, we're on Arab soil. Number four, we're pro-Israeli. This is designed to get bin Laden and all of them meshed in all the great issues where the large majority of Arabs and Islamists agree. It's like the Nazis taking the best issues out of Versailles to make themselves popular. It is extremely effective from their standpoint.

MS. CLIFT: Right, it's a call to arms. But the timetable for withdrawal from Iraq will be determined by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps --

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MS. CLIFT: -- which cannot continue to sustain the casualties that we're taking.

MR. BLANKLEY: That's not true. That's not true.

MS. CLIFT: And we don't --

MR. BLANKLEY: It'll be determined by --

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me, Tony. You had your turn. It is my turn now. And the military leadership is furious that the political development over there is turning the country into a client state of Iran. And President Bush -- this videotape arrives perfectly for him. He can go mano a mano against this guy and he can divert attention from the casualties we're taking. But public opinion can't sustain this intervention in Iraq anymore. There is no winning strategy that anybody has come up with.

MR. BLANKLEY: This kind of defeatism is not supported by the facts. You're saying the military, our military, cannot sustain this level of casualty. I don't think that is an accurate statement.

MS. CLIFT: Our military is stressed and strained.

MR. BLANKLEY: Should we or not is another question. But to assert that we don't have sufficient manpower to sustain this level of casualties we've had so far is an inaccurate statement.

MR. MELHEM: John, just quickly, I mean, the rhetoric on Palestine, on oil, that's all true. I mean, this is part of the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, he's trading off those issues? He doesn't --

MR. MELHEM: No, no, of course not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know Osama from the start has been talking about the Palestine-Israeli issue. And certainly his recruitment is far, far (ahead ?) --

MR. BUCHANAN: He doesn't care about that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- by reason of the --

MR. MELHEM: Osama uses Palestine --

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MR. MELHEM: -- because he knows that Palestine resonates with me, the secularist, as well as the pious Muslim.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. MELHEM: But what I'm saying is that these people are watching the debate in the United States, and they know the American political calendar and the elections. And they hear Rumsfeld and others and the Iraqis talking about beginning withdrawal mid-2006. They are waiting for this. And I think --

MR. BUCHANAN: The question is not just whether we withdraw at all. The question is whether we leave victoriously or whether we leave and it collapses. He didn't mention that. We are coming out one day, John. We still don't know the result of this war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Tony Blair on terror. PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: (From videotape.) Let no one be in any doubt -- the rules of the game are changing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Indeed, sir, they are changing: Deport more extremists; get rid of extremist web sites, book shops, centers, networks. These are his key major changes: Close extremist mosques; get databases to block extremist clerics' entry; more anti-terrorism courts, judges, staffers; extend holding periods of terrorist suspects without stated charges; make violence glorification prosecutable.

Question: Is Great Britain turning itself inside-out? Are these changes going to be so draconian as to almost cause Britain to lose its soul, its soul having been an extremely liberal social interaction, and now we are seeing it being radically transformed? I ask you.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, it's a big change, but it's going to a wartime Britain. The powers that Churchill had during World War II were much more extensive than these. This is what a country does as rational during wartime. When the danger subsides, Britain will return to her normal liberal freedoms.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you approve? We've only got one word.

MS. CLIFT: I think Blair's body has been snatched by John Ashcroft. But look, Britain has had an appallingly lax asylum policy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: Some of these laws need to be done. I just hope they don't go too far.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. An overreliance on MI-5, and now this immense change. Do you approve? Quickly. Will he get away with it?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, they ought to kick these crazy imams, who are guests in that country and come there and advocate terror, kick them out. They should have gone a long time ago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think we are doing everything that he has proposed and wants implemented in Great Britain? Are we doing it here?

MR. MELHEM: No, we're not doing it here. I mean, this is a more tolerant society in the sense that it allows Muslim communities to integrate --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, should we be doing what he's doing over there here? MR. MELHEM: Anybody who incites should be deported, especially if he's not a citizen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Bolton Unbound.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) I'm sending Ambassador Bolton to New York with my complete confidence.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Three days after the U.S. Senate adjourned for the month of August, the president took advantage of the recess. He appointed John Bolton to the U.N. Bolton is now officially our U.S. representative at the world body until January 2007 when a newly- elected Senate will decide whether to confirm or not confirm the president's appointment.

The U.N. secretary general's greeting to Bolton was correct, if cool.

SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN: (From videotape.) We look forward to working with him, as I do with the other 190 ambassadors. I think it is all right for one ambassador to come and push, but an ambassador always has to remember that there are 190 others who will have to be convinced, or a vast majority of them, for action to take place.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For his part, Ambassador Bolton plunged into his job.

AMBASSADOR JOHN BOLTON: (From videotape.) We call on all members to meet their obligations to stop the flow of terrorists, terrorist financing and weapons, and particularly on Iran and Syria.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Without Senate confirmation, can Bolton be effective at the U.N.? I ask you, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. He's been damaged to a certain extent by this, but he has other strengths -- not only the president but the Republican Congress, which will back him up and may very well start threatening budget cuts on the U.N. And that may be the stick that will be most effective in inducing reform.

MS. CLIFT: Well, it's time to wish him well. He's been handed an enormous opportunity here. If the Iran nuclear issue comes to the United Nations, he's going to have to work with key countries. Every agenda on the American list involves negotiating with, working out consensus with the key countries. And the kind of behavior he exhibited before as a government official is simply unacceptable. And I think he knows that, and I think he's going to be on his best behavior. And he's not going to be picking fights the way he did when Colin Powell was secretary of state; Condi Rice is his boss now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the one vote that Bolton needs and has got? The vote of confidence of the president, and he's got it. MR. BUCHANAN: The president of the United States. The president did exactly the right thing. Look, these Democrats were disgraceful. They refused to give this man a vote, and then they said he's damaged. Bush did one of the best things he's -- what he should have done is body-slam those characters and sent him to the U.N., because this guy is his representative, his ambassador. I think the Democrats look weak and I think they look whiny.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Israeli spy scandal will metastasize seriously.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Tony Blair is no longer a short-termer. His crackdown on Muslims will get him two or three more years in office.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: The new (shaped ?) explosives being used against us in Iraq will be found to come from Iran and Syria.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hisham.

MR. MELHEM: Unless we do a radical change to our approach in Iraq to combine political machinations and ideas with military force to bring in the Sunnis to play a bigger role in government, we're in deep trouble in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ready for this? Gore is back.

Don't forget, you can see Ambassador Joe Wilson, husband of Valerie Plame, interviewed by me on PBS stations nationwide. And this weekend, check local listings and in Washington D.C. right here at 12:00 noon Sunday, McLaughlin's One on One.

Bye-bye.

END.