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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN,
ELEANOR CLIFT AND CLARENCE PAGE

TAPED: THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2005
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF AUGUST 27-28, 2005

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Uncle Sam wants you bad.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) I thank those of you who've reenlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our armed forces.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This language, especially the words "no higher calling," was uttered by the commander in chief in a nationally televised address from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This may be the closest President Bush has come to a direct call to arms -- enlist now.

The Pentagon needs serious help on recruitment. The U.S. Army's goal for active-duty soldiers this fiscal year, ending on September the 30th, is 80,000. They have recruited 55,000 as of the end of July. So the Army is 25,000 soldiers short, over 30 percent, with five weeks to go.

Army Reserves and the Army National Guard are also struggling at the end of July, with both over 20 percent below recruitment goals. These shortfalls, many say, are sobering and dangerous in a time of extended manpower deployments in the blistering sands of Iraq.

The good news is, an uptick on the recruiting screen did occur for the active-duty Army after months of hemorrhage. This coincided with the upping of enlistments and reenlistment bonuses, upping the thousands of new recruiters, upping the millions of dollars into glitzy PR, upping money for recruits to attend college, upping the disproportionate percentage of non-whites and lower-income recruits.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D-NY): (From videotape.) They fish because that's where the fish are. They recruit where the hopeless are in terms of unemployment.

But the truth of the matter is that if we have a draft, if we had a draft, we wouldn't be in Iraq today. If we had a draft, we wouldn't be rattling swords in North Korea. If we had a draft, we wouldn't be threatening Syria and Iran.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Charlie Rangel right? If we had the draft, there would be no Iraq war, no sword-rattling in North Korea, no threats to Syria and to Iran.

Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he's not right, John. When we went to war in Iraq, the whole country backed the president, by and large. Very few people opposed him.

I do agree there would be a lot more dissent and argument against the war if these were draftees being killed over there and if draftees were being sent to Iraq.

But America's fundamental problem is this, is we have global commitments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia now, in the Balkans and in the Gulf, we didn't have during the Cold War. And the American armed forces are about one-tenth the size they were at the end of World War II. You
cannot maintain an empire with an armed force as small as we have in the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is -- Eleanor, do you think -- does she agree with you? Do you agree with Rangel?

MS. CLIFT: I think if the policymakers and the elites who decide these issues about going to war -- if their sons and daughters were on the line and faced the risk of being drafted, they would think a little longer and a little harder before they committed us to a war of choice. So I agree with him to that extent.

But I think what we're coming to grips with is the fact that we actually have a mercenary Army. And it doesn't have a nice ring to it. We call it "volunteers," but we're basically paying people to serve their country. And if you're going to pay people and have a mercenary Army, you're going to have to pay the market rate. And so the bounties are going up -- more money for tuition, higher enlistment bonuses -- and I think it's appropriate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, do you think the draft is coming back?

MR. BLANKLEY: Probably. Let me just first --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Probably is?

MR. BLANKLEY: First of all, a mercenary is a person who fights for money for any flag. The people who are fighting in our Army are patriots fighting for their flag.

MR. PAGE: Details, details!

MR. BLANKLEY: So while they're compensated the same way draftees are compensated, they're not mercenaries.

But the larger point is that currently we probably are 100(,000) to 200,000 short of active Army strength to fulfill the responsibilities currently being assigned to the Pentagon. Those responsibilities are almost inevitably, certainly, likely going to expand over the next 10 years, and we're going to need to have particularly an infantry force that's probably between 200(,000) to 500,000 larger. We're millions short of what we were in 1989, under a volunteer Army. I don't think we can recruit that number of people through the volunteer system, no matter how much they tweak it, and I suspect that the inevitable force of history is going to drive us to a draft within five years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Besides the inevitable force of history, what about if we start a war with Iran? Then you're going to have to really bring back the draft, are you not?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I mean, I don't know technically how many men we precisely need for some operation. All I'm saying is there are enough responsibilities that are expanding that it seems unlikely we're going to be able to fulfill it with only volunteer forces.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know the horror stories about how these men over there and women are being run into the ground by overextensions of their stays. You know that.

MR. PAGE: Well, indeed, but that doesn't mean that morale is necessarily bad. I mean, these are folks who did volunteer.

I'd like to say something, though, as the one member of this panel who actually was drafted. I think Charlie Rangel's right; that if we had had a draft, we would not be in Iraq the way we are in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why do you say that?

MR. PAGE: We would be in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was a perfectly justifiable action in response to 9/11. I don't think we could have gotten into Iran (sic) on the shaky evidence that we went in with if we had had a draft, because everybody knew, well, it's a volunteer military,
and even when everything was going on, two-thirds of them, according to polls, voted for Bush's reelection.

MR. BLANKLEY: I would just --

MR. PAGE: So that still hangs over this action --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. BLANKLEY: I would just point out that --

MR. PAGE: Yes, sir.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- in 1964 -- was it `64, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
--

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. (Cross talk.)

MR. BLANKLEY: We had a draft there. The congressmen and the senators had the same mentality your suggesting we'd have now, and they all happily voted for --

MR. BUCHANAN: And may I point out something? That two and a half years after our first combat troops arrived in `65, the polling for LBJ was about what it is right now for Bush and this current war --

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I'm just only talking about the most recent --

(Cross talk.)

MR. PAGE: -- are only 42 to 44 percent, right in there.

MR. BLANKLEY: I'm just saying --

MR. PAGE: So we're following some kind of timetable, Tony. And the American people out there in the red states that are sending most of the troops over to this war are losing faith in it.

MR. BLANKLEY: You miss --

MS. CLIFT: And I'd like to point out, in the run-up to last year's election, when I mentioned that Bush's policies were leading us toward the prospect of a draft, you dismissed that as total partisan rhetoric.
And now --

MR. BLANKLEY: That's not his policy. It's not his policy. It's what's happening in the world.

(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: What's happening in Iraq is policy --

MR. BLANKLEY: So I continue to disagree with you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, don't you think it's time to get real on this set?

MR. BUCHANAN: There's not

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the point is that the president could not call a draft now.

MR. BUCHANAN: He could not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: His ratings are at 34 percent --

MR. BUCHANAN: He not only could not call it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just 34 percent approve of the way he's handling the war.

MR. BUCHANAN: Here's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If he were to do that now, it would be like putting a match down a gas tank. Would it not?

MR. BUCHANAN: You're exactly right. Look, the Republican Party would not support a draft. The Democratic Party would not support a draft. But that does not make wrong Tony's point, which is, the United States military cannot cover all the commitments we've got right now all over the world. We could not fight a ground war in Iran.

What is going to happen is one of two things. Either they go the route Tony suggests, which is 500,000 increase in the Army, or you start giving up these commitments to defend places that are not vital to the
national security of this country, which is what we ought to do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I got a question for you, Eleanor, and the question is, are we sending green recruits into Iraq?

MS. CLIFT: No, we're mostly keeping people who've been there and doing everything we can to prevent them from leaving. We already have a back-door draft. We're sending recruits over there without proper body armor and equipment, and that is criminal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's -- it's criminal from the point of view that the casualty numbers increase if they are -- I'll call them green.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.) That's not fair, John.

MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't blame their fighting ability. They're fighting a war --

MR. BUCHANAN: They are very well-trained soldiers. We are not sending green kids over there, untrained, into combat. Eleanor's got a point. They should have up-armored a lot of that stuff sooner. Mistakes have been made. But these are the finest trained soldiers on earth.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In World War II we sent greens into the field.

MR. BUCHANAN: We sure did.

MR. BLANKLEY: (Off mike.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think this is a comparable situation?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think they're all well-trained?

MR. BUCHANAN: We haven't had any Kasserine Pass, the way we did in World War II. These guys have won every battle. They're the finest soldiers on Earth. They've been well-trained.

MS. CLIFT: And the problem --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Combat has a learning curve. You know that?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, sure.

MS. CLIFT: The problem --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a learning curve for the Iraqis, too.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And during that learning curve, if you're not up to speed, you're more liable to becoming a casualty.

MS. CLIFT: The problem is --

MR. BUCHANAN: And I'm saying they're as well-trained as they can be.

MS. CLIFT: The problem is, it's an unwinnable war. If you're going to defeat an insurgency, you probably need five times the troops that we have there. They're in the middle of a civil war. They cannot do any better than they're doing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's causing the casualties in Iraq? Is it because the troops are quote, unquote, "green," or is it because of the power
o f the insurgency?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, if we had fought in the same --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is it? Both? Both?

MR. PAGE: IEDs. IEDs are causing the casualties. This is

MR. BUCHANAN: If we had the same kind of equipment we had in Vietnam, the casualties would have been higher. These guys are in Bradleys. They're in armored vehicles. They're better trained. You're lucky the casualties aren't higher.

(Cross talk.)

MR. PAGE: Remember, they were fighting battles in Vietnam. We're not fighting battles here. We're just fending off IEDs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear from General Blankley. Go ahead, General. (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, let's call him "lieutenant colonel." (Laughter.) It's the most I can claim, as an armchair person. In reality, I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want to continue before we go to the exit question?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. Yeah. Sure. Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I didn't mean to make too much of this. (Laughter.) It was a --

MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughs.) I wanted to elaborate on your analysis.

Quick point: I think we need more troops in Iraq. I think we need to readjust to a more traditional counterinsurgency strategy, rather than the one that assumed it wasn't going to be facing an insurgency;
probably somewhat more reliance on airpower in areas of the Sunni Triangle that are manifestly hostile and remain so, even after our troops have gone through there. So I think we need some adjustment to strategy and tactics and an uptick of probably 30(,000) to 50,000 troops.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Will ending the war in Iraq restore military recruitment levels? Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, there's no question about it. Many of the Guard people would come back and get in the Guard, and I think -- yeah, sure. Look, if people aren't getting killed, they tend more to come -- to go into that line of work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I think there's going to be a hangover from this war just as there was after Vietnam.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: I think Eleanor's probably right. I don't think we're going to see -- we can probably continue to hit roughly our current targets, which I think are inadequate. To get it that much higher, even if there was no fighting going on, I suspect you wouldn't be able to do
it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will the levels recover?

MR. PAGE: I think levels will recover if we -- and probably will be offering even more money for college scholarships. But word's getting around that a lot of these kids aren't getting the scholarships. They either aren't qualifying for them or they aren't actually graduating. And also word's getting around that unless you've got it in writing, kids, you can't believe what the recruiters promise you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is, the levels will return.

When we come back, is intelligent design scientific theory or scientific fact?

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Bible versus biology.

MS. KABERLINE: (From videotape.) What I believe, in my religion God created man and Earth and the heavens and everything.

MS. UNDERWOOD: (From videotape.) I think that if you want creationism to be taught, like, that's what private institutions are for.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The debate between the Bible and biology is raging. Was man created full-blown by God, or did the human race develop from primates, as followers of Charles Darwin evolution theory say? Today's debate in America's public schools is a re-run. This summer marks the 80th anniversary of the 1925 Scopes "monkey trial," the historic legal battle in which a Tennessee court threw out Tennessee's law against the teaching of evolution.

Over the years, the United States Supreme Court has also ruled against teaching Bible-based creationism in public schools. What's different today is the "intelligent design" theory. Those who believe in intelligent design say public schools should also be able to teach that man is far too complex to have evolved from primates. Many scientists and educators scoff at the intelligent design theory as a leaner, meaner form of creationism.

Intelligent design supporters say that Americans are open to other ideas besides Darwinian evolution. And poll numbers back the intelligent designers. When asked, 54 percent say they don't believe that human beings did develop from an earlier species. And a whopping 64 percent in the same poll believe that, quote, "human beings were created directly by God," unquote.

Question: Is evolution a scientific theory or a scientific fact? Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I believe there is enough scientific evidence to support evolution. And the fact that we have an American president challenging evolution and suggesting that intelligent design belongs on the curriculum along with science is absolutely absurd. Intelligent design is a
nice religious theory, and that's where it belongs, in a religious class.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think we're descended from primates? Of course we are!

MR. BLANKLEY: I've looked monkeys in the eye and I see a relative. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, those words may come back to haunt you.

MR. BLANKLEY: They all do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, we get the e-mails.

MR. BLANKLEY: They all do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, the problem with primates, that is an order, and in that line or order there are apes and monkeys and related simians. Does that make us a simian?

MR. BLANKLEY: It makes us a hominoid.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we're all simians in the line, and arguably, if you believe that it is an order, then we are part of that species, are we not?

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make a point. A theory in science is a proposition supported by scientific evidence. I think Eleanor is right that evolution --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Empirical evidence?

MR. BLANKLEY: Scientifically measured evidence.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's empirical.

MR. BLANKLEY: I believe that there is sufficient evidence to support aspects of evolution. Now --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it overwhelming? Is it overwhelming?

MR. BLANKLEY: Within a species, it is overwhelming. As between species, there are lacunas in scientific knowledge.

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MR. BLANKLEY: The intelligent design people make two points. One, they say the theory doesn't explain itself sufficiently scientifically. That's a valid debate to have on the scientific basis.

MR. BUCHANAN: John?

MR. BLANKLEY: The second piece they argue is that the explanation is intelligent design. That's an attempt to do Thomas Aquinas's argument number five. And I think that is, in fact, theology.

MR. BUCHANAN: John?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does intelligent design mean to you that Adam and Eve as described in Genesis are literally true and that full-blown human beings were brought into existence quickly without the passage of any serious time?

MR. PAGE: No. Intelligent design is not the same as creationism. You're describing creationism, and we should not use those two interchangeably. We fall into that danger, especially in the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. What is intelligent design?

MR. PAGE: Intelligent design is really what we were taught when I was growing up in southern Ohio -- maybe it's in our Midwestern sensibility -- but that is that there is evidence to support evolution, as Tony
said. There are also questions about whether or not intelligence may have been involved at some stage in this --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, why --

MR. PAGE: -- whether it explains everything, as what you described --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get in on this.

MR. PAGE: -- or whether it merely describes, say, you know -- to go back to "Star Wars," "May the Force be with you," that there's some intelligence out there that got it all started.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why -- are we not really in semantics, rather than we are in concept? (Cross talk.)

MR. PAGE: Hopefully not in semantics, John. (Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can concurrently have intelligent design managing evolution. Correct?

MR. PAGE: I'm sorry. (Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The intelligent design can manage evolution. (Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get into it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That can be under divine providence. (Cross talk.) So there is intelligent design throughout Darwinian evolution.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. PAGE: It is really a possibility --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where's the contradiction?

MR. BUCHANAN: There is no -- you're exactly right. Does the universe manifest intelligent design? Of course it does. It works like a clock.

And to dispute Tony here, Aquinas was not talking theology there. He was talking natural law and reason.

MR. BLANKLEY: That's what I said.

MR. BUCHANAN: Now hold it.

MR. BLANKLEY: (Off mike.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Now let me just say this. The origins --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat finish, please.

MR. BUCHANAN: But let me finish. Let me finish. Look --

MR. BLANKLEY: You're quoting me. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, the -- look, science -- look, biology cannot explain the origin of matter or the origin of life. It cannot explain a lot of things. But biology itself manifests intelligent design in growth and development can be -- (cross talk) -- is that consistent with a creator?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is intelligent --

MR. BUCHANAN: That is consistent with a creator but is not creationism.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. (Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is intelligent design faith, or is intelligent design --

MR. BUCHANAN: Reason! It's reason.

MS. CLIFT: It's faith. It's faith.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's not --

MS. CLIFT: It's a nice belief to have that there's --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's reason, John. It's reason.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's both. Both.

MS. CLIFT: Fellas, let me finish. It's a nice belief to have that there is some intelligent hand guiding the process, but that is religious faith --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. This question's going to live on, believe me. This will live on.

MR. BLANKLEY: I just want to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Was Bush wrong to endorse intelligent design? Yes or no, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: He was morally courageous, because both faith and reason and science manifest intelligent design, even though this panel does not. (Chuckles.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh!

Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: He was pandering. He was pandering to the religious right, which he's very good at.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Pat Buchanan misunderstood when I said that it was like Aquinas. Aquinas was trying to prove through --

MR. BUCHANAN: You said theology.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- through reason, but his motive was to prove the existence of God.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!

MR. BLANKLEY: Intelligent design is trying to prove, through scientific reason, but I think their motive is theological.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!

MR. PAGE: (Off mike.)

MR. BLANKLEY: And I think the president was on fair comment to give his --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Unfair?

MR. BLANKLEY: -- fair comment to say what he thinks. I disagree with him.

MR. PAGE: I believe the president said there ought to be room for discussion of it, which sounds pretty benign. Maybe it was pandering. Maybe it was a sincere expression of his belief. But -- I'm not opposed
to discussion, but if you say that "Hey, this is definitely true, and you've got to believe this," then I'm opposed to that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

Intelligent design, as described by the host of this program a few precious minutes ago --

MR. PAGE: Yes, sir. (Chuckles.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if he meant that, he's perfectly okay.

Issue three: Dictating daylight.

After four years of stasis and spasms of debate, Congress finally passed a new energy act, and it has now been signed into law.

One oddity: Daylight Savings Time. Believe it or not, DST is in the act. The new law extends Daylight Savings by four weeks. Beginning in 2007, DST will begin three weeks earlier in the spring and end one week
later in the autumn.

The thinking behind the extension is this: shifting daylight from early morning to nighttime creates longer days. That means people will keep their lights off longer. That means using less electricity, thus burning less oil to produce it, less natural gas and less nuclear
electricity.

But there is a big downside: trade. Canada is our biggest trading partner, our partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In addition, there's history. For nearly 100 years, the U.S. and Canada have been living by the same time schedules. Now, all of a sudden, we declare that we're changing the schedules, Daylight Savings Time,
without giving Canada a heads-up. The move will change schedules for buses, trains, airlines, transportation and commerce. The Canadians see this as U.S. arrogance carried to a new extreme, telling Canadians when daylight begins. And now all 10 provinces, one by one, must get into
lockstep with their partner, the United States.

Exit question one: Is this an example of American arrogance, taking unilateral action that has serious impact on our allies without prior consultation? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I would tell our northern friends, "Deal with it," you know?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean don't sell them at all?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look. If it ticks off the Canadians, I'm for it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I think the Canadians are probably mature enough that they can work with this. And it would have been nice to have given them a "heads up." I don't know, maybe we did. I haven't followed this this
closely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a big commercial aspect. They've got to reset DVDs for the whole season, the longer season, they have to reset their cell phones, they have to reset their VCRs. We all do. They have to be in sync.

MR. BLANKLEY: Are you saying the Canadians are complaining that we haven't given them the time of day? (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're telling them when daylight starts.

MR. PAGE: I think Indiana and Arizona are arrogant not to abide by Daylight Savings Time like the rest of us. I have to keep switching whenever I fly into those states.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, it's the typical American arrogance that makes this so objectionable to the Canadians, legitimately so.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why should they decide? Why should they decide --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because we're members of NAFTA, we're (defeating ?) NAFTA.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who's bigger? Who's bigger?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Of course, you don't care about NAFTA.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who's bigger?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think that NAFTA was a mistake from the start.

MR. BUCHANAN: We're 10 times as big.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Daylight Savings Time provision takes effect in 2007. A quick answer: Will it be repealed before it goes into effect?

MR. BUCHANAN: No. The American way will prevail.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: You know, a lot of people in America don't like the shift either.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly! Will it? Are you saying yes?

MS. CLIFT: So I'm really neutral on that.

MR. BLANKLEY: No. Let the sunshine in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it?

MR. PAGE: The American way will prevail. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It will be repealed.

We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: After the rough Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the peace process, the road map go into the deep freeze.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: In five years time, Iraq will restart its nuclear program. They're going to look around the rest of the region, see Iran with nuclear weapons, Israel and Pakistan, and they're going to say, "Us too."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's Iraq.

MS. CLIFT: Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wow.

Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: The John Roberts nomination hearings will be relatively benign.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Discovery. Discovery. (Laughter.)

MR. PAGE: Based on current polls, we're facing the biggest upset of incumbents in Congress next year since the '94 upset that installed the Newt Gingrich/Tony Blankley revolution.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hmm. Is Tony helping that?

This winter, gas prices and home oil prices will go up higher than anyone is currently predicting.

Next week: Should illegal aliens get amnesty in the United States?

Bye-bye!

PBS SEGMENT

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Translate it as Vietnam. In the Cindy Sheehan demonstration near President Bush's Crawford ranch, a sign was held up which said, quote, "`Iraq' is Arabic for `Vietnam,'" unquote.

Question: Is Iraq Vietnam? I ask you, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it is not Vietnam, John. We lost 58,000 guys in Vietnam, and we've lost about 1,850 in Iraq. But this is a valid comparison. What is happening in America today, in the Cindy Sheehan demonstration, an anti-war movement is beginning to coalesce. The president's ratings are going down. His credibility on the war is dramatically diminished. So in the political realm, the comparisons are certainly valid. But in Iraq, there's no doubt we could win this war, but you would have to put twice as many troops in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, some points of correspondence. Iraq is a noble cause; Iraq is also a quagmire. The insurgency is resilient, as were the Viet Cong. The insurgency blends in with the people, as do both
of the enemy forces. The insurgents draw strength, and they find safe haven and even now are importing munitions across the borders, as did the Viet Cong.

MS. CLIFT: Right. I mean, I think the historical echoes are powerful, and --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And there's no exit strategy.

MS. CLIFT: What is really disturbing is that the administration doesn't seem to learn from that. Going in there in the first place, of course, was risking a terrible experience.

But we have no exit strategy, we don't know how to win, and we don't know how to get out. And that was where we were in Vietnam, and it dragged out for far too long there. I would just hope that -- there have been other signs out there as well. And that is, either win or get out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's --

MS. CLIFT: And I think that's the turning point that this administration's going to have to face at some point next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's try this rephrasing of it, and that is, do the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam outweigh the dissimilarities?

MR. BLANKLEY: The dissimilarities, I think, outweigh -- the basic similarity is that the media in -- during Vietnam was defeatist and tried to move the country towards defeatism, and the liberalisms (sic) rallied to defeat us there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's different today?

MR. BLANKLEY: And that's the same today.

MR. PAGE: Blame the media. Blame the media.

MR. BLANKLEY: The biggest difference is, we now have alternative media, and the public's getting a more balanced view.

And on the ground, there's very little comparison. You don't have enclaves like they had in Cambodia.

MR. PAGE: Tony, Tony, we have media support --

(Cross talk.)

MR. BLANKLEY: And we have more public support in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More dissimilar or similar?

MR. PAGE: The answer to your question is, there is the similarity in that we are trying a form of a Vietnamization now called Iraqification.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is there more of?

MR. PAGE: The dissimilarity is, will we have the Iraq people on our side, and will they Iraqify this war fast enough so they can take it over, so we can leave?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is it the more of, dissimilarity or similarity?

MR. PAGE: Well, the question is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to that? This is difficult? You don't want to answer it?

MR. PAGE: It's 50-50. You know, I mean --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifty-fifty! Clarence!

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