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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

TAPED: FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2006
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JUNE 10-11, 2006

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Zarqawi No More.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) Zarqawi personally beheaded American hostages and other civilians in Iraq. He led a campaign of car bombings, assassinations and suicide attacks that has taken the lives of many American forces and thousands of innocent Iraqis. Now Zarqawi has met his end, and this violent man will never murder again.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At a press conference in Baghdad, the U.S. military displayed a picture of Zarqawi's dead body.

Question: How big a setback is Zarqawi's death to al Qaeda? Pat Buchanan. MR. BUCHANAN: It is huge to al Qaeda in Iraq, John. You not only got the symbol of al Qaeda, but the operational commander of it. So I think it's a tremendous setback to them, as separate from the insurgents.

And I think it's really good news for the United States, because ultimately -- and the Iraqis -- ultimately you're going to have to do some kind of deal to get the insurgents to lay down their arms, but you've got to wipe out Zarqawi's people. And I think someone clearly betrayed him, so they've got to be having a very bad week.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't it more of a morale win than it is an operational win?

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think it's good news, even great news. But al Qaeda is one of many groups within Iraq, and Zarqawi was controversial even among the jihadists because of his willingness to stage mass attacks on civilians. And I think it's also worth remembering that he was not a subordinate of Osama bin Laden; he was a rival. And Osama bin Laden is probably celebrating as well. So I don't think it's totally unmitigated good news.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay -- ratted out by an insider.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) Special Operation Forces, acting on tips and intelligence from Iraqis, confirmed Zarqawi's location and delivered justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why did an Iraqi expose Zarqawi now? I ask you.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I have no idea. It may have been for the $25 million. It may have been for personal reasons. We don't really know all the facts. I'm always suspicious of information coming out from any government in the days after these events.

Let me get back a little bit to the first question, because there are a couple of potentially good consequences of his death. One is, as a leader of the terrorists, we hope that this will weaken their capacity. But the other perhaps more important part is he was trying to create the insurrection by killing Shi'as. And to the extent that this -- and it may or may not have -- but to the extent that this diminishes that killing, it may reduce the sectarian violence, which is the one that is likely to give rise to a civil war if we have one.

So there are two different angles by which his removal from the scene may, depending on how things evolve, be beneficial.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He was the godfather of the incipient virtually civil war between the Shi'a and the Sunnis. He was the one who launched the attack in Najaf, in Karbala, probably was the one who blew up the golden mosque in Samarra, and really was a critical part of what is the most dangerous part of what's happening in Iraq now, which is the conflict between the Shi'a and the Sunnis.

So the fact that he is gone and the fact that his terrorist attacks were the most violent -- I mean, driving trucks into Shi'a at their religious ceremonies -- was the kind of thing that provoked such a huge reaction among the Shi'a. So it offers us, at least, given our role there, at least a chance to step back from what was an incipient civil war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking about --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: So it's very good news.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking about the impact of it in Iraq.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the impact on al Qaeda worldwide, where you have independent cells created?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Look, I think any time you can take out somebody who is, as Pat says, the operational head of an al Qaeda network in a place like Iraq, where he had somehow or other managed to escape our pursuit of him for three years, is bound to be good news for us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Zarqawi --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Zarqawi dies hard.

MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM CALDWELL (spokesman, Multinational Force Iraq): (From videotape.) Zarqawi, in fact, did survive the air strike. Zarqawi attempted to sort of turn away off the stretcher. Everybody re-secured him back into the stretcher, but he died almost immediately thereafter from the wounds he had received from this air strike.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Six fatalities resulted from the air strike. Five were immediate; one was not. Why is that?

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI (NBC News): (From videotape.) Will there be an autopsy performed? And General, everybody's asking the question how possibly could he have survived seemingly intact after two 500-pound bombs were dropped on that facility.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's Jim Miklaszewski trying to rule out?

MR. BUCHANAN: Probably execution, John. I don't know the truth. I think Tony's right. We don't know the facts here. It is odd that something -- a thousand pounds of explosives, doing what that did to that house, that anything could have survived.

But both Mort and Tony have touched on something, which is regrettable from our standpoint, which is we didn't get him sooner, because I fear with 35 to 50 bodies every day being brought into the Baghdad morgue because of this Sunni-Shi'a religious civil war, which seems to be in incipient phase, that this guy, this evil character, before his death may have ignited this civil-religious war, which is the greatest danger we've got.

MS. CLIFT: Right. Because he's gone, that sectarian violence is not going to stop. And we have elevated him and made him this huge personality, and I don't think he's that big in that part of the world. There are many more Zarqawis who can succeed him. So eradicating him, I think it's an opening, but it's an opening to intensify the political activity and to try to build on the kind of tipsters and the intelligence that led to getting him the disarray within the insurgent community.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The capture of Saddam Hussein did nothing to stem the insurgency.

Isn't this more of a psychological boost than it is anything else?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely not. I think there is a fundamental difference, because this guy was operationally involved, was the absolute public face of the kind of terrorism that's been going on there. He was the symbol of it. So I think there is a major possibility here that this will diminish the amount of terrorism that we have. I'm not saying it's the end of the struggle --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- but it's a three-run home run in the fifth inning. It's not the end of the game.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, but there is no gap. Who takes Zarqawi's place? Answer: Abu Ayyub al-Masri. Born in Egypt, his name is al-Masri, which is an alias, which means "father of the Egyptians." Masri first met al-Zarqawi in 2002 at an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. In 2003, al-Masri relocated in Baghdad, where he set up the first al Qaeda cell nearby. He had contact with al-Zawahiri, the key aide and constant companion of Osama bin Laden.

Here's how the U.S. military spokesman describes Masri's contact with Zawahiri and ultimately bin Laden.

MAJ. GEN. CALDWELL: (From videotape.) We know he had communication with Zawahiri. Anything else beyond that would be in operational channels and probably not something that we should talk about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what do you make of that? Why doesn't he want to talk about it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, for all the obvious reasons. They don't want to reveal sources and methods.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And they don't want, I guess, to reveal how much information they have --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- on the degree of contact between the successor to al-Zarqawi and Zawahiri, who conveys everything to Osama. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does that mean Osama is really controlling the situation?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think he is in control. He certainly wasn't in control of Zarqawi, although Zarqawi had independent contact with as many as 40 different al Qaeda groups outside of Iraq, so he was a worldwide player in that world of terrorism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not only did --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't know how this guy is going to play --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not only did Osama not have contact with him, but Osama put out a contract on Zarqawi because Zarqawi was out of control in going around killing all of these Arabs and Muslims.

MS. CLIFT: Right. And Zawahiri --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: True or false? True or false?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't know that. I don't know that there's a contract out from Osama. I mean, we just don't have any idea. Somebody ratted on him --

MS. CLIFT: But we know --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and I'm very glad that somebody did rat on that son of a bitch. I mean, it's absolutely ridiculous.

MS. CLIFT: We do know that Osama's deputy, Zawahiri, wrote a letter to Zarqawi admonishing him --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.

MS. CLIFT: -- telling him he was using the wrong tactics.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's for going after the Shi'a.

MS. CLIFT: The Shi'a civilians. And we also know that Anbar province, the Sunnis there expelled him because they didn't like his tactics. So he was a very divisive figure. So I think the president struck the right tone in saying this is welcome news but it does not mean the violence is going to end.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The question is, this was wired, was it not? It was wired by Osama. Osama wanted this guy out.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, listen --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was beyond control. He was hurting the whole movement. MR. BLANKLEY: This is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He went over to Jordan and he blew up three hotels.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you, these guys -- I will say this. The al Qaeda types are not long for this world. If there's any kind of war, the Sunni-Shi'a war and the Americans go. I think the Sunnis are going to take care of these guys because they know they've got a bunch of murderers in their midst. And if they want power, they're going to have to get rid of them. These guys never --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You could take the point of view that operationally this will be far more efficient than it was under Zarqawi.

MR. BLANKLEY: For all we --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We don't know. We don't know.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make a point. For all any of us know, all of these things that we're talking about could be disinformation coming from any number of governments, including our own, for purposes of confusion to the enemy and to the public.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make one other point, because the idea that we know who's going to succeed him any more than we knew who was going to succeed -- (inaudible) -- it's going to be a power struggle, and we don't know who's going to win that struggle.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we know there appears to be right now no gap, which means some degree of organization or cohesion.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, we don't know that at all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, war and peace.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him. We can expect the sectarian violence to continue. We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continued patience of the American people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: After this presidential plea for patience, how much of a boost will George Bush's polls get by the end of next week? And will he get the patience he's asking for?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think the president's bought himself some more time; the Americans have with this victory, John, clearly. And I think the country is -- nobody is really demanding the United States get out now; not the Democrats. Very, very few people are demanding we get out. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he bought himself 10 points in the poll?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think he's probably bought five.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I agree with that. And he's going to be meeting with his advisers next week, and they're going to be talking about troop levels. And whatever they decide, they will use the death of Zarqawi to justify it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The problem is that within hours after the Zarqawi seizure, about 40 deaths occurred and the carnage continues. If the insurgency continues at this rate, this will be short-lived with the president. But how much does he pick up now --

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, he's already picked up three to five points before this event in the polls, Gallup Poll and others. So he's in the mid 30s rather than the low 30s now. I don't think he picks up more than two or three points on this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, me too -- three to five points.

But he will buy himself some time. There will be some more patience in the American public to see how this thing evolves. It may significantly improve. It may not. We're going to find out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's a huge victory for him.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's a 10 on a 10 scale, and I'll give him six points.

Okay, the human toll: U.S. military dead in Iraq, including suicides, 2,488; U.S. military amputeed, wounded, injured, mentally ill, all now out of Iraq, 58,950; Iraqi civilians dead, 126,990.

Issue Two: Democrats Foiled.

Not all eyes were focused on the nation's primary elections last Tuesday, but wonkish gurus had their senses trained on the open seat of former Republican Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham, now in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion.

His congressional district, California's 50th, is three to two safely Republican. But Democrat Francine Busby had mounted a serious challenge against the Republican contender, former Congressman Brian Bilbray. Democrats hoped a Busby upset would forecast a Democratic tide for November. But that was not to be. The GOP spent $5 million, the Democrats almost $2 million. Republican Bilbray won by five points over Democrat Busby.

Here's how the winner described what might have done him in.

REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT BRIAN BILBRAY (R-CA): (From videotape.) The program proposing amnesty was absolutely a big problem. And, in fact, it wasn't until I was able to highlight the fact that I did not agree with my friends in the Senate or my friend in the White House on amnesty that we really saw the polls start supporting me strongly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: The Democrats were hoping that this special election would be a referendum on the GOP control of the House in November. What did they get, Tony Blankley? MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the Democrats didn't get that. They were clearly disappointed. This election -- you don't want to overinterpret a special election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't hold back.

MR. BLANKLEY: But basically the Democrat got the same percentage, 45 percent, that Kerry got in that district in the election. The Republican got 49 percent, plus there were four more percent of splinter conservative votes. So it looked like a 55-45 election.

And what the Republicans avoided was the headline, "Tsunami Coming." And as a result, it's kind of a split decision, I think.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What message did the Bilbray victory give to the GOP?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, the GOP is lucky, because it's a plague on both their houses. The Democrats have not established themselves yet as a viable alternative. And I think it's a very, very disappointing fact for the Democrats to deal with, and it gives the Republicans a lot of spirit and morale going into the election. They're looking --

MS. CLIFT: Well, it sobers up the Democrats, who were really thinking they had it made for November. And it shows that the culture-of-corruption argument may not have partisan advantage when you've got the big corruption story right now being Democrats.

But on immigration, Bilbray won because he used scare tactics on immigration. He said, "Do you want your children learning Spanish because they want to or because they have to?"

MR. BUCHANAN: Bilbray was at 14, she was at 44, in the first -- before the runoff. In the runoff he's 49 and she's about 44, 45 -- an incredible turnaround. He's a lobbyist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: It is the immigration issue. McCain was going out to a fund-raiser, and this guy stood up and said, "I don't like your bill." McCain went home. But you're missing the big story.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but she did herself --

MR. BUCHANAN: You're missing the big story.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She did herself in --

MR. BUCHANAN: I know she did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- on this very issue. Let me quote what she said, all right? She was talking to a Latino audience and they were illegals. They were undocumented. And they wanted to help in her election. And this is what she said. Quote: "You don't need papers for voting," as if to say, "Even though you are illegal, you go to the polls anyway."

MR. BUCHANAN: That sank her.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Bilbray took that and he ran with it and he drummed it in, and that's why he won. Don't overinterpret this.

MR. BUCHANAN: Listen, what you missed is the Meathead referendum, the referendum in California whereby a tax was going to be put on people making more than $500,000 and transferred for this program for four-year-olds. It went down, 61-39.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why should that help Bilbray?

MR. BUCHANAN: The tax -- it's Republicans. The tax issue is on fire in California.

MS. CLIFT: That was not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Republicans have taken --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a Republican issue. It is still there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bad news.

Exit: Is opposition to Bush's guest worker program the key to the GOP keeping control of the House this fall, yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: No amnesty, and they'll keep the House -- Republicans.

MS. CLIFT: There'll be no immigration bill. But that referendum sank because 40 percent of four-year-olds are already in preschool, and it looked like it was just an effort to pay for them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me flip it. If a vote for amnesty, they will lose the House.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, it's not. It's not going to be the key to the Republican success or failure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I think he's overinterpreting. This is San Diego, right on the border, and they have a terrific immigration concern, whereas the national polling is pretty soft on the president's path to amnesty --

MR. BUCHANAN: That's why -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the way he wants to hem it in.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- the Senate bill is dead.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Mogadishu Deja Vu.

In 2001, al Qaeda infested Afghanistan. Afghanistan was then governed by the al Qaeda-friendly Taliban. Then U.S. forces routed the al Qaeda from Afghanistan. Al Qaeda then relocated to Somalia, a strategically located Muslim nation on the Horn of Africa, roughly the size of Texas.

Operating out of Somalia since then, al Qaeda has been linked to the London subway bombing, to a nuclear smuggling attempt in London, and to the 2002 attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya used by vacationing Israelis.

So, to combat the Somalia terrorist operations, the CIA station in Nairobi, Kenya funded a coalition of Somali warlords. The warlords raided al Qaeda sites and disrupted their operations and helped nail key al Qaeda operatives.

Well, this week the CIA-funded warlords themselves were driven out by an Islamic militia with ties to al Qaeda. So the fear is that Somalia will again be an unfettered training ground for terrorists.

At a congressional hearing two years ago, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was questioned about where U.S. military forces might well be used around the globe. He especially cited Somalia -- then, as today, without a government.

It could serve as one of the world's, quote, "safe havens for terrorist activities," said Powell.

This week President Bush echoed Powell's Somalia worry.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) The first concern, of course, would be to make sure that Somalia does not become an al Qaeda safe haven, that it doesn't become a place from which terrorists can plot and plan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Somalia today the real central front in the war on terrorism? Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it certainly can be a serious player in the war on terrorism, because if it does become a place where they can start training terrorists, we're back in the soup again. And it is an example of why failed states are more dangerous to us than powerful states.

But we are going to have to understand that countries like that -- pirates, really, flying under the flag of statehood -- cannot use statehood for protection. We're going to have to find ways to deal with that issue if it goes that far.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why hasn't the American public been made aware of Somalia's strategic importance in the war on terrorism? Why?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, you know, we are --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have a newspaper, right? You have --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. We are slightly distracted, as you well know. We're involved in a war in Iraq, and that alone is what is consuming all the oxygen in the air on this kind of an issue.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make a point about this, because this is obviously a reversal for Bush's policies here. We gave up the idea of nation-building during the Clinton administration. Bush followed suit and did not go for nation-building. He went for lining up warlords.

But on the other hand, nation-building in a place like Somalia is almost an impossible task. So, yes, it's a failure, but it's not so obvious what a successful policy would look like. MS. CLIFT: Somalia has been --

MR. BUCHANAN: You're going to have to fall back. Tony's right. You're going to have to fall back. Whoever comes to power, and you call him up on the phone and you say, "You're in power now and we're going to deal with you, but let me tell you, if we see camps in there, if we see this or that go on, we're going to exercise our unilateral right to go after it." But you cannot go in there and build a nation out of Somalia.

MS. CLIFT: Well, we funneled money to the secular warlords who were allegedly helping us with tips on al Qaeda. And the religious warlords are now in power, and they're saying that they are not al Qaeda. So there is an opening there if we want to pump in some money and extract some concessions back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are we knocking the warlords. The warlords are our guys, right?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no, no. The religious warlords were not our guys, okay? There were a lot of sort of militias there, led by these religious warlords. They're introducing the Shari'a immediately. They're introducing Islamic courts already.

MS. CLIFT: And the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The warlords were sanctioned by the CIA. It was sanctioned by the White House. It was sanctioned by the president. It was sanctioned by Tony Blair.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blair has an interest in this too.

MS. CLIFT: Well, and the --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Now we have exactly the problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that the CIA was out of control over there?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I'm saying the CIA may have made a misjudgment. I'm sorry to introduce that at this program. Yes, they made a misjudgment. Well, it was the best option we had.

MS. CLIFT: We helped create the religious community that is now in power, and the people are welcoming them. It's a mirror image --

MR. BUCHANAN: But Shari'a --

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: It's a mirror image of what happened in Afghanistan, because the people are craving for some sort of order.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: And the religious types come in and they at least provide security for them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to get out. Is the -- well, you want to make a quick point?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. Look, Shari'a is not our problem. If they want that, fine. All we've got to tell them is, "What you can't do is you cannot have al Qaeda in here training or we will come in here and take care of it." The rest of it, let them have it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, they're very hospitable. They're right- wingers. They're very fundamentalist. They're hospitable to the al Qaeda.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, then they've got a problem.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit: Is Somalia poised to become the next Afghanistan, Islamic regime, to host terrorists? Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: The next Afghanistan is going to be Afghanistan.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, Afghanistan is also deteriorating. We have a chance to make a difference in Somalia. I don't know if we're wise enough to do it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You heard what he's saying. Afghanistan is reverting to Taliban.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, that's a premature --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Somalia?

MR. BLANKLEY: That's either premature or wrong. But look, Somalia is going to be a bigger mess. It's been a mess. And al Qaeda has been re-establishing itself there for years since they got kicked out of Afghanistan. The CIA made that finding a couple of years ago. And it is going to be a very dangerous place from which terrorism is going to come. And it's not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will this be the case --

MR. BLANKLEY: And it is not going to be easy to ferret them out there with some of our brave Special Forces going into that place. It's a big problem that's going to get a lot worse. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that this would not be the case if George Bush had not invaded Iraq. Correct?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I don't know that.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it is certainly a huge danger.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another Afghanistan?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know if it'll go that far, but it certainly could go that far.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And then we have a terrorist state --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is the danger, another --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- with all the instruments of the government.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's no government now.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, it's a failed state that will be a terrorist state.

There's no --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How horrible can you get?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a haven. It's not going to be a terrorist state. You could take out a terrorist state. It's going to be a safe haven for them, and they're going to be over there. And as Tony said, it's going to be tough to find them and root them out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another Afghanistan.

Issue Four: Road Rage.

DR. EMIL COCCARO (University of Chicago): (From videotape.) This is really a brain-based disorder, just like depression or panic disorder or any other important disorders that people talk about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Road rage drivers are not just angry. They're crazy. So says research from Harvard and from the University of Chicago. The new sickness is called IED -- intermittent explosive disorder. IED sufferers have abnormal areas of the brain that are supposed to control anger. Researchers estimate that up to 16 million Americans suffer from intermittent explosive disorder.

Question: Should states require brain scans before issuing driver's licenses? (Laughter.) I ask you, Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) John, no. Road rage is just like --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sixteen million have IED, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, those are the same guys that get in fist fights in bars.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here comes Buchanan in his --

MR. BUCHANAN: Navigator.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Lexus tank.

MR. BUCHANAN: Navigator. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Navigator.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I think the treatment for road rage in case of anybody who has a Navigator would be that they would have to spend six months in community service operating out of a miniature car, a small car.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a serious issue. I mean, they're doing a lot of brain work in neuroscience at Harvard, and I'm sure they have been able to trace that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think IED is due to nature or nurture?

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, there's no doubt in my mind that, you know, 30,000 years ago the cavemen who were driving their cars down the road --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MR. BLANKLEY: -- you know, that that's where it evolved in our genes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about nurture, lack of socialization?

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, some people are angry. Others aren't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Is a breakthrough deal with Iran imminent? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Not imminent, but it's coming.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I agree, and then they'll probably cheat. (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: No, and it will not come.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really? Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I think the Iranians will just try and buy as much time as they can, and then we'll have another confrontation with them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think yes, and a win for Bush.

Bye-bye.

END.