THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, ELEANOR CLIFT,
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL
TAPED FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 1999
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF MAY 1-2, 1999
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Operation Allied Force, OAF, week six.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) You know, now we're going to be in a position to fly around the clock, at lower altitudes, from all directions, in better weather.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As the air war intensifies, other military actions made news:
One, Pentagon activates 2,100 reservists. Another 31,000 will follow.
Two, OAF Apache helicopter crashes on a training mission in Albania.
Three, OAF hits wrong neighborhood, killing at least 20, 12 children.
Four, OAF hits wrong country, neutral Bulgaria, nearest capital. Bulgaria protests.
Five, refugees claim Serb atrocities, up to 200 men executed in Kosovo. USA Today correspondent Jack Kelly (sp), just back from Kosovo, reports that refugees say NATO bombing revs up Serbs to kill and rape more.
Six, Congress fails to back Clinton's war, the House resolution failing in a tie vote, 213 to 213. On another vote, the House voted overwhelmingly that Clinton must consult with Congress before sending troops -- ground troops, 249 to 180. House minority leader Richard Gephardt gets mad at the Republican speaker.
Question: How unusual is it for the Congress to vote against supporting a president when a war is raging, Arianna Huffington?
MS. HUFFINGTON: It's extremely unusual, and it was really a victory for back benchers, including Democratic backbenchers, like Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland. When this is presented as a right-wing effort to discredit the president, it's completely untrue. Twenty-six liberal Democrats voted against what is going on right now. It's a real victory for backbenchers against the sort of vacuum of leadership both on the Republican and the Democratic side.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Cowardice and irresponsibility is not limited to one party. The Congress did what it likes to do a lot of the time: be on both sides of the issue. They denied support for the air campaign, but they want to fund the war at twice what the president is asking.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, what's your take?
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, it was a bad day for the president. There was some politics going on on both sides of the aisle. But the amazing thing was watching Bonior, the Democratic whip, working the floor in the last minute and not being able to turn one of 26 Democrats to save their president's day. And the last time we saw something like that happen was in 1975, when the Congress took away funding from Ford for Vietnam.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence O'Donnell?
MR. O'DONNELL: It was an astonishingly hypocritical vote, 80 percent hypocritical on both sides, the Democratic Party switching itself completely on every war vote that's come its way for the last couple of decades, the Republican Party switching itself almost completely the same way. To see Maxine Waters saying, "Yes, here's a war I like, here's bombing I like, here's where I want to send ground troops" is astonishing. And to see the Tom DeLays saying, "Look, we lost Vietnam; let's not go lose another one" -- it was an incredible political spin.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see it as a political vote --
MR. O'DONNELL: Purely political for --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and not a conscience vote?
MR. O'DONNELL: The only ones who voted their conscience, clearly voted their conscience, were the people in each party who voted what is considered the opposite side of the party. And you know, when we had that Gulf War vote, that was allowed on both sides to be a conscience vote, and nobody on the other side complained about how anyone else voted.
MR. BLANKLEY: Wait a second. In the vote in 1990, every Democratic leader of Congress voted against Bush.
MR. O'DONNELL: But they didn't complain afterwards the way Gephardt is complaining.
MR. BLANKLEY: There's always been a partisan tint to these votes. The idea of partisanship stopping at the water's edge has never been true.
MR. O'DONNELL: Oh, yes, but I think this vote shows you retroactively how political all those votes were.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: This is a vote when a military mission is under way, and basically a vote that sends a message that there is disunity in this country.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well there is disunity.
MS. CLIFT: Well, it's -- I don't -- there is not --
MR. BLANKLEY: It's an honest reflection of this town and this country.
MS. CLIFT: There is not disunity when it comes to the decision-makers who are prosecuting this war, and to let Milosevic think otherwise is totally irresponsible.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Arianna?
MS. HUFFINGTON: But there is disunity and there should be disunity because it's been a disastrous war. Our two objectives have completely failed. Our objectives were very clear: to protect the Kosovars and to prevent the destabilizing of the region. We have not protected the Kosovars, far from it; we're actually killing them ourselves with our own bombs. And also, the region has never been more destabilized.
MS. CLIFT: I find it pretty disturbing to lay all of the blame at the door of NATO when genocide was unfolding over there. If NATO --
MS. HUFFINGTON: And --
MS. CLIFT: Let me finish, please. If NATO and the president didn't get involved, Arianna, you'd be the first one standing by saying, "Why aren't we doing anything?"
MS. HUFFINGTON: Not at all, Eleanor. Not at all. I've been consistent all along. And the problem here is that if we continue along this road, more Kosovars are going to be killed, and what will victory be when there are -- (inaudible) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, wait a minute now. Are you --
MS. CLIFT: I think we'll define that later in the show! (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: In week six, is Operation Allied Force's, that is OAF's bombing campaign succeeding or failing?
What do you think about OAF, Arianna?
MS. HUFFINGTON: Absolutely failing, disastrously.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, there are two parallel wars. There is an air war, which we are winning in the sense that we are delivering a terrible blow to the people of Belgrade. And there's a war on the ground that Milosevic is winning. And I don't see anything other than sticking to the course until finally we can settle this at the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, are you going to divide the question and split it?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, no, I'm going to divide it in a different way. Clearly, NATO is losing the air war right now in the sense that they're not accomplishing their objectives. On the other hand, the month you want to win or the week you want to win is the last week of the war, and it remains to be seen what happens in the end. But right now they're losing it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?
MR. O'DONNELL: Tony's right. You know, the entity being bombed is always winning up until the day it surrenders. I mean, Hitler was winning every single day we were bombing Dresden, if you want to look at it that way. So this is one of those games where you only know on the last day how effective it was.
MS. HUFFINGTON: No, that's not true at all. You know right now because there are 820,000 Kosovars trapped in the mountains with no food and no medical supplies, who are perhaps dying every day. We don't know. And there are over 700,000 of them who had to flee the country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is: Milosevic is stronger than ever, politically; NATO is losing.
When we come back: What is stopping NATO from negotiating with Milosevic now?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Give negotiation a chance.
NATO may be bombing intensely, but the search for a negotiated resolution inches forward. The hang-up is this: What are the specifics of the international presence that both Belgrade and NATO fundamentally already agree on; namely, the leadership and the composition, the weaponry, and the arrival of that presence?
In sequence: One, who leads the international presence? NATO officials insist that any force must have NATO troops, quote, "at its core." Milosevic says no.
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC (president, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia): (From videotape.) We are ready to accept a U.N. civilian mission; of course, without representatives of the countries who participated in the aggression against our country. We said that clearly we are ready for that; we have nothing to hide.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Russian troops must play the lead role as Kosovo peacekeepers, says Belgrade.
Where is the middle ground? Answer; the 1995 Dayton General Framework Agreement for Bosnia-Hercegovina. The U.N. grants the authority. A multinational force goes in. France and Russia supply the co-commanders; the U.S. and Great Britain, the co-deputy commanders. U.S. and British troops enter in reduced force to limit vulnerability from terrorist reprisal.
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS) (majority leader, United States Senate): (From videotape.) Perhaps it could be a U.N. force; perhaps other countries, perhaps even Russians, could be involved. I don't think that there has to be a U.S. component in that arrangement.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Greece sends a large contingent joined by other NATO and non-NATO forces. Milosevic can be persuaded to go along with this, and so can NATO.
"We have every expectation Milosevic will ensure the Serbs fulfill the provisions of the agreement, including the fact that there be no challenge to NATO forces," so said Richard Holbrooke during the negotiations at the Dayton peace accords.
Two, will the international presence be armed? "Side arms, yes," says Milosevic, "but no heavy weaponry." So the deal: NATO will demand armored personnel carriers, APCs, with the Bradley's regular armament -- no tanks. Serbia has no APCs, but Milosevic will bring the Serb equivalent, if it exists.
But when push comes to shove, Milosevic will yield. Ron Hatchett agrees. Ron Hatchett is the only Western journalist to interview Slobodan Milosevic since the war started. His interview, on and off camera, lasted two and a half hours.
RONALD L. HATCHETT: (From videotape.) But at the end of the day, he will accept autonomy as long as it is autonomy and not independence. He will accept the return of the refugees. He said so on tape. And even though on paper he would not accept it, I think in the final analysis, he will accept an armed military force.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Three: When does the bombing stop?
PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC (Serbia): (From videotape) Well, I believe that when aggression stops, when bombing stops, then it will be very easy to continue political process.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's the sequence that Milosevic will buy: That Serbian regular soldiers withdraw completely, the NATO bombing then stops. Serb paramilitary and civilian police forces remain, lightly armed and negotiated down by NATO to lower strengths. Milosevic goes along.
Question: Are these three areas of fundamental agreement enough to make a negotiated solution viable soon?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think the NATO demand that the core of the international force be NATO leaves a lot of room for discussion. I think you've got to get Russian troops in there. The only thing in your little list of demands that would bother me is leaving the Serbian paramilitary troops in there. I mean, they're the ones who have been perpetrating the atrocities, and I think that's really a tripwire for danger.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Bosnia today, the administrator -- civilian administrator micromanages. He's a German. He even tells citizens what number plates they can have and what the numbers must be. Milosevic said he would not stand for that. He feels that since Kosovo is part of Serbia, Yugoslavia, than his administrators must do the administrating and his police must do the policing. But of course the protectorate force will be there all the while.
MS. HUFFINGTON: Exactly. And these were the two breaking points at Rambouillet; they were that the NATO forces were going to have unimpeded access throughout Yugoslavia. It is unbelievable that we expected him to sign-up and agree to that. And the other one was that there was going to be a referendum after three years on the independence of Kosovo --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which would go only one way.
MS. HUFFINGTON: Exactly. So basically, this was not an agreement, it was a setup, and that's why Madeleine Albright and everybody in the foreign policy team who expected him to sign it are absolutely culpable for the nightmare that we have unleashed there.
MS. CLIFT: Boy, I'm not going to shed any --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way, may I introduce this? The Hatchett interview with me, which took place on Friday, is available on PBS throughout this country this weekend. It's well worth watching.
Do you care to say something, Lawrence?
MR. O'DONNELL: Well, it is well worth watching because you see someone talking about what the shape of peace will eventually look like. And I thought was important about your setup, John, is you say what Milosevic is saying today, but you also point out that of course he's going to have to move. And a lot of discussion in our press assumes what Milosevic does today is what he's going to stay to and he won't move an inch.
We are already, in terms of peace negotiating, way ahead of where we were with -- you know, Henry Kissinger took months to negotiate the shape of the table --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. O'DONNELL: -- that the Vietnam peace negotiations would take place at.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. O'DONNELL: We don't have a Ho Chi Minh on the other side of this thing. There's going to be compromise.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, the measure of the success of the negotiations, from the American point of view, is whether the refugees are going to return en masse or whether most of them are going to hang back. They will make an independent judgment of whether it's going to be safe for them to come back. So the question of what autonomy is very specifically will be the measure of success. That's the great topic that remains to be resolved.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Milosevic has agreed to the autonomy that existed before he revoked it in 1989, he says, because the KLA or the rebel forces that were coalescing into the KLA was trying to force the secession of Albania and trying to create a separate state -- by the way, not a multiethnic state --
MR. BLANKLEY: An Albanian -- (inaudible due to cross talk) -- Albanian --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I just think we ought to be careful about shedding tears here for poor Milosevic being set up. I mean, he in the end is probably going to get rewarded here. We're probably going to end up with an international protectorate --
MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, I agree --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that goes to -- that goes --
MS. CLIFT: -- wait a second -- with a partition. But you know, we settled for a partition in the Korean War. We settled for a partition in Indochina.
MS. HUFFINGTON: But --
MS. CLIFT: There are worse things than partition.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, your point is very well taken in some respects, and I'm going to address that now. And this is good news for you. Could Clinton claim victory under this scenario? Yes.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) We know what the final outcome will be: The Serbian forces will leave Kosovo, an international security force will deploy to protect all the people there, Serbs as well as Albanians, and the refugees will return, with security and self-government.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So after the deal, the president can say, "When I started out, I said we wanted autonomy for Kosovo. We have it. I said we wanted an international security force. We have it. I said we wanted the right of refugees to return. We have it. I said we wanted Kosovo to stay inside Yugoslavia. We have it. Our mission is a success. We have the basis for lasting peace."
Question: Could Clinton claim victory under this scenario? I ask you, Lawrence O'Donnell.
MR. O'DONNELL: This president has the war policies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, but we know he has the heart of George McGovern. He is looking for peace more actively than any president who has ever put a bomber in the air.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you -- are you telling us he has --
MR. O'DONNELL: Of course he can sell this peace. America wants this peace. America's not going to quibble about exactly what is the composition of --
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, but --
MR. O'DONNELL: -- and what's the caliber of their weapons. America wants this thing over. He can be --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he have the political acumen to know when the string has run out on the bombing and when to cut it?
MR. O'DONNELL: He will come within a couple of weeks of getting that right.
MS. HUFFINGTON: But actually, John, the problem is going to be, how many Kosovars will have died in the meantime? You know, the problem here is time.
Robin Cook, the British foreign minister, said, unbelievably, that time is our greatest ally. Now time is our greatest ally only if our objective now is revenge. If our objective is punishing Milosevic, then I agree; time is our greatest ally. If our objective is protecting the Kosovars, that is an absurd statement.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you noticed the uncontrollable tendency Robin Cook has to put his foot in his mouth -- (laughter) -- notably, in Israel not long ago, about a year ago, and also in Sierra Leone, and also in some of the briefings that he has given, declaring, which the Clinton administration is sedulously avoiding doing; namely, calling Milosevic a war criminal, which defeats the whole approach and hope of negotiations?
MS. CLIFT: Well, there are no conventional definitions of success coming out of this. I think the best we can hope for is exactly what we decide.
MR. BLANKLEY: This is nonsense.
MS. CLIFT: And historians will look back on it and credit Clinton with resolving it. His critics will say --
MR. BLANKLEY: This is post-modern Reconstructionist language --
MS. CLIFT: -- it was poorly prepared and poorly executed.
MR. BLANKLEY: -- this is post-modern Reconstructionist language.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean?
MR. BLANKLEY: This is post-modern Reconstructionist --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean by that?
MR. BLANKLEY: There is no definition of success --
MS. CLIFT: I said no conventional definition --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say --
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, but no conventional --
MS. CLIFT: None of the outcomes are that great.
MR. BLANKLEY: -- definition of success.
MS. CLIFT: If you want to give him a victory, go for it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.
MR. BLANKLEY: Of the 2 million Kosovar Albanians faithfully and happily living in Kosovo when this over, or a half or two-thirds of them either dead or kicked out of their own country -- that is the question.
Now, if in fact, you know, 10 years from now we find out the Kosovars are all happily living in their country, then Clinton can claim success. But he can't just have it on some notional basis that it is still technically autonomous with most of the Albanians in Albania --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have got to get out.
MS. CLIFT: Tony -- (inaudible) -- a lot of words, but I don't think we disagree. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a breakthrough scale of zero to 10, zero meaning zero breakthrough, 10 meaning metaphysical breakthrough, how close to a deal are we now? Give me a number, Arianna Huffington?
MS. HUFFINGTON: Three. Because of the congressional vote, there is actually going to be a greater willingness to negotiate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: The congressional vote is meaningless, and the Senate will undo it. We are probably at a 5.5. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: We are at a 5.5, Eleanor. (Laughter.) I don't know that happened. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, this is encouraging.
What do you think, Lawrence?
MR. O'DONNELL: I think we are at about 2.1, but I think we are moving quickly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think, for the very reason that you stated -- that is, the rejection of support for the Clinton air war by the Congress -- we are actually up to a six.
Issue three: The new NATO empire.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) The old order has not yet been replaced by a new one that answers all the legitimate needs of the people, not just for freedom, but also for security and prosperity. We must be committed to building that kind of future for the people of Central Europe, for the people of Southeastern Europe, and for our other partners, going all the way to the Central Asian states.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A global police force overseeing 50 percent-plus of the Earth's habitable surface and over 1 billion people -- that's what President Clinton wants for the new NATO, and the 18 other member countries are on board.
Under what circumstances can NATO then get involved? In NATO's latest language, it's when these risk threaten:
One, serious economic, social, and political difficulties.
Two, ethnic and religious rivalries.
Three, territorial disputes.
Four, failed reform efforts.
Five, human rights abuses.
Six, dissolution of states.
It's a tall order -- some would say a reckless order.
NATO's 19 member states make up most of Western Europe -- Iceland, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Hungary, and Turkey -- as well as Canada and the United States. But in the coming decade NATO in addition will look after its 25 so-called Euro-Atlantic partners: Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Albania, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
Many are questioning the scope, the effectiveness, the legality, the danger and the foolhardiness of this superdramatic change. Some, like Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, wonder whether this so-called new strategic concept bloats NATO so radically that the U.S. Senate may have to ratify the NATO Treaty again.
Question: Is NATO's strategic concept a good idea, Tony Blankley?
MR. BLANKLEY: I don't think so. I mean, their standard of an intervention -- they could invade, you know, Los Angeles, New York City, almost anywhere they wanted to.
Look, I think that by changing from a defensive to an assertive, beyond-Europe organization, they risk losing the key support they've had for 50 years throughout United States politics and much of European politics. I think it's a very dangerous move on their part.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that's been proven already in Kosovo --
MR. BLANKLEY: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that is, that the interventionism that has gone haywire --
MR. BLANKLEY: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in this administration is now showing itself to be what it is?
MR. BLANKLEY: In fact, one of the reasons you've got Republicans and Democrats concerned, they're not supporting the Kosovar operation, is precisely because they're afraid that this is the beginning of a whole new set of activities.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly. I'll give 10 seconds.
MR. O'DONNELL: The good news is, it's just mumbo-jumbo. They don't mean any of it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why do you say that? Why do you say that?
MR. O'DONNELL: Because not one of those reasons for intervening would in any way be responding to a military intervention.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why --
MR. O'DONNELL: Military intervention has nothing to do with economic difficulties.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did they all sign the document?
MR. O'DONNELL: Because they need to keep a rationale -- a fake rationale, if necessary -- to continue the existence of an organization that should be abolished.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's the huge and complicated bureaucracy of NATO --
MR. O'DONNELL: It's the bureaucracy talking. It shouldn't -- the whole thing should be abolished --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's trying to find a reason for perpetuating itself.
MS. HUFFINGTON: The other problem is that they are not willing to introduce ground troops in any of these efforts. It's all an air war -- (inaudible due to cross talk) --
MS. CLIFT: Right, it's an idealistic --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is that again?
MS. HUFFINGTON: They only want to do all these objectives with an air war, an air campaign. And every military analyst has said that air campaigns have never succeeded.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, this is talking about the -- an idealism of a new world order for the next century.
MS. HUFFINGTON: (Off mike.)
MS. CLIFT: When this is over, they're going to slow down the entries.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --
MS. CLIFT: Albania is already the de facto 20th member of NATO. They're going to slow down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- do you think -- we're going to get out of NATO -- the next concept will be world federalism?
MS. CLIFT: No, they'll slow down.
MR. O'DONNELL: They'll say anything to justify continuing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is this new NATO concept presented to Congress for ratification -- if it is, will it pass?
MS. HUFFINGTON: No, absolutely not.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it pass?
MS. CLIFT: It won't be presented. It's unnecessary to vote on it. And it would pass.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it --
MR. BLANKLEY: It will pass?
MS. CLIFT: Yes!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it pass?
MR. BLANKLEY: This is socialist internationalism armed. No it wouldn't pass.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it pass?
MR. O'DONNELL: It would get filibustered in the Senate if it ever --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is absolutely no.
Okay, mcLaughlin.com. Last week we asked: Is it time for NATO, the old soldier, to finally fade away? Get this -- 68 percent said yes.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions?
MS. HUFFINGTON: The Kosovo winner among the GOP contenders will be John Kasich, not John McCain.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Gore will lean on the Internet industry to clean up its act in the wake of Littleton.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: The Senate will hold hearings this year on NATO changing in policy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?
MR. O'DONNELL: Bill Bradley is on his way to a Gary Hart-like upset victory in New Hampshire.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wow.
NATO will not invade Kosovo.
This weekend the McLaughlin Group program begins its 18th year. I'd like to thank our viewers who have made this happen, as well as my dedicated staff, and of course my sponsor, General Electric.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Mourning in America.
COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: (From videotape.) He made us laugh, he made us proud, and we loved him. On behalf of my third-hour class, all those at Columbine High School, we will not say goodbye to Isaiah, only, "Isaiah, you will always be in our hearts forever, and we love you." (Applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Record-size crowds attended a three-hour funeral Thursday for Isaiah Shoels, one of 13 victims gunned down in America's deadliest school shooting. The emotional service followed a week of memorials in Littleton, Colorado observed by mourners across the nation.
Local authorities continue to seek explanations for the unspeakable violence by two teenage gunmen. President Clinton focused his attention on greater gun control.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) We must do more to keep guns out of the hands of children, to help our young people express their anger and alienation with words, not weapons.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Some faulted Clinton for not taking his own advice: use words, not weapons.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III: (From videotape.): I joined America in applauding President Clinton when he said we must teach our children to resolve conflict with words and not weapons, until the youth ask, "Why then are we using bombs and not words in Kosovo?" We just cannot continue to say one thing and do another. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Martin Luther King III legitimately tying violence in America with American violence in Kosovo?
MS. HUFFINGTON: Yes, he is. And actually, if you read what one of the killers said, he was longing to go to Yugoslavia and fight there when he heard that the war had started.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was that Harris?
MS. HUFFINGTON: Harris, yes. And he was not allowed to join the Marines because he was on an antidepressant --
MR. O'DONNELL: This is killing that was planned a year before there was anything going on in Kosovo! This is the most absurd linkage anyone has tried to make to this war. It has nothing to do with rock music, nothing to do with any movies. It's only mental illness. It has nothing to do with Kosovo.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, this is completely idiotic. Obviously, you can -- unless you're a genuine pacifist, like Martin Luther's father was -- he was against Vietnam and he was against violence in America and passivity -- that's one thing. But unless you're a pure pacifist, it's an idiotic position.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We are bombing --
MR. O'DONNELL: It's an idiotic position for pacifists, too! I am one of those.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We are bombing now to control events. This is in real time, it's on prime time, that is the Kosovo war. What is -- how can that possibly help a child?
MS. CLIFT: I wonder if the speaker -- if Martin King would have counseled the SWAT team to enter that building without weapons, to just go in and talk when a massacre was unfolding. Most people can distinguish between kids blowing away other kids in a library and a war --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president is right, though, we should try to control our environment with words. But we're not doing that in Kosovo -- at least not yet.
MS. CLIFT: We tried. We tried, with a lot of words.