THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: CLARENCE PAGE, ELEANOR CLIFT, JOHN FUND
AND TOM SQUITIERI
TAPED FRIDAY, MAY 21, 1999
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF MAY 22-23, 1999
TRANSCRIPT BY: FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE
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ANNOUNCER: From the nation's capital, the McLaughlin Group, an unrehearsed program presenting inside opinions and forecasts on major issues of the day. GE is proud to support the McLaughlin Group: "From medical systems to broadcasting, GE, we bring good things to life."
Here's the host, John McLaughlin.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: NATO slaughterhouse.
MAJOR GENERAL CHARLES F. WALD (director, Strategic Planning, U.S. Department of Defense): (From videotape.) War -- combat, I should say. This is combat. And in combat, we do everything we can on our side to be as precise as we can. But every once in a while in this type of situation, you will have some collateral damage.
MARY ROBINSON (U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights): (From audiotape.) I think this terrible term "collateral damage" should not be used. We should be talking about deaths, terrible injuries, too; and also, severe suffering of civilian population, which no longer has water or electricity.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two NATO bombs ripped into a Belgrade hospital, early Thursday morning this week, killing four patients, one a new mother, and injuring several nurses in the pediatric ward.
Also, the embassy of Sweden was hit; also, two diplomatic residences, one the ambassador from Spain; two, the ambassador from Norway. It was a ferocious onslaught.
These bombings are only the latest in a long string of U.S.-NATO civilian death horror stories or, in "NATOese," "collateral damage," the antiseptic term used to hide the terror of sudden death and the trauma of severe injury. The U.S.-NATO slaughter count; to date, over 600 civilian kills, over 5,000 seriously wounded.
April 5, Operation Allied Force, OAF, bombs a mining town, 17 dead. April 12, OAF bombs a railroad bridge and a passenger train, 17 dead. April 14, OAF bombs a civilian refugee convoy, 75 dead. April 27, OAF bombs a housing area in the Serb town of Surdulica, 20 dead. April 28, OAF bombs wrong country, Bulgaria. May 1, OAF bombs a civilian bus on a bridge, 47 dead. May 7th, OAF bombs the embassy of the People's Republic of China, three Chinese nationals dead. May 7, OAF bombs a hospital and marketplace, cluster bombs, deadly bobbed and jagged shrapnel, 15 dead, scores injured. May 14, OAF bombs civilians camped out in Korisa, a Kosovo village, 87 dead. OAF dissembles in trying to justify the attack.
JAMIE SHEA (NATO spokesperson): (From videotape.) So I stand by the affirmation of this alliance that it was a valid and validated military target.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not so fast, Mr. Shea. Quote: "Nothing at the scene, nor descriptions from survivors of the attack, provided evidence of a military target," unquote. So writes reporter on the ground, Daniel Williams, Washington Post.
On Thursday night and Friday, the following embassies and diplomatic residences were hit by NATO: Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Hungary, Pakistan, Israel and Libya. And for the second time in two days, NATO hit a prison in Kosovo, killing 19 people, including the deputy governor.
Question: Is civilian killing by NATO in Yugoslavia now so widespread that it can no longer be called accidental? Tom Squitieri.
MR. SQUITIERI: Absolutely, John. There has to be a time when these guys need to just focus in on those targets. The other night, the Swedish ambassador to Yugoslavia had the dubious distinction of leaving his house, going over to the Swiss Embassy, where he was hit, returning home to find his embassy hit, all in one night. These random targeting mistakes are just out of control. And it's even more obscene, John, because we keep saying we don't want to put U.S. troops in danger. How is it that we're willing to put civilians in danger, repeatedly put civilians in danger, and not put Apaches up there?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: John, I assume you're going to show the film footage that came out of Kosovo this week showing the mass graves and the atrocities in Kosovo. We're going to see more of that. Let's not lose sight of what this war is all about. There have been 23,000 sorties flown. I think something like 10 bombs, missiles, have gone astray. And if you look at public opinion polls in this country, people still believe we are doing the right thing. They're nervous that the strategy may not eventually produce the right outcome, but people are more mature about the accidents of war -- and they are accidents. Nobody believes that NATO is intentionally hurting civilians. It is Milosevic who started this, who invited this kind of intervention.
MR. FUND: John, you make this sound like Slaughterhouse-Five in Dresden. Of course it's terrible. But my mother spent most of World War II being bombed on, and she recognizes this is nothing compared to what happens in a real war. And remember, John, these people are living under a sociopathic dictator. This is part of the price of having had this regime and not overthrowing it two years ago.
MR. PAGE: I would agree that this is the cost of war. We knew collateral damage was going to happen. I hate that term too, but it does happen. And what are our choices here? The American people for the most part support the goals of this whole action because it is to try -- is a humanitarian effort to help the refugees. And what are our choices? We could reduce collateral damage by sending in ground troops. That is an even less-popular option right now among Americans.
MR. SQUITIERI: Correct. You can reduce --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That is correct. You are very --
MR. PAGE: Even though it may be an inevitable option.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what you are saying is that the way this war is being prosecuted --
MR. PAGE: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- lends itself to what must be described only as "deliberate or intentional bombing" because what you have is --
MR. PAGE: I don't know what you mean by "intentional," John, because --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I'll tell you what I mean. When --
MR. PAGE: -- I don't think we intentionally bombed --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- just let me finish.
MR. PAGE: -- the Pakistan embassy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When you have no ground troops, which we would presumably be fighting their opposite-number troops; you have cluster bombs, which are anti-personnel --
MR. FUND: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and discard terrible jagged fragments that are very hard and kill widely and indiscriminately, and you have bombings from three miles high, and you have a policy of zero aircraft to be lost; and then you compound that with the criminal negligence of using 7-year-old maps when bombing a downtown high-population city like Belgrade, what can you conclude except that this is only a semantic farce to call it accidental, Clarence --
MR. PAGE: Oh, nobody would call it a farce that -- nobody is calling it a farce --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because he who wills the cause wills the result.
MR. SQUITIERI: But you don't need -- Clarence's point -- to reduce collateral damage, the killing of civilians -- you don't need to go into Belgrade and bomb. There is nothing -- trust me -- there is nothing in Belgrade worth bombing; there is nothing in most of these downtown areas that needs bombing.
Eleanor is right about how you --
MR. PAGE: I'd love to trust you, but --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Well -- (laughs) --
MR. PAGE: -- it doesn't sense that the capital is not worth bombing --
MR. SQUITIERI: No, it's not.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. PAGE: -- (inaudible) --
MR. FUND: -- (inaudible) -- lives there --
MR. PAGE: Yes?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When NATO bombed a prison, was that a military target, or was that twice -- was it a military target or a civilian target?
MR. PAGE: You have got to tell me they were -- you were telling me they were bombing it on purpose. You know --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They bombed it twice.
MR. PAGE: -- it is not easy bombing from three miles up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The bombed it twice.
MR. PAGE: And we have got dumb bombs; we have got smart bombs.
MR. SQUITIERI (?): I am wondering why our smart bombs -- (inaudible) --
MR. FUND: Was the deputy governor of Iraq --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That goes to make my point. If they choose to bomb that high --
MR. PAGE: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in order to protect our soldiers, our airmen, that means that they are more willing to sacrifice any number -- an indiscriminate number of civilian casualties --
MR. FUND (?): John?
MS. CLIFT: The whole war --
MR. FUND (?): Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because they are bombing that high.
MS. CLIFT: -- the whole war has been based on, you know, risk-benefit analyses.
MR. FUND (?): That is right.
MS. CLIFT: And we don't want Americans lost. We don't want these accidents to happen, but they have happened because the weather has been poor or we have been flying too high.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Snickers.)
MS. CLIFT: But there are indications that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't --
MS. CLIFT: -- Milosevic is wearing down, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Eleanor, the war at --
MS. CLIFT: -- I hate to disappoint you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- at its root, is poisoned.
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Therefore, all of the outcroppings are poisoned.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A notice to our overseas viewers: On the TV screen, you will see the fax number for NATO headquarters in Brussels. We encourage all embassies in Belgrade -- (laughter) -- to fax to NATO their street addresses and a current 1999 Belgrade street map with the location of their embassies and diplomatic residences clearly marked.
MS. CLIFT: Right. Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This may spare you -- (laughter) -- from future NATO precision bombing.
MS. CLIFT: Well, John --
MR. PAGE: First remember -- (laughter) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back, people on every continent are aghast at U.S./NATO bombing. Who is right? U.S./NATO or the rest of the world?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Global dismay over America's war. "Globally, air war gives U.S. the name of a bully." That headline and story this week from the International Herald Tribune says it all. Overseas, a torrent of resentment against the U.S. for its barbaric bombing in Yugoslavia spews from world leaders and the press.
Vietnam: "The insanity of the United States and NATO cannot crush the determination of even a small nation." Jordan: "The U.S. and Britain have now made routine the perpetual bombing of a weak and defenseless target." Greece: "Cannibalism from NATO cannibals. The words manslaughter, brutality, barbarousness, hecatomb, extermination, elimination, rawness and beastliness are not enough to portray the, quote, 'humanitarian work' of NATO, that bloodstained alliance of paranoia. Solana, Shea, Clark, all are cat's paws of the contemporary trans-Atlantic Nero, Bill Clinton." Czech Republic: "End the senseless bombing." Argentina: "With the repeated missile mistakes and the bombing of civilian targets, NATO is on the threshold of genocide." Hong Kong: "All NATO bombing has done is to fill up the cemeteries." Mexico: "NATO not only violates the principle of non-intervention, but also shows itself as arrogant, hypocritical, clumsy and contradictory." U.K.: "The death of as many as 100 Albanian villagers in a NATO bombing raid on southern Kosovo borders on the criminal. This war, begun to avert a human catastrophe, has in fact created a human catastrophe." Zimbabwe: "The bombing is a sign of NATO's lawlessness, this is the law of the jungle by NATO," Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. India: "NATO is blindly bombing Yugoslavia. There is a dance of destruction going on there. Thousands of people rendered homeless, and the United Nations is a mute witness to all this. Is NATO's work to prevent war, or to fuel one?" So asks India prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Question: The British newspaper, the Independent, wrote, as you just saw, "The war began to avert a human catastrophe. It has, in fact, created a human catastrophe." Is that critique valid by the Independent's part?
MS. CLIFT: No, John. Milosevic has started four wars in 10 years. He's responsible for the deaths of a quarter of a million people, and he's rousted 2 million people from their homes. And he was conducting slow-motion ethnic cleansing while NATO looked the other way. And the Serbian diplomats would say among themselves, "A village a day keeps NATO away."
You have done some pretty selective editing here of editorial comment around the world. The important thing is the public opinion in the NATO countries. It's a little shaky; I will grant you that. But NATO is hanging together far better than Milosevic or you ever dreamed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tom, is NATO hanging together?
MR. SQUITIERI: No, they're starting to unravel. I mean, even countries that count, like Germany, they're starting to get antsy about the war going on. They'll stick on the air campaign, but you need ground troops or the threat of ground troops to end this, and that's where it's going to break apart NATO.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tom, have you studied the history of the KLA?
MR. SQUITIERI: A little bit.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see Chris Hedges' article in -- excellent article -- in the current issue of Foreign Affairs?
MR. SQUITIERI: I have not read that yet, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he describes the KLA and its terrorist and secessionist and separatist activities --
MR. SQUITIERI: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and he points out that Milosevic was engaged in a counterinsurgency effort, trying to control the KLA. And this started in 1980 --
MR. PAGE: Well, he was, but he kind of overreacted, didn't he, John? He kind of overreacted, didn't he? He kicked out a million people --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, just a moment please. Just a moment. (Cross talk.)
MR. SQUITIERI: John, those guys are getting funding -- the KLA's getting funding from --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Up until March the 24th, how many had actually vacated Kosovo?
MR. SQUITIERI: KLA?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, Albanians.
MR. SQUITIERI: Ethnic Albanians?
MR. FUND: How many would have --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just a moment.
MR. SQUITIERI: Not many. Not very many.
MR. FUND: Two thousand.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not very many.
MR. SQUITIERI: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then we started -- first of all, we announced that we were going to bomb -- NATO did --
MR. SQUITIERI: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then NATO said the monitors had to come out --
MR. SQUITIERI: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the European group. And then -- that was about 2,000. Then the cameras came out, and then NATO bombed, and then a lot of people came out.
MR. SQUITIERI: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Milosevic says those people came out because they were in a war zone. Obviously, his soldiers were doing a lot --
MR. SQUITIERI: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- but as we heard from Carl Bildt, when soldiers --
MR. PAGE: And you believe Milosevic? Do you believe him?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- when soldiers are revved up, with their country being bombed --
MR. PAGE: And Milosevic had nothing to do with that, did he?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- they do even worse than we did in Vietnam.
MR. PAGE: (Inaudible due to cross talk) -- believe Milosevic.
MR. FUND: John, I would remind you that the mujaheddin were not Sunday school teachers either, and we did support them in order to fight a bitter, better, badder enemy.
MS. CLIFT: John, I suppose you believe the Serbian contention that all those refugees are just running around in one big circle, and they're really paid actors?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, what I believe is that there has been a forced depopulation. But I do not believe you can call this genocide, because there are 200,000 Albanians living happily in and around Belgrade, and if he were ethnically --
MR. PAGE: Our policy doesn't call it genocide.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if he were ethnically given to genocide, then they wouldn't be there.
Exit: In view of how radically world opinion has shifted against NATO, when will the first of the 19 NATO members break away?
MR. SQUITIERI: July. Greece.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: They're going to stick together on the air campaign and they're going to mass the peacekeepers, ground troops, to go in there. They're going to stick together.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When will they break away?
MR. FUND: They already have; they just haven't made it public.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. FUND: I think so.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When are they going to go public?
MR. FUND: I think we -- I think we're about two or three weeks away from Dayton II, which is a tragedy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. PAGE: I agree with Eleanor, I think they're going to stick together through the summer. The problem is, we may run into a war that goes into the winter.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is 10 days.
Issue three: Dragon spy.
REP. CHRISTOPHER COX (R-CA): (From videotape.) This is not accidental or random, this is part of a directed pattern designed to penetrate our military technology and designed to export it illegally.
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS): (From videotape.) The hair on the back of my neck stood up because it's scary. I don't -- I haven't seen anything like it before in my 26 years in Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A 200-megaton scandal is about to detonate in Washington. The congressional committee investigating Chinese espionage, the Cox committee, will release its bipartisan report next week. Congressman Christopher Cox wanted to go public months ago, but the Clinton administration stalled the release citing national security concerns. Some observers believe the White House deliberately stonewalled in order to leak the report in dribs and drabs with a pro-Clinton spin on each. Well, we'll help the White House leak the findings, but our version is, of course, spinless. The Cox committee's conclusions are devastating.
One, nuclear technology stolen. The Clinton administration, and previous Republican ones, negligently allowed the Chinese to steal our nuclear secrets. The Chinese developed better nuclear bombs using secrets stolen by spy Wen Ho Lee, a scientist at the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Lab.
Two, missile technology improperly shared. U.S. corporations gave advanced missile technology to the Chinese, enabling them to hit the United States with their improved nuclear warheads.
Three, Chinese nuclear testing boosted. The Chinese can now conduct a virtual test of their nuclear weapons, courtesy of several U.S. companies that sold them powerful supercomputers. The high-performance computers allow the Chinese to get around the international nuclear test ban.
Four, Clinton failed to stop the leaks. The most damaging accusation of all; President Clinton waited for over a year before acting to tighten security at the nuclear labs. Clinton denied even knowing about Chinese espionage on his watch.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) To the best of my knowledge, no one has said anything to me about any espionage, which occurred by the Chinese against the labs during my presidency.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not true say Cox and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
REP. CHRISTOPHER COX (R-CA): (From videotape.) But our select committee was told the opposite, that the president had been fully briefed on this.
(Begin new video segment.)
TIM RUSSERT (Washington bureau chief, NBC News): That is not what he said.
SEC. RICHARDSON (secretary, U.S. Department of Energy): (From videotape.) The president has been --
MR. RUSSERT: It is not what he said, Mr. Richardson.
SEC. RICHARDSON: -- fully, fully briefed.
(End of video segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you heard Richardson, the president was "fully, fully briefed."
National Security Adviser Sandy Berger first learned about this espionage in April of 1996. He did not "fully, fully brief" Clinton until July 1997, 15 months later. Why did Berger sit on the information for 15 months, and why did Clinton sit on it for another eight months? And why did Clinton's implementation of the new security regulations take another nine months? I ask you, John Fund.
MR. FUND: I guess, John, there was no controlling briefing authority -- (laughter) -- in this whole incident.
MR. SQUITIERI: Look, Sandy Berger, during 1996, also spent a lot of time in campaign briefings and strategy sessions for the Clinton campaign, something no national security adviser has previously done. I guess, clearly, the '96 election might have been one of the reasons.
I do not know what has happened. But clearly, there is a lot of explanation -- and that is the reason why this president will not come out and do another press conference. He can't answer these questions because the last time, he told a whopper.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is the danger to the United States of Chinese nuclear espionage that has taken place?
MR. SQUITIERI: It is absolutely massive. And the worst part of it is, the Justice Department has dropped the ball. Janet Reno has just appointed a special investigator to look into her incompetence or, perhaps, complete blindfolded unwillingness to look into this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what is the strategic competence that it now has that it didn't have before because of Los Alamos' penetration?
MR. SQUITIERI: The neutron bomb has never been tested by either the U.S. or the Soviet Union/slash/Russia. China has a prototype, and they have tested it seven times.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the submarine fleet, which they are just beginning to build, and the capability that they will have because of MIRV'd missiles on that?
MR. SQUITIERI: In 1997, Peter Lee, a Chinese American scientist, gave them the radar technology to help hunt down our subs. And he ended up spending only a year in a halfway house in San Diego for that. I think he should have been prosecuted much more forcefully.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another quick answer from you: Is China determined to become a military superpower? And if so, for what reason, except to challenge the United States should we, for example, object to their taking over Taiwan?
MR. SQUITIERI: They want to intimidate South Korea, Taiwan, basically dominate the South Asian Sea and basically drive the U.S. out of Asia. And this intimidation may work.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to pick up any of --
MR. PAGE: I want to hear Eleanor's response to this! (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I hate to interrupt this little seance here, accusing the Clinton administration almost of treason. All of this --
MR. FUND: I never used that word!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He never used the word "almost." I didn't hear you use that, did you? (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: All of this -- first of all, it goes back two presidents. Second of all, nobody has been charged with espionage --
MR. FUND: Peter Lee?!
MS. CLIFT: -- and there is no evidence that Wen Ho Lee is a spy, as you have indicated, and I'd be real careful throwing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No evidence? No evidence!
MS. CLIFT: No evidence, right. And when the president said that nobody talked to him about espionage, he was correct about no espionage.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree, Tom, that there's no evidence that Lee is a spy?
MR. SQUITIERI: I think there's clear evidence that some people were stealing secrets and Mr. Lee may be one of them.
MS. CLIFT: That isn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's going to be arrested?
MR. SQUITIERI: No, because of incompetence of the investigation.
MR. PAGE: Also, this does go back the past 20 years. It's going to be difficult to pin this on any one particular person --
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. PAGE: -- in the midst of the political sausage that's going to be thrown around. However, this is a serious issue, John. This is not about sex. This is about national security. It is about neutron bombs, hydrogen bombs, et cetera.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think sex is serious?
MR. PAGE: I don't think this issue is going to go away. I never thought the Monica Lewinsky issue was that serious, John, and obviously most Americans agree.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You said sex is not serious!
MR. PAGE: Most Americans agree. Yeah, sex is a personal -- (inaudible) -- is a personal matter that doesn't get into the public arena. You can't say that about this issue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. All right. Thank you very much. If sex is not serious, we can all relax now.
MR. PAGE: It's better sex if you do, John. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit: Is Clinton a witting or an unwitting agent of Chinese influence in the United States? Tom Squitieri.
MR. SQUITIERI: Nitwitting.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nitwitting?
MR. SQUITIERI: (Chuckles.) Yes.
MR. FUND: No, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute!
MS. CLIFT: If security was compromised, both parties are guilty of inattention. Bureaucratic inertia is the enemy here, and attempts to make this partisan and distract from what was a terrific week for this administration -- gun control, Al Gore casting the deciding vote -- (laughter) -- an election in Israel that is very positive for Israel and this country -- why didn't we talk about that?
MR. PAGE: I'm glad you got that in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we give Clinton credit for that?
MR. FUND: I guess that's topic six. Clinton may be compromised because of the campaign contributions scandal. All those witnesses in China could have embarrassed him if he had really pursued the espionage case.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are you saying he's not close to the textbook definition of a traitor? Is that what you're saying?
MR. FUND: Compromised.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's not close to it, though?
MR. FUND: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's not? Okay. We feel better now, yes?
MR. PAGE: Well -- (laughs) -- I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he a witting agent?
MR. PAGE: I think that we're a long way from calling him a traitor, an agent of a foreign government. But let's wait for the commission report.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was he paid off with 1996 election funds?
MR. PAGE: Paid off in -- you mean in contributions?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the Chinese. By the Chinese! Those are the hard questions that are arising here.
MR. PAGE: That's an interpretation. No, he was not. He's not that dumb, John.
MS. CLIFT: If he was, he should have gotten a lot more because the interest accrued from the Reagan administration would have been substantial. (Laughter.)
MR. : A hundred and twenty witnesses have spoken -- 120 --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be -- we'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions.
MR. SQUITIERI: Peacekeeping force in Kosovo by July.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Rick Lazio bloodies Rudy Giuliani. And Hillary Clinton is the next senator from New York.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: John?
MR. FUND: California Republicans may commit political suicide by not supporting fair redistricting initiative by Ron Unz.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?
MR. PAGE: Eleanor got my prediction! (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Watch for a "Wag the Dog" scenario this coming Monday to distract media attention from the incriminating findings of the Cox report.
END REGULAR SEGMENT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: A whale of a dilemma.
MAKAH INDIAN: (From videotape.) Today is a holiday for us. It's a historical day. It's a celebration.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It may have been a celebration for the Makah Indians, but it was no celebration for one gray whale. Members of the Northwest Indian tribe paddled a 32-foot hand-carved canoe into the north Pacific off Washington state then repeatedly harpooned a 68,000 pound gray whale. Tribe members in a motor boat finished off the job with 50 caliber rifles. The attack took eight minutes. Members of the 2,300 Indian tribe converged on the beach hours later to try their first taste of blubber. One reporter described the taste of blubber as a combination of lamb stew, latex and Vaseline.
The hunt has been part of Makah tradition for hundreds of years. The tribe abandoned whale hunting in the 1920s when the whales faced extinction, and not everyone is thrilled by the return of the hunt.
NEIL GREGORY (Vice President, West Coast Anti-Whaling Society): (From videotape.) I've never been so disgusted in humanity in my life. I can't believe these people are proud of disgracing themselves like this and disgusting the world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Neil Gregory may call the kill disgusting, but the International Whaling Commission, the IWC, told the tribe that it could legally kill 20 of the gray whales by 2002.
And tribe members say what is really disgusting is loss of Makah tradition. Many Makah suffer from drugs, alcoholism and chronic unemployment. Tribal leaders hope the return of whaling will restore pride and purpose to the Makah community and thus relieve their infirmities.
MS. CLIFT: (Off mike) -- wear shirts.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: The dilemma for liberals. Which is more PC, respecting Native American tradition or protecting animal rights? Clarence Page?
MR. PAGE: I didn't know you cared, John. (Laughter.) I want to tell you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: About either?
MR. PAGE: It is a dilemma for liberals, but I think it's very easily solved. I don't like the killing of whales. I don't want the Makah to kill whales.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why?
MR. PAGE: However --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the life of a whale --
MR. PAGE: Let me finish my statement, John. However, it's not up to me to tell the Makah how to live. I think this is not about whales, it's about respect. The Makah have not been getting respect. Those of us who want to stop the killing of whales need to talk to them as human beings, as sovereign --
MS. CLIFT: Whale to whale! (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think if we put whales in the pediatric ward of the hospital in Belgrade, we will get fewer civilian casualties there?
MR. PAGE: Well, that's a nice joke, John, but I think whales are creatures that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the life of a gray whale --
MR. PAGE: -- we ought to be studying whales, not killing them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- worth more than the life of a dear?
MR. PAGE: We should be studying whales, not killing them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about deer? What about deer?
MR. PAGE: We have a lot more deer. Deer don't have brains as large as whales.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't it question of species conservation?
MR. FUND: John, I'd like to commend the Clinton administration for a good government move. Environmentalists have lots more money. These Indians don't even have a casino. They can't contribute anything to the Clinton administration. And yet the Clinton administration sided with them, and he even gave them a $300,000 grant to go hunt the whales. I'm astonished at this breakout of good government by the Clinton administration.