updated 8/7/2006 10:05:46 AM ET 2006-08-07T14:05:46

Guests: David Siegel, Rich Masters, Craig Minnick, Nonie Darwish

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show, coming to you today from Bethel, Maine.

Let‘s get right to the latest news from the Middle East.

Some quarter of a million Shiites flooded the streets of a Baghdad slum today in a massive show of support for Hezbollah.  That‘s as Israel pushed its air attacks further into Lebanon, destroying the last major road to Syria and for the very first time attacking Christian territory north of Beirut, bombing bridges during the morning rush hour.  An Israeli airstrike hit farm workers near Lebanon‘s border with Syria, reportedly killing at least 28 of them. 

Meanwhile, Hezbollah rockets continued to rain down in northern Israel, killing four people. 

Hezbollah has offered a truce if Israel ends its airstrikes, but the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. called that “a sign of weakness.”

For more, let‘s go to Tyre, Lebanon, where NBC‘s Beirut bureau chief, Richard Engel, is standing by. 

Richard, what is going on there? 

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF:  Tucker, throughout the day and then particularly tonight, we‘ve seen certainly an intensification of the—the incoming Israeli airstrikes around the edges of Tyre, and what sounded like several rockets launched from this area.  There—it has been the most intense bombardment that we have seen yet in this area. 

It came after both sides seemed to be pushing deeper with their offensive.  Israel today launching those airstrikes against bridges, destroying four bridges in the Christian areas just north of Beirut.  That surprised many people here.  Hezbollah has very few supporters in that Christian community. 

It also upset aid and relief workers who said that they effectively destroyed the last functioning highway that was able to bring in relief supplies from Syria.  And then Hezbollah fired that rocket into Hadera, going deeper into Israel than ever before. 

CARLSON:  Richard...

ENGEL:  Lebanese are also...

CARLSON:  I‘m sorry, Richard.  I wonder if you can...

ENGEL:  Go ahead.  I‘m sorry.

CARLSON:  I‘m having some audio problems, but I‘m wondering if you can fill in the blank here, fill in some of the blanks.  We‘re hearing reports that Israel has stepped up bombing in north—northern Beirut in a Christian neighborhood.

What do you know about that?  And what‘s been the effect, and what‘s the idea behind it, if you have any idea? 

ENGEL:  Yes, certainly.  What happened was Israel carried out airstrikes in this Christian area—that that has until now been untouched, destroying four bridges.  It was a surprise to many people here who couldn‘t understand why these Christian communities were being targeted. 

What Israel says is it is trying to cut of re-supply routes and that these airstrikes against the bridges and convoys and the—and the roads have prevented 95 percent of Hezbollah‘s ability to re-supply itself with mortars and rockets, those rockets which are still being launched, about almost 200 them again being fired into Israel today. 

But it was a surprise, and aid agencies are livid, I think you can say.  The U.N. stopped sending convoys to the south because it said it can‘t use the back roads with the big trucks, that it needed the highway that was destroyed and the bridges that were destroyed today to bring in supplies from Syria and to ferry them down to the south. 

CARLSON:  Richard, you‘re in contact or have been, at least, earlier this week with Hezbollah guerrillas, maybe some Hezbollah officials.  What are they saying to you about their perception of how this is going for them? 

ENGEL:  They are very confident, gloating, in fact.  I spoke with one Hezbollah official today, many Hezbollah officials yesterday.  They—and then, of course, listened to the speech by the secretary-general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, on TV.  All of them are giving the same message that they believe Hezbollah is winning, that they have tied up Israel on the border, that Israel has not been able to advance as quickly or as far as Israel would like.

And one refrain we keep hearing over and over again is a reference to the Middle East war, the seven day war, saying that in just seven days, Israel in 1967 was able to take over the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Sinai, and Egypt.  And now after 24 days of fighting, they have only taken a small part of south Lebanon.  That is the way they are presenting this conflict. 

CARLSON:  Richard, do you know where these rockets are coming from?  You just said that almost 200 have been fired, Katyusha rockets, presumably, from Lebanon into Israel today.  There must have been massive reserves of rockets, or are these rockets being supplied from another country, or where are these rockets coming from? 

ENGEL:  They already have them here.  A lot of them are supplied through Syria, paid for by Iran. 

They have been stockpiled in bunkers.  The Israelis have discovered underground tunnels and bunker systems as they‘ve conducted these raids in border villages along the Israel-Lebanon border. 

Where they‘re being launched from, they‘re mobile.  The Katyusha rockets are a highly-mobile system.  You can load them into launchers that are like tubes on the back of a truck and fire them off in multiple barrages.

Some of them have been launched just from this area.  Just earlier this evening, we heard what sounded like the rocket launches coming from areas just around the outskirts of Tyre.  And then yesterday, we saw maybe a dozen rockets launched from the hills around this town. 

So they are not only being tired from here, but in areas across—across the south of Lebanon. 

CARLSON:  Richard Engel in Tyre, Lebanon, for us.

Thanks a lot, Richard.  Appreciate it. 

Twenty-three days after fighting broke out, Lebanon says more than 900 people have been killed and almost a quarter of the population has fled that country.  Yet, Hezbollah continues to rain rockets down on northern Israel, and it shows no sign of surrender, which raises the question, is the mighty Israeli military being humiliated?

Joining me now, Israeli Embassy spokesman David Siegel.  He joins us from Washington.

David Siegel, welcome.

That is the question allies of Israel are asking.  That‘s not an anti-Israeli question.  People who support the state of Israel are looking on wholeheartedly and saying this is a disaster for Israel. 

How do you respond to that? 

DAVID SIEGEL, SPOKESMAN, ISRAELI EMBASSY:  Well, this is a completely type of warfare.  We‘re fighting a terrorist organization that is hiding in civilian areas and is being re—supplied by Syria and Iran, as we see. 

We‘re fight to go protect their children, they‘re fighting behind their children.  So this is a very difficult campaign to conduct, and we‘re doing it in a very careful and measured way. 

Now, the two challenges that we have is to create a buffer zone in the south, to move Hezbollah out of the vicinity of the border, but also, and as important, to choke off the re-supplies by Syria and Iran.  We have to understand that Hezbollah has become probably the fourth most powerful army in the Middle East, by far outweighing the Lebanese army, so the challenge for us is to push back Hezbollah, to begin degrading it, and to deny the supplies from Syria and Iran in order to finally implement 1559 as we go through the diplomatic process. 

CARLSON:  But you can‘t do all that from the air.  I mean, that‘s become, I guess, pretty obvious.  Why not send in a much larger number of ground troops?  It sounds like your objectives cannot be met without a lot of Israeli soldiers on the ground in Lebanon. 

Why not send them?

SIEGEL:  Well, first of all, the bottom line is Hezbollah today doesn‘t have the strategic capabilities that it had three weeks ago.  Whether it was 70 percent or 80 percent, the long-range, medium-range capabilities have been taken out. 

The missiles that you‘re seeing on Israel today, with some exceptions

and, of course, we had three long-range areas on Hadera, in the Hadera area this afternoon, most of the missiles that we‘re seeing now—and it‘s an average of 200 a day, and it‘s very intense—but they are short-range missiles coming out of southern Lebanon that are very, very difficult to locate, because they‘ve amassed, as you said yourself on your report, over 10,000 missiles in the south over the years. 

It‘s very difficult to take them out.  They don‘t have launchers.  They are rocket-propelled—I mean, from a shoulder propelled, or from a home, it‘s very difficult to do that.

But we‘ve taken out the strategic threat to the state of Israel, which is the long arm of Iran, through the Hezbollah, and that has been very successful.  And we‘ll continue this operation until we stabilize the situation. 

CARLSON:  And you have pretty much the support of the West in so doing all of that, but you will lose that support, you‘ll certainly lose my support if you continue to bomb Christian areas in Lebanon.  Israel is not threatened by Christians in Lebanon. 

Why are you bombing Christian areas?  I don‘t understand that at all. 

SIEGEL:  Tucker, that‘s a very important question.  What happened today is very clear. 

Syria and Iran have been trying to re-supply the Hezbollah on a daily basis from the east, from the eastern Syrian border with Lebanon.  We‘ve been very successful in interdicting many, many of those convoys in recent days. 

Many of them have had armaments, missiles.  We know that from the secondary explosions and we know that from intelligence. 

Then they moved to the north.  And now they‘re trying to resupply the Hezbollah with long-range missiles from the north, which is why we had to take out bridges today in the north.  And it‘s not in Christian communities.  In fact, everywhere north of Beirut is a Christian area. 

We‘re not targeting the Christian community.  We‘re not targeting civilians.  We‘re not targeting the government of Lebanon.  We‘re trying to specifically target Hezbollah.

CARLSON:  Well, wait.  Nobody has—wait, slow down.  Nobody—nobody is suggesting, least of al me, that you‘re targeting civilians.  Of course not.  You‘re targeting Hezbollah.

The point is, if you‘re targeting Hezbollah in a Christian area during rush hour, you‘re going to kill Christian civilians, as you did.  So isn‘t it your responsibility not to do that?  Why don‘t you send in ground troops to get the job done with much more precision, instead of killing innocent bystanders, in this case, Christians?  Because it‘s going to undermine your support.  Trust me. 

SIEGEL:  The most important thing for us is to choke off the supplies that Hezbollah is taking in from Syria and Iran as we speak, or else we‘ll never get over with this conflict.  The only chance to stabilize the situation is to push Hezbollah out of the south, deny Hezbollah the long-range capabilities that they had, now are missing, now are lacking.  And there is a vacuum, but the vacuum is being filled by Syria and Iran.

So, the question should be, turn to Syria and Iran, why are you supplying Hezbollah during this conflict?

CARLSON:  Right.

SIEGEL:  If we want to stabilize it, we need to stop that.

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree with you more, and I wish you success.  But I think Israel ought to be aware that all of this could come at a great cost to itself.  And I hope it is aware of that.

I appreciate you coming on.  Thank you.

SIEGEL:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, is Hillary Clinton for the war in Iraq, or is she against the war in Iraq?  Who knows?  But that hasn‘t stopped her from telling Donald Rumsfeld what to do about the war in Iraq.

That story is ahead.

And what is it with Geraldo Rivera?  The intrepid investigative reporter has been in a fighting mood recently.  See who the target of his anger is this time.

“Beat the Press” when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Time to “Beat the Press.”

We begin with our dear friend Nancy Grace.

Well, if you were on the fence about whether or not to join the North American Man-Boy Love Association, NAMBLA, you probably found Nancy segment on the group very helpful last night.  She loudly proclaimed her disgust for NAMBLA, but she offered an awful lot of information about it, including membership fees. 

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, CNN ANCHOR:  NAMBLA, North American Man-Boy Love.

What about it, Clark Golband (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You will not believe this, Nancy, but NAMBLA has an application.  The North American Man-Boy Love Association has an application.

GRACE:  You have to apply?  They‘ve got strict regulations...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, there‘s all kinds of pricing, and we do have a price menu for you. 

GRACE:  You have to pay to join this? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You have to pay.  And there are various prices you can...

GRACE:  Life membership, $1,000? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Exactly right, $1,000.  And when you pay that $1,000, you‘ll receive all kinds of books and manuals, and you only have to pay once. 

Here‘s the worst part...

GRACE:  I can only imagine the books and the manuals that North American Man-Boy Love Sends. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now, there is just—there is just a fine line, and the fear when you‘re Nancy Grace and you‘re covering creepy story after creepy story after creepy story and making a lot of money doing it, is that you might become almost as creepy as the creepy people you‘re covering.  It can happen. 

Next, it‘s Geraldo Rivera.  I‘m not certain if it‘s New York City, the heat there, maybe it‘s lingering bitterness about Al Capone‘s empty vault, but Geraldo Rivera has been in the mood to kick some butt lately.  Yes, Geraldo wants to hurt someone.  The latest target of his nationally televised threats of physical violence, Mel Gibson.

Here‘s what O‘Reilly said on “The O‘Reilly Factor.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  If he said that to me, what he said to that Jewish deputy on the side of Pacific Coast Highway, I would have smacked him right in his face, because that is a bunch of bull. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Boy, he is just one tough hombre.  Wasn‘t it just last week that he said this... 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERA:  That husband of hers, I want to kick him in the ass.  He‘s a jerk.  I mean, this is Rusty Yates. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  He is not just a talk show host.  He is just a certified bad ass, that Geraldo Rivera.  So if you‘re walking down, say, 57th Street on the island of Manhattan and you see Geraldo and he‘s got a scowl on his face, cross the street, buddy.  He‘s not someone you want to fool with. 

Well, next up, we‘ve dedicated a lot of time in this segment recently to CNN‘s apparent obsession with the apocalypse, the end of days.  Day after day, that network has wondered aloud whether the latest conflict in the Middle East signifies the end of time. 

We rolled our eyes.  We mocked.  We judged.  And then yesterday we turned into our own network. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There are people here back in the United States who believe this could be the end of the world.  Some evangelical Christians think the Mideast crisis is truly signaling the beginning of the end. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Now the crisis in the Middle East continue to prompt some to ask the question if these are the end of times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Is this the end of the world as we know it?  Some evangelical Christians think the Middle East crisis that we‘re seeing right now signals the beginning of the end. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, so, I guess we did it, too.  But here‘s our defense.  It‘s not that our apocalyptic stories were more deep, that we had a better justification for them, that they were smarter.  But we did them with a lot more style.  We will put our apocalyptic stories up against CNN‘s apocalypse stories any day of the week. 

Our are just cooler.  That‘s our defense.

How would you like to help us “Beat the Press”?

Give us a call and tell us what you‘ve seen.  The number, 1-877-BTP-5876.  That‘s 1-877-287-5876.

Coming up, Hillary Clinton wags her finger in Donald Rumsfeld‘s face and calls for his resignation over the war in Iraq.  But wait, isn‘t this the same Hillary Clinton who voted to authorize the war in Iraq?

We‘ll do our best to figure out where Mrs. Clinton stands on the most important issue of our time when we come right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  Because of the administration‘s strategic blunders and, frankly, the record of incompetence in executing, you are presiding over a failed policy. 

Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now? 

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:  My goodness. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton‘s attack on Donald Rumsfeld left the secretary of defense virtually speechless.  And you‘ve got to wonder, what‘s the senator doing attacking the secretary when her own position on the war has drawn fire from both left and right?  Is the junior senator from New York a hypocrite on Iraq? 

Joining me now, Democratic strategist Rich Masters from Washington. 

Rich, welcome.  What a phony—what a phony this woman is.  I mean, is she—no, I‘m serious. 

I mean, I‘m much more against the war in Iraq than Hillary Clinton is, and that‘s my problem with her.  If she, you know, had a record over the past three years of speaking out in a principled way against the war in Iraq, I would listen to what she says, but she hasn‘t.  She‘s a total phony. 

RICH MASTERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, I mean, Tucker, let me give you the flipside to that, too.  I mean, I think, actually, a lot of these senators and members, both Republicans and Democrats, who were for the war in the beginning have an even greater reason to complain about the abysmal way in which the administration has conducted this war. 

I mean, I agree, you absolutely, Tucker, have been more against this war than Hillary Clinton, but the truth of it is, because she was for the war, she can now look back and say we should have listened to the military.  I mean, we should have listened to General Shinseki. 

We should have listened to the military leaders who told us we were going in undermanned and ill prepared.  We didn‘t do that, and so I think Hillary Clinton, Chuck Hagel and others who supported the war, who are now complaining about it, have an even larger reason to be able to do it—

Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s an—that‘s an interesting rhetorical response, and I respect it on that level, but that‘s not exactly what Mrs.  Clinton is doing.  She is he in fact making almost—almost an aesthetic critique of Donald Rumsfeld‘s statement. 

She‘s saying, look, your predictions were wrong.  She‘s not saying your strategy was wrong.  She‘s saying, you gave us a more rosy picture of Iraq than turned out to be true. 

MASTERS:  Which is accurate, right?

CARLSON:  Therefore, you shouldn‘t be secretary of defense.  Yes, well, of course she‘s totally right, but it‘s an incredibly shallow attack on Donald Rumsfeld. 

She doesn‘t say we needed X number more divisions, or we should have done this differently in Basra and Nasiriyah.  She doesn‘t know anything about it.  This is not a deep critique. 

MASTERS:  Well, I mean, the truth of it is, if you look at all of her statements over the course of the last three years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, time and again she he has absolutely backed more troops, stronger body armor, more—more aid to the folks in the—the troops in the field. 

I mean, she has consistently been, if we‘re going to go in there, we need to do it right.  And she has consistently attacked the administration for the poor way that they‘ve gone into it. 

Now, the statement yesterday was a scripted attack, and I think it was right dead on the money.  And frankly, she‘s agreeing with most Americans, and as a person who supported the war, she has an even greater responsibility now to say...

CARLSON:  No, but that‘s the problem, Rich.  Don‘t you see that she‘s agreeing—you summed it up perfectly, though perhaps unintentionally.

You said she‘s agreeing with most Americans.  She always agrees with most Americans.  That‘s why she‘s an appalling figure.

She does not have the courage, unlike Russ Feingold on the left, or many—you know, Jeff Sessions on the right, of someone who, you know, really believes what he believes.  She always is taking the perfectly crafted, perfectly poll-tested view of something, the 52 percent of Americans view of something. 

MASTERS:  Well, I mean, let‘s he go back to her original war vote.  I mean, that original war vote was controversial with the Democratic base, the people that she needs to court if she‘s indeed going to run for president.  Her continue support of the war has been against the liberal base.  So I would make the argument that she‘s actually been pretty courageous in being for the war when the Democratic base of the party is absolutely 100 percent opposed to it. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but in the end, they know—she knows that they‘re sheep and they‘ll do whatever they need to get power again.  No, but you know that that‘s true. 

I mean, if Hillary Clinton turns out to have the most money, she‘ll—you know, she‘ll be the nominee in the end.  It‘s always the same game.

Look, here—here‘s my question. 

MASTERS:  Sure.

CARLSON:  You suggest that she still supports the rationale behind the war.  What exactly does she support about that?  Like, she‘s—she‘s complaining about the way we went about it, but why does she think going into Iraq was a good idea in the first place?  I‘ve never understood that. 

MASTERS:  Well, if you—if you read her statements going through it

and frankly, in the last campaign, when she was asked about it, I mean, a lot of the people who ran for president in the last election, the Democrats, were asked, “Do you regret your vote?”  Most of them hemmed and hawed and crawfished a little bit about it. 

Hillary Clinton said, listen, did I vote to give the president of the United States the authorization to go to war?  Yes.  Why?  Because I know what it‘s like to sit at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the commander-in-chief needs to have all the tools at his or her disposal to be able to conduct a foreign policy.  And they should be able to do that, and that‘s why she supported the beginnings of the war. 

She supported it for a number of reasons if you read her statements early on. 

CARLSON:  Well, wait a second—I know what it‘s like to be at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue?  I mean... 

MASTERS:  That was exactly what she he said. 

CARLSON:  She was the president‘s wife.  I mean, that‘s—OK, right.  But she was the first lady.  I mean, it‘s not like she was—you know, at least one hopes not calling out the troops during her husband‘s two administrations. 

But look, she has never explained what about, beyond just saying, you know, I wrote a blank check for the president because he‘s president and he deserves such a check, she‘s never explained what about the war is so appealing.  Like, what is the purpose of the war?  What exactly does she support about our being in Iraq? 

Is it to transform the Middle East?  Is it—I mean, what‘s—what exactly is she in favor of?  I don‘t get it. 

MASTERS:  She‘s given several rationales for her early support of the war.  One is, A, that the commander-in-chief needs to have all the tools at their disposal, because keep in mind, when we voted to authorize troops, we had hoped—I think that the administration would use that authorization to be able to really strengthen our position to go in with the weapons inspectors from the United Nations to be able to shut down Hussein. 

First of all, Hussein was a madman.  Secondarily, she—the rationale for the war was she wanted to go in, and she thought that establishing a credible democracy in an Arab country in the Middle East was a good thing.  And so those are the rationales she gave early on for her support of the war. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  And both—both of them are wrong.

MASTERS:  And for her now to criticize Donald Rumsfeld I think is perfectly OK. 

CARLSON:  I think she needs to rethink those original rationales.  I mean, yes, Hussein was a madman.  Is he any crazier than a lot of the religious kooks now in Iraq?  No, much less crazy. 

Moreover, is the answer to what?  Nothing.  Not in the Middle East, anyway.

Rich Masters—whoa, you got me going, Rich. 

Great to see you.

MASTERS:  Thanks, brother.  Appreciate you.

CARLSON:  Thanks for coming on.

Thanks.

Still to come, remember the veterans group that helped to bring down John Kerry‘s presidential campaign?  Well, a similar group is now going after Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania.  They‘ll be here to explain why just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, a veteran‘s group attacks the war record of a prominent politician.  Sound familiar?

Plus, more on Hillary Clinton‘s grandstanding in the U.S. Senate yesterday.  We‘ll get to all that in just a minute, but right now, here‘s a look at your headlines.

(STOCK MARKET UPDATE)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Senator Hillary Clinton‘s attack on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is obviously part of a calculated political strategy.  But is it likely to be a winning political strategy?  Joining me now to talk about that, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.  He joins us from Washington. 

Pat, welcome.  Will this work for Hillary Clinton? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Tucker, first, welcome home.  You did a great job over there. 

CARLSON:  Thank you.

BUCHANAN:  You did a great job over there.  Will this work for Hillary?  I think Hillary is making a coldly calculated decision.  I think politically, it‘s the correct right one, Tucker. 

What she is doing, basically, is she‘s moving away from the hawkish position because she sees what‘s happening to Joe Lieberman in Connecticut and the heart of her party, that that is where it‘s at, to move increasingly away from the administration, away from Rumsfeld.  It was a very, very effective performance, but it was a performance. 

CARLSON:  Do you think that she‘s the person to give that performance, though?  Do you think that Democrats are going to take her seriously?  I mean, why listen to Hillary Clinton when you can listen to an authentic anti-war voice like Russ Feingold? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, yes, Russ Feingold and Gore were against the war. 

But take a look at Kerry and Edwards, the ticket in 2004, are doing.  Tucker, what they‘re doing is they‘re saying, “Look, if I had known then what I know now, I would never have voted for it.” 

The point is this is like the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, 88-2.  But by 1968 and 72, all those Democrats were peeling off.  This is what‘s happening in the Democratic Party.  Its center of the gravity is not only moving towards an anti-war, an exit strategy position, it‘s saying, in effect, to Rove and the White House, “If you want to have a battle this fall on the war and your management of it, bring it on.” 

CARLSON:  That strategy, of course, did not work for the Democratic Party in 1968 or 1972.  But it looks to be now—the 55 percent of the public wants the U.S. military to withdraw from Iraq within the year; 54 percent say they think that the war was a mistake from the beginning.  Why wouldn‘t this work for Democrats this year? 

BUCHANAN:  Well especially if you‘re in the Democratic Party, those numbers are probably 75 percent and 74 percent. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  Exactly. 

BUCHANAN:  But I‘ll tell you, it‘s always a risky strategy to give a deadline or something like that, to give a fixed position, a target at which the opposition can shoot, to get yourself folded into some kind of fortress. 

What the Democratic best position for Hillary is, “Look, I supported the war.  It‘s a just cause.  But you folks have messed this up for four years now, and if you continue to mess it up, the country will need new leadership to get us out of there.”  That‘s a position I think that‘s salable to independents in the middle. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly the distinction that I‘ve been thinking about all day.  Mrs. Clinton will never challenge, you are saying, the rationale for the war.  She‘ll never say, “By the way, it never made sense from Day One.”  She‘ll just say, “It made sense, but you did it wrong”? 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.  This is the Nixon position on Vietnam when I was with him in 1967, 68.  What he said is, “We support the troops, we supported the decision to go in.  It‘s a just war.  But you guys can‘t win it, and you can‘t seem to end it.  Therefore, we really need a fresh look; we really need new leadership.  We really need a new team in there.”

And when she goes after Rumsfeld, frankly, other than Brother Cheney, I mean, he must be down there in the teens or just above it in his support, so she picked the right target.  It‘s crass, it‘s cold, it‘s political, but it‘s smart. 

CARLSON:  What‘s the smart position, politically, on the current war in the Middle East between Israel and Hezbollah?  You haven‘t seen really anybody...

BUCHANAN:  It‘s not my position. 

CARLSON:  Well, I never guessed—I never imagined it would be your position, Pat.  You are not a man who takes positions for their political expediency, and I mean that as a compliment. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, the smart position, quite obviously, is to be 100 percent behind Israel, support them.  But I think the truly smart position would have been to stand up in this Congress and taken that position behind Israel, but at the same time, when they‘re offered the opportunity, to say we urged the Israelis to use restraint—all sides to use restraint in attacking infrastructure and other targets. 

I think that would have been the right thing, frankly, diplomatically, strategically and politically.  But look, being 100 percent pro-Israel is not going to hurt anyone in this coming election. 

CARLSON:  It seems to me that one conflict affects the other.  You have a war against, essentially, a Shiite organization, Hezbollah, which I‘m not defending, by the way, of course. 

However, a lot of Shiites, maybe most Shiites in the Middle East, have sympathy for Hezbollah, almost certainly for ethnic and religious reasons.  A lot in Iraq, they‘re very upset about this conflict.  Doesn‘t this war between Israel and Hezbollah make it more difficult for us in Iraq? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me say this.  Hezbollah‘s resistance has certainly astonished me and I think a lot of people that it would be firing Katyushas 25 days into a war with the Israeli Defense Forces with their terrific air force and their artillery and everything. 

What Hezbollah is doing, Tucker, is very dangerous, in this sense.  You‘ve got rallies by Shia in Baghdad today.  Moreover, you‘ve got the Sunnis uniting and supporting Hezbollah.  Even got al Qaeda, which hates Shia, supporting Hezbollah. 

Hezbollah has become, basically, you know, the favorite son of the Arab and Islamic world for the present by standing up to Israel, taking the heat, fighting them on the ground, battling them artillery shell to rocket.  And, I mean, their prestige is as high in Nasrallah as any Arab since Nasser‘s. 

CARLSON:  That can‘t be good for the United States because, of course, Hezbollah is not simply anti-Israeli, it‘s anti-American.  It has been since its inception 24 years ago. 

BUCHANAN:  This is where the divergence comes between the United States and Israel.  Israel can‘t stop the war now or it will be perceived to have fought Hezbollah to a tie, which is a defeat.  But for the United States, with these casualties on the ground by the Lebanese people, the Lebanese people being killed, Shias demonstrating all over the Middle East. 

Baghdad, they‘re demonstrate right there against Americans, burning American flags, Shia and Sunni alike demanding their governments back Hezbollah.  That is a political and strategic disaster for the United States.  Israel needs more time.  Ideally, the United States would like the shooting to stop right now in its own political interests.  This is the clash we‘re going to see coming up in the immediate future. 

CARLSON:  And yet, we‘re not going to demand it, I suspect.  Pat Buchanan from Washington.  Thank you very much. 

BUCHANAN:  Sure.  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  With midterm elections just around the corner, the group Veterans for the Truth is making itself heard.  Its targeting Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, an ardent opponent of the war in Iraq.  You might recall a similar group cast a shadow on Senator John Kerry‘s war record by running this swift boat television commercial during his 2004 presidential bid. 

Now another group called Veterans for the Truth is campaigning against Murtha who, like Kerry, is a decorated Vietnam vet and a Democrat.  Members consider the lawmaker‘s anti-war stand an attack on our troops. 

Joining us from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Craig Minnick.  He is heading the group‘s Re-deploy John Murtha From Congress campaign.  Mr. Minnick, thanks for coming on.

CRAIG MINNICK, VETERANS FOR TRUTH:  Hi, sir.  Thanks for having me on.

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s my pleasure.  And to get something totally clear, on your Web site at this very hour is a banner saying that your coming on this show is an attempt to buy me, quote, “to decimate, discredit and destroy Veterans for Truth.”  And I just want to assure your members and fans that no such thing is true.  I‘m merely a little bit confused as to why you‘re so angry at John Murtha.  Of all the anti-war Democrats, why is it Murtha you‘re targeting? 

MINNICK:  Well, it‘s because of this.  And really, we don‘t really care what he did or what he did not do 35 years ago in Vietnam.  And again, I‘m not here to debate or even discuss Murtha‘s long-standing cut-and-run policies, whether they be in Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, or even Israel. 

What I‘m concerned about, and the issue is, we have a United States congressman attempting to change the policy in Iraq by making ad hominem attacks on our men and women proudly serving in combat in Iraq.  That‘s the issue. 

CARLSON:  Well, wait a second.  You said you don‘t want to make an issue of his cut-and-run policies in Israel.  We‘ve never been involved in a war with Israel, so it‘s hard to know how we can cut-and-run from Israel. 

He is hardly the most left wing or most isolationist Democrat.  He is one of the most conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives.  So again, my question is, why, of all those Democrats the conservatives would be offended by, why John Murtha, this pro-life, working class, generally very pro-military Democrat?  Why pick on him?  I don‘t get it. 

MINNICK:  Again, it‘s the continuing attacks against our military since 1993.  That‘s what the issue is.  What he‘s been saying about the military not only is bad for the military, it‘s demoralizing, trying to discredit our military, and actually reduce and minimize all the successes of our men and women fighting in Iraq.  That‘s irresponsible. 

CARLSON:  Give me—I mean, I‘m open to your case.  Give me some examples. 

MINNICK:  That‘s fine.  I mean, continuously minimizing how we‘ve made no progress in Iraq.  That‘s what he said about the Anbar province.  We‘ve made no progress there.  Well, let me allow you a quote a marine commander who recently returned from there—and this is what he said, and I appreciate the time. 

He said, “Murtha‘s choice to ignore this progress would be sad if it weren‘t so ridiculous.”  Even al Qaeda say we are doing a better job than our own congressman gives us credit for.  That‘s what I‘m talking about, a man minimizing the successes of the military and hurting the military and our morale.  And that‘s the issue.  And only one of the issues.

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I just think that‘s—I think, with all due respect, sort of an unfair attack.  Presumably, you could—not presumably.  I know for a fact because I know some of them, you could find current marines who are dissatisfied, very unhappy, with our policy in Iraq. 

So, I mean, I match your marine against my marine.  It‘s a stupid game.  The point is, it‘s valid for an American, someone who loves his country, is not trying to undermine his country, to have strong views about his country‘s foreign policy.  That‘s not anti-American. 

MINNICK:  The issue not about policy, it‘s attacks on the members of the military, continuously to backing (ph) our morale.  I mean, this is a man who said it didn‘t matter for veterans and the men and women serving in Iraq in 2004 get to vote.  He said it didn‘t matter.  And he continuously attacks what we have done.  He attacks the morale, saying we don‘t have the morale. 

Let‘s not tell elite members of our armed forces that the morale is down and they can‘t do it.  And he‘s been doing that since Somalia, Bosnia, and he‘s doing it in Iraq.  That‘s irresponsible for a U.S. congressman to start talking about the morale of our troops.  That‘s irresponsible. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Yes.  I‘m not defending everything John Murtha has ever said.  I just think you ought to spend some more time around the House of Representatives and pay close attention to what the average Democrat in that body says about our military and about the administration.  And I think you‘ll find John Murtha is one of the most reasonable people in the building on the Democratic side.  And that‘s just my view.

MINNICK:  Let me tell you two things. 

CARLSON:  Very quick.  Just sum it up real quick. 

MINNICK:  It‘s not me.  I‘m trying to get—Mr. Murtha has refused to contact me.  I‘ve tried over and over again.  He‘s refused to contact me.  Yet he would go to groups such as Code Pink.  And, in fact, he accepted an award from an organization whose members went out and sit at hospitals and harass members and family members of armed services...

CARLSON:  That‘s pretty disgusting.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  We are out of time.  I‘m going to have to cut you off right there, but I want to thank you for coming up.  All right.  No, no Web sites on my show!  That‘s the rule, pal.  Thanks.

Coming up, the story of an Arab woman who believes Israel and the U.S.  have it right despite the fact her father was assassinated by Israeli intelligence officers.  Don‘t miss it.  We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  With relations between Israel and Lebanon in critical condition, it‘s not often we hear Arabs side with Israel.  In fact, it‘s very rare.  But Mideast expert Nonie Darwish does.  Nonie was born in Egypt, the daughter of a military intelligence officer who reportedly was assassinated by Israeli secret police when she was only 8 years old. 

Despite that, she sides with Israel and the U.S. in the war on terror, she explains it in a new book, “Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounce Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror.”  Nonie Darwish joins us from Burbank, California. 

Nonie, thanks for coming on. 

NONIE DARWISH, MIDEAST EXPERT:  Hi, Tucker.  My pleasure. 

CARLSON:  Now, thank you.  What do you think the root of the hatred for Israel and for Jews in general in the Islamic world is?  Where does that come from? 

DARWISH:  It comes from the radicals, who benefit from spreading hatred, rage, anti-Semitism.  And they benefit from keeping the pressure on the people, the Arabs too, to keep on getting distracted with Israel and not looking at what really is the cause of the problems, the economic problems, the political, the social problems in the Arab world. 

CARLSON:  Well, what sort of response have—what sort of response have you received after coming out in public and saying that you‘re sympathetic to Israel and the United States? 

DARWISH:  My sympathy to Israel and the United States, of course, does not take away from my sympathy to also the Arab people.  As a matter of fact, I speak out of love, also, for the Arab world.  But the Arab world is, right now, in a very disturbing situation with all the radicalism, the terrorism, that is worldwide. 

And Arabs, moderate Arabs, have to start speaking out against terrorism, against the jihad and the terror groups who are not loyal to anybody except the terror groups.  You see all these terror groups in Lebanon, in Egypt, around the Middle East and all over the world, they have their own flags.  They don‘t even care about the safety and security of the people of Lebanon when they wage war. 

CARLSON:  Tell me, you referred to moderate Arabs, moderate Muslims.  It‘s hard to know from this vantage how big a group that is in, say, Syria or Egypt or Jordan.  What percentage of the population opposes suicide bombing, for instance, would you say? 

DARWISH:  I believe it‘s probably a large number.  The problem is they are manipulated by misinformation.  They are indoctrinated.  They are told that Jews want to drink Arab blood, Israel wants to expand and take over the Middle East.  They‘re told lots of lies. 

And of course, as a reaction, the only human response is to hate.  So they make you first afraid of Israel, afraid of Jews.  The level of anti-Semitism is extremely disturbing.  It‘s far beyond reason, and it‘s only five million Jews in a sea of 1.2 billion Muslims.  It‘s disproportionate, the hatred.  And Israel...

CARLSON:  I‘ve noticed that in my travels there.  In my travels in the Middle East, I‘ve talked to many Arabs who go off on these lectures about how evil the Jews are.  And if you ask, “Well, have you ever met one of these Jews you talk about?”

“Well, no.”  It seems like a very abstract hatred to me. 

DARWISH:  You‘re correct, Tucker.  I have never seen a Jew until I left the Middle East when I was 30 years old.  When I left for America and I started learning for myself firsthand the truth about the Jewish people, their culture is beautiful, and they are just human like everybody else.  They have their good and bad, just like everybody else.

And they need to be respected in their little country called Israel.  If you look at the map of the Middle East, you will hardly see Israel.  The Arab land...

CARLSON:  What you‘re saying right now is an incredibly bold statement for someone who has lived in the region.  I wouldn‘t want to say that in downtown Cairo.  I appreciate your coming on.  Nonie Darwish, thanks very much. 

DARWISH:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Coming up, with temperatures in the triple digits all across the country, perhaps it is time we started listening to Al Gore about global warming.  Or perhaps not.  We‘ll discuss the inconvenient truth about Al when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for our voicemail segment, where we invite you to leave long rambling messages on our machine, and you do it.  First up. 

ROBERT IN CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO:  Robert from Castle Rock, Colorado.  Concerning your comments from the so-called debacle in Iraq.  This is just not true.  We are losing our soldiers‘ lives, and that is a terrible thing.  But it is the cost making this world a safer place.  We have a valid reason for being in Iraq, and we are doing the very best that we can in this type of war we‘re involved in. 

CARLSON:  I‘d love to believe that, Robert.  I really would.  I‘d like you to give me one example of how any place in the world has become safer because of the war in Iraq.  Let me put this into perspective for you.  We have been in Iraq for just about 3 ½ years.  That is almost exactly how long we are fighting the Second World War.  A little shorter. 

Have we achieved what we achieved in the Second World War, the war to which this is often compared?  No.  Second question, Robert.  Could you walk for a mile by yourself undefended in downtown Baghdad without being murdered?  Not a chance.  Not a possibility.  No way, no how could you do that. 

So in the end, security in Iraq is what matters.  And we have not been able to bring security to Iraq.  Therefore, at this point, it‘s a failure.  I hope it‘s a success, but at this point, it‘s not.  Next up. 

WENDELL IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA:  Wendell Whitmore from Los Angeles, California.  You said (ph) no one understand global warming.  Thousands and thousands of people understand global warming, and surely anyone that has seen “An Inconvenient Truth” understands global warming perfectly well.  You, in fact, should see “An Inconvenient Truth.” 

CARLSON:  Oh, Wendell, you‘ve seen Al Gore‘s movie?  Oh, so you‘re an expert?  You‘re basically a climatologist.  You‘re a research scientist on the subject.  The world is getting warmer.  We know that.  Do we know why?  No, we don‘t.  There‘s no consensus on that.  And that‘s just a fact. 

Sorry Gore‘s movie didn‘t admit that, but it‘s true.

Keep the calls coming.  1-877-TCARLSON.  “HARDBALL” is next.  Have a great weekend.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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