updated 8/10/2006 10:14:01 AM ET 2006-08-10T14:14:01

Guests: Rick Francona, Bill Press, Henry Rodriguez, Benjamin Netanyahu, David Ray Griffin

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show. 

Big news out of the Middle East today, where Israel voted to send more ground troops even deeper into Lebanon.  It‘s a last-ditch attempt to destroy Hezbollah before a cease-fire can be imposed. 

Meanwhile, a dire threat from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who in a statement today promised to “turn our precious southern land into a graveyard for the occupying Zionists.”  To some extent, that has happened.  Eleven Israeli soldiers were reported killed today, bringing the total to at least 101 Israelis.  And 1,005 Lebanese killed since the fighting broke out about a month ago. 

Joining me now with the very latest, NBC News‘ Martin Savidge.  He is in Beirut.

Marty, what is going on there?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, first of all, we should report that Israeli television Channel 2 is saying that that new campaign into the south has begun tonight.  They say there‘s heavy artillery and armored columns have begun moving into southern Lebanon.  We‘ve got no independent confirmation on that.

And then you mentioned Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah.  He went on television not just here in Lebanon, but across the region.  Huge viewership.  People tuning in all over the place to listen to what he has to say.  Not necessarily that they all believe in him, but they certainly know that what he has to say could dictate what happens in Lebanon in the next couple of weeks or so. 

And it is the first time he has spoken out ever since the U.N. peace proposal has been floated and much discussed there in New York City.  No surprise here, Nasrallah is dead set against it.  He says that it is unfair and unjust, to put it mildly.  He says it greatly favors Israel, does nothing to help Lebanon, and it‘s totally unacceptable that Israeli forces would be allowed to remain in southern Lebanon, even after a cease-fire was declared. 

A bit of a surprise.  He came forward and said, you know what?  That idea about sending Lebanese troops, 15,000 of them, down to the border to help patrol (ph) the cease-fire, he was liking that.  He thinks that is a very good idea.  There are others who are skeptical of his liking that. 

David Welch, he‘s the U.S. assistant attorney—or secretary of state, rather—came here to try to lobby the Lebanese government to accept that U.N. proposal.  It was a surprise visit by the American.  Unfortunately, he went away with no surprises.  The Lebanese government said, no, we still do not agree to that plan. 

So that‘s where it stands right now—Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Marty, you had reported yesterday that essentially, all traffic, foot and motor, was stopped south of where you are, closer to Tyre, because of the Israeli bombing campaign, and that no U.N. or other relief organizations were able to bring supplies in.  Is that still the case? 

SAVIDGE:  It is.  I mean, they‘re stymied down there.  They really are having a very difficult time, even though the Israelis say that eight convoys would be allowed to transit through the area.

But I think as we pointed out, it‘s not just an issue that they could become targets, it‘s the fact that travel down there is extremely difficult.  And fuel, it is increasingly a dire predicament.

You may not be able to tell, but the skyline behind us tonight, much darker.  There are rolling blackouts here, they are much more obvious.  All of that because many of the power generation stations are beginning to run out of fuel.  Gas stations already running dry, and we are told now that the U.S. military is providing Navy ships that will actually be escorting oil tankers through the Israeli blockade so that they can come in and refuel the essential power stations to keep the lights on for such things as hospitals and relief agencies—Tucker.

CARLSON:  So, as U.S.-made warplanes bomb—bomb Lebanon, U.S. warships keep the fuel moving in.  It‘s a very—it‘s a very strange war. 

Finally, is there any sense, Marty, of where Hassan Nasrallah is?  He keeps issuing his statements, but do we know where he‘s living? 

SAVIDGE:  No.  No.  He certainly isn‘t telling me, and I doubt if the general public is getting sort of insight on that. 

He‘s gone underground.  That was said right after this whole incursion began.  Once that Hezbollah kidnapped those two soldiers, he disappeared.

So exactly where he is isn‘t known.  Obviously he‘s got access to a studio, though.  The background seemed to be pretty professional.  So he‘s somewhere where he‘s got clear access to the outside world, but where that somewhere is a mystery right now. 

CARLSON:  Martin Savidge in Beirut. 

Thanks a lot. 

So, is Israel making the right move sending troops even deeper into Lebanon?  And, if so, why did Israel wait so long to do it? 

Here to lay it all out for us, MSNBC military analyst, retired lieutenant colonel, Rick Francona. 

Rick, thanks a lot for joining us.

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.):  Sure.

CARLSON:  What exactly—can you just give us the overview of what do you think—what you think Israel is about to do with this incursion? 

FRANCONA:  Well, OK.  It appears that the invasion that we‘ve been waiting for some time is under way.  Let me show you on a map what we‘re doing here. 

They pretty much kicked off from the line of departure, which is just inside the Lebanese border.  And they‘re going to be going across in a variety of different areas, in the same areas we‘ve seen them already. 

But one thing that‘s different now, they‘re starting to push up the coast. 

They‘ve already conducted some special ops raids into Tyre. 

But here‘s the problem, Tucker.  They‘ve got to get from where they are here all the way up to the Litani River.  Now, this is about—about 18 miles in, so we‘re talking about 400 square miles of territory they‘d like to occupy before the international opinion forces them to accept a cease-fire. 

CARLSON:  Why—what‘s the plan here?  I mean, as a military man, tell us those of us who haven‘t served, what exactly the strategy appears to be.  Why is it—why is it taking a month to do this?  Is that wise? 

FRANCONA:  Well, a lot have questioned why it‘s taken so long for them to come to this point.  Initially, we saw them use a lot of air power.  They tried to isolate Lebanon, they tried to isolate the south, and did that pretty effectively.  But they were not able to suppress all that rocket fire into northern Israel.

So they realized they were going to have to go in on the ground.  They thought they were going to be able to do it from the air. 

When they went in on the ground, they ran into a—just a really strong, tough resistance.  Remember, Hezbollah has had six years to fortify this entire area.  They‘re running into minefields, roadside bombs, booby-traps, ambushes, so it‘s taken them a lot longer.  And they weren‘t willing to apply the force necessary. 

It looks like now, with the latest decision by the cabinet, that they‘re going to do that.  And I think we‘re start to go see the initial onslaught of what‘s going to be really heavy armor pushes, a lot of armored personnel carriers, and, of course, a lot of combat engineers. 

CARLSON:  So, Israel is reoccupying Lebanon, it sounds like? 

FRANCONA:  Well, they‘re going—they‘re going to occupy it up to the Litani River.  And I think they want to occupy it until there‘s some sort of international force.  And that‘s one of the big problems.  Of course, the Lebanese and the Arabs do not want an international force in there, they want the Lebanese army. 

The Israelis want some force that is going to be able to resist Hezbollah. 

And I doubt if that‘s the Lebanese army. 

CARLSON:  There‘s so much hype surrounding Hezbollah‘s strength, its military capabilities.  I‘m not sure what I—what I believe. 

What do you believe?  How strong are they? 

FRANCONA:  Well, they‘re—it‘s not that they‘re so strong, it‘s just that they‘re dug in and they‘re really tenacious fighters, they‘re fanatic.  They don‘t care if they die.

And the Israelis are going to have to go up there and just rout them out village by village by village.  And that takes time.  It also takes a lot of casualties.  And it‘s slow going.   

CARLSON:  Do you think this war has made Hezbollah stronger or weaker?

FRANCONA:  Well, obviously militarily, I think it‘s made them a lot weaker.  They‘ve expended a lot of their rocket inventory, they‘ve suffered a lot of casualties. 

Now, if you believe the Israeli figures, the casualty figures are in the hundreds for Hezbollah fighters.  So they‘ve taken a significant toll there.  But politically, they seem to be now the A team, because they‘ve stood up to the Israelis longer than any other military force, you know, since 1948. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  That‘s—that‘s literally true.  Amazing. 

Rick Francona, thanks a lot... 

FRANCONA:  Sure.

CARLSON:  ... for putting that in perspective for us.

Still to come, Cynthia McKinney sings her swan song.  For now, anyway. 

Some of us wish her well and hope she comes back soon. 

Meanwhile, is there growing distance between George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice over our policy toward Israel?  Possibly.  Details on that ahead. 

And is Israel—as Hollywood, rather, revisits 9/11 with a new firm, why is the Presbyterian Church, its publishing arm, anyway, putting out a book suggesting the White House was behind those attacks?  We‘ll talk to the author of that book coming up in just a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CYNTHIA MCKINNEY (D), GEORGIA (SINGING):  ... tell you about hard work, minimum wage with a baby on the way.  Let me tell you about hard work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Ladies and Gentlemen, Cynthia McKinney.  Her vocal styling could be the next step in her career now that she‘s been fired by the voters of Georgia—the Democratic voters there, anyway.  But she‘s not the only one in Washington to hit a career speed bump lately.

Joe Lieberman lost his Connecticut primary last night, and now it appears he‘s getting consolation from the Bush administration; namely, Karl Rove, of all people.

Here to tell us what it all means, Bill Press.  He‘s the author of “How the Republicans Stole Christmas.”

He joins us from Washington.

Bill, Welcome.

BILL PRESS, AUTHOR, “HOW THE REPUBLICANS STOLE CHRISTMAS”:  Hey, Tucker. 

Welcome back to Washington, Too.

CARLSON:  Well, thank you.

What do you make—what do you make of this, Bill?  The president of the United States, through Karl Rove, reaching out to the man he basically—whose campaign he basically destroyed.  Without Bush, Lieberman would have won yesterday.

What does this mean?

PRESS:  I have a good idea.  I think what George Bush should do for Joe Lieberman is give him a kiss on the cheek, Tucker.  Don‘t you think that might help?

CARLSON:  I do.  And we should point out that this—this news comes to us from George Stephanopoulos over at ABC.  We don‘t have confirmation beyond that, but it‘s an interesting idea that the White House would reach out to Joe Lieberman.

How can that help Lieberman?

PRESS:  It can‘t help him at all.  But, first of all, we do know that Lieberman—I mean, Karl Rove did call Joe Lieberman today.  The White House has confirmed that, and so has Lieberman‘s campaign.  But they deny that there was any offer of help. 

You know, I mean, he—that‘s the last thing that Joe Lieberman needs, Tucker, you‘re absolutely right.  If Bush really wanted to help Lieberman, he would go up to Connecticut and campaign for Arthur Schlessinger, or whatever the Republican—nobody knows the name of the Republican candidate there, otherwise it‘s just going to look like what the critics have said, is that Lieberman is Bush‘s best friend and that‘s why the Democrats rejected him yesterday. 

CARLSON:  You know, Republicans seem to—and by the way, I think it‘s completely fair that Joe Lieberman lost, and I don‘t begrudge the Democrats in Connecticut one bit for voting for Ned Lamont.  But, the White House, I think, did make a pretty fair point today, and it even resonated with me, someone who is passionately opposed to this war, and it‘s this: pulling out is not enough.  Leaving a failed state behind in Iraq and Afghanistan circa 2000 is bad for the world.  It‘s a pretty naive foreign policy simply to say, pull our troops home.

I mean, can Democrats win in 2006 and 2008 on the “bring ‘em home” line? 

Is that enough?

PRESS:  Well, here‘s—I think that‘s a false choice, Tucker.  I think what the choice in Connecticut was and I think the choice that‘s going to be facing the American people in the midterms is, stay the course or change direction.  And that‘s what Lamont was saying. 

He wasn‘t saying, like Jack Murtha, bring them home tomorrow, if you will, but certainly start bringing the troops home.  As opposed to Bush‘s plan, which isn‘t a plan, which is just stay the course, stay the course, stay the course.

And I think there was a warning there, yesterday, Tucker, for not just Democrats, but for Republicans, you know.  If they‘re going to belly up to Bush and belly up to war in these midterms, I think all incumbents could be in trouble. 

CARLSON:  I want to ask awe question I asked Al Sharpton the other day and did not get a satisfactory answer.  And I mean that as a compliment, Bill.

Do Democrats know who are fighting in this war on terror?  And again, I say this as someone who is passionately opposed to the war in Iraq.  However, I think it‘s very clear we‘re fighting Islamic extremism, and I find it—I find it odd and dispiriting that Democrats are unwilling to say that. 

I never meat a Democrat who is willing to look into the camera and say, we‘re fighting radical Muslims.  They won‘t say it.

Why is that? 

PRESS:  Let me tell you, Tucker, we are fighting radical Muslims. 

CARLSON:  Good for you.

PRESS:  We‘re fighting Islamic extremists.  But I don‘t think Iraq is the battleground for that war or that that‘s where the center of the war on terror is.  I think Iraq was a big distraction, we were sold on it in the beginning as part of the war on terror. 

I don‘t think it is.  I think most Americans realize that right now, which is one of the reasons why Americans support the war on terror, but they don‘t—they no longer support this war in Iraq. 

CARLSON:  They also don‘t support Cynthia McKinney, judging by the results of last night‘s primary in Georgia.  Cynthia McKinney, can you believe—and I ask you this since you‘re a Democrat, you were head of the party in California for a long time—how was she in the Democratic Party for so long, Cynthia McKinney?  Did nobody notice? 

PRESS:  Well, you know, this is the second time she was bounced out of Congress by the voters of the fourth district down in Georgia, which I think says something for the voters of Georgia, Tucker.  And you know my feeling about Cynthia McKinney?  It‘s like when you and I were buddies with James Traficant back in “The Spin Room” days. 

As a Democrat, I am glad she‘s gone, because I think she‘s a mortal embarrassment to the party.  As a talk show host, I‘m in mourning, because we‘re not going to have Cynthia McKinney to have fun with anymore. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly how—I just—I just hope that she gets into talk radio. 

Finally...

PRESS:  She won‘t get into singing with a rock group, that‘s for sure. 

CARLSON:  Poor Cynthia McKinney. 

I don‘t know if you saw the piece in—it came out today in “Insight” magazine that suggested a rift or tension, anyway, between Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, and the president, over Israel.  The word was from the State Department that Condoleezza Rice believes President Bush is far too reflexively pro-Israel, is not even-handed in any way, and it‘s an interesting suggestion. 

Here‘s the question I want to ask you.  You never hear Democrats point out that Bush is not even-handed in the Middle East.  You almost never hear anybody criticize the president for taking the side of Israel to the extent that he alienates the Arab world completely. 

Why doesn‘t anybody ever mention that? 

PRESS:  There‘s a very powerful force in Washington, Tucker, which I think has a strong influence on both Republicans and Democrats.  You saw the vote in the Congress on the—on the resolution about the Middle East war.  And I think what‘s happening in the White House is there is a real division, and that Condi—over our policy there—and that Condi Rice made two mistakes. 

One, she thought when she went to the State Department that she would be running America‘s foreign policy.  She should have known it‘s run out of the vice president‘s office.

And two, she thought that if it came to a difference of opinion, that President Bush would stick with her and not with Dick Cheney.  And she‘s wrong about that, too.

You know, when she came back from the Middle East, they had this “come to Jesus” dinner at the White House, and everybody said that‘s the time that President Bush said, look, my policy sticks, we‘re going to give Israel all the time they need to do what they think they‘ve got to do in southern Lebanon, and then maybe we‘ll call for a cease-fire. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I love Israel, I think it‘s a wonderful place, I support it completely, I support it instinctively.  I think this war helps Hezbollah.  I think it‘s bad for Israel.  I think it‘s bad for the United States. 

I think you can love Israel and believe this war is a disaster. 

PRESS:  I totally agree with you. 

CARLSON:  I wish someone—I wish someone in a more powerful position than mine and yours would say that out loud. 

Bill Press, thanks a lot for coming on.

PRESS:  If we were running the country, Tucker, things would be better off. 

CARLSON:  Well, if I was, anyway. 

Thanks, Bill. 

PRESS:  See you.

CARLSON:  Still to come, why would anybody in Louisiana object to a memorial to Katrina victims?  It‘s a shocking story.  We‘ll tell you who‘s behind it.  You can guess, but you‘ll have to wait anyway. 

Also ahead, whether you think poetry, of course you think Anderson Cooper. 

His latest effort puts him back on “Beat the Press.”

You have got to hear it to believe it.  No kidding.  Not a false tease. 

Don‘t go away.  This is worth seeing.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time to “Beat the Press.”

Believe it or not, I derive no great pleasure from criticizing Anderson Cooper, but the man just keeps spoon-feeding us material, and his latest might be his best. 

In last night‘s “AC 360,” Cooper waxed poetic in a very special “Reporters Notebook” from the war zone.  Now, you‘ve got give the guy credit for still being there.  I wish we were still there.  And good for CNN for keeping him there at great expense.  But this is unbelievable.  If you have an air sickness bag laying around, you‘ll want to keep it handy. 

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, “AC 360” (voice over):  It‘s been three weeks now, three weeks and counting, fighting and dying, shelling and running.  So much of it seems so long ago.  Only the pictures are a reminder you were ever there. 

War is like that.  Each day is the first, the past is dead, forgotten.  In war, there‘s only now, only this, a smoke shared by buddies, a few hours rest.  The minutes pass, so do the memories. 

You try to get close, as close as you can.  You want to feel the heat, the fury, swallow the embers.  You watch firefighters put out the flames, but it‘s never enough.  You want to see more. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  He goes on like that for a couple more minutes.  To make you sit through it would be cruel and pretty unusual.  Instead, we‘d like to just paraphrase his “Reporters Notebook.”

These are all actual quotes from Anderson Cooper last night.  We call it “Poetry From the Edge.” 

“It‘s been three weeks now, three weeks and counting, fighting and dying, shelling and running.”

“In war, there‘s only now, only this, a smoke shared by buddies, a few hours rest.”

“The minutes pass, so do the memories.”

“You want to feel the heat, the fury, swallow the embers.  You watch firefighters put out the flames, but it‘s never enough.”

“I used to stare at the holes made by the rockets, hoping to see, to learn something.  Three weeks and counting, the pictures are painful.  Three weeks and counting, so is the truth.”

Poetry.

Just tell us the news, buddy.  Just go there and tell us what happened. 

That‘s enough. 

Well, now for your daily dose of Nancy Grace. 

Nancy talks a lot about victims on her show.  Well, there‘s a victim sitting right in her control room every night.  The victim‘s name is Rosy.  She‘s a producer, and she is the constant target of Nancy‘s harassment. 

Last night was a particularly bad night for Rosie.  See if you can count the number of times Nancy yells at poor Rosie in this clip. 

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HOST, “NANCY GRACE”:  Can you give me screen two, please, Rosy?

Now, Rosie...

As soon as you can pull that up, Rosie.  Let‘s keep it going, Rosie.  There you go.  Thanks, Rosie. 

Rosie, pull that video back up.  I‘m talking about the pics (ph), Rosie.

Keep that going, Rosie. 

Now, let‘s go back to Kelly, Rosie. 

Rosie, do we have a shot of Ted Bundy?  There you go.

Hey, Rosie, see if you can put up—pull up the gas station surveillance video. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Now, when Rosie shows up at work with an AR-15, it will be wrong, but I don‘t think anybody will be surprised. 

That was 11 times we counted, 11 times she barked at Rosie on one show. 

And that was on the air.  Imagine what it‘s like after the show. 

Well, there is either an extremely unlucky Lebanese woman reeling from the loss of both her homes in the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, or a news organization has made a big mistake. 

Here‘s a photograph from Reuters.  It was taken on July 22nd.  The caption reads, “A Lebanese woman looks at the wreckage of her apartment in a building that was demolished by the Israeli attacks in southern Beirut.” 

Remember that face, because here it is again. 

In an Associated Press photograph taken on August 5th, two weeks after that first picture ran, this time the caption read, “A Lebanese woman reacts at the destruction after she came to inspector her house in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, after Israeli warplanes repeatedly bombed the area overnight.”

The same woman, different houses, even the same scar on her cheek. 

Something strange going on. 

AP says in a statement just released to us moments ago, “We stand by our photograph.”

What about Reuters? 

Something is going on and we would like to know what it is. 

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

Give us a call, tell us what you‘ve seen on television or read in the paper. 

The number here, 1-877-BTP-5876.  That‘s 877-287-5876.

Operators standing by.

Still to come, time is running out in the Middle East with Israel set to send troops even deeper into Lebanon.  Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins us in just a moment. 

And on a very different note, the first photographs of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes‘s baby, yes it does exist.  We‘ve got the story when we return. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, what kind of person would have a problem with a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Katrina?  There‘s always somebody.  We‘ll tell you why some people are trying to put a stop to one Louisiana community‘s plans.

Plus, wedding bells for a pair of Hollywood A-listers.  Or maybe not.  We‘ll get that in just a minute, but right now, here‘s a look at your headlines. 

(STOCK MARKET UPDATE)

CARLSON:  Here‘s one the stories you‘ve got to to hear to believe.  And even then, you might to believe it.  What kind person would object to a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  Someone from the ACLU, obviously.  That group is trying to put a stop to the 129 residents of St.  Bernard Parish who died after the hurricane last year all because the proposed memorial would include a cross on private land.  My next guest is fighting for the memorial, fighting the ACLU.  Henry Rodriguez is St.  Bernard Parish president.  He joins us from New Orleans. 

Henry Rodriguez, welcome. 

HENRY RODRIGUEZ, ST. BERNARD PARISH PRESIDENT:  Glad to be here. 

CARLSON:  Thank you.  I don‘t even understand this story.  I don‘t understand how a private memorial on private land could be construed as illegal, even by the ACLU.  What is the nub of the problem here? 

RODRIGUEZ:  Well, I don‘t seem to understand what the problem is, either.  I‘ll be totally honest with you.  This is private land we‘re putting the memorial on.  It‘s being done by a person that used to work—it‘s the guy that designed, and he‘s bidding the cross.  Used to work for St. Bernard Parish.  He took a leave of absence to design and build the cross.  He‘s doing that at the present time.  He‘s almost finished with it. 

And again, has nothing to do with the fact that we‘re on private property.  Two days ago, the ACLU sent me another letter stating that it was necessary that I send them documentation about the gentleman taking a leave of absence and about the fact that I have documentation on this private property. 

Well, I can‘t send him the documentation that‘s private property because the good folks that decided to let us use their property are putting it into a foundation, and they would like to be held harmless on liability issues.  And we‘re still working those things out. 

CARLSON:  Wait, wait.  Mr. Rodriguez, just to make sure I have this right, the ACLU is demanding that you send them documentation.  Is the ACLU a government agency? 

RODRIGUEZ:  I don‘t know who it is.  Obviously, they must seem to be a government agency that has that authority and that power. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s a left wing interest group.  They can‘t demand anything from you.  What did you—how did you respond to them? 

RODRIGUEZ:  I haven‘t responded yet.  I haven‘t had an opportunity to, yet.  But I do have several law firms that have offered their expertise in that field, and they‘re going to support, and they‘re going to represent St. Bernard Parish.  I mean, this is totally ridiculous. 

CARLSON:  So you may have to spend money—you certainly are going to have to spend time—to fend off a challenge from some interest group that doesn‘t like the idea of you doing something that‘s perfectly legal, simply because they object to the cross basically?  Is that your impression of what‘s going on? 

RODRIGUEZ:  Basically, you‘re right, except that these people have offered their services free.  Actually, we have about five or six attorney firms that have called in, told us they would represent us, free of charge.  But it‘s the issue. 

I mean, you know, I don‘t mind sending them documentation.  But I can‘t send them documentation that I don‘t have yet.  And I don‘t like the fact that they‘re demanding it, you know.  You asked me for it, I‘ll send it to you.  You know, we‘re not doing anything illegal one way or another. 

This has nothing to do with separation of church and state.  This has nothing to do with religion.  We‘re going to have priests there, we‘re going to have—any denomination that you can think of is going to be there that day.  The thing that concerns me about the ACLU is the fact they‘re talking about crosses. 

Well, Arlington Cemetery, to me, is a prime example.  If you want to look at crosses, I mean, they‘ve got many crosses.  Many, many crosses there .  And I think that‘s excellent.  I think people need to be memorialized.  But also, this has been the largest, worst disaster in the history of the United States in this country. 

We have displaced 67,500 people; we have 26,500 homes that have been inundated by water, unlivable.  We have 4,000 business places that have been sank, and we have 129 people that died.  And we still have 19 missing, and we can‘t memorialize these people? 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s absolutely—it is ridiculous, and I hope, Mr.  Rodriguez, that you‘ll fight it all the way.  Wherever you need to take it, I hope you will, and I hope you win.  Thanks a lot for joining us. 

RODRIGUEZ:  Thank you for having us. 

CARLSON:  Well, Israel is getting ready to send troops deeper than ever into Lebanon.  Meanwhile, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says he‘ll turn the region into a grave yard for Israel.  Will he?  What will be the effect of this new incursion.  Joining us now to tell us from Jerusalem, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Mr. Netanyahu, thanks for coming on.  How do you respond to the friends of Israel who question why it has taken Israel this long to mount a ground invasion this big? 

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER:  That‘s a question that is being asked in Israel, too, but I‘m not going to engage in it.  I have, I think, right now, a policy as leader of the opposition not to engage in a polemics, or even a serious debate in public. 

I think we all agree on the goal that is of destroying Hezbollah‘s fighting capability, its ability to rocket Israel‘s cities with this terror weapon similar to the 4,000 rockets that were fired on London as the great terror weapons, V1, V2. 

Israel is approaching, and probably will approach this year, the same number of rockets fired on us by Hezbollah as were fired by the Nazis on London in World War II.  So we have to win, here. 

Why has it taken so long to recognize that air power in the main, air power alone, virtually, is not going to do the job?  I don‘t know, and frankly, at this point, I don‘t want to really engage in it.  I think that it‘s late, very late, but not too late, to do the right thing. 

CARLSON:  But in the meantime, I mean, you know what people are saying.  And again, these are friends of Israel.  These people who love Israel and want to see Israel thrive, they are saying no Arab army has held off the Israeli army this long since the War of Independence in 1948, and this makes Hezbollah much stronger in the Arab world.  That makes sense to me.  How do you respond to that? 

NETANYAHU:  Well, the way you achieve victory is by achieving victory. 

Until you do that, everybody who fights you, they momentarily get lionized.  The important thing is you‘ve got to win.  And if you didn‘t apply the correct mixture of firepower, mobility, tactics, or even strategy, then having not done that in the beginning, you should do that now.  But do it. 

CARLSON:  But there are different kinds of victory, aren‘t there?  I mean, you can achieve military victory over Hezbollah, but it will still remain, will it not, a political force in Lebanon, maybe in the region?  And that‘s bad, isn‘t it?  I mean, you‘re not aim to destroy Hezbollah entirely itself?  Or are you?  Is that Israel‘s aim? 

NETANYAHU:  I think we have two problems.  First, you know, there are neo-Nazis in Germany today, but their power is limited.  A, they don‘t have rockets, and they don‘t have a neo-Nazi regime like Iran supplying them with a way station in Syria. 

So obviously, it‘s important to change many things, but the important thing is if you had neo-Nazis bombing, rocketing a western country with rockets, the first thing you‘d do is take care of that particular threat. 

But equally, there must be a political effort launched by the United States and backed by others, the responsible members of the international community, to press massively on Syria and Iran to cease and desist the rebuilding of what remains of Hezbollah. 

CARLSON:  But, I mean, the reason that neo-Nazis don‘t have rockets in Western Europe is because nobody in Western Europe, by and large, supports neo-Nazis.  They‘re hated.  Hezbollah, by contrast, is far more popular now than it was when Israel began its campaign against Hezbollah a month ago.  Isn‘t that a big problem?  Won‘t it always have rockets as long as it has the support it has? 

NETANYAHU:  Yes, it‘s a big problem.  No, it has the support that it has because it‘s not been defeated.  If it would be defeated, it wouldn‘t have the support that it has.  So, you know, it‘s not circular reasoning, it‘s fairly straightforward trajectory. 

At the end, there is to substitute for victory.  And military victory may not be a sufficient condition, but it‘s necessary.  Other things have to come into being.  I mentioned some of them.  But in the end, there is a larger conflict here, and it‘s a conflict of perception. 

Many in Lebanon wanted to see Lebanon remain what it was beginning to be, again, the Switzerland of the Middle East, a more placid pluralistic free market economy and society.  This has been completely overtaken by Hezbollah, which is really an Iranian implementation. 

So in Lebanon, throughout the Middle East, throughout the world, there is this resurgent Islam with—it‘s a two hydra.  There‘s the Sunni militancy headed by Al Qaeda competing for supremacy with the Shiite militancy headed by Iran with its sidekick Hezbollah.

But in the end, you know, they both disagree who should rule the resurgent Islamic empire, but they agree it should be an Islamic empire cleansed of western forces like Israel, moderate Arab regimes, and ultimately cleansed of the West. 

CARLSON:  Without question.  Now, Israel was in Lebanon for 18 years.  Presumably, you have an awful lot of intelligence about the country and have intelligence operatives in the country who never left.  Why, given that, has Israel not been able to kill Hassan Nasrallah so far? 

NETANYAHU:  Because he‘s hiding. 

CARLSON:  But, I mean, Israel and the United States, at least, is famous for its intelligence services, famous for its military.  There is this mystique about the IDF and Mossad and the idea that no one‘s as tough or canny or well informed as Israel.  And isn‘t that all now revealed as something of a myth? 

NETANYAHU:  Well, you know, you‘re looking for—you‘ve got Zarqawi, but you haven‘t gotten yet bin Laden.  You probably will down the line.  And I think that especially in times of war with pre-arranged bunkers and support of foreign powers, it‘s possible to escape for a while.  They can hide for a while, I‘m not sure forever. 

But the important thing is not merely, you know, the question of leadership, although it is important.  But it‘s not the decisive factor.  Hezbollah had a different leader, Sheikh Musawi.  We did manage to strike at him.  We got Nasrallah.  I assume if we get Nasrallah, we‘ll have someone else. 

The important thing are the fighting formations, the tremendous supply

you say Hezbollah is there, it‘s going to be there anyway.  Yes, it‘s going to be there anyway.  But it has 12,000 rockets that are not there anyway, and that‘s what makes the difference.  And those rockets came from Iran. 

You take away the support of Iran and the whole scaffolding of Hezbollah as this legendary fighting force, in fact, as this great political force, collapses in about two minutes.  So at the end, the world will not escape dealing with Iran and its way station Syria, but primarily Iran. 

I was in Europe just now.  I spent a few days in London on a mission by the Israeli Knesset.  And I said to them, “You know, you thought you had a dealing in the 1930s with a mad guy, a mad man, a little man, who attacked the Jews, and that was it.  And you discovered quickly that the Jews were the pit stop, the first in the long march of a mad conception that nearly annihilated the world.”  Well, here you have a resurgent madness, Islamic militant Islamic fascism. 

CARLSON:  Yes, good luck trying to convince the Europeans of that. 

NETANYAHU:  I‘ve convinced some of the Brits.  I didn‘t have to work hard. 

CARLSON:  I hope you did.  I hope you did.  I think that‘s just—I agree with you.  I just think that‘s a very tough sell, unfortunately, in Western Europe. 

NETANYAHU:  Well, I walked on the street following the—I want to

tell you, Tucker, I walked on the street in London following some

interviews on the BBC, and some Brits came over, not Jewish, and they said

they were thumbs up and they said, “We got it now.” 

Now, will the continental Europeans and others in Britain get it?  I don‘t know.  You know, Hezbollah, and more importantly, Iran says, “We‘re the little Satan.  You‘re the great Satan.”  They just don‘t get the fact that in Europe, they‘re the middle-sized Satan. 

It may not be too complimentary to be a middling Satan, but that‘s how they‘re viewed.  World war III is foisted on us.  We didn‘t choose it. 

This is madness.  But it‘s there.  So was World War II

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  OK, thank you for making that case.  I agree with you, completely.  Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from Jerusalem, thank you. 

Forget why the Bush administration would conspire to attack its own citizens on 9/11.  How could the government possibly pull it off?  Sounds impossible to me, but we‘ll hear one man‘s theory about it next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Oliver Stone‘s movie “World Trade Center” opened today, and for once, Stone doesn‘t suggest some vast conspiracy.  On the other hand, he doesn‘t have to, because there are plenty of people doing it for him.  My next guest is one of the leading voices in the increasingly noisy movement that claims our own government orchestrated the attacks of September 11th

David Ray Griffin is a theology professor and a member of the group Scholars for 9/11 Truth.  He‘s also the author of the book, “Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action.”  That book is published by the Presbyterian Church‘s publishing arm.  Mr. Griffin joins us from Santa Barbara, California. 

Mr. Griffin, thanks for coming on.  You have no evidence that the government‘s behind 9/11, and I frankly think that‘s an awful thing to allege considering it‘s not true and you haven‘t proven that it is. 

DAVID RAY GRIFFIN, AUTHOR:  Well, these things have to be determined in terms of evidence.  And if you read this book and you read my two previous books, “The New Pearl Harbor,” and then “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions,” you will see there are literally dozens of reasons to disbelieve the official theory about 9/11. 

I‘m not proposing a new conspiracy theory.  I‘m rejecting the official conspiracy theory that we‘ve been given by the government and the 9/11 Commission... 

CARLSON:  All right, but the implication...

GRIFFIN:  ... and that has been used to justify all the activities that have been going on since 9/11. 

CARLSON:  Look, you don‘t like American foreign policy, that‘s fine.  That‘s totally legitimate.  I don‘t like American foreign policy most of the time.  I get that, and I‘m not in my way questioning your right to complain about the actions of our government.  I‘m merely saying it is wrong, blasphemous, and sinful for you to suggest, imply, or help other people come to the conclusion that the U.S. government killed 3,000 of its own citizens, because it didn‘t. 

GRIFFIN:  I thought the same thing for the first year and a half.  You know, people will say, “Well, you‘re a conspiracy theorist, and so therefore you went looking for problems.”  The first year and a half, I accepted the official theory and assumed it was blow back for American foreign policy.

And when somebody first suggested to me it was an inside job, I said, “Well, I didn‘t think the Bush administration—even the Bush administration would do such a heinous thing.”  But then when I finally looked at the evidence, I saw that it was truly overwhelming. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Let‘s get very specific.  I wish we had more time, but we don‘t.  You say six of the hijackers may still be alive.  What‘s the evidence for that?  Please tell me specifically why you believe six of the hijackers could be alive. 

GRIFFIN:  Well, this is one of the examples of one of the dozens of things the 9/11 Commission simply refused to investigate, even though this was reported by mainline sources in England.  You had both the BBC and the “Telegraph” putting out stories—let‘s take the one about Waleed al-Shehri. 

The 9/11 Commission speculates that he was one on Flight 11 who stabbed one of the flight attendants, and yet, several days after 9/11, he came on and announced to the world that he‘s still alive in Morocco where he‘s a pilot.  We didn‘t get a word of that from the 9/11 Commission. 

CARLSON:  Well, you did not get a word of that from the 9/11 Commission, nor did you get a word of it from National Public Radio, the “New York Times,” the “Washington Post,” ABC news, NBC news, MSNBC.  You are suggesting...

GRIFFIN:  Exactly, but we did in papers in other countries. 

CARLSON:  Right, but, I mean, as someone who has been in journalism his whole adult life and grown up in a family of journalists, I can tell you people who point to the journalism of Great Britain are almost always pointing to journalism with very low standards. 

Here‘s my obvious point.  You‘re alleging not simply a cover-up by the U.S. government but by the entire American media.  It‘s totally implausible.  We would report that if it were true.. 

GRIFFIN:  Tucker, not quite entirely.  But let me give another example of a failure to mention.  You mentioned Oliver Stone‘s movie.  Although he does not get into the question of who was responsible, when people see this movie, they will see that these towers came down in what is close to classic controlled demolition, the kind that‘s called implosion, that is produced by explosives.

And first of all, steel frame high-rise buildings have never before in history come down because of fire or fire plus externally produced damage, such as airplane damage... 

CARLSON:  What about being hit by jumbo jets?  Have they ever come down—no, because they‘ve never been hit by jumbo jets before.  It‘s not like there‘s a precedent for this.

GRIFFIN:  No, no.  And the empire—Tucker, the Empire State Building was by...

CARLSON:  In World War II by a prop plane traveling at 1/8 the speed of these planes.  Look, I mean, facts matter.

GRIFFIN:  Tucker, the main point is that buildings like this have never come down because of externally produced damage.  And furthermore, Building 7 was not hit by an airplane.  And so, conveniently...

CARLSON:  I know.  And it came down.  But Mr. Griffin, I‘m sorry...

GRIFFIN:  Tucker, you know that the 9/11 Commission did not even mention in their 571-page report the fact that Building 7 collapsed. 

CARLSON:  I‘m fully aware of that.  I‘ve actually read a lot that you‘ve written, and here‘s my bottom line point.  I honestly wish—I‘m not trying to cut you off.  I wish we had more time.  You haven‘t proved the government‘s behind it, and I hope that our viewers will read what you‘ve written, because I‘ve read it.  But unfortunately, we‘re out of time, and I appreciate your coming on. 

GRIFFIN:  Well, many people think otherwise, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Apparently they do, and that‘s sad, as far as I‘m concerned. 

But thank you, Mr. Griffin, for coming on.  I appreciate it.

Speaking of conspiracies, it‘s been nearly four months and still no sign of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes‘ baby?  Does that child actually exist?  Well, new evidence suggests indeed she might.  We‘ll show you when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Iraq, 9/11, Anderson Cooper.  We‘ve brought you some pretty grim news, today.  Now, for dessert, Willie Geist from headquarters—

Willie?

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC PRODUCER:  That‘s right, Tucker.  Enough trivia.  Let‘s get down to business.  A quick note off the top.  “Us Weekly” magazine reporting that our old friends Vince Vaughan and Jennifer Aniston have gotten engaged. 

And that‘s exciting for everybody except that Jennifer Aniston‘s rep says it‘s not true what whatsoever.  But what does she know?  When “Us Weekly” speaks, Tucker, as you know, we listen, don‘t we? 

CARLSON:  Is “Us Weekly” ever wrong, Willie? 

GEIST:  Not in recorded history.  Maybe before then.  But no, they‘re never wrong.  And there‘s also news, another celebrity couple, TomKat, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, they apparently had that infant daughter Suri who‘s a lot like a UFO.  People claim to have seen her, but there‘s no evidence that she really exists. 

Today, the “New York Post” says there are pictures, in fact, of this baby that have been sold to “Vanity Fair” magazine.  They say Annie Leibowitz took the shots, and they‘ll be published this fall.  But, Tucker, there was also footage, as you know, of the moon landing, which was of course shot on a sound stage in Burbank.  So photographic evidence means nothing to me. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I know exactly—I know exactly.  How do we know it‘s their baby?  All babies kind of look the same.

GEIST:  Of course.  I want a DNA test.  I want to see the baby in the flesh.

CARLSON:  If there is, then we‘ll bring it to you on this program. 

Willie Geist!

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Willie.

That‘s it for us.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  See you tomorrow.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

Transcripts

Watch Tucker each weeknight at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,