updated 9/12/2007 11:09:55 AM ET 2007-09-12T15:09:55

Guests: George Pataki, Jim Moran, A.B. Stoddard

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST:  Welcome to the show.  It‘s the sixth anniversary of a pivotal day in American history.  September 11 is a Tuesday for the first time since that infamous day in 2001.  The somber remembrance in New York and Washington was for the first time marked by rain.  We will talk to George Pataki, New York‘s governor in 9/11/2001 in just a minute.

And this September also new tape from Osama bin Laden.  Later in the show we will assess America‘s war on terror and bring you an exclusive report from NBC‘s Lisa Myers on the re-emergence of the Taliban.  Back in business near Kabul, Afghanistan.

And the 9/11 anniversary coincided today with the grilling of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on Capitol Hill.  They came before two Senate committees and a report by the Associated Press about the future of the war.  According to the AP, President Bush will announce this week his plan to draw down 30,000 troops by next summer, thereby ending the so-called surge in Iraq.  That move would reflect Petraeus‘ testimony before Congress which was met with more edge from senators than it was yesterday from congressman.  Here‘s a brief sample of what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL, (D) NE:  Are we going to continue to invest American blood and treasure at the same rate we‘re doing now?  For what?  The president said, let‘s buy time.  Buy time for what?  Every report I have seen, and I assume both of you agree with this, there‘s been very little if any, political process that is the ultimate core issue, political reconciliation in Iraq.

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD, (D) WI:  Our attention and resources have been focused on Iraq.  Al Qaeda has protected its save haven in Pakistan and increased cooperation with regional terrorists.  So the question we must answer is not whether we are winning or losing in Iraq, but whether Iraq is helping or hurting our efforts to defeat al Qaeda.  That is the lesson of 9/11.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Senators Hagel and Feingold, a Republican and Democrat.  Anti-war Congressman Jim Moran will join us in a moment.  But we begin this hour, the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Ceremonies marked those horrible event six years ago that shattered our sense of invulnerability forever and shifted the course of U.S. foreign policy towards its current state.

Among those who participate in this morning‘s memorial in New York is George Pataki, he was the governor of New York on 9/11/2001.  Former Governor Pataki joins us now.  Governor, thanks for coming on.

GEORGE PATAKI, FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR:  Thank you, Tucker.  Nice being on with you.

CARLSON:  You‘ve had a long time to think about this.  I know that you have.  If you could boil down 9/11 to a single lesson for America, what would it be?

PATAKI:  It‘s that we have to understand the freedoms we take for granted are freedoms that others detest and have attacked us to try to take from us and will attack again.  September 11 did not happen in a vacuum.  The World Trade Center was bombed eight years before.  Our barracks had been bombed, the embassies in East Africa, the USS Cole, and we didn‘t think the threat seriously.  Now we have to understand that al Qaeda is out there.  They have attacked us before and they want to do it again.

CARLSON:  Six years ago today I assume you, like almost everybody I know assumed, that we would be hit again and probably sooner rather than later.  We haven‘t been.  Why is that?

PATAKI:  I think in part because we have dramatically improved our ability to go after those that attacked us in the past.  I was listening to some of your commentary about General Petraeus‘ appearing before the Senate today.  In my mind, we are far better off fighting al Qaeda and its affiliates and its jihadists in places like Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of New York.  I know it‘s a difficult time and a difficult challenge but we can‘t retreat, we can‘t give those Islamic radicals who want to attack us again a victory or safe havens to regroup and reclaim their ability to attack further.

CARLSON:  So you think if we hadn‘t invaded Iraq in 2003, chances we would have been hit by now would have been higher?

PATAKI:  What I‘m saying is right now al Qaeda has made Iraq one of its front lines in the war against freedom and the war against the United States and the West.  And we took away their training camps and bases and safe havens in Afghanistan.  We can‘t let them re-create those in Iraq.  I understand the criticism of the political process in Iraq and I agree with that.  You are seeing a central government in Baghdad that truly has not indicated a will to engage in national reconciliation.

But that‘s not to say we should not continue to fight al Qaeda wherever it might be and right now a significant part of that fight is in Iraq.

CARLSON:  Do you think we understand why they attacked us, why these 19 men killed themselves in order to kill us?  Do we understand the ideology behind it?  I don‘t think I do.

PATAKI:  Tucker, I don‘t think we will ever understand it.  How somebody can detest freedom, tolerance, the ability to worship as we see fit, that they are willing to give up their lives to take thousands of innocent lives.  It is just incomprehensible to those of us who live in a rational world.  But we can‘t try to explain it or necessarily understand it.  We have to defeat it.  So far, six years, we have not been attacked against.  It‘s a difficult, difficult struggle and it‘s not a short struggle and it‘s not just Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have to be aggressive in all parts of the globe and bring more people who appreciate our freedom behind us in that global struggle but it‘s one we must win and we will win.

CARLSON:  If you look at the polls on 9/11, and I‘m sure you have, you discover quickly a lot of people, huge numbers of people believe or suspect that it was a conspiracy undertaken by the government or some foreign government.  That what you saw on television is not really what happened.  Why do you think so many Americans think that?

PATAKI:  I think that‘s just absurd.

CARLSON:  It is absurd.

PATAKI:  Anyone who looks at this rationally understands we were attacked.  And as I said, it wasn‘t the first time.  And they have not only attacked us, they have taken responsibility and said they want to do it again.  So you just have to ignore those who just refuse to see the truth, understand the truth and try to put together a bipartisan coalition.

Tucker, to me, if there‘s one disappointment on September 11, six years later, back in 2001, when I walked the streets of Lower Manhattan, I had never seen Americans as united.  There were no Republicans or Democrats or black or white or young or old or rich or poor.  We were all Americans.  And we had been attacked.  Now you look at Washington and instead of trying to solve problems and defend our country, it‘s more pointing fingers and casting blame.  We have got to get beyond that.

CARLSON:  But if a lot of Americans with college degrees, educated, relatively successful people, not, you know, the schizophrenic homeless but people you would know, believed the government was behind 9/11 and a lot of them do, for real, and the numbers show it, what does that say about the country?  I mean, that‘s a big problem, isn‘t it?

PATAKI:  We just have to continue to talk about what is true and what is obvious.  And it is simply a question of opening your ears and believing your own eyes.  And that may well be part of the reason before September 11, 2001, we didn‘t react.  But it‘s part of leadership, it‘s part of communicating the reality of the situation we are in and then getting the American people behind us.  I think that‘s the most important thing here, Tucker.  We have got to in Washington stop finger pointing and blame casting and try to solve problems.  I believe that‘s what General Petraeus is trying to do.  I believe that‘s what Ambassador Crocker is trying to do.  And I would hope these absurd like moveon.org partisan attacks on General Petraeus are rejected.

Whether or not you support the effort in Iraq and people come together on a consensus that can protect our freedom.

CARLSON:  All right, former Governor George Pataki of New York. 

Thanks a lot, governor.  I appreciate it.

PATAKI:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Later this hour, Rudy Giuliani shared a platform with New York fireman at Ground Zero at a ceremony.  He became America‘s mayor after those terror attacks.  Will that help him become America‘s next president?

But up next, General David Petraeus recommends that 30,000 troops be pulled form Iraq by next summer.  President Bush apparently was listening.  He plans to make that same announcement later this week.  What do the Democrats have to say to that?  We‘ll ask Congressman Jim Moran coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  In the midst of General David Petraeus‘ testimony before two Senate committees today, the Associated Press reported that President Bush would announce this week his plan to withdraw approximately 30,000 troops from Iraq by next summer.  If the report is accurate, and we are getting reports now that the president has requested air time this Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern from the networks this, then this plan does certainly jibe with General Petraeus‘ report to Congress.

In essence, then, next summer would mark the end of the so-called surge but a force of 130,000 Americans would remain on the ground in Iraq.  Here to discuss Petraeus‘ testimony and this afternoon‘s report of an impending troop withdrawal, we welcome Democratic congressman from Virginia and member of the Out of Iraq Caucus, Congressman Jim Moran.  Congressman, thanks for coming on.

REP. JIM MORAN, (D) VA:  You bet, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Are you pleased by the president‘s plan to begin withdrawing troops?  Isn‘t this what you wanted?

MORAN:  What‘s to be pleased with?  It means we are back to where we started in January 2007.  How is that progress?

CARLSON:  It is not moving in the right direction?  The president is being troops home.  I thought that‘s what you want.

MORAN:  It‘s not moving in any direction.  It‘s not moving in any direction.  The surge has failed because the purpose of it was to provide breathing space for political reconciliation to take place.  That hasn‘t happened.  If I was to plow a field and plant seeds but you have a drought or whatever and I never got any crops, well, that‘s a failure.  It doesn‘t matter how good a job I did in plowing the field.  We never questioned that the military can‘t do their job, the Democrats fund the military at an even higher than the Republicans, that was never an issue.

Of course the military is going to do their jobs.  The administration hasn‘t.

CARLSON:  What if we agreed that initial goal was ludicrous, that the Iraqis are not capable of governing themselves now in a democratic fashion and what we are really going for is some kind of stability in Iraq on the one hand and keeping Iran at bay on the other?  Let‘s say those are the goals, those are the adult goals?  By those definitions, the surge has worked, hasn‘t it?  That‘s Petraeus‘ point.  Do you believe him?

MORAN:  To the contrary.  Stability at what cost?  As you know, Tucker, I just came back from Baghdad and I was stunned.  The last time ways at Baghdad, the Sunnis represented about 60 to 65 percent of the population because they were the middle class, they were running the government.

Today it‘s over 75 percent Shia.  So at what cost?  What we have done is to enable a Shia theocracy to take hold in Iraq.  They will be oppressive of women‘s rights, oppressive human rights, and directly align with Iran?  How is that worthy of our efforts and the sacrifice of the military?  It‘s stability at what cost?  We will be left with a country that we can‘t possibly be proud of.

CARLSON:  OK.  In my view, that was inevitable from day one.  We will never be proud of what Iraq becomes.  That why this democracy stuff was nonsense backed by a lot of Democrats, by the way, from day one.  However, what do you make of General Petraeus‘ point that Iran is right now fighting a proxy war in Iraq?  We are basically fighting Iran right now.  What does that mean for your suggestion that we leave immediately?  That is a victory for Iran, isn‘t it?

MORAN:  A far more serious concern is that we have empowered the Iranians.

CARLSON:  Wouldn‘t be empower them more if we left?  That‘s the point.

MORAN:  I don‘t know how we could empower them much more.  The guy we put in charge, Maliki, comes from the Dawa sect.  They were semi-terrorist Islamic secret society that was headquartered in Iran.  The SCIRI, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq was formed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and they are the moderates and they are fighting the Mahdi and Badr Army are fighting among themselves because they forced so many people out of their neighborhoods.

The Sunnis have fled the country.  In fact, Baghdad, which was 6.5 million people, if it is now 75 percent Shia, imagine the number of Sunni that‘s have left there.  That‘s why you have more than 1 million Sunnis in Iraq.  I don‘t think you will have any balance there.

CARLSON:  I mean let‘s be honest ..

MORAN:  You can go over to Moran and you will understand why that‘s such a concern.

CARLSON:  I do understand it.  And I watched it, I was there.  The smart Sunnis got out early.  They understood when Saddam fell, they were in trouble, obviously.  But I wonder what you make of Petraeus?  Do you believe General Petraeus‘ statement that Iraqi security forces are not ready to stand on their own?  Is he telling the truth?

MORAN:  I‘m sure that‘s so.

CARLSON:  If so, what happen when‘s we leave?  Who is in charge of the country at that point?

MORAN:  Some of them you don‘t want to stand on their own.  You have the Iraqi police 85 percent Shia, and most are militia during their off hours.  Those are not someone you want to give complete power to .

CARLSON:  You‘re still dodging the question.  The question is, who is going to keep order in Iraq if we leave and the security forces aren‘t capable?

MORAN:  I think there is going to be a civil war but the fact is, the Sunnis have already been driven out of the most critical areas.  The Shia are not going to go after the Sunnis and in Anbar Province, there are no natural resources in Anbar Province.  It‘s overwhelmingly Sunni.  And that‘s the place where they‘re going to be able to regroup.

I don‘t think the Shia will chase them into Anbar.  The Shia wanted to take over Baghdad and that‘s what they accomplished.  They now have more than two thirds of the country under control thanks to us and Kurds, of course, are going to be left alone in the north.  They prohibit the Iraqi national flag from being flown there.  So I don‘t think there‘s a whole lot more regrouping to be achieved.  As we speak, the Shia militias in combination with the police are in fact driving out the Sunni families.

CARLSON:  You could have guessed that from day one.  The second we agreed to representative government, democracy was the goal in Iraq you basically you will get government by the majority raining tyranny on the minority.

MORAN:  It‘s more than that because they had no history of civil society.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  Of course not.

MORAN:  And from generations from the Ottomans through the British to Saddam, they relied on the Sunni minority because they were better educated and more secular and less tied to Iran.

CARLSON:  On that we agree.  I totally agree.

MORAN:  But we should have known that history and we ignored that history.  And now it‘s a quagmire with no good choices over there.

CARLSON:  Hillary Clinton also, all of the Democrats who are into nation building ought to account for that, too.  Congressman, thanks for coming on.  We are out of time, sadly, but I appreciate it.

MORAN:  Good to be with you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Coming up, Bill Clinton helped rake in millions to send the children of 9/11 victims to college.  But now that money is sitting in the bank.  Will 9/11 victims work overtime to get their kids a decent education?  What is going on with the fund?

And still ahead—they all want to be el presidente.  Which one of these Democratic candidates would make English the second national language of the United States.  We will tell you.  Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have been answering questions about security in Iraq for two days now.  But so far there are few signs they have swayed lawmakers who didn‘t already agree with them.  Petraeus did say, however, he wants to get the U.S. force back to pre-surge levels by next summer and it appears that President Bush agrees with that plan.  Democrats say that‘s not enough.  Here to discuss what happens next, associate editor of “The Hill” A.B. Stoddard and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.

Pat, I vacillate between thinking that the president won an important political victory here.  You get the Petraeus up there making a pretty sturdy case.  How can Democrats, how can they attack Petraeus?  To thinking actually it‘s had no effect at all.  What‘s the truth?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  The truth is Democrats are frustrated and impotent.  They really don‘t have the courage to defund the war, which was the only way they could stop it.  They can‘t impose the deadlines and they are going to have to live with the Bush/Petraeus policy and Bush has won the battle.  They are exactly right when they say we are going to wind up in 2008 with the same number of troops we had in there in 2006 when the Democratic Congress was elected and there‘s nothing they can do about it and that‘s why they have got this - that‘s why they are angry and frustrated in their rhetoric.

CARLSON:  They are angry and frustrated.  Here‘s Senator Barbara Boxer of California, A.B. who I just love putting on TV.  Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARBARA BOXER, (D) CA:  Now, this is the president who said “Mission Accomplished” and thousands of our own died.  Then he said “Bring It On” and more and more died.  And just the other day he was quoted in the Australian press saying we are kicking A-S-S in Iraq.  And since then, six days, we lost 28 solders in six days since this president said that.  Who wants to keep this course?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Yeah, but what is she going to do about it is the question,

A.B.?

A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”:  It‘s really—Pat‘s right.  They have lost this round.  I don‘t think it will be great for Republicans in six months.  I think depending on what happens on the ground in Iraq, it could be once again a very hard position to be the surge and to defend 130,000 troops staying there.  However, for now, the Democrats are in a real bind.  There‘s absolutely nothing they can do.  George Will said the surge failed. 

He questions what our mission in Iraq is.

It does not matter what assessment you get on the situation on the ground in Iraq, the breathing space the surge was supposed to provide did not accomplish anything politically.  And the Democrats can keep talking about that all they want.  They don‘t have the votes to move the debate.  They have to modify their goals now.

They have to turn to the Republican, the ball is absolutely off the battlefield in Iraq and in the court of the Republicans and they have to go to those Republicans and start talking about the rest of these options, transition of mission, some kind of redeployment, forcing the administration to prepare for withdrawal, whatever it is, they have got to lower the bar.

CARLSON:  Why doesn‘t administration just give up on this democracy nonsense, concede that the people running the government are a bunch of incompetents and say security, protecting the United States‘ interest, that‘s our new mission?

BUCHANAN:  I think by and large they have.  The impressive rhetoric from the president is, one of them was nuclear holocaust at the American Legion.  That‘s a real danger.  Devastating consequences from Petraeus.  What they are all saying, OK, maybe it was a lousy idea.  Maybe the situation was terrible but if we pull out, it is going to be horrible and a lot worse and the Democrats can‘t say anything else.  Tucker, there‘s one thing there could be a deus ex machina in here to break up the progress we see going to 2008 and that is some kind of collapse of that government or something like that happening on the ground there where everybody says wait a minute, now it really has failed.  And now we have to turn it around.  Other than that, we are on that steady course for 130,000, 125,000 troops in Iraq January 20, 2009.

CARLSON:  A.B., here‘s the now famous moveon.org about General Petraeus that was the subject of a lot of yelling and screaming yesterday.  This ran in “The New York Times.”  I can read it but essentially, it accuses General Petraeus of lying to the public on behalf of the Bush administration.  “General Petraeus, is a military man constantly at war with the facts.  In 2004, before the election, he said there was ‘tangible progress in Iraq‘ and that ‘Iraqi leaders are stepping forward.‘  Last week the architect of the escalation of troops in Iraq said ‘We have achieved progress, we‘re obviously going to build on that progress.‘”  Etc. etc.

The bottom line, “General Petraeus is likely to become General Betrayus.”  Are Democrats defending this?  Republicans just jumped all over them for it.  Is anybody standing up saying this is accurate?

STODDARD:  They are wiggling around uncomfortably and they don‘t really know what to say.  Bill Burton, who is a spokesman for Barack Obama, said today we are not questioning his patriotism so much as his logic.  This is very awkward for them, this MoveOn ad.

CARLSON:  Why attack the competence .

STODDARD:  The Republicans are also releasing today, all of the comments these Democrats made in January of this year when he was confirmed about how wonderful he is.

BUCHANAN:  It was stupid and damaging and destructive for the Democratic Party because it attracts attention not to General Petraeus but to moveon.org and their ethics and standards and morality in accusing the general of being a liar and maybe a traitor.  And that is an absurdly stupid thing to do politically.  I can see John Kerry saying on moveon.org, they have some good ideas.  But this is outrageous.

CARLSON:  They didn‘t need to do this.  And keep in mind that moveon.org is pretty moderate by the standards of a lot of anti-war groups.  I mean, knowing what‘s out there.  They are not Code Pink.

BUCHANAN:  Code Pink made an appearance, too, didn‘t it?

CARLSON:  If Code Pink stood up at your house, you would run out of the backdoor and not stop running until you were in the next county.  That is a scary group of women.

BUCHANAN:  Turn the rottweiler loose.

CARLSON:  Unbelievable.

All right, we will be right back.  Coming up 48 percent of the public says 9/11 doesn‘t make Rudy Giuliani any more qualified than the next guy to tackle terrorism.  In fact, some say his failures six years ago proves he‘s not qualified to take on the tough issue.  Surprised?

Later, we‘ll bring you an NBC News exclusive.  A look inside a Taliban training facility.  It‘s a bomb making factory where recruits learn step by step how to kill Americans.  That‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CARLSON:  Six years ago, as administration officials raced to secure locations, to assess damage, and plot America‘s response to that morning‘s terror attacks, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani took to the streets of lower Manhattan, gathering information, advising New Yorkers and cementing his role as a national figure to many Americans.  Giuliani was a leader to this country on 9/11.  And to many primary voters, he still is, as he leads most national polls for the Republican presidential nomination. 

But in a weekend poll by Gallup and “USA Today,” respondents were split almost evenly on Giuliani‘s bona fides as a leader against terrorism;

51 percent of those polled believe he is somewhat or much better qualified to handle terrorism as a result of his experiences on 9/11.  But 48 percent believe he‘s no better qualified for that role than he was before 9/11. 

Here to discuss that and the rest of the political news, associate editor of “The Hill,” A.B. Stoddard and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.  The Giuliani campaign today took down its website, and put up, apparently, just a static image, blank screen, saying essentially, remember the victims of 9/11.  This is a tricky day for Giuliani, since this is the core of his appeal, his response to 9/11.  How does he handle it?   

STODDARD:  I think tricky is a good word.  I don‘t think it‘s fair to say he can‘t go to the ceremony and read.  I really don‘t.  He was there.  As we in the thick of it.  It was a huge challenge that he met.  I think it is now—when he was introduced to the country as a candidate, 9/11 was an asset, because it defined him.  People only knew him because of that. 

Now the spotlight has been harsh and I believe it‘s neither an asset -

it‘s as much a liability as an asset.  I don‘t think it‘s so much going to help him.  It could hurt him more than it helps him.  There‘s such a focus on his boastful comments about the hazardous area he was exposed to, just like all the rescue workers. 

I think for Giuliani—I watched in the debate last week—I think he has a very good—he sort of handles this very well now.  He said, I‘m not running on my response to 9/11.  And he always talks about executive experience, being you have run a city, a state or a business. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

STODDARD:  I think it‘s really a wash.  I think it‘s a tricky day for him, but I think he had a right to be there. 

CARLSON:  Of course he had a right to be there.  The irony is, so much attention is paid to Giuliani‘s exploitation of 9/11, when, in my view, he really did lead that city capably, admirably after 9/11.  So little attention is paid to the many ideological and maybe moral compromises he made as mayor. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, he did a terrific job on 9/11.  I remember watching him all day long.  He was there constantly.  He was going to those funerals.  He showed leadership.  If it were not for 9/11, Rudy Giuliani would be a liberal Republican with a good record on crime in New York City.  He was “Time Magazine‘s” Man of The Year.  It‘s indelible in the minds of the American people; he‘s Mr. 9/11.  And I think he‘s got a right to run on it any way he wants. 

He has got problem with the firemen and cops up there in some cases.  But I think he has a right to do it.  You notice, in those debates, what does he bring up?  He brings up New York City, what I did there, I did here.  Hits my record on welfare, abortion, all these other things.  They were down, these were down.  I believe in getting things done. 

CARLSON:  Adoptions were up.  If Rudy Giuliani can explain how he personally is responsible for a rise in adoptions—I mean, you would have to have supernatural powers to be—they all claim that.   

BUCHANAN:  -- numbers and take credit for it.  

CARLSON:  George W. Bush made the same claim when he was running as Governor of Texas, that somehow he was responsible for that.  It was absurd then as it is absurd now.  Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, in the aftermath of 9/11, started a fund to educate the children of the victims of that day.  They raised 125 million dollars and counting, I think.  Now it turns out that fund has, according to the “New York Post,” given out only 19 million dollars, out of 125, in the past six years. 

Its executive director gets paid a quarter million dollars plus benefits.  At what point does the Justice Department step in and say that‘s outrageous? 

STODDARD:  I don‘t know.  I would like to see you and Bill Clinton agreeing on things.  

CARLSON:  Let me say, you‘re right.  To be fair, Bill Clinton, his office, was today saying he was outraged. 

STODDARD:  And it really is—this is always so depressing.  Every time you read about these memorial funds with people robbing people of what they deserve, it‘s disgusting. 

BUCHANAN:  The American people are the most charitable people on Earth.  They give all the time.  All of us have given to charities and get back form letters and stuff.  And you find out 99.7 percent went for operations, direct mail and all of the rest of it.  A tiny bit of it went to the cause.  There‘s a tremendous amount of racketeering in there, Tucker. 

I believe that basically, it‘s probably a job for local DAs and people like that.  But this was a national fund-raising effort.  When you‘re talking about 125 million bucks -- 

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year to run that.  That‘s just disgusting.  Speaking of disgusting, the Univision debate, Democrats gathered—I‘m not saying the debate was disgusting.  I‘m saying the response to this question is really troubling.  The question is, is Hugo Chavez a dictator?  Would you break relations with him?  John Edwards, the U.S. unfortunately helps feed that oil-dependent country.  If instead America was a force for good in Latin America, making education available to children, helping to stop the spread of disease, simple things like sanitation, it would pull the rug out from under a man like Hugo Chavez. 

In other words, it‘s our fault. 

BUCHANAN:  That‘s what I remember Dean Russ saying a long time ago.  He said there is a certain group of Americans who any time anything goes wrong anywhere in the world, it is the fault of the United States of America.  Blame America first.  Jeane Kirkpatrick, that‘s what that is all about.  We are not responsible for Hugo Chavez. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know, Mike Gravel says that, quote, I would reach out to him.  Do we forget that on a weekend, our CIA tried to depose him?  Of course.  Is he an enemy?  No, he‘s not an enemy.  We created him as an enemy.  We are helping to do the same thing with Iran.  Most Democrats don‘t agree with this, I‘m certain.  But there is a radical crazy fringe—

(CROSS TALK)

CARLSON:  I‘m not claiming he‘s a main stream Democrat.  But this is a pretty common impulse that whatever it is in Iraq—we have made a lot of mistakes in Iraq.  We are responsible for those mistakes.  However, the Islamists don‘t hate us because we are bad.  They hate us because they are bad.  Why don‘t they ever say that?

BUCHANAN:  They hate us because we are over there in their neck of the woods and we are the greatest power on Earth and they would like us out of there.  I think that‘s why—I saw that interview you had with Pataki.  That‘s what I disagree with.  He said they hate us.  We have freedom of religion, freedom.  Why did they hate the Russian then when they drove them out of Afghanistan? 

They want us out of their neck of the words.  That‘s the Dar al Islam. 

That is their territory.  We‘re western infidels, get out of our country.  That‘s why they are killing us over there, Tucker.  And I think that‘s why predominantly they‘re coming to kill us over here. 

CARLSON:  I think there‘s a lot of truth to what you‘re saying.  However, there‘s a moral distinction between us and them that gets blurred in all of this.  If we say every dictator around the world is inspired to bad deeds because of our deeds—do you know what I mean?  then that makes us—

STODDARD:  But that‘s not everyone Democrat.  I don‘t think you can make a sweeping generalization. 

CARLSON:  How about, let me make another sweeping generalization. 

STODDARD:  OK.   

CARLSON:  Would you promote Spanish as the second national language? 

That‘s the question.  Kucinich, yes.  Bill Richardson, disappointed not allowed to speak Spanish during this debate.  It‘s almost an English-only scenario.  Is it so difficult politically, A.B., without asking you to reveal your personal opinions about this or anything else—Why can‘t you just say English is our language and it ought it to be the language of the country. 

STODDARD:  That‘s what they said.  I do think that it was a little strange that Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson were not allowed to debate in Spanish.  I do. 

BUCHANAN:  Univision has a vested economic interest in not having people learn English.  If they learn English, you have one language.  What‘s Univision going to do?  What are all those Spanish newspapers going to do?  They will go out of business.  They have to have that, Tucker.  They have to have two languages.  That‘s why they are growing. 

CARLSON:  That‘s not a bad point. 

STODDARD:  Generally, none of them stood up and said that they supported that.  They are for tough borders and English as our national language. 

CARLSON:  Not as our official language.  Harry Reid said on the floor of the Senate that it was racist to suggest that English ought to be our national language, ought to be the official language of the country. 

STODDARD:  He‘s not running for president. 

CARLSON:  He‘s not, but he does lead the Democrats in the Senate.  You wonder, --

STODDARD:  Harry Reid, once again, you can‘t—

BUCHANAN:  Fifty percent of the kids going into schools in the Las Vegas County, Clark County, Hispanic kids.  That‘s one of the fastest growing Hispanic areas in the United States. 

CARLSON:  I like the language.  I like the people.  I just think two

languages are bad for a country?  That‘s it.  Hillary Clinton returning not

just Mr. Hsu‘s donation, the fugitive financier—god I love that phrase -

who was apprehended on a train Colorado recently.

STODDARD:  Half naked in a fetal ball. 

CARLSON:  Half naked, that‘s exactly right. 

BUCHANAN:  I would be in the same position. 

CARLSON:  I would too.  But also returning the almost million dollars that he bundled and now saying that all bundlers, that is fund-raisers who get other fund-raisers and gather then together, and bundle the money, will all undergo criminal background checks. 

STODDARD:  Wouldn‘t you, if you were her? 

CARLSON:  Where is the Hillary Clinton campaign going to get access to the NCIC? 

STODDARD:  I don‘t know.  But it‘s not surprising to me that she‘s over reaching in her reaction.  I really got it from Media Matters far saying on this show that this is the kind of thing that could take her down, because it‘s the kind of stench that she needs to shed.  It reminds people of the past and of John Chung. 

CARLSON:  Let me just make one point, really quickly.  Media Matters is essentially an organ of the Hillary Clinton campaign, run by a thoroughly disreputable, proven liar, David Brock, who—there is nothing legitimate about that group. 

STODDARD:  I will remain silent about his. 

(CROSS TALK)

STODDARD:  I‘m not surprised that they have gone into—what did Howard Wolfson say?  We are going to show an abundance of caution, or something like that, in his statement.  They are going to bend over backwards to shed this story.  I think it‘s smart.  They are very disciplined.

CARLSON:  I‘m kind of on Hillary‘s side here, I have to say, for once.  I don‘t know—I don‘t think you‘re—I think they did a lot of sleazy things in the fund raising world when her husband was in office.  But if one of your fund-raisers has a criminal record --  

STODDARD:  Barack Obama had the same money that he had to return from Hsu.  The problem is she doesn‘t want to remind anybody of the past. 

(CROSS TALK)

BUCHANAN:  You‘re getting dangerously close to my price there, Tucker. 

Is it 45?  OK. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  People with criminal records ought to be able to give money to political campaigns?  I personally think—I will defend Hillary for the first and only time.  I think we‘re over regulated in that way.  Even criminals have political views that they ought to be able to express by their donations.  That‘s my view.  I‘m serious!

BUCHANAN:  This is racial profiling. 

CARLSON:  It is?  I don‘t no.  I‘m standing up for the too unpopular. 

Thank you very much.  Let‘s stop before I say something truly stupid. 

It‘s been six years since the U.S. went after the Taliban in Afghanistan.  For a while it looked like we were winning.  But now the Taliban is back and growing and still taking aim at Americans.  Coming up, NBC‘s Lisa Myers with an exclusive look inside that terror organization.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  When the American military ousted the Taliban from power, a lot of people expected Afghanistan to experience safety and security for the first time in a very long time.  But things didn‘t turn out that way.  Today, six years after 9/11, Taliban fighters are back and possibly as dangerous as ever. 

In an exclusive videotape obtained by NBC News, Taliban fighters are seen at a secret underground training camp not far from Kabul, teaching recruits how to build powerful bombs to kill Americans.  All of this right under the noses of Afghan and NATO forces.  Experts say it highlights the growing sophistication and strength of the Taliban. 

NBC News‘ senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers has the story. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA MYERS, NBC NEWS SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 

Taliban recruits, who claim to range in age from 15 to 38, get a lesson in bomb making.  How to turn TNT, plastic explosives, or old shells from rocket propelled grenades into powerful land mines and remote controlled bombs. 

“Make sure to place the detonator downward,” the instructor says, “to cause a huge explosion and kill more of the enemy.” 

LT COL RICK FRANCONA (RET), NBC NEWS TERROR ANALYST:  I was impressed by the sophistication of the Improvised Explosive Devices they were building. 

MYERS:  Former U.S. military intelligence officer Rick Francona, now an NBC News analyst, says he‘s especially troubled by the location of the safe house, about 25 miles north of Kabul. 

FRANCONA:  The fact that they are able to build and maintain an underground training facility well within the control are of the Afghan government indicates the fragility and the tenuous nature of the control exercised by the government. 

MYERS:  The video was shot by freelance Italian journalist Claudio Franco (ph), who spent two years setting up what turned out to be a harrowing encounter with the Taliban.  He allowed a masked fighter to seal his eyes shut with tape, so he couldn‘t pinpoint the location of the safe house. 

CLAUDIO FRANCO, ITALIAN JOURNALIST:  Obviously, not being able to see is not pleasant ever.  But in that sort of occasion, that sort of circumstance, it‘s worse.  It was slightly terrifying. 

MYERS:  To get to the safe house, he was forced to crawl, blindfolded, through two tunnels to meet a Taliban commander and his fighters. 

FRANCO:  It‘s not the first time I meet Taliban units, and I must say I never met fighters who were so disciplined, so serious and so well trained They were incredibly professional for Afghan standards.

MYERS:  How many of them were willing to die on suicide operations?  This man says his father fought jihad against the Russians and he‘s now willing to sacrifice to expel the Americans from his country.  Their commander claims to have 300 fighters.  He says he prefers mines and explosives that don‘t sacrifice his men, but orders suicide bombings when necessary. 

He says suicide bombings tell the world we are not afraid of death and sacrificing one Jihadist can take the lives of 20 Americans.  That may not all be bravado.  The United Nations just reported that suicide bombings are higher than ever in Afghanistan. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  That was NBC News‘ senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers. 

Coming up, the state of al Qaeda.  Osama bin Laden issues a new message on the anniversary of 9/11.  It‘s the second one in less than a week.  Should we be worried?  You‘re watching MSNBC. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  We just got an exclusive look inside the Taliban six years post 9/11.  The Bush administration says the United States is making progress against the Taliban and against al Qaeda in Afghanistan.  But violence appears to be on the rise there, the highest level since 2001.  What is the state of al Qaeda now six years later? 

Joining me NBC News terrorism analyst, founder of GlobalTerrorAlert.com, Evan Kohlmann.  Evan, welcome.

EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  That is the general, maybe most important question I could ask; what is the state of al Qaeda?  Stronger, weaker? 

KOHLMANN:  It‘s definitely stronger.  I don‘t think there‘s any doubt about it.  It‘s become more diversified.  You know, Bin Laden for a long time thought he could centralize this organization, making it very hierarchical, make it like an ordinary terrorist group.  I think what he never understood and what eventually became clear to him and others is that the secret to al Qaeda‘s success is the fact that it‘s decentralized, the fact it‘s become like an ideology now. 

It‘s not just an organization.  People can study this, can become al Qaeda on their own, by just looking at videos, by studying bomb making manuals, people that have never been to Pakistan or Afghanistan or Iraq.  Not to mention the fact that al Qaeda now has active franchise organizations inside Saudi Arabia, inside Iraq, inside Pakistan, inside many other countries in which it previously had little or no official presence. 

So, yes, certainly bin Laden has a little bit less power than he did on 9/11.  He suffered consequences as a result of 9/11.  Many of his aides and supporters and henchmen have been killed.  But they have been replaced.  Now you have an organization which is able to continue on long after the death of bin Laden. 

Claudio Franco, who you saw in the last segment with Lisa Myers, he‘s a colleague of mine.  And I can tell you from looking at the video he turns up, it‘s incredible that a private citizen working for a non-profit foundation can go inside of Afghanistan and free will videotape people making bombs.  It‘s incredible. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  And it takes major quevos.  He is obviously a pretty brave guy to do something like that.  He sure seems to it.  Should we be obsessed, as I am, with killing Osama bin Laden?  Does it matter beyond the symbolic victory it would provide? 

KOHLMANN:  I wish there was some kind of long term victory for that.  But unfortunately—look at Abu Musab al Zarqawi in Iraq.  I think that is the best analogy.  Zarqawi was someone without equal, in terms of terrorist commanders, especially in Iraq.  He managed to achieve what nobody else thought possible.  When Zarqawi was killed, what was the impact?  Did al Qaeda go away?  Did al Qaeda in Iraq disappear?  No, far from it.  Al Qaeda in Iraq expanded.  In fact, it declared the foundation of an Islamic state in Iraq. 

If you use that as your guide, it would certainly seem that the death of bin Laden is not going to change anything.  This is, again, not World War II.  This is not Adolph Hitler.  There are other people that are behind this movement besides bin Laden himself, and they will continue on the struggle, no matter what the cost. 

CARLSON:  You have in the six years since 9/11 -- I take it you‘re probably one of the relatively few people who thinks through why it is they hate us, what their ideology actually consists of.  Do you feel like you understand what motivated the 19 hijackers?  What is it? 

KOHLMANN:  It‘s not one thing.  I think that‘s important to emphasize.  The hijackers were all from different places, had different backgrounds, had different reasons that they were doing this.  Some of these guys had personal reasons.  Others had political reasons.  Others had religious reasons. 

It‘s the same thing with al Qaeda and with homegrown terrorism, for that matter.  Everyone has a different reason.  But I think we have to be honest with ourselves, part of that is U.S. foreign policy.  Certainly part of that is U.S. presence in Iraq.  And we have to be very careful that we balance our military action in the Muslim world—and some of them are necessary.  There‘s no doubt about that.  The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, absolutely necessary. 

But we have to balance that with an understanding that every time we put our military into the Muslim world, we tend to antagonize people.  And rightfully or wrongfully, those people then try to strike back at us.  And it‘s just basic logic and we have to understand that. 

CARLSON:  So if—give me your 45-second analysis of what exactly these two Osama bin Laden tapes mean.  What is he trying to tell us?  What‘s the point. 

KOHLMANN:  Proof of life.  It‘s three words.  It‘s that simple.  There is nothing in this video that bin Laden has not said before.  There‘s nothing in this 9/11 hijacker video that came out before that today that we have not seen before.  We even knew that this video existed as early—as far back as 9/11 itself. 

The only thing that these videos do is reassure those that number one, that support al Qaeda, that al Qaeda is still active and functioning.  And number two, it‘s a message to those of us in the West, saying, look, you may think bin Laden is dead.  You may think that al Qaeda is a myth.  But that‘s just in your head, because as far as we‘re concerned, we‘re still on his path.  And as far as we are concerned, the priority is still catastrophic terrorist operations that caused irreparable harm to the United States.  And that‘s why there‘s such a focus on 9/11. 

CARLSON:  Infuriating.  Evan Kohlmann, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it. 

That does it for us.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, HARDBALL with Chris.  We are back tomorrow.  Have a great night.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 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.

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