updated 3/22/2011 12:19:01 PM ET 2011-03-22T16:19:01

Guests: Roger Cressey, Joe Sestak, Tom Malinowski, Laura Flanders

           

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

This is what‘s on the table tonight:

The president‘s decision to use military force in Libya prompts outrage from both sides of the aisle in Congress.  Dennis Kucinich calls it an impeachable offense.  He‘ll join me later in the show.

The right wing is picking up Moammar Gadhafi‘s lies about al Qaeda in Libya.  Tonight, we‘ll correct the record.

And Donald Trump claims he screwed Gadhafi over a piece of land in a deal.  It turns out Trump isn‘t telling us the whole truth.

And my commentary on this off the top—tonight, this country is in its third conflict.  We‘re going to get in double figures before this is over with.  Congress is asking questions.  The American people are confused.  I think some Americans are.

And there‘s no end game in sight.  And that‘s what is so ominous about all of this.

Coalition airstrikes pounded Libya for the third straight night as rebels advanced on pro-Gadhafi forces on the ground.  The head of the United States Africa command, General Carter Ham, said 80 sorties were flown on Monday, about half the sorties were flown by American pilots.

And over the weekend, coalition forces pounded Colonel Gadhafi‘s compound in Tripoli.  Gadhafi‘s administrative building was demolished by at least two missiles.  And at this hour, it‘s not known if the attack harmed the colonel or any members of his family.

President Obama addressed the situation during a press conference in Chile this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

           

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think it‘s very easy to square our military actions and our stated policies.  Our military action is in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat proposed by Colonel Gadhafi to his people.  Not only was he carrying out murders of civilians but he threatened more.

As part of that international coalition, I authorized the United States military to work with our international partners to fulfill that mandate.  Now, I also have stated that it is U.S. policy that Gadhafi needs to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  “Needs to go.”  Those are big words.  It sounds like President Obama wants regime change in Libya.

That doesn‘t match with what Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF:  The goals of this campaign right now, again, are limited and it isn‘t—it isn‘t about seeing him go.  It‘s about supporting the United Nations resolution, which talked to limiting or eliminating the—his ability to kill his own people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  So, regime change—we want it but just not now on this mission.  The president and Admiral Mullen don‘t seem to be speaking from one voice.  After 10 years in Afghanistan, eight years in Iraq, Americans I think have got war fatigue.  I‘m one of ‘em.  I think we all deserve clarity on this issue.

Today, President Obama explained this won‘t be a long-term operation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Obviously, the situation is evolving on the ground and how quickly this transfer takes place will be determined by the recommendations of our commanding officers.  Our initial focus is taking out Libyan air defenses so that a no-fly zone can operate effectively, and aircraft and pilots of the coalition are not threatened when they‘re maintaining the no-fly zone.  The second aspect of this is making sure that the humanitarian aspects of the mission can be met.

But let me emphasize that we anticipate this transition to take place in a matter of days and not a matter of weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Matter of days, not a matter of weeks.  Not even months.

The majority of Americans don‘t want any part of a third war in a Muslim country.  The president‘s base is angry because we‘re firing millions of dollars of missiles at Libya instead of investing in America‘s infrastructure.  We have a big battle at home about the budget and the Republicans are hammering the president because he is not invading the entire Middle East, he‘s not doing it the way they would want to do it.

President Obama has decided on a more focused, realistic approach.  He‘s trying to give the rebels, those who want democracy, a fighting chance at just that and trying to stop Gadhafi—this is the human thing to do—from slaughtering his own people.

Now, aside from al the reasons for this mission, he will never convince me that Gadhafi didn‘t have a hand in the Lockerbie bombing.  You‘ll never convince me that Gadhafi hasn‘t supplied resources to terrorists.  Given the fact Americans died on that 747 over Lockerbie, I‘m all for this mission.

I think the president of the United States, Barack Obama, deserves the benefit of the doubt and our support.  The key here is no ground troops, a limited role in scope, working with international partners who also want to do this and are flying their jets in there and staying within the confines of the U.N. resolution.

There‘s a lot of restrictions here.  I think it might work.

This president, President Obama, it is his choice.  It is his leadership.  He inherited Iraq.  He inherited Afghanistan.  And now, he has made a decision to do this.

And I like, I think every American watching tonight, we‘re looking for an end game.  The good news is Gadhafi isn‘t killing civilians anymore.  Does the president get credit for that?  Does the coalition get credit for that?

As a country, we really don‘t have much of a stomach for this right now and a lot of us are torn because of what all of our needs here at home.  But remember—and this needs to be pointed out—there have been no lies told, no fear games have been played on the American people.  Intelligence hasn‘t been cooked.

And there truly is a coalition of the willing.  In fact, the French fighter jets were the first ones in to hit Libya.  How different that is.  How non-cowboy it is not to be the first group in.  How non-cowboy it is to not go it alone and wait for the resolution that passed over the weekend in the U.N. Security Council.

Can we say that this president did it right?  Not everybody in Congress thinks he did.

But we do know this.  I‘m an American.  You‘re an American.  We all have opinions.

I have always believed that Gadhafi was a terrorist.  Let‘s look at the tape again of flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.  Do you need any more evidence?  Has Gadhafi ever proven his innocence?

Whatever happened—and I speak to conservatives tonight—whatever happened to this global war on terror that you‘ve been so damn concerned about?  We‘ll talk about the money later on in the broadcast.  But if we‘re going to fight them thoroughfare instead of fight them over here doesn‘t this play into your philosophy?

I find it very interesting how conservatives are just picking away at President Obama.  Why?  Because he didn‘t do it your way?  He didn‘t go far enough?  He actually had a coalition?

I‘m with the president on this one and I think if it is defined the way he says it is—limited in scope—this actually could be a situation where we don‘t hear from Gadhafi for a long, long time.

So, what I think is going to happen is that we‘re going to have a Libya with Gadhafi.  He might survive this.  And then we‘re going to have a country with rebels who want democracy.  This is all about democracy, this is all about people wanting freedom.

I‘m with the president on this one.  As I said, I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

It‘s your call, Mr. President.  This is one American who‘s with you tonight.

Get your cell phones out.  I want to know what you think.  Tonight‘s question: Do you support military action against Libya?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639, or go to our blog, our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  Make your comment there and we‘ll bring you the results on the text poll later in the show.

Now, joining me tonight are a couple Americans who don‘t see this story the same way.  Former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, who is the former director of defense policy on the National Security Council for President Clinton and also a former vice admiral of the United States Navy.  We‘re also joined tonight by Tom Malinowski, Washington director of Human Rights Watch.

Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight.

FMR. REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNSYLVANIA:  It‘s good to be with you both, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  Admiral Sestak, if Gadhafi is not killing civilians anymore and we have crippled his movement militarily—isn‘t this mission off to a good start?

SESTAK:  There was no doubt the United States military would do this. 

This was the easy part.

Having served as you mentioned with Tom in the Clinton administration at the National Security Council, I believe that we should have intervened in a humanitarian crisis in Rwanda where we didn‘t and I applauded George Bush I when we went into Somalia.  But then, my concern is: what happened there might happen now, to where the mission changed politically in Somalia, but our military force did not match that change in a political objective.

Admiral Mullen said well over the weekend that when asked what goes next, what would happen—he said, circumstances will drive what happens in the future.

SCHULTZ:  That bothers you?

SESTAK:  I‘m a strong believer—yes.  I‘m a strong believer that we should set and go in and drive the circumstances.  As you said, there were compelling reasons which I duly respect about why this was the right thing to do.  And as an American, I really hope this works out.

But I also have grave concerns—

SCHULTZ:  Yes.

SESTAK:  -- that our military force is not going to match that political objective of what the president did state is that we want this man removed.

SCHULTZ:  Tom, what about that?  Does the United States have to remove Gadhafi to make this a successful mission?

TOM MALINOWSKI, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH:  I don‘t think so.  I think the president has laid out very clearly what the goal of the military mission is.  The goal of the military mission was to prevent Gadhafi from going into Benghazi and eastern Libya and slaughtering the people there, from hunting down those people who stood up for their liberty with only their courage and who asked us for their help and who would being hunted down tonight as we speak if he hadn‘t done this.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHULTZ:  So, what is our end game here, Tom?  I mean, how does this end?

MALINOWSKI:  Well, it begins with people being safe in eastern Libya.  Now, we have time to work on the end game that the president committed ourselves to two or three weeks ago.  It was long before this mission that he said Gadhafi has to go.

There is an extraordinarily tough U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Gadhafi.  He can‘t sell his oil.  His space for staying in power is narrowing.  That‘s going to take time.  But I have faith that strategy is going to work over a period of months.

SCHULTZ:  And you don‘t, Admiral Sestak?  Admiral Sestak—OK, go ahead.

SESTAK:  Tom‘s words are concerning to me where he says this is the beginning.  The beginning to what?  I mean, Gadhafi—you expressed it well.  Until recently, he was on the terrorist list.  Now imagine what he‘s going to do if he does remain there?

Look, I am arguing about things that can happen.  Look, this was successful for Tom‘s objective which I would like no one to have these atrocities hoisted upon them by Gadhafi.  But now to what end?  How can we really believe that the United States is going to be able to hand over to these allies of ours whose militaries are so inferior to ours as good as they might be?

SCHULTZ:  So, we can‘t turn it over?  We can‘t hand it over?  We got to finish this out?  You know, we‘re going to be the impetus of all of this?

SESTAK:  We will have to handle any refueling.  We will have to handle any of the command and control and intelligence.  That‘s not in my mind handing it over.

SCHULTZ:  Tom Malinowski, what about Gadhafi‘s comment that we‘re going to be in for a long war?  What about that?

MALINOWSKI:  Well, that‘s, you know, that‘s his bravado.  But I think, you know, his force that was marching on Benghazi has been pretty nearly defeated.  The people in eastern Libya are now going to be safe.

And imagine what would—what we would be talking about right now if President Obama hadn‘t done this?  With the support as you mentioned of the United Nations and most of the world.  Not only would we have a blood bath, we would also have a message sent to dictators all around the world that Gadhafi‘s approach for dealing with these political protests through violence and brutality works.  That would be the message that they would emulate.

And, finally, we would still be embroiled in Libya.  There would be hundreds of thousand of refugees.  Gadhafi would still be threatening terrorism.  We would still have the sanctions.  But we would be embroiled in a disaster instead of being involved in something that has a chance to end hopefully.

SCHULTZ:  Admiral, what about the French?  What about the Brits?  The French are concerned about the refugee issue and the Brits, of course, get 15 percent of their oil from Libya.  I mean, this is going to affect their economy.

SESTAK:  Yes.

SCHULTZ:  And I‘m not sure the comparisons with Darfur and with Rwanda play here because the economic interests here are so different.  What do you think?

SESTAK:  I have to agree with that.  I mean, this does have—with 85 percent of Libya‘s oil going to Europe, an immense economy issue for them, that the Saudis have already covered but not with the same price or the sweet oil that comes from there.

But of another import here, what if Egypt next door or Tunisia had turned on their people and it hadn‘t come out the way it had?  Would we have interceded there?  What about Yemen?  What about Bahrain?  What‘s the message if we don‘t intercede there?

SCHULTZ:  Tom, what about that?

MALINOWSKI:  Well, I think if Gadhafi intervenes—if Gadhafi uses violence and wins, you are going to see that happen in country after country after country.  It is vital I think for Gadhafi to lose, for the message to be sent that if you use this kind of violence and brutality, it doesn‘t work.  That‘s the message that President Obama I think is going to succeed in sending to the rest the world here, and it‘s a very important one.

SCHULTZ:  Joe Sestak, Tom Malinowski, great to have you with us tonight.  Great discussion.  Appreciate your input.  Thank you.

Remember to answer tonight‘s question there at the bottom of your screen.  I want to know what you think.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHULTZ (voice-over):  The al Qaeda connection.  What does the war in Libya mean for terrorism here?  Roger Cressey has answers.

At what price?  Every Tomahawk we fire costs nearly $1.5 million. 

I‘ll tell you what I think of the economic impact of going into Libya.

And questions of constitutionality.  The White House insists they are playing by the rules.  But has the president crossed the line?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO:  The president is acting outside of the authority of the Constitution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Dennis Kucinich will explain.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And we‘d like you to check out our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com.  There you‘re going to find links to my radio Web site at WeGotEd.com, Twitter, and Facebook.  Don‘t forget the show on 167 XM, noon to 3:00, Monday through Friday.

Coming up: the right wing is joining Moammar Gadhafi in his fear-mongering about al Qaeda in Libya.  We‘ll tell you the truth, next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER:  They love me, all my people with me. 

They love me all.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, ABC NEWS:  But if they do love you—

GADHAFI:  They will die to protect me, my people.  No, no, no.

AMANPOUR:  If you say they do love you, then why are they capturing Benghazi and they say they‘re against you there?  Why are they—

GADHAFI:  It‘s al Qaeda.  It is al Qaeda.  It is al Qaeda, not my people.  It is al Qaeda.

AMANPOUR:  Al Qaeda?

GADHAFI:  Al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda.  Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.

That‘s what Gadhafi is saying since the beginning of all of this.  If you support the rebels, you‘re supporting al Qaeda.

And right wingers in this country are eating it up.  Far right-wing blogger Pamela Geller writes, “President Obama is essentially backing al Qaeda in Libya.”

Of course, it‘s not true but it doesn‘t mean the White House doesn‘t have al Qaeda on their minds.  “Time‘s” “Swampland” blog writes, “Obama and his aides know they are taking a big risk.  ‘It is a huge gamble,‘ says the senior administration official.  The administration knows for example that al Qaeda which has active cells in Libya will try to exploit the power vacuum that will come with a weak or ousted Gadhafi.”

John Brennan is the top counterterrorism official in the White House.  Friday, “The New York Times” wrote Mr. Brennan worried that the Libyan rebels remain largely unknown to American officials and could have ties to al Qaeda.

So what do we want to know about all of these rebels?  Well, according to the French government, the Libyan National Council represented by two former Gadhafi loyalists is the sole legitimate representatives of the Libyan people.  These are the two men Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with last week.

According to “The Financial Times,” the people, those two men represent in Libya are lawyers, academics, businessmen, and youth who participated in the February 17th revolution and formed committees to organize themselves and run cities and towns.

Joining me now to talk about all of the threat about al Qaeda in Africa, Roger Cressey, former White House counterterrorism official, and now, a terrorism analyst for NBC News.

Roger, good to have you with us tonight.

ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST:  Good evening, Ed.

SCHULTZ:  You know, al Qaeda is in 70 countries.  I mean, that‘s the word that is thrown out there quite a bit.  How deeply are they involved in Libya?

CRESSEY:  Well, not deeply at all, Ed.  We need to remember that for years, there was an Islamist group that opposed Gadhafi, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the 2007 time frame.  They allied themselves with al Qaeda.  But they were subsequently defeated and then shortly thereafter, they renounced all ties with al Qaeda.

The LIFG said we do not agree with Bin Laden‘s vision of the world, and ultimately they split completely.

So, you know, we worry about Gadhafi and worry about the threat of terrorism.  But I think from the short to midterm here, there is no al Qaeda threat.  The longer term issue, Ed, is if there is ongoing instability in the region—and in Libya in particular—will that instability create an opportunity for al Qaeda elements to infiltrate in?  But we‘re nowhere near there yet.

SCHULTZ:  Gadhafi says that these rebels are puppets for al Qaeda. 

Who are these rebels?  Are they just Libyan nationals that want freedom?

CRESSEY:  Well, from everything we‘ve seen so far, I think the answer there is yes.  They are—they are people.  They are very secular in nature, Ed.  This is not an Islamist movement.  We‘ve seen nothing about any type of radical ideology that‘s been put forth by the rebels.

So, it is truly secular and what they‘re looking for is the overthrow of a government creating a representational government.  I think the challenge we have is we know very little about the rank-and-file.  And, frankly, the United States doesn‘t choose the leaders of any movement.  They‘re chosen by the people within the movement.

So, we have some home work to do and we‘re a long ways away from that being a position of power and authority in Libya, so that gives us time to identify who they are and whether or not we want to work with them.

SCHULTZ:  And in your opinion, how does al Qaeda use situations like this to their advantage?

CRESSEY:  If there‘s one thing al Qaeda is, Ed, they are opportunistic.  When they see a situation of instability, they will look at it and determine whether or not there‘s a way to exploit it.  You know, to the west, we have al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which still has a strong presence in the Sahel, to south, in Algeria, and somewhat in Morocco.  It is certainly possible elements of AQIM might move into Libya to try and take advantage of the situation.

But think about it.  Gadhafi is not going to rely on al Qaeda.  OK?  The rebels who are secular in nature are not going to align themselves with al Qaeda.

So, unless the situation truly implodes and al Qaeda can take advantage of that—frankly, I wouldn‘t worry about it.  And besides, if al Qaeda does establish bases there, we will pound the living you know what out of them as soon as we identify them.  So, I do not believe this is a long-term threat.

SCHULTZ:  Roger, what does Pan Am 103, how does that play into this?  A former justice minister under Gadhafi says that he had evidence Gadhafi himself ordered the bombing of this 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland.  What about that?

CRESSEY:  Well, Ed, there is no doubt in my mind that Gadhafi had a direct role in it.  He still has blood on his hands from the hundreds who died in that tragic attack.

I think the thing we need to keep in mind is that in the 1980s, Libya was one of the most active state sponsors of terrorism.  And that we‘re coming up on a 25th anniversary of another military operation, Operation El Dorado Canyon where we attack Libya and tried to kill Gadhafi in 1986 in response to the terror attack in Berlin that killed a number of civilians.  Gadhafi waited two and a half years and then destroyed Pan Am 103 in retaliation.

So, I think the terrorism fears such as it is right now is that if Gadhafi can consolidate authority, can regain control over his country, he may pick a time and place of his choosing to respond to what the international community and the West has done to him.  That‘s the long-term threat and that‘s what the administration needs to worry about.

SCHULTZ:  And—well, that is what President Obama is saying is that the policy of the United States is to remove Gadhafi, that he has to go.  That was the comment.  It figures.

CRESSEY:  Right.

SCHULTZ:  Roger, good to have you with us tonight.  Thank you.

CRESSEY:  You bet.

SCHULTZ:  Roger Cressey, NBC News.

The president orders airstrikes in Libya without the approval of Congress.  Congressman Dennis Kucinich calls that an impeachable offense—all kinds of opinions on THE ED SHOW tonight.  He will join us to talk about that.

Thanks to his latest exaggeration on FOX News Donald Trump may have fired himself from his own presidential campaign before it even gets started.  “The Takedown” is next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And it‘s time for “The Takedown.”

Reality TV host Donald Trump wants you to believe he is serious about running for president in 2012.  At least, that‘s what he wants you to believe while he is still needing some publicity for his show.

In “FOX & Friends,” their crew was more than happy to give it to him this morning.  Here is Trump in a phone interview talking about his foreign policy credentials compared to other potential Republican candidates, like Sarah Palin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION CEO (via telephone):  I think I probably have more experience than anybody, whether I sell them real estate for tremendous amounts of money—I mean, I‘ve dealt with everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right.

TRUMP:  And by the way, I could tell you something else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What?

TRUMP:  I dealt with Gadhafi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You buried the lead.  What did you do?

TRUMP:  Excuse me.  I rented him a piece of land.  He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for the whole year or two years.  And then I didn‘t let him use the land.  That‘s what we should be doing. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Was that over in New Jersey? 

TRUMP:  I don‘t want to use the word “screw,” but I screwed him. 

That‘s what we should be doing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  What a guy.  Now there is a bumper sticker for you.  “Screw them.  That‘s what we should be doing.  Trump 2012.” 

I don‘t know about you, but I don‘t want another president whose foreign policy is about screwing them.  But here‘s what really happened with Trump and Gadhafi. 

See, it was back in 2009.  Gadhafi used a go between to rent space on Trump‘s estate in Bedford, New York.  At the time, Trump said that he didn‘t even know he was renting the land to Gadhafi. 

Well, within days, the town issued a stop work order on the tent being built on the property, saying it violated building codes.  Then local officials spoke out against the Trump deal, the deal that Trump‘s organization finally asked Gadhafi to leave. 

That‘s the story reported by ABC News and the “Journal News of Westchester.”  But Trump stands by his own tough guy retelling. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  I rented them a piece of land in Bedford, New York.  I rented them a piece of land.  He paid me a fortune.  And then I didn‘t let him use the land.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why didn‘t you let him use it after you rented it to him? 

TRUMP:  Because I didn‘t want to. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Fair enough. 

TRUMP:  That should be the thinking of this country, not the kind of thinking we have right now.  It‘s ridiculous. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Now wait a minute, if Trump‘s version of the story is true, what happened to the money?  Did Trump just pocket the money?  Did he give it to charity?  Maybe the “Fox & Friends” crew had a hard hitting follow up question for Trump. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  That should be the thinking of this country, not the kind of thinking we have right now.  It‘s ridiculous. 

Just a little controversy for your show. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Tell us what is going on with “Celebrity Apprentice.”  Last night, you ousted Nikki Taylor? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  OK.  Thanks, Fox.  We can always count on you folks for those really tough questions.  That‘s the Takedown. 

Newt Gingrich says the president had bigger targets to hit than Libya, two weeks after telling the president to take out Gadhafi.  Can the president order air strikes without the approval of Congress?  Question mark.  He‘s getting heat from both sides of the aisle. 

Congressman Dennis Kucinich calls the decision an impeachable offense. 

He joins me next.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight.  The Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war.  But President Obama did not go to Congress before ordering air strikes in Libya.  Instead, he went to the United Nations. 

Republican Congressman Ron Paul calls the United States‘ involvement, quote, an act of war. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL ®, TEXAS:  Many presidents, especially since 1945, have gone on their own and have not asked for proper authority from the Congress and we have been fighting wars that are undeclared. 

It‘s rather insulting to American people that this authority comes from the United Nations and not the Congress. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  To that point, the president is getting heat from both sides of the aisle.  Here is Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA:  We have not put this issue in front of the American people in any meaningful way.  The president is in Rio.  The Congress is out of session. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  But it was another Democratic senator who was more pointed in his remarks about constitutionality and war powers back in 2007.  His name?  Barack Obama.  The quote was, “the president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” 

Still, the White House insists tonight that this is a legal operation.  National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon told reporters today that while consultation with Congress is important, quote, “the administration welcomes the support of the Congress in whatever form that they want to express that support.” 

Joining me tonight is Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who has got some serious problems with our activity in Libya.  Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. 

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO:  Thanks, Ed.  It‘s kind of Mr. Donilon to welcome the support of Congress. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, you have a real problem with this.  How wrong is President Obama on this? 

KUCINICH:  A hundred percent.  The Constitution makes it very clear.  As a matter of fact, the Barack Obama of 2007, the constitutional scholar, the senator, the would be presidential candidate of 2007 understood that.  But somehow the Barack Obama of 2011 doesn‘t understand the Constitution anymore. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think this is an impeachable offense? 

KUCINICH:  Well, you know, I raised the question in a phone call with my Democratic colleagues, but I raised it to talk about the limitations of the reach of executive power.  I didn‘t raise it to start a process. 

It is clearly outside the Constitution, Ed.  This isn‘t even a debatable question at this point.  It is outside the Constitution.  A president cannot take this country into war unless there is an actual or imminent threat absent the consent of Congress. 

SCHULTZ:  But other presidents have done it in the past and there have been no ramifications.  Your thoughts on that? 

KUCINICH:  Well, every situation is different.  Where we‘re looking at right now is America has troops active or in operations in—over Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan.  We‘re opening up a fourth front here.  We had activities over Yemen for a while. 

What are we doing here?  I mean, if we don‘t restrain this executive reach of power, there is no telling where it‘s going to lead to. 

SCHULTZ:  All right.  Does this move surprise you, that President Obama did not go to the Congress?  And I know that there are a number of your colleagues on the Democratic side, and some on the Republican side actually, who are really troubled by this.  Does this move surprise you? 

KUCINICH:  Yes, it does.  I‘ll tell you why.  Last week, the administration was involved a good part of the week in talking to a number of nations at the U.N.  They were able to get ten votes to vote for the resolution.  They lined up their ducks with NATO.  They talked to the Arab League, got support from the Arab League, which is now their—the Arab League is back tracking on that. 

They got support in working with Great Britain and with France.  They lined up everybody except they didn‘t come to the United States Congress, when they clearly had time to do it.  They could have asked Congress to hold up before we left for a recess.  They didn‘t do that. 

SCHULTZ:  So do you think that President Obama and the White House decided not to go to the Congress because he might not have gotten support for this? 

KUCINICH:  I don‘t know.  I mean, all I know is he didn‘t come to Congress.  I want you to know, Ed, I‘ll be bringing up, when Congress returns, an amendment to the continuing resolution that will seek to strike any funding for the activities—U.S. activities in Libya. 

SCHULTZ:  So you‘re going to go to the money.  But what else could be done?  Are you willing to say, stop this operation?  Would you advocate a vote in Congress that would pull back this activity involved in the no-fly zone? 

KUCINICH:  Well, if you cut off funds, it‘s over.  And that‘s what I‘m going to seek to do.  There will be a number of other members who I‘m sure are going to be joining me.  We just notified members tonight about this. 

SCHULTZ:  But I‘m told that this is in the general fund, the operating budget of the Pentagon to do this.  This really didn‘t need a special allocation of funds. 

KUCINICH:  Well, continuing resolution—you could put an amendment in that would be a restrictive amendment, that would essentially stop the president from being able to spend any funds for the operations against Libya. 

SCHULTZ:  So moving forward, President Obama has done this.  What are the—what is the political downfall with his base on this?  Your take on that? 

KUCINICH:  You know, I have to tell you, I mean, I‘m so focused on the constitutional aspect, I really haven‘t thought much about the political aspects of this.  I don‘t know the answer to that. 

But I can tell you this, that unless Congress takes some action, hopefully to cut off the funds to restrain the overreach by an executive in the use of the war power, we are looking at more danger for this country. 

SCHULTZ:  And finally, congressman, what should we do with Gadhafi if anything? 

KUCINICH:  Well, you know, we may not be able to solve that problem.  That may be for the people in Libya to resolve, just like the people in Egypt were able to resolve it without our military intervention.  The people of other countries have done so. 

I think we‘ve got to be very careful about U.S. military intervention, humanitarian wars, whatever you want to call it.  We can‘t afford it.  And it‘s also very dangerous. 

People have the ability to strive to create democracies.  We can support that morally.  But when we start doing it militarily, things start to change very quickly.  And we are going to see that the Libya that we think we‘re constructing here is not the Libya we‘re going to get. 

SCHULTZ:  Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, thanks for your time tonight on this subject.  I appreciate it. 

The costs of the Libya attack are already piling up.  What this means for our economic recovery.  The numbers and my thoughts on that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight. 

Let‘s talk money. 

The ultimate outcome of U.S. military involvement in Libya will depend on how long these air strikes continue.  And while we‘re still wondering if the strategy will work, we have no idea if the numbers will work. 

The “National Journal” reported the first day of Operation Odyssey Dawn had a price tag of more than 100 million dollars in U.S. missiles alone.  Tomahawk Missiles cost between one and 1.5 million dollars each.  Aircraft operation and maintenance costs about 10,000 dollars per hour. 

These are the costs of an operation that rely heavily on military hardware.  But if Operation Odyssey Dawn continues for weeks or months, the Pentagon may be out of cash—out of cash it‘s going to need to fund all of this. 

Now, the Defense Department is already asking for 708 billion dollars from Congress this year, partially to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Did you get that number, 708 billion dollars? 

A need for more money would require the Pentagon to request emergency funding from Congress.  This comes after recent Reuters/Ipsos poll show that a majority of Americans, 51 percent, they want to cut military spending as a way to decrease the deficit. 

And if you think Congress won‘t put up a fight, listen to the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Richard Lugar, out of Indiana. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR ®, INDIANA:  It‘s a strange time in which almost all of our congressional days are spent talking about budget deficits, outrageous problems.  And yet, at the same time, all of this passes, which is a very expensive operation, even in a limited way. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  “Which is a very expensive operation.”  Now we have been in Afghanistan for ten years.  We‘ve been in Iraq—this is year number eight.  You mean to tell me that Mr. Lugar, who has been in Washington, what, 30 years, all of a sudden he‘s concerned about the money that we‘re spending on a little piddly operation of a no-fly zone in Libya? 

Don‘t you think the Republicans are losing credibility when it comes to war numbers?  All of a sudden, we can spend a decade in Afghanistan, go supplemental war funding after supplemental war funding, and the Republicans are all there.  But all of a sudden, we have a Democrat in the White House who goes through the diplomatic channels, who goes through the -- I‘ll give it to you this way, the dog and pony show of getting a coalition, a real coalition, even lets the French go in first and take the first shot at the Libyans.

But, you see, no, it‘s just too expensive.  The Republicans have no credibility when it comes to money.  They never have and they never will.  And now they have no credibility on this.  They‘re the ones that are crying about going after terrorists. 

Well, you had your chance.  There‘s Gadhafi.  He took down Pan Am 103.  You mean, we forgot about that?  Americans died on that plane?  And all of a sudden, the Republicans are concerned about a very expensive operation in Libya. 

Mr. Lugar, I think you‘re a little late to the party.  Aren‘t you?  More on this tomorrow.  The money and where is the middle class in all of this? 

Republicans don‘t know what to do.  Cheerlead for war or attack the Democratic president?  What the hell?  They‘re going to do both.  Wait until you see the knots they‘ve tide themselves in.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Let‘s get something straight about President Obama‘s military commitment in Libya.  Reasonable people can disagree on the merits, but that doesn‘t mean that all the disagreement is reasonable, which of course brings us to the Republican party. 

Yes, many of them have rediscovered constitutional limits on presidential powers since President Obama was elected.  But the party that steam rolled America into two wars has suddenly discovered a barrage of reasons to oppose a Democratic president‘s military action. 

House Speaker John Boehner put out a statement having it both ways.  He said the United States has, quote, “a moral obligation to stand with those who seek freedom and oppression—from oppression.”  But then he said, “before the president takes further military action to do just that, he has to do a better job of telling us how the mission will be achieved.” 

Senator Richard Lugar complained last week about the costs, the risk risks, and, get this, the republican senator concerned wrote, quote, “the uncertain reception in the Arab street, the potential for civilian deaths and the strain on our military.” 

Georgia State Representative Bobby Franklin posted on Facebook “this is nothing but pure evil.  How would we like it if other countries launched attacks upon these United States because of our regime‘s war on our unborn?” 

Then there was Florida Congressman Allen West. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALLEN WEST ®, FLORIDA:  I don‘t know why we‘re shooting 567,000 dollars a piece Tomahawk Cruise missiles into Libya. 

You know, back two or three weeks ago, we could have taken care of this situation.  If we had done the exact same thing that Ronald Reagan did back in the early ‘80s to Moammar Gadhafi, when he dropped the bomb in his back yard.  Moammar Gadhafi didn‘t say a word for the next 30 years. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Reagan bombed Libya in 1986.  Gadhafi had plenty to say about it.  Two years later, Libyan agents blew up a 747 right out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland.  Quite a few Americans were killed. 

And then, here comes Newt Gingrich, who called the air strikes opportunistic amateurism, and said that there are vastly bigger threats to the United States.  Well, here‘s what he said two weeks ago. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  What would you do about Libya? 

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Exercise a no-fly zone this evening.  They‘re confused about getting rid of Gadhafi.  This is a moment to get rid of him.  Do it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  With me tonight, Laura Flanders, host of “Grit TV” and “Free Speech TV” and editor of the new book “At The Tea Party.”

Laura, good evening.  Good to have you with us. 

LAURA FLANDERS, “GRIT TV”:  Good evening.  Glad to be with you.

SCHULTZ:  Explain Mr. Gingrich.  A little flip flop here.  Isn‘t it?

FLANDERS:  I‘m not sure it‘s explainable.  I mean, the Republicans want it every which way but any way that makes sense.  I‘ve been watching Fox this evening and trying to make sense of it myself. 

Some say the action was too fast.  Some say it was too slow.  Others say there was too much consultation with the U.N. and other countries.  Others say there wasn‘t enough consultation with them. 

I mean, I think the point here—oh, and there is that poll that shows 75 percent even of Tea Partiers support the no-fly zone.  But sort of the same two-thirds deeply disapprove of Obama‘s handling of the situation in Libya. 

So you make sense of that if you can.  I can‘t. 

SCHULTZ:  What about Mr. Boehner?  He says that the United States has a moral obligation to stand with the Libyans.  And this is the same guy who won‘t stand with the unemployed in this country, the 99ers.  What about that moral obligation? 

FLANDERS:  Yes, well, I‘ve been listening to you talk about the numbers here, and remembering what Dr. King said about every bomb that we drop overseas exploding right here at home, and thinking about those millions spent on those Tomahawks. 

Absolutely.  I mean, where is the discussion of budget when it comes to the bottomless pit of our war spending? 

And, finally, on this question of hypocrisy, I think we have to say, look, on the progressive side of this political spectrum of ours, there are those of us, like Dennis Kucinich and candidate Obama, who oppose wars they think make no sense on principle, while Republicans tend to hew much more to some kind of weird party line. 

I think what we‘re seeing here is a desperate need for an assessment of U.S. policy.  It‘s not just the hypocrisy within the parties, but this kind of bigger bipartisan hypocrisy that sees us right now intervening in Libya, but not in Bahrain, but not in Yemen, where U.S. backed regimes are firing on their own people with U.S. weapons. 

What about the morality there? 

SCHULTZ:  What about Congressman Kucinich?  He and other Democrats and some Republicans are very concerned that the president didn‘t go to the Congress.  Is this going to be a problem for President Obama? 

FLANDERS:  Well, I think it is, because Obama is being caught in a snafu of his own making here.  But at the same time, I think that there is no mistaking the fact that this country is very unprepared for yet another war.  And what way Congress would have voted on this is just a tiny part of it. 

I think that we‘ve got a very serious situation where we have got all the Pentagon telling us, just like they‘ve done in every war, that everything is going swimmingly, that all the targets have been hit, that no civilians have been hit. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah. 

FLANDERS:  We know what comes next, which is a whole bunch of truth.  Gadhafi may fall as Saddam fell.  And what is this, eight years later we‘ve now got a U.S.-backed regime in that country firing on its own people too.  I‘m not sure a vote in Congress would have produced a different result.  But it would have enabled us to have some discussion in this country.  And I think that is what Kucinich is talking about. 

SCHULTZ:  Laura Flanders, always a pleasure.  Good to have you with us tonight. 

FLANDERS:  You too. 

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our survey, I asked do you support military action against Libya?  Seventy one percent of you said yes; 29 percent of our audience who responded said no. 

Radio show on XM 167, that‘s the channel, noon to 3:00, Monday through Friday.  It‘s “The Ed Schultz Radio Show.”  And that is THE ED SHOW tonight here on MSNBC. 

For more information on THE ED SHOW, we‘d like to take you to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. 

“THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night.  Have a good one.

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

END   

Copyright 2011 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.  All materials herein are protected by

United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,

transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written

permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,

copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

PASTE THE TRANSCRIPT HERE