updated 4/19/2004 10:25:08 AM ET 2004-04-19T14:25:08

Guests: Peter King, Jack Burkman, Steve McMahon, Rick MacArthur, Anne Graham Lotz

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Hey, welcome to Sunday night and SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Tonight, we are going to take you around the globe from Washington to Afghanistan, getting breaking news on what is happening right now.  And what news is going to break this week.  You are about to enter SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, no PC police allowed. 

Tonight, Bob Woodward‘s explosive new book and the disturbing questions it raises.  Is the CIA incompetent?  And are the Saudis going to fix the elections by fixing gas prices at the pumps this fall? 

Then, John Kerry is on the attack, accusing the president of being an arrogant liar.  Explosive clips from NBC‘s “Meet the Press.”

And after the deadliest few weeks in Iraq, we‘re going to get the very latest on America‘s other war, the war on terror, with a live report from Afghanistan. 

And later, Billy Graham‘s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, joins us to talk about her new book, “Why?” 

But first tonight, Washington, D.C. has been rocked by Bob Woodward‘s “60 Minutes” interview with Mike Wallace.  “The Post‘s” legendary investigative reporter told CBS and the world tonight how the president decided to go to war, while keeping Congress and Colin Powell in the dark.  Woodward also painted an extremely unflattering portrait of CIA Director George Tenet, who assured the president that finding Saddam‘s weapons of mass destruction would be, quote, “a slam dunk.” 

Now, based on the CIA‘s faulty intelligence, the president led America into a war whose price in terms of money and lives continues to rise.  Rosiland Jordan is at the White House with the Bush administration‘s response to this media bombshell.

ROSILAND JORDAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Joe.  The president and some of his top aides cooperated with Bob Woodward for “A Path to War.”  Woodward says the president told him that he wanted to set the record straight for the public and for historians about how, why and when he decided to take the country into war against Iraq a year ago.  One of the more talked about quotes coming from Woodward‘s book, a quote from President Bush.

“I knew what would happen if people thought we were developing a potential war plan for Iraq.  It was such a high stakes moment, and it would look like that I would anxious to go to war, and I‘m not anxious to go to war.”

On Friday, White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters that while he had not seen the book, he had no reason to challenge its accuracy.  However, when it came to a moment described in Woodward‘s book, November 21, 2001, when President Bush asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to come up with a potential plan for going to war against Iraq, McClellan told reporters this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  We began combat operations in Afghanistan in the early period of October, and by November and early December, things were winding down, and the president did talk to Secretary Rumsfeld about Iraq.  But there‘s a difference between planning and making a decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JORDAN:  Today on CBS‘ “Face the Nation,” National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice took issue with another of Woodward‘s claims in the book, exactly when President Bush decided to go to war against Iraq.  She said it did not happen during a private conversation the president was having with her just after New Year‘s of 2003.  She said it did happen in March, just before the start of the actual war.

Joe, back to you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks a lot.  Hey, you know, we have got Congressman Peter King from New York here tonight to talk about the Woodward interview.  We also have “Harper” magazine publisher Rick MacArthur, who wrote, “Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War.”  We also have Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, who is Howard Dean‘s senior adviser, and Republican strategist Jack Burkman is also with me.

Let me begin with you, Congressman.  As you know, I‘m a supporter of this war.  I‘m also a supporter of the Constitution, and I was very disturbed tonight listening to Bob Woodward, getting these accounts from Washington insiders who told them the president of the United States diverted $700 million in funds for Afghanistan to fund this war with Iraq that was still secret to you and Congress.  Does that bother you?

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK:  First of all, I‘m not sure what he is talking about as far as a secret diversion.  Everyone knew during the summer—during the spring and summer of 2002 that war with Iraq was certainly a real possibility.  And money was being spent.  Now, he said it came from Afghan money.  I‘m not aware of that.  I mean, there was no doubt, we knew that there was a troop build-up going on.  That was being reported throughout the media.  There was no doubt there were—that plans were being made in the event of there was going to be a war.  I think there is a bit of hype here by Woodward as far as money being secretly diverted.

SCARBOROUGH:  What was your take on the entire interview?  Do you think it‘s going to hurt the president?  Obviously, let‘s face it, I mean, we know how the media cycle works.  Woodward launches this Sunday night, “60 Minutes,” this is going to occupy the news for the rest of the week.  Just like Clarke did, just like O‘Neill did before.  When CBS gets all these books on there that they own.  I mean, it‘s a great book, though, I mean, it‘s going to make interesting reading, but how is it going to affect the news cycle over the next week?  Is it going to hurt the White House?

KING:  No, I don‘t think it is.  I think you have obviously some people in the White House trying to even scores with some people in the administration, but the fact is, to me it backs up the president‘s position.  He said all along that he relied on what the CIA told him.  You have Democrats and others saying he was manipulating intelligence, but here you had, according to Woodward, the president asking questions about the quality of the intelligence, and George Tenet saying it is a slam dunk, being assured personally by the director of the CIA, which is what the president‘s position has been all along, not that he was attempting to manipulate the intelligence. 

As far as, you know, the other, that he asked Rumsfeld to prepare a war plan, I would hope he would have Rumsfeld prepare a war plan knowing that Iraq could very likely be attacked in the next several years, of course.

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  You know, Rick, one of the things that I still

·         I just can‘t figure out, Rick MacArthur, a lot of things I can figure out, some things I can‘t.  One of them that I can‘t figure out is why George Tenet still has his job.  Now, this is what Woodward said tonight when he was talking about a conversation between Tenet.  “After the president saw the CIA intelligence showing the Iraqi weapon sites”—this is when he was trying to decide whether they had weapons or not—“The president said, ‘this is the best we‘ve got?‘  And George Tenet stood up on the coach in the White House, waving his arms, saying, ‘don‘t worry, Mr.  President, it‘s a slam dunk.”  How does—is George Tenet the Hoover, J.  Edgar Hoover of the 21st century?  Does he have pictures and files on everybody in the White House?

RICK MACARTHUR, HARPER‘S MAGAZINE:  Now, I don‘t want to ruin the discussion here, but by blaspheming Bob Woodward, but I have got to say that I don‘t trust Bob Woodward‘s reporting. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why not?

MACARTHUR:  For starters, look, this is a guy who had the bedside conversation with Bill Casey...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, you are talking, of course, about his book where he apparently—he claims to have disguised himself as an orderly going in and he whispered—and it was veiled, which was talking about the secret war.

MACARTHUR:  My point about Woodward is that he has become the official recipient for the self-interested leak in Washington from the high official source.  So the narrative that‘s playing out right now is inside baseball stuff, to the nth degree.  The fact is, as far as I can tell, or as best I have been able to discern, the president of the United States, George Bush, wanted to go to war with Iraq.  He wanted to invade Iraq for a whole variety of reasons.  He went and looked for the evidence that he needed to sell the war to the United States Congress.  The Congress fell down on its job.  I don‘t know about the $700 million of diverted money.  But they fell down on their constitutional responsibility to check and to balance the president‘s war fever.  Whether they skipped Colin Powell or not is irrelevant.  What matters.

SCARBOROUGH:  Who is by the way the king of the self-interested leak. 

MACARTHUR:  Of the self-interested leak, right.

SCARBOROUGH:  If you read “Commanders,” which of course was Woodward‘s book about the first Gulf War, if you read this book, it is very obvious...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  . part of the last war in Afghanistan.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  . writing these books.

MACARTHUR:  Right, and you can probably assume here that Powell is again leaking in a self-interested way, saying, well, it‘s not my fault, they skipped me, they didn‘t tell me what was going on.  That‘s what he is always saying.  I was never there.  I was never told.  I was never—I wasn‘t in the loop, which allowed him to get out...

SCARBOROUGH:  Which of course—which of course Maureen Dowd said this morning in a column in “The New York Times,” if that were the case, he should have—he should have resigned at that point.

MACARTHUR:  But there is still this tight group of advisers around Bush that is making it up as they go along.  They cheated to win.  They cheated to get the war authorization passed by the House and by the Senate.  And now everybody has got egg on their face.  Listen, they are trying to come up with a plausible narrative to clean it up.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack Burkman, is that what happened?

JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I‘ll tell you, why in the world does President Bush owe anyone an apology for the Iraq war?  Removing Saddam, a guy who gassed the Kurds, who gassed the Iranians, who was a giant cancer in the Mideast for years, who was hated and feared by his neighbors?  Why does the president owe anyone an apology?  And this is a hugely successful war, even though the occupation is a little bit difficult.  We lost 300 or 400 people.  It is a shame to lose even one; it was amazingly successful.  And why further does the president owe anyone an explanation of his political or military strategy for what he did? 

I mean, I‘m just shocked when you have a guy like Clinton who used the executive privilege to keep every political hack from testifying.  Bill Clinton—President Bush sent Condoleezza Rice, the most sensitive and secure adviser, he sent her up there to testify before all the world, and he is still criticized.

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack, Jack Burkman, I‘m curious.  We heard Rick MacArthur saying earlier this was all inside baseball.  I think I may agree with him there.  Do you think there is going to be any impact on the presidential election by the Bob Woodward story tonight on “60 Minutes” and the news that we‘re going to be hearing for the next four or five days about this book?

BURKMAN:  Yes, it will hurt John Kerry, and the reason, as I said this on your show four months ago, the greater the international discussion, the more the focus on the 9/11 commission, on Iraq, on international issues, it is going to make every swing voter in the country vote nothing but straight-ticket Republican.  International issues, war issues, national security issues are nothing but Republican, and the Kerry camp knows this.  They know it very well.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Steve McMahon there and to have him respond to that.  I also, though, want him to respond to what Condi Rice said.  She denied that Colin Powell was out of the loop and that a Saudi prince was more involved in the war planning than him.  Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER:  The secretary of state was privy to all of the conversations with the president, all of the briefings for the president.  It is just not the proper impression that somehow Prince Bandar was in the know in a way that Secretary Powell was not.  It‘s just not right.  Secretary Powell had been privy to all of this.  He knew what the war plan was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve McMahon, is Colin Powell on the outs in the Bush White House and should we expect him to pack his bag soon?

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, I tell you, you have got to feel sorry for Condi Rice.  Every time the president makes a mess, they send her out there with a shovel to try to clean it up. 

Look, it was not just one account; it was a number of accounts that indicated that Colin Powell was out of the loop.  It has been rumored in this town for a long time that he was out of the loop.  You know, he put out word, or somebody did, that he is going to be looking for a new job in the second administration because he doesn‘t want to stick around, and I suspect that you can find reasons for that in this book. 

The fact is, were it not for Colin Powell going to the U.N. and misleading the world in such a convincing and compelling manner, we wouldn‘t have been in Iraq to begin with, because this country wouldn‘t have supported it.  And—excuse me, Jack.

(CROSSTALK)

MACARTHUR:  I think one thing we ought just to—a point of order, a fact, a historical fact, the State Department has been out of the loop for about 45 years.  So, let‘s not get all worked up about whether Colin Powell was in the loop or not.

(CROSSTALK)

MCMAHON:  Jim Baker was out of the loop?  Do you think Jim Baker was out of loop for one minute?  It‘s poppycock.

KING:  OK, let me make a point here.  Let‘s not let this Democratic nonsense go unchallenged, that there were lies (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the war.  President Bush said absolutely nothing about going to war that Clinton didn‘t say, that Al Gore didn‘t say.  The September before the war began, Al Gore said that he saw all the reports showing that there were chemical and biological weapons hidden all throughout Iraq.  He said there was no doubt about that.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We are going to ask the guys one at a time, and actually I‘m going to have to be the one that goes here.  And Peter King, as good as you are at spinning for your party, I can‘t believe you didn‘t add John Kerry into that list.  He also was saying Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.  But you got to hold it right there, because we are going to be going live to Afghanistan next for an update on America‘s other war, the war on terror.  And we are going to be debating the situation in Iraq more. 

And then John Kerry says it‘s OK for Israel to kill a Hamas leader.  But it‘s not OK for us to go after a man responsible for murdering American civilians.  Why?  We will debate that coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Along with Bob Woodward‘s “60 Minutes” interview, the other big story today came from Miami, Florida, where John Kerry sat down to meet with “Meet the Press‘” Tim Russert to talk about terror, Iraq and the failings of George W. Bush.  NBC‘s Carl Quintanilla is covering the Kerry campaign, and is with us now for an update.  Carl, what is the reaction from Senator Kerry‘s camp today from the Woodward book and also from the “Meet the Press” interview with Tim Russert?

CARL QUINTANILLA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, obviously, the Woodward book, Joe, was a huge plus from their standpoint.  The senator brought it up specifically in the “Meet the Press” interview today. 

Tonight I would say they are fairly satisfied with the senator‘s performance.  There were no obvious major gaffes, no questions that he couldn‘t respond to at all.  Going in, I think the consensus was, go in, take your jabs at the president where you can, but focus more on trying to offset that portrait that the GOP has painted of him as a tax-and-spend liberal.  This week the senator has said, the people don‘t really know me, and he‘s on the cusp of a new image-branding campaign to try to define himself more as a centrist. 

As it turned out, I think they probably played a little more defense than they expected to.  He had to answer for quite some time about that $87 billion vote against funding the troops.  He had to answer for the speculation that Teresa Heinz Kerry should release her tax returns, and also talking about that appearance on “Meet the Press” back in 1971 when he said that he saw and helped commit war atrocities. 

Joe, the number one goal, though, over everything else, was to answer questions directly.  The campaign knows full well that people see him as a candidate who cannot put things into simple sentences, that his views are too nuanced, especially for television, and you could almost see him laboring today to keep his wards to a minimum as he duked it out with Tim Russert.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Carl, it was a very tough interview.  Tim Russert, as always, took on his subject very aggressively, very fairly.  I‘m curious, though, Senator Kerry seemed to say a few things that may not have played that well in middle America, but it seemed that he was very concerned about being labeled as somebody that flip-flops.  Did you get the impression that the Kerry campaign was putting an emphasis on being consistent with past statements, even if it may not be popular with the general electorate?

QUINTANILLA:  That‘s a tough one.  I mean, they are really caught between a rock and a hard place.  On one hand, you are right, the flip-flop image is one that literally haunts him on the campaign trail every day.  Today at the University of Miami kids showed up in a giant dolphin costume with a sign that said “Flipper.”  Occasionally kids bring flip-flops and they bang them together, just to taunt the candidate when he‘s on stage.  So he has got to work on that, but at the same time he can‘t put views out there that are going to do anything to keep him from being seen as more of a middle-of-the-road Democrat.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Carl, we appreciate it.  And Flipper is new.  I can tell that Karl Rove was up late trying to figure that one out tonight.  Thanks a lot.

You know, Senator Kerry said that George W. Bush lied to get us into war with Iraq.  And I want to play a clip from “Meet the Press” now.  Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. John Kerry (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  This administration misled America.  I believe this president broke faith with the rules of how a president does that.  He even broke faith with his own promises to the country. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve McMahon, how did a tanned and rested John Kerry come across on “Meet the Press” this morning with Tim Russert?

MCMAHON:  I think he came across very well, and I think he was strong and I think he made his point pretty clearly.  You know, Congressman King a moment ago said that what Senator Kerry and what other Democrats were saying about weapons of mass destruction was the same thing that President Bush was saying.  That may be true.  But the difference is what President Bush did with the information.  Bill Clinton didn‘t take us to war on that information.  Bill Clinton didn‘t go to the U.N. and basically mislead the world on this information.  Bill Clinton didn‘t alienate the entire world and go into a unilateral war without the support of even—I‘m sorry, Bill Clinton didn‘t, Bill Clinton didn‘t.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  . congressman to respond.

KING:  What Steve McMahon is saying is it‘s OK for Bill Clinton to mislead the country, so long as he doesn‘t act on it.  I mean, that is absolutely nonsense.

MCMAHON:  No, no, no, that‘s not what I am saying at all.

KING:  The fact is—the fact is—that fact is that George Bush did exactly what Gore, Clinton, Kerry said, he said what every intelligence agency in the world said.  And listen, if you want to say a mistake was made, that‘s one thing, but to say that he lied is absolutely disgraceful and it‘s totally hypocritical.  John Kerry (UNINTELLIGIBLE) both sides of the issue.  Absolute nonsense.

(CROSSTALK)

MCMAHON:  He sent George Tenet back because he didn‘t have enough information.  And then he went to the U.N. and said that the proof is clear, we know where they are.

BURKMAN:  From a raw political standpoint, I don‘t see how the Democrats.

(CROSSTALK)

MACARTHUR:  . and whether or not the U.N. was misled.  What matters is that the United States Congress was misled and the American people were misled over an atomic.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  Hold on a second, guys.

KING:  That is not true.  That is untrue.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Rick, I have got to ask you this question, OK, because again, you are an honest guy, you go after both parties, of course from the left, just like I hopefully do from the center, very moderate guy here.  But you have to admit that what George Bush said about weapons of mass destruction was repeated by Bill Clinton, was repeated by John Kerry, was repeated by Al Gore.  In fact, in 1998 we voted on a legislation that the Clinton administration signed that said our primary objective for foreign policy was overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

MACARTHUR:  You have got to separate out what weapons of mass destruction stands for, and I swore off WMD about six months ago on your show, I think it was, or four months ago. 

The thing they were selling was an atomic bomb threat.  The stories that were appearing in “The New York Times,” on the front page of “The New York Times,” which helped sell the war, let‘s remember, “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times,” the liberal press helped sell the war, were all about if we don‘t—if we take too long looking for the smoking gun, the smoking gun could turn into a mushroom cloud.  The whole thing was predicated on Saddam having an atomic bomb or an atomic bomb capability, which is different from chemical weapons or biological weapons. 

KING:  My question is, how does this relate.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Peter King, I‘m going to have you to respond, and then I am going to go to Jack Burkman.  Peter King, go ahead.

KING:  OK, no, real quick, in the State of the Union speech, in the debate in the Congress, we were talking about primarily chemical and biological weapons.  What the president said about atomic weapons is 100 percent true, that British intelligence then and today says that there was yellowcake attempted to be bought from Niger.  Totally different from Joe Wilson.  Totally different from all that.  And the president is 100 percent right on that.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, guys, we really have to talk one at a time.  And Jack Burkman, this is your time.

BURKMAN:  I guess my feeling is from a political standpoint, what is the significance of any of this?  The public supports the war.  It supports getting rid of Saddam.  It supports what the president did.  All of this focused on weapons of mass destruction and whether he had them at a certain given point in time, did he—you know, he used them, he had them, maybe for a six-month window he didn‘t have them.  He was trying to get them again. 

What does any of this have to do with the ‘04 election?

MACARTHUR:  He never had them.

BURKMAN:  Washington is concerned.

MACARTHUR:  He never had them, nor did he have the capability of building them.  The last time he was even close to it, Colin Powell even said, after the last Gulf War that the Iraqi atomic capability was destroyed. 

KING:  Then why did Bill Clinton attack Iraq?

MACARTHUR:  The U.N. weapons inspectors—the U.N. weapons inspectors said the same thing when they left at the end of ‘98.

KING:  Then why did Bill Clinton—why did Bill Clinton attack?  Why did Bill Clinton attack Iraq in 1998?  He attacked it because there were weapons of mass destruction.

MACARTHUR:  Because of Monica Lewinsky.  Because he.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what?  I can agree with you, I think we can agree on that one.  You know, I am going to go to you, Steve McMahon.  Senator Kerry on “Meet the Press” talked about the war on terror, and of course he has come under fire for calling the war on terror “a law enforcement issue.”  But he is not backing down.  Take a listen to what he said this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY:  I will use our military when necessary, but it is not primarily a military operation.  It‘s an intelligence gathering, law enforcement, public diplomacy effort, and we are putting far more money into the war on the battlefield than we are into the war of ideas.  We need to get it straight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve McMahon, isn‘t it dangerous for John Kerry to come out and tell the American people that the war on terror is a law enforcement operation primarily?

MCMAHON:  It will—primarily it is.  He is not saying it is exclusively a law enforcement operation.  He is saying primarily.  And if you do the job well and if the president and the CIA and the FBI—and not just this president, by the way, President Clinton as well—had been more serious about terrorism some time ago, we wouldn‘t probably have had to go into Afghanistan on a war footing, because the terrorists wouldn‘t have flown airplanes into buildings all over America.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, come on, Steve.  I respect you, buddy, but are you blaming George Bush for 9/11?

MCMAHON:  No, what I‘m saying is, if the FBI and the CIA had been willing to talk to one another, and share intelligence.  There are six .

SCARBOROUGH:  And who stopped the FBI from talking to the CIA?

MCMAHON:  Six of the 10 commissioners on the 9/11 commission, Republican and Democrat, have concluded and stated publicly that we probably could have avoided 9-11 if—and I‘m not saying this is President Bush—I‘m saying America, America‘s intelligence agencies and capabilities could have made this—could have disrupted it or avoided it altogether.

(CROSSTALK)

MACARTHUR:  . Saudi Arabia now?

SCARBOROUGH:  Guys, we are going to have to go—I‘m looking forward.

MACARTHUR:  And our foreign policy?

SCARBOROUGH:  . to talking about Saudi Arabia in a minute.  That when we come back.  And of course, there was an assistant to Janet Reno who had something to do with the FBI and the CIA not talking to each other.  She is on the 9/11 commission.  We will talk about that when we come back. 

But as you know, last week was America‘s deadliest week in the war in Iraq.  We are going to tell you what is going on there now and look at what is ahead in the war on terror with a live update from Afghanistan. 

And a lot of family members would wonder why God would let their loved ones die.  That‘s a question that Anne Graham Lotz tackles in her new book, titled, “Why?”  And she‘s going to talk to us about that a little later.  Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Up next, the latest “Newsweek” polls showing strong support for sending more troops to Iraq.  We‘ll talk about that in just a minute, but first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC news desk.

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the war in Iraq has dominated the headlines for the last couple of weeks, but there are still operations under way in Afghanistan.  NBC‘s Jim Maceda joins us now live via the videophone with an update from Kabul—Jim. 

JIM MACEDA, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hi there, Joe.  Well, there are in fact two hunts for Osama bin Laden going on.  The first one is the one that reporters can see; in fact, some of us can embed with certain units.  This is the more conventional operation.  It‘s called right now Operation Mountain Storm.  There have been six or seven of these operations in the past couple of years. 

Again, conventional U.S. and coalition forces, probably about 16,000 of them now if you include the 2,000 or 2,500 U.S. Marines that are on their way in.  These, along with Afghan forces, are fighting this so-called spring offensive. 

Now, the focus is on several border areas in eastern Afghanistan, where they believe that Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, his right-hand man, and other top al Qaeda leadership may be. 

On the other side of the border, Joe, you have got 70,000 to 100,000 Pakistani forces, Pakistani soldiers, paramilitaries, and they are focusing on two specific areas, two tribal areas called North and South Waziristan, where they believe several hundred al Qaeda and Taliban operatives are. 

The strategy of this particular hunt is stirring up the pot, if you will, trying to get these guys on the move, moving from one side of the border to the other, trying to create an intelligence imprint, if you will, and try to crush them in this so-called hammer and anvil that the U.S.  military likes to talk about. 

But there is a simultaneous, another hunt, which we believe, reporters believe is really the real hunt.  And that one is much more secretive, it‘s covert, it‘s led by this Task Force 121, which is a special commando team made up of Delta Force, Navy SEAL (UNINTELLIGIBLE), CIA operatives, analysts, computer nerds.  There are about 200 or 300 of them, and they are now, without giving away any locations, we understand in two or three specific bases on perches on that mountainous area overlooking North and South Waziristan.  They are ready to move on a moment‘s notice if they get something like 75 or 80 percent certainty that Osama bin Laden is the guy they are looking at, and he is in a specific location—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Jim, do you have any intel from those that are on the ground there in this top-secret, covert group, have you gotten any information, any guesses on where they believe right now Osama bin Laden is?

MACEDA:  Well, again, without giving away operations, they believe that he is in that area between Khowst on my side, the Afghan side, Khowst, and Patika (ph) provinces, and then on the other side, in the North and South Waziristan.  That really seems to be the key area, but no one obviously is telling us precisely, because they don‘t know. 

The U.S. military likes to say that they are getting closer all the time, they say they are more determined than ever, and that probably is the case, since the capture of Saddam Hussein, that they are really focused now on this hunt for Osama bin Laden. 

They call 2004 the decisive year, but Joe, they are backing off from any time line.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Jim Maceda in Afghanistan. 

Be safe.

Now, obviously, as you know, it has been an extremely bloody weekend in Iraq, a bloody month.  And this past weekend has been especially difficult.  I just want to take you on a quick tour.  Of course, this weekend there were skirmishes on the Syrian border.  There were five U.S.  Marines that were killed along this border.  They started out having an ambush, and then an entire group of Marines went in there.  Unfortunately, five were killed.  But they continue the battle there. 

As you know, as most of you know that have been following this, in Fallujah, the encirclement of that city still continues.  It‘s of course obviously a former stronghold of Saddam Hussein‘s and a lot of Saddam loyalists still there.  The situation is not under control, but they continue to have peace talks, but apparently what we are hearing is that the military commanders are growing impatient, and those talks are not going to go on much longer. 

And, of course, the big news over the past week, we have had conflicting reports out of Najaf, which of course is a very holy city, one of the most holy cities in Shiite religion.  There were talks earlier this week that al-Sadr was actually going to give up, was going to turn his weapons over.  That hasn‘t happened.  Continuing fights. 

And, of course, there were three Marines that were also—or three soldiers that were killed also in another Shiite region. 

So, we have—we obviously have battles breaking out all over the place.  Of course the northern part very calm.  But the Shiite region still having some fights, still having fights in the Sunni region.  So it‘s a tough situation, guys, and I just want to ask you, you know, you talk to the military, they tell you, Peter King, they come to Congress and they testify before your committees, and they tell you most of Iraq is peaceful.  But you look at the map over here, and it looks like all hell is breaking loose. 

What is your message to your constituents and to Americans who think that we are getting into a quagmire?

KING:  Oh, we are not.  I was in Iraq several months ago, and 85, 90 percent of the country is stable.  And every death is tragic, every soldier wounded is absolutely tragic, but the fact is, there is no large scale insurrection.  It is confined to certain areas.  The overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people want us to stay there, probably stay there longer than we want to stay there.  And I think it is absolutely disgraceful to say we should be cutting and running, or somebody like John Kerry who says he‘d do it differently but not say how.  Is he going to send in the French?  Is he going to send in the U.N.?

The fact is, we have to stand together, we have to stand firm, and we will win these battles, and we will definitely—again, the Shiite—the overwhelming majority of Shiites definitely do not support al-Sadr.

MACARTHUR:  How do you know the overwhelming majority of Iraqis want us to stay there?  Who told you?  You counted?  You asked?  You polled, what?

KING:  No, actually, I hate to say that, I did actually rely on a BBC poll which said 71 to nine they said their lives are getting better.

MACARTHUR:  No, no, no.

KING:  A solid majority say they do not want us to pull out, they do not want us to pull out.

MACARTHUR:  I didn‘t see that poll.  But I—listen, I haven‘t been to Iraq, but I also remind you that George Ball, the only guy who got Vietnam right during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, also never went to Vietnam. 

And from what I‘m reading, the country is in chaos.

KING:  Well, it‘s not chaos.  It‘s not chaos.

MACARTHUR:  The corpses are piling up, and what you are not reading about right now, reading a lot about are dead, but you‘re not reading about the numbers of their dead.  “The Financial Times” has made the only effort I can see to really count the Arab dead, and it is around 800 in the last week, compared with our 100. 

(CROSSTALK)

MACARTHUR:  And every one of those dead Arabs, Sunni or Shiite, has a family, has an extended family.  And these people are not happy with the American occupation.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Steve McMahon.  Steve McMahon, the BBC poll that the congressman was speaking about earlier did say, and it was released on the year anniversary of the beginning of the war, that the majority of Iraqis believe their lives are better today than they were a year ago.  Don‘t you think that is evidence enough that George W. Bush‘s policy in Iraq is winning the hearts and the minds of the overwhelming majority of Iraqis?

MCMAHON:  Can you tell me what his policy is exactly?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, if you don‘t know what his policy is, it is to bring democracy to Iraq.

MCMAHON:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s to liberate the Iraqi people from the most brutal dictator in the Middle East, who killed more Arabs than any other figure in the history of the world, and it‘s to create a stable, free Iraq.  Do you think that—did you not understand that was George Bush‘s policy?

MCMAHON:  Maybe that is why we are being greeted as liberators over there.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I don‘t know.  I mean, I think that when you have a poll that by two to one margins, Iraqis are saying that they are glad we are there, that their schools are better, that their security is better, that their water supply is better, that their electric needs are better, I mean, help me out here.

MCMAHON:  Joe, I have a poll here, too.  And it is a real-life poll.  And it is what is going on there every single day.  And American soldiers are dying, while George Bush was on vacation in Crawford, Texas last week, and when he couldn‘t find the time to make it back to Washington it figure out who it is we might turn the government over to—sovereignty over to on June 30, 64 more soldiers lost their lives.  Ten more over this weekend.  That‘s a poll for you, Joe.  Those guys over there, they are not—they are not.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We have got to go to a break right now, but I want to thank Rick MacArthur, Congressman Peter King, Steve McMahon and Jack Burkman.  Appreciate your being part of our first Sunday panel.  I wish we had a lot more time.  I wish we had two hours.  We would like to invite all of you back. 

And coming up, Billy Graham‘s daughter has a thriving ministry of her own and she is an award-winning author.  Anne Graham Lotz joins us to tell us why her new book, “Why?” was written.  That is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Every Sunday we are going to be talking to different authors, authors of books that are of special interest to those of you in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I spoke with Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, about her book called “Why?: Trusting God When You Don‘t Understand.”  And I asked her what she tells people who question why family members die, for instance, many of those soldiers who were killed in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ, AUTHOR, “WHY?”:  That is a hard question.  And so I have asked myself, you know, why I have an unanswered prayer in my life.  I have prayed for months and years and God hasn‘t answered, and I‘ve asked why, and that just opened my mind up to a lot of other whys.  That‘s a good one.  Why has my mother, who is so bright and full of life on the inside, just confined to a body that is wearing out?  Why does God give children to a mother who would kill them and withhold them from a family that would love them?  And there are so many whys that we just don‘t understand. 

And so to answer my personal why, I just turned into the scripture to the Gospel of John, and there‘s a wonderful story where Mary and Martha ask Jesus to do something about their brother Lazarus who was sick, and Jesus didn‘t answer and he stayed where he was two more days.  And it teaches—one of the things it teaches me is that sometimes there is a greater purpose than just giving me what I want when I want it.  But then you go on through that passage, and in the end he raises their brother from the dead, so he had a much greater purpose than they could ever have conceived.  But he delayed in bringing it about in their lives.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yeah, but what about the specifics when people come up to you and say, for instance, I lost my child, and with my child I‘ve lost my faith in God.  What can you say?  What does this book say to them that can provide them comfort?

LOTZ:  Well, I think one of the things it tells us is that when we are suffering, Jesus comes into our place of suffering.  When Mary and Martha had sent word to him, he did come to Bethany and had entered into their grief, and the Bible tells us that we are not going to be exempt from hard things and from suffering, but that he does promise to be there in the midst of it with us.  And when we turn against God, when we run away from God and we get offended because he‘s allowed something into our lives that we don‘t like, we actually increase our suffering.

And I think what we need to do is run to him and tell him we don‘t understand, just pull our your heart and say why, you know, and just tell him.  And then I believe he can give you comfort on the inside that sometimes doesn‘t—you can‘t really understand, but there‘s a peace and a comfort, a sense of his presence, and for the child of God there‘s the wonderful hope that suffering isn‘t wasted, that there is a greater purpose.

SCARBOROUGH:  This book, when you first started writing it, what is it that got you there, that made you decide, I‘ve got to write this, God‘s place is in my heart?

LOTZ:  Well, it was when I have just wrestled with an unanswered player.  And I know God loves me and I know he is in my life, and I know that because of the cross and I know that because I have asked him to come into my life.  An so I know he is committed to me.  So it‘s not a question of he doesn‘t love me, but he is not answering my prayer, and I wanted to know why.  And so I just asked him, why? 

And then I felt that he led me to this passage of scripture for my answer, and then it opened my eyes to a lot of why out there that other people have.  And I think one of the things, Joe, that concerns me is within the church, even people who call themselves by God‘s name, they go through difficult times, and instead of turning to God they draw away from him, and in their spirits they are offended, they‘re resentful, a little angry because they are so hurt.

SCARBOROUGH:  Has that ever happened to you?

LOTZ:  No, because I run to God.  But I can see, I can sense the hurt in other people.  And they cover it up with a lot of activity and religiosity, but on the inside there‘s a distance between themselves and God, and I think we need to just pull it out, put it on the table, ask him our questions and then let him answer in his own way, and I believe the bottom line answer is just to trust him.

SCARBOROUGH:  What is happening in America today?  We have talked about “The Passion.”  I‘ve had you on.  We have these fights over Mel Gibson, over this movie.  Why is it now that “The Passion” is one of the biggest movies ever in America?  It has now gone over the $100 million mark across the world.  What is going on?

LOTZ:  You know, I think it is a God thing, isn‘t it?  It‘s not clever marketing.  It‘s not just Mel Gibson.  I think—because when people refuse to go to church or they don‘t listen to preachers or they‘re not reading the Bible, God has just gone to the movie theater.  They are all in the theatres, you know. 

So right there on the big screen, he has this message that he loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us, and when we place our faith in him we can have our sins forgiven, we can have eternal life, we can know we‘re going to heaven when we die, and he‘s put it up there on the big screen, for us to see how much he loves us. 

So it‘s much more than just a movie, I think.  And one reason for that is because it is so close to the accurate scriptural presentation.  I mean, I know there are some things in there, you know, whatever you call it, artistic license, but basically it‘s very close to the scripture as the scripture says, and that‘s what makes it so powerful.

SCARBOROUGH:  When you go out and speak, I saw you speak in Pensacola, but you‘ve also—you speak all across America.  Do you sense when you go out there—how long have you been doing it now?

LOTZ:  Well, actually, I‘ve been speaking for 28 years, but I‘ve been on the road for about 15.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, so you‘ve been on the road for about 15 years.  Do you sense a sort of sea change in America, that we of course had the cultural revolution of the 1960‘s, where faith and even institutions like universities and all these other things that Western civilization was built on were basically abandoned.  Do you sense that there‘s a bit of a counterrevolution?  I don‘t know if you‘d call it that, but people are going back to churches, they are going back to faith, they are going back to the things that our country and our civilization are built on?

LOTZ:  I think there are a lot of people that are doing that.  There are a lot of people looking for a spirituality, but it‘s been called a spirituality without God, and I think we have to be very careful in our search, that we really are looking for the truth, and I believe if we are seriously searching for the truth, that will lead us to Jesus because he said, “I am the truth.”

And I think somebody has said that, you know, our search for God is a mile wide and an inch deep.  And I think we saw that after 9/11.  After 9/11, everybody in church, lighting their candles, and prayer services, God bless America, you know, and I thank God for this. 

A year later, there are less people in church, according to the polls, than before 9/11.  That concerns me. 

So, if God—if 9/11 won‘t wake us up and get to us to get right with God and turn to him, then what would it take?  So, I just think it‘s a time to make sure that we are in the right relationship with God.  And sometimes we have to look deep.  And if there is a hurt or an offense, something we don‘t understand, I think we just need to talk to him about it.  That is what this book is.  It‘s like a conversation, just asking God why and letting him answer from his words.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Anne Graham Lotz, as always, thanks for being with us.

LOTZ:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Look forward to reading the book.

LOTZ:  Thank you so much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up, we look into the eyes of America‘s fallen heroes.  That‘s next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  This weekend I lost a friend who meant a great deal to me.  And I will say more about that tomorrow night, but I mention it tonight because of the magnitude of that one loss that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Cooper Yates‘ (ph) friends, family and community. 

It also drew my attention to the 100 American heroes who lost their life in Iraq over the past few weeks.  You know, every time a friend or a family member dies unexpectedly, we feel a great sense of loss.  Often overwhelming to those of us who are still around.  But the totality of a loss, when 100 young soldiers are killed in combat, is often swept under the rug when all we do is read numbers in the newspaper. 

For those of us who support this war and believe it was one of the most noble American efforts since the Marshall plan, it is important for us to look into the eyes of those young Americans who gave their all, and understand the price that their parents, their wives, their husbands and their children have paid to make America safer by fighting to bring freedom to a land that has only known terror, hatred and death.  These are the fallen heroes who are building a new world for Iraq and for all of us. 

The fact they lived and died as heroes doesn‘t lessen the anguish that their loved ones are feeling tonight.  And to the family of those men and women serving overseas, especially those who expected joyous homecomings this week only to learn that their loved ones are going to be staying in Iraq for another three months, all of us at SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY send you our thoughts and prayers.  May God be with your sons and daughters, your husbands and your wives, your moms and your dads. 

Well, that does it for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.  Be with us tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m..  And we‘re going to be talking live again with Omarosa from NBC‘s “The Apprentice,” and also going to be talking more about the war in Iraq, and whether we‘re winning or whether we need to leave.  That‘s tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  See you then.                 

END   

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