updated 5/13/2004 11:50:59 AM ET 2004-05-13T15:50:59

Guests: Laurie David, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., David Frum, Robert Kittle, Robert Reich, Jim Warren, John Ziegler

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headlines: “The New York Times” and the elite media focus less on Nick Berg‘s gruesome beheading than the prisoner abuse photos.  The “Real Deal”:  America thinks it‘s media bias at its worst, and they‘ve had enough. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed. 

We‘ve been flooded with pictures and condemnation of Iraqi prisoner abuse, but that doesn‘t seem to be the case in the horrifying images released yesterday.  Was it bias or a judgment call?  We‘ll be debating that. 

And environmentalists are so eager to purge George Bush from the White House that they‘re using Hollywood‘s latest doomsday flick as an attack tool.  My friend Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is here to tell us why. 

Then, could Bill Clinton be the modern day Douglas MacArthur?  With his close ties to the Middle East, should the president tap him to help get things back on track?

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Good evening. 

You know, the media elite is proving once again how disconnected they are with the American public.  It‘s time for tonight‘s the “Real Deal.” 

You know, while the rest of America focused on the savage execution of a young American citizen, “The New York Times” today chose instead to deliver its 23rd editorial on the Iraqi prison abuse scandal.  Much like the Baghdad art museum scandal a year ago, “The Times” editorial page seemed strangely obsessed with any story that can cause the most harm to America‘s war efforts. 

We are, after all, a nation that‘s been fighting for the future of our civilization since the last plane fell on 9/11.  Now, in a bizarre omission, “The New York Times” failed to utter a single word on its editorial page today about our sworn enemies carving off the head of Nick Berg, this from a newspaper who supposedly cares about human rights and prisoners so much that they‘ve been beating the hell out of the Abu Ghraib story for a week and a half now.

Here‘s a news flash for “The New York Times.”  Americans get it.  Ten or so soldiers out of 140,000 deployed to Iraq did some very bad things to our enemies.  And Americans want these G.I.s punished and they want to you refocus on the enemy at hand.  They recognize the face of evil.  They recognized it yesterday in that gruesome video.  They recognized that it looked eerily similar to the face of evil they were forced to gaze at on September 11.  And they are taking note at how the elite media in America and across the Arab world only really seem concerned about prisoner abuse when the bad guys in the story are wearing American uniforms instead of terrorist masks. 

The elite media wonders why so few Americans respect them anymore.  If they really want to know what the answer is, they only need to look at today‘s press coverage of the events in Iraq.  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, not only did the editorial page of “The New York Times” ignore the beheading, but the front page actually ran a picture below the fold—and let me show you this.  Here‘s the front page of “The New York Times.”  You have to go below the fold to actually see the picture over here.  And you‘ll notice that actually a picture of the trumpeter on the front page of “The New York Times” gets bigger play than this unbelievably important story of the execution. 

Of course, other newspapers did much better.  And we‘ve got some of the editors from those papers here to talk about the elite media‘s apparent bias.  We‘ve got Jim Warren.  He‘s deputy managing editor of “The Chicago Tribune.”  We have Robert Kittle.  He‘s editorial page editor for “The San Diego Tribune.”  And we also have John Ziegler.  He‘s a radio talk show host at KFI in Los Angeles. 

John, I want to begin with you, because I have got to tell you, the Americans that I talked to, that I‘ve gotten faxes from, that I‘ve gotten e-mails from, that I‘ve gotten phone calls from today are all saying the same thing.  Why is the media so obsessed on this prisoner abuse scandal, and have been for two weeks, but they seem to be glazing over this unbelievably important story about Nick Berg‘s savage death? 

JOHN ZIEGLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Joe, you‘re 100 percent right, although I might go a little bit further than you are currently. 

I don‘t think this is just typical liberal bias.  This is bordering on pro-al Qaeda bias.  And you‘re right.  There is a disconnect between what you call SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and the land of the media elites.  Here in Los Angeles, where usually people don‘t give a damn about anything, I‘ve never seen such outrage as I heard on the radio last night on KFI with regard to the lack of media coverage, the dismissing of this story, also, the shielding of us like we were children from these video images that all of us should see so that we can see the true face of evil we‘re up against. 

I guess the argument is that it might create too much hate.  But since when, Joe, is it bad to hate evil?  Is this now a controversial concept in this country?  Apparently, it is with the so-called media elites.  You‘re 100 percent right.  They just don‘t seem to get it.  Al Qaeda couldn‘t have asked for anything more than what they got from the mainstream media in this country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jim Warren, let me bring you in here.

You‘re in an interesting position, because you‘re obviously in a major media market, but also Chicago, you guys are in the heartland of America.  You made a decision—I want to show you some pictures of Nick Berg and his father.  You guys made the very conscious decision to show some very moving photos above the fold very prominently.  First of all, tell us why you did that and explain to Americans how that process is vetted out.  Is it something that somebody decides in a couple of minutes or do you guys debate it over minutes and hours? 

JIM WARREN, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, “THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE”:  No, pretty strong debate. 

And you have got to remember a larger context here, Joe and guys, is that this is undoubtedly the most photographed combat operation in history.  It‘s a digital war with photos transmitted by satellite.  So there are tons of images and tough, very difficult calls to make all day and every day.  Now, we, part of the alleged elite media, in our case, you should know that the “Tribune” editorial page has been a staunch supporter of the war.  It will write a very long editorial tomorrow reiterating that support. 

At the same time, we are aggressively, and we hope fair-mindedly covering the war.  When it comes to images, you should know that, yes, we ran above the fold the photos of the contractors who were hanging after being burned.  We also ran some of the early prison photos.  We chose not to run the photo of the two dogs seemingly menacing the detainee for a complex set of reasons.  There were other elite papers that disagreed with us. 

When it came to the decision yesterday, it was simply a matter of we looked at the photo of that dad.  We had some questions to the extent to which we might perhaps be invading his privacy and the family‘s privacy, the brother just sister, but then decided that this was such a compelling photo, in some ways more than the one of Berg—we used a small one of Berg, admittedly above the fold, but a much larger image of the father. 

And I‘ll have to admit, there have been a lot of mornings we get up and do some second guessing of ourselves, but we try to reach those decisions in a rather large room, consensus fashion and in a deliberate way. 

And, guys, no matter what your caricature is of the liberal elite

media, we‘re just trying, when it comes to our news pages, to do our job

and to be fair-minded.  Also, there is a matter of taste.  We are a mass

circulation paper that folks have on the breakfast table in the morning

with

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘m not sitting here calling you guys the media elite.  Again, you‘re the heartland of America. 

And, again, I think what you‘ve just said that makes so much sense to me is, you show both sides of it.  I think Americans expect you...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  If you support the war or oppose the war, I still think.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.

I still think they want to see “The Chicago Tribune” and other newspapers go after this prison abuse scandal.  But doesn‘t it all come down to, you know, what perspective you put it in? 

WARREN:  Well, let me also give folks a little bit of historical context here.  When it comes to images, most wars, Americans have seen very, very little.  In the Civil War, there were not battlefield casualty photos until a photo exhibit in New York City in October of 1862. 

World War II, we did not see a battlefield casualty photo until 1943 -

·         or 1942.  And why was that?  It was because, under strict censorship, FDR didn‘t want us to see any of those.  But there came a point where he thought it would suit his ends, because he feared that patriotism was on decline. 

Think about some of the recent wars, the Gulf War, Panama, Granada, we‘ve seen very, very little because of de facto censorship. 

(CROSSTALK)

ZIEGLER:  Why are we self-censoring now, though, Jim?  Why are we censoring these pictures?  America needs to see these photographs?

Does anyone really believe that if this was an American military personnel who was doing this to an innocent civilian or even an al Qaeda member that we would not have been exposed to all these pictures every single minute of every day? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, what would you expect?  Do you want the beheading? 

Are you saying that Americans should see that their TV sets? 

ZIEGLER:  Absolutely.  With warning, of course.  I think it‘s outrageous that the audio was not used.  CBS did use the audio, but no one else has.  And to completely censor these pictures, shield us from them like we‘re children—it‘s all to protect the children, Joe. 

But if we‘re not careful, if we don‘t stop pussyfooting around with this war on terror, there may not be a United States of America for our children to grow up in. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Robert Kittle.

Robert, I want to show you a couple of editorials.  This is how “The

Arizona Republic” editorialized on the terrorists, saying they‘re—quote

·         “fools to pretend their hard butchery of Nick Berg was committed on behalf of the humiliated prisoners of Abu Ghraib.  They killed because murder and mayhem are the only responses they have to the prospect of the freedoms they abhor.”

Tell me, does that reflect what‘s happening, from your readership, what your readerships are believing, compared to what “The New York Times” was displaying on their editorial page today? 

ROBERT KITTLE, “SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE”:  Well, it‘s hard for me to speak that our readers, except that I can tell you that we editorially in tomorrow‘s paper are saying very much the same thing.

To pretend that this was done for revenge over the abuses at Abu Ghraib is just an excuse. It‘s just a pretext.  And the terrorists don‘t need any pretext.  But I think this is a military town.  And I think the people in San Diego certainly understand the brutality of what has gone on in Iraq across the board.

But in particular when it comes to the brutal and gruesome slaying of Nick Berg, I think, you know, the nation really is all of one mind on that.  I don‘t think, in my view, at least, that the news media are trying to shield the American people from the awful, ghoulish crime that was committed against Nick Berg.  On our newspaper‘s front page yesterday, we had a photo of the videotape and also the photo of the grieving father and the grieving brother.

SCARBOROUGH:  John, you wanted to get in? 

ZIEGLER:  Yes, I just don‘t understand. 

The burden of proof here ought to be on those who are making the argument for censorship.  What is the argument?  I have yet to hear it, other than somehow this condescension from the TV networks that, oh, you can‘t possibly handle this.  What is the argument?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jim Warren, what is the argument?  How does a newspaper

·         how much does a newspaper concern itself with what the family is thinking, what the family would be exposed to if you show these type of pictures?  How do you balance that with policy? 

WARREN:  With all due respect to you guys, and again the caricature of the elite media, with slumping integrity and lack of confidence, a lot of folks, more than a million readers Monday through Saturday, look at “The Tribune,” more than two million on Sundays. 

And all our surveys make quite clear that more than any other media outlet in, this particular area, they come to us because of their sense of an air of authority we have and their trust in us to make tough, difficult decisions for them every day.  It happens whether it‘s in the sports section or the features section.  You have got to make decisions. 

Now, if you take a look at this whole prison case, if you take a look at the alleged humiliations done on both sides, we‘ve run tons and tons of stories.  We gave you very, very graphic claims of what had been happening to Mr. Berg, what‘s happened to other folks. 

So the notion that somehow we‘re involved in some censorship promulgating a political view is all well and good in talk radio, but if you‘re looking for a little bit of nuance and trying to be a little bit fair, take a look at a paper whose editorial position is clearly, unequivocally pro-war, but is working its butt off to aggressively and fair-mindedly cover this war, and a war which you could argue, where there‘s a clear juxtaposition between the president‘s motive in going in, humanitarian reasons, supposedly, and the allegation that have recently surfaced about our crossing the line when it comes to some of those very same values. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Robert Kittle, I will give you the last word.

KITTLE:  Well, I just think that this is sort of a tempest in a teapot, if we are concerned about censorship.  There isn‘t any censorship going on here.  Newspaper editors, television producers make these decisions.  And you may disagree with them.  You may think that they should be showing more of a graphic nature.

But the American people are getting a full understanding of Nick Berg‘s murder.  And I don‘t think anybody‘s trying to sugarcoat it.  I think it‘s simply a matter of taste and respect for the family.  And that‘s about all there is to it.  It‘s not censorship. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Robert Kittle, Jim Warren, John Ziegler, thanks a lot for being with us tonight.  We appreciate it. 

Now, coming up, will the gruesome murder of Nicholas Berg scare America out of Iraq or steel our resolve in the war on terror?

And with John Kerry campaigning on the military merits of John McCain, should President Bush consider sending Bill Clinton abroad?  We‘ll debate that. 

And then, the Kerry campaign eagerly awaits “The Day After tomorrow,” a doomsday flick where the Earth is thrown into a second Ice Age.  And it‘s probably all George Bush‘s fault.  We‘re going to ask environmentalist activist Lori David, wife of “Seinfeld” creator and the funniest man on TV, Larry David, why science fiction is being used to go after President Bush. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re about to talk to the man who coined the phrase axis of evil and ask him what the effect of the beheading of Nick Berg will have on the war on terror.

That‘s up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  After Nick Berg‘s murder, debate‘s raging about where we go from here in the war on terror.  “The New York Post” wants us to take our gloves off.

In an editorial today, they wrote—quote—“To hell with the political sensitivities.  To hell with the negotiating with radical cleric al-Sadr.  To hell with handing Saddam Hussein over to the Iraqis.  Evil, cutthroat terrorists need to be eradicated.

With me now is David Frum.  He‘s the author of “An End to Evil.”  And Flavia Colgan, she‘s a Democratic strategist from Philadelphia. 

David, let me begin with you. 

Do you believe the public beheading of Nick Berg may have reawakened Americans to the very nature of the evil terrorist thugs that we are combating? 

DAVID FRUM, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT BUSH:  You can feel it all around you.  You can feel it at the checkout line of the supermarket. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You really can.

FRUM:  You know, President Bush, on the 90th day after 9/11 quoted the great Czech writer Milan Kundera, who said: “The struggle of humanity against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”

And that‘s one of the big themes of this very long war, the struggle against forgetting.  Well, al Qaeda keeps reminding us.  There is a great illusion out there.  And this is maybe—if anything ever goes wrong with this war, it will be this illusion that‘s at the bottom of it, the belief that this is somehow something we have a choice about.  This is a war that America chose and when America gets bored with, it can walk away from it.

It can‘t.  And that‘s what this terrible event reminds us of, not for the first time, not for the second time, and not for the third time, that it is a war that was forced on the country and we‘ve got no choice. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what, David?  I‘ve had people over the past year that have called me up every time something went bad in this war, and my friends, my Democratic friends, liberal friends, would seem to be gloating on the other end of the line, saying, what‘s happening with this war of yours, Scarborough?  Where are the weapons of mass destruction?  You can‘t even guard a museum, etcetera, etcetera.

I got phone calls from about four or five of them today, going—and it was as if this was a revelation to them.  They go, my God, I can‘t believe how evil these people are.  This really shouldn‘t be that tough to decode, should it, David? 

FRUM:  Well, the test of a war, it should not be, is the war fought without mistakes?  Is it fought without defeats?  Because there was not been a war in American history where there‘s not been stupidity, there‘s not been error, there have not been error, reverses, disappointments, defeats and disasters.  That happens in every war. 

And, at the beginning, we all told ourselves we were braced for that.  We are going to make mistakes.  We are going to lose sometimes.  That doesn‘t mean that the cause isn‘t right.  And it‘s a reminder. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

Flavia Colgan, let me bring you in here.  You‘re a Democratic strategist.

I want to read you how U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan‘s spokesman responded to the gruesome images we all saw yesterday.  He said—quote—“Annan condemns all killings of innocent civilians in Iraq, as he condemns all abuse of prisoners and other violations of international humanitarian law. 

Now, Flavia, I‘ll tell you, I think it‘s disgraceful that he is comparing, that he is equating the stripping of prisoners with the carving off—the little carving off of an innocent American contractor‘s head while the guy was still conscious.  I mean, do you see a moral equivalency between what happened at these Iraqi prisons and what we saw yesterday? 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  No, I don‘t see a moral equivalency, but I also wish I had the luxury to even worry about these wars of rhetoric. 

We have men and women dying on the ground and we need to figure out how we‘re going to handle the mismanagement and lack of command that seems to be going on over there.  What you failed to mention about Kofi Annan‘s statement today was that that quote that you read was preceded by about 2 ½ paragraphs of him describing how he thought that Berg‘s murder was gruesome, horrific, was one of the worst and most destructive displays he‘s ever seen and how saddened and horrified he was that it was made into a public spectacle. 

So I think that Kofi Annan is very clear on where he stands on the barbaric act that was committed, with slaughtering this man like an animal.  And everyone has come out and condemned it.  Even Hezbollah has said that this is a barbaric and terrible act. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And then he equated it to what went on in the prison. 

COLGAN:  No, he didn‘t. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He certainly did.  And we just read that statement that he did.

COLGAN:  No.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And I want to go to something else you talked about, because you said we need to focus on winning this war.  I agree with you.  I agree that we need to focus on winning this war on the battlefield, instead of continuing to obsess day in and day out and day in and day out over the actions of 10 to 12 thugs that were wearing U.S. uniforms.  This is an obsession. 

(CROSSTALK)

COLGAN:  First of all, Joe, I think the idea that this is a bad apples theory is both naive and sophomoric.  And I think it flies in the face of both the Red Cross report, General Taguba‘s report, which have both said that these issues are systemic.

And this is not about a partisan issue.  Look, I may be a Democrat, but I‘m an American first.  And the reason I‘m concerned about those prison abuses is, above all, more than anything, is because I‘m concerned about how our men are going to be treated when they‘re captured.  And I‘m concerned about eradicating the mistakes that we made that led that to happen, because what we have to keep in mind is, it would be great if the people that were killing our men and women, we could just simply say they‘re al Qaeda.

We could put special forces in there and go after these guys and focus on that, which would so.  But it‘s more complex and nuanced than that.  If we are going to truly be liberators in that country and if we‘re going to root out the terrorists that do exist, we need help on the ground from civilians.  And in order to get that help, we have to start winning the hearts and minds of the people over there. 

(CROSSTALK)

COLGAN:  It‘s not that simplistic, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s another good point, David Frum.

You know what?  G.I.s that e-mail me every day give me examples every day of how we‘re winning the hearts and minds of these people.  And you know what?  The reason why Americans don‘t know that truth is, first of all, because the media doesn‘t put it out, and, secondly, you have jackasses—and, yes, I‘m calling that—like Senator Kennedy, who describes the alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners this way:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, who would prefer that Saddam‘s torture chambers still be open?  Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam‘s torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  This guy has just compared U.S. soldiers to Saddam Hussein‘s thugs that killed a million Arabs.  Explain that to me. 

FRUM:  It‘s horrifying. 

But, you know, it‘s horrifying, and I don‘t know what the senator‘s thinking of, if he‘s thinking at all.  But I have to say, Joe, I think people who support this war have to be careful about getting back into a position where something that is as serious a blunder and as damaging to the United States as these images, you say, well, since it shouldn‘t matter as much as it‘s mattering, therefore it doesn‘t matter. 

Unfortunately, there are a couple constituencies here.  And this has done real harm.  And it‘s done real harm inside Iraq.  And that is one of the reasons why these people have to be severely punished and why we have to be careful in our—obviously, we can‘t morally compare it.  It‘s not in terms of seriousness to be compared.  But in terms of the damage to American interests, it is damaging. 

And I hate to say, there is one kernel of truth in what Senator Kennedy said, which is, why did we keep Saddam‘s prison open?  Why did we use the same prison?  Why are American headquarters in Iraq inside one of Saddam‘s palaces?  The images are terrible.  And we need to think strategically about how we‘re going to accomplish what we want to accomplish. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Certainly, David.  And you know what?  I have said that time and time and time again.  I said Friday when the pictures came out, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. 

But you know what?  After about seven, eight, nine days of us lashing ourselves and talking about how horrible Americans are, at some point, we have to say, OK, we get it.  Now, I want to know this.  Where is the Arab outrage?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  David Frum, where is the Arab outrage?

FRUM:  Well, that‘s a kind of heroic thing to look for.  You‘re not going to see it. 

(CROSSTALK)

FRUM:  That‘s one of the problems we‘ve got.  One of the reasons that this war is important, by the way, is precisely because we were never going to be very successful at persuading the Arab world to grieve for the 3,000 Americans killed in New York City.  We thought , well, maybe we could jolt them into some moral sense by saying, OK, don‘t grieve for our loss, grieve for your own loss.  We‘re going to go into Iraq.  We‘re going to roll open the covers on these mass graves and we‘re going to see what these extremist ideologies to which you subscribe have done to you.  Don‘t feel for us.  Feel for yourselves.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Flavia, why didn‘t we hear from the Arab press about the mass graves, about what happened in Syria, about what happens every day in jails across the Middle East? 

COLGAN:  Well, first of all, Joe, Republicans and conservatives are going to have to start reading things besides “The New York Post” and “The Wall Street Journal.” 

If you watched the BBC today, if you read some of the Arab newspapers, you would have seen that there were plenty of moderate Arabs and Arabs on the street who said that these acts were barbaric, who said they were outraged by it.  And, in fact, what I said earlier in the program was, even Hezbollah, a terrorist and terrible organization, even Hezbollah came out and condemned these acts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, of course, because it said

(CROSSTALK) 

COLGAN:  Portraying Arabs as somehow monolithic and that there is no moderate Arab voice is outrageous and it doesn‘t help us to win the war on terror.  No. 1, that is false.  No. 2, I want to speak to what you said in terms of Senator Ted Kennedy. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Flavia, unfortunately, we are out of time.  I will invite you back.  I will give you the unenviable task of having to defend what Senator Ted Kennedy said. 

And I‘ll tell you what.  I did read the BBC.  I did read Hezbollah‘s comments.   I did read comments from Arabs across the region.  And I have got to tell you, no outrage close to the outrage that they‘ve been showing over the past week and a half. 

We‘ll be right back in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re at war in an extraordinary time.  Does it call for extraordinary measures?  Should President Bill Clinton be hooked up with President George Bush to help win the peace?  We‘ll talk about what President Bush could do to take advantage of Bill Clinton‘s popularity in the Mideast. 

But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.

(NEWS BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back to the show.  They brought in a tranquilizer gun, shot me.  I‘ve calmed down for the back half of the show.  They promised they‘re not going to show those clips of Ted Kennedy.  And that ought to keep me calm enough to last the next 30 minutes. 

General Douglas MacArthur rebuilt Japan after World War II, a country said to be unfit for democracy; 60 years later, the same thing‘s being said about Iraq.  And my question is, could Bill Clinton be President Bush‘s MacArthur? 

We‘ve got Robert Reich here.  He was President Clinton‘s labor secretary,  Also, MSNBC military analyst Barry McCaffrey.

Robert Reich, you know, the president of this network has said to me we as Americans need to recognize that we‘re a country at war.  We have got to find common ground.  And I think even John Kerry—John Kerry agrees.  I think you agree. 

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Most Americans agree.  OK, whether George Bush made a billion mistakes or not going into Iraq, we‘ve got to figure out a way to win the peace. 

REICH:  There‘s no question about it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Isn‘t Bill Clinton—and I‘m going to shock a lot of my conservative friends—but isn‘t Bill Clinton more suited to go to the Middle East and reach out and win this peace than anybody else in America today? 

REICH:  Well, Joe, I think it‘s a pretty good idea.  After all, Bill Clinton does have a lot of credibility in Middle East.  He came within almost a hair‘s breadth, heartbreakingly close to actually negotiating a Middle East peace settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis at the end of his administration. 

And I think the Bush administration needs all the help it can get right now.  America should be united.  It should not be a partisan issue.  And this administration has just about zero credibility in the Middle East right now among Arabs, and if Bill Clinton would help, let‘s get him involved. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you‘ve obviously known Bill Clinton since I think both of you were Rhode Scholars.  And do you think Bill Clinton would do it? 

REICH:  I think he might very well do it.  He has certainly the skills necessary for doing something like this. 

I can‘t speak for him, obviously, but I think that he might very well relish the opportunity to work, once again, for his country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Barry McCaffrey, Abraham Lincoln embraced his political enemies to fight the Civil War.  Of course, you know, in 1940, Winston Churchill was surrounded by a war cabinet initially that loathed him.  They absolutely despised him. 

Do you think George Bush could reach out to Bill Clinton and send him over to the Middle East, not only as a special envoy, but sort of as his MacArthur for the 21st century? 

RET. GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, NBC MILITARY ANALYST:  Well, Joe, it‘s one of the most curious ideas I‘ve heard in a few years.  One would imagine in a presidential election year that the president would turn to Colin Powell, who has enormous international standing, brilliant man, record of success in building consensus in the international community.  He‘s a far better choice. 

And I say that as someone who thinks President Clinton is brilliant.  He‘s admired in the international community and after November 3 might well represent an extension of foreign policy for either potential president.  But in the short run, absolutely not.  Secretary Powell is the man. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, General, why doesn‘t President Bush make an extraordinary effort, ask Colin Powell to leave Washington to go over to the Middle East and perform the type of work, the type of heavy lifting that Douglas MacArthur did to create an extraordinarily vibrant Japanese democracy that certainly still survives to this day? 

MCCAFFREY:  Well, unless I‘m mistaken, that‘s exactly where Colin Powell is right now.  He went over to a meeting of the economic ministers, if I remember. 

But, right now, Joe, we‘re in trouble in Iraq.  We‘re in trouble in the Middle East.  Gasoline has been thrown on the embers.  Probably in the short run, there won‘t be successful peace negotiations.  We‘re going to have to secure and stabilize Iraq, get the economic construction going, hopefully get through 1 July without a civil war starting.  If we get that far by next January, next summer, perhaps we‘ll be in shape to start working the Palestinian issue. 

REICH:  But, Joe, if I could, and if I could take issue with my good friend General McCaffrey, I think that is precisely because we are in such trouble right now, it‘s precisely because the current administration has made such a botch of things, in terms of no weapons of mass destruction, the Shiites not actually opening their arms to us, but considering us villainous occupiers, and now those prison atrocities, it‘s precisely because of all of this that we need a fresh start. 

Now, that fresh start might be in the form of John Kerry as president in January.  Let‘s hope so.  But, in the meantime, that fresh start could be just getting somebody like Bill Clinton involved.  I don‘t see why not. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Robert Reich, I‘ve got to correct you on one thing.  And, again, we‘re trying to be uniters and not dividers tonight.  But the most powerful Shiite cleric, Al-Sistani, actually is supportive of America‘s efforts. 

And he‘s actually—they‘re finally—and I think this is some great news that we can tell Americans tonight—they‘re finally starting to put some pressure on al-Sadr.  But I want to read you, Robert Reich, and have you respond to a quote about General MacArthur.  He said this about his time as commander in Japan: “The pages of history in recording America‘s 20th century contributions may perchance pass over lightly the wars we have fought, but I believe they will not fail to record the influence for good upon Asia.”

For that to happen, Robert Reich, we‘ve won the war.  George Bush used the military, won the war.  Now Bill Clinton, I say, needs to come in and help America win the peace.  How does he do that? 

(CROSSTALK)

REICH:  The real issue here is exactly the way you put it.  Had we won the war—we have not won the war. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We won the military operation.  We‘ve got to win the peace. 

REICH:  With all respect, we still haven‘t won the military operation.  And winning the peace, going back to the controversy you had just a few moments ago, entails winning the public opinion, winning the hearts and the minds of not only the Iraqis, but also Arabs across the Middle East and many people around the rest of the world who now feel that the Americans are doing it exactly wrong. 

The anti-Americanism around the world now has reached levels we haven‘t seen since Vietnam.  And so, winning the peace means establishing trust and credibility in our intentions, making sure that the world really does believe that we‘re there for the right purposes.  How do you do that? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I‘ll tell you what.  One thing we‘re never going to do is, we‘re never going to convince those that are running tyrannical regimes, from Morocco to Pakistan, that we‘re over there for the right reasons.  And they‘re the most oppressive regimes in the world.

And I say we continue doing what we‘ve been doing, except, again, again, we do everything we can to put democracy in the Middle East, and we‘ve just got to start somewhere. 

So, anyway, I want to thank you, Robert Reich and General Barry McCaffrey, for being here. 

Straight ahead, in the film “The Day After Tomorrow,” global warming causes tornadoes to level L.A. and the president‘s critics are using it to slam him on the environment.  And, in Texas, rival gang members use the Internet to organize a huge street brawl.  We have the rumble caught on tape.  And we‘ll show more of it coming up. 

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Now here‘s some Hotwire travel trivia.  What U.S. states are known as the four corner states?  Stay tuned for the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  And in today‘s Hotwire travel trivia, we asked you, what U.S. states are known as the four corner states?  Give up.  The answer is New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. It‘s the only point in the U.S. where four states meet.

Now back to Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Got that one right, too. 

All right, hey, does America face catastrophic consequences from global warming?  A new disaster movie called “The Day After Tomorrow” paints a scary picture, and some people are using it to attack President Bush.  In fact, Al Gore is hosting a town hall meeting a few blocks away from the movie‘s premiere. 

Both of my next guests are going to be there, Laurie David, who is a trustee with the National Resources Defense Council, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is an environmental lawyer.  They‘re both here. 

And I must say, I have got to say up front that Bobby and I have actually worked on some legal cases together.  They‘re environmental cases.  So it may surprise some, but I think we‘re going to probably agree on quite a bit. 

Let me start with you, Bobby Kennedy.  Talk about this movie and have you had a chance to see it yet? 

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER:  I haven‘t seen it, but I have to say a disclaimer up front.  The movie is science fiction.  I don‘t think anybody is seriously contending that New York is going to be in the middle of an Ice Age.

But it is a serious issue.  We are facing consequences now, Joe, at the globe that are really—that have been unheard of for 400,000 years.  The northern ice cap will be gone within 30 years, gone.  The glaciers are melting.  The high peaks, snow pack is eroding.  We‘re seeing wildfires.  We‘re seeing all kinds of extremes in temperature already and weather conditions.  And the consequences to the people around the globe are important. 

You mention that nobody‘s bashing President Bush because he‘s a Republican on this issue.  John McCain has been very strong on global warming, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, my own governor, George Pataki.  This is not a bipartisan issue.  But the fact is President Bush has been really bad on this issue.  And whatever criticism he gets, he deserves. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, Laurie David, let me bring you in here. 

You obviously have been on the forefront this galvanizing the Hollywood community against George W. Bush.  Is that based primarily on his environmental policies?  Is that what concerned you the most? 

LAURIE DAVID, NATIONAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL:  Well, personally, I work on environmental issues.  So that‘s the basis of my wanting to change administrations at some point here in the near future. 

But this movie is like the greatest opportunity that‘s come around in a long time to actually talk about global warming.  And it‘s a serious national security issue.  It‘s something we need to be addressing right now.  It‘s here now.  And I, for one, am thrilled that Fox made this movie, whether it was their intent or not to raise consciousness on this issue. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Laurie, I‘ve read quite a few reports that obviously George Bush has a lot of industry people around him.  He‘s been knocked for not being good on the environment over the past 3 ½, four years.  Bobby has written some very explosive articles about it.

But he has made—and even mainstream media reports are saying he has made some significant cuts when it comes to emissions, that—I‘ve got here, over the next 10 years, emission reductions equivalent to 70 million cars off the road.  The U.S. is boosting investments in emissions reduction to $4.3 billion vs. $20 billion over the next 13 years.  But he‘s still being criticized for laxing pollution rules. 

Is there a difference between the emission standards that are being lowered and the emissions for—that cause global warming? 

DAVID:  Look, global warming is power plants and it‘s cars.  And fuel economy is at a 22-year low.  That‘s the problem. 

The good news is that there is something that individuals can do.  There is a lot that the administration is not doing.  But we can all buy hybrid cars.  And, Joe, I want to challenge you to start driving a hybrid car yourself, because I know that you care about this issue, because it‘s not a political issue.  This is going to affect all of us.  It‘s going to affect you and me.  And what about that?  Will you drive a hybrid car? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is that what your husband drives around in “Curb Your Enthusiasm?”  Because, if so, I just don‘t know if I‘ll fit into it.  My SUV is so much more comfortable. 

DAVID:  Well, here‘s the great news.  SUVs are coming out as hybrids. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No way.

DAVID:  And American car companies are finally, finally—a little late, but finally coming out with hybrid SUVs.  And Ford has an Escape coming out.  And Lexus has an SUV hybrid coming out.  And the lines for that are going to be enormous. 

These cars are going to be incredibly popular.  They cut our fuel economy in half.  They cut our pollution in half.  And it‘s a solution right now.  And we should be embracing them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I‘ll tell you Hollywood, Laurie, if it‘s good enough for your husband, it‘s good enough for me. 

Now, Bobby Kennedy, Al Gore has used this movie to blast the president.  And he said—quote—“The Bush administration is in some ways even more fictional than the movie in trying to convince people that there‘s no real problem.”

Bobby, this is what I don‘t get, OK?  And I‘ve said this.  As you know, I‘m very conservative when it comes to the war, very conservative when it comes to the economy.  But we‘ve talked.  You know I‘m a bit progressive when it comes to the environment.  What surprises me is, Al Gore‘s talking about this now, but his advisers in 2000 said, don‘t talk about the environment.  Nobody cares about it. 

And if you look in the 2004 election, it doesn‘t seem like John Kerry or George W. Bush are really talking about the environment that much.  Is this not the potent issue that it was during the 1990s? 

KENNEDY:  It‘s still a very potent issue.

And if you look at the polling, it‘s extraordinary, Joe, because it illustrates what I always say, that there‘s no such thing as Republican children or Democratic children.  Everybody cares about the environment.  According to a recent Gallup poll, 81 percent of Republicans and Democrats think that we ought to have stronger environmental laws, not weaker ones. 

The president knows this.  And his pollster, Frank Luntz, wrote him a memo in 2003 that we released to the public that said, if we‘re going to eviscerate the environmental laws, it‘s going to make the public very angry at us, including the rank-and-file of our own party. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  You‘re right.

KENNEDY:  And so we have to do a stealth attack.  And that‘s one of the reasons that this isn‘t getting covered.  The White House has been very crafty about concealing its actions from the public by calling things healthy for us. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ll be right back, Bobby.  Sorry to cut you off. 

Got to go to a break.  We‘ll be right back in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, we‘re going to talk about the role of religion in torture.  You‘re not going to want to miss that.

But, first, more with Laurie David and Robert F. Kennedy straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m back with Robert Kennedy Jr. and Laurie David. 

Laurie, let me ask you quickly the same question I asked of Bobby.  Why doesn‘t there seem to be the political will to pass some of this legislation that you want passed when it comes to environmental regulation? 

DAVID:  I think there is a political will for it. 

And, in fact, I would argue that it‘s a more potent issue now than ever, because now it‘s a national security issue.  Now we know that we have this insane dependence on oil and we have to do something about it.  So I think the political will is there.  I think that we have to get our leaders talking more about it and our media covering it more.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, and, Bobby, last night, of course, your colleague Al Franken said this about the liberal radio network Air America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL FRANKEN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:   They‘re being resolved.  And I think we‘re going to continue on for—we‘re going to be on and we‘re building a very big audience.  People are flocking to us. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Flocking to—people are flocking. 

You and Mike Papantonio, a friend of mine, former law partner, you guys have a show.  Tell me about Air America.  You guys going to survive? 

KENNEDY:  I hope so.  We‘ve been enjoying the show.  I have no idea what the numbers are.  And I‘m told that they‘re good.  And I‘m told that the advertising is out there.  But I have no idea, you know. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Well, you know what?  That is a very...

(CROSSTALK)

KENNEDY:  You‘re talking into a microphone.  You have no idea if people are listening to you or not.  And with your show, people come up to you on the street and say, you know, people are listening to you.  But I have no idea. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, well, next time I see you on the streets of Manhattan, I‘ll come up to you and tell what you a great job you‘re doing. 

Bobby Kennedy, thanks so much for being with us. 

Laurie David, we greatly appreciate it.  Tell your husband, he‘s a TV God.  I love the guy.

DAVID:  I brought him with you to meet you, but we‘re in different studios, unfortunately.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Next time.

Hey, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY fans, we want to know—we want you tell the world how much you love SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  If you are in the Los Angeles area this Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, MSNBC wants to interview you on camera about your favorite moment from the show.  There are so many.  There are so many.  Tell us your story at JOE.MSNBC.com.

We‘ll see you tomorrow.

END   

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