updated 8/13/2004 8:39:21 AM ET 2004-08-13T12:39:21

Guest: Claudia Rosett, Stephen Hayes, Eric Dezenhall, Steve Adubato, Drew Pinsky, Wesley Clark

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAMES MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY:  I am a gay American.

Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST:  New Jersey Governor James McGreevey sent shockwaves through his state and the nation today, announcing that he‘ll resign the governorship due to a homosexual affair. 

Tonight, we‘ll take an up-close look at the exploding sex and politics scandal in the Garden State.

And later, former presidential candidate and Four-Star General Wes Clark will tell us what coalition forces ought to do to win the battle of Najaf. 

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

BUCHANAN:  I‘m Pat Buchanan, sitting in for Joe. 

Tonight, in a political shocker, Democratic Governor James McGreevey of New Jersey, his wife at his side, announced on live national television that he is gay, that he had an affair with another man, and that he is resigning effective November 15. 

Here is Governor McGreevey in his own words. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCGREEVEY:  Throughout my life, I have grappled with my own identity, who I am.  As a young child, I often felt ambivalent about myself, in fact, confused.  By virtue of my traditions, and my community, I worked hard to ensure that I was accepted as part of the traditional family of America.  I married my first wife, Carrie, out of respect and love.  And together, we have a wonderful, extraordinary daughter.  Carrie (ph) then chose to return to British Columbia. 

I then had the blessing of marrying Dina, whose love and joy for life has been an incredible source of strength for me.  And together, we have the most beautiful daughter. 

Yet, from my early days in school, until the present day, I acknowledged some feelings, a certain sense that separated me from others.  But because of my resolve, and also thinking that I was doing the right thing, I forced what I thought was an acceptable reality onto myself, a reality which is layered and layered with all the, quote, good things, and all the, quote, right things of typical adolescent and adult behavior. 

Yet, at my most reflective, maybe even spiritual level, there were points in my life when I began to question what an acceptable reality really meant for me.  Were there realities from which I was running? 

Which master was I trying to serve? 

I do not believe that God tortures any person simply for its own sake. 

I believe that God enables all things to work for the greater good.  And this, the 47th year of my life, is arguably too late to have this discussion.  But it is here, and it is now. 

At a point in every person‘s life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one‘s soul and decide one‘s unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is. 

And so my truth is that I am a gay American.  And I am blessed to live in the greatest nation with the tradition of civil liberties, the greatest tradition of civil liberties in the world, in a country which provides so much to its people. 

Yet because of the pain and suffering and anguish that I have caused to my beloved family, my parents, my wife, my friends, I would almost rather have this moment pass. 

For this is an intensely personal decision, and not one typically for the public domain.  Yet, it cannot and should not pass. 

I am also here today because, shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affair with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony.  It was wrong.  It was foolish.  It was inexcusable. 

And for this, I ask the forgiveness and the grace of my wife. 

She has been extraordinary throughout this ordeal, and I am blessed by virtue of her love and strength. 

I realize the fact of this affair and my own sexuality if kept secret leaves me, and most importantly the governor‘s office, vulnerable to rumors, false allegations and threats of disclosure.

So I am removing these threats by telling you directly about my sexuality. 

Let me be clear, I accept total and full responsibility for my actions.  However, I‘m required to do now, to do what is right to correct the consequences of my actions and to be truthful to my loved ones, to my friends and my family and also to myself. 

It makes little difference that as governor I am gay.  In fact, having the ability to truthfully set forth my identity might have enabled me to be more forthright in fulfilling and discharging my constitutional obligations. 

Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign. 

To facilitate a responsible transition, my resignation will be effective on November 15 of this year. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  Joining me now, Dr. Drew Pinsky, the author of “Cracked:

Putting Broken Lives Back Together,” Steve Adubato, the author of “Speak From the Heart,” and Eric Dezenhall, an author and crisis management specialist, whose most recent book is called “Shakedown Beach.”

Let me ask each of you, beginning with Mr. Adubato, for your take on what you just heard briefly.

Mr. Adubato, go ahead. 

STEVE ADUBATO, AUTHOR, “SPEAK FROM THE HEART”:  Pat, I saw a governor whom I‘ve known for 20 years in pain, struggling, forced to do this in many ways, because the lawsuit that‘s about to become public in the next 24 hours is going to contain some incredibly lurid details about a relationship that the governor had with a young man who in fact the governor employed. 

He worked in the governor‘s office.  The governor in fact nominated him to be the head of homeland security and he didn‘t clear with the FBI because he wasn‘t qualified and then succeeding other jobs within the administration, and three jobs in the private sector that allegedly the governor helped arranged. 

Here‘s the point.  I see a guy who is a decent public person, Jim McGreevey, who has spent his entire life wanting to be governor, announcing at 47 years of age that he is gay, he‘s courageous on one level for doing it.  On another level, he‘s forced into this because, when it comes out—and, again, I want to withhold until we find out the details—but when it comes out that this guy was really blackmailing the governor, then it‘s going to question the governor‘s judgment, not for being gay, because that has got absolutely nothing to do with it. 

And you shouldn‘t resign because you‘re gay.  It is a nonissue in my book.  It‘s a question of what you do with that relationship and whether you put that person on a public payroll and what position that puts yourself and the governorship in.  That‘s the issue here. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Dr. Drew Pinsky, go ahead.

DR. DREW PINSKY, AUTHOR, “CRACKED”:  I agree with Mr. Adubato.

I mean, what we‘re seeing here is evidence that the governor had real problems with boundaries.  He really had difficulty containing his impulses.  He had been trying to hide his life for quite some time.  And it came bursting through and he got himself in a situation where he had no alternative.

I, on the other hand, and very much like Mr. Adubato, I am moved by the governor‘s admonition and the fact that he came on and was completely honest.  We don‘t expect this from our politicians these days.  We expect them to sort of defend and deny and to sort of distort the truth.  So we‘re really not sure what they did or didn‘t do.  He had the guts to step out and tell us who he is, what he did, take responsibility for it.

And I think he really is a role model for a change, a politician who actually is a role model for young people.  Forget the sexual orientation issue.  Just the fact that he could be honest is a dramatic change in what we expect from our politicians‘ behavior.

BUCHANAN:  Eric Dezenhall.

ERIC DEZENHALL, AUTHOR, “SHAKEDOWN BEACH”:  There‘s two issues happening here.  One is a personal drama and the other is a political crisis. 

From a personal perspective, I agree that the governor was very brave to come forward as he did.  But from a political perspective, this was a stone-cold decision in crisis management.  New Jersey is a very special place.  We like to say that in New Jersey, politics is contact sport.  But that doesn‘t apply to all forms of contact. 

And I think Jersey, you have understand it culturally that it‘s not the same as Vermont.  In New Jersey, you can survive a corruption scandal.  You can‘t survive a gay scandal.  In Vermont, it would be just the opposite.  So this was a stone-cold decision, because somebody has this man dead to rights.  And even though it might—in a perfect world, it shouldn‘t matter, you have to—you can‘t factor out the fact that this is New Jersey. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Hold it.  Let me get my—just briefly.  We‘ll get back to you. 

I want to give my dissent.  I heard today on MSNBC the initial announcement.  And I agreed then that it seemed like here was an honest, agonized man coming forward, admitting to a mistake, taking responsibility.

But then the more you think of it, this gentleman has known he has been gay for a long time.  What he has done is, as we know now, he has cheated systematically on his wife.  He has engaged in a homosexual relationship with this 33-year-old Israeli sailor, whom he turns around and appoints head of homeland security, then to one job after another after another.  He is apparently going to be cited in a case for sexual harassment and maybe rape.

There is talk—and we‘ve heard it again tonight—of blackmail and possible shakedown.  Isn‘t this a politician who is going forward, making a virtue out of necessity, saying, I‘m a gay man; I‘m trying to cope with all this, when in fact he‘s guilty of a dereliction of duty, both marital and professional? 

ADUBATO:  I got to tell you, Pat, I understand where you‘re coming from on this, but I‘ll bet you there are millions of Americans across this country right now saying, you may be right, Pat Buchanan, on some of this, but they also saw a guy who was struggling. 

And I have to tell you, the problem I have with what you just said is the cheating and this and that.  This is a guy who was struggling on a deep internal level with his sexuality.  Have you no compassion on that level for him?

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, I‘ve got—would you have compassion for Bill Clinton, who was struggling with his sexuality? 

ADUBATO:  No, and I‘ll tell you why.

BUCHANAN:  Why?

ADUBATO:  Bill Clinton, in my opinion, put this country through all sports of pain and suffering.  And those around him spent hundreds of thousands of dollars before the grand jury.  He lied.  He parsed words.  He played games.  McGreevey didn‘t do that.  McGreevey is saving the state of New Jersey...

BUCHANAN:  With due respect, Mr. McGreevey, Governor McGreevey, has been living a lie.  He has been cheating consistently on his wife, moving this guy around on a payroll.  Look...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  You hold it.  Wait just a second. 

ADUBATO:  Two different things.

BUCHANAN:  All right, two different things.

Look, Wayne Hayes here in town was a congressman.  He had this beautiful babe, Elizabeth Ray.  But he parked her in the typing pool.  He didn‘t make her the Tom Ridge of New Jersey.  Why is this guy allowed to get away with that simply because he is homosexual? 

ADUBATO:  We agree, Pat, that putting him in government positions, whether it‘s a man or a woman, is absolutely wrong, particularly positions this guy was not qualified for.  The difference of opinion you and I have was is that this whole thing about cheating on his wife, let me tell you something, Pat.  If that‘s the litmus test, you and I know...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  No, that‘s not.

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  No, that‘s the litmus test you put out there.   I‘m telling you, millions of Americans would fail.

BUCHANAN:  It is one of the things he was doing.  OK, they would fail. 

But, look, they are not on the moral high ground having done this. 

Let me go back to Dr. Pinsky.  Go ahead.

PINSKY:  I would just say as somebody—I‘m not politically sophisticated.  I consider myself sort of an average citizen. 

And I expect my politicians to become defensive and obfuscating in situations like this.  That‘s what I‘ve come to expect from politicians for the last 10 years.  And this is—the only difference in this, taking an employee, having sex with them, getting them jobs, we have heard this before.  It just so happens this one is a homosexual relationship.  And the other politicians who have been caught with this, who have come forward, have then denied.

And this guy at least came forward and said, hey, you got me.  That‘s it.  And I‘m going to take responsibility for this. 

BUCHANAN:  But, Eric Dezenhall, he made him director of homeland security after 9/11.  It seems to me we are talking about a serious dereliction of duty, far worse than what cost Wayne Hayes his job of Governor Rowland his job. 

DEZENHALL:  This is why you have to separate between the personal drama and the political drama. 

As a guy who writes about New Jersey and who understands New Jersey politics, the fact is, is, they have this guy dead to rights on something.  There was absolutely nowhere to go, no way to get out of it.  So what—if given the choice between resigning under the mantle of a personal struggle and fighting something that is politically untenable, it‘s better to exit under the mantle of having a personal struggle than it is to say, I made a political disaster. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  OK.

Should Republicans let Governor McGreevey get away with resigning on his own terms or should they force him out? 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  New Jersey Governor James McGreevey says he‘s stepping down after admitting he had an extramarital affair with another man. 

We‘ll talk more about the repercussions when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCGREEVEY:  At a point in every person‘s life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one‘s soul and decide one‘s unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is. 

And so my truth is that I am a gay American. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  OK, we‘re back with Dr. Drew Pinsky, Steve Adubato, and Eric Dezenhall.

And, Eric, I want to ask you the question I put up at the end of the last segment. 

And that is this.  Look, he is resigning as of November 15, which means the state Senate president, who is a Democratic, will take over the governor‘s chair for a full year.  If he resigned right now, the people of New Jersey, not this discredited governor, would be choosing the next governor in November.  Do you believe that the Republicans should demand that he stand down before September 1 in order to let the people of New Jersey decide who should governor them for the next year? 

DEZENHALL:  What I believe isn‘t as important as what history would suggest. 

New Jersey leans Democratic.  But these are not the Democrats of the Upper West Side and Malibu.  These are the Democrats of Atlantic City, of Bayonne, of Camden.  And what that suggests is that you are going to see not a terrible tremendous amount of sensitivity to the plight of Governor McGreevey.  And the idea is going to be to keep this as controversial as possible.  And I think that they are going to give him a very hard time and not let him slip away so easily, because, frankly, in New Jersey, we like the controversy, we like the heartache, we like the agony. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Steve Adubato, before I go to Dr. Pinsky, politically, is it not likely, as all this, if you will, this garbage spills out in this civil suit and people learn the lurid details and they find out exactly all the reasons why the governor stood down, that they were not all so high and noble, they are going to say, look, well, done, my good and faithful servant, but go, man, go; we‘ve got to have an election in November?

ADUBATO:  Pat, it‘s not—I‘m a Jersey guy, too.  I‘m born and raised in Newark.  I‘m coming to you from Union, from the Comcast studios.

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

ADUBATO:  I‘ll tell you what.  I know this state and it‘s not about the Republicans, because I expect the Republicans to go after the governor on this. 

Here‘s the problem the governor has.  If the newspapers, if “The Star-Ledger,” if the other major papers in the state of New Jersey editorialize that the governor must step down—and here‘s the magic date, Pat—

September the 3rd

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ADUBATO:  If the governor steps down before September the 3rd, and I believe the editorials will say that he should, then there must be a new election. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ADUBATO:  That means that the national political landscape changes.  That means that George Bush runs with a Republican candidate for governor in New Jersey, because Jim McGreevey won‘t get his way and won‘t stay until November 15. 

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  ... he‘s in trouble.

I‘m sorry, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  No, you‘re right.  And New Jersey becomes—right now, it‘s a Kerry state. 

ADUBATO:  It will be a player. 

BUCHANAN:  It will be in play in the November election.  And I would think that George Bush and Karl Rove tonight would be telling those Republicans and calling any friends in the press, saying to them, we want to have a gubernatorial election. 

You get, say, a Christie Todd Whitman or some popular housecleaning Republican, and you got a chance of covering that state. 

But let me go to Dr. Pinsky.

You heard what—do you think, Dr. Pinsky, that McGreevey here is consciously moving himself into a sympathetic victim group, people who have been persecuted, given a bad time, ostracized, pariah-cized, of homosexuals, to get himself really up and out of what is a horrendous pickle of his own making? 

PINSKY:  I think that‘s certainly a possibility.

But you also would think, if he really didn‘t want this to be public knowledge, he would find a way to deny it or at least to somehow keep it under wraps or somehow find a way to obfuscate further, as politicians are so often good at doing. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you this, though.

PINSKY:  Yes, go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  He did not come out of the closet on his own. 

PINSKY:  No.

BUCHANAN:  He has been dynamited out of the closet by this suit this fellow is going to file against him alleging sexual harassment, a homosexual affair, maybe rape, we hear earlier tonight.  In other words, he‘s been pulled out of that closet and he had to come forward today, didn‘t he? 

PINSKY:  That‘s what a couple of you are suspecting.  It may be the case.  I don‘t know. 

It‘s very difficult from where I sit to sell whether this is something

·         a man who has just decided to be honest finally and to come to terms with his demons or if it‘s a political move.  I want to believe that this is an honest move on his part.  He does indeed have no...

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

PINSKY:  He has no alternative.  Granted, he has no alternative.

But he didn‘t have to be so open about the entire

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY:  It could have been spun.  It could have been spun in some way.  And he just laid it out.  He‘s exposing himself. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, but let me ask you a quick, quick question.  What‘s going to happen to this—he‘s done this very well today and very effectively.  What‘s going to happen to him very briefly in, say, a month from now, after he has done this? 

PINSKY:  Well, listen, this is a man who is going to suffer and I‘m sure has suffered greatly with all these issues. 

He has a marriage.  He has to decide if he‘s going to stay in that marriage.  That marriage will require treatment.  He has mentioned confusion about his sexual orientation.  On one hand, he said he was gay.  On the other, he said he was confused.  Was he a sexual abuse victim and does that need to be treated and that is why he is confused?  What about—you see all the extended family there.  He has got his parents there.  What about that family, his two children from two different marriages?

BUCHANAN:  Exactly. 

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY:  Many, many people are going to suffer as a result of this.  He did not do a good thing.  Let‘s face it.  A lot of people are going to suffer as a result. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Somebody wanted to get in.  Go ahead.

ADUBATO:  This is an Irish Catholic kid from New Jersey whose father, who you just saw, is a drill sergeant.  He‘s a former drill sergeant in the Marines. 

The bottom line is this.  This guy has to figure out how to put the pieces together with two kids, with one wife and an ex-wife.  And, also, the other thing is this.  This is also a guy who has dedicated his entire life to politics. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ADUBATO:  Believe it or not, Pat, he‘s got no money, absolutely no money.

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  ... find a good job after this.

BUCHANAN:  That‘s what I‘m getting at.  It‘s maybe going to be devastating.               

But, look, let me say, don‘t you think his dad, if he‘s a drill sergeant, has heard the rumors down through the years and knows something about this?  Horrible as the announcement is, do you think it came as a shock to the drill sergeant? 

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  Well, I‘m not going to get inside of their heads, but I‘ll tell you what.  This is a family who loves this young man and will stick with him no matter what.

Are they embarrassed by today?  Of course.  Are they shocked on some level?  Who the heck really knows?  But, in the end, they are going to have to live with this.  He‘s going to have to live with this.  But politics goes on in New Jersey. 

And let me tell you something else.  Finally, if there‘s anything good that comes out of this, it is that, one day, it will be just a little bit easier for a politician, be it man or a woman, to announce that in fact they are gay and then talk about tax policy and the economy and health care, because it shouldn‘t matter at all. 

DEZENHALL:  Yes, Pat, crisis management is all about picking the best of your bad options.  And the best of his bad options is to wrap up what is a nasty political situation in the most sympathetic mantle that you can. 

And the most sympathetic one you have is a genuine personal struggle.  But it is both a personal struggle, but it is also an attempt to extricate himself from what is a brutal political situation. 

BUCHANAN:  OK.

The man—there‘s no doubt about it.  Whatever you think, the man has gone through hell.  And you have got to be sympathetic toward him on a personal basis. 

Dr. Drew Pinsky, Steve Adubato, and Eric Dezenhall, thanks for an excellent discussion of this issue. 

Upcoming, folks we‘re going to talk to General Wes Clark and ask him, are the coalition forces doing right thing right there in Najaf in the cemetery, going right up to the holiest shrine in Shia Islam, or is that a mistake? 

We‘ll be back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  Coming up next, the battle for Najaf.  We‘ll ask General Wes Clark if he agrees with the way U.S. and Iraqi forces are targeting al-Sadr in the holy city.

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 back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

BUCHANAN:  As you just heard, Americans troops stormed the home of Muqtada al-Sadr today, launching a full-scale battle for the city of Najaf.  Will this become a decisive battle in the insurgents‘ war? 

Earlier, I was joined by former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination General Wesley Clark, who was the supreme allied commander during the Kosovo war. 

I asked him if going into the sacred places of Islam is a wise decision by the coalition forces. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

WESLEY CLARK (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think that both Najaf and Fallujah are problems that have to be solved.  And the sooner they‘re solved, the better. 

There should be only one Iraqi government.  And it should have a monopoly on the use of force, on the deployment of armed personnel and on enforcing the laws.  It should not be subject to challenge by an armed militia.  The armed militia was given warnings to lay down their weapons.  It did not do so.  So our armed forces, working with the Iraqis, had no choice but to do what they did.  And I certainly support it. 

BUCHANAN:  And do you believe that the attack in Najaf and especially if the battle is taken by the Iraqi forces, the allies, right into that shrine, do you think that that risks a tremendous explosion by the entire Shia population, which is roughly 60 percent of the population of Iraq? 

CLARK:  Well, it‘s tough to say what could really happen out of this.  Certainly, there is always a risk on something like this.  And there has been a risk from the beginning.

But we are in this position because we acted in a way that I don‘t believe we had to act.  The president took us to a war before our allies were ready without enough forces on the ground to do the job initially and without a real plan to do what we did after we got in the country.  So it has led to a situation now.  This to my mind is the least risky course of action strategically.

If the United States is there, we want the United States to be successful. 

BUCHANAN:  Did we temporize at Fallujah? 

CLARK:  Yes, we did.  And that‘s a score that‘s going to have—it‘s going to have to be settled. 

BUCHANAN:  And it‘s your judgment, then, that if we are finishing the job with Muqtada al-Sadr, whether we kill or capture him or eliminate his militia, we have got to go back into Fallujah and finish that job, too, if we‘re going to have one united Iraq under one government? 

CLARK:  Yes, I do believe that that is going to be necessary.

Hopefully, the Iraqis will do most of that themselves.  But if they don‘t, while we are there, while we are there in numbers, we are going to have to do it.  These problems don‘t get better with time.  They get worse. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me—you say in these numbers.

General Abizaid said a year ago there are about 5,000 insurgents, foreign fighters, Saddamites, all the rest of them.  And that was 5,000 a year ago.  There are now 20,000.  And, normally in a guerrilla war, General, as I understand it, you need a 10-1 advantage for the government.  Now, John Kerry has indicated he will send no more troops and be will drawing the troops down.  At the same time, American casualties are rising.  The incidents of violence and attacks are rising. 

Isn‘t Senator Kerry‘s war policy risking an American defeat in the war at the same time that the vice presidential candidate, candidate Edwards, says we‘re going to win the war? 

CLARK:  No, I don‘t think there is any daylight between the two of them at all. 

What John Kerry is doing is announcing the goals of his policy.  Our goals are to pull all those troops out of there and to start as soon as possible.  But, obviously, if we haven‘t done the job in places like Najaf and Fallujah, then we are not going to be able to leave.  And if the Iraqis haven‘t been trained to pick up the security mantle, we are not going to be able to leave. 

But we want to get to a posture—and I think this is consistent with what the military commanders have been saying—where we can secure the borders and we can be back there and acting in reserve and let the Iraqis do most of the heavy lifting, especially in the urban areas, themselves.  That‘s where we‘re trying to get to.  And it‘s the question of what‘s the most efficacious way to get there.

But I think there should be no misunderstanding of the American goals.  What John Kerry said is, we‘re going to pull our troops out of there.  And that‘s different than what the administration has been enunciating.  And it‘s all its spokesmen over the last two or three years who were talking about being in the region, maybe changing this government and that governor, and generally using Iraq as a sort of stepping-stone to other things.  I don‘t think John Kerry has that vision. 

(CROSSTALK)

CLARK:  ... make it clear.

BUCHANAN:  Let me follow up on that. 

You say the goal is to get the American troops out of there.  And I think probably the majority of the American public agree with you.  But if that goal becomes inconsistent with the goal that was announced by Senator Edwards in his acceptance speech, where said, we will win in Iraq, which goal comes first, victory or the withdrawal of American troops? 

(LAUGHTER)

CLARK:  That‘s what—why we have a president and a commander in chief.  And when John Kerry is the president, he will be able to balance that very well. 

But speaking as someone who is not in that position, what I would hope we would do is do the job right, succeed in Iraq and then pull our troops out.  Obviously, we‘re not going to undercut the policy by pulling out troops prematurely when they‘re needed in Iraq.

BUCHANAN:  OK.

Let me read you a statement here, General.  And this comes from Iran today.  This you were mentioning the other countries in the region.  This is the Ayatollah Ali Khomeini.  He is the supreme leader of Iran.  He warned the United States about damaging the Imam Ali shrine, which is one of the holiest sites—or perhaps the holiest site in Shia Islam.

He said—quote—“The American attacks on the most sacred Islamic city will definitely elicit a strong response from the people of Iraq.”

Who should be America‘s response to the ayatollah? 

CLARK:  Well, first of all, we should have been talking to Iran a long time ago.  And I would hope that we would open a dialogue with all of the countries in the region. 

It‘s in their interest, as well as the interests of the Iraqi people, that the fighting in Iraq stop and that stability be restored there and that a democratic form of government emerge.  And that‘s our aim.  That should be their aim, too.  And if we will establish a regional dialogue, we have got a lot better chance of achieving it. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, Former CIA Director Gates and Zbigniew Brzezinski made that same argument that you‘re making, General.

But there is another point of view in Washington.  And it is, I guess, consistent with the Bush doctrine.  It would be this.  In the last analysis, if we cannot get Iran to give up its drive toward nuclear weapons, the United States should exercise a military option with or without the Israelis to destroy the nuclear sites, or the nuclear production sites, of Iran. 

In the last analysis, if the Iranians do not stop proceeding toward nuclear weapons, should the United States use military actions to prevent them from becoming a nuclear power? 

CLARK:  I think we‘re a long way from that point.  And I think it‘s premature to talk about things like that. 

The use of force is always an option, but only as a last resort.  And this is what John Kerry has been making very, very clear.  Israel should not be engaged with the Iranian nuclear problem.  The United States should be working diplomatically with our European allies.  We should open a dialogue with Iran.  We should persuade the Iranians that they will be a much safer country without nuclear weapons than with it. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, General.

All right, final question, General.  Vice President Cheney said today that—and he cited John Kerry about being more sensitive in the war on terror.  And he said, we don‘t need to show sensitivity.  We need to show a lot more toughness and finish these people off.  Your response? 

CLARK:  I think the vice president is engaging in the lowest form of politics, which is personal attack. 

John Kerry is on solid ground and he knows exactly what he‘s talking about.  You cannot win the war on terror simply by finishing people off.  You may have to attack and kill terrorists, but you must have a whole panoply of measures, international law, diplomacy, the exchange of information, law enforcement, economic development.

Ultimately, we‘re going to have confront terrorism and Islamic extremism as an ideology that is hostile to what we believe in.  We fought an ideological battle against communism and we won it.  We can win an ideological battle against Islamic extremism, but you can‘t take a military shortcut on this and win it. 

BUCHANAN:  Thank you, very much, General.  Good having you on. 

CLARK:  Good to be with you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BUCHANAN:  OK, upcoming next, folks, did Kofi Annan‘s U.N., the last, best hope of mankind, let Saddam Hussein sell millions of barrels of oil and give the money to Osama bin Laden to bring down the World Trade Center towers?  Our next two guests say, maybe.

Don‘t go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  For years, Saddam Hussein was allowed by the U.N. to export oil-for-food for the Iraqi people.  Did this U.N. oil-for-food program serve as a piggy bank for Osama bin Laden‘s jihad against America? 

Here to help answer that question are Claudia Rosett from the

Foundation For the Democracy of Democracies.  Her articles in “The Wall

Street Journal” helped expose the U.N. scandal.  And Stephen Hayes of “The

Weekly Standard, he‘s the author of “The Connection: How al Qaeda‘s

Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America”

Claudia, I want to read something for the folks, what you wrote, if I could here, about the oil-for-food program.  This is what you wrote: “From about 1998 on, oil-for-food became Saddam‘s financial network, a system he gamed to produce huge amounts of illicit income”—for him, I guess—“in partnership with folks who helped him hide and spend it.  If some of that money was going to al Qaeda while Saddam was in power, it may still be serving as a terrorist resource today. “

Now, you use the word “if.”  Is there any hard evidence that you have that Saddam Hussein was financing al Qaeda? 

CLAUDIA ROSETT, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”:  There is not hard evidence, but there is an extremely interesting pattern, which needs I think—badly needs looking into by people who have access to the internal U.N. records and to this enormous stash of documents squirreled away in Baghdad right now, shrink-wrapped, I hear.

But what there is, is, in that same year, when the oil-for-food program effectively really came together, when Kofi Annan at the U.N.  consolidated it into a department, rather than an ad hoc, temporary program, that was the same year that Osama bin Laden, who was broke when he was kicked out of Sudan in 1996, was back on his feet in Afghanistan enough to issue in a declaration in a London newspaper referred to as a fatwa, although it really wasn‘t.

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ROSETT:  And the interesting thing about this so-called fatwa is, that was the document in which bin Laden declared war on America. 

BUCHANAN:  Right.  I‘m familiar with it.

ROSETT:  Yes, exactly, the kill-all-the-Americans document. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ROSETT:  And the interesting thing about that document—and it caused some discussion soon afterward—is, Iraq was extremely prominent in that document, which had not been the case in Osama bin Laden‘s previous rantings.  Iraq gets four mentions.  Sanctions are specifically mentioned, the protracted blockade. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ROSETT:  Now, remember, the rest of the document is devoted to bin Laden‘s ranting about religious grievances, not the part on Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Yes, it‘s about the Americans and the holy sites and the Americans in Saudi Arabia and the Jewish folks in Jerusalem.

ROSETT:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  But it takes up that question of Iraq. 

Now let me take that question to Steve Hayes.

But, Steve, the way I saw that—now maybe I‘m wrong—is, Osama, who is obviously an Islamic fanatic, he is trying to identify himself with the causes of Arab nationalism and hook into those.  But is there any hard evidence that you have found that Saddam was aiding, directly funding Osama bin Laden? 

STEPHEN HAYES, “THE WEEKLY STANDARD”:  Well, Pat, I think you‘re right.

I think one of the things we saw was that Osama bin Laden used Arab nationalistic language when it suited his purposes.  Saddam Hussein used fundamentalist language when it suited his purposes.  But I do think that we can see a pattern of support from Saddam to Osama bin Laden.  I interviewed for my book Stanley Bedlington, who was a senior analyst in the CIA‘s Counterterrorism Center.

And one of the things that he said to me was that it was basically a known fact by the CIA that Saddam was pushing money to a variety of al Qaeda-linked fundamentalist groups, including the GIA, basically to hide his money, to pass it around, to play a shell game.  And then, as late as 2003, at the start of the Iraq war, we have firsthand accounts from people involved with the Ansar al-Islam, the al Qaeda affiliate that operated in northern Iraq, saying, look, I was the conduit.  I‘m the one who passed the money from Saddam Hussein‘s regime to al Qaeda to Ansar al-Islam.

Now, it may be that those people aren‘t credible, but we have got a number of different people who are telling us the same things.  And if they are not credible, I think we need to learn why they are not credible, because, certainly, there are numerous firsthand accounts about Saddam Hussein providing not only funding, but arms for al Qaeda and al Qaeda-linked groups. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, both, hold on here.

When we come back, we‘re going to take up the question, if there was a link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, why did the 9/11 Commission not highlight it and not explain it or not find it?  That question when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, another passenger from Flight 327 steps forward with disturbing new details about the actions of 14 Middle Eastern men on that flight.  We‘ll bring you the very latest tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. 

But stay tuned for more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  We‘re back with Claudia Rosett and Stephen Hayes. 

Claudia, let me start with you. 

If there is a connection between Saddam Hussein passing money to al Qaeda for a tax on the United States and especially 9/11, why did the 9/11 Commission find—or report nothing?  As a matter of fact, they had a staff report that seemed to throw cold water on the idea.

ROSETT:  Probably because the United Nations kept the oil-for-food program so secret in most of its details, and to this day has kept some of it secret even from Congress, that they had no easy access.  It is not a direction anyone has looked from.  They tracked it backwards from the al Qaeda end.  What I‘m saying is, someone should go look at it from the oil-for-food end.

BUCHANAN:  How about Volcker?  How about Volcker? 

ROSETT:  Well, it would be terrific if he would.  But he is focused on U.N. personnel, as far as I can tell. 

No one is looking at the program as what it really was, Saddam‘s little black book of finance.  Saddam had, as of 1988, expectation of being able to make enormous amounts of graft money through the U.N. oil-for-food program.  That‘s the same year that bin Laden airs what sounds like a message from a sponsor, in which he includes a plug for the grievances of Saddam Hussein in his declaration of war on America.  That‘s the kind of pattern the 9/11 Commission is saying, I think, we should be watching for.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  OK.

Stephen Hayes, you have been writing about this connection for a long time and somewhat of a lonely time.  Why did—the 9/11 Commission, which presumably bipartisan, all these people looking in-depth, why did they basically come up with nada, with nothing? 

HAYES:  Well, I don‘t think they did, Pat. 

What they laid out was a series, a history of what they called friendly contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda, including high-level meetings between bin Laden confidants and senior Iraqi intelligence officers.  What‘s astonishing to me is that so few people in the media appear to be interested in what happened at those meetings. 

There was a meeting that the September 11 Commission report was the first one to report on in July of 1998.  I had never heard about this.  We know nothing about the meeting.  We know that these were important people.  Why don‘t we want—why don‘t people want to know more about this?  It seems to me that that‘s something that should pique everyone‘s curiosity.  And, as a reporter, it certainly piques mine. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me say this.

I think that most people say, look, the Saudis—clearly, there are some corrupt Saudis behind him.  The Paks were aiding the Taliban.  The Taliban were aiding him.  But they look at Saddam and they look at Uday and Qusay and they say, these guys are into porn and black label.  And Saddam would never risk handing a franchise to these crazy characters to do something to the United States if it would result in him being smashed.

HAYES:  But I think—I think you‘re right.  I think they wouldn‘t hand the franchise, as you say.

But they certainly wouldn‘t be opposed to exploiting one another.  And I don‘t think—I think, if you look at the history of the relationship, you can see that they both attempted on numerous occasions to exploit one another, whether it was bin Laden requesting weaponry and funding from Saddam, or whether it was Saddam offering bin Laden asylum.

BUCHANAN:  OK.

HAYES:  Clearly, these were people who were not opposed to working closely together. 

BUCHANAN:  OK, Claudia Rosett, Stephen Hayes, thank you both for joining us. 

And thanks to all of you out there for watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

See you tomorrow night.   

END   

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