Guest: Thomas Woods Jr., Celia Wexler, Deanna Gelak, Lawrence Korb, Wayne Downing
PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST: A suicide bomber in Mosul makes it the bloodiest day for U.S. troops since the war began and raises questions on the home front. Do we have enough troops there? How many more Americans must die before Iraqis take responsibility for their own defense?
Plus, the revolving door from Capitol Hill to K Street. Lawmakers are leaving $158,000-a-year jobs as congressmen to become million-dollar bonus baby lobbyists, working for the very special interests they were sent here to oversee.
One conservative author says that left-wing academics who wrote your high school history books fed you liberal propaganda, not true American history. The author is here to separate truth from fiction.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BUCHANAN: Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Pat Buchanan, sitting in for Joe.
Top story tonight, the high price of a free Iraq. Yesterday, the deadliest attack yet on Americans in the city of Mosul, killing 14 U.S. soldiers, four U.S. contractors, and four Iraqis. Today, an investigation is under way and Mosul is in lockdown. Earlier, U.S. forces blocked bridges, sealed off neighborhoods and raided homes in search of suspects.
Here, stateside, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld addressed yesterday‘s disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It is an enormous challenge to provide force protection, something that our forces worry about, work on constantly. They have to be right 100 percent of the time. An attacker only has to be right occasionally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: “The New York Times” in their editorial today wrote—quote—“This is not just pre-election mayhem. It is stark evidence that with a crucial election now less than six weeks away, America‘s effort to bring into being a new Iraqi government representing all major population groups and capable of defending itself and its citizens still has a very long way to go. Some 21 months after the American invasion, United States military forces remain essentially alone in battling what seems to be a growing insurgency, with no clear prospect of decisive success any time in the foreseeable future.”
But here is what “New York Times” columnist William Safire wrote today: “I stand with those who believe this war was right and that its sacrifices will be justified by lives saved and tyranny diminished. I disagree with those who opposed the preemptive fight from the start or who have lost heart when it dragged on too long and are casting about for scapegoats once again. America and its allies will ensure that freedom is the wave of the future.”
Is Iraq in danger of being lost, or is freedom, though embattled, on the rise, and at what cost?
Joining me now, General Wayne Downing and former Undersecretary of Defense Lawrence Korb.
General Downing, let me go to the first with the core of “The New York Times” editorial. “The New York Times” seems to be saying, this is Iraq‘s war for their freedom and their democracy, but it is almost only Americans who are fighting it. What do you say to that?
RET. GEN. WAYNE DOWNING, NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I agree that this is Iraq‘s war, Pat. And the Iraqis are the key to this.
The problem that we have got is, you know, the key to this entire political process, rebuilding the economy of that country, restoring government services, is security. You have got to have security. Now, we were late coming to the game on training and organizing the Iraqi security forces. Now we have got probably one of our most talented army generals, Dave Petraeus, Jim Schwitters, who is working for him now, who are trying to train these Iraqi security forces.
We have got to get these people trained up to a point where they can take over the security. How long is that going to take, Pat? Certainly, it‘s not going to be over in the next six months. It‘s going to be a two- or three-year process. So we have got to do it, and we‘ve got to stay the course.
All right, we have got to do it, Lawrence Korb, and we‘ve got to stay the course. It‘s a two- or three-year process, training the Iraqis. Clearly, they are not up to speed right now, as even the president concedes. Do you think the American people are ready to stay that course?
LAWRENCE KORB, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I don‘t think so, because, remember, the American people were told that this was going to be a quick war, we would be greeted as liberators. The Pentagon had said before the war we would be down to 30,000 troops by the end of 2003. Here we are at the end of 2004, and we have 150,000 troops.
More importantly, if we have to stay as long as the general says, we don‘t have enough troops to do it. You are going to break the volunteer army. The general himself said when he was on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert, the Army needs about 80,000 more people. We can‘t get that many more people that quickly to be able to sustain this.
BUCHANAN: All right, General Downing, I want to go right to that point about the troops, but in a second.
I do think there are a number of Americans who feel this was something of a bait and switch, that we were told we were going in there to take down this revolting regime, to disarm it of weapons of mass destruction, that we would be welcomed, that democracy would break out, and that we can leave. And the president sold the American people on that. And those of us who opposed the intervention lost the debate in the United States. The president won, and we went in.
And now we hear it is the function of the United States to bleed, as you say yourself, two or three years longer to try to build democracy in a place where it never existed before. Do you think the American people, half of whom or more than half of whom now believe the war was a mistake, are willing to continue to pay the price, when they do not see, and let me use the phrase, light at the end of that tunnel.
DOWNING: Well, Pat, that‘s a terrible phrase. That light at the end of the tunnel brings back some very, very bad, bad memories for me.
Listen, two or three years is probably what it‘s going to take for us to build up those security forces. I don‘t think we will be out of there then. I think it‘s going to take another year or two beyond that. Now, are we going to be able to sell that to the American people? Well, you know, that‘s the role of the president. That‘s the role of the administration. He is going to have to tell them—and I think he is starting to. And I don‘t want to sound like an apologist for the administration, because I am not, because this is something that he is going to have to do.
You know, the big downfall in Vietnam was when the people lost faith in the political leaders. They no longer believed in what they were saying. They lost support for the soldiers over there. And we don‘t want to see that happen again, nor do I think we have to have that happen again, Pat.
BUCHANAN: All right. Lawrence Korb, I think the general is exactly right. I think the president of the United States, maybe he is going to wait until after these elections in January, but I think, if we are going to stay there for a long time and we are going to bleed like this for weeks on end and months on end and years on end in order to get this done, he is going to have to explain to the American people why it is critical to the security of this country who rules in Baghdad, once the place has been disarmed.
KORB: He has also got to admit that he was wrong and he misled us about the reasons for going in. And he also has to admit the fact that a lot of these optimistic projections that he has been saying—we captured Saddam. Things are going to get better. They had the interim government. Things are going to get better. Now they are telling us that after the election things are going to get better.
He is going to have to admit that. He‘s going to have to admit he didn‘t send enough troops in there by ignoring General Shinseki‘s advice. He has to admit that they rushed the training of these Iraqi security forces. When I was there in November of 2003, they were telling us they would have 200,000 by the end of 2003. They‘ve not even—we‘re at 100,000 now.
General Downing, I want to take up the point Lawrence Korb mentioned earlier. And a lot of Americans are wondering about it. We do have close to 150,000 troops in there today. Do you believe—I mean, General Abizaid apparently has not asked for any more. There‘s an argument that, if you put in more American troops, that simply more American targets for these terrorists and insurgents.
BUCHANAN: Do you believe we have enough troops in Iraq or do you believe we should be sending more in, as John McCain recommends, 40,000 or 50,000 more?
DOWNING: Pat, if we put the entire American armed forces in Iraq, active and reserve, all almost three million of them, they could not pacify the countryside. They just couldn‘t. This is a job for the Iraqis.
We are going to have to bring them on board. And, by the way, I don‘t think the president has to apologize to the American people for anything. I think he does need to level with them, tell them what‘s going on. But, believe me, they want they went into this conflict thinking certain things were going to be certain ways.
It doesn‘t work out that way. That‘s life. They probably had 100 assumptions that they based that war plan on, of which 95 were correct. Five of them were bad, and I agree with Lawrence on the ones that were bad. The key to that is recognizing an assumption has gone bad on you and having the flexibility to react. In some cases, we did. In some cases, we didn‘t.
BUCHANAN: All right.
DOWNING: I still think and I am positive that we can pull this off, but we are going to have to be steadfast as we do it, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Lawrence Korb, I am inclined to agree. I don‘t think the president ought to go forward and apologize. I really don‘t.
I think he ought to say, look, this is—what we planned on clearly did not work out. What we anticipated hasn‘t happened. That‘s the nature of war, but we do need this. We do need that. I want you to stay the course, frankly, very much the way Richard Nixon did in November of 1969, when he rallied the silent majority to stand behind him.
I think he has got to do it. Do you think our Army is large enough or we need more troops?
KORB: Well, I don‘t see how you can sustain 150,000 troops in there for the period that General Downing is talking about with the size of the Army that you have, because your reserves, you‘re only allowed to keep them on active duty for no longer than two years.
You should allow the people that have been there to spend a decent amount of time at home. We are not letting that happen. And what I am afraid of is, what‘s going to happen is what happened in Vietnam. Your career people who have not made a lifetime commitment to the military are simply not going to reenlist after their second or third tour over there.
BUCHANAN: All right, General Downing, I want to ask you something. During the 1980s, from about 1981 to ‘89, Saddam Hussein started that war against Iran.
He attacked and he wanted to grab the Shatt-al-Arab. But the Iraqis in that war fought heroically. They died in the hundreds of thousands, resisting these human wave attacks. They died for their country. But over there, what‘s at stake, we believe, is their independence, their liberty, democracy for them. They don‘t seem to be volunteering to fight and die in any significant numbers alongside the Americans, and we are 20 months into this insurgency.
DOWNING: Well, Pat, listen, I don‘t know how you can say that. You know, they do have recruits for that armed forces.
And the other thing we have got to remember, you know, we are talking about one part of the country. We are talking about the Shia area—I mean, excuse me, the Sunni area, 17 percent of the population. You go up to the north now, which has been free for almost 13 years, security is very good. The Kurdish forces are very good.
You go to the south now, with the Shias who have decided to join this political process, other than those two attacks, which were probably by foreigners down there in the south at An Najaf and Karbala, that‘s been very, very peaceful. So, they are able to generate the forces. I don‘t think we should rule this out. You know, this is in their best interests.
They know it. And, of course, what we want to do is get some of these Sunnis, more of the Sunnis, to participate in this political process, because, if they don‘t, Pat, they are going to be left out.
BUCHANAN: All right, General, I think you had a good point about some of the negativism in the media. We are going to bring that up about Iraq in the media. We‘re going to bring that up.
But, right now, General Downing and Lawrence Korb, we need to take a break.
But I want to show you something Joe Scarborough wrote in his blog this evening—quote—“This morning, he says, “the nutbars at ‘The New York Times‘ actually took the Bush Administration to task for not doing more to bring Sunnis and Baathists into the Iraqi political process.
To hell with the fact that 75 point of the country that live in the Shiite and Kurdish regions are excited about selecting their first democratically elected president next month. ‘The Times‘ is emotionally broken up about the 25 point of Iraqis who have driven their collective boots into the heads of the Shiite and Kurdish communities over the past half century.”
You can check out the rest of Joe‘s blog at Joe.MSNBC.com.
We‘ll have more on the latest developments in Iraq when we come back.
BUCHANAN: How much has the security situation in Iraq deteriorated, and what else needs to be done to better protect our troops? That‘s next on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
I want to introduce now something Rush Limbaugh had on his radio show today. A U.S. soldier in Mosul near the attack apparently watched the news coverage of this attack and was absolutely dismayed. He wrote an e-mail letter to Mr. Limbaugh.
Here is Rush reading part of that soldier‘s letter. The soldier, we will keep anonymous.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, “THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW”)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST: “I am disgusted with what I am seeing. It seems to me that the liberal media is just thrilled this happened, so it gives them a good headline to make Bush or Rumsfeld look bad. Don‘t these people get it? This is not just about politics in America. In fact, it was never about politics until liberals—notice I don‘t say Democrats, Mr. Limbaugh, but liberals—it was never about politics until liberals made it that way.”
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: I am here with General Wayne Downing and former Undersecretary of Defense Lawrence Korb.
General, let me go back to you. You covered this, followed this war as closely as anyone and I‘m sure watched the media, cable, read the newspapers. Do you think the reporters are doing what they are alleged to have done in Vietnam, which is report such negativism that they undermine morale in the United States?
DOWNING: Pat, that‘s a tough question, and it‘s one that I get asked more than I would like to.
No, I think, from the perspective I have now, that the press is fairly balanced. I think they do report things like this attack because they are news. I think they do report about the security situation, because that is the key variable going on over there. I wish they would write more stories about some of the great things that are going on in the north, some of the great things that are going on in the southern part of the country.
But these seems to be, you know, pretty much ground under by all these spectacular attacks. But I would say, in balance, I think the press does a fairly good job.
BUCHANAN: All right, Lawrence Korb, I want you to respond to how you think the press is doing, but also to this. Let‘s assume the American people say, look, it is not worth the candle. We are losing too many guys. These Iraqis don‘t seem to be fighting for their own democracy. Pull them out, Mr. President. We have had it. And Republicans start saying, look, we are going down the tubes in 2006 if we don‘t get them out.
What happens, Lawrence Korb, if the United States just pulls out of there, that place collapses in chaos, civil war, the Sunni area becomes a haven for terrorists, and we have all kinds of troubles all down the Persian Gulf as a—quote—“insurgent revolution” and the Zarqawi stuff spreads down there? Aren‘t we—if we pull out, aren‘t we pulling the plug and inviting a hellish disaster for this country?
KORB: Well, we‘re inviting a strategic disaster, as well as moral disaster. I don‘t think if you can go into a country, get rid of the regime and then say, well, gee, it‘s not working out, we are leaving, I don‘t think this is the kind of people we are.
But, on the other hand, I think you have got to start thinking about how you are going to get out. I don‘t see an exit strategy. The general said, well, we will wait until the Iraqi security forces are stood up. Well, we don‘t know how long that‘s going to be. One of the things that unites all of the insurgents, their various different viewpoints, is the American occupation. And I am concerned...
BUCHANAN: So you think the occupation is the cause of the insurgency?
KORB: Well, that‘s one of the causes of the insurgency.
KORB: And I think what we need to do after these elections, assuming they give a modicum of legitimacy to the new government, is talk about a timetable for us leaving, because that will send the right signal. Now, I know there‘s a risk. I understand that. I am not talking about a precipitous withdrawal.
KORB: But I think you have got to send a signal to the people in that part of the world, we don‘t have long-term designs. We know we don‘t, but they don‘t know that, because, remember, we came in with the British, and the British, what they did the last time they came in.
Well, General, let me turn the question around and put it to you.
BUCHANAN: Look, no one wants the United States—I don‘t believe, even those of us who oppose the war, thinks we can turn around now and walk out, say, sorry, it was a mistake or you‘ve got to solve your own problem, because we fear it would be a disaster for this country and its interests and it would throw down the sewer everything these fellows fought for. And there is a chance something good can come out of this.
BUCHANAN: But I want to ask you, what is the price in blood and treasure, and how long should the United States pay it for the kind of solution you hope to see in Iraq? And at what point do we say, look, it is like Vietnam; we have done the best we could; the problems at home, the cost, the price is getting too high; we have to cut loose?
DOWNING: All right, Pat, listen, we have got probably three major events coming up in the next 12 months. And we have got to stay the course for this.
We are going to have this election coming up. Then we are going to go ahead and draft a constitution over there this summer and fall. Then the people are going to go to the polls and they are going to ratify that constitution, first one they have ever had. Then they are going to go back to the polls about a year from now, 13 months from now, and elect their first government under the constitution.
Now, these are fantastic events. These are watershed events for that area of the world. Are these people who are against this going to fight it? Absolutely they are. And we are going to have to stay strong as they go—as we go through this. As we do this, we are going to have to train up these security forces. This is going to be hard, but the stakes are high, as we have said.
I mean, let‘s be realistic. This is not a global war on terrorism. We are faced with an Islamic insurgency over much of the Islamic world that has as its end, Pat, political power, control of these states. These are big, big stakes. And it‘s very essential not only for us, but for our allies and for our friends that we stay the course in this. And it‘s going to be hard.
BUCHANAN: All right, Lawrence Korb, the general lays out a one-year scenario with a lot of positive things happening. And I guess it entailed what you said, that we are going to let them know, look, we don‘t want to control or run this place. This is your country.
And wouldn‘t you invest the kind of treasure, frankly, in blood we would have to invest, for a year to see if maybe it can‘t all turn out all right?
KORB: Well, I don‘t think there‘s any good solutions now.
And, remember, this had nothing to do with the war on terrorism. We are fighting an insurgency. We are not fighting the terrorists who struck us.
KORB: And I think that‘s important. Every time I hear the president and Rumsfeld talk about this, they keep conflating Iran—I mean Iraq and Afghanistan.
BUCHANAN: This is an entirely different and a new war.
KORB: It‘s completely different. So, I think you have to understand the stakes are different.
What I am saying is that you need to send a signal, we don‘t want to stay forever. And you have got to set a date. Now, you can pick two years...
BUCHANAN: Now, I have heard Kissinger say, when Brzezinski said, set a date, Kissinger said, you set a date. They will hold off, the enemy will, and wait until you meet that date, and then they go all out.
No, you have got to understand, you set a date, these insurgents are not going to get any support. That‘s the key thing. Look, we have killed 30,000 insurgents, according to the Pentagon, but yet the number keeps growing. Why are they growing? They are growing because they are getting at least tacit support from the people there.
And if the people think it‘s their own government, they are not going to give that support. The insurgents can‘t live—you can‘t wipe out an insurgency. What you have to do is destroy the popular support. And if you can do that with a government that is seen as legitimate, then you have got a chance to get a reasonable outcome. Nobody has talked about the fact what happens if the Shiites get in and they want to have an arrangement with Iran?
BUCHANAN: Islamic government.
KORB: And then you‘ve got a whole other problem. I think we need to work with the Iranians. We need to work with all of the people in the area there...
BUCHANAN: Are you optimistic?
KORB: No, I‘m not optimistic.
BUCHANAN: General, are you optimistic?
DOWNING: I‘m by nature....
BUCHANAN: A realist.
DOWNING: ... an optimist. Yes, I am not Pollyanna, but, no, let‘s get out and get this thing done.
And I really disagree with Larry Korb. You know, this thing, the Iraq battle is a campaign in this entire global insurgency. And I don‘t like global war on terrorism. You know, this is about political power in Iraq, just like it‘s about political power in all of these other Islamic states. And that is why Iraq is so important, that we go ahead and stay the course and do this thing right. It‘s going to be hard, but we have got to do it.
KORB: It‘s only important because we went in. It wasn‘t important until we went in. And I think that‘s the key thing.
BUCHANAN: Well, as Dean Rusk said, we are there and we are committed.
All right, General Downing and Lawrence Korb, thanks very much for being with us tonight.
Coming up, many members of Congress are leaving their posts are Capitol Hill, but they aren‘t going far. They are going down the hill to K Street to get good high-paying jobs from lobbyists for the very companies they were once sent to oversee.
BUCHANAN: Many lawmakers are trading their years of service for big paychecks from lobbying groups that sought to influence them. We will expose them coming up.
But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
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: Welcome back. I‘m Pat Buchanan, sitting in for Joe tonight.
Is your senator or congressman serving you on Capitol Hill or he just in training for a lavish lifestyle as a lobbyist once his or her public service is over? Some in Congress are cashing in big time.
Here to discuss the fat cats of the congressional alumni association are Deanna Gelak, president of the American League of Lobbyists, and Celia Wexler of Common Cause, a Washington watchdog group.
Now, I want you both—I am going to read some names off here. And I think some pictures are going to come up on the screen right down there, right down there on the monitor, so you take a look at them. According to our statistics, at least 90 former members of Congress are now active lobbyists in Washington.
Here are a few of the more famous, Billy Tauzin, former Republican congressman from Louisiana. Billy helped craft the new prescription drug law and will soon be the new president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association that benefited hugely from that law.
Representative James Greenwood of Pennsylvania. He declined to seek a seventh term in Congress. Instead, he will take a job as president of the Biotechnology Industry Association or organization. While in Congress, Greenwood chaired a subcommittee on drug safety that postponed hearings which would have impacted his new employer.
Kansas Democrat Dan Glickman just got one of the most coveted and prestigious lobbyists posts in town, Jack Valenti‘s old job as head of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Former Kansas Republican senator and presidential nominee, my old rival Bob Dole has his own firm and serves as special counsel to one of the largest and most influential law firms in town.
And, finally, Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri and Tom Daschle of South Dakota—he was the minority leader in the Senate—are currently fielding munificent offers of cushy jobs on K Street.
Now, Deanna, I have got to ask you, is this what small-d democracy is all about?
DEANNA GELAK, AMERICAN LEAGUE OF LOBBYISTS: Well, in all this discussion, I think what‘s frequently overlooked is that citizens send lobbyists to Washington. And lobbyists are only effective to the extent That they are honest, to the extent That they observe current regulations such as the one-year ban, which nobody seems to remember.
BUCHANAN: Deanna, I worked in the Nixon White House. A lot of my friends came out and became lobbyists. Nobody ever elected those boys to anything. They went out and they set up a lobbying firm. And because they had wired into the White House and they‘re wired into the Hill, they were doing congressional liaison for the White House and all those folks. And they‘ve extremely well. They are good people. They have done extremely well.
But this is an insiders‘ game you are defending, isn‘t it?
GELAK: Well, I think lobbying is the most misunderstood profession in America, because there are insiders who understand the process. There are former members of Congress that go and participate in...
BUCHANAN: What is Billy making, $2 million a year?
GELAK: But what is overlooked...
BUCHANAN: He‘s a good guy.
GELAK: Is that it is a policy-driven process. Information is really the game these days. This is not your father‘s lobbying profession.
BUCHANAN: I‘ll say.
GELAK: To the extent that it‘s all just buddies and that type of thing. We can‘t overlook the fact that members of Congress are responsible to their constituents. And if they schmooze with their buddies and cut deals and so forth, do favors, get out of touch with their constituents, then they are not going to get reelected.
Every member of Congress is motivated by the same thing, and that‘s getting elected. We have a transparent process.
BUCHANAN: Celia, you and I know that job security on Capitol Hill is even better than it was in the politburo in the old days of the Soviet Union. You either have got to be indicted or in jail to lose an election these days.
CELIA WEXLER, COMMON CAUSE: That‘s absolutely true.
And probably the only more recession-proof job to be in is lobbyist. So, you have got these guys. You know, in the 1970s, about 3 percent of members left and became lobbyists. By the late 1990s, we were talking about 22 percent. And it‘s probably more.
WEXLER: And that—so, it‘s about one in five. And it creates this incredible sort of—and it‘s still an old boys club, because there‘s not that many women even now in Congress.
And you have a situation where, yes, this is an information game. But it‘s also an access game, and it‘s a relationship game.
BUCHANAN: Sure. These guys, they go to the gym. They‘re shooting baskets.
BUCHANAN: They‘re sitting there in the steam room talking with fellow former senators. They got their parking privileges up there. And it really—and I don‘t—you know, Common Cause was not—Richard Nixon, my old boss, it was not his favorite organization. But I must say that to just bring this out and expose it, but what do we do about it?
You all have been around a long time. And I find it—I tell you what I think ought to be done. When I was in the White House with Reagan, we suggested, you know, maybe at least a two-year or something, five years. You can‘t go into lobbying if you have really got a top White House job or an administration job or an congressional job. In other words, you can‘t go in there and get all this experience and go out and make money with it.
WEXLER: Well, that‘s certainly a good idea. And we would support that. We would support even a five-year kind of moratorium.
But, you know, there are a couple of other things that can be done. One is, why, when you leave Congress, do you get all the same access? Why are those perks still in place? You know, it‘s getting harder and harder for average people to even get access to the Capitol or to go see their members of Congress.
BUCHANAN: Look, they take care of each other. Every guy in there knows, one day, I am going to be out of here. And I would like a building named for me. And I‘d like to be able to come back in the gym and I like all these perks. So they are going to do it. It‘s a fraternity. Skull and Bones.
WEXLER: And the other thing is that, in the executive branch, at least, there‘s a rule that says you can‘t make—talk about a job with an entity that you have some oversight over.
WEXLER: And that‘s not—there is not such a rule when it comes to members of Congress.
BUCHANAN: All right, Deanna, what do you think?
Shouldn‘t there be some hiatus between when you are overseeing an industry and then you go out and you—I guess you wait a year now before you can actively lobby. What you do is, you go to just your law firm and tell the boys who to go see and tell them Billy sent you or somebody like that.
GELAK: Well, I don‘t think it‘s widely understood that there is that one-year ban. This is a serious law, criminal penalties. If you go onto the House, the Senate Ethics Committee pages, you can real about the post-employment restrictions, which are real, and a year in Washington is a significant amount of time.
WEXLER: You can still go to the fund-raisers. You can still do the relationships.
GELAK: Less important than...
BUCHANAN: I am here to help you out. Remember me a year from now.
How many—I remember when I was—Truman had this big scandal over the 5 percenters. These guys were getting 5 percents and so forth. Contracts, it‘s astounding—everybody—now, it‘s a wonderful thing. It was scandalous thing back then. How many lobbyists are there in Washington, D.C.?
GELAK: About 18,000, if you look at the Washington reps book, which is pretty much the...
BUCHANAN: Eighteen thousand. I‘ve heard of many more.
WEXLER: Oh, yes. I am sure that if—you know, many, many people lobby in Washington who do not register. And I think 50 might be a better...
BUCHANAN: Fifty thousand lobbyists?
WEXLER: I would think so. This is a $12 billion—it‘s a huge—billion-dollar...
BUCHANAN: How are you ever going to get control of the budget? You have 50,000 guys with—all these guys with money, access, doing favors and things like that? Isn‘t the whole government been—in effect, been bought?
GELAK: Well, the great thing about America is, we have a transparent process. You can get on the Internet and you can see who is registered to lobby for whom, how much they are being paid. You can go to House.gov.
BUCHANAN: You can‘t get into the congressional—you can‘t get into that steam room up on the Hill, huh?
WEXLER: No. And you don‘t see—you know that one sentence in a very obscure tax bill will mean billions of dollars to a company. And a lobbyist will get that written. And no one will know.
BUCHANAN: All right. OK. I am afraid we have got to take a break here. We will continue the discussion later, I‘m sure. Deanna Gelak and Celia Wexler, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
Are most American history books written by liberal and radical academics who slant history to the left? One conservative author thinks so. And he is here to separate the facts from the fiction up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. My name is Captain Jake Krimnel (ph). I‘m
here at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan,
I want to say happy holidays and merry Christmas to my friends and family back in Red Bud, Illinois. I miss you guys. I look forward to seeing you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Are the history teachers in America‘s schools and colleges filling up the heads of America‘s young with liberal lies and propaganda?
Joining me now is a historian who says yes. He‘s Thomas Woods Jr., author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History,” which I guess, Tom Woods, has hit “The New York Times” best-seller list, right?
THOMAS WOODS JR., AUTHOR, “THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUIDE TO AMERICAN
HISTORY”: That‘s right, Pat. Thanks a lot. Nice plug.
BUCHANAN: Well, I am not responsible. Congratulations.
WOODS: Well, thanks. You didn‘t have to mention that. That‘s wonderful.
BUCHANAN: All right. Well, congratulations.
Well, I want to start right through history. Now, as I understand it, your book deals with the run-up to the Civil War, the secession of South Carolina and the Gulf states and Georgia. And you argue that the South had a constitutional right to secede. Is that correct? And they did not leave over slavery?
WOODS: Well, Pat, I don‘t know if I would go so far as to say that slavery plays no role in the lead-up to the Civil War. I wouldn‘t go quite that far. I think it plays a different role than a lot of people think.
But with regard to the secession issue, the simple question, do the states have constitutional right to secede, I think there‘s an overwhelming case. And one argument that was made is, remember the old 10th Amendment to the Constitution that no one remembers anymore? The 10th Amendment says that any powers that the states have not delegated to the federal government, they reserve to themselves.
Well, there‘s nothing in the Constitution about secession. The states never delegated to the federal government any power to suppress it.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me follow up on that right there.
If the states had a right to secede, then when Lincoln sent that giant army South to destroy the Confederacy, burn Atlanta and burn Columbia, South Carolina, and basically destroy the South, to reconstruct it, if they had a right to leave and he did that, he was engaged in a war of aggression, was he not?
WOODS: Well, Pat, I am telling you this as somebody who has never lived any further South than New York City.
But just assessing the evidence, it does seem to me to be frankly a war that goes against every principle that the American Union was based on, which is the idea of a voluntary association of states. And when you get rid of the right of secession, what happens? The federal government can run completely roughshod over the states. And you have a situation as we have now. The states and localities have no rights as well.
BUCHANAN: All right, let‘s go to FDR. Did the New Deal end the Depression. Did FDR end the Depression?
WOODS: Absolutely not, Pat.
As a matter of fact, from 1933 to 1940, the average unemployment rate is 18 percent. But you read the typical American history textbook, you can hear the pom-poms shaking as they‘re describing Franklin Roosevelt. They hate Harding and Coolidge. They love Roosevelt because he expanded the federal government, centralized everything. But the fact is that his programs made things worse, certainly.
BUCHANAN: You are saying, for eight years, first two terms of FDR, unemployment averaged 18 percent?
WOODS: Eighteen percent.
And the various programs he engaged in with agriculture, the high taxes, what they tended to do, in fact, was to create such uncertainty in the business community that we now know, thanks to economic historians like Robert Higgs, that businesses were refraining from investing in the ‘30s because they didn‘t know what this nut was going to do next.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Now, let‘s talk about the controversial postwar period. Do you argue that Joe McCarthy, Senator Joe McCarthy, fairly controversial figure—I can even recall him from my schoolboy days—that he was fundamentally right when he says that the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt during World War II and Harry Truman for the first couple of years after it were shot through with traders and communists?
WOODS: Well, Pat, you know very well that, for years, people have said that only a delusional person, only the paranoid could think that.
But, as you well know, the fact is that, over the past 10, 15 years, we have learned a lot of information about this. And now it is nailed down beyond all question that there was an espionage problem. We have Nicholas von Hoffman in “The Washington Post” eight years ago, a liberal, saying that McCarthy was closer to the truth than those who ridiculed him.
There‘s no question these days now that, for example, celebrity intellectuals, like Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs, we know they were guilty. There were leftists who defended them to the death in those days. So, in the overall picture, the overall scheme of things, there‘s no question about it.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me ask you this.
You talk about Supreme Court. Again, I was in high school right down the street here when Brown vs. the Board of Education was decided by the Supreme Court May of 1954, desegregating the schools. And they ordered desegregated in 17 states. Federal troops were sent in to enforce the court order in Little Rock.
Is it your view that the Supreme Court had no right to do what it did, had no right to take over the schools, had no right to order the states to desegregate the schools?
WOODS: Well, the fact is that, either you want to live under the rule of law or you don‘t. And what Robert Bork and others have argued is that, just because a policy is socially desirable does not mean the Supreme Court has the authority to impose it on the country, because as Thomas Jefferson warned, if you want to be ruled by a bunch of unelected guys in black robes, then they are going to be consequences to that. They are not always going to do things that you like.
BUCHANAN: Tom, what you seem to be saying—and, again, a fellow I knew before he died and became my friend—was Governor George Wallace had a point.
Wallace told me that the reason he stood in the schoolhouse door was because Congress hadn‘t passed a law, but some federal court had given him an order. And he said, I am a governor of sovereign state and I don‘t take orders from federal judges.
Was Wallace fundamentally right on the principle?
WOODS: Well, Pat, I think this is why it‘s important to know a lot about American history, because, in the 19th century, you see case after case of Northern states, Southern states standing up to the federal government and understanding that they have power to govern their own institutions, and that, when the federal government intervenes, in the short run, you think that some social good would be brought about.
But the fact is that, if they are violating the rule of law, if they are exercising power that was never delegated to them, then you are adrift. If you don‘t have the rule of law, you have nothing.
BUCHANAN: All right, we have got to take a quick break, Tom.
But we have got a few more politically incorrect history lessons when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
BUCHANAN: Tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the ACLU sues the government for torturing prisoners in the war on terror. How far can we go in defending America and where do we have to stop? That debate tomorrow night.
BUCHANAN: We‘re back for some final thoughts from Thomas Woods.
Tom Woods, let me ask you this. You know, I meet a lot of young people and a lot of them are tremendously interested in history and they love it. But the information base they bring out of their high schools and even colleges is appalling. They just seem to have been taught or learned nothing. And I‘ve got to blame it, by and large, on teachers, rather than students, because these are folks who are really interested in those things.
Do you find that, as a teachers of students, that the students you get really have been deprived, if you will, or cheated?
WOODS: That‘s the way I feel, Pat, because they say to me that, finally, they have a history course that engages them, that they‘re interested in.
And, frankly, they like the fact that I say to them, here‘s stuff that basically you are not going to learn anywhere else, no one else will tell you. They like the idea that they‘re being let in on stuff that their high school teachers either didn‘t know or didn‘t tell them about.
BUCHANAN: Yes. You know, I think the success of your book is testimony to that. People are very hungry I think for a bit of truth.
Tell the folks very briefly, for example, what is Operation Keelhaul?
WOODS: Operation Keelhaul was a program that Roosevelt and Truman devised whereby at least a million Russian POWs were returned to Stalin after World War II, largely against their will. Some of these men committed suicide, rather than go back.
They were either worked to death or executed, because Stalin had such contempt for them. He thought some of them had collaborated with the German, so he killed them. And, in order to ingratiate themselves into Stalin‘s favor, these American presidents in effect sent these men back to their deaths. But there‘s really not a word about that in a typical textbook.
BUCHANAN: I think Truman defended that on the grounds it‘s the only way he could get back some of the Americans that the Russians were holding. But, yes, it is one of those appalling forgotten facts of history.
Thomas Woods, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History,” thanks for joining me.
WOODS: Thank you, Pat, very much.
And that‘s all time we have, folks, for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Chris Matthews is next.
We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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