Guest: Hasan Abdel Rahman, Alexander Haig
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline: Some are calling Yasser Arafat‘s passing a tragedy. The “Real Deal”? He‘s actually the father of modern terrorism. Good riddance.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport‘s required and only common sense is allowed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Yasser Arafat expressed and symbolized in his person the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: The international community came out today to praise Yasser Arafat upon his passing, leaving us with the question, where were they when he was ordering assassinations and inciting terror? Tonight, the “Real Deal” on one of the world‘s most polarizing and dangerous figures.
And then, red states be damned. The president is now pushing to make his guest worker program law—we call it amnesty here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—as border states head to the other end of the spectrum, voting to restrict immigrants‘ rights.
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 to our show.
A terrorist dies and the international community mourns. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, when I read last week that a reporter for the BBC wept openly on the air at the imminent passing of PLO Chief Yasser Arafat, I wasn‘t surprised. Elitists across Europe and the world have long vilified true liberators like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, while elevating thugs like Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat to hero status. But it‘s not just misty-eyed British journalists or radical Arab leaders who are praising Arafat tonight.
Unfortunately, former President Jimmy Carter praised Arafat as—quote—“a powerful human symbol and a forceful advocate.” An advocate? An advocate of what, the former president may ask himself. This was, after all, the man who invented modern terrorism in the Middle East and by extension was the godfather of September 11.
And French President Jacques Chirac hailed Yasser Arafat as—quote -“a man of courage and conviction.” And yet, when given the historic chance by Bill Clinton in 2000 to give his people statehood and dignity, Yasser Arafat walked away from the peace table, content on continuing his role as a terrorist who was looting billions from his own people.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela said Yasser Arafat was -quote—“one of the outstanding freedom fighters of this generation.”
But isn‘t it really ironic that Yasser Arafat never gave his people freedom, never risked a hair on his head for peace, and never stopped calling for the slaughter of innocent Israeli citizens?
Ironically, it was in South Africa that Arafat called for jihad in Jerusalem almost immediately after signing the Oslo accords in 1993, just as he called for the destruction of Israel on Jordanian TV through thinly veiled rhetoric on the very day he signed the so-called peace plan that would later earn him a Nobel Peace Prize.
Arafat said the deal was consistent with—quote—“the 1974 plan,” which again foresaw the ultimate destruction of the state of Israel. Now, the Reverend Jesse Jackson said this—quote—“Arafat did much during his life on earth. His legacy will live forever and enable the noble goals of Palestinian self-determination to come to fruition.”
Now, I agree with Jesse Jackson on one point, that Palestinian self-rule is a noble goal and it must be achieved. But that was not the goal of a tyrant who looted billions of dollars from his own people, sided with the Soviet Union over America, sided with Saddam Hussein on the invasion of Kuwait, got paid $150 million in blood money for it, and sided with terror in the end over peace.
So, what does it say of world leaders who praise a man who saw as a legitimate means of political expression the blowing-up of young children at bus stops, the slaughtering of innocents in religious services, the gunning-down of mothers and daughters at open markets, and the assassination of Olympic athletes during Olympic international games?
Only in these confused times can leaders like George W. Bush, who liberate millions from theocratic rulers like the Taliban, be called war criminals, while terrorists, like Yasser Arafat, are praised as international heroes.
BBC reporters may weep and leftist elites may mourn Yasser Arafat‘s passing tonight. But I suspect that history will not be so kind to a man like Yasser Arafat, who robbed his own people, not only of their money, but of their promise of a dignified statehood. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Yasser Arafat, just the name stokes emotion in anyone old enough to remember the Munich Olympics in 1972, two intifadas and a desperately close opportunity for peace during the Clinton years. So who was Yasser Arafat?
With us tonight to example his life and his legacy and debate them are Pat Buchanan, an MSNBC political analyst and the author of “Where the Right Went Wrong.” We‘ve got General Alexander Haig. He‘s former secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan. Hasan Abdel Rahman, PLO representative to the United States. And we also have Lawrence Kudlow, host of CNBC‘s “Kudlow & Cramer.”
Secretary of state Haig, let me begin with you.
Obviously, I have a very strong opinion on Yasser Arafat. I suspect all of us here tonight have a differing opinion. What‘s yours?
ALEXANDER HAIG, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I‘m not one of those that had habitually of terrorism the moral equivalent of the perpetrators of terrorism.
I very much share the view that you expressed at the outset of this show. I think Arafat had only one goal, and that was the destruction of Israel. And in the process he became the par excellence of terrorists. And it was always the noncombatants who paid the heaviest price. And it wasn‘t because we did not make concessions in his direction.
During the Clinton administration and the first Bush administration, nine specific proposals were given to him. In each case, it got closer to the ultimate of what anyone could have expected from Israel. And each was rejected. And we just concluded four years of an intifada which has been the bloodiest of all. And it could not be in the interests of anyone who seeks peace in this world and social justice to be behind terrorists.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, I know that you believe right now that Israel and the United States has pushed the PLO and people like Yasser Arafat into a corner.
I want to read you a quote dealing with the legacy of Yasser Arafat, because it continues to debated tonight. And let me read this. This is what “The Boston Globe” had to say about the passing of Yasser Arafat.
Jeff Jacoby said—quote—“In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his ends on the gallows, hanged for mass murder, much as Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, God bless his soul. God, I am sure, would damn him for eternity.”
And in today‘s “L.A. Times,” Max Boot writes this: “There has been no more successful terrorist in the modern age. Yet, his biggest victims were not Israelis. It was his own people who suffered the most. If Arafat had displayed the wisdom of a Gandhi or Mandela, he would have long ago presided over the establishment of a fully independent Palestine.”
Pat Buchanan, is Secretary of State Haig and myself and “The Boston Globe” and “The Los Angeles Times” being too tough on Yasser Arafat?
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I‘m not here to defend Arafat, but I will say this.
I think you‘re mistaken, Joe. In the Middle East, the beginning of terrorism occurred in 1946, when Menachem Begin blew up the King David Hotel was killed a lot of British nurses. It began even earlier when Yitzhak Shamir, a future prime minister of Israel, shot to death Lord Edward Moyne in Cairo in 1994 and then murdered Count Bernadotte.
SCARBOROUGH: So, do you believe that there‘s a moral...
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, Pat. Do you think there‘s a moral equivalency between those Israeli leaders and Yasser Arafat?
BUCHANAN: I think every single national liberation movement of post-World War II has at one time or another used terrorism, which is the murder of the innocents for political ends.
And so I condemn everyone who did it, including Yasser Arafat‘s PLO. But he is more than simply a terrorist. Mandela, after all, went to prison not for sitting up in a five-and-dime down in Joburg, but for trying to blow up trains, passenger trains. Here‘s what I‘m saying, though.
Arafat is clearly this. He is the embodiment of a Palestinian cause for nationhood and statehood for the stateless Palestinian people, who, in the 35 or 40 years, recent years, has put that cause on the map, and who, if a Palestinian state comes into being, which even President Bush now supports—and America did not used to—he will be the man given historic credit for moving that out of the shadows on to the national and global agenda.
But I agree with you. Acts of terrorism were perpetrated by the PLO and by Fatah, which is his unit of the PLO, at times, and for that and for all acts of terrorism, I think we ought to condemn.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, as the leader of the PLO until his death, Yasser Arafat ordered terror attacks and massacres throughout the Middle East.
Let me give you a full screen and show our viewers some of the things that he has been blamed for. In 1971, four members of Arafat‘s Black September paramilitary group assassinated Jordan‘s prime minister. One year later, that same group kidnapped and killed 11 members of the 1972 Israeli Olympic team. In ‘73, Arafat personally ordered the execution of two U.S. diplomats in Sudan. In two separate attacks in 1974, Arafat‘s PLO massacred 26 Israelis, 21 of them children and 52 in Kiryat. And in 1978, the PLO hijacked an Israeli bus, killing 35 passengers.
And, of course, as Alexander Haig says, the fighting, the bombing, the killing continues.
Let me go to you, representative Rahman. Tonight, you‘re here.
You‘re a representative for the PLO to the United States of America. Obviously, you‘ve heard my opinion. You‘ve heard Secretary of State Haig‘s opinion. Pat Buchanan has a different opinion. He says that Arafat, through some of these actions, was trying to be a liberator for his own people. Are we misreading what Yasser Arafat‘s life and his legacy is ultimately going to be seen as?
HASAN ABDEL RAHMAN, PLO CHIEF REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED STATES:
Well, first of all, it‘s obvious that you started out a session of Arafat bashing and vilifying Arafat the day of his death.
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to the distortion of history, my friend. You know that Arafat and the Palestinian people are the victims of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of their own homes and properties and cities and towns. You know that the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon were not made by Arafat. They were expelled from their villages and towns by Israel.
You know that Sabra and Shatila, were 3,000 Palestinians were killed in Lebanon, were killed under the orders of Mr. Sharon. And his own government prohibited him from becoming ever a defense minister of Israel. By law in Israel, Mr. Sharon was excluded because of his responsibility for the crimes he committed against the Palestinian people.
Menachem Begin in 1947 carried on the assassination of a whole village, the village of Deir Yassin, on April 7, 1947. I don‘t hear you speaking about those. When you are a victim of violence and terrorism, like we are, the Palestinian people, you expect people to react. And they react in many ways. Some react violently. Others react politically.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re going to have to take a quick break.
RAHMAN: But of course. Of course. You don‘t want to hear what I have to say.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, of course, you know what?
RAHMAN: And you don‘t want to let me finish what I‘m saying.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? Unfortunately, we have to go to a break, and if you‘d stop talking, you‘d have an opportunity to speak when we return.
When we return, we‘re going to continue this discussion and we‘re also going to be talking about how the Palestinian people are impoverished and whether it was Yasser Arafat‘s fault that a lot of the money that the international aid organizations tried to give to the Palestinian people never got there.
We‘re going to be talking about that and much, much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody has a special bond when they serve this country. And it‘s probably the greatest vocation, in my mind, that a young man or woman can have. And it doesn‘t matter how long they serve. It‘s the fact that they did serve, that they took time out of their lives to say, thanks, America. I‘m willing to defend you for who you are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, here‘s one thing you didn‘t know about Yasser Arafat. He was listed as No. 6 on the “Forbes” list of the richest kings, queens and despots last year. So are the Palestinian people finally going to get his money? Don‘t hold your breath.
But, stick around, because SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: During his rise to power in the late 1970s, Yasser Arafat began accumulating a personal fortune through a combination of big payouts from Arab allies and from stealing from his own people.
Some estimates have his personal holdings in all accounts over the globe at close to $1 billion. So where is all that cash and what‘s going to happen to it now that Arafat‘s gone?
We‘re back with our panel, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, former Secretary of State General Al Haig, Hasan Abdel Rahman, PLO representative to the United States, and Larry Kudlow, host of CNN‘s “Kudlow & Cramer.”
Larry, I want to go to you first on the money trail. But before we talk about that, I‘m fascinated. We have now heard two times in this first segment sort of a moral equivalency argument between Yasser Arafat and some leaders that helped found the Israeli state. Speak to that first, and then let‘s talk about the money trail. Is there a moral equivalency between what Arafat did and what Israeli leaders did?
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, CO-HOST, “KUDLOW & CRAMER”: There is no moral equivalency. That is a stunning—a stunning—assertion by Pat Buchanan, who has made this kind of assertion down through the years, and is completely wrong.
You know what? If you‘re going to compare terrorism among Israelis after World War II who believed in Democratic principles and wanted a homeland to set up freedom and democracy, then why don‘t you compare Arafat to the American revolutionaries in 1776? After all, they, too, as a matter of war, employed terrorism.
That is the worst position I‘ve ever heard, and I didn‘t want it to go unchallenged. Arafat was a terrorist, a totalitarian, a fascist, and someone who cared nary a naught for his own people. And that brings us to the key point going forward. If we can identify this money and hatch it out of the secret accounts, if we can identify some Palestinian leaders who believe in a liberal, democratic, free order and are willing to hold elections on the ground, then the Bush administration can work with them. And then peace will have an opportunity.
That‘s the key point going forward, to rid Palestine of this terrorist state and to replace it with a free-election, democratic state. Then they can live side by side with another great democratic state, a friend of the United States. It‘s called Israel.
BUCHANAN: Joe, can I respond?
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, respond.
BUCHANAN: All right, respond; 1944, Yitzhak Shamir, head of the Stern Gang, assassinated Lord Edward Moyne, the English diplomat in Cairo during wartime.
Churchill gave his eulogy and condemned the Zionists; 1946, Menachem Begin blew up the King David Hotel with British nurses in it; 1948, April, our gentleman has referred to that. Menachem Begin‘s Irgun perpetrated the massacre at Deir Yassin, in which hundreds of Palestinians were massacred and butchered, and it caused the complete fleeing of the Palestinian people; 1953, the present head of Israel, Ariel Sharon, went into the town of Qibya in Palestine and massacred 67 women and children in response for a terrorist act in Israel.
BUCHANAN: These Israeli leaders, their hands are full of blood, as Yasser Arafat‘s were in their cause. Read my book, Larry.
KUDLOW: You are an old friend. I have read your book. I have discussed your book with many people. And the whole context of those facts is completely wrong. Wars are very difficult.
BUCHANAN: Which one is wrong? Which one is wrong? Which one is wrong?
KUDLOW: But the fact is, you could go all the way back to the Revolutionary War, for heaven‘s sakes, and cite the same kinds of uprisings, the same kinds of killings. But some wars are just. That‘s the point you are missing. Some wars are fought on democratic principles. That‘s the point you are missing.
KUDLOW: And the kind of discussion that you are engaging in, which is present in your book and which is unfortunately present in some of your recent writings, comes dangerously close to anti-Semitism.
BUCHANAN: Well, you know, Larry...
KUDLOW: Pure and simple, Pat. And you know this charge has been leveled at you by William F. Buckley and others.
BUCHANAN: You know it has.
KUDLOW: Because of your out-of-context discussion.
BUCHANAN: You know, Larry, your problem is, you‘re trying to use this charge to silence people who speak the truth.
KUDLOW: I‘m not using the charge. I‘m not even making the charge.
But I want to rebut the charge.
SCARBOROUGH: Gentlemen, one at a time. Gentlemen, one at a time.
BUCHANAN: It‘s my turn.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, one at a time.
BUCHANAN: I believe that the Israeli war of liberation, the Israeli war for a state of its own was a valid, just cause in which murderous atrocities occur.
I believe the Palestinian fight for a state and a homeland and a nation of their own on land their people that have lived for 1,000 years is a just cause, and evil acts have been committed in that just cause.
But the cause of the war today, Larry, in Palestine is the denial of these people of rights to which they are entitled as God‘s children, and President Bush himself speaks of those rights. He himself has recognized their right to a state.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Larry Kudlow, respond.
KUDLOW: I have no problem with these last assertions.
But I do have a problem by looking at the leadership of Yasser Arafat and his henchmen and comparing that to the leadership of the Israelis, or, for that matter, the leadership of the U.S. colonies centuries ago. That‘s the key point you are missing. You can‘t just pick out isolated instances.
If you can find honest, democratic-oriented liberal leaders in Palestine who are sharing the wealth of all this stolen money to help their people with education and health, then I say, yes, that is the route we should go. But Israel was founded on a different set of principles from day one. And for you to try to have moral equation, equating the two, is utter historical nonsense.
BUCHANAN: It is truth, Larry, and you can‘t handle it. Deal with it.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, let‘s go to Secretary of State Haig.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re going to ask you—Mr. Secretary, I want to ask you, we‘re going to follow this money trail of Yasser Arafat.
But before we do that, I think this is very important that we discuss this, especially when we‘re talking about Yasser Arafat‘s legacy, because we‘ve heard over the past 20, 30 years any time a busload of Israelis were blown up, every time a child waiting at a bus stop was slaughtered, we‘ve heard, well, you know what? This is exactly the same thing that the Israeli people did to establish their government. It‘s legitimate.
Where do you fall in this fight between Larry Kudlow and Pat Buchanan?
HAIG: Well, I‘ll tell you what, Joe. You‘ve put me in a terrible position, because both men are good friends, and I respect them both.
SCARBOROUGH: Pick a side.
HAIG: But I think, in this instance, in this instance, what we ought to be doing is thinking about whether or not this event, this historic event—and I think the president described it very much that way himself today—this historic passing now can afford some opportunities which have been heretofore missing, especially under the Israeli initiative of separation of two states and the creation of a wall between them until normalization takes place, if it ever does.
So I think, right now, we should be focusing on the opportunities for peace. I think the history is very clear, that Larry Kudlow is right in the context of Israel‘s more recent history, a history of democracy and rule of law, and that the real perpetrator of problems has been on the side of Mr. Arafat and those independent terrorist groups which operate under the mantle of the Palestinian state today.
I‘m talking Hezbollah. I‘m talking Hamas, the jihads, all of the others that are doing it, just as they are doing it in Iraq under the guidance and with the help of Iran, a fundamentalist Islamic regime which is seeking what I call is—the destruction of the freedom and the democracies of the world. And this is something we‘re going to have to confront. And this is the challenge we are now facing.
SCARBOROUGH: Mr. Secretary, stay right there. We‘re going to be back with all of you.
I‘m going to be obviously talking about the money trail with Larry Kudlow. I‘m also going to be asking representative Rahman where all that money is, that $1 billion, $2 billion, $3 billion out there that Yasser Arafat may have taken with him and may have stolen from the Palestinian people. We‘ll be getting the answers to those questions when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
So don‘t go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never, never forget that this is the greatest country in the world, as far as I‘m concerned. And we owe these freedoms to all our soldiers who have fought, from George Washington all the way to Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You want the truth? You can‘t handle the truth! That‘s Pat Buchanan to Larry Kudlow. And we have got a lot more of it coming up.
Freedom fighter or terrorist? The passing of Yasser Arafat, and where are all those billions of dollars that the international community gave him? We‘re going to be talking about that in a second.
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.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Now, this may turn your stomach a little, but let‘s take a look at a snapshot of Yasser Arafat‘s riches. He had a personal wealth of $1 billion. He received monthly payouts of $10 million from the PLO; $85 million came in annually from his friends in Saudi Arabia. Saddam Hussein made three payments to Arafat totalling $150 million as a way to say thanks for Arafat‘s support of the invasion of Kuwait, that according to “The New York Times” this morning.
In 2003, “Forbes” magazine listed Arafat as No. 6 on a list of the richest kings, queens and despots. And he was able to give his wife a nice $100,000-a-month allowance while she lived very well in Paris.
Larry Kudlow, talk, if you will, about Yasser Arafat‘s riches and whether that money, which came from the international community, ever made it to the Palestinian people.
KUDLOW: Well, I don‘t think it ever made it to the Palestinian people. I think Yasser and his clique are a bunch of terrorist kleptocrats.
I just want to say, Joe, in the spirit of civility that I agree with Pat Buchanan on many issues in public and political life, not least of which is the right of the unborn and the defense of the traditional marriage. It so happens Pat and I do not see eye to eye on the matter we were discussing earlier, but that...
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Larry, I don‘t think you have to tell us that, buddy. I think we cracked that code during the last segment. But let‘s talk about the Arafat money.
KUDLOW: Pat Buchanan is not the enemy.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, we‘ll see about that in a minute when I ask him some questions.
But I‘m asking you questions right now.
SCARBOROUGH: I understand. I understand. But let‘s talk about the money, because the Palestinian plight really is no better now than it was when Arafat came to power almost 40 years ago.
And it begs the question, what if Arafat had given some of this billion to the people that he claimed to be fighting for? And, Larry, I want to compare this money that Arafat got to the Marshall Plan after World War II and have you respond.
SCARBOROUGH: The Marshall Plan distributed $600 billion, or $272 per European, into participating countries.
By comparison, the Palestinians have received $4 billion in international aid since the Oslo accords in 1993. That works out to over $1,300 per Palestinian, or four times what the Marshall Plan provided had Arafat not kept it all for himself. Did this guy not loot his own people of billions of dollars?
KUDLOW: Well, there‘s no question he did. If they had gotten that money and the $1,330-per-capita figure that you‘ve got, they‘d be one of the better-off countries in the Middle East, which is a poor economic region, but, nonetheless, health care, education, all manner of roads and highways and taking care of kids, it never got there. It was ripped off by Arafat and his clique.
One guy, Mohammed Rashid, who was inside France, must be detained and must be questioned. This was a great editorial in “The New York Sun” by Seth Lipsky today. The French may try to give him immunity, but now that Yasser is dead, we have got to go in, our Treasury Department, our Justice Department, and get the facts. If you can recover this money, all or part of the $4 billion, you could begin to lay the groundwork for some serious elections in Palestine, which is what George Bush wants.
We need to identify a liberal, democratic-oriented group in Palestine that can negotiate with Israel. Bush believes, as you know, Joe, strongly in the transformational power of democracy. So one first step here before we have these hifalutin international peace conferences that the Europeans always want, let‘s find the money. Let‘s cross-examine and depose this guy Rashid. And let‘s start distributing the money where it can do some humanitarian and political good.
SCARBOROUGH: Representative Rahman, while we‘re quoting movies, Pat Buchanan says you can‘t handle the truth. I‘ll ask you a question. Show me the money. Where‘s Yasser Arafat‘s money? Where‘s the billions of dollars that we‘ve been reading about this past week that apparently only Yasser Arafat knows about? Where is it?
RAHMAN: Well, let me say from the very beginning that I am extremely disappointed to have accepted your invitation to be on this show, because obviously there is no sense of fairness. There is no sense of truth in what you say, and there‘s no sense of decency in the way you handle me or President Yasser Arafat.
I am telling you this because you gang up three people.
SCARBOROUGH: Answer my question.
RAHMAN: No, let—I listened to your nonsense.
SCARBOROUGH: Answer my question. Where‘s the money?
RAHMAN: I listened to your nonsense for about half-an-hour, and I‘m not willing to listen to it anymore, because what you are saying...
SCARBOROUGH: The Palestine people have had billions of dollars stolen from them.
I‘m simply asking you, where is the money? Your people are starving. Your people are destitute. Where are the billions of dollars that Yasser Arafat was given by the international community? Where‘s the money?
RAHMAN: You are not a journalist. You are a propagandist for Israel here tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: Where is the money?
RAHMAN: ... for the worst elements of the Israeli society.
SCARBOROUGH: Where‘s the money?
RAHMAN: Because 80 percent of the Israelis would disagree with you.
SCARBOROUGH: Where‘s the money?
RAHMAN: What you are saying—what you are saying is absolutely nonsense, my friend.
SCARBOROUGH: Where‘s the money?
RAHMAN: Because what you are saying, you are engaged in bashing of the Palestinians, because you want to discredit the Palestinians and their leadership.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. I‘m going to give you one—I‘m going to give you one more chance to answer my question.
SCARBOROUGH: Where is the money that Yasser Arafat has been given by the international community over the past 30 years, the billions of dollars that was supposed to help the destitute in the Palestinian homeland that you want? Where is that money?
RAHMAN: This is a lie that you are proposing here tonight.
Yasser Arafat did not receive $4 billion. Yasser Arafat did not receive one dollar. Yasser Arafat—those money that you are talking about were managed by the World Bank, and you can ask the World Bank tomorrow, if you want. You could invite an officer of the World Bank and ask about the $4 billion.
Yasser Arafat did not receive money, cash from nobody. But because you want to engage in lies and distortions of fact, because you have an agenda, my friend.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thank you so much.
RAHMAN: You are pro-Israel. You are serving the agenda of the most right-wing elements of the Israeli society.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much.
RAHMAN: And I assure you, you are not serving the American public. You are not serving the cause of peace for the Palestinians and the Israelis.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, well, we‘ll leave it at that. We will agree to disagree.
Pat Buchanan, I read this morning in “The New York Times”—I don‘t think anybody has ever accused them of being a tool of Yasser Arafat—that there were billions of dollars that Yasser Arafat received from the international community. He received $150 million from Saddam Hussein paid over three parts for supporting the invasion of Kuwait in the international community in 1991.
Tell me, is “The New York Times” nothing more than a tool of Israel? Is “Forbes” magazine nothing more than a tool of Israel? Are all these leftist magazines in America that have said the same thing that I‘m saying tonight nothing more than a tool of Israel? Or can we all agree here tonight, other than the PLO representative who was with us, unfortunately, that Yasser Arafat stole billions of dollars from his own people?
BUCHANAN: Joe, these are the nicest words you‘ve ever said about “The New York Times.”
BUCHANAN: But, listen, I don‘t know the—I haven‘t followed the money. The money doesn‘t matter much to me.
I do believe this. If the international community, the World Bank and these international organizations, gave money to Arafat, they have got an obligation to do due diligence and find out where that money went and where it is, or they should have stopped giving it. Now, I don‘t know what Arafat has got.
But I do know the gentleman you just dismissed has an excellent point. If there is to be an Israel, if there is to be peace here, the just cause of the Palestinian people has to be realized. And the cause of the present war, frankly, is the denial of the Palestinian people to land and homes and a homeland of their own. If we don‘t address it, this area will be roiled and in turmoil and radicalized. And Americans will die and Israelis will die and Palestinians will die.
And I don‘t think my own government—though I admire the president, I think he has outsourced his Middle East policy to Mr. Sharon, and he has got to get it back.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, you know, this is what I don‘t get about you, buddy. And I agree with Larry Kudlow. We agree on some things. We disagree on other things. I have got great respect for you.
But you‘re blaming George W. Bush, just like “The New York Times” editorial page blames Bush for walking away from the table. The fact is, in 2000, Yasser Arafat was given a chance by Bill Clinton to give the Palestinian people a dignified homeland. When he had that opportunity—let‘s face it, Bill Clinton broke the arm of Barak and made him go to the table.
When he had that opportunity, Yasser Arafat walked away from the table because he knew, if he accepted peace, he would end up just like Sadat in 1982. He would be blown up by Hamas. And here‘s the truth.
And I want to talk to you about this and Larry Kudlow and the Secretary of State about this. But the fact of the matter is this. You can‘t make peace with Israel if you‘re a leader of the PLO, because you‘ll be blown up by Hamas the next day. Is that not true?
BUCHANAN: Joe, let me answer. That is not true.
Look, Yasser Arafat shared a Nobel Prize with Peres and with Rabin. And they went partway. And Arafat should have taken some deal. I agree with you. But that does not justify what the president did last April, when he basically signed on to Sharon‘s plan, which is a nonrunner.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, you know what we‘re going to do? We‘re going to blow out the immigration segment, which we were going to talk about. We‘re going to keep talking about this, because you just said the phrase that puts me over the top.
Nobel Prize for a terrorist like Yasser Arafat, while Ronald Reagan never got a Nobel Prize? I don‘t get it.
We‘re going to be talking about Yasser Arafat‘s bloody legacy, the billions that he looted from his own people and where we go now to give the Palestinians dignity and the Israelis the security that they deserve.
That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. We‘re going to have a really heated debate in a minute, so stick around.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Al Haig, maybe I‘ve got this Yasser Arafat guy all wrong. After all, he won a Nobel Prize. Ronald Reagan never got a Nobel Prize.
HAIG: Well, there were Nobel Prizes for the peace in Vietnam as well, you will recall, before the slaughter. They don‘t mean very much when you look at how they‘re chosen these days.
But, be that as it may, we ought to really be focusing on where we go from here and whether or not there are prospects which didn‘t exist when Arafat was in control—and I believe there are—that make the situation look somewhat less disappointing and impossible than it has over the last 40 years.
We have a situation in which the Palestinian people are moving away from the authority of Arafat. And that began with the courage of President Bush when he claimed he was a terrorist. He‘s the first American president to have done so. And it‘s made the situation better.
The second thing is that, now with the fence and the disengagement, we have a situation in which you don‘t need a partner for peace, which we‘ve never had, but you can proceed with two states, separate and individual and very much sovereign. And that‘s what should happen. But there are a lot of obstacles along the way to that ultimate outcome.
SCARBOROUGH: Larry Kudlow—oh, I‘m sorry, Mr. Secretary. I was just going to ask Larry Kudlow to follow up on the question I asked Pat Buchanan.
Pat disagrees with me—I suspect you probably do not—that Palestinian leaders can‘t make a deal with Israel because, the second they make a deal with Israel, they know, like Yasser Arafat knew, that Hamas would blow them up the next day. It is Hamas that is running the peace process into the ground. It is Hamas who is in charge of the Palestinian territories, is it not? It‘s not leaders like Yasser Arafat.
KUDLOW: I completely agree, Joe, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah.
HAIG: Gentlemen, I think I said that at the very outset of this show. We have to get those so-called independent militant groups, these terrorist groups, under control of a sovereign government. That‘s the first order of business.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Exactly.
KUDLOW: You see, the wedge issue here, the wedge issue here, which Elliott Abrams, negotiating on behalf of the Bush administration, understands full well, is the need to have some kind of democratic electoral foundation in the so-called new Palestine. That‘s the key.
Hamas won‘t allow that. Neither will the Islamic Jihad. Neither will Hezbollah. Neither will the Iranians, who back them, and neither will the Syrians, if they amount to anything in this. So that‘s the wedge issue.
KUDLOW: But everything else Secretary Haig says is exactly right.
There are opportunities here. And Mr. Bush is willing to go the extra mile by saying, we can have two separate but equal independent states, that Palestinians have to give up the right of return, because that‘s a code word for destroying Israel. But a democracy could conceivably do it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, we will leave it on those positive words.
Thank you so much. Appreciate you being here, General Haig.
Hasan, Pat, Larry, thanks so much. It was quite a debate.
And don‘t go away, because we‘re going to be hearing next from General Tommy Franks on Veterans Day.
That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in a second.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I‘ve got a lot of friends that have been in the military. I know a lot of guys and women over in Iraq right now.
And, in honor of Veterans Day, I talked to retired General Tommy Franks. Of course, he‘s a former head of the U.S. Central Command. And I asked him what Americans can do to honor our veterans today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RET. GEN. TOMMY FRANKS, FORMER CENTCOM COMMANDER: I would hope that Americans will do what I intend to do as an old retired military guy.
And that is be a little bit reflective over the next few days and be respectful, be respectful of the moms and dads who have the kids over there working today, be respectful of the kids who are working over there today in the global war on terror. Pick up the telephone and call somebody or sit down in front of the computer and send somebody a note that says, you know, we have a history in this country that goes back more than 200 years. It has not always been easy. It is not easy now.
But we have matured as a society to the point where we can separate, no matter what our political views, we can separate the value of the warrior from the value of war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: To all you veterans out there and to family members of veterans, happy Veterans Day, and God bless you for your service to America.
Make sure to tune in tomorrow morning at 7:30, when Don Imus asks Democratic strategist James Carville if his party is totally out of touch with middle America.
Again, good night. God bless you.
And God bless our veterans, not only in Iraq and in Afghanistan, but across the world.
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