Guest: Robert Knight, George Hood, Mark Lepselter, Lawrence Eagleburger, Jed Babbin
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Former New York City Police Chief Bernard Kerik is stepping too in to Tom Ridge‘s shoes.
Meanwhile, more bombings in Madrid in Iraq.
And new intelligence says Iran is going forward with plans to make a nuclear warhead. If so, what should the United States do to stop the mullahs from getting the bomb?
And seven-time national league MVP Barry Bonds has told a grand jury he may have used steroids, but he thought they were a nutritional supplement and an anti-arthritis cream. What should baseball do if its greatest superstar built his home run record by pumping up with steroids in a way that causes other athletes to be banned from their sports?
And Target stores, in the spirit of Christmas, are ordering the Salvation Army ladies, with their red kettles, away from their storefronts because, critics say, Target won‘t stand up to the homosexual lobby that doesn‘t like the Army because it won‘t subsidize gay marriage. Is it time for Christians to target Target?
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, in for Joe.
Terror rips through Madrid. Iran may be building nuclear weapons.
Rumsfeld is sticking around. And Bernie Kerik is the new sheriff in town.
So, is America any safer?
Joining me now, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, Jed Babbin, deputy undersecretary of defense under Bush 41 and author of “Inside the Asylum,” and MSNBC terror analyst Steve Emerson.
Welcome all of you, gentlemen,
Jed, let me start with you.
The Iranians, it is said, are building or preparing a nuclear warhead for their Shahab-3 missile. Now, I don‘t even think—they‘ve not exploded a bomb. They don‘t have a bomb, to my knowledge.
What is your take on this? And if this report is true, what should the United States do about it?
JED BABBIN, FORMER DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, first off, my sources say that they have one to three nuclear warheads that they‘ve picked up on the black market, and it‘s apparent that they‘re trying to mate them to these missiles.
There‘s no reason for them to be doing what they‘re doing with their missile programs, trying to launch a satellite and so forth, which they may in this coming year, other than to project power. The fact is, we cannot tolerate the central terrorist regime in the world having nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. We have to find a way to destabilize the regime in Tehran and probably cause its downfall.
BUCHANAN: Well, look, you say we cannot tolerate. Does that mean the United States should go to war, physically attack their facilities, physically attack their missile sites, go after their nuclear program, and attack that, if that‘s the only way to do the job?
BABBIN: If that‘s the only way to do the job. But I don‘t think that is the only way to do the job, Pat.
There‘s a lot of other things that are causing pressure on them that we can do diplomatically and, quite frankly, covertly that can put a lot of pressure on them, destabilize them, and probably derail them long enough for their regime to fall.
BUCHANAN: Do we have the secretary there?
Secretary Eagleburger, you there?
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I hope so.
BUCHANAN: All right.
We thought you were a little late getting in the chair.
But let me ask you, Lawrence Eagleburger, do you agree with Jed Babbin or have you heard that Iran may have acquired on the black market three nuclear warheads or one to three nuclear warheads to fit on their missiles, and if that is so, what if anything should the United States do about it right now?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, I‘ve heard the reports. I have no idea whether they‘re true or not.
Certainly, we haven‘t heard anything like that from the U.S. government as such, so I would hope it‘s not true. But I can‘t say one way or the other. I do agree that in the end it would be intolerable for us to accept nuclear weapons in the hands of the Iranian government, if it is the Iranian government of today, or probably any Iranian government.
What we do about it? There are, I suppose, as you‘ve just heard, some alternatives that might work. But I‘m not at all confident that anything short of an all-out military attack would accomplish the task. And I have to tell you, anybody that thinks we ought to go to war with Iran right now has I think sort of lost his anchor somewhere. And it‘s going to be very tough.
BUCHANAN: Lawrence, I‘m inclined to agree with you.
You say it‘s intolerable and the only way to take them out is militarily, and then you say, but anyone that suggests we can do that right now or should do that right now is off his rocker.
BUCHANAN: What you are saying, in effect is, look, if they are driving for nuclear weapons right now, there really is—and they‘re determined to get them, there really is nothing we can do to guarantee that they do not become a nuclear power.
EAGLEBURGER: As long as you say there is nothing we can do to guarantee that they will not become a nuclear power, I guess I have to agree with you.
I do think, however, that the remark made a minute ago is nevertheless perhaps true, and namely, that there are other weapons we can use, economic sanctions and so forth and so on, that may force the Iranian government into some sort of a compromise. But I have to tell you, I‘m by no means confident they would work either.
BUCHANAN: All right, we‘re going to come back to this.
Right now, I want to talk to Steve Emerson.
Steve, here‘s Bernie Kerik earlier today. Let‘s listen up when he was appointed by the president of the United States to replace Tom Ridge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNARD KERIK, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY NOMINEE: There isn‘t a day that has passed since the morning of September 11 that I haven‘t thought of the sacrifices of those heroes and the losses we all suffered. I promise you, Mr. President, that both the memory of those courageous souls and the horrors I saw inflicted upon our proud nation, will serve as permanent reminders of the awesome responsibility you place in my charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Steve, this fellow has a terrific reputation. I‘ve met him a number of times. He‘s a very tough customer. He‘s got hands-on experience. I heard Senator Kennedy or someone say today that he‘ll go right through.
What‘s your take on Bernie Kerik and how do you think Homeland Security is doing?
STEVE EMERSON, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: I think Homeland Security is doing quite well.
And I think the Bush administration gets credit for the fact that, since 9/11, there hasn‘t been an attack. And as one of my colleagues, Andy McCarthy, wrote in “National Review online,” it‘s attributable to use of military force, to the use of the Patriot Act, and the fact that there has been really good, effective deterrence here.
As far as Homeland Security, look, in the end, it depends upon how he‘s able to relate to bureaucracy. It‘s a pretty wild organization. I don‘t mean wild in terms of being rogue, but in terms of disparate cultures. I think Ridge was actually trying to actually get a cohesive culture together, finally. And Bernie Kerik has got a good repetition. He‘s a street cop that really made it to the very top. So he knows what it feels like to be at the bottom rung, where that‘s where collection has to take place of good intelligence.
BUCHANAN: All right, Jed, let me get back to this Iran situation now.
I think what everyone is saying is, look, the idea that Iran gets a nuclear weapon is an awful, awful idea. But you suggest we can destabilize them. I agree with Lawrence Eagleburger. I don‘t see any way we guarantee that works. That regime has been in there for 25 years. And if they pursue this course and they are determined to get this nuclear weapon, would you recommend going to war against Iran?
We would have no allies, for one thing. Secondly, we‘ve got a war going on in Iraq, and the Iranian response would almost surely be to stir up the Shia areas against American soldiers there. You‘ve got two wars going, Iran and Iraq, and the United States is running out of army.
BABBIN: Well, I think we‘re jumping to too many collusions and making too many assumptions in that, Pat, No. 1.
BUCHANAN: All right.
BABBIN: I think we may have some help in terms of controlling what the Iranians do.
And our only options are not a full-scale land invasion or nothing. The Iranians are, we believe, and I‘ve heard, between one to two years away from having the ability to produce nuclear career weapons and the ability to deliver them by intercontinental ballistic missile.
In that period of time, we can do things. For example, there‘s a group called the Mujahedin-e Khalq. It is currently listed on our foreign terrorist organization.
BUCHANAN: It‘s a terrorist organization.
BABBIN: Well, it‘s really not. You know why?
BUCHANAN: Is it a terrorist organization, Steve?
EMERSON: Don‘t you have to break for a commercial?
BUCHANAN: Is it a terrorist organization?
EMERSON: It‘s been designated that by the State Department.
BUCHANAN: Is the State Department wrong?
EMERSON: I would say to you, in terms of what they‘ve evolved into, I would say to you I would not categorize them today as a terrorist group, honestly. And that‘s a judgment I would not have made several years ago, but I see them targeting only military or legitimate targets in Iran.
BUCHANAN: And—or go ahead.
BABBIN: And more than that, for 25 years, they have not committed a terrorist act against the United States. How long do you have to be on good behavior before you get off the bad list? The reason they‘re on that list...
BUCHANAN: Well, we might ask the same question of the Syrians.
BABBIN: Pat, the reason they‘re on that list is that the mullahs in Tehran asked us to put them on there. If they are so concerned about the MEK, that means there‘s some element of good there.
BUCHANAN: All right, Lawrence Eagleburger, one thing nobody has mentioned we ought to do with regard to Iran, its possible military action, destabilize—look, Richard Nixon had a problem with communist China. He went there. FDR and Truman talked to Joseph Stalin. You‘ve got—
Eisenhower talked to Khrushchev. So did Kennedy. What about the idea that, look, we‘ve got a hellish problem with the Iranians? I don‘t think they want war with us. That‘s why they‘re going up talking—they‘re dealing with the French, British, Germans and U.N. Why not talk with these people?
EAGLEBURGER: I don‘t have any trouble with talking with them, although I think some others will. But, I am not sure that will work either.
Look, the fundamental question we have to ask ourselves is, what is the intention of these group of mullahs, who I think we barely understand, if at all, and why are they going in this direction? And I‘m not at all sure that this I think we ought to try talking. I‘m not at all sure it‘s going to make any difference.
BUCHANAN: All right. Lawrence Eagleburger, I‘ll tell you why I think they‘re going in this direction. They saw what happened to Iraq, and it didn‘t have a bomb. The Pakistanis have a bomb. The Israelis are threatening Iran with a bomb. The Russians occupied part of their country after World War II. They got a bomb. The Chinese got a bomb. The Indians got a bomb.
It would seem to me that, in this world, if you have a bomb, you are somewhat invulnerable to attack on your homeland.
EAGLEBURGER: I think there‘s a good bit of merit to that, too.
But the other side of that coin is, in the process of trying to develop that weapon, as Gadhafi saw here recently, you can lose—you can get awful lot of pain in the process. And it‘s not at all clear whether the Iranians are prepared to live with that pain or not.
And one of the things I think we have to try is to see what pressure, including economic sanctions and so forth, plus, bringing our allies into this one. I think there, again, this is an area where the Germans, the French, the British, all of us, I think have a common view that maybe we could collectively make some real pressure.
But I have to tell you, when I get through with all of this, I‘m at a loss to tell you that I think anything we can do, short of a war, which I don‘t think we will do or will do, I‘m not sure any of it is going to work.
EMERSON: The Europeans were talking to the Iranians. They thought they had a deal to stop the enriched uranium. The Europeans were told this past week, screw you, we‘re going to do what we need. And what are the Europeans doing now? They‘re feckless. They‘re not even imposing...
BUCHANAN: But when we talk about this, I mean, I don‘t think the Iranians—unless you‘re right about those three—we‘re going to talk about the Iranian nuclear program when we come back.
Right now, gentlemen, we‘ve got to take a quick break. Don‘t go away.
Also, coming up, I want to ask more about what America does in Iraq and in the war on terror.
Don‘t go away.
BUCHANAN: A powerful Iranian cleric says his country will retain the right to have nuclear weapons. If you think that‘s a bad idea, you belong in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction.
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people‘s hope for freedom.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Welcome back.
Today, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Washington has no way to force Iran to allow U.N. inspectors unrestricted access to suspected nuclear sites, despite U.S. doubts Tehran will come clean on its own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I can‘t make sure it‘s going to happen. It‘s a question of whether or not the international community in the form of the IAEA and especially the European Union and the European Union three will be diligent and will be insistent in pressing the Iranians to give us full disclosure to their program. But you can‘t look in every cave that might be in Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Welcome back.
We‘re back with our panel, Jed Babbin, Steve Emerson, and former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.
We‘re talking off camera, Jed, look, the Iranians have not tested a bomb. We do not know that they have a bomb. We do not know that they have ever put together these cascades of thousands of centrifuges to create enriched uranium. They have no functioning facility that can produce plutonium. We don‘t know that they have enriched uranium. They‘ve been fooling around the uranium hexafluoride and testing the centrifuges.
BUCHANAN: That is regime that is a long way from having the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
BABBIN: Well, I‘m not sure that‘s true.
What I understand, though, is that they‘re working for the past 18 years to develop that. They‘ve had extensive help first from the A.Q. Khan network, probably also from China and certainly from North Korea. They know how to build a bomb. They don‘t have the equipment fully developed.
BUCHANAN: Almost everybody knows how to build a bomb. I mean almost everybody.
You‘ve got to have the ingredients, and they don‘t seem to have them.
BABBIN: Yes. Well...
BUCHANAN: So let me ask you—let‘s go back to what you‘re going to do now. Suppose the Iranians, we find out that, look, they‘re—they are working. They have built the centrifuges and put them together in a cascade and they‘re producing enriched uranium. What do you do?
BABBIN: Well, there‘s a couple of things. What you‘re going to do first...
BUCHANAN: I hear—excuse me. I hear the former secretary of state chuckling.
Lawrence Eagleburger, what do you do?
EAGLEBURGER: You should let the other man answer first. I‘m laughing because I don‘t have an answer.
Well, look, what do you do? What do you do?
BABBIN: Well, there‘s a host of things you can do.
No. 1 you push, regardless of what the IAEA says. You push into the Security Council, United Nations, and say...
BUCHANAN: All right. It‘s vetoed by the Chinese, the French, and the Russians.
BABBIN: Then fine. Then you quit with the IAEA and the U.N.
No. 2, you tell directly. You tell the Iranian government that we will not permit them to have these weapons. They will let the inspectors in, our inspectors or IAEA, or we‘ll bomb their facilities. At some point, we may have to make strategic strikes against their nuclear facilities with our weaponry.
EAGLEBURGER: Can we get them all? Can we get all of those facilities? I doubt it.
BUCHANAN: And if we—well, let‘s suppose we get a lot of the facilities. We set them back. They‘re not going to have a bomb, but they turn loose their volunteers by the thousands in the Shia areas of Iraq. They aid the resistance in Afghanistan. They start targeting all our facilities in the Middle East with terror attacks.
They stir up Hezbollah and we have got ourselves a second and third big war right in the major—in the gas station of the world, Mr. Secretary.
EAGLEBURGER: Again, Pat, I‘m going to have to jump here a little bit, because I think, in a sense, by focusing only on Iran, we may be missing a point.
We‘ve also got North Korea, don‘t forget, as another equally—I think equally dangerous objective here. I am wondering whether the only long-term solution—and it will take a lot of work on our part and it can‘t be done in a hurry—isn‘t to try to convince most of the, shall I say civilized nations of the world that this issue of weapons of mass destruction just cries out for the kinds of international cooperation we really never have seen.
EAGLEBURGER: And that we are going to demand that we get together as a group of nations and deal with this thing, including the use of force, but not just by the United States.
BUCHANAN: All right, but, look, today, we got have word from North Korea that they have already announced—they are recalcitrant. They‘ve said nothing new is coming down the pike.
We don‘t seem to be getting the help from South Korea, Japan, China, or Russia. And it gets to a point, Lawrence Eagleburger, where the Americans say, look, if the South Koreans aren‘t going to help us, we‘re defending them, after all, and the Chinese aren‘t, then why don‘t we pull our troops out of Korea and let the South Koreans deal with the north, and if the Chinese won‘t help us, let them deal with a nuclear-armed Japan?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, in a way, you‘re correct, in the sense that the Chinese cannot want a nuclear-armed North Korea any more than we do, because with that comes a nuclear Japan probably over time, maybe a Taiwan with nuclear weapons.
In other words, when you start looking at this whole weapons of mass destruction process, it unravels very, very fast. And all I‘m saying is, we have talked now for how many minutes trying to figure out what we can do, and I‘m saying, we can try all of these things that have been discussed. They may or may not work.
But what I‘m saying is, I think it‘s more than time that the United States made its principal foreign policy process—project, rather—to try to convince a lot of other countries, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and so forth, that we must act together on this question. I‘m not at all sure we‘ll get the sort of convergence on this that I think—but I think we have to try it.
BUCHANAN: All right, Steve Emerson, in your talk with terrorism experts, how—in terms of probability—obviously, the worst thing that could happen would be a nuclear weapon. What do they talk of? Do they talk of the possibility, probability of something like that coming down the road?
EMERSON: In terms of the Iranian acquisition of a bomb?
BUCHANAN: In terms of somebody, terrorists, getting hold of a bomb. Jed Babbin says somebody‘s got three off the black market, which is I assume is somewhere out of Russia or that area, if they‘ve got the three.
EMERSON: Well, you still need the means of basically... detonating it.
BUCHANAN: You could put it on a merchant ship.
EMERSON: You still need the means of detonating it and delivery—you still need a state.
At this point, still, rogue groups, al Qaeda, would be hard-pressed to basically totally detonate a bomb. But over long run, the problem is more of another weapon of mass destruction, chemical or biological agents in the short term, nuclear weapons in the longer term for a group.
But a state, the fact is, the Iranians are basically a state rogue regime that is connected to bad groups. And will they transfer technology? It doesn‘t have to. If they acquire that capability—but, remember, the Libyans were far more advanced in their nuclear technology than anyone believed in U.S. intelligence when the U.S. started going in, in the past six months. So...
BUCHANAN: Let me ask you, Jed Babbin, getting back to the Iranian thing.
Do you think the United States, within the next four years under Mr. Bush, will be forced by circumstances, the fact the British, French, German aren‘t going to do anything, and the Iranians keep pushing quietly and moving around all these sanctions, do you think that we will be engaged in military action against Iran in the next four years?
BABBIN: I think we‘ll be engaged in a limited military action without American boots on the ground.
We‘ll go in. We‘ll knock out many of these sites. As Mr. Eagleburger says, we can at least slow them down. We can cripple their program. We can prevent them from becoming a nuclear power more quickly. We‘ll have to do that within this next four years.
BUCHANAN: Lawrence Eagleburger, do you think the probability is high that we‘ll have to use military force on these nuclear sites within the next four years?
EAGLEBURGER: I would say I agree completely with what‘s been said.
And I think it is likely. But the only thing that worries me is this point about never having boots on the ground. Yes, it is true we can slow them down. But the fact of this matter, and we‘re learning this in Iraq right now, unless you have lots of boots on the ground, there‘s no way to prevent these things from developing over and over and over again. You can slow them down, but not unless you‘re prepared to go in and put troops in there, are you ever going to stop it completely.
BUCHANAN: All right.
And, Lawrence Eagleburger, I think you recommended 10 years ago, didn‘t you, that we ought to have retained or maybe exercised the option to attack the North Korean sites.
EAGLEBURGER: I‘ve said that for a very long time.
I don‘t know if it was 10 years ago. But, to me, until this Iranian thing really blew up, as I think it now has, I have believed that North Korea is, was, and will continue to be a major threat. I think they are probably farther along on building this thing than most people believe. And the regime is so crazy, you can‘t count on what they may do with it.
BUCHANAN: Is the horse out of the barn as far as North Korea‘s nuclear weapons are concerned now, though?
EAGLEBURGER: You‘re asking me? I think probably.
EAGLEBURGER: I think so.
BUCHANAN: Jed Babbin.
BABBIN: Close, but not quite.
BUCHANAN: Would you do the same thing to North Korea?
BABBIN: No. I don‘t think that we need to go in militarily there. I think there are going to be other options. I think the Kim Jong Il government is very close to falling. And I think if we are half as smart as we think we are, we‘re going to be working very hard to...
BUCHANAN: But you can live with a North Korean weapon, but not an Iranian weapon?
BABBIN: No, no. No, no. I didn‘t say that.
BABBIN: I‘m sorry.
BUCHANAN: I‘m drawing a conclusion.
BABBIN: I‘m trying—I‘m having trouble hearing Mr. Eagleburger.
EAGLEBURGER: You haven‘t missed much.
BABBIN: But, basically, I don‘t think we can live with either one. One is a proliferator. One is a terrorist. They meet in between, and we lose.
BUCHANAN: Quickly, Steve Emerson, do you think the United States will make airstrikes or missile strikes on Iran in the next four years?
EMERSON: If I was a betting man, I would say 51-49 yes.
Lawrence Eagleburger, Jed Babbin, Steve Emerson, thank you all for being here.
Coming up, the king of baseball says he might have accidentally used performance-enhancing drugs. Should Barry Bonds‘ records stand?
The debate next.
BUCHANAN: Just how many professional athletes are taking steroids? I think you‘ll be surprised.
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 to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Pat Buchanan, sitting in for Joe.
It‘s a fall Friday night, and that means one thing in red state, America high school football. But are young athletes being scandalized by the professionals? While high schoolers are told to balance schoolwork with athletics, the pros are grabbing headlines for brawling, beating up their spouses, and now admitting to using performance-enhancing steroids.
With me now, radio sports commentator Joe Concha, and Mark Lepselter, who is an agent to professional athletes.
Let me ask you, Joe, on this latest Barry Bonds thing, he has admitted I guess to using what he thought were nutritional supplements and something like Bengay and they turned out to be steroids. What‘s the upshot of all this?
JOE CONCHA, NBCSPORTS.COM: The upshot, Pat, in terms of what? BUCHANAN: Or what‘s going to happen?
CONCHA: Well, what‘s going to happen, I think, is that he likely now has jeopardized his chances of going into the Hall of Fame, much like Pete Rose isn‘t in the Hall of Fame, even though he has more hits than anybody in baseball history.
He hurt the integrity of the game. He‘s stained it. And now with Barry Bonds likely the home run king in two years, when he passes Henry Aaron, probably will be treated the same way. You can‘t take away the home runs, but you can take away his ability to be seen among the greats. And that means going to the Hall of Fame.
Mark Lepselter, do you agree with that?
MARK LEPSELTER, PRESIDENT, MAXXIMUM MARKETING: With due respect, no.
I think that Major League Baseball has known they‘ve had this problem were years, and they‘ve chosen not to do anything about it. I think you go back to the late ‘80s, the Jose Cansecos and the way these guys blew up physically. They knew they had this. I can‘t see Barry Bonds not going to the Hall of Fame. I just don‘t see it.
CONCHA: But, Mark, doesn‘t that fall under the same rules as Pete Rose in terms of hurting the integrity of the game?
LEPSELTER: I think it‘s more—Joe, I don‘t think it‘s the integrity of the game. I think there‘s a lot of guys in Major League Baseball who have probably done the drugs.
I don‘t see it hurting the integrity of the game. But I think that it‘s a broader issue in society of what‘s going on just in general. We live in—we don‘t live in Pleasantville anymore. And these things go on. And I don‘t see it as hurting the integrity of the game. No, I don‘t.
BUCHANAN: But, Mark, Mark, let me can you this.
Look, of course, I guess these drugs were not illicit in professional baseball up until this season, and Barry Bonds was clean this season. But people have been thrown out of their sports for using these kinds of drugs. They‘re performance-enhancing. And it really makes everybody take a look at those 73 home run this guy hit and, says, wait a minute. He‘s all pumped up. It‘s the drugs doing it. He may be a great athlete, but he‘s not Babe Ruth.
LEPSELTER: The NFL years ago did not want the drug in their sport, and the NFL is the only sport that I know of, other than the Olympic sports and I don‘t really know anything about that. The NFL didn‘t want the drug hindering their sport. They took care of it.
Major League Baseball—if I‘m not mistaken Joe, the third offense for a Major League Baseball player who does steroids is a $25,000 fine. Correct me if I‘m wrong.
CONCHA: And right. And Alex Rodriguez makes $87,000 an at-bat. It‘s ridiculous.
LEPSELTER: Right. Here‘s my point: $25,000 to a guy making $15 million or $20 million is a couple strong nights out with his fellows.
CONCHA: Exactly, Mark.
And what Major League Baseball should do, then, is adopt what they have in the minor leagues, which is having testing unannounced at any time. And in Major League Baseball, we don‘t have that. And I think that Major League Baseball also should adopt the Olympic rule, that, if you‘re caught using an illegal substance that gives you an advantage over another player, you should be thrown out of the game, I‘m not saying entirely, but at least for one year. An example needs to be made.
BUCHANAN: Joe, hold it. Let me interrupt here.
Barry Bonds‘ attorney had this to say today—quote—“Barry did not take anything illegal. Barry Bonds is clean. Barry Bonds is a great athlete. Some people will never accept it.”
Now, Joe, how can you keep the guy out of the Hall of Fame, seven MVPs, for heaven‘s sakes, and the home run record alone, when he steroids were not illegal or illicit in professional baseball until this year?
CONCHA: Because it gave him an advantage over other players, and he knew that he was using these illegal substances.
He can say all he wants he didn‘t know that these creams and this clear substance wasn‘t giving him an advantage. If you look at Barry Bonds, in 1999, he had 35 home runs, I believe. And then he went up to 73 only two to three years later. To have that kind of advantage and to make that kind of jump, I think that hurts the game so much, that you have to make an example of somebody if you want to protect the integrity of the game to young people particularly, that, if you cheat and you get caught and you admit to it, that you‘re going to be made an example of, and something like the Hall of Fame will be taken away with you, just like they did with Pete Rose.
Pete Rose had the greatest numbers of all time, too, and he‘s not in the Hall of Fame.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mark Lepselter, Jason Giambi, this Yanks fellow, he injected himself with growth hormones. He used steroids for three years. More importantly, or, as importantly, he apparently lied to the public about it.
Now, “The New York Post” has an editorial which says they ought to throw Giambi out and that Steinbrenner ought to do it. He‘s an $80 million ballplayer and he ought to be thrown out of baseball. What do you think is going to happen to him? He‘s not Barry Bonds.
LEPSELTER: I think that‘s asinine.
I don‘t think that Jason Giambi should be thrown out of Major League Baseball. The bottom line, as you pointed out, was that, up until this year, there wasn‘t even a major issue that the league had with the drugs. So how can you throw him out now if he was doing them over the course of the last few years? I don‘t see it.
Jason Giambi is being made an example of because the society in which we live in—“The New York Post,” if I‘m not mistaken, had eight pages today on the Jason Giambi scandal.
CONCHA: Front page, too, Mark.
LEPSELTER: Yes, you‘re right.
And I think they should be far more worried about what‘s going on in Iraq and other things than what Jason Giambi—whether or not he did steroids. I think that‘s a whole ‘nother issue.
BUCHANAN: All right, hold on, both of you.
Here is a guy whose company is accused of supplying the steroids to athletes. He told ABC‘s “20/20” that just about every professional athlete is hopped up on something. He said—quote—“I would guesstimate that more than 50 percent of the athletes are taking some form of anabolic steroids. My guess is that more than 80 percent are taking some sort of stimulant before each and every game.”
Do you believe that, Joe, are is that guy just putting out a line because his company is in hot water?
CONCHA: Pat, I think he‘s putting out a line because he is in hot water.
When they did random testing last year, 5 to 7 percent of all players tested positive for steroids. That was with random testing. Now, if this guy is going to go out, Conte, and say that that jumps by 45, 50 percent, I don‘t believe that at all. I think there are some players that do it. I don‘t certainly think it‘s a majority.
And I think this is just a matter of a guy that, as you said, is in hot water and is trying to cover his butt at this point.
BUCHANAN: All right, Joe, what do you think is going to happen, is going to happen to Barry Bonds as a result of this, and what is going to happen to that Yankee?
CONCHA: I think that Barry Bonds will continue to play. I think he‘ll break Henry Aaron‘s all-time home run in two years.
And I think that, when he goes on the road, however, and he hits a home run, there‘s just going to be so much backlash, so much scrutiny, so many boos that that‘s got to wear a man down after a while. As for Jason Giambi, I don‘t see how he could come back into the game at this point, particularly when he lied. He went on ESPN. He said, I never took steroids before.
Then he has to go and play in a ballpark somewhere? The fans will be
· not to mention the media—will be all over him. I don‘t see how he could handle the mental and physical strain after going through something like this, being caught in a lie, cheating, and now being seen as a pariah, particularly in New York.
BUCHANAN: Mark Lepselter, what does it tell kids? We all recall—well, I don‘t recall, but we read about, say it ain‘t so, Shoeless Joe Jackson, the 1919 -- I guess it was 1919 Black Sox. We all knew about them, even though I grew up 30 years later.
BUCHANAN: What do kids say when they see somebody like Barry Bonds, seven times MVP? Yes, we‘ve been using these things. I thought it was like an arthritis painkiller.
LEPSELTER: Well, I have three kids. And my oldest son, Max (ph), was asking me last night, yo, dad, Giambi does steroids. And I looked at him and I said, Max, not a good thing. But, you know, it is what it is.
To me, the parents have to communicate to the kids that, you know, it‘s not just telling them, hey, it‘s a bad thing. You have to oversee your kids. I don‘t think that kids, in this day and age, lose—there‘s so much going on in their lives. I don‘t know that, two days from now, they‘re going to be that worried about Jason Giambi or Barry Bonds and what they did in regard to steroids.
I just don‘t see it as, as big an issue as the sportswriters want to make it. I just don‘t. I think it...
LEPSELTER: ... something to sell papers.
CONCHA: I agree with you on one point, that I think that people pretty much believed that a Giambi or Bonds were using steroids even before they confessed this.
LEPSELTER: Yes. Absolutely.
CONCHA: And what happened last year? Well, the World Series ratings were the highest than they ever have been ever in over a decade. It just continues to go up.
CONCHA: And it‘s all about entertainment, unfortunately, Pat.
LEPSELTER: That‘s right.
CONCHA: People want to see home runs, their entertainment dollar.
LEPSELTER: They‘re going to come back.
CONCHA: But, at the same time, for the purists of the game, it certainly hurts the integrity of it. And I think some of the older folks out there will yearn for a time of Mickey Mantle not using steroids and hitting the farthest home runs in baseball history.
BUCHANAN: Yes. I‘ve seen a lot of those Mickey Mantle home runs right down in Griffith Stadium.
OK, Joe Concha, Mark Lepselter, thanks for being here.
Up next, folks, it‘s the holiday season. That means crowded stores, cheery holiday music and volunteers ringing bells beside the red Salvation Army kettles, except at Target stores. We‘ll tell you why Target has banned the charity when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: What‘s the title of the head of the Salvation Army? Is it, A, president, B, general, or, C, commissioner?
The answer coming up.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked:
What‘s the title of the head of the Salvation Army? The answer is B. Since the Salvation Army is actually a civil army, its leader is referred to as general.
Now back to Pat.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Each year, the Salvation Army raises millions of dollars for charity during the Christmas season. But this year, Target has banned the organization from standing outside its stores. They say they can‘t let every group solicit, so they won‘t let any group solicit. But critics say the store is targeting Christians.
Here for this debate, Major George Hood, national community relations secretary for the Salvation Army and, Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women For America.
Major, how do you know—or why is—why are Target store—you‘ve been outside for 40 years now.
MAJ. GEORGE HOOD, SALVATION ARMY: More than that, Pat. It‘s been 114 years when the first kettle was placed on the streets of America.
BUCHANAN: All right. And—but Target stores, you‘ve been outside them for 40 years, because they‘ve only been around about that long.
HOOD: About years with Target. That is correct.
BUCHANAN: How do you know they‘re not just saying, look, no solicitations; that‘s all there is to it?
HOOD: Well, that‘s basically what they have said. They‘re not going to allow any solicitations at their store.
They have reported to us that this has always been a policy that has been waived for the Salvation Army historically. But now, in today‘s climate, there‘s so much competition and demand for equal access, that they‘ve determined they must enforce that policy and be consistent with it across the board.
BUCHANAN: Do you believe them?
HOOD: Well, I have to believe what they tell me. Anything that I might surmise would be unfair to them.
BUCHANAN: Well, there‘s somebody here who does surmise.
ROBERT KNIGHT, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Yes, I don‘t have to believe what they tell us.
BUCHANAN: All right, Robert Knight, let me read you—I want to look
at something you said in a press release yesterday: “Target”—Target
stores—“gives millions to charities, but only if the recipients are
deemed politically correct by the ACLU, homosexual activists and other
bullies. Target routinely has been turning down church-related charities,
apparently out of fear of offending—quote -- ‘keep-Christ-in-the-closet
KNIGHT: Yes, I said the .
BUCHANAN: You got anything to back that up?
KNIGHT: Oh, yes.
BUCHANAN: How do you know that—the major says that he takes these folks at their word.
KNIGHT: Well, homosexual activists have been battering Target, trying to get them to kick out the Salvation Army for some time, ever since the Salvation Army, as a Christian denomination, refused to subsidize homosexual domestic partnerships.
The Salvation Army is a church. It‘s not just a charity. And they‘re a Christian church, so they can‘t be subsidizing sin. So the homosexual activists went after them. In Michigan, they actually had a campaign putting phony coupons in the kettles, accusing them of bigotry, counterfeit dollar bills and $5 bills.
BUCHANAN: Is this right, Major?
HOOD: That is true.
KNIGHT: So they‘ve been after them for years.
BUCHANAN: But you seem to have a very tolerant, Christian attitude that these—you‘re taking Target at their word.
BUCHANAN: Do you really believe—all right, let me get—you‘re a devout Christian. Do you believe Target is telling the straight, honest, full truth?
HOOD: I have to believe what they tell me, and I‘ve had dialogue with them for six months. And they say, we have a policy. We‘re going to enforce that policy.
Our position is, we will take them at their word. We will be very
professional about it
BUCHANAN: It‘s going to cost you $9 million.
HOOD: Well, it‘s going—it has...
BUCHANAN: It‘s going to cost the folks you help $9 million.
HOOD: There‘s potential that we will be short $9 million. And $9 million results in less children being served, less families being fed.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me say, I really do believe that it‘s an outrage, because I‘m maybe at Saks Fifth Avenue, I really go shopping. But when you come out of there at Christmas, I see the folks out there, the lady there. And you drop something into the red kettles.
KNIGHT: It‘s a great example for parents.
They show their kids that you give to charity. It‘s not just about buying gifts. It‘s not about Christmas commercialization. You give to the needy. This is a Christian charity, one of the few examples of Christmas itself, around the commercialism that surrounded Christmas. You don‘t see merry Christmas anymore in any stores. You don‘t see Christmas even mentioned. It‘s just happy holidays.
So here they throw out the one reminder about the reason for the season. It‘s outrageous.
BUCHANAN: But here‘s their answer.
Target would not provide us with a guest for you folks tonight or for us, but they did speak with us over the phone earlier. And we asked how they felt about the accusations made by folks like brother Knight here and Concerned Women For America.
And here‘s what that the—our caller said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CAROLYN BROOKTER, TARGET CORPORATION: I‘m so glad you asked me that, because I think, of all the things that we‘ve heard so far, this is, first of all, the most outrageous and the most inaccurate description of why a decision was made.
The fact that the Salvation Army is a faith-based organization had absolutely nothing to do with the decision. We worked work closely with many other faith-based organizations around the country. So it had nothing to do with that. And I think, unfortunately, some of these groups are using this to try to just further their own political agenda.
And it‘s too bad, because there is no battle between Target and the Salvation Army.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: I think the lady from Target is targeting Robert Knight.
KNIGHT: Well, she can do that all she wants, but the facts remains...
BUCHANAN: But she said it‘s outrageous and that they have good relations with Christian groups. And let me ask you quickly...
KNIGHT: Well, I‘d like to hear some of them that she...
BUCHANAN: All right, do you have a good—has Target, have the stores contributed to the Salvation Army directly?
HOOD: There may have been some contributions made to local communities. I personally am not aware of any. There have been reports that Target has responded to some consumers that they make a national donation to the Salvation Army every year. I have not seen that donation.
KNIGHT: I‘m not aware of any Christian groups that are overtly Christian that receive donations from Target. There may well be some.
BUCHANAN: Why is...
KNIGHT: But the list of charities they have are noncontroversial things like literacy campaigns, all good things, but it seems like they‘re staying away from the faith-based charities.
BUCHANAN: OK. Don‘t go away. We‘ll have final thoughts from our guests in just a minute.
BUCHANAN: Is Macy‘s taking Christ out of Christmas? That story Monday night on SCARBOROUGH.
But stay tuned. We have more for you just ahead.
BUCHANAN: Thirty seconds left for each of you.
Major Hood, what‘s your Christmas greeting to Target?
HOOD: Well, we hope that Target has a great holiday season.
HOOD: And our point is, this is the time where we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. That‘s what it really is all about.
And our mission is to serve people in the name of Jesus Christ. And we want to keep focused on that. We want to make sure that those who need us will be served this year. There‘s no question the loss of $9 million is going to make that more difficult. But we are determined to move on, do business and to able to serve as many people in this country as we can.
BUCHANAN: Robert Knight?
KNIGHT: Well, I think God works in many ways. And I think the Salvation Army will come out of this very strong and maybe even benefit from it. But I don‘t think Target will. I think this is not sitting well with the American people. They see Target as the Grinch or as Scrooge.
We saw that Mervyn‘s stores turned around. They used to be part of Target until September. And now that they‘re independent, they‘re bringing the Salvation Army back. Target should do the same thing.
BUCHANAN: Major Hood, Robert Knight, thanks for joining us.
Monday morning, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani joins Imus. Don‘t miss it.
Thanks for watching. And have a great weekend.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc. (f/k/a/ Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.