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CNN IN THE MONEY
Much of Iraq Optimistic; Investors Await Google's Dutch Auction
Aired May 1, 2004 - 12:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JACK CAFFERY, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up next on IN THE MONEY, fight or flight, the United States says it's in Iraq for the long haul, but we're going to talk to an ex-general who says it's time to get out now.
Plus, from pulling the trigger to pulling the lever, we'll look at what's on the mind of the military when it comes to voting for a president.
And meet the competition, get an outsourcer's take on how American workers can keep working with jobs going overseas.
First though, here's a quick check of the headlines.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Supreme Court Justice David Souter was assaulted by a group of young men last night as he was jogging in Washington. He suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from a hospital. A court spokeswoman says Souter was not robbed.
Amid the rubble of recent battles, Iraqi civilians returned to their homes in Fallujah today after U.S. Marines repositioned forces around the city. Police and soldiers of the old Iraqi army patrolled the city while Iraqis celebrated in the streets.
More American casualties today in Iraq, one American soldier was killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb blasted their convoy. That was in northern Iraq, about 45 miles from Mosul.
One year ago, President Bush made his aircraft carrier speech, declaring an end to major combat in Iraq. Today, he's pledging to move forward in Iraq despite the challenges.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The success of Iraqi democracy, which sends forth the news from Damascus to Tehran that freedom can be the future of every nation and that democracy will succeed in Iraq because our coalition is strong, because our resolve is firm, and because the people of Iraq desire and deserve to live in freedom.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WINN: I'll be back with more news in 30 minutes. IN THE MONEY with Jack Cafferty starts right now. CAFFERTY: Welcome to IN THE MONEY. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's program, wising up and getting out: The president says the United States is not leaving Iraq. We're going to find out why a retired top military officer thinks it's already time to go.
Plus, run it up the flag pole, and see who salutes. We'll talk to a veteran and congressional candidate about the military's selection for the next president.
And why outsourcing just might be good for all of us. Discover how it could make you and America more competitive. We will talk with a guy who is sending U.S. jobs overseas.
Joining me today, a couple of IN THE MONEY regulars, CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large Andy Serwer.
So last night on Ted Koppel's fine "Nightline" program, over there on ABC, they paid tribute to the soldiers who were killed in the war in Iraq on the first anniversary of the "mission accomplished" appearance by the president on that aircraft carrier. An outfit called the Sinclair Broadcast Group preempted that show in seven markets on stations it owns around the country. It should be noted in our little discussion that several of their top executives contributed money to President Bush's re-election campaign.
What do you make of that?
ANDY SERWER, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "FORTUNE": Well, I think the Sinclair Broadcasting Group of Hunt Valley, Maryland, has all of our best interests at heart, and they know what's right for America. I mean, pretty soon they're going to be banning all of ABC's broadcasting, "The Bachelor," "Extreme Makeover," no I'm being facetious. I think it's ridiculous. I mean, let the American people decide whether or not they want to watch it. It's been on newspapers. These are people who have served our country for goodness sake.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Been in papers like "USA Today" on Friday, which had the pictures and the names of all of the people who died in Iraq, it's deadliest month, April, a year after, by the way, the president said that major combat missions in Iraq was over.
CAFFERTY: Memo to Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the TV's in this country come equipped with two things. One is a channel selector and the other is an on/off switch and we can figure it out for ourselves, thank you anyway.
When news people tell you about places like Fallujah and Najaf, they like to call them "trouble spots." That can be confusing if you think of Iraq as one big trouble spot these days. It's not that at all. We want to find out what's going on in parts Iraq that we don't hear so much about anymore, like maybe the rest of country, for instance. And for that we're delighted to be joined again from Baghdad by CNN's Ben Wedeman. Ben, nice to have you with us as always, there are a lot of good things happening in that country now that Saddam Hussein is no more. True?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CAIRO BUREAU CHIEF: It's true. There are lots of parts of the country where life is getting back to normal, where people are going about their ordinary business and we shouldn't downplay that. And for many Iraqis, they have been able to really just enjoy the fact that in their neck of the woods, there's relative calm.
But really the problem is, and I don't think it's the fault of journalists, is that when a city like Baghdad blows up, when Najaf blows up, when there are suicide bombings in Basra and Kirkuk and Irbil and around the country, what you have is a background noise, so to speak, of insecurity, of violence, of uncertainty that really sets the tone for the country. For instance, I just heard a boom behind me.
And that is why, for instance, you get the impression that Baghdad and Iraq in general is somehow a place of violence and uncertainty. But there are lots of backwater places where nothing really seems to happen. But enough things have happened around the country that there is good reason to assume that this is not a safe country, that the future is uncertain.
Iraqis, though, are resilient people. I'm always amazed when you go down the street and you see people, despite all of the hardships they're going through, they are determined to somehow get through this situation. And that's why we saw in this recent CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll that even though people are obsessed with the problems of today, when they look at their situation, looking ahead, five years, they think they will be better off. So, optimism is supreme in the end -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: Thank you, Ben. CNN's Ben Wedeman from Baghdad. It's interesting to a degree I suppose the nature of news coverage. We, the media, tend to report on the buildings that are burning, not on all of the buildings that are not burning. And so we cover the stories that represent a deviation from the norm. We're not on the quiet, bucolic streets on a northern city where the Kurds are, reporting on life as normal. We're in Fallujah reporting on the war and the fighting.
SERWER: Right, and the same thing's true domestically. The story's always the fire and not with the calm neighborhood obviously.
CAFFERTY: Iraq is, of course, an unpredictable war, as most of them usually are, and it's drawing some very unlikely reactions. George Bush thinks the United States ought to stick it out, and that's one point that he and John Kerry actually agree on. Not so, though, a retired Army lieutenant general, now working for a conservative think- tank. His resume says stand and fight, but on Iraq he says it's time to pack up and get out. He's General William Odom, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute who joins us from Washington, D.C. He's also the co-author of "America's Inadvertent Empire." General, welcome, it's nice to have you with us.
GEN. WILLIAM ODOM, THE HUDSON INSTITUTE: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
CAFFERTY: Why is it time to, you should pardon the phrase, cut and run? I mean, we're one year into this project of trying to liberate the country and bring some sort of representative democratic government to Iraq. Why do you think it's time to get out?
ODOM: Because, to use economic terms, since this is a money program, we're in a sunk cost situation. You can't recover sunk costs by throwing more money at them. Before the war, it was quite clear to anybody who knows Iraq and understands how liberal constitutional systems come about, that we were not going to install one in a few years or maybe even a few decades in Iraq.
One couldn't make that argument very effectively, publicly you got shouted down. After a year in there, I think it's an argument that will gain more attention, and that's why I've waited until now to make it publicly. Although I did say a month before the war, that it doesn't matter how they treat us, if they treat us as liberators when we first go in. The question is how they treat us after we've been there six months and that the idea of establishing constitutional system in an Arab country with an Arab political culture is unprecedented. There is absolutely no trace of constitutionalism in any Arab country. Therefore, this undertaking is sort of bordered on being ridiculous.
LISOVICZ: Do you see, General, any value at all for the U.S. to stay in to prevent yet Iraq falling into an extreme Islamist theocracy? Isn't there any value to the United States trying to get some sort of democracy going in this unsettled part of the world?
ODOM: Look, the question is, you could get a democracy going. There's no problem with that. You have an Iraq -- a democracy in Iran. It's a radical Islamic democracy. Anybody who can run a government that can control the Iraqis, either by force or through cooperation, will have to be anti-American. As we are seen as the invaders, the crusaders from the West, therefore, legitimacy requires being anti-American.
Now, while we're in there, what we've done is by invading Iraq, we've satisfied one of Osama bin Laden's major objectives, and that is, to overthrow secular Arab leaders, which Saddam was. The second set of people we pleased would be the Iranians who hate Saddam because he invaded them in 1980 and they fought bloody war for almost 10 years -- or seven or eight years.
Now that we have our soldiers there in there, we've made that country safe for radical groups like al Qaeda and others so that they can pick away and kill our soldiers a few at a time. In other words we're in a tactically very untenable situation. They could bleed us very slowly as long as we are willing to put troops in there and keep them there. From a military point of view, when you get into those situations, it makes sense to retire, withdraw, tactically or strategically, in order to reshape the war in a way that you can win it.
SERWER: General, let me ask you a question. What would you say to the families of U.S. soldiers who've lost loved one in this conflict? Was this all in vain?
ODOM: Yes and no. I think we had to learn it. This happens -- this was the case in Vietnam. I was in Vietnam. I've seen many bodies go home and my roommate in West Point was killed on Firebase Ripcord (ph). You know, was that in vain? I don't know. That's a question that even if you say yes, it is in vain, it doesn't make sense to continue to allow more people squandered in vain. And we do need to stabilize this larger region from Afghanistan to the eastern Med.
CAFFERTY: How do we do that if we're not there?
ODOM: Well, we have to get out and get our allies to go in with us. We've gotten ourselves in in the wrong way. So we've got to get out, regroup and come back in a sensible way. We had a system there that worked very well before the Shah fell. We kept a foot in the Arab and the Persian camp, and we kept a foot in the Arab and the Israeli camp. We could play balance of power without much military force to make that happen. When we lost our footing with Shah going away, we had to build CENTCOM to balance that region.
Now we are losing our footing in the Arab world which makes it hard to keep the Arab-Israeli balance straight. So -- and at the same time, we've lost the support from our allies. Now until you can restore some position like that and gain allied support, it strikes me you are in for a strategic disaster. So why I am saying get out, is that you make it worse by staying in now, if you pull out and regroup and take another strategic view at this region, you might have a prospect for success.
CAFFERTY: Makes some sense, General, thank you very much for joining us. I appreciate it. General William Odom, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, U.S. Army retired, an expert on the Middle East.
Coming up on IN THE MONEY as we continue, uniform opinion, find out who the U.S. military wants for its next commander-in-chief as the November elections draw closer.
Plus, jackpot.com, the Internet search engine Google is going public, and that's going to make some people very, very rich. We will tell you who and how.
And jobs that'll ship out unless America shapes up, see if the outsourcing wave could actually help the U.S. worker as we talk to a man who spends his time sending work overseas. Back after this.
LISOVICZ: Soldiers and veterans have overwhelmingly voted Republican since U.S. military became an all-volunteer service in 1973, but the turbulent situation in Iraq may give Democrats a chance to finally win a significant chunk of the military vote. One former soldier who has switched his vote from Republican to Democrat is Steve Brozak, a Marine Corps veteran and investment banker. He left the Republican Party a year ago and is now running as a Democrat for a congressional seat in New Jersey.
STEVE BROZAK (D), NEW JERSEY CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, thanks very much for having me on.
LISOVICZ: What was the decisive issue or instance for you that made you switch your party? It happened to in the last year, did it not?
BROZAK: Yes, it did. It actually happened back in April and I really didn't switch my party. I felt that the values that I had and have today are the same. I felt that I was watching the Republican Party move away from the core beliefs that I held.
SERWER: What do you think -- how is the military looking at the election right now? Obviously we know how important it is from last election in Florida, military, obviously, also somewhat of a more conservative bias because you don't have beatniks from Greenwich Village volunteering to go into the Army. Where do you think they stand right now?
BROZAK: Well, I think what they stand for is the same thing that all Americans stand for. They're looking for leadership. They want a clear vision. They want a map. They want answers. They just don't want to be told, well, today this is what we're doing, and tomorrow we'll try something different. They're tired of spin the same way the American public is.
CAFFERTY: At the risk of letting you do a campaign commercial for John Kerry, I am interested in your thoughts of what it is about him to you that appeals to you as a military guy. If you believe a lot of the commercials we are seeing, and granted they're being put together by the Bush people, John Kerry is not the greatest fan that the American serviceman has ever had.
BROZAK: Well, that's what I am talking about. For instance, a couple of weeks ago when George Bush went on TV, I wanted to see my president go out there and iterate a real clear, meaningful strategy of what was going to happen in Iraq. I didn't see it. The American fighting men and women, the 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds, the 25- to 45- year-old the reservists, the people that have been called back and their spouses, their loved ones are the ones that are paying the price. They're the ones that are sacrificing, and that's where you are starting to see some great discontent.
LISOVICZ: But Steve, you have other issues as well, for instance, economics, health care for your fellow men and women in uniform.
BROZAK: Absolutely. And those economic issues play throughout for the people in uniform and for the people in my district, in New Jersey and in the country. LISOVICZ: Can you give us specifics, though, what isn't happening?
BROZAK: Well, right now we're seeing the force overseas, here in the United States, stretched thin, probably close to the point of breaking. We don't have enough people. We don't have enough equipment. It's not being acknowledged. As far as the economy is concerned, you're seeing plans and spin that says that we've got a robust economy. It's the furthest thing from the truth. The letters, the e-mails that I'm getting are reflecting that opinion, not just people in uniform.
On the health care side, if you look at the Medicaid bill that just passed, it doesn't acknowledge real facts. The people that have been called back to active duty have to deal with a system called Tricare, the system simply isn't up to the job. And when you're talking about defense, you know, do most people feel that they are actually safer today than after 9/11?
SERWER: Hey, Steve, even as someone who presumably supports John Kerry, aren't you concerned with the way the campaign has been going lately?
BROZAK: I'm really concerned about the fact that you're starting to see people attacking John Kerry on his military record. And that is simply unacceptable. Right now, John Kerry served. That is what all Americans should really focus on. Right now, what people should focus on is, do we have a plan, not just a plan overseas, but an economic plan, a health care plan? Do we have someone that's going out there and voicing real issues? That's the reason I'm running.
CAFFERTY: Let me ask you, one of criticisms we hear about the Democrats who are on the outside looking in before the election, is that they haven't been very specific about offering solutions to any of this stuff. What's the solution to Iraq? What's solution to veterans' health care benefits? What are specific ideas, and why aren't we hearing them from the Democratic side?
BROZAK: Well, right now this is a work in progress, as you are seeing overseas. Right now, there isn't really a whole lot that this administration has done or probably can even do now. We have to make sure that in Iraq we bring the rest of the world in, so that for the people of Iraq, it isn't just an American occupying force. That's the way they look at it. It's not true, but that's the way they look at it. I think that a new administration can come in there and start to address the rest of world and say, hey, this is not just our problem, this is a problem involving the rest of world. And a destabilized Iraq will mean a destabilized Middle East. Those are important issues that are simply not being addressed right now.
CAFFERTY: Steve Brozak, retired Marine Corps veteran and congressional candidate, New Jersey. I guess, maybe I should have been nicer, I live in New Jersey, you may be my congressman one day.
BROZAK: I very much look forward to it if I am.
SERWER: That's good. That's good.
CAFFERTY: All right. Thank you, sir, nice to have you on the program.
BROZAK: Thank you, a pleasure.
CAFFERTY: All right, we have got to make a buck or two for the home office, but we will be back right after this break. And just ahead, gaga for Google, Wall Street licking its chops at the prospect of one of the biggest IPOs ever.
Plus, play now or pay later, a guy who is sending U.S. jobs overseas. And we will tell you how to get your revenge. Stick around, back after this.
LISOVICZ: Let's look at the week's top stories in our "Money Minute." Comcast withdrew its $48 billion offer to buy Disney, saying it was obvious the house of mouse just wasn't interested in the deal. Disney said all along it felt the offer was too low.
People attending IBM's annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, were greeted by demonstrators protesting Big Blue's outsourcing policies. But IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano was able to grab some of the attention away from the protesters by announcing that the company was boosting the annual dividend by 12.5 percent.
And Thursday marked the end of line for America's oldest car company. The last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan. Oldsmobile was founded by Ransom Eli Olds in 1897, and it became part of GM 11 years later. GM says it discontinued the line because it was no longer profitable. So sad.
SERWER: All right, our "Stock of the Week" hasn't even hit the trading floor yet but how often does a company with a product that millions rely on go public every day? Not often. We're talking about Google, of course. The king of all Internet search engines announced plans to launch a $2.7 billion initial public offering, and the news has Internet stock watchers partying like it's 1999.
That's Prince. But question is, can Google be a good investment in 2004 and beyond? You know, the question here is, this is a company that does things differently. I call it the "my way" IPO, Frank Sinatra, right? These guys are going to do this Dutch auction instead of a regular IPO which presumably will allow ordinary investors to get in instead of just super-connected people. It's a big experiment. We will have to see how this one goes.
LISOVICZ: You are going to love this story because a lot of times when you have an IPO, it's a company maybe you haven't heard from, there's a little buzz. This is a giant company that with its public offering, it's going to be -- have the market value, market cap of say a FedEx or a Sears. And it's big enough and strong enough and hot enough to say, we're going to do it our way. We're going to minimalize Wall Street.
CAFFERTY: You know what else occurs to me? There is no country in the world except this one where stories like this happen over and over and over. These were a couple of students at Stanford University sitting in some dorm, smoking socks or whatever, saying, hey, what about this technology? And they came up with an idea. And when this thing rolls out, they will both become at age -- what is it, 30 or 31?
SERWER: Thirty and thirty-one.
LISOVICZ: A few times over.
CAFFERTY: Billionaires. I don't really know if they were smoking socks, but you know what college kids do.
SERWER: The only bad thing about this...
LISOVICZ: They surf the net.
SERWER: The only bad deal is they've got these two classes of stock situation, where these guys retain control. So it's great that they want to do it their way, but you know, this means that the whole thing is that the ordinary investors actually won't be in control in of the company, these two, 30- and 31-year-olds will be.
LISOVICZ: They want it both ways, and they also won't give quarterly guidance, another interesting aspect.
SERWER: Well, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch this one.
Just ahead on IN THE MONEY, we will talk to a man who sends U.S. jobs overseas. He says if American workers want to save their jobs, they need to act now.
And let us know what you think. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
NGUYEN: I'm Betty Nguyen, more of IN THE MONEY after a check of the headlines.
Four gunmen opened fire today in a compound in Yanbu in northern Saudi Arabia, killing several Westerners and a Saudi policemen. Among the American casualties, two killed and one wounded. Two of the attackers later blew themselves up in a car. A third was killed by security, and the fourth wounded and captured.
Repositioning U.S. troops in war-ravaged Fallujah, Iraq, it's part of a plan to transfer security of the city to Iraqi police and former Iraqi soldiers. U.S. military officials are cautiously optimistic the move will bring calm to the besieged city, but warn the pullback is not a withdrawal or retreat. It's 4 1/2 hours to post-time at Churchill Downs where folks may be looking to trade their traditional Kentucky Derby hats for umbrellas. There's a 60 percent of showers in Louisville today for the first leg of racing's Triple Crown. It's the 130th "run for the roses" with 18 three-year-olds set to race.
I'll be back at top of the hour with all of today's news, now back to IN THE MONEY.
SERWER: All right, that crunching noise you're about to hear is the sound of TV sets across the land getting busted. Our next guest is an outsourcer, one of those guys who sends U.S. jobs overseas, and that's enough to make some people want to put a foot through their TV screen. But hold your fire, because he thinks American workers can bounce back if they wise up. Atul Vashistha is the founder of a California company called neoIT and he joins us from Atlanta.
ATUL VASHISTHA, FOUNDER, NEOIT: Thank you.
SERWER: Can you explain to us why what you do is not destroying the American economy?
VASHISTHA: No, what we are doing is actually helping the American economy, because if you look at outsourcing, it reduces cost which in turn reduces prices. And that's enabling American companies to stay competitive. The competition for these companies is no longer local, it's global. And so they have to compete in the most efficient manner possible, but also, because of these lower costs, it's benefiting the consumers because their buying power is a lot higher than what it can be.
LISOVICZ: And we've seen it certainly with Wal-Mart, which certainly gets a lot of its products from overseas. But Atul, consumers don't spend if they are worried about their jobs or in fact they don't have jobs, and jobs are going overseas. So can you address that?
VASHISTHA: Yes, you know, I don't want to downplay the pain that displaced workers are going through right now. But I think it's important to recognize that in the last two, three years we've lost millions of jobs in the U.S., but less than 150,000 are because of offshoring. And in fact, there was a study done by the ITAA, the Information Technology Association of America, and they saw that 90,000 jobs last year were actually created by this global sourcing. I think we are blaming the wrong thing. And instead of focusing on what we need to do as a country to create these jobs, we are trying to blame something that's actually benefiting our economy.
CAFFERTY: I don't understand the logic of how it's benefiting our economy. Even if we look at numbers you just gave us, there are still 60,000 families that don't have a bread winner as a result of this thing that that's going on, that the critics suggests simply is a way to increase corporate profits. If I can send a $10-an-hour job in the United States to Bombay where I can get it done for $1 an hour, I net $9 bucks an hour and that makes my stock worth more money and even though the family who doesn't have the $10 an hour job anymore is out looking for work.
VASHISTHA: So if you look at that, what you're seeing is companies are doing this. I can give you examples of companies without naming them that have had to do layoffs because they didn't address the competition by trying to figure out lower ways of doing business. So you have to also have to look at the other side. What would happen to some of these companies if they didn't take advantage of this?
Now, of course we should answer the question is what happens to these displaced workers and what should we be doing, but I think we ought to focus on creating jobs for innovation. So these workers have to be re-skilled. We've had people in technology that have been working for four years and five years that haven't gone back to school, haven't learned new technologies, and technology is changing. Re-skilling is our way of making sure we continue to stay ahead of the game. And I think that's an area that we ought to focus on, is how do you create these jobs rather than how do you try to protect these jobs?
SERWER: Hey Atul, let me ask you, what if there is legislation banning outsourcing, what would that do to the economy?
VASHISTHA: You know, if it applied right now, they're trying to do that, but mainly applies to federal and state governments, if they did that to corporations, I have to tell you, what will happen is many companies will no longer be able to compete in markets, which in turn will lead to layoffs, which will in turn lead to lower spending. I think that's a downward spiral.
LISOVICZ: Atul, you said something about workers constantly getting reeducated about technology, but you actually say there are several areas that are insulated from exporting overseas. Can you quickly just name them?
VASHISTHA: Yes, absolutely. I think there is three key areas that I would say are insulated or at least they are long away from being offshored, things that are special, specialized, or localized. And what I mean by that is there's so many jobs in America, and I would say about 70 percent of services that we all experience, they are manufactured locally. So things like -- think about the deliveries that happen, social services, education, many of these services are local services, those are insulated.
The other things that are insulated is, as you keep moving up in the value chain, where either it's complex problem-solving or complex communications, those are the kind of things that are very difficult to offshore. So I think it's also important to recognize that not everything can be offshored. So the majority of the jobs will stay in the U.S. So if you look at what's going offshore, it's the data entry, it's the programming, it's the support kind of systems that are going offshore.
SERWER: All right, we're going to have to leave it at that, obviously a hot-button topic. Atul Vashistha, CEO of neoIT, thanks very much for coming on the pleasure.
VASHISTHA: My pleasure.
SERWER: Just ahead IN THE MONEY, we'll talk to a man who sends U.S. jobs overseas. He says if American workers want to save their jobs, they need to act now. And let us know what you think. Our e- mail address is email@example.com.
LISOVICZ: The U.S. hopes to build democracy in Iraq, but can democracy exist in a Muslim nation without equal rights for all citizens, including women? That's a question worth asking, as the U.S. prepares to hand over authority in Iraq this summer. Our next guest is here to help us sort out the complicated place where women, democracy and Islam meet. Zainab Salbi is the president and founder of Women for Women International, a non-profit women's rights group.
ZAINAB SALBI, PRESIDENT, FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTL.: Thank you.
LISOVICZ: You know, one of the things that we heard prior to the invasion of Iraq, that in terms of equal rights or rights for women, Iraq wasn't such a bad place considering the geography, the geographic area where it was. What's the situation for women now in Iraq?
SALBI: In many ways, it has gone down actually. In terms of security, for example, right after the war, mothers started pulling their daughters out of school because of the security, because of kidnapping incidents. They were actually rape and kidnapping women for trafficking purposes. And it impacted the economic opportunities. A lot of -- especially poor women who are doing small income projects, within their homes or small factories or all of these things, had actually stopped working because of the security tension and because of the lack of facilities, such as electricity and transportation and things like that. So in many ways, there has been a step back.
There are other ways in which actually there is an opportunity for Iraqi women now to define their role in the new Iraq, to define their role in the politics of the new Iraq, and the new constitution and the future of how the country is designed in the civil society. So there is a give and take. And we need to understand the history of Iraqi women to understand what is going on right now and what is the potential for them in the future.
SERWER: Zainab, I want you to try to broaden out. I know you make this point that it's very hard to generalize about the conditions of women in the Islamic world because conditions are obviously so diverse from country to country, but have things worsened in terms of women in Islamic countries or not over the past decade or so because of rise of fundamental, for instance?
SALBI: Well, definitely. I mean, fundamentalists, of course, do reach out to women. As a matter of fact, there are lots of women who are supporting Islamic fundamentalists. We need to understand why, and in my opinion, understanding, we really need to look at their economic reality.
Muslim fundamentalists a lot of times are reaching out to the grassroots, are reaching out to women in poor neighborhoods, to widows, to single heads household, to unemployed women, to mothers who have eight, seven children and cannot have the food or the means to feed them. And they're reaching out to that sector and addressing their immediate economic realities, health needs, all of these things.
If you look at Hamas, for example, in the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas addresses that sector of the population and is providing them services, same thing in Egypt, same thing in different countries -- in different Muslim countries.
So in order for us to understand why Arab women are actually even supporting fundamentalists to a certain extent, we need to understand their political, economic and social reality. And we need to understand that the way to get it out of that is to give them other alternatives.
If you take Afghanistan, for example, a lot of times during the Taliban time, a Talib would go to a woman who is a widow and has seven to eight children for example, and he will tell her, here is a food package, give me your son. I will send him to the madressa, I will teach him how to read and write and I will feed your children. She's making a cost-benefit analysis. She's saying, OK, well, I don't have any choice. What we need to do is provide her with alternatives, with more choices, and our choice is actually much more attractive than the choices that they are providing.
CAFFERTY: Let me address the domestic issue and the relationship between the sexes. The quality for women in the Middle East or anywhere else can't come unless there is freedom from fear. The Quran is very explicit in its instructions on the issue of a equality between sexes, and yet violence against women at the hands of men in the Middle East and Arab countries is notorious. And it's condoned, and in the case of the Taliban, it was even advocated in some sense.
There was a very popular Saudi Arabian newscaster who was severely beaten here just a short time ago by her husband, it wasn't the first time. And she allowed her story to become public. She was damn near killed, for want of a better way to phrase it, by a husband, and traditionally nothing happens to the men who perpetrate this kind of violence on women. Can you address that issue?
SALBI: We need to distinguish between -- and the we is not only we in the West, but even Muslims need to distinguish between culture and between religion. The religion itself -- Islamic religion itself does protect women and does provide women equal, legal economic opportunities. And in many ways, there's a lot of opportunities for women within Islam.
The culture, on the other hand, has actually brought up different elements of previous pre-Islamic cultures from different notions, and it has become actually a more oppressive -- combined the religion with the culture and became more oppressive habits towards women. So we need to distinguish between the two.
In a lot of Arab countries, for example, the whole concept of -- it's a shame, shame for women to talk about the oppression that she's facing, shame for women to talk about a rape if she has been raped, a shame for women to talk about domestic violence if she's been beaten.
And so what Saudi women, for example, is gone beyond the shame, a very strong concept in Arab society and Muslim society in general, and she went to her Islamic rights, which is, no man has a right to violate her -- the way the husband has a right to violate her. No man has the right to force sexual intercourse with a woman. No man has a right to beat a woman, all of these things.
So part of the solution is for Muslims to actually distinguish religion from the culture, and for women to be more -- to go beyond the concept of shame, and say, we want our rights, the rights that have been protected by us -- for us by Islam, and by our new society, by the new world. We need to catch up in many ways with the new concepts of women's rights.
CAFFERTY: A lot of work to be done obviously. Zainab Salbi is the president and founder of Women for Women International. Thank you for being on the program.
SALBI: Thank you.
CAFFERTY: Coming up on IN THE MONEY, as we continue, a lot of investors hate it when they try to describe how the market is doing. Webmaster Allen Wastler has some ideas on how we can go about fixing that by perhaps standardizing some of terminology.
And you can let us know your ideas by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are deeply concerned about issues that concern you.
First, though, Susan has this week's edition of "Money & Family."
LISOVICZ: Shopping for car insurance? If so, here are some tips for your search. First do your homework by getting at least three insurance quotes. Rates for comparable coverage can vary by more than $500 depending on the company.
If you have a good driving record, check out the rates that Geico and Amica, they tend to have the cheapest policies because they sell auto insurance directly to the consumer. That means you don't pay the extra expense of a broker.
But if you've got a few fender benders on your record, you may need to go through an agent at one of major providers, such as State Farm or Allstate insurance. Be sure to compare the prices of large insurance providers with those of independent agents who aren't tied to a particular company. They may be able to offer you a better deal. To find an independent agent in your area, go to independentagent.com. And don't forget to negotiate. Some companies will beat your best quote, but you do need on ask. Next week, I'll tell you about the discounts you should ask your auto insurance provider before signing a policy. I'm Susan Lisovicz for "Money & Family."
CAFFERTY: Well, no matter what stock market is doing, there's always someone blaming the business news media, that would be us, for blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Our Webmaster Allen Wastler is here now with the solution as well as the fun site of week.
ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: We're all familiar with this, right?
CAFFERTY: Of course.
WASTLER: You write the headline, "Stocks Slide On Econ. News" or something, how can you call that a slide? It's just a little dip. What, do you have an agenda? Are you trying to trying to talk the market down? All right. So, all right. You don't like it? I'm going to set up a scale. OK. Market goes up from 0 to 50, OK? We're going to have certain words that are approved for that. All right?
WASTLER: Rise, jump, advance, we can get traipse, I like traipse.
CAFFERTY: Van Halen.
WASTLER: Now if it goes a little bit higher, let's say 51 to 100.
CAFFERTY: I like this.
WASTLER: All right, we'll take it a little bit more like boom, soar, spike, rally. Up above 100, all right, then we're going get into like real, oh, baby, skyrocket, fly, take off. And if you're over 200, hey, just say yippy and be happy.
CAFFERTY: What about on the downside?
WASTLER: Now we've got the downscale, OK, and this is where people get really sensitive, all right? So 0 to 50, OK, we'll call that maybe a slump, all right? or a drop, a stumble, stumble is good, falter, a little trip. Fifty to 100, all right, we'll get a little bit more, tumble, fall, tank, I love tank, choke, and dive. Now if we go above 100, then we start using the fight terminology. You got pummeled and stomped and beaten and stuff. And if you go over 200 or if you throw in your adverbs like, really stomped. And if it's getting beyond 200 down there, you just go...
(WASTLER MAKING FEARFUL NOISES)
LISOVICZ: So where is the market now, Allen? What kind of terminology?
WASTLER: The market, I would say was waffling in a zone. OK? Waffle is a good one
LISOVICZ: Wastler says it's waffling.
WASTLER: So there you go.
CAFFERTY: Now for the fun site of the week. For those of us who remember the days when we used to get nervous before going out on a date, that was a long time ago.
WASTLER: This is one for you for Zefrank (ph) who does a little comedy on the Web, a he has a wonderful pre-date confidence builder, OK? So you are there getting dressed. Just turn on your terminal, click on a little bit and you'll get something like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you fat? What are you, joking? What, do you want to be one of these Calvin Klein girls? They gnaw on their own bones to make themselves skinny. No, it's out. Jennifer Lopez and the Mariah Carey, she's a little too much...
CAFFERTY: I love it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... but you know...
WASTLER: He's making me feel better about my weight, already.
SERWER: I guess so.
SERWER: Some people just take medication before it these days.
WASTLER: Whatever you are nervous about, you can click on it. I think we have got another example I believe.
CAFFERTY: Good, let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Use your butts like the magic wand here. Wave it around. Wave it around.
LISOVICZ: Do we need to have that on PG, parental guidance here?
WASTLER: We're always PG.
CAFFERTY: Thanks, Allen.
Coming up next, we'll hear your answers to our e-mail question of the week and you can let us know what are you thinking about by e- mailing us at email@example.com.
CAFFERTY: Time now get your answers to our e-mail question, about whether the United States favors Israel too much in its policy in the Middle East?
Diann (ph) in Los Angeles wrote this: "Of course, the United States favors Israel. And it amazes me when our politicians are asked why the Arabs hate us so much, and they just lower their heads and say they don't know. Arabs look at the way the U.S. blindly protects Israel's taking of Palestinian land and lives.
Jarrow (ph) wrote: "This is like asking whether U.S. support for Great Britain in 1940 against Hitler was appropriate. Israel is a democratic country, striving against the racism, sexism and theocratic extremism that dominates the region."
Chris from Waldorf, Maryland, wrote this: "Yes, we do favor Israel, but we must be ready to back Israel up when its existence is threatened. A better way to even things out would be to let the other Arab nations fund the cost of rebuilding housing settlements. That would do a lot to defuse Palestinian anger."
Now, our e-mail question for this week is as follows: What can be done to stop U.S. corporations from sending jobs overseas. Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you should also visit our show page at money.com/inthemoney, that's where you will find the address as well as the fun site of week and other fascinating little tidbits about this here program which is now over.
Thank you for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to the regular gang, CNN Financial Correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer, and money.com managing editor Allen Wastler.
Join us tomorrow 3:00 p.m. Eastern time when we will look at the battle for Islam, reformers and radicals fighting for control of one of world's most powerful religions. See what fallout means for all of us, tomorrow, at 3:00 Eastern. Meantime, thanks for watching and enjoy your day.
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