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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Deadly Day: Bomb Kills Over 90 Iraqis; Bush Defends War; Walter Reed Scandal

Aired March 6, 2007 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, former White House aide Scooter Libby is convicted of perjury, lying and obstructing justice.
We'll have complete coverage. Three leading talk radio show hosts join us to tell us what their listeners are saying about the case and talking about all over the country.

Also tonight, the Catholic Church strengthening its alliance with the Democratic Party. Both pushing their aggressive amnesty agenda for illegal aliens.

We'll have the story.

And "The War Within," the national crisis over underage drinking. The surgeon general says more than 5,000 people under 21 are killed by underage drinking each and every year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REAR ADMIRAL KENNETH P. MORITSUGU, ACTING SURGEON GENERAL: Entire college campuses wiped clean of the entire student body.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Tuesday, March 6th.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

A deadly day for our troops in Iraq. The worst in nearly a month. Insurgents killed nine of our soldiers in two separate attacks north of Baghdad over the past 24 hours.

At the same time, suicide bombers killed almost 100 Iraqis taking part in a religious festival south of the Iraqi capital. Those attacks coming as thousands of our soldiers try to retake insurgent- controlled neighborhoods in Baghdad.

Tonight, Jennifer Eccleston reports form Baghdad on a deadly day for our troops and Iraqis.

Suzanne Malveaux reports from the White House on the president's latest effort to defend his conduct of this war. Jamie McIntyre reporting from the Pentagon on lawmakers' demands for more resignations in the Walter Reed scandal.

We turn first to Jennifer Eccleston -- Jennifer.

JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the U.S. military announced this day that nine American soldiers were killed in two separate bombings north of Baghdad on Monday. Both incidents involved roadside bombs. It is the highest death toll since the launch of Baghdad's new security push.

Also, two suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts among a large crowd of Shia pilgrims in Hilla, south of Baghdad, as they were making their way to the holy city of Karbala to mark the end of the Ashura. Initial police reports put the number of dead at 93, with 147 pilgrims wounded. This follows a wave of attacks in and around Baghdad, where 29 pilgrims were killed in various bombings and shootings.

The Ashura remembers the death of an imam who is revered by Shia Muslims. It is an event that is observed every year. And given the large number of people that join these events, it's been a popular target for insurgent attacks -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jennifer Eccleston reporting from Baghdad.

The U.S. death toll in Iraq yesterday the third highest in a single day this year. Twenty-one of our troops have now been killed in Iraq this month. 3,184 of our troops killed since the beginning of the war. 23,924 of our troops wounded, 10,627 of them so seriously they couldn't return to duty within three days.

President Bush today strongly defended his conduct of this war. President Bush blasted Democratic opponents of his strategy in Iraq. The president said military commanders should be able to carry out their mission without interference from politicians in Washington, as he put it.

Suzanne Malveaux reports from the White House -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, it was a very bad day for Iraqis, a very bad day for U.S. soldiers, and a very bad day for this White House. President Bush went before the American Legion, American troops, pledging his dedication to them, but there was a very specific political group that he was trying to focus on to get his message to, and that are the Democratic lawmakers who are debating various plans and resolutions to really try to limit ways that he can use that money, the $100 billion allocated for the Iraq war, to try to influence the way he executes that war.

Now, President Bush focused on them, issuing a very stern warning that it would undermine his success.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Other members of Congress seem to believe that we can have it all, that we can fight al Qaeda, pursue national reconciliation, initiate aggressive diplomacy, and deter Iran's ambitions in Iraq, all the while withdrawing from Baghdad and reducing our force levels. That sounds good in theory, but doing so at this moment would undermine everything our troops have worked for. There is no shortcuts in Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So, Lou, the president is trying to make the case here that Americans need to be patient. He also said there are some successes that are taking place -- the fact that the Iraqis did come through on their word to provide those three brigades in Baghdad, that they have lifted some restrictions in terms of where soldiers can actually go, and they have came up with this oil-sharing deal among the three different sects inside that country.

But Lou, as you know, it is far from clear whether or not he is really going to be convincing in making that case to Democrats and Republicans alike.

DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you very much.

Suzanne Malveaux from the White House.

President Bush today also announced the leaders of a commission that will investigate conditions of Walter Reed and other military medical facilities. One of the commission's leaders will be Senator Bob Dole. Senator Dole severely wounded in World War II. He went on to become Senate majority leader, a presidential candidate. The commission's other leader will be former Health and Human services secretary Donna Shalala, now president of the University of Miami.

Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon on whether the president's announcement will do anything at all to blunt calls for more resignations in this scandal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who asked the question on everyone's mind.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: General Kiley, should you resign?

LT. GEN. KEVIN KILEY, U.S. ARMY SURGEON GENERAL: I still think I've got the right skill sets and the right experience to fix these problems, but as I said, I stand ready for decisions.

MCINTYRE: As the Army's top medical officer, Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley has become a lightning rod for critics who say he should join Army secretary Francis Harvey and Walter Reed commander George Weightman among the ranks of the fired. Missouri's Claire McCaskill read an e-mail from a wounded soldier who charged that Kiley, as commander of Walter Reed in 2004 and now a surgeon general, could and should have done a lot more. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: However, rather than addressing the problems he was more aware of than anyone, he continued to downplay and minimize the issues.

MCINTYRE: Kiley's made a number of public comments that sounded like excuses, such as this explanation for why he didn't know about the problems at building 18.

KILEY: I live across the street, but I don't do barracks inspections at Walter Reed in my role as an (INAUDIBLE) commander.

MCINTYRE: That particularly rankled Maine's Susan Collins.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: And I must say that I found that to be a stunning and troubling response.

KILEY: It was not my intent to somehow shed responsibility for that. And I would inspect barracks. I have inspected barracks. I understand that as part of command, command accountability and responsibility.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: In fact, now over two days of testimony, General Kiley has been somewhat contrite and admitted to numerous personal failures. And, in fact, he started each day of testimony with an apology to the soldiers, their families, the military leadership, and the American public -- Lou.

DOBBS: It also raises the question of where was congressional oversight over the course of the past three or four years as well? There is plenty of -- there are plenty of questions here, and hopefully a quick and profound improvement in the care for our wounded warriors.

Jamie McIntyre, thank you very much, reporting from the Pentagon.

More than five years after 9/11, our military and intelligence agencies still have not captured or killed Osama bin Laden, but ABC News is reporting the CIA is moving additional resources now into Pakistan to hunt for bin Laden and his deputy. ABC News quoted a U.S. official as saying that reports the trail for bin Laden have gone cold are "not correct."

Still ahead, a jury convicts former vice presidential aide Scooter Libby of perjury. Vice President Dick Cheney has a reaction.

We'll have that coverage.

And a summit meeting between a top Catholic and a powerful Democrat to push their aggressive and uncompromising amnesty agenda for illegal aliens.

We'll have the story.

And disturbing new figures tonight on the number of our youth killed by underage drinking.

We'll have that special report, "The War Within."

All that and more straight ahead right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Guilty. That's the verdict today in the trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The case centered around the leak of a CIA agent's identity to reporters. Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, was not charged with the actual leak, but, rather, with lying and obstructing the investigation.

Brian Todd reports on the jury's decision to convict.

Bill Schneider reports on the political fallout expected to hit the White House as a result of this verdict.

We begin with Brian Todd outside the federal courthouse in Washington -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, a devastating verdict for Vice President Cheney's former top aide, but Scooter Libby's attorneys promised this fight is not over.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice over): Silent and stoic, Lewis "Scooter" Libby lets his attorney react to the jury's crushing verdict, guilty on four of five counts.

TED WELLS, LIBBY DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We believe, as we said at the time of his indictment, that he is totally innocent, totally innocent, and that he did not do anything wrong.

TODD: Ted Wells vows to fight for a new trial, and says if that fails, he will appeal the verdict.

Inside the courtroom, observers say Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff blinks several times as the verdict is read. Libby's wife then hugs and kisses Wells, telling him, "I love you," apparently moved by his advocacy for her husband.

Outside, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald says he is satisfied with the outcome, but...

PATRICK FITZGERALD, SPECIAL COUNSEL: The results are actually sad. It's sad that we had a situation where a high-level official, a person who worked in the office of vice president, obstructed justice and lied under oath. We wish that that had not happened, but it did.

TODD: During closing arguments, Fitzgerald said NBC's Tim Russert had been "a devastating witness" against Libby. Russert rebutting Libby's claim that he first heard about Valerie Plame- Wilson's CIA job from Russert. One juror says the panel found Russert credible and did not buy Libby's claim of a bad memory. Personally, though...

DENNIS COLLINS, LIBBY TRIAL JUROR: I just think he was very sympathetic sitting over there day after day. His voice on the grand jury testimony was very -- very even and polite and nice. And, you know, nobody had any animosity towards him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Still, with this verdict from Dennis Collins and 10 others, Lewis "Scooter" Libby could face up to 25 years in prison, but with federal guidelines it is very likely that he will get far less time than that. Sentencing is set for June -- Lou.

DOBBS: Brian, thank you very much.

Brian Todd from Washington.

The president today reacted to that verdict through his spokesperson. The president said he respected the jury's verdict but was saddened for Libby and his family.

Vice President Cheney said he was disappointed with the verdict, also saying he was saddened for Libby and his family. Cheney also said since the case is still in the courts, he would have nothing further to say until the proceedings are concluded.

What will the American people have to say about this verdict? Public confidence in the Bush administration is already low, and as Bill Schneider reports, the conviction of the vice president's former chief of staff will not help with the public's perception of this White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): According to the Gallup poll, the last time a majority of Americans approved of the way Mr. Bush was handling his job was in April '05, nearly two years ago. This is the longest period a president has gone without majority support since Harry Truman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wish we could land on every one of these rooftops.

SCHNEIDER: The public saw shocking incompetence in the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina. Americans have felt increasingly misled about the administration's case for war in Iraq.

REP. BILL PASCRELL (D), NEW JERSEY: The truth is that the 9/11 Commission found no credible evidence of a link between Iraq and al Qaeda in attacks upon the United States.

SCHNEIDER: Just before the mid-term last fall, a solid majority of the public, 58 percent, felt the administration had deliberately misled them in making the case for war. In that election, Americans voted for a change of direction in Iraq. President Bush's defiance in calling for a troop increase made the administration look out of touch. The Libby verdicts add another count to the public's indictment -- criminal wrongdoing.

Just after the vice president's chief of staff was indicted in October 2005, 56 percent of Americans believed Libby was guilty, 59 percent thought the charges were serious and not a technicality, and 78 percent believed others in the administration may have acted illegally.

And for the fact there was a cloud over anyone was not our doing. It was the facts of the case. It was aggravated by Mr. Libby telling falsehoods.

SCHNEIDER: The cloud now hangs over Vice President Cheney.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: The timing of the Libby verdict was fortunate for the administration. It came after the mid-term election and more than a year before the next presidential election. But the issue of whether President Bush will pardon Mr. Libby could stay hot right through the next election -- Lou.

DOBBS: Bill, thank you very much.

We're going to get a definitive answer to whether or not the president will pardon Scooter Libby here in just a matter of moments.

Joining me now is our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, this verdict, four or five counts. In your opinion, will Libby ever spend a day in prison?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: I think he will. I think the sentencing guidelines for these crimes are somewhere between a year and a half and three years in prison. I don't think he has any good issues to have an appeal successful.

DOBBS: How about for a new trial?

TOOBIN: New trial, very -- no.

DOBBS: Ted Wells said that he was -- he sounded very vigorous about that.

TOOBIN: A matter of course that they ask for a new trial, but I don't think he has much of a chance. And I think pardon is the only opportunity, but there would be a high political cost to pay, even after the next presidential election. I don't think President Bush is going to do it.

DOBBS: The idea that the -- that Libby is the only person charged in this, and that for obstruction of justice, in some ways this seems so silly on his part. We know Richard Armitage was the source of the leak revealing the name of Valerie Plame as the CIA operative. What happened here?

TOOBIN: You know, it is really baffling. I think what happened was that Libby panicked. He thought that any sort of discussion of Valerie Plame with reporters was something that he was not supposed to have done, so he invented this conversation with Tim Russert, thinking that Russert would never testify against him.

So he completely made up this conversation with Tim Russert, but Russert did testify, and the jury believed Russert and not Libby, and that was the end of the case.

DOBBS: And it's also the end of this investigation. Fitzgerald saying it's now inactive. Another special prosecution is wrapped up.

TOOBIN: For the -- for -- in a day with very little good news for the Bush administration, that is some good news. He says he is not going to charge Cheney. He is not going to charge Rove. This investigation is over, but this is a pretty high-level guy convicted of some serious felonies.

DOBBS: Jeffrey Toobin, as always, thank you. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, "The War Within." Our special report, underage drinking taking an enormous toll on our nation's youth. Why aren't we stopping it?

We'll have that special report.

The ACLU takes the government to court, trying to stop further injury to American citizens. No. It's about the detention of illegal aliens.

We'll have that report.

And amnesty for illegal aliens. You don't get more exciting than that on Capitol Hill. Senator Kennedy pushing his legislation on the West Coast.

We'll have that story, all the day's news, straight ahead.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Now "The War Within," our special report on this country's battle against drug, alcohol abuse and addiction. Last night we brought you the government's analysis of underage drinking state by state. Tonight, Christine Romans reports on a blistering new report about the huge scale of underage drinking in this country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The surgeon general today cataloged a list of dangerous consequences of underage drinking. MORITSUGU: Academic failure, risky sexual behavior, injuries, and even death.

ROMANS: Each year some 5,000 deaths are linked to underage drinking.

MORITSUGU: Think of that. Entire college campuses wiped clean of the entire student body every year.

ROMANS: His exhaustive report on the problem finds "Underage drinking is deeply embedded in the American culture, is often viewed as a rite of passage, is frequently facilitated by adults, and has proved stubbornly resistant to change." He says it is simply unacceptable that 20 percent of 14-year-olds say they've been drunk at least once.

MORITSUGU: This needs to stop.

ROMANS: He faults society. Too often parents are inclined to believe "not my child." Pediatric health care providers underestimate alcohol use and abuse among their patients. Colleges and universities need to take a good hard look at whether they "... encourage, support, or facilitate underage alcohol use. As for the industry, make certain that billions of dollars spent on industry advertising and responsibility campaigns does not portray alcohol "... as an essential element in achieving popularity, social success, or a fulfilling life."

MICHELLE RIDGE, LEADERSHIP TO KEEP CHILDREN ALCOHOL FREE: For too long, underage drinking has been fueled by denial, inaction and acceptance. That changes today.

ROMANS: Law enforcement needs to publicize and enforce anti- underage drinking laws.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: And they say the media should not glamorize underage alcohol use and abuse. The surgeon general calling essentially for a national attitude adjustment. He says underage alcohol abuse needs prompt attention by everyone. It is everyone's problem. Every segment of society he blames -- Lou.

DOBBS: Now, when you talk about the national media, you are talking about we have created a sexual emphasis in television primarily, and certainly movies and music. We have created and glamorized, as the surgeon general was saying, drinking, even drug use in media of all forms.

How do -- how do they successfully combat that?

ROMANS: They have pages and pages of dialogue, talking points with everyone in society. They really lay this at the feet of the advertising industry, of parents, of schools, of doctors, of everyone, saying, you know, you can't push this off on somebody else. Because everybody has got to fix it. DOBBS: Right. And parents typically, you know, as you pointed out, "Not my child." Either parents are in denial, or in the worst cases, enabling.

Thank you very much, Christine Romans.

We'll have more on this crisis of underage drinking and teen drug use and abuse later here. We'll be joined by journalist and author Maya Sullivan. She strongly criticized some of our coverage of the war against illegal drugs in our series "The War Within." We're looking forward to her comments and something I suppose of a debate.

We'll see.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

Joe in Tennessee, "Why is it that most people want to blame gangs on racial strife? It is one cause, but let's not forget the drug trade and lack of educational outlets for young teenagers. That is how you end gangs, by making the world care about teaching these children."

And Phyll in Arizona said, "In the Phoenix area, it's estimated that one third of our crimes, mostly violent crimes, are committed by Mexican nationals in our country illegally. Our prisons overflow with Mexican gang members also wanted in Mexico. It is a huge problem that the Bush administration refuses to address."

And Pete in Wisconsin said, "The open borders groups and their allies in government want us to refer to illegal aliens as 'undocumented workers'. What's next? Will cross-border drug smuggling become the importation of undocumented pharmaceuticals?"

Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com. Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book "War on the Middle Class."

Up next, whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Catholics and Democrats joining forces to push their aggressive political agenda to render amnesty for illegal aliens.

We'll have that special report.

And the American Civil Liberties Union, it seems to be more interested in defending the interests of illegal aliens than American citizens. What's that about?

We'll have the story.

And the White House on the defensive over the war in Iraq, conditions at Walter Reed, and now Scooter Libby. Three of the country's top radio talk show hosts join us from Washington, New York and Los Angeles. We'll find out more about what the country is thinking.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Senator Edward Kennedy today took his amnesty agenda on the road. Senator Kennedy meeting with the West Coast illegal alien lobby. And tonight the ACLU apparently using children as political pawns, filing a lawsuit to protest the housing of illegal alien families at a Texas detention center.

Casey Wian reports on Senator Kennedy's meeting with Cardinal Mahony and their push for amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.

Bill Tucker reports on the ACLU's efforts to stop the government from detaining illegal aliens.

We begin with Casey Wian in Los Angeles -- Casey.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, Senator Ted Kennedy is holding a series of events this week to drum up support for his effort to grant amnesty to 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens now living in the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN (voice over): Senator Ted Kennedy and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony the likeliest of bedfellows in the push for illegal alien amnesty.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think all of us understand that our immigration laws are broken and they need to be changed to make sure that we are going to have secure borders, but also have an immigration legislation that was going to reflect our humanity.

WIAN: Mahony promised the Catholic Church will work hard to support Kennedy's amnesty effort.

CARDINAL ROGER MAHONY, ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES: This is an issue about people, and the focus upon people who are our neighbors, people who live here in our United States who are contributing to our country. We simply cannot exclude them. We must find ways to bring them into the full light of our society.

WIAN: In the dark, however, are Republicans who favor border security first. They say they've been shut out of Kennedy's immigration reform negotiations.

Kennedy is working with a few amnesty-leaning Republicans, Senator John McCain and Congressman Jeff Flake and a fellow Democrat, Luis Gutierrez. Gutierrez outlined their objectives to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Do we continue to hamper business that need immigrant labor to grow, hurt families who are looking to provide for their loved ones, harm communities that need new immigrants to remain vibrant and strong?

Or do we end the hypocrisy and create a real way for workers to come here in a safe, orderly, and legal manner to fill important jobs that Americans are unwilling or sometimes unable to do?

WIAN: Gutierrez did not say which jobs Americans are unable to do, but he did offer to support a fence, just not on the border.

GUTIERREZ: And if the restrictionists still really want to build their fence, then I say let's build it. Let's build it around Lou Dobbs and the Minutemen.

WIAN: More creative language by amnesty advocates. Border security supporters are now restrictionists. Illegal aliens, merely immigrants.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Senator Kennedy says he expects his legislation to be introduced later this week or early next and is hoping for support from the president -- Lou.

DOBBS: Congressman Gutierrez wants to put a fence around me?

WIAN: Absolutely. You and the Minutemen.

DOBBS: Oh, my goodness gracious. I gave the congressman credit for wanting an honest and forthright public debate over the merits of his proposals and those of Senator Kennedy.

Do you think he wants to put a fence around me, or would he just like to bury the truth?

WIAN: I think he'd like to silence you, Lou, and I don't think that's going to happen.

DOBBS: Well, it's certainly not going to happen easily. I'll tell you that. And I think that's one of the reasons the good congressman would kind of like to -- I guess this is -- what was it a country western song, "Don't Fence Me In". It's fascinating.

To watch Roger Mahony, the cardinal, the good archbishop of Los Angeles, where in the world -- what is he thinking, talking about excluding people? Does he not understand that that is the purpose of the border and that inclusion is about legal immigration? It's remarkable what this man is thinking.

How are his parishioners tolerating his abject, in my opinion, utterly mindless enthusiasm to break the law?

WIAN: I think it's clear a lot of parishioners don't support his position on illegal immigration, and as you mentioned, Lou, he's one of those amnesty advocates who confuses the issue of immigration with the issue of illegal immigration.

DOBBS: And conveniently so. I will say it again, as I've said it before, the good archbishop apparently wanting to fill some pews and sort of a sad way to go about it, in my opinion.

Casey, thank you very much. And I should point out, we have asked the good archbishop to join us here. I'll give him one and a half minutes for every minute I take on the subject. We've asked the good Senator Kennedy -- we have a lot of goods in this, aren't there -- and the good congressman Gutierrez to join us, as well. Hopefully, someday they would -- they would like to see the subject examined under clear, bright light and stay out of the shadows with their agenda.

Thank you very much Casey Wian from Los Angeles.

That brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. Do you believe those who support amnesty for illegal aliens will be successful in their attempts to push through so-called comprehensive immigration reform legislation? Yes or no. Cast your vote, please, at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results here upcoming.

The American Civil Liberties Today filed a lawsuit trying to prevent the federal government from detaining illegal alien families at a center in Texas. As Bill Tucker now tells us, the ACLU wants to see a return to the failed policy of catch and release.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a news conference designed to pull at the heart strings, held in a small room with children and their mothers, the children on display while the lawyers got down to business.

LISA GRAYBILL, LEGAL DIRECTOR, ACLU TEXAS: Our lawsuit alleges that the conditions of confinement at Hutto are inhumane and wholly inappropriate for children. We believe it is against the law and against American values to place young children in jail.

TUCKER: This is the detention facility they're talking about, the Hutto detention facility in Taylor, Texas. It's a converted medium security prison. Roughly 400 people are detained here, and about half are children.

It's not home, but as advocates for the enforcement of immigration law point out, the reason the families are here is because of a choice that the parents made to break the law.

IRA MEHLMAN, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: Look, nobody wants to see children incarcerated, detained. Everybody understands that children are innocent victims here, but the parents are the ones who put them in that situation in the first place. Their parents are accountable. In fact, the parents could end that situation very easily by simply accepting voluntarily deportation.

TUCKER: The average stay, according to ICE, is 50 days, but that can be longer if they choose to exercise their right to appeal their case.

ICE declined to comment directly on the lawsuit, saying it cannot comment on pending litigation, but the agency did release a statement saying, quote, "Hutto is a modern facility designed to humanely accommodate families with children who are detained as a result of ICE enforcing the immigration laws of the United States."

A spokesman for the agency underlined that every person detained at Hutto is an illegal alien. No citizens, no anchor babies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER: What the ACLU explicitly wants is for the children to be no longer detained and to not be separated from their families. Now, the only way for that to happen is for the families not to be detained, Lou, and for immigration and customs enforcement, therefore, not to do its job.

DOBBS: And there is enough, I suppose, motivation for ICE not to do its job emanating from Washington D.C. without the ACLU's help.

Where is the ACLU, Bill, on the families of working men and women in this country, whose wages are being depressed by waves of illegal immigration? Where is the ACLU for Border Patrol agents Compean and Ramos?

Where is the ACLU on an administration that will not interdict drugs at the border, Mexico the source of -- principal source of meth, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana into this country? Where is the ACLU on all of that?

TUCKER: Nowhere to be seen.

DOBBS: Bill Tucker, thank you very much.

By the way, we've invited the ACLU to join us here, the head of the ACLU. He's apparently thinking about it, and we could have him here with us tomorrow evening. We certainly hope so.

As we continue to try to add a little light to so many subjects that corporate America, special interests, particularly socio-ethnic interests in this country seem to want to keep in the shadows as much as they talk about bringing people out of the shadows.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, by the way, is joining the ACLU and other illegal alien advocacy groups that are challenging the town of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, in federal court.

Hazleton, as we've reported extensively on this broadcast, passed an ordinance penalizing landlords who rented illegal aliens. The measure also punishes businesses that hire illegal aliens and it declares -- imagine this -- English to be the community's official language.

The trial will begin Monday in U.S. district court in Scranton, Pennsylvania. And of course, we'll be there, and we will have full coverage for you.

The owner and three managers of a New England leather manufacturer with millions of dollars in U.S. military contracts were arrested today on charges of hiring illegal aliens. About 300 illegal aliens working at the plant were also arrested. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and those illegal aliens are being held and processed for deportation.

The Massachusetts-based company has won, by the way, about $90 million in government contracts. The company allegedly hired the illegal aliens to handle the resulting workload from those U.S. government contracts.

Senator John Kerry late today said the raid highlights the fact that many American companies have been emboldened by the fact that for too long there's been no accountability for illegal hiring practices.

Senator Kerry said that. Good going, Senator.

Still ahead here, Senator Hillary Clinton says she wants to break the hardest and highest glass ceiling. She hopes women voters will help her do just that. Three of the country's top radio talk show hosts join me. They'll be weighing in on Senator Clinton, women voters, the race for the White House, and a lot more.

Drug and alcohol abuse among teens continuing to rise. Some controversial proposals for keeping kids from becoming hooked. Those stories and a lot more straight ahead.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: There's no question we're fighting a war against drugs and alcohol abuse in this country, often a losing war. Not everyone agrees on just how to fight that war and whether it should be fought at all.

My next guest has taken issue with some of our coverage of this war and my intent, as she put it, to revitalize the war on drugs in our special reports "The War Within".

Joining me now with her views and opinions on drugs, alcohol, addiction, author, senior fellow at the Statistical Assessment Service at George Mason University, Maya Sullivan.

It's good to have you with us, Maya.

MAYA SULLIVAN, SENIOR FELLOW, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY: Thank you.

DOBBS: Let's start -- let's start with something that you said. You said that we did not report on the National Academy of Pediatrics stating they did not support the practice, but I think you now know that's not the case. We did do just exactly that.

But why is it, why is it, that you oppose drug testing?

SULLIVAN: I think that it undermines trust in schools. I think that the research shows very clearly that if a child feels safe and comfortable in school, doesn't feel like it's a prison, feels connected to the community, that they will do better. We also -- the way testing is done, it's focused on the kids who are doing drama and sports and all the good stuff you want them to be doing, all the stuff that takes them away from time to do drugs.

DOBBS: You're saying the drug testing only takes place in the dramatics department and the football field?

SULLIVAN: Basically, yes, because the Supreme Court only said that it can be done for -- it can't be done just to the student body in general, because that would be unconstitutional. So the way we have it now is kind of the worst of both worlds.

DOBBS: All right. Let's go to what else you've said. You said the war against drugs on the country should focus on the harm caused by drug use. You said, "Dobbs fails to mention that drug war efforts" -- and we've got a full screen of this -- "drug war efforts are focused not on reducing drug-related harm, but such as overdose deaths, but on reducing drug use. Drug warriors actively oppose efforts that would make drugs less deadly."

I'm not sure what the heck you meant by that.

SULLIVAN: What I meant is this. The classic example of this is clean needle programs for IV drug users.

DOBBS: Correct.

SULLIVAN: The drug warriors were severely opposed to clean needle programs, because they thought that it would encourage IV drug use. There has never been any evidence that...

DOBBS: What's that got to do with what I said?

SULLIVAN: What it has to do with what you said is that if you focus on fighting drugs and you focus on fighting use as opposed to fighting addiction...

DOBBS: Wait a minute. You're distorting something. I think that's really important we get this out.

When we talk about fighting a war on drugs on this broadcast, we're talking about everything from treating addiction, dealing with the harm that drugs do in society, dealing with treatment, dealing with co-dependency, enabling, which much of society has facilitated, and we're talking about stopping drugs coming into this country.

One of the great, to me, jokes are the people who say we can't stop drugs coming into this country. We may not be able to stop it all, but this country has got a wherewithal that it can do what it needs to do, and God, we need to save some lives.

SULLIVAN: I think that's true, but I think you do a loot more to saving lives when you focus on the people who are in the most trouble. I think...

DOBBS: Treatment. SULLIVAN: Yes. I think treatment...

DOBBS: I couldn't agree with you more. But why do we have to make a choice?

SULLIVAN: Because we have a limited budget.

DOBBS: Wait, wait, wait. Don't start with this limited budget. We've got a bunch of people who won't let our DEA actually do the job. We've got a bunch of politicians. We've got a bunch of people who just are so apathetic about this. We've got educators who are conflicted. We've got parents who are in denial or enabling. And we've got families who don't even understand what they're doing to create much of the problem.

SULLIVAN: Well, I just think that throughout human history, even before people evolved into humans, there has been psychoactive drug use. It's going to be with us. Just I think that we need to accept that. What we don't need to accept is the damage that's related to it.

DOBBS: Right.

SULLIVAN: And I think that we can do a lot towards doing that. For example, overdose...

DOBBS: Why do you insist that we can only choose one focus? Why would you not embrace the idea stopping the supply, dealing with the demand, the most humane and effective treatment possible for the people who are addicted, so that we can -- this country is consuming 2/3 of the world's illegal drugs.

SULLIVAN: Well, you know, I'm not sure that that's actually correct. I don't know what the source of that...

DOBBS: What number do you use? That's the Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse.

SULLIVAN: Which has a long history of messing up statistics.

DOBBS: No, it has one instance.

SULLIVAN: There were many others, and I can actually cite them.

DOBBS: I just don't know where you are coming from.

SULLIVAN: Where I'm coming from is I think that, unfortunately, in this world we do have limited resources and limited focus. I think that we're fighting a war on terror...

DOBBS: But I don't understand -- again, you're not telling me where you're coming from.

SULLIVAN: Where I'm coming from?

DOBBS: How about marijuana? Do you want to get it shut down? SULLIVAN: I think that marijuana is less harmful than other drugs, and that we need to -- I don't -- I'm not saying that it's non- harmful.

DOBBS: Well, I don't understand what you are saying.

SULLIVAN: What I'm saying is that if I am a mother with a child using heroin, I want -- I would wish that that never happened, but let's say I'm in that situation. There is an antidote that is available that does not cause harm, that could be given out with every prescription for codeine or OxyContin or whatever that could prevent an enormous amount of these deaths.

DOBBS: What is that antidote?

SULLIVAN: It's called miloxone.

DOBBS: Right. Why isn't it being prescribed then?

SULLIVAN: Because people think that that would encourage drug use. There are all these reasons that things that would reduce the harm...

DOBBS: We're going to come back. We're going to come back here. I still don't know where you're coming from, but we're getting a sense and I hope you'll come back and we'll figure it all out. All right?

SULLIVAN: Absolutely. Thank you so much.

DOBBS: Keep up the good work.

A reminder now to vote on our poll. The question tonight is do you believe those who support amnesty for illegal aliens will be successful in their efforts to push through comprehensive immigration reform legislation? Yes or no. Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the result in just a few moments.

And up next, three of the country's top radio talk show hosts join us to tell us what their listeners are talking about. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Joining me now three of the country's radio talk show hosts. From Washington, D.C., none other than Joe Madison of WOL in Los Angeles; Doug McIntyre, KABC, here in New York; Roland Martin, WDON Chicago.

Good to have you all with us.

DOUG MCINTYRE, TALK RADIO HOST: Thank you.

DOBBS: Doug McIntyre, let's start with you. Scooter Libby, four out of five, guilty. Reaction?

MCINTYRE: Well, yes. It's -- perjury is a crime, and it looks like a process crime, though. It's actually -- I think the analogy is probably closer to Martha Stewart where they were -- where he was convicted of lying about something.

The question is will he be Webb Hubbell and just take the prison sentence and then get the payoff after he gets out of jail, or will they really lean on him with a heavy sentence, and then he'll rat out Cheney and everybody will have a real soap opera?

JOE MADISON, TALK RADIO HOST: They will not lean on him with a heavy sentence. The prosecutor has already said he's not going to go after Cheney or anybody else in the White House. I think what you're going to have happen is what usually happens here in Washington and other places.

There will be letters from senators, congressmen, former clients that will say he's a good guy. He did all right. He made a mistake. He'll go to a little, you know, minimum prison security and a minimum security prison, and then in a few years he'll be out. The only way he'll get possibly parole -- or not parole, but...

DOBBS: Pardon?

MADISON: Pardon is if they want him to practice law again. And that would be questionable.

DOBBS: Roland, let's -- let's turn to Iraq. The president today said that the Democrats want it all in Iraq and that by pursuing their course that they would undermine everything that our troops have worked for there. There are no shortcuts, he says, in Iraq. Your reaction?

ROLAND MARTIN, TALK RADIO HOST: This is more grandstanding. The president is not going to get off of his focus, and that is keeping the troops in Iraq. He believes they can win. All the -- everybody else saying, "Mr. President, we're not with you on this one."

He is not going to back off of this. And the bottom line is we should not expect to see our troops coming out of Iraq before he leaves the White House. It's just not going to happen. He absolutely believes they can win this.

DOBBS: Does it seem -- isn't it a bit confusing, though, that the debate has sort of moved to in the Democratic party and now it's starting to splinter, at least in certain quarters, among certain quarters.

There's no longer a discussion here of victory. Suddenly this president is actually talking about success, which he hasn't really done for three and a half years. So when he's talking about it, the Democrats aren't talking about success. They're talking about withdrawal. That's a little confounding, isn't it?

MARTIN: Because you have folks who frankly are delusional.

DOBBS: On the part of the entire town. MARTIN: On the part of the president. He actually believes that they can win. And the Democrats, they're so confused because they don't know whether or not, if you oppose it, it might be we look weak on defense. They don't have any...

MADISON: And, Lou, the reality is this. I challenge any of us to bring anybody on our show and define success. The president can't do it. The Democrats can't do it. It can't be defined. And when it comes to this war in Iraq, success was first to get rid of weapons of mass destruction.

DOBBS: Doug McIntyre, if anybody can do it, you can.

MCINTYRE: I agree with everybody. I think that success is now -- success is defined as whatever gets us out of this with any shred of dignity left.

But I do think we have a moral obligation to leave something behind that has a hope of success, and the problem is that, from the start by not following the constitution, by no longer issuing declarations of war, Congress tries to have it both ways by saying if it goes well, we can say we were for it. If it goes badly, we can distance ourselves for it -- from it, and this isn't the constitutional process.

MADISON: I don't blame the Democrats. I -- look, if you break it, you own it.

DOBBS: You don't blame anybody, Joe.

MADISON: No.

DOBBS: We'll come back, and you can straighten me out on that statement, Joe. We'll be right back with our panel right after this. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Coming up at the top of the hour in THE SITUATION ROOM, will the president and vice president get swept up in the Scooter Libby case? I'll talk about that with Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean.

Also, he ran for president three times, so what advice does California attorney general Jerry Brown have for the '08 candidates? I'll ask him.

And we'll also have details of a government plan to screen veterans for a hidden wound of war.

Plus, steamy e-mail made public in the case of NASA astronaut, that love triangle. All that coming up, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Lou will be back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: We're back with our panel. I want to go to Joe Madison. Joe, you were about to say you blame somebody for something, weren't you?

MADISON: Well, I just said who I blame for this. I mean, this whole war. We know where to put the blame, and the reality is that nobody is going -- and I think Roland is absolutely right. We're not going to be out of here, and this is going to be left to the next president of the United States. Much the way Vietnam was left to Nixon.

DOBBS: Well, let's hope that some generals can get this thing sorted out for what the politicians have not.

MARTIN: You mean like Walter Reid?

DOBBS: I'll tell you what, I'm pretty impressed, guys, that Bob Gates, the secretary of defense, actually said heads are going to roll. If they can spread that idea through the general staff, I think we've got to the start of something.

MCINTYRE: They didn't give these guys the presidential medal of freedom, for crying out loud.

DOBBS: Hallelujah.

MARTIN: I'm a grad of Texas A&M, and I've worked with Gates when he was president of A&A. He did the exact same thing, and he was no nonsense then. I'm not surprised.

DOBBS: And you Aggies stick together.

MARTIN: That's right.

DOBBS: I got to ask you this. Roland introduced the idea of delusion, which seems entirely appropriate any time we're talking politics, but Ted Kennedy sitting out there with your archbishop, Cardinal...

MCINTYRE: Yes, Don Corleone Mahony. This guy has been stonewalling for four years on the largest sex abuse scandal in the United States with his attorney, Steve Cooley.

He has been begging him to turnover the church records. And everybody else has settled, and Mahony still throws up the brick wall on it. And yet, he's got the audacity to lecture anyone on humanity and compassion when he's covered up for the sexual assault and the rape of children by his own priests. He played hide the priests a few years.

You know, on behalf of Los Angeles, I apologize to America.

MADISON: But Lou -- Lou, you're right. This is about filling pews. Labor. This is about membership. And the people who should be going to jail are these employers who keep -- and they are going to jail. Just more of them need to be going to jail.

DOBBS: I couldn't agree with you more. Roland, you get the last word.

MARTIN: Look, first 25 years of my life I grew up Catholic. The Catholic church, talk about being delusional, they do not want to own up to their own responsibility. The members sitting in the pews should be shutting the church down. Not outsiders.

DOBBS: Roland Martin, you get the last word. Joe Madison.

MADISON: Thank you.

DOBBS: Thanks for letting Roland have the same word.

Doug McIntyre, thanks for being with us, as always. Gentlemen, come back, soon.

MCINTYRE: Appreciate it.

MARTIN: Great. Thank you.

DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight: 66 percent of you say those who support amnesty for illegal aliens will not be successful in their efforts to push through comprehensive immigration reform legislation. A lot of us are hoping you're exactly right.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. Our guest will be the producer of the new powerful, groundbreaking HBO documentary, "Addiction". And the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

For all of us here, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. THE SITUATION ROOM begins right now with Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Lou.

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