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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Brazen Attack: Iraq Parliament Bombing; Army Stretched by War; Fight Over Attorneys: Battle Over E-mails

Aired April 12, 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, insurgents have killed eight people in a bomb attack within the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. What makes anyone think Iraq is safer today?
We'll have that report from Baghdad.

Also tonight, new evidence that dangerous pet foods from communist China are still being sold in this country. And U.S. senators are now demanding action.

We'll have that story.

And CBS has canceled Don Imus's radio show after his insulting remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Is it time now for society to adopt a uniform standard of conduct? How much hypocrisy is there in the Imus outrage and controversy?

Tonight, we'll be examining racism and sexism among our youth.

We'll have all of that, all the day's news, and much more, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Thursday, April 12th.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

The military tonight is blaming al Qaeda for a bold attack against the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad. At least two Iraqi lawmakers and six other people were killed in that attack.

Meanwhile, Democrats today strongly criticized the Pentagon for extending our soldiers' combat tours from 12 to 15 months. Those Democrats and many others now say the Army is near the breaking point.

Arwa Damon tonight reports from Baghdad on today's deadly bombing within the Green Zone.

Jamie McIntyre reporting from the Pentagon on the rising concern about the strength and future of our Army.

And General David Grange is here to tell us how long this Army can take the strain before breaking.

We turn first to Arwa Damon -- Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, there had been some optimism amongst few Iraqis that perhaps things could be turning for the better following the security crackdown in the capital. But much of that hope overshadowed by the sophistication of today's attacks.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAMON (voice over): The panic and chaos painfully evident in these images, as the cameraman tries to make this way through the thick smoke and debris. A suicide bomb attack as formidable in its audacity as it was in effectiveness, striking at the very pillar of Iraq's fledgling democracy, its parliament, penetrating the often- dubbed Fortress Baghdad, the heavenly fortified Green Zone.

The bomber would have had to sneak past U.S. checkpoints, Iraqi security forces, and private western security companies, and avoid detection by bomb-sniffing dogs and X-ray machines. The attack took place at the cafeteria, right after the day's session came to an end, where members were convening for lunch.

The U.S. military points the finger at al Qaeda, known for its sophistication and ability to constantly defy heavy security.

MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, SPOKESMAN, MULTINATIONAL FORCE, IRAQ: It is very, very challenging to stop somebody who is willing to give their life to try to take somebody else's life. And, you know, there are stringent security requirements out there. Obviously, we're going to go back and redouble our efforts and look at how that is being done.

DAMON: The insurgency's message clear: it can infiltrate and strike anywhere.

Earlier, a suicide truck bomber strategically detonated, collapsing one of northern Baghdad's major bridges, sending vehicles pummeling into the Tigris River. Divers searched the waters for survivors.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DAMON: Iraqis we spoke to following these attacks simply said that they were frustrated and saddened. One woman saying that this was proof that no one was safe, and a clear indication that a government that is powerless to save itself is powerless to save its people -- Lou.

DOBBS: Arwa Damon reporting from Baghdad.

President Bush today said the people who attacked the Iraqi parliament also want to kill Americans. President Bush said the bombing was an attack against freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I strongly condemn the action. It reminds us, though, that there is an enemy willing to bomb innocent people and a symbol of democracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: President Bush said it's in the United States' interest to help Iraq defeat what he called extremists and radicals.

Many Democrats and some Republicans say the president's determination to defeat the enemy in Iraqi could break our military. The Pentagon insists our Army is not broken, but the Army's decision to extend combat tours for soldiers is raising new concerns about the future of our Army.

Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): No one in the Pentagon disputes that lengthening combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan will put more stress on already war-weary soldiers and their long-suffering families. But critics, including many Democrats in Congress, fear the breaking point is near.

SEN. JIM WEBB (D), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I think there are limits to human endurance, and there are limits to what families can put up with.

MCINTYRE: The Army likes to point to the latest recruiting and retention numbers which show both the active duty and National Guard are exceeding goals.

GEN. JAMES LOVELACE, ARMY DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: That's an overall great picture for the health of the force.

MCINTYRE: But there are other more ominous trends. Take the number of West Point graduates who are voting with their feet after their five-year commitment is up. Forty-six percent from the class of 2001 decided to get out, and 54 percent from the class of 2000.

That's up significantly from the average of 10 to 30 percent. And it amounts to a brain drain of captains, many who have surfed multiple tours and may have burned out.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF: Clearly, it will be something that we'll have to keep a very close eye on. I've watched units be extended for 90 to 120 days. It has not had an adverse effect -- a noticeable effect on a unit.

MCINTYRE: But even strong supporters of the all-volunteer force are worried. Senator John Warner issued a warning about the longer tours, saying, "We must carefully monitor the possible risks to that system that these extensions may generate."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: The Army's long-term solution is to get bigger, which it's doing by attracting even more volunteers, despite the fact that most them know they'll go directly into the war zone.

One fix, Lou, that is not being contemplated is any return to the draft -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you.

Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

Joining us now, General David Grange, one of the country's most distinguished, decorated former military commanders.

General Grange, let me ask you, first, the idea that this military is near the breaking point -- the Pentagon announcing that they're extending tours from 12 to 13 months. We've already seen the enlistment age raised to as high as 42. How much further study does it take to stay that this military is now under unacceptable strains?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, the issue on extending the tour to 15 months actually makes a lot of sense with what's going on. And I say that because it's better to be up front, put out this bad news -- and it's still about 100,000 soldiers, from what I understand. Get it out front, instead of piecemealing it a little bit at a time. That way, if you can put out good news -- in other words, send these guys back early, all for the better.

The problem is, on the sustainment rotation -- you know, remember, a year back, if you have a year back in the United States, it doesn't mean that you're actually at home that whole time. You're actually training new soldiers, and you're on exercises getting ready for another rotation.

That's where the hit really comes, because you have about a 40 percent, 50 percent turnover in these units before they go back. And someone has to train those troops.

DOBBS: Well, someone has to train those troops, as you said. It's a hit if you don't get it all out there.

In public relations, that makes percent sense. In terms of the substance and the vitality of our forces, it is -- it seems to me to be a clear, clear, clearly unsustainable strain.

Add to that the fact, as Jamie McIntyre just reported, that as many as 50 percent of our recent graduates from West Point are leaving the military. That is adding another unacceptable strain, it is not?

GRANGE: Well, that is a big problem when you lose captains that are seasoned in combat, because -- or even lieutenants, and these captains. Because I remember from Vietnam, what I learned in Vietnam as a lieutenant, I carried forward with me for 30 years.

That's really where you get wedded in how to lead people in adverse conditions. And so when you lose those kind of people, it's serious.

Now, first of all, I'm not an academy graduate. I'm an ROTC graduate. But I would like to say...

DOBBS: I know that.

GRANGE: ... that I would not allow a five-year commitment after West Point. I would say, hey, you're here for 10 years. You're there to train to be a warrior. And you should serve at least 10 years coming out of the academy.

DOBBS: The ranking Republican, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John Warner, says point blank, "Our all-volunteer force is at risk."

Do you agree?

GRANGE: It is at risk because the families have tremendous on these soldiers. With a force over 60 percent married, that influence is what would force a soldier to get out.

DOBBS: Right.

GRANGE: Not actually duty and combat. The re-enlistment in combat is very high. It's the family issues. He's right on that.

DOBBS: You have said before that this is a military at war but not a nation at war. Is it time for us to consider reinstating the draft, to make certain, amongst other things, that there would be equity in the burden and the sacrifice required of this nation when it goes into conflict and to make certain that this country is well- defended?

GRANGE: No one will take a draft on. I do believe in some type of national service that supports the military and other public domains. The issue is, if you're going to maintain these commitments, you have to do something with the size of the military. It's much too small.

DOBBS: General David Grange, thank you for being here.

GRANGE: A pleasure.

DOBBS: And we should point out, just to set the record straight, Congressman Charlie Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been calling for the reinstatement of the draft for some time.

That brings us to the subjects of our poll.

Do you believe the U.S. military is stretched to the breaking point and that we should now consider reintroduction of the draft?

We'd like to hear from you on this important question. Yes or no?

Cast your votes at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here later. Turning now to the political fight in Washington over the abrupt firing of eight U.S. attorneys, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Senator Patrick Leahy today accused White House staff of lying about missing e-mails. Senate Democrats say they will issue subpoenas to obtain those e-mails if the administration fails to produce them.

Suzanne Malveaux reports from the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The White House says they've lost e-mails that they should have saved.

DANA PERINO, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I will admit it, you know, there was -- we screwed up and we're trying to fix it.

MALVEAUX: But Democrats aren't buying it.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN: I don't believe that. I don't believe that. You can't erase e-mails. Not today. They've gone through too many servers.

They can't say they've been lost. That's like saying the dog ate my homework. It doesn't work that way.

MALVEAUX: Congressional investigators already have White House e-mails from ongoing investigations. But they believe the ones they're not seeing could be key in revealing whether the administration improperly fired eight U.S. attorneys, or whether the White House had unethical dealings with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

LEAHY: I want to see those e-mails. I want them retrieved.

MALVEAUX: The White House says some e-mails could be lost because administration officials may have improperly used outside e- mail accounts to do official work.

PERINO: White House official business should be done on your White House official account.

MALVEAUX: The administration says it set up those accounts through the Republican National Committee for 22 current aides, including Karl Rove, to help them avoid using official e-mail for political purposes, which is against the law. But those RNC accounts automatically deleted e-mails every 30 days.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: So, Lou, now the White House is looking to see whether or not they can resurrect these e-mails using computer forensic experts here. In the meantime, there's a certain sense of urgency from the House Judiciary Committee. They sent letters here not only to the White House, but also to the RNC, saying they want this information as quickly as possible. As you can imagine, Lou, there's a lot of frustration among members of Congress here over what they can retrieve, what has been lost here, whether or not any of this is salvageable, and whether or not they really are going to get to the bottom of the truth here in terms of the kinds of conversations that this White House has been engaged in with Justice Department officials and others regarding the firings of those U.S. attorneys and other matters -- Lou.

DOBBS: It sounds like a profound confusion between policy, governance and politics. Is this in itself customary in this White House?

MALVEAUX: Well, you know, it is very hard to say what's customary in this White House.

Clearly, officials here themselves realize that they have made a big mistake here, that they have failed to even keep up with modern technology in terms of whether or not people are using their RNC accounts, their White House accounts. And the bottom line here, Lou, is the Democrats believe that there's something foul that's going on here, that this just does not pass the smell test.

They believe the intentions are to hide information about White House activities. White House officials say they don't know what the intentions are of some of these employees who have used these RNC accounts for business purposes. So they say that they're going to investigate.

We'll see where this goes.

DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you.

Suzanne Malveaux from the White House.

Up next here, the Bush administration says it's standing up for working Americans and trade disputes with China. Or is this administration really just standing up for some of its big friends in big business?

We'll have that special report.

Also tonight, recall after recall. Still, contaminated pet food from communist China being sold in this country. And some of our lawmakers at least are furious.

We'll have that story.

And CBS has fired Don Imus from his radio show for making racially and sexually-charged remarks. Is the media ignoring other racist and sexist threats to our culture, our society? Is it is time for a new civil rights era? Is it time to eliminate hypocrisy?

We'll be examining those issues and a great deal more straight ahead.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: New developments today in the contaminated pet food scandal. Tainted pet food is still being sold after all of this time in some stores, according to the Food & Drug Administration.

And as Lisa Sylvester now reports, a Senate panel wants to know whether federal inspectors can really keep our food supply for pets and humans safe.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The answers were not very comforting. The Food & Drug Administration said it's not ready to give an all clear on the tainted pet food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not at that point yet.

SEN. HERBERT KOHL (D), WISCONSIN: So it's possible that there may be yet additional recall products?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a possibility.

SYLVESTER: The FDA is trying to account pound by pound where the tainted wheat gluten originating in China actually ended up. Troubling to the senators, the fact that less than a third of pet food manufacturers have been inspected by the FDA in the last three and a half years.

Countries like China lack many basic safety regulations. The human food supply could also be in jeopardy.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: What disturbs me about this incident is that it confirms yet again that pet food, as well as human food, is at risk because of the gaps in the system of regulation and inspections that govern our food industry in America today.

SYLVESTER: The Pet Food Institute representing manufacturers insists this was an aberration.

DUANE EKEDAHL, PET FOOD INSTITUTE: That was a contamination that came in -- a foreign contamination of an ingredient that all the regulation in the world would not -- not really have captured that.

SYLVESTER: The industry is working with the World Health Organization on international standards, but senators are still concerned that U.S. inspections have not kept up with stepped-up imports.

The FDA is now screening imported wheat gluten, a little late for those pet owners mourning the loss of their companions.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: Officially, the federal government says only 16 pets have died from the tainted food. But in today's hearing, the FDA acknowledged that number is certain to go up. After they confirm all of the affected food is off the market, then inspectors will review records and establish a more accurate account -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much.

Lisa Sylvester, from Washington.

For more information on this pet food recall, please go to loudobbs.com. On our Web page you'll find the very latest information, links to the American Veterinary Association, the Food & Drug Administration. And we have also listed some pet foods that manufacturers assure us are safe.

Up next here, the trial of a naturalized citizen accused of spying for China. Was his confession in this case legitimate?

We'll have that report.

And CBS has fired Don Imus for his racist and sexist comments. Should the controversy end there, or should we begin examining carefully this society and the standards that we should all repair, too?

We'll be talking about the issue with three of the nation's leading voices on racism and sexism here tonight.

Stay with us for that and a great deal more.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Gasoline prices in this country are soaring. Last week, marking the 10th straight weekly increase in the price of gasoline nationwide, according to the Federal Energy Information Administration, the national price for a gallon of regular gasoline went up 9.5 cents to $2.80 a gallon, 12 cents more than at this time last year. In fact, over the past two months, rising 50 percent.

Despite the rising cost, demand for gasoline is also soaring. Pump prices would have to go over $3 a gallon before drivers would likely curtail their driving, according to the government.

The trial of a naturalized American citizen accused of passing military technology and secrets to communist China is continuing in southern California.

Casey Wian reports from Santa Ana.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Prosecutors in the Chi Mak trial called a former FBI counterintelligence agent to show the jailed Power Paragon engineer was a textbook communist Chinese spy. Thirty-year FBI veteran Ronald Garen (ph) investigated or supervised thousands of Chinese and Soviet espionage cases, including Katrina Leung and Aldrich Ames.

Garen (ph) testified, "The Chinese have a much broader approach. They have a vast amount of resources. They use the whole circle. They try to get as many people to the United States as possible and put them in position to get information."

Still, some federal officials downplay the threat of Chinese espionage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In general, the mainstream view of our government is that China is our friend, it's our partner, it helps us a great deal around the world. And all nations commit espionage, all nations, including some of our NATO allies, have been caught at various times stealing technology or other secrets.

WIAN: Garen (ph) testified most Chinese spy cases are similar to prosecution allegations about Chi Mak, such as he was frugal, living in this 700-square-foot house to avoid suspicion. He told well- rehearsed lies to investigators. The military documents he allegedly passed to China were encrypted. He followed tasking lists. And family members were involved in the scheme.

Defense attorneys say Mak wasn't spying, only furthering legitimate scholarly and commercial research.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have leaders in the fields of power engineering, and in Chinese espionage, and in Chinese political science. Experts that are highly acclaimed throughout the United States, if not the world. And they're going to explain to this jury what this technology is and what Chinese espionage is.

WIAN: Prosecutors say what it is is a growing threat posed by thousands of native Chinese-Americans like Chi Mak.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Defense attorneys argue that Mak was only trying to help China's booming commercial sector. But the former FBI official testified that Chinese military intelligence has its hand in virtually every industry -- Lou.

DOBBS: Casey, thanks.

Casey Wian, from Santa Ana, California.

President Bush demanding a new mandate to push his so-called free trade agenda without congressional oversight or interference. Two senators say the president is letting down working Americans. They are our guests here next.

Also, should House Speaker Nancy Pelosi go to Iran after her trip to Syria? I'll be joined by the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Tom Lantos, who accompanied the speaker to Syria. He's our guest here next.

And CBS has canceled Don Imus's radio show. Did CBS go too far? Was the network's action appropriate? How many hypocrisy is there in this national outrage over Don Imus? And what should be our course as a society?

We'll examine those issues and more next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: CBS, late this afternoon, fired radio host Don Imus over his racially-offensive and sexist remarks. But does this controversy go far beyond Don Imus.

Joining me now are Bryan Monroe -- he's president of the National Association of Black Journalists, whose organization first brought this to national attention -- and Carol Swain, professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University.

CAROL SWAIN, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Hi.

DOBBS: Good to have you with us, Carol.

And joining us tonight from Kansas City, Jason Whitlock, columnist, "Kansas City Star".

Good to have you with us.

JASON WHITLOCK, "KANSAS CITY STAR": Thank you.

DOBBS: Jason, let me turn to you first. Both CBS and NBC have now fired Don Imus. Your reaction?

WHITLOCK: Well, I think it's kind of predictable. Once the advertisers started pulling away and the money went away, Don Imus became expendable.

I don't think any great progress or any progress at all has been made for the cause of black women and for the cause of sexism, discrimination, people that are against that. I just think that Don Imus was a pawn in a bigger game of political agendas by different people -- Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

I just don't see this -- I don't really care about Don Imus. He's nothing to me. * WHITLOCK: He's nothing to me. But I don't think any progress has been made.

DOBBS: Bryan Monroe.

MONROE: Well, I would disagree with my friend from Kansas City. I actually think this is a watershed moment in American society.

Something has happened over the last few days, over the last few weeks -- since Friday. America is standing up and speaking and saying enough is enough. And I actually think this is an opportunities here for the American media to lead, to finally lead. You know, we all get beat up about catering to the lowest common denominator. Now, we've actually got a chance in the media. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines to lift up the level of discourse and change the conversation about race, about sexism, about tolerance and diversity.

DOBBS: Carol?

SWAIN: I hope that one of the impacts will be that it will cause people to address the use of the language of black rappers and comedians. Because they tend to degrade black women. And I would like to see some of the people that where involved in the call for Don Imus' resignation to also be active in the call for the black rappers and for the black comedians to cease degrading black women.

DOBBS: Let me turn to you again, if I may, Bryan, because as I say, your organization led the way on this issue.

There is an issue, to put my feelings straightforward on this, I believe that Don Imus, because of, as I've said, his exemplary humanitarianism. The work he's done for charity for our wounded warriors, returning from Iraq, for children with cancer. I don't know anyone, frankly, in media, who's done more.

There is an idea, and it was advanced by both Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson that that is of no moment and simply a side issue. Do you agree with that?

MONROE: Well, you know, I have a great deal of respect for all of his actions in -- in helping children, helping cancer victims, supporting the different charities.

But this issue is about what is -- what is inbounds and what is out of bounds. And I think for so long, we have -- have accepted language from radio hosts, from folks on television, from writers in newspapers and magazines and from rappers and entertainers, and we've just said it's OK. I don't think it's OK anymore. It hurts people.

WHITLOCK: Lou, I want to add this. We just gave the death penalty to a guy that was jaywalking. And the real murderers are still out and on the loose and cashing checks and making songs and rap videos that really demean black women and black people.

This guy uttered a few words on a radio show. He apologized sincerely for it. And he was given the death penalty for a few words, for a few misspoken words.

People put out songs that make -- and videos that make women look like bitches and hos, and they get nothing. And no one has been outraged and done anything about this. This is why I must say -- and this is why I think this whole thing is a farce.

SWAIN: I think it's a sad day for free speech and that we would be much better off if we had a society where we allowed people to express themselves. And then their audiences, their peers, people that listen can make the judgments it's about them. And I believe it's unfortunate that we have a racial double standard when it comes to speech, that we tolerate all sorts of language when it's being done by black people to black people. But in the case of white people, there's a different standard.

I think we have to change the standard. And for black people it's not acceptable for us to call each other niggers or to call -- to allow the women to be degraded. To me, it's much more hurtful as a black woman to have black men calling me a bitch or calling me a ho than some white jerk like Don Imus.

WHITLOCK: That's it, exactly.

MONROE: I would agree with Carol and -- and go even further. In my magazine, "Ebony" magazine, two months ago, we wrote exactly that piece, saying enough, why blacks and whites should never use the "N" word again. So you know, there are folks out there taking those stands. But the larger issue about the audience...

SWAIN: Well, Jesse Jackson -- why was Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the black media, all of these years when the black rappers have been doing this for so long, and they've been getting away with it?

MONROE: Well, you know, I think you'll have to ask them about that. But more importantly, you talked about that the listeners and the advertisers should -- the marketplace should speak. That's what happened this week.

Listen, that's what happened. The marketplace spoke. The advertisers got the message. The -- his employers got the message. And the marketplace took action. They didn't want this on the air anymore.

WHITLOCK: They spoke about an easy target. He's an easy target. Trust me: these guys in the black community that are doing this, they're not an easy target. And that's why you don't see Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson sticking to this message and sticking to this call, because they know there's real risk here.

Don Imus is easy. Running him off the air was very easy. Changing this culture, this negative, hip-hop prison culture among black youth that is killing us, that's hard work. And it's going to be risky. But it's a task we have to take on. We can't just take it on one time with one magazine article. And I'm not disrespecting what your magazine did, Bryan.

But this is going to take a lot of work and a lot of commitment. And it's going to be a day by day, minute by minute thing that we, black people, have to take on. We can't keep scapegoating Don Imuses.

SWAIN: But also, I think that it also means that the -- that the white sponsors, and the white media, that they will have to be as involved in the case of the black rappers, and the black comedians as they were with Don Imus. We need to set a standard for all of America. DOBBS: You know, as you talk about this, we look at the -- what are called the hot rap tracks of Billboard. I mean, I asked our folks to bring me some of the top songs. "This is Why I'm Hot", Bow Wow and R. Kelly. The song is "I'm a flirt.

I have to tell you, I have two daughters, 19 years of age, one of whom loves rap. We've had a lot of discussion about this. One is absolutely enamored of this stuff. And she's a brilliant young lady in every other respect.

I can't imagine how this kind of language is tolerated by any of us. And it's a struggle for all of us as parents. But this isn't just a black problem. This isn't just a white problem. This is a society problem. What are we going to do? How do we deal with this, because this is a free country, after all?

MONROE: Well, we do exactly what's happening right now, Lou, on your show, on other shows, in newspapers and in radio. We start talking about it honestly. We talk about the fact that 80 percent of rap music is bought by white suburban kids. Not blacks. We talk about where that money comes from, who's profiting on those...

DOBBS: Who's profiting? Who's profiting?

MONROE: It's not a lot of the artists. That's for sure.

WHITLOCK: A lot of the artists are producing it. And trust me, there are things if I wanted to be on TV making a lot of money, there are things I could have done that I chose not to do because my parents raised me better and I'm not going to disrespect them in any way.

And if we don't instill that in our kids, we're lost. And instead, what's going on with this Rutgers situation is we've turned these women into victims over some meaningless guy, Don Imus. We've put them on a cross and they're learning the power of playing the role of a victim.

And I just want to tell people in America right now, black America, especially, there's no white man in control of your destiny. You are. And so take -- I trust -- there's no magical white man. Don Imus didn't steal anyone's dream. You're in control of your dream. You're in control of your destiny. And unless we instill that in our kids, we're lost.

SWAIN: I also believe that there was a negative impact for black women, for black children, and it's the same negative impact that they have when they hear it coming from black rappers and black comedians.

And we do need to take this on as a society, take on the black rappers, as well as white people like Don Imus and hold everyone in the same standards. There is a negative impact. And black women are victims in a great sense of the way. And so it does need to be address. There is harm that was done.

DOBBS: Bryan, let me ask you this, because amongst the other -- and Jason referred to other agendas here. We hear today from former majority leader Tom DeLay. He says, quote, if we can put this up -- I'd love to get your reaction to this.

"Let not forget about the Dynamic Duo calling for Imus' resignation. They have their own past offenses, like the anti-Semitic slur used by the Rev. Jesse Jackson when he referred to New York City as 'Hymietown'. And the most eloquent Rev. Al Sharpton, who was convicted of libel when he very publicly accused a white assistant district attorney of raping a young black girl." And then goes on to refer to Rev. Sharpton's call for immediate justice in the Duke rape case.

You know, Jason Whitlock has talked about, it's a time for -- it's a time for a new era in civil rights. You and your organization took the lead on this, on this outrage by Don Imus.

But now, all we are seeing on our airwaves and on this broadcast, as well, is Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Why have you receded? Why have we not heard other important voices, in addition to all of you, the Carols and Jasons, from the African-American community? Is it time for a new era? And is there a way? Is there a path to that era?

MONROE: Again, I think you're seeing that happen right now. As I scanned the television channels, it was pretty good this week. I saw a lot of voices out there. Eric Deggans at the "St. Pete Times". Your own Roland Martin. New voices that are challenging the status quo and showing that there is another way to lead all of America.

There's not just one black America out there. Black America is as diverse as all America is.

WHITLOCK: I certainly think we need new leadership. Jesse and Al have had their time at the forefront. It is time for new voices, new ideas, a new approach. It's not 1965, running out into the street and screaming, look at the white racist. It's not effective in 2007. That's not what we need. Those aren't our problems.

DOBBS: Carol Swain, you get the last word. I hope it will be a real quick one, please.

SWAIN: I think it's easy for the media to go to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. They're self-appointed, self-anointed leaders, and when the media stops propping them up, then there can be some other voices heard.

DOBBS: Well, we thank you all for sharing your voices here tonight. Bryan -- Bryan Monroe, we thank you very much, the National Association of Black Journalists. Jason Whitlock, "Kansas City Star" columnist. Carol Swain, from Vanderbilt University. We thank you so much for being here.

Up next, the president's authority to carry out the so-called free trade policies. Don't worry about that Congress thing. We'll be talking with two U.S. Senators who think that maybe the people should be represented on the issue of trade and foreign policy.

And we'll be joined by Congressman Tom Lantos, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that traveled with Speaker Pelosi to Syria. And a new controversial edition to his itinerary may be added. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Well, as you know, I talk quite a bit about the high cost of so-called free trade on this broadcast. The president's fast track authority allows him to push through trade deals without congressional oversight.

And as his authority expires on June 30, many in the Senate are outright opposed to renewing that fast track authority, including my very important guests tonight, Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, and Senator Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota. Thank you both for being here.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: You bet. Thanks.

DOBBS: Is there a sense right now in the Senate, if I may ask it that way, that this trade promotion authority, fast track authority, will be defeated?

SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: Well, I think so. We don't know for sure at this point, but, look, if members of the Senate haven't had a belly full of this trade strategy which has now given us, you know, a $330 billion trade deficit, huge trade deficit with China, if they don't understand failure in those terms, then they'll never understand it.

And frankly, I think we ought to say no more fast track, no more tying our hands. Let's do this in a Democratic way. Let's negotiate good trade agreements. If you do that in the interest of this country, then we'll support them. But if not, we have a right to amend them.

BROWN: You saw last from the elections, Lou. We've talked about this several times. The voters last year voted saying no to these job killing trade agreements. They want a different trade policy. And not just the members of the Senate elected or re-elected in November.

But people that were in the middle of their terms, they're watching what happened last November. And they know, the public says it's time for a different direction.

DOBBS: The United States government has taken two -- two complaints to the WTO in China. You both have expressed support for that. You also, Senator Brown, suggested there may be another motive at work here?

BROWN: Well, I'm glad to see the push administration did that on intellectual property, that they actually stood up for U.S. trade law and for sovereignty and all of that. I'm a little suspicious that they're doing it right now, because they're faced with a good bit of Senate and House opposition. Not just on trade promotion authority, so-called fast track, but also Korea and Panama and more immediately, the Peru and Colombia trade agreements.

But I welcome the administration's move there. I hope they'll show the same interests in labor standards and currency and the environment and all the problems we have with these trade agreements.

As Byron said, the trade deficit with China, it's literally $20 billion a month now. Germany has a trade surplus with China, a country with higher wages than we have and more unionization. And yet, we have a $20 billion a month trade deficit because we -- we don't practice trade in our national interests.

DOBBS: Senator Dorgan, your thoughts?

DORGAN: Yes, look, this is a case -- I'm glad that they filed the complaint. They're about three years too late. We've lost about $300 billion in the meantime due to piracy and counterfeiting.

In the meantime, we're hemorrhaging good jobs, as you know, Lou. You've written about this and talked about it. A massive number of new jobs being shipped overseas in search of 20-cent and 30-cent an hour labor. Downward pressure on income for people in this country. And many people being laid off in this country in search of cheaper labor here.

And it shrinks the middle class. I mean, that's not the way we built this country. We built this country by expanding the middle class.

DOBBS: Professor Alan Blinder of the Fed, a terrific economist and a free trader in his DNA, I believe, as he put it, has come around to being very concerned about the prospect of as many as 40 million jobs being at risk to outsourcing and off-shoring over the course of the future, the immediate future.

Your thoughts, Senator Brown?

BROWN: Yes. There -- I mean, there is, as you point out, Lou, over and over. There is a war in the middle class. When you look at what's happened to our economy, 10 percent of the people in this country seeing their wages and their incomes and their wealth increase. The rest of the country is pretty much flat or worse.

But trade is not the only reason for that. With the pressure of outsourcing jobs, as Senator Dorgan says, that puts pressure on wages. So when -- when a company maybe threatens to leave, to shut down a plant and move to Mexico or China, wherever, workers are willing to accept no wage increase and a cutback on their health benefits. And that's not the way to build a middle class.

In our country, it's always for generations, if you're a more productive worker, you share in the wealth you create -- your employer. You create wealth for your employer. Whether you have a union or not, you share in that wealth. That's not happening. That's why the middle class is shrinking.

DORGAN: Lou, I make the point, Blinder, Professor Blinder also said that all 50 or 40 million jobs won't be lost. But even those that remain in this country will have downward pressure on income. That's what's happened. You heard recently about Circuit City. They want to get rid of 3,400 workers. Why? They want to get new workers at a lower cost. That's the downward pressure on income for people working in this country.

DOBBS: In a direction that none of us who care about this country and the American dream want to see followed.

We thank you both for being here, Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Byron Dorgan.

DORGAN: Lou, thank you for all you do.

BROWN: Thanks.

DOBBS: Up next, Democrats under fire, accused of meddling in U.S. foreign policy, because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Lantos went to a place called Damascus. Congressman Lantos joins me here. He'll -- he'll have a few thoughts on that controversial trip. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Last week's visit to Syria by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation drew a firestorm of criticism from Republicans and the Bush administration.

My guest tonight, Democrat from California, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Tom Lantos, among the leaders of that delegation, Congressman Lantos recently suggesting that both he and Speaker Pelosi just might be interested in another diplomatic trip. Congressman Lantos joins me now from San Francisco.

Mr. Chairman, good to have you with us.

REP. TOM LANTOS (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: It's good to be with you, Lou.

DOBBS: Congressman, the ideas of all of the controversy and criticism that you and the House Speaker stirred up because you had the -- someone say, the courage, others obviously suggesting the brashness to go to Damascus. Your reaction?

LANTOS: Well, in the first place, congressional delegations have been going on fact-finding missions for generations. And the administration's criticism is particularly pathetic, because two days before we went to Damascus, three Republican colleagues were there, meeting with Assad. We had a distinguished Republican in our delegation.

DOBBS: Right.

LANTOS: And two days after our delegation, another Republican member of Congress visited with Assad. So if this is not hypocrisy, I don't know what is.

DOBBS: Well, let me -- not only the Republicans criticizing you. And the administration, as you know, Mr. Chairman. The "Washington Post" echoed some of that criticism, saying in its editorial, "As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president."

A remarkable editorial in "The Washington Post".

LANTOS: May I react to it?

DOBBS: Please.

LANTOS: Well, let me first say that I wish you and every other American would have been with us, because you would have been immensely proud of how Speaker Pelosi represented American interests. It was one of the finest moments of congressional delegations engaged in a fact-finding mission.

We, for decades, had dialogues and congressional visits to the Soviet Union while thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles were aimed at American cities. As Winston Churchill taught us a long time ago, "Jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war."

And what we were engaged in was a fact-finding mission of great significance.

DOBBS: Mr. Chairman, let me ask you this. You went to Libya. You have been credited with playing an important role in opening up that relationship with Libya.

As we go back through history, it's hardly the first time that delegations have gone. So I'm not concerned about that.

What I am interested in is the fact that you've not been able to get a visa to Iran. Do you believe that you will be successful? Do you believe the House speaker is interested in such a trip, as well?

LANTOS: Well, let me just speak for myself. I have been attempting to get a visa to Tehran for over a decade. And Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations, tried repeatedly to assist me in getting a visa.

To this moment, not only have I not received a visa, but not a single member of the United States Congress has received a visa to visit Tehran. I hope the Tehran regime will change its mind.

DOBBS: Chairman Tom Lantos, chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee. We thank you for being here. Appreciate it.

LANTOS: My pleasure.

DOBBS: And this breaking news just coming into CNN. We've just been informed that Governor John Corzine of New Jersey has been involved in a hit and run accident. That accident taking place near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Governor Corzine has been flown by medevac helicopter to the hospital. The governor's office says the governor's injuries are not life threatening.

We'll have much more on this story as developments come in. Again, the governor of New Jersey being hit by a vehicle near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Coming up at the top of the hour, "THE SITUATION ROOM" and Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks. Thanks very much, Lou. We're going to have more on Governor Corzine and his condition. Those details also coming into "THE SITUATION ROOM".

Congressman Charlie Rangel has new ammunition for his controversial plan to try to reinstate the military draft. The outspoken Democrat takes aim at the Pentagon's new marching orders for troops, as well.

Plus, the kind of torture and killing we've seen in Iraq now comes to a surprising new place. A startling story revealed online.

And Arnold Schwarzenegger's sexy talk. Is the California governor really making environmentalism more attractive?

All that, Lou, coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM".

DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf.

Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday. And I liked him a lot. I started reading his books 40 years ago. He was my second favorite author. He and I shared a first favorite, Mark Twain.

Vonnegut's writings opened the minds of a lot of my generation to skepticism of authority and orthodoxy, including mine. And a few months ago, I reread his last book, "A Man Without a Country".

I'm sure glad our country had such a man.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The result of our poll tonight: 68 percent tonight say that you believe the U.S. military is stretched to the breaking point and say we should consider reintroduction of the draft.

We thank you for being with us here tonight. Please join us tomorrow. For all of us, we thank you for watching. Good night from New York.

"THE SITUATION ROOM" begins now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Lou.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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