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Intelligence Outrage: New Study on Global Warming; What Foreign Policy? United States and Iran; Combat Stress

Aired May 4, 2007 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, outrage over a Democratic proposal to use scarce federal intelligence funds to study the national security impact of global warming. Will that study divert attention from the war against radical Islamist terrorism?
We'll have a special report.

Also tonight, dangerous imports from communist China putting the lives of our children at risk. The federal government is taking little or no action.

We'll have a special report on the grandmother who showed the federal government how to do its job.

And our national crisis over drug addiction and crime. A district attorney tonight has an innovative solution that doesn't involve prison, and it works.

We'll have that report.

And among my guests tonight, a leading member of the Martin Luther King Foundation, David Hamilton. He's here to explain why that foundation chose a Chinese artist to build a memorial to Martin Luther King in Chinese granite.

What in the world are they thinking? And the thought police? Well, they're on patrol.

And a dangerous threat to freedom of expression, artistic creativity, freedom of speech.

We'll have that story, all of that, and a great deal more, all the day's news, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Friday, May 4th.

Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

Republicans tonight accusing Democrats of jeopardizing the war on terror by demanding a study on the effects of global warming on military operations. Democrats, however, say global warming could increase the number of threats to this country all over the world. Meanwhile, new evidence tonight that the military is near the breaking point because of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A new study showing up to half our troops are suffering from mental problems because of the stress of combat.

Lisa Sylvester reports on the outrage over the use of intelligence funds to study the impact of global warming.

Jamie McIntyre reporting tonight on the rising levels of psychiatric problems among our troops.

And Bill Schneider reporting on the impact of the political battle over the conduct of the war on presidential candidates of both parties.

We turn first tonight to Lisa Sylvester in Washington -- Lisa.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the 2008 House Intelligence Authorization Bill is the largest ever approved by the committee. An estimated $44 billion. It includes more money to send analysts overseas, calls for quarterly intelligence updates on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, and includes a proposal to study the effects of global warming on national security.

It's the last provision that's drawing heat from Republican lawmakers. They're complaining a formal national intelligence estimate on global warming would divert scarce intelligence resources to study what they call a politically correct issue.

Ranking member Pete Hoekstra in a statement said, "Republicans have worked hard with committee Democrats to craft an intelligence authorization bill that strengthens our capabilities against terrorists, rogue nations and foreign enemies. Unfortunately, the bill passed by the committee includes several questionable items that are outside of the intelligence community's national security focus and weaken our nation's overall intelligence effort."

Now, at a time when the United States has pressing national security concerns such as terrorism, Iran, and North Korea, Republicans question, is this study really necessary? Especially since there are other agencies capable of reviewing the issue, including the Environmental Protection Agency.

Now, Democrats, led by committee chair representative Sylvestre Reyes, say military commanders believe climate change could create instability in the world and have an impact on future military operations. Enough so that it warrants further study.

And we should say that Democrats also deny that the study would take away intelligence resources. This issue now is going to the full House. It has passed committee. It's now on its way to the full House -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Lisa.

Lisa Sylvester. I'm just sitting here thinking about Washington and how much I love that city.

Thank you very much.

The Bush administration tonight facing new questions about the direction of our foreign policy. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had made plans to meet with Iran's foreign minister at a conference being held in Egypt, but her plans falling apart at the last minute. Iran, of course, helping insurgents in Iraq kill our troops.

Zain Verjee now reports from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A lady in red. Did she get in the way of some potential breakthrough diplomacy between the United States and Iran?

At a closed-door dinner in Egypt, Iran's foreign minister fled the room just before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived, dashing her plans for a bit of conversation.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: You can ask him why he didn't make an effort. Look, I'm not given to chasing anyone.

VERJEE: We did.

MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Because some technical issues it could not happen.

VERJEE: Others told us Manouchehr Mottaki was offended by a Russian violinist in a sexy red dress.

Rice's spokesman wasn't convinced. He said, "I'm not sure which woman he was afraid of: the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state."

Officials from the two sides finally sat down together, their chitchat lasted a mere three minutes.

MOTTAKI: We are not looking for some kind of demonstration. We are not looking for some kind of show. You know? We are not looking to talks just for talks.

VERJEE: Mottaki told CNN he thinks Rice wants better relations with Iran.

MOTTAKI: We see some changes in words, and we hope these words will be translated in practice.

VERJEE: Iraq's foreign minister says the proxy war between Iran and the United States is bad for his country and it's time for the two to talk.

HOSHYAR ZEBARI, IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: It is in my country's interests really to see a reduction of this tension.

VERJEE: That's why the U.S. is reaching out.

RICE: The United States has no desire to have anything contribute to a more difficult set of circumstances for Iraq.

VERJEE (on camera): Secretary Rice says this week's conference was a breakthrough because, for once, everyone, including the United States and Iran, were on the same side -- Iraq.

Zain Verjee, CNN, Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.


DOBBS: Well, insurgents in Iraq have killed five more of our troops over the past two days. Three of our soldiers killed in the Baghdad area, two in Al Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

Nine of our troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month, 3,360 of our troops since the beginning of the war killed. 25,090 of our troops wounded, 11,215 of them seriously.

Startling new evidence tonight about the impact of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan on the health of our troops. A major new study finds that up to 50 percent of our troops are now suffering from psychiatric problems. And that's raising new questions about whether our Army and Marine Corps are simply broken because of the demands being placed upon them.

Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Anger, fear, paranoia, sleep disorders -- Iraq veteran Joe Wheeler knows all the telltale signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He lives it.

SPEC. JOE WHEELER, IRAQ VETERAN: My main nightmare is voluntarily enlisting in the Army again and being sent back to Iraq. When I'm driving down the road, I'm looking, constantly searching to make sure that there's no IEDs. You know, you find yourself doing these things.

MCINTYRE: A new Army study of frontline combat units in Iraq confirmed Specialist Wheeler is far from alone, showing that nearly half of all National Guard troops, close to 40 percent of active duty soldiers, and almost a third of Marines report psychological problems.

A key finding? Marines suffer less because their tours are shorter, seven months, compared to a year or more for Army troops.

MAJ. GEN. GALE POLLOCK, ACTING ARMY SURGEON GENERAL: The level of combat is the main determinant of a soldier -'s or Marine's mental health status. MCINTYRE: The finding comes as the Army has just extended basic tours to 15 months, with one year off. The study suggests battle- weary troops really need at least 18 months to three years to recover.

But the groundbreaking part of the study focused on battlefield ethics. For the first time ever, asking 1,300 soldiers and 450 Marines their attitudes about torture and abuse.

DR. WARD CASSCELLS, ASST. DEFENSE SECRETARY, HEALTH: They looked under every rock and what they found was not always easy to look at.

MCINTYRE: Among the findings, only 47 percent of soldiers and 38 percent of Marines agreed that noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect. Ten percent of soldiers reported mistreating noncombatants or damaging their property.

Fewer than half of soldiers and Marines said they would report a team member for unethical behavior. And more than one-third of all soldiers and Marines said they thought torture should be allowed to save the life of a comrade.

That's what they say, but the Army says not what they do.

POLLOCK: What it speaks to is the leadership that the military is providing, because they're not acting on those thoughts. They're not torturing the people.


MCINTYRE: So what's the answer, Lou? Well, General Pollock at one point said ideally it's ending the war. But obviously that's not happening.

The next step is to make the Army much bigger so the troops don't have to rotate into the war zone so soon, but that's going to take time. So for now, the answer is more training, more discipline, better leadership, and as much time off as they can get soldiers from the battlefield as possible -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jamie, let's talk straightforwardly here. Going back to World War II, the Army understood that putting combat troops in, on the line, for a year was simply impossible, that in the grinding pressure and stress, the lethality of combat, that it couldn't be done and they had to be withdrawn in order to get ready to go again, to recover, to go through R&R.

That's not been doing with our troops today, 60 years later, and they have the temerity to say this is the first time they have done this kind of psychological testing? I will tell you straightforwardly, they're lying through their teeth. We've known this since World War II.

MCINTYRE: Well, the first -- just to be clear, the part that was new, that they never asked before, was about their ethics and how they felt about things like torture and their attitude toward that. The other... DOBBS: Yes. Jamie, do you know, when I heard that woman say that it was a statement to the leadership of the United States military that these soldiers and these Marines are not acting on these thoughts, it was a great testament to leadership, it is exactly the opposite.

This leadership is putting our men and women, the finest young people we've ever put in uniform, into absolutely impossible situations and then taking credit for them not living out their statements on some sort of bureaucratic psychiatric form? I mean, that is despicable.

MCINTYRE: Well, what she was saying there is it that it's certainly understandable that people who are on the battlefield facing an enemy of trying to kill them in the most brutal way would have thoughts about torture or whatever.

DOBBS: Absolutely.


DOBBS: So how in the world can the leadership in that building in which you sit, sit there and compliment themselves and those officers while they were extending their tours to 15 months and putting them in the most impossible of situations?

MCINTYRE: Well, what they're saying is, despite all of that pressure they're still performing very well. The -- most soldiers are not...

DOBBS: Absolutely. But that's a credit to our soldiers and our Marines in the field, and not to the leadership, either civilian or military. Particularly the general staff, in my opinion.

MCINTYRE: I will leave it to you to assign the credit.

DOBBS: I just did, partner.

MCINTYRE: All right.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much.

Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

The White House tonight is accusing Democrats of using the political showdown over the conduct of this war to help the party's presidential candidates. Imagine that, politics at play.

Congressional Democrats in the White House remain, of course, deadlocked over the war funding bill. One reason, the hardening positions on the war by presidential candidates in both political parties, as Bill Schneider now reports.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): President Bush's veto of the Iraq funding bill generates powerful pressure for the two parties in Congress to come together. Democrats acknowledge it.

REP. STENY HOYER (D), MAJORITY LEADER: It's incumbent upon us to work together. I don't think it's a question of backing down, it's a question of recognizing reality.

SCHNEIDER: Republicans acknowledge it, too.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: I hope my Democratic colleagues will do the right thing. Republicans are here to work with them. And if they're willing to do the right things, Republicans will be there to support them to get a new bill to the White House.

SCHNEIDER: Presidential candidates face different pressures.

STU ROTHENBERG, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Are they going to be pragmatic, are they going to talk about compromise, or are they going to play to the base?

SCHNEIDER: In Congress, the pressure is to make a deal. In the campaign, the pressure is to stand firm.

Hillary Clinton has gone from explaining her vote to authorize the war...

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I knew then what I now know, I would not have voted that way.

SCHNEIDER: ... to pressuring Congress to reverse it.

CLINTON: It is time to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: John Edwards' first TV ad urges congressional Democrats not to compromise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't back down to President Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Send him the same bill again and again.

SCHNEIDER: Republican candidates warned of the consequences of getting out of Iraq too soon.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Rather than simply walking away and leaving the Middle East in a complete disastrous chaos that will spread to the region and to the rest of the world, it's important that we finish the job.

SCHNEIDER: The dirist (ph) possible consequences.

JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we withdraw there will be chaos, there will be genocide, and they will follow us home.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: The legislative process pushes the party together. Both of the parties, that is. And the campaign pulls them apart, which puts a lot of pressure on five of the seven Democratic contenders and five of the 10 Republicans, because they're not just running for president. They also have a day job. They are also members of Congress -- Lou.

DOBBS: And Bill, we certainly wouldn't want to put any pressure on the little darlings, would we?

SCHNEIDER: No, indeed.

DOBBS: Are we going to see some real, honest, straightforward positions taken on illegal immigration, the war in Iraq, national health care, public education, a crumbling infrastructure? When do we get past this nonsense?

SCHNEIDER: Well, we've got about a year of this campaign.

DOBBS: You just -- you got me all excited, Bill, with that answer.

SCHNEIDER: It's almost a -- so eventually I'm sure they'll have to talk about those things.

DOBBS: All right. One would hope. One would hope.

Thank you very much, Bill Schneider.


DOBBS: Coming up next, confusion and contradictions in the so- called comprehensive immigration reform policy.

And also, U.S. immigration policy and maybe a little conflict as it applies to Cubans and to Haitians. At least I think so.

Also, dangerous imports flooding in to this country from communist China. The federal government doesn't seem all together that bothered. One grandmother giving the federal government instruction, taking them to school on how to do their job. And thank goodness.

And the FBI has joined the investigation into police tactics at the end of a pro-amnesty rally in Los Angeles May 1st. Did some LAPD officers use excessive force? Were they provoked by anarchists rather than demonstrators?

We'll have that story, a great deal more, straight ahead.

We're coming right back. Stay with us.


DOBBS: At least 20 people are dead, more than 60 others are missing tonight after a small boat from Haiti capsized in shark- infested waters. The U.S. Coast Guard says that boat overturned while being towed by a police boat near the islands of Turks and Caicos.

Officials say the 25-foot boat was carrying 150 Haitians and was headed to the United States. If those Haitians had reached American soil, they would have been turned back or detained.

Another example of this country's just completely confused and inexplicable immigration policy. Cuban nationals are allowed to remain in this country if they reach American soil. Haitians are not.

The FBI has joined the investigation into the violence of Tuesday's pro-amnesty rally in Los Angeles, and the city's mayor has returned home cutting short his trip to Mexico to deal with what is growing outrage over that incident.

Police officers fired rubber bullets, they used batons, trying to disperse some of the crowd at the end of that otherwise peaceful rally. The crowd was at MacArthur Park. Some officers said they were pelted with stones and other debris.

Rally organizers call the police actions brutal. Several people were injured, none were injured seriously. But there were claims by some of the organizers and the police that anarchists were the ones involved in that violence, anarchists with no connection whatsoever to the pro-amnesty rally, and obviously with an agenda of their own.

Both sides in Congress tonight are continuing negotiations over so-called immigration reform legislation. Legislation that would, in effect, give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens in the country. And some lawmakers are trying a different approach for those trying to enter the country legally.

As Lisa Sylvester now reports, one proposal would create a merit system -- imagine that -- a merit system for immigrants to earn U.S. citizenship.


SYLVESTER (voice over): The United States hands out more than a million green cards every year. The majority, 58 percent, are granted based on family ties. But some lawmakers say skills and merit should be the deciding factors.

Senator Jeff Sessions gives an example of two men from Honduras.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: One is a valedictorian who took English in high school, took advantage of radio or television to learn English and speak it well. Maybe has a year or so of technical school.

That individual would have no chance of coming, and would have -- be competitively at a total disadvantage to a high school dropout who happened to be the brother of someone who is a citizen of the United States.

SYLVESTER: Senator Sessions has proposed a merit-based program as a fix to the nation's broken immigration system. Applicants would be given points based on criteria, including education, English proficiency, and work history.

Canada, Australia, and the U.K. all have adopted point systems. British applicants are scored on a 100-point scale. There they have to earn at least 75 points, pass an English fluency test, and agree not to rely on public assistance.

The system is structured so that jobs are not taken away from citizens and immigrants are not a financial drain. Some economists say that's not the case in the United States.

ROBERT RECTOR, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Over the last 20 years or so, the United States has imported about 11 million people without a high school degree through both the legal and illegal immigration channels.

SYLVESTER: But critics worry under-emphasizing family ties will hurt the poor.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: To me, it demeans individuals who are coming as laborers, who have come in years past, who have been -- rose up the -- if you will, both the intellectual and economic ladder.

SYLVESTER: Under the Sessions proposal, spouses and dependent children would be allowed in as well, but extended family would not be given an automatic path, putting an end to the current practice known as chain migration.


SYLVESTER: The points idea is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. Senator Chuck Hagel has introduced legislation that would apply to the 12 million-plus illegal aliens in the United States. Instead of letting them all stay, they would be ranked by points to decide who receives a green card and eventually citizenship -- Lou.

DOBBS: Perhaps this is the beginning of rationality beginning to settle in as a possibility with the elected officials in Washington in both the Senate and the House, but it is only that, a beginning.

It is fascinating to go look at what -- and as we have been reporting here for some time -- the immigration policies of nations around the world and compare them to the United States, and to hear Sheila Jackson Lee, the congresswoman, suggest that this is anti- poverty. When you look at the number of immigrants that we bring in to this country lawfully, it's absurd.

SYLVESTER: It is true, and we have reported on this, that the United States has the most generous immigration system in the world. You stack it up against the U.K. and Australia, they have English fluency exams. They want people to make sure they're not on public assistance.

They have very strict requirements. And in the United States it looks like we just sort of opened the door. DOBBS: And everyone who is honest on this issue knows that if we strip away public assistance from this -- from illegal immigration into this country from those who are emigrating here illegally, you're going to see a marked, marked downturn in that illegal immigration and very, very quickly.

It's complicated, but it's at least nice to see the beginnings, at least, the glimmer of rationality in that fair city of yours, Lisa, Washington, D.C.

Thank you very much.

Lisa Sylvester.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

Anthony in Pennsylvania, "I'm a student at Hazleton High School, and I would like to thank you for showing support for the steps this city is trying to take against illegal immigration. People need to realize that when they come to a country they need to do it legally and assimilate to become a citizen, just like everybody else did for 230 years."

Referring to our town hall meeting that we held in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, at the campus of Penn State Hazleton.

But Christine in Pennsylvania with a little disagreement.

"Your show from Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was biased and non- objective for the viewers. I was surprised how much your personal feelings and opinions sided with Mayor Lou Barletta. The amount of bigotry, closed-mindedness and prejudice shown against the Hispanic community is an outrage. I didn't see the show as fair and balanced at all."

We'll have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast.

And if you want to donate to Hazleton's Defense Fund, a raid (ph) against a host of national organizations, go to for more details. That's

Coming up next, our distinguished panel of political analysts and strategists join me. And among their concerns tonight, the Senate debate on illegal immigration, the deadlock over war spending.

And with all the resources of the federal government, you'll be amazed who discovered high-lead content in baby bibs from communist China sold nationwide.

And a controversial decision over a memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King. A decision that could add millions of dollars to its cost and marginalize the intent.

I'll also have some words for those very active thought police out there who are threatening our freedom of expression, our rights to free speech, demanding so-called decency in artistic expression. They really love this slippery slope that they're trying to push a few people over.

Well, I'll have a few thoughts for them to chew on.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spends about $83 million a year in its attempt to keep unsafe products out of the hands of consumers. But as Kitty Pilgrim now reports, the federal government could learn a thing or two about enforcing product safety from a Chicago grandmother.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This Chicago baby has one very smart grandmother. Marilyn Furer grew concerned as she watched her young grandson Jensen gum his vinyl bib. The bib was bought at Wal-Mart and made in China.

Marilyn knew about the risks of lead in soft plastic. She had already looked at the safety of her grandchildren's lunch boxes. So she bought another lead test kit from the hardware store.

MARILYN FURER, CONSUMER ACTIVIST: You can't be too safe with kids, right? So I tested it, and to my utter disillusionment and disbelief, I found lead.

PILGRIM: The lead content proved 16 times as high as the government permits for paint. She sent it to a consumer group, Center for Environmental Health, who also tested and found lead. The State of Illinois stepped in and demanded a recall. Wal-Mart agreed to a voluntary recall in Illinois and removed the bibs from store shelves nationwide.

The bibs have been sold in many stores since 2004 and the federal government was nowhere to be seen.

MICHAEL GREEN, CTR. FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: There is no federal lead standard for children's products. There is a federal lead standard for paint but not for children's products. We think that needs to change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm embarrassed for our government that they don't have strong testing procedures in place.

PILGRIM: Even now the Consumer Products Safety Commission does not ban the sale of the bibs. It simply warns to be aware of cracking. But the agency stopped short of a full recall because they say that without deterioration, the risk of actual lead exposure is low.

Marilyn Furer is outraged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like putting a lead pencil in their mouth and saying, here, baby, suck on this. PILGRIM: So for now it's every grandmother for herself.


PILGRIM: Now Senator Barack Obama along with senators Durbin and Clinton have proposed legislation to require the Consumer Products Safety Commission to ban any children's toy which contains lead.

Now this bill would also put the burden on U.S. importers and retailers to make sure they are not selling any Chinese products containing lead -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, and you notice that Kitty Pilgrim reported to you which senators are pushing this legislation. In this broadcast, we're going to tell you not only who the idiots are that are screwing this country up, but who the folks are who really care about people and are doing something to take care of them. And I have got to say Marilyn Furer is my nomination for grandmother of the year.

PILGRIM: She's the best and what a vigilant, smart woman.

DOBBS: And you know, Marilyn Furer, bless her heart, I think the message is, you've got to look after yourself in this country because this federal government, I mean, good lord, it's not doing half -- I will tell you, until your report, I did not know there weren't lead standards for other products. Only paint. Federal lead standards to protect our kids. That's outrageous. Kitty, thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.

Consumer experts from all around the world, including the commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, well, they are going to get together at an international product safety conference later this month. They are meeting to find ways to ensure products reaching the public are made safer. That conference is being held in Beijing. I love that.

The case of a former engineer accused of being a Chinese spy could go to the jury as early as next week. The naturalized citizen took the stand in his own defense this week, insisting he wasn't a spy, didn't deliver top-secret materials and U.S. technology to communist China's government.

Casey Wian reports from the trial in Santa Ana, California.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors began their cross-examination of accused spy Chi Mak can a dramatic attack. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Staples said: "Mr. Mak, you're a liar, aren't you?"

The naturalized U.S. citizen appeared stunned, then quickly answered, no. Staples accused the former Power Paragon engineer of some 20 different lies in court, on immigration forms, in a security clearance application, and to federal investigators. Mak admitted some lies, perhaps damaging his credibility, but he continues to deny knowingly passing restricted military information to his Chinese homeland.

ADAM SIEGEL, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: This is probably very likely he would be -- entirely to be expected, quite honestly, that the intelligence communities would go after people that either they thought had sympathy for China or they could exploit.

WIAN: Prosecutor Staples also asked: "Isn't it true the last three times you and your brother went to China, the trips were preceded by a copying of classified documents or encryption of defense technology? Mak responded yes, but not related. And when questioned about copying classified documents at his work place, Mak responded: "I never think of illegal, but now I realize was not right."

(on camera): Prosecutors also disclosed that Mak was discovered to have $900,000 in the bank the day he was arrested nearly two years ago. They say he had plans to retire in China.

Casey Wian, CNN, Santa Ana, California.


DOBBS: And four others are also facing charges in that case, including Chi Mak's wife and his brother.

Our nation's prisons and jails are overflowing with prisoners serving time for drug-related crimes. By one estimate, 80 percent of all prison inmates were high when they committed their crime or were caught trying to buy drugs or have a criminal history of either drug or alcohol addiction.

Christine Romans now tells us the story of one such offender, a young woman caught in a cycle of addiction and crime, and who was given a choice between treatment or prison.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Norma Fernandez is making her daughter's lunch for school, a family routine once unimaginable.

NORMA FERNANDEZ, DTAP GRADUATE: I was tired, you know, going back and forth to prison, getting up in the morning with withdrawals from heroin. I was tired. I was tired. And you know, I was young, I was only 15 years old, and I needed to get my life together.

ROMANS: Addicted, stealing and selling drugs, she spent a year in Rikers Island.

FERNANDEZ: You know, jail didn't help me. I did a year in prison and it didn't help me. I came back out and did the same thing, the same thing.

ROMANS: She was given a choice, four-and-a-half to nine years in prison or 24 months of in-patient drug treatment. She chose the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison program, DTAP, started in 1990 by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

CHARLES HYNES, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, BROOKLYN, N.Y.: The next time someone tells you that the way to deal with drug-related crime is to put everybody in prison, stop listening to them because they're treating you like a fool, they're picking your pocket. It doesn't work.

ROMANS: He says rehab for nonviolent drug-addicted felons is cheaper and more successful than prison. A prison cell costs $45,000 a year. Drug treatment about half that. Hynes says the program has saved taxpayers some $40 million, more than half ultimately get on track, far better than the results from prison alone.

Ann Swern administers the program and stresses this is no free pass for criminals.

ANN SWERN, 1ST ASST. DIST. ATTY., BROOKLYN, N.Y.: It's residential drug treatment. So you have to live there. It's modeled to live there at least 12 to 15 months followed by very serious after care.

ROMANS: And if they fail, back to prison. Norma didn't fail.

FERNANDEZ: I'm proud now. I'm a college graduate. I own a four-family home in Brooklyn. I have a beautiful daughter. She's 11 years old. It's wonderful. It's wonderful.

ROMANS: Twenty-four months in drug treatment saved her life.


ROMANS: It's about more than turning around the life of the individual addict for advocates of treatment over prison. It's about public safety. If addiction is a disease at the root of the crime, they say you punish for the crime but you also address that disease and you make the community more safe. You stop the cycle of violence, not for all criminals, but for those who are drug addicted, nonviolence felons.

DOBBS: Well, D.A. Hynes is to be commended. That's a great -- and actually you have to give him credit for great courage because often the community is clamoring more for punishment and wanting to discard treatment. But as we all learn more and more, as we've been focusing on the "War Within" and addiction in this country, it is so rampant, to see this kind of success, and good for Norma. I mean, she seems like a delightful lady and obviously doing very well.

ROMANS: And now she is working for the D.A., Lou, and she is helping convicts who come out of prison re-enter society. She is getting them jobs. She is getting them housing. She is trying to give them some of the skills that she has learned to try to ease that transition. So she is sort of living what she did.

DOBBS: You know, we report here so much on what is going wrong in government and so much of public officials who simply don't have that commitment to public service, serving the community and the people who make it up. It's nice to see this kind of story, this wonderful result. Let's hope it's replicated across the country and soon.

Christine Romans, thank you very much.

Coming up next, the thought police are on patrol and oh, are they getting bold. They are trying to control your freedom of speech, stifle artistic creativity, let's roll back the First Amendment, and let's take political correctness to as absurd a level as we possibly can in this country. But first, you're going to have to get by me and a whole bunch of my colleagues.

Also, rising outrage over a monument to Martin Luther King that will be made by a Chinese artist from Chinese government. I'll be talking to one of the folks who made that decision. He's here to explain. What in the world were they thinking? Can't wait for those two stories, stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: We've been reporting to you here a story about a monument honoring American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being sculpted by an artist from communist China. The statue also being carved from Chinese granite. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation says it selected the artist and the granite after an extensive amount of study and a search both in this country and around the world. One of the members of the selection committee is David Hamilton. He joins me tonight from Washington.

David, good to have you here. What in the world were you folks thinking? You know, I have to tell you, I can't think of many instances -- and I'm speaking only for myself, but I can't think of many instances in which you say to yourself, if there should be a selection based on race or ethnicity, it should be for sculpting the only monument in our nation's capital dedicated to the man who led the American civil rights monument, and that person should be American. He should be African-American if at all possible.

DAVID HAMILTON, DESIGN CMTE. FOR MLK FOUNDATION: I understand your concern, Lou, and I appreciate the question. And, first of all, I'd like to thank you for having me here tonight. One of the things I'd like to mention is that the elements that Mr. Lee will sculpt are just elements of the memorial. They are not the total memorial.

And the words and intent of Dr. King was that we judge people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. And, of course, that means not by culture or not by race.

DOBBS: So well, let me ask you this. Are you against affirmative action?

HAMILTON: Affirmative action should not be necessary in America.

DOBBS: I agree with you. But are you opposed to it? HAMILTON: No, I'm not opposed to...

DOBBS: Me either.

HAMILTON: ... affirmative action.

DOBBS: So why in the world if -- and you're African-American and I'm not, but I have to say to you, I just can't -- you know, I'm proud that this country produced Martin Luther King. I'm proud of what he accomplished. I'm proud of what the civil rights movement accomplished.

I can't get to the point where a communist regime and an artist from China is selected to bring Chinese granite into this country. I mean, it just buffaloes me. Help me out.

HAMILTON: I'm going to help you out. First of all, all of the memorials and many of the memorials on the Mall have gone through this evolutionary process from the concept to the final product. This is very similar to Vietnam Veterans Memorial when people were outraged that an Asian-American was a sculptor -- or the designer of that particular memorial.

DOBBS: I'm sorry, say that again.

HAMILTON: Many of the people -- this reminds me...

DOBBS: Who was the sculptor?

HAMILTON: I mean, many of the people remind -- this reminds me of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in which the designer of that memorial is a young lady by the name of Maya Lin.

DOBBS: And she is a what?

HAMILTON: She is an Asian-American.

DOBBS: An Asian-American. What person in his or her right mind would care that an Asian-American created -- I have to tell you, I will dismiss that out of -- I mean, that's an American citizen. Who cares if she's Asian-American?

HAMILTON: If you check the record, when Vietnam was being built, there was a huge outrage in certain...

DOBBS: Well, not by me, partner.

HAMILTON: Not by you, but the American public were upset because Maya Lin was...

DOBBS: Oh, come on now. Don't tell me the American public, because that -- you know what, the American public is a big bunch of folks.

HAMILTON: It's a big bunch of folks, that's right. But as you may recall, during the Vietnam era it was... DOBBS: Yes. But let's get out of Vietnam. Let's get here to 2007.

HAMILTON: Let's get to 2007.

DOBBS: Why in the world would you spend more money on a Chinese artist and to get Chinese granite? We've talked to a number of quarries. We've talked to a number of artists, one of whom was your original selection to be the artist who is African-American, a distinguished artist. And what are you spending -- I mean, there's just no -- I mean, people are outraged all around this.

They don't understand your process or what you're thinking. And a lot of folks, including myself, think that doesn't even look like Martin Luther King.

HAMILTON: Well, you know, everybody has a different thinking about what it looks like. I happen...

DOBBS: I understand.

HAMILTON: That happens on every memorial. It is not anything unique. In terms of the content of the character versus the color of the skin, you said, Lou, that it's hard for you to get there. And Dr. King was trying to move our thinking from a limited perspective to a global...

DOBBS: In all due respect, Martin Luther King moved our thinking. He moved our laws. He moved our society.

HAMILTON: Take the next step, Lou. Take the next step in your evolution. We forget that Dr. King was a minister first. He was Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. And his whole focus is a biblical perspective in which we are all brothers. We are all brothers. And to say that it has to be an African-American would be the same thing as saying, white only at a certain period in time in culture.

DOBBS: Now, brother -- now, brother...

HAMILTON: Yes, my brother.

DOBBS: ... you know better than that. That doesn't even hold...

HAMILTON: You see, you called me brother and...

DOBBS: That doesn't even begin to hold water. And let me say...

HAMILTON: Why limit...

DOBBS: And let me say secondly, Martin Luther King is an American treasure and I don't understand where you're going with this. How in the world do you spend all that money to go to China when you can use African-American workers? You could use American workers, American stone.

HAMILTON: See, you're mixing up when you say American. The memorial will be built by -- built, actually constructed, by an American firm with American workers from all different colors and cultures. They will actually build the memorial. What you're focusing on is the sculptor who is going to do part of the memorial.

DOBBS: How much are you spending on this thing? How much are you spending on this, this Chinese project?

HAMILTON: See, that's a poor couching of it, it's not a Chinese project. It is a memorial...

DOBBS: All right. Let me try it again. How much are you spending with the Chinese artist and the Chinese?

HAMILTON: I don't have the figures of actually how much money. The bulk of the money is in the actual construction of the memorial.

DOBBS: How much have you raised?

HAMILTON: We've raised $78 million and we're almost there at the $100 million.

DOBBS: The folks we've talked with, David, tell us that this shouldn't cost more than $10 million at most, at most, $15 million.

HAMILTON: The World War II Memorial cost well over...

DOBBS: I'm not talking about the World War II Memorial. I'm not talking -- I'm talking about this one.

HAMILTON: But you've got to understand, this memorial, you cannot look at it in isolation when it is with the other major icon memorials. And you...

DOBBS: OK. Let me ask you this. Doggone it, if you want to make -- if you want to raise this to an international issue, what -- are the Chinese going to put up a memorial, an exact replica in the heart of downtown Beijing, their capital?

HAMILTON: I don't know. I don't think so.

DOBBS: Well, wait a minute. You said Martin Luther King is to be embraced by the world. We want to embrace him in our nation's capital. We want to honor him and everything he stood for. If it's an international issue, then let the Chinese build one and I'm delighted. I'll even contribute some money to it if the Chinese want to build one in downtown Beijing.

HAMILTON: We would be happy to have your money. The problem...

DOBBS: No. I was giving it to the -- I was going to give it to the communist Chinese to build it.

HAMILTON: Give me a minute, Lou. Give me a minute. Let me help you. Let me help you. Let me bring you along.

DOBBS: You've got it. HAMILTON: Dr. King is one of our own, but he was an international figure. He was an international figure. He was -- his impact was global. The inscription on the side of his memorial will talk about his perspective that we are all...

DOBBS: What did he do for civil rights -- wait a minute. Wait a minute. What did he do for civil rights in communist China?

HAMILTON: Let me give you an example. When the students took over Tiananmen Square, the icon that they used to represent their freedom was a replica of the Statue of Liberty, which is located in New York, as you well know.

DOBBS: I'm with you so far.

HAMILTON: OK. And that same icon of that statue has been used around the world for peace memorials. In fact, one of those is proposed for Washington. And in Dr. King's case -- in Dr. King's case, Dr. King is bigger. We love him. We embrace him as one of our own. But he was bigger than that, and he was trying to get us to view that perspective.

DOBBS: Yes. Well, you know what, I think -- I take your point. You tried to bring me along. Maybe I'm just a little obtuse on this one.

HAMILTON: I can be gentle with you.

DOBBS: But I have got strongly held views on it. So maybe you can get there -- come on back, David Hamilton, we'll further discuss it.

HAMILTON: I would love to.

DOBBS: And I will simply say this to you and your committee, a noble, noble concept. I hope that you maintain that nobility. Find, in my hope, an African-American artist to lead this project and to render a statue of Martin Luther King, of which we will all be proud. Thank you very much, sir. We appreciate it, David Hamilton.

HAMILTON: We will get the best sculptor. Thank you.

DOBBS: Thank you.

We would like to hear what you think about this issue. Maybe I do need to be brought along and I am being particularly obtuse. Straightforwardly, do you agree? It would be a nice gesture for the Chinese government to build its own monument to Martin Luther King in the center of Beijing. And we can see what the impact there would be.

Personally, I love the idea, yes or no, cast your vote at We will have the results here coming up in a moment.

Next, our distinguished panel of political analysts and strategists will be here to discuss the week's issues. They are many. They are profound. And some are simply ridiculous. But we'll be back nonetheless. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Well, the thought police got all dressed up and went on parade or patrol yesterday, whatever you want to call it. Not that they're capable of great or original thought. The people that took to the streets of New York, there are some of -- who is that? That's Reverend Al Sharpton? Oh, my goodness, that's Glenn Beck. Who else? Oh, my goodness. They are -- you know what they are doing? They are demanding that rap artists clean up their lyrics.

Representing what I consider to be a deep slide into very dangerous territory and something of an offense to creative freedom and, also, freedom of expression and a little minor item called the First Amendment. I mean, what else are you going to march on, people? Get real. Joining me now, three of the smartest political minds in the country, Ed Rollins, White House political director and Republican political strategist; Michael Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, New York Daily News; Democratic strategist, Democratic National Committee, Robert Zimmerman.

Good to have you all with us. What in the world are the Democrats thinking about revoking the war authority? How much effect will that have on this president?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's about changing the mission in Iraq.

DOBBS: I know what it's about. I mean, how much effect will it have?

ZIMMERMAN: You know something, when this issue started, the Democrats produced 13 votes in the Senate. Now you have both houses of Congress passing resolutions, demanding that the Iraqi government be held accountable, demanding that our troops be protected when they are in battle.

DOBBS: How can you demand accountability of a government which the parliament is talking about taking two months off, when you have got a September date set by General Petraeus to make a decision? I mean, they don't seem...

ZIMMERMAN: Well, they are not prepared to be accountable. We shouldn't have our soldiers in the middle of a civil war, Lou. That's the issue here.


MICHAEL GOODWIN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: I think, Lou, you said the magic words there. Petraeus' September deadline is the real deadline. And I think that what Congress is doing now is just trying to -- it's really about Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign more than anything else.

DOBBS: How is she doing?

GOODWIN: Well, so-so. And I think that is the problem for her.

DOBBS: But she's leading.

GOODWIN: But that's why she's trying to separate herself from the others. And she is still trying to get over her initial Iraq vote. I don't think this will accomplish that.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: And first of all, I mean, our troops are still there fighting. Your report earlier of the great burden that's going on in our Army and someone like Harry Reid basically saying, we've lost the war already. Who have we lost the war to?

We may have not objectively won, but the Democrats' strategy of drop our guns and run is not going to work. And we've got three or four more months to try and make this thing work. If it doesn't work at that time, it will have bipartisan support.

DOBBS: All right. Let's agree that Harry Reid was a bozo to say that we've lost. What was George Bush when he said we're failing slowly?


DOBBS: I'm trying to find the moral equivalence or lack of it between those two statements.

ROLLINS: The bottom line is this president has got us into a war that -- without objectives. And we've talked about that over and over again. And I think that's what you can't measure. But to say we have lost a war is a direct condemnation of our troops.


ZIMMERMAN: ... that George Bush saying that we have to reach -- our victory is reaching an acceptable level of violence in the insurgency is also an absurdity. But Ed makes a very significant point. Democrats have got to make a...

DOBBS: He often does.

ZIMMERMAN: Yes. See, I listen closely. But because Democrats have got to make their strategic mission showing how we're going to take our troops out of the civil war, how we're going to train our troops properly -- and last time I checked, Mike Goodwin, you look at 70 percent of America saying that they want a change in the mission, that's not just about presidential politics, it's about failed policies.

DOBBS: Robert Zimmerman is after you. You get equal time.

GOODWIN: Well, listen, I think that the Saudi foreign minister, for example, just said over the weekend to The New York Times that...

DOBBS: Good grief, we're quoting the Saudi foreign minister? GOODWIN: Well, it's interesting because what he said is, the Americans tell us -- the American president tells us basically things are getting better in Iraq. Violence, oil, so he says, we don't see it. And I think that's really what's going on.

Forget what the Democrats are saying. Forget Hillary's campaign...

DOBBS: You know what I don't see, I don't see why anybody cares what the Saudi foreign minister is saying about anything. I don't see why anybody cares what the Kuwaiti foreign minister is saying about anything. I'd like to hear some leadership from U.S. elected officials.

GOODWIN: Well, because if our regional allies will not support us in Iraq, if they will not help Iraq, and if they won't keep the Sunnis and Shias from killing each other, there's not much we can do about it.

DOBBS: Let me ask you this. We just showed Al Sharpton, CNN's Glenn Beck marching to shut down those foulmouthed rap artists. They're taking to the streets. I think it's ridiculous. I think it's absurd. And please, don't march on me, Reverend Al, I'm so intimidated here. Please, please, just don't.

I mean, this is nuts where we're going in this country.

ROLLINS: The best part about Obama's candidacy is hopefully...

DOBBS: I was talking about Reverend Al Sharpton.

ROLLINS: That's the point I'm going to make. The best thing about this is the Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson's role as leadership in the black community is going to get diminished. And I think it is very positive thing for the black community and for America.

GOODWIN: Well, that is why Hillary Clinton is doing this new Iraq thing, because of Barack Obama is gaining on her.

DOBBS: Should they shut down those raps artists?

ZIMMERMAN: I'd rather talk about Hillary Clinton and...


ZIMMERMAN: ... of our presidential campaign...

DOBBS: Why, don't you love Al Sharpton?

ZIMMERMAN: I have no use for Al Sharpton. But the issue here...

DOBBS: Got to go.


DOBBS: Because we have 18 seconds. Gentlemen, as always, thank you. We over-talked.

Seventy-five percent of you agree on our poll that it would be a nice gesture for the Chinese government to build its own monument to Martin Luther King right in the center of downtown Beijing. We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. For all of us, thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. Good night from New York. THE SITUATION ROOM begins now with Wolf Blitzer.