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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Iraq: Pivotal Point; Aftermath of Hamas Gaza Win; Push for European Superstate
Aired June 18, 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, pro-amnesty senators stepping up their campaign to ram so-called comprehensive immigration legislation through the Senate with the help, of course, of the White House, corporate interests, socio-ethnic centric special interest groups. One of the senators leading the assault, one of the grand bargainers, Senator Jon Kyl, will be among our guests.
Also, a rising number of lawmakers are furious about what is an outrageous miscarriage of justice. More lawmakers now demanding a pardon for two former border patrol agents. We'll have that special report.
And rising anger over a loophole in NAFTA that will allow communist China to build an automobile plant in Mexico and export hundreds of thousands of cars to the United States, of course. Killing more American jobs.
I'll have a few blunt words about the escalating attacks against me in this broadcast by left-wing liberal media organizations and a few others.
All of that and a great deal more coming up straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Monday, June 18th.
Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
We begin tonight with what could be a pivotal point in the conduct of the war in Iraq. The U.S. military says the surge reinforcements have now all arrived in Iraq, troops have begun a new offensive in insurgent-controlled territory north and south of Baghdad. But the general in command of our troops in Iraq, General David Petraeus, is warning it could take years, not months, to defeat the insurgency.
Jamie McIntyre reports from the Pentagon -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the fifth and final of the so-called surge brigades is in combat now. Part of what the U.S. military says is a major offensive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're still waiting on confirmation that we have...
MCINTYRE (voice over): The U.S. military's self-described surge is moving outside Baghdad into the so-called Triangle of Death, as this edited video from a U.S. Apache attack helicopter shows. The offensive kicked off a few days ago with Iraqi soldiers said to be in the lead.
Here, the helicopter gun ship engages insurgents who fired on Iraqi army troops Friday near Iskandariyah. A nearby building provides no refuge for the insurgents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fill that hole.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire.
MCINTYRE: Four are killed before the rest surrender, waving a white cloth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's now waving a flag from the original house.
MCINTYRE: It is a small victory for the U.S. troop buildup that has yet to prove a success.
During a quick stop in Iraq Friday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he was disappointed Iraqi leaders weren't making more progress. But now three days later, the White House insists President Bush was impressed and reassured following a 52-minute secure video conference call with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other members of Iraq's presidential council.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is clear that you've got an environment now where the key leaders are working together on these issues.
MCINTYRE: U.S. commanders continue to say Iraq is a mixed bag with progress in some areas and setbacks in others. And top commander General Dave Petraeus says the new offensive is targeting key areas outside Baghdad, where the U.S. believes insurgent and al Qaeda forces have fled in the wake of the crackdown in the capital.
MCINTYRE: General Petraeus is being cagey, but he's also carefully laying the groundwork for a less than definitive recommendation in September. While he promises a forthright assessment, he says it will only be a snapshot and says there's still a lot of heavy lifting to be done -- Lou.
DOBBS: The bottom line to this is that the evaluation that was supposed to be so definitive in September is now being managed downward, if you will, in terms of expectations by the White House and made considerably more ambiguous by the Pentagon itself. MCINTYRE: Well, the bottom line is, you don't have to read too far between the lines to see that everything is pointing to an extension of the surge, a request by commanders for more time to get the strategy to work.
DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much.
Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, insurgents have killed seven more of our troops in Iraq. Fifty of our troops have been killed so far this month in Iraq, 3,527 since the beginning of this war have died. 25,950 of our troops wounded, 11,667 of our troops seriously.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers today exchanged fire on the border between Gaza and Israel. One Palestinian was killed, 10 others wounded. No Israeli casualties reported.
The shooting took place at a crowded border country. Hundreds of Palestinians are now trying to flee into Israel after the Hamas takeover of Gaza. Israel has allowed only a small number of those Palestinians through.
The Bush administration today announced a new policy to deal with the aftermath of the Hamas military victory in Gaza. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States will resume direct financial aid to the government of Palestinian President Abbas. President Abbas, of course, controls only the West Bank.
Susan Malveaux reports from the White House -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, early this morning, President Bush called Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to express his support. It was a conversation that was brief, lasted about 15 minutes. But later in the day, the intention was Secretary Rice was making good on that pledge by making an announcement that they would lift the economic embargo against the Palestinians in the tune of some $86 million. She also talked about the Bush administration's effort to work with Congress for an additional $40 million to try to help out the 1.5 million Palestinians that are in Gaza, effectively under Hamas' control.
Now, what the Bush administration is trying to do essentially is present a chaotic situation and make some sort of opportunity out of this. An opportunity they believe to work with a new Palestinian government and, perhaps, perhaps even open up once again the peace process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: We intend to lift our financial restrictions on the Palestinian government, which has accepted previous agreements with Israel and rejects the path of violence. This will enable the American people and American financial institutions to resume normal economic and commercial ties with the Palestinian government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Now, Lou, I've been speaking with Middle East experts who have a lot of skepticism about whether or not any of this is going to work, and they point to the fact that the leaders are severely weakened. They say Abbas is not only a weak later, but they say Ehud Olmert, as well as President Bush, really do not have the political capital, global capital, to pull this off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON ALTERMAN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, both of them are weak. I think ultimately you have two weakening players who need each other and who see eye to eye on some of the threats, and are going to find a way to help each other. But neither one really has the ability do shape his environment anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And, Lou, Jon Alterman, who I spoke with, what he called this, he said in the short term, it is a no-brainer policy that looks like it can be really helpful, but ultimately they're going to cut off with the same kinds of problems. They say what is really needed here are the Arab allies in the region to become invested, invested in not seeing Hamas succeed.
But they say the Bush administration essentially has failed in isolating Hamas, making it even stronger. So it is very questionable whether or not moving on and working with Abbas is really going to weaken Hamas at all -- Lou.
DOBBS: Suzanne, the question has to be asked why if the -- if the Bush administration believes this is an appropriate way to strengthen President Abbas, why wasn't this step taken a year ago when it might have mattered? And now that Hamas is in charge of Gaza, and also in absolute direct competition with Fatah in the West Bank, this -- this is a bizarre piece of timing.
MALVEAUX: Well, Lou, you know, the thinking of the Bush administration was that they believed that they could isolate Hamas. They believed by withdrawing those funds and not supporting this unity government with Abbas and Hamas, that somehow there would be some way that the Palestinians would come around and realize that Hamas was not doing them any good on the world stage, that they would suffer under Hamas.
Clearly, that has failed. That has not worked. What we're going to see tomorrow is President Bush, as well as the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who is here at the White House, they will both meet, sit down and try to figure out what the next steps are.
But Lou, you're right in the sense that there really are no good alternatives, no options here. There are a lot of people who are looking at this very pessimistically. But the Bush administration again, once again, is going to try to offer an alternative -- Lou. DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you very much.
Suzanne Malveaux from the White House.
Europe today promised its firm political support for Palestinian President Abbas. European foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg also said they will urgently consider restarting financial aid to the Palestinian government, as they put it. The European Union has already given the Palestinians $600 million of aid.
European leaders this week are to hold a summit that could lead to an anti-American-European superstate. Unelected European elites want European nations to hand over what's left of their sovereignty to the European Union. Those elites want the European Union to become a superstate that would challenge U.S. global leadership.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): European leaders are gathering and conspiring to form a power bloc to counter the United States -- a European superstate set up by European treaty. But the leaders of Europe are doing it quietly, without putting it up for a public vote. The leaders of France and Germany are pushing hard to get the deal sealed by the end of the week when the 27 European countries meet.
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): We still have some serious problems to solve before the council. And an agreement will be possible if people are ready to compromise.
PILGRIM: Some say this attempt to counter U.S. dominance in world affairs is dangerous.
SALLY MCNAMARA, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The United States must not underestimate how far the elite-driven European Union has set itself up to be a counter to the United States. The French minister himself came out and said America is so powerful, they're a hyper puissance -- they're a hyper-power. We need something to balance them on the world stage.
PILGRIM: Two years ago, the European constitution was ratified by more than half the countries, but defeated by the public in "no" votes in a French and Dutch referendum. Britain was also against it.
But now European governments are playing word games by calling it a European treaty and not a European constitution. So they don't have to put it up for public vote.
Adding to the intrigue, there are rumors of a secret deal between Prime Minister Blair and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who met privately at a French restaurant last month, leading to speculation the French president offered the post of European president to Blair in exchange for quelling any opposition to the deal from the British public. (END VIDEOTAPE)
PILGRIM: Now, Europe on the surface looks more friendly to the United States, and new leaders Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy in France. But the subtext of this European treaty is clear. European leaders want to set their own agenda apart from American policy -- Lou.
DOBBS: And are engaging in what is certainly not a democratic process in so doing.
PILGRIM: The analysts we talked to today said this is the most undemocratic thing they've seen in a long time, in supposed democracies.
DOBBS: Now, not without some resonance for those who are watching the Security and Prosperity Partnership in the United States lay the foundation in the minds of many elites. That would create the North American union on this continent. A remarkable turn of events. It will be interesting to see what transpires over the next days and weeks.
Thank you very much.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also flexing his political muscles. So much so that one top U.S. lawmaker is comparing Putin now to none other than Popeye. The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Tom Lantos, said, "They're eating the spinach of petroleum revenues... and Putin's muscles bulge more powerfully."
Congressman Lantos accused Putin of ruthlessly suppressing internal dissent. The congressman also saying Putin's threat to target Europe with nuclear weapons is incredibly stupid.
Coming up next, pro-amnesty senators make a desperate last-minute effort to ram their so-called comprehensive immigration legislation down the throats of the Senate and, of course, American citizens. One of the architects, one of the members of the grand bargain, is Senator Jon Kyl. And he will be with us here.
A rising number of lawmakers have had a belly full of the Justice Department's harsh treatment of two former border patrol agents sent to prison.
We'll have that report.
And a new opinion poll that demonstrates presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama is losing ground now in the race for the Democratic Party's nomination.
We'll have the story.
And liberal left wing news organizations attacking me like never before. Tonight, a few choice words about a couple of them and their friends.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Supporters of imprisoned former border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean this weekend again demanded their release. They join a growing list of federal lawmakers who also want those men freed. The former border patrol agents serving lengthy prison terms for shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler who was given immunity by the Justice Department to prosecute those agents.
Casey Wian has the report.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Former border patrol agent Ignacio Ramos has been in a Mississippi federal prison for five months. Most of it in solitary confinement after he was beaten by several inmates. Staff members of California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher recently visited Ramos in prison. They say he's lost 30 pounds and is not being given the proper medication for his Tourette's Syndrome.
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: This is the most mean- spirited, nasty thing that I've ever seen. They'd never let a prisoner be treated this way if he was a -- an Islamic radical trying to destroy America, but our own people who are out there protecting us are thrown to the wolves by this president and this administration. This is a betrayal of the United States of America.
WIAN: Family members of fellow agent Jose Compean, convicted with Ramos for shooting and wounding an illegal alien drug smuggler, say he's been treated well at a different federal prison in Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Free our border agents!
WIAN: The fact that two border patrol agents are each serving more than a decade in prison while Congress considers amnesty for illegal aliens is an outrage to supporters. They rallied Saturday outside the district office of Congressman Rohrabacher, one of the original cosponsors of a bill seeking a pardon for the agents.
Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter's bill now has 100 cosponsors -- 96 Republicans and four Democrats.
JOE LOYA, FATHER-IN-LAW OF IGNACIO RAMOS: I just want to thank Congressman Rohrabacher and Congressman Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Walter Jones, Ted Poe -- the original five or six that started this investigation in this case because they saw how dirty it was. They saw that it was a travesty and a miscarriage of justice.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: I welcome the investigation. We will do it enthusiastically.
WIAN: Lawmakers promised hearings on the case 10 months ago, hearings that have never happened.
WIAN: In a statement, the Bureau of Prisons says Ignacio Ramos is being provided all appropriate medication. They also say the alleged assailants involved in the February assault against Ramos are being investigated by the U.S. attorney's office for possible prosecution -- Lou.
DOBBS: And not another word on those hearings that were to have taken place in Congress.
WIAN: Absolutely not. Congressional sources say they do expect them to happen. As long as they gather more signatures from lawmakers to support this legislation, they say it's got a good chance.
DOBBS: Well, thank you very much.
Casey Wian from Los Angeles.
A train carrying pro-amnesty supporters across the country arrived in Washington, D.C., this afternoon. About 100 supporters of amnesty, including members of the Catholic Church, rallied in Washington today. Their train carrying those amnesty supporters left from Los Angeles last week. The group saying it will lobby members of Congress, of course, for illegal alien amnesty.
Time now for some of your thoughts.
Lois in California wrote in to say, "Is there nothing at all that the American people can do to stop this ridiculous amnesty? The people elected to represent us have turned a deaf ear."
Well, they've turned a deaf ear to you and me, but not to corporate America, to socio-ethnic centric interest groups and others committed to define the will of the people.
Jim in Ohio, "I, for one, am sick and tired of the conservative catch phrase 'jobs Americans do not want'. That's only half of the truth. The truth is, there are jobs there are jobs Americans do not want at a substandard wage."
And Ed in Louisiana, "I went to the grocery store yesterday, and of the 20 produce items I selected, not one was grown in the United States. What produce are illegal aliens picking?"
We'll have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast.
And remind you, you can go to our Web site for any help to send your message to your senator or your congressman. It makes it very easy to select it. But if you want to know what to do about amnesty, let your elected officials know what you think.
Coming up next, Senator Jon Kyl. He's one of the architects of the Senate's grand compromise on immigration. He'll be here.
Senator Hillary Clinton takes a sizable lead in one presidential poll, but some say she's still facing an uphill battle in the South.
And there's a rising star on the Republican side.
We'll have all of that, and I'll have a few words for some of my critics in the liberal media a bit later here in the broadcast.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: New revelations about campaign contributions to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Those contributions from an indicted businessman.
The "Chicago Sun-Times" reporting that Senator Obama received at least $168,000 from that businessman. Obama says he, however, accepted only $50,000 to $60,000 of that money. The Illinois Democrat still reeling from criticism over a memorandum attacking Democratic rival Senator Hillary Clinton's ties to India.
That memo referring to Senator Clinton as "Senator Hillary Clinton D-Punjab". Senator Obama has apologized. He says the comments were stupid and that neither he nor any of his senior staff saw the memo.
A new "USA Today"-Gallup poll finds Senator Obama trailing Senator Clinton. According to the new poll, Senator Clinton leads the Illinois Democrat 39 percent to 26 percent. Thirteen percent of those polled say they would vote for John Edwards.
Rudy Giuliani leads among Republican voters with 28 percent. Fred Thompson, who, of course, has not even entered the race, is now in second place. He has 19 percent. Senator John McCain coming in third with 18 percent.
John King joins us now from Washington and has some insight on these new poll numbers.
John, Hillary Clinton obviously doing better, regaining her lead, looking strong. John McCain losing ground.
What are the implications?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, Lou, the national polls especially right now are more about driving fund-raising and the sense of momentum more than anything else. It is individual state races that will decide the nominee.
But Senator Clinton's campaign says this is further proof that she has solidified herself as the front-runner. What they want to do with her as the front-runner is, of course, try to create the air of inevitability.
But make no mistake about it, Lou. Senator Obama may have slipped a bit in this poll, but he's raised quite a bit of money in the last quarter. And the Clinton campaign still looks at him a bit warily and with a bit of worry.
Now, on the Republican side, the big news has been the slip and slide of Senator John McCain. His campaign says it will recover from this, but there is no doubt about it, it has already hurt McCain in fund-raising, is beginning to hurt him in political strength and support around the country. And his campaign is the one facing the most challenging spotlight right now.
As you noted, Senator Thompson now ahead of Senator McCain in that national poll, and he won't even get officially into the race for another month or so. So that is much more a negative reflection on Senator McCain than anything else at this point in time.
DOBBS: Well, if we want more of a negative reflection, all we have to do is look at a new Mason-Dixon poll in South Carolina, where Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton 34 to 25 percent. John Edwards, who is from the South, and, of course, is now running in third place. How important do you think this is? I would think Senator Edwards would be one very disturbed fellow.
KING: He certainly would be if those were his numbers in South Carolina. Both Democratic and on the Republican side, we're hearing from some people that they think this poll is a bit of an aberration. Although Mason-Dixon has a very fine reputation.
It is inconsistent with some of the other recent polls in South Carolina. That is the McCain camp's hope.
Look, Lou, if Senator McCain is at seven percent in South Carolina, a state where he was derailed in campaign 2000, but has locked up most of the establishment Republican support this time around, if he's at seven percent in South Carolina, you can be certain his campaign is slipping and sliding. And many think immigration is one of the factors in his struggles right now.
In the case of Senator Obama, if that's a true number for him in South Carolina, it is proof that African-American support could help him once you get past the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire. But very, very early still -- Lou.
DOBBS: And South Carolina, of course, that camp counting on that very strategy to boost the senator's campaign.
John King, thank you very much.
KING: Thank you.
DOBBS: From Washington.
That brings us to the subject of tonight's poll.
When it comes to political affiliation, we'd like to know where you stand. Do you consider yourself to be Republican, Democrat or Independent? We're just curious. I think it might be kind of interesting.
We'll have the results later in the broadcast. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com.
Put me down under Independent.
Coming up next, pro-amnesty senators are determined to ignore the will of the American people and to impose amnesty on the nation. One of the leaders of the pro-amnesty senators, the grand bargainer, Senator Jon Kyl, will join us.
And communist China launching an aggressive assault on this nation's middle class, using this country's addiction to so-called free trade.
And Hamas gunmen, supported by Syria and Iran, now control Gaza. Syria and Iran driving violence in Lebanon and Iraq. The Syrian ambassador joins me here next.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: An attempt by communist China to circumvent U.S. trade laws that will almost certainly cost American jobs and give up a portion of this nation's car market. A Chinese automaker exploiting a loophole in NAFTA. That automaker will assemble cars in Mexico after building a plant there, ship those cars across the border and sell them, well, right here. It's a move that will, of course, benefit Mexico and China, but not the United States. Christine Romans has our report.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this nondescript New Jersey office park is the U.S. holding company CHAMCO, the China America Cooperative Automotive Inc. It's partnering with a Chinese automaker to import Chinese trucks and SUVs into the U.S. market. Their goal is 500,000 Chinese autos over five years. CHAMCO's CEO Bill Pollack is keeping the details close, but is also planning to open a Chinese factory in Mexico to build and export vehicles to U.S. customers. Cars imported directly from China have a tariff. Chinese cars built in Mexico will not.
WILLIAM POLLACK, CEO, CHAMCO: Sixty two percent of the content of each of these vehicles China will come from North American manufacturers as per NAFTA. So China is giving jobs to North American factory workers.
ROMANS: Pollack read from a statement and would not confirm details of the Mexico plan. A plan that would bring Chinese vehicles to the U.S. tariff free.
PETER MURICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: The United States has a 25 percent import tariff on trucks. The Chinese can manufacture in Mexico, send trucks to the United States and not pay that tariff. It's a way of giving a good hard clock to the side of the head of American automakers by using NAFTA to jump the normal trade relations, the normal safety valve, on U.S./China trade.
ROMANS: Its direct competition with American workers and a result critics say of failed American trade policy that's stunningly easy to exploit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China defines manufacturing and certain segments and targeted industries and sectors as part of their national strategy and they've targeted the automotive sector to do so. That's a national strategy.
ROMANS: CHAMCO hopes to have Chinese vehicles in the American market by some time next year. And they say they've already secured dealership agreements to make that happen.
ROMANS: In its statement, CHAMCO says it believes in something called peace through commerce. It says that many of the people who live in China live in poverty and it's up to Americans to help them.
They say, quote, "that China is holding back the North Koreans from our door and buying U.S. treasuries."
All, Lou, reasons that China is a great trading partner for the United States. Lou?
DOBBS: Now it's perfectly clear why we've run up this tremendous deficit and debt in trade. A brilliant plan. Christine, thank you very much. Christine Romans. That is just mind-boggling that it's proceeding.
Well, the Senate is expected to take up -- speaking of mind- boggling -- its grand compromise immigration legislation. Senate majority leader, the Senate minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell says the Senate will finish with that legislation by July 4th, one way or the other as he put it.
Joining me now, one of the architects of the Senate's compromise, Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona. Senator, good to have you with us.
SEN. JON KYL, (R) AZ: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Well, I understand we're about to see a -- a reintroduction of the legislation, if you will, tonight, by the -- by the majority leader. Is that correct?
KYL: As far as I know. He does intend to try to brick this up by starting voting on Wednesday on cloture petitions, which would allow us to go on the bill by the weekend.
DOBBS: Senator, I'm just completely confused. The vote fails, the cloture vote fails and some people come up with a bright idea at your policy meeting to charge some fees and put that against the border security and everybody -- at least in the grand compromise, the grand bargainers, get excited. What is that? KYL: Actually, we had had the fines and fees in the bill from the very beginning.
DOBBS: Right, right.
KYL: And there had been some question, by the way, expressed on your show as well as others about the commitment to enforce this new law. The notion being we haven't done a good job of enforcing the existing law, so why would anybody think we're serious about enforcing this one?
A question which, as you know, I believe is a very legitimate question. One ways of demonstrating that we do intend that this new law be enforced is to make sure that the money is there to pay for the enforcement. To hire the new Border Patrol agents, to build the fence, to put the new employee verification system into place and all of the other things that distinguish this bill from the 1986 law which was not enforceable and therefore has not been enforced. So at least no one will be able to say that the money isn't there to get the job done.
DOBBS: Senator, it's the United States of America. We know there's enough money. There's now -as far as I can detect, no aversion to deficit spending on the part of this Congress or this president.
KYL: No, there sure hasn't been, but as you know, sometimes Congress doesn't appropriate the money for things that we want done.
DOBBS: Well, let's take a look at some of the money that has been appropriate here that I think is kind of interesting. For example, appropriating for the construction of 854 miles of fence along the border. We've seen 13 miles of that completed. In the course of the past better than half year. Does that sound like something that would galvanize the American people to think that this administration, this Congress means business?
KYL: To things. First of all, you make my point. You can't rely just on congressional appropriations because the many doesn't always come through. That's why it's mandatory spending in the legislation. In other words, we take the fees and fines that are paid by the illegal immigrants and the Congress must allow that money to be spent on fencing, hiring Border Patrol and so on.
KYL: Incidentally, with respect to the fencing, it would we nice if they would build the fence one mile at a time. Instead what they do is they acquire all of the right of way. Then they do all of the clearing. Then they do all of the -- the base for the fence and so on so you don't have mile by mile construction of the fence. What you have is many miles at a time in construction that same time.
DOBBS: So what year do you figure that the fence will be constructed?
KYL: The 371 miles which are part of the trigger in this legislation would be completed ...
DOBBS: Yeah, but that ...
KYL: ... by the end of 2008.
DOBBS: ... would reduce the overall fence but senator, I was actually thinking ...
KYL: No, no, no, Lou. The down payment, in other words, that has to be constructed within about 18 months is the 371. They keep on constructing after that, but that must be constructed before any of the illegal immigrants get any kind of status.
DOBBS: Senator, as you and I have discussed, I like you a lot. But I got be honest with you. You're asking people to disregard 21 years of history, to disregard an administration that for six years despite September 11th has not -- has not imposed border security or port security. And because somebody wants to put up a $4.4 billion on fees -- let's talk about that $4.4 billion, senator.
KYL: Well, just a minute, now, Lou.
DOBBS: Let me finish. Let me finish.
KYL: Let me make my point here. You asked the question and my answer to you ...
DOBBS: I haven't asked the question. That was a preamble, as you know, senator. I'll give you plenty of opportunity to respond.
KYL: That was the allegation with substance to follow. Go ahead.
DOBBS: According to what we're looking at here, that $4.4 billion would come from fees and fines, right?
DOBBS: And what would change in the language is under the appropriations, there would be a -- those appropriate sums, you would have then five years after enactment to use money, correct? Instead of two.
KYL: It's ...
DOBBS: So that would lay out -- that would extend by three years the time in which to secure the border.
KYL: No, no, no, no.
DOBBS: No? Well, I just want you to clear it up for me because I get confused when you fellas get to work.
KYL: Well, I understand that. But give me a chance to explain here. The triggers -- in other words, before an illegal immigrant can get any kind of status under this, many things have to have happened. We believe that all of those things, hiring of 20,000 Border Patrol agents, building at least 370 miles of fencing, 300 miles of vehicle barriers, 26,000 detention spaces and on and on and on, all of these things can be accomplished and in fact will be accomplished by the end of 2008.
There is enough money in the budget for this year and the president's budget to be submitted next year to accomplish all of those things. In addition we want to make sure that the employee verification system that will make it much different than the 1986 bill is actually in place, ready to go and will be operable thereafter. That's part of what this $4.4 billion bill ensures.
DOBBS: Let me be sure that we all -- all of us folks understand what you're saying. So in other words, you're saying that the Z visa will not be granted to any of the illegal aliens in this country, that not a single step will be taken to provide legal status until the border is secure?
KYL: Well, until it is secure ...
DOBBS: Am I confused?
KYL: Until it is secured to the extent that the trigger items have, in fact, been accomplished.
DOBBS: Oh, OK.
KYL: I'm not going to suggest that the border is 100 percent secure at that point.
DOBBS: What percent secure do you think it would it be, senator?
KYL: Well, it's hard to say. Part of it depends upon the implementation of other features of the legislation. As you know, the employee verification system is a key part of this.
That will make it impossible for people to work in the United States legally unless they're authorized and we think the combination of that as well as the work on the border and the interior enforcement all working together will get it down to the point where the border is essentially secure.
DOBBS: Well, senator, as you well know, we've got a credibility problem here. And a big one. The second part is Trent Lott is saying that the government is being run by talk radio. I think is what he said.
KYL: Yeah ...
DOBBS: And they've got to do something about that.
And he also said, all of those amendments, you know, the things where people really, the men and women of good faith want to bolster security or they want to put forward something that will make immigration reform more palatable to their interests, whatever they may be, said basically they're going to pitch all of those before they get to the rotunda for conference.
So with that kind of spirit at work in the Senate, why in the world should the American people tolerate another day of this nonsense?
KYL: You've got me on now. If you want to complain to Trent, then get him on and ask him.
DOBBS: No, I'm complaining to you about your -- This is your whip. This is your whip for your party speaking for you and for your party in the United States Senate.
KYL: And, Lou, you asked me a specific question. Let me answer it.
KYL: It is the question that has to be considered. You're absolutely right about it. Why would you think that a new law is going to be enforced when the existing law is not being enforced? And there are two specific answers. First of all, I agree with you that the existing law is not being enforced and would respond, therefore, do you want to continue the status quo? The reason it is not being enforced is because by and large it can't be enforced. The employee verification system we have today is a joke.
We have to change the law so that employers are required to verify the eligibility of their employees. And secondly, looking at the lessons from the past, we've tried to revise the approach so that we build in the things that have to be enforced. We have the people to do it and that the money is committed to do it. Those were all things that we're missing after 1986.
DOBBS: And if I may say, senator, the United States government with this administration and the previous, this Congress and the previous Congresses have had the wherewithal to enforce existing immigration law and to secure this border and haven't shown either the will, the courage or the character to do so and I don't see a big difference in the stomachs and the vision of the people in there now.
KYL: To do the things -- to do the things on the border, I think you are correct. But to do the interior enforcement, I disagree. The law today does not allow us to go after these people and to hold the employers accountable. That's part of what has to be changed here.
DOBBS: Senator Jon Kyl. As always, good to have you here.
KYL: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: And I can't wish you good luck at all.
KYL: That's all right. Appreciate talking to you.
DOBBS: Thank you.
Up next, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations joins me. We'll be talking about the Middle East crisis and the role of Syria and Iran in that, what appears to be, expanding regional instability. Stay with us.
DOBBS: A couple of weeks before the Senate prepared to take up the Bush-Kennedy-McCain immigration legislation, I told a number of my colleagues here that because of my opposition to illegal immigration and demand for border and port security, that I would likely be attacked by the liberal media as vigorously as never before. And now the liberal media is outdoing itself again. Writing in the "Washington Post," Gene Weingarten, who obviously fancies himself a witty and worldly fellow, dismisses just about anyone outraged by unchecked outsourcing of American jobs and runaway illegal immigration as quote "xenophobically inclined."
He implies further that if you're concerned about either issue, illegal immigration or outsourcing of American jobs, you must be right wing. Weingarten doesn't even know or he chooses to ignore the fact that I'm an independent populist with little regard for either political party or the left and right.
And in a sorry attempt at satire, Weingarten writes about, quote, "illegal aliens with poor personal hygiene who run amok and rape decent American woman," end quote.
His editors permit him, in the form of satire, to write that claptrap, insulting the very people that Weingarten would have you believe he's defending from xenophobia. Pitiful by any standard.
And our good friends at the "New York Times" continue to carry the water of their little left-wing cousin, the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC decided to make much of a comment by one of our correspondents at the end of a report on tuberculosis that we did two and a half years ago.
In what is apparently a fundraising frenzy, the SPLC sent out thousands of e-mails seeking donations and using my name to drive their supporters to open their wallets.
The correspondent's comment, by the way, referred to the national registry of leprosy cases rising to 7,000. The comment, by the way, was eight seconds long and as I said, took place two and a half years ago. And we never produced a report on leprosy until I decided last month to set the record straight. Interestingly enough, "The Times" has never acknowledged those facts. I guess they're a little cumbersome for "The New York Times" given all of the ideological weight that burdens them.
Coming up at the top of the hour, THE SITUATION ROOM and Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. Why is one prominent feminist now saying that Hillary Clinton has taken on a, quote, "mantle of political masculinity"? It looks like at least some feminists have serious problems with the only woman in the race for president.
Also the activist, the actress. Just before World Refugee Day, Angelina Jolie talks to CNN about the miseries confronting the world's refugees. We're going to show you some of that interview.
And take a look very closely, very closely. One presidential candidate is trying to catch our attention by saying nothing at all. But you won't want to blink at what you see. All of that and much more, Lou, coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf. And a reminder now to vote in our poll tonight. When it comes to political affiliation, do your consider yourself right now to be Republican, Democrat or independent? Please cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results coming up in just a few moments.
Up next, I'll be talking about the recent upheaval in the Middle East with the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The Bush administration today declared its support for the Palestinian government of Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas formed a new government after Hamas forces seized control of Gaza last week. And at the United Nations, the Security Council said it will assist Lebanon's investigation into the murder of a Lebanese law maker. Joining me now to discuss what appears to be a widening crisis in the Middle East is Bashar Ja'afari. He is Syria's ambassador to the United Nations. And ambassador, it's good to have you with us.
BASHAR JA'AFARI, SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Thank you.
DOBBS: First, the issue of what is happening in -- between Palestine and the Palestinians and the Israelis. This situation is widening and worsening. Is there a role for Syria here to be a peacekeeper?
JA'AFARI: Definitely Syria is part of the stability in the area. For quite many decades, the whole Middle East has been through instability due to the occupation by Israel of the occupied territories. Now we have a double challenge. Not only the continuous Israeli occupation of the Arab territories, but also we have these fanatic groups that made their emergence after the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Now we're also fighting also in the area al Qaeda and all kinds of fanatics groups.
DOBBS: And the contest among Hamas and Fatah, Hezbollah, the competition for the support of both Syria and Iran and the ongoing violence. Syria has no capacity to be a force for stability and to take a more energetic and positive visionary role along with other Arab states?
JA'AFARI: This is a very good question. I'd say that gone are the days when the U.S. envoys for the Middle East would spend hours and days in Damascus, discussing, negotiating and talking to the Syrians to find out solutions to the crisis in the area. Now the current American administration is favoring what they call my way or the highway. They are saying the Syrians know what they have to do and then there is no talk. There are no negotiations. But definitely we are part of the solution.
DOBBS: Is it not, though, interesting to you - anything, at least a historical basis that we have not seen leadership from the Arab states and prominent among those, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia? In working toward a directly -- and irrespective of European interest or U.S. interest, a resolution to the Palestinian crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli, War, conflict, whatever you want to call it that's been with us for 60 years. Isn't it about time for some maturation on the part of the Arab states and resolution that it is not -- I mean, it makes -- forgive me. The proud people, the Syrians, the Saudis, the Iranians.
Why put yourselves in the role to which you are condescended to by Europe and the United States and not assert a positive approach?
JA'AFARI: Let me say that on one hand, they ask us to use what influence so that we get stability in the area. On the other hand, a lot of people in the American administration and in Europe are fighting our regional role and they asking us not to interfere. So this is a paradoxical situation for us. However ...
DOBBS: That's not really responsive to what I asked, ambassador. But I'm asking a question independent of the United States and Europe and really calling for an answer about the leadership of the Arab states themselves.
JA'AFARI: There are a lot of leaders in the Arab world working very hard now to create stability in the area and we are part of these Arab efforts. We have joined the Arab ministerial meeting decision in the just a couple of days ago. Calling for stability both in Gaza and in Lebanon.
DOBBS: And the Bush administration is increasingly making it clear that they believe they are in conflict with Syria and with Iran. And a proxy war across a considerable region in he Middle East, that is Iraq and in the Palestinian conflict as well. How do you respond?
JA'AFARI: Let me tell you something. I were an American and I wake up in the morning to see one of my two direct neighbors, Canada and Mexico, invaded by foreign troops, how should I react? Would I accept this fait accompli status quo on my border? Syria woke up one day the Americans occupying Iraq and we have the problems, you know, in Lebanon and then we have other problems due to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. We have our Golan also occupied.
So this instability is not responsible for. We are part of the solution. We are not part of the problems.
DOBBS: When will it become apparent that Syria is part of the solution? How soon?
JA'AFARI: When we are invited to work out collectively a solution. We will be there.
DOBBS: Ambassador Ja'afari, thank you very much for being here.
JA'AFARI: Thanks a lot.
DOBBS: Coming up next, the results of our poll. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Results of our poll tonight. Seventy-one percent of you responding that you consider yourself to be an independent.
Let's take a look at more of your thoughts. Ralph in West Virginia said, "Lou, many years ago we had a tea party because we were taxed and weren't being represented. I think it's time for another party but throw away the Republicans and the Democrats."
That's an interesting thought. And we appreciate it when you send us your thoughts. Do so at loudobbs.com. We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow when among our guests will be the director of the Congressional Budget Office on this grand amnesty plan. Please join us.
For all of us here, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. THE SITUATION ROOM begins now with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
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