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Lou Dobbs Tonight
House Republicans and Democrats Clash In Election Year Debate On Conduct of Iraq War; New Information About New al Qaeda Leader in Iraq; In Afghanistan, American Troops Intensify Offensive Against Islamist Terrorists; True Costs Of Senate's So-Called Comprehensive Immigration Reform; State Officials Who've Bought Electronic Voting Machines Blocking Efforts To Independently Verify Accuracy; House Votes to Block Bush Administration Plan for Foreign Control of Airlines; Documentary Gives Disturbing Look At Real Costs Of Border Insecurity; Experts Debate Global Warming
Aired June 15, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the first substantive debate on the war in Iraq since it began in the House of Representatives as the number of our troops killed in this war has now risen to 2,500 as of today. We'll be live tonight on Capitol Hill. We'll have a special report from Baghdad on the hunt for al Qaeda terrorists.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Thursday, June 15th.
Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
House Republicans and Democrats today confronting each other in a highly emotional election year debate on the conduct of the war in Iraq. Republicans challenged Democrats to vote against a resolution that says the war in Iraq is part of the global war on terror and that there should be no arbitrary date for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert has called upon lawmakers to renew their resolve against "evil-doers," as he put it. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared the war in Iraq is what she called a "grotesque mistake."
The debate began as the number of our troops killed in Iraq has risen to 2,500.
Andrea Koppel tonight reports from Capitol Hill on what is the first major debate in the House on this war since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
John Vause reports from Baghdad on Iraqi government claims that al Qaeda in Iraq is now on the run.
And Brent Sadler has an exclusive report from southern Afghanistan tonight on the biggest offensive yet against radical Islamist insurgents in nearly five years.
We turn to Andrea Koppel first -- Andrea.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the sparks have been flying all day long and should last well into the night as the debate continues. Among those leading the charge for Democrats, John Murtha, a former Marine from Pennsylvania, who has become one of the war's most vocal critics.
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I know standing here does not solve the problem. And it hasn't gotten better, it's gotten worse. That's the problem.
KOPPEL (voice-over): Emotions were high on both sides.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: You know, our enemies do not have a first Tuesday in November plan. They have a plan for a caliphate. They have well established themselves to murder Christians, Jews, Muslims, women, children. They'll behead you, they'll shoot you, they'll blow you up. They don't care.
KOPPEL: The battle lines were drawn.
REP. TODD TIAHRT (R), KANSAS: If we leave now, it would be giving them a victory and we would be once again putting another picture on the board here saying we should have fought harder. We should have stopped it back in 2006.
REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D), TEXAS: Instead of staying the course, we need to chart a smarter course. It's not weakness or retreat to recognize the administration offers us only an endless spend and bleed policy.
KOPPEL: Republicans said Democrats who support withdrawing U.S. troops want to cut and run.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It is not enough for this House to say we support our troops. To the men and the women in the field in harm's way, that statement rings hollow if we don't also say we support their mission.
KOPPEL: Democrats accused Republicans of playing politics by falsely linking the war in Iraq to the broader war on terror.
REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER (D), NEW YORK: It's a day designed to provide the majority with a chance to make cheap political attacks against Democrats in anticipation of upcoming midterm elections.
KOPPEL: Before today's debate began, both Democrat and Republican leaders began circulating talking points to their members, and in a way, so did the Pentagon. They sent around this 74-page document, a kind of prep book on the war in Iraq, rebutting point by point what critics have accused the administration of doing in the war in Iraq. But according to one congressional aide, Lou, this Republican aide, they appeared to have ruffled some feathers. This aide said that he thinks this document crossed a line, moving from a statement of administration policy to a kind of political playbook -- Lou.
DOBBS: Andrea thank you very much.
Andrea Koppel from Capitol Hill.
Also on Capitol Hill today, the Senate approved a huge emergency spending bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for hurricane relief. Most of the $94 billion will go to the Pentagon to pay for military operations. The bill now goes to the White House so that President Bush can sign that legislation into law.
The Pentagon today said three more of our troops have been killed in Iraq. Officials did not give any details of how the troops were killed.
2,500 of our troops have been killed in the war in Iraq, 18,490 wounded. Of those, 8,501 troops have been seriously wounded. The equivalent of an entire battalion of our troops is being killed or wounded in Iraq each and every month.
Top Iraqi officials are saying al Qaeda in Iraq is on the run. Military commanders say troops and police have killed more than 100 terrorists and insurgents after a U.S. airstrike killed al Qaeda's leader in Iraq last week. Officials today released new information about the new al Qaeda leader in Iraq.
John Vause reports from Baghdad.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new face of al Qaeda in Iraq. According to the U.S. military, his name is Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian who trained in Afghanistan, an expert they say in making the car bombs which have claimed thousands of lives here over the past three years.
In the week since Zarqawi was killed, U.S. officials say they've carried out more than 400 raids nationwide, many with Iraqi forces, making more than 700 arrests. And Iraq's national security advisor claims to have evidence that al Qaeda in Iraq is close to breaking point.
MOWAFFAQ AL-RUBAIE, IRAQI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We believe that this is the beginning of the end of al Qaeda in Iraq.
VAUSE: According to the Iraqis, the information was recovered from computer hardware and documents found in the rubble of Zarqawi's safe house and in raids before and after the airstrike. While CNN cannot verify the authenticity, there are extensive details of al Qaeda's concern over the growing number of Iraqi forces, the inability to attract new recruits, confiscation of weapons and ammunition, and a squeeze on funds. Described in the documents as "a crisis," al Qaeda outlined the blueprint for sparking a war between the U.S. and Iran by carrying out attacks and planting evidence to implicate the Iranians, leak false information that Iran has weapons of mass destruction and was planning a terrorist attack within the United States.
(on camera): Apparently, the plan was to create a second front to tie up U.S. forces and to take the pressure off al Qaeda fighters. They also had considered trying to draw more Iraqi Shiites into the conflict.
John Vause, CNN, Baghdad.
DOBBS: Iraq's national security adviser today insisted insurgents who have killed American troops in Iraq will not be freed under any amnesty program. The official told CNN the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, plans to have only a selective amnesty for prisoners who committed no crimes. The official statement follows a report in today's "Washington Post" that al-Maliki was considering pardons for insurgents who had killed American troops.
In Afghanistan, more than 100,000 American and coalition troops today intensified their offensive against radical Islamist terrorists and insurgents. That offensive is the biggest since U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban regime nearly five years ago.
Brent Sadler, with Canadian troops in Kandahar province, has our exclusive report.
BRENT SADLER, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Operation Mountain Thrust has been hitting the Taliban hard from the air and on the ground. It is a multi-national effort. These Canadian troops have been out here the past few days sweeping this area of Taliban insurgents.
(voice-over): The offensive is now shifting into high gear, calling on some 11,000 American, Canadian, British and Afghan forces.
COL. IAN HOPE, COMMANDER, TASK FORCE ORION: It is a multi- national effort where we'll have pressure on Taliban forces throughout the entirety of the southern region of Afghanistan. Simultaneous activity, which is all focused at disrupting them.
SADLER: Charlie Company Task Force Orion completes four days of fighting to determine Taliban at close quarters.
MAJ. BILL FLETCHER, CANADIAN ARMY: At which point two of our personnel were wounded. At that point in time, we had already had artillery, and as a cutoff when we brought in a 1,000-pound bomb to destroy the target and then finish the sweep-through.
SADLER: A tough mission all around. PVT. NATHAN COVENEY, CANADIAN ARMY: Yes, I'm glad to be back, but time kind of goes slow here and I like being out there where we're doing the business.
SADLER: The deadly business of defeating their Taliban enemy.
Brent Sadler, CNN, Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan.
DOBBS: Elsewhere in Kandahar province, insurgents killed at least seven people who worked at a coalition air base. The bomb exploded inside a minibus that carries Afghan workers to the base. Seventeen other people were wounded in the explosion. The base is the headquarters of coalition forces in southern Afghanistan.
Still ahead here, the Senate's pro amnesty immigration legislation will lead to a population explosion in the United States. We'll have a special report tonight on the true cost of the Senate's so-called comprehensive immigration reforms.
Also tonight, the Bush administration appears determined to override Congress and the will of the people in the battle over foreign takeovers of our airlines. We'll have a special report on another great American giveaway.
And is global warming an imminent threat to our planet? Two of the country's most distinguished climatologists join us here tonight to debate the competing scientific claims in this critically important debate.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: This broadcast commissioned a comprehensive nationwide poll on the issue of illegal immigration, border security, and legislation now under consideration on Capitol Hill. Tonight, the definitive findings of this authoritative survey which we believe is the most comprehensive conducted in decades.
Eighty-three percent of those polled say the police should be required to check a person's citizenship status when making an arrest. An overwhelming 91 percent say that welfare and social service agencies should check the citizenship status of those applying for assistance.
Forty-three percent say hospitals should be required to check citizenship status. And 91 percent of Americans surveyed agree that employers should check the citizenship of job applicants. And 52 percent believe new laws are necessary to prevent all illegal immigration, while 40 percent say enforcing existing loss on illegal immigration and border security should be sufficient.
On the question of whether illegal aliens help or hurt the economy, the results are clear. Only 30 percent of those surveyed say illegal immigrants benefit the economy by providing low-wage labor that allows businesses to keep prices low. Nearly 60 percent say illegal immigrants hurt our economy by using public services and driving down wages for other workers.
Tonight, this nation's leading experts on illegal immigration are warning of the true costs of the Senate's so-called comprehensive immigration reform. These immigration experts say the Senate's amnesty bill represents a grave threat to this nation and a violation of this country's rule of law.
Louise Schiavone reports.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the Senate immigration bill passes, get ready for a population explosion.
STEVEN CAMAROTA, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: About 14.4 million is our total estimate for the number...
SCHIAVONE: That, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, includes 7.4 million illegal aliens due legal status under the bill, 2.6 million legalized fraudulently, using things like phony documents and affidavits, plus 4.5 million family members now abroad who would join their legalized relatives. CIS says the estimates are based on what happened after passage of the 1986 amnesty bill.
And Senator Jeff Sessions says at first blush those immigrants don't seem poised to add much to their new homeland.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: We think under the bill that 70, 80 percent of the people in it will be low-skilled immigrants. We know about two-thirds, over 60 percent, at least, of those who are here illegally today and are proposed for amnesty are high school dropouts.
SCHIAVONE: With the sheer magnitude of the new population, critics say the Senate bill also poses a security risk.
MICHAEL MAXWELL, FMR. DIRECTOR, USCIS: There's a backlog of nearly 200,000 FBI fingerprint checks.
SCHIAVONE: For two years, Michael Maxwell headed Homeland Security's Office of Security and Investigations, USCIS.
MAXWELL: If the FBI does not respond to USCIS within 90 days, the alien applicants are automatically and without a fraud check granted temporary worker authorization. Out goes the employment authorization document. And with that comes the ability to get a Social Security card, driver's license, firearms permits, bank accounts, on to aircraft, through ports.
SCHIAVONE: Critics say the Senate bill, with its promise of eventual citizenship to those in the U.S. for a specific number of years, is a boon to phony document traffickers.
SCHIAVONE: Well, Lou, the Senate hasn't even sent its immigration bill to the House yet, mired now not just in mounting election year political concerns, but also a major procedural holdup -- Lou.
DOBBS: Louise, thank you.
Louise Schiavone from Washington.
In Utah, Governor John Huntsman has shut down a state-owned Web site that provides information on state health care services and driver's licenses in Spanish. Utah law designates English as the official language of that state. That law requires all state communications to be in English, except for health and public safety matters. The governor's office tells us it's reviewing the Web site to make sure it's in compliance with Utah's English as official language law.
As we've reported here, Governor Huntsman is a strong supporter of illegal immigration. Utah last year approved a law granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens. The governor wants to hire Mexican teachers to teach English to immigrants in Utah public schools.
For the record, we've invited Governor Huntsman to appear on this broadcast for some time. He's declined our invitations, despite the fact he accuses me of an unfair diatribe against both the Catholic and Mormon churches.
He's still with an open invitation to join us at any time.
Still ahead here, we continue our exclusive series of reports on our democracy at risk and the potential for massive voting fraud. Electronic voting machines are vulnerable to hackers. Our elected officials don't seem to care. Why not?
We'll have that report.
Also tonight, the Bush administration is ignoring the demands of Congress and the will of the American people. The Bush administration is pushing ahead with its efforts to give away to foreign ownership control of our airlines. We'll have that report.
And the devastating impact of illegal aliens on one border community is the subject of a provocative new documentary. I'll talk with the writer and director of "Cochise County USA" coming up next.
DOBBS: There are very serious questions in this country about electronic voting machines and their vulnerability to fraud, both of which are undermining confidence in our democracy. Now state officials who've bought electronic voting machines are blocking efforts in some cases to independently verify the accuracy of those machines. Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Half of all voters in Florida use touch-screen voting machines, and these machines are at the center of a controversy. State election officials say, "We have confidence in the systems we certify."
Florida wants local election officials to notify the state and the manufacturer before running any tests on the machines. But in 2005, in Florida, a county elections supervisor, Ion Sancho, authorized tests on Diebold voting systems and found security problems. Now he says the state of Florida wants to limit any testing they can't control.
ION SANCHO, LEON COUNTY ELECTION SUPERVISOR: Many elected officials across the country have staked their political careers on this e-voting equipment. Individuals who have made the decision to purchase technology, perhaps not knowing the extent of the vulnerabilities that may exist in that technology.
PILGRIM: Many states face the testing issue.
In California, an April 2004 staff report by the former secretary of state reads, "Some county officials have felt compelled to defend untested, unqualified and uncertified Diebold voting systems, having authorized large capital outlays..."
KATHLEEN WYNNE, BLACKBOX VOTING: It meant that these election officials really were at the mercy of the vendor to maintain the system, to upgrade it, to give them technical support.
PILGRIM: But California took steps to correct the problem. They called in an independent panel of experts to test Diebold equipment. And now the state requires safety seals on Diebold machines, certain system changes to Diebold equipment, and a paper record of each vote.
Diebold replied to concerns over its equipment saying, "There is a limited vocal group of individuals who are either adverse to technology in general or adverse to change in election technology. Unfortunately, a small number of these people have sensationalized very low-risk issues in an attempt to discredit electronic voting technology."
PILGRIM: Now, the real issue is how much proprietary information stays in the hands of voting machine manufacturers. With more rigorous independent testing, states will certainly be able to take some of the risk out of using some of those systems -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well, there is a move afoot to have paper trails, at least, involved in this. To what degree is that reassuring, or should we be reassured by that, Kitty? PILGRIM: We talked to California officials today who have mandatory paper trails and they say that clears up a lot of the issues.
DOBBS: All right. Well, it clears up some of them, certainly. And we're going to clear up the rest with our poll tonight.
The question tonight is: Do you believe we should abandon electronic voting entirely? Yes or no?
Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll bring you the results later here in the broadcast, as is our custom.
Also as our custom, your thoughts now.
Deborah in Indiana, "If the Catholic Church were truly concerned for the welfare of these illegal aliens, they have more than enough capacity to help them in Mexico, unless that isn't their real agenda."
Don in Alabama, "Citizenship is a requirement for voting. English is a requirement for citizenship. What's the problem?"
And Mark in Hawaii, "As an American of Philippine, Japanese and Polynesian descent, I appreciate and respect the culture, language and the religion of mine and others. However, I do not expect the U.S. government to function and/or operate by it."
Joyce in Arizona, "English-only ballots! And I am tired of 'Press one for English.'"
Marie in Pennsylvania, "Lou, my German-born grandmother told me almost 70 years ago, 'This is America, you speak English.'"
And Richard in Colorado, "This is America. I have the right to speak any language I want."
Send us your thoughts at LouDobbs.com. We'll have more of them later here in the broadcast.
Up next, the Bush administration wants to allow foreign investors to take control of U.S. airlines, but opposition is growing on Capitol Hill. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Congress has voted. The Bush administration doesn't care. That special report coming up.
And Mercedes Maharis moved to the Arizona desert for peace and quiet and found herself on the front line of our illegal alien crisis. She documented it. She's our guest.
And does al-Zarqawi's death spell the end of al Qaeda in Iraq? General David Grange joins me to assess the future of the insurgency and the prospects for U.S. success.
Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: The House has voted to block a Bush administration plan to allow foreign control of our airlines. Lawmakers from both parties, however, oppose that plan. But the Bush White House is determined to give away another piece of our critical national infrastructure and assets.
Bill Tucker reports.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Congress can't stop the Department of Transportation from giving away control of domestic airlines to foreign investors. It's not for lack of trying.
On Wednesday, the House attached an amendment to the transportation budget to stop DOT from proceeding, prompting this response from the Senate side: "The House vote sent a strong signal to President Bush. The American people don't want our nation's transportation system under foreign control -- not our ports, and certainly not our airlines." That from Senator Frank Lautenberg.
Yet, when asked by LOU DOBBS TONIGHT if the Department of Transportation would now back off of its proposed rule change, "No comment" was the response.
CAPT. PAUL RICE, VP, AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOC.: The insistence that the Department of Transportation continue with this notice of proposed rule making and just continue against everybody's wishes, everybody's stated wishes, and to avoid the proper debate that should be done in the House and in the Senate is nothing but arrogance.
TUCKER: DOT's position is that it doesn't have to work with Congress to change a 65-year-old law prohibiting foreign control of domestic airlines because it's not rewriting the law, just reinterpreting it, giving foreign investors control of route planning, ticket prices, plane purchases and staffing decisions.
REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON: This administration is hell bent on pushing forward because the Europeans have said, if you won't let us control your airlines, then you can't have an open skies agreement. Yet another meaningless free trade agreement that they can notch on their belt that will cost U.S. jobs.
TUCKER: Also at stake is something known as the Civilian Reserve Air Fleet Agreement, or CRAF. Under that agreement domestic airlines fly American troops and equipment overseas.
TUCKER: How important is that agreement? Well, just for Operation Iraqi Freedom more than 1.5 million military personnel have flown overseas on U.S. commercial aircraft, along with nearly 500,000 tons of equipment.
And the question, Lou, would be, how secure would you feel and the American public feel about those troops and that equipment on planes with allegiances outside the United States?
DOBBS: Well, as everyone has -- has testified on this issue. Is there a congressional committee? This nonsense, this idiotic nonsense by the Bush administration, they're just reinterpreting the law, what happened to President Bush's concern about those activist judges? What are we to think of activist transportation secretaries like Norm Mineta? Can we send a delegation up to Capitol Hill and grab him by his little ear and lead him to the truth?
TUCKER: You could, but he'll probably tell you he'll go ahead with this rule change anyway, Lou.
DOBBS: These people are so disgusting that it's beyond belief. Bill Tucker, thank you very much.
Tonight, a bold new educational initiative called the Kalamazoo promise has begun in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Now, under this plan, students will receive free college tuition at Michigan State Universities if they enter the Kalamazoo school system at kindergarten and remain in that school system through the 12th grade. Other students will receive substantial help with their college tuition as long as they enter the public school system by the ninth grade.
It's hoped that this program will attract families and businesses to Kalamazoo. And turn the city's struggling economy around after years of manufacturing job losses. And where is the money coming from? That's the really incredible, good, positive news. It's all being funded by anonymous donors.
The documentary "Cochise County, USA, Cries From the Border," is giving us a disturbing look at the real costs of border insecurity and our illegal immigration crisis. Cochise County, Arizona, lies directly on the U.S./Mexico border.
It is called the crossing point of choice for illegal aliens and drug smugglers entering this country. The documentary shows how illegal aliens crossing over into this country are overwhelming our government agencies, our local communities, causing crime rates to soar and ruining the quality of life for our citizens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is why I don't come out here anymore. And this is why I don't bring my kids out here. Which is a shame, because my wife and I bought our land out here so we could enjoy nature and so we can enjoy our kids. And now we can't even utilize our own lands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Starting a fire, you know, next to our house, my children and stuff, that it's scary, there's just way to many illegals. I think there's just too much coming in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Joining us tonight the writer/producer of "Cochise County, USA," Mercedes Maharis. She's also a Cochise County resident. The film is now out on DVD. It is good to have you with us.
MERCEDES MAHARIS, "COCHISE COUNTY, USA": Thank you very much.
DOBBS: A remarkable project, a remarkable documentary. What made you decide to do it?
MAHARIS: I felt that I had a social responsibility to speak out. Otherwise, I was condoning this very, very serious situation. I had the skills. I knew a little bit about putting things together. I never put anything together this complex, but it's on DVD for viewers to see and they can decide for themselves if this is a healthy situation.
DOBBS: Let's listen to the sheriff of Cochise County, who you document in your documentary, of his opinion of how to deal with this illegal alien crisis, if we can hear that, please.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COCHISE COUNTY SHERIFF: No social program, no economic development process can or will work unless we can control our borders. And until that's done, all the talk and rhetoric about other changes really is going to be meaningless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: That's the point we've been making on this broadcast now literally for years. And is it your sense that Washington is awakening to that, at least the House of Representatives?
MAHARIS: Yes, it may be a little too late, however.
DOBBS: Why do you say too late? I think you may be right, but I'd love to know your thoughts.
MAHARIS: I don't know how we can recover from the social, economic and environmental impact that we've felt in our dear little county of only 130,000 people. And we're just representative of many other border communities as well, that have spent millions and millions and millions of dollars without being reimbursed by the federal government and this is a federal problem, not our problem.
DOBBS: Not our problem. You also, a number of people from both sides of this debate have been, well, let's say less than embracing of your documentary. Tell us a little about that.
MAHARIS: Well, I supplied pictures and sound. It's up to each person to come away with their own truth.
MAHARIS: After experiencing this. And I have no control over what they think. I'm only a messenger.
DOBBS: And tell us about some of the legislators and their reaction. For example, Congressman Tom Tancredo. MAHARIS: Well, I worked with Mr. Heatherly, his assistant, and unfortunately, two or three people in his office saw it and said, we can't sponsor you on this because you have illegal immigrants in there. You have the ACLU in there. And, to me, that was very important to have a wide variety of voices from Cochise County, not just one certain group speaking. Because we're all in this together. It's, we're in this soup together, you know? And we need to know what all of us are thinking.
DOBBS: Well, how about the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Tucson. Bishop Gerald Tacanis (ph), his reaction?
MAHARIS: Well, I have to tell you that I was really distraught because I thought that church officials were supposed to care about everybody who was suffering and yes, he has tremendous compassion for the illegal immigrants, but what about us? What about property owners? So I was very disappointed.
DOBBS: And how about U.S. citizens?
MAHARIS: Well, of course. We are U.S. citizens who are property owners there. So it impacts on everyone. And I felt that we didn't get the compassion that we deserve for what we have to go through.
DOBBS: It's amazing. Do you have the sense now that you've done it, done the documentary, do you have the sense that it's going to have an influence on this dialogue, this national debate? It's taken us a long time to get to this national debate, this national dialogue, both parties are trying to just run this through quietly on the American people because, frankly, let's be really honest, no one in the U.S. government gave a damn about the working men and women in this country or their families. It's a group of elites who think they're just going to have their way with us.
MAHARIS: Yes. I see this as not a party problem. It's a human being problem. It's a sociological and anthropological challenge like we've never seen before. We need economists giving us all that they know. I've tried to put in my DVD the mayhem that is occurring to our organizations, our hospitals, our jails because we have to bear the brunt.
DOBBS: Mercedes Maharis, we thank you for being here. We know that we can get your DVD at amazon.com. Any other avenues to get that DVD?
MAHARIS: Yes, there are online retailers including amazon.com and at stores around the nation.
DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much. Mercedes Maharis, we appreciate it.
MAHARIS: Thank you.
DOBBS: Coming up next, Iraq's security chief says al Qaeda is on the run. General David Grange takes a look at the insurgency after the death of Zarqawi. Is global warming a threat to the nation or is it manageable? Two of the nation's leading climatologists disagree. They'll be here to debate the evidence, stay with us.
DOBBS: Iraq's national security adviser today declared al Qaeda in Iraq is on the run. His comments follow the killing of al Qaeda's leader in Iraq and the discovery of what officials say is, quote, "a treasure trove" of intelligence information.
General David Grange joins me now. General, this is almost, if you'll forgive me, too good to be true. Do you believe that indeed al Qaeda is now on the run?
BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I believe, Lou, they're on the run, but again it's going to be temporary unless they keep extensive momentum up and keep the pressure on. Now, they did have great intelligence from what I hear, and they're pursuing that, but if they let off, then they're going to -- you know, again, it's like water running. It's going to find a spot if there's any relaxing of these pressures.
DOBBS: Well, they apparently run something like 400 operations since Zarqawi was killed, which is a lot of pressure but at the same time, are reporting just a little over 100 insurgents have been killed as a result of those raids. Is that the kind of ratio that you think is sustainable in an effort to defeat an insurgency?
GRANGE: Well, in counter-guerrilla warfare, yes, it is. Because a lot of the hits that they've made in safe houses are only occupied at certain times. In other words, you may have 12 to 20 safe houses, you move between those. They're all hot tips. You hit them. You may pick up something in one and nothing in six others. So it's a good ratio.
DOBBS: The military, U.S. intelligence, indeed, al Qaeda itself saying that Egyptian-born Abu Ayyub al-Masri will replace al-Zarqawi. How reasonable it is to expect that the United States kill him any time soon?
GRANGE: Well, I think the odds are better this time because the network has improved vastly over the last year, going after Zarqawi. And because of that, I think that the actual intelligence is more readable to the forces. More Iraqis come forward because of the capture, the death of Zarqawi before. And so I think this guy is going to have a tough go at it. And so it will be easier than in the last year.
DOBBS: General David Grange, thank you, sir.
GRANGE: My pleasure.
DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight. The question is, do you believe we should abandon electronic voting entirely in this country, yes or no? Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results here in just a few moments.
Coming up next, two of the nation's leading climatologists join me to debate the imminent threat of global warming. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Global warming is perhaps the greatest scientific controversy of our day. The stakes couldn't be any higher, of course -- the future of our climate, our society, our planet. Some say melting glaciers and rising temperatures are the result of industrial emissions of greenhouse gases.
Unless we act now, they say, the polar ice caps will melt, the rising sea levels will inundate the coastal areas where most of the world's populations live, but others disagree on what is causing climate change and its impact.
John Christy is professor of atmospheric science and the director of the Earth Systems Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and he says there's no imminent threat of catastrophic global warming. And he joins us tonight from Huntsville. Good to have you with us.
And Kevin Trenberth is senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. And he believes the evidence is clear that global warming is a real problem and it is already happening. He joins us tonight from Boulder, Colorado. Good to have you with us.
KEVIN TRENBERTH, NATL. CTR. ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH: Good to be here.
DOBBS: Let me turn first, if I may, John Christy, we have the vice president of the United States now out pushing a film, every climatologist I've talked to acknowledges there's serious issues. There's a debate about timing. There's a debate about cycles. Why do you reject the idea that it's an imminent threat?
JOHN CHRISTY, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA: Well, I think the idea that it's an imminent threat is not verified in the data. And that's what we look at here a lot at UAH. We see some changes in some places, but other changes are not even identifiable.
Here in the south, for example, our temperature has fallen in the last 120 years. So when you look around at the kind of data sets we look at, we just don't see that catastrophic trend that people like to popularize.
DOBBS: Kevin Trenberth, can you disabuse John Christy?
TRENBERTH: Well, I don't think it's just an imminent threat. I think the threat is already here and the evidence is quite clear when you look around with the melting glaciers, with the rising sea level and, in particular, with widespread drought throughout especially a lot of Africa, other parts of the world, the drought in the western parts of the United States, the heavy rains and storms in the East, you know, damage from hurricanes like Katrina, you know, not that that's just global warming by any means, but all of these things are being affected by global warming already and the prospects are that they're only going to get worse.
DOBBS: John, do you agree with that idea that the power, the magnitude of the hurricanes that we've seen growing up in this cycle now in this hemisphere is attributable to global warming?
CHRISTY: Well, the evidence is still pretty controversial on whether the intensity has increased or not. And if you look at long- term records of some of these hurricanes, they're really systematic records. You don't really see a trend.
But, you know, I have a newsflash for you on the drought thing. Droughts have happened before. In fact, if you look at the western United States, you'll find that 1,000 years ago there were multidecadal droughts of very significant length. And so droughts are going to happen. That's part of the climate system.
DOBBS: You've created a map we want to share with our viewers tonight, measuring regional climate change globally from January 1979 to April of this year. If we could see that map. You say that globally there is temperature change. It is an average of a half degree Fahrenheit and that some areas are warmer, some cooler. Do you buy that, Kevin?
TRENBERTH: No, I don't. The temperatures have warmed about one degree Fahrenheit globally over the last 30 years. And the -- you know, having a major drought even if it was a thousand years ago still means that you need to worry about what the impact of that is going to be, and it has a cause.
And, you know, a lot of the patterns of the climate change and the storms are related to the interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean, things like El Nino. We can track those things going on and global warming is playing a role in changing all of those things.
DOBBS: Kevin, you once were John's teacher. John, this is a decided public rupture from your mentor, your teacher. Why are you looking at the world so differently now?
CHRISTY: I think I tend to look at the observations, and we built a lot of data sets here and have looked at a lot of others. So rather than come up with an idea based upon some feelings or beliefs about things, we try to look very hard at the data. The data don't show a lot of these catastrophic things that are selected and picked out for the consumption of the audiences in general.
DOBBS: Let me ask you both something. Because obviously respected climatologists such as yourselves are disagreeing. Most, I think we have to say, truly believe that global warming is a very serious threat. There's a considerable question about over what time period. But what is the down side to, first, just simply trying to do something about it?
To the degree that we control fossil emissions, why shouldn't we not? To the degree to which we have some opportunity, how great an opportunity I certainly don't know, but you gentlemen would, to forestall a, let's call it a problematic threat to the climate? What would be wrong with that idea, John?
CHRISTY: Well, the degree to which you control the climate is almost unmeasurable. That is how much control the humans can have on the climate at this stage. There's so much carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere, that trying to cut it down a large amount would require a massive switch to nuclear power or some kind of a coal based power that doesn't emit carbon dioxide.
So to the extent that you can do something measurable would be a very large impact on the economy. Having lived in Africa, I have seen what happens when people don't have access to affordable energy. It's a real problem. That's going to be hard to convince people to spend money on something for which they can't see a result.
DOBBS: Kevin, you've pointed to India and to China as principle players in the problem. First, why do you see them as a substantive part of the threat? And secondly, is there something meaningful, substantive that we can do?
TRENBERTH: I think that's indeed true. Because the United States is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases right now, but this problem is very much linked to energy and the United States has by far the largest emissions per capita in the world.
But because it is a per capita problem, the increased industrialization of places like China and India, at the moment China is about one-tenth what it is for the U.S. India's about 1/20th, but as they industrialize and increase their standards of living to become something closer to what we have here in the United States, this mounts a real problem for changes in composition of the atmosphere and potentially for climate.
And I think Americans should be concerned about that, simply from that standpoint and so showing leadership on the world stage, in order to address this problem, is something I think we should be stepping up to.
DOBBS: OK, I want leadership, gentlemen. And I want you, if I may ask Kevin, to tell us what we can do that is meaningful. John Christy is saying that we can operate only at the margin and have immeasurable, and by that I guess we shouldn't say immeasurable because it's an implication that we can have extensive control over the climate. He says basically no control over the climate. What's your answer?
TRENBERTH: Well, there is a lot of inertia in the system, both in the infrastructure that we have and also once carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, it stays there for a long time, and so we have to live with those consequences. That's all the more reason why we should begin to take actions now and reduce waste. Increase efficiency. Increase renewables. There's a whole raft of things to do.
DOBBS: I'm trying to get here, Kevin, is what will the result be marginal? Will it be gradualism of such a minute amount that it will have little to no impact?
TRENBERTH: I think it will have substantial impact. And in particular, the rates of change are 10 to 100 times anything that occurs naturally which the climate system and ecosystems can adapt to. And it's likely, therefore, to be disruptive, even if the climate changes in a way that might be better in some sense, at least for a while. It is going to be such a rapid change that it's likely to be disruptive and it will cause ...
DOBBS: Kevin, I'm sorry. We're out of time. We appreciate it. Kevin Trenberth, we thank you. John Christy, thank you. We hope you'll come back and as we continue to focus on this critically important and still little understood issue. Thank you very much, gentlemen.
Coming up at the top of the hour THE SITUATION ROOM with Wolf Blitzer, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks Lou, Bill Gates calls it quits. The co-founder of Microsoft announces his plans to become a full time philanthropist.
On Capitol Hill a bitter political tug of war over the war in Iraq. Stay the course or withdraw, we have the hot rhetoric. And, who is afraid of Hillary Rodham Clinton? Her Republican opponent for the Senate says Republican leaders are the ones who are most afraid and he uses a Vietnam War analogy to make his point, Mary Snow will have his story. All that, Lou, coming up at the top of the hour.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Wolf. Still ahead here, we'll have your thoughts and the results of your poll tonight.
DOBBS: Well, now the results of our poll. Eighty five percent of you say we should abandon electronic vote in this country entirely. Finally tonight a look at some of your thoughts.
Kathleen in Wisconsin: "Dear Lou, a raise? Did I see and hear that right? In my job if I ignored my customers the way Congress ignores their constituent, I'd be under disciplinary action, I wouldn't get a raise. Is this for real?" You better believe it.
And Mitch in New York: "Insult, outrage and anger, the feelings of the 98 percent of Americans that actually work for their money. Congress thinks they deserve a raise just for showing up. What have they done to get raise?"
Marta in Delaware: "How hardheaded can our government be? Face the facts, other immigrants came and learned English. So if immigrants want to vote, learn to read English."
And Fran in Connecticut: "To remain a melting pot, we need to communicate. How can we merge ideas and address problems if we don't all understand English? If you want to vote, you learn English." And Sondra in Arizona: "You have to be a citizen to vote. You have to speak English to become a citizen. So there is no reason the ballot should be in any other language."
And "Lou, I'm sorry," says DK in South Carolina, "but I cannot answer your poll question. Could you please post it in German?"
And Susan in Pennsylvania: "Lou, since there is supposed to be a separation of church and state and the church is being politically active in their support of amnesty for illegal aliens, they should forfeit their tax except status."
And Martin in Ohio: "I think if churches feel the need to influence government, then perhaps it's time for them to pay property, corporate income, and sales taxes like the rest of us."
And Tom in California: "Lou, I think Ford should be recognized for doing their part to stop illegal immigration by laying off thousands of U.S. workers to allegedly invest $9.2 billion dollars in Mexico and shipping all those jobs to Mexico."
We have just recognized them, and as you are so correct, they deserve such recognition. We love hearing your thoughts, please send them to us at LouDobbs.com. Each of you, whose email is read here, receives a copy of my book, "Exporting America."
We thank you for being with us tonight. Please, join us here tomorrow. For all of us, thanks for watching. Good night from New York, THE SITUATION ROOM begins right now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
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