Return to Transcripts main page
Lou Dobbs Tonight
U.S. Increasing Troop Numbers in Afghanistan; Dems Accuse Cheney of Being 'Delusional' on Iraq
Aired January 25, 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, as President Bush struggles to defend his conduct of this war, the president is sharply increasing the number of our troops in Afghanistan and asking Congress now for billions more to fight radical Islamist terrorists there.
We'll have a special report for you from the Pentagon.
President Bush facing a revolt within his own party to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and his failure to secure what are now our wide open borders.
We'll have that special report and a great deal more straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Thursday, January 25th.
Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
Two days after declaring that al Qaeda has been driven out of its safe haven in Afghanistan, President Bush is increasing U.S. troop strength in that country. The military is extending the tour of deputy of an entire combat brigade, more than 3,000 troops, and at the same time, President Bush is asking Congress for almost $11 billion more in financial aid for Afghanistan. This new U.S. commitment to Afghanistan comes as the Bush White House is sending more than 21,000 additional troops to Iraq.
Insurgents today killed another of our troops and almost 40 Iraqi civilians.
Jamie McIntyre reporting from the Pentagon on the escalating U.S. commitment on the war in Afghanistan.
Arwa Damon reports from Baghdad on the latest round of violence there.
And Dana Bash reporting from Capitol Hill tonight on the president's struggle to convince members of Congress and his own party to support his strategy in Iraq.
We turn first to Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, in Afghanistan, the Taliban is back, al Qaeda is regrouping, and NATO is short of troops. Those are not good trends.
MCINTYRE (voice over): The slowness of America's allies and NATO to provide more troops has forced the U.S. to keep 3,200 soldiers from the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan an extra four month to battle the resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda, who are expected to stage another deadly spring offensive. A handful of those U.S. soldiers had already reunited with family members in Fort Drum, New York, this week, only to learn they will have to do an about-face and go back.
The problem is, despite the presence of 31,000 NATO troops, including 11,000 Americans, attacks in the south are up 200 percent. U.S. commanders say a big reason is that al Qaeda have been operating freely from sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan ever since Pakistan's made a deal to rely on tribal leaders to keep al Qaeda in check.
A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan are full. But Pakistan's president, a staunch U.S. ally, insists he's doing all he can.
PRES. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTAN: We are tackling them with 50,000 troops. So let it not be said that Pakistan is not doing enough. If there's anybody who is not doing enough, it is others who are not doing enough.
MCINTYRE: And, in fact, the other big problem is, just like in Iraq, the performance of local Afghan security forces, especially the police, has been spotty. So, in addition to more troops, the Bush administration now plans to pour more money into Afghanistan. More than $10 billion -- $8 billion for police training and equipment and $2 billion for construction, things like roads.
SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Afghanistan could be a real producer of various types of agricultural products, but some of those are perishable. And by the time -- with the current road system, by the time you get those -- those goods to market, they're no good.
MCINTYRE: And after months of foot-dragging, Lou, NATO has finally agreed to send the rest of the troops it promised last year. Even so, U.S. and NATO commanders are warning they'll probably need even more troops by summer -- Lou.
DOBBS: As you say, not the best of trends.
Thank you very much,
Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.
Two hundred ninety-six of our troops have been killed fighting radical Islamists in Afghanistan. More than 1,100 other troops have been wounded in that war.
In the war in Iraq, insurgents today killed another of our troops. The soldier was killed northwest of Baghdad by a roadside bomb.
Sixty-three of our troops have been killed in Iraq this month, 3,063 of our troops since the beginning of the war. 23,114 of our troops wounded, 10,278 of them so seriously they could not return to duty within three days.
Insurgents and terrorists today killed nearly 40 people in Baghdad, all Iraqis. The enemy also fired rockets into the supposedly secure Green Zone. Six people were wounded.
This latest round of violence comes one day after U.S. and Iraqi troops fought fierce battles against insurgents a mile from the Green Zone.
Arwa Damon reports now from Baghdad -- Arwa.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, at least 38 Iraqis were killed, another 100 wounded in violence just in Baghdad. And Iraqi police found 40 unidentified bodies strewn across the capital.
The deadliest attack, a suicide car bomber exploded at a busy part of the city, killing at least 26 Iraqis. That explosion taking place in the heart of the capital, not too far from the heavily fortified Green Zone, where just hours earlier Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was asking lawmakers to support his new plan to bring down the violence here.
We have seen part of that plan moving forward with yesterday's gun battles on Haifa Street that lasted for eight hours and pitted once again Sunni extremists against U.S. and Iraqi forces. We traveled back down to Haifa Street today to see what the situation there was like, and it was in fact relatively calm.
In one part of the street, where a lot less of the fighting occurred, we saw children playing soccer. But where most of the fighting was concentrated, it really was something of a ghost town. The snipers, the battle, the fighting, the intimidation had driven most residents away. And those that did remain behind for the most part too afraid to step outside -- Lou.
DOBBS: Arwa Damon from Baghdad.
The political battle over the war intensifying on Capitol Hill today. Democrats accusing Vice President dick Cheney of being "delusional" for saying the United States has had enormous successes in Iraq. Meanwhile, Senator John McCain, a strong supporter of the president's troop increase, said he may introduce his own Senate resolution on the conduct of this war.
Dana Bash reports now from Capitol Hill -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, first on the vice president's comments to CNN yesterday about Iraq, it certainly is -- many of the things he said are stirring some controversy here on Capitol Hill, especially among Democrats. The number two Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, in an off-camera briefing with reporters this morning, said that -- took aim at the vice president because of what he and other Democrats believe are the vice president's rosy-scenario descriptions, continued rosy-scenario descriptions of Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line is that we've had enormous successes, and we will continue to have enormous successes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), MAJORITY WHIP: To have Vice President Cheney suggest that we have had a serious of enormous successes in Iraq is delusional. I don't understand how he can continue to say those things while the president calls them slow failure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Meanwhile, with regard to the continued debate over a possible Senate resolution, or multiple Senate resolutions in the coming weeks on the floor condemning the president, we just learned that Senator John Warner, the senior Republican from Virginia, has decided to push his own resolution when it comes up for the debate. Perhaps next week, perhaps the week after.
That will be in addition to what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on yesterday. So we will see at least two resolution says trying to condemn the president in terms of increasing troop levels in Iraq.
That is why we saw one of the most vocal supporters of increasing troops in Iraq, John McCain, come out today and say that he, in order to try to blunt the political impact of those one or two resolutions, he is going to introduce his own, perhaps establish some benchmarks of that strategy to make clear that it's actually working, and also increase congressional oversight over that new strategy -- Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you, Dana.
Dana Bash from Capitol Hill.
New evidence tonight that smugglers and criminals are trying to sell radical Islamist terrorists materials with which to build nuclear weapons. Intelligence agents in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia have foiled an attempt to sell weapons-grade uranium. The price, $1 million. A Russian citizen tried to sell that uranium to an undercover agent posing as a radical Islamist.
Jeanne Meserve reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The case involved only a small amount of nuclear material but the most dangerous kind.
LAURA HOLGATE, NUCLEAR THREAT INITIATIVE: Highly-enriched uranium is the raw material of nuclear terrorism. And this is directly usable by terrorists in creating a bomb of the character of the one that was dropped on Hiroshima.
MESERVE: Computer models show the detonation of even a small nuclear weapon in a U.S. city would kill tens of thousands of people instantaneously.
CHAM DALLAS, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: This is uranium -- uranium 235. That's all you need. That's the volume that they would need for a nuclear weapon.
MESERVE: The 100 grams of uranium in this case, a tiny fraction of what would be needed. But the smuggler claimed to have much more. Whether he did is unclear.
What is clear is that America's enemies are eager to buy nuclear materials and use them.
MATTHEW BUNN, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Al Qaeda has repeatedly attempted to purchase material for a nuclear bomb. They have attempted to recruit nuclear weapons scientists from Pakistan and elsewhere. So this is -- it's not just a hypothetical worry.
MESERVE: The number of reports of illegal diversion, purchase and storage of nuclear and radiological materials around the world is growing. In 2000, there were 100 cases. By 2005, the number had more than doubled to 215. Thought the 2006 figure just released shows a drop to 140, that does not lessen authority's concern.
LINTON BROOKS, FMR. NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMIN.: We have no reason to believe that there's enough material in any bad guy's hands for a weapon. But you never know what you don't know.
MESERVE: By analyzing incidents of nuclear trafficking, scientists at Sandia National Laboratory say they may some day be able to predict who is building a nuclear weapon and where.
MESERVE: But for now, experts agree what is needed are more robust international efforts, particularly involving Russia, to find nuclear material and secure it -- Lou.
DOBBS: Jeanne, thank you.
Jeanne Meserve from Washington.
Coming up next, a new rebellions by Republicans who are furious at the president's plan to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. That special report upcoming.
Also, startling new demands by the pro-illegal alien lobby. Now it wants to end the enforcement of our immigration laws.
We'll have that story.
And communist China may have used American technology in its first anti-satellite missile test. Will the United States government toughen export controls that have been lax for almost a decade?
We'll have that report as well, and a great deal more, straight ahead.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: House Republicans tonight are preparing to fight the president's so-called comprehensive immigration reform legislation that is now being pushed by the Democratic leadership in the Congress. But congressmen who believe in strong action to strengthen our borders and to stop illegal immigration are facing a tough fight, and they're offering one as well.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Bush is facing an all-out revolt in his party. Mainstream Republicans are abandoning him. Not over the war, but on immigration.
REP. ED ROYCE (R), CALIFORNIA: Once again, we see that the president is pushing amnesty, and he's doing it without any thoughts about how we're going to fix the current system.
SYLVESTER: Republican Congressman Sam Johnson called the White House ideas "empty and implausible."
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers...
SYLVESTER: In his State of the Union Address, President Bush reiterated a plan to give millions of illegal aliens citizenship and to create a guest worker program. The applause came from the Democratic side.
Republicans say no matter how the White House dresses it up, giving green cards to illegal aliens is amnesty and unfair to those who waited in line.
REP. TOM TANCREDO (R), COLORADO: They're suckers. That's the message you send when you give people who are here illegally amnesty. Even when you say you have to pay a fine and learn English. Because frankly, if that's the case, if that's the way we do it, why don't we just say, "Wherever you are in the world, send us a check, we'll send you your card"?
SYLVESTER: Senator Ted Kennedy will introduce a comprehensive amnesty bill in the Senate this spring, but the battle is on the House side. Democrats have a solid majority. However, it includes a number of conservative Democrats who oppose the president's plan.
STEVE CAMAROTA, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: In the House, assuming that 80 percent of Republicans continue to oppose the president's amnesty, if they get about 40 or 50 Democrats, and they might, to oppose it as well, then it'll stop
SYLVESTER: The illegal alien amnesty debate has created strange political dynamics. Democrats are aligned with and supporting a Republican president. Republican lawmakers are working to defeat the Republican president's proposals.
SYLVESTER: Most Republican lawmakers feel the president is just completely tone deaf on this issues because he's pandering to special interests -- corporate America looking for cheap labor, and Hispanic activist groups pursuing ethnic interests, while both Democrats and Republicans seek Hispanic votes -- Lou.
DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much.
Lisa Sylvester from Washington.
One Republican congressman who opposes amnesty for illegal aliens today make his bid for the presidency official -- Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, a strong advocate of securing our nation's borders and ports. Congressman Hunter supports the construction of a fence along our southern border with Mexico as a matter of national security.
Hunter also supports the president's plan to raise the number of our troops in Iraq. He says the United States is obligated to complete its mission there. He was also two weeks ago the winter of a Straw Poll in Arizona over Senator John McCain in a preference for his party's nomination.
Illegal alien advocacy groups tonight are demanding that the federal government stop altogether the arrest and deportations of illegal aliens. The illegal alien lobby also wants permanent U.S. residency for every illegal alien already in this country. The advocacy groups appear to be funded by so-called immigrant rights foundations supported by corporate America, as well as by membership fees, of course.
Casey Wian reports.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: The house will come...
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Saying they're empowered by the Democrats' control of Congress, a coalition of illegal alien advocacy groups is, in effect, demanding an end to immigration law enforcement in the United States.
GLORIA SAUCEDO, HERMANDAD MEXICANA: We come here to request the president to stop the deportation in the race because it's not good for the country
WIAN: The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities is in Washington, D.C., lobbying lawmakers to support its so-called new course on immigration reform. Among its demands, unlimited amnesty for illegal aliens.
ANGELA SANBRANO, CENTRAL AMERICAN RESOURCE CENTER: Every migrant already residing in the United States who's contributing to the well- being in progress of the nation of good moral character and to whom our current laws deny the possibility to be legal permanent residents should be granted such opportunity.
WIAN: The group also wants illegal aliens now in the United States to receive priority in any future guest worker program and a guarantee of legal permanent residency for foreign workers.
OSCAR CHACON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NALACC: We're not talking any privilege for foreigners. We're talking about the same rights. We work hard. We pay taxes. So why shouldn't we have the same rights, you know, as everybody else?
WIAN: The activists did not say how the United States should determine which illegal aliens are of good moral character. Nor did they say if activities, such as paying a smuggler to illegally cross the border, violating the law by overstaying a visa, or committing document fraud, would be exempt from a moral litmus test. They did demand debt forgiveness for all impoverished Latin American nations and the expansion of multilingual, multicultural education in the United States.
WIAN: The activists say congressional support for their proposals is shallow for now, but they did express optimism they can persuade lawmakers to back their broad amnesty agenda -- Lou.
DOBBS: And we would, of course, invite any one of those congressmen who would support such a sweeping entitlement approach to be on this broadcast to persuade -- to persuade us that that's an appropriate course.
Who is funding this alliance?
WIAN: A broad range of folks. They have members. They say they have got 80 different community-based groups.
Some of the organizations that have given money to those groups include a fund run by George Soros, the Oracle Foundation, the Irvine Foundation, big-name philanthropists and local community activists -- Lou. DOBBS: OK.
Casey, thank you very much.
A criminal illegal alien today pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of a California police officer. Police officials say Jorge Garcia shot Los Angeles County deputy David March (ph) in the chest and killed him, and then fled to Mexico in 2002. Garcia was captured in Mexico last February. He was finally turned over to U.S. law enforcement officials on January 9th. A preliminary hearing has been set for early March.
Up next here, a new plan to stop illegal aliens from stealing your identity. Senator Wayne Allard, who wrote the legislation, is among our guests here tonight.
And communist China accelerating its aggressive military build-up using U.S. technology. We'll have that report.
And abusive credit card practices draining the income of hard- pressed middle class families and enriching those credit card companies. The Senate has decided to take a look.
We'll have that report and a great deal more. And I'll try to provide the answers that I neglected to give Rosie O'Donnell this morning on "The View."
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Over the objections of U.S. multinational corporations and the communist Chinese government, the U.S. Commerce Department has apparently decided to reverse its policy direction of recent years and is preparing to toughen export controls of U.S. technology to China.
Christine Romans has the report.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Communist China's newly-demonstrated ability to launch a satellite-killing missile has led to calls for tougher limits on the so-called dual-use technology that American companies have been selling to the Chinese for years.
RICHARD FISHER, INTERNATIONAL ASSESSMENT & STRATEGY CENTER: I would point to the recent anti-satellite test on January 11 as a textbook example of the dangers of American and Western technology leaking to China.
ROMANS: The technology transfer has been less a leak than a torrent, despite an arms embargo that's been in place since the massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989. China has, in fact, swiftly modernized its military with the American know-how and technology. And while the Commerce Department wants to strengthen those export controls now, American business is still resisting. And American allies will sell China high-technology the U.S. won't.
WILLIAM DOBSON, MANAGING ED., FOREIGN POLICY: Export controls don't work in isolation. We cannot unilaterally impose export controls on any country and expect them to work unless we have the support of our allies
ROMANS: The reality is America restricts very little of its exports to China. In 2005, only six percent of American imports to China required special licenses, and a mere $12.5 million in exports were declined. And the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recently found that there is only one U.S. export control officer stationed in China. "This makes it easier for militarily- sensitive U.S. materials and technology to be misused or diverted."
ROMANS: One lonely control officer in the face of more than $40, $41, $42 billion in American exports to China. The Chinese leadership is quick to remind the U.S. that, in its judgment, the best way to rein in the staggering deficit, even at the margin, is to sell more high technology to China.
So they would like to see more of these sales, not less.
DOBBS: Well, at least the Chinese are offering a solution, whereas the U.S. and most of the business associations of this country haven't done even that much.
The idea that this can continue, I'm surprised, frankly, that whether the Democratic or the Republican side, that there has not been an uproar in Congress.
ROMANS: You know, people like Rick Fisher, who was in our piece, and a lot of other folks have been watching this for at least 15 years now, Lou, they say too much technology might have already passed. Export controls might completely be a moot point at this point because so much has already gone there.
DOBBS: Well, my favorite statistic in your report...
DOBBS: ... is with 1.3 billion people in China, and all of those exports, technology, we have one export control officer sitting there waiting to allow all of that to wash over. And we talk about productivity and efficiency? That's certainly it.
Christine, thank you.
Time now for some of your thoughts. Let's take a look at them.
Tom in Iowa, "If we could harness all the hot air that comes out of Washington to heat our homes, we could be less dependent on foreign oil."
You've got a point. We'll have too execute that alternate energy proposal.
Randall in Texas said, "You recently asked, why is George Bush out of touch with the American people?" Now, that is not exactly what we asked, but we take your point. His answer is, "Because he does not watch the Lou Dobbs show."
I'm sure he's -- I'm not sure he's watching at all. You're probably right.
Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com. More of your thoughts coming up here later in the broadcast.
Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book, "War on the Middle Class."
And if you would, go to my commentary on CNN.com and loudobbs.com about two new voices in our nation's capital that I recommend you listen to on the ongoing conflict in Iraq and our relationship with the Middle East.
And now our poll question.
Do you support legislation that would prohibit any efforts to create a North American union among the United States, Canada and Mexico? Yes or no?
Please cast your vote at loudobbs.com. Results upcoming.
And next, I'll be talking with one of the top supporters, some say the architect of those ideas to create a big old North America union. Robert Pastor joins us from Washington.
And credit card companies under fire for sky-high interest rates, late fees, and all sorts of other penalties that they're charging America's struggling middle class. We'll have that report.
And senator Wayne Allard joins us. He has a plan to stop illegal aliens from using stolen Social Security numbers. He'll be our guest as well.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Consumers have run up almost a trillion dollars in debt on their credit cards. Consumers pay almost $15 on every $100 of personal disposable income just to make interest payments on that debt. With consumer debt at record levels, the Senate Banking Committee is turning its focus on the credit card industry and the way it's doing business.
Bill Tucker reports on today's Senate Banking Committee hearing.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chairman Christopher Dodd began the hearing with some advice for the credit card companies.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD, (D) CT: Irrespective of the current legalities of such practices you should take a long hard look at how you treat your customers.
TUCKER: Six thousand companies issue credit cards, 640 million credit cards are in circulation, adding up to lots of debt.
ROBERT MANNING, "CREDIT CARD NATION": I've heard the term $9,300 is the average household debt. But of the three out of five households that actually carry a debt, it's over $13,000.
TUCKER: That debt, a burden for consumers but a boom to the credit card companies.
ELIZABETH WARREN, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: They made $79 billion last year in interest and late fees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Interest and late fees are two different things.
WARREN: That's absolutely true although ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The late fees are the tricks and traps. The interest is the legitimate ...
WARREN: A 29 percent interest rate for being a few days late is not within the range of legitimate.
TUCKER: Legitimate or not, the credit card companies hold almost uncheck power over consumers.
MICHAEL DONOVAN, ATTORNEY: Gentlemen, the credit card is one of the only credits throughout the common law of the United States and the common law of any country in which the superior bargaining entity has the right to change its terms at anytime.
TUCKER (on camera): Last year, consumers paid $17 billion in late fees alone. Lou, to put that in perspective, that's 10 times the amount the credit cards collected only a decade ago.
DOBBS: Well, the Senate is taking a look at this. Last year the credit card companies -- actually 2005, the credit card companies wrote the bankruptcy law of 2005. Does this suggest that the Senate's actually going to do something about it?
TUCKER: Today, Senator Dodd was content to put them on notice, Lou. Saying you need to clean up your own act or we're going to step in it and do it for you. And at the moment, not committed to going any further than that.
DOBBS: OK. Bill Tucker, thank you.
There are new proposals to protect working Americans from having their identities stolen by illegal aliens and others. Identity theft, of course, is one way that illegal aliens obtain Social Security numbers so that they can work in the United States. They use those stolen numbers to meet company hiring requirements. I'm joined now by the author of new legislation to stop identity theft. Senator Wayne Allard from Colorado, Republican, good to have you here.
SEN. WAYNE ALLARD, (R) CO: Thank you, Lou. It's good to be with you.
DOBBS: I know you got involved after the raids on the Swift meat packing plant, six states, including your own, Colorado. What made you get involved?
ALLARD: Well, first of all, it's a major employer in the State of Colorado. I've always been involved in agricultural issues, which I don't think should surprise anybody, since I'm a veterinarian and very close to the agricultural industry. And also was concerned at the rate of the Swift & Companies and how it was that the raid came about and how it was conducted, how it affected both employees as well as employers, and in talking with the Secretary Chertoff of homeland security, he informed me there's no sharing of information between the Social Security Administration and Homeland Security when they're trying to do identification investigations.
So I.D. thefts are being rampant out this and they're not sharing that information between the various agencies like Congress expected.
DOBBS: Now you sound, if I may say senator, like you sort of are concerned about the company they're hiring on all of those illegal aliens in six states. Are you saying that ICE should have done something differently there as well?
ALLARD: No, I think ICE did a great job. And I support what ICE did. But what I'm concerned about is stolen IDs and what is happening is these individuals whose ID gets stolen, it might be used a number of times simultaneously throughout the country and they don't find out about it until later on.
DOBBS: But, senator, many people insist on calling those folks undocumented workers. They have got all of the documents in the world. They're just fraudulent. Let me ask you this ...
ALLARD: They are just not their documents.
DOBBS: Exactly. And the idea that government agencies are not cooperating, the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and DHS, that can be overcome by your legislation?
ALLARD: Well, it can be dealing with just one aspect of it and that is to make the Social Security ID numbers when there's duplication available to agencies like Homeland Security.
DOBBS: You know, senator, I want to turn to one other subject here real quickly. But I just want to say, those we have talked with, and actually reported on the show, certainly as between the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security, the president of the United States with an executive order could solve this problem straight away. And it's a shame that he has not chosen to do that.
ALLARD: Well, I'm told that it's in law that prevents the Social Security Agency from sharing that. So that's what our legislation is all about. To change that law.
DOBBS: Well, we commend you for doing so.
ALLARD: Thank you.
DOBBS: We want to commend you for doing something else, and that is keeping a campaign promise. You're actually going to - you're not going to run again because you promise not to, what's wrong with you?
ALLARD: Well, term limits started in Colorado. It's important to the people of Colorado. I made that promise. I'm going to keep it.
DOBBS: Senator Allard, you've probably got -- you have to return to the spirit of the place you're in tonight. We compliment you, we commend you and we think you are terrific.
ALLARD: Thank you, you are very kind. Thank you.
DOBBS: Coming up, a look at the warm and funny welcome Stephen Colbert gave me on this program last night. I think you are going to like a metaphor that he created for some of the issues that we deal with on this program.
And some tough questions for one of the architects of a plan to create a United States of North America. A North American Union or something like that. We'll be talking about it.
And we'll examine whether U.S. reinforcements being sent to Iraq can prevail. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Two years ago the Council on Foreign Relations published a report titled "Building a North America Community." among the goals expressed, to break down trade regulations between the United States and Canada. Between Canada and Mexico and of course, then the United States. But without congressional approval or certainly without congressional oversight or voter approval.
Critics call the plan the North America Union. And many say that it would ultimately destroy U.S. sovereignty.
Robert Pastor is a member of the group that broke the original report. He joins us tonight. It's good to have you with us.
ROBERT PASTOR, CENTER FOR NORTH AMERICAN STUDIES: Thank you very much.
DOBBS: Robert Pastor, you were co-chairman of an independent task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, and in this report titled "Building a North American Community" the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass states, "The Task Force's central recommendation is establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security of community, the boundaries of which would be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter."
At this point what is the basis for moving forward on that?
PASTOR: Well, the United States, Canada and Mexico now are already the largest free trade area in the world. We have $800 billion worth of trade. This is a source of comparative advantage for the United States. But the council report feels that we could take greater advantage if we were deepen economic integration, if we can secure ourselves better, not only at our borders, but also by thinking about continental security perimeter as well.
DOBBS: Why would you think about, just out of curiosity, a common security perimeter when the United States does not have secure ports nor does it have anything approaching secure borders?
PASTOR: Well, it's precisely because our ports are not secure and our borders are not secure that we need to find not only better ways to do that but also better ways to turn our two neighbors into partners to enhance our security and to enhance our prosperity as well.
DOBBS: And that can't be done with sovereign nations? There has to be integration of an economy? A customs union, if you will? And a common security perimeter?
PASTOR: I think the vision defined in that report is one of three sovereign nations cooperating with each other to deepen economic integration, to create a common external tariff, to improve our economies and to secure ourselves better.
DOBBS: Let me ask you, the Banff meeting in September of last year. You were there, weren't you?
PASTOR: I was.
DOBBS: And representatives of all three governments. Military, business, economic ministers and commerce officials. Why was the press not permitted to be there?
PASTOR: Well, there were press in the room. But the leaders of the three groups decided that they wanted to keep the discussions active and vigorous, and therefore confidential.
My personal view is that I would have preferred for the meeting to have issued a statement or a report afterwards. And I hope that if the group comes together again that they'll do that.
DOBBS: Under what authority are they coming together?
PASTOR: Oh it was a conference.
DOBBS: I know it's a conference. I'm asking what authority?
PASTOR: I think the three leaders. One was George Schultz from the United States. Peter Lougheed, the former premier of Alberta, Pedro Aspe, a former minister of finance of Mexico. Just assembled a group of about 75 people.
DOBBS: Just willy-nilly, got together.
PASTOR: Oh yes, don't you attend conferences from time it time to learn about the world.
DOBBS: No I prefer frankly to learn about the world through travel, my reporting, my reading and studying. The fact of the matter is, I really have an aversion to conferences altogether. But I know that some people make a living on them. Who is paying for all of this?
PASTOR: Well I was not organizing that. You'll have to get to the organizers of the conference. I think foundations. There may have been some corporate sponsorship as well. I was just invited to it.
DOBBS: Right, you also are considered by many to be the architect of this North America Union, or competitors council as it's coming forward.
I would like to ask you something, I found rather curious in the North America Forum. Saying, "While a vision is appealing, working" - this, by the way, brought forward by Judicial Watch through freedom of information.
"While a vision is appealing, working on the infrastructure might yield more benefit and bring more people on board, evolution by stealth."
Why should anyone in this country, Mexico or Canada, presuming they're interested in the sovereign rights and power of their respective nation, tolerate this kind of elitist nonsense?
PASTOR: Well, I'm not sure what you mean by elitist nonsense. I think ...
DOBBS: I would be glad to explain it.
PASTOR: Well, go ahead. DOBBS: The fact of the matter is that government relations are defined by our Constitution. And this is an attempt to integrate economies without the approval of the elected officials of the country and without transparency of any kind or consideration of the part of the elites who are combing behind this idea. We have a North America Free Trade agreement with very specific methodologies and appropriate processes to follow. None of that is being followed here.
PASTOR: Surely you of all people would not want to criticize freedom of speech. You don't want to criticize an opportunity ...
DOBBS: I wouldn't criticize it at all. As a matter of fact I'm so thrilled with the freedom of press and the public's right to know, I'd like it see it fully transparent to all of us. Wouldn't you?
PASTOR: Well, I couldn't agree with you are.
DOBBS: Well, why don't you talk it on your folks and say, let's get this thing straightened out and let's talk about what we're really talking about.
PASTOR: Well I think -- I commend you for beginning a discussion, which we ought to have on a national level about how to relate to our neighbors to enhance our security and enhance our prosperity as well. That's exactly what this is about. And there has been inadequate understanding of that.
And frankly very timid acts by each of the three governments. So I would like to see ...
DOBBS: Well you call them timid, I call them absolutely arrogant. And I'm one of those folks when you say stealth I get awfully excited about it. I know lots of other Americans do too. And certainly I bet you - I haven't talked with the Canadians or the Mexicans, but the fact is when individuals start taking on sort of super-governmental initiatives without either approval or direction of elected officials, it gets to be problematic, don't you think?
PASTOR: Well, you're certainly not suggesting that nobody should talk about these issues. In fact I would like to talk about them with you as well. Let's talk about, for example, how to enhance our prosperity among the three countries. I think we should move towards to negotiate a customs union. A common external tariff.
DOBBS: Well, I think ...
PASTOR: I don't think it makes any sense for us to have rules of origin procedures on our borders.
DOBBS: Let me -- We'll continue this conversation. We're out of time but let me just respond quickly to that one. I think that when we worry about prosperity with a $75 billion trade deficit with Canada, a $50 billion trade deficit with Mexico in such a asymmetrical, the nature of all of these economies, that I would like some more thoughtful people than you've aggregated to take on the issue but I'll be glad to continue on this issue and looking forward to talking to you in the next few weeks.
PASTOR: Well, I do to. You just call me up any time.
DOBBS: Thank you, Robert Pastor.
You have got it, partner.
When Stephen Colbert surpassed himself, in my opinion, last night when I was a guest on his opinion. We thought we would like it see his take on illegal immigration and how he brilliantly introduced both the subject and the segment in which I appeared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": My guest tonight is a CNN pundit and a critic of illegal immigration. I wonder what his ratings are like on CNN in Espanol. Please welcome Lou Dobbs.
Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Good to be with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Stephen Colbert went on and I am proud to tell you that I did constrain his recommendation that, instead of just fences, that a flaming trenches be dug as well along the border with Mexico.
Coming up here next, rising chaos and Iraq, a growing revolt in Congress about the president's conduct in the war. I'll be joined by our Baghdad correspondent, Michael Ware and CNN military analyst General David Grange on the issue.
And this administration's conduct of the war, it's failing domestic policies making it particularly difficult for me to respond on the question on "The View" this morning. I'll have the answer to Rosie O'Donnell's entirely appropriate question to replace, if I may, my fumbling response next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Coming up at the top of the hour, THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much, Lou.
Nightmare scenario, a follow-up to my exclusive interview Vice President Dick Cheney. He says the Shiite-led Iraqi government not turn on the U.S. but does history support that take? We're taking a closer look.
Plus, he wants the Republican presidential nomination and he says the president's flat wrong when it comes to immigration. Congressman Duncan Hunter joins us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And dictator walking, Manuel Noriega set to be released from prison. Will the only POW held in the United States walk free? Or be tossed right back into prison?
Plus the Pentagon turns to ray gun technology for its new tool to try to control crowds. We're going to have a report. All of that, Lou, coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf.
The war in Iraq tonight is at a pivotal point. The first of more than 21,000 U.S. reinforcements have arrived in Baghdad. It is far from clear whether the president's new strategy will work. Joining me now in our studios here in New York is our Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware. Michael, good to have you here.
From Chicago, General David Grange. One of our most distinguished former military leaders and our distinguished military analyst here, good to have you here, Dave.
Let me start you, Michael Ware, fighting less than a mile from the Green Zone. Two days of fighting. Intense, what does it mean?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's more of the same quite frankly, Lou. I mean this is Haifa Street. I can't tell you how many times I've personally seen combat in Haifa Street. How many times I've seen the insurgents there in the heart of the capital regenerate themselves.
Now this was also a model at one stage for Iraqi control. It was handed over to Iraqi security forces. Yet again the American troops are back in there, at least the third time that I know of.
DOBBS: General Grange, where are those Iraqi battalions, what in the world are we doing?
BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, just like any other war, we have advisers with the foreign military. I remember it in Vietnam. You have units that are good, you have units that are not so good. I was fortunate to be with tough units that were great fighters. Some are not. I think it's the same thing in Iraq.
And if they don't have good leadership, if they're poor soldiers here in discipline, if they don't have the will to fight for the central government, you are going to have the same thing that Michael said. It will just turn back over to the enemy.
DOBBS: Give us your judgment, which is the biggest threat right now? To our troops in, in particularly in Baghdad, the Shia, the Sunni? Where is the enemy and what are we to do with that enemy?
WARE: Look, I think to this day, the fact still remains that the daily drip feed of American deaths and casualties is by in large coming from the Sunni insurgency. The Shia militias, the Shia death squad, while they don't withhold, they are not the principle target.
So still battling Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda but biggest threat to the mission is the civil war. Is the dominance of the Shia militias, is their stranglehold on political power.
DOBBS: David Petraeus in his confirmation hearing and he was recommended of course by the Senate Arms Services Committee. Dave, he said this is a test of wills, it's hard but it's not hopeless. But he said in conclusion there are no guarantees.
I commend the general for serious and sober and honest talk. Do you think we'll continue to hear honest assessments and honest judgments publicly expressed by this general, a four-star, who will be in charge of our troops in Iraq when he's confirmed to lead those troops?
GRANGE: I believe we will, Lou. I think that General Petraeus will tell it like it is. Hopefully he'll have the political backing where he is allowed to talk the truth. And can give reality as it is on the ground. And I think that'll happen. It is all about will. And I like his comment, that it's hard but it's not hopeless. I mean he's a soldier. Of course it's not hopeless. Anything is capable in warfare. And I think with his leadership and some others that are on their way over there and some that are there now, we have a shot at it.
DOBBS: Let me ask you this, because the discussion is turning, again, with now at least late, but at least it is turning to sober assessment by many of our political leaders in Washington.
What is your sense of what will occur in Baghdad in Iraq with what is called a phased withdrawal with the ability, let's assume that General Petraeus is successful and secures Baghdad? First, do you think it is possible to do it with the level of troops and the adequacy the Iraqi troops? What is your take?
WARE: Is there enough troops to completely secure Baghdad, turn it into a bright and happy place? No.
Is it enough troops with a different kind of tactic to alter the security environment? Yes. Will it defeat or destroy the enemy? No, not at all.
So while it's going to be changed, I'm afraid at end of the day, I see nothing done to attack the fundamental dynamics that is crippling the U.S. mission.
DOBBS: Michael Ware, General Grange, thank you both. Appreciate it.
Still ahead, the results of our poll. More of your thoughts. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Now the results of our poll. Eighty-four percent of you support legislation that would prohibit any efforts to create a North American Union among the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Time now for more of your thoughts. Carol in Texas, "My husband and I were on the edge of our seats waiting for your answer to Rosie's question on the 'The View' today. Is it yes or no?"
Here is a look at that question from Rosie O'Donnell this morning, it's one that I hadn't considered myself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O'DONNELL, "THE VIEW": Do you think that some senator, for principle if not for follow-through, should call for the impeachment of George Bush?
DOBBS: Boy, you put a fellow who prides himself on being straight ...
O'DONNELL: That's why I asked you. Because there are very few people you could ask that to in the public eye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Well, Rosie asked a great question, a direct question. I fumbled and mumbled a poor answer. So here is the answer I should have given.
Our senators and congressman of both political parties, no matter their partisan fervor, should think long and hard of the consequences any such suggestion. One hopes that all of us, especially our elected officials, are still capable of learning from history. Although sometimes of late, that seems to be a fanciful wish.
From October 5th, 1998, when the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend an impeachment inquiry, until February 12th, 1999 when the Senate acquitted President Clinton the nation was wracked with rancor and the national government all but a standstill, and for what? The same question applies today despite grievous mistakes and miscalculations by this White House.
And if that doesn't satisfy feverish Democratic partisans, one other question, would you really prefer Dick Cheney to George Bush? That's the answer Rosie, sorry it took so long.
Thanks 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 now with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com