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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Interview With California Congressman Duncan Hunter; Hidden Costs of Doing Business in China

Aired September 06, 2007 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, seething anger over the Bush administration's plan to allow Mexican trucks unrestricted access into the United States. Congressman Duncan Hunter, Republican presidential candidate, says the Bush plan illustrates the administration's complete disregard for our safety and security. Congressman Hunter among our guests here tonight.
Also, new concerns the pro-amnesty and open-borders lobby is trying again to ram so-called comprehensive immigration reform through Congress and down the throats of the American people. We will have that special report.

And the Chinese president assures President Bush that communist China takes the safety of its exported products very seriously, but the Chinese president is ignoring rising evidence that many imports from communist China are a serious threat to American consumer health and safety. We will have all of that, all the day's news and a great deal more straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate and opinion for Thursday, September 6.

Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

The chairman of an independent military commission that strongly criticized Iraq's security today said significant U.S. troop reductions may be possible. General James Jones told members of Congress that the size and mission of forces in Iraq can be, as he put it, altered in the near future.

Democrats, meanwhile, say the commission's report is evidence that the United States can begin withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, but those Democrats appear to be shifting their position on whether a firm deadline for troop withdrawals will happen.

We begin with Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, today's presentation on the report of the Iraqi security forces illustrates the catch-22 nature of the Iraq debate, in which both progress and lack of progress are used to support arguments by both sides of the withdrawal question.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MCINTYRE (voice-over): The first finding in the report by the independent commission is that Iraqi armed forces are improving, becoming increasingly effective, just not fast enough to take the lead anytime soon. But advocates of an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops are zeroing in on one of report's concluding observations, namely that American's massive footprint and large troop presence especially around Baghdad are conveying the intended message of an occupying force.

The commission's head, retired NATO commander Jim Jones, says it's time to pull back.

GENERAL JAMES JONES, INDEPENDENT COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: The force footprint should be adjusted in our view to represent an expeditionary capability and to combat the permanent force image of today's presence. This will make an ultimate departure, eventual departure, much easier.

MCINTYRE: That was music to the ears of Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who has been preaching for months that the only we to get the Iraqis to stand on their own is for the U.S. to stop propping them up.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It is indeed long overdue that we cut the cords of dependence, push the Iraqis to take more responsibility and ownership by giving them the lead in counterinsurgency operations. I believe that is the thrust of the commission's recommendations.


MCINTYRE: Now, when pressed, General Jones conceded adjustments in U.S. force levels have to be done very carefully to avoid giving up hard-won progress. And he agreed that decision should rest largely with U.S. commanders on the ground -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you -- Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

New indications tonight that Democrats are struggling to win significant Republican support for a troop withdrawal. Leading Democrats appear to be willing to compromise with the Republicans frustrated with the conduct of the war.

Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid declared -- quote -- "Nothing is off the table."

Jessica Yellin has our report from Capitol Hill.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John McCain is sensing weakness in the Democratic position on the war.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, my sense of the momentum is that they have lost the momentum, otherwise they wouldn't want to sit down with Republicans and negotiate a difference resolution. YELLIN: Democratic leaders indicate they're considering legislation that does not contain a firm deadline for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq. Senator Harry Reid says nothing is off the table. And the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is floating the idea of requiring a goal for withdrawal rather than a date certain.

LEVIN: I think that change in language is worthy of consideration.

YELLIN: Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi is signaling a softening of her position.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We have encouraged our members to reach out to their friends, to their colleagues on their committees in any way to see what opportunities there might be to work together.

YELLIN: Why the change of heart? Because Democrats are failing to pick up new Republican votes. Even wavering Republicans and those up for re-election have not agreed to support legislation that contains a date certain for withdrawal, but a compromise holds risk.

Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd says, "By removing the deadline to get our troops out of Iraq, you have lost this Democrat's vote."

And Senator Clinton says a deadline is needed to force the Iraqis to make political compromises.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we take away deadlines, we take away benchmarks, we take away timelines, what is the urgency that we will move them to act?


YELLIN: Lou, Republicans who support the president's strategy say the tide is beginning to turn in their favor. And Senator John McCain insists that's because of the facts on the ground. So, it's an open question whether Democrats can get a vote on Iraq, and it could all come down to the testimony next week from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jessica, thank you -- Jessica Yellin from Capitol Hill.

In Iraq, another of our troops has been killed. The soldier died from what the military calls a non-battle-related cause; 11 American troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month; 3,753 of our troops have been killed since this war began, 27,767 of our troops wounded, 12,476 of them seriously.

German police tonight are hunting at least 10 more radical Islamist terrorists suspected of planning bomb attacks against American troops and other Americans. U.S. military police today stepped up security at Ramstein Air Force base and other American installations in Germany. Three suspected terrorists are already in custody, two Germans and a Turkish citizen living in Germany.

Blistering criticism in this country tonight of the government department responsible for protecting Americans from terrorism, illegal immigration and natural disasters. Congressional investigators say the Homeland Security Department has failed to meet many of its performance targets nearly six years after the September 11 attacks. Members of Congress call the report troubling.

Jeanne Meserve has our report.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No honor roll for the Department of Homeland Security. A Government Accountability Office report card says the department met less than half of its performance objectives.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: America's a lot safer than it was on 9/11, but as this report makes clear we have got a lot do before we can say we are as safe as we need to be.

MESERVE: In lives and losses, Hurricane Katrina demonstrated inadequacies in emergency preparedness and response. Two years later, there is still limited progress, says GAO.

The department also got the lowest possible grade in science and technology, information technology, and human capital management. There were modest achievements in border security and immigration services, according to GAO. The only area where they found substantial progress, maritime security.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The department must pick up the pace of its progress. GAO's report should serve as a useful road map in this effort.

MESERVE: DHS hotly disputes the grades.

PAUL SCHNEIDER, DHS UNDERSECRETARY: The department continues to believe that they used a flawed methodology in preparing its report, which resulted in many of the assessments not fully reflecting the department's progress.

MESERVE (on camera): The GAO concedes, the merger of 22 agencies into one department was bound to be difficult, and emergencies like Katrina made it harder still. Some have compared it to putting a new engine on an airplane while it's flying.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


DOBBS: Coming up next here: President Bush and the Chinese president talk about the rising threat from dangerous Chinese exports to American consumers.

Kitty Pilgrim will have the story for us -- Kitty. KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the Chinese keep assuring the Bush administration they have a good quality control system in place. But the recalls keep coming and investigations are finding that Chinese factories continue to turn out substandard goods -- Lou.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you -- that report coming up.

Also, pro-illegal-alien members of Congress try to reintroduce the failed amnesty legislation piece by piece. We will have the report.

And rising protests at the Bush administration's plan to allow Mexican trucks to travel freely in this country without the consent of either Congress or, of course, the American people.

Stay with us. We will be right back.


DOBBS: Trucks from Mexico could soon have unlimited access to American highways under a new NAFTA-related program driven by the Bush administration.

Critics say that that plan would make our roads more dangerous and further open our already porous borders to more drug smuggling, illegal aliens and possibly terrorists.

And, as Casey Wian now reports, American truckers say it may cost them as well their livelihoods.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More Mexican trucks will soon be allowed unrestricted access to U.S. highways under a program required by the North American Free Trade Agreement. Teamsters gathered at the San Diego commercial truck crossing to protest a decision they say endangers American lives and jobs.

JIM SANTANGELO, VICE PRESIDENT, TEAMSTERS: The president has allowed cross-border trucking in America. And the Teamsters Union are here to show Americans that we are against these truck drivers coming on American highways.

WIAN: Currently, Mexican trucking companies not operating in the United States before 1982 are prohibited from carrying cargo beyond a 25-mile border crossing zone.

The Bush administration's one-year pilot program will open up all U.S. highways to as many as 100 additional Mexican trucking companies.

REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON: The long-term dream here that is someday all the trucks in America will be driven by people who will work for less than the minimum wage in the United States of America and be exempt from it, because they would be Mexican truck drivers, based in Mexico, and paid under Mexican law. WIAN: Critics say Mexican trucks and their drivers are not required to meet the same safety, work rule, or drug testing standards demanded of American trucking companies.

REP. JAMES OBERSTAR (D), MINNESOTA: A Mexican driver could be on the road for 10 hours before coming to the border and then be allowed to drive another 10 hours in the United States.

WIAN: Congress has passed legislation that has slowed, but failed to stop, the Mexican truck program.

REP. NANCY BOYDA (D), KANSAS: Democrats and Republicans are united in protecting America's highways. Only the White House seems out of the loop here.

WIAN: The Transportation Department referred us to a former Bush administration official who helped negotiate the Mexican truck deal.

BRIGHAM MCCOWN, WINSTEAD PC: This really isn't about Mexican trucks. This is about the perceived threat to union jobs. This is about the perceived threat to national security. And this is about people that have been opposed to NAFTA all along. The Bush administration is simply trying to live up to its international obligations.

WIAN: The program will not begin until the Transportation Department corrects any safety problems detailed in a soon-to-be released report from its inspector general.


WIAN: Now, one interesting side note to that Teamsters protest at the border, according to other protesters who were there, union members were passing out flyers to Mexican truck drivers in an attempt to organize them. An international Teamsters spokeswoman says it has no plans to organize Mexican truck drivers, but it says one of its locals could be -- Lou.

DOBBS: This -- this is almost completely, utterly surreal. The very idea that the Bush administration, the Department of Transportation, is referring us, as journalists, to a former Bush official who negotiated the deal which is the subject of just basically a Department of Transportation directive -- it has no basis in the agreement itself.

WIAN: Absolutely. Yes, it was very curious that the Department of Transportation didn't put out someone who was currently employed by Department of Transportation to defend this pilot program, but they didn't, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, I love the spokesman saying, Casey, perceived threats to national security, perceived loss of jobs, perceived safety standards, without any -- I mean, this is -- this is just "Alice in Wonderland" time. And it is remarkable.

If this Congress sits still for this, you can just simply put, you know, a tail on that particular donkey, not to overwork the metaphor. And I didn't mean the double entendre in symbolism there.

But, I mean, at some point, somebody besides corporate America has got to start making policy in this country. And this administration certainly doesn't seem to have any interest in denying the corporatists their due.

Thank you very much, Casey -- Casey Wian from Los Angeles.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight: Do you believe the Bush administration is ignoring the will of Congress and the American people by allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely in the United States, yes, no? Please cast your vote at We will have those results coming up here later.

And Congressman Duncan Hunter joins us, a leading opponent of allowing those Mexican trucks to have unlimited access on American highways. He joins us to talk about this issue a great deal more.

Comprehensive immigration reform officially back on the agenda of this Congress. This time, lawmakers want to revive their failed legislation piece by piece, one little bill at a time, all part of a very big agenda to keep our borders wide open and to deliver amnesty.

The legislation they started debating today is called the STRIVE Act, an acronym, a clever, clever Washington acronym, for Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007.

Those lawmakers are answering the call of corporate interests by planning to allow even more foreign workers into this country.

And, as Bill Tucker now reports, they're doing it at the expense of our middle-class American families.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Months after dying in the Senate, comprehensive immigration reform is back and this time it's being brought back to life in the Immigration Subcommittee in the House.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I'm a bit surprised when I received the notice of the hearing on a piece of immigration legislation. This clearly constitutes amnesty. The American people have spoken so forcefully against amnesty that the Senate was forced to reject it earlier this summer.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: I believe the American people want this body to address this question. I was home in the district, and I can assure you that this whole question of immigration has not left the minds of the American people.

TUCKER: To call the STRIVE Act ambitious is not a stretch. The bill is almost 700 pages long, with tidbits to tempt the most ardent of critics. It calls for an increase in border security, increasing the number of border agents, as well as the use of technology. It strengthens interior enforcement and creates a mandatory employer verification program.

REP. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: As I mentioned, it's tough border enforcement. There's interior enforcement with biometric cards, so employers will finally have the tools. And it sets up a new worker program for low-skilled workers.

TUCKER: It also creates a path to what it calls earned legalization, what opponents call amnesty. Among the worker programs it creates is a new H-2C visa with a cap of 400,000. It offers a path to legalization for workers, their spouses, and their children.

JULIE KIRCHNER, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: By creating a massive new H2-C guest-worker program and more than doubling the employment-based immigrant visas, the legislation floods the market with foreign workers willing to work for less and eager to compete with U.S. workers.

TUCKER: STRIVE would also expand the H1-B visa program cap from 65,000 to as much as 180,000 and create broader definitions for those who are exempt from the cap.


TUCKER: Now, today's hearing was said to be for creating dialogue and exploring the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.

Yet, of the 12 witnesses heard from today, nine spoke in support of the STRIVE Act, all of whom openly expressed the desire to kick- start this legislation again in the House -- Lou.

DOBBS: You know, at some point, listening to Jeff Flake, Luis Gutierrez, at some point, are the American people going to inform, in clear, unequivocal terms, this Congress, this president, that by God this country doesn't belong to special interests, ethnocentric interests, the government of Mexico, and Central and South America, but to the American people? It is nuts, what these people keep doing.

TUCKER: They can try, Lou. But the indications today are, they are not interested in hearing that.

DOBBS: And listen to that idiotic remark by the Department of Homeland Security, we -- 145 miles of fence. Six years -- we're coming up on the sixth year anniversary of September 11, and these fools still can't secure our borders or our ports. And the American people, we are abject idiots to put up with this kind of a government. I mean, what in the world is going on?

TUCKER: I don't know.

DOBBS: It is insane.

TUCKER: They have to go home and answer to their constituents, though. That's the good news.

DOBBS: Well, they couldn't answer too soon or be addressed too quickly or harshly, in my opinion, by their constituents. Thank you, Bill Tucker.

The STRIVE Act, what idiotic nonsense.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

Dee in Tennessee said: "Dear Lou, with Mexico driving trucks at will on our highways, I have a question. Who traded democracy for so- called trade and made the Constitution or Congress and our democracy null and void?"

Well, that's a very good question.

And Bobbi in Illinois: "If illegal immigrant supporters can sue employers and cities for enforcing federal immigration laws, why can't we sue the federal government for not enforcing those immigration laws?"

Now, that is a wonderful idea.

And Terry in Michigan: "Dear Lou, you to love it when American companies say they can't find qualified people here to fill jobs. There's no shortage of American workers qualified to fill those jobs. There is a shortage of qualified workers willing to accept low pay and no benefits, though."

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

And up next, Arizona's law punishing employers that hire illegal aliens. Well, you're not going to believe this. The American Civil Liberties Union doesn't like it. Neither do the liberals. Neither do the socioethnic-centric special interest group. We will be talking with the architect of that law and a vocal opponent.

And American companies doing business in China, can they protect American consumers from those dangerous products that they're shipping over here. Do they really care about doing so? We will have that special report and a great deal more.

Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: Communist China's president today defended the safety and quality of his nation's exports to the United States. But over the past few week alone, millions of children's toys made in China have been recalled here because of dangers from lead paint contamination.

And, as Kitty Pilgrim, reports now, American companies are discovering the hidden cost of doing business in China.


PILGRIM (voice-over): The problem is so bad, President Bush complained about the recalls of Chinese products in his meeting with President Hu Jintao. U.S. consumers feel inundated with imports of shoddy goods, tainted food, and toxic toys, as well as reports of Chinese sweatshop conditions. Suddenly, U.S. companies who outsource manufacturing jobs to cheap Chinese labor are discovering hidden costs.

SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: I think this is the downside of the global outsourcing of American jobs. You know, it did look like a free ride for American corporations, those that wanted to outsource jobs in search of cheap labor, in search of lower standards and organizations. Now what we see are the results of that.

PILGRIM: A so-called brand doesn't always mean U.S. quality anymore. U.S. companies can pay the price for substandard Chinese manufacturing. Mattel boasts its toy brand, but found its quality control compromised by Chinese factories.

And U.S. companies often can't control factory conditions in China. In many Chinese factories, workers can't report long hours or abuses.

CHARLES KERNAGHAN, NATIONAL LABOR COMMITTEE: All you have to do is go by the factory at 11:00 at night and see it's still operating. All you have to do is go by on a Sunday and see them working.

PILGRIM: Mattel openly publishes audits of its Chinese factories on its Web site done by an independent auditor, the International Center For Corporate Accountability.

DR. PRAKASH SETHI, THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY: Mattel is finding all these problems. There is no reason to believe that those problems don't exist for the toys and the electronics and all the other goods that are being made for other companies.


PILGRIM: Now, it's clear that many U.S. companies have lost control of the supply chain by depending so heavily on these Chinese factories. But ultimately U.S. companies have a responsibility by law to U.S. consumers and these factories have to be monitored to stop the Chinese manufacturing from cutting corners and producing dangerous and defective products -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, we're reaching really absurd levels in this country. We have to lease -- our military has to lease Russian supercargo aircraft to transport new heavily armored and efficiently protective vehicles to Iraq for our troops.

We have -- Mattel claims its the world's leading toy brand, but there's nothing behind brand. It's just -- you know, it is absurd that none of the federal agencies designed to help protect the American consumer has taken a single action against Mattel or a single action against those Chinese manufacturers.

PILGRIM: You're absolutely right. It's not regulated properly, nor is the U.S. corporations monitoring it properly. They hire a Chinese factory and then they subcontract out. They don't know who's making these things.

DOBBS: I believe that 2008 is going to be a very interesting, indeed, election, because I believe over the course of the next year, perhaps not in time for the primaries, but I believe over the course of the next year, the American people are awakening to what a sham is being perpetrated by corporate America, by this administration, and both political parties.

The hell with the American consumer. The hell with the American citizen. They are going to do as they would have their corporate masters bid them. And it's got to change. And it's got to change soon.

Kitty, thank you very much -- Kitty Pilgrim.

Coming up here next, a rising number of serving military officers are now publicly criticizing their commander's conduct of this war in Iraq. We will have that special report.

Also, more on the Bush administration's plan to allow Mexican trucks and Mexican truck drivers unrestricted access to U.S. highways. A leading opponent of that plan is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Congressman Duncan Hunter joins us.

And more states taking action on their own against illegal immigration, because the federal government simply refuses to do so. We will have a spirited debate between two Arizona lawmakers on opposite sides of the issue.

By the way, Arizona has done something about it. We will tell you what. And we will tell you why the ACLU and a bunch of socioethnic-centric special interest groups and, of course, big business are beside themselves.

Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: A new Arizona state law begins January 1st, requiring all businesses in state to disclose whether they are employing illegal aliens.

Business groups are fighting the law and this week those groups were joined by none other than the American Civil Liberties Union and several other open borders, pro-amnesty groups.

Joining me now from Phoenix, Arizona, the author of the legislation, Republican State Representative Russell Pearce.

Good to have you with us.

RUSSELL PEARCE (R), ARIZONA STATE HOUSE: It's always good to be here.

DOBBS: His most outspoken opponent and critic, the Democratic majority whip of the state legislature, Steve Gallardo. Good to have you with us, sir.


Thank you.

DOBBS: Let's -- let's go to the issue.

This law would -- let's put this up. The ACLU says that this -- in a second -- lawsuit against this measure, says that it violates federal immigration law.

Let's see what the director of ACLU says. She says the law also violates constitutional due process, saying -- quote -- and if we've got this, I'd like to have our viewers be able to see it -- "It becomes easier and safer for Arizona business owners to discriminate against anyone they suspect of being foreign rather than risk the fines and penalties associated with the failure to comply with this law."

Let's see start with you, Steve.

What -- Mr. Gallardo, what, how so?

GALLARDO: You know, that's -- this is one of the issues that we're facing with this badly written piece of legislation is the whole discrimination aspect of this particular bill. The bill has such a heavy hammer over employers that they would be very hesitant in terms of hiring someone who may look like me just in fear of me providing false documentation.

I think when we come right down to it, we need real immigration...

DOBBS: Well, wait, wait...

GALLARDO: ...policy that secures our border...


GALLARDO: ...and have a national employer sanctions bill.

DOBBS: A national employer sanctions bill.

PEARCE: I thought we did.

DOBBS: Russell -- Mr. Pearce, what do you say?

PEARCE: Well...

DOBBS: Are you being heavy- handed against business?

PEARCE: Yes, they've only had since 1986 to comply with the law. It's a felony to hire somebody that's here illegally.

This is the most outrageous -- and the ACLU doesn't surprise me. They take -- they love and practice the suit of suing good citizens on anything that's moral or right.

You know, Steve Gallardo has been a cheerleader for illegal aliens for several years. You know, he helps them with the marches, he's helped them sue Prop 200. He's helped them sue on this. You know, enough is enough. This bill is legal and it's fair. It's called the legal -- Fair Legal Employment Act.

DOBBS: Steve, let me ask you about this...

PEARCE: They have to knowingly hire the illegal alien to be in trouble.

DOBBS: Yes, Steve, let me ask you this. This is the first complaint we hear against every kind of ordinance, state law, whatever it is -- it's, you know, it's unconstitutional because of due process.

GALLARDO: You know what?

DOBBS: Specifically what is in this that is denying due process?

GALLARDO: First of all, let me correct one -- one particular statement. I do not support open borders. I support comprehensive real practical...

PEARCE: Steve...

GALLARDO: ...immigration reform...

PEARCE:'ve been an every march...


DOBBS: Mr. Pearce, please.

GALLARDO: I support real immigration reform to secure our border and that deals with every aspect of illegal immigration...

DOBBS: Well, that's super duper. You know, but what I want to know is...


DOBBS: My question is this, sir.

What in this bill denies due process?

GALLARDO: There is nothing in this particular bill that deals with the discrimination aspect of this -- of the legislation.

DOBBS: What is discriminatory about...

GALLARDO: There's nothing in there that would...

DOBBS: Then I will change it -- then I will change the question.

What is discriminatory? GALLARDO: There is nothing in this particular bill that would prevent any employer from turning down an applicant for employment because of their fear of this person being perceived as undocumented. Someone who looks like me, someone who may be perceived to be from Mexico, could be denied employment because of this bill. If we were serious about this bill, let's have a discriminatory aspect to this bill. Let's have some language that deals with the discrimination part of this particular bill.

But there's (INAUDIBLE)...

DOBBS: But, again, I'm asking you what is discriminatory...


DOBBS: ...about it, is what I'm trying to zero in, Mr. Gallardo.

GALLARDO: Someone...

DOBBS: What is the discriminatory aspect of it?

GALLARDO: Someone who's qualified...

DOBBS: It punishes people for hiring illegal aliens once they're...

GALLARDO: Not at all. Not at all. Not at all. What it does, it forces employers to keep records and to keep applicants to a higher standard. It forces employers to really think twice of -- in regards to hiring anyone...

DOBBS: Well, why in the world...

GALLARDO: ...who is perceived to be (INAUDIBLE)...

DOBBS: ...shouldn't they think twice about hiring an illegal alien, for crying out loud?

GALLARDO: So, Mr. Dobbs, you don't think that -- that if there's anything wrong with me being held to a higher standard in applying for a job because of the color of my skin, is that what you're telling me?

DOBBS: Oh, you know...

GALLARDO: (INAUDIBLE) set the standards...

DOBBS: ...Mr. Gallardo you were doing really good until right then. And you know that's a...


DOBBS: ...nonsensical, absurd question.


DOBBS: So let me answer it for you... GALLARDO: That's exactly what you said.

DOBBS: straightforwardly as I can.

GALLARDO: That's exactly what you said.

DOBBS: No, it's not exactly what I said. And if you're intellect doesn't carry you farther than that, we're going to have a very short conversation, aren't we?

GALLARDO: Hey, you're asking the questions. I'm (INAUDIBLE)...

DOBBS: Yes, I am. But I did not ask anything approximating what you're suggesting.

GALLARDO: You're asking...

DOBBS: What I'm asking you is straightforward.

Why should the employers not have a heavy burden and a responsibility to follow the law and not hire illegal aliens of any color?

GALLARDO: I agree with you. I agree with you. I agree with (INAUDIBLE)...

DOBBS: Well, thank you.

That's all we're trying to get to. And you're trying to make it a racial issue...

GALLARDO: No. No. That was -- that was not (INAUDIBLE)...

DOBBS: ...Mr. Gallardo. And that is beneath you...

GALLARDO: That was not the question.

DOBBS: ...and it's beneath contempt. And it has no place...


DOBBS: this discussion or this debate.


GALLARDO: And I agree with you. I agree with you. We should be looking at the real issues of illegal immigration.

DOBBS: The real issue is...

GALLARDO: We should be talking about border (INAUDIBLE)...

DOBBS: ...that if illegal employers...


DOBBS: ...weren't hiring illegal aliens, we wouldn't have a crisis in this country in illegal immigration, correct?


DOBBS: Mr. Gallardo, is that correct or is that wrong?

GALLARDO: That is correct. But we need to do other things...

DOBBS: Then why in the world don't you get...

GALLARDO: We need to...

DOBBS: ...behind this bill and let's get to some sense.


Why don't you come to the table and work on a comprehensive immigration reform instead...

DOBBS: Because that comprehensive immigration reform...


DOBBS: ...that you're talking about, Mr. Gallardo, since you don't want to talk about the Arizona law, let me tell you about this idiotic bill pushed by this president and the Democratic leadership. The Congressional Budget Office declared that it would only deal with 25 percent of the illegal immigration in this country. It would leave 75 percent of the problem remaining. It would leave our borders wide open. It is a travesty and a sham.


DOBBS: And I can't imagine that you, as an intelligent legislator interested in the people of the State of Arizona, would subscribe to it.

I'm just astonished.


GALLARDO: I totally support the idea of securing our border. I am not...

DOBBS: Well, happy days.

GALLARDO: (INAUDIBLE) of the president's (INAUDIBLE)...

DOBBS: How could any American not want to secure our borders?

GALLARDO: Mr. Dobbs, are you going to let me speak?

DOBBS: Sure.

GALLARDO: Are you going to let me speak?

DOBBS: Go for it. GALLARDO: OK. I do not support the bill that was introduced in Congress. I do support the idea that Congress and our president is actually discussing the issue. I support securing our border, having national employer sanctions at every state, where every employer who hires someone who is unlegal should be punished. I support securing everything in terms of illegal immigration. I believe we should go out to the root cause of the issue. We should attack every aspect of illegal immigration. We should not do it as a Band-Aid approach.

DOBBS: Oh, for crying out loud...

PEARCE: Lou, can I respond to some of that?

DOBBS: Mr. Pearce, you get the last word.

PEARCE: Thank you.

You know, Lou, that is so silly. Steve has voted against 16 bills. Several of his cohorts -- this bill passed by a two-thirds -- over a two-thirds majority in the house and senate. Many Democrats joined it, you know. And they fought hard on this, against this issue.

But this business of discrimination, you're right, it's -- this race issue has absolutely got to stop.

Now, Steve does this all the time. This bill is on documentation. The county attorneys must prove you knowingly hired an illegal alien. And it's based on documentation, the I-9 process, and using the basic (INAUDIBLE) verification process. And it also says you cannot discrimination in violation of federal or state law in here.

You know, and we already have laws against that. This bill specifically goes after employers...

GALLARDO: Wait. (INAUDIBLE) Russell...

PEARCE: Hey, hang on.


PEARCE: This bill goes specifically after employers...

DOBBS: Please, Mr. Gallardo.

You've had your shot.

PEARCE: ...who knowingly and intentionally hire illegal aliens. In fact, we give them a rebuttable presumption, if they use the I-9 process and they use the (INAUDIBLE), which is now the e verification.

DOBBS: All right, Mr. Pearce...

PEARCE: ...they get a rebuttal presumption.

DOBBS: We've got to wrap it...

PEARCE: This is a fair bill.

DOBBS: I apologize, but we're out of time, gentlemen.

PEARCE: Thank you.

Thanks, Lou.

DOBBS: You know, this will be interesting. Your Democratic governor signed it, Republicans and Democrats alike. It's going to be interesting to see how this transpires with the ACLU and, of course, the federal district court...

PEARCE: You bet you.

DOBBS: ...which we know will be challenged vigorously.

PEARCE: No business has the right to break the law.

DOBBS: Gentlemen, we thank you very much for being here.

PEARCE: Lou, thank you very much.

GALLARDO: Thank you.

DOBBS: Thank you.

Coming up here next, an increasing number of our military officers are publicly criticizing the way our top generals are fighting this war in Iraq.

And Mexican trucks about to roll across our border with free access to this nation's highways. A presidential candidate who is one of most vocal critics of that idea will join us here.

A great deal more coming right up.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The illegal immigration crisis remains one of the most important issues in this country and in this presidential campaign. It was evident again last night when eight Republican candidates debated in New Hampshire.

Former Governor Mitt Romney attacked former Mayor Rudy Giuliani for being the former mayor of a sanctuary city -- New York City.

The candidates also faced over -- off over the fence that's supposed to be built to secure our border with Mexico.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the magnets are sanctuary cities and having employers sign people up that have come here illegally to do work here. You have to end sanctuary cities. You have to cut back on federal funding to cities that continue to call themselves sanctuary cities and welcome people in, as New York has done.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So the reality is that we do have to stop illegal immigrants from coming in at our borders. It is a national priority. And a physical fence isn't going to do the whole thing.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president signed the bill October 26th. They've only done 17.9 miles. As president, I'll complete all 854 miles in six months. That's my commitment.

I'm going to build the fence. It's the law.


DOBBS: Well, Congressman Duncan Hunter, one of those instrumental in passing that border fence legislation, joins us now from Capitol Hill.

Congressman Hunter also one of the most vocal opponents of allowing Mexican trucks unlimited access into this country.

Congressman, good to have you with us.

HUNTER: Right.

Great to be with you, Lou.

And, incidentally, Mitt Romney is wrong when he said that that fence does not stop people. And Mitt, on his best day, can't climb that double fence with the Border Patrol road in between. And we -- and by Border Patrol statistic, the fence in San Diego reduced the smuggling of people and drugs by more than 90 percent. So I don't know where he got this -- I think he wanted to get after Giuliani on the sanctuary cities and that was (INAUDIBLE)...

DOBBS: Well, he did that.

And what did you think?

Because, I, frankly, thought the former governor was absolutely correct...


DOBBS: ...about going after sanctuary cities.

Don't you?

HUNTER: Absolutely. I think that -- I think that he -- as he and Giuliani were fussing with each other, they both had a lot to fuss about. And I think the commentator mentioned that he had some problems in terms of Massachusetts cities that -- that hadn't -- been hadn't been forthright in terms of helping to stem this tide. DOBBS: Well, let's get to the Mexican truck drivers. The Department of Transportation issuing a directive, even over the will -- the expressed will of the House -- and permitting Mexican truck drive free, unfettered access to American highways.

HUNTER: Yes, bad news.

DOBBS: It's your president's administration. It is a government in name only that permits this kind of nonsense.

HUNTER: Well, let me tell you, Lou, I don't know if you saw my closing speech when we passed NAFTA in '94, but I gave the closing argument against it from the Republican side. And I predicted it would be disastrous for our country.

This is a piece of the NAFTA deal, the so-called trucking piece. This is going to allow every truck in Mexico, if they simply sign up with one of the 100 trucking companies, to access our borders.


HUNTER: and we're going to have -- you know, the drug dealers are going to have their best thugs behind these 18-wheelers moving those narcotics across. We'll have a big security problem. We have no transparency into the criminal records or driving records of the guys behind the wheels. We can't get that out of Mexico.


HUNTER: It's a mess and I will do everything I can to stop it. And as president, I will do everything I can to stop this type of deal.

DOBBS: Well, let's -- let's go to these Mexican truckers being held to the same safety standards. This is what Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, a Democrat, as you know, had to say about the impact of this so-called pilot program by this so-called administration.


REP. NANCY BOYDA (D), KANSAS: On Friday, the courts ruled to let this program go forward for now.

What a slap in the face to working people and to our families.


DOBBS: What's your reaction, Congressman?

HUNTER: Well, I think Nancy is exactly right. And after I dropped a bill trying to stop the truckers from Mexico, I think Nancy followed with her bill about five hours later. And I think she's on the right track and we ought to stop this. And -- but remember, when Bill Clinton signed this doggone thing in '94, part of the thing that he signed was that the trucking piece, which we all saw there. And they've been working for last 12 years to try to get the trucking piece into implementation.

DOBBS: Right.


HUNTER: They finally got it. It's bad for the country.

DOBBS: Congressman Duncan Hunter, we thank you for being here.

Appreciate it.

HUNTER: Thank you.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight.

The question is do you believe the Bush administration is ignoring the will of Congress and the American people by allowing those Mexican trucks to travel freely in the news-- yes or no?

Cast your vote at

We're going to have those results coming up in just a few minutes.

Up next, judging the generals -- looking for who is responsible for the failure of U.S. strategy in Iraq. We'll have that special report. And I'll be joined by General David Grange, a top former military commander, a veteran of Vietnam. And we'll be talking about that with him and more, coming right up.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Coming up at the top of the hour, "THE SITUATION ROOM" WITH WOLF BLITZER" -- Wolf, what have you got?


A disturbing message involving Osama bin Laden. He now says he's going to be speaking directly to the American people on the sixth anniversary of 9/11. That according to an Al Qaeda-run media production company. We're following the story. We'll have the latest for you.

Also, fear that alleged hostile acts in the Middle East might spark a major conflict. Syria now saying -- and I'm quoting now -- "enemy aircraft from Israel flew over its territory and that Syrian air defenses shot at them."

And it's a message for all air travelers -- what you wear and how little you're wearing could get you kicked off a plane.

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

DOBBS: Wolf, thank you. A rising number of military officers publicly criticizing their leadership and the strategy of top generals in Iraq.

The latest of those officers is Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl. He's a close associate of the U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus.

Critics of the military's leadership say U.S. commanders failed to learn the lessons of past conflicts.

Barbara Starr has our report from the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was an extraordinary moment earlier this week, when a U.S. Marine in Iraq told President Bush that he is tired of the war.

CAPT. LEE HEMMING, U.S. MARINE CORPS: Year after year, only being home for five months, it's become a little harder each time to get in that normal routine back in the United States.

STARR: A growing core of young officers is now speaking out about years of U.S. military failure -- failure to understand Iraq was always a fight against insurgents, not a conventional war.

Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl is an Iraq veteran and a protege of General David Petraeus, the Army's godfather of modern counter- insurgency warfare. Nagl says Petraeus has forced real change in the content of the war, but he could not be more blunt about the problem.

LT. COL. JOHN NAGL, U.S. ARMY: It is the failure of the generals and the colonels and the captains and the sergeants and, frankly, of the secretaries of defense and of the presidents of the United States.

STARR: One of Nagl's colleagues, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling, writing earlier this year said: "America's generals have repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq."

Yingling called it "a crisis in generalship."

NAGL: We, as an army, forgot about insurgency in the wake of Vietnam and we focused on fighting the kind of war that we, as a nation, decided we were going to fight.

STARR: That meant conventional war -- getting it over with as fast as possible. But after years of IEDs, snipers and car bombs, it's only in the last months the military has turned back to the lessons of that war long ago.

NAGL: We've figured out that the key to success in these kind of wars that we're fighting today is not destroying an enemy army on the battlefield, it's protecting a friendly population, preserving it from harm.

STARR: The price of commanders being so slow? Soldiers now on second and third tours are warn out. Their families want them home. And...

NAGL: The American people, I think, are growing tired of this war.


STARR: Lou, these young officers increasingly are writing articles and speaking out openly about how they feel. And maybe the generals are learning from these young officers now -- Lou.

DOBBS: Colonel Nagl, what are his prospects in terms of his career in the military?

STARR: Actually, none of these young officers who have been writing these articles or speaking out seem to be having any suffering in their careers, at this point.

Colonel Yingling, Colonel Nagl, all -- both of them are going to go back on some combat-related assignments and that is what they're looking for.

They're doing pretty good.

DOBBS: Outstanding.

Barbara, thank you very much.

STARR: Sure.

DOBBS: Barbara Starr from the Pentagon.

Joining me now, General David Grange, one of this country's most distinguished former military leaders.

Good to have you with us, General.


DOBBS: Colonel Nagl, very straightforward, as was Colonel Yingling, as Barbara Starr just reported.

Your reaction?

GRANGE: Well I think he's right in most aspects. For instance, take the Iraqi war. Initially, because of a poor plan for the consolidation phase after the Saddam regime was taken down, caused an insurgency. And then there was a lack of putting in place a counter- insurgency strategy to take that on. And, consequently, we probably lost about two -- two to three years. And we've talked about that before.

DOBBS: You know, that's...


GRANGE: ...happened in many wars.

DOBBS: ...we have talked about. But the idea that the United States military -- the United States, a superpower -- war colleges, all sorts of command colleges, that we have a military apparatus -- and I'm going to focus first, you know, starting with the president, the commander-in-chief and the secretary of defense; but then the United States Army, with the primary responsibility in Iraq, that it takes two to three years to adapt to the reality?

That's inexcusable, isn't it?

GRANGE: No excuse. And it is all the leadership. It's all about leadership. It's about failures of generals, including myself, in previous conflicts. It's right -- that's right on.

The problem is training leaders for irregular warfare, for irregular threats and uncertain environments. We lack in the training in the institutions...

DOBBS: Right.

GRANGE: prepare our officers to do that. Consequently, we learn on the streets, getting street sense, boots on the ground, casualties before we finally get it again.

DOBBS: Right.

Well, let me ask you this, is there a sign that the War College, that West Point, that the other academies, that all of the command schools are adapting and changing and now dealing honestly and straightforwardly to create better leaders, more intelligent responses to the conflict we face, whether it be insurgency, counter-insurgency or regular warfare?

GRANGE: I've seen a shift in this -- this year. I think that's going to turn that way. The shame of it is it happens too late. But we can correct it and there's a lot of effort to do that right now.

DOBBS: General David Grange, thank you.

GRANGE: Thanks.

DOBBS: Coming up next, the results of our poll.

We'll have more of your thoughts.

Stay with us.



The results of tonight's poll overwhelming -- 99 percent of you -- and there were tons of votes -- saying the Bush administration is ignoring the will of Congress and the American people by allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely in the United States.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

Janis in Alabama: "Dear Lou, your Labor Day show just infuriated me. The AFL-CIO thinks illegal workers deserve a union. And they do -- are they too stupid to realize illegals are driving down wages and forcing Americans out of certain industry? Apparently so. As you say, apparently so."

Elaine in South Carolina: "Thank you for staying on top of the idiots in Washington."

You're welcome.

And Kim in South Carolina: "Lou, saying China is not a communist country is like saying the United States is a modified monarchy."

We don't want to examine that too closely.

And Chris in Nevada: "Lou, I am genuinely frightened. I feel like our government has become so obsessed with political correctness that I, as a citizen of the United States, matter less than illegal immigrants. Has America lost its mind? We've had illegal aliens marching in our nation's capital for rights they have no right to. We have foreign governments dictating our immigration policies. We're letting Mexican truck drivers cross our borders unchecked. What's going to happen to us?"

Thanks for being with us tonight.

Join us here tomorrow.

Thanks for watching.

Good night from New York.

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