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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Obama's War Plans; Fort Hood Investigation; Legalize Pot?; Gun Culture; Honoring Veterans

Aired November 11, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Wolf, thank you very much.

President Obama considering his options on Afghanistan. Four possible war plans now on the table all include a troop surge even as most Americans say they oppose escalation of this war. Has the decision already been made?

And then, why did the government fail to stop suspected Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan? His ties to a radical imam, his anti-American rant well known. Is political correctness to blame?

Also medical marijuana, getting a boost from the largest doctors' group in the country, the AMA, joins California and 12 other states and says you should be able to get high with a prescription.

Also tonight -- why is a major church trying to stifle free speech and to silence dissent? I'll talk with one member of that church who is speaking out.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT; news, debate and analysis for Wednesday, November 11th. Live from New York, Mr. Independent Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. Considering his options on the day this country celebrates our veterans, President Obama debates whether to send more Americans into battle. President Obama, again, meeting with his national security team and now considering four plans that would all escalate the war in Afghanistan, a war that most Americans oppose and his own administration is divided over.

Suzanne Malveaux joins us now from Washington. Suzanne, what can you tell us about the choices the president faces?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, sure, Lou. There were four options that were put on the table. It's a meeting that lasted with his war council about two hours and 20 minutes or so, anywhere from 20 to 40,000 troops the Pentagon has been talking about. But one thing that senior administration officials have been clear about is this one option that seems to be emerging out of the four that they're at least willing to discuss, sending some 34,000 U.S. troops, it's part combat support as well as U.S. trainers phased in, in a three-month period for a gradual increase.

Some of the other options, Lou, are either more or less troops, different kinds of financial figures. There are four factors that weigh into those other options, not just the troop levels, but we're also talking about the willingness for the Karzai government to cooperate with the United States, the effectiveness -- the effectiveness of that government. We're talking about the kind of support, civilian support that the U.S. is willing to give, as well as what are other countries willing to do here?

What are our NATO allies actually going to be contributing to this effort? All those things, Lou, senior administration officials say came up in this meeting. General Petraeus, he is the lead commander of the Middle East region. Here is how he put it going into this meeting, Lou.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, CENTCOM COMMANDER: We are, indeed, nearing a decision on this very important topic. And I think it's very, very essential that we recall why it is that we are in Afghanistan, and that is to ensure that that country does not once again become a sanctuary or safe haven for al Qaeda and the kind of trans-national extremists that carried out the 9/11 attacks.


MALVEAUX: So, Lou, I guess the bottom line is, what is the president waiting for in making this decision? There are a couple of things that still need to play out. He's going to be leaving for Asia for seven days to check in with world leaders to find out what their perceptions are of Afghanistan, what they are willing to contribute. There's a NATO conference, also specifically dealing with troop and support, this kind of thing, from other countries.

He's going to be hosting the prime minister of India when he comes back from that trip here at the White House. All those things factored in, and we expect that this is a decision that's going to be announced in the next couple of weeks -- Lou.

DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you very much. Suzanne Malveaux from the White House.

As the president considers how to move forward in Afghanistan, most Americans have made their minds up. According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll 56 percent of Americans now oppose sending additional troops into Afghanistan, 42 percent favor escalation. All of the war plans the president is now reportedly considering include, as we said, a troop surge.

New questions tonight about why the government didn't take action after repeated warning signs about Nidal Malik Hasan and his radical behavior were apparent. Intelligence officials discovered the suspected Fort Hood shooter was communicating with a radical Islamist imam who had ties to al Qaeda. And classmates of Hasan raised concerns about his anti-American rhetoric. Tonight, many are asking whether political correctness is to blame for the lack of action on the part of the military leadership. Brian Todd has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A source familiar with the investigation tells CNN Nidal Hasan not only contacted a radical cleric in Yemen, but it's believed he also got communications back from that cleric. Investigators say during that time, that cleric, Anwar al Awlaki, was the subject of a federal probe, but the source says all the communications seemed innocent in nature. And says officials are following other leads, leads on connections Hasan may have had with other people who would have been of concern to investigators.

Questions continue over Hasan's behavior while in medical training, and the response to that behavior. Specifically, presentations Hasan gave on Muslims in the military, when according to one classmate he was supposed to be talking about health issues. The classmate, who witnessed one of the presentations, tells CNN despite the discomfort of others in the room, he doesn't believe Hasan's superiors counseled him about it, and the classmate says he believes it was because they didn't want to alienate a Muslim soldier. While this was his strong belief, he didn't provide evidence of that. A retired military lawyer, familiar with such investigations, says political correctness does factor in these situations.

CAPT. TOM KENNIFF (RET.), FORMER ARMY NATL. GUARD JAG OFFICER: In a post-9/11 world, there are a lot of forces in the military that may be very hesitant to give the appearance that they're singling out Muslim soldiers, even when that individual Muslim soldier may be making statements that are looked at as very incendiary and very questionable.

TODD: Defense Department officials wouldn't comment on that, and there's no specific information that Hasan's superiors didn't address his presentations with him, or that they avoided doing so because he's Muslim. I asked former Bush homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, a CNN contributor, if political correctness could have inhibited investigators looking in to Hasan's communications.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECUITY CONTRIBUTOR: There is no question in my mind that investigators when they looked at this material understood very well that if they decided to pursue this investigation, they'd have to justify why they were -- they chose to pursue one of the few Muslim Americans inside the U.S. military and perhaps alienate him.


TODD: A senior investigative official in this case told CNN he has never heard anything about Nidal Hasan getting favorable treatments because he's Muslim -- Lou.

DOBBS: Brian, outstanding report. Thank you very much, Brian Todd.

Well as American soldiers are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation today honors its veterans. President Obama paid a visit to Arlington National Cemetery where he laid a wreath at the "tomb of the unknown soldier". President Obama delivered his first Veterans Day address. He pledged to the crowd of veterans and their families that America will not let them down.

Americans all over the country paid tribute. New York City led the nation's biggest Veterans Day parade. About 20,000 marched up Fifth Avenue to cheering crowds including the crew of the "USS New York" the Navy ship made from steel from the World Trade Center. Our thanks to all of the men and women who have served this nation in uniform and all who do now.

Tonight I want to turn to a personal note, if I may, and address a matter that has raised some curiosity. This will be my last broadcast here on CNN, where I've worked for most of the past 30 years, and where I have many friends and colleagues whom I admire deeply and respect greatly. I'm the last of the original anchors here on CNN and I'm proud to have had the privilege of helping to build the world's first news network.

I'm grateful for the many opportunities that CNN has given me over these many years. I've tried to reciprocate with a full measure of my ability and my energy. Over the past six months it's become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country and affecting all of us, and some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to a better understanding of the great issues of our day.

And to continue to do so in the most honest and direct language possible. I've talked extensively with Jonathan Klein. Jon is the president of CNN, and as a result of those talks, Jon and I have agreed to a release from my contract that will enable me to pursue new opportunities. At this point, I'm considering a number of options, and directions, and I assure you, I will let you know when I set my course.

I truly believe that the major issues of our time include the growth of our middle-class, the creation of more jobs, health care, immigration policy, the environment, climate change, and our military involvement, of course, in Afghanistan and Iraq. But each of those issues is, in my opinion, informed by our capacity to demonstrate strong resilience of our now weakened capitalist economy and demonstrate the political will to overcome the lack of true representation in Washington, D.C. I believe these to be profoundly, critically important issues, and I will continue to strive to deal honestly and straightforwardly with those issues in the future.

Unfortunately these issues are now defined in the public arena by partisanship and ideology rather than by rigorous, empirical thought and forthright analysis and discussion. I'll be working diligently to change that as best I can. And as for the important work of restoring inspiration to our great free society and our market economy, I will strive as well to be a leader in that national conversation. It's been my great honor to work with each and every person at this wonderful network. I will be eternally grateful to CNN, to Ted Turner, and to all of my colleagues and friends and, of course, to you at home. I thank you, and may God bless you. The news continues for the rest of this hour, and I'll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Tonight, marijuana in America. Medical use already legal in 13 of our states, now the American Medical Association is urging the federal government to ease restrictions on marijuana clearing the way for more research. Critics, however, charge medical use is nothing more than a ploy to legalize pot. Brooke Baldwin has our story.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The American Medical Association voted to change its long-held stance that marijuana be considered a schedule one or a highly controlled substance.

DR. EDWARD LANGSTON, AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: We believe that it's time for rescheduling a consideration of that so that, in fact, there can be scientific, controlled studies to perhaps settle once and for all is there medicinal use for marijuana.

BALDWIN: This decision coming less than a month after the Obama administration instructed select federal prosecutors to de-emphasize the prosecution of people who comply with state medical marijuana laws. More than a dozen states have legalized marijuana for medical use, including California. As for Dr. Don Abrams with the University of California, San Francisco, has been researching marijuana's therapeutic benefits for the last dozen years. Dr. Abrams says he has seen the drug's effectiveness in treating patients with HIV/AIDS and several types of cancer.

DR. DON ABRAMS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: When I see these cancer patients with nausea, loss of appetite, pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia, there is one medicine that I can recommend to them being a doctor in California, instead of writing prescriptions for five or six other medicines, which I believe are actually more harmful than smoke marijuana.

BALDWIN: Yet, there are concerns that medical marijuana is not being treated like other prescription drugs. Case in point? Friday, in Portland, Oregon, the Cannabis Cafe opens to potential patients at 4:20 p.m. and in Los Angeles there are more medical marijuana facilities than Starbucks, according to the district attorney. And in terms of marijuana's harmful effects the DEA's message is clear -- smoked marijuana has not withstood the riggers of science, it is not medicine, and it is not safe.


BALDWIN: All right, here's what the AMA is recommending now. They want to see a one to three-year controlled study of basically medical marijuana. Ultimately it is up to the FDA to approve its use, and how, if at all, Lou, it should be consumed.

DOBBS: And why hasn't this all been done already? I guess is the only question that we have to consider now. BALDWIN: What, the legalization of marijuana?

DOBBS: No. The research to tell them what they need to know.

BALDWIN: Well you know...

DOBBS: It's been around for more than a few years.

BALDWIN: That it has. And when I talked to Dr. Abrams, you know, there have been certain studies, but according to the AMA, the long-term, controlled studies, what they say is best to send to the FDA, that has not been done just yet.

DOBBS: There's been some, I guess, broadly research that doesn't inform them as they might wish. Thank you very much.

BALDWIN: Thank you, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Appreciate it. Brooke Baldwin.

Still ahead, a new effort to restrict your First Amendment rights. Jeffrey Lord of the United Church of Christ will join me here to tell us what he's doing to stop that campaign.

And why the Second Amendment is being blamed for the Fort Hood massacre. We'll have that special report as well. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The mayor of Chicago is speaking out about last week's Fort Hood massacre. Richard Daley, a longtime opponent of handguns, is blaming the Second Amendment for Major Nidal Malik Hasan's shooting rampage. Gun advocates, however, say it's just another example of political correctness run amok. Louise Schiavone has our report.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The massacre at Fort Hood, the result of a Muslim extremist, a psychologically disturbed individual or another case of America's gun culture gone bad? Here's Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's take.

MAYOR RICHARD DALEY (D), CHICAGO: Everyday in society someone is being killed unfortunately. America loves guns. We love guns to a point that we see the devastation on a daily basis. And you don't blame a group. You don't blame a society, an immigrant community because of the actions of one group -- you can't -- one individual, you cannot say that.

SCHIAVONE: The question came up as the mayor visited a city elementary school, receiving thousands in federal funds to teach students the Arabic language. Gun rights advocates reject the mayor's assessment.

LARRY PRATT, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: Daley needs a reality check. Crooks are evil, but they're generally not stupid. They don't normally start their crime when I'm standing next to a patrol car, and they certainly aren't going to try to take me on if they think I can shoot back.

SCHIAVONE: The mayor's office was closed for Veterans Day. And his press secretary did not respond to an inquiry earlier in the day from LOU DOBBS TONIGHT. Mr. Daley's comments came as the week began with 13 dead at Fort Hood. At the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation, this analyst says the shooting at Fort Hood, where soldiers are not allowed to carry guns, proves gun control doesn't work.

BRIAN DARLING, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Bad guys will get guns. They'll find gun-free places; they'll go there and commit crimes. And the only way to really defend against this is to arm more people.

SCHIAVONE: Whether that's the answer or not, problems persist. Despite a ban on handguns, gun violence in Chicago is rampant with a University of Chicago report this year estimating that most of Chicago's more than 500 homicide victims in 2008 died from gunshot wounds.


SCHIAVONE: Lou, Chicago's gun ban is due for Supreme Court consideration sometime this winter -- Lou.

DOBBS: Louise, thank you very much -- Louise Schiavone from Washington.

Up next here, a major church tries to stifle free speech and tries to silence dissent. I'll be talking with a member of that church who's made a difference.

Also, Democrats struggling to pass health care. Lawmakers now say President Obama's year-end deadline will not be met.

And we're honoring our veterans supporting our troops tonight, and we'll hear firsthand what service to this nation means to our veterans and to you and me.



ANNOUNCER: Here again, Mr. Independent Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: We thought on this day in which we honor our veterans and reflect on what they mean to this nation and what we can do to support our veterans and our troops, that we should invite some of those who have served this nation in uniform. And joining me now some of the finest representatives of American service, past and present, former Marine Captain Donald Buzney joins us, a Vietnam veteran, emcee of today's parade here in New York City.


DOBBS: Air Force First Lieutenant Megan Gingrich, she is a veteran of Iraq. Great to have you with us.


DOBBS: And former Marine Corporal Bill Toledo, a World War II Navajo code talker. We're honored to have you with us, sir, and Army Sergeant Ariel Luna who also served in Iraq. Great to have you here. Well let's start first -- I've got to ask, how was the parade? It was an immense turnout here in New York.

FMR. CAPT. DONALD BUZNEY, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It was. It was. We had 20,000 participants. It was the 90th anniversary. We had 2,000 active duty soldiers. We had 300 Marines from the "USS New York" and the "USS New York" was the centerpiece as you know. It was just a banner year for the parade.

DOBBS: We should explain the "USS New York" made in part of the -- of the iron from the World Trade Center. It's -- and it's great that so many people turned out and to honor veterans. Talking on the radio today, talking with our listeners, the people who called in to give a shout out to their loved ones, their family members, their friends, serving in uniform right now, and many of them in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was wonderful.

Let me -- let me say first, the casualties of war, in World War II, it is a remarkable number, 405,399. In Vietnam, 47,434, Iraq, 4,326, Afghanistan, now over 900 and the numbers continue obviously to mount. How does -- how do those of us who are sitting here at home, safe and warm in our homes, how do we honor those people serving this nation in uniform? How do we honor best our veterans?

SGT. ARIEL LUNA, U.S. ARMY: Well, Lou, I would tell everybody just to get involved. I mean there's a lot of wonderful organizations with the parade, for instance, that was thrown by a 501-C3 (ph) United War Veterans and that was you know strictly private donations, no government funding or anything, so if people want to get involved, there's a lot of avenues that they can do to get involved. And you also have organizations like the IVA (ph), Student Veterans of America (ph) that they do many different things to help veterans out in many different ways.

DOBBS: What -- what are your thoughts, in reply to that charge for all of us?

1ST. LT. MEGAN GINGRICH, U.S. AIR FORCE: I'd have to agree with A.J. on -- to piggyback off of his I think that there's also this day and age, veterans are respected so much more than they were back in Vietnam or Korean War, the forgotten war. So with that token I think that it's -- I can't imagine, you know, being, you know, with my father when he was in Vietnam, having somebody, you know, spit on you when you get back. So, with that said, you know, it was an amazing day.

DOBBS: You feel the love and the support, though that this country has...

GINGRICH: Yes. DOBBS: ... for all of our troops.


DOBBS: Let me ask you, Bill, you're part of the greatest generation, you've had nothing, I would assume, but the great admiration and respect from the -- from the day you returned from World War II. What are your thoughts?

FMR. CPL. BILL TOLEDO, U.S. MARINE CORPS: Well, when we came home we -- we weren't -- we weren't recognized. We were told to keep our mouth shut about what we did in the war. Using the code, you know...

DOBBS: Because you were -- because you were a code talker.

TOLEDO: And that's what we did. And this lasted until about some -- a little over 20 years after the war. Finally they did declassify the code in 1968, I think it was, that's when we came out and they round up all the code talkers, and we had a big reunion down in Phoenix, you know and then they organized the Navajo Code Talkers Association and then that's when we thought going about, you know, being recognized here and there. And start making presentation, you know, at the schools, you know, and different -- all the way from the elementary to high school, university and other organizations, yeah.

DOBBS: Tell everybody where you served.

TOLEDO: I served down in -- my first combat landing was down in Bougainville, British settlement out near New Guinea, in February -- November 1st, 1943. And then my second combat landing was Guam, in July 21st, 1944. And my third one was February 1945, on Iwo Jima.

DOBBS: And those -- for those who perhaps don't know, some of the deadliest combat actions in the war's history. As a Vietnam veteran, what was your experience when you returned from Vietnam?

FMR. CAPT. DONALD BUZNEY, U.S. MARINE CORPS: Well, like I said, as a marine, no one spit on me. Because it would have been a counterproductive exercise. But it was true. I mean, we were rejected. We weren't appreciated. We know what we did. We know that the honor that we bestowed upon our country, and we knew the sacrifices we made. And it was a strange time. But, you know, today is -- is the epiphany. When you go to a parade like today and you see America pouring out. There were over 600,000 spectators New Yorkers came out to honor their veterans. And I mean, that -- everything in the past was forgotten. Today, I think, everybody would agree, made it, you know, just -- it was -- it was America's pride today, and we were proud to be part of it.

DOBBS: The debate now is a political debate about a president who is trying to construct a new war strategy in Afghanistan. Most Americans oppose that war and oppose escalating that war. I'm just curious how each of you, as those who have served this country with such honor and such distinction, how you feel and how you feel about the debate itself, the appropriateness of that debate. A.J., we'll start with you.

SGT. ARIEL LUNA, U.S. ARMY: Well, as a former soldier, you pretty much know what you're getting into when you do sign up for the military. You always try to leave that in the hands of the politicians and the leaders that form the policy. We carry out the policy. And in good faith we hope that President Obama makes the right decision, but, you know, only time will tell.

DOBBS: Megan?

1ST LT. MEGAN GINGRICH, U.S. AIR FORCE: I'd have to agree with A.J. on that one. Only time will tell. And I think right now we need more people in Afghanistan. And I think our president, and I hope that he will listen to our leaders and our commanders over there.

DOBBS: Bill, you've seen a lot from World War II through the Korean police action, Vietnam, Iraq, Iraq and Afghanistan. Your thoughts, sir?

TOLEDO: Well, my thought is, I think that we should more stick to the peace than going out to fight a war, because we should have our ambassador going out and trying to talk to these other countries or having, you know, making problem, you know? And maybe there's still a way they can kind of stay away from fighting each others.

DOBBS: Donald?

BUZNEY: I think President Obama's doing the right thing in being very deliberate about exposing American lives to the war in Afghanistan. And Afghanistan has been the graveyard for empires for centuries. And I think he's doing the right thing. He's listening to his generals. I would defer to General Petraeus, who was on the news today, and I think he's going to make the right move, but he's going to do it in the right way and for that I applaud President Obama.

DOBBS: All right. We thank each of you for being here and, again, thank you for your service, and happy Veterans Day to you, to everyone who served this nation in uniform. Thank you.

Up next, we continue to honor our nation's veterans. A Veterans Day salute to some of the outstanding Americans serving this nation in uniform all around the world. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: The questions about a campaign by a major church in this country that appeared to attempt to restrict our first amendment rights of free speech, the so we might see campaign, an arm of the United Church of Christ, partnering with ethnocentric special interest groups, special interest groups, to pressure the federal government to rein in, for example, radio talk show hosts claiming they spread so- called hate speech. Jeffrey Lord is a member of that church. And he is a member of the church, became quite interested in it, and is speaking out against efforts to muzzle voices of dissent in whatever form they take in this country, and he joins us now.

Great to have you with us.

JEFFREY LORD, AMERICAN SPECTATOR: Thank you, Lou, for having me.

DOBBS: You say the church that you belong to, the United Church of Christ --

LORD: Right.

DOBBS: -- essentially is trying to silence the right of free speech. How so?

LORD: They formed this group so we might see. They got seven major faiths. The catholic bishops were involved, the United Methodist, the Disciples of Christ and the evangelical Lutherans and on couple others and the objective was as I read this to crack down on talk radio. They wanted people to sign a petition here, mentioning Rush Limbaugh, signifying that he was guilty of hate speech. I thought it was an interference with the first amendment rights and it was an effort to stifle debate. They specifically mentioned you. They had a drop Dobbs campaign. I write a column -- exactly. I write a column for "The American Spectator" once a week. I looked in to this. I started to publish this information. The Catholic bishops were hearing from Catholics, the Methodists were hearing from Methodists. The catholic bishops wanted a statement of their own on the site. They did not want to specifically cite you or anybody by name.

DOBBS: I should cheer the Catholics? Give me a list of some people I want to cheer.

LORD: The Catholics, the Methodists and the Disciples of Christ.

DOBBS: Can I say god bless them all?

LORD: Were, you can.

DOBBS: Okay, god bless them all. And god bless you for having the energy, the interest to get into this. What else did you find as you began this research?

LORD: They had campaigns that were linking to campaigns to get you off the air, to get Glenn Beck off the air, this petition to get Rush Limbaugh, you know, to basically what they want to do is stigmatize rush and all talk radio. My question was, for instance, I'm a former colleague of Mark Levin, is it Laura Ingraham? Is it local talk radio, in Philadelphia or those in Pittsburgh, Ray Richardson up in Maine? They're good people. They're good people. And we have to have as my minister likes to say everyone's voice at the table is important. And it is important. And it doesn't make any difference whether you've got a television show or you're at somebody's kitchen table, you have a right to be heard.

DOBBS: One of the things that has struck me is that the degree to which some of these groups misrepresent my position. I mean, I have said, for example, illegal immigrant -- we'll just sake illegal immigration, for example. I've said throughout that I consider illegal immigrants to be the only rational actors in the entire crisis. I've said I want to rational, effective, and human immigration policy. I've said, however, that it has to -- it's dependent, just on our offer to syllogism, that straightforward, that in order to meaningfully reform immigration reform, we have to, it seems, be able to control immigration itself or it doesn't mean anything.

LORD: Right.

DOBBS: And the only way to control immigration is to have control of our borders and our ports.

LORD: That's right.

DOBBS: And for that I'm demonized and some of these groups try to -- well --

LORD: They do. And what concerns me is you had a story on earlier about Ft. Hood. This is basically a PC virus, and it's coming into television studios and they're going after talk radio. I think it's in the federal government, the U.S. government, and it estimate an effect on this incident on Ft. Hood. A Hollywood director of the "2012" film that's coming out. They destroy all sorts of things the director tells "The New York Times" he didn't want to touch Mecca because he didn't want a Fattah declared on him. This political correctness has got to stop. For instance, talk radio is the best place in America to have a conversation, a national conversation about things, to have these shows and they have to continue, and in my church, which has a long history of standing for expanding human freedom and free speech, you know, has made a mistake here. There are good people at the top of the church, but they made a mistake on in and I felt that we need to say it.

DOBBS: And they recognized that they made a mistake.

LORD: Well, they're recognizing it, sort of. The drop Dobbs campaign is off, the Glenn Beck campaign is off, off their websites. They still have the site up, they're still going at it. They have other issues. You can't discuss these other issues if you're saying Lou Dobbs, you can't talk about immigrants the way you talk about them or Rush Limbaugh, you can't talk about this. I mean, this is what's wrong here. And you've got to be able to let people to go out and -- and watch the movies they want, have the talk shows they want, say what they want, let the people call in. That's what's important.

DOBBS: You're speaking as though you think America is a free country.

LORD: I like to think it is. And, you know, it's our responsibility, it's not enough -- I happen to live in central Pennsylvania. And you have the show here in New York. But, you know, everybody across the country has this responsibility. People in my own church have diverse opinions on all sorts of things in my local church, and boy, they're not afraid of making themselves heard. So, this is our responsibility and we have to do that. I have the column in "the American spectator" and so I try and make sure things get heard.

DOBBS: All right. Well, thank you for doing so.

LORD: Thank you.

DOBBS: Thank you for being here tonight. Appreciate it. Jeffrey Lord of "The American Spectator." Thank you.

Up next, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowing to pass health care legislation by year's end. Even some Democrats say, that's not likely. We'll have the latest assessment in tonight's political panel.

And we celebrate Veterans Day. A look back at the courageous American heroes that we've been privileged to honor each week.


DOBBS: Joining me now, Deroy Murdock, he is a syndicated columnist with Scripps Howard News Service. Great to have you with us. And Errol Louis, columnist, "New York Daily News" CNN contributor, and Hank Sheinkopf, Democratic strategist, CNN contributor. Great to see you.


DOBBS: Let's turn to the Ft. Hood murders. There's great agitation in some quarters of the national media as to whether or not this is terrorism. And the fact that the media's done something of a disservice to fallen soldiers. What's your reaction?

SHEINKOPF: One lunatic with a weapon, who had an opportunity, and it's a great tragedy and my heart goes out to the great fighting men and women who lost their lives. That's it.

ERROL LOUIS, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Yeah, you know, I talked to some veterans, and they say that, you know, it's generally known that if somebody is under that much stress, if they want to take themself out of combat if they're afraid to go to a theater of operations, they shoot off a toe, they pick a fight. This is an outlier. This is an atrocity and to see the mayor of Chicago and others try to sneak in other kind of political agendas or to medicalize this whole thing that this is part of stress or suicides and so forth, it's a real disservice, and it prevents us from getting at the facts and we have to deep in mind that this is a guy, who if he survives, will be put on trial, a military court-martial. It ends up being kind of a waste of time. I think we will get to the truth of it when it goes to court.

DOBBS: So people shouldn't think bit, talk about it, ask about it, speculate about it.

LOUIS: I think the speculation is just plain harmful. I mean a group that says all Muslims should be kicked out of the military. I think that's just crazy.

DOBBS: Who said that? LOUIS: The American Family Association I believe.

SHEINKOPF: Charming people.

DOBBS: I don't know who they are.

SHEINKOPF: Lovers of humanity. They want to bring us together.

DOBBS: But who are they is what I'm asking?

DEROY MURDOCK, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think we have to have our eyes open. I think he was under stress and may have had mental problems, but beyond that he was in contact with a pro-al Qaeda imam from overseas, he said he was a Muslim first and an American second. He showed a slide that says we love death more than you love life. So, there's another dimension to this, and I think if we close our eyes to this we may be looking away from the person that decides to do this again. This has to be part of the discussion.

DOBBS: I have to ask you, when did we start the stuff we don't speculate, we don't discuss, we don't think, we don't examine, we don't apply our intellects? I just heard the president of the United States say this about Ft. Hood. Mother of god, what kind of country are we? This is not a court of law! This is a nation of in -- of energetic, intelligent people, 300 million of us and we're supposed to suspend our brains? What's going on here, Hank?

SHEINKOPF: Well, I don't think we ought to suspend our brains. But, you know, the discussion of whether this guy was nuts is not a discussion. The fact that he has to go to trial should he survive his wounds, that's for sure. The fact that we have a lot of dead people, that's also for sure. We just witnessed the execution of another mass murder, just yesterday, Mr. Muhammad who is going to whatever destination who is determined to him. We talked about that a good, deal, too, is this an act of a crazy person or gun control? It's about a little bit of everything. But this is the act of a crazy person, no question about it. Whether he was in touch with this imam or that one, the danger is we segregate a person by religion or skin color to protect our --

MURDOCK: There is another danger who there were other soldiers who heard him say things of a jihadist nature and they didn't come forward because they were afraid they would be reprimanded or ostracized --

LOUIS: Wait a minute --

MURDOCK: 13 people that are dead that might be alive.

LOUIS: This is the kind of speculation that doesn't make sense. You are saying there are people, you know who they are and you know why they didn't speak up, you conducted your own investigation?

MURDOCK: We have a number of soldiers who said they did not speak out because they were afraid of being reprimanded.

LOUIS: Because they thought they'd be reprimanded?

DOBBS: You've asked for testimony. I'm going to offer you testimony. Okay? Let me offer you testimony. I spoke with a doctor, in a classroom, with Major Hasan, who said straightforwardly that he and other members of that class were horrified at some of his statements and they complained to the administration, and they did so at some risk because it is quite well known, according to the doctor, that they will have a one equal opportunity complaint can destroy a career. And that that stigma hangs over you. Brian Todd tonight on this very broadcast reported on that issue. Errol, I mean, this is not a matter of rank speculation. It is a report of the -- of the paranoia and political correctness within the United States Army.

LOUIS: Deroy just said people lost their lives because people were too hesitant to call out what they saw in front of them --

DOBBS: We can talk directly to him. He's right here.

LOUIS: And I -- what I -- first of all, I don't think there's any basis to draw that conclusion, but secondly, when you hear things like he shouted Allah Akbar before the massacre began some witnesses said that. One general said there is speculation. It is not clear what happened. It is simply not clear what happened. You can take as Mayor Daley did on his own political agenda, you can take your political agenda and grab a couple of facts that seem to match it and you're off --

DOBBS: What is your --

MURDOCK: We're told if you see something, say something. Don't keep it to themselves. There are people keeping to it themselves because they are afraid if do, an equal opportunity office will come to them. If you someone makes these statements I think it's appropriate to come forward and say keep an eye on this guy or else, and now we see what else was.

DOBBS: Isn't there a condescending, patronizing view that people are such ignoramuses and fools that they can't make a distinction between a radical, Islamic terrorist and an American citizens who practices the Muslim faith? I mean, what kind -- isn't there some political correctness that would keep us from being offended by such an insult, by our leaders, by the power structure?

SHEINKOPF: That's true.

DOBBS: I would hope.

SHEINKOPF: Well, Lou, you're on to something. It's called staying on message. We watch politicians do it, therefore the population is supposed to do it. I think the military ought to be held to a different standard in this matter. I think the stakes are higher and army ought to be --

DOBBS: What do you mean staying on message?

SHEINKOPF: The message is that everybody shouldn't be complaining about it and everything the administration is saying should be wonderful and it's fine and okay. That's the message and you are supposed to stay on that message and people are not doing it. When you deviate from that message, there must we something wrong with you and you're experiencing that. That's kind of what you're alluding to, I think.

DOBBS: I'm saying to you that one of the great characteristics of the great American, the American people, is our historic ability to be straightforward, plainspoken, say what we mean and mean what we say.

SHEINKOPF: We're losing it.

DOBBS: And we're losing it.


DOBBS: Not by accident. Thank you, all, for being here. I appreciate it. Good to have you with us. Errol, we'll talk later.

SHEINKOPF: Thank you for everything over the years.

DOBBS: Thank you, appreciate it, gentlemen, all the best.

And a reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for "the Lou Dobbs Show" 2 to 4 p.m. each afternoon on WOR 710 radio in New York. And all around the country. And I want to say thanks to the hundreds of affiliates and go to to get the local listings for "The Lou Dobbs Show" in your area on the radio. You can follow me on ""Lou Dobbs News"" on And by the way, each one of the veterans' charities that we're talking about are going to be on the home page of, so go there for further information about how you can help.

Still ahead -- honoring our heroes. Some of the brave men and women that we've had the privilege of honoring.


DOBBS: On this Veterans Day, let's take a special look back at some of the heroes that we've honored on this broadcast each week and in their own words.


SGT. 1ST CLASS RONALD STRICKLAND, U.S. ARMY: I can tell you this, America has got a lot to be proud of. These young soldiers, some of them are 18, some of them are 17, you know? When you say it's time to pack the bags and it's time to go to Afghanistan or Iraq, they're all ready.

GUNNERY SGT. MARCUS WILSON, U.S. MARINE CORPS: If I had to go back and do it all over again, I absolutely would do it with no hesitation, because it's what we do. It's why we put the uniform on every day. SPC. JEREMY PIERCE, U.S. ARMY: God was saying, you know, I will give you the chance to not to have volunteered and not have to go on this second tour, and you could have your leg back and you wouldn't have to have nightmares, I would tell them that I'm proud of what I did. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

SPC. LUKE MURPHY, U.S. ARMY: I don't think any other job appealed to me as much.

CPT. CHRISTOPHER CARBONE, U.S. ARMY RESERVE: If the army calls, the army needs me at some point, so be it.

LT. JOSHUA RODRIGUEZ, U.S. ARMY: The reason I joined the army was because I wanted to make sure that my family was safe. And there is a quote that I listened for that I go by, and it's by Thomas Payne, I don't know it verbatim, but it's something along the lines let there be trouble in my days so that my children will not have to endure the same.

CAPT. MATTHEW MYER, U.S. ARMY: It's nothing that comes natural, but it comes through training and it comes through the character of these men.

CAPT. GIANDULIS ROUSSO, U.S. MARINE CORPS: There are hostilities, we all understand that. There is the possibility of -- of getting hurt or dying. But that -- that all comes second to getting the job done.

SGT. JOHN MARRA, U.S. ARMY RESERVE: I just hope that the people are aware of some of those -- those sacrifices that the families make. That's who I believe really needs the hero, the hero accolades is the families. Very important. We couldn't get through it without them.


DOBBS: And we couldn't get through it without you. We want to thank all of the brave men and women who served this nation in uniform. Thank you so much.

Thanks for being with us. As they say, I'll see you next on the radio.