MSNBC Scarborough Country - Transcript
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SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it, and that's really the Democrats' problem right now. Republicans have so many problems-and you all have heard me say it every night probably for the past two or three months, about just all the Republicans' problems and how it may lead for the Democratic Party to take control of Congress. But I'll tell you what. For that to happen, the Democrats have to start speaking with one voice, and they just haven't done that yet. When you have Hillary Clinton giving speeches where she's being booed, when you have other Democrats being attacked for their position on the war by fellow Democrats, it's a serious problem.
Now, earlier this evening, I talked to two congressmen in the thick of the battle today, Peter King of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida. And I asked Congressman Wexler, a Democrat, if this resolution was even worth debating.
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REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D), FLORIDA: Debate is wonderful, but that's all we have is talk. We're debating a non-binding resolution that does nothing. It does nothing to end the insurgency. It does nothing to provide an exit strategy. It does nothing, actually, to address the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. All this resolution does is present an unrealistic rosy picture of what is occurring in Iraq. There's no relevance to this debate. It's a debate for debate's sake.
SCARBOROUGH: But Robert, isn't the biggest debate about the Iraq war right now between members of the Democratic Party, which appear to be split straight down the middle on whether we stay or go?
WEXLER: There is undoubtedly a difference of opinion within the Democratic Party, and that is a matter of fact. But the bigger issue for the country is how do we take the death of Zarqawi and how do we parlay that now into an exit strategy for America? We've already lost 2,500 of our brave men and women. We've spent almost $400 billion. And the insurgency continues to grow. We are not more safe in America, rather we are becoming less safe. We're not doing what we need to do in Afghanistan to go after al Qaeda internationally. Our troops are mired in this mild to medium-grade civil war in Iraq, and we've got a pending nuclear program in Iran.
REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: The fact is that as far as Afghanistan, as far as al Qaeda-al Qaeda is on defense. Al Qaeda international has been broken. That's why they're splintered up. And it's very important that we don't send the wrong signal to Iran or to al Qaeda by having a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. Our policy should not be an exit strategy, it should be a victory strategy, and victory is having an Iraqi government which can defend itself.
WEXLER: Memo to the Republicans: Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We haven't gotten Osama bin Laden. We are threatened by al Qaeda all over the world, and we are mired in what is now an insurgency, a civil war in Iraq. Killing al Zarqawi was a terrific thing, a great victory for our troops and America, but let's not blow that to the proportion now saying that we now have a positive goal that we're likely to accomplish. No. We've got terrible things happening in Afghanistan that actually do bolster up al Qaeda, and we're busy here, doing a do-nothing, say-nothing debate!
KING: Joe, I would just say every rational analyst will say that al Qaeda is on the run. Al Qaeda is on defense. They've not launched any attack against the United States in five years. Al Qaeda has been fractured. Obviously, more has to be done against al Qaeda, but they are on defense and they're on defense all over the world.
SCARBOROUGH: Explain to Americans watching tonight, to Democrats who are very frustrated tonight at their own party, why there's still a split in the war in Iraq, why more Democrats don't come over to your side, which opposes the president.
WEXLER: This is not the choice that some Republicans offer, which is you either stick with President Bush or you are in some way condemning America to failure. We are now in a civil war. We have Iran about to develop nuclear weapons, and we have Afghanistan getting worse, not better. Our State Department states with its figures that incidents of international terror have quadrupled from 2003 to 2004 to 2005. We're not winning the war on terror. That's the memo.
KING: No, the fact is, we are winning the war on terror. Al Qaeda is on defense all over the world. That's why they're splintering. That's why they've not attacked the United States in almost five years. Any analysis of al Qaeda shows it is splintering. And the fact is, as far as Iran, Joe, for the first time, we have all of the major countries together, standing together against Iran. So our multi-lateral strategy is working with Iran. The worst signal we can send to any of our allies, to Jordan, to Israel, to Egypt, any of the allies in the Middle East, would be for us to withdraw from Iraq before the job is done.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, guys. Hey, thanks so much for being with us, and thanks to both of you for being straight shooters.
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