Neil Cavuto was joined by Bernard Kerik, former NYC Police Commissioner; Rep. David Dreier, D-Calif.; Gregg Hymowitz, founder of Entrust Capital; Jim Rogers, president of JimRogers.com; Meredith Whitney, Fox Business News contributor; Dave Nelson, CEO of DC Nelson Asset Management; and Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., D-Tenn.
France: Enemy of the State?
Neil Cavuto: Is France (search) now enemy number one to America and our stock market? President Bush extends an olive branch at the U.N. last week and while the French say they're willing to work with us, Jacques Chirac's speech was more an attack on us, and our efforts in Iraq. Bernie Kerik, France seems unwilling to help with the enormous costs of Iraq unless we do it entirely their way.
Bernard Kerik: We have to get courage. France didn't have enough courage to stand up to Saddam Hussein (search). They didn't have courage to move forward knowing that Saddam just ignored one resolution after another. They know it was the right thing to do even though they don't like to acknowledge it in public.
Neil Cavuto: Congressman Drier, do you worry that because they didn't take our olive branch and go with the program that this could be a problem for us going forward?
Congressman Drier: I'm a half glass full kind of guy. I think the meeting the President had with Jacques Chirac coupled with the speech is a beginning. It was easy for us to bash the French because they gave us a lot of reason to. But we have much more in agreement with France and Western Europe than we do in disagreement. We're the largest trading partner France has outside of the European Union. The economic relationship transcends any of these political bumps in the road.
Meredith Whitney: I think a way of describing the French is N.A.F.T.A, Not A Factor To Anyone. I think they're flexing their muscle because they know they have much less political strength than they ever have before. Chirac doesn't have a lot of courage because he's got a lot of Muslims living in his country.
Jim Rogers: This is politics. Chirac is playing to his voters like everyone in politics plays to their voters. This is not going to affect our economy or our stock market.
Gregg Hymowitz: 52 percent of Americans feel a little troubled right now about spending $87 billion in Iraq. I think the language is a little inflammatory when we say the French have no courage. Many Americans are now looking back at why we went to war and are now very uncomfortable with it. The French are taking a position that is very similar to many Americans right now.
Meredith Whitney: The United States represents over 60 percent of the worldwide GDP. So they can complain but no one can really afford to go against the United States here. I think that as a result you'll see a lot of cooperation with Europe in the future.
Neil Cavuto: But you Mr. Kerik say that the French are getting it wrong. That there is a great deal of good news coming out of Iraq but it's just not being reported.
Bernard Kerik: There's an enormous amount of good things going on in Iraq. The economy is coming back. The infrastructure is being built, not rebuilt. It's being built because the infrastructure was so deteriorated.
Gregg Hymowitz: But how does us building railroads in Iraq protect American citizens?
Bernard Kerik: Protecting our citizens on a daily basis is essential. We have to secure the country of Iraq and the Iraqi people have to do that.
Gregg Hymowitz: Why? What's the connection between 9-11 and Iraq?
Bernard Kerik: You have to take away the threat in Iraq and every country around Iraq. You have to take out Saddam. That's what's being done and that's what's been done.
Jim Rogers: But he's gone. Why do we still spend hundreds of billions of dollars. Why don't we come home?
Neil Cavuto: Are you assuming that everything is hunky dory now and we can just come home?
Bernard Kerik: If we come home tomorrow, Saddam is back in a week. That's why.
Congressman Drier: Well, I'm the only person here who is actually going to have a vote in the $87 billion. There is a recognition that we got into this and for us to now withdraw would be wrong. I know the argument is being made, why are we doing these things in Iraq that we could be doing here at home. I think we need to realize that, as the President has said, there is not a direct correlation with 9-11 and Saddam Hussein. We do know that there are forces within Iraq that would love to do in the United States.