This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," January 25, 2006, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, Congress is getting tough on Iran — lawmakers from both sides of the aisle pushing for harsh U.N. sanctions. And they're not even ruling out military force to stop that country from getting a nuclear bomb.
But by forcing on Iran so much, are we ignoring what could be an even greater and bigger danger, Syria?
One of America's most wanted terrorists reportedly spotted in Syria just last week. Imad Mughniyah is wanted for the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847. Remember that one, in which a Navy diver was beaten, tortured, shot in the head, his body dumped on a tarmac at a Beirut airport?
Is Syria harboring the terrorists behind that act and many other acts? And what should the U.S. do about it?
Let's ask former presidential candidate, former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark. He's also a FOX News contributor.
General, good to have you.
WESLEY CLARK, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Syria is the one country I think we forget about. Is it a threat?
CLARK: Well, we shouldn't. This is an historic opportunity for the United States with Syria. It's not too late. You know, Syria is under a lot of pressure. They're under pressure from the U.N. investigation of the Lebanese former Prime Minister Hariri's assassination. They're under pressure economically. They're under pressure because they're caught in a squeeze play ideologically.
This is the time that the United States should be talking with Syria.
CAVUTO: When you say talking with Syria, what do you...
CLARK: I mean send the right people in there under cover.
CLARK: High-level people, maybe Steve Hadley, maybe one of Steve's deputies, to actually lay out the possibility of...
CAVUTO: But not at the highest level?
CLARK: The president can't go there, but it can be done.
CAVUTO: But how can you do that now, General, when you have had the leaders of Syria and Iran palling around?
CLARK: Because me, it can be done.
CLARK: In this part of the world, people talk and fight together with each other simultaneously at all levels.
And if we're in this part of the world, we have got to not only have military force. We have got to have our full wits, our intelligence, our leadership, our ability to mobilize international law and diplomacy. We should tell Bashar Assad in Syria that this is his moment to do an historic transformation of Syria. He needs to get the terrorists out by working with us.
He needs to set the Syrian economy moving in the right direction. He needs to lay the foundations for democracy.
CAVUTO: He has ignored even the verbal overtures, though.
So, I mean, he has a history of certainly sticking it to the U.S. And he might even be behind some prominent assassinations in Lebanon. So, I'm wondering if he is the guy to do that with or he's the only guy we can deal with.
CLARK: Well, he's the guy who's there right now. He's in power.
He's got some big weaknesses. And he needs us, if we work with him the right way. And we could use him as a transitional figure. But, you know, this is not about somebody that you are going to admire their ideals or their conduct. This is about serving and protecting the interests of the United States of America and our friends and allies in the region and advancing the cause of democracy.
And the truth is that we have got alternatives. We don't necessarily have to invade and occupy Syria. But if we don't talk, and the worst comes to it, we may well find ourselves doing that.
CAVUTO: Do you suspect that more the insurgent activity, more of maybe the hidden weapons activity, if you want to call it that, is, at its roots, in Syrian more than it is Iran?
CLARK: Well, I think there are different motivations.
First of all, Syria and Iran are a little bit aligned. And Syria uses Iran's strength as a buffer against Israel to do what it wants. But when the United States went into the region, the talk was all over the Middle East, just like it was in the Washington and off The Weekly Standard that it was Iraq first, and then Syria, Lebanon, and then Iran.
And, so, these nations in their own defense made sure they would stymie what the United States wanted to do in Iraq. So, yes, an insurgent base grew up in Syria. I know we're trying to take action against that base in one way or another, reinforcing the border. And we have had low- level dialogues.
You know, the Syrians initially said they would cooperate with us on intelligence. But what we have got to do is, we have got get to Bashar Assad, because the alternative to doing that is to muddle through, wait for Syria to collapse, and we will have another failed state on our hands, a failed state that, one way or another, is going to be a danger, a bigger danger, to the Middle East.
And it will cause us to take action, actions with our overstretched military that we really don't need to take. What we need to do...
CAVUTO: When you say it's overstretched, too overstretched to do something about Iran right now?
CLARK: Depends on what you're going to do about Iran.
Now, you can certainly run bombing strikes and Special Forces activities and you can go after those nuclear sites.
CAVUTO: You have to know where those sites are, though, right?
CLARK: I think that's less of a problem.