Hot Stories for the Week of June 20

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", June 25, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The Beltway Boys" Saturday at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday at 1 and 6 a.m. EST.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: And the hot story is, we’re winning in Iraq (search), right now. Not only, obviously, did we win, the U.S. and Iraqi democrats, win in deposing Saddam, back in 2003, but we’re actually winning the War on Terrorism now.

Mort, you probably saw Senator Edward Kennedy (search) at that Armed Services Committee hearing saying that, oh, it’s just a quagmire we’re stuck in, in Iraq. And you talk about dating yourself, I mean, the only quagmire is where, where Kennedy’s thinking is stuck, and that’s back in the ‘60s.

He was shot down big-time by General George Casey (search), the U.S. commander in Iraq. Listen to Casey.


GEN. GEORGE CASEY, MULTINATIONAL FORCE COMMANDER: You have an insurgency with no vision, no base, limited popular support, an elected government, committed Iraqis to the democratic process, and you have Iraqi security forces that are fighting and dying for their country every day.

Senator, that is not a quagmire.


BARNES: And there are a couple things he didn’t mention. I mean, the terrorists, they have no leader who’s from Iraq. Their guy’s a Jordanian. They have no ideology, no program, and no ability to pull off a big attack. Remember they tried to seize Abu Ghraib prison (search), and they got easily beaten back.

Now, there is a problem, however. The problem right now is a political one in the U.S., where support for the Iraqi intervention and the new democratic government and the American forces there really has declined significantly, which is why the president is going on television on Tuesday to talk about Iraq, and I think boost national morale and support for the Iraqi intervention.

Here he is on Friday, he gave what I think is kind of a preview of what he’s going to say in that speech. Listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, they figure if they can shake our will, and, you know, affect public opinion, then politicians will give up on the mission. I’m not giving up on the mission. We’re doing the right thing.


MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Well, that is a very good point, and that is exactly what the enemy is hoping to do. And it has worked in American history. I mean, you say we’re winning, but there’s evidence that we were winning the war in Vietnam. I mean, when General Creighton Abrams took over, we were beating the North Vietnamese (search) and the Viet Cong (search) in battle after battle after battle.

But on the home front, the media and the Democratic Congress at the time, and then increasingly, you know the public, and then even Republicans, and then the military itself began to lose morale about the thing, and we lost. We, we lost that.

Now, there is a danger that this could all happen again. At that Armed Services Committee hearing, Lindsey Graham (search), senator from South Carolina, said that there’s beginning to be loss of faith even in South Carolina, one of the most patriot, patriotic states in the country.

Don Rumsfeld responded to him, as he should have, Listen, senator, offer some leadership. Go stand up to those people. Which is exactly the right answer.


KONDRACKE: But on the other hand, on the other hand, it’s beginning to wear. And General Abizaid, who’s the commander of all of our troops in the Middle East, talked about it. And this is a warning. Watch.


GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: When my soldiers say to me, and ask me the question, whether or not they’ve got support from the American people or not, that worries me. And they’re starting to do that.


KONDRACKE: And this is what Bush has got to counteract and defeat on Tuesday night, is creeping negativism.

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: And I hope he does. OK.

The other hot story is no apologies. That is, Karl Rove (search) is not offering any apologies for what he said at the New York Conservative Party last week. Here he is, and here’s a retort from Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader.




KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: For him to try to exploit 9/11 for political purposes, once again, just shows you how desperate they are.


KONDRACKE: Now look, Karl Rove did go over the top on this. And what he needs to do is say, Sorry, I meant some liberals, because all the liberals in Congress, except for one, voted in favor of military action against Al Qaeda after 9/11. They weren’t in favor of therapy.

Now, what, what he was talking about was


KONDRACKE: And did sponsor a petition which said, you know, Let’s take Al Qaeda to court...


KONDRACKE: And let’s not go after the Taliban. I mean, they did do that. And, it is a fair point that the MoveOn organization has moved to the center of the Democratic Party and become a major force in the Democratic Party, which is disastrous for the Democrats.

BARNES: Yes, well, it was clear that’s what he was talking about. Why does he have to apologize to Nancy Pelosi (search)? In fact, he doesn’t, he won’t, and he shouldn’t.

You know, some people have made the analogy between saying that, “Well, what Karl Rove said is just like what Dick Durbin (search) said.” Wrong. What Dick Durbin said was that in Guantanamo, we treat the prisoners there the way they were treated by Hitler and Stalin’s gulag (search) and so on, and the Cambodian killing fields. That’s just inaccurate.

What Karl said about liberals, the ones he was talking about, as you correctly pointed out, Mort, is actually true.

So there’s no reason for him to apologize. There was good reason for Dick Durbin to apologize, no question about that.

And look, liberals don’t like it. The truth is, you know, they’re afraid of Karl Rove.


BARNES: They would love to keep talking about, they need a Karl Rove in their party. But that’s not really what they need. What they need is not to be reactionary liberals, which they have stuck in that position. They’re just against everything. They have no new ideas. And there’s not much of a future for them.

KONDRACKE: Yes, well, going over the top is not good.

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C. and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.