Rep. Rangel: Bush Policies Make America Less Safe

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 15, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The first question, an often repeated one in Democratic circles, that, if we were not involved in Iraq, we would be better prepared to fight the War on Terror. Tony [Snow] dismissing that, saying that this terror battle has been going on long before we got involved in Iraq.

Nevertheless, the questions and the second-guessing are going to continue.

I want to get sort of a critique of all of this from Congressman Charlie Rangel in New York. Charlie is the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. And, if the Democrats take over in November, he could be the chairman of that committee.

You heard a little bit of that, Charlie. What do you think?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-N.Y.: I was absolutely that they said that this briefing of the president involved the government working together, not going one way and the other going the other way, that we had to coordinate our effort.

It would seem to me that we should have done that before 9/11, and it shouldn't take years to be doing this.

CAVUTO: But to be fair, we weren't doing that years before 9/11, right, when another president was in power, right?

RANGEL: I don't care what...

CAVUTO: You don't want to play the blame game, right? So...

RANGEL: No, no. But I am saying...

CAVUTO: Would — would you argue, though...

RANGEL: ... after 9/11...

CAVUTO: Right.

RANGEL: ... you would believe that it wouldn't take much more than a couple of weeks to realize that we were not working together, Democrats or Republicans.

CAVUTO: Well, but — but — but, Charlie, would you argue that we are working together? Working with our British counterparts, we — we were able to stop what could have been a horrible thing that would have gone off tomorrow.

RANGEL: You know, this is the first time I heard that the United States was involved in this.

And Great Britain, they said they kept us informed. But, I mean, all of a sudden, we were part of this great intelligence work that was done? All I heard earlier was...


CAVUTO: What does that tell you, that — that we are in constant communication with all sources across the globe?

RANGEL: It doesn't mean that...

CAVUTO: We didn't have that before, right?

RANGEL: First of all, if we were fighting the war against terrorism, we would not be in Iraq, doing — Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Whatever happened to Usama bin Laden? Whatever happened to tracking down Al Qaeda? All of this is just thrown out. As Rumsfeld said, we are creating more terrorists...

CAVUTO: But what do you think...

RANGEL: ... than we're killing

CAVUTO: Congressman, what do you think of the argument — we had terror to deal with, that — the USS Cole, World Trade Center '93...

RANGEL: Sure, we did.

CAVUTO: ... long before Iraq, right?

RANGEL: We should have dealt with it.

CAVUTO: So — so, is your argument that we are more terror-exposed because of Iraq?

RANGEL: Of course.

CAVUTO: So — so, you are a New Yorker.


CAVUTO: You love this city.

Nearly five years, we haven't had another incident. Does that give you any encouragement?

RANGEL: Not at all, because we haven't...

CAVUTO: So, you don't feel safe?

RANGEL: For hundreds of years — no. And most Americans don't feel any safer, that we really, truly believe that, if we wanted to feel safer, we will have more of a support for local and state governments. New York was cut back.

We would be there at the airports with the luggage. We would be there at the seaports. One of the things that I have heard at one of the conferences is to have our young people in a domestic program, where they could assist in the schools and the hospitals, and be the eyes and ears, so that they can...


CAVUTO: Take Iraq out of the equation. What would a Democrat...

RANGEL: I wish we could.

CAVUTO: No, no, no, just to the terror argument, what would a Democratic president, what would a Democratic Congress do differently?

RANGEL: You know, I would hope — I can't speak for the Democrats, but one of the questions I have is, where are all of the president's Arab friends that go in and out of — of the Crawford ranch, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the king of Jordan, the president of Egypt?

You know, this is their dogfight. And it has been for hundreds of years. We give them billions of dollars a year, just so that they don't aggressively attack Israel. They are all anti-Semitic. And now it appears as though we're going in there to settle a dispute.

CAVUTO: So, you would stop giving them money?

RANGEL: I would bring them in and say, hey, if you are...

CAVUTO: Right.

RANGEL: ... on our side, stop the anti-Semitism. Come there. Let's help get rid of the Hezbollah...


RANGEL: ... and — and help us to get rid of these — as the — the cancer that is on the side of Lebanon.

CAVUTO: Charlie Rangel, I always would love to have so much more time with you. But we never have that...


CAVUTO: ... TV being what it is.

RANGEL: I will be back.

CAVUTO: Charlie Rangel, thank you very much.

RANGEL: Thank you, Neil.

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