This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", May 22, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let's go over to the ups and downs.

DOWN: Iraqi Governing Council Member Ahmed Chalabi

Not only has he lost the support of the U.S., his office was raided and now he's being accused by senior government officials of leaking secret documents to the Iraq, to Iran.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: Yes, look, I'm not absolving him of anything. I don't know what, whether he's guilty or not. But I do know this. There is, there are very bad feelings between Paul Bremer (search), the chief U.S. envoy in Iraq in the moment, and Chalabi, and they're bad, and there's bad blood between Chalabi, Chalabi and the CIA.

And it does seem to me that the military in Iraq would have better things to do than be raiding Chalabi's office and house, or whatever it was, and then trumpeting to the media all over the world that that's what they did.

I give Chalabi credit for one thing. He's one of the exiles who came back and has been on the Governing Council and he has tried to create a political base in Iraq, and others have been too old or too indifferent to doing that. And it, and he's built ties with Ayatollah Sistani (search), the chief Shi'ite cleric there.

He is pro-American, and he is pro-democracy. So I hope things turn out well for him. At the moment it doesn't look like they will.

KONDRACKE: Right, well, he's been kicking up a fuss again. And Bremer dislikes him because he's...

BARNES: Very much.

KONDRACKE: ... because he's been complicating... the, the attempts to get a interim government established after elections.

My cynical theory about this is that the timing, at least, of this Chalabi raid was designed to divert attention from Abu Ghraib, the prison scandal, and throw to antiwar sentiment in the United States a body, not Don Rumsfeld's body...


KONDRACKE: ... but the body of Ahmed Chalabi, the guy who convinced Rumsfeld, or at least partly convinced Rumsfeld ... that there were weapons of mass destruction in, in Iraq.

BARNES: Mort, that is extremely cynical. But you may be right.

UP: Gay Marriage

The first same-sex marriages took place in Massachusetts this week, leaving some opponents to worry the gay marriage movement can't be stopped. Prominent conservative Max Boot, who's a friend of mine, actually, says the battle against gay marriage is all but lost. Here's what he wrote in The L.A. Times this week.

"The U.S. Supreme Court struck down antisodomy laws last year. The Episcopal Church has appointed an openly gay bishop. Many newspapers carry the equivalent of wedding announcements for gays, giving a seismic cultural shift. Anyone who makes a validly moral arguments against homosexuality now gets treated the same way homosexuals were treated only a few years ago, as a sex-mad pervert."

KONDRACKE: Listen, I think, I'm, I'm so grateful to you for pointing this column out to me.


KONDRACKE: This is, this, it actually was pretty brilliant. It said that Republicans should not waste their time...


KONDRACKE: ... campaigning...

BARNES: Right.

KONDRACKE: ... on a constitutional amendment to, to ban gay marriage, because all they're going to do is look intolerant to soccer moms. And he also said, "The good news from a conservative point of view is that it's hard to imagine that legalizing gay marriage will make much difference in the lives of most people. After all, gays represent about 2 percent of the population, that's all.

"Certainly it would have considerably less, considerably less corrosive effect... "


KONDRACKE: "... than the prevalence of divorce and out-of-wedlock marriage."

BARNES: Are you going to, are you going to read the whole column? Pretty much. Go ahead.

KONDRACKE: ... it also answers your point ... about, you know, that, that legalizing ... gay -- that, no, that legalizing gay marriage will inevitably lead to legalizing bigamy, polygamy, saw, saw...


KONDRACKE: ... incest and all the rest. But the answer is, as he points out, that legalizing alcohol for adults did not mean that we legalized it for children. The, what civilizations do is draw lines.

BARNES: Yes, well, look, I, if civilizations and societies and the public get to decide this, they will draw a line, but judges and groups of judges step in and don't draw these lines. And the logic, I'm afraid, of gay marriage is a logic that will lead judges to say, Well, OK, I mean, if we, if we're going to say that, that marriage is not just restricted to men and women, why, then, is it restricted to just two people? Why, I mean ... the logic leads ...

Max Boot is defeatist, and there are some other conservatives who are defeatist. But I think this battle is not over yet, not by a long shot.


UP: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

He passionately defended local firefighters and police for their work on September 11 after sharp ... criticism from the 9/11 commission. Here's commissioner John Lehman's attack early in the week, and Giuliani's response.


JOHN LEHMAN, 9/11 COMMISSIONER: I think that the command and control and communications of this city's public service is a scandal. It's...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would ask the audience, just taking time away from the hearing when you do that. So please do not.

LEHMAN: It, it is, it's not worthy of, of, of the Boy Scouts, let alone this great city.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: ... anger should clearly be directed and the blame should clearly be directed at one source and one source alone, the terrorists who killed our loved ones.


KONDRACKE: Look, the job of the 9/11 commission was to figure out what went wrong on, on 9/11, and to try to improve it. Now, there were communications difficulties and there were command difficulties on 9/11. And I, and I think that's what Lehman was getting at, and maybe he overstated his case ... but...

BARNES: ... maybe.

KONDRACKE: ... the, the key question is, have those problems been fixed?

BARNES: Yes, right.

KONDRACKE: And, and, and it's not clear to me that they have been.

BARNES:  ... now, the 9/11 commission is supposed to investigate, not hold show trials. This was a show trial. And Lehman insulted the very people who, who suffered the most on 9/11 and did the most to, to rescue people from those two towers.

UP: Bill Cosby

The comedian raised eyebrows with a wakeup call to African, to the African-American community in a speech Monday marking the 50th anniversary of the Brown versus Board of Education decision.

Cosby said, "They're standing on the corner, and they can't speak English. I can't even talk the way these people talk, why you ain't, where you is. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth."

It's not just an African-American problem, I can tell you that, Mort. You know, it's like a lot of other people don't know how to talk ... right, and every, yes, you know, you know, everything is awesome, you know, they just don't speak English well either. It is, it is multicultural, this problem.

KONDRACKE: I, I wish that Bill Cosby had addressed the problem among African-Americans of, of neglecting academic achievement, putting it down because it's, "acting white."


KONDRACKE: That is, that is a crucial problem in the black community...


KONDRACKE: ... and has been well documented.

BARNES: Yes, he'll get to that.

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