Rep. Rangel: Cease-Fire Needed to Defuse Mideast Crisis

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 3, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, Jonathan Hunt, not the kind of news my next guest wants to hear. In fact, he says, enough of this fighting once and for all. The time has come for a cease-fire.

He is, of course, Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York.

Charlie, good to see you.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-N.Y.: Good to be back, Neil.

CAVUTO: So, you're saying enough is enough?

RANGEL: Come on. There's no way to justify the atrocities that's been committed on the Israelis or the retaliations, after the Hezbollah, what, we're talking about women and children and innocent people.

And I don't know why we never consider bringing in the heads of these Arab states to say, "Hey, this is your problem, too."


CAVUTO: But they're not doing squat.

RANGEL: They're not, but they run in and outside of the Crawford ranch — the — the — the crown princes, the president of Egypt. We give billions of dollars to Egypt. Why can't we tell them, "Hey, we're here to help, but this is your problem."

CAVUTO: But aren't you feeding their — their army, so to speak...


CAVUTO: ... by saying, "Go ahead," if you let Hezbollah stop the way it is now? It had proof today with pretty sophisticated rockets that penetrated deep into Israel today, killed close to a dozen people today.

RANGEL: Let me make it clear...

CAVUTO: Is that a good thing to do?

RANGEL: Let me make it clear, I want that cancer of Hezbollah cut out of Lebanon. And I want to be able to help.

CAVUTO: Well, an automatic cease-fire, Charlie, keeps them armed, right?

RANGEL: Not if we get — I want a force there. I don't want to just say, "Quit," while they're able to just rearm themselves. Hell no. What I want is that world to know this is not just a U.S.-Israeli problem, that the Hezbollah is dangerous to the world, but, more specifically, to this region. What makes...

CAVUTO: But isn't Israel saying that?

RANGEL: Oh, no. Israel says: "Let me do it. I don't want a cease- fire until I wipe this thing out."

I'm saying, hey, let Israel take a breath and be assured that Hezbollah will be wiped out.

CAVUTO: Can you blame them when they've had prior instances, when they've hoped for that to be the case, that it has never been the case?

RANGEL: I am saying that we should have a cease-fire. I am not blaming them. I am saying there's another way to do it. They don't have to bring their army. There should be an international force in there, and they should go after Hezbollah. And then the only...


CAVUTO: Now, the president — the president, earlier this week, said that, if there is an international force there...


CAVUTO: ... the U.S. would not and should not be part of that. What do you make of that?

RANGEL: I think — this is a heck of a time for him to decide that. I mean, we're now part of the civil war in Iraq. And what the heck do we know about the strifes with these different tribes over the years?

CAVUTO: Well, would you be for or against having U.S. forces there?

RANGEL: There's no need for it. We have so-called friends. And I don't think they're friends.

CAVUTO: Not a one has volunteered.

RANGEL: They're not supposed to volunteer. Leadership means that you get people to do it.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, it's...

RANGEL: They're not — so, we ought to wait for the Saudis to come up and volunteer?


RANGEL: Forget about it.

CAVUTO: You think the Saudis would be part of that?

RANGEL: You bet your life. They have to be a part of it.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, let — let me switch gears and...

RANGEL: If we had leadership, they would be a part of it.


Let's switch gears, talk about Fidel Castro. There have been people dancing in the streets in Miami thinking he's dead or close to it.

RANGEL: That's obscene.


RANGEL: Because, no matter what the forces, here's an old guy. You like him, you don't like him, but to be dancing in the street hoping that he would die, so you can go to Cuba when you and your parents have never even been to Cuba, it's politically ridiculous.

CAVUTO: But if your family fled from Cuba, and you had relatives who were killed in Cuba because they were against Castro, I — I would be doing a jig, too, right?

RANGEL: You would be doing a jig. But I hope you wouldn't expect your president, the leader of the free world, not only to be supporting you, but to be asking for money to overthrow Castro, not knowing who follows Castro. It's ridiculous to have an embargo...


CAVUTO: Well, are you saying you're for Castro?

RANGEL: No. I want a democratic change. But I don't believe dancing in the street and spreading out money in Havana and in Miami is the a way to do it.

CAVUTO: Charlie, this guy killed a lot of people.

RANGEL: Well, I wonder how many people we killed at Guantanamo. I mean, we don't have the human rights record.

CAVUTO: Well, wait — wait a minute. Are you equating Fidel Castro with what's happening at Guantanamo?

RANGEL: You bet your life, if we're — if we are talking about human rights.

CAVUTO: So, President Bush is just like Fidel Castro?


But what I'm saying is, if you want to talk about the inhuman human rights that Castro has, in arresting people and not presenting them with why they were arrested, not giving them lawyers, and having a secret trial, hey, we're doing the same thing...


CAVUTO: All right.

Well, a lot of the people who are dancing in the streets in Miami remember that the opportunities that they once had, or their fathers and mothers and grandmothers and grandfathers used to have...


CAVUTO: ... they don't have anymore.

RANGEL: Let me...


CAVUTO: So — so, let me tell you that they're — they're dancing and having a great time, because they want him to be dead.

RANGEL: Let me tell you...


CAVUTO: Now, are — are they wrong in wanting a guy like that to be dead?

RANGEL: Let me tell you a very, very quick story. A guy stopped me in the Capitol. He says, "You're doing a great job, but, on Cuba, you are 100 percent wrong."

I said, "Why?"

He said, "Because Castro took everything away that my grandparents have, just took the property."

I said, "What did he take?"

He said, "You know, I don't know. I have been telling that story for so long, I don't even know what they had." He says, "But I'm to the talking to you, because you're taking away my inheritance."

CAVUTO: Well, do you think he's killed hundreds, thousands? How many?

RANGEL: I have no idea. You know, this is...

CAVUTO: But you would shed a tear when he leaves?

RANGEL: This is the Castro that we endorsed when he overthrew Batista, you know. This is the same guy. This is the Castro that we wanted to normalize relationship with and...


CAVUTO: But I seem to remember the Bay of Pigs. I seem to remember nine U.S. presidents trying...

RANGEL: It — are you...

CAVUTO: ... to do their best to make sure that he — he would go away.

RANGEL: What kind of American can we be if we're sending people over there to kill Castro, that we're invading countries?

I would like to believe that Americans are not afraid — afraid of Castro and his communism. We should open the doors, have trade.

CAVUTO: All right.

RANGEL: People should be able to visit.

CAVUTO: Real — real quickly, I want to talk — you said you would quit if Democrats don't take control of the House.

RANGEL: Quit...

CAVUTO: Did you mean that?

RANGEL: Quit is not in my vocabulary.

CAVUTO: So, what did you mean by that?

RANGEL: What I'm saying...

CAVUTO: Did you say that?

RANGEL: ... that, if the American people believe that the war, the deficit, the corruption, that they want a continuation of this, I will not be able just to sit on the bench and see this harm being done to my country. And I would not be expected to sit there for an additional two years.

CAVUTO: All right. So...

RANGEL: But I don't expect that to happen.

CAVUTO: So — oh, no, no, no. Let me...


CAVUTO: Real quickly, Democrats do not gain the majority in the House, Charlie Rangel leaves?

RANGEL: I won't be finishing out two years. But the thing is...

CAVUTO: So you're leaving? If that happens, you leave?

RANGEL: You are now looking at the next chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

CAVUTO: OK. So, you don't think it will happen. But, if it does, you're history?

RANGEL: I'm out of there, yes.

CAVUTO: OK. All right.

RANGEL: I would — this would be the first time that I would take any election personally.

CAVUTO: All right. OK.

RANGEL: And it would be very personal to me if the American people says: "Rangel, you're dead wrong. We want more of this."


RANGEL: You can have more of Bush, but you ain't getting more of me.

CAVUTO: Charlie Rangel, thank you for stopping by.

RANGEL: Good to be here, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

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