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LiveChat: Getting "Ugly" on Hillary, Petraeus, Bush's Lies, Ineffectual Dems, and More

The Democrats were handed a golden opportunity to challenge Bush on the war last year. So far they have done nothing. It seems Democrats are the greatest thing Republicans have going for them sometimes.
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HuffPost's LiveChat with CNN's Jack Cafferty has concluded. In his new book, "It's Getting Ugly Out There," Cafferty shares stories of his hardscrabble upbringing and offers in-your-face takes on everything from Bush and Iraq to immigration to the latest celebrity tabloid outrage.

Marie asks: If Anbar province is such a huge success, why don't we pull out the American troops? It will be a good experiment: Iraqis stand up, we stand down.

Cafferty says: The minute we pull our troops out of anywhere in that country, the tribes (Shiites and Sunnis along with various terrorists) will be right back at their civil war that's been going on in Iraq for hundreds of years.

Ron asks: Hi Jack, love what you do on TV! Why does the media ignore the good concepts, ideas, and actions of presidential candidates such as Kucinich, Paul, Richardson, and Gravel, while pumping never ending images and sound bites from the likes of Obama, Clinton, Guiliani, and Romney. Since when does the amount of money in a guy's pocket mean their ideas are any better? Can they really buy intellect like they would a counterfeit term paper?

Cafferty says: I couldn't agree more. That is exactly why we need public funding of campaigns. That way everyone would be equal and the ideas would make the ultimate difference. But it will never happen. The politicians are much too used to their lavish lifestyles paid for by wealthy contributors who then come and ask for their payback once their candidate is safely ensconced in office. The system stinks!

Manuel asks: Well, as long as we're advertising this book, why not advertise "Broken Government" by Mr. John Dean? With all due respect to Mr. Cafferty, he really knows what he's talking about.

Cafferty says: Never heard of him.

Randi asks: Do you see any chance of the Democrats nominating someone other than Clinton or Obama? Thank you.

Cafferty says: The Democratic dark horse might be John Edwards. But don't hold your breath. Hillary has a lead, lots of money, is a street fighter... and, of course, she has Bill. Tough combination.

Daniel asks: Mr. Cafferty, Why has the media allowed the "surge" to fall into an argument of whether an extension of the surge is or is not necessary, when the original debate about the surge was let's give it one last shot, if it doesn't work we get out? Now we are arguing lets keep going till next year because by then we can draw down without losing gains. Why is that accepted logic? We know that the troops must draw down by then simply because troop rotation require that the troops come home, because there aren't any more troops to send, and the military can't sustain the surge beyond that. Why has the media ignored this and the fact that this being used to allow forced reductions next year seem like the results of a victorious strategy of Bush Admin. and GOP right before the Nov. election so they can claim "We were right"?

Cafferty says: I don't think President Bush ever had any intention of leaving Iraq. I think we have been lied to about that the same way we were lied to about WMD. Military bases are under construction all over the country including one on the Iran-Iraq border. I talked yesterday on the Situation Room about the drawdown of troops being in the cards for next spring with or without a grand announcement from the Decider. Unless the administration extends deployments or further digs deeper into the reserves or National Guard, they have to start coming home. It's about time! It's just too bad there won't be more of them leaving.

William asks: Why do people continue to assume that the president is stupid and that the administration doesn't know what it's doing? Isn't that an easy out for them? At what point do we, as an American public, take the president at his word and assume that he knows exactly what he is doing and that the outcome is intended?

Cafferty says: Bill, I absolutely agree the outcome is intended. I don't for one minute think President Bush ever plans to leave Iraq. As for him knowing what he is doing... well, that's another subject altogether. Some of this is addressed in It's Getting Ugly Out There. Do you have your copy yet?

Mick asks: Why is there no draft? I just don't get it. If this war is to save our way of life (aka King George) then it MUST be a shared sacrifice -- meaning no exceptions (NONE) no lottery no deferments, the rich the poor, all must save our way of life. Conscientious objectors could serve in hospitals or other non-combat rolls. I don't get it. Oh yes i do if there were a draft and all sons an daughters were subject, the United States would be awful careful what it "stepped in." Your comment?

Cafferty says: Mick, I agree with you. A recent Gallup poll found only 18 percent of people asked said we should return to a military draft. A whopping 80 percent said no. I think one of the reasons there were more protests, demonstrations, etc. during Vietnam was the draft. Everybody risked (well almost everybody... except those with deferments like Dick Cheney who got FIVE of them) being snatched up and sent to the jungles of Vietnam to fight in another stupid, useless, pointless war. They didn't even have oil! Today's military is all volunteers... and as long as the general public isn't being asked to make any sacrifices, I think they're less likely to complain as loudly.

Wayne asks: My question is: why are all the candidates so conspicuously quiet about Social Security all of a sudden? I am a baby boomer and the problem must have dissipated, huh, no one has mentioned that I have heard.

Cafferty says: Social Security is well on its way to going broke. The so-called "trust fund" is nothing but a drawer full of IOU's somewhere in Washington. The money is taken from Social Security and spent on other things. "Trust?" The feds owe that fund about $2.2 trillion dollars. Scary stuff... unfunded liabilities (Social security, Medicare, etc) over the next dozen years or so will begin to add up to something like $50 TRILLION dollars. And the bill will be handed to our children and grandchildren. That's criminal!

Andrea asks: Do you think Democrats realize how alienated and disenfranchised thousands of their voters are? Why can't the Democrats stick together like the GOP when things are so ugly? I think we're doomed.

Cafferty says: Great question. The Democrats were handed a golden opportunity to challenge President Bush on the war when they were given control of Congress in the midterm elections last year. So far they have done absolutely nothing. (Yes, I know it takes 60 votes in the Senate... but the House must pass all appropriations bills for the war and they only need a simple majority). It seems the Democrats are the greatest thing the Republicans have going for them sometimes.

Bob asks: Dear Mr. Cafferty, Why is it that most in the media have reported on the announced drawdown of 30,000 troops from Iraq next summer as though this were some sign that the President is changing course in his disastrous policy, when the truth is that he does not have a real choice, and that these troops are scheduled to rotate out anyway, leaving the original 130,000 pre-surge forces to continue dying in Iraq's civil war? Time and again, it seems that those we depend on to ferret out the truth act as stenographers for the Bush Administration. Those paying attention could see the coordinated campaign gearing up for months to snooker the public once again about what is really going on in Iraq.

Cafferty says: Bob, When you're right, you're right. And you're right.

Rosa asks: Dear Jack, Why is there a dearth of Latino guests on news programs, except concerning immigration? BTW: Please let the higher echelons at CNN know that you deserve more airtime on The Situation Room. Look forward to reading your book.

Cafferty says: Rosa, I don't know the answer to the first part of your question. But I am delighted you think I should get more airtime on CNN and even happier you are looking forward to my new book, It's Getting Ugly Out There. Thanks for watching the Situation Room.

Bob asks: Mr Cafferty, Is the influence of the Israeli-American political lobby (AIPAC) on U.S. foreign policy too strong, too weak, or just right?

Cafferty says: I don't see AIPAC as any different from any other lobbying or special interest group. (Did you know there is a lobby in Washington whose purpose is to replace the Nouri al-Maliki government in Iraq?) Israel is a staunch ally of the United States, and with all the uncertainty in the Middle East, it's kind of comforting to have their military there as a backup to ours. (They really can "kick ass.") The appropriate amount of U.S. support for Israel is for brighter people than me to decide... but I sort of like having them where they are.

Barbara asks: Would really like to get at the real reason we went into Iraq. We know there were no WMD and there was absolutely no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda. So let's get to the real reason or reasons this bunch of Neocons trumped up a bunch of lies to get us there and seems determined to keep us there.

Cafferty says: In my humble opinion the Bush administration used 9/11 as an excuse to start the war in Iraq. People make a lot of money during wartime... $600 billion we've spent there so far.... and a lot of that money has gone to friends of the administration. And of course there is all that oil. I don't think for a single second there was anything honorable about the decision to invade a sovereign country. They had nothing to do with 9/11 and had done nothing to the United States. But hey... what do I know?

Cindi and Tom ask: Social Security is not at the forefront of hot topics. Believe it or not, a lot of the American public rely on it continuing as their safety net. Medicare is in a similar situation. How are we going to be able to fund these?

Cafferty says: There are only two options... raise taxes or cut benefits.

D. asks: Jack, Have you ever employed an illegal alien as a housekeeper? Have you ever hired a landscaper or gardener to work for you who clearly employed illegal aliens? Have you ever frequented a restaurant that employed illegal aliens? Have you ever had construction done by illegal aliens. Have you ever bought clothes that were made with the labor of illegal immigrants. And if you are not sure, is it because you chose not to ask or simply look into it? Don't you believe that the cheaper prices that Americans pay for products and services, as a result of immigrant labor, deserves to be taken into account as a clear benefit that everyone is willing to take advantage of, and no one really wants to give up?

Cafferty says: I think when our borders are secured and our immigration laws are being obeyed we can have a national debate about the benefits of cheap lawn care. Until then, I think our open borders are a threat to our national security. And the refusal of our government to enforce the immigration laws is criminal behavior in time of war.

Fred asks: Jack, what do you really think? P.S. -- CNN really has to give you your own show!

Cafferty says: From your mouth to CNN's ears! It's getting ugly out there!

Laurel asks: Yesterday, in the testimony before a senate panel, Sen. John Warner asked the most salient question of Gen. Petraeus, "Are we safer," and after dancing around the answer, and Warner asking him again, Gen. Petraeus, said, "I don't know."

That question was the heart of the whole reason that Pres. Bush sent us to war -- what nearly 4,000 U.S. troops have died for, and thousands have been wounded, and the general commanding the war has NO IDEA IF WE ARE SAFER because of our involvement!

But what is almost as shocking (because nothing could beat Gen. Petraeus' answer) is that not one paper (that I saw) led with a headline that could have read: "Gen. Petreaus has no idea of the Iraq war has made us safer."

Can you explain that?

Cafferty says: Wouldn't you know it took a man in uniform to finally come up with an honest answer in Washington?

Zac asks: With regard to the linguistic controversy surrounding the recent Univision Democratic Debate and English as our official language, do you think it is in the best interest of this country to pursue policy that, symbolically or otherwise, eschews multilingualism in favor of one "official language"? How can you justify policy that officially embraces monolingualism when our employers reward, and our national defense increasingly needs, a multilingual populace? Isn't it contradictory to expect our country to learn multiple languages, but tell us that English is the only one that matters?

Cafferty says: Learning to speak Arabic serves the national security of the United States. You're absolutely right about the pathetic presence of qualified linguists in Iraq. Speaking Spanish serves the convenience of an illegal alien population in this country numbering in the tens of millions. To me it's apples and oranges.

Tune in for a special edition of "The Cafferty File": Wednesday, September the 19th at 8pm EST on CNN

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