Thursday, March 24, 2005

“Could Bush have been right?” "No," says Christine Cegelis.

What you are looking at-- Cegelis on "Public Affairs."

Next week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” features Christine Cegelis, who is running in the 2006 Democratic Primary in the 6th Congressional District [20% in Northwest Cook County and 80% in DuPage County]. Cegelis was the Democratic nominee in the 2004 election and she got 44.2% of the vote, running against 30 year Republican incumbent Cong. Henry Hyde, previously Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and currently Chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

It is a pretty safe bet that Cong. Hyde will announce next month, perhaps at his 81st birthday party, that he will not run again in 2006. Another safe bet is that such an announcement of an open seat in the 6th CD will precipitate competitive primaries in both the Democratic and Republican Parties [with Democrat Christine Cegelis [Rolling Meadows] and Republican State Senator Peter Roskam [Wheaton] leading the charge in their respective primaries].

A partial transcript of the show with Democratic 6th CD Primary candidate Cegelis is included, below.
Jeff Berkowitz: …The War in Iraq. Last time [you were on the show, in Sep., 2004] you said you were opposed, you would have voted not to authorize military action in Iraq.

Christine Cegelis: I would have [voted not to authorize].

Berkowitz: Last time you said, in September, 2004, we were not on the way to democracy. Because I said, if we are on the way to democracy [in Iraq], if you could have done that [by taking military action in Iraq], would that have been a good thing, and you stopped me, and you said-- No, we weren’t on the way to democracy. Now, we have had an election nearly two months ago in Iraq—

Cegelis: Okay. So, what’s going on? Can we leave?

Berkowitz: But, are we on the way to democracy [in Iraq] now?

Cegelis: I don’t know. Are we? I still don’t know that we are on the way to democracy because—

Berkowitz: You still think the United States is less safe that it was two and half years ago?

Cegelis: Absolutely.

Berkowitz: And we were better off in having Saddam Hussein there in Iraq.

Cegelis: You know, better off—we talk about—

Berkowitz: You gotta choose. You gotta choose one or the other. Because if you say we are less safe, then you must mean we were better off the way it was before and that was with Saddam Hussein.

Cegelis: I feel—I feel we are less safe—I’ll tell you why I think we are less safe—we have, we have lost faith with the world. Our allies are concerned about us as being there and I am concerned about our allies being there for us. I think that we have created in-- tensions in the middle east that we didn’t need to create. Now, if we are in fact on the road to democracy in Iraq, why don’t we just pull our troops out now? We have, if we feel that they are there, then let’s go. I don’t understand why we are not going.

Berkowitz: Because we are on the way, you know-- They haven’t even established a government yet.

Cegelis: Well, they have had an election—

Berkowitz: Yes, and they are negotiating as we do with the give and take of democracy

Cegelis: And the election—

Berkowitz: And they are trying to form a coalition government.

Cegelis: That seems to look like a theocracy to me—

Berkowitz: And that takes time. They can then form a security system. I mean, we have seen this march from Afghanistan to Iraq—now to Lebanon and Ukraine. There is a march of democracy sweeping the world, in which we are participating and accelerating and you are saying

Cegelis: All I am concerned about—

Berkowitz: That democracy is not a good thing?

Cegelis: No, I—democracy is a good thing. I just don’t—

Berkowitz: You like what happened in the Ukraine?

Cegelis: [long sigh]

Berkowitz: You are not sure?

Cegelis: [A laugh]

Berkowitz: You would like to have seen the bad guys in there?

Cegelis: You know. Again. I would like to know more about the situation before I make a comment.

Berkowitz: Really? Because I thought everybody thought that was a good thing. The good guys who were properly elected [in the Ukraine] got installed in government instead of the bad guys stealing the election. And, you are not sure?

Cegelis: I think it was absolutely great that the Ukrainian people were able to be out there as strongly as they were. And I think that shows-- and that was their decision. They were—

Berkowitz: Would it be good to have a democracy in Lebanon without Syria pushing and pulling at what they shouldn’t be?

Cegelis: And I would like to see the Lebanese take control of their own company [I mean] country, again.

Berkowitz: Would you like to see a democracy in Palestine?

Cegelis: I’d love to see a democracy in Palestine.

Berkowitz: But we are moving in that direction in all of those cases.

Cegelis: Cases. But, I am also concerned about—

Berkowitz: Are the Democrats, you know, just saying we don’t like this because Bush did it as opposed to—maybe they should like it.

Cegelis: Should like what?

Berkowitz: [There are] even people in Europe who are saying—you see those headlines, “Could Bush have been right?” By people who were critical [of the Iraq War]. Would you agree that that is a question perhaps the Democratic Party should be asking. Could Bush have been right?

Cegelis: I think an unjustified war is not right. I think morally it is not right. And, I am concerned about that. Because we didn’t go in there to establish democracy. I don’t think that is what we were told we went in there for. Were you told that we went in there to establish democracy?

Berkowitz: One of the three reasons, one of the reasons--

Cegelis: One of the reasons? What was the reason?

Berkowitz: There were three major reasons.

Cegelis: When was the—

Berkowitz: One was weapons of mass destruction—

Cegelis: Okay, were there weapons of mass destruction?

Berkowitz: No, there weren’t—

Cegelis: Okay.

Berkowitz: Or, at least so far. They may have been exported at that time. They still may be hidden. But, as of now, we haven’t-

Cegelis: They are under the sand somewhere, right. Okay-

Berkowitz: But certainly, one of the major reasons we went, you know-- one was the humanitarian reason—

Cegelis: No, No, No, No.

Berkowitz: One was the humanitarian reason: 300,000 [Iraqis killed by Saddam Hussein]-

Cegelis: I don’t remember hearing a humanitarian reason.

Berkowitz: Well, yeah, they were all there.

Cegelis: I thought weapons of mass destruction was it.

Berkowitz: Talk to Paul Wolfowitz, who is now going to be heading up the World Bank.

Cegelis: Um, um.

Berkowitz: Those were the three things. And the third thing we were saying was we need to establish a more—a model democracy in Iraq, because that will cause democracy to spread. Because people in Egypt and Saudi Arabia will say, “If they can do it, why can’t we.” You are right. It [a model democracy in that part of the world] was not the main reason. There were three. But it was a reason. And, if it turns out to be beneficial, should we say, oh well, it was only our third reason?
Berkowitz: You know on the War issue, you are very different from [Cong.] Melissa Bean [D- Barrington, 8th Cong. Dist.], going back to that. She won in a district—she moved to the center. Could you say you are on the left? Is that a problem?

Cegelis: I said that on the war issue I still am very much against the war. I still am very much against us having gone into that war and I think that there are many people in my district who are beginning to feel that—

Berkowitz: Really, a majority? You think a majority will turn out and say you were right on the war?

Cegelis: I think it might be. Very much so. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt that that was one reason why I did so well the first time [in 2004].

[Show concludes, Cegelis gets the last word. How did that happen? The guest is not supposed to get the last word. Berkowitz better talk to his crew.]
Christine Cegelis, candidate in the 2006 Primary for the sixth congressional district Democratic nomination, recorded on March 20, 2005 and as will be airing on the Suburban edition of Public Affairs next week [week of March 28] and on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs on Monday night, April 4 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21. Hit the icon, Giangreco v. Berkowitz, to the right, above or below this blog entry, and go to the end of that blog entry for a detailed suburban airing schedule.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at