George Bush sends no one off to die — kids, adults, anyone. Yet the interview descended into, “Would you die for your country? Would you die for Fallujah?” and that’s not at all an acceptable premise to me. Here’s why. We have in this country a volunteer army. Since 2000, particularly 2001, everybody joining the Army knows exactly where they’re going. The odds are they’re going to go to combat. As such, most of them joining do so willingly. This notion that in this day and age, given the present circumstances, that there are people joining the Army simply to get a college education or to escape poor, dire economic circumstances, while it may be true, it denigrates those who are signing up. It denigrates the intentions and honor of those joining. This is not a generation of 1960s, blue-jeaned, tie-dye clad, long-haired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking protesters.
This generation of people joining the U.S. military, you can talk to their parents, are going to defend their country. They’re going precisely because of what happened on 9/11. They are making the decision on their own. They are not “being sent to die.” They are willingly, and thank God for them, joining various branches of the armed service to go defend their country. It is a lost concept to many on the left who think it’s up to the French and the U.N. to defend us. But this really galls me, because what it ultimately is, is a cut and a denigration at those joining. It’s making them out to be victims. They are not victims. They are heroic people. They’re heroic young people who are doing what they want to do of their own volition, choosing to go, knowing full well the likelihood they’ll end up in a combat zone at some point in their service — and yet they join, and throughout the course of this period since the Iraq war started, I have marveled at the stories they tell when they come back and call this program.
I have marveled at the stories I’ve heard reading newspapers from local communities about the people who join and why, and I don’t hear where anybody’s forcing them to because it’s a volunteer army. I don’t hear where George Bush is rounding people up under cover of darkness in various communities around the country and saying, “Here kid, I’m sending you to die.” The whole premise of this interview, therefore, was false. Yet it was accepted and got argued, and it was just disappointing because there was no ground gained in this, and yet the premise was allowed to stand when the debate began, “Would you send your kid to Fallujah? Would you die for Fallujah?”
This is not about Fallujah! This is not about Basra. This is not about Iraq. It’s not about one place. It’s about the defense of the United States of America. It’s about ensuring that another 9/11 doesn’t happen. It’s about taking whatever steps we can to see to it that there’s as peaceful a life, day to day, in this country, as there is — and there are people, young people, who are willing to risk their lives, signing up for the military, and the last thing we need is for some overweight, bloated bigot moviemaker to start denigrating them and then have this premise accepted all over the media.
It’s even worse when a major political party seeks to denigrate the armed forces and uniform-wearing men and women of this country, by accepting the same false premise and bracing an entire presidential campaign around it. It just offends me to no end. I’ve also exercised considerable restraint in talking about this stupid, foolish movie. One of the reasons for that is, Why talk about it and give it even more attention? You know, I’m not sitting here with chump change as an audience. You are the largest audience in talk radio in this country. When I talk about it, people who haven’t heard about something, hear about it.
Well, in this case everybody’s heard about this stupid movie. But I also know that when you start criticizing and ripping something, all you do is generate curiosity about it. Well, the curiosity factor is sated. Everybody who wants to see this movie, has. Everybody who’s heard about it, has. So I’m safe to talk about it and not fear that I’m going to unwittingly promote this stupid thing. But the premise that any U.S. president in this day and age is “sending kids off to die” is insulting. It is banal. It is infantile. It is puerile. It is insane. It is lunatic. It is absolutely degenerate — especially in this day and age. Now, people are free to say what they want to say, free to make a movie, do whatever they want to do, and anybody’s free to glom on to it and sign on to it and say whatever they want. But when this kind of thing is taken up by an out-of-power, scared-to-eath, filled-with-fear-and-rage political party that used to once be great, and seeks to build its own identity around the lies and distortions and the efforts to ridicule and impugn fine people, then it’s worthy of concern and discussion.
And I just felt like I had eaten a meal but never swallowed anything, after reading the transcript of this interview, because the whole thing took place under a false premise. I know you’re saying, “Why don’t you get Moore on?” It’s not what I do. If I ran into him, it’s not what I do — and that’s why it’s difficult to comment about this, because I didn’t interview him, and it’s after the fact. So please don’t interpret this as a criticism Mr. O’Reilly. It is not that. It’s a criticism of Mr. Moore. It’s a criticism of a premise that ends up being accepted because there is a genuine desire to discredit this man by people who feel he’s being grossly inaccurate and unfair to some really honorable people.
So I’m not being critical of Mr. O’Reilly here, and I don’t want anybody to think this, but I think it is just a shame. It’s just an absolute shame that this kind of whatever you call this — docudrama, propaganda, whatever it is — is being accepted and transmitted as some sort of factual, relevant bit of news that people need to shape their lives by or grow up or get up and learn to smell the roses and the coffee, because there’s some so-called new profound truth in this movie when it’s nothing but distortion and lies — and this premise that Bush is sending kids off to die when we have a volunteer force, we have great young people who bear no resemblance to the rabble-rousers of the 1960s, their age then, who are doing this for their genuine desire to defend the country.
I just react in a very negative way when their efforts are besmirched, and when efforts made to impugn their honor, integrity, sense of purpose, and to make them out to be victims because we are not victims in this country unless we want to be made victims. I think what is happening is the whole Democratic Party is beginning to look itself as a victim. They are the ones that instituted victimology. They’re the ones that started making groups and groups of people victims. “You’re a victim of this. You’re a victim of that. We’re going to fix it for you.” They now look at themselves as all being victims, and they have no ability, it seems, to understand what is relevant in the country today and what’s important to a lot of people.
And instead, they want to try to lie to people and use whatever class B actors and directors and people they can to further this charade; this picture of America that is untrue — only for one reason: to advance their own power in their quest to reacquire it. So that’s that. I had to make this brief departure from my policy and philosophy this one time. And there are many of these false premises out there, that are being advanced and discussed as “genuine fact” on the left. It’s not the way to argue these things, is to accept the premise. If you’re going to do this, don’t allow the premise. Dispute it; argue that, rather than accept it — and move on from there, because there’s no gaining at all when you accept the false premise and then begin to argue it. Remember undeniable truths of life. “The purpose of armies is to kill people and break things.” The purpose of armies is not to die. Therefore, our United States military is sent by no one “to die.” The United States military is sent to kill and win — and we love them.
MICHAEL MOORE/O’REILLY SHOWDOWN AT CONVENTION TRANSCRIPT
Tue Jul 27 2004 16:51:50 ET
FOX NEWS is planning to air a redhot interview between Bill O’Reilly and box office sensation Michael Moore on Tuesday.
The DRUDGE REPORT has obtained an embargoed transcript of the session:
Moore: That’s fair, we’ll just stick to the issues
O’Reilly: The issues, alright good, now, one of the issues is you because you’ve been calling Bush a liar on weapons of mass destruction, the senate intelligence committee, Lord Butler?s investigation in Britain, and now the 911 Commission have all come out and said there was no lying on the part of President Bush. Plus, Gladimir Putin has said his intelligence told Bush there were weapons of mass destruction. Wanna apologize to the president now or later?
M: He didn’t tell the truth, he said there were weapons of mass destruction.
O: Yeah, but he didn’t lie, he was misinformed by – all of those investigations come to the same conclusion, that’s not a lie.
M: Uh-huh, so in other words, if I told you right now that nothing was going on down here on the stage?
O: That would be a lie because we could see that wasn’t the truth
M: Well, I’d have to turn around to see it, and then I would realize, oh, Bill, I just told you something that wasn’t true? Actually, it’s President Bush that needs to apologize to the nation for telling an entire country that there were weapons of mass destruction, that they had evidence of this, and that there was some sort of connection between Saddam Hussein and September 11th, and he used that as a…
O: Ok, He never said that, but back to the other thing, if you, if Michael Moore is president.
M: I thought you said you saw the movie, I show all that in the movie
O: Which may happen if Hollywood, yeah, OK, fine.
M: But that was your question.
O: Just the issues. You’ve got three separate investigations plus the president of Russia all saying British intelligence, US intelligence, Russian intelligence, told the president there were weapons of mass destruction, you say, he lied. This is not a lie if you believe it to be true, now he may have made a mistake, which is obvious.
M: Well, that’s almost pathological I mean, many criminals believe what they say is true, they could pass a lie detector test
O: Alright, now you’re dancing around a question.
M: No I’m not, there’s no dancing
O: He didn’t lie
M: He said something that wasn’t true
O: Based upon bad information given to him by legitimate sources
M: Now you know that they went to the CIA, Cheney went to the CIA, they wanted that information, they wouldn?t listen to anybody
O: They wouldn’t go by Russian intelligence and Blair’s intelligence too
M: His own people told him, I mean he went to Richard Clarke the day after September 11th and said, “What you got on Iraq?” and Richard Clarke’s going, “Oh well, this wasn’t Iraq that did this sir, this was Al Qaeda”
O: You’re diverting the issue. Did you read Woodward’s book?
M: No, I haven’t read his book.
O: Woodward’s a good reporter, right? Good guy, you know who he is right?
M: I know who he is.
O: Ok, he says in his book George Tenet looked the president in the eye, like how I am looking you in the eye right now and said, President, weapons of mass destruction are a quote, end quote, slam dunk if you’re the president, you ignore all that?
M: Yeah, I would say that the CIA had done a pretty poor job.
O: I agree. The lieutenant was fired.
M: Yeah, but not before they took us to war based on his intelligence. This is a man who ran the CIA, a CIA that was so poorly organized and run that it wouldn?t communicate with the FBI before September 11th and as a result in part, we didn’t have a very good intelligence system set up before September 11th.
O: Nobody disputes that.
M: Ok, so he screws up September 11th. Why would you then listen to him, he says this is a slam dunk and you’re going to go to war.
O: You’ve got MI-6 and Russian intelligence because they’re all saying the same thing that’s why. You’re not going to apologize to Bush, you are going to continue to call him a liar.
M: Oh, he lied to the nation, Bill, I can’t think of a worse thing to do for a president to lie to a country to take them to war, I mean, I don’t know a worse…
O: It wasn’t a lie.
M: He did not tell the truth, what do you call that?
O: I call that bad information, acting on bad information. Not a lie
M: A seven-year-old can get away with that.
O: Alright, your turn to ask me a question?
M: Mom and Dad it was just bad information?
O: I’m not going to get you to admit it wasn’t a lie, go ahead.
M: It was a lie, and now, which leads us to my question.
M: Over 900 of our brave soldiers are dead. What do you say to their parents?
O: What do I say to their parents? I say what every patriotic American would say. We are proud of your sons and daughters. They answered the call that their country gave them. We respect them and we feel terrible that they were killed.
M: And, but what were they killed for?
O: They were removing a brutal dictator who himself killed hundreds of thousands of people.
M: Um, but that was not the reason that was given to them to go to war, to remove a brutal dictator.
O: Well we’re back to the weapons of mass destruction.
M: But that was the reason.
O: The weapons of mass destruction.
M: That we were told we were under some sort of imminent threat.
O: That’s right.
M: And there was no threat, was there?
O: It was a mistake.
M: Oh, just a mistake, and that’s what you tell all the parents with a deceased child. We’re sorry. I don’t think that is good enough.
O: I don’t think it’s good enough either for those parents.
M: So we agree on that.
O: But that is the historical nature of what happened.
M: Bill, if I made a mistake and I said something or did something as a result of my mistake but it resulted in the death of your child, how would you feel towards me?
O: It depends on whether the mistake was unintentional.
M: No, not intentional, it was a mistake.
O: Then if it was an unintentional mistake, I cannot hold you morally responsible for that.
M: Really, I’m driving down the road and I hit your child and your child is dead.
O: If it were unintentional and you weren’t impaired or anything like that
M: So that’s all it is, if it was alcohol, even though it was a mistake how would you feel towards me
O: Ok, now we are wandering
M: No, but my point is.
O: I saw what your point is and I answered your question
M: But why? What did they die for?
O: They died to remove a brutal dictator who had killed hundreds of thousands of people.
M: No, that was not the reason.
O: That’s what they died for
M: They were given…
O: The weapons of mass destruction was a mistake
M: Well there were 30 other brutal dictators in this world.
O: Alright, I’ve got another question?
M: Would you sacrifice just finish on this. Would you sacrifice your child to remove one of the other 30 brutal dictators on this planet?
O: Depends what the circumstances were.
M: You would sacrifice your child?
O: I would sacrifice myself? I’m not talking for any children to remove the Taliban. Would you?
O: Would you? That’s my next question. Would you sacrifice yourself to remove the Taliban?
M: I would be willing to sacrifice my life to track down the people that killed 3,000 people on our soil.
O: Al Qaeda was given refuge by the Taliban.
M: But we didn’t go after them, did we?
O: We removed the Taliban and killed three-quarters of Al Qaeda.
M: That’s why the Taliban are still killing our soldiers there.
O: OK, well look you can’t kill everybody. You wouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan you wouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan, would you?
M: No, I would have gone after the man that killed 3,000 people.
M: As Richard Clarke says, our special forces were prohibited for two months from going to the area that we believed Osama was?
O: Why was that?
M: That’s my question.
O: Because Pakistan didn’t want its territory of sovereignty violated.
M: Not his was in Afghanistan, on the border, we didn’t go there. He got a two-month head start.
O: Alright, you would not have removed the Taliban. You would not have removed that government?
M: No, unless it is a threat to us.
O: Any government? Hitler, in Germany, not a threat to us the beginning but over there executing people all day long you would have let him go?
M: That’s not true. Hitler with Japan, attacked the United States.
O: Before from 33-until 41 he wasn’t an imminent threat to the United States.
M: There’s a lot of things we should have done.
O: You wouldn’t have removed him.
M: I wouldn’t have even allowed him to come to power.
O: That was a preemption from Michael Moore. You would have invaded.
M: If we’d done our job, you want to get into to talking about what happened before WWI, woah, I’m trying to stop this war right now.
O: I know you are but?
M: Are you against that? Stopping this war?
O: No we cannot leave Iraq right now, we have to?
M: So you would sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah? I want to hear you say that.
O: I would sacrifice myself?
M: Your child. Its Bush sending the children there.
O: I would sacrifice myself.
M: You and I don’t go to war, because we’re too old?
O: Because if we back down, there will be more deaths and you know it.
M: Say…I Bill O’Reilly would sacrifice my child to secure Fallujah?
O: I’m not going to say what you say, you’re a, that’s ridiculous
M: You don’t believe that. Why should Bush sacrifice the children of people across America for this?
O: Look it’s worldwide terrorism. I know that escapes you.
M: Wait a minute, terrorism? Iraq?
O: Yes. There are terrorists in Iraq.
M: Oh really? So Iraq now is responsible for the terrorism here?
O: Iraq aided terrorists, don’t you know anything about any of that?
M: So you’re saying Iraq is responsible for what?
O: I’m saying that Saddam Hussein aided all day long.
M: You’re not going to get me to defend Saddam Hussein.
O: I’m not. You’re his biggest defender in the media.
M: Now come on.
O: Look, if you were running he would still be sitting there.
M: How do you know that?
O: If you were running the country, he’d still be sitting there.
M: How do you know that?
O: You wouldn’t have removed him.
M: Look let me tell you something in the 1990s look at all the brutal dictators that were removed. Things were done, you take any of a number of countries whether it’s Eastern Europe, the people rose up. South Africa the whole world boycotted—
O: When Reagan was building up the arms, you were against that.
M: And the dictators were gone. Building up the arms did not cause the fall of Eastern Europe.
O: Of course it did, it bankrupted the Soviet Union and then it collapsed.
M: The people rose up.
O: Why? Because they went bankrupt.
M: The same way we did in our country, the way we had our revolution. People rose up.
O: Alright, alright.
M: That’s how you, let me ask you this question.
O: One more.
M: How do you deliver democracy to a country? You don’t do it down the barrel of a gun. That’s not how you deliver it.
O: You give the people some kind of self-determination, which they never would have had under Saddam?
M: Why didn’t they rise up?
O: Because they couldn’t, it was a Gestapo-led place where they got their heads cut off?
M: Well that’s true in many countries throughout the world.
O: It is, it’s a shame?
M:–and you know what people have done, they’ve risen up. You can do it in a number of ways. You can do it our way through a violent revolution, which we won, the French did it that way. You can do it by boycotting South Africa, they overthrew the dictator there. There’s many ways?
O: I’m glad we’ve had this discussion because it just shows you that I see the world my way, you see the world your way, alright and the audience is watching us here and they can decide who is right and who is wrong and that’s the fair way to do it. Right?
M: Right, I would not sacrifice my child to secure Fallujah and you would?
O: I would sacrifice myself.
M: You wouldn?t send another child, another parent’s child to Fallujah, would you? You would sacrifice your life to secure Fallujah?
O: I would.
M: Can we sign him up? Can we sign him up right now?
O: That’s right.
M: Where’s the recruiter?
O: You’d love to get rid of me.
M: No I don’t want. I want you to live. I want you to live.
O: I appreciate that. Michael Moore everybody. There he is.