Wednesday, June 28, 2006

O'Reilly: "If we wage the war the way Saddam handled Iraq, then we would have already won"

On the June 27th broadcast of The Radio Factor, Bill O'Reilly once again spoke his wishes to handle Iraq the way Saddam Hussein did.

O'REILLY: It just depends on how you want to wage the war. If we wage the war the way Saddam handled Iraq, then we would have already won. That means martial law, torture, murder, kicking in doors. You know, Saddam controlled that country for 25 years. He didn't have any insurrections. He didn't have bombs going off. And half the country wanted to kill him. You know, all the Shia hated him. And how'd he do it? Through terror. So we could do it. But then, you know, as soon as you look at one of these guys cross-eyed, the ACLU's got you sued.

O'Reilly denied supporting Saddam's method in Iraq after a Chicago Tribune editorial called him on the carpet. He started out attacking Wycliff, who wrote the editorial, calling him a coward:
O'REILLY:Nice, right? Well, we asked Don Wycliff, who teaches media criticism at Notre Dame, to appear this evening. He agreed, but then he canceled one hour before air time. So much for the Fighting Irish. Wycliff is one of the hiding Irish. If you're going to launch a personal attack, sir, at least have the courage to back them up. Cowardice is not becoming.
O'Reilly had Clarence Page on the show, who is a columnist at the Chicago Tribune. They had a long and heated discussion:

O'REILLY: All right. Let's deal with the irresponsible position first. If you are going to say the blame for the brutal mutilation and murders lies with the American government, which this man did, Wycliff, that's what he said, it's in print. If you're going to say that, I believe that is grossly irresponsible. The terrorists did this. The savages who killed Menchaca and Tucker are terrorists. He blames -- Wycliff blames the American government. Now, that is the irresponsibility. It's very clear to me.

PAGE: Well, follow the logic, Bill. Look at your own commentaries over the last week. You praised the way Saddam Hussein ran the country over there, said that we ought to have martial law, we ought to have the kind of crackdowns that Saddam had. The fact is you can't have martial law if you have inadequate police force, an inadequate army, and our American troops are inadequate. Enough troops were not sent over there in the beginning. That is a widely agreed-upon fact now. And that's what Don is talking about. We put --

O'REILLY: No. Don is talking about --

PAGE: -- our people in harm's way.

O'REILLY: -- his opinion is that the war hasn't been waged properly. Valid opinion.

PAGE: That's your opinion, too, right? You want to get tougher, right?

O'REILLY: You bet. And I have said that --

PAGE: Well, I'll say. You're entitled to your opinion, he's entitled to his.

O'REILLY: Hold it. Number one, I didn't praise Saddam Hussein. That is a lie and a distortion. I did not do that.

PAGE: You did praise his tactics.

O'REILLY: No, I did not. I said he controlled the country by a totalitarian method. That's not praise, that's fact.

PAGE: Everyone can see the commentaries on your website --

O'REILLY: Wait, wait, wait, Clarence --

PAGE: -- I don't need to quote the whole thing, but the fact is --

O'REILLY: There's a difference -- There is a difference between -

PAGE: -- that you did praise the way he ran it and the current government needs to run it the same way.

O'REILLY: That is not true. There is a difference between --

PAGE: You don't think they need to run it the same way. You don't think they need the kind of police-state tactics that Saddam used in a totalitarian state?

O'REILLY: Clarence, take a deep breath. I never praised Saddam Hussein once. I said he ran the country in a totalitarian way and he didn't have an insurgency because he ran it that way. Then I said --

PAGE: You're spinning, Bill.

O'REILLY: No, I'm not spinning at all. That's exactly what I said --

PAGE: You're spinning, Bill, because when you say people ought to run --

O'REILLY: It's on my website. There isn't any praise involved. It's a statement of fact. You are spinning by saying it's praise. That's bull.

PAGE: The record speaks for itself.

O'REILLY: Yeah, it does. Anybody can read it. The second thing is, this despicable Wycliff, who did run the editorial page at the Chicago Tribune before he took to Notre Dame --

PAGE: That's right.

O'REILLY: -- this despicable man is saying that the United States government bears more responsibility for their horrendous deaths of the two privates than the terrorists. That's despicable. It is beneath contempt, and the Chicago Tribune should be ashamed of itself for running something like that without something right next to it -- and my column in the Chicago Sun-Times will counter that.

PAGE: You're entitled to reply in the Tribune, I'm sure, Bill --

O'REILLY: Absolutely. It's despicable to say that the American government, to draw a moral equivalency between the American government's waging of the war and the deaths of these men. The terrorists are responsible --

PAGE: You're reading into his comments --

O'REILLY: -- all right, now here's the lie --

PAGE: I've got to object, Bill. I know it's your show, I've got to object, though, because you are reading into Don's comments. He is a true patriot --

O'REILLY: He said flat-out, if you put the blame where it really belongs --

PAGE: Just let me finish the statement, and then you can respond, Bill.

O'REILLY: No! No! "If you put the blame where it really belongs"! There are the words!

PAGE: Bill, it's your show. You've got the whole hour. Just give me 30 seconds to respond.

The fact of the matter is, you're trying to pick out people and say certain people are helping the enemy and other people aren't. I mean, you are sounding like one of those editors of those Arab governments -- or those Arab newspapers that are censoring Muhammad cartoons.

O'REILLY: Clarence, I don't know what you're talking about. I mean, let's address --

PAGE: Don is entitled to give his opinion --

O'REILLY: He's entitled to his opinion --

PAGE: -- he's not telling Fox News that they shouldn't run your opinion. You shouldn't be telling other people not to run somebody else's --

O'REILLY: Don Wycliff is a coward, and he is not a man of his word. He backed out at the last minute --

PAGE: That's OK, he's got me.

O'REILLY: -- he is entitled to his opinion no matter how despicable it is, and now here's the lie. OK? Here's what he says, quote, "You have to say bad -- O'Reilly" --

PAGE: Don is a gentleman and a scholar and too nice to engage in these kind of combative --

O'REILLY: No, he -- bull! It's bull! He's a coward.

PAGE: I'm entitled to --

O'REILLY: He's a coward! He takes cheap shots, personal attacks at me and won't stand up. He's a coward. He says, O'Reilly "would have to criticize some people for whom you have been a cheerleader."

I've not been a cheerleader for anybody, Clarence. You know it and I know it. OK? Here's what I said May 6, 2004: "We will remind you three weeks ago we reported Donald Rumsfeld lost control of the Iraqi occupation, his mistakes were endangering U.S. troops." I haven't cheerleaded anyone. This guy lies about me in the Chicago Trib, which prints the lie! Explain.

PAGE: There are occasions when you have cheerleaded --

O'REILLY: Bull! Bull!

PAGE: -- and the administration's side. Now, you know --


PAGE: -- sometimes you do criticize, and that's OK. But the fact of the matter is it's a well-known -- very well-known that the -- I'm sorry, I hear the music coming. Am I going to be cut off?

O'REILLY: No! Cut off the music! It's very well-known what?

PAGE: No, it's very well known that you have been defending the administration's side in this war --

O'REILLY: That's bull! I have been very critical of the way they have way they waged the war.

PAGE: You have been criticizing those who criticize --

O'REILLY: I've been very critical of the way they've waged the war.

PAGE: -- any kind of question --

O'REILLY: Hey, Clarence, let me make this --

PAGE: -- on human rights.

O'REILLY: That's not true. Period. I've been very critical of the way the war has been waged.

PAGE: You criticized -- you said people who signed an anti-torture petition were helping the enemy.


PAGE: That's McCarthyism. That's demagoguery.

O'REILLY: Bullsh--! Bull.

PAGE: That's beneath you.

O'REILLY: It's bull! The truth is, I've reported this accurately. I've said when we've made mistakes -- we, the United States government.

But the difference between me and this Wycliff is that I want the USA to win, and I don't believe there's a moral equivalency with what we do with what the terrorists do, and he does. But Clarence, I've gotta tell everybody, you are a stand-up guy, number one.

PAGE: Well, thank you, Bill.

O'REILLY: You knew this was going to be tough. And we appreciate your opinion. You're always welcome here.

PAGE: Let's hear it for free speech, Bill.

----Transcripts from Media Matters----


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