Tuesday, July 27, 2004

O'Reilly Discovers Civility 

As Bob Harris points out at This Modern World, the fact that Republican strategists are working their asses off to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in as many states as possible has one amusing side effect. It means Nader can go on Fox, rip Bush a new one, and O'Reilly can't tell him to shut up:
O'REILLY: Now, I'm going to submit to you, President Nader, that a police action does not overthrow the Taliban, that you don't have enough force to overthrow them, that you create a virtual stalemate and have more United States casualties on the ground than they did by the saturating bombing that led to the Taliban's defeat. I'll submit that to you. You'd rebut how?

NADER: How? They haven't caught him yet. So they've failed...

O'REILLY: No, no, no, but if you did a police action, it would have cost more American lives.

NADER: No, it wouldn't. The Taliban were very weak. We knew where they were. The backers on the Afghan-Pakistan border, they were very weak. We had overwhelming force. Instead, we got diverted in Afghanistan. We got massively diverted, as many generals, intelligence officials have pointed out to us, in Iraq.

We're now a magnet for terrorism. We're a recruiting ground for a massive increase in the number of terrorists. You don't pursue terrorists with policies that produce more terrorists. Now, I'll tell you, you could spend the next year on your program with very tough combat veterans and intelligence officials and former spies who would attest to the mistake of the Bush regime in that respect. And I pointed out in the book...

O'REILLY: But you're a fair man. President Nader gets told by Vladimir Putin (search) and Russian intelligence, "Weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq." He gets told by MI6 and Tony Blair, "Weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq." He gets told by his own CIA the same thing. What do you, President Nader, do when three separate intelligence agencies are telling you that a brutal dictator that has ties to Al Qaeda through Zarqawi and other people, has weapons of mass destruction like anthrax? What do you do, Ralph Nader?

NADER: Bill, you know there are people in the CIA who were not telling him that. The key intelligence...

O'REILLY: No, from Putin, Blair... and Tenet.

NADER: Wait, wait. The key intelligence unit in the State Department had it accurate. There were people in the NSA that had it accurate. Hey, come on, Bush wanted this war. Cheney wanted this war. Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld wanted this war.

O'REILLY: Whoa, whoa, so you're telling me that you wouldn't have listened... look, Clinton thought they had WMDs, all right... Putin thought they had them, Blair thought they had them. But you, Ralph Nader, wouldn't listen to them.

NADER: Hey, wait a minute. The U.N. inspectors didn't find any WMDs. They were on the ground. They weren't...

O'REILLY: That's right. But it was after the fact.

NADER: ... they weren't politicians with axes to grind. They were right there on the ground. We knew that they had a lot destroyed in the '90s, the WMDs. We knew Saddam was a tottering dictator presiding over a dilapidated army that wouldn't fight for him and surrounded by hostile nations who were much more powerful, toward which, if he made one move to Israel, Iran, or Turkey, they would have obliterated him.

O'REILLY: If those guys are telling me that Saddam has anthrax, I'm not letting him sit there. One last question, 30 seconds. Do you think Osama bin Laden fears you?

NADER: I think he likes Bush, because Bush is playing right into his hands by inflaming the Islamic world with that crazy invasion of Iraq that's picking off our troops, draining our billions of dollars, and in effect, a magnet for more terrorism.

O'REILLY: All right.

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