Debating Cindy Sheehan
September 16, 2005
Debating Cindy Sheehan
Bill O'Reilly vs. Phil Donahue
By CounterPunch News Service
Transcript from the O'Reilly Factor, FoxNews
O'REILLY: In the past Miss [Cindy] Sheehan has criticized Israel,
saying it is occupying Palestine, has called Iraqi insurgents
"freedom fighters," has accused Americans of killing people ever
since we stepped on this continent, has threatened Hillary
Clinton with the loss her job unless she calls for a pullout of
US troops from Iraq and has called the US action against
Afghanistan a failure. Quite a resume and with us now is Phil
Donahue, who supports Miss Sheehan's "dissent." So, I'm assuming
you don't - you don't support all her positions that I just
DONAHUE: Let's understand what's happening here. Once again we
have a woman who got to be just a little too famous for the
people who support this war, a minority of the American population,
by the way, and so the effort to marginalize this woman is
underway and you're helping out.
O'REILLY: I'm the leader of the pack!
DONAHUE: You're suggesting ...
O'REILLY: I'm the leader of the pack!
DONAHUE: First of all, Cindy Sheehan is one tough mother and
nothing you say or anyone else is gonna slow her down.
O'REILLY: That's fine. She has a right to ...
DONAHUE: You can't hurt her. She's already taken the biggest
punch in the nose that a woman can take.
DONAHUE: She lost a son.
O'REILLY: Oh. OK.
DONAHUE: She's lost a child.
O'REILLY: But look - I'm not puttin' words in her mouth ...
DONAHUE: And by the way, she is going to be at the center of
one of the largest rallies since the Vietnam War. Proud, patriotic
Americans who will show up in Washington this week for one of
the most massive, largest demonstrations - protest demonstrations
O'REILLY: OK. And we'll cover it.
DONAHUE: ... right outside the President's window.
O'REILLY: And we'll cover it.
DONAHUE: And FOX is in the business of saying that this woman
is somehow saying un-American things - hyperbole.
O'REILLY (getting angry): No. No. No. No.
DONAHUE: Listen to what she's saying.
O'REILLY (checking his notes): Nobody said she said anything
un-American. We say that her positions are radical. And they
DONAHUE: Let me tell you what's radical. (getting a little angry
himself) What's radical is to send more Americans to die in this
war, which is a monumental blunder by a President ...
O'REILLY (under his breath): Alright.
DONAHUE: ... who swaggered us into it with - by the way - the
at least tacit approval of the Democratic Party.
O'REILLY (shifts in his chair, upset): You know what's radical
DONAHUE: There's a lot of sin to go around here!
O'REILLY (angry, wags finger at Donahue): What's radical for
DONAHUE (won't let O'Reilly finish sentence): Do you want to
send more people to this war?
O'REILY: Hey listen ...
DONAHUE: Is that your postiion?
O'REILLY: If we cut and run outta there, like you wanna do, we
would be putting every American in a thousand times more jeopardy
than they're in now.
DONAHUE (forcefully): We're going to cut and run anyway, Bill.
O'REILLY: Well, that's your opinion. I don't think we are.
DONAHUE: It's not my opinion. American military leaders have
said we're gonna draw down beginning next year. The reason
they've said that ...
O'REILLY(angry now): There's a difference between drawin' down
and cuttin' and runnin'!
O'REILLY (angry, jabs finger at Donahue): You're a cut and run
guy and I don't want my family in danger because of you ...
DONAHUE: You wanna stay the course, don't ya'?
DONAHUE: You don't ...
O'REILLY (getting angrier): Here's what I want to do. I want to
give the Iraqis a chance to train their army so they can defeat
these people who are tryin' to turn it into a terror state.
DONAHUE (calmly): Bill
O'REILLY: That's what I want to do! Go!
DONAHUE: Bill. This - Iraq was not a terrorist state.
O'REILLY (exasperated): Oh, no!
DONAHUE: I hope I don't patronize you for saying ...
O'REILLY (dismissive hand gesture) : Saddam was a swell guy!!
DONAUME: Saddam ...
O'REILLY (loudly, sarcastically): He was just a great guy!!
DONAHUE (louder): Saddam - Saddam was a bastard, but he was our
O'REILLY: He wasn't anybody's ...
DONAHUE: Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand in the 80s.
O'REILLY: Alright. Well that's great.
DONAHUE: You saw the pictures! (reasonable tone of voice) Now
listen - listen. You wouldn't send your children to this war,
O'REILLY (very angry, pointing): My nephew just enlisted in the
Army. You don't know what the hell you're talkin' about!!!
DONAHUE: Very good. Very good. Congratulations! You should be
O'REILLY (starts to lose it, shouting, pointing finger, hand
shaking): And he's a patriot, so don't denigrate his service
or I'll boot you right off the set!!!
DONAHUE: I'm not ... I'm not ...
O'REILLY (very, very loud): That boy made a decision to serve
his country!!! Do not denigrate him or you're outta here!!!
DONAHUE (calmly): I'm not Jeremy Glick, Billy.
O'REILLY: That's right!!
DONAHUE: You can't intimidate me!!
O'REILLY: You're a little bit more intelligent that he is!!
DONAHUE: I'm not somebody you can come and just spew all your
O'REILLY: Don't tell me I wouldn't send my kids.
DONAHUE: Loud doesn't mean right!
O'REILLY: My nephew just enlisted. You don't know what you're
DONAHUE: Your nephew is not your kid. You are like ...
O'REILLY: He's my blood!
DONAHUE: You are part of a loud group of people who wanna prove
they're tough ...
O'REILLY (shifts angrily in his chair, under his breath): Aw
DONAHUE: ... and send other people's kids to war to make the
O'REILLY (very loud): You have no clue ...
DONAHUE: This ..
O'REILLY: ... about how to fight a war on terror or how to defend
your country. You are clueless! So is Miss Sheehan and for Miss
Sheehan to say that the insurgents have a right to kill Americans
and you're shakin' her hand! You oughta just walk away.
DONHUE (quieter): How many more young men and women are you
gonna send to have their arms and legs blown off ...
O'REILY: Hey, this is a war on terror!
DONAHUE: ... so that you can be tough (points his finger at
O'Reilly) and point at people in a kind of cowardly way..
O'REILLY (disgusted, under his breath): Oh, yeah.
DONHUE: Take people like Jeremy Glick who comes on to - in memory
of his parents ...
O'REILLY: Oh bull.
DONAHUE: ... and you go off on him.
O'REILLY: Jeremy Glick accu ...
DONAHUE: ... like a big bully.
DOAHUE: Billy, you hafta be - you hafta feel sorry ...
O'REILLY: Mr. Donahue, with all due respect ...
DONAHUE: Have you apologized to him for that?
DONAHUE: Do you know ...
O'REILLY: Jeremy Glick came on this program ...
DONAHUE: Do you know what I'm talking about?
O'REILLY: ... and accused the President of the United States
DONAHUE (sarcastically): Oh, and you had to ..
O'REILLY: ... of orchestrating 9/11. That's what he did. Right
after 9/11!! Do you know what the pain that brought the families
who lost people in 9/11?
DONAHUE: This war ...
O'REILLY: You buy into left-wing propaganda ...
DONAHUE: This war ..
O'REILLY: ... and you're a mouthpiece for it. (shifts in seat,
clenched mouth) Go ahead.
DONAHUE: This war is not fair to the American troops. This war
is unconstitutional. This war turned its back on the people who
framed the most fabulous document in the history of civilization.
I speak of the United States Constitution.
O'REILLY: Alright. Why ...
DONAHUE: This ... By the way ...
O'REILLY: Why isn't the Democratic party speaking that way?
DONAHUE: I'm sorry that it isn't. I am. But let's understand
O'REILLY: Are we all ...
DONAHUE: Excuse me.
O'REILLY: Are well so misguided ...
DONAHUE: Excuse me. Twenty-one Democrats in the Senate voted
against this war as well as Jeffords, an Independent, and- may
the Lord shine His blessings down upon Lincoln Chaffee ...
O'REILLY: Alright. I'm gonna say something and I'm gonna ...
DONAHUE (louder, refuses to be stopped): I'm almost finished,
O'REILLY: I'm gonna give ya' the last word.
DONAHUE: I'm almost finished!
DONAHUE: Lincoln Chaffee, the only Republican in the Senate to
vote against this war. We should be building statues to all
these people. October 2002 ...
DONAHUE: ... they stood up to as President and they knew that,
first of all, only Congress can declare war. Why is that
unimportant to you, Billy?
O'REILLY: Listen. It's not - I'm not ...
DONAHUE: Become the patriot that your loud voice proclaims you
O'REILLY: The loud voice ...
DONAHUE: ... and stand behind the Constitution and insist that
we never go to war again without the approval and the consent
of the United States Congress.
O'REILLY: Alright . That's why we have the Congress. If they
want to take action, they can take action. Now I'm gonna say
somethin' then I'll give you the last word. The Iraq War is not
something I embrace.
DONAHUE makes surprised sound.
O'REILLY: It absolutely could be a tactical error.
DONAHUE: Well you should ...
O'REILLY (louder): Just listen.
DONAHUE: It's hard to know this.
O'REILLY (louder): Listen ta' me ..
DONAHUE: It's hard to know this.
O'REILLY: ... and I'll give you the last word. Not something
they embrace. Could be a tactical error and we have not waged
it the way I had hoped we would wage it.
DONAHUE: But, what?
O'REILLY: But ,,,
DONAHUE: You want to send more kids ...
O'REILLY: The war on terror ...
DONAHUE: ... to die.
O'REILLY: We're in a war on terror. Our cause is noble.
DONAHUE: It has nothing to do with the war on terror.
O'REILLY (louder again): Yes, it does. And if you don't understand
geopolitics, if you don't understand Iraq would be a terrorist
state if we pulled outta there...
DONAHUE (loudly): It's a mistake.
O'REILLY: ... then you don't know anything. Go ahead.
DONAHUE: It was poorly planned ...
O'REILLY: Go ahead.
DONAHUE: ... and poorly executed but Bill O'Reilly wants to send
more kids to fight and die. We've already had two thou - almost
thousand - (gestures for O'Reilly to hold off) - just let me
have the last word. In the last year two things have doubled.
The number of dead American troops in Iraq has doubled and you
know what else doubled, Billy? The price of Halliburton stock.
O'REILLY (upset): Alright.
DONAHUE: From $33 to $66. That doesn't shame you? That doesn't
make you wonder ...
O'REILLY: I'm not upset by Halliburton stock.
DONAHUE: ... whether this is an enterprise that is worth the
support of the American people. We need you at this rally on
O'REILLY: OK. I'm not gonna be at your rally.
DONAHUE: We need you out there in front of it to protest.
O'REILLY: I'm not gonna be at your rally.
DONAHUE: There is no democracy without dissent.
O'REILLY: I'm not gonna protest.
DONHUE: You should be proud of people who stand up and dissent.
O'REILLY: I am. I respect your ...
DONAHUE: A lot of fine men died to give me that freedom.
O'REILLY: You got. You got it. I respect your dissent. I think
you're way off in your analysis of the war on terror.
DONAHUE: You want to send more people to die? Is that your
O'REILLY: I wanna win the war in Iraq.
DONABHUE: Win. What does "win" mean?
O'REILLY: Means ...
DONAHUE: Tell me what "win" means?
O'REILLY: Means those people have a chance at democracy.
DOPNAHUE: How long's that gonna take.
O'REILLY: I gotta go. I gotta go.
DONAHUE: How long's that gonna take?
O'REILLY: Those people deserve a chance at freedom.