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Wednesday, Jul 28, 2004, 6:03 am

Michael Moore and Bill O’Reilly square off

By Aaron Sarver

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Transcript from O'Reilly's show on Tuesday.

Is O'Reilly trying to get some credibility back?

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

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

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

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 your 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

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 its 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

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 anther 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?

M: Uh huh.

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 Qeada 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 Qeada.

M: That's why the Taliban are still killing our soldiers there.

O: OK, well look you cant 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.

O: How?

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

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 a worldwide terrorism???I know that escapes you???

M: Wait a minute, terrorism? Iraq?

O: Yes. There are terrorist in Iraq.

M: Oh really? So Iraq now is responsible for the terrorism here?

O: Iraq aided terrorist???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 its 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

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

O: I would sacrifice myself.

M: You wouldn't send another child, another parents 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??

Aaron Sarver is an independent audio producer and writer based in Chicago. His work has appeared in In These Times, The Chicago Reader,, and on Free Speech Radio News. For nearly three years he produced and co-hosted the radio program, Fire on the Prairie, which featured interviews with progressive writers and activists, and is archived at

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