Arianna Huffington vs Bill O'Reilly

On the O’Reilly Factor last night…

O’?REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I’?m Bill O’?Reilly. In the Great Debate segment tonight, is the left wing press undermining the War on Terror by blowing charges of US abuse out of proportion? President Bush thinks so, yesterday he said this to Neil Cavuto:

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PRESIDENT BUSH: And I will tell you that we treat these prisoners in accordance with international standards. And that’s what the American people expect. When somebody put out that Amnesty International report, they asked me about it. I said it’s just absurd …

{end video clip}

O’?REILLY: With us now is pundit Arianna Huffington who sees things a bit differently. You want to close down Gitmo. You know I’?ve looked at this. I’?ve looked at all the stats we could possibly get a hold of. We sent Colonel David Hunt, our chief military analyst to interview a detainee in Pakistan, he was released. I see no evidence to why we should shut this place down.

HUFFINGTON: Well there is evidence. There is evidence in FBI reports, there is evidence of abuse. And there is the overwhelming evidence that it’?s being used as a recruiting tool for terror.

O’REILLY: But they’?ll find another recruiting tool.

HUFFINGTON: But what is very important, Bill, is that the most important thing for government to do is to protect its citizens. And right now any kind of evidence of abuse, any kind of evidence that we are not abiding by the Geneva Convention, that we are not abiding by the human rights standards that America is proud of, is really turning against the safety of our own citizens.

O’?REILLY: But they’re making the abuses up. Don’?t you get that?

HUFFINGTON: But we’ve released 234 people from Guantanamo Bay who had nothing to do with terror. 234 people.

O’?REILLY: Who? Wait a minute. I have never seen the government make a statement that they have released one person from Guantanamo who had nothing to do with terrorism.

HUFFINGTON: they say 234 who were not enemy combatants…

O’?REILLY: What they say is, the release quote is “?we no longer need them in detention, we have what we need from them.”? If you can give me one name of one detainee who was released because he was in there mistakenly, I’?ll check it out.

HUFFINGTON: Bill, do you really think that guilty people are released?

O’?REILLY: Can you give me one name, Arianna?

HUFFINGTON: Yeah. I’d say that all 234 people must have been released because they did not pose a threat to the United States.

O’?REILLY: Because their use in interrogation is through. Can you give me one name of somebody who’?s been there who’?s completely innocent?

HUFFINGTON: If somebody is a danger to the United States then surely they should not be released.

O’?REILLY: It depends what they know. It depends what they did.

HUFFINGTON: If they are not a danger to the United States then why are they being held as enemy combatants?

O’REILLY: I’?m assuming you can’?t give me one name. If anybody out there…

HUFFINGTON: I’?m giving you all 234 names.

O’?REILLY: I’?m sorry, that’s not going to cut it. If anybody out there, including you Arianna, can give me a name of somebody the government says was mistakenly swept up and put in Gitmo I will put that person’?s name and picture on the air and I will give them a donation. Now let’?s move on…

HUFFINGTON: Let me say one more thing which is that if the United States government is releasing people who are guilty then they are doing something wrong to undermine our security.

O’?REILLY: Why can’?t you understand this? I know you’?re very smart. They are releasing people who they have no more use of detaining. They have gotten all information they can out of them. That’?s who they release. Alright, let’?s move ahead.

Say Arianna’?s President of the United States, which you may be someday.

HUFFINGTON: No I can’?t be. I wasn’?t born here.

O’REILLY: Okay. Say someone you know is President and they listen to you. And you close Gitmo down. What do you do with the 500 plus people who are there now? What do you do with them?

HUFFINGTON: Well there are many places where you can put detainees. Remember when Abu Ghraib…

O’?REILLY: Where do you put them?

HUFFINGTON: There are many places, I’?m not going to decide where you put them. There are many facilities around the United States. Remember when Abu Ghraib scandal…

O’?REILLY: So you want to move them here, on the US mainland?

HUFFINGTON: There is no reason why they shouldn’?t be here. You remember when there was the Abu Ghraib scandal?

O’?REILLY: Right.

HUFFINGTON: There was a tremendous emphasis at the time on the need to close down Abu Ghraib…

O’?REILLY: And they didn’t close it because it would have been insane.

HUFFINGTON: But I don’?t know why it’?s insane. I think anything…

O’?REILLY: Because they need prisons to put people who are killing other people in.

HUFFINGTON: I understand.

O’?REILLY: But wait, let’?s stay on this. So you don’?t know where you’?d put them but you’?d move them someplace in the USA, right?

HUFFINGTON: It’?s not my job to decide where to …

O’?REILLY: But wait a minute, it is. If you’re a pundit and you’?re saying close Gitmo down, it is your job to have an alternative. That’?s responsibility.

HUFFINGTON: No, it is my job to say that the highest priority of the US Government is to protect the security of its people. And right now we are conducting the War on Terror in a way that makes us less secure. We are spreading…

O’?REILLY: In your opinion. But not in my opinion.

HUFFINGTON: Everything is in my opinion. But it’?s also based on facts.

O’?REILLY: But don’?t you feel if you and Joe Biden and whoever is saying “?close Gitmo”? you should have “?and then put them here”? but you don’?t have “?and then put them here”?. This is what drives me crazy. That’?s why Kerry lost the election. Because he was criticizing, criticizing and then you said “well what would you do?” and he goes “?go to my website”? and everybody goes, “?no. we want to know what you would do.”

HUFFINGTON: I will tell you what I would do first of all. I would have an exit strategy to get us out of Iraq because that’?s the beginning of a lot of the major, tragic problems.

O’?REILLY: And what would that exit strategy be?

HUFFINGTON: It would involve draw out of the troops in a phased way.

O’REILLY: And you would tell the enemy when you would do that?

HUFFINGTON: I believe that right now we are an irritant.

O’REILLY: Wait, wait. We are an irritant. We’?re an irritant to terrorists. They don’?t like us. But you would tell the enemy when you would withdraw, we’?re going to withdraw this many on this day?

HUFFINGTON: We are actually running a, we are actually a recruitment tool for terrorists right now.

O’?REILLY: Okay, I’?ve got that. Let’?s stay in the real world. So you would have an exit strategy, so you would tell the enemy in February we’re going to pull out thirty thousand troops. You would tell them that?

HUFFINGTON: I would give a phasing of when we leave and I would not be building military bases in Iraq.

O’?REILLY: So you would tell the enemy we’?re going to come out there. So the enemy would say, “?Okay, we’?ll wait ‘?til you leave and then we’?ll blow the country up.”

HUFFINGTON: But you don’?t understand Bill, one of the main reasons why the insurgency is so strong at the moment is because they want America out. If you had the referendum in Iraq right now they would want America out. You know that.

O’REILLY: That’?s true, that’s true, but they want the Sunni Ba’?athists want to run the country the way Saddam ran it. That’?s what they’?re doing Arianna.

HUFFINGTON: Twenty-five thousand innocent Iraqis have died. What do you think that does to the spread of anti-Americanism?

O’?REILLY: It’?s a war. It’?s a war. People die.

HUFFINGTON: But it’?s a war for what? There were no WMD.

O’REILLY: For what? Did you miss the election in Iraq? That they voted? Did you miss it?

HUFFINGTON: Do you really think that the American people 58 percent of whom right now consider the war in Iraq wrong, do you think the American people believe it is the function of our government, our military, and our resources to spread democracy abroad? I don’?t think so.

O’?REILLY: Maybe you’?re right on that. Maybe, that is a debatable issue.

HUFFINGTON: Because Pat Buchanan and I agree on that.

O’?REILLY: That’?s right, Pat is an isolationist.

HUFFINGTON: It’?s not about isolation it’?s about security. It’?s not about peace, it’?s not “?make love, not war”? it’?s about security.

O’?REILLY: Let me give you one tip. If you want security then you’?ve got to think about what you’?d do rather than just taking shots. We’?ve got to go. Good debate. I enjoyed that by the way. Go to Arianna’?s website. Warren Beatty. You can read what Warren has to say.

HUFFINGTON: Huffington Post dot com.

Close Gitmo and put the detainees somewhere else. This implies that the “place” is to blame, not that the detainees shouldn’t be detained, not that some personnel may have been to blame. How would removing detainees from a physical location (which from many reports is quite nice for a prison) and moving them somewhere else solve anything at all?

Arianna quotes a poll showing 58% of Americans consider the war wrong. That poll was debunked by Ankle Biting Pundits here.

And Arianna, the “insurgents” who want America out of Iraq are not Iraqis! Bill, why didn’t you mention that?

And one more point Arianna, you mention 25,000 innocent Iraqis killed. How many more were killed by Saddam? On whims? Or because they didn’t agree with him? Arianna, just how many Kurds did Saddam gas? How many Iraqis have been found in mass graves?

Update: Arianna’s take on her appearance on O’Reilly last night is here.

Update 2: Edited for spelling of Arianna’s name. My apologies for missing an “n”.

Update 3: Ian at the Political Teen has the video.

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