December 17, 2004  ·  Geof Stone

I’ll get back to the history tomorrow (Saturday). For now, though, I want to tell you about my experience tonight as a guest on the Bill O’Reilly show. I received a call this afternoon (Friday) from the producer inviting me to debate O’Reilly on the question: �Is dissent disloyal?� After the producer and I discussed this issue, O�Reilly (according to the producer) decided to redefine the question: �Can an American want the United States to lose the war in Iraq and still be patriotic?�

Of course, this is a loaded question. It not-so-subtly implies that those who oppose the war want the United States to lose and, even worse, want American soldiers to die. One of Joseph McCarthy�s favorite tactics was to imply that anyone who believed in the social or economic principles of communism also supported the violent overthrow of the government. The tactic of guilt-by-inference is all-too-familiar in American history. (I’ll return to McCarthyism in my next entry.)

In any event, in our �debate� O�Reilly insisted on his �narrow� framing of the question and, when I called him on the issue, denied that he intended to imply anything about those who merely oppose the war. I accepted his framing of the question (it is, after all, his show) and argued that a patriotic citizen could in principle want the nation to lose a war if the war is unjust and if losing meant that fewer American soldiers would die for no good reason. O’Reilly maintained that losing a war necessarily means that more American soldiers will die than continuing the war and that no one could therefore patriotically wants the nation to lose. O�Reilly tossed out such ugly phrases as �despicable,� �traitor,� and �disloyal� to describe those who would disagree. The purpose, of course, was to excite his audience.

After the show, I received dozens of emails, most of which were along the following lines:

�You ought to be arrested, tried, convicted of wartime treason. And I don’t have to tell you the penalty for that.�

�I hope they are checking you out for being a traitor!!!�

�You are not only despicable, but should go ahead and move out of the USA.�

�I must imagine, Mr. Stone, that you will look over your shoulder a little bit, because maybe some soldier in a foxhole somewhere might be a tad angered with you and your lunacy. There may be a few G.I.s in Chicago even that would like to �speak� with you.�

�There is the tendency for citizens to take the law into their own hands in these cases. Decent, ordinary people, not of the left, are angry enough at the far left to be willing to go along with things you would consider unconscionable.�

�You’re a despicable Piece of feces, A Gutless Traitor. and I strongly suggest that you get your Terrorist Sympathizing Worthless ass out of this country while you can still walk and talk.�

And so on. What do you make of all this in light of our on-going conversation?

  • anon

    I think perhaps more concerning than the content of the comments themselves (and the fact that people still agree to talk to O’Reilly – sorry…) is the problem of how to reach the minds of people on both sides of the debate (the left certainly has more than their share) who refuse to listen to opposing arguments. common-minded people debating amongst one another rather than among people with diverse perspectives only amplifies their preconceived ideas. putting aside the problem of how to create space for people to meet those with diverse opinions, how do we convince them to listen in the first place? As a liberal law student at one of the nation’s more conservative institutions, i’m a daily witness to fuzzy liberals who refuse to consider adverse opinion and stick to their guns no matter the topic. lots of people have creative ideas as to how to provide a forum for discussion – but how do we get people to the table?

  • http://pubcrawler.org Jamin Gray

    I think O’Reilly has a point in framing the question that way. He is arguing that people have a valid right to disagree with the decision to take war to Iraq or disagree with how it was done. But now that we are there to actually desire for us to lose the war in Iraq is Anti-American. The reason so many people want us to lose the war is so that Bush will be made to look bad and they can say, “see? I told you so….” If we win the war and Iraq is made a free nation (which may or may not happen), it validates the Bush doctrine and embarasses the Michael Moores of the world. I personally know numerous people that feel this way: they would rather see us lose the war in Iraq than win and have a free Iraq. To me that is rather sad regardless of what your view of the war is. And I stand in the camp that disagrees with the decision to take war to Iraq in the first place.

  • aesop

    Trying to express some intelligent thoughts about a problem with no good solutions will only get you vilified. Bill O’Reilly is the traitor to his country.

    I wish people who are going to be “guests” on Bill O’Reilly’s show would prepare themselves better. There is no way you can have a discussion with him. If you try, you might as well stay home – he frames the topic to frame you.

    Bill O’Reilly is the ghost of Ellsworth Toohey present. He can be bested and he can be bested in such a way that his listeners will turn on him.

    If all else fails, keep something in reserve. A falafel sandwich can be worth its weight in gold.

  • three blind mice

    After the show, I received dozens of emails, most of which were along the following lines:

    �You ought to be arrested, tried, convicted of wartime treason. And I don’t have to tell you the penalty for that.�

    �I hope they are checking you out for being a traitor!!!�

    �You are not only despicable, but should go ahead and move out of the USA.�

    �I must imagine, Mr. Stone, that you will look over your shoulder a little bit, because maybe some soldier in a foxhole somewhere might be a tad angered with you and your lunacy. There may be a few G.I.s in Chicago even that would like to �speak� with you.�

    �There is the tendency for citizens to take the law into their own hands in these cases. Decent, ordinary people, not of the left, are angry enough at the far left to be willing to go along with things you would consider unconscionable.�

    �You’re a despicable Piece of feces, A Gutless Traitor. and I strongly suggest that you get your Terrorist Sympathizing Worthless ass out of this country while you can still walk and talk.�

    What do you make of all this in light of our on-going conversation?

    1) ann coulter’s spelling is improving.

    2) and the right will never understand the difference between nationalism and patriotism.

  • http://www.gramatica.blogspot.com/ Cairo Otaibi

    1. I am not familiar with the show you mention. Not only do I live in Europe, I also do not watch TV. Yes, many moons ago I used to live in California.
    2. Was there no way for you to predict the e-mail responses that you received after the show? Were you surprised by such responses?

    You make perfectly good sense to me, and never would it even seem remotely possible that you are any sort of traitor. I am fully with you in opposing the Iraq war.

    There is possibly only one argument for the Iraq war, and it is economics. With your understanding of economics you might even be able do decimate that one. However I have a lot of trouble with that one argument of economics barren of ethics, irrespective of any logic or rational in the argument. Are Americans having a bit of a problem with basic human rights? You are the law professor.

    I write the word “Americans” with great difficulty. You are one, so am I, and so are those people accusing you of being a traitor and wanting to see you out of the country. America does not have one voice, does it? Washington is not that voice, is it? What has happened to pluralism? What has happened to the American Dream?

    When one day, fifty years from now, our grand-children will be looking into the Iraq war, what will they be seeing?

    This is not about losing the war, or winning the war, or wanting America to lose. There are so many collapsed conversations, muddled ideas, and misconnects around the Iraq war, that one has to think about the whole way beyond cause and effect; let us try to honour history, but not become a victim of it.

    “What do you make of all this in light of our on-going conversation?”

    You have courage, you have faced the lions in the pit. The lions have not eaten in a long long while.

  • http://www.wroclawski.org Serge Wroclawski

    While I certainly sympathize with the guest poster, I think it’s somewhat silly to post about being treated badly on an O’Reilly Factor show. This is not a debate show, and most people in the United States already know that. I’d venture to guess that the vast majority of his audience think like O’Reilly does and don’t see anything wrong with using his show as a platform for his own views. He’s the anti-Jack Barron.

    So what’s the point of going on a show where you know that not only won’t your views have near-equal time but will be twisted, and your character attacked?

    I agree we need brave individuals to represent our side, but it’s not just thier turf, it’s completely under their control.

  • http://memetica.blogspot.com David Orban

    One of the most commovent views at a trip I took to the US in November 2001 was a poster the width of the entire building, at the second storey of Citylights Bookstore, in San Francisco. It had about a dozen black and white faces, with a flag of the US in color covering their mouths. The slogan was “Dissent Is Not Antiamerican”.

  • O

    What do I make? Well, in the event the experience makes you feel at all as rotten as it would have made me feel, you have my sympathies! Still, I suppose you must realize you’re guilty of hubris for thinking you could improvise compelling political theater on that thug’s sound stage.

  • Les Dabney

    “But now that we are there to actually desire for us to lose the war in Iraq is Anti-American. The reason so many people want us to lose the war is so that Bush will be made to look bad and they can say, “see? I told you so….” If we win the war and Iraq is made a free nation (which may or may not happen)”

    I’m curious who these people are that “desire for us to lose the war”. Faux News wouldn�t find it below themselves to use this sort of rhetorical framing to smear anyone who is against this multi-billion dollar war profiteering. I was against the war and still think it was a terrible idea. If you look back at the Vietnam War similar shrift was given to the anti-war protestors then so it is being employed again today.

    When you look at the outcome of the US pulling out of Vietnam you see all of the people who gave dire consequences of “losing” that war…were wrong.

    Vietnam is doing quite well now…

  • http://sirshannon.com sirshannon

    I would think that a fast failure of the war would mean less casualties than a long drawn out victory. A loss for the U.S. in Iraq would not mean that our soldiers were dead and our forces depleted, it would mean that we simply give up on the goal. Our soldiers will not be overpowered or outpowered, a loss will not happen like that. A loss in Iraq would simply mean we decide to stop fighting a war we aren’t that interested in and that may never end. Giving up and “losing” today would mean less dead American soldiers than “winning” 2 years from now.

  • SKD

    So, by O’Reilly’s logic the German anti-Nazi resistance were not patriotic? They are to be reviled?

    And a question – ‘disloyal’ to what? The principles the country was founded on? Or the current leadership which has proven _itself_ disloyal to those principles. Where should our loyalty belong?

  • Anon

    First of all, why in the world did you agree to go on the show? What was your goal?

    Second, when “O’Reilly maintained that losing a war necessarily means that more American soldiers will die than continuing the war”, you should have asked him if pulling all Americans out of Iraq today would be considered a loss. If he says no, then you should have him rephrase the question as “Can an American want to maximize the number of deaths of American soldiers and still be patriotic?”

  • http://j0d4n.typepad.com jonDavid

    Bill Moyers discussed this subject matter [not permalink] last night on NOW. It was his last show. NOW will continue, just without Bill. Needless to say, he’ll be missed.

    One piece on the show discussed the rise of the conservative media machine, primarily radio [see Clear Channel, Disney] and cable [FoxNews] since the 80s. It became apparent that this right sees no problem with propaganda masquerading as news. Indeed, Bill O’Reilly’s show is the worst kind of propaganda presented as news. I agree with earlier comments that anyone that that agrees to go on ‘The Factor’ is implicitly agreeing to be conservative cannon fodder. From pbs.org:: Richard Viguerie tells Moyers, �That�s what journalism is, Bill. It�s all just opinion. Just opinion.�

    In the commentary/conclusion of the piece, Bill stated he simply disagrees with this viewpoint and thought journalists need to strive for objectivity, and to serve the public good.

    Evidently, there is no consensus amongst media executives that representing an RNC/DNC talking point does not qualify as journalism. Indeed, I think most people on the street would not even agree that companies like Disney, Clear Channel, basically Rupert Murdoch�s cache of companies, are providing the context for the content, and of course, shaping the content [truth] itself. Moyers illustrated the misinformation aspect with the stat that 41% of Americans [this was right around the election] believed that there was a link between Iraq and 9/11, even though the 911 Commission [nor anyone else not marching for the RNC] found any connection betwixt the two.

    How does this relate to your visit to ‘The Factor’? IMHO, legit people with valid, informed opinions are perverted into propaganda that is beamed out to like-minded conservatives, what Jon Stewart calls, the ‘Archie Bunkerization’ of the media, with no alternative viewpoints allowed. You helped to Archie Bunkerize some people who can now head to the neighborhood watering hole, feeling good about themselves and their newly discovered hatred for you, who they will inevitably refer to as, �This traitor on �The Factor� today�.

  • http://www.redbug.org David Andrews

    When you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas. You knew the rules beforehand; you can’t possibly feign surprise now.

  • Fernando

    Sounds like the show�s �conversational content� was more inflamed rhetoric rather than a platform for reasonable disagreement. Of course no right minded political dissenter or liberal, or what have you, would desire neither that the US loose military personnel or a war. That point should be moot. Cheering for the US to loose a war while maintaining the disposition of an American Patriot is clearly counter productive, to put it euphemistically, and a viral threat, not only to reason, but to national integrity.

  • anon

    After my first (and last) exposure to O’Reilly Factor (we don’t get it here in Canada – thank God) the following came to mind :

    ==
    Never argue with idiots; they drag you down to their level; then beat you with experience.

  • Samizdat Rebecca

    Of course anyone who supported the social or economic priniciples of communism didn’t support the violent overthrow of the government. They knew they could do it by taking over the universities, in say, a generation or 2.

    Yay communism!

  • http://www.alanmccann.com Alan McCann

    Les said “Vietnam is doing quite well now…”

    Vietnam is a communist state.

    Nuff said about Les’ view of the value of a democratic republic.

  • http://www.urgentebooks.com/blog John Hart

    I seem to remember a handful of King George dissenters starting up their own country. Dissenters have always been showered with feces and threats. O’Reilly is a dissenter bully. But this bully understands sharp retorts. Your first words should have been insulting…this tactic throws him off his stride and his topic. I’ve seen him turn redfaced and his thought process collapse like a bald tire. O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity — these people are injurious to the debate process with their mob riot mentality. They are nothing more than polarizers and showmen who, once signing off, induldge their personal vices in the name of liberty. By the way, I am a dissenter, a proud dissenter of the Vietnam war — I hosted a 60′s radio talk show and used my microphone to gather hundreds of protesters to dissent. I am a proud dissenter of the Iraqi war. When it degrades to a civil war and the U.S. military is caught in the crossfire, I will still be a dissenter. It does not in any way diminish my spiritual and patriotic ferver for America and its international police force.

  • Harry

    I don’t understand why someone would want to go on that show…. Although I would love to see how the host of the Daily Show would do…. I can’t think of his name right now, but I think everyone knows whom I’m talking about….

  • Les Dabney

    “Vietnam is a communist state.”

    Indeed, that was a very acute observation. You have a keen eye for pointing out the obvious. Allow me to point out your obvious non-sequitor.

    “Nuff said about Les’ view of the value of a democratic republic.”

    The implication is that I don’t care for democratic republics because I said something positive about a country that now has a communist government.

    The reality is nothing could be further from the truth. I hold disdain for all social economic systems that are pure breds. There is no one system that is good for everyone. Take America for example…we have a system were the money flows upwards to the top 1-2% every year. The bottom of the economic scale suffers and the top of the economic scale lives in luxury beyond most American’s dreams.

    I find that as appalling as a communist state that the government owns everything and then the top government officials enjoy a life of luxury at the people’s expense.

  • prh99

    I think something needs to be said about how we’re defining a loss when debating this question. If one defines a loss as a no win situation and bring our troops home ASAP, then yes more fewer troops will be killed. If one defines it as fighting to the last man then Mr. O’Reilly is right.

  • prh99

    Excuse the typos.

  • Fred

    I think a more interesting question is what, if anything, would constitute disloyalty? What statements make someone a traitor. Is any amount of opposition to the United States, or its policies (not just war, but say, its opposition to slavery and support of democracy) acceptable as long as your heart is in the right place? How exactly do you investigate “motivation”? What about giving information to war enemies that helps them beat us faster, because you figure the sooner we’re out the better for our country? Or what about ignorance, the Les Dabneys of the world, who are clueless about economics, and if they had their way would create massive death and poverty, and yet feel they’re helping? How much is “motivation” an acceptable excuse?

  • http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/MortazaviBlog/ M. Mortazavi

    I think what your story demonstrates is the general and serious moral decay in the U.S. This is due, primarily, to ignorance, lack of proper moral measure and guidance, and a general moral bewilderment. It does not help, that your side, which opposes aggressive wars waged in its name, argues primarily from utilitraian perspective. (For O’Reilly, it seems, the death of Iraqi women and children has never been an issue. This is how utilitarianism can be stretched.) I admire your frankness on the show, as you’ve described it here. You may have wanted to argue the question with him some more from your position that the war was “unjust” and its avowed intentions only propaganda for a deeply amoral act. What does it mean to “lose”? What does it mean to be “patriotic”? Unless those two terms have been defined, I’m not sure there’s any escaping from the claws of O’Reilly on this. On one aspect of your argument, you took the utilitarian approach, namely if it means less people killed, then “loss” is O.K. What if no people are killed on the U.S. side, but there are thousands and thousands of death on the Iraqi side, whether the U.S. “loses” or “wins”? (In either case, one can argue that from a moral perspective the U.S. has already lost the war.) This is a case where the utilitarian argument will not work and it is the place where O’Reilly came after you. As I said earlier, I think what needs to be defended is the argument that the war, in its core, is unjust, and not becasue of some pacifist reasoning but because of its great moral cost and the lives of the innocent lost, for dubious, if not totally evil, purposes, even after victory was declared and Iraq fully invaded. (The utter destruction, from air and land, of Fallujah (the city of masjids), an urban area in an already occupied land, serves simply as a stark reminder of the moral quality of this war. Only in April, the occupying forces had managed to kill 800 people in 3 days of invasion from air and land, 600 of them women and children, according to hospital reports from Fallujah. In the most recent invasion, the first building occupied was the hospital. )

  • Rob

    It occured to me to say just what the last four people have said, becuase the last time I read the comments page was when there were 21, not 25, comments. However, I want to focus on a different aspect of O’Reilly’s language.

    I’m curious – when did you realize he’d changed the question? Did you have time to prepare/rebound from that change? And did you conside walking away at that point?

    You appear to question the producers truthfulness about the way things happened, and I would do so more strongly. “Is dissent disloyal?” is probably almost as weighted towards your side of the issue as “Can an American want the United States to lose the war in Iraq and still be patriotic?”.

    The first half – “dissent” vs. “Can an American want the United States to lose the war in Iraq.” Dissent is a word that the… well, the dissenters have latched on to since November 2001 to describe what they’re doing – refusing to give their assent to a war that, for a myrad of reasons, they don’t agree with. Dissent is something integral to democracy, civil, and positive – it is inconcievable that O’Reilly would allow the question to be framed in that way on his show. The two groups aren’t connected – a “dissenter” is concerned about American foreign policy (for better of for worse) – a member of the group O’Reilly wants to talk about is concerned about Iraq (for better or for worse). It’s an entirely different playing field.

    There’s also a weighting question on the second part of the question: “disloyal” vs. “unpatrotic”. We don’t think of nationlistic Germans in 1939 as being “patriotic”, that is thought of as “loyalty” – so you can’t lose an argument framed as “is dissent disloyal?” – because you can always throw it in the end by saying “But it’s not always right to be loyal!” – which is a point that can at least be argued. You’re never going to win a fight that is asking if it’s ever not right to be patriotic.

    It’s not bad or good that most Americans would see it as always bad to not be patriotic – it’s just a fact. On both counts, if your description of the two questions is accurate, you were, in my opinion, flat-out tricked – told that the debate would happen on your verbal and congative territory, and then required to fight it on territory that was heavily weighted against you. It wasn’t that the question was “narrowed” – it was rephrased so as to make it indefensible for you, and by accepcting his framing you lost before you started.

    Has this Factor already aired – if so, is there a transcript, if not when will it?

  • http://www.everythingsysadmin.com/ Tom Limoncelli

    It shows that you failed to watch the documentary “Outfoxed” before going on his show.

  • Dara Hazeghi

    I guess what’s done is done, but why the question might have been rephrased as follows:

    “If you were a German in Germany in WWII, would hoping for Hitler’s defeat have been ‘anti-German’?”

    Oh well, fascists are fascists. In a different set of cricumstances, O’Reilly would probably even find he has a good bit in common with Saddam. Or Hitler.

  • http://www.democracynow.org/streampage.pl Tayssir John Gabbour

    People who use their free speech are constantly on the defensive. Stop that! Few things define America more than using your free speech to speak truth. People who brand you traitors for speaking your mind are the true Anti-American traitors.

    Here’s another thing that can spin their heads. What countries use the term “anti-XXX” where XXX is the country name? The Soviet Union did. China probably does. Authoritarian nations have that in common.

    And those who align themselves with politicians like Bush or Kerry — stop that too. Any smart American knows that there’s such a thing as lying politicians — many Bush supporters claim that Clinton and Kerry are. Are they anti-American for villifying the last president? I think so, by their own logic!

    I feel sorry for Bush-supporters. Just like Kerry, he isn’t giving them anything, just tossing some people red meat on gay marriage. And unless they’re rich, they can’t tell me that’s their biggest problem. The hard truth: Kerry was near-identical, that’s why America voted Bush and why it was so close. I hear Kerry was more right-wing than Nixon, and wouldn’t be surprised if it was true.

  • Rolo Timassie

    O’Reilly’s an idiot, and no one who watches the show on a regular basis has an opinion worth listening to. Ignore the flames.

  • Max Lybbert

    O’Reilly simply pulled a fast one. He knew that you — as a college professor, and especially as an attorney — would be willing to play devil’s advocate even if you supported the war wholeheartedly

    Did he do the right thing? No. He blindsided you because he knew the mini-culture you came from would encourage exactly what you did.

    I didn’t see the show, and I doubt that you could have handled things better than you did. I do recognize that patriotism can include a desire to fix what’s wrong with the country, and while I can’t imagine rooting for defeat, I can imagine a latent feeling of “I sure hope we figure out why X is wrong before we get defeated.”

  • blr

    I find that this comments on an interesting divide I have noticed between “conservatives” and “liberals” (using these words in a conventional contemporary political sense). Were you, Mr. Stone, to discuss this on a college campus (ie, in a lecture hall or class), even a fairly conservative college campus, there would be certain assumptions afforded you in a discussion. There, ad hominem arguments are generally shunned, and ideas are seen for what they are: things which should be discussed, analyzed, and weighed. There is a kind of discursive space where this can happen which is present in academic settings.

    Conservatives seem to think otherwise, suggesting that ideas are more like absolute moral (read quasi-religious) positions which can transgress against the Absolute Truth, therefore there are some ideas which must not be entertained and must certainly not be verbalized.

    In an academic setting, you could have argued your ideas; on O’Reilly, on HIS show, you had no chance. He is not about creating a cozy discursive space for his guests. That is not to say you were at fault, but you were perhaps naive.

  • Scott Lawrence

    I’ll give you credit for having the guts to go on O’Reilly’s show. But by accepting his narrower framing, it seems to me that you walked willingly into an ambush. Had the topic remained “is dissent disloyal?”, there was a chance (however slim) that a half-decent debate might break out. But with the topic change, that slim chance became no chance.

    These shout shows on radio and TV are utterly worthless for adding anything of substance to the discourse on issues of the day. They just reinforce the tightly-held beliefs of whoever watches them. From the shows I’ve seen and heard, they seem to be designed expressly for that purpose–to generate heat instead of light. In order for your ideas and knowledge to get a fair hearing, print, the Web (including blogs like this) and/or a forum like C-SPAN would be far better.

  • http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com Precision Blogger

    LL,
    The comments you got put you in good company, and this is a long tradition. The good news is that super-loyal non-thinking Americans aren’t much nastier than they were fifty years ago.

    In the fifties, the actress Larraine Day raised a question on her TV show: was it really a good idea to play the national anthem before a baseball game? Was it respectful, considering that most fans did not hear it out, but started yelling and whistling before it was over? She printed some typical responses (much like yours) in her book about the baseball Giants. The one I remember is: “You’re dirty and you’re a red.”

    Forget dialog…

    - The Precision Blogger
    http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com

  • pwp

    Vietnam is a communist state.

    Nuff said about Les’ view of the value of a democratic republic.

    So is China, and it is widely considered the biggest future market for our corporations’ products, and a huge influence on world economy.

    ’nuff said about Alan’s view of defining the entirity of a country (or any group of people) by one trite description.

  • Rob

    I would like to vigorously disagree with blr in favor of Scott Lawrence who in many ways was more elegantly repeating what I was trying to say above. blr‘s view is essentially defeatist – and besides, I would call what O’Reilly was doing far less enforcing taboos in the advancement of “Absolute Truth” as, in Scott’s words, “an ambush” (by changing the framing of the question.)

    There IS a possibility for real issues to surface on these kind of shows, though it is slim, and usually not with great depth, and when it does happen it shows the weakness of the meduim for handling genuine debate (I give you Jon Stewart on Crossfire as Fig. A). The problem is that real conversation is more complex and time-intensive than these shows allow time for. I’m hesitant to demonize the people running these shows – and the people who watch them – because it’s not productive (sees a class of people as beyond hope in some sense) and it’s rather condescending for the same reasons.

    It’s not that O’Reilly is “not about creating a cozy discursive space for his guests” (blr‘s words) it’s that “shout shows on radio and TV are utterly worthless for adding anything of substance” (Scott‘s words) – which I argue is a problem with the medium far more than a problem with the people. O’Reilly is the master of a flawed medium.

  • ir0b0t

    I think you’re a good example that we all need to think about following. Its hard to imagine a less hospitable and less rational spot to stand up and defend an unpopular yet vitally important principle no matter how many kooks threaten you. Too few people have the nerve to stand up like you did on that awful television show.

  • Private

    It is not possible to win on the O’Reilly show. It is pre-recorded. And even if you do score points that make it to the air, O’Reilly will just vilify you later and misstate your arguments.

    O’Reilly really is a first class jerk and a proven liar. No respectable organization would let him stay on the air.

  • http://www.PacificT.com/ron Ron Avitzur

    The hate mail, sadly, is predictable. When I shut down my business in month in solidarity with those protesting the war at the very beginning I was amazed at the level of vitriol in some of the responses.

  • Jason W

    I have always looked to your writings and ideas as a source of reason… Once again your views are very reasonable and similar to my own… Does that make me anti-american, I think not. I think we can all agree that we support our loved ones who are about to leave to go overseas and those who are there fighting. It is just a wish of mine that Bush will take another spill of his bike, resulting in a good hard clock to the head, and realize that this war will not be won… And bring our people home… Is it not more Un American for people in the US to want there troops to remain in a foreign nation fighting a War based on Lies? People may say you are Un-American and I say they are wrong.

    Why not bring “Rummy” on the factor with the “You go with the Army you have” and his “Machine to sign the letters to loved ones of those who died in this Iraq.” Is that not about as Un-American as one can get???

  • Paul K

    The issue really comes down to O’Reilly’s definition of win. Saying that you are for winning the war on terrorism and in Afghanistan is the priority and that Iraq is a distraction that dilutes that objective. Clearly Bill could not disagree with winning those wars.

    Next time you whould go on Laura Ingraham instead. Though a conservative she has enough concerns about the war in Iraq to have a more intelligent discussion.

  • bryan

    this reminds me of the measured words of a mr. joe m. richardson about the whole soldiers questioning rummy about having to scrounge for metal, quote found here http://arkhangel.blogs.com/counterpoint/2004/12/ours_not_to_ask.html
    : “The duped soldier should be put at the very front of the action, no armor. The cooperating sergeant’s career should be over and maybe become MIA. Pitts and all his cronies should be executed as traitors. We are fighting a war, the debate is over, you�re either for us or against us, there is no middle ground. I say start executing the leftists in our country, soon”

    in other words, a proud supporter of the administration arguing for killing their own soldiers.