U.S. Bombing a Criminal Act?

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, October 16, 2001.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the Unresolved Problems segment tonight, the city of Berkeley, just down the road from where we are right now in Oakland, is one of the most liberal places in the United States.  Later this evening, the Berkeley City Council will vote on a resolution that asks the federal government to stop bombing Afghanistan and treat the terror attack as a criminal case, not an act of war. 

Joining us now from Berkeley is city council member Donna Spring, who is sponsoring the resolution. 

Now, Ms. Spring, if the terrorists have declared a holy war, a jihad against the United States, which they have on videotape, and if they attacked us with the sole purpose of killing U.S. civilians, which they did, why would that not be an act of war, in your mind?

DONA SPRING, BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL MEMBER:  Well, first of all, I want to say how deeply sorry we are here in Berkeley for the victims of the September 11th bombings. We grieved those people, and we are just questioning whether we should perpetuate the cycles of violence. 

Is the correct way to deal with terrorists, to go bombing up countries, or should we try to use the rule of law on an international basis and bring the criminals to justice?

O'REILLY:  All right. Well, how would you do that, Ms. Spring?  First of all, you didn't answer my question about an act of war.  I mean, they declared war on us and they attacked our civilians with the sole intent of killing them. That's an act of war in any definition, but you don't want it to be. So I mean, do you have an explanation for that?

SPRING:  Well, there's no country that's declared war on us. 

O'REILLY:  Well, wait a minute, it doesn't make any difference. There is a band of people, al Qaeda all right? who have declared war on us and they live in Afghanistan right now. So you connect the dots there, you know what I mean?

SPRING:  Well, they live in Afghanistan. They live throughout the Middle East. They live in Saudi Arabia. They live in Egypt. They live in many different countries. 

O'REILLY:  Yeah, so what?  We've declared war on terrorists, which is, I think, the right thing to do. I don't know what your objection is to that.

SPRING:  I have no problem going after terrorists. I think, though, that we should use the role of excuse me, use the rule of law. 

O'REILLY:  What law?  There is no law in Afghanistan. We don't have the right to send our police force into Afghanistan. You know that. 

SPRING:  Well, we should continue working, building alliances in the Middle East...

O'REILLY:  So for what purpose?  If we don't have the right to send in Interpol or anyone else to that country, what purpose does that have? We already have our alliances. 

SPRING:  Well, there can be an international police force that would go in and apprehend the terrorists. 

O'REILLY:  Well, what's the difference between an international police force and the armed forces?  What's the problem?  They're both going in to apprehend?

SPRING:  Well, it becomes more of an international action. We work by rules and laws.  The U.N.  has a charter, the World Court have constitutions and charters that we can do this in a legal fashion. 

O'REILLY:  But we're doing it in a legal fashion now.  We've declared war on terrorists who have attacked us. 

See, the mandate of the federal government and I think you know this in Berkeley is to protect the people of the United States.  It's not saying with the permission of the United Nations or coalition of governments. It's to protect the people of the United States. 

Isn't it insulting to the victims who have died here and their families for you to say, we don't have the right to declare war on these terrorists?  Isn't that insulting to them?

SPRING:  Well, I don't want to be insulting, because, as I said, we grieved for them, too.  But is the answer more violence, dropping bombs of destruction from the sky, going in Rambo-like, or is it trying to use the rule of law and work with coalitions to bring...

O'REILLY:  With all due respect, Ms. Spring, this is a bunch of   this is a bunch of nonsense. We have vicious people who at this very moment are sending anthrax to innocent people, and you want to have a big meeting and you want to use, quote, "rule of law," whatever that means, to people who have no law, to a government that harbors them and will not let your international police force in, and if they tried to get in would be decimated.  Now, come on. Use your head. This is ridiculous.  We have to, we have to seek this evil out and destroy it. Do we not?

SPRING:  Well, remember what happened in Iraq: 10 years ago, we started bombing Iraq.  We're still bombing Iraq today. We never did bomb Saddam Hussein, but as a result of our actions, hundreds of thousands of people have died, and 5,000, mainly children, die every month because they're not able to get food or medicine due to the embargo.

O'REILLY:  Well, I believe that's due to Saddam Hussein invaded another country and threatened the world with his invasion. 

SPRING:  Yes, but we continue the bombing, we continue the embargo.

O'REILLY:  All right. 

SPRING:  How are the people who live in the Middle East going to ever view the United States positively if we...

O'REILLY:  Well, if they continue to attack us, congresswoman, they're not going to be able to view us positively, and that's the bottom line. 

We appreciate your time very much.

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