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Ann Coulter on Iraq and Immigration

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 4, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Great Debate" segment tonight, according to a new Pew Hispanic Center poll, illegal aliens (search) continue to pour into the USA at a rate of about a half million each year. We discussed that earlier in the broadcast. And still little is being done to stop the flow.

Also, if you watched "The Factor" last night, you heard two FOX News military analysts say the war in Iraq (search) is not going well. Iraqi army units are behind schedule in training, and terrorist attacks are increasing in that country.

A little more than a year ago, Ann Coulter (search) was on this broadcast and opined that the war in Iraq was going well. Does she still believe that?

Ann Coulter joins us now from Washington. She's the author of the book, "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)."

OK. You saw our segment last night with Hunt and Cowan. They're very honest guys. They're rooting for the USA to win in Iraq, as am I and you, and they say things are getting worse there. What say you?

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "HOW TO TALK TO A LIBERAL (IF YOU MUST)": I think I was amazingly prescient a year ago when I said things were going well. I mean, since then we've had a free election in Iraq in which women voted, Shia, Sunni. They're working on a constitution. We had a free election in this country. In the last six months we've killed or captured about 50,000 insurgents.

And, you know, I heard last night's report but it's getting to be like background noise. I mean, I'm not a military expert. I don't know about the details on the ground. But I've been hearing that things are going worse since at least over a year ago. That cuts both ways. If things have been going worse, why isn't the elite Republican Guard (search) massing outside Manhattan right now?

O'REILLY: Because we're not in any danger of losing the war there. That's not the danger. We're not going to lose as long as we're there and as long as we were in South Vietnam we're not going to lose. That's the biggest myth in the world that the USA lost the war. We didn't lose the war.

COULTER: Yes, we kind of did. I think we did lose that one.

O'REILLY: I don't. I disagree with you. But that's a debate for another day.

COULTER: They're living under communism, Bill.

O'REILLY: The crux of the Iraq matter is are we going to win this war? Now look, attacks by insurgents on coalition troops, not civilians, have risen from 47 a year ago to 65 today. So that means that these insurgents, terrorists, whatever you want to call them, are able to mount more attacks than they were a year ago.

Now, all the political stuff you cited is correct, but it doesn't mean anything if this country is not going to be able to get the insurgency under control. And I don't think we have enough troops in there to provide the security needed to do that.

COULTER: OK, well, that point you brushed over about how we didn't lose the Vietnam War, I actually think is very important, because all of the carping about what's going on in Iraq right now is going to lead to the same sort of defeat in Vietnam, which you are saying isn't a defeat.

We withdrew. We were humiliated. We didn't back up our allies, and they are now living under communism. Is that what people are asking us to do in Iraq now? I mean, what is the point of this?

I can understand generals disputing it. Like I say, I'm not a military expert. You aren't a military expert. I'll let them dispute the details. But what is the point of talking about this on TV? It's going badly. We need more troops. What, that we should withdraw? What is the point?

O'REILLY: No. Anybody who says we should withdraw is absolutely putting all of us in danger, because that would embolden the terrorists, and they would do something else. So I want to win.

But I don't think we have enough people in there, coalition forces, to provide the security that that country needs at this point. Now, if the Iraqi units, brigades, you know, what Hunt says, that's way behind schedule. They're just not stepping up.

There's a lot of them. A lot of people are signing up, but they're just not effective.

Now, just one more thing on the Vietnam. For you to say we were humiliated in Vietnam, look, the United States armed forces did not lose one engagement, not one. Not one. And we pulled out of there for political reasons.

COULTER: That's right. That's right. That's precisely the point I am making, Bill.

O'REILLY: We didn't lose that war on the battlefield.

COULTER: That's right.

O'REILLY: Because our political will was not there.

COULTER: We lost it because of broadcasters like Walter Cronkite going on and saying, "We're losing. We're losing. The red coats are coming. It's over." Demoralizing the American people, a Democratic Congress not backing our allies.

And that's why I don't really understand the point about carping about every casualty, every bombing, every death. War is hell. That's why people say war is hell. At no point during a successful war, I mean, nobody would say after D-day, "Well, that went well." When Americans are dying you never say that's a great thing. But to say we're losing the war is preposterous.

O'REILLY: Nobody said we were losing the war.

COULTER: Well, what are you saying?

O'REILLY: I'm saying that we don't have enough people there to provide the security that we need.

COULTER: How do you even know that?

O'REILLY: To make the improvements that have to be shown for the American people to continue to support the effort.

COULTER: Well, that's apparently...

O'REILLY: Listen, I mean, look, I'm telling you the truth.

COULTER: We don't have enough people at the border. We don't have enough people to keep us safe in Washington, D.C.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

COULTER: We don't have enough people to stop, you know, bear attacks in New Jersey. OK. What's the point?

O'REILLY: Look, here is what's going to happen. If at this time next year the situation in Iraq is the same as it is now, Republicans will lose all kinds of things in the elections. Hillary Clinton will be elected...

COULTER: But according to you, it should be worse now than it was last year.

O'REILLY: Well, it's not according it me. It's according to all the statistics that our military analysts have uncovered. Not according to me.

COULTER: Last year I said the war was going well. You said the war was going badly. I've just run off a whole slew of things that I consider magnificent successes in the past year, and by contrast we don't have the elite Republican Guard massing outside of New York City or charging — we do have to take the war to them, as we see from the bombings in London and the idiotic response in New York. We can't check every bag of every person to board every subway from now until kingdom come. We have to take the way to them.

O'REILLY: Look, we all know that. A realistic assessment of this action...

COULTER: This constant harping, I think, is just going to lead to another Vietnam, or at least I don't think it will because I think the American people are better than that. But I don't know what the point of it is. War is hell.

O'REILLY: The point is you want to win the situation. And the point is we aren't winning right now, according to our military analysts.

Let's get to the border.

COULTER: We don't win until we win.

O'REILLY: Let's get to the border. Now, certainly we're not winning that. Certainly that chaos has been going on for six years under President Bush, and he hasn't improved the situation one iota, as far as I can see. Do you disagree with that?

COULTER: I do not.

O'REILLY: Thank you. My God.

COULTER: I do not. And it's being going on a lot longer than six years.

O'REILLY: I know, but you expect the Clinton and the Democrats not to do anything.

COULTER: Right. Right.

O'REILLY: But you don't expect a president who's committed to our national security to allow this to happen.

COULTER: Right. No, it's absolutely baffling. Sometimes you have to do the principled thing even if it will cost you votes. Here, doing the principled thing will win you votes.

And still Republicans and Democrats, as you say, they don't really care about national security, but the Republicans, I think George Bush seems to think that this will hurt him with the Hispanic vote or hurt Republicans with the Hispanic vote, which is crazy.

It's a complete misreading of Proposition 187 in California, which a majority of Hispanics voted in favor of. People forget about that. It was a court that overturned that. That was denying public benefits to illegal immigrants.

A majority of Hispanics voted in favor of that. To equate Hispanics with lawbreakers it seems to me is the racist position here, but I think that's what's driving the Republicans.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, you and I agree on that. We disagree a little bit...

COULTER: I'm glad to hear that.

O'REILLY: But I want everybody to know, I want to win in Iraq, and I don't think we have the resources right now to win. If the Iraqis step up and improve their performance, yes, but that has not been proven.

Ann, always a pleasure. You're welcome any time. Thank you.

COULTER: Thank you.

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