HANNITY

Late Soldier Pat Tillman Not a Hero?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", May 7, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: First, a recent political cartoon questioned former NFL star Pat Tillman's credentials as a hero and implied he was a fool for dying for his country in Afghanistan.

Joining us now, political cartoonist and author of "Wake Up, You're Liberal: How We Can Take America Back from the Right," Ted Rall.

Ted, how you doing?

TED RALL, AUTHOR, "WAKE UP, YOU'RE LIBERAL": Good. How are you?

COLMES: I think this kind of stuff gives liberals a bad name. You call him basically an idiot and a sap for going to fight a war that you don't believe in.

I'm not for the war in Iraq either, but to call someone these kinds of -- or to imply these things for doing what they think is right for their country, I think is -- I think it's shameful.

RALL: Well, I mean, you're entitled to your opinion. I think that what happened to Mr. Tillman is tragic, not heroic. And I think it's really unfortunate to think that the right-wing media is trying to prop this guy up as an example of the kind of thing that young Americans should be.

COLMES: It's not the right-wing media. I admire people who fight for their country. I may not agree with the war. I may not agree with the politics of the war. You go so far as to call George Bush evil. I don't think...

RALL: That's not a far stretch for a guy who's led us into...

COLMES: I think you do liberals like me a disservice -- I think you do liberals a disservice when you take the rhetoric to that realm, rather than just debate policy and say, "This is how I feel."

It's good to have a healthy debate about policy. But to make it personal, call the president evil, call Pat Tillman, who lost his life for something he believed in...

RALL: Which is really and seriously tragic and unfortunate, but he was duped by this administration and their lies. And...

COLMES: So is every soldier, everybody who fought a dupe?

RALL: No. I think people who signed up after 9/11 and were sent to Iraq and then Afghanistan, and Tillman fought in both theaters, were duped by this administration.

COLMES: You also said...

RALL: And they're guilty.

COLMES: You said on my radio show the other night that you believe firemen are not heroes. The people who...

RALL: They're doing their job. I think most firefighters would tell you the same thing.

COLMES: Look, it's a lot easier to be a cartoonist or do what I do, talk into a live microphone.

RALL: Absolutely.

COLMES: Where you don't risk your life every day. But if you put your life on the line for your country, for your fellow citizens, in my view you're a hero.

RALL: Well, you know ,it's funny. I have lot of fans who write to me and say that I'm a hero and I think it's ridiculous. I'm no hero.

COLMES: I know we overuse the word "hero."

RALL: Yes.

COLMES: But how can you in good conscience make these statements about a president, about a man who lost his life, about a man who did what he believed was right?

RALL: The president -- The president is a seriously evil figure. I mean, this is a guy...

COLMES: Why is he evil? And how do you back that up? Because you don't agree with his politics?

RALL: Lying -- Lying about weapons of mass destruction, having no proof, leading us into war, sending over 700 young men and women to their deaths, killing thousands of Iraqis and Afghans for absolutely nothing, is evil. If you don't think -- if that's not evil, I don't know what is.

COLMES: So you think the president -- well, I don't agree with him politically, and I do think we were misled, but you think he's overtly a murderer?

RALL: He's not -- He's not gutsy enough to do his own killing.

COLMES: So, he...

RALL: He lets other people do it.

COLMES: It's like hiring a hit man? Is that what you're comparing the war to, a president hiring a hit man?

RALL: I'm not the first to make this comparison.

COLMES: I've never heard that.

RALL: The Bush administration is a bunch of gangsters, and they act just like it.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Ted.

RALL: You can see with the Valerie Plame scandal, you know, it's like someone gets outed, for being a CIA agent, that's a gangster kind of thing.

HANNITY: Ted -- Ted, you're a left-wing radical nut. That's fine.

RALL: I am a Democrat. You are a right-wing radical nut.

HANNITY: You have every right to be a moron. You have every right to be thoughtless.

RALL: Ditto.

HANNITY: Here's the deal. You do this, and you call this man, who gave up millions of dollars in a contract because he was so affected by 9/11. And you do it without any thought for his family, which has already suffered, any thought for his community, which has already suffered.

And you do it to make a big fat name for yourself as the great controversial cartoonist. You know what you are? You're just mean. You're a mean, selfish human being. Isn't that what it comes down to?

RALL: I don't claim to be a perfect guy, Sean.

HANNITY: Well, you're not.

RALL: But you've been sitting here pimping a war for the last 2 1/2 years that has killed thousands of innocent people.

HANNITY: Sir, this country was attacked. We were defending ourselves.

RALL: We were not attacked.

HANNITY: I know you and all your little liberal friends would have done nothing.

RALL: But that is not true.

HANNITY: And we would only be attacked again. And innocent Americans, even young liberals like you, would have been killed as well.

RALL: To do something is good. To do the wrong thing is stupid. We have done the wrong thing since 9/11. We have yet to go after the countries and the people who carried out the attacks.

HANNITY: Ted.

RALL: Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

HANNITY: I would like to have an intelligent conversation, but it's a one-way street with you, because you believe in the most bizarre conspiracy theories.

RALL: Really.

HANNITY: Without any evidence, proof or substantiation.

RALL: There are tens of thousands of Americans who agree with me.

HANNITY: You claim this was about going after oil resources.

RALL: Duh.

HANNITY: You cannot prove it. It's a lie.

RALL: I can't prove it.

HANNITY: More importantly, I want you to look into the camera. I want you to look into the camera, and I want you to address the mother of Pat Tillman when she hears that you think her son is an idiot and a sap who only wants to kill Arabs.

Why don't you explain to her why you were so mean and thoughtless? Explain it to her.

RALL: That is -- That is a really cheap tactic, Sean.

HANNITY: Explain it to the mother. Explain it to this kid's mother. Cheap tactic? Why don't you explain it while you're trying to further your liberal cartoonist career.

RALL: You know, why don't you speak to her and ask her how you've been promoting the kind of propaganda for the last 2 1/2 years that led to her son getting killed, for nothing?

HANNITY: Ted -- Ted, her son's a hero. I love him and admire him and I'm sorry about the pain.

RALL: He died for nothing.

HANNITY: You just opened up a wound and you poured in salt, because you want to advance your career.

RALL: No. I drew a cartoon to make the point...

HANNITY: You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You're a mean, despicable, thoughtless human being. And you're a heartless human being. And you're a lying human being.

RALL: I guess you're God. You get to judge me.

COLMES: We are just out of time. We thank you very much, Ted, for being here tonight.

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