Interviews

Iraq War Vets Use Music To Tell Their Story

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 28, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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KASICH, GUEST HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, when a group of veterans from the Iraq (search) conflict wanted to get their message out about what combat there is really like, they decided to make a rap album about the war zone. But what did the military brass think of that? Bill recently found out when he spoke to two of the vets.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Sergeant Saunders, let's start with you. The video is called "Live from Iraq: Real Soldiers, Real War, Real Life." (search) What do you want the American civilian who hasn't been over in Iraq to take away from this?

NEIL SAUNDERS, FORMER U.S. ARMY SERGEANT: What we wanted to do was we wanted to give them a piece of the reality that nobody has seen so far. Everything that gets put on the news and the media that we watch, especially while we were over there watching TV, everything that we saw was kind of so one-sided. You didn't see really what was happening over there.

O'REILLY: Well, give me an example of one-sided. What do you mean, it was pro-American? Or anti-American? What was one-sided?

SAUNDERS: It kind of — it really focused on more or less whether or not whether we should have been there in the first place is what we see. And then they show you takes — we saw several clips, news clips while we were over there of people kind of, you know, rallying against the fact that we're over there, fighting for oil. We're over there fighting for this. You know, whatever the case may be. And they kind of skate from the truth of what actually is going on.

O'REILLY: Well, what is the truth according to you? Is it worthwhile for the United States to try to liberate this country?

SAUNDERS: Oh, definitely it's worthwhile, especially having been there and seen what I've seen firsthand. You know, we need to be there. Somebody needs to step up to the plate and help this country get on its feet and establish something solid.

O'REILLY: All right. Good. Now Mr. Staves, do you feel the same way?

SGT. TERRANCE STAVES, UNITED STATES ARMY: Yes. Basically the same way. The things we did over there was pretty great, you know, the liberation that we did as the 1st Cav Division (search) was pretty great. So I mean, if we stick to it, but we have to stick to it and do it and not just — you know what I'm saying, don't tiptoe around the issues and just go there, do what we're supposed to do and then, you know, get out.

O'REILLY: Sergeant Staves, do you think that as an Army guy in the middle of the fight? I mean, you guys were out there fighting death every day, were you able to see the big picture? You know, people who object to the Iraq war are going to say, "Gee, Sergeant Saunders and Sergeant Staves, they're patriots. They helped their country in need. And you are patriots. There's no question."

STAVES: Thank you.

O'REILLY: "But they don't know the big picture." How would you answer that, Sergeant Staves?

STAVES: The big picture is freeing the Iraqi people from not only themselves but other countries coming in and trying to, you know, get on and take over what they have since we have removed Saddam Hussein.

We have to get these people to understand that democracy is the best thing for them. And I mean, democracy means their freedom, you know, to make decisions and do what they need to do in order to succeed in life.

O'REILLY: Did you get any heat from the brass by, you know, because you guys built a little studio there. You were doing this in your off time. Did anyone give you a hard time?

STAVES: No. No. Nobody gave us a hard time. Everybody thought, you know, it was a good way to blow off our steam, a good recreation for us to do in order to keep our mind focused, stay open and everything.

Nobody gave us — But they really didn't know what we were putting together. You know, they thought it was going to be some hip-hop, "I'm riding on 24's" or something like that. But they didn't understand it, until the album came out, that we were telling nothing but the truth and the whole truth.

SAUNDERS: Yes. They really missed the seriousness of the album.

STAVES: They kind of accepted it once the album got out. They were, "Whoa, you guys are working on that?"

O'REILLY: Well, we wish you guys the best. And as I said, we admire your patriotism. Thank you for doing that. And good luck with the album, guys.

SAUNDERS: All right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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