This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 1, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Continuing with our lead story, the president's speech on Afghanistan. Joining us from Washington, Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
You know what I don't get about you lefties? Here's what I don't get. OK. You know, and you're a smart guy, you know we pull out of Afghanistan, which you have suggested doing, Taliban comes back in. And they're going to run the country again. That means the Afghan people are going to be brutalized again, particularly the women. There are going to be reprisals and executions. Al Qaeda comes back. The training camps are reinstituted. They cause trouble all over the world. You know all of that will happen, and yet you still say get out. How do you justify it?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, D-OHIO: Well, first of all, when you say "you liberals," frankly, Bill, with all respect, I think that your level of analysis, left-right, is misplaced here. When you have the Cato Institute, Dana Rohrabacher, Jim Dinckel (ph) and other conservatives who are Republicans, who are conservative or even libertarian...
O'REILLY: But they have different views on it though...
KUCINICH: ...challenging this war, then I think that what we're looking at is a new coalition here which basically throws the idea of left and right out the window. The Taliban has gained strength through the occupation. And that's — so if we're going to double-down and send in more troops, they're only going to become stronger. We don't get that the people reject a rough central government. We don't get that the efforts to train an Afghan army have been unproductive, and our efforts along the border with Pakistan have resulted in destabilizing Pakistan.
O'REILLY: OK. I got all that, and we'll take them one by one. And you're right on some of them. But the central theme is if you pull us out, United States comes out, NATO comes in, the Taliban comes in. And you seem to be willing to live with that.
KUCINICH: Well, it doesn't mean that we don't have a strategy to deal with an exit.
O'REILLY: Well, what would that be? What would that be to prevent the Taliban from coming back?
KUCINICH: I subscribe to what the Cato Institute's been talking about, and they said you have to — you have to maintain an advisory role.
O'REILLY: They advised the Taliban not to come back?
O'REILLY: Come on. Come on. Be — get in the real world here. They're going to come back.
KUCINICH: Don't put words in my mouth there. Don't put words in my mouth.
O'REILLY: Come on.
KUCINICH: The Taliban are going to have to be dealt with. You're going to have to...
KUCINICH: Believe it or not, you're going to have to negotiate with the Taliban at some point. Mark this — this interview, Bill, because we are not going to be able to dislodge the Taliban through an occupation. The Loya Jirga process...
O'REILLY: What makes you think you could negotiate with them if they think they're going to win? Why would they negotiate with you? For what reason?
KUCINICH: Well, our presence, our presence there right now is — is certainly running up a toll on the Taliban. But they're not going to leave, because they're gaining strength through the occupation. But the people...
O'REILLY: I think you could break their back.
KUCINICH: The people in Afghanistan who support the Taliban don't like the Taliban, Bill. They don't want the Taliban there.
O'REILLY: No, the folks don't like them, but they are so brutal. They are so brutal.
KUCINICH: We have an agreement. Bill, let's start — we have something to agree on. The process of decision making in Afghanistan historically has been something called the Loya Jirga. It's councils operating at a town and a local level. Well, that decision-making process was basically usurped by the Taliban. Once the Taliban has to deal with the people of Afghanistan directly they're not going to be able to hold power as they do...
O'REILLY: Well, how did they did it the first time around? They held power for many years after the Russians were defeated. Look, I understand. I don't like this war. I don't think most of my viewers like the war. It's a backwater; it's corrupt. You've got narcotics all over the place.
KUCINICH: Then why would you want us to stay there?
O'REILLY: Because the alternative is worse. It was almost like Iraq.
O'REILLY: The alternative to losing Iraq was worse, and we finally pulled it out of the fire. The alternative is worse.
KUCINICH: What did we pull out of the fire? We killed a million people and, you know, in a war that was based on a lie.
O'REILLY: Well, you basically don't have a defeat for the United States in a terrorist sanctuary in Iraq. You don't have that. And that's the same thing that's in play in Afghanistan. You pull out, you have...
KUCINICH: You kill a million...
O'REILLY: ...you're going to have to go back in again. You pull out, we're going to have to go back in again.
KUCINICH: Bill, we have a trillion dollars we've put on the line. We have — 5,000 U.S. troops have lost their lives. Over a million Afghan — Iraqis perished in Iraq. We are looking at a $3 to $6 trillion bill in Afghanistan. What are we doing here? What are our priorities? Are we going to be able to run the game around the world? I think there is something to be said about nation building here at home, about securing the homeland.
O'REILLY: OK, but you still don't answer the central question of the threat...
KUCINICH: What is it?
O'REILLY: ...of the threat to the United States by a reinstituted Taliban providing safe harbor for the al Qaeda. You don't answer. You want to negotiate with them, you want to advise them. That's not going to work.
KUCINICH: Listen, the Taliban — the Taliban and Al Qaeda is not the same, Bill. You know that.
O'REILLY: No, but they — they're simpatico with hurting the West.
KUCINICH: ... are homegrown. There's a difference. And the difference is this: a counterterrorism strategy can work. Counterinsurgency is doomed to fail because the occupation fuels even more insurgents, and it has people fighting against us who on another day might be for us. We can't buy support there. We can't use the...
O'REILLY: So what do you want? Special Forces in there? Is that what you want to do? You want Special Forces to be in there?
KUCINICH: There are Special Forces there.
O'REILLY: I know, but…
KUCINICH: Are you kidding? The Special Forces are helping to pay off the people in the perimeter of Kabul trying to get them to buy — trying to buy friends for us. That never works.
O'REILLY: All right.
KUCINICH: You know, the same people…
O'REILLY: Now why do you think...
KUCINICH: Go ahead.
O'REILLY: If Obama is a liberal guy, and he is, why do you think...
KUCINICH: By whose assessment? Why do you keep going back to liberal-conservative? It means nothing in these analyses.
O'REILLY: OK. All right. But this is the question. If Obama is a liberal guy, and he is, he's a liberal thinker, why does he not see it your way? What is the divide between you, Dennis Kucinich, and Barack Obama?
KUCINICH: Well, he's the president and I'm a member of Congress. Congress actually has the ultimately responsibility...
O'REILLY: I know, but he doesn't see the strategy the same way...
KUCINICH: ...under Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution to make the decision. Pardon?
O'REILLY: Why does he see the strategy differently in the theater than you do? Why isn't he on you r side?
KUCINICH: Listen, I respect his role as president. I like Barack Obama. I listened to him tonight. I want him to be successful but I emphatically disagree with him on a surge in Afghanistan. I think that Congress has to have a separate approach to this. I don't think we should fund this. I think we should fund bringing the troops home and start...
O'REILLY: But why does he disagree with you? That's the question.
KUCINICH: ...to secure our position in Afghanistan.
O'REILLY: Why you think he disagrees with you? He agrees more with me than with you.
KUCINICH: You know what? To me this isn't even about the personality of the president, whom I admire. It's about whether or not we're taking the best move for America.
O'REILLY: So you don't know why he disagrees with you.
KUCINICH: There should be security without escalating the war.
O'REILLY: The answer is you don't know why he disagrees with you?
KUCINICH: No, my answer is that I'm not taking on the president of the United States. That's not my role. My role is to say as a member of Congress that we don't have to escalate, that we should bring our troops home, that we should focus on creating jobs and health care and retirement security and investment security, and saving people's homes. That's nation building at home.
O'REILLY: All right.
KUCINICH: Nation building in Afghanistan? Are you kidding me?
O'REILLY: Remember, there's a lot of jobs in the military because we're fighting all over the place.
KUCINICH: And you could get a lot more jobs with the money we're spending. You can create a civilian life about 25 to one.
O'REILLY: All right, Congressman.
KUCINICH: $1 million to one job in the military.
O'REILLY: Always fun debating you. Thanks for coming on. We appreciate it. Directly ahead...
KUCINICH: Bill, it's a privilege to be on your show.
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