O'Reilly and Rove Debate What to Do About Pakistan

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Joining us from Austin, Texas, Fox News analyst Karl Rove, who dealt with Pakistan as one of President Bush's top advisers. So very specifically, Mr. Rove, what do you do? How do you deal with these people?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, first, I think you point out, we need to stay engaged. This is an important country in an important region and we can't simply say we are so disappointed and we are walking away. On the other hand, we can't let these things go without any response.

For example, the Pakistanis say they are going to conduct an investigation of how Usama bin Laden was able to establish a sanctuary a mile or two away from their equivalent of West Point in a prosperous suburb of their state -- of their capital. And we ought to press them on this investigation behind the scenes to make certain that we know what's going on and we know what kind of information is being developed. But we're going to have to find ways to pressure them, more behind the scenes rather than in front of the cameras. But we're going to have to say to them, look, this is unacceptable behavior on the part of your -- of your government in response to this.

I was taken aback by the Pakistani ambassador to the United States comments basically warning us not to pressure him. He said, you've got what you -- you've got what you in essence deserved after giving us a lot of -- giving a lot of honey, so you've got exactly what you deserved basically saying don't pressure us. Well, that -- that's not his business to tell us that. If he wants to pass that comment on, do it privately to the secretary of State but don't be broadcasting it on the media like that. And we ought to privately call him in and say -- call him and say, if you ever want your phone calls returned, don't be saying things like that again. And we ought to -- we ought to do things that cost behind the scenes a price.

O'REILLY: All right, we -- but it's far worse than just the ambassador. I mean, the president of the country, Gilani, basically said it's absurd to say that the Pakistani government, anybody in the government helped bin Laden even though they were 800 yards away from the bin Laden compound, 800 yards away from what you referred to the big army base there and the training center. And secondly, outing the CIA agent and even these guys couldn't get the name right that's how clownish they are, but just the attempt to put that man's life in danger.

Look, what Pakistan is doing is extremely provocative. I understand why they are doing it. They are playing to their home base. They're playing -- they don't want to be assassinated by these terrorists, so they are trying to be tough to the United States, but it's provocative. I don't disagree that you deal with them behind the scenes. But I think you've got to deal with them and you've got to deal with them fast and the way to do it is through India. We keep India off the Pakistan government's back. India doesn't like Pakistan. They know -- India knows because of Mumbai that Pakistan harbors terrorists who will kill Indians. And India will go in there and give them a lot of trouble. And the only thing standing between Pakistan and India is us. So I think that's the way to handle this.

ROVE: Yes. Well, the Pakistanis don't think that we are the only people that stand between them and India. And I think it's -- I think it would be dangerous for us to sort of -- that would -- the events might spin out of control. We've got greater leverage if we use it directly. I mean, we give them $3 billion a year. We don't need to cut that and give them a face of -- a loss of face publicly but we should -- we should - - we could slow it up. We could say, oh yes, you get $3 billion but we're going to tie some strings on that, mean that some of that money doesn't get spent the way they want to get spent and some of it doesn't get spent at all. But we -- this requires patient diplomacy. And the United States government has a lot a stake in the outcome of this.

O'REILLY: But Mr. Rove, with all due respect, I mean, how much longer do the American people -- and how much more do they have to take? Patient diplomacy? We have been doing this for 10 years, OK. After 9/11…

ROVE: No, no we've been -- we've been doing this for -- we've been doing this for 20 years, 30 years with a bunch of different issues.

O'REILLY: All right, 20, 30 and we're not getting anywhere. We're not getting anywhere.

ROVE: So -- so but -- but here's the point, Bill. No, we -- yes, wait, wait, wait a minute. We have gotten somewhere. They have been a valuable ally. Not as maybe as much as we wanted but their attitude before 9/11 was different than their attitude after 9/11, and we ought to -- we ought to recognize that.

O'REILLY: They hid bin Laden. They hid bin Laden, Mr. Rove.

ROVE: Now, look, look, look. Look, I disagree with that. I think if there was widespread knowledge inside the Pakistani government that bin Laden was in Abbottabad, we would have known about it because the problem is this government is fractured between factions unfriendly to the United States and factions that recognize the reality of the world that Usama bin Laden represents a threat to them. Al Qaeda represents a threat to them…

O'REILLY: OK, that's true. You've got to hold -- you've got to hold them accountable for this.

ROVE: And that's why our -- absolutely.

O'REILLY: Everybody knows -- everybody knows Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, is hiding in Pakistan. Everybody knows that Pakistani troops gets sanctuary in Pakistan. The Taliban troops hide there and go to kill Americans.

ROVE: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Bill, with all due respect, we all thought that Usama bin Laden was in Pakistan and he was. But not where we thought he was, and nobody knows where Mullah Omar is.

O'REILLY: It doesn't matter. He's in the country.

ROVE: You know, it's a large country with about 300 million people. And -- and if it was that easy to get him we would have gotten him a long time ago. Now, you're right about the Pakistanis not doing as much as they should do in the tribal regions. They don't give protections to the Taliban; they just don't pressure them and they don't confront them and they don't kill them like we want them to be doing. But there's a difference between…

O'REILLY: Quetta is not in the tribal regions. Quetta is a big city and it's run by the Taliban.

ROVE: It's a big city.

O'REILLY: It's run by the Taliban.

ROVE: Well, I'm not certain I would go that far but there are elements of the Taliban there. And the question is: Is the Pakistani government going to wake up fully to the fact that these elements represent a danger to them? There are people who clearly recognize them.

Benazir Bhutto was killed by in essence Al Qaeda and Taliban working together, so there's got to be a recognition on the part of the Pakistanis that this is a problem that confronts their very existence as a nation state.

O'REILLY: All right. But as you -- as you said very clearly, we have been trying this 30 years and it hasn't work. I think we may have to try something else. Mr. Rove, always a pleasure debating with you. Thank you.

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