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O'Reilly and Coulter Debate Afghanistan

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 21, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight: One of those on the right who does not like how the war in Afghanistan is going is Ms. Ann Coulter. She is the author of the brand-new best-seller "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America," and she joins us now. Does it make you queasy that you are in agreement with some on the far-left -- almost all of them on the far-left -- about Afghanistan?

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "DEMONIC": Yes, though that happens from time to time. I mean, even a stopped clock will be right. The way to understand, I think, all foreign policy is that Republicans support deploying the troops when it is in the national interest of the United States. Democrats support deploying troops, flinging them around the world, in fact, only provided it is not in the United States' national interest. What are we doing in Libya and Egypt? Why have we escalated the war in Afghanistan? Everything we could accomplish in Afghanistan, we had done in the first six months of that war. Yes, we should have gone in, take out the Taliban, kill Al Qaeda, but you don't want regime change in a place like Afghanistan. They have more goats than flush toilets. And -- and Hockenberry has a point. The Taliban themselves, they didn't know what -- Omar didn't know what Usama bin Laden was doing. They invited…

O'REILLY: Oh, he did so. How you can be so naive?

COULTER: No, they…

O'REILLY: Mullah Omar didn't know what Usama bin Laden was doing?

COULTER: No, he didn't.

O'REILLY: Of course he did.

COULTER: No, it's been recorded in many books. But let's just move on from that.

O'REILLY: Well, now, wait, wait.

COULTER: The point is…

O'REILLY: No, I'm going to challenge you. You are not going to stay stuff like that and get away with it.

COULTER: OK, it's in Peter Bergen's book.

O'REILLY: OK, I don't care if it's Peter Bergen's book or the Bible.

COULTER: And it's consistent with their history. Afghanistan has never exported violence.

O'REILLY: Will you just listen to me for a minute? CIA satellite photos clearly show, and they were shown by the Pentagon before we went in…

COULTER: Yes.

O'REILLY: …that Al Qaeda was practicing…

COULTER: Yes.

O'REILLY: …had training camps to wage war, jihad…

COULTER: Right.

O'REILLY: …that Mullah Omar and the Taliban knew it, allowed it and paid for it.

COULTER: OK, to continue…

O'REILLY: So for you to sit there and say the Taliban didn't know what Obama -- Usama was doing is crazy.

COULTER: OK, let me say what -- that is not inconsistent with anything I'm saying. They did invite Al Qaeda in. They invited Al Qaeda in to go against the northern alliance.

O'REILLY: No, to go against…

COULTER: Afghanistan…

O'REILLY: …Western interest.

COULTER: ...has never, unlike most -- Afghanistan has never exported terrorism. They just want to be left alone. They are perfectly happy being poor, ignorant and having a 30-year life span. They just don't like foreigners in their country. That is not a good country for a regime change. You know what's a great country for regime change? Iraq is, they are -- Iran is -- you have pro-Western population. All you do is get rid of the crazy leader.

O'REILLY: All right, let's stay on Afghanistan here. If – if…

COULTER: But this is in contrast, this is why liberals, what is -- as they used to say about Iraq, what does success look like in Afghanistan? What does it look like? You are not going to bring freedom to that country.

O'REILLY: Look…

COULTER: They're 70 percent illiterate.

O'REILLY: I agree with you that with a guy like Karzai you are supporting a corrupt government. It's almost like South Vietnam. It's almost the same thing. And the people don't like him. They don't trust him. His government is corrupt. It's very difficult to get any semblance of freedom in that country. I agree. But if you pull out, all right, and you basically are looking at the Taliban coming over the border from Pakistan and re-establishing itself as a legitimate government of Afghanistan by force. Karzai will go to London, as I said. The Afghan army will surrender, and the Taliban will be in because they're more ruthless and they have more money and they'll be backed by Iran and a lot of other people. So then we are back to ground zero.

COULTER: Perhaps. Perhaps not.

O'REILLY: No perhaps.

COULTER: No.

O'REILLY: This is what's going to happen.

COULTER: This is not the history of Afghanistan. It's not the history of the Taliban. They don't like foreigners in their country. The only reason Obama escalated troops in Afghanistan was because it was a stupid talking point on the campaign trail that Afghanistan, that's the good war, Iraq is the bad war. Why? Because Iraq served America's national security interest, Afghanistan did not.

O'REILLY: Listen, you were a supporter of President Bush. President Bush is the architect of the Afghan…

COULTER: No, I was all for it for the first six months. And then we were done.

O'REILLY: Yes, I know.

COULTER: We knocked out the Taliban. We knocked out Al Qaeda.

O'REILLY: We didn't knock them out, you chased them over to the neighboring country and they come right back in.

COULTER: OK, six years later are they going to invite whatever remains of Al Qaeda in.

O'REILLY: Yes, they are and reconstitute it right there.

COULTER: Bill, then we'll go back in. It is pointless to have…

O'REILLY: Then we'll go back in. All right, here's a…

COULTER: No, Obama has increased troops.

O'REILLY: Tell me what's wrong with the strategy?

COULTER: What are you doing increasing troops in a country like that?

O'REILLY: Tell me what's wrong…

COULTER: Anything our bombs hit -- the bombs cost more than anything they could possibly hit in Afghanistan.

O'REILLY: Tell me what's wrong with this strategy. We have already invested blood and treasure in that country, OK? So I -- I'm for the drawdown and I think you've got to get out of there by 2014.

COULTER: And we shouldn't have had the surge.

O'REILLY: OK. I disagree with that. I think the surge has given us the tactical advantage now in the whole part of the country where there are some people who are coming over to our side, Afghans, and the Afghan army is getting better. There are some…

COULTER: We're better off going into Iran.

O'REILLY: So I say, pull them -- start to pull them back. And that's what's he's going to do tomorrow night, President Obama. He's going to say I'm going to take five out. In July, I'll take another five out in December and we'll drawdown. I'm not opposed to that. OK.

COULTER: We'd be better off going into Iran and we'd be better off going into Canada. We are not going to turn Afghanistan into a functioning democracy.

O'REILLY: We've got -- we've got to do it in a methodical way. We've already invested 10 years and a half-trillion dollars and thousands of maimed and dead soldiers and Marines.

COULTER: Yes.

O'REILLY: You don't abandon ship right now. You play it out.

COULTER: Well, look how long -- how it's done isn't the point. The point is that it should be done. We never should have had the surge and you can't trust Democrats with foreign policy because they do not care about America's national security interest. The reason there was a surge was because they…

O'REILLY: All right. I don't know about any of that, but the surge tactically has worked. It has actually brought…

COULTER: Worked at what?

O'REILLY: It has brought down U.S. casualties. It has put the Taliban on the defensive.

COULTER: We should have been drawing down…

O'REILLY: They don't control Helmand anymore.

COULTER: …six months after we invaded. Once you knock out the Taliban…

O'REILLY: All right, you already said that.

COULTER: …once you quarantine…

O'REILLY: You got to live where we are. You got to live where we are.

COULTER: OK, but part of where we -- where we live is a place where we have elections in this country and Americans ought to know not to trust Democrats any place near foreign policy.

O'REILLY: All right. Ann Coulter, everyone. Buy her book, "Demonic." Am I demonic?

COULTER: No. You are angelic, Bill.

O'REILLY: There you go.

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