Ehren Watada: New Face of Peace Movement?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 6, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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JOHN KASICH, GUEST HOST: In the Impact Segment tonight, is this the new face of the antiwar movement. Twenty-eight year old army Lieutenant Ehren Watada is charged with missing troop movements and engaging in conduct unbecoming of an officer after refusing to deploy to Iraq and then saying this at a news conference.


LT. EHREN WATADA, REFUSED TO DEPLOY TO IRAQ: It is my conclusion that the war is not only morally wrong but it is, in fact, illegal and thus it is my obligation and my duty to refuse any orders to participate in this war.


KASICH: Let me also point out that Lieutenant Watada also referred to the war as quote, "the wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people," unquote.

Before charges were filed, Watada was hailed for his heroism by antiwar protestors who gathered around the country to rally for his cause. Joining us now from Washington, FOX News political analyst Juan Williams.

All right, Juan. The guy signs up. Nobody forced him in. Now he says he doesn't want to go. And he says, you know, he sees the war as nothing more than this wholesale slaughter of — and mistreatment of the Iraqi people. Now people rallying around him in the anti-war movement. Where do they are going to gain with this?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I don't think it's a good move, John. I've got to tell you, I think that if you sign up, you go into the military, the idea that in the midst of that you would suddenly decide that you can run your own foreign policy is ridiculous. And it also would lead to a breakdown of military discipline and military order. I just don't see it.

Now you have a new group called "Courage to Resist" that is trying to support people who will appeal for conscious objector status. I can see that. But I can't see encouraging someone to defy a direct order to report for duty once they sign up and become a part of the military. Once you're out of the military, even while you're in military, you can speak your mind, but you've got to obey orders. Otherwise we don't have a military in this country.

KASICH: You know, Juan, I understand more and more people are turning against the war. There isn't any question about it. But when I look at the activists. Cindy Sheehan, she is out saying that Hugo Chavez is not a dictator. And Bush — she makes all these outrageous statements about George Bush. She calls the insurgents freedom fighters going into Iraq.

She says America have been killing people, like my sister over here said, since we first stepped on this continent. Radical words out of her. Radical words of Watada.

Harry Belafonte, I like to call him the washed up calypso singer. I mean, here's a guy that, you know, he calls Bush and compares Bush to Adolf Hitler. Alec Baldwin, another tirade out of him. How do they think that they're going to be able to convince those people in the middle about this by these kind of radical statements.

WILLIAMS: First thing to say, John, as you pointed out, most Americans think the war is a mistake, but there has been no face to the opposition of the war. There has been no movement really in the streets or college campuses against the war so. So the left is desperate for a face. So it's Cindy Sheehan one moment. Then she undercuts herself with the kind of statements you just talked about. Then when she goes over there and says somehow Hugo Chavez isn't anti-American, they think hey, what's wrong with her?

And of course you have great respect for her. Her son died in the war .

KASICH: Absolutely. But she's become a pawn of the left, Juan. She's become radicalized.

WILLIAMS: I don't have a problem with it. I understand your problem with it. But `m saying if you become radicalized, there's a radical statement to say that you don't believe. Watada says, for example, says he wants to put the war on trial. He should, one serve his country faithfully and patriotically. If he wants to get out legitimately and later say there were no weapons of mass destruction and he has questions about the manipulation of intelligence to justify the war, OK.

But so far the left, I think what you're seeing, the left paroxysm, just simply squirming, trying to find a face, a voice.

KASICH: I agree with that, Juan.

WILLIAMS: That can say something powerful to get that two thirds of the Americans opposed to the war mobilized.

KASICH: And Juan,, you know, first of all, how does somebody get their message out without being radical? Look, I admire people that can stand up and speak against war, as much as I admire people that stand up and speak for it. I think it takes courage for people who say no, bring people home.

But these kind of radical statements don't make any sense. You've studied the civil rights movement. How do people who are dissidents who want to change the status quo, how do they get heard without turning everybody else from the country?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think they speak from the heart, they speak legitimately and they speak in patriotic terms that can appeal to the middle you were referring to. If you say to your fellow Americans, here is my legitimate disagreement with a policy, here's the consequences that I think it's having in terms of loss of life, loss of treasure and our ability to support efforts, social programs here at home and the rest, you can make the case.

But once you get over the line and you start acting as if you're on the other side and rooting for America's defeat .

KASICH: That's exactly right.

WILLIAMS: Well, then in fact you're energizing the people on the other side and turning off that middle. That's a losing hand.

KASICH: Do you think maybe celebrity gets in the way. They start off being protestors and then they get to be sort of famous and they go farther and farther and farther.

I think that's a big chunk of this.

WILLIAMS: Well, sometimes I think, and I have got to tell you, I think this takes place on both the left and the right. I think people keep raising the ante, saying more outrageous things and condemning the other guys and demonize somebody else without realizing there are people of good faith on both sides trying to do what's right for America. That seems like such a radically concept. That's what people are trying to do.

And sometimes people on the left or the right, the far right, they say, you know, if you're not with us, then you're with the terrorists. I mean, that's crazy.

KASICH: It's that way in everything. If you're anti-abortion, they say you're anti-women. If you're against the war, you're a traitor. We can't have good dialogue, and you know, Juan, you and I don't always agree on things, but we agree on that point.

WILLIAMS: Way to go, John.

KASICH: Thank you.

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