Published January 14, 2015
This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 17, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY HOST: In the "Unresolved Problems" segment tonight, according to the Defense Department, there were about 1900 alleged cases of sexual assault within the American armed forces in the years 2002-2003. More than 2000 service people were considered victims of these reported sexual assaults, 91 percent female. What's going on here? Joining us now from Detroit is Elaine Donnelly, the president of the Center for Military Readiness (search). And from Orlando, Florida, Mary Spio, a former senior airman in the Air Force and now the editor of "ONE2ONE (search)" magazine.
Ms. Spio, I will begin with you. You were actually in the trenches, so to speak. And tell me about the sexual stuff that goes on. Is it rampant?
MARY SPIO, EDITOR, "ONE 2 ONE" MAGAZINE: It's very rampant because a lot of times you have very young men and women who are thrown together. So you have people in their sexual peaks that are thrown together in very close quarters, and inevitably, sexual activity happens. You see it all over.
O'REILLY: All right, in this prison scandal in Baghdad, we've got two of them that had photographs of each other having sex. These are American service people, a man and a woman. I guess the guy allegedly made the woman pregnant and all of this. How open is this now?
SPIO: Everything that I have seen so far in the prison scandal, that I don't think is rampant, but other things like that. I have seen even officers that are usually held to a higher standard engage in stuff like that. While I was in the military, I woke up several nights to where my roommates were having sex while I was in there. It was quite shocking. But stuff like that does happen.
O'REILLY: All right. So your roommates in the barracks or where were you?
SPIO: When I say roommate, that means you have two beds in one room because a lot of times in the military you have people sharing very close quarters. And we were in the barracks, yes. So I woke up to this going on. And it wasn't just one person...
O'REILLY: All right, so you woke up and in the bed next to you, there were two people having sex?
SPIO: I was -- yes, right, in the bed right next to me.
O'REILLY: OK. Now there are laws against this. I mean, obviously, your superior in rank can't have sex with you or that person gets arrested. Are those laws ignored?
SPIO: The military goes actively after officers who commit crimes like that or who -- but a lot of times it's not reported, especially if it's consensual. And a lot of people look the other way.
O'REILLY: So would you say that most people look the other way, that it's easy for the military people to have sex?
SPIO: Absolutely, I think most people look the other way.
O'REILLY: All right. Ms. Donnelly, do you concur with this?
ELAINE DONNELLY, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR MILITARY READINESS: I'm afraid I have to. Military installations can be very sexually charged. If you have ever visited an aircraft carrier, for instance, I was there just as a visitor on two different carriers. And you can just sort of smell the testosterone. It's sort of like a jet fuel. That's why you must have discipline. You have to have at least the attempt and solid training to counter that force. It's essential for good order and discipline and morale. And when you fail to do that, especially in basic training, starting with basic right to advanced training, if you don't teach self-discipline in order to create out of a civilian a soldier or a sailor or a Marine, if you don't do that, it's pretty hard to make it up later on.
O'REILLY: OK, but this is all theory, what I want to get into is what's really happening. Now do you believe that the sexual promiscuity that is going on in the military, and certainly not everybody does this, but according to Ms. Spio, it's fairly common, hurts our military readiness?
DONNELLY: Well, it does because when pregnancies result, and those numbers are kept very secret, we know that absences due to pregnancy, evacuations hurt everybody else that's left behind. But right now the Navy has a policy that says you can't even make any negative comments if someone leaves due to pregnancy. They can be single, they can get pregnant numerous times, it doesn't matter. All the health and medical and education benefits are there. So if you subsidize something...
O'REILLY: Are they going to...
DONNELLY: I'm sorry.
O'REILLY: When a woman gets pregnant in the military, are they given an honorable discharge, a general discharge, dishonorable? What happens to them?
DONNELLY: They get all the benefits. No questions asked. You don't even have to name the father. So if you subsidize something, you get more of it.
O'REILLY: All right, so they are not even discharged then?
DONNELLY: No. In fact, in the Navy we have what they call personnel overages on bases, they are not even counted against the number of people assigned to that particular base, but they are there and they get all the benefits but they are not really deployable.
O'REILLY: Ms. Spio, what you're saying to me is that nobody is real fearful about this if people can hook up in the military. And I'm assuming that most of it is heterosexual sex, right?
SPIO: Most of it is heterosexual sex but there are other gay rings that happen on different barracks. So -- but I think the majority of it is heterosexual sex.
O'REILLY: All right, so you're saying there is not a lot of fear of being caught or being cashiered or anything like that?
SPIO: No, there is not a lot of fear of that.
O'REILLY: All right.
O'REILLY: Do you agree -- wait a minute, Ms. Donnelly, I'll get back to you in a minute. Do you agree with Ms. Donnelly that this hurts the readiness of the military? Does it hurt them in defending this country?
SPIO: I think to a certain extent it does because when men and women are out there to do a specific job and they are, you know, engaging in other activity, it makes it difficult. I have been on deployments where people were up all night long in each other's sleeping bags. And so the next morning they were having quite a hard time getting ready. And I mean, these are just a few instances. But overall, it does hurt morale, it does hurt...
O'REILLY: Yes, reading your resume here, apparently you were in Turkey on a mission during the first Gulf War, and there were actual -- was there sex in a foxhole?
O'REILLY: You can tell us. We won't tell anybody, Ms. Spio. You go ahead.
SPIO: Right. I was stationed in Turkey during Desert Storm (search), and while this was happening, we were in a foxhole and there were things going on in the foxhole. Actually, my commander was hitting on me while we were in the foxhole after we had some Turkish soldiers that had approached us, we had an interchange with them, and right after that it was almost as if nothing had happened. And that, too, was going on even in the foxholes.
O'REILLY: So your commander in the foxhole was hitting on you?
SPIO: My commander in the foxhole, yes.
O'REILLY: Did you hit back?
SPIO: No, I didn't.
O'REILLY: Sorry. I have to ask. It's my job to ask these questions. All right, Ms. Donnelly, so what I'm getting here is -- and I hope this isn't inaccurate, because we do want to be respectful to our men and women in uniform here, that there is a problem, that there is a problem here in the military, within the military, with sexual activity that's actually hindering performances. I will give you the last word.
DONNELLY: OK. The majority of people do not engage in that. Unfortunately, the personnel policies we have don't ask questions about homosexual or heterosexual activity. It's contributing to it. That's why these horrible photos came out of Abu Ghraib (search). You have young people with power over other people. They did not get proper training. It means that co-ed basic training is a failure and it ought to be ended in the Army without delay.
O'REILLY: Yes, I'm not so sure that proper training deal is the caveat, because you always have weak people, you always have people who will not follow the orders among the best. You can train them and train them and train them, but there is human weakness, there is human weakness.
DONNELLY: Basic is the start, discipline comes after that. You need a good, sound policy.
O'REILLY: Ladies, thank you very much for your candor. We appreciate it.
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