The Islamic Terror Threat

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 30, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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JOHN KASICH, GUEST HOST: The threat of Islamic terrorists, that's our top story tonight as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld goes after critics who refuse to acknowledge just how dangerous the enemy is. That was the subject of a recent "Talking Points Memo" by Bill O'Reilly:


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Despite atrocity after atrocity, many people still don't understand the nature of the terrorist enemy. These killers have no humanity at all, they're Nazis. People who believe their brand of Islam requires them to murder infidels. Babies, women, it doesn't matter. Just as many did not understand the Third Reich in 1936, 70 years later much of the world doesn't understand Islamic fascism.


KASICH: Yesterday in a combative speech to thousands of veterans at the American Legion convention, Rumsfeld suggested that critics have not learned the lessons of history and warned against appeasement.


DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Someone recently recalled one U.S. senator's reaction in September of 1939. Upon hearing that Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II he exclaimed, "Lord, if only I had talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided." I recount that history, because once again, we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism, with the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?


KASICH: Joining us now from Cincinnati, Paul Hackett, a Marine who served in Iraq and lost a congressional race last summer. And here in the studio, Dan Senor, the former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. I don't know — who are the appeasers he's talking about? I mean I don't know anybody that doesn't recognize that the war in Afghanistan has got to be won, that Al Qaeda's got to be snuffed out, that extremists have to be dealt with. Who is he talking about here?

DAN SENOR, FORMER COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY SPOKESMAN IN IRAQ: He's talking about people who believe that we would be better off, John, if we withdrew from our military engagements, whether they're in Iraq, whether they're in Afghanistan, whether it's a strong posture, vis-a-vis Hezbollah.

KASICH: Who's saying we ought to withdraw from Afghanistan? I haven't heard anybody say that.

SENOR: There are people — there are many leftist centered activists, political activists.

KASICH: Who? Name me one.

SENOR: has talked about that we should be scaling back our resources in places, our military engagements. They haven't been specific about Afghanistan but they've been specific about Iraq.

KASICH: That's a riff...

SENOR: John, the important point is, look, we are on the offense now. It's complicated, it's ugly, it's messy, and it involves some rough periods like we've experienced over the last few days and we'll be experiencing for the next couple of years. But the fact is, is some of the people we are fighting are sort of pushing back a little bit. It's sort of a one step forward, two steps back. Whether it's Hezbollah pushing back, whether it's the insurgency or the civil war going on in Iraq that's pushing back, whether it's threats against Karzai that are going on that are pushing back.

And if we withdraw right now, we have some 140,000 troops in Iraq right now, just take that engagement alone, and if we withdraw it would be the single largest engagement that was withdrawn immediately or according to a timetable in American military history. And imagine the signal that would send to the war. It's an important moment.

KASICH: All right, Paul, I think you favor the immediate withdrawal. Tell me what you favor. But here's the deal. If somebody favors immediate withdrawal, and I'm not a fan of this war, by the way. But if they want to just get out of there right away, the whole bottom could fall out over there, couldn't it? And throughout the whole region, so, is that a responsible place to be?

PAUL HACKETT, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: Well, first of all John, suggesting that the whole bottom would fall out implies that somehow it hasn't fallen out. I mean, to have Herr Senor on your set as a military expert is somewhat of a joke. He knows absolutely nothing about the military, he's never served in the military, he's never been professionally schooled in the military.

KASICH: Who are you talking about Paul, is that me?

HACKETT: I'm talking about your guest, little Unterfuerher of Propaganda, Mr. Senor there who's an apologist for the failings of the CPA. I mean he ought to be ashamed of his service or lack of service with the CPA, because that's what got it all started.

KASICH: Paul, wait, wait, wait, hold on now. Now look, I mean, this is not about ad hominem assassination here, I asked you a simple question.

HACKETT: Well it is because he's on here trying to argue for the military use in Iraq, which is just a joke because he's part of the problem, part of the failings in Iraq —

KASICH: Paul, there are a lot of people. Hold on, Paul. There are a lot of people out there that believe, hold on, most of the Democrats, by the way, do not advocate immediate withdrawal, because they worry about the consequences.

HACKETT: Actually I don't advocate immediate withdrawal. I've actually always been a proponent that what the policymakers should do, the politicians, Democrats and Republicans, is face the reality that everything that can be accomplished with our military in Iraq has been accomplished. We should be not painting schools, we shouldn't be an intermediary or be —

SENOR: Paul, Paul, should we be fighting a counterinsurgency in Iraq?

HACKETT: How many schools are we going to paint?

KASICH: Hold on Dan. Just hold on a second here. I know this is emotional. Paul, I mean the question is do you favor immediate withdrawal? I can't figure out, I guess you're not for immediate withdrawal, and the reason you're not is because a lot of people worry about the consequences.

But, Dan, let me ask you. This business — hold on, Paul. Hold on!

Dan, what I get concerned about is the name calling if you're not for staying in Iraq, somehow you're an appeaser. Now that name calling is not about how you debate a foreign policy, is it?

SENOR: No, I agree with you.

Shouldn't they get off that and talk about policy and stop the name calling?

SENOR: Look, there are many — there are very responsible, brave, courageous people who have served in Iraq in military and civilian roles, and they have the right to their opinion. Paul and I clearly have a difference of opinion. Paul, I've never questioned or challenged your service in Iraq, I hope you wouldn't question or challenge the creditability or the seriousness of — would you let me finish — of mine. I spent about a year and a half there. And ---

KASICH: Hold on Paul!

HACKETT: You spent about a year and a half at the embassy complex which is American soil. I don't question your service because you lost $9 billion tax dollars over there...

KASICH: You know Paul, look, I mean this is — hey Paul, this is not about just interrupting. Now look, Rumsfeld did say one thing. He said that, you know, they ought to stop the name calling and all of the negativity. Amnesty International calls Guantanamo a "gulag," I mean that does border on — it doesn't border, it strikes me as being very anti- American to start accusing Americans of running gulags. You agree with that, that criticism is justified, isn't it?

HACKETT: Well listen, I mean he's the guy who's calling somebody like me an "appeaser." Look, in this conversation I'm the only guy who's fought the War on Terrorism. I've looked it in the eye and I've anguished it. You're calling me un-American? Are you calling me un-American?

KASICH: All right, Paul. Paul raises an interesting — important point. This is it. Quickly.

SENOR: Has the bottom fallen out? It is really bad in Iraq, the question is, could it be worse? The answer is yes. One hundred Iraqi civilian casualties a day could easily go to a thousand.

KASICH: You know what the bottom line is, we have to stop the name calling and get the policy discussion and figure out how to fix this. I want to thank you both for being with us.

HACKETT: Well, there's no strategy in this administration!

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