Divisive Issue

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 15, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: The Iraq War is now dividing families. The "New York Times reports Cindy Sheehan (search) and her husband have separated over Ms. Sheehan's radicalism. And last week, we interviewed Delores Kesterson, who lost her son Erik in Iraq (search). He was an Army officer.

Ms. Kesterson is bitterly opposed to the conflict and to President Bush (search). But her ex-husband, Erik's father, is not. Clay Kesterson and his wife, M.J., join us now from Portland, Oregon.

Mr. Kesterson, when you saw your ex-wife on "The Factor" last week, and you know, she was pretty strong in her opinions. What did you think?

CLAY KESTERSON, SON ERIK WAS KILLED IN IRAQ: Well, losing a son or a daughter is the most devastating thing that can happen to you. And she feels really strongly about it.

She's just, in my opinion, picking the wrong side to blame. She needs to blame somebody. And she picked President Bush.

In my opinion and Erik, we had many discussions before he left for Iraq. And he was proud of this president for standing up and doing something, instead of sitting around the U.N. and talking about it.

I'm very proud of our son and his sacrifice. He was a god man. And I can't blame the president. The president's doing what he should be doing, in my opinion.

O'REILLY: Now I tried to convince your ex-wife that Erik died in a noble cause, freeing other people. The Bible says of course, "greater love hath no man than to give up your life for a friend." And these Iraqis aren't even our friends. They're just strangers.

And your son sacrificed his life so these people could have a chance to be free. Your ex-wife, I think, understood my point, but didn't agree with me. And I was a little disappointed about that. Mrs. Kesterston, how did you see that?

M.J. KESTERSON, STEP SON ERIK WAS KILLED IN IRAQ: Well, Bill, as my husband said, our son was 180 degrees on the other side of the position with his mom on anything political and always.

So it wasn't a surprise that she would take the other position. We are proud of our son. We are proud of Cindy's son as well, Casey.

These young men stood up for something that's very important. And it's freedom. Freedom in this country and also freedom for another part of the world that otherwise wouldn't be able to experience the same kinds of comforts that we have. And we're proud.

O'REILLY: You guys raised, Erik, correct? He lived with you?


C. KESTERSON: Yes, for the most part, that's true.

M.J. KESTERSON: Are you angry with Dolores, Mr. Kesterson?


C. KESTERSON: No, not at all.

M.J. KESTERSON: Not at all. I think we're disappointed that she would, you know... it's about Erik. For my husband and I, it's about Erik. And it's about the other young men and women who are serving our country.

And our country is at war. And to speak out while our young men and women are at war, the men and women who are serving this country, it's very reminiscent of what happened during Vietnam.

O'REILLY: But isn't that legitimate dissent if you really believe that the war is wrong?


O'REILLY: Isn't it a legitimate dissent?

M.J. KESTERSON: Absolutely. But you're asking me about a personal situation. And I'm answering you on a personal level.

She knew how Erik felt. Erik didn't just serve the first eight years of his life. He was a Marine. He won the Navy Marine medal for heroism.

He came home. 10 months later, 9/11 happened. And two days after that, he made a very conscious decision to go back, become a warrant officer, and fly the Blackhawk.

He was not only committed to doing something for our country, but he was committed to make sure that those people were going to have a better opportunity than what they were having.

O'REILLY: You should be very proud of your son. And I say that to every family that's lost loved ones in this war on terror. He was a hero, and a patriot. And we appreciate you guys coming on and telling us your point of view. Thank you very much.

M.J. KESTERSON: Thank you, Bill.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.