Naomi Wolf Defends Controversial New Book

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 21, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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JOHN KASICH, GUEST HOST: In The Impact segment, best-selling author Naomi Wolf's latest book is called "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot."

She compares President Bush to dictators like Hitler and Stalin, laying out a 10 signs of the demise of a democracy, which she says are all going on right now. They include establishing secret prisons, restricting the press, surveilling ordinary citizens and arbitrarily detaining and releasing citizens.

Naomi Wolf joins us now.

All right. I think you're a smart lady. From what I tell in this book, you are way — you're way out there on this stuff.

NAOMI WOLF, AUTHOR, "THE END OF AMERICA": Well, I'd love to hear how you think I'm way out there, because every argument I make is strictly on the facts.

KASICH: OK. Let's — let's start with, like, secret prisons. OK. Tell me what you think about the fact that America has secret prisons which you compare to the gulag.

WOLF: Right.

KASICH: Tell me, where are these? Where are these? What is this? Is this Guantanamo?

WOLF: OK. Well, there are four initial steps that would be a dictator, according to the historical blueprint.

KASICH: I know that, but let's talk about what these are. I just brought up — you said we have secret prisons.

WOLF: Yes.

KASICH: Where are these secret prisons?

WOLF: OK. So by secret prisons what I mean is unaccountable and outside the rule of law, where torture takes place.

KASICH: Guantanamo, namely?

WOLF: Certainly Guantanamo. Abu Ghraib. There are black sites all over the world that we can't know about that people who follow human rights issues know that torture...

KASICH: All right. Let's talk about Guantanamo.

WOLF: In spite of White House talking points, torture has taken place.

KASICH: OK, let's talk about Guantanamo. It's certainly not a secret prison. Everybody knows about it. Half the people in the country are calling for it to be shut down.


KASICH: In that prison are enemy combatants, people we picked up off the battlefield. Twelve of them that we released went back on the battlefield and tried to kill our people again. Now, where would you put these people?

WOLF: John, what is really sad to me is that someone as thoughtful and I also know you'd be quite caring and a patriot is so deeply misinformed about these people.

KASICH: All right. Tell me — tell me about them.

WOLF: OK. First of all, people who are in the intelligence world know that the techniques that have been used on prisoners in the U.S. hold (ph) prisons do come straight from the gulag. Things like heat and cold, sleep deprivation, stress positions. I mean, Yevgenia Ginzburg, who got out of the...

KASICH: Yes — I want to stay on it. Where would you put these — where would you put these people who are enemy combatants, who — you know, people that would — you know, like people like the ones that cut off the head of Danny Pearl. Where would you put them?

WOLF: OK. What is dangerous about when the state starts to use terror against an individual is that there's also a blurring of the line.

According to the historical blueprint, what happens is a closing society. We've got 10 signs of a closing society right now that are very much parallel to the blueprint that yes, Mussolini pioneered, that Hitler imitated in the '30s, that Stalin learned from Hitler, that...

KASICH: So you're saying that Bush is sort of drifting into Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler?

WOLF: Not just drifting but it's a systematic, 10-point assault on the democracy.

KASICH: OK. Now, with Guantanamo, you — you haven't answered the question about where you'd put them. I think you lock them in a prison and you treat them as enemy combatants.

WOLF: What our founders intended is for us to have a justice system. And so what you can do is you look at countries like England or Spain...


WOLF: ... where they were hit by the same bad guys we were hit by.


WOLF: And they are, rather than using that as an excuse to crack down on civil liberties of their citizens...


WOLF: ... they're showcasing democratic processes...

KASICH: Look, Naomi...

WOLF: ... and trying these guys in civil courts...

KASICH: Naomi...

WOLF: ... and sentencing them.

KASICH: These people, they don't — they don't abide by...

WOLF: And including the transcripts on the Internet.

KASICH: OK, look. They don't — they — transcripts on the Internet? Listen, these people — these are the people that want to kill us. They pay no attention to the Geneva Convention. They're enemy combatants.

And you know what? I don't know many people who don't think enemy combatants shouldn't be held.

WOLF: Do you know what?

KASICH: Some people don't like Guantanamo, but they believe that enemy combatants should be held. And I do. And the ones that we released, 12 of them were out trying to kill our people again. All right. You said to me...

WOLF: It is so sad to me what...

KASICH: And don't compare the gulag to Guantanamo.

WOLF: Yes.

KASICH: Have you read Natan Sharansky's book about being in the gulag?

WOLF: Yes.

KASICH: You can't even compare Guantanamo. They're eating meals down there. They get to pray. In the gulag, they beat you up, tortured you and starved you. I think that's — how about restricting — how about restricting the press?

WOLF: I need to respond to what you just said.


WOLF: OK. You have read what the founders intended. The founders of our country intended for us to be a nation of laws and of justice.

KASICH: We are a nature — nation of laws.

WOLF: Listen to what has happened in this country since 9/11. First of all, all the dictators invoke a terrifying internal and external threat. Often, it's a real threat.

Second, they create a paramilitary force outside the rule of law that is not accountable to the people.

KASICH: Naomi — Naomi — Naomi, look, you've got George Bush the president.

WOLF: ... talk about enemy combatants...

KASICH: You've got an independent court system. You have an independent Congress that is investigating the president every day. You've got the courts that ruled against the president, and the president went along with the rulings because he had to.

I mean, listen, look, I think you've done a lot of good things. You've written a lot of good things. I think you're a nice person. I think this book is way over the line.

WOLF: Have you read it?

KASICH: I've read parts of it, yes.

WOLF: Well, you should read it in its entirety.

KASICH: I listen to you now, I don't need to read much more.

WOLF: You need to — you need to...

KASICH: Naomi, we're out of time.

WOLF: We can't — the president can say you're an enemy combatant.


WOLF: That I am an enemy combatant.

KASICH: But you know what? It's very dangerous...

WOLF: And we're citizens, and it's dangerous.

KASICH: ... when we have 3,000...

WOLF: Because we can be locked up in a 10-by-12-foot cell for three years.

KASICH: I know, but Naomi to be comparing George Bush to Hitler is off the deep end. We're done. That's all we've got.

WOLF: I'm sorry we didn't have a better democratic discourse on such an important issue.

KASICH: Folks, folks — I'm sorry, Naomi. It's the way it goes. And we tried to cover all these points. You didn't really answer it specifically, but we are out of time. We have other people who want to speak.

WOLF: I'd be happy to come back to address it more fully.

KASICH: Thank you very much.

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