Why Are Top Pentagon Brass Mad About a Cartoon?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 2, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight, two other views of the situation. Joining us from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Major General Robert Scales, a FOX News military analyst. And from Louisville, Kentucky, Nick Anderson, the chief editorial cartoonist for The Courier Journal.

All right, Mr. Anderson, we'll begin with you, because you have some experience in this realm. Toles cross the line here?

NICK ANDERSON, EDITORIAL CARTOONIST: I think he became pretty close to the line. But in my opinion, he did not cross it.

O'REILLY: Why, I mean, if you have the joint chiefs of staff saying that it's reprehensible to use the suffering of a soldier to make a political point, how would you rebut that?

ANDERSON: Well, I think that a cartoonist will occasionally use a very disturbing image to make a point. And I think you have to be a cartoonist has to be willing to accept the controversy if they think that it is worth the - the point that you're trying to make.

O'REILLY: Now what point did you take away from this cartoon?

ANDERSON: The point I took away from this was that I think the way you put it is correct, that he is trying to suggest that Rumsfeld is callous in the face of a very serious situation. And in order to portray that, you have to portray the seriousness of the situation.

O'REILLY: Do you think that's a legitimate point of view in the sense that Tom Toles doesn't know how Rumsfeld thinks? He doesn't know. He can't possibly know. He can't read his mind, look into his heart. He doesn't know.

So if he doesn't know, is it irresponsible of him to say that Rumsfeld is callous in the face of death and destruction?

ANDERSON: You know, by the same token, you can't look into Cindy Sheehan's heart and see what she's thinking. And yet, it's perfectly legitimate for you, even though I don't agree with you, but it is legitimate for you to speculate on what's going through her mind.

O'REILLY: No, it isn't. I never speculate about what's going through her mind. Never have.

ANDERSON: You've accused of being a tool of the left.

O'REILLY: Never have one time. All I said about Cindy Sheehan definitively was when she describes terrorists as freedom fighters, that is not only inaccurate, but offensive to most (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: I heard you describe her as a tool of the left on the Letterman show.

O'REILLY: She was - she has - what I said was she is been run by the left.

ANDERSON: What's the difference?

O'REILLY: And, the difference is that her expenses are being paid for, as you probably know, by Code Pink and other left wing organizations.


O'REILLY: That is factual. That is what's happening, sir.

ANDERSON: OK. What we digress.

O'REILLY: There's a far different - no, I know, but it's a far different analysis of Ms. Sheehan's conduct by me.

ANDERSON: But question.

O'REILLY: ...and was made by Toles on Rumsfeld.

All right, let's get the general's point of view and then we'll come back. Go ahead, general.

MAJ. GEN. BOB SCALES, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I — you know, Bill, I'm a military historian. And when I was doing my dissertation many years ago, I wrote about modern Europe.

And I can remember going through the university library and pulling down these Nazi illustrated newspapers that made a parody of the Jewish people. And I found that, of course, to be obscene, as we all do.

And when I saw that cartoon, I had a similar reaction. It's not over the line, Bill. It's obscene. It's obscene for those of us who have served in uniform, for those of us who have seen soldiers being maimed and killed. And it's obscene to our families and to our loved ones. That's the only way that those of us who have been in war, who have seen soldiers maimed and killed can take this. No other conclusion.

O'REILLY: All right, but Toles believes that Rumsfeld is indeed unfeeling in the face — which I don't believe, by the way — in the face of death and destruction, if Toles sincerely believes this, general, then making that point dramatically, as Mr. Anderson pointed out.


O'REILLY: ...gets it across.



SCALES: No, no. Look, if you want to make a parody of Mr. Rumsfeld or any other public figure, that's a fair game. But don't pick on the young men and the women who have been maimed in this conflict as part of your parody.

O'REILLY: I think.

SCALES: All too often the media depicts soldiers either victims or villains, not as human beings.

O'REILLY: All right, let Mr. Anderson reply to that.

SCALES: It's not their fault. It's not their war.

O'REILLY: Go ahead, Mr. Anderson.

ANDERSON: Well, first of all, General Pace, are we fighting in Iraq for the freedom to all think alike? Or are we fighting in Iraq for the freedom to not be offended? When you open the pages of a newspaper and you see an editorial cartoon, you should be prepared to be challenged. And that's the purpose of it.

This country is great because of dissent, not in spite of it.

O'REILLY: General?

SCALES: This is not dissent. This is not dissent. You can dissent all you want to about public figures, but you should never demean a young soldier or a Marine who has died for his country or suffered trauma like this.


SCALES: There's many, many other ways you can make your — just a second.


SCALES: There are many, many other ways that you can make your point, without showing a young soldier lying in a military hospital with his limbs amputated. That is absolutely over the top.

O'REILLY: Go ahead, Mr. Anderson.

ANDERSON: Is it the mere portrayal of an injured soldier? Or is it the point of view that you don't like, General Pace?

SCALES: It's the portrayal. It's the caricature. My earlier analogy about how the Nazi cartoons in the `20's and `30's.

ANDERSON: I think.

SCALES: ...depicted ethnic minorities. I think it's the same sort of thing, because soldiers are people too, Mr. Anderson. And they're defending their country, but they also have emotions. And so do their loved ones and so do their relatives.

And as far as I'm concerned, if you want to do a caricature of a public figure, that's your business. Leave our young men and women out of it.

ANDERSON: This cartoon is motivated by a sympathy for the soldiers, not for a motivation to mock them.


SCALES: I certainly didn't see sympathy.

O'REILLY: All right, gentlemen.

SCALES: I didn't see sympathy at all.

O'REILLY: Very good discussion. Excellent. And I'm glad we booked both of you on the program this evening. We'll let the audience decide. I'm going to love to see the e-mail on this. Thanks again.

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