Kalb Suggests Wartime President Bush ‘Avoided Military Service,’ Forgets About Clinton

On Tuesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly showed clips from the Kalb Report show in which moderator Marvin Kalb, a veteran of both CBS and NBC News, interviewed O’Reilly. During the interview, which was recorded on September 27, O’Reilly managed to embarrass Kalb as the liberal host seemed to criticize President Bush for ordering American troops into war after the President himself "avoided military service," but he seemed to forget that Bill Clinton, who ordered a war against Serbia, dodged the draft and avoided military service altogether while Bush did at least serve in the National Guard. Kalb posed the question: "Do you believe that a President who avoided military service himself should be sending young men and women to fight in what are called ‘wars of choice’?"

After O’Reilly flippantly asked Kalb if he was talking about Bill Clinton and pointed out that Bush served in the National Guard, Kalb claimed that "Bill Clinton did not start a war such as the Iraq War." After mentioning that Clinton ordered war against Serbia, O’Reilly charged that Kalb was asking "another left-wing question," and took a jab at the moderator: "You wanted to hit Bush, and then I hit you with Clinton, and you were going, ‘Uh-oh, I forgot about him.’ Come on."

O’Reilly also notably pointed out that several intelligence agencies – including those of Britain, Jordan and Egypt – had agreed with the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction: "We talked to people in British intelligence, Egyptian intelligence – we, the Factor staff – and Jordanian intelligence to confirm what the United States intelligence was putting out. ... So I’m going, ‘If Blair, Mubarak and the Jordanian guys are saying the same thing, who am I to say it’s bull?’" The FNC host also noted that terrorists Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas had taken refuge in Iraq before the invasion: "I’ve also got Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas inside Iraq, notorious terrorists. And they got all this stuff confirmed by four other intelligence agencies. I got Tony Blair out there telling me the same thing. I got Bush, and I got Bill Clinton saying the same thing."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the interview as shown on the November 11 The O’Reilly Factor on FNC:

BILL O’REILLY: We talked to people in British intelligence, Egyptian intelligence – we, the Factor staff – and Jordanian intelligence to confirm what the United States intelligence was putting out. All right? So I’m going, "If Blair, Mubarak and the Jordanian guys are saying the same thing, who am I to say it’s bull? ... So I’ve got four intelligence outfits saying the same thing. I’ve also got Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas inside Iraq, notorious terrorists. And they got all this stuff confirmed by four other intelligence agencies. I got Tony Blair out there telling me the same thing. I got Bush, and I got Bill Clinton saying the same thing.

...

MARVIN KALB: Do you believe that a President who avoided military service himself should be sending young men and women to fight in what are called "wars of choice"?

O’REILLY: Are you talking about Bill Clinton? Is that who we’re talking about?

[PAUSE]

KALB: Um, no.

O’REILLY: No?

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

O’REILLY: Who are you talking about?

KALB: I’m talking about George W. Bush.

O’REILLY: He was in the National Guard.

KALB: That’s a different issue.

O’REILLY: Wasn’t he President?

KALB: No, we can talk about-

O’REILLY: No, no, no. You posed a question with the word "President" in it-

KALB: Bill Clinton did not start a war such as the Iraq war. Bill Clinton-

O’REILLY: Bosnia, Kosovo, was that?

KALB: Well, hardly that.

O’REILLY: It was hardly that? It was an intervention by the United States over in the Balkans.

KALB: Bill, you’re doing very well, but you’re not answering the question. And you know darn well you’re not answering the question.

O’REILLY: No, it was another left-wing question.

KALB: I want to know

O’REILLY: You wanted to hit Bush, and then I hit you with Clinton, and you were going, "Uh-oh, I forgot about him." Come on.

[AUDIENCE APPLAUSE]

O’REILLY: Now I’ll answer the question. If the American people elect the Commander-in-Chief-

KALB: What you have just done, what you have just done is a classic O’Reilly.

O’REILLY: Of course. I’m right.