Ted Turner, Prodded by CNN, Calls for Nuclear Disarmament, Says 'War Is Just About Over With'

CNN founder Ted Turner is well-known for his outlandish liberal views, and CNN's Suzanne Malveaux teed him up on Thursday to rant against nuclear weapons, call for higher taxes on the wealthy, and announce that "the big, intelligent, well-educated countries have already quit war."

"President Obama, he says in his second term he wants to make climate change and protecting the environment a top priority. What do you think he should do? What should he do first?" Malveaux prodded the liberal Turner.

He answered that Obama should do both and "might as well add getting rid of nuclear weapons too, while we're at it." When Malveaux later asked "So you think Ahmadinejad should have nuclear weapons as well?" Turner answered "I think nobody should have them."

Turner also sniped at the United States when he said that "the big, intelligent, well-educated countries have already quit war." He added that "war is just about over with."

In a similar vein, he told CNN's Piers Morgan in October that it was "good" more American soldiers were committing suicide than dying in combat "because it's so clear that we're programmed and we're born to love and help each other, not to kill each other, to destroy each other." He later clarified that he meant "it is good that the public is more aware of these tragedies and is more averse to war and war-related fatalities."

Malveaux also teed him up to cry for more taxes on the rich. "Do you think you should pay more as a wealthy American, you think you should pay more taxes?" she asked, to which he answered "Yes."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 13 on CNN Newsroom at 12:20 p.m. EST, is as follows:

CNN
NEWSROOM
[12:20 p.m. EST]
12/13/12

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Tackling huge challenges head on, something Ted Turner is not afraid to do. Whether it's starting the world's first 'round-the-clock cable news network, CNN, or just pushing for major action on issues like climate change and nuclear weapons. Ted Turner is a force to be reckoned with. We sat down with him to talk about what he thinks President Obama should make a top priority.

(Video Clip)

MALVEAUX: President Obama, he says in his second term he wants to make climate change and protecting the environment a top priority. What do you think he should do? What should he do first?

TED TURNER: He should do what he said he was going to do.
 
MALVEAUX: What's that?

TURNER: Go ahead and make climate change and the other environmental issues a top priority. I'd like to see him add – might as well add getting rid of nuclear weapons too, while we're at it. If we want to make the world safer and better, we might as well go all the way.

MALVEAUX: Eliminate nuclear weapons?

TURNER: That will stop nuclear proliferation.

MALVEAUX: Do you think it's fair for what the Obama administration is doing now for Iran, and says you can't have nuclear weapons but we can?

TURNER: That won't work, because we have thousands of nuclear weapons. How can we look with a straight face into any other country and say you can't have two, particularly when we said it was okay for Israel to have 100.

MALVEAUX: Do you think – if Iran has nuclear weapons, it will be a dangerous situation?

TURNER: It's already a dangerous situation.

MALVEAUX: How so?

TURNER: Because Russia and the United States have nuclear weapons, Israel has them, Pakistan has them, India has them. About eight countries have them. And they're extremely dangerous. If they all went off at once, it would clearly destroy the word completely.

MALVEAUX: So you think Ahmadinejad should have nuclear weapons as well?

TURNER: I think nobody should have them. That way, either we all have them or nobody has them. We play by the same rules. Equal rights for equal people. Women have equal rights with men. In Afghanistan people have equal rights with people from the United States.

MALVEAUX: What do you think -- this is the last question. What do you think of – when you watch the world and you see what's happening and there's so much turmoil, and it looks like there's so much change, even crisis in the Middle East. When you see that, what do you make of what's taking place?

TURNER: Well, once again, I'll take optimistic view of things. I was just – war is just about over with. War is just about over with, and that is huge news. First of all, the big, intelligent, well-educated countries have already quit war. You don't see France getting ready to go to war with Germany or Russia getting to go to war with Poland. That used to happen all the time, but it's not happening. And the best example of all was just a couple of weeks ago when Gaza was fighting -- the Palestinians were fighting with the Israelis, and they lobbed a couple of missiles into Tel Aviv. And I'm sure that both people on both sides could see the day was coming that they'd be lobbing missiles into Jerusalem. And this is what both the Christian, the Jewish religion began there, and it's the Holy Land. And it's some of the greatest tourist attractions in the world.

People want to come from all over world to see it, but not when a war is going on. And they realized within a week of war they had made a terrible mistake to go to war. And even though it's better to grumble at each other, but not to be shooting at each other and causing all this damage and wrecking the economy and upsetting people all over the world because these pictures, you've got the BBC and CNN now having the pictures of the grandmothers and grandfathers and little children lined up on the street in front of house dead. They're bringing them out to bury them. That doesn't look like a fun way to live. And it's not. So they quit. They quit fighting in a week. Maybe they won't start again. Maybe this will be the last war.

MALVEAUX: Do you think that – you're a successful person, you have many different ventures. Do you think you should pay more as a wealthy American, you think you should pay more taxes?

TURNER: Yes.

MALVEAUX: How much?

TURNER: Whatever is reasonable.

MALVEAUX: But when you see the equation and when you see the kinds of conversations they're having, you think the wealthy – it's fair that the wealthy pay more taxes?

TURNER: Yes.

MALVEAUX: And you'd be willing to do that?

TURNER: Yes. But my bride gave most of my money away. But I gave $31 million to the United States government, didn't even ask for credit.

(End Video Clip)

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014