CNN’s Larry King carried water for President Obama’s move to send more troops to Afghanistan during an interview of Michael Moore on early Wednesday morning. King later shifted further to the left, asking Moore if he agreed with Jesse Ventura’s call for a new draft and a “war tax” and quoting from Bob Herbert of the New York Times, who labeled the Afghan war a “tragic mistake.”
The CNN host interviewed the famous left-wing director for the first two segments of his program. Near the end of the first segment, King sought Moore’s take on something from his interview of Ventura, whom he interviewed the night before: “Jesse Ventura said last night- and he agrees with your position, by the way- that we should consider bringing back the draft and we should have a war tax so that people suffer if we’re all going to pay a price for this. What do you think?”
The leftist one-upped his celebrity counterpart: “There would be no increase in the troops if there was a draft and if people had to pay for it. I actually have proposed bringing back the draft now for some years, but only draft the children of those in the upper five percent income bracket, because if the wealthy have to send their kids over to Iraq or Afghanistan, trust me, there won’t be many wars.”
The host quoted from Herbert in his last question to Moore: “Bob Herbert, writing in The New York Times today, called this a ‘tragic mistake,’ and then he quotes Dwight David Eisenhower...Eisenhower said, ‘I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can and as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, and its stupidity.’And then he said- this will impress you, I think- Eisenhower: ‘Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.’ That’s from a four star general and a president.”
The director replied approvingly, “Yes, and a Republican. That’s the way Republicans used to talk- some of them.” He continued by spouting the left’s talking points about the Afghan war: “The allies are not going to come to our aid in this. This is a joke. I think Britain is talking about sending 500 more. They’ll send token troops over to make it look like they don’t upset us too much because they still want our help and our money and all that. But we’re not going to get that, and instead, we’re going to dump more billions and trillions of dollars of our money into a lost cause, and- now, the idea of going after the killers of 9/11, that’s a good idea. But they’re not there....and it just is absolutely insane to continue this.”
During most of the first segment, which began at midnight on Wednesday, King acted as an sycophant for the President’s strategy:
KING: Midnight in the east, nine o’clock in the west. The special live edition of ‘Larry King Live,’ following this historic West Point address by the President. We go first to Tokyo, where Michael Moore is standing by. The Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, his latest film is ‘Capitalism, a Love Story.’ Prior to tonight’s speech, he posted an open letter to President Obama on the website. The President didn’t listen to you, Michael. You wanted to withdraw. He did not take your advice. What do you think the result will be?
MOORE: I feel very bad for him. I feel even worse for our troops, and I feel a real sadness for the parents of those soldiers of ours, over the next 18 months who will not come back home. And I think many will ask, for what reason did they die? Not to stop al Qaeda, Larry, because there is no Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Our own CIA says there’s less than 100 al Qaeda in Afghanistan. What are we doing in Afghanistan? This is absolutely insane. When President Obama tonight says that we were attacked from Afghanistan, I don’t think so. I think that 15 of the 19 hijackers, terrorists, killers of 9/11- they were from Saudi Arabia. In fact, there wasn't one Afghanistan citizen amongst them. The only thing Afghanistan had to do with it, they had some monkey bars in the desert that these guys trained on- I don’t know. I’ve seen the video. But for that? I mean, it’s absolutely insane, Larry.
We have been in this war for twice as long now as the U.S. was in World War II- twice as long as World War II. We defeated Hitler and Tojo and Mussolini in half the time it’s taken us to find Usama bin Laden. Now, if he had come on tonight and said we were going in there to- you know, with special forces to try and capture the killers, that's a good idea. That’s not what he’s talking about. He’s talking about now, we’re going to have 100,000 troops there to find these killers who aren't even there- absolutely insane.
KING: He didn’t make any kind of case to your satisfaction of the dangers, the differences between Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan? He was opposed to Vietnam, he was opposed to Iraq. But he pointed out the dangers in Afghanistan and what could happen if we do leave. He didn’t make any effect on you with that?
MOORE: None whatsoever, absolutely not- in fact, this is going to be his Vietnam if he doesn’t change his mind here. This isn’t going to work. I mean, Larry, just think of the logic of what we heard him say. He said that we’re going to send more troops over there so we can withdraw in 18 months. I mean, seriously, let me just say that again. We’re going to increase the troops so we can decrease the troops.
KING: But, of course, the increase in the troops will accomplish what the increase did during the surge in Iraq. It will temper the situation. So by bringing in more troops, they train- they’re able to more quickly train the Afghanis to run their own country. That makes some logic, doesn’t it?
MOORE: The situation, the surge in Iraq- the situation was tempered in Iraq because we were able to buy off enough of the people who were killing us. Now, if we do that in Afghanistan, if we can provide more money to the poppy growers and the people who are running the heroin trade out of Afghanistan- one of those people. according to The New York Times and our own CIA, happens to possibly be the brother of the president of Afghanistan- if we’re able to outbid the heroin guys, yeah, maybe we can have some impact. But for him to say that- I mean, I can understand why Republicans and some of the people on the right are like, what are you doing setting a deadline? It’s like crazy. If they’re truly the enemy, you don’t say- okay, we’re going to fight you until two o’clock on July 2, 2011. I mean, it’s like, if they’re the enemy, you fight them until they’re done, until you win and they lose and that’s not what he said. He just provided, I think, more fodder for his opponents by giving it a deadline.
KING: Right, but is it-
MOORE: If somebody is trying to kill you, if that’s the case, that people in Afghanistan are trying to kill us, then how can you set a deadline? The deadline is maybe a week from now, or maybe it’s ten years from now, but it’s- we’re going to stop you from killing us.
KING: Isn’t it by setting a deadline you’re also telling the Afghans- the good Afghans, get your house in order, you be ready. We'll take so much of this and then we're going. Wouldn't that then force them, the good guys, to become better?
MOORE: No. That didn’t work in Vietnam. It’s not going to work in Iraq. It was interesting to hear him essentially praise the Bush policy in Iraq and how it succeeded. I mean, it was really bizarre to hear him say some of these things. And I have to tell you, Larry, I hate to be even saying these things because I honestly think Barack Obama is a good and decent man. He has a good heart. I believe he’s a man of peace. I was thrilled that he won the [Nobel] Peace Prize. So to see him make this mistake- I don’t think there’s any kind of evil or dark place in his heart that- where this is coming from. I just think that he’s listened to the generals. He’s taken bad advice, and- you know, he’s human. We all make mistakes. Somebody told Time Warner to buy AOL. I mean, you know? He’s listening to the same kind of people that always seem to give the wrong advice to people in charge.
[H/t: Jeff Poor of MRC’s Business and Media Institute]