Two days after CNN founder Ted Turner told journalists at the Reuters office in Manhattan that the war in Iraq was one of the “dumbest” decisions in history, that only women should be allowed to run for office -- though he simultaneously touted the male Al Gore, a “great leader,” for President -- and argued Iran should be able to have nuclear weapons since “we have 28,000. Why can't they have ten?”, he appeared Thursday night on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman
where he spouted fresh silliness.
Recalling for Letterman his activities in the 1980s, Turner implied that he ended the Cold War: “I was trying to bring the Cold War, help bring it to and end with the Goodwill Games and a bunch of our initiatives that we worked on with the Russians and it worked.” Turner described Cuba as “a wonderful place” and fretted: “I think it's crazy that we don't have relations with Cuba when we made normalized relations with Vietnam after the Vietnam war.” He argued: “If we wanted democracy to function and capitalism in Cuba, what we need to do is send a whole lot of tourists down there to get everybody materialistic like we are up here. And then we would have already, I'm sure, I believe, that communism would have been gone from there if we'd have just been friends with them.”
Turner reiterated how he believes “men all over the world should be barred from holding public office at any level for a hundred years” because then “you'd have a much kinder, gentler world almost immediately. Military budgets would be dramatically cut back and more money would be spent on health care and welfare and education. The things that we really need to be spending it on.” Letterman expressed doubt, leading Turner to insist: "Well, I mean, I'm deadly serious about this. This would work. And it's easy to do. You just pass a law. What you would do is, as men come up for re-election they couldn't stand for re-election. The women would be the only ones that could run.”
Apparently, civil rights aren't much of a concern to Turner.
Earlier, after criticizing Hugo Chavez for denouncing President Bush as the 'devil' and being prompted by Letterman who suggested the UN is a good place for venting, Turner trumpeted: “That's the great thing about the UN. It's a place where people can get, you know, let off steam.”
Turner appeared on the Late Show
to plug the opening, in the Time-Life building in Manhattan, of a Ted's Montana Grill
, his chain of restaurants which feature bison meat.
Reporting on Turner's appearance at their Reuters office, a Tuesday Reuters dispatch
by Daniel Trotta relayed:
“The U.S. invasion of Iraq has caused 'incalculable damage' that will take 20 years to overcome 'if we just act reasonably intelligently.'
"'It will go down in history, it is already being seen in history, as one of the dumbest moves that was ever made by anybody. A couple of others that come to mind were the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia,' Turner told the forum....
“Often contrarian, Turner called it a 'joke' that Bush demanded that Iran abandon any ambitions for nuclear weapons while at the same time hoping to ban all such bombs.
"'They're a sovereign state,' Turner said of Iran. 'We have 28,000. Why can't they have 10? We don't say anything about Israel -- they've got 100 of them approximately -- or India or Pakistan or Russia. And really, nobody should have them. 'They aren't usable by any sane person.'"
“One way to reduce such dangers in the world would be to leave women in charge, said the former husband of Jane Fonda.
"'Men should be barred from public office for 100 years in every part of the world....It would be a much kinder, gentler, more intelligently run world. The men have had millions of years where we've been running things. We've screwed it up hopelessly. Let's give it to the women.'"
Meanwhile, Editor & Publisher
's David S. Hirschman reported Tuesday
that Turner touted a man for President:
"Looking forward to 2008, Turner expressed his hope that the next U.S. President would be a 'great leader who thinks ahead, like Al Gore.' He suggested the audience help convince Gore to run because 'we can't afford to waste another eight years.'"
I corrected the closed-captioning against the video of some portions of Turner's appearance on the September 21 Late Show with David Letterman
David Letterman: “Hugo Chavez from Venezuela calling, referring to George Bush as 'the devil' and 'smelling like the devil.' This was-”
Ted Turner: “It's not very polite.” (laughter)
Turner: “I personally prefer not to use derogatory language for other people. All it does is make them mad. And it doesn't accomplish anything except get new more trouble.”
Letterman: “That's right. But historically, I think I was a little surprised. But then if you think about it, this is sort of a forum for that kind of venting, isn't it.”
Turner: “Well, that's the great thing about the UN. It's a place where people can get, you know, let off steam. If you remember -- Khruschev during the cold war got so mad at the United States that he took his shoe off and hit the podium. But he didn't order the bombs to fall, because when people have a chance to express themselves when they're really, really angry, if you give them a chance and listen to them, you don't have to always do what they want to you do, but if you just listen diffuses the anger. At least you heard me.”
Letterman: “So in that sense it's functioning and serving the purpose for which it was meant.”
Letterman: “There was a time when you actually spent time with Fidel Castro, is that right?”
Letterman: “Were you friends or just friendly with him?”
Turner: “Well I tried to make friends with him. I -- and I am his friend. I was friends with Chinese communists and with the Russians with Gorbachev. This was back during the Cold War. I was trying to bring the Cold War, help bring it to and end with the Goodwill Games and a bunch of our initiatives that we worked on with the Russians and it worked. I mean my theory is that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. If you bomb people all you do is make them mad at you. If you are friends with them, you can do business with them, a lot of the time. I mean, at least you got to try that. And then keep trying. You know, if at first you don't succeed, keep trying.”
Letterman: “Because regardless of ideology, folks are just folks.”
Turner: “Well they are. I feel that way. They all love children and dogs and all over the world. That's good place to start, you know. I don't want my kids to die in a nuclear exchange. And they don't either, usually. It's very few people, there are some that want to kill themselves, but they are pretty hopeless sad lot, you know, these bombers.”
Letterman: “Do you have any insight as to the future of Cuba now that it looks like there is some bit of transition is inevitable?”
Turner: “Well, I really don't know for sure. But what's going to happen down there. Any more than you do. Or anybody, anybody else does. But Cuba is a wonderful place. And the people down there are very nice when you get to know them. And, you know, I think that I'd like to see us closer to Cuba. I think it's crazy that we don't have relations with Cuba when we made normalized relations with Vietnam after the Vietnam war. And here we've never been at
war with Cuba. A war of words, maybe. But if we wanted democracy to function and capitalism in Cuba, what we need to do is send a whole lot of tourists down there to get everybody materialistic like we are up here. And then we would have already, I'm sure, I believe, that communism would have been gone from there if we'd have just been friends with them.”
Letterman: “What about the, your idea that maybe it's time for men to stop trying to run the
world and perhaps women would do a better job of it?” (applause)
Turner: “I've been advocating for years that I think men all over the world should be barred from holding public office at any level for a hundred years. (applause) They can do everything else. They can run education. You'd have a much kinder, gentler world almost immediately. Military budgets would be dramatically cut back and more money would be spent on health care and welfare and education. The things that we really need to be spending it on. (applause) They certainly couldn't do any worse than we men have done the last few thousand years running things.”
Letterman, chuckling: “Well.”
Turner: “Well, I mean, I'm deadly serious about this. This would work. And it's easy to do. You just pass a law. What you would do is, as men come up for re-election they couldn't stand for re-election. The women would be the only ones that could run.”
Letterman: “Replaced by women.”
Turner: “That's easy to do. And it wouldn't cost anything.”