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MSNBC: Press vs. Buchanan
May 1, 2003
The president lands on the USS Abraham Lincoln for a major speech tonight declaring the fighting is over in Iraq.
ANNOUNCER: The smartest hour on television, BUCHANAN & PRESS.
PAT BUCHANAN, HOST: That`s right, folks. I`m Pat Buchanan and this is Bill Press.
BILL PRESS, HOST: Good evening.
PRESS: For the U.S. Navy it is adios Vieques Island, did President cave into pressure from Al Sharpton?
After 60 years of playing host to war games, the Puerto Rican island of Vieques is saying adios, adios to the U.S. Navy. Despite fierce protests over the last four years, the Navy just today transferred land rights of Vieques to the Department of the Interior and now island residents are focusing on what the future of that piece of land is going to be.
Pat, I know you may be surprised to hear me say this, I think President Bush did the exact right thing when he pushed for this transfer, allowed this transfer from the Navy to the Department of the Interior. It`s something the people of Puerto Rico wanted, and I think when you go from a bombing range to the largest wildlife refuge in Puerto Rico, I call that progress.
BUCHANAN: Well, except for the fact that United States Marines practice landings there. Our air has practiced bombings there. Navy practices firing in a coordinated sense. As Jim Inhofe says, Senator, lives are going to be lost because of this. It`s a capitulation to the mob. It`s a capitulation to a lot of demonstrators.
The people of Vieques didn`t want them out of there. It`s just a bunch of agitators and the president`s caved in and Carl Rove caved in. You know why? Because they think it`s going to help them with the Puerto Rican vote and they think that will help them with the Hispanics and they put it ahead of national security and the lobbyists in town are in on it and you and I know some of them.
PRESS: See, it`s funny, Pat. At the top of the show you were giving the credit for doing some -- the president credit for doing something political, landing on the aircraft carrier. Now, you`re condemning him for doing something political but getting out of Vieques.
Look, Pat, the people of Puerto Rico, the governor of Puerto Rico asked the Navy to get out. The people of Puerto Rico voted for the Navy to get out. Jim Inhofe is wrong. I`ve debated him on this. There are other islands. The Navy knows there are other islands where they could practice. Lives are not going to be lost. The only life lost on Vieques Island was a security guard lost from a Navy bomb that went out of the way and killed him.
BUCHANAN: Today, this crowd...
PRESS: This is a good move, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Today, a crowd of bums that claimed their victory went in there and destroyed Navy property, burned up Navy vehicles, trashed the Navy, and cursed the United States Navy.
BUCHANAN: Now, look, the president made a decision. I believe clearly it`s motivated by politics. Let me tell you the two principal persons, the chief of Naval operations and the commandant of the United States Marine Corps said Mr. President, don`t do it. Our guys need this.
PRESS: And the commander-in-chief said...
BUCHANAN: He overruled them.
PRESS: ... I`m going to do it. I`ll tell you he made, again, the right decision. I have to ask you, Pat, gee there was some violence down there. That`s wrong. There was some looting down there. That`s wrong.
But there was a lot of looting in Iraq afterwards too, Pat. So, are you saying we shouldn`t have gone into Iraq?
BUCHANAN: No, no.
PRESS: Are you saying that the war in Iraq in a failure because some people got out of hand?
BUCHANAN: No, we should have shot some of those looters in Iraq. I`m not saying we should have shot the guys in Vieques but they should have hit them in the head...
PRESS: It`s a failure not to (unintelligible).
BUCHANAN: They should have hit them in the head with a stick quite frankly.
PRESS: Pat, let me tell you something. Puerto Rico, to give them self determination and let them get...
BUCHANAN: I think they should be given independence.
PRESS: I agree with that. Let them decide what happens to their own land. This is what they want. Give it to them, Pat, and the Navy will be just fine.