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Bush and Blair Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

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Bush and Blair Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Friday, May 09, 2003

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: And now for the top story tonight. To the victors go the spoils. Today President Bush and Tony Blair were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Joining us now from Washington is Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow of foreign policy studies, Brookings Institution.

And from Los Angeles, David Nott, president of the Reason Foundation, a left-leaning organization. All right, Mr. Nott, we will begin with you. Your reaction to the nomination?

DAVID NOTT, PRESIDENT, THE REASON FOUNDATION: Well, I think there is no doubt that the people of Iraq are better off without Saddam Hussein, but I was talking to my babysitter this morning, and said, did you that hear Bush was nominated for the Nobel Prize for peace, and she just started laughing.

I don't think this passes the laugh test. There is no doubt that the war in Iraq may have made the human rights situation there better or that the war in Iraq may have reduced weapons of mass destruction, but it was a war, and to give a prize for peace, which seems like word play...

O'REILLY: I mean, with all due respect, is your babysitter sophisticated enough to analyze world events? I mean, sometimes war leads to peace in the sense that you wipe out an enemy who is fostering conflict, and then you replace the enemy with a peaceful regime. So, it is a connect the dot situation, which is, I believe, what the Norwegian who nominated Bush and Blair had in mind.

NOTT: Well, I think that you can say that the world is very complicated, but for me, it is a simple question of the Nobel Prize for peace. If this were the Nobel prize for making the world better off or the Nobel Prize for some other -- for doing the good thing -- that seems to me that it...

O'REILLY: By that measure, by that measure, Mr. Nott, you would have awarded a Nobel Peace Prize to the French in World War II who surrendered and avoided war.

NOTT: Well, in World War II, the committee gave the award to the Red Cross.

O'REILLY: No, but, I mean, I don't care about the committee. I'm caring about you. If all the criteria is is avoiding war, all right, you can give the Nobel Peace Prize to everybody who surrenders to dictators, can you not?

NOTT: No, the criteria for me is not avoiding war, but it is an important part that the means are consistent with the name of the prize. And there have been many good examples of private citizens doing peaceful things who have made the world much better.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, Mr. O'Hanlon, I'm sure you disagree with this, but Mr. Nott's point is that many around the world were taken aback by this nomination because force was used, and people died.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, you know, I like the nomination. I'm not sure Blair and Bush should get the prize, but I think the -- the basic principle that people who use force to save lives are doing a good thing and serving the caution of peace is fine . If somebody had stopped the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, I would have been strongly in favor of giving that country or that group a Nobel Peace Prize.

This may have been a little bit more of a mixed war. There may have been more controversy around it. I'm not sure, in the end, Mr. Bush and Blair should get the prize, but I think the nomination establishes a good principle that as you said earlier, making war this the right way sometimes in the broader cause of peace can be a noble venture.

I would also point out in 1988, the U.N. peacekeepers won the prize. Now, granted, they were primarily monitoring peace, not imposing peace, but they sometimes had to use their weaponry, even in those days. And in 1973, Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize for Vietnam. Now that was, in a sense, a peace negotiation, but it was also one based on...

O'REILLY: Yes, he shared the prize with his North Vietnamese counterpart...

O'HANLON: Exactly.

O'REILLY: ... which was, you know, a little dubious, I think. But listen...

O'HANLON: It was dubious, but...

O'REILLY: Here is the problem -- and I understand the perception -- the Nobel Peace Prize should define itself, I think. Which it doesn't. I mean, Jimmy Carter won it a couple --you know, it's like Clinton wanted to get it because of the Camp David, so let's define what it is. Isn't that fair, Mr. Nott? Shouldn't we define this thing?

NOTT: Perfectly fair.

O'REILLY: All right because, you know, basically what we have now is -- see, I believe, and I could be wrong because nobody knows -- that removing Saddam Hussein will bring peace to the world, Mr. Nott, because number one, it makes it harder for Al Qaeda to operate.

Number two, it puts pressure on Syria and Iran to stop supporting terrorism which is directed at Israel, makes it easier for the Israelis and Palestinians to get together. And there are all kinds of dominoes that I don't think your babysitter knows. Do you see what I'm talking about here?

NOTT: I see what you are saying, and it is possible that the actions that Bush took will make the world a better place, and if you want to define it...

O'REILLY: A more peaceful place, not a better place, a more peaceful place. Look, if you knock out Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda, and all of these people who are just running roughshod right now over the world, if you are able to do that by occupying Iraq, all right, and installing a regime there that, you know, you can keep an eye on the Iranians, you can put pressure on Syria, you know, come on, Sir.

NOTT: With all due respect, the ends to me do not justify the means.

O'REILLY: All right. Now Mr....

O'HANLON: Can I make one quick point?

O'REILLY: Go ahead, sure.

O'HANLON: Well, there is some language in the original idea of this Nobel Peace Prize on what it is supposed to be, and I think you and I, Mr. O'Reilly, have to concede, based on that language, that it is primarily in the direction of negotiations and peace processes and that sort of thing. But there is some language that says if you are making the world a safer, better place and a more peaceful place, that is also important.

So, I think most of the language of the founding fathers of this prize is consistent with Mr. Nott's point, but there is enough ambiguity, and I think there have been enough contributions by people who have used force productively, that we should at least broaden the discussion a little bit.

O'REILLY: Well listen, I think what is going to happen is the nominations in 2004, because they didn't meet the 2003 deadline, and by 2004, we will know, gentlemen, we will know whether this action in Iraq has made the world a more peaceful place.

We appreciate you guys coming in and helping us out. Thanks very much

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