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Fired from MSNBC for Anti-War Views, Phil Donahue Speaks Out on Republicans and Journalism, While Campaigning for Norman Solomon in California

The legendary talk show host, who lost his show because he opposed the Iraq war, discusses the wars, the presidential candidates, and more in an in-depth interview.

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I think the greatest thing that Obama could do now is call a press conference and say “We are here, now and hereafter not going to use drones for military assault.  We may want to reserve the right to keep them for surveillance but we are promising the world now that we won’t….”

Where is the valor? A guy sits in a cage or a control room somewhere in Maryland or maybe Nevada and he sees in the nose cone camera of the unmanned aerial vehicle, there’s the insurgents, how they know, I’m not sure, and they fire an incendiary device, and we kill children, children! And this is on Obama’s watch.

You know, I don’t see how anybody who engages in this kind of killing can claim to be brave. You know, Grenada. We bombed a mental hospital. We don’t have ground troops to go in and take care of Morris Bishop, the communist? And the endangered lives of those medical students? We don’t have to bomb people. It’s just easier. I’m convinced of this. And I also have this totally unassailable position that bombing should be a war crime.

You know, if a Marine goes into a Fallujah home and blows away the family with an AK47 that’s a war crime. If we drop a bomb on that house and incinerate the family, it’s collateral damage. We are in denial. And we are creating language to help us continue to be in denial. This is awful.

We are endangering the lives of our young adult children or the future military. My grandchildren, what kind of a world are they going to live in? Are they going to keep looking over their shoulder in downtown New York City or Fargo, North Dakota? Are they going to be saying, “Did I just get on the wrong bus?” Do we really expect that we can drop bombs like this and not have to pay a price for this?

We have executed an American citizen in a foreign land and we assassinated him with a drone. We are endangering our political, and military and mostly our political leadership. You can’t keep doing this. For them to stand there and let this happen forever is counterintuitive.

DB: Before we get to Norman, I, in this context of war and peace and courage, about telling the truth, I have to ask you about a private by the name of Bradley Manning. Who the government, the military wants to put in jail forever, who spent a great deal of time in jail. Just had his first hearing and some people think he should be executed for revealing some of the things that you were talking about including a film that showed a U.S. helicopter crew gunning down civilians, including children. Your thoughts on Bradley Manning? Is he a hero or a traitor?

PD: In a time in the history of this nation, when there is so much happening under the table, when administrations feel they have to protect us, and in order to do that efficiently they have to keep it secret, I celebrate the courage of Bradley Manning. I’ve yet to see anybody prove to anybody else that somebody was killed because of whatever it is that Bradley Manning has made public.

You know, the information is the life blood of a democracy. I believe there are more victims caused by secrecy  than there are by sunshine. So let’s have the disinfectant there. Let’s have Julian Assange [WikiLeaks founder]. … What has been revealed is helpful. It’s gonna help. … It raises the possibility that it won’t happen again.  And that’s a good thing.

And we can argue all night, you know, the next thing they’re going to bring in the family of the CIA agent who was killed, and how can you do. … They are ready for any kind of dissent, they will slap you down. They will hit you hard. You can’t even get your sentence out. One of the, the writers, a female writer, shortly after 9/11 wrote a column that said “The chickens have come home to roost.” And Charles Krauthammer took her head off. She was blaming the victim.

 
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