The transcript is up. Here is a small taste. It doesn’t do justice at all to the screamfest that took place, but you’ll get the idea if you imagine O’Donnell chopping at the air with a rhetorical hatchet a la Jack Nicholson in The Shining:
O’DONNELL: …You know the truth is what got them out of Vietnam was ending the war. You know the truth is that John Kerry helped end that war sooner through the protests. And Id like to ask you, John ONeill, when you got back from Vietnam, what did you do to save a single life that you left behind in Vietnam? What did you do to get the American soldiers out of Vietnam?
BUCHANAN: Hold it. OK.
Go ahead, John ONeill.
ONEILL: I would like to respond.
First of all, Larry, I dont think theres a thing you said that wasnt a lie in everything you just said. To start off with, with respect to John Kerry, John Kerrys anti-war activities didnt get any POWs home. The Treaty of Paris got the POWs home.
ODONNELL: Ending the war, which you didnt do a thing to do. You didnt have the courage to lift a finger against it.
BUCHANAN: Look, he has got a right to respond. I was in the White House at the time. Nixon had brought half the troops home by the time Kerry made his protest.
Go ahead, John ONeill.
ONEILL: What actually happened, Kerry wanted to abandon ship and leave the POWs there. We negotiated a treaty that brought them home. Thats why theyre all here. If Kerry had helped them out, they wouldnt be in that photograph with us. Kerrys a guy theyll never forget. He wanted to leave them behind.
ODONNELL: Thats a lie, John ONeill. Keep lying. Its all you do.
BUCHANAN: Hold it, John ONeill.
How do you justify thehow do you justify the statement you just made that Kerry wanted to leave the POWs behind?
ODONNELL: Lies. He doesnt justify anything.
BUCHANAN: Where did he do that?
ONEILL: On the Dick Cavett show and elsewhere, John Kerrys position was that we should accept the Madame Binh seven-point proposal, which called for unilateral withdrawal, setting a date after which at some future time, wed negotiate the return of the POWs.
So we would set a date. We would withdraw and then we would begin to discuss how to bring them home. That would have never worked. Our position was, you had to have a deal where the POWs came home. The POWs know that. This is like trying to claimthats why theyre all with us, because he would have let them rot in jails.
ONEILL: With respect to the rest of what you said, Larry…
ODONNELL: What did you do to end the war? What did you do to get them out? What did you do to end the war? You didnt lift a finger.
ONEILL: Oh, youre wrong. Youre exactly wrong, Larry. First of all, I spent 12 months there. I wasnt a fake who spent three months, like John Kerry.
ODONNELL: What did you do to end the war, not what you did to fight it?
BUCHANAN: Lawrence, youve asked that. Youve asked it six times.
ONEILL: Then I debated John Kerry, Larry. I debated him on television. I proved he was lying. And John Kerry went home in 1971.
ODONNELL: One sentence about what you did to end it.
ODONNELL: What did you do to end the illegal American war in Vietnam? One sentence.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me give you something, my friend.
The illegal war in Vietnam, we were taken into it by John F. Kennedy and by Lyndon Baines Johnson. When Nixon came into office, we had 535,000 people there, and John Kerry was sent there by Lyndon Johnson. If it was illegal, it was your party that did it.
ODONNELL: Nixon continued the illegal war for no reason. He won nothing. The peace plan he got he could have gotten on the first day of his presidency.
BUCHANAN: Let me get a specific point here.
And, John ONeill, the Thurlow question, now, Im familiar with this. This was the incident in the river. Now, Thurlow did get a Bronze Star, and the Bronze Star did say…
ODONNELL: Which is not in John ONeills book, because its a lie.
BUCHANAN: Hold it. Its all there.
Look, but he got a Bronze Star, and it did say he took fire. My understanding is, he got the Bronze Star a couple of months later, that it came to him, and it did say he took fire. Thurlow does now say that after the explosion in the river, they fired into the bank for 45 seconds or something, and when they got no return fire, no fire at all, they stopped, and they rescued that other boat.
Now, how does Thurlow answer the question Larry raises about whats on his Bronze Star citation?
ONEILL: Well, heres what Thurlow says.
Thurlow says that, as everyone has said and as Kerry has admitted, he left the scene. He didnt stick around. He left the scene and came back. The question is, when he finally came back, was there fire? There are 11 different people, including all four officers, not just Thurlow, and seven enlisted men who say there was no fire.
But, understand, when Kerry came back and picked up Rassmann, he had stayed in exactly the same place. They all did for an hour and a half. Theres not a bullet hole in any of the boats. Nobody was wounded. This is a 75-yard-wide canal.
BUCHANAN: Tell me, John, aboutdid not the citation Thurlow got say that they were taking fire?
ONEILL: It said under fire. Thats true. It was based upon Kerrys own after-action report.
ODONNELL: Thats a lie. Its another lie. Thats a lie.
ONEILL: Which said there had been 5,000 meters of fire.
ODONNELL: Absolutely lie.
ODONNELL: You lie in that book endlessly claiming that reports belonged to Kerry that dont have his name on it, John ONeill.
You lie about documents endlessly. His name is not on the reports.
Youre just lying about it.
ODONNELL: And you lied about Thurlows Bronze Star. You lied about it as long as you could until “The New York Times” found the wording of what was on the citation that you, as a lying writer, refused to put in your pack-of-lies book.
ODONNELL: Disgusting, lying book.
BUCHANAN: John, let me ask you this.
ONEILL: And you, Larry, are a professional liar.
ODONNELL: You have no standards, John ONeill, as an author. And you know it. Its a pack of lies. You are unfit to publish.
ONEILL: There are 254 of us, Larry. Its a little hard to call us all liars.
BUCHANAN: All right, John ONeill, let me ask you a quick question. How do you know for certain that John Kerry wrote the after-action report that said the boats were under fire?
ONEILL: It has been tracked down specifically in…
BUCHANAN: Oh, let him talk.
ODONNELL: He just lies. He just spews out lies.
ODONNELL: Point to his name on the report, you liar. Point to his name, you liar. These are military records. Point to a name.
ONEILL: I will, if youll shut up, Larry. You cant just scream everybody down.
ODONNELL: Theres no name. You just spew lies.
ONEILL: … let everybody talk, isnt…
BUCHANAN: Look, Lawrence, take it easy. Youve made your point.
Were going to take a break. Were going to give John ONeill a chance to answer that when we come back. Well continue this discussion after the break.
BUCHANAN: If youre near Rockefeller Center this month, swing by Democracy Plaza, NBCs new election headquarters. You can get your picture taken in the Oval Office, send the future president an e-mail, and see a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence. If youre not in New York, check it out on the Web at Democracy.MSNBC.com.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back.
Were talking with the author of “Unfit For Command,” John ONeill, and Lawrence ODonnell is with me here in the studio Washington.
BUCHANAN: We have an e-mail, Lawrence, that says: “Why is Mr. ODonnell so angry? In fact, why are Democrats so angry? If they dont calm themselves down, theyre going to have a heart attack.”
ODONNELL: I just hate the lies of John ONeill.
ODONNELL: I hate lies.
BUCHANAN: I know. Now, youve argued that these are lies, but let me suggest…
ODONNELL: Its not an argument. Theyre proven lies. Every single journalistic look at this book has ripped it apart, left it in shreds. ONeill is a liar. Hes been a liar for 35 years about this. And he found other liars to…
BUCHANAN: Why cannot John Kerrys band of brothers and Max Cleland come on and take this…
ODONNELL: They have come on. They have told you. Every single person who served with John Kerry…
BUCHANAN: Ive gone through every single incident.
ODONNELL: ONeill never served with them, never met them until Vietnam. Everybody who was on that boat with Kerry says all of this stuff is a lie.
BUCHANAN: Why have none of them signed the sworn affidavits that admirals and others have signed?
ODONNELL: Those affidavits have no legal meaning. They are fraudulent.
BUCHANAN: Theyre fraudulent? Twenty people got up and lied and signed their name to it?
ODONNELL: Because some of those people have signed their names to reports that say John Kerrys conduct in Vietnam was exemplary, reports written at the time. You cant sign both documents. They are lying somewhere.
ONEILL: Can I say one thing?
BUCHANAN: John ONeill, go ahead, John.
ONEILL: Pat, Mr. ODonnell has certainly shown he has a good pair of lungs.
But to try and return a little bit to just basic information, you asked the question, how do we know the report was written by Kerry? The first way we know that is that the other four officers that day, all four of them, say Kerry wrote it.
The second way we know it is the journalist Tom Lipscomb tracked the report to a Coast Guard cutter and proved that the only one on the cutter to write the report was John Kerry. Third, the report is compatible with John Kerrys account, which as late as the Democratic Convention.
ODONNELL: What are the initials on the report?
BUCHANAN: Let him finish.
ONEILL: Mr. ODonnell, this is what you all did to the POWs.
ODONNELL: Just tell me the initials, you liar.
ONEILL: Youre afraid of the American people getting the truth.
Thats why you scream and you yell.
ODONNELL: Creepy liar.
BUCHANAN: Hey, listen, we dont need the personal insults to you.
ODONNELL: Does that matter to you? Theyre not his initials? Does that matter to you at all?
ONEILL: Youre totally afraid of the truth. Can I speak or youre going to yell…
ODONNELL: … liar who makes things up.
ODONNELL: Does it have his name or his initials on it?
BUCHANAN: It doesnt have it on there. You know that.
ODONNELL: Does it have someone elses initials? Yes. Did you bother to find out who wrote it? No, because you want the lie. Thats how you make your…
BUCHANAN: Lawrence, youre going to have to let him talk.
Go ahead, John.
ONEILL: I guess, first of all, the American people have seen most clearly the choice they have.
They can have people like Mr. ODonnell that scream down the POWs, scream me down, or they can try and go on with the orderly administration of government…
It’s all here, if you can stand it.