Pubdate: Tue, 08 May 2001
Source: Fox News Network (US)
Copyright: 2001 Fox News Network, Inc.
Note: This partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor was provided by the 
Federal Document Clearing House.


BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, it is expected that 
President Bush will soon choose John Walters as his drug czar. Mr. Walters 
was the top deputy to drug czar William Bennett during the elder Bush's 
presidency and Walters has a reputation as being tough on street dope 
dealers. That, of course, is not politically correct in some quarters these 

With us now is William Bennett, who heads up the non-profit think tank 
Empower America. So you like this guy Walters?


O'REILLY: He's a good guy who worked for you.


O'REILLY: He knows the ropes. Why are the press, a lot of the press 
crucifying him?

BENNETT: It is, well, there's no group more fashionable in America than the 
press. You know, they have been referred to as a herd of independent minds, 
you know, all going in the same direction.

O'REILLY: Right.

BENNETT: It is the fashion now to think that waging war on drugs is futile, 
you can't do anything about drugs, it's pointless, it's expensive and you 
can't reduce the problem. That, of course, is factually incorrect. Drug use 
went down dramatically from 1985 to 1992 by about 60 percent. It's still 
down in '99 by about 45 percent, but the Clinton years were not good years 
for this, unfortunately.

O'REILLY: All right, now we're hearing a lot of legalization talk.


O'REILLY: We're hearing a lot of sympathy for the devil talk...


O'REILLY: Just because they sell drugs, you shouldn't put them in jail, 
because they're addicted themselves and it's society's fault. Is that 
what's driving the anti-Walters sentiment?

BENNETT: I think that's part of it. I think it's also understandable. A lot 
of people know a lot of people that have used drugs. There's a relative, a 
son, a daughter, somebody has used drugs so let's have compassion. However, 
the long view is to have compassion you will get tough on drugs because 
when people get into drugs, it's very hard to get them off drugs.

The movies, "Traffic," the other movie, "Blow," have had some impact in 
this regard. In the fashionable boutiques of the Upper West Side and 
Hollywood, it is now quite the thing to say it's really pointless, there's 
no reason to fight this war. Again, that is against the facts.

O'REILLY: All right, now...

BENNETT: It's also very well financed. You've got George Soros. You've got 

O'REILLY: Yeah, sure, the anti-drug cartel has a lot of money and they've 
got a lot of access to the media because there's a lot of sympathy in the 

BENNETT: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

O'REILLY: But let's be honest here. There are 10 million, according to 
everybody's estimate, about 10 million people use drugs all the time in 
America, hard drugs, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine. It was pretty much 
10 million when you were drug czar about, you know, 20 years ago. You have 
dipped it. You have. But I believe that the drug problem will never be 
solved until three things are done. One, coerced drug rehabilitation, which 
means -- and I think that Mr. Walters is for that -- if you're arrested in 
a crime, you get, you have to go into a confined setting for a period of 
time and then you're drug tested afterward. So you control the drug user.

Number two, I believe you have to put American troops on the border, on the 
southern border of this country, all right, and the navy to help the Coast 
Guard to make it much harder for the drugs to come in. And number three, I 
think you have to punish people who sell drugs. I consider that a crime 
against humanity...


O'REILLY: ... very harshly, who sell. Even if they're addicted. If they're 
selling crack, they're still doing harm.

BENNETT: Yeah. I'm...

O'REILLY: Is Walters going to do that three things?

BENNETT: Yes, I think he is. By the way, I don't think those numbers are 
correct. There are, if you look at hard drug numbers, the hard drug usage 
has gone down from 1985. It has gone down dramatically. You've got 
marijuana use going up among young people, but hard drug use has gone down 
a lot.

O'REILLY: All right, I got this from the Office of Applied Studies at the 
National Survey On Drug Abuse. That's where we got those stats.

BENNETT: No, the hard drug use numbers are down. The marijuana use numbers 
are also down, but not down as much.

O'REILLY: All right.

BENNETT: Let's...

O'REILLY: We've got five million speed users, though.


O'REILLY: That has come up dramatically.

BENNETT: Look, of course, but if you look at cocaine use, it's down, way 

O'REILLY: A little bit.

BENNETT: Crack use is down. Heroin use is down.

O'REILLY: A little bit.

BENNETT: Marijuana use is coming back up. Look, you had a 45 percent 
reduction in our drug use in those years. You cannot have a 45 percent 
reduction in teenage pregnancy or high school dropouts and not say there's 
something that can't be done. You're doing something.

O'REILLY: Yeah, listen, I'm not saying that you can do stuff. But I'm also 
saying that drugs are more plentiful on the streets of America today than 
they ever have been.

BENNETT: Well, that's because...

O'REILLY: I mean Robert Downey, Jr. can go out two seconds and get whatever 
he wants, you know?

BENNETT: That's because we've given up. That's because over the last eight 
years very little was done. In the years '89, '90 and '91 when Walters was 
with me in the drug office, prices of drugs went way up and purity went way 
down. We got after the stuff. We went to the Pentagon. We talked about the 

O'REILLY: Why does America resist putting the military on the southern border?

BENNETT: Well, I'm not even sure you have to put them on -- well, you put 
some of them on the southern border. But you can get the military, using 
their eyes, their ears and their brains, to see every shipment going on 

O'REILLY: That's right. That's right.

BENNETT: ... and then you make the arrests.

O'REILLY: Why don't they do it?

BENNETT: Because the military doesn't want this mission. Now, you want to 
get on the inside of this, one of the interesting things, Mr. O'Reilly, 
will be if John Walters gets cabinet level, will John Walters walk over to 
the Pentagon and tell Don Rumsfeld, or walk over to the State Department 
and tell Colin Powell I need to have some troops?

O'REILLY: That's right.

BENNETT: We need people out there seeing because there's no...

O'REILLY: Did you do it?

BENNETT: Yes, I did.

O'REILLY: And what did they say?

BENNETT: Well, the first couple of times they said no one's here, we're out 
to lunch. Then I had to go to the president. And I said you've got to back 
me in this. And that's the critical thing, will the president back Walters, 
who is a tough guy on this issue, when he goes to them and says I need your...

O'REILLY: Your bet, will he?

BENNETT: Yes. My bet, yes. My bet, yes.

O'REILLY: Oh, I don't know.

BENNETT: Yeah, my bet yes.

O'REILLY: He doesn't like controversy. He doesn't like controversy.

BENNETT: This is one worth fighting.

O'REILLY: Sure it is.

BENNETT: The "New York Times" read it wrong. They said Bush courts 
controversy by appointing tough, conservative drug czar. I think the 
country would like a tough, conservative drug czar.

O'REILLY: All right, so do I. I would, for sure.


O'REILLY: Mr. Bennett, always a pleasure to see you, all right?

BENNETT: Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly. Yes, sir.
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