After MSNBC analyst and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan stated that "the reason the terrorists are over here is because we are over there," host and former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-FL) told Buchanan that he sounded like progressive intellectual and writer Susan Sontag, who died December 28. Scarborough also said Buchanan's next column should appear in The New Yorker -- where some of Sontag's work appeared, including a controversial post-9-11 commentary. As Buchanan tried to explain his position, Scarborough repeatedly interrupted and challenged him, at one point telling him, apparently joking: "[D]o not tie me down with facts and dates."
From the January 20 edition of MSBC's Scarborough Country:
BUCHANAN: Well, listen, the reason the terrorists are over here is because we are over there.
ANDREW SULLIVAN (blogger and commentator): No.
SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no.
BUCHANAN: It is silly to believe that the terrorists came over here because they can't stand the Bill of Rights.
SCARBOROUGH: The Palestinians supported Nazis during World War II. They have not been our friends. The Middle East has not been our friends.
BUCHANAN: No, I don't say they're our friends. Listen, when has America ever been attacked? Why do you think bin Laden attacked us? Because we are free?
SCARBOROUGH: You sound like Susan Sontag. It's our fault. It is our fault.
SCARBOROUGH: By the way --
JULIA REED (author and senior writer for Vogue magazine): You are. There's no other way --
SCARBOROUGH: Patrick Buchanan's next column will be in The New Yorker. Get it on newsstands.
SCARBOROUGH: Patrick, look at when this guy got into office, wasn't expected to be an internationalist, talked about a humble foreign policy.
SCARBOROUGH: But we had 9-11. You smirk as if you didn't believe it.
SCARBOROUGH: We had 9-11. Look at what he did with Afghanistan, went in there, the first democratically elected president, an inauguration, remarkable in a post-Taliban era, and I believe he is going to do the same thing in Iraq right now. What is wrong with that?
BUCHANAN: Well, I think what we did in Afghanistan was correct in taking down the Taliban. We had to go after the people that attacked us.
But if you think Afghanistan is going to survive when they triple the number of acreage for poppy heroin in the last year -- you start shutting down the heroin trade there, and that government won't survive. Joe, my point is this. Look, my argument is, did they attack us because of who we are, we are free and rich and prosperous and democratic? No, we have always been that.
We were attacked because of what we do. It is the United States' policy in the Middle East and in that part of the world that has enraged and antagonized these evil people. They are coming over here because they want us --
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let's be specific.
BUCHANAN: -- out of that part of the world.
SCARBOROUGH: Be specific.
BUCHANAN: Osama bin Laden.
SCARBOROUGH: Osama bin Laden was upset because we had American troops in Saudi Arabia in 1991. What were we to do?
BUCHANAN: He has three reasons he gives in the fatwa for the war. I am not saying he is right.
SCARBOROUGH: It sounds like you are, Pat. I'm a little concerned, buddy.
BUCHANAN: You know, look, when the Japanese, if they attacked Pearl Harbor and someone got up and said we were attacked because we were free and good and we got a Bill of Rights, he would be laughed out of court, Joe. Those people are over here. They hate us.
SCARBOROUGH: Germany didn't attack us.
BUCHANAN: Of course they didn't -- Germany did not attack.
SCARBOROUGH: We declared war on Germany.
BUCHANAN: They [Germany] declared war on us first, on December 11 , Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Listen, do not tie me down with facts and dates, Pat Buchanan.
While Germany had not attacked the U.S. before the U.S. approved its declaration of war, Germany did declare war on the U.S. prior to the U.S. declaration.