Rosie O’Donnell won’t be returning to The View following an on-air skirmish between the former comedienne and colleague Elizabeth Hasselbeck, it was announced on Friday.
O’Donnell was riding out the last few weeks of her contract with ABC and was planning to leave at the end of the season. What set her off — this time around — was that Hasselbeck apparently didn’t rush to Rosie’s defense when conservative pundits accused Rosie of calling American troops “terrorists.”
To review, here is a sample of the exchange between the two on the show from May 16th:
Rosie: Six-hundred fifty-five thousand Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?Elizabeth: Who are the terrorists?
Rosie: Six-hundred fifty-five thousand Iraqis. … I’m saying that if you were in Iraq and another country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?
Though her question was rhetorical, there is no doubt in my mind that Rosie is making the implication that our soldiers are the terrorists in this situation. You may agree with her; it doesn’t really matter to me whether you do or not. But I don’t see how anyone can hear (or read) that exchange and doubt that Rosie was making that suggestion, whether she meant to or not.
Last Wednesday, the two had a well-publicized blow-up on the air, when Rosie called Elizabeth “cowardly” for not stepping up to defend her. Elizabeth fired back:
“You know what’s cowardly? Asking a rhetorical question that you never answer yourself. That’s cowardly.”
And I would have to agree. There’s nothing wrong with speaking your mind; there’s a lot wrong with leaving so much room to interpretation, then claiming offense when someone else doesn’t rush in and explain your words for you. If we’re to believe that Rosie is so tough, so eager to “put it out there” and so thick-skinned, we should have a great deal of trouble believing that Rosie seriously thinks she needs anyone to defend what she has to say.
This is the problem I see with talking about the war: it has everything to do with snarky personal attacks and very little to do with the facts. (Are we to believe that even Rosie thinks that American troops killed each one of those 655,000? Are we really to believe that Rosie has somehow discounted the deadly results amassed by Iraqis who are bombing and murdering their own citizens?)
It is this kind of foolishness that has kept us in Iraq so long. It is this kind of attack-style argument that not only doesn’t help real discussion, understanding and solution occur, but also only encourages both sides to stubbornly dig their heels even deeper into the soil of whichever side of the spectrum they’re standing on.
You don’t solve conflicts or ease tensions that way.
If I were to use Rosie’s reasoning, I guess I’d be calling the extremists on either side, those who seem to delight in attacking for the sake of attacking, terrorists as well. I bet she’d have a problem with that.
Incidentally, in case you are wondering about the timeslot, it should come as no surprise to my regular readers that while the while the women of The View are trading their barbs, I’m watching The Price is Right, which I find infinitely more entertaining and equally effective in bringing the troops home.