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CNN LIVE TODAY

Interview with Janeane Garofalo

Aired December 10, 2002 - 11:35   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: The possibility of a U.S. attack on Iraq has brought many antiwar protesters to their feet. And among them is activist Janeane Garofalo, activist and commedienne, we should say. She joins us from New York to talk about the new mainstream coalition called Win Without War.
Good to see you, Janeane, how are you?

JANEANE GAROFALO, ACTRESS: I'm good. How are you. Thanks for having me.

HARRIS: Listen, glad to have you with us today. Tell us about this coalition, Win Without War..

GAROFALO: OK, Well, it has its official launch in Washington tomorrow. And winning without war is working with the National Council of Churches, the National Organization of Women, NAACP and various people from the diplomatic and military community. We're all concerned Americans who are passionate about keeping Americans safe. We do not advocate a preemptive strike in Iraq; we urge the Bush administration to allow the U.N. weapons inspectors to do their job and to please work with the United Nations. We feel that military action in Iraq will allow the terrorists to an flames of anti-American sentiment and further destabilize the Middle East. It will escalate the violence consuming Israel and Palestine and its impact globally is just too horrible to even contemplate at the moment.

HARRIS: Now, you're saying this as a representative of a group that does not -- is not just a group that consists of just a bunch of famous folks from Hollywood.

GAROFALO: No, no.

HARRIS: You know, that's the first thing somebody's going to think when they see the names that are on this letter that's going around right now and they see and hear you on television, they're just going to say, you know what, here's another case of these liberals out in Hollywood, all these famous actors and musicians with a lot of time and money on their hands.

GAROFALO: Well, first of all, liberal, if you look at the definition in the "American Heritage Dictionary," liberal is not a bad thing to be. So somehow why that's a dirty word I don't know, but that's really irrelevant.

And also, there's other names on this list besides actors. As I said, there's people from the military and diplomatic community and people from other walks of life on this list. And just because somebody's in the entertainment industry doesn't make their point of view less valid as pertains to, you know, war or what have you or various other political views.

HARRIS: So then, what do you say to those who say that may be the case, but doesn't this say something about your level of patriotism? Does this say that you aren't patriotic Americans...

GAROFALO: Well, why would this be unpatriotic? Patriotism is the love of country. Right? You want to see Americans safe. You want your country protected. You feel that a preemptive strike makes your country less secure, not more secure. It's also patriotic to embrace democracy, which means speaking out if you feel something is being done in your name that is morally wrong.

So I would say that accusing people of being unpatriotic or anti- American is a bully's way of trying to undermine people's opinions or squelch dissent or whatever, however you want to label it. It's just not a very intelligent thing to say. And so -- but I also feel like, again, just because somebody's an actor doesn't make them an unimportant person. And you know, the actors are just a small part of people. It's just irrelevant what people do for a living as pertains to this. I'm sorry, did I...

HARRIS: That's okay. Listen. I'll tell you, we kind of like actors and actresses around here, so...

GAROFALO: Thank you. But also, you got -- you know, people just tend to book actors and actresses -- I really wish I wasn't here being the sort of inarticulate spokesperson, believe me, but it seems like the easiest way to get the word out is you know I've made a handful of mediocre movies, but I'm here, right? You know, I would rather that someone like Scott Ritter or Howard Zinn or Lawrence Korb or, you know, was here. I wish they were. I wish you'd book -- you know, I wish you'd book Noam Chomsky.

HARRIS: Well, we get them all from time to time. It was your turn this morning. And by the way...

GAROFALO: Thank you. Thank you.

HARRIS: I liked "Mystery Men." "Mystery Men" was actually pretty funny. That was actually kind of funny. I liked it.

GAROFALO: Thank you. You're the one who liked it. Thank you.

HARRIS: Me and two other people from DirecTV. I was there.

GAROFALO: Thanks.

HARRIS: All right, Janeane. Thanks for your time today. Appreciate it. We'll watch to see how this folds out across the country today. All right. Take care.

GAROFALO: Okay.

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