Celebrity Spotlight - Bruce Willis
BRUCE WILLIS TELLS RITA COSBY HE WILL OFFER $1 MILLION TO ANY CIVILIAN WHO TURNS IN OSAMA BIN LADEN, AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI OR ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI
Secaucus, NJ - November 11, 2005 -- In an interview that aired last night on MSNBC's "Rita Cosby: Live and Direct" (9 p.m. ET), actor Bruce Willis told Cosby he would offer one million dollars to any civilian who would turn in Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Willis talks to Cosby about his support for embedded blogger Michael Yon, and the actor says he is in talks about a possible film about the Deuce Four, the soldiers Yon is embedded with in Iraq.
Following is the complete transcript of the interview. "Rita Cosby: Live and Direct" airs weeknights from 9 - 10 p.m. ET. Angie Dorr is the executive producer.
COSBY: Getting stories out of Iraq is not easy. Bruce Willis found that out firsthand when he went over to visit U.S. troops serving in Armed Forces.
Tonight, we are rejoined by an independent blogger who is bringing back some amazing pictures and stories from Iraq, Michael Yon. And also again with us is actor Bruce Willis, who is back with us on the phone.
It's great to have both of you here. You know, Bruce, I want to start with you. Last night, we talked a little bit about what's happening over in Iraq. You said the media isn't covering the full story. What are we missing?
BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR: I am baffled to understand why the things that I saw happening in Iraq, really good things happening in Iraq, are not being reported on.
Michael has been over there, was embedded with the members of the Deuce Four, you know, the battalion that actually won the battle for Mosul, that -- Michael, correct me if I'm wrong -- these are the guys who allowed the election to take place, the election that happened just, you know, a couple months ago, to take place, which is, you know, just a monumental thing. And it's not being reported on.
COSBY: You know, Bruce, you know, let's face it. A lot of celebrities have not been over there. A lot of folks in Hollywood have been very critical of what's happening in the war. Do you think, if a lot of your colleagues in Hollywood went over there, saw it for themselves, they'd have a different opinion?
WILLIS: I absolutely think that. I think we live in a global world. And I think that -- I think America is just too isolationist.
And a lot of big choices are being made. You know, to say this is not our fight, when this is the same fight that this country fought 60 years ago and the entire world fought 60 years ago, for the same kind of terrorism, the same kind of thing.
This is not a new war. This is not a new kind of fighting. This is the same fight. And it's back. And it's time for it to stop.
COSBY: You know, we've seen some of these amazing pictures that we're showing here.
You know, Michael, there's a photo I want to show of a soldier and a baby girl, in particular. Here it is. Why is this photo so meaningful, Michael?
Courtesy of National Review
MICHAEL YON, EMBEDDED BLOGGER: Well, I shot that photo on a day when a suicide or homicide car bomber ran into one of our Stryker vehicles, injured a couple of our soldiers, and, unfortunately, there were a lot of children who had crowded around to wave at our people.
And the attackers had every opportunity to just wait a couple of blocks and attack our guys later, without the children being around, but instead chose to attack straight through the children.
And Major Bieger, who is in the photo, found the little girl -- her name is Farah -- and decided he wanted to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible.
And so he picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket, and loaded her into one of our vehicles and started to take her to the hospital as fast as possible. And unfortunately, little Farah died en route.
We went back to that neighborhood the next day, and the people there actually welcomed us with open arms. They welcomed us into their homes.
We got into a firefight there again the next day. And the people in that part of the city began to give us more and more information about the terrorists until it got to the point where -- it's very dangerous to be a terrorist now in Mosul, because...
COSBY: You know, it's incredible to hear these stories, Michael. I mean, it's amazing what you went through firsthand.
And, you know, Bruce, you know, as you're hearing these stories from Michael, I understand why your jaw just dropped when you saw these pictures.
Are you thinking, maybe at some point, you know, playing a role with the Deuce Four? Is that something maybe you'd consider?
WILLIS: We are talking about that right now. But it's not really about the film. It's about these guys.
It's about these guys who do what they are asked to do for very little money to defend and fight for what they consider to be freedom.
And it's not just for this country. It's for the world. It is time for terrorism to stop. And the United States is the country that can stop it. And that's what they're doing over there.
And there is -- I have no idea why this country is not getting the information that Michael Yon has, you know, access to, is, you know, showing people. It's just not getting out, and it's baffling.
COSBY: You know, Bruce, in 2003, you admirably offered $1 million for the capture of Saddam. I have to ask you, because just last night we had on our show so many of those pictures, those horrific pictures of what happened in Jordan.
And right now, we've got three thorns in our side. We've got Zawahiri, of course, who is Osama bin Laden`s right-hand guy. You've got Osama bin Laden himself. And then you've got al-Zarqawi, the Iraqi who everyone believes is behind the mastermind of the attack, just those horrible attacks on three hotels just last night.
Are you prepared even right now to maybe offer $1 million for one of them?
WILLIS: Well, that was a conversation I was having with members of the military. I've since been told that military men and women cannot accept any reward for the job that they're doing. It was more about my passion for trying to stop Saddam Hussein.
COSBY: Would you offer that if somebody else, let's say a civilian, is willing to turn one of them in and finally put this to an end?
WILLIS: Yes, I would. Yes, I would.
I want to live in a world, and so do the Iraqi people want to live in a world, where they can move from their homes to the market and not have to fear being killed. And, I mean, doesn't everybody want that? Who doesn't want that?
COSBY: You bet.
And, Michael, I'm going to give you just a few seconds. What are you most proud of? I mean, your pictures just really show the heart and soul there.
YON: I'd actually like to say something about Bruce Willis. He's one of the men who has had the courageous to stand behind the troops. And the troops absolutely respect and love Bruce Willis.
He came out to the Deuce Four redeployment ball in Seattle. And I wonder if he realizes just how much they appreciated that. And it's just so good to see a man of his stature throwing his entire weight behind our people who are in harm's way.
COSBY: It's terrific.
WILLIS: Thank you so much, Michael.
COSBY: And hats off to both of you guys, not just Bruce. And, Bruce, thank you so much for being with us.
And, Michael, keep up the great work you're doing. Those pictures are amazing. And please come back, both of you, anytime. Thank you.
WILLIS: Thanks very much. Keep it up, Mike.
YON: Thanks, Bruce.
WILLIS: OK, buddy.
COSBY: Thank you guys very much.
YON: Bye, Rita.
COSBY: Thank you.