[Update, Friday, 10:44 am Eastern: Ted Turner released an apology on Thursday. (via Yahoo! News)]
On the October 19 edition of Piers Morgan Tonight, Ted Turner said it was "good" that more American soldiers are dying from suicide than in combat.
"I think it's good, because it's so clear that we're programmed and we're born to love and help each other, not to kill each other, to destroy each other," Turner said.
Host Piers Morgan had brought up the rise in suicides among U.S. soldiers and asked Turner "That's shocking, isn't it?" He had to have been shocked by Turner's response, "I think it's good."
Turner also said he'd be "happy" to see his taxes go up in an Obama second term. "I'd give all my money away, almost all of it," he told Morgan.
"What do you want to see happen with the economy?" Morgan asked him. Turner replied that the U.S. spends too much on the military. "A patriot wants to see the country economically – economically strong, not militarily strong. That was good 200 years ago, but we live – we're in the 21st century now, in the third millennium," he said.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 19 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:49 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: Would you be happy, if President Obama wins, to pay more tax? He's indicated he wants to tax the rich more.
TED TURNER: Sure.
MORGAN: You think –
TURNER: I'd give all my money away, almost all of it.
MORGAN: (Laughs) Can a President do very much if the economy is in such a stagnant condition? People want to see people like you, Ted. They know how successful you'd be.
TURNER: I like to see a good economy. I'm a businessman. And you know, I did pretty well in business, about as good as anybody.
MORGAN: What do you want to see happen with the economy? How can a President smartly revive things do you think?
TURNER: Well, I think we spend too much money on the military. I mean, particularly the United States, we spend half a trillion dollars or more now. And what are we getting for it? What did we gain by the war in Iraq, for instance? What a disaster. The war in Afghanistan, a disaster. The war in Pakistan, a disaster. The war in Vietnam, a disaster.
We don't even know who wins and who loses. The last time anybody surrendered was Japan in 1945. Nobody else has surrendered. It's just war is a waste of time and effort. And it's consuming far too many of our resources, particularly here in the United States. Because our military budget is bigger than the whole rest of the world's military budget put together.
And you know, there really isn't a threat that warrants that. But the military industrial complex is so entrenched, and so strong now that none of the – of the Congressional candidates have attacked the military budget. It's – it's – it's suicidal to do it –
MORGAN: And they get accused of being unpatriotic.
TURNER: Right, yeah. And that's not true. A patriot wants to see the country economically – economically strong, not militarily strong. That was good 200 years ago, but we live – we're in the 21st century now, in the third millennium.
MORGAN: You made the point to me in the break there, more American servicemen have –
TURNER: – are dying now –
MORGAN: – from suicide –
TURNER: – from suicide over there than are dying in combat.
MORGAN: That's shocking, isn't it?
TURNER: Well, what -- no, I think it's -- I think it's good, because it's so clear that we're programmed and we're born to love and help each other, not to kill each other, to destroy each other. That's an aberration. That's left over from hundreds of years ago. It's time for to us start acting enlightened.