Somehow in the mind of Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, the United States military is not controlled by its government.

In a discussion on government involvement on health care Tuesday evening, The O'Reilly Factor suddenly had an interesting and peculiar back and forth with Alan Colmes on the government's overall effectiveness.

"Can they run the military?" Colmes asked.

O'Reilly replied: "They can't run the military because it's military controlled, not civilian."

"That's government run, it's still the government doing it," Colmes countered.

"But the Pentagon calls the shots," he said.

"But the commander-in-chief is a civilian, the government runs the military well," Colmes insisted.

"That is wrong," O'Reilly said. "The Pentagon calls the shots on how the military operates. The Pentagon is military people."

"That's the government," Colmes said. "It's the government, it's still the government."

O'Reilly concluded: "They work for and the government running it are two different things."

Despite what O'Reilly insisted, the military is led by the executive branch, which appoints the Pentagon's leadership. The military's top generals serve as advisers to the president, a civilian, who has ultimate authority over the military.

WATCH: Video from Fox News, which was broadcast on December 13, 2011.