Boston talk-show host Michael Graham (we’re not related) was shocked and appalled by Jack Beatty, a liberal writer at the Atlantic Monthly and former book reviewer at Newsweek. Beatty’s a weekly news analyst on the WBUR show On Point, distributed nationally by National Public Radio to more than 150 stations. Looking back at the week in review on Friday, host Tom Ashbrook brought up the case of Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl, captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and videotaped pleading for his release. While NPR correspondent Liz Halloran said the clip was heart-rending, Beatty went Cheney-bashing:
We have to hope that he is treated better than we have treated people we have taken prisoner in Afghanistan. We have to hope that he’s not essentially given indefinite detention, or as Lindsey Graham said this week about people in Guantanamo, ‘locked away forever.’ We have to hope that despite the worst efforts of John Yoo and Dick Cheney and others, he is not tortured, because we tortured.
Isn’t it something? When – this is why the military was so against the CIA interrogations because it puts our soldiers at risk of the most degrading and awful treatment imaginable, and we in effect have licensed it by our conduct.
In the land of public radio, this is the way liberals all talk to each other, with complete confidence in their moral superiority to the Bush-Cheney people. Ashbrook didn’t find this lecture at all objectionable, and he moved on to the next subject: "The economy in the news this week...."
On his blog The Natural Truth, Graham took after Beatty’s comments:
A couple of obvious points: First, the idea that people who practice ritual beheadings and suicide bombings; and who stone homosexuals to death and throw acid on the faces of women for going uncovered in public need Dick Cheney's inspiration to act like animals is too stupid to be taken seriously. How many members of the Taliban had been "tortured" by the US before 9/10/01? And why doesn't Mr. Beatty ask Daniel Pearl whether he would have preferred Dick Cheney's "waterboarding," over the fine treatment he received from the Islamists?
Oh, wait – He CAN'T ask, can he?
Second – and this is a point liberals like Mr. Beatty intentionally overlook – our soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan are lawful combatants. They wear uniforms, they fly a flag, etc., etc. The Taliban, wearing women's burkhas and targeting civilians with car bombs, are not. As unlawful combatants they are entitled to far fewer protections than our soldiers are.
The Taliban have no right to use coercive interrogation on our military because our soldiers aren't terrorists. They don't blow up civilian airplanes or hide on public buses. Our soldiers and Marines fight with honor and they earn the treatment we demand.
The fact that liberals like Mr. Beatty don't see that speaks volumes about their attitude towards our military. The fact that he apparently believes being nice to terrorists will make the Taliban nice to us reveals the level of his intellect.