"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough on Thursday aggressively clashed with his liberal co-anchor Mika Brzezinski and Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart about Guantanamo Bay and the definitions of torture. After Capehart asserted, "I do think there's a way to protect America without violating everything that we stand for and everything that we are," a clearly agitated Scarborough shot back, "That is bull!"
The MSNBC host continued, "What you are doing and, Mika, what you are doing and the rabid left, not you all, but the rabid left has done for the past seven years, is just say, 'We are going to apply new standards to the Geneva Convention.'" An undeterred Capehart retorted, "How about following the Geneva Convention?" This prompted Scarborough to lecture, "Oh, guess what, Jonathan? We are! Al Qaeda terrorists that don't wear uniforms. How about reading the Geneva Convention! Because, terrorists that try and blow up civilians are not protected under the Geneva Convention."
Scarborough also launched into Brzezinski for claiming that ex-President Bush saddled Barack Obama with a "mess" in the form of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A very annoyed Scarborough corrected, "Osama bin Laden created the situation when he took down the Twin Towers! After his co-host reiterated, "He [Bush] created this situation which challenges every facet of our Constitution and what our country stands by," Scarborough extrapolated, "I want you to find me the Nazi prisoner that was read the Miranda rights on the beaches of Normandy! This is lunacy!" He then attacked, "You're blaming George Bush for protecting America!"
A partial transcript of the January 22 segment, which also included MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan and aired at 6:43am, follows:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I'm refraining from debate because we're not going to have time for the next op-ed. Washington Post. Marc Thiessen. "2,688 days. As the new president receives his intelligence briefings, certain facts must now be apparent. Al Qaeda is actively working to attack our country again. And the policies and institutions that George W. Bush put in place to stop this are succeeding. During the campaign, Obama pledged to dismantle many of these policies. He follows through on those pledges at America's peril and had his own. If Obama weakens any of the defenses Bush put in place and terrorists strike our country again, America will hold Obama responsible and the Democratic Party could find itself unelectable for a generation."
JOE SCARBOROUGH: It's what we've been saying here, isn't it? That's what we've been talking about now for months.
BRZEZINSKI: I think it's a fine line and you know what? I would just like to add for the sake of argument that the problem that Obama confronts, for example, with Gitmo, is that this is a mess that President Bush has created. Creating this situation-
SCARBOROUGH: A mess that-
BRZEZINSKI: Hold on.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I'm not.
BRZEZINSKI: Creating a situation-
SCARBOROUGH: Osama bin Laden created the situation when he took down the Twin Towers!
BRZEZINSKI: Let me speak for a moment, please. I did not debate you on torture. But, let me debate you on this. He created this situation which challenges every facet of our Constitution and what our country stands by.
SCARBOROUGH: No, it doesn't! I cannot let you say that. You have got to listen, Mika!
BRZEZINSKI: It challenges our principles and now, the question is what to do with these people. It's wrong to have them sitting there for years and years and years on end.
SCARBOROUGH: Mika, that is speaking in generalities. Again-
BRZEZINSKI: As Obama works to-
SCARBOROUGH: I want you to find me the Nazi that was prisoner provided habeas corpus!
BRZEZINSKI: As Barack Obama-
SCARBOROUGH: I want you to find me the Nazi prisoner that was read the Miranda rights on the beaches of Normandy! This is lunacy!
BRZEZINSKI: All right. Let me speak. All I'm saying is this is a situation that is not good, Bush has put in place, and as Obama tries to deal with it is going to run a risk.
SCARBOROUGH: You're blaming George Bush for protecting America!
BRZEZINSKI: No, I'm not. I'm blaming him for creating a very bad-
SCARBOROUGH: He didn't create it. Osama bin Laden did!
BUCHANAN: Lets say we let 150 of these guys go 'cause we just can't make the case against them and they go out and blow up some airliners, would you talk to the parents of the children on those airliners and tell them, "We had to stand up for our ideals. That's why that guy is out there and that's why he put that bomb on that plane?"
BRZEZINSKI: And that is-
BUCHANAN: Would you take moral responsibility for it?
BRZEZINSKI: That is the challenge Obama has to deal with. And I'm not sure what to do now with this Gitmo-
BUCHANAN: But would you not feel responsible yourself for advocating that?
BRZEZINSKI: -And these people are sitting there. -Um, no. And that's my point and that's the point of this op-ed, is that the challenge is now in place, but not because Barack Obama has come up with some bad ideas. He has to now deal with the policies in place from the Bush administration.
SCARBOROUGH: You can't blame George Bush because we live in the age of terror!
BRZEZINSKI: I'm questioning him. I'm not blaming him.
SCARBOROUGH: Question him. That's fine. That's what we as Americans do.
BRZEZINSKI: I'm questioning the whole creation of Gitmo and why it's there and how it's being conducted and I think now Obama has a big problem on his hands because of that.
SCARBOROUGH: And Jonathan, I've always said, show me the paper that has Barack Obama's signature on the bottom that says, "We're going to stop sleep depriving terrorists. We're going to stop, you know-
JONATHAN CAPEHART: He's only been in office for, what, a day?
SCARBOROUGH: It's not going to happen. No, I'm saying in a year. Do we really want to say, "Oh we don't want the NSA to track down the movement of funds with terrorists across the globe?"
CAPEHART: I don't think anybody is talking about that.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, yes they are.
CAPEHART: I do think there's- I do think there's a way to protect America without violating everything that we stand for and everything that we are.
SCARBOROUGH: Okay. Here we go. You've just said, and I'm sorry this early to get this wound up, but you and Mika generally saying, violating everything we stand- That is bull! And I have a seven second delay and I would like to say the second part of the word but I won't. But, that is bull! What you are doing and, Mika, what you are doing and the rabid left, not you all, but the rabid left has done for the past seven years, is just say, 'We are going to apply new standards to the Geneva Convention. We are going to apply new standard to the Constitution.'
CAPEHART: How about following the Geneva Convention?
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, guess what, Jonathan? We are! Al Qaeda terrorists that don't wear uniforms. How about reading the Geneva Convention! Because, terrorists that try and blow up civilians are not protected under the Geneva Convention.
BUCHANAN: Can be shot on sight.
SCARBOROUGH: Terrorists who blow up civilians do not get habeas corpus!
BUCHANAN: They get shot.
SCARBOROUGH: They do not get constitutional protections and some fair minded people in the middle-
BRZEZINSKI: I don't think I'm rabid.
SCARBOROUGH: I just said fair minded people in the middle, persuaded by the left, they're trying to rewrite the rules and then say, America has never done this before. Bull hockey!