"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer worried on Thursday that Barack Obama backtracked "on his pledge to release pictures of U.S. soldiers allegedly torturing terror suspects," fretting that this might be a "cave-in to Dick Cheney and the political right."
Later in the show, former Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on the program to put the best possible spin on the Obama administration's decision to appeal a court decision ordering pictures of alleged abuse released. Talking to co-host Robin Roberts, he offered talking points that could have come straight from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Stephanopoulos generously theorized, "So, by appealing this case right now, even if the White House doesn't win down the line, they bought themselves some time. And the President has shown he's on the side of the troops." At no point did Sawyer, who teased the segment, Roberts or Stephanopoulos talk about the pressure the political left put on Obama to release the photos.Speaking of Dick Cheney, the "This Week" anchor did allow that the former Vice President's opposition against releasing the pictures "is starting to get some traction."
Former ABC News anchor Ted Koppel took to BBC's World News America newscast on Monday night to denounce former Vice President Dick Cheney as Koppel declared U.S. policy should be that “torture is always illegal, and those who use it will always be prosecuted.” Koppel shared how his “greatest disagreement” with Cheney is over describing water-boarding as an “enhanced interrogation technique,” which Koppel contended is a “euphemism” for torture that is “almost the moral equivalent of saying that rape is an enhanced seduction technique.” Furthermore, Koppel contended in mocking the carefully construed legal reasoning that allowed water-boarding, if you do that “you might as well go all the way to the red-hot pokers.”
In his first commentary for the hour-long, Washington, DC-based newscast run on the BBC America channel and the BBC World News channel, “contributing analyst” Koppel recalled how water-boarding “has a long and notorious history dating back to at least the Spanish Inquisition,” before proposing: “If we object to a technique being used on a captured American, we shouldn't use it, either.” So, he declared: “Let those who violate our stated national principles on torture be put on notice, it is against American law no matter where or under what circumstances it's employed, and violations of that law will lead to prison.”
On Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent David Martin reported on the "soft approach" to terrorism in Saudi Arabia: "Each time the United States releases Saudis from the prison at Guantanamo, the kingdom dispatches a 747 to Cuba to pick them up...the Saudi government is paying for cars, homes, even marriages for these reformed jihadists."
After explaining that "...more than half the so-called 'detainees' will probably never go before a jury because the U.S. government does not have a case that will stand up in court," Martin went on to describe a Saudi Arabian program for released detainees: "What we found is a rehabilitation program that attempts to make solid citizens out of holy warriors by convincing them Bin Laden has it all wrong."
Not only did Martin highlight the Saudi efforts to "rehabilitate" terror suspects, but he explained: "Some Saudis have been in Guantanamo for seven years, and Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Hadlaq believes the longer a man is there, the harder he is to treat." Martin then asked Hadlaq, a Saudi psychologist who runs the program: "They come out of Guantanamo hating Americans?...Is there evidence that Guantanamo has made them more radical?" Hadlaq replied: "I think so, yes. Because, in their journey, you know, from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, they have faced a lot of torturing. It's so important to deal with this, you know, issue of torture."
In response, Martin added: "‘Torture’ is, of course, a loaded word, but at the very least, the treatment en route to Guantanamo was rough, and provided the raw material for Al Qaeda propaganda videos to drum up new recruits."
As media members pressure Congress and the White House to prosecute Bush administration officials for enhanced interrogation techniques employed at the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, they present their case as if such practices began quite recently.
This is by no means surprising as the full grips of Bush Derangement Syndrome cannot be felt without either a complete revision of history or one totally ignoring everything that happened prior to January 20, 2001.
With this in mind, an op-ed published in Sunday's Los Angeles Times, which accused one of the left's most-sacred golden idols, Robert F. Kennedy, of being involved in teaching torture techniques to Brazilian police officers, is sure to raise a few eyebrows (h/t Gary Hall):
Appearing on FNC’s O’Reilly Factor Monday, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham was asked by host Bill O’Reilly: "What, you're a not a left-wing magazine?" Meacham denied any liberal agenda in the magazine: "No, I don't -- We're not a partisan magazine. We're just not." A skeptical O’Reilly replied: "Come on." Meacham defended his assertion: "We're not. We try to be provocative. We try to break news. We try to contribute to the conversation. You can decide whether we do or not."
O’Reilly asked Meacham about the magazine’s liberal leanings after the Newsweek editor argued in favor of investigations of Bush officials over interrogation tactics. O’Reilly also asked for Meacham’s opinion on a recent political cartoon in the New York Times that criticized those interrogation tactics by depicting the Statue of Liberty brandishing a whip, but Meacham refused to comment: "I'm not going to comment on somebody else's editorial decision." In frustration, O’Reilly replied: "You're an American. Forget you're editor of Newsweek, you're an American. You see this thing, what do you think? You think this is fair?"
O’Reilly went on to reference new photos of prisoner abuse about to be released: "Yeah, do you think this is fair? Do you think that's good for the country? Are you looking forward to putting those pictures coming out next week in Newsweek magazine, of abusing the prisoners, you looking forward to doing that?" He later added: "...you won't comment on that -- on that Statue of Liberty with a whip? Come on, you're an American, too. You know, I'm fighting the battle here alone. It's me and the Wall Street Journal, and couple of other guys on Fox, against a juggernaut of media apathy that you're a part of at Newsweek magazine, with all due respect."
Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
Say you're the editor of a major U.S. city's newspaper and that sources in the national security community have informed your reporters that waterboarding was a crucial tactic in making a terrorist detainee spill his guts with information that, when followed up by authorities, thwarted a planned terrorist attack on same major U.S. city.
You would probably run the story on the front page with a banner headline to that effect, but at the very least you'd make sure that fact was reported in your paper's coverage.
That is, of course, unless you're the ideologically leftward, politically correct editors at the Los Angeles Times. Patterico has details in an April 27 post at his blog:
On Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter seemed to take turns reining in each other’s conspiracy theories as the two discussed the latest on former Vice President Cheney’s request for the release of classified information regarding the results of waterboarding al-Qaeda detainees. Alter charged that former Vice President Cheney is attacking President Obama’s national security policies so that his own popularity will be "resurrected" if there is another 9/11-style attack, as the Newsweek editor called Cheney’s behavior "sick":
It`s the former Vice President who is becoming a forlorn and, I think, soon to be even further disgraced figure. But this is his bid for resurrection. Because what he is betting on – and this is the sick thing to me, Keith – is that if there's another attack that he will then be back as a huge and important figure who predicted that this would happen if we stopped torturing. And this is his bid for historical resurrection.
Olbermann assumed Alter was charging that Cheney desires another 9/11 attack for his own benefit, and actually seemed to halfway defend Cheney, prompting Alter to clarify that he did not actually think the former Vice President was hoping for another attack, but he also contended that it was "not a very patriotic thing to do" for Cheney to call President Obama "weak":
In a news brief on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell implied a link between the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and Bush administration approval of tough interrogation tactics on suspected terrorists: "Soon we will see more pictures of U.S. personnel allegedly abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. The photos, like these from Abu Ghraib, are being released next month, following a suit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The group says it is proof that prisoner abuse was widespread. And high-profile Bush administration officials are being linked to those interrogation techniques."
Correspondent Thalia Assuras then reported: "Condoleezza Rice, as National Security Adviser in 2002, verbally approved the CIA's use of waterboarding, the earliest known green light according to a Senate account." Assuras then rhetorically asked: "But her decision alone?" A clip was then played of a so-called expert, Dan Guide, from the left-wing group Center for American Progress: "I don't think that we can identify individuals who are anymore or less responsible within the higher levels of the Bush administration. This was taken as a collective decision." Assuras never mentioned the political affiliation of the organization. Later in the report, Guide lamented limitations on prosecuting Bush officials: "The most significant constraint, at least in my view, is that this entire case would be conducted with classified information."
CNN’s Anderson Cooper pushed down hard on the totalitarian analogies in a Monday night segment on Bush "torture" policy, comparing our handling of terrorist interrogations to the Nazis (stress positions) and the Khmer Rouge (waterboarding). In a debate with former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer, Paul Begala brought his furrowed eyebrows and moral outrage to the set:
Our country executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded American POWs. We executed them for the same crime that we are now committing ourselves. How do you defend that?
Over at The Corner on National Review, Mark Hemingway suggested Begala was mangling the historical facts:
What Begala said isn't true. Begala appears to be referencing Yukio Asano, a Japanese soldier convicted of war crimes. His case was popularized — in the context of waterboarding — by Ted Kennedy. See this Washington Post article from 2006:
"Nightline" co-host Terry Moran on Wednesday committed an act of snide and unnecessary moral equivalence, connecting video of torture occurring in the Middle East and the political debate over how to handle enemy combatants captured by the U.S. ABC correspondent Brian Ross filed a report on video of a member of the United Arab Emirates' royal family filming himself as he brutalized a man, accused of stealing grain, with a cattle prod, hit him with a nail and then proceeded to drive over the victim with his Mercedes.[audio available here]
As the segment ended, Moran drew a comparison, "Brian, that is a shocking investigation on so many levels, especially as our own country is engaged in a wrenching debate on torture." Now, whatever one thinks of waterboarding, sleep depravation and putting an insect in with someone afraid of bugs, such tactics certainly don't equal this barbaric act, described by Ross: "The tape ends with what appears to be attempted murder. The victim is left semi-conscious as Sheik Issa drives over him back and forth with his Mercedes SUV."
While discussing the possible prosecution of Bush administration officials over interrogation methods used against terror suspects, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Senator John McCain: "You fought a long battle with the [Bush] White House over this issue, said they ought to follow the Army manual, which the -- the White House refused to...Why do you feel so strongly that those who helped create this policy should not face some sort of recrimination?"
McCain explained his opposition to what he called a "witch hunt": "Because I think, Harry, if you legal -- if you criminalize legal advice, which is basically what they're going to do, then it has a terribly chilling effect on any kind of advice and counsel that the president might receive...this is going to turn into a witch hunt."
NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday night mentioned how the “Obama administration's own Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, wrote his employees last week” about how, what NBC described as “harsh” interrogation techniques, “produced 'high-value information,'” a view from an Obama insider left out of stories on ABC and CBS. But Mitchell described Blair's assessment as conveying “controversial comments.” Not controversial to Mitchell? The hook for her story, liberal Democratic Senator Carl Levin's charge that “there were very strong warnings against the use of these techniques and...they attempted to destroy the warning.”
According to the Senate report, the harsh techniques used at Guantanamo and other prisons were ordered by top Bush cabinet-level officials and launched months before they were approved by lawyers. Today's Armed Services Committee report also says abuses at the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison, including 'stress positions, removal of clothing, use of phobias such as fear of dogs,' were systematic, not just the work of a few rogue soldiers, as the Pentagon claimed at the time.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith resurrected the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, connecting it to the current debate over interrogation methods used toward terror suspects under the Bush administration: "Torture on trial. In a major shift, President Obama now says he is open to investigating Bush administration officials for crimes related to torture...We'll talk to the former general in charge of Abu Ghraib. Were the soldiers there made to be scapegoats?"
Smith interviewed former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who was demoted following Abu Ghraib, and suggested a link between aggressive interrogation tactics and the prisoner abuse: "...a Senate Armed Services Committee report...suggests that the roots of torture, the roots of the idea of torture were being circulated in the Pentagon and the CIA as early as 2002...Is there a line? Do you see that there is a lining run -- that goes from 2002 to Abu Ghraib to the hundreds of times waterboards were used in these cases of these few CIA cases?" Karpinski replied: "Absolutely. The line is very clear that it was cloudy for years, obviously, seven years, if 2002 were the initial discussions. But the line is clear. It went from Washington, D.C., from the very top of the administration with the legal opinions, through Bagram, to Guantanamo Bay, and then to Iraq via the commander from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And the contractors who were hired to do those things."
CNSNews.com, a division of the Media Research Center, is spotlighted on the Drudge Report as editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey confirmed what President Obama and his Bush-loathing supporters in the media want to downplay:
The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of "enhanced techniques" of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.
Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, "Soon, you will know."
According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack -- which KSM called the "Second Wave"-- planned " ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles."
Those who “devised” what ABC called “torture memos” and the “methods” they defined, retired ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson contended on Sunday's This Week, “should be held responsible” and so “should be held accountable in the court of law.” Donaldson allowed that “people who thought they were following the law as outlined” should not be punished, but:
The people who devised these methods and devised these memos, if, in fact, they knew that they were just trying to find cover, just trying to find a way to get around American values and American law and the American Constitution, I think they should be held responsible. I think they should be brought in and if President Obama wants to pardon them as one President pardoned a former President, then let him do so, but they should be held accountable in the court of law.
ABC's Charles Gibson, Jan Crawford Greenburg and George Stephanopoulos all stressed Thursday night how, Bush administration Justice Department memos clarifying what techniques interrogators could use with suspected terrorists, included what Stephanopoulos described as “torture with an insect” -- a method ABC failed to note was not ever employed. “Tonight, secret memos,” anchor Charles Gibson teased World News, “new documents reveal in vivid detail just how far the Bush administration went in interrogating terror suspects, using insects, confinement boxes, water-boards and more.”
Reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg characterized the memos as “chilling in their detail,” citing how “they approved prisoners placed in a cramped confinement box with an insect...” Following Greenburg, Stephanopoulos marveled: “Even some congressional officials who had the highest security clearances were surprised by some of the details today, especially that detail about the fact that Zubayda was tortured with an insect in a confinement box.” Let that formulation sink in: “Tortured with an insect.” The horror! (Audio: MP3 of the three insect comments)
Zubaydah, however, was never forced to spend time near a caterpillar, Pete Williams reported on the NBC Nightly News: “In the case of al-Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah, who feared insects, interrogators were given permission to put a harmless one like a caterpillar in a box in which he was confined, but that technique was never used.”
After pounding away at Attorney General Eric Holder over enacting more gun control, as Katie Couric fretted that “Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting increasingly chummy with the NRA,” Couric raised “the issue of the treatment of some of the detainees” at Guantanamo and prompted Holder to denounce former Vice President Dick Cheney.
In the taped interview aired on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Couric cited “alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It's been reported that he was water-boarded. You have come out publicly and said water-boarding is torture. So how would that stand up in civilian court?” She also highlighted how “Holder addressed recent criticism” by Cheney, “who said the Obama administration was making choices that will raise the risk of another terrorist attack.” Couric pressed: “Are you implicitly saying that Dick Cheney was inappropriate and off base?”
Couric was most-obsessed with guns, hitting Holder repeatedly from the left:
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to rationalize the actions of the Chile-based Marxist terror group MIR, as he compared one of the group’s followers who helped kidnap a Spanish businessman, and who is currently attempting to have Bush administration members indicted in a Spanish court on war crimes charges, to George Washington.
In response to FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, who last week pointed out that Gonzalo Boye, the attorney in Spain who is trying to have Bush administration members prosecuted, himself spent eight years in a Spanish prison for assisting the MIR, Olbermann suggested that the attorney’s involvement with the Chilean terrorist group was justified because the group's aim was to topple former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
But Olbermann did not mention that the crime Boye was convicted of being involved in was the 1988 kidnapping of Spanish businessman Emiliano Revilla, who was abducted outside his Madrid home and held eight months for ransom in a collaborated effort between the Chile-based MIR and the Spain-based ETA, another left-wing terror group which has perpetrated bombings and killed many in Spain. Olbermann responded to O’Reilly’s complaint that it was a "big omission" for a New York Times article not to mention Boye’s history by rationalizing Boye’s terrorist history. Olbermann: "Well, no, not as big an omission as forgetting to mention that the man whom Mr. Boye`s collaboration with terrorists targeted was the sadistic Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. This is like Bill-O calling George Washington a terrorist."
On the Monday, March 30, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times for not reporting that an attorney in Spain, Gonzalo Boye, who is trying to have Bush administration members charged with war crimes in a Spanish court, himself has served eight years in prison for "collaborating with terrorists," referring to the Chile-based MIR, and the Spain-based ETA, both left-wing terrorist groups. During his "Talking Points Memo," O’Reilly related: "The action is being driven by a man named Gonzalo Boye, a radical left lawyer in Madrid. On Sunday, the New York Times reported Boye's beef, but did not report this: Boye served almost eight years in a Spanish prison for collaborating with terrorists. He was sentenced in 1996. Now, that seemed to be a mighty big omission by the New York Times, does it not?"
But on the same night’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann informed his viewers of the possible indictment in Spain without mentioning Boye and his terrorist connections. Introducing a discussion with George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, Olbermann announced: "The first steps towards opening a criminal investigation against the Bush administration about torture is now under way, only it`s not by the U.S. government but by Spain. The New York Times reporting a Spanish court now building a case against six high-level Bush officials."
ABC on Sunday night jumped to beat the other networks with the news that a judge in Spain may issue arrest warrants charging several former Bush administration officials with violating the Convention Against Torture. World News Sunday anchor Dan Harris announced: “Six former high level officials of the Bush administration are being targeted tonight by a court in, of all places, Spain. This court is considering whether to open a criminal investigation into allegations that the six officials gave legal cover for the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.”
Narrating off-camera from London, reporter Hilary Brown began with how “the six officials named in the case include Alberto Gonzales, the former Attorney General who famously described parts of the Geneva Convention as 'quaint' and 'obsolete.'” She outlined the case: “The Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, says he has the right to prosecute American officials because four Spanish citizens formerly held at Guantanamo say they were tortured there. And Garzon says the U.S. officials broke international law, specifically, the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. signed.”
Brown conceded it's unlikely any arrest warrant would be enforced by the U.S., but she saw a benefit, nonetheless, as she suggested “this case may end up putting pressure on the Obama administration to open its own investigation, something it has resisted so far.”
Regular viewers of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC know they won't wait long to see frequent guest Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor.
The affection between Maddow and Turley appears obvious, along the lines of what you'd expect between an academic and the graduate student who just happens to share his political views.
But Turley, a scholar of constitutional law, apparently doesn't believe the presumption of innocence applies to people whose opinions he doesn't share. Here was Turley on Maddow's show this past Monday, expressing his absolute belief that former Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush officials are guilty of "war crimes" for sanctioning torture (the first two segments on the embedded video clip are of Turley's conversation with Maddow; the third segment is from her March 17 show, described later in the post) --
It’s not even April 1 yet, and Keith Olbermann is already expressing fears that President Obama "is acting disturbingly like President Bush," because of a number of recent decisions by the Obama administration to continue policies similar to those of President Bush, which Olbermann recounted on Monday's Countdown while the words "Four More Years?" displayed at the bottom of the screen. The MSNBC host then introduced his guest for further discussion: "Here to help us tell the two men apart, Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post."
Responding to Huffington’s hope that Obama’s decisions would only be temporary, Olbermann queried that if, "after one of these six-month reviews – renditioning, for instance – continues on or other detentions without legal rights? What happens then?" prompting Huffington to convey her willingness to oppose Obama: "Well, everybody who cares about what are the fundamental American values of fairness and justice and due process needs to vociferously and unambiguously oppose the Obama administration. I don`t think there is any alternative to that."
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer declared: "Hubert Humphrey once said the 1964 Civil Rights Act was America's single most effective foreign policy initiative. It had nothing to do with foreign policy, but it told the world who we wereand what we stood for and that our system was about fairness and equal treatment and that it worked. I thought about that when Barack Obama announced that torture would never be part of our national policy."
Schieffer continued to praise Obama as well as the president’s world view: "With a simple declaration, President Obama told the world our system of government is so strong we don't need to torture people to survive. That is the way of those who would destroy us. But that is not us. We have found a better way. That is what our message to the world must be. More importantly, that is what we want our children to know. When we were admired and respected by others, we are far more secure than any weapon can ever make us."
If we are to believe Keith Olbermann’s latest wild theory, an innocent, mild mannered furniture salesman and humanitarian from Riyadh may have been inspired to become an al-Qaeda leader because he was falsely imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, courtesy of Olbermann’s favorite target, the Bush administration, who "created [his] reason for hating us."
Even for Keith Olbermann, this takes the cake, and makes you wonder if the rumors are true that the MSNBC host doesn’t really believe half of what he says, but only recites his rants and conspiracy theories for ratings. In light of reports that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Said Ali al-Shihri, who was released in 2007 and has now become an al-Qaeda leader in Yemen believed responsible for a September embassy bombing, Olbermann seemed to seriously suggest that al-Shihri may have been an innocent man when he was first jailed at Gitmo, and then became a terrorist leader as a result of his imprisonment. The Countdown host plugged the story before a commercial break: "But perhaps the real question is: Since we never tried him, never found him guilty, and the Bush administration set him free, what if he wasn’t a terrorist in the first place but we turned him into one by sending him to Gitmo?"
On Monday’s Newsroom program, anchor Rick Sanchez trumpeted a United Nations investigator’s apparent finding against Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld concerning torture: “...[W]e’re making news here, because I just heard you on the record say that there does seem to be enough evidence to be able to make a case against Donald Rumsfeld specifically.” He also asked why Rumsfeld had been “singled out [and] not Cheney [or] Alberto Gonzalez?”
Sanchez had Manfred Nowak, the United Nations special investigator on torture, as a guest beginning at the bottom half of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He introduced Nowak by reading a quote by the investigator himself: “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court.” Sanchez highlighted how the statement “isn’t being said by just anyone. This is being said, again, by Mr. Nowak, who is the United Nations special investigator on torture -- specific enough and important enough for us to have him on to talk about this now.”
So asked Chris Matthews of Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy on today's edition of "Hardball." Gaffney was joined by liberal pundit David Corn of Mother Jones magazine in a segment around 5:20 p.m. ET and they were discussing the call by liberal Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) for a war crimes investigation of senior Bush administration officials and terrorist detainee interrogators.
For video of the exchange, click the play button on the embedded video.
In a rare instance of critical coverage of the Obama administration on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman about Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay: "I'm not sure if you've seen the New York Times this morning. On the front page there is an article that reveals that a terror suspect released from Guantanamo a few months ago...is now heading up Al Qaeda in Yemen. I'm wondering if this makes you less inclined Representative Harman, to support closing down the prison?"
Harman actually doubted the credibility of the usually left-wing newspaper: "Not at all. Obviously,if that allegation is true and if this fellow has now become a key Al Qaeda operative, that's shocking and disappointing." Harman went on to argue: "But there is really no justification, and there was no justification, for disappearing people in a place that was located offshore America so it was outside the reach of U.S. law. As President Obama said two days ago, there's a false choice between our safety and our values." Rodriguez then turned to Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra: "It all sounds great, but Representative Hoekstra you said yesterday that's placing 'hope ahead of reality,' right?"
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment," in which he called on President-elect Barack Obama to prosecute President Bush and administration members on a charge of torturing prisoners, and invoked extreme examples such as slavery leading to the Civil War, and the handling of Germany after World War I leading to the rise of Nazism and World War II, to illustrate that "this country has never succeeded in moving forward without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past," and that Obama must try to prosecute Bush for the sake of the country’s future. After quoting Bush’s recent words about the interrogation techniques he authorized against 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and statements by Obama expressing reluctance to pursue prosecutions against the Bush administration, Olbermann began invoking extreme examples from history.
This country has never succeeded in moving forward without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past. ... We compromised with slavery in the Declaration of Independence, and, fourscore and nine years later, we had buried 600,000 of our sons and brothers in a civil war. After that war’s ending, we compromised with the social restructuring and protection of the rights of minorities in the South. And a century later, we had not only had not resolved anything, but black leaders were still being assassinated in the cities of the South. We compromised with Germany in the reconstruction of Europe after the First World War. Nobody even arrested the German kaiser, let alone conducted war crimes trials then. And 19 years later, there was an indescribably more evil Germany and a more heartrending Second World War.
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, during the show’s regular "Miller Time" segment, Dennis Miller defended the practice of waterboarding terrorists to save the lives of Americans, calling the technique "heaven-sent." Miller: "Something that takes somebody who's willing to strap a bomb on and yet freaks them out to the point where they'll tell you where the next bomb is by pouring water down their nose and they don't even die, I think, wow, this is heaven-sent." He also heaped praise on President Bush for "keeping this country safe in the interim seven years" since the 9/11 attacks. Miller: "That's what I admire about him. He's willing to be hated for the rest of his life to do the right thing. And I just want to look in the camera. This is the last time I’ll be on this show when he's my President and my Commander-in-Chief and say, ‘Thank you, sir. I feel privileged that you were the President during this time in American history.’"