O'Reilly is Back at it Again Justifying Torture
Here we go again. Apparently Bill-O wasn't happy just attacking Alan Colmes while he was around to defend himself, he decided to go after him again in his Talking Points Memo as well. I tell you what O'Reilly, if you want to continue to justify waterboarding and telling your audience that it's not torture, why don't you and your buddy Hannity take Keith Olbermann up and get waterboarded together on the air?
O:REILLY: Tuesday night on "The Factor," we told you the truth: that coerced interrogation, most likely waterboarding, gave the CIA the first clue that led to Usama bin Laden's death. That is the truth. Yet many on the left in America will not acknowledge it.
Case in point, our pal Alan Colmes, who simply will not admit that coerced interrogation protects Americans. On Tuesday, Colmes pointed to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who Colmes said denied coerced interrogation gave the CIA valuable intelligence:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You don't believe the Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld? You don't believe him?
BILL O'REILLY: I don't.
COLMES: Why not?
O'REILLY: Because I -- I haven't -- I have not questioned him. If Rumsfeld wants to come on tomorrow night and sit there, I will question him. And then when he says something, I will decide whether to believe it or not. I'm not going to take a second rate -- secondary source on Rumsfeld.
COLMES: Secondary source? Why would he be a secondary source?
O'REILLY: Because he didn't answer my direct question.
COLMES: So only if he talks to you is he a secondary source.
O'REILLY: He didn't talk to you either. You are taking it from a secondary source.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And that's exactly what happened. As it turns out, Colmes was wrong. It is extremely frustrating to watch pundits and politicians put ideology above the safety of the American people, and that's what's happening.
CIA chief Leon Panetta, an honest guy, admitted that coerced interrogation gave the U.S. government vital information:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATIE COURIC, ANCHOR, "CBS EVENING NEWS": Some valuable information did, in fact, come from enhanced interrogation techniques.
LEON PANETTA, CIA DIRECTOR: Obviously there was -- there was some valuable information that was derived through those kinds of interrogations, but I guess the question that everybody will always debate is whether or not those approaches had to be used in order to get the same information. And that, frankly, is an open question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Because Mr. Panetta works for President Obama, he has to hedge a bit, saying, "Well, we don't know exactly how much information we might have gotten had we not dunked three guys in the water."
OK, fine. I understand Mr. Panetta's position. But again, the truth is that enhanced interrogation does lead to lifesaving information despite what has been said:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We do not torture. Period. The reason this is important is not only because torture does not end up yielding good information and most intelligence officers agree with that.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I do not think the United States government sanctioning torture is in our best interest. I do not think torture works.
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": Can you, Mr. Vice President, ever envision a time when waterboarding should be used on anyone?
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: No.
BIDEN: No. It's not effective.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
Well, now we know the vice president is wrong. It is effective. Coerced interrogation led, in part, to the death of bin Laden. But this debate will not go quietly into the night because ideologues rarely admit they are wrong.
On a personal note, I like Alan Colmes. He's a good guy. I think he makes a good debate partner with Monica Crowley. But as I've told Alan to his face, his ideology is hurting his analysis. You have to have some kind of objectivity in life if you want to be taken seriously.
Nearly 15 years ago when I started "The Factor," I told you that I would give you the truth as I know it and that I would back up what I say with facts. We have done that once again with coerced interrogation. However, it is not a tool to be used lightly. Only the president should be able to order it. But it can and has worked. And in this case, Usama bin Laden is dead partly because of it.