Ed. Note: This was written before the news of the release of four American hostages from Iran, but after the sailors were released.
Just when you think the right-wing “patriots” can’t go any lower in putting their hatred for President Obama and Iran over any pleasure and relief that 10 U.S. sailors were quickly released unharmed from Iran, along comes an O’Reilly Factor guest who says we should have let them remain as hostages forever, rather than apologize for our own provocative behavior.
To give credit where it’s due, Bill O’Reilly was the voice of reason in this discussion and he was unabashedly supportive of the sailors’ safety – something that has been sadly missing from other Fox News pundits’ rhetoric. But the fact that O'Reilly was “balanced” by two anti-Iranian hardliners, rather than even one person overtly advocating for the Obama administration’s actions, shows he and his producers know on which side their bread is buttered.
O’Reilly began by noting that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had said there were “navigational errors” that led two U.S. boats 50 miles off course into Iranian waters. “How could two small US Naval vessels go 50 MILES (his emphasis) off course into Iranian waters?" O'Reilly asked. "That’s an error!”
Meaning, of course, he doubted that it really was an error. But, not surprisingly, the question of American spying on Iran never came up. Nor did the question of how we would treat Iranian sailors that went so far off course into our waters.
Instead, the two guests fell over themselves lamenting President Obama’s “weakness” in securing the sailors' release.
Christopher Harmer, Senior Naval Analyst for the Institute for the Study of War, complained, “We’ve accommodated Iran for so long, we’ve accommodated their aggressive behavior, we’ve accommodated their state sponsorship of terror that we are now in a position where we just don’t have as much credibility as we need…”
Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, agreed. He said the one thing not to do is what Kerry did, which was to express gratitude for the sailors’ release. “The problem is that this administration has now accepted a long list of brazen provocations from the Iranians, including the firing of ballistic missiles,” he said.
Nobody explained why, if Iran is so emboldened to take action now, it let the sailors go so speedily and without harm.
O’Reilly did, however, make the case for the negotiated release. He pointed out that Iran is already holding other Americans in prison. “If you demand and insult, maybe they hold the 10 sailors. So the Obama administration’s going to say, ‘Look, we got them out of there in 24 hours. …If we had insulted the mullahs, maybe we wouldn’t have.’ “
But Harmer would rather sacrifice American lives. “It’s better that they remain in prison forever as hostages than the United States apologize to Iran,” he told O’Reilly.
I can just imagine the response if a liberal so casually discounted 10 military lives but O’Reilly said, “Interesting.”
At least Dubowitz argued that we should “get ‘em out first” and then “crack the whip” with sanctions.
Again, O’Reilly was the voice of reason. “Re-impose sanctions? Then they’ll tear up the nuke deal,” he said. Then, after Dubowitz argued “we are fully entitled” to impose sanctions, O’Reilly added, “There’s a legal right and there’s a practical right.”
But, of course, O’Reilly couldn’t let that be seen as an endorsement of Obama. “I see what you’re saying,” he told his guests, “and I think the Obama administration has mishandled Iran from the jump. But I’m glad these ten guys are out of there in less than 24 hours and I think if you took a hard line with Iran, they wouldn’t have been.”
He was the only one to indicate such thankfulness.
“We’re gonna reap what we sow with the Islamic Republican of Iran,” Harmer said ominously, to close the discussion.
Watch it above, from the January 14 The O’Reilly Factor.
(Crossposted from Newshounds.us)