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Bill O'Reilly & Sen. Lindsey Graham - Part II: "Cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment is different than torture."

Reported by Marie Therese - January 13, 2006

After the commercial break during yesterday's O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly quizzed Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina about torture, which is one of O'Reilly's favorite obsessions, especially water boarding.

O'REILLY: Do you believe the Bush administration has ordered torture

GRAHAM: No, I do not.

O'REILLY: Then why, why are we talking about torture? And why has this become, now in many circles, an accepted reality that the Bush administration orders torture? Why has that happened?

GRAHAM: Well, because if you say it long enough, it becomes reality. The critics of the Bush administration are trying to suggest that our country has engaged intentionally in interrogation techniques that violate the torture statute. We've had individuals who engaged in techniques and activity that were a crime under the - under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There was a memo by Mr. [Jay] Bibey in the Attorney General's office early on, after 9/11, suggesting a very odd interpretation of the torture statute. That kind of started this.

[N.B. That memo is more commonly referred to as the Yoo memo, after the name of its co-author John Yoo, also employed by the Justice Department.]

GRAHAM: But no, I have seen no evidence that our country has authorized as a body the use of torture. And I hope we never do.

COMMENT: Notice how the trained lawyer herein leaves wiggle room for himself. The words "as a body" fudge the question of INDIVIDUAL responsibility. If it's proven later that a high-ranking individual authorized torture, Graham can always say that he meant the administration as a group rather than individually.

GRAHAM: I'm a military lawyer. I'm now a military judge. I respect the Geneva Convention. And I reject the torture of enemy prisoners in our charge because it will affect us down the road.

O'REILLY: Is there a difference in your mind between torture and coerced interrogation because some people ...

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Some people ...

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: ... believe that any kind of, you know, deprivation ...

GRAHAM: Right.

O'REILLY: ... of sleep, light, noise...

GRAHAM: Right.

O'REILLY: ...water boarding...

GRAHAM: Right.

O'REILLY: ...all of that stuff that the CIA describes as coerced interrogation, they say is torture.

GRAHAM: Well, we're throwing words around. And you're the first person to make that distinction. Torture has been a crime long before the McCain amendment that I supported. We ratified the Convention on torture under the Reagan administration, making it a crime to torture people.

Cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment is different than torture. Coercion is different than cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. Keeping people up, stressful, physical, and psychological activity are acceptable means of interrogation. Always has been. Always will be.

COMMENT: I beg to differ with the Senator. We in America did not consider such techniques as "acceptable" when it was the crew of the Pueblo or the men in the Hanoi Hilton or POW's in WWII and Korea who were subjected to these very techniques. I can't remember the name of the movie - it starred William Holden. He played an American soldier, captured in the Korean War, who was shown undergoing the techniques mentioned above. It was clearly presented as TORTURE in the movie. Such despicable behavior is still TORTURE today, but I guess that's only if it's our guys who are on the receiving end. Mr. Graham forgot to draw that fine legal distinction in his commentary. Whatever respect Sen. Graham garnered in the first days of the Abu Ghraib scandal has long since evaporated. He's proving himself to be nothing more than another heel-clicking Achtung! Republican.

O'REILLY: Acceptable in the military? Because they're not acceptable in criminal ...

GRAHAM: When it comes to getting information from a, from a prisoner, we have techniques in the civilian world where you can go to the guy and say, "Your friend just told us you did it."

O'REILLY: Yeah, you - you can use subterfuge.


O'REILLY: But you can't put him on a board and put him in - under water.

GRAHAM: No, right, right.

O'REILLY: I mean, I'd throw the case out of ...

GRAHAM: Right. That's exactly right. That's exactly right.

O'REILLY: There's a difference between military justice and ...

GRAHAM: You can't do that in the military. You cannot physically abuse a troop. But the water boarding ...

O'REILLY: Well, the water boarding thing, you know.

GRAHAM: Yeah, I don't know about that. The CIA is alleged to have done that. But in the military, I would advise any commander not to go down that road, 'cause you'd violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

O'REILLY: I think we have to define - I think we have to define what's OK and what isn't.

GRAHAM (shaking his head): That's exactly right.

O'REILLY: Last question, do you believe that captured terrorist suspects not in uniform ...

GRAHAM: Right.

O'REILLY: ... not fighting for their country ...

GRAHAM: Right.

O'REILLY: ... are entitled to Geneva protections?

GRAHAM: No. They are not entitled to Geneva Convention protections because it's reserved for people playing by the rules. An enemy combatant - an illegal combatant - is someone who is engaging in unlawful warfare. They are entitled to humane treatment under our convention against torture under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but they should not be treated under the Geneva Convention because it would weaken the Convention. They would be getting a right they haven't earned. And I support the President when he says they're not qualified under the Convention. It would erode the Convention.

O'REILLY: Alright. So if you capture one of these guys, then it's military justice, military courts for them.

GRAHAM: Absolutely. In World War II, we had six saboteurs land on our shores, who shed their uniforms. They were Germans - American citizens. They were tried by the military. That's where they should be tried.

O'REILLY: That's right.

GRAHAM: And enemy terrorists should be tried by the military at Guantanamo Bay.

O'REILLY: All right, senator, I agree with you. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

GRAHAM: Thank you.


A fearful, cowering America has lost its soul and gone over to the Dark Side.

There's laughter in hell and tears in heaven.

What else can I say?

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