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Democrat Lanny Davis Wants To Legalize Torture

Reported by Ellen - May 9, 2011 -

Add Democrat Lanny Davis to the Fox News Torture-A-Go-Go club. It’s bad enough that Bill O’Reilly and his fellow Fox News pundits keep promoting torture and even suggesting that it’s immoral not to torture, but Democrat Lanny Davis did his part to legitimize the practice by arguing last week (5/5/11) on The O'Reilly Factor that torture should be legalized.

Sadly, Fox News contributor Leslie Marshall, a former News Hounds Top Dog, seemed more interested in threading the needle with her positions than in offering any unbridled, muscular and full-throated advocacy against such hideous rhetoric. Compare her measured responses to the unequivocal rejections by Juan Williams, Alan Colmes and even Shepard Smith.

Speaking of Colmes, O’Reilly was still obsessing about his fiery debate with Colmes on the subject. “We want to stay away from the valley of theory, that’s not a good valley to be in,” O’Reilly condescendingly lectured Marshall, who nodded compliantly – as if O’Reilly can prove that Osama Bin Laden would not have been captured were it not for torture. Then, to Davis, O’Reilly said, “You know what The New York Times said today, you know what Alan Colmes said on this broadcast – they absolutely, simply refuse, no matter how overwhelming the evidence, to cede the point that the Bush administration policies of coerced interrogation did help this nation.”

There's ample evidence that O'Reilly is wrong but somehow Marshall, who had seemed ready to delve into the effectiveness of alternative techniques until O'Reilly intimidated her with "valley of theory" talk, never got to it. You’d think that if O’Reilly felt so confident about his theory (there, I said it and I don’t take it back!), he wouldn’t feel the need to keep harping on this particular disagreement. After all, he and Colmes disagree on most political matters and O’Reilly lets it go once Colmes leaves the set.

Davis’ only concern seemed to be legality – well, and sucking up to conservatives.

We have to give credit to George Bush and those that use these techniques for getting information that directly or indirectly led to the death of Osama Bin Laden. I don’t think there’s any way to deny that. I have also written doubts about violating written law against torture and we’re between a rock and a hard place. But we have to give credit where credit is due. George Bush’s enhanced interrogation techniques as well as the terrorist surveillance program – both of which I had legal doubts about – were effective in the killing of…

O’Reilly was so obviously gratified by these two liberals – one directly validating him and the other not putting up any kind of difficult challenge. He magnanimously offered that he had “no beef” with any legal questions that “can be debated in law schools around the country.” No, his main concern was, evidently, the support for torture – legal or not.

O’Reilly took another swipe at “people on the left,” including the New York Times, who don’t care whether or not it’s effective, “even if it does save American lives.” He then cited Dennis Miller’s “brilliant” comment that “it’s immoral if you don’t” use torture.

Of course, universal health care would save American lives, too, but somehow O'Reilly doesn't get worked up about those lives. One might think that O’Reilly likes the idea of torturing people.

Davis cited the ridiculous “ticking time bomb” theory – and never mind that no ticking time bomb has applied to any of the “enhanced interrogation” cases to date. But Davis took the extra step of trying to push Marshall into accepting torture by asking if she’d support it to find an atomic bomb. Davis added, “Of course, the moral answer is ‘Yes.’ So there’s no clear answer here other than if we want to allow this, we ought to make it lawful and not put CIA agents at risk with an ambiguous situation.”

O’Reilly liked that idea. He thought Congress should pass a law authorizing the president to make that decision “to order these kinds of techniques” in a national emergency “and then list the techniques.”

Unfortunately, Marshall, when asked if she’d support such a law, didn’t point out that Davis had cooked up a phony-baloney hypothetical to promote something immoral and un-American. Instead, she said meekly, “I guess it would depend on who the president is, to be honest with you, Bill. I fear the slippery slope.”

But that wasn’t enough sucking up for Davis. “The one thing I would suggest to my friend, Leslie, and fellow Democrats is this is not the moment to take cheap shots at George Bush or the Bush administration.”

Did you hear anyone take a cheap shot at the Bush administration? I didn’t. But I did hear O’Reilly take a cheap shot at The New York Times, the left and Colmes – and Davis didn’t seem to mind a bit.



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