Politics

O’Reilly defends torture: ‘Look, if it were illegal, Bush and Cheney would have been arrested.’

Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly has always been one of the most outspoken defenders of torture, declaring there’s “certainly no proof” that “mistreatment” ever happened at Guantanamo, and insisting it’s “just bull” to say it’s ineffective to “dunk [someone] into water.” Trying to link abortion (which is legal) and torture (which is not) in an argument with Juan Williams last night, O’Reilly insisted that torture must not be illegal since Bush or Cheney were never arrested:

WILLIAMS: Well, let me just say on the second point about Guantanamo Bay, Bill, that when you think about torture, torture is illegal. It’s illegal on the Geneva Convention. It’s illegal under U.S. law. So torture is illegal. […]

O’REILLY: Juan, you’re hiding behind semantics and meaning, Juan, rather than getting to the crux of the matter. Look, if it were illegal, Bush and Cheney would have been arrested. You’re sitting authorities, the attorney general ruled waterboarding was not torture. It was legal. Rare occasion it was used.

Watch it:

Of course, the Justice Department O’Reilly trumpets was hardly an independent legal authority. Indeed, as then-deputy attorney general James Comey wrote in a 2005 e-mail expressing his concerns about torture, “everyone seemed to be thinking as if they still work at the White House and not the United States Department of Justice.”

Transcript:

BILL O’REILLY: So Juan, can you explain liberal support for late term abortions, the condemnation of things like Guantanamo Bay? Does it make any sense to you?

JUAN WILLIAMS: Well, Bill, let me just say I thought that was a really important talking points memo. And I want to be very specific in the way I respond to you. And let me just say specifically it’s largely a matter of the law. If you think about Dr. Tiller and about late term abortion specifically, it’s legal in this country. And that includes the mental health provision that you said, you know.

O’REILLY: No, it’s not legal, it’s illegal.

WILLIAMS: It’s viewed to be casual.

O’REILLY: It’s illegal in 36 states, Juan. It’s not the law.

WILLIAMS: Not in Kansas. It’s not in Kansas where Tiller was practicing medicine. And obviously, you know —

O’REILLY: All right, but look, look, Juan.

WILLIAMS: — he was abiding by the law of the state.

O’REILLY: — you can dance the law dance all day long.

WILLIAMS: Okay.

O’REILLY: And laws are passed by.

WILLIAMS: The second thing to say.

O’REILLY: Laws are passed by men, okay. Okay, laws can be.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

O’REILLY: — vote, they can be passed. But I’m talking about American citizens screaming about Guantanamo Bay, branding their country as a torture nation. Yet when Dr. Tiller’s evidence is presented right to them, they look away and they don’t care. Juan, that’s the liberal state right now, not all, but that’s what the liberal media’s throwing out there. And I just don’t understand it, man.

WILLIAMS: Well, let me just say on the second point about Guantanamo Bay, Bill, that when you think about torture, torture is illegal. It’s illegal on the Geneva Convention. It’s illegal under U.S. law. So torture is illegal. So you can’t say you know what, we think it’s a good thing.

O’REILLY: Juan, you’re hiding behind.

WILLIAMS: — you think you’re right when you say there’s an overstatement.

O’REILLY: — semantics and meaning, Juan, rather than getting to the crux of the matter. Look, if it were illegal, Bush and Cheney would have been arrested. You’re sitting authorities, the attorney general ruled waterboarding was not torture. It was legal. Rare occasion it was used.