Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brian Kilmeade: John McCain's Personal Experience with Torture Should Disqualify Him From Speaking on the Subject

Fox & Friends anchor and radio host Brian Kilmeade made an interesting argument today on the radio show "Brian and the Judge" with Judge Andrew Napolitano. He says that John McCain should not talk about torture because he was...well...tortured. Sound crazy?

ANDREW NAPOLITANO (co-host): You may not know the name unless you live in California. Jay Bybee was a professional researcher for the Justice Department when he authored the principal of -- the main one -- of the torture memos.

President Bush awarded him by appointing him to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. That's the level of appellate court just below the Supreme Court. He was appointed to the 9th Circuit, which covers the western third of the United States.

There's a lot of pressure on Jay Bybee -- on Judge Bybee, now, because these memoranda, which obviously were not known about under -- during the time of his confirmation came -- came out.

Here's what John McCain had to say about it yesterday.

JOHN McCAIN [audio clip]: A resignation would be a decision he would have to make on his own, but he falls into the same category as everybody else as far as giving very bad advice and misinterpreting fundamentally what the United States is all about, much less things like the Geneva Conventions.

Plus, under President Reagan, we signed a agreement against torture. We're in violation of that.

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Oh, come on. Number one, we all know John McCain is not a lawyer; this guy is. Number two, Judge, you knew at that time, this is --

NAPOLITANO: This is your guy, John McCain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, now. Come on.

KILMEADE: No, he's not my guy. I like John McCain. I respect him. But there's a lot of issues I don't understand. Plus, he should not be allowed to talk on torture because he is clearly somebody who went through unspeakable pain and punishment --

NAPOLITANO: You mean, he shouldn't be allowed to talk -- he has an opinion like everybody else. He represents the state of Arizona.

KILMEADE: But he was tortured. He was tortured. And --

NAPOLITANO: Therefore, his views on torture are --

KILMEADE: -- are skewed.

NAPOLITANO: -- irrelevant because of what happened --

KILMEADE: -- are skewed.

NAPOLITANO: -- in 'nam? I think his views are particularly telling because he's been through this kind of thing.

KILMEADE: But what do you think he's going to be -- pro-torture --


KILMEADE: -- after he's been through it?

NAPOLITANO: Of course, he's not going to be pro-torture.

KILMEADE: And plus, I don't think this is torture. And they don't subscribe to the Geneva Conventions. We had this debate in 2002. You were on our set -- you were on constantly saying, "Look, they don't -- right -- the way the courts look at it right now, they do not fall under the Geneva Conventions." And that was what they were going under.

NAPOLITANO: I never said they didn't fall under the Geneva Conventions.

dday's reaction to this piece sums it up nicely:

Kilmeade's belief that nobody should be allowed to have an opinion backed up with experience or knowledge tracks perfectly with the conservative movement, on a variety of subjects. We shouldn't listen to scientists on climate change, or health professionals on health care, or weapons inspectors on Iraq. The plural of data is not anecdote. Nobody with an informed opinion can possibly be dispassionate. Reality has a well-known liberal bias. This is simply a distilled form of that worldview.

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