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Bloodthirsty O'Reilly on the "War on Terror"

“I don’t give them any protection. I don’t feel sorry for them. In fact, I probably would have ordered their execution if I had the power.”
Bill O’Reilly, on prisoners held at Gitmo

Crooks and Liars has the video.

As Think Progress notes, the U.S. has more than 500 foreign detainees at the prison known as “Gitmo” in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Since we are in the middle of Bush’s War on Terror (last week, Rumsfeld gave it a moniker change — “global struggle against violent extremism,” but more on that below), these men have suffered abuse and mistreatment have also been denied legal counsel. This has gone on for four years now and only four have been accused of a crime, and military prosecutors recently charged those trials have been rigged.

O’Reilly’s bloodthirsty rant meshes quite nicely with yesterday’s call for racial profiling by two NY elected officials. When the “terrorist” in question can be perceived as the “other,” it’s easy to go from profiling, to religious hate crimes (which have soared in London since the bombings), to endless detentions based on no evidence, and worse.

Cowboy mouthing off by types like O’Reilly (and the President for that matter) lead to vigilante justice, from the angry citizen, up to the military, and even to government-endorsed abuse (thanks Alberto Gonzales; that Geneva Convention just doesn’t apply to us). O’Reilly’s enthusiastic participation in building hysteria is morally bankrupt and does nothing to make anyone safer, it just makes it easier to vent anger and frustration unfairly, and criminally against the “other.”

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This is all in the name of the “War on Terror” — which by the way, is back on as the official slogan of this endeavor. Bush said so. Five times yesterday in a balls-out speech in Grapevine, TX at the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting. [Just so you know, it was here that Dumbya also picked up his Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award for “advancing the fundamental Jeffersonian principles of free markets and limited government” — try not to choke on that one.]

President Bush publicly overruled some of his top advisers on Wednesday in a debate about what to call the conflict with Islamic extremists, saying, “Make no mistake about it, we are at war.”

In a speech here, Mr. Bush used the phrase “war on terror” no less than five times. Not once did he refer to the “global struggle against violent extremism,” the wording consciously adopted by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials in recent weeks after internal deliberations about the best way to communicate how the United States views the challenge it is facing.


Rummy was snapped back into line by his boss.

In recent public appearances, Mr. Rumsfeld and senior military officers have avoided formulations using the word “war,” and some of Mr. Bush’s top advisers have suggested that the administration wanted to jettison what had been its semiofficial wording of choice, “the global war on terror.”

In an interview last week about the new wording, Stephen J. Hadley, Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, said that the conflict was “more than just a military war on terror” and that the United States needed to counter “the gloomy vision” of the extremists and “offer a positive alternative.”

But administration officials became concerned when some news reports linked the change in language to signals of a shift in policy. At the same time, Mr. Bush, by some accounts, told aides that he was not happy with the new phrasing, a change of tone from the wording he had consistently used since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

…On Wednesday, in its efforts to hammer home the point that the “war” phraseology was still administration policy, the White House sent e-mail messages to reporters after Mr. Bush’s speech with some excerpts of an address delivered Tuesday by Mr. Rumsfeld. In that speech, Mr. Rumsfeld backed away from the new language he had been employing in recent weeks.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding