23 April 2009

Shepard Smith speaks out

Those of you who only watch the "Obama channel" (MSNBC) may not know Shepard Smith, who is a news anchor for FOX News. This week he has offered his own viewpoint rather vehemently on the subject of torture. The piece embedded above is brief and to the point. On another occasion when the discussion turned to whether torture is effective, he had this to say:
"We are America, we don't torture! And the moment that is not the case, I want off the train! This government is of, by, and for the people -- that means it's mine. That means -- I'm not saying what is torture, and what is not torture, but I'm saying, whatever it is, you don't do it for me! I want off the train when the government starts -- I want off, next stop, now!"
(via The Daily Dish)

Addendum: I didn't realize that the above was distributed only as a webcast. It was not part of the cable television news programming.


  1. Well said. I've had the "ends justify the means" argument too many times with my more conservative friends and Shep says what I always say.

  2. I know I'm going to catch a lot of flack for this, but America does not torture people. The real problem here is that we all have a different concept of what torture is. I personally do not consider waterboarding to be torture. I believe it to be a harsh interrogation technique that happens to work in extreme cases. The two individuals that our interrogators waterboarded both survived...unharmed. I've been told that waterboarding is actually psychological in nature, rather than physical. So where do we draw the line? I've been told that CIA agents also played Red Hot Chili Pepper tunes over and over again, and even THIS yielded results. Is THAT torture? What about exposure to fuzzy (non-toxic) caterpillars? Is that torture?

    I would be the first in line to demand our government stop torturing prisoners, even in ticking time bomb scenarios...if they were actually doing it.

    So why is waterboarding torture? Does it do permanent harm? No. Does it even do temporary harm? No. So why are people objecting to it? I watched a youtube video of a group of protesters offering to waterboard bystanders in front of the White House during the Bush Administration. The Protestors told volunteers that they would continue the procedure unless they spoke a certain word. In every case the person said the word almost immediately, was released, then walked away.

    Seemed damn effective to me.

  3. Just answer one question for me, please. Is it ok with you if other countries or regimes waterboard American soldiers or captured American citizens from whom they wish to obtain information?

  4. I'll give you a little more flak - from the Republican presidential debate period: Republican presidential candidate John McCain reminded people Thursday that some Japanese were tried and hanged for torturing American prisoners during World War II with techniques that included waterboarding.

    "There should be little doubt from American history that we consider that as torture otherwise we wouldn't have tried and convicted Japanese for doing that same thing to Americans," McCain said during a news conference.

    He said he forgot to mention that piece of history during Wednesday night's Republican debate, during which he criticized former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney after Romney declined to publicly say what interrogation techniques he would rule out.

    "I would also hope that he would not want to be associated with a technique which was invented in the Spanish Inquisition, was used by Pol Pot in one of the great eras of genocide in history and is being used on Burmese monks as we speak," the Arizona senator said. "America is a better nation than that."

    Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/29/politics/main3554687.shtml

  5. Stan,

    I am well aware of John McCain's position on water boarding, and God knows that he, out of any of us, has the right to say that water boarding is torture. The abuses he suffered at the hands of the Viet Cong were beyond rational, but were done for sadistic purposes, rather than for gathering intelligence.

    Your question of whether or not I would approve of other countries water boarding our soldiers or citizens is a fallacious argument (and I think we've had this argument before over at my blog). How far do we take it? Would I rather other countries not be allowed to use bullets to shoot at our troops? Of course! In a perfect world, our troops would have real guns and Al Queda, Iran, and Iraq and America's enemies would all have guns manufactured by Nerf. Winning would be easy, and probably less bloody.

    But we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world where madmen want to hijack our airplanes and fly them into highrise buildings, or attempt to bomb our embassies. I'm not advocating taping electrodes too genitals, or strapping someone down and letting bamboo grow THROUGH them, or even needles under the fingernails. Saddam's thugs would hold a man down and blind his one year old child while he screamed his innocence. I'm not advocating acid baths while the flesh was slowly eaten from their bones.

    Like I said before, this is a matter of opinion, and not one of substantive fact. We can all justify our beliefs. But at the end of the day, when the tallies are counted, a country that follows President Obama's US ARMY Field Guide Interrogation Procedure will be able to count the dead victims in the thousands, just like 9-11. A country that water boards just one knowledgeable terrorist about his and his co-conspirators' plans and is successful, will be able to count thousands saved...and one wet terrorist.

  6. Your calling my query a "fallacious" argument is simply a way of avoiding answering the question. I'm simply restating in contemporary terms a "golden rule" that you of all people should be familiar with - to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  7. It astonishes me to see the tenacity with which Bush followers maintain that his every deed was good and "all-American", whether it be invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, torture, firing Justice Dept. employees who were not ideologically in tune with them, and so on ad infinitum.

  8. I'm a conservative who's with Shepard Smith (and John McCain) on this as well. Unfortunately, Brian, the US lost our integrity when we opened a prison declared untouchable by the constitution (and US law). This is not the actions of a morally just government.

    Having said that, I don't think Brian really avoided answering your question Stan. His answer is, no, he'd prefer the enemy not waterboard our soldiers, just as he'd prefer they not shoot at them. In other words, war is hell, and he recognizes the fact. The "golden rule" doesn't really apply when defending yourself from an aggressor, Stan. He has already demonstrated a willingness to kill you.

    My opinion of waterboarding has to come from general consensus, as I have no direct experience with it myself, but, as a technique which WILL drown someone if applied for sufficient time, I believe it is torture (unlike playing music over and over).

    Our country should be a beacon on a hill, not a stink of sewer gas in a swamp.

  9. YOu say you're a centrist so how come you have such a liberal view of torture? You should be more balanced.

  10. Keith - I try to maintain a centrist position... on political issues. I don't consider torture to be a political item - it's not that liberal Democrats oppose torture and conservative Republicans support it. And it's not a religious thing, where support or opposition is determined by one's religion or degree of religiosity. It transcends these parameters, and my opposition doesn't contribute to defining my politics or my spirituality.


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