Sunday, May 22, 2005

Kill-Crazy Bill

Bill O'Reilly has now publicly fantasized about murdering Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Michael Kinsley. So, just for the record, we never ever have to listen to him talk about a need for civility or politeness in public discourse ever again. I'm just saying...

But before we get into the most recent example of Billy O making an enormous jackass out of himself, let's take a look at the perfectly sane Kinsley-supported editorial from last week's LA Times. It's a short piece about the whole Newsweek-flushing of the Koran-Muslim outrage story.

The Times position is that the Newsweek thing doesn't really matter, and what's important is that the Muslim world is perfectly ready to believe such a thing to be true. Probably because it's totally true. So we need to get to a place where Muslims trust Americans enough to not riot every time our name is mentioned. And, folks, we're a long way off. Right now, a portrait of Amerigo Vespucci is enough to start a massacre over there.

This is not to say that Newsweek's article was correct; after apologizing for it on Sunday, the magazine retracted it on Monday. And the use of anonymous sources, on which the Newsweek article relied, raises questions of motivation and credibility that news organizations (including this one) ignore at their peril. But the story hardly tarnishes all news coverage of the war, as the administration, and much of the conservative media, would have you believe.

Actually, now that you mention it, the Newsweek article was correct. They retracted it because it relied on an anonymous source who has since wavered on his account, but there are numerous other documented accounts of US soldiers abusing the Koran as an interrogation tool. It's not great PR for us, but at least no one gets hurt, except Allah, and that guy's tough so he can probably take it.

To be perfectly honest, I'd much rather hear about psychological interrogation techniques relying on debasing a holy book rather than the actual physical torture (and, oh yeah, homicide) that goes on at Gitmo and went on at Abu Gharib.

Although I think we'd be better off doing neither. And not keeping people in prison for years without any proof of actual wrongdoing.

The United States has already been convicted in the court of world opinion for its treatment of its prisoners, and that's the administration's fault, not Newsweek's. Shutting down Guantanamo and giving suspected terrorists legal protections would help restore our reputation abroad. Crowing over Newsweek's mishap won't.

So, that's the entire LA Times article. Doesn't seem that outrageous to me. In fact, I quite agree. We should shut down Guantanamo. That says to the Arab world that we have heard their outcry and are responding. That we're not monsters who want to torture and kill them in the name of Christianity, but a slightly confused people with bad leadership who want to at least try to do the right thing here. I'm not saying it would solve our problems by any means. Nothing we do is going to make Syrians and Iraqis love us and greet us with hugs and decorative fruit baskets like Rumsfeld promised us before this miserable military misadventure. But taking our abuses of their human rights seriously for a change couldn't hurt.

Apparently, Kill-Crazy Bill of Fox News doesn't agree with this point of view. He's more of the "kill everything with a beard within a 5,000 mile radius" perspective. From Media Matters, taken from Bill's May 17th broadcast of The Radio Factor:

Go to I want everybody in the country to read this editorial, 'cause it just -- I mean, you'll be sitting there pounding the table like I did. How can they -- how can they think this way? How can anyone think this way? You know, "Shutting down Guantànamo and giving suspected terrorists legal protections would help restore our reputation abroad." No, it wouldn't. I mean that's like saying, well, if we're nicer to the people who want to KILL US, then the other people who want to KILL US will like us more. Does that make any sense to you? Do you think Osama [bin Laden] is gonna be more favorably disposed to the U.S. if we give the Guantànamo people lawyers?

See what Bill does? He combines Osama bin Laden with the political prisoners we're holding without trial at Guatanamo Bay into an analogous group of enemies that want to KILL US. So, therefore, anyone arguing that these prisoners have any rights wants to grant Osama bin Laden additional rights!

But of course, this is bullshit. We're torturing these people and we know a whole lot of them, most of them even, are innocent.

Don't believe me? Check out this article from the New York Times on May 20th. It's about the death of an Afghan prisoner named Dilawar, a 22 year old taxi driver from Bagram.

The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.

See, Bill O'Reilly thinks that's great. After all, this guy, Dilawar, he's a criminal, right? He wants to murder American babies and drink their precious bodily fluids, right?

At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

"Leave him up," one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.

Okay, wow, that's pretty harsh. But still, we've got to get this Dilawar bastard. He's a terrorist, folks. He spreads terror. And, I don't know if you've heard, but freedom's on the march.

Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.

Oh, man. It's hard to even read this story. And this isn't some isolated incident. There are thousands of people being held at Guatanamo and at numerous other prisons throughout the US-occupied Middle East, and even other Middle Eastern nations that do our torturing for us, like Syria.

But, hey, it's all good as far as Billy O is concerned. I mean, their Middle Eastern, right? This 22 year old guy from Afghanistan just trying to make a living by driving a taxi around, he was probably gonna do something anti-American eventually. You know what I'm saying?

Here's a bit more from the demonic mind of Bill O'Reilly, still ranting about that LA Times piece:

I mean, but this is what they're saying. It is just -- you just sit there, you go, "They'll never get it until they grab Michael Kinsley out of his little house and they cut his head off." And maybe when the blade sinks in, he'll go, "Perhaps O'Reilly was right."

Yeah. That would be Bill having an intricate, detailed homicidal fantasy live, on the radio. He's suggesting that, in order for Michael Kinsley to understand the threat facing America from dirty, dirty Arabs, he'd have to be...beheaded.

You know, I always knew Billy was an idiot and a blowhard. But now, I think he might actually be a dangerous sociopath.

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