Hewitt vs O’Donnell

posted at 1:35 pm on May 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

If you didn’t get a chance to hear Hugh Hewitt dismantle MS-NBC’s Larry O’Donnell last night, Hugh made sure you have the opportunity today.  The entire transcript of the interview appears on his blog, with a link to the podcast of the 35-minute conversation.  It’s long, but well worth the time.  Here are a couple of highlights:

HH: What was the last book you read about terrorism?

LO’D: The last…I don’t think I’ve read a book about terrorism.

HH: Ever?

LO’D: No.

HH: About al Qaeda?

LO’D: No.

HH: About…how about the mullahs in Iran?

LO’D: No.

HH: I’m just stunned.

LO’D: Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve read Bob Woodward’s books about the accounts inside the Bush administration from what they were doing from the day they got sworn in, okay?

HH: You’ve never read a book about terrorism?

LO’D: There is no, there is absolutely no evidence, and I defy you today, Hugh,

HH: Larry, you’ve never read a book about terrorism?

LO’D: I defy you to point to me, point to me a citation of one memo or one meeting that Dick Cheney was in where he says anything about al Qaeda.

HH: Larry, I’ve got to go lie down. I really do. Do you think you’re a well-informed MSNBC, by MSNBC standards, do you think you’re above the grade of people on that network?

LO’D: That’s a trick question, Hugh.

He never read anything about terrorism?  Not in seven-plus years after 9/11, when he works as a political analyst for NBC?  That’s a rather amazing admission, but given O’Donnell’s statements, one that only mildly surprises, if that.

Hugh then presses O’Donnell for factual support for one of his statements, and O’Donnell crumbles:

HH: You said people have been prosecuted for exactly this. Did you mean for waterboarding?

LO’D: Yeah.

HH: Who?

LO’D: Well, we’ve done it, you know, this country has prosecuted that, that, torture method before.

HH: When?

LO’D: Um, I don’t know, what’s…I think it is was…umm, I don’t know. I…you know, I’ve…I know that we’ve done it, and I don’t have the research in front of me as to exactly when we’ve prosecuted who for it and which conflict.

In other words, O’Donnell pulled that argument from his nether regions, and Hugh proceeds to school him on mens rea and other legal niceties that O’Donnell apparently didn’t bother to research, either.  I guess O’Donnell hasn’t read any law books, either.

Be sure to read the whole interview, and listen to it when you get the chance.  It’s better live than on paper.

Update: Here’s one book suggestion for Larry O’Donnell if he wants to start learning about the issues rather than get reamed as he did last night. Anyone have any others?


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The effects of waterboarding are a sense of drowning or suffocating.

bnelson44 on May 28, 2009 at 3:37 PM

A sense yes, but it will not drown you.

Esthier on May 28, 2009 at 3:54 PM

As much as I hate Roland Burris, he PWNED the MSM yesterday much like HH did when they cornered him outside his home.

southsideironworks on May 28, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Wow ! Talk about taking a plastic knife to a gun fight. O’Donnell was completely unprepared! He PLAYS a lawyer on tv -like that gives him some sort of cred.

stenwin77 on May 28, 2009 at 3:58 PM

A sense yes, but it will not drown you.

Esthier on May 28, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Actually, you can sufficate. However the idea is they stop it before that happens.

bnelson44 on May 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Update: Here’s one book suggestion for Larry O’Donnell if he wants to start learning about the issues rather than get reamed as he did last night. Anyone have any others?

Ed, I’m not seeing a link there.

toliver on May 28, 2009 at 4:03 PM

I think turnaround is fair play. HH “got” O’Donnell to proove what a sanctimonious jerk he was. I imagine that bnelson44 would have fared much better in that interview.

The Sherriff was using water to get confessions for some crime which is illegal but is totally different than trying to find out where the next attack is going to be.

In 1968, don’t you know that we were busy cutting off ears and generally acting like Gengis Kahn. That NVA butcher was probably happy to have a little water pourd over his head.

Vince on May 28, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Ed,

Priceless! Absolutely priceless.

So, we have the guy actually admitting that he never even read:

The 9-11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official Government Edition”

For crying out loud, he can get it for free on-line! Or, plow through the Executive Summary.” Gosh, I know it’s a full 35 pages. But you can do it, Larry!

Well . . . that is, presuming he has access to a computer . . . oh, and one with Adobe Reader installed!

And although the book was mentioned above, Larry could have at least looked at what even the New York Times had to say about Lawrence Wright’s, “The Looming Tower,” and thereby have become encouraged to actually read it!

What is this guy’s educational background?

Or, was he just another Ken-doll with attitude somewhere in their broadcast system . . . similar to Olberman?

Trochilus on May 28, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Actually, you can sufficate. However the idea is they stop it before that happens.

bnelson44 on May 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM

If that were true, my statement would still be correct, and yet I’m not convinced it’s true either.

The very reason we use this is because it doesn’t kill people and doesn’t deprive their brains of oxygen.

Thing is, there are a lot of things that very closely resemble waterboarding, even using the towel, but are still very different.

I’ve read reports of soldiers from Vietnam (not sure if it’s the same one you mention) who were prosecuted for waterboarding, only the method looks nothing like what you saw Mancow go through and involved more than just pouring water over someone’s face.

Water and a towel aren’t the only qualifications.

Esthier on May 28, 2009 at 4:21 PM

O’Donnell should try Democracy in America and Liberal Fascism.

apollyonbob on May 28, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Vince,

You’re not one of those “Winter Soldier” phonies, are you? You picked that “Gengis Kahn” line from Kerry. I operated in and around the areas Kerry did. He’s a phony and a liar. I won’t say that our guys were angels, but what they did was mild compared to what the VC did.

Star20 on May 28, 2009 at 4:25 PM

I tried to find out what happened to the US soldier who received a Court Marshal for waterboarding. Since court marshaling is just the name of a process, just as impeachment is the name of a process and does not indicate guilt, I wanted to know if the soldier was found guilty.

I didn’t find anything except parroted reports.

Danno3314 sums it up:

The same thing holds true with the link to the ABC article. It says, the photo in the Washington Post led to that soldiers severe punishment…..within one month after the photos, he was drummed out of the army. OK, the photos led to him being severely punished, it doesn’t say that’s why he was specifically punished….so, is it the only thing he did to get kicked out of the army or did it lead to an investigation that uncovered other things that got him kicked out…..it’s vague…..it’s worded so that the reader makes that assumption without having to actually lie (in other words, it may be a lie of omission, it’s not clear). It also says, it was designated illegal by U.S. generals….so was it a military trial and only that was designated illegal or were other things too (and under what law…the Geneva Convention…..the U.S. Military laws and codes)….it’s vague.

I tried to research it and when I googled it to find out more about it, it’s all over the Internet but, in every case, it’s exactly the same quote from the same political science professor at Reed College…..so in spite of it being every where it says exactly the same couple of sentences from that one source (the professor) and offers no further info about what actually happened in detail. Look for yourself: [List of references.]

davidk on May 28, 2009 at 4:29 PM

If that were true, my statement would still be correct, and yet I’m not convinced it’s true either.

The very reason we use this is because it doesn’t kill people and doesn’t deprive their brains of oxygen.

It all depends on how it is done. If they let water soak the cloth to the point it is saturated and no air can come in, then, yes you can sufficate However, as you say the purpose of the torture is the sensation of a wave of water hitting your face. Your gag reflex kicks in, and your brain thinks you are drowning. It is a psychological torture.

Thing is, there are a lot of things that very closely resemble waterboarding, even using the towel, but are still very different.

Like what? The “water cure” is where they ingest large amounts of water. But no towel is placed on the face, instead the mouth is propped open.

I’ve read reports of soldiers from Vietnam (not sure if it’s the same one you mention) who were prosecuted for waterboarding, only the method looks nothing like what you saw Mancow go through and involved more than just pouring water over someone’s face.

Here is a picture of the soldier I was talking about:
http://media.npr.org/news/waterboard/vietnam540.jpg

Water and a towel aren’t the only qualifications.

Esthier on May 28, 2009 at 4:21 PM

bnelson44 on May 28, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Ed,

Priceless! Absolutely priceless!

So, we actually have the guy admitting that he has not even read:

The 9-11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official Government Edition”

For crying out loud, he can get it for free on line. Or, maybe read the Executive Summary — presuming he has access to a computer, one with Adobe Reader.

Come on, Larry. You can do it. Gosh, I know it’s 35 pages long, but just hang in there!

And I know someone else mentioned the book above, but he could have read what the New York Times had to say about Lawrence Wright’s, The Looming Tower, and he might have thereby been inspired to read it.

What is this guy’s educational level?

Or, was he just a Ken-doll type with attitude in the network structure, similar to Olberman?

Trochilus on May 28, 2009 at 4:37 PM

That’s water boarding

bnelson44 on May 28, 2009 at 3:27 PM

The prosecution of a soldier using waterboarding on the enemy, or a sheriff for using it on a suspect (whom I assume was an American citizen) is not comparable to its use on an illegal combatant as a way to prevent new terrorist attacks.

I would also like to know why, when some people who have experienced waterboarding claim it is torture and others who have experienced it claim it is not, those who believe it is not are ignored.

DrMagnolias on May 28, 2009 at 4:37 PM

davidk on May 28, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Here you go, you might have to go to a library:

The Soldier (name unavailable) was court-martialed on Feb. 28, 1968. The outcome of the court-martial was a conviction.
Sources:
- “Interogation,” Washington Post, Jan. 21, 1968.
- Weiner, Eric. “Waterboarding: A Tortured History,” NPR, Nov. 3, 2007.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15886834
- Rejali, Darius. Torture and Democracy, Princeton University Press, 2007. This is the prof from Reed college you mentioned. You might find references in his footnotes. His website is here:
http://academic.reed.edu/poli_sci/faculty/rejali/td/

bnelson44 on May 28, 2009 at 4:43 PM

DrMagnolias on May 28, 2009 at 4:37 PM

You make some good points, but they are off topic to Hugh’s conversation with Larry.

bnelson44 on May 28, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Sorry for the essentially double post . . . the first one was delayed and I thought it was lost in cyber-space.

Trochilus on May 28, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Star 20 @ 4:25

Oh my goodness no! I didn’t include the sarc tag because I didn’t think I needed to. I served in Vietnam, Pleiku, Phu Bai, Chu Lai and I never cut off ears and don’t know anyone who did!

Vince on May 28, 2009 at 4:54 PM

bnelson44 on May 28, 2009 at 4:44 PM

I understand what you mean, because it is somewhat tangential when we look at HH and LO; however, there is some discussion of the nature of waterboarding in this thread, as well as whether it should be prosecutable (or in what instances), and it was meant to relate to that.

DrMagnolias on May 28, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Oh my goodness no! I didn’t include the sarc tag because I didn’t think I needed to. I served in Vietnam, Pleiku, Phu Bai, Chu Lai and I never cut off ears and don’t know anyone who did!

Vince on May 28, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Phu Bai, Chu Lai. I was both places, for just a bit, late 1971. Had a couple of Buds both paces. No ears either. Maybe they were out of season.

MB4 on May 28, 2009 at 5:46 PM

MS-NBC’s Larry O’Donnell fabricated whole cloth as if GOP dirty laundry and got hung on the line by Hewitt. Hearing ODonnell whine that he didn’t have enough time to find substantiation for the claim HE MADE PRIOR TO THE INTERVIEW, it was an on-air moment to remember. LOL. He’d never read ANYTHING to form an opinion, but that didn’t stop him from making up a false charge. “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story” UNLESS YOU’RE ON AIR WITH HEWITT.

maverick muse on May 28, 2009 at 5:47 PM

Ok. Here is a reading list, Larry:
Start with this one

Finish up with this one.

Then do this one for extra credit.

kurtzz3 on May 28, 2009 at 6:03 PM

I’m actually stunned by the vapidity of O’Donnell.
Hugh exposed O’Donnell as being a rank, dishonest ideological hack that lacks a scintilla of intellectual curiosity.

No reading, no synthesis of ideas….just an intellectual black hole that has been papered over with talking points and a combative demeanor. What a stunning admission and beclowning moment.

O’Donnell is like an oncologist who skipped cellular biology and has yet to crack an oncology text but is somehow qualified to diagnose and treat cancer.

moxie_neanderthal on May 28, 2009 at 7:01 PM

Vince,

My bad!

Star20 on May 28, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Larry got PWNED.

I want him to go on Mark Levin’s show next.
oh please oh please oh please

stevezilla on May 28, 2009 at 9:00 PM

On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier.

I’ll give you half points; waterboarding was performed but the GI was “supervising” the procedure as performed by ARVN soldiers. What the NPR article doesn’t state is for what specific charges was the soldier tried? Was it for the waterboarding itself, or another crime related to the incident rather than the procedure?

landshark on May 28, 2009 at 9:20 PM

The entire liberal Defeatocrat ilk, from the apex of their food chain right down to the bottom feeders, tucked all nice and neat into a tiny little nutshell. Right. Friggin’. There.

Awesome catch. Awesome post, Ed.

SilverStar830 on May 28, 2009 at 10:09 PM

Looming Tower
Stealth Jihad
Shadow World
The Persian Puzzle (not really about jihad)

baldilocks on May 28, 2009 at 11:29 PM

He claims to have read Bob Woodward’s book. There’s an intellectual giant. Right up there with Kitty Kelley.

SKYFOX on May 29, 2009 at 7:46 AM

The Soldier (name unavailable) was court-martialed on Feb. 28, 1968. The outcome of the court-martial was a conviction.

If he was prosecuted for this, it was because he wasn’t authorized to do it….the same way people are prosecuted for practicing medicine when they aren’t authorized to do so. So, in LO’s world, we should be prosecuting doctors simply because non-doctors have been prosecuted in the past.

xblade on May 29, 2009 at 2:02 PM

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