On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, during the show’s "Talking Points Memo," FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times and NBC News, presumably referring to MSNBC hosts like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, accusing them of having "damaged their own country in a disgusting display of propaganda and outright lies" by "convincing the world that the USA is a nation of torture, a country that sadistically inflicts pain on both the innocent and the guilty." O’Reilly further attacked the "insane call for fishing expeditions to find something that will lead to prosecuting the President and Vice President," and added that he "despises, despises those who, in the name of ideology, want to weaken the country, putting us all in danger," and charged that doing so would be "un-American."
O’Reilly then hosted a discussion with FNC military analyst retired Colonel David Hunt and, to argue the liberal point-of-view, FNC analyst Bob Beckel, and Hunt contended that he had used "coerced interrogation" in the past that had "saved guys' lives."
BILL O'REILLY: You yourself used coerced interrogation in the field, did you not?
RETIRED COLONEL DAVID HUNT: Yeah, twice. ... I did it twice. I'm not proud of it. It was necessary. I'm glad we did it. It saved guys' lives. We found out what we wanted.
O’Reilly went on to call the U.S. military, with Hunt’s agreement, "the most restrained military in the history of warfare in this Iraq conflict."
Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Wednesday, January 14, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC:
BILL O’REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. Tearing the country apart over the Bush-Cheney anti-terror policies, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
The far left media has succeeded in convincing the world that the USA is a nation of torture, a country that sadistically inflicts pain on both the innocent and the guilty. Well, these people at the New York Times and NBC News should be very proud. They've damaged their own country in a disgusting display of propaganda and outright lies. It all began with Abu Ghraib. The story featured more than 50 times on the front page of the New York Times. The abuses at Abu Ghraib were revolting and unacceptable. The soldiers that committed those crimes shamed their country and their uniforms. That is the truth.
But where was the perspective, ladies and gentlemen? 99 percent of American military people have performed brilliantly under tremendous pressure. There has not been a fighting force in world history that has been as restrained under enormous pressure as our military has been. But does the world understand that? Yeah, mistakes were made at Guantanamo Bay and other places while suspected terrorists were being interrogated. And every one of those mistakes should be examined, but those things happen in every war by every nation.
Again, the far left press is treating America like a pinata, whacking it at every opportunity because they don't like Bush and Cheney. Now, there's an insane call for fishing expeditions to find something that will lead to prosecuting the President and Vice President. Again, this is poison, a destructive act toward America. Bush and Cheney protected Americans after 9/11, and they did it fast. So mistakes were inevitable. But they stopped the killing on American soil, did they not? To his credit, President-elect Obama wants no part of the radical left jihad to tear the country down. He says he's looking forward. And that is the smart thing to do. But "Talking Points" despises, despises those who, in the name of ideology, want to weaken the country, putting us all in danger. As loyal Americans, we owe the benefit of the doubt to leaders in the time of war. And both Bush and Cheney say flat out they did their duty.
GEORGE W. BUSH CLIP #1, FROM CNN’S LARRY KING LIVE: We don't torture.
BUSH CLIP #2: You capture Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, he's the guy that ordered the September 11th attacks. And we want to know what he knows in order to protect the United States of America. And I got legal opinions that said whatever we're going to do was legal.
DICK CHENEY, FROM FNC’S SPECIAL REPORT WITH BRIT HUME: And we were very careful in terms of how we proceeded to make certain that we had the authority that was needed to do what we did. The idea at this stage that you'd go back and try to prosecute somebody for that, I think is not sound.
O'REILLY: It's also un-American. Finally, all Americans want the economy fixed, and their families kept safe from terror killers. That should be Obama's primary focus. Those who continue to run this country down, and divert attention from those things should be condemned by the rest of us, condemned. And we're going to name names coming up in the future, ladies and gentlemen. It's going to stop right now. And that' s the "Memo." Now for the top story tonight, reaction to this. Joining us from Washington, Democrat and Fox News analyst Bob Beckel. And from Boston, Fox News military analyst Colonel David Hunt. All right, Colonel, how do you see it?
RETIRED COLONEL DAVID HUNT, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think that there are six or seven cases where we actually tortured somebody. And I think it was necessary at the time. I think the problem is that we didn't admit to it. And all the problems have come up now. I think we should take a look at how we fought this war the last seven years, not to prosecute, but to learn how to fight it better. My complaint has been competency, not the legality issue. We're in a war. Bad things happen at war. Not a lot of them have happened in this war. But our problem has been the way our government has approached some of those mistakes.
O'REILLY: Okay. You yourself used coerced interrogation in the field, did you not?
HUNT: Yeah, twice. I-
O'REILLY: No, you don't have to go any further than that. You don't have to go any further.
HUNT: Yeah, I did it twice. I'm not proud of it. It was necessary. I'm glad we did it. It saved guys' lives. We found out what we wanted. It’s something-
O'REILLY: Would you do it again?
HUNT: Yeah, I would.
O'REILLY: What would you think about somebody wanting to put you in jail for what you did?
HUNT: I think that's the way that the country, both these cases, by the way, I had to turn myself in. The point is-
O'REILLY: But you weren't prosecuted. And you didn't, you weren't on the front page of the New York Times?
HUNT: No, no, not the, those were a long time ago. But what I'm trying to get at, I'm not the story here. The truth, what happened is, happening is that's the danger you take when you're in the field making decisions. But usually, always to save somebody else's life, your guys.
O'REILLY: Okay, but you are the story. You are the story because you were trying to protect American lives. And you did what you felt you had to do. And you say you'd do it again. And you did prevent deaths from happening, okay?
O'REILLY: That is the story, Colonel. That's the story. Is it not, Mr. Beckel?
BOB BECKEL: Well, first of all, look, we don't need to go back through what happened at Abu Ghraib and the rest of these things, and Guantanamo. The Bush administration's own person, this woman Crawford decided that there was, in fact, torture at Guantanamo. She's not going to prosecute these people. But look, the question now is, looking forward, does prosecuting people after the fact help or hurt in future conflicts of protecting the country? My point about it is, look, I'm a very liberal guy. I don't like what happened, but I don't think it's necessary for us to think about prosecuting George Bush or Dick Cheney. I will, however, say that if you make the determination that you cannot protect Americans, which they clearly did, and take steps which are clearly beyond the Geneva Convention, then let's not be a part of the Geneva Convention. Simply say we can't do it.
O'REILLY: I don't disagree with you. I don't disagree with you. And I said to President Bush when I talked to him last time, I pushed him hard. And you guys may remember that. And what exactly are you guys doing in the name of the American people? You need to tell us. And Bush told me no, I'm not going to give the enemy the advantage of knowing what we are capable of doing in interrogation. That was his answer, but I pushed him hard on it. But you, Bob Beckel, when you hear Congressman Conyers, others in the Democratic party say, oh, we've got to go now and investigate all these people, and if they did anything wrong, put them in jail. What do you say to Congressman Conyers?
BECKEL: Well, what I say to Congressman Conyers is we got a lot of things to worry about here. And one of the things we got to keep in mind is the people making the decisions, writing the legal briefs on this thing, were people, frankly, like Gonzales who wasn't competent to do it, were people around Dick Cheney who were doing it for their own means. But I'll tell you what I would do. I'm not being trite about this. If I were Barack Obama, I would issue a pardon to George Bush and Dick Cheney and say-
O'REILLY: No, I wouldn't do that because that implies from Obama that they did something wrong. And I think-
BECKEL: Well, they did, though. No, but they did. But they did.
O'REILLY: No, that's a matter, that’s a matter of debate. And it has not been proven that they broke any laws at all. So I'm not buying that for a minute. Now, Colonel Hunt-
BECKEL: Well, but-
O'REILLY: Colonel, wait a minute, wait a minute. Colonel Hunt?
O'REILLY: Aren't I right when I say that the far left press in this country, led by the New York Times and NBC News, has convinced the world that the U.S. military are a bunch torture people, we’re a bad place, and it's indiscriminate chaos in this area. Aren't I right in saying that?
HUNT: Well, the New York Times, you know what you get. They have not been helpful. They've been derogatory towards soldiers.
O'REILLY: No, all right, but Pakistan doesn't know what we get with them. See, our image has been damaged in the world by these liars over there.
HUNT: It's true, but they've been, the problem though, it’s true, the other part is it’s those lies are being fed by government officials with clearances who should know better. And then the Times and others have reported them. It has not helped us in the war on terror at all. There's no question.
O'REILLY: Isn’t it insulting, isn't it insulting, Colonel, to the military, to have that perception about them, when I believe they're the most restrained military in the history of warfare in this Iraq conflict. Isn't it insulting?
HUNT: Yeah, it's been a great military. They've conducted themselves extremely well. And in a court, it's absolutely insulting-
O'REILLY: All right.
HUNT: -and I talked to the guys in the field-
O'REILLY: Good, I'm glad you agree with me on that.
BECKEL: Can I ask-
O'REILLY: No, no, no. Bob, you can't ask anybody anything, but I am going to give you the last word. I got 20 seconds. Go.
BECKEL: My last word is that we still have the fact that the general counsel to the Army under Ronald Reagan has made a determination that there was torture. And somehow or another, without punishing people who had, under difficult circumstances, had to do things, we need to get this clarified so in the future people know what they're doing, it’s legal or not legal.
O'REILLY: Bob, it happened one time, according to that woman, one time. Okay, Bob, it's not across the board. We're not a terror nation.
BECKEL: I didn't say it was. I did not say it was.
O'REILLY: Okay, one time! One time! All right, gentlemen, I'm getting a little emotional, so I got to pull back now. And we thank you very much. We'll have more on this with Dennis Miller coming up.