The Ed Show for Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
Guests: Bob Shrum, John Nichols, Malcolm Nance, Mike Papantonio, E.J.
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans. And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.
Tonight, President Obama continues to get some heat from some liberals for killing Osama bin Laden. I got something to say about that.
And there is also breaking news tonight on those pictures of the dead terrorists.
And CBS News is citing a U.S. official who says the intelligence gathered from the bin Laden raid is yielding new leads at a rate of one per hour.
And those House Republicans still refuse to honor the military for their bravery in taking down public enemy number one.
And there are rumblings in Wisconsin.
This is THE ED SHOW. Let‘s get to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, that‘s not who we are. You know, we don‘t trot out this stuff as trophies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ (voice-over): Well, now, the CIA is allowing some in Congress to view the photos of a dead bin Laden. What about the families of the 9/11 victims?
The latest right-wing lie about torture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS: Navy SEALs and Special Forces are waterboarded during their training. I‘m sure you know that. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
O‘REILLY: They don‘t say it‘s torture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: We‘ll talk to the guy who wrote the book on Navy Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape training, about all of that.
And Republicans playing politics with national security. You will not believe their latest filibuster in the Senate.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for joining us tonight. Lots coming up on the program.
And this is the story that has me fired up first tonight: I think House Republicans are acting almost like they hate the troops. They can‘t stand the success under President Obama. House majority leader Eric Cantor announced the House will not—will not hold a vote on a resolution honoring U.S. troops and the intelligence community for the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
The Republicans are hiding, you see, behind a new rules package they passed when they took over the House back in January. And Cantor has said, “As we consider that last week, we deal with the rules we‘ve put in place in the House and we‘ve said since we assumed the majority that we would, you know, want to do substantive and meaningful stuff.”
What could be more meaningful than the way our intelligence community worked and the way we got Osama bin Laden? The fact of the matter is: this is another classic example of how when it‘s advantageous for them, politically, the Republicans will do whatever they have to do—wrap themselves in the flag, we support the troops, do everything they possibly can to sell Americans that they are the party of national security and that really loves America a heck of a lot more than the liberals do.
The fact of the matter is: if they want to hide behind this phony rules deal that they‘ve got, look, they bent the rules on the NPR vote. They bent the rules on the budget vote. And now, they won‘t do it for the troops because it would probably go into the record that President Obama was the commander-in-chief.
And, you know, conservatives are not the only ones who need an attitude adjustment on bin Laden‘s death. Some liberals, they are upset that bin Laden got a bullet in the head instead of a trial. The president thinks they need their head examined.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Justice was done. And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn‘t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: What a great sound bite.
Now, from time to time, liberals, you know, we end up in the locker room going at it. You know, we got to duke it out this time. I‘m going to duke it out just a little bit with Michael Moore. He thinks America has lost part of its soul?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: They kill him. But what I‘m saying is they didn‘t kill him because there was some kind of firefight or something going on. They went with the intention to kill him. That‘s an execution and—or assassination, whatever you want to call it.
And I think—I think, look—like I said, I‘m glad he‘s gone, but I—I just feel something has—we‘ve lost something of our soul here in this country, and maybe I‘m just an old school American who believes in our American judicial system, something that separates us from other parts, other countries where we say everybody has their day in court no matter how bad a person, no matter what piece of scum they are, they have a right to a trial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, first of all, Michael Moore, who I do respect, he‘s done some great things for the progressive liberal movement in this country—he is factually wrong. There was no clear intention to kill Osama bin Laden.
Last night, “The New York Times” reported two teams of specialists were on standby. One to bury bin Laden if he was killed and a second team that was composed and made up of lawyers, interrogators, and translators in the case that he was captured alive.
Now, let‘s get back to the soul comment for just a moment. First of all, did President Obama show our soul by not bombing the compound and protecting innocent lives that should have not been taken? He chose the riskiest path to get this mission completed whether Obama decided to try to kill Osama bin Laden or if he wanted to take him alive.
The SEALs are highly trained. Are we just going to diss them and say that they‘re not trained enough to be able to make a determination when they are in danger? Let‘s show some soul to them.
And, also, how would this have played out politically? Because, eventually, all intelligence gets out, that if we knew that Osama bin Laden was in that compound and if President Obama had not acted, what do you think the Republicans would have done with that? Think they would have taken any votes? Maybe a vote on impeachment.
The fact of the matter is the intellectual liberal hand-wringing needs to stop in this country. People who voted for President Obama had to know he was willing to go anywhere at any time to take out the world‘s number one terrorist.
The president promised it weeks before the 2008 election. The key word in this sound bite is “kill.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What I‘m saying is we are going to encourage democracy in Pakistan, expand our nonmilitary aid to Pakistan so that they have more of a stake in working with us, but insisting that they go after these militants. And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out.
We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Did he say that we will kill bin Laden? Liberals, that‘s the guy you voted for. If you have a problem with President Obama, it‘s your fault for not paying attention to what the heck he was saying about national security and fighting terrorists around the globe. He said that if the Pakistani government was not willing or if they were unable and unwilling that he would go in and get the job done and he used the word “kill.”
The White House is making no apologies for the way they handled this operation. Here‘s Jay Carney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We understand the uniqueness of an operation like this, but we make no apologies for the fact that Osama bin Laden needed to be found and brought to justice and that‘s what we did.
And the president—this was not—this was not a surprise to anyone who has followed what the president‘s views are on this issue for many, many years. He said back during the campaign, and took a lot of heat for it, when he suggested that if he as president had actionable intelligence on bin Laden‘s whereabouts in Pakistan, he would go in and bring bin Laden to justice. And so—and he said that repeatedly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Said it repeatedly. And he used the word “kill.” There should have been no surprise.
Where was all the criticism? Oh, we can‘t kill Osama bin Laden. What we have to do is bring him back to the United States.
He was killed in a war setting. He was killed in a military operation.
There were arms all over the place.
And you know what? Just as an American this time, I‘m going to side with the SEALs. If you investigate the SEALs, you‘ll find that they are highly-educated, highly-trained, highly-sophisticated, they know their job, and they have to make split-second decisions.
And they have a hell of a soul. They are the soul of our country because they will sacrifice when called upon. They did the mission.
It is wrong for us, I think, as Americans, to even think that we would go so far to go in and murder someone.
And I think the case could be made that—so what? He was the number one terrorist on the face of the earth. Thousands of Americans were killed because of it, and he was planning to kill again, and he was killed in a military operation and I know we have to be compassionate for his family.
But I think his family is overboard tonight, as well. Osama bin Laden‘s son Omar is now in the act. He said that the bin Laden children reserve the right to take legal action in the United States and internationally to, quote, “determine the true fate of our vanished father.”
Now, Omar, let‘s have a talk here tonight. Come to New York and visit with the families of the victims. You‘ll find some stories about vanished dads. You‘ll find stories about vanished moms and firefighters and cops and heroes and citizens who are absolutely innocent on that day. They vanished.
We know what vanishing is about, and we also know what determination is about, and the rule of law in war, and this was a war setting.
The United States didn‘t ask for this war at all. And it is wrong, I think, for anyone on the globe to think that we‘re wrong in our judgment here. Justice was served.
Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight‘s question: Did President Obama handle the bin Laden mission correctly? Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639, and you can always go to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com. And comment there. I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining us now is a Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and professor at New York University.
Bob, good to have you with us tonight.
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here, Ed.
SCHULTZ: Is this kind of liberal criticism and hand wringing that‘s taking place—is this why the Democrats often lose the debate on national security? What do you think?
SHRUM: Well, we have lost the debate on national security sometimes I think because of what you talked about earlier, Republicans wrapping themselves in the flag when it‘s convenient.
This in my view represents a very fringe viewpoint. Not only did the president say during the 2008 campaign we were going to go out and kill him, John Kerry used the word “kill” during the 2004 campaign. There are a lot more things to worry about in the world than the fact that Osama bin Laden was brought to justice.
Look, he could have thrown himself on the floor. He could have unambiguously surrendered. That team you referred to would have him in custody right now.
But those SEALs had the authority to make a decision about the circumstances, about the danger, about resistance, about whether he was going to try to escape, and they should have had that authority and they used that authority.
And, frankly, I agree with you. I don‘t think anybody has any right to question them.
SCHULTZ: I think we can speculate how the Republicans and the righties would play it up if this happened on their watch with their commander-in-chief in there from the Republican Party. How does President Obama handle this moving forward politically? Should it even be talked about?
SHRUM: Well, I think it will be talked about. It‘s one of the biggest events of our time. So, it‘s going to be talked about.
But what impresses me about the way the president conducted himself in this is he was entirely nonpolitical about it. He took a risky approach that was a more sensible approach because if you had just bombed the place, you wouldn‘t know, necessarily, whether you ever got bin Laden. So he had the courage to take the tough decision to do this with a raid and the SEALs had the courage and the skill to pull this off in a really extraordinary way.
SCHULTZ: What do you think of the bin Laden family—the fourth son speaking up tonight the way he did?
SHRUM: Oh, blah, blah, blah. I don‘t think anybody cares. I don‘t think anybody is going to pay attention.
I wonder how the son felt about the 3,000 people who were killed on 9/11, including many Muslims. I think Osama bin Laden was the greatest mass murder walking the face of the earth.
And I think the president is exactly right. You have to have your head examined if you‘re worried about him being brought to justice.
SCHULTZ: Are you surprised the president used that vernacular in that sound bite?
SHRUM: No. I think it—I think it‘s a way to communicate at a level that‘s visceral and emotional, that people really understand. And, by the way, I suspect those words just came to the president. I don‘t think they were planned in advance.
You know, today not only did Michael Moore weigh in on this, but I guess Rosie O‘Donnell did, too. And she compared what the SEALs did to what bin Laden did on 9/11.
To use a word she used, I think that‘s a monstrous comparison. It‘s totally unacceptable. I don‘t think that‘s what liberals believe. I don‘t think it‘s what progressives believe. I think it‘s what a very small fringe believes.
SCHULTZ: But this is why I‘m doing the story tonight because those two people that you mentioned can garner a great deal of publicity and, yet, they will paint a lot of liberals in a corner that they might be speaking for a lot of people and, of course, the right wing, they will grab on to comments like that and drive it home on the Democratic Party. Your thoughts?
SHRUM: Well, maybe Michael Moore ought to go out and do another movie on what‘s wrong with the health insurance industry. That‘s fine with me. I don‘t think he is a foreign policy expert. I don‘t think he could bear the weight that the president did sitting in that Situation Room with Tom Donilon, with Secretary Clinton, with Secretary Gates, with Panetta, making some very, very hard decisions.
And as the president said and I was quite moved by it when I heard him on “60 Minutes,” the longest 40 minutes of his life as that raid went on.
SCHULTZ: Bob Shrum, thanks for your time tonight.
SHRUM: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Good to have you back with us here on THE ED SHOW.
Remember to answer tonight‘s text question at the bottom of the screen. I want to know what you think.
Coming up: the bin Laden death photos. They are off limits to the public, but not to certain members of Congress. And Senate Republicans block a major national security post of President Obama.
Stay with us. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: And coming up next on THE ED SHOW: the bin Laden death photos will be released, but only to select members of Congress. I‘ll talk to John Nichols of “The Nation” about that latest move.
And later, Wisconsin Democrats get one step closer to recalling some of the union-busting state senators. And Republicans are feeling the heat, they‘re getting so desperate they‘re trying to rig the election. That story is coming up.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
Well, it turns out that the death photos of Osama bin Laden will be released after all, but only to a few select members of Congress. Senators serving on the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees will be able to make an appointment to see the photos at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. In fact, a viewing room has been set up for that very purpose.
Joe Lieberman says he‘ll be one of the senators heading over to the CIA. He tells “Politico” that seeing the photos will provide some type of closure.
This comes just days after President Obama decided to withhold the photos from the general public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence, as a propaganda tool. You know, that‘s not who we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: But last week, three Republican senators claimed they already saw the photos, including Scott Brown of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SCOTT BROWN ®, MASSACHUSETTS: Let me assure you that Osama—that he is dead. That bin Laden is dead, and I have seen the photos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Well, nice try, Senator. The trio of Republicans later acknowledged they were duped by the magic of Photo Shopping and had fallen for a fake bin Laden photo.
Time now to call in Washington correspondent of “The Nation,” John Nichols.
Great to have you with us tonight, John.
Only a select few. What about the families? Did they deserve the option to see these photos in your opinion? And is this another misstep if one can be called that?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, look. The president‘s making a lot of tough calls and I respect that he‘s wrestling with this one. But the fact of the matter is that we don‘t need our intelligence committee to be a priestly class, Ed. They—we shouldn‘t hold them so high above the rest of us that they get to look at photos and get to have closure when other folks are not allowed that option.
This is a silly choice. If you‘re going to start to set up a situation where people who feel a need to examine those photos are given a chance to do so, simply because they hold a political office, I don‘t see any reason why you shouldn‘t share the photos with other folks.
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, the question comes up. Why does Scott Brown and Joe Lieberman think that they should see the photos and people who were really affected by 9/11 losing loved ones would not have the opportunity to see them? Does this cause a problem?
NICHOLS: I think it does cause a problem and it‘s also unrealistic. At the end of the day, Ed, I agree with Dan Metcalf, who is the former head of information and privacy issues over at the Department of Justice. He said that, ultimately, these photos are going to come out, just as the photos of many dead folks over the years that people have tried to hold on to come out.
I think playing games with it now saying some senators can look at it, but other people can‘t, is just inappropriate. It‘s a much wiser choice to at least release the photos to the families, to let the families have access and take a look at them. And, frankly, at the end of the day I don‘t see a big problem with letting these photos come out in general for viewing by anybody who wants to.
SCHULTZ: “Associated Press” has filed a Freedom of Information Act request. Other journalism organizations plan on doing the same. This is standard operating procedure.
I mean, once a few Americans see them, whether they‘re in the Congress or not, this is pretty natural to see unfold. Don‘t you think?
NICHOLS: I think it really is, Ed. And remember, why it should unfold. The fact of the matter is that our elected officials—our senators, our members of Congress, even the president, they‘re not superior to us. They happen to hold positions that are powerful.
NICHOLS: They have some authority.
But at the end of the day, they, too, are—they‘re our equals. And if they have the stomach, if they have the strength to look at those photos, I think the American people do as well.
SCHULTZ: John, isn‘t this a moment of explanation for the White House and the CIA? I mean, those requests by the journalism organizations and the “A.P.,” they could be denied and that could open up a whole new can of worms and these problems just compound. And Leon Panetta had said previously that the photos would be released before the White House made the decision not to release them.
Is this some kind of compromise that‘s going on between the two?
NICHOLS: Well, I think, yes, it is a compromise, Ed. There is no doubt of that. But it‘s a bad compromise.
You know, one of the arguments that‘s being made is that if you release these photos, somehow it‘s going to gin up a lot of anger in the Arab or Muslim world. Frankly, I think that‘s disrespectful to the Arab and Muslim world.
These people are not going to be ginned up by a photo of a dead Osama bin Laden. They know he‘s dead.
NICHOLS: And the fact of the matter is, they‘ve moved forward to the “Arab Spring.”
SCHULTZ: But—you know, it‘s interesting that Senator Lieberman used the word “closure.” You know, I didn‘t lose a loved one in the towers or at the Pentagon. But if I did, I think that I would feel entitled to see them just like any senator or any other lawmaker.
And I would feel like it would be an unfair situation. It would just seem to me that the administration should come out and say, look, eventually, we‘re definitely going to make these available. Right now, we‘re not going to.
But the way it seems to be setting up now is that—oh, gosh, you‘ve got to be in Congress, you‘ve got to be an elected official, you‘ve got to be deemed really special to see these photos. I think this really is lowering the bar. What do you think?
NICHOLS: I just think not only is it lowering the bar, Ed. It‘s also—it, again, sets up the situation where our elected officials become a priestly class. They become this superior group of people and they‘re not. They are our elected officials. We have chosen to give them this power and this authority.
If we were talking about information on troop movements, if we were talking about information on genuine and immediate threats—yes, I can understand secrecy.
But this is a photo of a dead man and, frankly, it‘s a photo that there are a lot of Americans who would like to see it, not for prurient reasons, but because this traumatized a country. And it‘s not inappropriate for people to say, I‘d like to be sure this trauma is done.
SCHULTZ: I think that this speaks volumes as to how some elected officials view themselves, that they are far more important than the general public, and they are an elitist bunch. If I were in the Senate, I‘d be real quiet about this one and not too anxious to see them unless it was made known the general public was definitely going to have access to these photos.
John Nichols of “The Nation”—great to have you with us tonight. Thanks for joining us.
Barack Obama‘s presidency may have achieved greatness with the operation that killed Osama bin Laden but there is still much to talk about. We‘ll do that with the panel at the end of the hour tonight.
Senator Chuck Grassley whines about the president‘s deputy attorney general and helps to block his confirmation? You mean we‘re back to that? How‘s that for national security?
Stay with us. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: For the first time in history, never happened before, the president‘s choice for deputy attorney general has been blocked by the Senate. Sounds like Republicans are throwing a temper tantrum again. That‘s next.
President Obama gets Osama bin Laden. But not without some criticism, of course. We‘ll ask E.J. Dionne and also Mike Papantonio to weigh in on the total operation and moving forward. You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Thanks for staying with us tonight. Now that the right wing has had their butts handed to them on the national security issue, about who can make the right calls and when, here is a list of the BS that they are desperately trying to push out to the public. They say that the Justice Department should drop its prosecution of CIA interrogators from the Bush years.
But the Obama administration said two years ago that they won‘t go after any interrogators who were acting on legal advice at that time. The right also keeps saying that waterboarding, well, it‘s not torture. And they say the Obama administration is still—well, they‘re taking too much of a law enforcement approach to terrorism.
So what are the Senate Republicans going to do about it? They‘ve actually blocked President Obama‘s choice as deputy attorney general. His name is James Cole. Mr. Cole is serving in that role right now as a recess appointment by the president. But, of course, his tenure will expire at the end of the year if Republicans don‘t stop playing politics.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, a Democrat, said “for the first time in history, a nominee to serve as a deputy attorney general, a key national security position, is facing a partisan filibuster.”
But the top Republican on that committee, Chuck Grassley, said, “I‘m seriously concerned about Mr. Cole‘s views on national security and terrorism.”
It just never stops, does it? Let‘s bring in counterterrorism intelligence expert and former master instructor and chief of the training at the Navy‘s SERS School, Malcolm Nance. SERS means “survival, evasion, resistance and escape.”
This man wrote the book. Great to have you with us tonight.
MALCOLM NANCE, FORMER NAVY SERS SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR: Good to see you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: President Obama just made the call to take down Osama bin Laden. And Republicans Are throwing a temper tantrum by blocking the confirmation of the deputy attorney general. What do you say about that?
NANCE: You know, Ed, I live in the Middle East. And every time I come back to the United States, there is always something that raises my eyebrow. Today, I have to think, what is going on back here? You are politicizing one of the top officials who is responsible for the security of the United States, particularly with regard to counterterrorism.
We don‘t have time for these games. We have now just kicked over the hornet‘s nest by killing bin Laden. A lot of revenge attacks are probably being planned even as we speak. But we have key people who aren‘t even in the position to defend this country.
SCHULTZ: Republicans are saying Mr. Cole takes too much of a law enforcement approach to terrorism. What‘s your response to that?
NANCE: That is very interesting because the Rand Corporation, at the U.S. government‘s request, did an analysis of how terrorist groups end. Terrorist groups end predominantly in two ways; 43 percent of the time they end through political reconciliation; 40 percent of the time they end through law enforcement and intelligence actions of the same type that we saw—hybrid that we saw in Pakistan against bin Laden.
Only 10 percent of the time do they ever end in a military victory.
SCHULTZ: Plenty of the talkers on the right say that the CIA interrogators from the Bush years should not be prosecuted. What do you think?
NANCE: Well, as an intelligence professional, I believe that they‘re operating under orders. These orders at the time were lawful. The president of the United States has already said he is not going after the interrogators.
I believe there does need to be a reconciliation process at least within the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to find out how did they process these orders and what did they do after they were given them? Did they exceed them or not? So we could make sure this never happens again.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Nance, I want you to listen to the sound bite from O‘Reilly‘s program last night on this issue. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You just made another mistake. Navy SEALS and special forces are waterboarded during their training. I‘m sure you know that. OK?
They don‘t say it‘s torture.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes they do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Are they waterboarded in their training?
NANCE: You know, some may because waterboarding is actually no longer done. It‘s not been done since this controversy broke out in 2005 when we found out that the people who were being trained had their template taken, a template written in blood of dead service members, and turned into a torture program.
If they‘re given that training and they are exposed to that, that‘s called stress inoculation. That‘s so that when an enemy who has no regard for laws or rules captures them and tortures them, they have some ability to resist that. But they are not tortured in the same way that the enhanced interrogation technique program is.
SCHULTZ: Are SEALS trained to waterboard.
NANCE: No, not—not all. And I believe none are now at this time.
SCHULTZ: Liz Cheney keeps saying that if the United States captures anyone else as a result of the treasure trove from bin Laden‘s compound, we don‘t have an effective way to interrogate them.
NANCE: You know, that‘s absolutely amazing. I find that—you know, it appears that Ms. Cheney has adopted sadism as some form of religion. This is not the way the intelligence process works. This may have delayed by five or six years us actually getting the critical information that we needed to actually find that compound.
They found it through good intelligence work, not through torture.
SCHULTZ: Take us through that night when the operation took place and you heard that it had been completed. And the SEALS‘ Team Six was there. What went through your mind?
NANCE: Well, I was rather surprised that it was Devgru, as opposed to the Delta Force. But I was very proud. As a sailor—as a former sailor, I just think that‘s absolutely fantastic.
SCHULTZ: Why did that surprise you?
NANCE: Because These are the two special missions units which are responsible for taking down the highest value targets. The SEALS obviously had the rotation at this time. It was their chance to go and do it. And I think that they handled it brilliantly and excellently. And this is how—the United States owes them a great debt of gratitude for doing their mission.
SCHULTZ: They‘re highly trained. Are they well educated? There are so many stories floating around. They‘re Rambos or whatever. I need to clear this up with—you wrote the book, the red book. Tell us about it.
NANCE: This is absolutely amazing, but SEALS are some very highly intelligent people. The special forces process, the Naval special warfare process and the special forces schools brings these people to understand and respect the cultures that they‘re in, the people they‘re working with, and then help them process that and give them the intelligence that they need to go into a foreign nation and either train the indigenous force or carry out a door kicking mission.
When it comes to executing extreme violence, they‘re the best in the world at that. But before they do that, as some of the—some of my students have asked me in the past—they say, hey, before I go through that door, I want to know all about the culture. I want to know all about the people. And I want to know how they‘re going to operate.
How are the children going to behave? How are the dogs going to behave?
But when I go through that door, how is the terrorist going to behave?
SCHULTZ: Tremendously disciplined people.
NANCE: Highly analytical people.
SCHULTZ: Interesting. Malcolm Nance, great to have you with us tonight.
Thanks so much. You bet.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his buddies in the state legislature are following up on their assault on union by targeting voting rights. Big story in the Badger State. We‘re right back.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for staying with us tonight. We‘re going to continue our discussion of political consequences of the death of Osama bin Laden shortly with E.J. Dionne and Mike Papantonio. They will join me in just a moment.
But first, Wisconsin. There is some sneaky, underhanded action going on in the Badger State. I want to tell you about it. First of all, folks, it‘s going to be a long, hot summer. OK?
Governor Scott Walker and other Republican leaders are so scared about losing control of the Senate, the legislature, they‘re trying to rig the recall elections. Tomorrow, the Wisconsin Assembly will take up a voter I.D. bill requiring people to show a driver‘s license or other state issued identification at the polls.
This is a strategy Republicans are pushing in state houses across the country. It‘s pretty much I think a sleazy move to disenfranchise folks who generally vote for Democrats, like college students or poor folks, lower income people, minorities, and seniors.
Hold it right there. We as a people are creatures of habit. So messing with the habits—come time to vote, which is always so easy, just putting that little wrinkle in there certainly will say to a lot of people, you know, I guess I‘m not going to vote this time.
One Wisconsin Democratic lawmaker has pointed out that 175,000 senior citizens in his state do not have a driver‘s license -- 175,000. You think that‘ll make a difference? It‘s razor‘s edge in that state.
But Republicans only care about staying in power, so you see what they‘re doing? They are fast tracking the voter I.D. bill. They amended it yesterday to make sure it takes effect before the first recall election.
How slick they are. And there‘s a reason why they‘re rushing. Wisconsin election officials now say Democrats have enough signatures to hold recall elections on four Republican state senators. Remember, Democrats only need three. That‘s all they need to do is pick up three seats to take control of the Senate and turn back a radical Walker agenda.
Republicans are so desperate to maintain power, they‘ve abandoned the whole idea of fiscal responsibility. You see, this voter I.D. bill will cost the state 5.7 million dollars just to implement. And Governor Walker of course is saying that he will sign it, even after spending the last four months screaming at the media about how the state is broke and they just don‘t have the money.
I love Wisconsin. I love this story. I love the people in that state because they are so passionate. And it‘s just the Republicans playing every card they can to beat back the workers of that state.
I have done town hall meetings around the country recently. I was in Asheville, North Carolina. Today in Washington, D.C., I spoke to the Aerospace and Machinists Union, an organization there.
When I bring up Wisconsin, wherever I go, the place erupts. The country is watching this story, because they know fundamentally what it is all about. It‘s about attacking the workers. It isn‘t about anybody‘s budget.
And the fact that Walker will just quickly sign this off and have no concern about the kind of money it‘s going to take to implement is proof positive of what they are really all about. As I said at the top, it‘s going to be a long, hot summer and we will be in Wisconsin when these recall elections and the count unfolds.
Osama bin Laden is no longer walking the Earth. But second guessing is alive and well. The triumph and criticism and the future. Mike Papantonio and E.J. Dionne join me next here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. We‘ve been talking throughout the show tonight about the fallout from killing Osama bin Laden, what it really means. The fallout, it just keeps coming. CBS reporting tonight that there are more leads that are coming out by the hour.
Let‘s bring in “Washington Post” columnist and senior fellow at the
Brookings Institution, E.J. Dionne, and also the host of “The Ring of Fire
Radio Show,” Mike Papantonio,
Gentlemen, good to have you with us tonight. Let‘s talk about Osama bin Laden and the raid and the legal wrangling that is going on by some liberals in this country and how they‘re struggling with it. The killing of Osama bin Laden, there is some liberal hand wringing as I said.
But, Mike, you‘re an attorney. Were we on legal solid ground to do this the way we did it?
MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What the president pulled off was clearly legal. It was an act of national self-defense. Bin Laden was no different than any other enemy commander in the field. He was an indicted international criminal, for God‘s sake.
Look, all the way back to Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton had a standing order to kill or capture bin laden. These people that are wringing their hands and are so upset—if they had a problem, they had a problem 14 years ago, they should have said something 14 years ago rather than bringing it up now.
SCHULTZ: E.J., what did you—yeah. What did you think of the White House reaction today? Saying that they were not going to apologize for their actions? Obviously they‘re hearing the chatter.
E.J. DIONNE, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Well, I don‘t blame them for that. First, let me say, I‘m proud I live in a country where some lefties and some libertarians can raise questions about one of the most popular military actions in our country‘s history. Thank God we‘re a free country.
But I disagree with them. You know, I‘m against the death penalty, but I believe in just war. And this was an act of war. They weren‘t—the SEALS were not expected to go in there and read Osama bin Laden his Miranda Rights.
It is absolutely true. We have been trying to get bin Laden all the way back to Bill Clinton. So they‘ve got every right to speak up but I just think they‘re wrong.
SCHULTZ: The releasing of the photos. President Obama first said he was not going to release the photos because it seemed well reasoned not to. Now there‘s a select few that will see it. How is this going to play out?
PAPANTONIO: Well, I think if anybody should see it, it should be the victims of 9/11. It does bring—look, that picture of a cold blooded fanatic psychopath killer does memorialize an end to an era, an era where we had leadership in this country that didn‘t have the ability to do what our president just did.
Seven years, they couldn‘t do it. It was a low point for America. We all felt like we were impotent, like we were weak. And what this does, it memorializes the fact that that did turn around. And at the very least, we ought to have the survivors of 9/11 have the chance to see that photograph if they want to see it.
SCHULTZ: And E.J. Dionne, when it comes to national security, the Republicans always played that card come election time. In fact, Dick Cheney said back in 2004 that if we didn‘t re-elect them, we would get hit again. How does the political dynamic play out for the Democrats on this having taken out bin Laden on a Democrat‘s watch?
DIONNE: You know, I think this really is huge. It doesn‘t mean Obama has guaranteed his re-election. The economy is still probably going to matter most. But it really changes the way first Obama is looked at. A friend of mine who‘s a Democrat today said he was on the verge of being Cauterized. No one now can compare him to President Carter.
I say that with respect to Carter. But no one can call him weak or indecisive. He did this thing. And this is so powerful symbolically. I think people saw a side of President Obama they didn‘t expect to see. So this really I think means Americans will never quite look at President Obama the same way again. And that has a political effect.
SCHULTZ: E.J. I‘ll ask you again. Why in the world would the Republicans refuse to hold a vote honoring the SEALS and the intelligence community, when they‘ve already broken their rules on a number of issues?
DIONNE: You know, I think they made a mistake on that. They have this—they have expressed this desire not to clog the Congress with all kinds of congratulatory resolutions.
DIONNE: There is nothing wrong with that. There‘s a lot of junkie stuff that comes up. But on this one, I just wish they would say—they‘ve done things that look an awful lot like this. They ought to just go ahead and do it.
SCHULTZ: What about that, Mike? President Obama might get some credit.
They can‘t let that happen, right?
PAPANTONIO: Well, Republicans are suffering today. They have been the party that told us that they were capable of good national security. Even though they were responsible for 9/11 -- that was their watch—even though they‘re the people who failed to read that August 13th memo that said bin Laden was going to attack the United States.
So they‘ve always been able to tell this lie to the American public that they‘re the party that can best protect this country. So right now, they‘re suffering. They‘re having to live through the obvious. And that is they really weren‘t that party that could keep this country safe. They were the party that couldn‘t catch bin Laden for seven years.
And so this is a very troubling problem.
SCHULTZ: Mike, do you think that their credibility on national security has been damaged? And of course what they‘re trying to do, hold up the deputy attorney general‘s confirmation.
PAPANTONIO: I think it‘s as damaged on national security as it was—as it has been on the economy. Look, they‘re out of plays here, Ed. The fiscal conservative party that can solve our economic problems—they brought us into an economic abyss.
Now we find out that they‘re really not even the party that can keep us safe from the national security standpoint. They have big political problems right now. So they‘re whining. It‘s what Republicans do best when they‘re in trouble. They whine like colicky babies. They‘re trying to figure out how do they get out of all this and save some face?
SCHULTZ: Gentlemen, I have to tell you, I am struggling with lawmakers getting a chance to see these photos and yet the families are not going to have that opportunity, at least not now. Is it important for lawmakers such as Joe Lieberman to have a chance at seeing these before anyone who is really affected by 9/11?
DIONNE: You know, I didn‘t feel passionately one way or the other on this issue, to be honest. My sense is the administration made the right call that we don‘t want to look like we‘re dancing on someone‘s grave. This was a grave act. We carried it out. It was justified. We didn‘t need to brag about it to the world.
And I think Congress does need access to it. It‘s part of keeping Congress informed about intelligence operations. But yeah, I think we should also let the people who lost folks at 9/11 see them, too. I bet they can do that.
SCHULTZ: And quickly, Mike, Omar bin Laden says that they may take legal action internationally based on the U.S. action. What do you make of that?
PAPANTONIO: Yeah. Well, good luck with that.
PAPANTONIO: I got to tell you something, that is a stretch of the imagination.
SCHULTZ: All right. E.J. Dionne, Mike Papantonio, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
Tonight in our text survey, I asked did President Obama handle the bin Laden mission correctly? Ninety eight percent of you said yes; two percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, we‘d like to take you to our new blog at Ed.MSNBC.com and our new position on satellite, Sirius and XM, channel 127, noon to 3:00, Monday through Friday.
“THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now. We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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