Severin on abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib: "[W]e treated them essentially to a week in Las Vegas"

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On MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, nationally syndicated talk-radio host Jay Severin criticized President Bush for calling the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal "a mistake," stating: "[W]e took terror prisoners, and we treated them essentially to a week in Las Vegas. I have to pay good money to have that done to me."

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During an interview on the May 31 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, nationally syndicated talk-radio host Jay Severin criticized President Bush for calling the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal "a mistake," stating: "[W]e took terror prisoners, and we treated them essentially to a week in Las Vegas. I have to pay good money to have that done to me." Severin added of Abu Ghraib: "I didn't see anything that equates with torture being done in Abu Ghraib. ... [E]xplain to me what it is that was so terrible at Abu Ghraib, but the facts don't matter anymore, you know, they walked around naked. Big deal." Severin also stated that Mexican immigration to the United States is an "invasion" from a "joke country," adding: "[L]et's also take advantage of their expertise on those other things for which they're so well known. Let's help ourselves. Let's ask them about drinking water, diarrhea, food, clothing, music, language, education, culture. We have so much to learn from them, if, of course, you live in Bangladesh."

Additionally, Severin chastised Bush for calling his "dead or alive" statement about Osama bin Laden "a mistake." Severin called on Bush to "be a man. You're the commander in chief, not the fruit in chief. Don't apologize to people for speaking tough in a time of war." Imus responded: "Boy, you're right about that." Later in the show, Severin appeared to echo Imus's characterization of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) as "Satan." Severin also called former Vice President Al Gore "the biggest loser on the face of the earth."

Later, after being asked why he initially supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Severin falsely claimed that all Democratic presidential candidates supported the war: "There isn't anybody who ran for the Democrats, I don't believe, certainly not including their nominee, who didn't believe that going in [to Iraq] -- going in -- was the right idea." In fact, several Democratic presidential candidates, including Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Rev. Al Sharpton, and former Sen. Carol Mosley Braun (IL), opposed the war, and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean disagreed with the resolution giving the president authority to go to war.

Severin, whose radio show is syndicated by Westwood One, is also a contributor to MSNBC's The Situation with Tucker Carlson and a former Republican political consultant who worked for the presidential campaigns of George H.W. Bush and Pat Buchanan. As Media Matters for America has noted, Severin has a history of controversial comments, including a suggestion he made on April 5, 2004, about how to deal with Muslims in the United States: "I think we should kill them."

From the May 31 edition MSNBC's Imus in the Morning:

SEVERIN: Did they ask him if he's made mistakes? OK. Last week, "Did you make mistakes?" He's with [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair. One mistake. "Yeah. Abu Ghraib." OK, there's a good one. We took terror prisoners, that's a big mistake.

IMUS: When he can't even pronounce the place, he made the mistake.

SEVERIN: That's a big mistake. We took terror prisoners, and we treated them essentially to a week in Las Vegas. I have to pay good money to have that done to me. I didn't see anything that equates with torture being done in Abu Ghraib, but it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The template right now of the media in this country and around the world is, this Marine massacre, if it occurred, is the worst thing that's happened since Abu Ghraib. Someone still explain to me what it is that was so terrible at Abu Ghraib, but the facts don't matter anymore, you know, they walked around naked. Big deal. The other mistake to which the president admitted was "talking tough." He was essentially begging [TV talk-show hosts] Oprah [Winfrey] and Doctor Phil [McGraw] to forgive him for speaking like a man because he said "wanted dead or alive." I mean, you know, be a man. You're the commander in chief, not the fruit in chief. Don't apologize to people for speaking tough in a time of war. This guy is clueless.

IMUS: Twenty-three till the hour. Boy, you're right about that.

[...]

IMUS: I think he [New York Times columnist Frank Rich] suggested that the Democrats should consider Al Go-- [laughing] -- I can't even say it -- Al Gore for '08.

SEVERIN: It's great. It's too much to hope for. I agree. They give up on Satan, they stop Satan worship, and they say, "OK, let's look for the remedy. We got it. The biggest loser on the face of the earth." This will be great.

IMUS: That's what I thought.

SEVERIN: I mean, there is a God if this guy runs. Global warming? They should stick it in his pants, global warming. Let it start with him. Let him warm up a bit.

[...]

SEVERIN: What we've got here is not immigration, we've got invasion. As a matter of fact, [Mexican] President [Vicente] Fox is, I believe, is going to give his victory speech this morning. You'll probably be breaking away to carry that live. So here we are proposing to consult -- the United States of America is now proposing to consult a foreign country -- in this case, a joke government from a joke country -- about whether or not and under what conditions we can protect our borders. And I say, let's also take advantage of their expertise on those other things for which they're so well known. Let's help ourselves. Let's ask them about drinking water, diarrhea, food, clothing, music, language, education, culture. We have so much to learn from them, if, of course, you live in Bangladesh.

[...]

SEVERIN: There isn't anybody who ran for the Democrats, I don't believe, certainly not including their nominee, who didn't believe that going in [to Iraq] -- going in -- was the right idea.

Posted In
Government, Justice & Civil Liberties, Detention, Interrogation, National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Jay Severin, Don Imus
Show/Publication
Imus in the Morning
Stories/Interests
Al Gore, 2008 Elections
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