It’s a sure sign that sultry summer has given way to frenetic fall when “The View” erupts in a partisan debate led by right-leaning Elisabeth Hasselbeck vs. whoever.
In this case, “whoever” was the filmmaking firebrand Michael Moore, who clashed with Elisabeth Wednesday over the way in which the United States eliminated Osama bin Laden. Moore said he would have preferred it if we’d captured the terrorist kingpin and put him on trial. Not unreasonably (or so it seemed to us), he likened such a trial to the war-crimes trials that were held following World War II that prosecuted Nazis who participated in the Reich’s mass murders and, in so doing, exposed and recorded their crimes for posterity (and also punished the perpetrators).
Elisabeth would have none of it, however. She made the argument that, when the Nuremberg trials took place, World War II was over. That’s not the case with the worldwide war on terror, she said. Moore disagreed, though, insisting that the U.S. war against terrorism is over, for all intents and purposes (unlike his case for a bin Laden trial, his line of thinking on the ongoing war was more difficult for us to agree with).
“We have built a whole homeland national security apparatus, spending billions of dollars of our money on something that has nothing to do with the real threat,” said Moore, who appeared on “The View” to promote a new memoir called “Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life.”
He then got to the point he was trying to make about a bin Laden trial (a scenario that’s academic at this point since bin Laden sleeps with the fishes). “My point is that the way we show the world that we’re different is that we give even the most heinous person their day in court,” Moore said, again not sounding all that unreasonable to us (and we have often found it easy to disagree with this guy over the years). “We put the Nazis on trial, we put [Charlie] Manson on trial, we put the worst people on trial,” he noted.
While he was making that point, Elisabeth exploded. “You’re telling me Osama bin Laden — responsible for the slaughter of I don’t know how many thousands of individuals – deserves a trial?” she shrieked, betraying a complete lack of confidence in the justice system that underpins American society. “Where? In New York City?” she continued. “Absolutely not! How dare – and why, because Casey Anthony’s trial went so well?”
In citing the acquittal of Casey Anthony – when many thought Anthony was guilty of murdering her child – is Elisabeth Hasselbeck really advocating that we do away with trials?
“What are we afraid of? We’re Americans, man!” responded Moore, who further explained that he didn’t feel putting a terrorist kingpin on trial would have represented weakness on the part of the United States. Instead, Moore said, bin Laden would have been found guilty in a tribunal seen throughout the world and then given the punishment he deserved. As Moore pointed out, the Nazi war criminals were executed.
It was kind of an amazing segment, at least to us – Michael Moore, of all people, coming across like the most reasonable person in the room. Imagine that?