From Tuesday night’s Fox News All-Stars.
On what the Osama bin Laden killing means for our relations with Pakistan:
Look, I think we have to be a grown-up about this. I think … It was Brennan who said it is inconceivable that there were not elements in the military or ISI who didn’t know this.
So let’s accept it as a given. Accept that we have often had allies in wars who are unreliable. After all, in the Second World War, Stalin was our ally and we didn’t tell him everything — for obvious reasons.
Let’s look ahead and say to the Pakistanis: Let’s not talk about bin Laden. Let’s talk about who is still alive: Zawahiri. Tell us what you know about him and where he is. And Umar Patek, the Indonesian that is the top terror guy for the Indian Ocean-Pacific Ocean region. He knows a lot. Pakistan has him but has not given us access. We have want access. This is real stuff for future. Let’s make our demands and ultimata — about withholding aid otherwise — on that and not on the past.
On the argument that we should have allowed bin Laden to surrender rather than killing him:
The only reason we took the risky operation was to present proof of death. It was not to give him a chance of surrender. Protecting him as a prisoner would have been a catastrophe. And it’s inconceivable that any administration would have offered it as an option.
Reaching for his gun — I’m not sure I buy it. They ought to release a picture. The Middle East is a place where conspiracies live. This summer there were shark attacks in the Red Sea. The Egyptian press blamed it on the Israelis.
You have to show a picture. That was the whole point of the operation: proof of death. Do it now and don’t dither.
On enhanced interrogation in light of this intelligence success story:
If you’re the president at the time, America has been attacked, the Twin Towers are a cinder, thousands of Americans are dead, we have no real, solid information on these people — you do not take the risk of saying well, perhaps I’ll get information in another way if I say name, rank, and serial number.
The Bush administration did exactly the right thing. And if Senator Obama had been the president at the time, it is quite likely that we would not have had this information and this result. That’s a fact.
Now you can make a moral judgment, well, OK, it would have been worth it not to do it [enhanced interrogation] and to suffer the terrorist casualties that might have resulted otherwise, in this and other instances.
I would say no. Your first responsibility as the president is to protect Americans, innocent Americans. You do what you have to do.