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NBC's Gregory Claims Bachmann's Support of Waterboarding Goes Against 'Most Generals'

On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory grilled Michele Bachmann about her advocating the reinstatement of waterboarding terror suspects: "...you understand that puts you at odds with most of the generals, okay? The former Republican nominee of your party John McCain, General Colin Powell, you realize you're on the opposite end of what they believe. Do you not trust them and their views?"

Gregory provided no source for his proclamation that "most of the generals" in the military oppose waterboarding as an interrogation tactic. Bachmann fired back: "But I'm on the same side as Vice President Cheney on this issue, and others, as well. Because, again, what we're looking at is what will save American lives."

Earlier, Gregory played a clip of Bachmann from Saturday's CBS News foreign policy debate in which she criticized Obama's war on terror strategy: "It is as though we have decided we want to lose in the war on terror..." Gregory sounded like a White House spokesman as he demanded from the Congresswoman: "Did you feel that way after he killed Osama Bin Laden, ordering that raid? Did you feel that way after he ordered more drone attacks on terrorists in Pakistan than the previous administration?"

Bachmann replied: "...the strategic blunders that this administration has made have had profound consequences....We are conducting a war on terror. But what we have – we have no jail for terrorists. So what this means is either we kill them, or we release them." Gregory argued: "But that's not true, Congresswoman....We have Guantanamo Bay. We have some secret prisons that have remained open....and there are other ways that they can actually be held for some smaller determined period of time on ships, on navy ships in the region, as well."

Bachmann pointed out: "We all know that that isn't a long-term solution to this problem. We aren't adding any new terrorists to Guantanamo Bay."

Earlier, on Sunday's Today, Gregory praised the President's foreign policy as being "very successful" and not something that would make him vulnerable to Republican criticism. Back on the October 24 Today, Gregory declared that the "lack of understanding in foreign policy" among GOP candidates has been "stunning to a lot of people."

Here is a transcript of Gregory's November 13 exchange with Bachmann:

10:50AM ET

(...)

DAVID GREGORY: So let's take a few minutes and talk about a few quick issues. Foreign policy was the topic last night at the debate. You said you would reinstate waterboarding in terms of how detainees, terror detainees, are treated when they are in – held captive, held prisoner. You went on to say the following here about the President's foreign policy. Watch.

MICHELE BACHMANN: Today, under Barack Obama, he is allowing the ACLU to run the CIA. It is as though we have decided we want to lose in the war on terror under President Obama. That's not my strategy.

GREGORY: That the President almost wanted to lose the war on terror. Did you feel that way after he killed Osama Bin Laden, ordering that raid? Did you feel that way after he ordered more drone attacks on terrorists in Pakistan than the previous administration?

BACHMANN: Those are good tactical moves that were made. And those, I think all Americans would agree with. But the bigger picture, the strategic blunders that this administration has made have had profound consequences. And this is what we need to understand. We are conducting a war on terror. But what we have – we have no jail for terrorists. So what this means is either we kill them, or we release them.

GREGORY: But that's not true, Congresswoman-

BACHMANN: We also have no ability-

GREGORY: We have Guantanamo Bay. We have some secret prisons that have remained open. That's simply been looked at and found to be not true. They have – and there are other ways that they can actually be held for some smaller determined period of time on ships, on navy ships in the region, as well.

BACHMANN: We all know that that isn't a long-term solution to this problem. We aren't adding any new terrorists to Guantanamo Bay. We only have Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of 9/11, who is at Guantanamo Bay, and others as well. But we don't have a place to put al Qaeda when we pick them up. It's either catch and release. Which is a terrible idea. Or we have to kill them. What we need to win this war on terror is interrogation. This is where my comment about the ACLU comes in. Because today, the CIA is no longer able to go through the interrogation that yielded such profitable information that saved American lives. That's what I'm interested in, David.

GREGORY: But you realize-

BACHMANN: Saving American lives and winning the war on terror.

GREGORY: Understood. You say that-

BACHMANN: And so this is – this is a real difference. The only thing – let me add this.

GREGORY: Yes.

BACHMANN: The only thing that we have available to us today is the Army Field Manual. That's online. So, terrorists can go ahead and read ahead of time what will happen to them when we capture them. And it's really, effectively, when we capture them today, it's a slap on the wrist. I want to save American lives, and that's why I want the CIA to have every interrogation tool available to them so that we can win the war on terror.

GREGORY: One more on this. Congresswoman, one more on this. You say the ACLU is taking over the CIA, run now by General David Petraeus. You understand-

BACHMANN: Their philosophy. Their philosophy. Yes, I agree-

GREGORY: Okay, I understand that. I understand that's what you meant. No, no, let me just make the point. Your view that waterboarding should be reinstituted, you understand that puts you at odds with most of the generals, okay? The former Republican nominee of your party John McCain, General Colin Powell, you realize you're on the opposite end of what they believe. Do you not trust them and their views?

BACHMANN: Well, but – but I'm on the same side as Vice President Cheney on this issue, and others, as well. Because, again, what we're looking at is what will save American lives. And that's what the most important thing is. We've got to decide that we want to defeat the terrorists. And when we make that decision, we need to – we need to employ the methods that will best help us to defeat them. And President Obama is not doing that.

Again, President Obama was given a war that is won in Iraq. And he's choosing to lose the peace. That's a desecration of the memory of 4,400 Americans that gave their lives to liberate Iraq. And also, it's over $800 billion that we have expended. I believe that Iraq should pay us back for the money that we spent, and I believe that Iraq should pay the families that lost a loved one. Several million dollars per life. I think at minimum. This is a terrible situation that the United States – that the President has left the war on terror in.

GREGORY: Alright. We are going to leave it there. More discussion to come. Congresswoman, thank you.

BACHMANN: Thank you.


- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.