Jake Tapper has tense interview with Marcus Luttrell

CNN’s Jake Tapper caused a stir over the weekend after he characterized the deaths of the Navy SEALs who died in the 2005 mission Operation Redwing as “senseless.” Tapper made the comments during an interview with Marcus Luttrell and Mark Wahlberg, who played Luttrell in the film adaptation of Lone Survivor. A visibly frustrated Marcus pushed back at Tapper’s commentary. On radio this morning, Glenn explained that he is giving Tapper the benefit of the doubt – even if it wasn’t his finest moment.

“All right, so on Friday I think it was, [CNN] ran an interview with Marcus Luttrell and Jake Tapper… And [Tapper] says something that I think is understandable,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “But he’s talking about an event that happened in 2005, with the guy who is the lone survivor. And the last thing you say to the lone survivor, is what you know, ‘It’s kind of like all those deaths were senseless.’ Excuse me? Now, Jake – I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think it was a stupid thing to say, but I mean, I haven’t said stupid things? Please.”

When discussing how he felt while watching Lone Survivor, Tapper had this to say about the message of the film:

TAPPER: One of the emotions that I felt, while watching the film is first of all the hopelessness of the situation — how horrific it was and also just all that loss of life of these brave American men. And I was torn about the message of the film in the same way that I think I am about the war in Afghanistan itself. I don’t want any more senseless American death. And at the same time I know that there were bad people there and good people that need help.

Marcus, however, was quick to hit back:

LUTTRELL: I don’t know what part of the film you were watching, but hopelessness really never came into it. I mean, where did you see that? Because there was never a point where we just felt like we were hopelessly lost or anything like that. We never gave up. We never felt like we were losing until we were actually dead.

After a bit of back and forth, Tapper conceded his feelings watching the film were informed by his civilian life, whereas Marcus lived through the tragedy as a soldier. Wahlberg, who sat quietly through the exchange, summed up the argument rather nicely.

TAPPER: Maybe it’s just the difference between what a civilian feels when he watched this and what a solider does.

WAHLBERG: Absolutely. I completely agree. But his opinion is never going to change. That’s his job. The more time I spend with the Marcus, the more I really understand who they are and what they do for us. And it’s pretty amazing.

Watch the entire conversation unfold below (applicable video begins around the 3-minute mark):

Tapper received some pushback on social media from people who were offended by his analysis of the deaths, but Tapper took offense to TheBlaze’s coverage of the story. Specifically, the first paragraph of Oliver Darcy’s story that reads:

Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell pushed back at CNN’s Jake Tapper after the host suggested in an interview that the “lone survivor’s” fellow veterans died for nothing.

Tapper took to Twitter to issue this response:

“I understand, you know, if he was upset with the reporting on TheBlaze,” Glenn said. “And there were several that were upset with the reporting on TheBlaze, but we did not retract that story because we believe we got the story right.”

When you look up the definition of the word senseless, it means “without discernible meaning or purpose.” When you are speaking to a man who lost his entire unit and nearly his own life, ‘senseless’ was probably not the best choice of words.

“You can’t say that to anybody,” Pat said. “But especially not to Marcus who lost his brothers in that battle.”

Glenn believes that Tapper was looking at this interview from a 2014 perspective, in which it has become harder and harder to understand why we are continuing to put our service man and women in harms way for a war that we do not seem to be winning. But if that is indeed what Tapper meant, it should have been presented in a different way.

“I think this is what he means: How do we stop this war? Because I don’t even know what it means anymore. I don’t want another person to die because I can’t attach meaning to it right now,” Glenn surmised. “[But] you don’t even say that today. If you’re sitting next to a soldier who just came back and was on a mission and lost all of his buddies, you don’t say to him, ‘By the way, did they die for anything?’ You have in a conversation separately.”

Ultimately, Stu chose to give Tapper the benefit of the doubt in this case because he has been such a strong supporter of the troops in the past.

“I think the larger part of this, of course, is people are looking at this as well, Jake Tapper is another member of the liberal media. [But] I cannot be more effusive in my praise of Jake Tapper… As far as Tapper goes… he been great taking on the President – not now when he’s got a 45% approval rating, but when he had a 70% approval rating he was doing it as a journalist,” Stu explained. “Not only that, but he’s been incredibly good on the troops, on the valor of the troops, how brave they are. He has been done nothing but been incredibly fair to them… Maybe it’s the wrong question at the wrong time. But that’s a minor criticism of a glowing record for this guy.”

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    I would not have said that in front of him. That is all I am going to say.

  • Stephan Bruno

    Newsflash:

    THEY DID DIE FOR NOTHING!!!

  • Chosen54

    From the perspective of a miltary man who has served in combat, death is not something predicated on politics, but on willingness to serve. You have no knowledge that the taliban/enemy they killed might have saved hundreds or thousands of innocent lives. It is hard to plant an IED or car bomb when you are dead.
    SEMPER FI to all those willing to put their lives on the line, not for political gain, but for protecting innocent lives that might have been endangered or lost due to inaction or diplomatic sabatogue!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    Newsflash: you’re a moron. Tell me do you still hate whitey?

  • Linda

    Tapper was correct in that the war & deaths were senseless. That is a
    hard truth, but it does NOT diminish the heroism & sacrifice of the
    soldiers. That is a separate & equally important fact. It’s just a
    shame that these heroic young people’s efforts (& deaths) were
    wasted on a political war that had /has nothing to do with the safety of
    the US.

  • Anonymous

    I read this whole thing a little different. Was Vietnam a senseless war? How many people died in that war? A war becomes senseless when it is coducted by politcs and not the military. A war is raged to WIN and get rid of the enemy, not to carry out by political rules of engagement. When the mission remains unaccomplished, it is a failure. Does that make sense?

  • Anonymous

    And THAT is the truth!!!!

  • Jeff Lambeau

    Yes, Vietnam was a senseless war because the only reason it was started was because the U.S. felt it needed to defend the South from becoming communist like the North. In the end, Vietnam is communist anyway, and all those soldiers and innocent civilians died for absolutely nothing.

  • http://www.absoluteintensity.com dennis reilly

    Tapper knows the individuals in our military are exceptional and that the cowards in our society are the politicians who cause the wars, and send heroes like Marcus to do their fighting for them

  • Anonymous

    Why are you lionizing this guy? He is a liberal and therefore has no use for the military! There is a saying that goes like this, a million attaboys do not make up for one oh crap. His support of the troops, Stu, is a fake and a fraud.

  • Anonymous

    It depends on what the reason for the war is and who is running the war.

  • Anonymous

    If he knows then he is incredibly stupid to make a statement like that to the LS. I still say his “support” for the military is fake.

  • Anonymous

    that is your viewpoint, you would need to know some of the soldiers that were there. They were sent their by their country on a mission for their country. It sound as if you didn’t serve in the military, these men get infuriated when they hear crap like you just said.

  • Jeff Lambeau

    I know plenty of Vietnam veterans. I’ll tell you what they told me. “There is no such thing as ‘fighting for your country’, that’s all a bunch of bullshit. The only thing any soldier should ever be fighting for is to keep him/herself and his/her fellow soldier alive. While every politician is sitting cozy in their seats in the senate, saluting us for ‘fighting for our country’, the only thing we give a shit about is surviving the hell we were thrown into.” And when I asked them if they thought Vietnam was a senseless war, they said “every war is senseless… it’s just about greed and property. There is no morality in it. There never will be.” So there’s your answer.

  • Anonymous

    This is why wars end badly, media people have no idea what it takes to look death in the face. Political wars are senseless.

  • Linda

    As I understand the constitution, the only valid reason for fighting a war is to defend this country. It says nothing about ‘who’ is running it.

  • Anonymous

    The real indictment is on the American people with these kinds of statements.
    It’s saying that they signed up to defend their country and we abused that dedication and threw their lives away on a cause that wasn’t worth their sacrifice. They were noble, we, the people, failed.

  • http://suzeraining.wordpress.com/ suz

    the problem here is that tapper tripled down on it — kept saying it.

  • Anonymous

    Yes it makes sense. How Ironic, that essentially, it was the fear of CNN exposing to the world civilian casualties, that led to the release of the goat-herders in the first place and now, CNN is calling this a senseless slaughter…politics and News Medea should do their job and allow the soldiers who are risking life and limb, to do theirs.

  • Anonymous

    All this over “High Value Targets” and as we speak, two very large targets – Bin Ladans personal body guard and one of the master minds behind 9/11 are scheduled to be released very soon from Gitmo. Truth is stranger than fiction.

  • Chief Mojo

    Um, far more important than any of this… GLENN, what’s with the freakin’ Orson Welles scarf? I’m not gonna lie, it looks quite dandy and fetching, but c’mon man! Lose the scarf! What’s next? Earrings for Stu and a boa for Pat?

  • Anonymous

    You sir have never served have you? The men that died didn’t do it for the glory or even for their country they did for the guy next to them. It’s that way in most wars. and as for one that did come back your an insult.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Perhaps you should read Smedley Butler’s “War Is a Racket”

    Butler won two Medals of Honor and was the Marine Commandant. His observations still apply.

  • Anonymous

    Obviously Jake Tapper meant what he said and he’s trying Obama’s “I didn’t say that!” claim. He says he didn’t say they died for nothing, but that is exactly what “senseless” means. I would cut him more slack on such a vapidly foolish comment, but he doubled down by lying and tweeting that he didn’t say they died for nothing. Would a simple apology and clarification of what he DID mean be so difficult?

  • sandsailor68

    Yes those folks died for nothing! Period. I was in Kuwait before the OIF and went across the berm with the first wave of U.S. Marines. At that moment I believed in what we were doing. A Marine Corps General gave us a “Rules of Engagement” brief down and dirty style with a group of us standing around as the General stood atop a Hmmv. He said this “if you see a somebody with a rag on his head and a gun in his hands, shoot him”. Those were rules I could live by. Then a couple a months later the President said “Mission Accomplished” or had his picture taken on an Aircraft Carrier with a banner that said “Mission Accomplished” Presidential coins were even handed out and I have one of them that says “Mission Accomplished”. Suddenly after that the ROE’s changed and they handed out pamphlets that we all had to carry around with us the main concept being “don’t shoot until you see a mussel flash from the enemy that is aimed at you or your fellow combatant”. Last time I checked it’s hard to shoot back at somebody after your dead, so those rules didn’t sit well in my mind. Weeks into the war the looting went into overdrive our fearless civilian leaders had no plan for how to safeguard Iraqi munitions depots so that meant everybody with a donkey cart could do self service at any local ammo supply point that was left unguarded or guarded by a sand berm with no one there to stop anybody, next thing comes the IED’s. The country is in chaos. What clown on earth believes those folks died over there for any particular reason?

  • sandsailor68

    After we verified that there were no WMD’s in Iraq I had to take a good hard look at what I did to those people over there when I was under the belief that our leaders knew what they were doing when they sent us in there and that they were being honest with us. PTSD is not for me caused by what I experienced but by the lies that motivated me to go over there and destroy all those innocent folks who are living worse today than they were before March 20, 2003.

  • sandsailor68

    I feel for former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. Truly it is hard to continue living knowing that your comrades didn’t make it. But the fact that Government leaders sent him and his fellow Military comrades to a war that we can’t win with a strategy that doesn’t even allow to make decisions in the fleld that can allow our Servicemen a decent chance at survival. From what I saw in the movie a LT said to let the three civilians go. I would have A killed them or B let them rest tied up until the time came that my subordinates and myself could safely evacuate the area before those three individuals could compromise our mission. I also received b.s. orders from leaders who must have thought they were politicians. I blame the LT for the bad call. I absolutely feel the greatest sympathy for Marcus Luttrell because he has to live with the fact that the others didn’t make it back home alive even though the reason for that according to the film was that the LT made a bad call. And to make it worse Afghanistan will continue to host and train folks that will want to do us harm. We have done nothing more that stir the Hornet’s nest. Period. Sad but true.

  • Klasko

    If you saw the ENTIRE segment, it was not just an interview with Marcus Luttrell. He followed the interview with some commentary in which he clarified his meaning and intent when asking the question. He questioned the wisdom of the command element that sent these brave men and good soldiers to their deaths. He implied that some responsibility lies with the commanders above the guys on the ground in this situation. They sent these soldiers on a suicide mission was what he seemed to be implying; them and the soldiers who died trying to extract them. He just articulated a clumsy question to Marcus.

  • Socialism: Organized Evil

    As surely as water will wet us, as surely as fire will burn, the lights of liberty are found in the pages you turn: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • Anonymous

    Jake Tapper was correct in saying the deaths were senseless. They were needless deaths due to ROE’s that have soldiers second guessing themselves because they fear a civilian lawyer back home that will throw them in Fort Levinworth for life because they protected their men. Luttrell admitted as much in his own words: “Look at me right now in my story,” Mr Luttrell writes. “Helpless, tortured, shot, blown up, my best buddies all dead, and all because we were afraid of the liberals back home, afraid to do what was necessary to save our own lives. Afraid of American civilian lawyers. I have only one piece of advice for what it’s worth: If you don’t want to get into a war where things go wrong, where the wrong people sometimes get killed, where innocent people sometimes have to die, then stay the hell out of it in the first place.” – Quoted from the Washington Times

    “It was the stupidest, most southern-fried, lamebrained decision I ever made in my life,” Luttrell writes. “I must have been out of my mind. I had actually cast a vote which I knew could sign our death warrant. I’d turned into a (expletive) liberal, a half-assed, no-logic nitwit, all heart, no brain, and the judgment of a jack rabbit.​”

    So yes the deaths were senseless because Luttrell’s fear of being charged with Murder (due to our insane ROE) if the media found out about his actions lead to the deaths of many, many men.

  • Dave

    Completely par for the course for a lib nitwit that never served a single day.

  • Anonymous

    The US felt like it had an excellent chance to stop the South from becoming communist. It turned out they were wrong, but it took many lives and years to realize that. There is no way, going into a war like Vietnam, to always predict the victor. You cannot simply say that a war is “senseless” if you end up losing it, and not senseless if you end up winning, as no side can predict the future.

  • John S

    Marcus should run for Congress. This is the type of character we need to clean up DC!

  • Angie Low

    The moral of this whole story is really simple…..
    ” 11 SEALs & 8 soldiers died senselessly NOT from fighting the enemy BUT from a senseless moral decision made by 4 idiots with no common sense.
    Common sense will quickly tell them that their death warrants were already signed the moment they decided to release the goat herders. Wrong Decision.
    It was that wrong decision that lead to all involved being killed except a single red neck idiot to face the rap back in the US. Look at how professional are the BRITISH SAS in these kind of recce operations and for pete’s sake grow up and learn to make more sensical decisions rather than moral decisions.

  • Tammy B

    I just saw Lone Survivor last night, this was such a sad movie. We are so lucky to have men and women giving their selves to fight in wars. They train and trust their superiors to lead them into missions. Anyone who doesn’t feel that way needs to ask their self why are they are not serving, the answer we live in our make believe fantasy world of warm safe homes, partying, enjoying life and all that comes with our way of life and freedom. I did read before that if we don’t go to fight wars, that we will be fighting them in the United States and it will be a war zone. For whatever reasons politicians and government get involved I still believe that to be true. There are people that do exist that just want to kill and are evil. We are still fortunate that we do have men and women willing to make the sacrifice to do so that we may continue to have the freedom and way of life that we do here in the United States. The decision made to not kill the goat herders are an example about how good people that don’t believe in harming others end up putting their lives at risk and also the fear of being criticized in the public eye and possible prosecution for doing what is necessary to stay alive. Something none of us would want to be up against. They fought until death never giving up and sacrificing their selves so that others may live. If anyone failed them it was the military, radios that did not work, the inability to train for unforeseeable problems and how to deal with them, not having rescue craft available, discussing what could happen and what to do, that is how the military trains just to follow direction and not think for yourself. Also the media and peoples reactions to what needs to be done to save your life.

  • topshot

    angie your a fucking moron

  • scandicci2 .

    More than ten years later in Afghanistan what has this war done for Afghanistan and what has it done for the United States of America? It was senseless for these brave soldiers to die in terms of our global security as a nation. Ahmad Shah posed a threat to US troops because we sent them over there. Ahmad Shah may have hated our presence and given the chance he probably would have hurt US citizens abroad. But would he ever have had the chance had we not gone over there in the first place? Would Ahmad Shah ever have been sophisticated enough to hurt the US?

    I agree with the assessment of many veterans: if we send the troops to Afghanistan (because the Taleban was in league with Al-queda and OBL was hiding out there), then let’s go all in. Send the troops over for 24 months to wreak as much havoc as possible. Nation building is a farse. It does not work. You have to have a cultural base already in place on which to build. That never existed over there. And in the final analysis what do we, the United States of America, really care about Afghanistan? Was it worth all the American lives, the enormous expense, the wounded veterans…?