IF ONLY HE SAW THE POINT…. Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade probably didn’t realize why his comments this morning about torture were so painful, so let’s try to help him out.

Kilmeade, speaking over a chyron that read, “Out for revenge?” told viewers this morning, “Ralph Peters postulates, and maybe you do too, ‘If you really cared about torture, maybe you should look into Iran, what’s happening in the Gaza strip, what happens daily in Cuba and what’s happening in Cuba’s prisons, as well as Syria.’ This, according to Ralph Peters and others, is about revenge.”

It’s hard not to appreciate watching a Fox News personality quote a New York Post personality. Murdoch must be pleased.

Nevertheless, given that President Obama has expressed absolutely no interest in pursuing investigations against Bush administration officials, it’s kind of silly to characterize this as “revenge.” More important, though, is the fact that torture is scandalously common in countries with dictators and/or totalitarian regimes. “Maybe we should look into” this? We have looked into this, and are disgusted by what these lawless regimes do to their prisoners.

Note to Kilmeade: that’s the point. So many Americans are incensed by the Bush administration’s torture policies precisely because it throws the United States in with countries like Iran, Cuba, and Syria. We’re supposed to be the leader of the free world, a beacon of hope for free people everywhere, and now people are equating our treatment of prisoners with the politicies of dictatorships.

Indeed, Fox News and the New York Post are encouraging the comparisons, as part of a defense of torture.

Does any of this occur to people like Kilmeade and Peters? Even a little?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.