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Interview With Dr. Phil McGraw

Aired May 13, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Dr. Phil, his advice on how you and your kids cope with shocking images of beheading and abuse coming out of Iraq and whatever else you want to ask him, because we'll take your calls, too. The one and only Dr. Phil McGraw is here for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
When Dr. Phil was originally booked to be on this show -- and I think this is his sixth or seventh appearance, including hosting this show once on my surprise birthday party -- it was to talk mostly about "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook: Recipes for Weight Loss Freedom." There you see its cover. That'll be just a small part of this show, and we'll get to it a little later on. And if you have questions about weight, we'll take those calls, as well. This is a complete cookbook, a follow-up to his very successful book about the ultimate weight loss.

But of course, with the news the way it is, we wanted to concentrate on the effect on people. And who better to talk about it than a man who deals with it all the time? But what's the effect on the average person of just hearing about this?

DR. PHIL MCGRAW: Well, there -- we've been on a real emotional roller-coaster as a company -- as a country for the last couple of weeks. Of course, being in the war has been stressful to everyone. But then when we heard about what I think is a real violation of what Americans stand for, with the prisoner abuses that have been reported in Iraq, that has sent everybody spinning out of control.

It's been a very difficult thing for us to acknowledge that the people we're supposedly over there to free from this kind of treatment and tyranny, some of our people have, in fact, been visiting that upon them. I think that's really been difficult and hard for people to get their mind around.

And then we have this horrifying and tragic situation with what I think is an act of terrorism. I think it's an act of murder and brutality. I know all the arguments about it's a different cultural thing, that in the year 2000, there were 125 beheadings in Saudi Arabia alone, that it's just part of that culture. I think that's just much ado about nothing. This is an act of brutality and murder, and I think it has people just absolutely outraged and very saddened.

KING: What does that do to people psychologically, the average citizen going through -- forget -- politics aside. He -- he -- war is about death. Then he sees his own people doing this, which is kind of hypocritical. Then he sees the horror on the other side. Does that set a personal turmoil? Does that affect your daily life? MCGRAW: Well, it does. And I think, first off, we have to deal with it at several different levels. No. 1, the visual images that we've been seeing, watching the visual images of what some of the individuals in the American military have been photographed and filmed as doing is humiliating. And I think -- I think people feel a sense of shame and guilt and hypocrisy over that happening under the American flag. And so I think those are the emotions, the shame and guilt and the feeling of hypocrisy.

Then when you look at what has happened with the beheading, it's like, all of a sudden, that changes to rage. And I think a lot of people have a real emotional cauldron going on within them. And I've heard from so many people that are feeling anxiety, fear, confusion, depression, sadness -- just the whole gamut of emotions. And the question becomes, you know, what do we do with all that? How do we handle that?

KING: We'll talk now about Lynndie England, one of those charged. She's pregnant. Let's watch a clip of a recent interview with her, and then I want Dr. Phil's thoughts. Watch.


LYNNDIE ENGLAND, IN PRISONER ABUSE PHOTOS: I was instructed by persons in higher rank to stand there, hold this leash and look at the camera. And they took a picture for psy-op, and that's all I know.


KING: OK. Now, what would cause someone to do something they maybe know is wrong, just because someone tells them to do it?

MCGRAW: Well, first off, one of the things that we have to acknowledge, and one of the reasons we have a hard time getting our mind around this is it's not simplistic. And listen, I am not qualified to express a political opinion. I am not qualified to talk authoritatively about whether we should be there or what the supervision should be or anything of the sort. All I can do is look at this from an individual and psychological level.

What we have here a young woman that is very new to the military. She's very young. She's very impressionable. I don't know what she was told. I don't know how much of this was cooperation on her part. I don't know how much of it was her own initiative. Let's assume, for argument's sake, that she was ordered to do this. I mean, you have to understand, that a young, impressionable person in a military that is based on discipline, based on following orders, based on doing what you're told -- there is an argument that one could make that this could be very persuasive to a young soldier like this.

On the other hand, this is a -- this is a matter of values. It is a value -- values of the American people and what is right and what is good and what is just. And we didn't hear her say one single thing about challenging what she was told to do, appealing to someone else, discussing this among her peers. What I'm hearing is what sounds like a lawyer speaking, almost as though he were working a hand puppet here. That sounds very rote to me. And you know, there are just more questions. You have to drill down on this. Even if you're told that, why not ask the questions?

KING: Yes.

MCGRAW: Why not do something that questions that?

KING: By the way, we'll be taking calls for Dr. Phil, so you can start getting in early with phone calls.

When will people do that which might be an anathema to them?

MCGRAW: Well, I think when you have what you believe is a justification for it, a higher ground. I am really struggling with rage over the beheading that we have had visited upon us, but I can tell you that, psychologically, it is clear to me that those five people that are shown in the pictures and the video probably do not think they have done something wrong. They probably believe that, I mean, this is the hand of God, that they're doing the right thing, that they're striking a blow for justice and the protection for them. But I don't believe that that is what Islam is about, in any way. But I'll guarantee you, they believe that that's the moral high ground, that they're doing the right thing.

And that's what's dangerous. When people get to believing that they are judge and jury, when they are the instruments of justice, when they take the self-righteous moral high ground to strike out like that and it justifies what they're doing such that the means is justified by the end -- and I think that is absurd. I think it was an animalistic, brutal thing to do, and there is no justification. But that doesn't mean they didn't believe they were doing the right thing.

KING: When will ordinary -- we've had it through history -- German soldiers, World War II, Nazis at concentration camps. How could you -- how could you live like that? You were a mailman in life, and suddenly, you're putting people to death. You're an average soldier, a young kid, you're 19, and you're taking people nude and doing obscene acts with them, et cetera. How -- how -- when will people do that which they would normally not do?

MCGRAW: Look, I think that there are leaders in this world and there are followers in this world. And the No. 1 need in all people is a sense of acceptance and a sense of belongingness. And we see people do bizarre behaviors all the time in order to be accepted, in order to belong to something, in order to be behind some cause, some mission. We've seen it in the history of the church throughout the ages. I mean, we have seen -- there has been brutality in the churches in European history that would just -- it's chilling to people because they were doing it for what they believed to be the higher cause.

KING: So it's a rationale?

MCGRAW: It is a rationale, and it is a belief that they are superior and that they're doing something that is justified to them. And I think that's a lot of what happened in the Third Reich. And that is a scary sort of thing because you don't have checks and balances. And you get that in a dictatorship. What America is doing now is stepping up and doing the right thing.

KING: I want to ask Dr. Phil in a moment what about the people who do issue the orders, who tell the other people to do these things? What happens with them? We'll also talk about his new book. We'll also take your phone calls. Great to have him with us. Don't go away.


KING: Our guest is Dr. Phil. Again, "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook." We may have you come back for that, OK?

MCGRAW: Yes, I know it's...

KING: I know it's coming out...

MCGRAW: It know that's what...

KING: ... but it's really hard...

MCGRAW: ... we were planning to do, but I -- it just seems like what we're dealing with right now is of such a greater gravity than that. I'd be happy to talk about that another time.

KING: We will re-book you and come back and talk about -- because we know so many people are interested in weight, but this is just too important a topic.

What about the leaders, those who say, Here's the thing to do, strip them nude, do this? What are they thinking?

MCGRAW: Well, look, again, everybody -- if you set any of the people down up the chain and -- one of the things that we know, or at least that I've been able to glean -- and my sources about this are just like everybody at home. I mean, I'm watching the media. I'm hearing the explanations from Rumsfeld and others in the press conferences. And it is apparent to me that, you know, we did not have the kind of training in these facilities that should have been there. We did not have the supervision ratios we should have had there. So you have untrained people with a with a low amount of experience in a high-stress situation in a war zone. And people do the best they can with what they're thinking.

But let's assume that, in fact, these orders were given. Just as I was talking about the -- these animals in the beheading, I am certain that people would sit here and tell you that there was a reason and a just thing and that you have to push the envelope when you are in a time of war. If you can find out things to save American lives, then you cross lines. But I'm telling you, the Geneva convention was for a reason. Look, humans have shown the ability to be very cruel to one another. One of the reasons that we have the Geneva convention is to try to regulate these things. And we have always stood for that. And then here we are, violating those rules. And I think that is so counter to the American value that that's why people are so upset about it. There is not a justification for this.

KING: And no rational explanation.

MCGRAW: There is no rational explanation for this.

KING: Did you -- well, before we get to your thoughts on coping for children and adults -- you watched the video, as I understand it. You saw the beheading.

MCGRAW: I did.

KING: In preparation for coming on the show.

MCGRAW: I did. I have to tell you, I did not want to. I -- you know, I...

KING: We didn't ask you to.

MCGRAW: No. No. I didn't want to, but I felt like if I was going to speak about it, I probably should look at it. And...

KING: How could you watch it?

MCGRAW: It was very, very upsetting. You know, my son, out of curiosity, wanted to see it, and I said, Absolutely...

KING: How old?

MCGRAW: He's 17. I said, Absolutely, unequivocally no, and I forbid you to go on the Internet and look at it. We are in an information explosion in America today, and I think we get oversaturated with these things. We don't want to look at them. It's like a bad car wreck. You know, you drive by, you don't want to look, but you can't look away. We need to...

KING: But I don't go looking for the car wreck.

MCGRAW: No, no.

KING: I don't turn on a machine to find it.

MCGRAW: We need to look away from this. I think the media has tried to be sensitive about it, but I think some of them have gone too far. His family has -- I mean, just some of the chilling descriptions of what has taken place. And I don't want to talk about those things now, but I can tell you, it is the most horrifying thing that you can imagine. And I -- the graphic details of it I just don't think are good for people to sear into their minds. I just don't think it's...

KING: Is it true that the purveyors, the doers, were, in fact, exalted, that they were screaming and yelling in a kind of happy tone?

MCGRAW: I don't think there's any question that they felt that this was a victorious moment in which they were distinguished in the mission of their cause. I mean, that is so misguided. And let me -- let me say one thing, Larry, that I think that we need to think about. I 100 percent support our military. I support the men and women that are over there. I support our leaders that are taking care of these issues at this point. And I truly believe that what has happened with the abuses of the prisoners in the Iraqi prison, and in fact, those five animals that did this horrible thing, are extreme and isolated examples on both sides of this conflict.

KING: You don't think it's systematic.

MCGRAW: No, this is not what Islam is about. This is...

KING: Or America is about.

MCGRAW: And it is certainly not what America and American values are about. These are some extremists that have done some things that just simply embarrass both nations.

KING: You're a psychologist, but you're also a human being. So what did watching it do to you? You said rage, but what do you do with the -- what -- how did -- what did it do to your stomach?

MCGRAW: My immediate reaction was I would give my front seat in hell to have been able to kick that door down and just jerk a knot in the tail of those people in there. It just -- it -- it enrages you. This young man that lost his life so needlessly and tragically -- I have a son just about that age. And I just -- I just cannot imagine what that family is going through. And it does enrage you.

But two wrongs don't make a right. Somebody has to be willing to step up and say, I am not going to continue this escalation. The American side of this is calling their people to justice on this. And I don't want -- I don't want this young woman to become a scapegoat for this whole thing. I think we need to have a balanced approach in looking at what she has done, what the influences are. I don't think we should throw her under the bus as a sacrificial lamb for this. But I think we do -- that we have shown an openness about this. We're showing what democracy is about, and we're holding these people accountable in an open and public forum.

KING: Our guest is Dr. Phil, the host of a widely syndicated weekday series that's on in every market seeing (ph) us, "New York Times" best-selling author. And he'll come back to discuss his new book, "The Weight Solution Cookbook." We'll reschedule that tomorrow and pick a new date. At the bottom of the hour, we'll go to your calls because when we come back, I want to ask him about coping with all this and how children should deal with it. Don't go away.


KING: Our guest is Dr. Phil. We'll take your calls at the bottom of the hour.

OK, coping -- you have some tips for people?

MCGRAW: Well, I do. Look, I think that there's this balance we have to strike between disclosure and openness and informing the American public of what's going on. But there comes a point where it's too much information, where it's -- and I saw this after 9/11, where people were just glued to the television. I was one of them. I mean, it was just such an astonishing reality that we just were saturated with it. And we've got to be careful about that.

You know, the first thing, you know, I kind of talked about earlier. People get very frustrated because they're trying to make sense out of nonsense. They're trying to say, How -- how is this OK? How do we -- how do we respond? What do we do? And you have to put it in context and realize that this is an isolated situation. You know, this is not reflective of Islam. The abuses at the prison are not reflective of the American public. We have always had situations where extreme people do radical things, and the whole purpose of terrorism is to take an isolated example with one and scare and paralyze millions by that.

KING: Terrorize.

MCGRAW: Exactly. And so by that one act, you terrorize millions and millions of people. We have to put this in context and not think that we are looking at the absolute moral decay of mankind. That's where people get anxious. That's where they get depressed. That's where they start having the fear where they say, Look, it's falling apart here. I mean, we're -- we're -- it's just falling apart. That is not true. This was a very isolated situation.

KING: Tell that to yourself. What else?

MCGRAW: You have to tell that to yourself. Secondly, I think we have to realize and label this behavior for what it is. It is murder. You know, this isn't what the war is about. That's not what we're there for. That's what most of those that are resisting, even, are fighting for or about. We have to label this. This is criminal. This is murder. And we have a system for finding and prosecuting criminals. And I think we have not have a revenge motive, we just have to seek justice through a system. We are a nation of values. We are a nation of principles, and we need to embrace these principles.

KING: Just as we seek it for our own perpetrators.

MCGRAW: Exactly. And when you see -- whatever your politics are, when you see Secretary Rumsfeld -- you know, he didn't do these things. He's delegated these things down the line. His job is to drill down and get to the bottom of it and hold those people accountable and to step up and talk about it in an open way, which I think they're doing. But we have to make sure that we understand this is criminal. It's not a matter of revenge and hatred because that will just escalate the conflict. And I'm not saying that we turn away from it. I think you find those people and you bring them to justice.

Third, don't overexpose yourself to these images. You are not being...

KING: How about our own images? Would you release all the pictures at the center... MCGRAW: Absolutely not

KING: You would not?


MCGRAW: Absolutely not. Look, we know what's happened over there. If a committee needs to review these things to identify perpetrators, then do that, but I don't thank that we need to saturate the American psyche with these things. I don't think there should be a cover-up about it. I think you can put out an exemplar. You can put out a representative sample of the photos, but I don't think it should be something that we just flood with.

KING: Now, what about...

MCGRAW: The fourth thing that I think is so important, Larry, is people need to talk about their feelings about this. I don't mean sit down -- you know, you go to breakfast every morning. I don't think the idea is to go sit down and talk about the images, Did you see this, Did you hear that? I think people need to talk about their feelings. You need to talk about, I do feel rage, I'm sad, I'm worried. Give it a voice. Talk about these things. If they stay within us, then -- you know, monsters live in the dark. Get it out and talk about it and realize other people are feeling the same thing.

And lastly -- and this will seem kind of Pollyannish, I suppose -- but we need balance in our psyche about this. We need to do some random acts of kindness. If you are really sitting home and you are troubled by this and you have this impending sense of doom over you, you know what you need to do? Go to your church, go to a shelter, go to somewhere in your community where you can re-embrace the good side of human nature. You know, fill your heart up...

KING: Help somebody.

MCGRAW: ... by giving some things away.

KING: What about kids?

MCGRAW: Oh, man! It is so important that we shelter children from this. Look, I don't think you lie to children, but I think we have to be very measured about what we let these kids see. I have two real key rules in dealing with children, and one of them is you don't ask children to deal with adult issues. And this is a very adult. Issue and I think that if you're going to allow children to see any part of this, if they're going to be exposed to it on the Internet or the newspaper or the television or hearing their friends, then you need to sit with them quietly and answer their questions.

KING: When you say children -- we're talking about what age should...

MCGRAW: You know, I think from early teens on down, in particularly, are vulnerable...

KING: So an 11-year-old should not be participating...

MCGRAW: Because they tend to generalize too much. One of the things that I remember talking with Laura Bush about when we did a show after 9/11 on Oprah, when I was still doing the Oprah show on Tuesdays -- we talked about some of the children that said every time they saw a replay of the buildings being knocked down, a different angle, a different channel, a different camera view, many of them thought it was happening all over again. They didn't think there were two buildings being knocked down, they thought they were knocking down every building in America every day for weeks and weeks and weeks. And they were horrified and didn't know how to say it.

MCGRAW: So keep the children away from this.

MCGRAW: I think you do. And if you're going to let them watch it, then sit with them, answer their questions. And if they don't ask questions, then pose the questions you think they should be asking. You know, and people say, you know, Mom, Dad, why did they do that to that man? Why did they hurt him in that way?

I think you have to put it in terms they understand. I mean, just like, you know, say to little Billy, you know, You know that there are kids at school that are kind of bullies, kids that are mean, they don't play well with others, they take advantage of others. Well, sometimes in the adult world, there are bullies, too, that do bad things. And we're going to deal with that. And you're safe here because you're with us. Answer those questions in terms they understand.

KING: Our guest is Dr. Phil. We'll take a break and include your phone calls. And again, we'll reschedule him to discuss the principal reason he was originally booked for the show, "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook." That should be an intriguing hour, too. It helps a lot of people. He's helping a lot of people tonight. Back with your calls right after this.


KING: He's the author of "New York Times" No. 1 bestsellers. He's the host of a majorly successful weekday series in syndication. He's "Dr. Phil McGraw. It's a great pleasure to have him with us tonight on a very important topic. Let's go to calls. Miami, Oklahoma.

CALLER: Hi, I'm a very big fan of you, Dr. Phil and also Larry King

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I was just calling. I'm a mother of four, my oldest being 12 and we try to shield them as best we can here at home from the media, what they see. What exactly would you say to a 12-year-old if they hear and see things outside of the home and are asking the whys and how do you explain that to a 12-year-old?

MCGRAW: Excellent question, really, because you and I were just talking at the break. They can walk by and see something on someone else's television or in a store or something like that. What you have to do is ask them what they want to know. Ask them what they're curious about. And again we go back to some of the things where they have to understand that this is a very isolated thing. It's not OK. I don't think you can trivialize it or sweep it under the rug.

If you have to deal with it, deal with it honestly in age appropriate terms. That's why I said, I'd relate it to experiences at school with a school bully, or something like that. And I would let them know that this is a very isolated thing. If the questions are about what our own soldiers have done and how they were humiliating or picking on someone else, and they say is this what we're about, I think you have to say absolutely not. But, you know we don't live in a perfect world and sometimes, even good people do bad things. If that happens to you in your life, you come and talk to me about it and reassure them that they're safe and sound in your care.

KING: Woodland, Alabama, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, you're great. Dr. Phil, I think you're wonderful. I have a question for you about the right and wrong issue of this. When I first saw these images on TV my first thought was how stupid do these people not know right from wrong to have their picture made doing this. Then, of course, I thought what this would do to our country. As far as the military goes, whether this was ordered high up or whether the soldiers took it upon themselves to do it, where is their balance of right and wrong? I'm so confused about it. I don't get it.

KING: What happened to right and wrong? This is not a frat party.

MCGRAW: It really isn't. I think what we have here is truly, from a psychological standpoint -- again, I'm not a military expert or specialist. And I can't -- I cannot in good conscience, talk about what should have been done in that regard. But it is clear to me that we've had a breakdown in leadership here. These young people do look up to those up the chain of command.

KING: Even when they may know it's wrong?

MCGRAW: But it does not excuse them from morality. I mean, you can -- there are mechanisms and I've done some study about this, there are mechanisms in the military by which you can question things without being insubordinate and you're taught about those things. This was not an emergency battlefield situation. You know if you're a foxhole and somebody tells you to do something that's in command and you fail to do that, that's one thing under fire that can put everybody in jeopardy.

This was not an emergency situation. This was a daily situation where people were being warehoused in prisons. There was a mechanism to say I want to take this further. I want to talk to somebody about this. I am not comfortable with these sorts of things. And they had that duty. You can delegate authority, but you cannot abdicate your responsibility as a human being KING: Montreal, Quebec, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, gentlemen. I'm calling, I'm a teacher and also am very concerned with how this is affecting children. The images have been impossible to escape. They've been on every single news broadcast since the story broke. I'm wondering since when Janet Jackson exposes one breast, the whole world goes crazy and five second delays, why we're tolerating these images so constantly on the air?

MCGRAW: Listen, I think there is too much being reported about this. There's no question. But look, the media has a very difficult situation. I think in the main, the media has been very responsible and sensitive about this. The problem is there are so many media outlets right now. We have 500 TV channels, plus the Internet, plus all the print media. I think they have shown sensitivity and restraint. You have not seen anywhere on television the video of the Berg murder going too far. I think they've stopped that. I think they've tried to be careful.

What we have to do as parents and educators is inoculate these children by telling them it is OK to look away from this. Let's talk about what happened. Let's discuss it. And that's where I think it's important to put it in context and talk about it being isolated. Talk about it being extreme, talk about it being wrong. But do talk about it. And ask them how they feel.

Children, they tend to personalize things, Larry, so much. I deal a lot with marriage and family issues on my show. I've heard so many children where parents will be arguing about money, you know, can they pay the mortgage, do they buy another car. They argue about money and the little child is sitting in the room listening to this, thinking oh, my gosh, I needed 17.50 last week for pictures at school. I'm causing the problems here. They take it personal, they put it on themselves. Which is why I say don't argue like that in front of your children. We need to put this in context and recognize that they're apt to personalize this and think they can be next or this is going to be happening in America. We need to talk about them about that

KING: Germantown, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Dr. Phil. We lost our son in 1998 due to a car accident. I'm just wondering, how do you think these parents -- as a parent, how do you just get on? I always -- you say I want you to get excited about your life. I'd love to again and I'm thinking about all these parents of all these kids. I know what it's like.

KING: Loss of a child is incomprehensible.

MCGRAW: It is incomprehensible. The first thing is I'm not going to tell you how -- that I know how you feel, because having not been there, it would be foolish of me to say that. I've often said if something happened to one of my children, they'd have to take me to the dump.

KING: Me, too. MCGRAW: It is so, so very difficult. What I will say to you is to think about two things. No. 1, don't ever think that the length and depth of your grief is reflective of the depth of your love for the child that you lost. It is not a betrayal to be happy again. It is not a betrayal of your son's memory if you catch yourself laughing in the middle of the day or you have some type of lifting of spirit.

So No. 1, don't confuse length and depth of grief as reflecting the love. And No. 2, your son lived for a number of years and he died one day. And you have to think about the fact that you want to celebrate his life and all the things that you shared, all the things that you laughed about and cared about and took pride in and focus on the 15, 16, 17, 18 years that you had him instead of the one moment that you tragically lost him.

I'm one of those that definitely believes in the afterlife. I believe that, you know, your son can, you know, look down and have an awareness of what's happening and going on with you. I would hate for him to realize that he's a source of pain in your life every day for the rest of your life instead of a source of joy.

KING: Easily (ph), South Carolina with Dr. Phil.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, hi Dr. Phil. I just want to know, why as Americans are we so passionate about the abuse in Iraq when similar issues happen here at home every day, such as child abuse, which is evident any day in an emergency room or, unfortunately in the morgues.

MCGRAW: Well, you're asking an excellent question. And I will tell you that it is a media phenomenon. We deal with -- I've often thought that our entire country has A.D.D. sometimes. That we're just -- you know, we're quick from one thing to another. We're very visual nation. We're have a very media driven nation and I think that we react to what gets the press.

You'll remember, Larry, because you and I talked before I ever did my very first show. I said what I wanted to do was focus on the silent epidemics in America, those that weren't the disease of the day, the cause of the day. The things that happened silently and didn't get so much media. I wanted to turn the spotlights on over those things and that's what we've been attempting to do with our show.

But I think it's purely a media phenomena. I think the fact that it gets so much play, it's forced into people's awareness and forced into people's psyche.

KING: And one instance of child abuse in a hospital in Cleveland is not going to draw you?

MCGRAW: We don't read about it in Miami. We don't see it on the 5:00 news. We don't have that reported. But it is something that we have structures to deal with. Do we need more attention to those sort of things here at home? Absolutely we do. But I give us better and better marks as time goes along for dealing with those issues and raising the awareness. KING: Right back with more of Dr. Phil and more of your phone calls. Don't go away.


KING: By the way "The Ultimate Weight Solution Cookbook," the original reason for Dr. Phil's booking, will be in stores May 25. And we'll have him hopefully back soon, right around that, to talk about that work. But this, of course, much more important. Let's go to Tampa, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I was, and more than 500,000 children, were raped, beaten, starved and humiliated for decades by the Bush administration and Melvin Simbler (ph) creation of....

KING: OK, I don't know what you're talking about, sir.

We go to Hollywood, California. Hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Thank you. Dr. Phil, you're an inspiration in every facet of my life. I think you're the human nature genius of the 21st Century. I have a question that's a little bit out of the vein of the questions now. My question is this. Was there anything monumental that you experienced or endured in your youth or young adulthood that propelled you through spiritual and textbook knowledge to take the road of learning how to be the best possible man that he can be?

MCGRAW: Well, I think we're all -- we are products of our learning history. There's no question about it. Which is why I am so proud, Larry, that you are dedicating a show to dealing with the emotional issues instead of the sensationalistic pictures and everything that we're being bombarded with now, because we are products of our learning history.

And Americans are learning different things right now. We learned through 9/11 things that those in other countries, like Israel and the Palestinians, are living with every day. I mean, they get up every day going to school and a bomb goes off. And, you know, they clean up and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

So we're products of our learning history. And as we're coming into these experiences, these new experiences of the humiliation and shame of small number of American military doing some really bad things, we have to accommodate to that and, you know, what can we learn from that in a positive way?

So to answer your question, I think we have to look at what we're learning and say what lessons can we take away from this. And I think the lessons that we take away from this are realizing that we have to be very, very careful about our own power as a nation, about our ability to go in to a country or a situation and dominate because of our power. We have to be really good stewards of that. And we have to have as good a plan after a war action as we had during the war action, because that's what the leave-behind is for America.

KING: Boston, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hi. How are you, Larry?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: Good. Hi, Dr. Phil, you're fantastic.

MCGRAW: Good evening. Thank you.

CALLER: A quick comment and question. The thing that bothers me the most, Phil, about Lynndie England, is in the interviews I have seen with her, I have not seen one sign of remorse or shame for what she has done. Nothing. And this is the thing that gets to me so much.

Instead, I see an almost sadistic type smile. The comment I want to make is I've seen two senior officials on CNN over the past two days and they have seen kindness begets much more from prisoners than cruelty. What do you have to say on this, Dr. Phil?

KING: Two experts I saw them say if you question prisoners in a different fashion than putting a bag over their head, you can learn more.

MCGRAW: Well, I think there's no question that the psychologically efficient interrogation of people can be done without humiliation and terrorism, particularly when you're not in an emergency situation. I keep talking about that.

Let me say something about this Lynndie England here. From a purely psychological perspective in terms what was I'm watching, I watch people a lot. I read people. I try to pay attention to that. And I think we need to not be too quick to jump to judgment about this young woman. I'm not here to defend what she's done, because it's an abomination. What she's done is an abomination. But so say she has no remorse and a sadistic smile, think about this.

You have a young woman plucked from obscurity. Just a face in the crowd life and she is serving in the military and the next thing you know, she is the absolute focal point of a worldwide outrage. That young woman has got to be in shock at this point. And she has to be confused. I don't think she had the ability to predict the consequences of her actions, whether she was a willing spirit or a compliant subordinate. I just don't think she ever understood the gravity of what's happening here.

And so to judge her reactions at this point, I think what we're seeing is someone that's in a state of shock. And I'm not going to judge what she thinks and feels at this point.

Maybe she isn't remorseful. Maybe what you see is what you get. But I think we have to be careful and compassionate about that at this point. Again, not make her a scapegoat. What she did, absolutely unacceptable, absolutely an abomination, absolutely shameful for this country. We have to drill down and find out how and why this took place. KING: Back with our remaining moments with Dr. Phil McGraw, don't go away.


KING: We're back with Dr. Phil and go to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi, Dr. Phil, hi, Larry.

KING: Good evening.

CALLER: I'm the wife of a military air force officer, and I just am curious, what advice would you give for educators when dealing with children of military members who are overseas or deployed. I had a son who went to a public school and was inundated every day with things that were going on in Iraq and end up having to pull him out of school because he was under so much stress knowing his father was overseas.

KING: Never thought of that.

MCGRAW: That's a good question. And this goes back to, you know what I was saying, Larry, about we have to put this in the proper context and not paint the entire military, not paint the leadership of this country with the brush of a few. That's right. That's why I think teachers can really help by putting this in context.

KING: Talk to your students?

MCGRAW: Yes. All of us are embarrassed by it. All of us are shamed by it. I have a nephew in the air force that flew in Iraq it during the initial assault and he flew a number of missions over there. Two of my brother-in-laws are in the military or retired now. And I've talked with them about it. And, you know, everybody is humiliated about it. We have to put it in context. And we have to be careful that we don't allow our military to believe that we are generalizing the acts of a few to everybody. I think it is important that we stand up right now and say in a loud and clear voice to our military that we are behind you we are proud of you. We stand by what you're fighting for and want you to give you the resources and help and we're behind you. So they don't think that everybody's bailed on them because of some bad pressed -- deserved bad press for the bad acts of a few.

KING: Minneapolis, hello.

CALLER: Hi, I'm a regular viewer of our show and I think you're doing a public service for American, Dr. Phil.

CALLER: This is a bit off topic.

KING: But quickly, go ahead.


KING: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

CALLER: I want to take you back to the Oprah trial. What was your impression of Oprah's co-defendant, Howard Lyman and his motivations to raise awareness of mad cow disease?

MCGRAW: You know, I think that is off point. I'll say this, I think Mr. Lyman is a good man with a good mind, but other than that, I think we'll leave it at that

KING: Last call, Sycamore, Kansas. Hello.

CALLER: Hi Larry. Hi Dr. Phil.


MCGRAW: Good evening.

CALLER: My question, I'll get right to the point, is how do we calm our young children that are hearing about this in the news and, like, if you try to keep them from the news, but then they hear it from the school teachers too, what itself going on in our nation. And how do you calm them when they go into a shopping mall or go into the store and they see these people who have been killing our people in the news, dressed because our borders are open. We have so many people in the United States

KING: Hate to cut you. But we only have 30 seconds.

MCGRAW: You're asking a very good question. Again, I think the absolute basis of all prejudice is ignorance and generalization. And I think that it can be a great teaching tool. It can be a great lesson for children to talk to them about, you need to understand that you can't look at one person that shares some characteristics with a bad person and assume they're bad. That's how you have to get away from it

KING: What a joy to having you here.

MCGRAW: Thank you, Larry

KING: You've helped a lot of people.

MCGRAW: I'm proud to be part of it

KING: We'll reschedule you on the wait book soon. I'll be back and telling about tomorrow night in a couple minutes. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, Joan Lunden was supposed to be the guest. We've rescheduled Joan Lunden, we're going to do a major program on all this with panelists from diverse points of view. That's tomorrow night.


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