If there’s one thing more worthless than a revenuer amongst our moonshine stills, it’s hack supposed journalists too busy making ridiculous partisan arguments that would embarass James Carville than to report actual emerging NEWS.
One could make an example of a great many schmucks, but right this minute Keith Olbermann over at MSNBC is taking the cake. Newsbusters has a report on his particularly annoying March 20th Countdown show. I was watching this show as well.
Short version, Olberman, in his special smug talking-down-to-dumb-red-staters style, accused the President of saying that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 as part of his effort to get us into war in Iraq (which of course wasn’t true), and lying now when he says that he did not make that argument in the first place.
Olbermann played two current quotes to mock President Bush: “First, just if I might correct a misperception. I don’t think we ever said, at least I know I didn’t say, that there was a direct connection between the September 11th and Saddam Hussein. We did say that he was the state sponsor of terror.” A second Bush soundbite followed up the first clip: “I was very careful never to say that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on America.”
Olberman has no tape to show Bush in fact saying that Hussein knew of or plotted 9/11, because there is none. His principal argument was by counting proximity of words in Presidential speeches, with no regard to the context. Bush used the words “Iraq” and “Al Qaeda” or “Saddam” and “9/11″ within ten or twenty words of each other X number of times, so how can Bush claim he wasn’t saying that? This argument is idiotic on the face of it.
But beyond that, there have in fact been numerous reports, including the vaunted 9/11 Commission Report, which make connections between Al Qaeda and the Hussein regime. Bush could very accurately claim that Hussein was cooperative with Al Qaeda. Does it only count if Hussein absolutely personally recruited the 9/11 hijackers? Arguably, just being in bed with those people as the Hussein regime clearly was goes a long way toward justifying military action — not that there aren’t any legitimate arguments against it. Still, you have to start with acknowledging reality.
While Olbermann’s trying to play some cheap gotcha game with the President, the US Army Foreign Military Studies Office is even this week releasing bunches of documents captured in the liberation of Iraq.
Here is part of an ABC News story on one of the documents:
“Osama bin Laden Contact With Iraq”
A newly released prewar Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein’s government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995, after receiving approval from Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested “carrying out joint operations against foreign forces” in Saudi Arabia. According to the document, Saddam’s presidency was informed of the details of the meeting on March 4, 1995, and Saddam agreed to dedicate a program for them on the radio. The document states that further “development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what’s open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation.” The Sudanese were informed about the agreement to dedicate the program on the radio.
The report then states that “Saudi opposition figure” bin Laden had to leave Sudan in July 1996 after it was accused of harboring terrorists. It says information indicated he was in Afghanistan. “The relationship with him is still through the Sudanese. We’re currently working on activating this relationship through a new channel in light of his current location,” it states.
(Editor’s Note: This document is handwritten and has no official seal. Although contacts between bin Laden and the Iraqis have been reported in the 9/11 Commission report and elsewhere (e.g., the 9/11 report states “Bin Ladn himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995) this document indicates the contacts were approved personally by Saddam Hussein.
It also shows that the discussions were substantive, in particular that bin Laden was proposing an operational relationship, and that the Iraqis were, at a minimum, interested in exploring a potential relationship and prepared to show good faith by broadcasting the speeches of al Ouda, the radical cleric who was also a bin Laden mentor.
The document does not establish that the two parties did in fact enter into an operational relationship. Given that the document claims bin Laden was proposing to the Iraqis that they conduct “joint operations against foreign forces” in Saudi Arabia, it is worth noting that eight months after the meeting — on November 13, 1995 — terrorists attacked Saudi National Guard Headquarters in Riyadh, killing 5 U.S. military advisers. The militants later confessed on Saudi TV to having been trained by Osama bin Laden.)
Mr Olbermann might also want to clear a moment on his journalistic calendar to take a quick gander at another document detailed in that same ABC report regarding Saddam’s interest in the particulars of French campaign finance law. Might be nice if some big shot journalists gave that story a little look-see. What with his interest in exposing the corruption of lying liars, Mr Olberman might put some of that crack staff on looking into whose campaigns he was trying to finance. Maybe while he’s getting his hair done, someone on staff can make a couple of phone calls or something.
But even the supposed evil right wing Fox News doesn’t seem to be featuring this story. Haven’t heard a peep about any of this there that I’ve seen. What the hell is Karl Rove paying Sean Hannity for, anyway? For that matter, why is the President not waving copies of this stuff around?
Cindy Sheehan’s busy getting her martyr-chic glamor shot for Vanity Fair taken on her son’s grave as Susan Sarandon prepares to play her in the, no doubt, heroic movie. Now, that’s news?
Or should I say, THIS IS NEWS.
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