Helen Thomas is a "stalwart of the White House press corps who wields candor like a weapon of mass instruction," gushed Seattle Post-Intelligencer managing editor David McCumber in a November 2 post at his paper's Big Blog.In a short video of her Friday appearance, Thomas regales the P-I newsroom audience with her tired left-wing ravings about how the Bush administration lied to get the United States into war with Iraq, and how President Bush must have been utterly amazed at how sheep-like the media were in the lead-up to war. McCumber was so enchanted by her presence that he included what he considered to be a pearl of wisdom from the reporter-turned-front-row-Bush-basher:
She hasn't lost a step. Her timing is still as impeccable as has been forever in her front-row seat at presidential press conferences. Today she said people in the Bush Administration had lied about the rationale for the Iraq war. Then she caught herself and said, "We're journalists, we don't call people liars."Then she hesitated for a moment and added, "They're not liars."Another beat. Then:"They're frauds."
Of course, Thomas's memory is either not what it used to be or she outright lied to her audience by claiming not one reporter in the March 6, 2003 presidential press conference asked the president critical question about Iraq. To be sure, the questions were not raving mad with lunacy like Thomas would prefer, but objections to the use of force, questions about allies disagreeing with the invasion, etc., were all raised. In fact, the first question right out of the gate that evening, from AP's Ron Fournier, pressed Bush on whether all other options besides commencing hostilities had been exhausted (emphasis mine):
Let me see if I can further -- if you could further define what you just called this important moment we're in, since you've made it clear just now that you don't think Saddam has disarmed, and we have a quarter million troops in the Persian Gulf, and now that you've called on the world to be ready to use force as a last resort. Are we just days away from the point of which you decide whether or not we go to war? And what harm would it do to give Saddam a final ultimatum? A two- or three-day deadline to disarm or face force?
Another reporter pressed Bush on why he was so sure about war being the correct course of action when other nations with access to similar intelligence strongly urged against commencing hostilities (emphasis mine):
Mr. President, you have, and your top advisors -- notably, Secretary of State Powell -- have repeatedly said that we have shared with our allies all the current, up-to-date intelligence information that proves the imminence of the threat we face from Saddam Hussein, and that they have been sharing their intelligence with us, as well. If all these nations, all of them our normal allies, have access to the same intelligence information, why is it that they are reluctant to think that the threat is so real, so imminent that we need to move to the brink of war now? And in relation to that, today, the British Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, suggested at the U.N. that it might be time to look at amending the resolution, perhaps with an eye towards a timetable like that proposed by the Canadians some two weeks ago, that would set a firm deadline to give Saddam Hussein a little bit of time to come clean. And also, obviously, that would give you a little bit of a chance to build more support within the members of the Security Council. Is that something that the governments should be pursuing at the U.N. right now?
And then there was CNN's John King, who raised the notion that the war was simply a personal/family beef -- Hussein attempted to assassinate George H.W. Bush -- writ large:
How would -- sir, how would you answer your critics who say that they think this is somehow personal? As Senator Kennedy put it tonight, he said your fixation with Saddam Hussein is making the world a more dangerous place. And as you prepare the American people for the possibility of military conflict, could you share with us any of the scenarios your advisors have shared with you about worse-case scenarios, in terms of the potential cost of American lives, the potential cost to the American economy, and the potential risks of retaliatory terrorist strikes here at home?