Earlier today, the Los Angeles Times reported that Pentagon officials were considering
dropping Article 3 of the Geneva Convention from FM 34-52, the Army's
field manual on interrogation. While the Pentagon has not reached a
final decision on the potential modifications to FM 34-52, the Times
and USA Today certainly have. Follow the escalation.
"The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet
of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and
degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a
step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from
strict adherence to international human rights standards."
Looks like another person on the CBS payroll missed a memo. First it was weatherman Dave Price giving positive reports on Iraq. Now, on this morning’s "Early Show" Colonel Randy Larsen, the director of the Homeland Security Institute and according to co-host Hannah Storm, a CBS News consultant, debunked a few myths that have been promoted by the media.
Larsen used the arrests in Canada to defend the National Security Agency’s (NSA) reported collection of phone records data and to illustrate its usefulness:
"But, it's a superb example, Hannah, of this controversy in the past few weeks about NSA and having the big database of telephone calls. When they arrested these people this weekend, they got cell phones and they got access to other phone numbers they didn't have before. And I'll tell you what, as a U.S. citizen, I'm really happy there's a database we can quickly look into now and see who they've been calling in the United States and start looking into that. So, there's a specific example of about how this data mining can really provide us more security here."
Andrew C. McCarthy writes in National Review that when the New York Times reported on the foiled terrorist plots in Canada, they took great pains not to mention the terrorists were Muslim.
Not only were all those arrested Muslims. The reported evidence against them fits to a tee the shopworn pattern of Islamic terrorism repeated for much of the last two decades. Young men were radicalized at the local mosque and its companion school by elders preaching from the Koran.....
Nonetheless, the rigorous media practice in Phase One is to suppress any reference to Islam, the single thread that runs through virtually all modern terrorism—from New York, to Virginia, to Bali, the Djerba, to Baghdad, to Mombassa, to Tel Aviv, to Nairobi, to Dar es Salaam, to Ankara, to Paris, to Riyadh, to Amman, to Sharm el-Sheikh, to Aden, to London, to Madrid, and, now, to Toronto.
While considerable attention focuses on Ann Coulter's more superficial charms, from a conservative perspective Ann's real beauty is her absolute refusal to buy into liberal logic, no matter how pervasive. That independence of mind was on display this morning during her 'Today' interview with Matt Lauer. Ann was on to tout her new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, released today on . . . 6/6/6 - sign of the devil and all that. [See today's open thread.]
The first example came in the context of President Bush's current push for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit gay marriage. The liberal mantra on his initiative, as exemplified by Ann Curry's performance on yesterday's Today, is that this is a cynical political ploy and a waste of time when there are myriad 'real' issues out there to be addressed.
In the wake of the Ann Coulter interview on Tuesday's "Today" -- specifically the part where Matt Lauer simply couldn't believe Coulter's attacks on 9-11 widows channeling their grief into anti-Bush attacks on TV news shows -- here are a few reminders of how the Kristen Breitweisers of the world (who endorsed John Kerry in the fall) were given the lion's share of attention by network hosts like Matt Lauer.
An MRC study of relatives on the morning news shows found the disparity of anti-Bush victim relatives to pro-Bush relatives was 20 to 3. (The report concluded, "These relatives are entitled to their views, of course. But network viewers are entitled to a little balance, too.")
A week earlier, it was already obvious Breitweiser was doing election-year publicity against Bush:
All too often all we get are the bad stories about this war on terror from our Mainstream Media. Not only that but we only hear about our allies when they are quitting their support for US led efforts to combat terror in the world and never when they are in support or do something to help the effort. So, I suppose it isn't beyond belief that we never heard this heartwarming story anywhere in the US Media.
For the last two years, Fran O'Brien's Steak house in Washington D.C. has treated our wounded servicemen from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to a steak dinner on Friday nights. But they recently lost their lease at the Hilton Hotel in D.C. leaving the Friday night dinners in doubt.
Enter the Italian Ambassador and his staff who, on May, 21st, conjured up a full Italian dinner for 27 of our wounded heroes. When Ambassador Gianni Castellaneta, and his wife, Lila, found out that O'Brien's had lost their lease, they decided to step in to substitute lasagna for steak. (See Stars and Stripes article Click here)
On this morning’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Harry Smith continued his crusade against the war in Iraq, and suggested that not only is the war in Iraq a quagmire, but the whole war on terror is one as well. In an interview with Senator Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat and probable candidate for President in 2008, Smith accentuated the negative in Iraq without challenging Biden on his positions.
Smith set the tone for the segment with his first question, suggesting that nothing has been accomplished in Iraq:
"The insurgency appears to be operating virtually at will. Have we made no progress there or is there, do you see any signs of hope of this ending?"
The Capital Times ran a front page story on Memorial Day that was the perfect way for a newspaper to celebrate our military heroes; the cookie cutter foreign war vet who "can't get a job" despite 4.6% unemployment story. Oh yeah, and of course he's homeless.
Well, actually he made the story up. And the checks and balances of the editorial process in today's skeptical journalism climate meant they ate up his story without so much as a phone call to confirm it. The paper says "We've been snookered" with a line suggesting it slipped past due to a holiday weekend. I guess that's what you get for waiting until the weekend before Memorial Day to do your homeless vet story.
At least they observed Memorial Day. [FYI: For more information about how to fight Google censorship, see the comments.]
A wacky group of conspiracy theorists who think 9/11 was an inside job on the part of the Bush administration met in Chicago over the weekend, and got a respectful hearing from Times Metro reporter Alan Feuer.
“500 Conspiracy Buffs Meet To Seek the Truth of 9/11” made Page 1 of the Metro section, and that very headline gives the conspiracy-mongers the undeserved accolade of truth-seekers when they’re actually just crawling for scraps of evidence “proving” that Bush, not radical Islamic terrorism, was responsible for 9/11.
The New York Times recently conducted an interview with author John Updike about his newest novel. This interview was revealing of why liberals will never understand this age in which we live. It is indicative of how they just don’t understand the evil we face in Islamofascism. (See story - Click here)
Updike, as obsessed with fallen Christianity as he is with prurient sex scenes, must have seen the writing on the wall while in the midst of penning his newest novel, a sort of thriller titled Terrorist.
The plot of Updike’s new novel revolves around a young man of mixed parentage who is radicalized into the Islamofascist world. He is given the assignment of exploding a bomb in New York’s Lincoln tunnel. According to the interview we will find the book’s main character, 18 year-old Ahmad, a “lovable” sort of fellow.
In this day when we are faced with Islamofascists who have announced their desire to use nuclear bombs to destroy major US cities -- and other cities in the West -- John Updike wants to make a “lovable” terrorist for us to read along with!
This is the typically convoluted response to this era that the left has so descended into. But, this isn’t the only example of the Left’s confusion evidenced in Mr. Updike’s thought process.
Mr. Updike seems only to have come to his protagonist’s background recently:
The host might be different, but the partisan bias is the same.
Norah O'Donnell sat in for Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball. The first half hour was devoted to a discussion of Haditha, with Norah making frequent allusions to a "failure of leadership" and wondering why President Bush didn't know the facts and disclose them to the press sooner.
But speaking of disclosure . . . Norah didn't find it necessary to disclose to viewers that two of her three guests were partisan Democrats.
Paul Hackett, shown in the first photo, was the Democratic candidate for Congress from Ohio's 2nd District, and later sought the Democratic senatorial nomination. But Norah introduced him only as "a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and also ran for office in Ohio." Unsuspecting viewers might well have thought that, if anything, the Marine vet was a Republican.
CNN reporter Ben Wedeman got to spend some quality time with terrorists who get their kicks trying to kill Israeli children as he spent the day hanging out at a rocket factory. Nowhere in the story will you read a derogatory word about the terrorists, or even the word "terrorist" at all, and he closes the piece by calling it "a good story."
You might think, as an American or even as a decent human being, that if you knew people who knew bomb-making terrorists, or you had the means to get to where the bombs are being made, you would tell authorities. Not CNN reporters. They bend over backwards to protect these murderers:
I got to the rocket makers through an old acquaintance in Gaza. To protect his identity, I'll call him Majid. A journalist, Majid has the numbers of all Gaza's factions, parties, politicians, warlords, thugs, crooks and freelance gunmen... I didn't mention what I was trying to arrange to anyone -- not CNN's assignment editors, not our Jerusalem bureau, not even Adil, my cameraman who was hoping for a day off after two weeks in Gaza covering clashes and chaos. Gaza is crawling with informants, collaborators and spies, so the less anyone knows about your plans, the better.
There are surely Bill O'Reilly experts out there who have carefully charted the history of his pronouncements on the Iraq war. But as a casual observer, it seemed to me that in this evening's Talking Points, O'Reilly struck an altogether more negative tone on Iraq, with implications for future US foreign policy.
Here's what he had to say: "The chaos in Afghanistan and Iraq will never end, because there will always be people who hate Americans. And we are an occupying force in those countries. The very important question is how do we as citizens process what's going on in those theaters of war? In Afghanistan, the Taliban are just waiting until we leave and will always be waiting. Whether the Karzai government will ever be strong enough to defeat them is an open question.
Does Osama bin Laden read the work of left-wing media figures and bloggers? It's quite possible, argues Brendan O'Neill:
When Al Jazeera broadcast Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape in January, it provoked the same sense of déjà vu as Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, recently published by the leftist publishing house Verso.
The book is a collection of every public utterance made by the Al Qaeda leader from 1994 to 2004. According to The Observer's excitable reviewer, it shows that he is a "charismatic man of action, an eloquent preacher, a teacher of literature and a resilient, cunning, wonderfully briefed politician." To me, however, there was something irritatingly familiar rather than surprisingly eloquent about his tone and turns of phrase.
Then it struck me: Bin Laden is a blogger. Not literally, of course, but he certainly speaks the language of the blogosphere. He references Robert Fisk and Michael Moore, those darlings of the anti-war Web. His latest statement recommends that people read Rogue State by William Blum, whose e-mail newsletter, Anti-Empire Report, is frequently republished and discussed in the left-wing blogosphere.
Since it was Memorial Day, the day on which America honors its war dead, it was natural that The Washington Post saw this as the perfect day for...a big profile of a hard-left "anti-war" activist, Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out. Reporter David Montgomery chronicled her marriage to a National Guard soldier, "the warrior and the antiwarrior," and she won. The husband, back from Iraq, asked: "Soldiers are dying for what reason again?"
The annual Memorial Day concert event on the mall (nationally televised by PBS) topped the left corner of the Style section, but much of the front Style page was devoted to Bannerman’s story, with a huge Post photographer's shot of Bannerman marching for "peace" in jeans and a T-shirt, complete with the www.mfso.org web address. The headline was: "Choose Your Battle: She's a Pacifist. He's A Warrior. But Even In the Shadow of Iraq, Their Love Soldiers On."
Could there be a new sheriff on the block at Fox News Watch? Brash lefty Neal Gabler often manages to get the last word, but on last evening's show he was soundly put in his place by National Review editor Rich Lowry, substituting for Cal Thomas.
The topic was the recent press leaks that have compromised a number of highly-classified anti-terrorism programs including the secret prisons for Al-Qaeda members, the monitoring of Al-Qaeda related phone calls and the gathering of phone calling patterns.
Predictably, Gabler was highly critical of the prospect of the government going against those who, by publishing the leaks, potentially cause significant damage to our national security interests:
NBC's David Gregory wasn't the only liberal reporter who just had to emphasize The Economist magazine's cover calling President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair the "Axis of Feeble." At CJR Daily, Paul McLeary noted it became a hot trend. So why would this bother liberal Columbia Journalism Review folks? Because it's lazy. "Great headline," said McLeary, but "The sad thing is, they all probably thought they were being funny and original, and in a sense they were -- but in lockstep. And that's what strikes us as feeble."
It seems what the media likes in this is how it turns Bush's phrase back on itself, and comments on how both Bush and Blair are lame-duck leaders. But if they are "feeble," er, what about the sub-par politicians who couldn't seem to defeat their attempts at re-election? Here's McLeary's roundup of mentions:
In another episode of "Why the French are Always Wrong", Le Figaro newspaper has published its latest example of how clueless the French are where it concerns what is going on in the world and why it is going on. (See article by Clicking Here)
In an editorial by Pierre Rousselin, titled "Christians Flee the East in Wake of Bush's 'Crusade' ", we are treated to an analysis of how George W. Bush is ruining the lives of Christians in the east with his evil "crusade" against Islam.
Need I say not a word against Islam is mentioned in this editorial? I didn't think that would surprise anyone.
What is amazing about this editorial, though, is the vacuum in which the discomfort of eastern Christians is discussed. It is as if, as far as Rousselin is concerned, there is only one reason, one root cause of this exodus of eastern Christians; George W. Bush.
Are American troops savages? Harry Smith grasped onto today's leak in the "New York Times" to suggest so. On CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning, the co-host interviewed General George Casey, commander of coalition forces in Iraq. Smith’s questions focused on the negative, such as alleged atrocities by Marines and the loss of life in Baghdad. He asked nothing about whether hope can be found in the new Iraqi government coming together. Smith’s questions may have been designed to rattle the General, but General Casey remained level headed and confident throughout Smith’s grilling of him.
Smith began the segment by implying that U.S. troops randomly kill civilians:
You almost expected The Edwin Hawkins Singers to turn up on set. For, short of Hillary raising her right hand on the steps of the Capitol some time in January of 2009, it just doesn't get much happier for Today than this morning. In one fell news cycle, George Bush and Enron evil-doers laid low.
It couldn't have come quick enough for Katie Couric. Interviewing Tim Russert on the president's mea culpa performance of yesterday, in which he and Tony Blair admitted to mistakes in his handling of Iraq, she asked:
"Do you think both men should have tried this approach sooner?"
Lest anyone think that the president's remorse will appease the MSM, it was obvious that, now with a taste of blood, the liberal media pack will only call for more. Couric wasted no time in going after Donald Rumsfeld:
Jason DeParle, assigned by the New York Times to cover the “conservative beat,” reported Thursday that faculty at Georgetown University are hotly rebelling against former Bush Pentagon official Douglas Feith, a "war criminal," in his new gig as a professor at Georgetown University. The headline was sedate: “Faculty’s Chilly Welcome For Ex-Pentagon Official.”
The typically left-wing professoriate at Georgetown may be up in arms, but you would be crestfallen if you believed liberals would be called "liberals" or "leftists" in the DeParle piece, even as Feith is identified as a “neoconservative” favoring war on Saddam Hussein.
Today's ABC News: The Note suggests viewers of this evening's televised joint news conference of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "watch closely the nuance, the body language, the bonhomie, and the sheer homo-eroticism."
The next sentence is: "(We are sort of kidding about that last one, Mr. President.)"
Thank heaven they're only "sort of kidding about that last one." It would have been a terrific shock to their wives.
Still, it would have been more politically correct to have added that, if there were any homo-eroticism between the two leaders, there'd be nothing wrong with it.
Harold C. Hutchison writes on Strategy Page about selective reporting by the media, who choose to focus on events in their own way. There is always more than one way to report a story or saga, and Strategy Page reveals some alternate options.
A number of stories have been unreported on – or misreported – in the war of terror. The mainstream media is willing to discuss the car bombs. But which of these stories have been the most damaging in terms of not getting out?
@ The memos from Saddam's regime. These memos, often ignored by major mass media outlets (unless targeted for derision), have generally shown the terrorist connections that Saddam's regime had, and showed that the regime was also interested in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Far from lying, the Bush Administration had largely been spot on.
On tonight's CBS Evening News, David Martin reported on a story about Specialist Kendell Frederick and his quest for citizenship. Martin interviewed Specialist Frederick's mother, Michelle Murphy, about the red tape that delayed the approval of his citizenship application. The delay was due to a lack of a signature on his fingerprint form. Specialist Frederick was serving in Iraq and went to Camp Anaconda to have another fingerprint form completed. On the way back to his base, the convoy was hit by an IED. Specialist Frederick died on October 19, 2005.
Mrs. Murphy showed Martin a letter from Specialist Frederick's Commander explaining that her son was in the convoy solely to get his fingerprint form completed. At this point in the report Martin was shown speaking with a representative of USCIS. David Martin actually claimed that Specialist Frederick was "killed by red tape". Martin went on to say Specialist Frederick "had to die to get his citizenship".
Once again Harry Smith reported from Baghdad for this morning’s Early Show. This morning, his focus was talking with ordinary Iraqis about their life during the war, and Harry Smith may have once again been surprised when he heard one Iraqi thank America and all Americans who supported the war for what they did for Iraq. Rene Syler opened this segment:
Rene Syler: "We see opinion polls almost weekly telling us how Americans feel about the war in Iraq. But what do ordinary Iraqis think? Harry's live in Baghdad with that story. Harry, good morning."
Harry Smith: "Rene, an extraordinary opportunity. Seven Iraqi young men, all in their 20s, all college educated, they all speak English. We talked about everything from the danger of their everyday lives to Saddam Hussein and the role of America in this country. Now their answers will enlighten you, and they may surprise you."
Harry Smith, co-host of CBS’s "The Early Show," has spent the last few days reporting from Baghdad. On Friday, he reported the security situation was such that he couldn’t go out and get ice cream. But today, he decided to look for a success story. He found one, but he proved that while he can report a bad news story without mentioning any good news, he can’t report a success story without finding negative items to talk about. Reporting from Baghdad, Harry Smith began his piece, which profiled the work of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division’s work in the town of Sababor, talking about the violence in Iraq: "Yeah, good morning. I'll tell you what, just an illustration of how much bad news there is here. A friend of mine here in Iraq told me the other day 'the busiest people in this town are the terrorists.'" Later, he talked of a bombing in Sababor which occurred a month ago: "It hasn't been easy. Just a month ago, a bomb here killed 15 people."
And at one point, "The Early Show" co-host appeared surprised to learn that people in Sababor view Americans positively. And Smith seemed even more shocked when one of the boys told him his name was "Bush" after Smith had an apparent James Bond like moment in introducing himself to the boy.
Video clip of exchange between Iraqi kid who called himself "Bush" and Smith (21 seconds): Real (700 KB) or Windows Media (825 KB), plus MP3 audio (125 KB)
NPR’s Nina Totenberg claimed that the United States was becoming East Germany on the program "Inside Washington" which airs on some PBS affiliates, and in the Washington D.C. market on News Channel 8 as well as the local ABC affiliate.
Host Gordon Peterson, opened a discussion segment regarding a report by ABC News Investigative reporter Brian Ross, who asserted that a federal law enforcement officer advised him and his producer to get new cell phones because the government was tracking the phone numbers dialed in an effort to root out confidential sources. Peterson wondered what effect this would have on reporters:
"He says the official told him ‘it's time for you to get some new cell phones quick.’ Reporters are going to start functioning like al Qaeda operatives? Go to a pay phone if the can find one?"
Imagine you're a newswire editor writing the headline for a story in which former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has accused Pres. Bush of 'religious absolutism.' What would be a fair headline? Something like:
Albright Accuses Bush of 'Religious Absolutism'
Now consider Reuters' actual headline:
Albright Critical of Bush's Religious Absolutism
Note the not-so-subtle difference. We've moved from Albright accusing Bush of religious absolutism, to Reuters effectively reporting Bush's absolutism as a fact, of which Albright is simply critical. Not even a set of quotation remarks around 'religious absolutism' to clarify that the words are Albright's, and not unquestioned fact.
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) appeared on CBS' The Early Show this morning, along with several others, to discuss winning the JFK "Profiles in Courage" award.
During the interview, Murtha went on an anti-War rant, to which The Early Show's co-anchor Julie Chen said nodded in agreement and said "absolutely":
MURTHA: And I said there's not only no progress, it's worse than it was pre-war. This thing has been mishandled so badly. The american people need to hear. We're spending $450 billion on this war by the end of the year, $9 billion a month, and so we need to change course.
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." JFK Inaugural Address, 1961
"We can do just as much by withdrawing our troops." John Murtha, Winner, Profile in Courage Award, 'Today' show, 5/22/06
The Kennedys have come a long way since JFK gave his inaugural speech. Pres. Kennedy was a cold warrior, not only in the words of that speech, but in action. He stared down the Kremlin over the Soviets' installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba, and with his Cuban embargo took the world the closest it has ever been to the brink of nuclear war.