Sunday, May 22, 2005

FRANK RICH's op-ed piece in the New York Times blasts the Bush administration for its shameless and hypocritical scapegoating of Newsweek -- for doing unintentionally and on a vastly smaller scale what Bush and his accomplices have been doing deliberately since the day he first took office; and even before that.

Rich's piece is superb; he hits all the high notes:

  • Richard Boucher at the State Department said it was "shocking" that Newsweek presented unconfirmed allegations as fact; yet that is exactly what Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, did when he presented unconfirmed intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in his address to the United Nations. Bush also presented unsubstantiated allegations on Iraqi weapons capacity in his State of the Union address and elsewhere.
  • A Pentagon spokesperson (Bryan Whitman) condemned the Newsweek article for "hiding behind anonymous sources"; yet Colin Powell used what turned out to be fraudulent information obtained from Curveball, a Pentagon anonymous source, to drum up U.N. support for the war.
  • The White House accused Newsweek of printing lies because the magazine wrote -- erroneously, as it turned out -- that charges of Koran desecration would be in a specific report prepared by Guantanamo investigators. After Newsweek retracted that allegation, Scott McClellan demanded that Newsweek print a pro-administration piece saying that the U.S. military "went out of its way to treat the Koran with the utmost respect." What McClellan did not say, or acknowledge at any time, was that dozens (at least) of almost identical incidents of Koran desecration had been reported by detainees (in legal depositions), by Red Cross officials who interviewed detainees in visits to Guantanamo, by government investigators, and by many major newspapers, including the notoriously left-wing Financial Times.
  • The Bush administration accuses the media of being anti-military; yet has no problem undercutting and betraying the military when it's convenient for them. To wit, publicly contradicting Carl Eichenberry's widely published conclusion that the riots after the Newsweek article came out were unconnected to the article. Eichenberry is the senior commander of all U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.

These are the highlights of Rich's piece; but there is much more. Read it here.

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