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Monday, March 15, 2004


The Crooked, Lying Group: A Case Study
As I mentioned last week, Sean Hannity has gotten his panties in a bunch because of John Kerry’s “lying, crooked group” statement. Today’s Salon has two examples of the actions of the lying, crooked group. One story discusses how Hannity’s Faux News colleague John Gibson played a little game of cut the guest’s microphone and then accuse her of being an anarchist and a LaRouchie (I suppose that’s the only thing Gibson and people like Senator John Kyl could do because they could not dispute the facts of Karen Kwiatkowski’s analysis of the Bush administration’s duplicity regarding Iraq). Also, Salon has a profile of GOP hitman Alex Castellanos. The article examines not only Castellanos’ misleading political ads but also his part in Republican disinformation campaigns such as the attempt to link Ken Lay to Bill Clinton.

If Hannity wants more examples, I would be glad to provide them to the angry Irish ape-man. The example I found over the weekend has to do with Hannity’s good friend Christopher Ruddy. On Saturday, I was at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove in the Fairfax district and I checked out the print edition of Ruddy’s NewsMax. A story that carried no byline caught my attention; it was titled, “Hillary Praises Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.” I checked and found the story on NewsMax’s website. What was the unnamed NewsMax author’s evidence that Senator Clinton praised the brutal 1979 invasion? The story cited a single sentence from Clinton’s December 15, 2003 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations (the speech was over six thousand words and was not linked to in the NewsMax web article): "One of the reasons why we were able to marshal the Mujaheddin and the warlords against the Soviets is because the Soviets tried to provide more opportunities for women."

REALITY: This quote, by itself, could certainly not be taken as praise for the Soviet invasion and installation of a despotic puppet regime. The Najibullah regime was brutal (a fact that Senator Clinton did not deny), but it accorded women more rights than the Taliban (not a difficult task considering the Taliban’s abysmal record). Senator Clinton was simply pointing out the undisputed fact that one of the reasons that the Mujaheddin hated the Soviet puppet regime was that their secular view of women was anathema to their strict Islamic views. Here’s the quote in context (click here for the full speech):

You know, women have always been at the fulcrum of Afghani politics and reaction. It happened in the early part of the 20th century, when the kings of Afghanistan attempted to modernize Afghanistan and pick as one of the principal objectives the more fully participating role of women. And that caused a backlash, which led to all kinds of reaction in the tribal areas. One of the reasons why we were able to marshal the Mujaheddin and the warlords against the Soviets is because the Soviets tried to provide more opportunities for women.

So women's roles is a critical point as to whether there can be a stable, free, democratic Afghanistan. If we were to focus on improving maternal health, that is an objective that is not in any way contradictory to the concerns of the most traditional, as well as the hopes of the most modern Afghans.

I was told that the hospital in Kabul delivers 200 babies a day. That is an astonishing number. And they do it in very difficult circumstances. We could cut in half the maternal death rate in Afghanistan, which is the highest in the world, with relatively little money.
The next step would be more difficult and expensive, but to clearly send a signal that the United States, President Karzai, all of us around the world wish the people of Afghanistan, particularly the mothers of Afghanistan, well would be a political and strategic statement, as well as a humanitarian one. Afghans need better schools, they need more health clinics, and they're expressing that at the loya jirga.


Is the NewsMax story a hatchet job? I’m reporting; you decide.


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