Sep
14
2011

Bill O'Reilly Polices the 9/11 Boundaries

Fox host Bill O'Reilly knows a thing or two about boundaries. As he told his TV audience Monday night, some "far-left" radicals crossed the line on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a blog post about how some Republican politicians turned the attacks into a "wedge issue," and referred to George W. Bush and Rudolph Giuliani as "fake heroes." O'Reilly's reaction: Krugman is "insulting his country on the anniversary of 9/11. That is truly despicable." O'Reilly had a little left in tank, so he went after former Times reporter Chris Hedges for […]

Sep
06
2011

NYT's Misleading Rendition of the Reason for Rendition

Documents discovered in Libya suggest a close relationship between the Libyan government and the CIA. The New York Times described it this way on September 3: TRIPOLI, Libya — Documents found at the abandoned office of Libya's former spymaster appear to provide new details of the close relations the Central Intelligence Agency shared with the Libyan intelligence service — most notably suggesting that the Americans sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite that country's reputation for torture. And then today (9/6/11) the Times put it this way: The cooperation appeared to be far greater with […]

Aug
31
2011

The Libya Rebels and Al-Qaeda, Anonymously

FAIR editor Jim Naureckas tweeted recently, "NATO's installation of an Al Qaeda-friendly government in Libya is one of 2011's most underreported stories." He's got a point. The Washington Post today published a pretty interesting look at how the Libyan government viewed the jihadist threat, thanks to some documents recovered in Tripoli: The documents were uncovered days after the regime fell to rebel fighters led in part by a self-proclaimed former Islamist, Abdelkarim Belhadj. He has declared himself the leader of the "Tripoli Brigade" that spearheaded the defeat of Gadhafi loyalists in the capital. Belhadj is the former commander of the […]

Aug
26
2011

Zakaria, Libya and Iraq: Don't Remember What I Wrote

Fareed Zakaria cheers the Libya War in Time magazine this week for not following the Iraq model: It has been prosecuted with the memory of the Iraq war firmly in mind. Only this time the approach has been to view the last war as a negative example. The international coalition–and even the Libyan opposition–is doing pretty much the opposite of what was done in Iraq. Zakaria explains that Obama "was clearly trying to avoid the mistakes of Iraq." Among the mistakes the Bush administration made: Had UN weapons inspectors been given more time in the spring of 2003, the UN […]

Aug
24
2011

NYT Points Out 'Racist Overtones' in Libyan Disinformation It Helped Spread

Today's New York Times has a story by David Kirkpatrick and Rod Nordland running down the exaggerations and misinformation that have been spread throughout the Libya War. There's been "spin from all sides," they report. Gadhafi's exaggerations are well-known, but this passage is rather striking: Still, the rebels have offered their own far-fetched claims, like mass rapes by loyalist troops issued tablets of Viagra. Although the rebels have not offered credible proof, that claim is nonetheless the basis of an investigation by the International Criminal Court. And there is the mantra, with racist overtones, that the Gadhafi government is using […]

Jul
13
2011

Rebel Atrocities 'Pale' Next to Gadhafi's Similar Atrocities

A New York Times piece by C.J. Chivers (7/13/11) presents a scary picture of Libyan rebel behavior: Rebels in the mountains in Libya's west have looted and damaged four towns seized since last month from the forces of Col. Muammar el-Gadhafi, part of a series of abuses and apparent reprisals against suspected loyalists that have chased residents of these towns away, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday. The looting included many businesses and at least two medical centers that, like the towns, are now deserted and bare. Rebel fighters also beat people suspected of being loyalists and burned their homes, the […]

Jun
20
2011

Meet the Press–But Skip the Libya Debate

There is growing Congressional opposition to the Libya war. Two House votes this month sought to challenge the White House policy– one of which passed by a wide margin. On Saturday (6/18/11) Charlie Savage reported in the New York Times that the Office of Legal Counsel's advice to Obama was that he needed to comply with the War Powers Act. Obama rejected their advice, which as Savage reported is "extraordinarily rare." Congress will be taking up more Libya debates this week, with a potential vote scheduled to stop the funding of the war. And the recent Republican presidential debate showed […]

Jun
10
2011

Anonymous NATO: We Don't Know Who Bombed That Tent

From the L.A. Times (6/9/11): A tattered tent, shreds of carpet and other scorched debris were all that were left of a favored retreat of Moammar Gadhafi just outside the Libyan capital, the aftermath of what appeared to be a NATO bombing run. Was the usually idyllic nature preserve a "command and control" center used by the Libyan military? Or was this an example of NATO attempting to assassinate the longtime Libyan dictator? A NATO official reached in Naples, Italy, late Wednesday emphasized that the Western alliance does not target people for killings, and the official would not confirm that […]

Jun
09
2011

Libya's Lousy PR

One theme of the coverage of the NATO bombing of Libya is that the Libyan government is lousy at propaganda. It was somewhat jarring, though, to see all of these headlines in the space of two days this week. It's worth pointing out– as some of these stories (and others) do– that the NATO bombing has intensified over the past few days, making these 'no dead civilians here' pieces seem curiously timed. I guess this could be seen as a message to the Libyan government: This is how the professionals do it. New York Times (6/7/11): "Libya Stokes Its Machine […]

May
31
2011

Some Muslims Like Us! The Lighter Side of the Libya War

New York Times reporter Rod Nordland (5/29/11) gave readers a lighter look at the war in Libya from rebel-controlled Benghazi. Some versions of the story were actually headlined, "In Benghazi, Warmth for West Doesn't Come from Burning Flags"–which pretty well captures the tone of the piece. Nordland observes: Americans and, for that matter, all Westerners are treated hereabouts with a warmth and gratitude rarely seen in any Muslim country–even those with 100,000 American troops–in probably half a century or more. I'm not sure there's a reliable survey of Muslim hospitality, but the idea that even Iraqis or Afghans aren't fond […]

May
31
2011

George Will: All Over the Map on the War Powers Act

On Sunday George Will wrote a strong Washington Post column about Obama, the Libya War and the law: In a bipartisan cascade of hypocrisies, a liberal president, with the collaborative silence of most congressional conservatives, is traducing the War Powers Resolution. Enacted in 1973 over President Nixon's veto, the WPR may or may not be wise. It is, however, unquestionably a law, and Barack Obama certainly is violating it. "Liberals are situational ethicists regarding presidential warmaking," Will explained, going on to suggest that George W. Bush would have been treated much differently than Obama. And Will had harsh words for […]

May
10
2011

The Shifting Standard for Indiscriminate Killing

I was struck by the contrast between two passages I came across recently: Misurata's population is roughly 400,000. In nearly two months of war, only 257 people–including combatants–have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22–less than 3 percent–are women. If Gadhafi were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties. –Alan J. Kuperman (Boston Globe, 4/14/11) In a report to be published in tomorrow's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have concluded that air strikes [in Iraq] by U.S.-led coalition forces have killed mostly women and children. Thirty-nine percent were children, while 46 percent […]

Apr
27
2011

NYT Explains–But Doesn't Name–U.S. Terrorism

Today the New York Times describes the state of the war in Libya: WASHINGTON – NATO plans to step up attacks on the palaces, headquarters and communications centers that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi uses to maintain his grip on power in Libya, according to Obama administration and allied officials. This "more energetic bombing campaign" included "a separate raid on Monday that temporarily knocked Libyan state television off the air." As the Times' Thom Shanker and David Sanger explain: Officials in Europe and Washington said the strikes were meant to reduce the Libyan government's ability to harm civilians by eliminating, link by […]