Thursday, March 27, 2008

Joe Wilson on Mendacity

I was preparing a piece on that horrendous Bosnia "prevarication" which the Eeeeeevil Hillary tried to foist upon the world. But Ambassador Joseph Wilson and others have already done the task. So let's let Wilson and company take the stage. Tomorrow or the next day, we'll have an excellent time dissecting some of the many lies told by "Professor" Obama.

In the immediate aftermath, the Obama campaign dispatched several foreign policy surrogates to blitz the airwaves, supposedly to offer alternatives to Clinton's recommendations. But that's not what happened. Instead, Hillary was subjected to yet another round of personal abuse, denigration and ridicule rather than a serious debate of the issues. The real subtext of the Obama campaign was to attack Hillary in order to distract from Obama's association with his anti-American preacher. National security went un-addressed. Rather than filling in his largely absent record, Obama had his surrogates engage in what can be termed the mendacity of hype.
Senator John Kerry, another Obama surrogate, offered the startling observation that Obama is better equipped than anyone else to bridge the divide between the U.S. and the Muslim world and end Islamic extremism and terorrism -- "because he's a black man." There is absolutely no empirical evidence to sustain that claim, the notion that a single individual, even one with a resume filled with appropriate experience, would be able to halt terrorism because of the color of his skin. It is patently absurd. But Kerry presented nothing to back up his astounding racial reasoning. And the Obama campaign was remarkably silent on Kerry's racialization of the foreign policy discussion.
Big John, I've never been disappointed in you before, but that is dumb. In fact, that statement is as dumb as saying that Hillary can best solve the economic crisis because she is white. What the hell does skin color have to do with matters of that sort?

But what about Bosnia? I hear you asking. Gettin' to it...
Then, there was retired Air Force General, Merrill "Tony" McPeak, whose media appearance last week consisted of making the outrageous charge that Bill Clinton was using "McCarthy-like tactics" simply because he mentioned, in the event of a Hillary-McCain match-up, that Hillary and McCain are good patriots and that the campaign should be devoted to a substantive debate of the issues. Even the right wing National Review's Kathleen Parker, who was at the event, felt compelled to correct the record. "Bill Clinton was saying that Hillary and McCain are both good patriots who love their country, not that all those unmentioned are something else."

Bill Clinton, of course, was not using McCarthy-like tactics," but the Obama campaign was eager to smear him. Which was guilty of "McCarthy-like tactics"? Attack the character of your adversaries; demean them; turn them into caricatures; while lying about someone, claim they are liars.

Finally, the Obama campaign pushed a compliant press corps, all too eager to do its bidding rather than maintain its standards of objectivity and skepticism, into hyping a mini-pseudo-scandal: whether Hillary "misspoke" about being under sniper fire when she paid a visit to Tuzla in Bosnia in 1996. In fact, the then-First Lady was told the plane was diving to land to avoid possible sniper fire. Whether there was or not is irrelevant. Anybody who has been involved in these situations, as I have, knows this. The threat was apparently real enough for U.S. military on the ground, the pilot and her security detail to engage in evasive procedures. That should have been the end of the matter. But the cable TV talking heads nattered the Obama campaign talking points endlessly.
Thank you, Ambassador. But there's more to be said. (The following is not from Wilson.)
For Senator Clinton's exaggeration to be a lie, there would have had to be no danger in the situation. No snipers anywhere, much less firing. However, we know the situation was dangerous, and that there were indeed snipers. How do we know this?

Because numerous contemporary reports confirm the situation was dangerous.

The Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported on March 24, 1996:
The First Lady is scheduled to travel Monday to the northeastern Bosnian town of Tuzla, the headquarters of the U.S. contingent in the Balkan conflict zone. She will visit troops and Bosnian government officials.

The trip is the first independent visit to U.S. troops overseas by a first lady since one was made by Eleanor Roosevelt.
USA TODAY reported on March 25, 1996:
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton launched her latest venture onto the international stage Sunday with a visit to offer support for families of U.S. troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Today, she travels to Bosnia, where she will meet U.S. soldiers and religious and community leaders in Tuzla and two nearby outposts. Her trip, her sixth overseas tour without the president, includes stops in Turkey and Greece -- for ceremonies lighting the Olympic torch -- before returning home March 31.
USA TODAY reported on March 26, 1996:
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton paid tribute Monday to U.S. troops serving in Bosnia, touring remote outposts not even her husband has seen.
Not even President Clinton, whose January visit to Bosnia was curtailed because of bad weather and security concerns, got the first-hand glimpse of the war's aftermath and the U.S. military presence here.

The White House said no first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt has made a trip into such a hostile military environment.
The first lady visited a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital called Bedrock, where she observed how doctors use teleconferences with Army hospitals in the USA for diagnosis.

Soldiers said she was the first dignitary to visit them since the deployment began about three months ago.
In helicopter hops between the main U.S. base in Tuzla and the outposts, the effects of the war were vividly, unforgettably clear to the Clinton party.

House after house was either roofless or in rubble. Fields had been ravaged; whole areas were stripped to the soil.
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia) reported March 27, 1996
Protected by sharpshooters, Hillary Clinton swooped into a military zone to deliver personal thanks to US troops.

"They're making a difference," the US First Lady said yesterday of the 18,500 Americans working as peacekeepers in Bosnia.

Mrs Clinton became the first presidential spouse since Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of wartime president Franklin D. Roosevelt, to make such an extensive trip into what can be considered a hostile area.
All articles from 1996 can be found via LexisNexis. It is obvious that the area was dangerous. Senator Clinton was protected by sharpshooters (ie. snipers). Moreover, we know that it was the first independent trip by a First Lady into a military zone since Eleanor Roosevelt.
So what's the bravest thing ever done by Obama?

I don't know if more need be said. Yes, I can visualize you right now, dear reader. You must be hopping up down, crimson in cheek, screaming "But...she's still a liar liar LIAR! This is the single most important lie ever!" No. She made, at most, a slip.

Obama is the true liar -- about important matters. We'll discuss the details soon. Not that Obama's fibs will matter to you. This election season, the Savior From Illinois gets to play his own version of Calvinball -- he gets to choose which fibs count and which do not.

But this one can't wait...
I am confident — as you surely are — that after the mainstream media sees the following, all of these stories will lead all the newscasts, as the Bosnia story has, repetitiously, for two days. RIGHT?

Jackie, a friend in Arizona, sent me an e-mail after hearing this March 25, 2008 NPR report from Don Gonyea. Gonyea reported on Obama’s now-famous 2002 anti-war speech. Jackie wrote:
Obama’s ad on anti-war speech is staged.

The speech was given at an anti-war rally on Oct. 2, 2002... Jessie Jackson was the main speaker. Obama’s speech went mainly unnoticed. He had not yet announced his run for the Senate, although now he claims he risked his political career. Of course we know that there was NO risk in running against Alan Keyes, all Obama had to do was breathe.
Gonyea says...
In an age of YouTube there is no video of the speech and only a snippet of audio. The Obama campaign has reenacted the speech in a campaign AD they are now running.

If there is no video available it would seem the entire Obama anti-war speech on which he is basing his Ad campaign may be faked. In fact the entire speech could be distorted.
Unlike Kos, I'll be quick with an admission if this allegation is proven wrong. Please note, though, that I do not make the claim. In fact, I remain wary of it. Interested, but wary.

Even if no fakery has taken place, note the fascinating picture that here emerges. Obama's 2002 anti-war speech looks like less of a plea and more of a stratagem. He delivered his message in the softest possible way. Nobody noticed him. Obama did not put anything in writing. He took no real chances. If the war had gone well and remained popular, no-one would have recalled that speech and his political career would have remained unharmed. If the war went badly (as in fact it did), he could point to the little-known speech and look like a prophet.

As we have noted previously -- in 2004, speaking before the Democratic National Convention, Obama (unlike Bill Clinton) was careful not to question the basis of the war; he merely disagreed with the way it was being handled. Obama turned against the war decisively only in 2005.

(Note: In the first version of this story, I forgot to link to Wilson's piece.)