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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Thursday, February 28, 2008

John McCain, Fear and Lying

via MAL Contends

Update: McCain buddy Bush picks up the lying talking point.
BUSH: It's an interesting comment. 'If Al Qaida is securing an Al Qaida base'?Yes, well, that's exactly what they've been trying to do for the past four years. That's — their stated intention was to create enough chaos and disorder to establish a base from which to either launch attacks or spread a caliphate.

From the inception of the Bush presidency which effectively began on September 12, 2001, the war paradigm and fear have been its trademarks.

In policy and politics, Bush and neocons have transformed this country into a permanent culture of fear while claiming to be the sole instrument to provide security.John McCain has picked up the torch, and is now lying, howler after howler, on the campaign trail with impunity.

The question is: Will the media that credulously reported the weapons-of-mass-destruction and al-Qaeda/Saddam lies [“allowed to stand unchallenged,” it was later reported with regret] continue to let John McCain lie with the newest iteration of the al-Qaeda will strike us from Iraq fable?“(Al-Qaeda in Iraq) if we left, they wouldn’t be establishing a base. They’d be taking a country, and I’m not going to allow that to happen,” John McCain tells us.Ludicrous.

As Juan Cole writes:

The allegation that (McCain) makes about there being ‘al-Qaeda in Iraq' that could well take over the country is part lie and part insanity. ... The idea that this small minority of violent Muslim fundamentalists could take over Iraq is completely crazy. They haven't even been able to keep their toehold in Baghdad-- the Sunnis have been largely ethnically cleansed from the capital by Shiite militias.

In GOP political rhetoric, al Qaeda has become inclusively the Islamofascists—the coming caliphate composed of everyone in Iraq and the Middle East who raises a gun or thought against foreign invaders, though Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (and assorted other authoritarian states) remain our steadfast, democratic friends.

And McCain is taking his fear show on the road as he looks to the general election, blasting Barack Obama for answering Tim Russert’s hypothetical question about reinvading Iraq should America withdraw in the future.

Asked Russert: ". . . do you reserve a right as American president to go back into Iraq, once you have withdrawn, with sizable troops in order to quell any kind of insurrection or civil war?"

Obama: . . . Now, I always reserve the right for the president -- as commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad.

That’s just too much for McCain.

“Al Qaeda is there now,” Mr. McCain said today in Houston, with a tone of belittlement in his voice. “So to state that somehow if Al Qaeda were there that he would consider going back militarily is really a remarkable comment, and I don’t think displays an understanding of the size of the threat and what’s at stake in Iraq.” (Bosman, NYT)

But as Juan Cole points out: “Note that Obama was simply responding to Russert's hypothetical, which assumed that the US was already out of Iraq but that in the aftermath, there was ‘insurrection’ or ‘civil war.’ The world that Russert imagined was presumably one in which Iraq had firmed up enough for the US to get out ... "

There are two blatant lies that McCain peddling:

- That Al Qaeda, such as is, can take over Iraq and pose a danger to the United States

- McCain's failure to acknowledge that Obama’s statement to which McCain has now spent two days misrepresenting was based on Russert’s hypothetical question

There is nothing “remarkable” about Obama’s comment, except in the disingenuous manner that McCain, Mr. straight talker, is presenting it.

But McCain’s blatant lying is remarkable and ought to be challenged by someone besides Juan Cole.

John McCain’s character, specifically his willingness to lie, is on display, and every journalist ought to be reporting on what is happening.

Instead, the newest media narrative, as I write, is: Can Obama withstand this McCain attack, and is he seasoned enough on military and foreign policy?

Let's hope that the media will heed the lesson of its admitted failure before the Iraq invasion.

From The Times and Iraq (New York Times, May 26, 2004):"We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves."

Good idea.

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