Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Naked Partisanship, Or, Why I Really Shouldn't Listen To BBC News Ever Again 

I heard an absolutely terrible story on BBC yesterday, on their show "The World".

Here's the audio, though I have not found a transcript. It was an obvious attack on the Bush administration, giving all but the last twelve seconds or so of the story to "9-11 Commission" and their harangue of the Bush administration. The 9-11 Commission, which has been disbanded as a government entity but which continued on in a private capacity, thinks that the government has completely failed to protect us from terrorist attacks, giving them D's and F's in a variety of different aspects of the analysis.

But- and I know this might be a little too "reality-based" for some- there haven't been any attacks.

Apparently we've just been lucky. Apparently Al-Qaeda (invigorated, we're told, by the war in Iraq) just doesn't want to attack us here anymore, preferring to attack our servicemen and women, but not our civilians. Apparently they do want to kill Spanish civilians, and Indonesian civilians, and Iraqi civilians, and British civilians, but not American civilians, for some reason. I am sure it simply isn't possible that the reason we haven't had a terrorist attack on our home territory since 2001 has nothing at all to do with the government's efforts.

They quoted Daniel Benjamin, a terrorism analyst from The Center for Strategic and International Studies saying that "the White House believes its own rhetoric" that if we fight the terrorists abroad we won't have to fight them here. First, I would question whether that is, in fact, their rhetoric, precisely. But it certainly has been the idea that taking the fight to them would decrease their ability to attack us here. And more importantly, would they prefer that the Bush administration was lying when they laid out their strategy? Would they prefer the White House's policies to be just rhetoric, that had no actual bearing on their real positions and policies?

This so-called analyst even talked about the clear evidence that Al-Qaeda would like to attack us again, without any talk at all about why they have so obviously failed to do so.

The only quote given to the other side, in a story almost four minutes long, was from Dan Bartlett, White House spokesman, pointing out that there hadn't been an attack in four years. But even that paraphrase was devoid of any analysis and was not allowed to stand on its own strength. They also quoted him saying that we can't rest on our laurels.

It seems clear to me that we aren't.

Interestingly, I originally was writing this piece thinking it was an NPR piece. I went and listened to the NPR story from "All Things Considered". While still basically accepting uncritically this commission's statements (remember, it's bipartisan), it was a good deal more fair than the Beeb's pathetic excuse for journalism.

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