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Accountability Doesn't Apply to Republicans On After Hours with Cal Thomas

Reported by Ellen - March 6, 2005

Last night on After Hours with Cal Thomas (3/5/04), Cal's Column One editorial led the show with an indictment of the US Supreme Court's "arbitrary standard" in ruling against the death penalty for those under 18 years of age. Thomas complained that "We are rapidly moving away from a concept of true moral guilt and just desserts to a psychobabble view of behavior. No one is personally responsible for his choices or behavior any more and the court is reflecting that post-modern attitude." But in the next two segments that included serious Republican missteps (on Iraq's WMD's and failures in the War on Terror), nobody said a peep about holding the Bush Administration responsible.

The first segment after Column One was an interview with Bush's former Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, author of a new book published by FOX News affiliate, William Morrow.

Thomas asked Fleischer the following question about the missing weapons of mass destruction: "Weapons of Mass Destruction, some of the critics, the NY Times Review of your book said - clearly, when you were saying that they were there, they weren't there and they're suggesting you should have said later OK, I was wrong, I made a mistake."

AF: I did make a mistake, as everybody in government did... but everything that I said at the time was based on of course all the best intelligence we thought was true at the time. Just as President Clinton had said that Iraq had WMD, Al Gore said it as well, John Kerry said it on a speech on the Senate Floor in 2002."

Comment: Where's the accountability there? First Thomas frames the question within a not-so-veiled dig at the "critics" for being too critical, then Fleischer excuses the "mistake" by saying that everyone else made the same mistake and that he was just doing what Clinton, Gore and Kerry did, too. In the first place, going to war over wrong intelligence is more than a "mistake." Second, isn't the Bush administration responsible for overseeing the departments that came up with that wrong intelligence? Third, since when do Republicans think something is acceptable just because Clinton, Kerry and Gore do it?

After that segment came an interview with a hate-mongerer in the guise of a "counterterrorism expert" named Harvey Kushner. Just in time for the reconsideration of the Patriot Act, Kushner has a book out claiming that Islamic extremists have infiltrated all areas of American life and have to be rooted out. Here are some of his designed-to-be sensational accusations:

We've gone politically-correct nuts. We've listened to the ACLU to such an extent that we're totally blind. If the ACLU would have their way, the only way we would do profiling is if we could predict pre-attack behaviors..."

"You know what (Islamic militants) are doing? They're capturing the minds of American children. What they're doing is infiltrating our universities. Our universities are hotbeds for leftist rhetoric, anti-American thought. From Columbia University to state universities are (sic) people who espouse anti-Americanism are welcome. People such as myself are booed... This is what's occurring in our universities."

Notice the unsubstantiated conflation of leftists, ACLU and Islamic terrorists. Thomas never asked for a single fact, statistic or source to back up these claims. Instead, Kushner was allowed to go even further with his McCarthy-esque tactics:

"If there's any blessing (in 9/11)... it's that they weren't capable of hitting us with nuclear, biological or chemical but the longer they get entrenched in our society, the more that becomes a reality, Cal, and it'll make 9/11 look like a cakewalk."

"We have to go after people who are here. Cal, we're not fighting 'em over there, they're here. This is a war that's taking place on our soil, continues to take place on our soil and if we don't realize that if the elephant is in our living room and we smell its peanuts on its breath and deal with it, we're gonna go further down the road to decadence. It's already happening. They've infiltrated Washington, they've infiltrated the beltway, certainly they're into our prisons, certainly they have charities collecting money.."

Comment: Once again, no facts, sources or statistics are offered, nor even asked for, to back up these claims. I'd call that a lack of journalistic as well as factual accountability. Also, if it's true that Islamic militants have infiltrated Washington and the rest of society, why hasn't the Bush Administration - which has had more than three years to use the Patriot Act - caught these people? How effective HAS it been or not been in our struggle against terrorists? That, too, was not accounted for.

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