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Un-Special Report

Reported by Nancy - March 15, 2005 -

Last night (3/14) Jim Angle covered for Brit Hume on Special Report. Angle hasn't quite mastered the subtleties of Hume's eyebrows -- rather than hinting, Angle's body language SCREAMS his message. The message is, of course, the same, but Hume is much more polished at delivering it sub rosa. Bret Baier, "embedded" with JCS Chair Myers on his tour of Iraq, tossed off another "Happy Iraq" scenario. And Charles Krauthammer was his usual nasty, snide self.

The first half of the program was filled with the usual reports from the usual suspects -- Carl Cameron on China/Taiwan, Molly Henenberg on Karen Hughes, Mike Tobin on Lebanon.

At 6:12pm Angle gave today's Iraq body count, then Bret Baier (travelling with JCS Chair Gen Richard Myers) reported on the "Happy Iraq" scenario, noting that Myers was watching Iraqi soldiers training ("tangible improvement in skills") & meeting Iraqi generals. Baier noted that US trainers have "major questions" about who they're training, but Lt Gen David Petraeus said there "145,000 [Iraqi security forces] trained & equipped" as of today with "96 combat batallions" now "on the hunt" for terrorists throught the country, which will "soon lead to" a decrease in US troops. According to Baier, coalition forces are "working feverishly to fix infrastructue left in ruins by Saddam Hussein."

For the one-on-one interview segment, at 6:19pm Angle's guest was David Lampton (director of Chinese studies at Johns Hopkins). Angle asked Lampton to describe the US' "one-China" policy & Lampton said there are 2 divided countries left from the Cold War -- China & Korea -- & the US will be "sucked in" if war breaks out so we don't care what the outcome is as long as its peaceful. Angle asked if China's latest moves were a "show of force," to "show the flag" & Lampton said there's a big difference between 1996 & now, with China more "dangerous & hard to control." Angle asked if the EU lifting the arms embargo made China "even more dengerous" & Lampton agreed, noting that the US "already faces a growing Chinese military" & that lifting the embargo "could hardly come at a worse time." Angle brought up Tienanmen in 1989 & said that Europeans want a closer relationship with China now. Lampton said China is the "wolrd's most rapidly growing economy" & said Europe wants to sell to them (e.g., the Airbus). He noted that the "so-called embargo" has been "pretty leaky" & that Israel is "a major source of weapons" for China. Angle observed that US military contractors would like to sell to China too. Lampton said "this is a prob with sanctions" because "American companies lose profits, "workers lose jobs." Angle observed that the US is depending on China re North Korea, & Lampton said that Rice is "develping a good relationship" with China, adding that "we provide markets for Chinese goods" & "we're occupied elsewhere" & "don't need more problems."

At 6:30pm Angle did the "Grapevine": fmr (91-97) chief UN weapons inspector Ekaeus says Tariq Aziz offered bribes; WaPo new managing editor syas US should not be the leader of the world; UAW in Detroit stopped letting Marine reservists park in lot if imported or with pro-Bush stickers, reversed the ban after bad press; Harvard Crimson urges boycott of Dorm Maid.

At 6:37pm Angle said that Dems are "taking a measure of satisfaction from" Bush's struggle to sell his SocSec plan, & Major Garrett reported that GOPs are "quietly scoring victories elsewhere", with a clip of Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) saying GOPs winning elsewhere, agenda moving right along in Congress (e.g., class action law, bankruptcy bill, ANWR drilling). Garrett said "some say" these are "not big victories", just "minor skirmishes" & added that Dem plan to block judicial nominees with filibusters or by shutting down Congress are "less threatening" because the agenda has already been implemented.

At 6:42pm Angle showed a clip of Taiwan reaction to China, then the "All-Stars" (Mort Kondracke, Juan Williams & Charles Krauthammer) bloviated for a while. Krauthammer said China is "ratcheting up the stakes" & "our strategy is to be very clear to T no provocation" because "we're overstretched" so we should "get allies involved" (e.g., Japan & Australia). Williams said China is "flexing their muscles" but he felt the "critical issue isn't military" it's the EU & weapons because "they [Europe] see China as a market for everything" & they're "jealous of Israel breaking the ban." Kondracke said China "won't invade" Taiwam but the "long-term nature" of the ongoing relationship remains "undetermined." He added that "this is a Communist dictatorship getting richer & richer" & while "we hope they'll develop a middle class & become a liberal democracy" it's also possible that won't happen, & they'll just dominate Asia. Krauthammer, never content with a single bash, jumped back in to bad-mouth Euro arms producers & Euro armies.
Comment: I find it fascinating that the reactionaries are so eager to bash the EU for wanting to sell to China. Sounds like sour grapes to me. They're just wishing they could get there first & squeeze the EU out. Note to Chuckie: some of these "crappy" Euro armies are already members of the coalition in Iraq, some are taking heat for us in Afghanistan, others are deployed on various peace-keeping missions around the world. Keep insulting them, it can only backfire on us.

At 6:51pm the panel weighed in on Congressional hearing & MLB/steroids. Krauthammer said Congress should have "no role" in this, calling it "pure grandstanding" & claiming the "witness list is mostly has-beens" because "they're afraid Barry Bonds will pull an Ollie North on them." Kondracke agreed, calling it a "show trial." Williams obviously felt safe disagreed vehemently, saying this is "no show trial" & MLB has been doing all the grandstanding about something they should have acted on a long time ago. Krauthammer dismissed Williams' statements, saying that "What's outrageous is that a committee is abusing the subpoena power" & if the law was broken "it's the work of the courts."

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