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Fred Barnes Strikes Again

Reported by Nancy - March 29, 2005 -

Last night (3/28) on Special Report the two major themes were "Happy Iraq" & "Defend DeLay" -- with the former touted by Dan Senor & the latter vigorously pursued by Fred Barnes ("filing a suit doesn't conflict with tort reform").

At 6:13pm Bret Baier filed a report about bombings (booby-trapped bicycles) & other messes in Iraq. US troop casualties have dropped significantly over the past 3 months because Iraqis are the primary targets (clip of Lt Col Bill Cowan, Fox News, waxing enthusiastic about that). Baier noted that the annual pilgrimage to Karbala is taking place now, so Iraqi security has set up checkpoints around the city. He showed a clip of Iraqi Interior Minister Falah Al-Nakib talking about Zarqawi -- according to Baier, Al-Nakib was "confident." Baier also detailed some of the security arrangements being put into place for the next meeting of parliament.

At 6:21pm Hume interviewed Dan Senor (former CPA spokesman & now Fox News analyst) about what's happening in Iraq, starting off with specific reference to the current maneuvering re a new govt. Senor said "it's politics" & "it's messy", essentially dismissing it as routine, ho-hum, ordinary, nothing to be concerned about & pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. According to Senor, the Kurds are holding things up because they want "real autonomy" & a "lot of these issues will be dealt with during the constitutional process." Hume was worried that the "whole thing could go kerflooey", in response to which Senor shrugged, "Well, this is Iraq." He really didn't have an answer when Hume asked if the Kurds have anything to lose if there's no "unified Iraq" but when Hume suggested there might be an "independent republic of Kurdistan" Senor claimed "they know they can't survive as an independent sovereign state."

When they talked about the Kurds, two other statements stood out:
*Senor said the Kurd militia (the peshmerga) "fought Saddam" for decades.
Comment: That's not all they fought. They fought the Sassanids. They fought the Ottoman Empire. They fought each other. They fought the Turks (who have called them a terrorist org). Fighting is what they do. And the US has had no hesitation in using that to our own advantage, then screwing the Kurds after they've served our purpose. Are we about to do it again?
*Hume called the peshmerga the "best military in country" aside from the US military.
Comment: So much for our coalition pals, like the UK & Australia.

At 6:34pm Mike Emanuel reported on some US military who have been seriously injured & brought back to the US for rehab & treatment, but want to go back to Iraq. Clip of Bush ("... loss of limb no longer means forced discharge"). Most amputees intend to resume their military careers (clip of Col Robert Wood). According to Emanuel, who was very enthusiastic about all the swell prostehtic devices the US military now has available, veterans are beginning to prove that life-threatening doesn't have to be career-threatening.
Comment: What an interesting variation on "stop-loss" orders.

At 6:37pm Jeff Goldblatt filed a report on C-RAM, a new US weapon that uses DU. He showed clips of the mom of a US soldier killed by a mortar last Sept; of Rep Duncan Hunter (R-CA); & of enthusiastic military people, plus lots of Pentagon-supplied animations of the weapon system actually working.
Comment: Goldblatt didn't mention DU, but Hunter did in the clip Goldblatt played.

The "All-Stars" (Fred Barnes, Bill Sammon, Mara Liasson) weighed in on the topic of Tom DeLay at 6:4pm. Hume said that DeLay is now being critizied "harshly in some quarters" because of the story (reported by the LATimes & picked up by other media) about how his family had to make decisions re life support after his father was fatally injured in a freak accident. He called DeLay a "lightning rod for criticism." Barnes immediately played the victim card, saying that there's an "alliance" between Dems, liberals & the media & "they're all after him." Barnes flatly dismissed parallels between DeLay's father & TSchaivo as simply not true, using as an example of the alleged differences that Terri's nurses "think she could handle food". Sammons chimed in that the "only similarity" is they both needed a feeding tube, adding that the Pope said a feeding is not an "extraordinary measure." Fortunately, Liasson called Barnes on one of his claims, saying it's the "first I've heard she [Terri] could swallow." Barnes backpedaled, saying the nurses "thought they could give her therapy." Liasson then pointed out that "not all media" are "out to get" DeLay, citing how the LATimes explained the differences in the 2 situations. Hume insisted that "other media" weren't as careful. Liasson said families face a lot of complicated decisions when "loved ones are in dire circumstances" & said she thought it was "fair" that DeLay's "own family story is told." Hume changed tacks, saying the "deeper question" is DeLay himself, & adding that a lobbyist had told him DeLay "is gonna be finished" because of the "ceasless drumbeat" of stories about him. Sammons shrugged that off, saying they "haven't proven anything, that he violated any laws" & claimed that DeLay is "despised by the Left" bec he's a staunch conservative "with a take-no-prisoners style." There was some discussion of whether it was hypoctritical of DeLay to advocate "tort reform" since his own family had filed a civil suit after his father's accident, & Barnes summed that up by saying "Filing a suit doesn't conflict with tort reform." Liasson said Dems want to turn DeLay into another Gingrich, but "he isn't as high profile" as Gingrich & isn't a "big enough target yet." Barnes claimed that the "press has joined with Democrats to go after DeLay."

Comment: If Hume really wants to defend DeLay, he'd better schedule a lot more than a few minutes of "discussion" with a lop-sided panel. Maybe 6 or 7 hours with some of the real investigators who have been documenting DeLay's many problems with "ethics" would begin to scratch the surface?

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