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Fatwa, War Over, Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Reported by Chrish - August 26, 2007 -

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla

In among lots of talk on The Big Story 8/25/07 about Michael Vick and repeated reports of possible pit-bull abuse at the Arizona home of rapper DMX, Julie Banderas did manage to work in a political discussion. She interviewed liberal talk show host Joe Madison (who is cool, calm, collected and very well informed – memo to Hannity: please get him on your show!) and right wing talk show host Roger Hedgecock. (Comment: what is it with Fox and disgraced former politicians? Hedgecock was mayor of San Diego but was forced to resign because of perjury charges involving campaign contributions, but like Ollie North, the convictions were later overturned. He did serve a year on probation for subsequent misdemeanor money laundering charges.)

Banderas' “Big Issue” began with a tape of Senator John Warner speaking about the possibility of military redeployment from Iraq. Banderas asked if Warner’s proposal was the only way to pressure Al-Maliki to live up to commitments or if it would put the troops at risk. Madison responded that Warner “was the most influential military voice on Capitol Hill” to which Banderas asked “what would happen” if Warner’s advice were heeded? Madison responded that Warner is only saying what the generals are now discussing regarding the possibility of redeployment. He added that he doesn’t see Bush withdrawing any troops during the rest of his presidency.

Banderas asked Hedgecock if Warner would be able to pressure Bush to which he responded that Warner is a great statesman; but he’s wrong. Hedgecock then claimed that only three days ago, in Cairo, Sunni and Shia leaders agreed to issue a fatwa against Muslims killing Muslims. (Comment: in researching this fatwa, all I could come up with was the October, 2006 “Mecca Document” which was a fatwa that addressed the sectarian bloodshed.) Hedgecock then asserted that this is what Al Maliki needs in order to govern effectively, “it’s the break-through that we’ve been waiting for, and it looks like it’s gonna happen.” (Comment: if this were an accord signed in October of last year, it looks like it’s not working too well!)

Banderas asked Madison about the report coming out in September and he said that it needs to be publicly heard and thoroughly reviewed by Congress who will debate the pros and cons. He added that he hoped that Bush would actually read the document unlike others that he hasn’t. (Comment: allright!!) He noted that over 200 Iraqi civilians are being killed every day in addition to American troops and that the last election proved that “people want out of war” while the administration “can’t define victory.”

Banderas claimed that the Pentagon reported that violence is at its lowest level since June of last year. (Comment: AP reports that the death toll from sectarian attacks in Iraq is running nearly double the pace from a year ago and that the Pentagon has offered no sources for its estimates.) She then added that Obama, Clinton, and Bush all agree that the “surge is working.” (Comment: not so fast. In a recent speech to war veterans, Clinton stated that “some elements of the strategy in Iraq appeared to be achieving success, but said a military solution was unattainable and the best way to honor the service of American troops was to ‘bring them home.” Obama said the “surge had succeeded in quelling some violence in and around Baghdad.' I don't think there's ever been any doubt about that.”)

Not surprisingly, Hedgecock voiced the usual right wing talking points about how a withdrawal would be a “catastrophe” and that we “must not repeat the mistakes of Vietnam.” He then started with a series of ad hominen attacks against Madison when he said that “the surge is working. I know it’s disappointed Joe.” He admonished Madison to not be pessimistic to which Joe said that he was being “realistic.” Hedgecock's cheerleading continued with “let’s win this war” to which Madison said “I don’t think you know what winning would be.” And that’s when Hedgecock got down and dirty and said “you don’t know anything about this topic.” Banderas attempted to conclude the segment with “OK, that’s gonna do it,” but Madison responded to the attack by saying “you end with insults instead of legitimate answers.” Wanting to get in one more insult, Hedgecock said “you don’t have any idea of what you’re talking about” to which Madison adroitly said, “I was invited by Fox – not you.”

Comment: The commentary by Hedgecock was a great example of right wing “debating” tactics so beloved on Fox. First you provide dubious information and insult anyone who disagrees with you. Kudos to Joe Madison for responding appropriately to someone who brought nothing to the discussion. But don’t worry, the surge is working and a good fatwa (not like the Salmon Rushdie one) will be issued so “don’t worry, be happy!”

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla