Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fact-Free Bill O'Reilly

Last Friday, Bill O'Reilly rewrote history in this Talking Points column about Saddam's execution:

Again, America has no right to tell Iraq how to deal with Saddam. In our own country we executed terrorist Tim McVeigh for killing hundreds in Oklahoma City and that was justice according to our system.

No wonder truth is such a rare commodity on the right. Who cares about giving the correct number of victims (168) when you're trying to make a point? No wonder so many of his listeners are so confused about reality.

He also wrote this in that article:

If the Iraqi people had rallied to the cause of freedom and unification, America would have been seen as a great victor. Instead we are bogged down in an awful situation that continues to cost American lives.

So summing up, Saddam Hussein will soon feel a noose tightening around his neck. It would not have happened except for the USA, but Iraq is a complicated, emotional and dangerous situation that will continue to cause pain long after Saddam is gone.

So, even though he's using the same old 'if only the Iraqis were grateful, then everything would be fine there' card, he admits that he understands the complexity of the situation, but that's not what he told PJ Crowley:

He had to feign complete ignorance so he could also blame the so-called hatred of America on the 'left-wing media' and pretended to be totally ignorant (or maybe he just is) about why Osama bin Laden and Iran's government would be glad to see Saddam go as well. Anyone with Google and 2 minutes can figure that out. Not O'Reilly though. In his simple 'you're either with us or against us' mind, it's just not possible for this US 'victory' to be shared by others who despised Hussein.

O'Reilly: I really don't understand the growing anti-Americanism in the Middle East. I don't get this at all. And I don't even know if it's true. I think it may be a fabrication of the left-wing media but I don't want to be paranoid.

You know, if you have a choice between the United States and Britain and Saddam controlling your country, I think any sane person takes the United States and Britain, do they not?

You'll also note that O'Reilly repeatedly claims Saddam had about one million victims during his conversation with Crowley. Yet, when the Bush administration reviewed his crimes, the number they used was 'many hundreds of thousands'. This was also repeated by the Bush administration's Regime Crimes Liason Christopher Reid in 2005. What is with this need of O'Reilly's to inflate the number of victims in Oklahoma City and Iraq? As if 168 and 'hundreds of thousands' of victims weren't bad enough.

Then there's this from that 2003 White House report:

The UN Special Rapporteur's September 2001, report criticized the regime for "the sheer number of executions," the number of "extrajudicial executions on political grounds," and "the absence of a due process of the law."

Some things never change.

O'Reilly goes on to pimp Bush's greatest gift, in his mind, to the Iraqi people: the fact that they had elections (how's that working out so far?) and thinks that should be good enough for the Iraqis to all live happily ever after. And, never one to miss a chance to attack who he views as the so-called 'Bush-haters', he then lumps in al Qaeda sympathizers with the so-called (yet to be identified but no doubt a part of the vast left-wing conspiracy) 'left-wing media' and when Crowley makes the point that the Iraqis feel oppressed, O'Reilly has to ask: 'Oppressed by whom'? 'Who's oppressing them? We're not. We're basically trying to have the oil flow to the world uninterrupted. Iran is the threat.'

As far as O'Reilly's concerned, the Arab and Muslim point of view Crowley tried to explain to him is 'irrational' and 'crazy'. Well, yes it is if you haven't been paying attention to what's actually gone on in Iraq the past 3 years.

Yes Bill, they should just all be thankful and stop killing each other because now they can vote.

Life should be that simple (and people who don't understand history shouldn't be prominent right-wing mouthpieces. Then again, I think that's actually what it takes to be one.)

Related: The US Ambassador for War Crimes in 2000, David Scheffer, outlined the war crimes case against Saddam Hussein at that time and, as he noted, it was almost impossible to know how many victims there were because human rights monitoring groups were not allowed into the country to get anything like an accurate count, unfortunately. Had the current Iraq government not been in such a rush to hang Saddam and had at least let the Kurds have their day in court, it's possible more evidence would have been made public so that all of his victims could have been accounted for and found some measure of justice - although as we've seen, that was sorely lacking in the legal system this Iraqi government set up and which the US government endorsed. We'll never know the exact extent of his crimes. So, while O'Reilly's number may be correct, it appears there is not enough evidence to confirm it at this point.

See also: The latest Angus Reid poll.

90 per cent of respondents think the situation in their country was better before the U.S.-led invasion.

No doubt, Bill O'Reilly's head just exploded.

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