|Man Without Qualities|
Thursday, January 09, 2003
Since her absurd comments praising Osama bin Laden, Senator Patty Murray has stonewalled her critics even as her defenders justified her comments as opening up debate - apparently a debate in which she planned not to participate.
Well, Senator Murray has now offered a kind of defense:
"I have to tell you that it's really important that people don't twist or construe remarks that were made to an AP student group in a Vancouver high school. ... We all know -- everyone in this country knows -- that Usama bin Laden is an evil terrorist and in my remarks I told the students we're taking the right steps now. The question is what do we do next ... and it's an important question,"
It would be interesting to know why the Senator has emerged from behind her stone wall even this much. Are her private Washington State polls and focus groups showing that - outside of Seattle - she has done herself enduring harm by her grotesque statements and stonewalling? Whatever the cause, the Senator's sudden willingness to at least discuss the matter strongly suggests that she knows that she simply cannot continue to stonewall and still be re-elected in 2004.
The mainstream liberal media continues to whitewash and underplay the Senator's prior comments. But information like this has a way of getting into the hands and minds of the people who care about it. That's one reason why that part of the media overestimate their significance in modern America.
It is not exactly clear to the Man Without Qualities how the Senator thinks her comments have been "twisted." It's not as if influential people have been arguing that she is a closet al Qaeda supporter. Most of the criticism is that her comments show she is thoughtless (even stupid), ignorant, should have known better and is out of touch - and therefore that a different Senator should be chosen by the citizens of Washington in 2004. None of that is addressed by her new "defense."
For the record, Senator Murray had said:
"[Bin Laden]'s been out in these countries for decades building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities and people are extremely grateful .... He's made their lives better. We have not done that."
The facts are that bin Laden has spent some money in the Sudan and Afghanistan on infrastructure projects (hospitals, schools and roads - but, of course, not day care facilities), but those roads were built to take soldiers to and from training camps, the schools built were madrasas, which often indoctrinate students to the bin Laden brand of Islam, and the hospitals were not intended for average Muslims but for injured Mujahadeen fighters battling the Soviets.
Nor does bin Laden’s popularity arise from such projects, but from his message of hate towards Israel and the United States.
And Fox News points out what many others have noted: The United States is the largest international donor of aid to several countries where bin Laden is popular, and was so even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Recently, the United States gave $320 million in aid to Afghanistan, mostly in the form of food and refugee assistance, thus providing 80 percent of the international relief given to that country.
So how does Senator Murray think her comments have been "twisted?" Even the mainstream liberal media should want to know that - if only to join her in her defense.
And if she's going to make these little defensive comments to the media on the fly, why won't she submit herself to a formal debate - or at least a full interview with an informed, competent investigative reporter - where she can fully explain her thoughts and concerns about this "important question" she says she is trying to raise?
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