Thursday, September 21, 2006

CNN lets Bush skate on commitment to get bin Laden

George W. Bush implied that his administration is actively hunting Osama bin Laden, when there are legitimate questions about his commitment to that goal.

Media Matters points out that Wolf Blitzer allowed President Bush to skitter out of a major gaffe with regards to the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

On September 20, Blitzer interviewed Bush on CNN. He asked Bush how far he would go to capture or kill bin Laden.

BLITZER: If you had good, actionable intelligence in Pakistan -- where they were -- would you give the order to kill him or capture him and go into Pakistan?

BUSH: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Even though the Pakistanis say that's their sovereign territory?

BUSH: We would take the action necessary to bring him to justice.
Media Matters notes that Das Wulf failed to challenge Bush on his flip-flop from a September 15th press conference, during which he told a reporter that the U.S. would not send troops to Pakistan to get bin Laden unless that country invited us to do so.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Earlier this week, you told a group of journalists that you thought the idea of sending special forces to Pakistan to hunt down bin Laden was a strategy that would not work.


Q Now, recently you've also --

THE PRESIDENT: Because, first of all, Pakistan is a sovereign nation.

Q Well, recently you've also described bin Laden as a sort of modern day Hitler or Mussolini. And I'm wondering why, if you can explain why you think it's a bad idea to send more resources to hunt down bin Laden, wherever he is?

THE PRESIDENT: We are, Richard. Thank you. Thanks for asking the question. They were asking me about somebody's report, well, special forces here -- Pakistan -- if he is in Pakistan, as this person thought he might be, who is asking the question -- Pakistan is a sovereign nation. In order for us to send thousands of troops into a sovereign nation, we've got to be invited by the government of Pakistan.
Blitzer let that assertion stand without asking Bush to explain the flip-flop from his statement on September 15th.

But, Blitzer failed also to challenge Bush on a far more substantial deception: his statement that the administration is "spending a lot of time trying to find" Osama bin Laden.

Blitzer asked Bush why bin Laden and other "major" Al Qaeda figures remain at large.

BUSH: Well, no question Osama bin Laden is at large. But the man who ordered the attack and about 75 to 80 percent of Al Qaeda that was involved in planning and operating the attacks are --

BLITZER: The United States is the most powerful country in the world?

BUSH: Let me finish. Wolf.

BLITZER: Why won't we find these guys?

BUSH: Wolf. Wolf, give me a chance to finish. Osama bin Laden is in hiding and we're still spending a lot of time trying to find him. But the key thing that the American people have got to know is that security comes not only with getting him, which I'm convinced we will, but also doing other things to protect him. One is to dismantle Al Qaeda. Two is to listen to phone calls if Al Qaeda is calling the United States and respond to that. Three is to get information, so we can prevent attack. Getting Al Qaeda -- bin Laden is important, but doing -- putting things in place -- putting procedures in place that protect you is equally important; and we're doing both.
Blitzer might have noted that Alec Station, the CIA unit that was dedicated to finding bin Laden, was shut down several months ago. He might have asked Bush to explain what "trying to find" bin Laden consists of.


betmo said...

i guess that hugo chavez is the only one with the balls to confront any of these people on anything- and he isn't even from here. i don't agree with his tactics but at least he calls a spade a spade.