Scheer Fantasy

The appalling Robert Scheer is at it again. And once again the Minneapolis Star Tribune is quick to publish his intemperate and wildly inaccurate attack on the Administration. Scheer’s latest is “Regardless of Outcome in Iraq, Bush’s Lies Matter.”
That “Bush Lied!” Scheer has no doubt, although he presents no evidence whatsovever. Much of what he says–all unsupported and unsourced, naturally–is simply false. For example, this claim: “President Bush asserted that intelligence data proved Iraq had trained Al-Qaida ‘in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.’ Yet no such proof existed.” Scheer is wrong; there is clear evidence, uncontradicted to my knowledge, that Iraq has provided such training to al Qaeda operatives. Scheer is either ill-informed or is himself a liar.
Another typical example of Scheer’s logic: “The New York Times blithely referred recently to the use of ‘coercive’ measures in interrogating former Iraqi scientists and officials. Apparently, protections in international treaties for political prisoners do not apply to us.” Personally, I wouldn’t have any objection to “coercive” interrogations of former Iraqi officials. But here is what the Times actually said on June 20:
“Overall, American officials said that the most senior Iraqi officials now in custody were proving to be highly trained in resisting American interrogation techniques, even if they were coercive, and that they had provided little information of value about Mr. Hussein.
“Interrogators have reported that detainees appeared to provide detailed information only about subjects they believed the authorities already were aware of and provided rambling answers to specific questions without revealing the extent of their information about Mr. Hussein or Iraq’s weapons programs.”
The Times was quoting American officials who said the Iraqis were trained to resist coercive interrogations; it didn’t say we were using “coercive” methods, whatever those might be. And the American officials quoted by the Times certainly didn’t say that we were violating “protections in international treaties for political prisoners.”
Of course, we don’t expect columnists for the Los Angeles Times and the Minneapolis Star Tribune to be as scrupulous in their use of sources as a blogger would be. But Robert Scheer is beyond the pale. One must wonder what motivates any newspaper to print columns by a man with such a cavalier attitude toward truth.
Or such a cavalier attitude toward the fate of the Iraqi people. Scheer, a life-long apologist for Communist regimes, is happy to consign citizens of other nations to tyranny. His view is that Iraq can hope for nothing better than the sadistic reign of Saddam Hussein and his demented sons: “a stable secular dictatorship,” he says, “is about the best outcome we can predict.” Well, here’s a prediction: Five years from now, Iraq will have a government far better, by any measure, than the nightmarish tyranny of Saddam Hussein. And one more: When all the facts are known about Iraq’s weapons programs, which will be soon, extremist critics of the Administration like Robert Scheer will look very foolish indeed.


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