CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson received an award last month from the right-wing group Accuracy in Media, which is best known for peddling wild conspiracy theories. Christopher Isham, CBS vice president and Washington bureau chief, accepted the award in person on her behalf. Attkisson and Isham accepted AIM's award despite news experts warning that Attkisson's credibility would be harmed by doing so.
Since then, AIM has returned to doing what it does best: promoting conspiracy theories. And AIM's Cliff Kincaid has a doozy in his March 26 "special report": He asserts it "has to be seriously considered" that Army Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians, may have been a sort of Manchurian candidate who was working with the Taliban. Kincaid writes that the "rampage had the earmarks of somebody programmed or manipulated to kill."
More from Kincaid:
What can be safely assumed at this point is that the anti-American narrative that the U.S. was backing Bales with a squad of soldiers in a deliberate conspiracy to massacre civilians is almost certainly a conspiracy theory that is part of a global attempt to convince the world of the opposite of what really happened.
Which means that another theory -- that Bales engaged in the killings, with the help of the Taliban, in order to accelerate an American withdrawal -- has to be seriously considered.
There is no direct evidence at this stage for the theory of Bales as an enemy agent or dupe. But Bales' attorney says he has seen "no forensic evidence" and there have been "no confessions" to support the Army's case. The fact is that so little is known about the killings that both sides of the story -- the one told by the U.S. Army and the one told by anti-American foreign propagandists -- have to be questioned.
If the enemy recruited Bales and then helped him carry out the massacre, so it could be blamed on the U.S., then we gain an additional important insight into the brutal nature of those who want the U.S. to leave so they can take over. Staging a massacre and blaming it on the Americans is something that makes sense, if we examine what is already known about the killings.
Consider that the enemy has infiltrated and recruited among members of the Afghan Army. Is it so far-fetched to believe that an American soldier was recruited as well? Perhaps he was not converted to Islam. But he may have had his outlook on the war completely twisted by the propaganda telling him that he is a member of an occupying force that has to leave the country.
Kincaid goes on to state that "a cover-up may be underway, intended to obscure the nature of the apparent brainwashing that Bales underwent at some point in his military career."
Are Attkisson, Isham, and CBS still proud to have received that award from AIM?
Right-wing media are trying to breathe new life into the never-dormant right-wing mantra that President Obama is the "apologist in chief" in order to argue that Obama has "diminished" America's standing in the world -- an argument that is contradicted by America's actual standing in the world.
After Obama apologized to Afghanistan for the actions of U.S. military personnel posted there, conservative media figures lambasted him for "constantly bending over backwards" and "showing weakness ... in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe." Fox News' Sean Hannity, one of the greatest purveyors of the "apology tour" myth, has even claimed that this is proof of just how much Obama has damaged America's standing in the world.
But all of this -- from Obama "constantly" apologizing for America to his hurting U.S. image abroad -- is a lot of nonsense.
First, let's cue Hannity, who devoted two separate segments on his two different platforms to pushing this meme:
Several conservative foreign policy and military experts have agreed with President Obama's decision to apologize to Afghanistan for the burning of Qurans by U.S. military personnel. Ignoring these experts, Fox News' conservative hosts and pundits have tried to flame outrage over Obama's apology.
Fox News figures are lambasting President Obama as "weak" for apologizing to Afghans after U.S. military personnel burned copies of the Quran. This criticism is bizarre, as Obama's reaction to the incident is fully consistent with U.S. precedent: in 2008, President Bush similarly apologized to Iraq's prime minister following the desecration of a Quran by American military personnel.
From the February 8 edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show:
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From the January 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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CNN's Dana Loesch responded to the growing controversy surrounding her comments dismissing outrage over video apparently showing U.S. Marines urinating on dead bodies by saying that her critics "felt as though these Marines should be bowing to the Taliban ... just like this administration does."
Earlier this week, after video emerged that appeared to show members of the United States Marine Corps urinating on dead bodies that early reports have identified as Afghans Loesch complained that "we have a bunch of progressives that are talking smack about our military because there were Marines caught urinating on corpses -- Taliban corpses." Military and national security experts from across the political spectrum have condemned the video and have pointed out that the actions depicted in it likely violate U.S. and international law.
Loesch tried to explain her comments:
The reaction to what these Marines did is disproportionate to the actual offense: beyond disproportionate. They'll be dealt with it. Get over it. And that was my entire point.
That was far from Loesch's "entire point." In fact, she went on to say that the individuals shown in the video should be awarded "a million cool points" and went on question whether "there's supposed to be a scandal that someone pees on the corpse of a Taliban fighter" and bragged, "I'd drop trou and do it, too."
Loesch's comments were widely condemned throughout the day Friday, leading her to lash out at her critics with the suggestion that they sided with the Taliban:
I think the progressives felt as though that these Marines should be bowing to the Taliban, and every other combatant, and every other foreign entity just like this administration does. So my whole point was to say that your whole reaction was ridiculous.
From the January 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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During a Fox News Sunday panel discussion, Fox News contributor Liz Cheney remarked that President Obama's re-election efforts are "ludicrous." Cheney then went on a tirade against Obama that was so extreme that Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace had to jump in and point out that U.S. armed forces took out Osama bin Laden under Obama's watch.
PRESIDENT OBAMA (video clip): [Republicans] want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple -- we are better off when everybody's left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.
WALLACE: Liz, Could that work? Could that get him re-elected?
CHENEY: It's ludicrous. I mean, frankly, you know, you have a situation where you've got a President of the United States -- normally one seeking re-election would go to people and say here's my record, here's what I've accomplished, you know, judge me on my record. This president has got these, you know, three signature things that he's done that have made the economy worse. More regulation, Obamacare, stimulus plan, failed to do anything at all about entitlement reform which is what we really need to do -- and I also want to point out that he's gotten a pass in many ways on national security and foreign policy. He, right now, as commander in chief, is performing abysmally with respect to Afghanistan and Iraq. He's about to snatch defeat from what was a victory in Iraq, by pulling everybody out, and not being able to accomplish even a strategic agreement for a long term relationship --
WALLACE: Wait. What about his comment in the press conference when he said ask -- because there was all this stuff about him being an appeaser, and at the White House press conference, he said "ask Osama bin Laden if I'm an appeaser."
CHENEY: Right. He wants to talk about Bin Laden. It's terrific that he got Bin Laden. We all give him credit for that. But Iraq and Afghanistan are two places where this president is absolutely failing. In Afghanistan he's pulling out troops so fast that he's putting the mission at risk. We've got these two wars that have been incredibly important and in which we have sacrificed tremendous lives and treasure. This president's performance means that we may well lose both wars. And the only reason that that's not getting covered is because the performance on the economy is so abysmal.
Liz Cheney's attack on Obama as a foreign policy failure isn't even original. Conservative radio host Neal Boortz recently claimed that Obama doesn't have any "marvelous foreign policy successes." But the argument seems to be based on the hope that people forget about Bin Laden. As shown by Cheney's appearance on Fox News Sunday, once someone brings up Bin Laden, the argument becomes laughable.
Perhaps that's why, after a half-hearted attempt to rehabilitate her argument, Cheney switched gears and started regurgitating the totally incorrect conservative talking point that the stimulus failed (which has been debunked so many times that the poor horse is beyond dead).
From the December 11 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday:
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In a November 9 Washington Times column titled, "Body of Evidence; Americans need proof of dead villain like Libyans were given," assistant editorial page editor Anneke Green criticized the Obama administration for not releasing photos or video of Osama bin Laden's body, writing that "[f]amilies of the victims of bin Laden's atrocities have to take the government's word for it that he's actually dead because the Obama administration continues to refuse to provide proof." From the Times:
Five days after being killed, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was finally buried at dawn in an undisclosed location in the Sahara desert. This would have been five days too late had President Obama been calling the shots. Osama bin Laden's remains were famously disposed of within hours of his death and "eased into the sea" in conformance with Islamic practice, according to the White House. Families of the victims of bin Laden's atrocities have to take the government's word for it that he's actually dead because the Obama administration continues to refuse to provide proof.
To date, no photos or video of bin Laden's body have been released despite numerous requests and a lawsuit filed by watchdog groupJudicial Watch. The Obama administration made clear in a recent response to the lawsuit that presidential preference is the driving force behind its stonewalling. Oddly for a legal brief, its very first background point of reference quoted a transcript of an interview Mr. Obama gave to "60 Minutes": "It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence." The brief additionally fretted, "The mere release of these images of Osama bin Laden could be interpreted as a deliberate attempt by the United States to humiliate the late al Qaeda leader."
That's political rather than legal reasoning, Tom Fitton, president ofJudicial Watch, told The Washington Times. "It fits in with the American apology tour. He thinks America shouldn't be documenting its victory." This president acts as if giving Americans a chance for closure through viewing the terrorist's remains is too triumphalist - as if it's poor form to celebrate victory over evil. Such meekness misses the point. It's human nature to need the resolution provided by viewing a corpse.
In his September 12 Washington Times column, Frank Gaffney suggested that President Obama's national security policies "will cost us greatly in lives and treasure." From the Times:
The evisceration of our military and its supporting industrial base - a likely hallmark of the Obama policy legacy - will be a far more important determinant of our future security and that of the free world more generally than all of Mr. Obama's putative decisiveness in the fight against al Qaeda. Today's spin will be the subject of tomorrow's ridicule as we inevitably reap the whirlwind of wars that could have been prevented.
The key question is: Will Republicans be able to show that they opposed the abandonment of the time-tested principle that Ronald Reagan called "peace through strength"? Or will they prove to the American people that they were "irrelevant" - or worse, complicit - in conduct by Mr. Obama that will cost us greatly in lives and treasure?
Right-wing bloggers and radio host Michael Savage have baselessly suggested that the Obama administration, including the president, took actions that caused the deaths of 30 American troops killed when the Taliban shot down their helicopter in Afghanistan on August 6.
From the June 24 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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From the June 23 edition of Fox Business' Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano:
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