Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post has run two articles over three days highlighting how John Kerry has criticized the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraqi prisoner abuse story.  Kerry thinks Donald Rumsfeld should go and that Bush should take responsibility.  In both of these stories, however, the Post failed to mention that Kerry himself admitted committing war crimes in Vietnam.

To his credit, Tim Russert confronted Kerry with his own words from 1971 on Meet the Press.  Kerry had said, during an April 18, 1971, appearance on Meet the Press: “There are all kinds of atrocities and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free-fire zones.  I conducted harassment and interdiction fire.  I used 50-caliber machine guns which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people.  I took part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages.  All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare.  All of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down.”  Kerry said those who condoned or engaged in such activities were war criminals.

After running that clip, Russert said to Kerry: “You committed atrocities.”  Kerry said that the word “atrocities” is “a bad word” and “inappropriate.”  Asked about using the phrase, “war criminals,” Kerry replied that the words “were honest but on the other hand, they were a little bit over the top.”  He said he regretted them.

Russert came back to this topic, saying, “But, Senator, when you testified before the Senate, you talked about some of the hearings you had observed at the winter soldiers meeting and you said that people had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and on and on.  A lot of those stories have been discredited?” Kerry shot back, “Actually, a lot of them have been documented.”  Russert said, “So you stand by that?” Kerry replied, “A lot of those stories have been documented.”

Typically, Kerry is flip-flopping.  He doesn’t want to use the word “atrocities” but still insists that stories of atrocities have been documented.  This is confusing to many.  But a fair reading of his comments demonstrates that he stands guilty, by his own admission, of committing and witnessing atrocities.  The question is, why the Post and other media continue to fail to mention this information when they highlight Kerry’s criticism of Bush’s handling of the Iraqi prisoner story.  After all, there’s no accusation that Bush or Rumsfeld committed any atrocities against these prisoners.

The media are letting Kerry set a standard for the administration that he failed to uphold for himself.  Kerry is using the media to divert attention away from his own record of war crimes and atrocities.  The Post is willingly acting as a house organ of the Kerry campaign, setting the stage for the possible election of a monumental hypocrite?and admitted war criminal?as U.S. President.

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