ABC News Nightline anchor Ted Koppel delivered the commencement address to University of California at Berkeley graduates and joked about being a C-plus student as an undergraduate. But having bad grades in college doesn’t explain how Koppel got some of his facts wrong in his speech.
Koppel declared that the U.S. military guards in the Iraqi prisoner story “were clearly operating under guidelines that had been set much, much further up the command chain.” Comment: there’s no evidence for that. In fact, one of the guards has said the chain of command would have been outraged over such behavior. Lynddie England, the female GI at the center of the scandal, said “no” when asked if she was ordered to abuse prisoners. Some guards blew the whistle and started the investigation that led to the internal Army report and the charges against the offenders being filed.
Koppel declared that “Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11?” Comment: We’re tempted to say the jury is still out on this one, except for the fact that U.S. Judge Harold Baer ruled that evidence shows that Saddam did have a role in 9/11. The judge heard testimony about Salman Pak, Saddam Hussein’s airplane-hijacking school located near Baghdad, and Iraq-al Qaeda cooperation.
Koppel says that, “It now appears that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the time that U.S. forces invaded.” That raises the question of what happened to them. Rather than look for the weapons, perhaps in Syria, the media would rather blame the Bush administration for their disappearance. Bush, Kerry and even the U.N. had agreed that Saddam had the weapons. It was his failure to account for them that was a factor in the U.S. invasion. In another matter, Koppel said we wasted our time discussing Bush’s National Guard service and John Kerry’s record during and after Vietnam. He said the issue with Kerry became, “The value of John Kerry’s military service in Vietnam once he’d appeared at the same anti-war rally as Jane Fonda.” Koppel added, “What madness! Do we really believe that we can rise to the great challenges that confront us by endlessly questioning one another’s motives and patriotism?”
Comment: The issue with Kerry is why he served his country and then turned against it. What’s more, Kerry accused fellow soldiers of war crimes and was a spokesman for a group that considered assassinating members of the U.S. Senate.
In that regard, we found Koppel’s following remarks very revealing. Speaking to the students, he said, “I am much more impressed by those among your parents and grandparents who risked their lives fleeing Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as boat-people; who, while speaking barely any English at all, worked at whatever jobs they could get to sustain and support you. They are the ones who maintained the discipline that kept you out of trouble and forced you to study.” Those happen to be three countries that were abandoned to the communists after Kerry and his cohorts were successful in ending the war on the terms dictated by Hanoi. Koppel should interview those parents and grandparents about Kerry’s “anti-war” stand.