Though it doesn't surprise me at all, I feel like I should comment on this ridiculous stuff coming from the right about Ted Kennedy's remarks that we should start removing some of our troops from Iraq. Reading the transcript of Hannity and Colmes on LexisNexis (no link), you find some real whoppers. First, though let's take a look at what Sen. Kennedy said:
No matter how many times the administration denies it, there is no question they misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq. We have reached the point that a prolonged American military presence in Iraq is no longer productive for either Iraq or the United States.
The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution. At least 12,000 American troops, probably more, should leave at once to send a strong signal about our intentions and to ease the pervasive sense of occupation.
The operative phrase in the second paragraph is "US military presence." And he's merely stating an undeniable truth. Iraq has been a disaster, the people don't like us, and it hasn't done anything good for our image in the Arab world. But what does Sean say he says?
Ted Kennedy says now our military's part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Of course, that's a very different thing. Missing the key word "presence" Hannity makes it sound like Kennedy is saying that our troops themselves are the problem in Iraq, which of course, is not what he's saying.
To be fair, I have to say that I think it was incredibly stupid of Kennedy to say that. He should have known that right-wing pundits would be chomping at the bit to misquote him. He's been in politics a long time, and he should know better.
But also to be fair, Sean Hannity is intentionally dishonest.
At the end of his previous segment, Hannity asks the question
And later, is Senator Kennedy putting American troops in danger by demanding they be sent home and by claiming that the president is misleading the country and that our military is part of the problem?
After the commercial, Hannity is interviewing Oliver North, that pillar of military virtue; and I want to cut out what North is saying, so you can get the full thrust of Hannity's comments:
Colonel North, your background in the military -- you have been on this program from Iraq with the troops as often as anybody else that's been on this program, Colonel. When a prominent senator three days outside of this election, where people were told the vote may be as high as 70 percent, hear a prominent senator like Ted Kennedy say our U.S. military present is part of the problem, not the solution, what does that do to -- does that put the troops in harm's way? Does that undermine their...
But let me ask you this. Does it give...
Does it give justification -- does it give a rational for enemy insurgents for what they're doing? They can say in their minds, if it's plastered all over, you know, propaganda Al Jazeera television, they could be hearing it, like even U.S. senators know that the U.S. military is the enemy here?
Hannity is accusing Kennedy of treason, but doing it by asking questions. So that when someone says to him, 'you called Kennedy a traitor,' Hannity can say, 'I never called him a traitor.'
Well, since I certainly don't want to be on the record calling Hannity a fuckwit, let me ask some questions. Doesn't this sort of thing show that Sean Hannity is intellectually dishonest? Doesn't he know that Kennedy said "military operations" and not just "military?" And doesn't he know that his audience isn't listening closely? And isn't he cynically using their stupidy/lack of attention to create the impression in their minds that Kennedy is a traitor? And he isn't he a cowardly motherfucker for not having the balls to come out and say that Kennedy is a traitor? Aren't his tactics despicable?