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ABC: Bush's "Hard Line" Complicating the UN's Peace Efforts -- 03/04/2003 CyberAlert


1. ABC: Bush's "Hard Line" Complicating the UN's Peace Efforts
"The U.S. could go to war against Iraq as early as late next week," ABC's John McWethy predicted at the top of Monday's World News Tonight before Terry Moran lamented how "there's nothing that the current Iraqi regime could do in the way of disarmament to avoid war" and warned that the Bush administration's "hard line could complicate some of the diplomacy at the United Nations."

2. Moran Tells Fleischer Iraq's Disarmament is "Substantive"
At the White House briefing ABC's Terry Moran repeatedly pressed Ari Fleischer about how Iraq destroying a few missiles is "substantive" and "real disarmament." When Fleischer disagreed, Moran countered: "But it is substantive, it is not just process, this is substance, this is real destruction of weapons." A bit later, Los Angeles Times reporter Ed Chen suggested Bush's dissatisfaction with Iraq's pace of disarmament illustrates "the President's well-known impatience."

3. Bush "a Pro-War Zealot" Who is "Changing the Rules" on Iraq
"Even" President Bush's critics are critical of him. CNBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday night raised how "even late night comics, critics of this President, are painting him as a kind of pro-war zealot figure of some sort." Williams also suggested Bush is guilty of "changing the rules in the middle of the game" by demanding regime change, then disarmament and "now the guy's got to be out of the country as well."

4. NBC: Missile Destruction "Too Painful for People Here to See"
Disarmament, even a little bit of it hurts. Literally. Apparently serious, from Baghdad on Monday's Today, NBC reporter Ron Allen claimed that no pictures were released by the Iraqis of the destruction of some Al-Samoud missiles "because Iraqi officials say the process is too painful for people here to see."

5. Today's Town Meeting: Iraqi Disarmament Undercuts Bush Case
Today co-hosts Katie Couric and Matt Lauer spent a segment of Monday's "town hall" meeting on Iraq obsessed with how Iraq's destruction of some Al-Samoud missiles supports the views of "people in the international community" who think Saddam Hussein "is taking steps to cooperate with weapons inspections" and how the French, Germans and Russians "are looking on here and saying, 'See we told you. Put more inspectors in there, give them more time and Saddam Hussein can be disarmed.'" Plus, Couric suggested to Senator Joe Biden that Bush keeps raising the bar on Iraq so that "no matter what Iraq does" it will not be enough to stop war.

6. Chris Matthews Goes on a Tear Against "Kid" Bush on Iraq
MSNBC's Chris Matthews went on a tear against President Bush, whom he described as "a kid," and others in the administration over their Iraq policy. Matthews charged on Friday's Imus in the Morning: "It's going to make every Arab kid grow up to hate our guts for the next thousand years." Matthews argued that the policy has nothing to do with any danger posed by Iraq's arsenal. Instead, "it's about changing these governments around so that they play ball with us."

7. NBC Anchor Suggests al-Qaeda Arrest Undermines Bush Critics
On the bright side, NBC Nightly News anchor John Seigenthaler on Saturday night suggested that the capture of al-Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed discredits an anti-Bush talking point used by liberals: "The White House has been accused by some of paying more attention to Saddam Hussein and Iraq and not enough attention to the war on terror. Does this arrest change that debate?"


>>> "2003 Dishonor Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters." CyberAlert subscribers can get tickets for $150, $25 off the regular price, for the Thursday, March 27 event in Washington, DC. For all the info and how to buy tickets:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/dishonor/03/info.asp
Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies with Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham amongst those helping to present awards. Plus, the Charlie Daniels Band will sing some songs. The award titles:
Ozzy Osbourne Award (for the Wackiest Comment of the Year)
I Hate You Conservatives Award
Ashamed of the Red, White, and Blue Award
And They Called It Puppy Love Award
The I'm Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award
Come to the dinner to watch the winning quotes, see who wins and learn which conservatives will accept each award in jest. It will be a lot of media bashing fun. <<<

ABC: Bush's "Hard Line" Complicating the
UN's Peace Efforts

"The U.S. could go to war against Iraq as early as late next week," ABC's John McWethy predicted at the top of Monday's World News Tonight before Terry Moran lamented how "there's nothing that the current Iraqi regime could do in the way of disarmament to avoid war" and warned that the Bush administration's "hard line could complicate some of the diplomacy at the United Nations."

Peter Jennings led the March 3 World News Tonight: "Good evening, everyone. We're going to begin this Monday with the war against Iraq that already grinds steadily on in some ways. The Pentagon said today that in southern Iraq, U.S. and British warplanes fired on five targets around the southern city of Basra. Iraqis say that six civilians were killed. There is no independent verification. The Pentagon says the pilots were patrolling the no-fly zone and responded to anti-aircraft fire. There is a lot of buzz today about the possibility that a major U.S. attack on Iraq -- 'the' attack -- may occur sooner than many people have thought it would. So we're going to go straight away to ABC's John McWethy at the Pentagon. John, what are you hearing?"

John McWethy checked in, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Peter, from military civilian sources here in Washington and overseas, we're getting a sense that things are coming to a head, that the U.S. could go to war against Iraq as early as late next week. One of the clues that we're all going to get is a public announcement by the administration saying that UN inspectors, journalists, and humanitarian workers need to get out of Iraq within three days."
Jennings asked: "You used the world 'could.' Why 'could,' and why?"
McWethy: "Peter, there is a growing sense among some in the administration that the diplomacy appears to be going nowhere. In fact, it is going backwards. And because of that, there are some who are urging the President to go ahead if he feels it is necessary to do an invasion, and just go ahead and do it, cut his losses, and lead the world toward a different opinion of what the U.S. is doing."

Jennings turned to Terry Moran at the White House: "Terry, is there a suggestion here that diplomacy is getting in the way of the Bush administration's intentions?"
Moran confirmed: "Well, Peter, there's certainly a strong sense that the diplomacy is coming to a close, as John just pointed out. All the signals today were that the weapons inspectors have essentially ended their job, that their course has run, and that there's nothing that the current Iraqi regime could do in the way of disarmament to avoid war. And that's because, officials say, this current regime is not credible. Ari Fleischer blamed Saddam Hussein. He said that the Iraqi leader, when it comes to weapons of mass destruction, has put himself in a catch 22 of his own making."
Ari Fleischer at White House briefing: "If he lies about never having them, how can you trust him when he says he's destroyed them? How do you know he's not lying, he doesn't have tons more buried under the sand somewhere else? How do you know this is not the mother of all distractions, diversions, so the world looks in one place while he buries them in another?"
Moran warned: "Well, that hard line could complicate some of the diplomacy at the United Nations, but the real diplomatic complication now, Peter, is Turkey..."

As opposed to Iraq's "hard line" of defiance for 13 years and the UN's "hard line" insistence on doing nothing about it.

Moran Tells Fleischer Iraq's Disarmament
is "Substantive"

Matching his theme on World News Tonight (see item #1 above), earlier in the day at the White House briefing ABC's Terry Moran repeatedly pressed Ari Fleischer about how Iraq destroying a few missiles is "substantive" and "real disarmament."

When Fleischer disagreed, Moran countered: "But it is substantive, it is not just process, this is substance, this is real destruction of weapons." MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed that Moran rued: "So, it's the administration's view that making war in Iraq now is preferable to any further piecemeal, substantive disarmament?"

A few minutes later, Los Angeles Times reporter Ed Chen suggested Bush's dissatisfaction with Iraq's pace of disarmament illustrates "the President's well-known impatience."

The exchange took place during the noontime EST, March 3 press briefing carried live by the cable news networks:

Moran: "Ari, the destruction of these Al-Samoud missiles now represents about ten percent, a little more, of their entire medium-range missile capability. That's a piece of real, substantive disarmament under international supervision. But it's not total disarmament. But you aren't denying that that's real disarmament?"
Fleischer: "It's not real disarmament. There is only one standard of disarmament. Full, complete, and immediate. The United Nations resolutions did not call for a little piece of disarmament. It did not say ten percent disarmament four months after we call on you to do it immediately. None of that was in [UN Security Council Resolution] 1441. And the only reason this is even happening today in the small degree that it has indeed happened is because he is under great pressure from President Bush, the United States, and the coalition of the willing."
Moran argued: "But it is substantive, it is not just process, this is substance, this is real destruction of weapons."
Fleischer: "It is not sufficient, it is not complete, it is not total."
Moran: "So, it's the administration's view that making war in Iraq now is preferable to any further piecemeal, substantive disarmament?"
Fleischer: "Well, the President has not made a decision about whether or not this ultimately will be done through the use of force. If he makes that decision, I think you can infer from that action, and the President would agree with your premise in that case. But until he does, of course, and if he does, the process remains under way. And it's a process by which Iraq is defying the United Nations. They are pretending to comply in small and limited ways, but nothing less than full, complete, and immediate is called for because that what the United Nations has sought."

A few minutes later, Los Angeles Times reporter Ed Chen contended: "While we're on the disarmament process, Iraq clearly starting to destroy some of its weapons, perhaps not as quickly as the administration would like. Clearly it can't all be done in one instant in some big bang theory. So doesn't this speak to the President's well-known impatience? That his patience is running out, he's not willing to give this process more time?"
Fleischer: "You know, I think the question is, 'why didn't Iraq destroy these missiles in November when they were told to?' Doesn't it surprise anybody that the only reason they're doing them now is because they are under mass pressure as troops gather on their border? And doesn't that suggest that their motives have nothing to do with disarmament?..."

Bush "a Pro-War Zealot" Who is
"Changing the Rules" on Iraq

CNBC anchor Brian Williams "Even" President Bush's critics are critical of him. CNBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday night raised how "even late night comics, critics of this President, are painting him as a kind of pro-war zealot figure of some sort." Williams also suggested Bush is guilty of "changing the rules in the middle of the game" by demanding regime change, then disarmament and "now the guy's got to be out of the country as well."

MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught the reasoning by Williams expressed on the March 3 News with Brian Williams on CNBC.

After a piece by David Gregory on Turkey's decision not to allow U.S. troops to stage from the nation, Williams asked Gregory: "David, this may be unable to be put into numeric terms, what part's disappointment and what part's surprise at a White House where even late night comics, critics of this President, are painting him as a kind of pro-war zealot figure of some sort?"

Williams must be watching Jay Leno. From what I recall, last week David Letterman was making a lot more fun of the French.

During a subsequent session with Newsweek's Howard Fineman, Williams wondered: "And Howard, how much exposure does the President have on this issue of changing the rules in the middle of the game -- first regime change, then disarmament, now the guy's got to be out of the country as well?"

NBC: Missile Destruction "Too Painful for
People Here to See"

Disarmament, even a little bit of it hurts. Literally. Apparently serious, from Baghdad on Monday's Today, NBC reporter Ron Allen claimed that no pictures were released by the Iraqis of the destruction of some Al-Samoud missiles "because Iraqi officials say the process is too painful for people here to see."

On the March 3 Today, Allen checked in with the official Iraqi regime spin of the day, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed:
"Iraqi officials are saying they have new evidence proving that stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons were destroyed long ago. And today Iraq also is expected to crush up to nine more of its illegal Al-Samoud missiles, picking up the pace just a bit. At this military base outside Baghdad Iraq has been using a very heavy bulldozer to destroy one of its most sophisticated weapons. No pictures are being released because Iraqi officials say the process is too painful for people here to see. And Iraq is still trying to use the missile as a weapon, threatening to stop destroying its arsenal of about 100 Al-Samouds if the US keeps pushing for war."
General Amer Al-Saadi, adviser to Saddam Hussein: "If it turns out at an early stage during this, this month that America's is not going the legal way then why should we continue?"
Allen, over video of pits: "Iraq now claims to have dug up enough old bombs and tell-tale evidence at several huge pits to help prove it destroyed huge stockpiles of weapons such as anthrax and VX nerve gas more than a decade ago. Iraq says recent letters and documents given to the UN also prove it's disarming. UN inspectors remain skeptical but say they'll give Iraq a chance to make its case before reporting to the Security Council later this week. Iraq's leaders also said they were pleased that Turkey's parliament decided not to allow U.S. troops to base there for an attack. But today, Turkey's leaders are leaving open the possibility of another vote."

Today's Town Meeting: Iraqi
Disarmament Undercuts Bush Case

Today co-hosts Katie Couric and Matt Lauer spent a segment of Monday's "town hall" meeting on Iraq obsessed with how Iraq's destruction of some Al-Samoud missiles supports the views of "people in the international community" who think Saddam Hussein "is taking steps to cooperate with weapons inspections" and how the French, Germans and Russians "are looking on here and saying, 'See we told you. Put more inspectors in there, give them more time and Saddam Hussein can be disarmed.'"

Couric also put the burden on Bush, as she asked Senator Joe Biden about Bush "raising the bar" to demand that Hussein leave Iraq: "Is the administration doing this because no matter what Iraq does it will not meet the requirements in terms of disarming that will prevent a war from actually happening?"

Intermixed with the loaded questioning Couric did once raise the possibility that Hussein is disarming only as a ploy to divide the international community and Lauer recalled how inspectors didn't think Iraq had a nuclear arms program when it really did.

Lauer set up the March 3 segment by listing Today's guests: "On Close Up this morning the question of war. During our first hour this morning we are holding a town hall meeting examining the issue of a potential military confrontation with Iraq. On our main panel we have Aziz Al-Taee, born in Baghdad. He sought political asylum in the U.S. after Saddam Hussein brutalized his family. He is now chairman of the Iraqi-American Council. Democratic senator Joe Biden of Delaware is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Nancy Soderberg is a former US Representative to the UN Security Council and former member of President Clinton's Security Council. Ms. Soderberg is now an NBC News analyst. Republican representative Steve Buyer of Indiana is a Gulf War veteran and a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserve. Retired Army General Montgomery Meigs is a former commander of U.S. forces in Europe and now an NBC analyst and Steve Emerson an expert on terrorism and national security also an NBC analyst."

Lauer began by asking Biden about Turkey's failure to approve U.S. troop placement.

Turning to Buyer, Lauer focused on Iraq's supposed cooperation: "Congressman let me talk about what happened also over the weekend. Saddam Hussein started to destroy some of these Al-Samoud II missiles, the ones that are exceeding the UN requirements. So now people around the world can say, 'Look pressure is working, he is beginning to disarm,' is he cooperating or is he playing a game in your opinion?"

Next, Couric turned to another guest, but stayed on the same subject, though she allowed that it may just be a ploy by Hussein to divide the international community: "Meanwhile Mr. Aziz Al-Taee, as we mentioned you were born in Baghdad. You have friends and family who were tortured by Saddam's henchmen. Seeing these latest developments, the destruction of the 17 Al-Samoud missiles, also Iraqi contention that they do have evidence that chemical and biological weapons were destroyed long ago. Is this an indication to you that Saddam Hussein has woken up and smelled the coffee. Or is he just giving as much as he needs to, to keep public opinion throughout the world divided and to stave off military action, at least, for now."

Couric followed up: "But what would you say to people in the international community, who as Matt mentioned, are thinking cooperating has begun, he is making an effort. He is taking steps to cooperate with weapons inspections?"

Lauer then remained on the same point with Soderberg: "Ambassador Soderberg maybe this is a good question for you because the French, the Germans, the Russians, the Chinese are looking on here and saying, 'See we told you. Put more inspectors in there, give them more time and Saddam Hussein can be disarmed.' So what does the Bush administration do as these missiles are being destroyed?"

Couric opened the discussion up to all: "Let me just throw something out to all of you. Why doesn't containment work? Some people might say it's been 12 years since the Gulf War, he hasn't done anything radical. He seems to be under control. And there certainly is a school of thought that containment is the, the appropriate policy."
Al-Taee: "It's not the appropriate policy because containment has been a process of slow-death for the Iraqi people. We have had sanction on us for the last 13 years in Iraq and the people are dying, the kids are dying. Saddam doesn't care about the people. He takes the money. What he does, for example, he, the United Nations pay the bill so he will get some food imported from, from Syria to the Iraqi borders. He will get the United Nations to pay for it, then he will take it to Jordan, start again and get paid for it again and again and he's doing it like a black market like that. Containment also it didn't stop his torture to the Iraqi people. They didn't stop his killing the Iraqi people. So we cannot depend on containment and have like 500,000 Iraqis die every month."
Meigs: "He has done some radical things. He has done some radical things. He bought the 380 engines for the Al-Samoud missile. His engineers knew that was outside the range limits. He's been looking all over the place for fissile uranium which can be used in a uranium bomb. In a sense this whole issue is about the credibility and the efficiency, the ability of the United Nations to enforce these kinds of mandates."
Lauer pointed out: "And, and we have to remember that years ago we didn't think Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program. The inspectors didn't find anything until a defector left that country and said, 'Hey folks, by the way, we do have a nuclear program, here's where to look for it,' and we realized we'd been fooled for years."

Couric soon suggested to Biden that Bush had raised demands on Hussein to an impossibly high level: "Let me, let me ask Joe Biden this question. Senator over the weekend we heard the Bush administration saying disarming Hussein is not enough, there needs to be a regime change. Saddam Hussein needs to be out of there. Were you a) Surprised that they are raising the bar and b) Are they doing this, is the administration doing this because no matter what Iraq does it will not meet the requirements in terms of disarming that will prevent a war from actually happening?"
Biden: "No and yes."
Couric, laughs: "I forgot what A and B was."

Chris Matthews Goes on a Tear Against
"Kid" Bush on Iraq

MSNBC's Chris Matthews, whose Hardball show has fewer viewers than the cancelled Donahue had, went on a tear against President Bush, whom he described as "a kid," and others in the administration over their Iraq policy. Matthews charged on Friday's Imus in the Morning: "It's going to make every Arab kid grow up to hate our guts for the next thousand years."

Matthews argued that the policy has nothing to do with any danger posed by Iraq's arsenal. Instead, "it's about changing these governments around so that they play ball with us."

On Bush, Matthews bemoaned: "This kid has got religion, he goes to bed at 9:30, he doesn't drink, he's got God on his side, his family doesn't complain against him -- he's basically got the bit in his teeth and he's going to war, and the people around him aren't questioning it."

MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down some of what Matthews spewed on the February 28 Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC:

-- "It looks like Bush 43 is going to go, he doesn't care. There's an interesting little item in the paper today about how Bush 41, the family as it's called, are concerned about going it alone, ripping apart the alliance that Bush Senior had going into Baghdad the first time, or going into Kuwait. I think they're worried about it, I'm worried about, but you know, this kid has got religion, he goes to bed at 9:30, he doesn't drink, he's got God on his side, his family doesn't complain against him -- he's basically got the bit in his teeth and he's going to war, and the people around him aren't questioning it. I think Colin Powell is aboard, Wolfowitz is out there, you know, almost like a fanatic saying, 'I don't even know how much the thing is going to cost, but we're going.' These guys are going to war and there's no way around it. At this point, they probably have to."

-- "Well, you know my gut, I've been against this war. They said it was anthrax, then they said they did '93, then they said they did 2001. They've got every excuse, it's like throw it against the wall and see if it sticks, and it's basically an attitude that the guys around the President are ideologues, they don't like despotisms, they want to go in there and knock off those Arab leaders, they want to change the Middle East around so it's peaceful and the Israelis can cut a better deal, and it's all about ideology and, to some extent Israel, but it's hardly any of it is about guns. I think the gun part of this thing has always been BS.
"It's about changing these governments around so that they play ball with us and I think that's what the game has been from Wolfowitz and Feith and Rumsfeld and Cheney -- they're all hardliners. You know, when they get off the air with me they always giggle, 'You know, I hope they don't disarm.' That's their worst fear, that Saddam Hussein will throw all his guns out in the street in front of 'em, then we can't go to war and these guys will be miserable. It's not about guns. It's about ideology. These guys want to change that part of the world and they're damned, they'll come up with any excuse to do it. And look, that's an idealistic Wilsonian notion. I think it's squirrelly. It's going to make every Arab kid grow up to hate our guts for the next thousand years, but that's they're point of view and I've got mine."

NBC Anchor Suggests al-Qaeda Arrest
Undermines Bush Critics

On the bright side, NBC Nightly News anchor John Seigenthaler on Saturday night suggested that the capture of al-Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed discredits an anti-Bush talking point used by liberals.

MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed that in interviewing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani about the capture, Seigenthaler proposed on the March 1 broadcast: "As you know, the White House has been accused by some of paying more attention to Saddam Hussein and Iraq and not enough attention to the war on terror. Does this arrest change that debate?"

Indeed it does.

On Monday night's Special Report with Brit Hume, FNC's Carl Cameron looked at how Senator Joe Biden on Monday had to drop from a speech sections in which had criticized the Bush team for allowing Iraq to distract it from the hunt for al-Qaeda leaders." -- Brent Baker