Newsweek's Koran Story? Blame Bush First

May 23, 2005

Newsweek's Koran Story? Blame Bush First

"Republicans close to the White House said that although President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were genuinely angered by the Newsweek article, West Wing officials were also exploiting it in an effort to put a check on the press.Some news media commentators said that the White House was blaming the press for problems of its own making." - White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, May 18.

A "Discredited" Claim that Iraq Supported Terrorism?

"The White House has always insisted that Mr. Bush did not finally decide to carry out the invasion of March 2003 until after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell presented the administration's case to the United Nations Security Council, in a speech on Feb. 5, 2003, that relied heavily on claims, now discredited, that Iraq had illicit weapons and was supporting terrorism." - Douglas Jehl, May 20.

Reality Check:

"Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein provided bases, training camps, and other support to terrorist groups fighting the governments of neighboring Turkey and Iran, as well as to Palestinian terror groups." - From a backgrounder from The Council on Foreign Relations.

Another Wacky Comparison

"Sitcoms are the television equivalent of the ozone layer: almost all indicators suggest that both are imperiled, yet there is just enough evidence to allow stubborn contrarians to hold out hope." - Alessandra Stanley, May 18.

Bush on Yalta: A Political Gaffe Straight from the McCarthy Era

"When President Bush declared on May 7 in Latvia that the 1945 Yalta agreement led to 'one of the greatest wrongs of history,' he reignited an ideological debate from the era of Joseph McCarthy.Mr. Bush has criticized Yalta at least six other times publicly, usually in Eastern Europe, but never so harshly. In the dust kicked up by the quarreling, the central questions for White House watchers are these: How did the unexpected attack on Yalta get in the president's speech? What drove his thinking? Did the White House expect the fallout?" - Elisabeth Bumiller, May 16.

Starring George Bush as Darth Vader

"[Star Wars creator George] Lucas is clearly jabbing his light saber in the direction of some real-world political leaders. At one point, Darth Vader, already deep in the thrall of the dark side and echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, 'If you're not with me, you're my enemy.' Obi-Wan's response is likely to surface as a bumper sticker during the next election campaign: 'Only a Sith thinks in absolutes.' You may applaud this editorializing, or you may find it overwrought, but give Mr. Lucas his due. For decades he has been blamed (unjustly) for helping to lead American movies away from their early-70's engagement with political matters, and he deserves credit for trying to bring them back." - Movie critic A.O. Scott on "Revenge of the Sith," May 16.

Bush Wiping Out Watergate Reforms

"The question that has yet to be answered is whether he has fundamentally altered the presidency in ways that will outlast his tenure and wipe out the remaining legacies of Vietnam and Watergate, which were taken as object lessons in the dangers of a too powerful, too secret executive." - White House correspondent Richard Stevenson on Bush and the presidency, May 15 Week in Review.

Conservatives Disrespecting Max, Again

It is hard to remember a time when politicians tried to hide handicaps and hardship. Nowadays, even struggles that were once viewed as shameful are flaunted as a sign of character.In fact, wheelchairs are now so accepted in public life that many conservatives feel free to treat Max Cleland, a former senator from Georgia who lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam, as disrespectfully as any other Democrat. - Alessandra Stanley, April 29.