Brit Hume Vies
with Pentagon Spokesman for Most Vile Statement of the Week (or Maybe the
Year): Part Two
December 6, 2001
Yesterday I discussed a recent statement by Fox News anchor
Brit Hume that was at once stupid, callous and disingenuous.
Here, in competition with
Hume for the most vile statement award, is a recent assertion
by Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, chief spokesman for the Central
Command. Admiral Quigley was denying widespread eyewitness reports
that U.S. bombs had hit 3 towns near Tora Bora and killed scores, if not
hundreds of people:
If we had hit a village
causing widespread death that was unintended, we would have said so.
We have been meticulous reporting whenever we have killed a single person.
There is no chance the
village was targeted improperly.
As with the Hume statement,
the utter odiousness of the Admiral's words will be quite apparent to anyone
who has been following the course of the Afghan War. But just for the
Stupid: The line of
reasoning seems to be: we report every single (assumedly) civilian
death. We did not report hitting these villages. Therefore, the
fact must be, that we did not hit these villages.
Callous: We are asked
to ignore the eyewitness reports of all the villagers and anti-Taliban local
officials. They are hallucinating. When they report the death
and maiming of loved ones, don't listen. They are merely
Afghans. What could they know, compared to our modern technology that
has established there was no such bombing attack on their villages.
Disingenuous: If there
is anything this conflict is notable for, it's the paucity of information
emanating from the Pentagon about what's happening on the
battlefield. Admiral Quigley deserves some credit for being able
to keep a straight face while claiming that the Pentagon has been reporting
civilian casualties, let alone been "meticulous" in reporting the
death of even "a single person."
Indeed, the more I think
about it, Admiral Quigley's statement crosses the line from mere
disingenuousness into utter chutzpah. Perhaps that element should make
his statement the winner over Brit Hume's.
Still, there is that explicit
denigration of the humanity of the Afghan people and the worth of their
lives that Hume posits: I'd be reluctant to claim that anything of a worse
nature could be said.
I'll think I'll just let each
reader decide for him- or herself the winner of this sad contest.
(Feel free to make comments on which
statement you think is worse.)