Shortly after the terror bombings in Boston last week, two different media people made statements that were alarming to say the least.
Two days after the attack, McClatchy reporter Amina Ismail asked White House spokesman Jay Carney: “President Obama said that what happened in Boston was an act of terrorism. Do you consider the U.S. bombing on civilians in Afghanistan ... a form of terrorism?”
As usual, Carney didn’t have an answer and referred the reporter to the Department of Defense.
What Carney should have said is this: “Are you kidding me? U.S. policy in Afghanistan is designed to protect civilians, and thousands of our military people have been killed and wounded doing just that. Your question is an insult to them, to this country and to the intelligence of any sane person.”
That’s what Carney should have said.
Four days later, Tom Brokaw appeared on “Meet the Press.” The former NBC News anchor has drifted sharply to the left with age, much like Walter Cronkite did. Amazingly, Brokaw equated drone warfare with the Boston bombings.
“I think we also have to examine the use of drones, which the United States is involved in. There are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in drone attacks in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and in Iraq,” he said. “And I can tell you having spent a lot of time over there, young people will come up to me on the streets and say, ‘We love America, but if you harm one hair on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever.’ And there is this enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States.”
When I heard Brokaw say that, I was stunned. Isn’t this the guy who made millions of dollars writing about the glory of “The Greatest Generation” winning World War II?
Didn’t “the greatest generation” kill millions of civilians in Japan and Germany in order to defeat the atrocious villains those populations supported? I believe they did.
But America is not supposed to defend itself against a different set of atrocious villains who hide among civilians in mountain redoubts? As I said on TV: “Would you invade Pakistan, Tom, or just sit back while al-Qaida and the Taliban send more killers our way? It’s either-or, Tom – one or the other.”
I believe invading Pakistan might cause some civilian casualties.
Brokaw’s loopy analysis wants you to believe that “good” Muslims are being alienated by how the U.S. defends itself in the war on terror. Well, so what? Are the “good” Muslims actively helping the world fight jihad? Are they, Tom?
And then there’s the Boston equation. Drone attacks are designed to kill mass murderers. The Boston Marathon bombing was designed to kill an 8-year-old boy. One of the terrorists put his bomb right at the boy’s feet on Boylston Street. Do Ismail and Brokaw not understand that injecting battlefield measures into a civilian terrorist attack situation is inappropriate to say the least?
Apparently, they do not.
Everyone makes mistakes. Brokaw just made a huge one. I hope he acknowledges it.
• Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.”