Anthrax: who is behind these attacks?
Attacking the American TV and print-press media elites and the Congress with anthrax doesn’t any make sense. In recent history, the first to undermine an American war effort have been the media elites and the Congress. It doesn’t make sense for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to gore those particular oxen.
For example, during TET 68, Walter Cronkite prematurely awarded victory to our enemies when, in reality, the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were annihilating the Viet Cong. Afterward, several North Vietnamese general officers admitted that TET 1968 was a military disaster for their side but, thanks to the American media, it was a political and psychological victory for North Vietnam. At the time, President Lyndon Johnson said: “If we’ve lost Cronkite, we’ve lost the war.”
Mike Wallace of “CBS 60 Minutes” stated in an interview that if he were to be an eye-witness to an American patrol about to walk into an ambush that he would not cry out to warn them. Mr. Wallace said that would be a violation of journalistic ethics. Hmmn.
By the time of the Gulf War, the anti-war bias of our media was so well-documented that the Pentagon virtually denied media access until it was clear that our forces had the battle well in hand. And, when our media did get free access, its focus was not on the suffering of the Kuwaiti people but upon the carnage our forces were inflicting on the retreating Iraqi Army – coverage that generated public pressure for the first Bush Administration to stop the fighting before Saddam Hussein was either dead or in captivity.
This history is what makes the anthrax attack on our left-leaning media establishment so baffling. Why anger the very folks most likely to depict your cause in a favorable light? It suggests that someone or some organization other than bin Laden is behind the anthrax attacks.
Prior to the anthrax attacks, only the Fox News Channel allowed its on-air personalities to wear American Flags on their lapels. Post-anthrax, that has changed somewhat. Now, dozens of American Flags provide the background for Tom Brokaw. CBS now has an anti-terrorism logo laid over something vaguely resembling the American Flag. ABC-TV’s Peter Jennings is a Canadian citizen, so don’t look for him to wear our flag. CNN still claims flag wearing compromises its “journalistic integrity.” There’s an oxymoron.
In 1975, a Democrat-controlled Congress abandoned our South Vietnamese allies in violation of the solemn promises that President Nixon and Henry Kissinger made to the South Vietnamese in the Paris Accords that preceded our military withdrawal in 1973. If confronted by an overt invasion by the North Vietnamese Army, we promised them unlimited ammunition. We promised to replace lost tanks, aircraft and other equipment. We promised to come back to fight again.
Instead, when the NVA invasion juggernaut rolled southward, the Congress cut off all funding to the South Vietnamese. The unforgettable scene of helicopters trying to evacuate our few remaining diplomatic personnel and their Marine guards from the roof of our embassy in Saigon is stain on all of us, in general, and a stain on the honor of the U.S. Congress, in particular.
Thus, an anthrax attack on the Democrat leader of the Senate and the Congress is pretty stupid. Despite President Bush’s admonition for the rest of us carry on with our work, Congress fled for home. Now its members are so embarrassed (as they should be) and so upset that they will, no doubt, try to redeem themselves by providing an even larger blank check to fight the war against terrorism.
So, if not bin Laden, who is behind the anthrax attacks? Is it some domestic terrorist organization or person who hopes to be overlooked while the focus is on bin Laden and al-Qaeda?
For sure, the September 11th attacks and the anthrax attacks have virtually deconstructed the American Left. And, that will be the topic of next week’s column.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today. He is also the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn – a novel about foreign terrorism.
©2001. William Hamilton.