NYDaily News Distorts Fred Thompson’s al Qaeda/Smoking Comment
By: Warner Todd Huston
Candidate Fred Thompson is the butt of media jokes, once again. This time it is due to the reporting by the New York Daily News of Thompson’s comments in Sioux City, Iowa over the weekend. Thompson’s claim that an al Qaeda enforced smoking ban in Iraq led to many Iraqi citizens joining the U.S. side in the attempt to rid the country of the foreign terror network was reported to the misinformed media’s amusement, becoming an excuse to make fun of the candidate. But, as is the case with most “reporting” by the MSM, Thompson turns out to be right in his assertions and the MSM has egg on their faces, once again. It seems more and more that the media has decided to do their level best to destroy Fred Thompson’s bid for the White House. I wonder what that says of their fear of him?
The NYDNews reported Thompson’s comments on Saturday.
“They said, ‘You gotta quit smoking,’” Thompson explained to a questioner asking about progress in Iraq during a town hall-style meeting.
Thompson said the smoking ban and terror tactics Al Qaeda used to oppress women and intimidate local leaders pushed tribes in western Anbar Province to support U.S. troops.
So, how are they purposefully misconstruing this smoking ban comment? They start with making light of the comment.
But Thompson’s tale of a smokers’ revolt baffled some in the audience of about 150 who came to decide whether the former Tennessee senator is ready for prime time.
“I don’t know what that was about,” said Jim Moran, 72, who had driven from nearby McCook Lake, S.D.
… and then they just leave it at that. No further comment or investigation of what Thompson meant, or could have meant. No research into the facts of the claim, no attempt to clarify. No follow up at all.
Leave it to the MSM to refuse to follow up on a candidate’s comments solely for the purpose of making that candidate look bad. In this case they employed the method of making Thompson look bad by what they don’t say, rather than what they do say of him.
So, what did Thompson really mean then? How did al Qaeda’s smoking ban really affect the situation in Iraq? What did the media not bother to reveal about the real situation in Iraq, the one that Thompson referenced?
For a little elucidation of that we turn to military blogger and Iraq war correspondent Michael Yon. In June of this year, he reported that many Iraqis were extremely angry over how al Qaeda treated the citizenry when they were the power in their communities.
On the evening of the 24th I spoke with a local Iraqi official, Colonel Faik, who said the Muftis would order the severance of the two fingers used to hold a cigarette for any Iraqis caught smoking. Other reports, from here in Diyala and also in Anbar, allege that smokers are murdered by AQI. Most Iraqis smoke and this particular prohibition appeared to have earned the ire of many locals. After an American unit cleared an apartment complex on the 23rd, LTC Smiley, the battalion commander, reported that residents didn’t ask for food and water, but cigarettes. In other parts of Baqubah, people have been celebrating the routing of AQI by lighting up and smoking cigarettes.
Amputations and executions just for smoking seems to me to be a good enough reason for Iraqis to be upset over a smoking ban, don’t you? It seems to me good enough reason for them to join the U.S. led effort to kill such murderers and take their revenge, doesn’t it?
The same point that Yon reported was also confirmed in June by CNN, as well.
Locals say al Qaeda amputated fingers for smoking
Nationalist insurgents say al Qaeda excesses are behind their falling-out. Several sources said al Qaeda members burned a 7-year-old child alive and murdered women and other children in the towns and villages around the provincial capital of Baquba. They did not give names or dates to back up their claims.
“They [al Qaeda] ruled with tyranny. They really harmed our town, so we had to stop them, and they left, no return,” said one young gunman, who claimed membership in the nationalist 1920s Brigades.
Other civilian and insurgent sources in the towns of Tahrir and neighboring Buhruz said al Qaeda had imposed strict regulations, including a ban on smoking — punishable by the amputation of a finger or hand — and a curfew on citizens walking in the streets after 4 p.m.
It appears, then that a mere smoking ban wasn’t all there was to the smoking ban that Thompson was talking about. It just wasn’t as simple as the New York Daily News tried to make it seem with a tactic that made Thompson’s point about the smoking ban seem trite and silly.
But, in truth, Thompson’s point was 100% correct. Iraqis not only want their smokes, but having their fingers chopped off and their countrymen killed just for taking a puff or two was quite enough for them to join an effort to kill their tormentors. Yes, even if that meant joining the U.S. to do so — a situation the MSM cannot seem to imagine is possible.
What we have here, though, is just another attempt to destroy Thompson. Sadly, even Drudge fell for this Thompson slagging effort as he highlighted the NYDNews story on his well-visited site.
It certainly seems that Fred Thompson’s campaign for the Republican nomination for president ranks as the most media maligned campaign of this political season. Even Ron Paul is treated with more respect by the media.
So, why all the efforts to destroy Thompson’s candidacy? Are they doing their best to find that “Macaca” moment to hang around Thompson’s neck in replication of their successful destruction of George Allen’s campaign in Virginia?
It would sure seem so.