Media Is Missing The Story
It’s an amazing thing to watch Dick Cheney and this administration put forward their spin to an unquestioning media. This morning, the NYT and the AP tell us that Cheney stopped over in Pakistan to give President Musharraf a warning that he needs to do a better job fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban in North Waziristan. Musharraf responds by telling Cheney in essence “show me the proof that Bin Laden and Mullah Omar are in Pakistan, and I’ll do something.” Musharraf knows that Cheney and the rest of the Administration haven’t been too concerned about finding Bin Laden. He also knows that Al Qaeda’s resurgence in North Waziristan came about as a direct result of the treaties with local tribal leaders that Cheney and Bush encouraged Musharraf to do. Yet you wouldn’t have known this from reading the NYT account or the AP account of this visit. All you get is the White House approved image that Cheney sent a tough message to Musharraf.
That’s why it isn’t hard to understand Seymour Hersh’s latest piece in the New Yorker, whereby he reports that the administration has been working with the Saudis to bankroll Sunni insurgent efforts against Hezbollah inside Lebanon, and against Shiite militias and Iran inside Iraq. Nic Robertson already broke this story months ago for CNN. Hersh says the most noteworthy element in this story isn’t the Iran war plans that have been developed, or the personal distaste that John Negroponte has for Dick Cheney, or even the fact that there may be a backlash by the military brass against any order from the White House to attack Iran, all of which the media has already slobbered over. Hersh thinks the real issue is the possibility that we are seeing a replay of Iran-Contra, whereby a cabal inside the White House is running an off-the-books covert war using funds unaccountable to Congress, in this case to support a foreign policy driven by Saudi Arabia and Israel. Yet the Administration so far has successfully kept the media off the trail by focusing on battles with Democrats on Iraq, and purported evidence of inexplicable Iranian complicity inside Sunni areas of Iraq.
Perhaps the media should start digging into what Cheney and King Abdullah really talked about back in November. Perhaps they should dig into what Cheney and Musharraf really did talk about today, and why the Bush Administration encouraged the Pakistanis to enter treaties last September that have now led to a resurgence by Al Qaeda. And perhaps they should connect the dots to this administration effort to fund Sunni fighters with ties to Al Qaeda, and ask how committed is this administration in its alleged war on terror when our major new push in the region is to do everything possible to exploit tensions between Sunnis and Shiites, even if it means helping Al Qaeda and fostering more attacks upon our forces inside Iraq.