Shortly after the terror bombings in Boston last week, there were two statements made by media people that were alarming, to say the least. Two days after the attack, McClatchy newspaper 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 (the same thing)?"
As usual, Mr. 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, 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 as he ages, 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 that the United States is involved in and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in drone attacks in Pakistan, 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 presumptuous 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 atrocious villains whom those populations supported? I believe they did.
So now America is not supposed to defend itself against a different set of atrocious villains who hide amongst civilians in mountain redoubts? As I said on television: "would you invade Pakistan, Tom, or just sit back while al Qaeda 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.
Tom Brokaw's loopy analysis wants you to believe that "good" Muslims are being alienated by how the USA 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 Marathon bombing was designed to kill an eight year old boy. One of the terrorists put his bomb right at the boy's feet on Boylston Street. Does Ms. Ismail and Tom 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. Tom Brokaw just made a huge one. I hope he acknowledges it.