An Inclusive Litany

12/19/02

The Columbian of Vancouver, Washington, reports on an address delivered by Senator Patty Murray (D, WA) to a group of high school students, December 19, 2002:
Murray concluded the session by challenging the students to consider alternatives to war.

"We've got to ask, why is this man [Osama bin Laden] so popular around the world?," said Murray, who faces re-election in 2004. "Why are people so supportive of him in many countries ... that are riddled with poverty?

"He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that.

"How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"

[Ed.: This stupid comment came in the midst of a major controversy over another stupid comment made by Senator Trent Lott (R, MS), who expressed apparent sympathy for Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential run on the staunchly segregationist Dixiecrat ticket. As a result, Lott had to step down as Senate Majority Leader.

Amid widespread ignorance of Murray's comments throughout the mainstream media, the Washington Post ran an editorial in her defense on Christmas day—the morning when people are most attentive to their newspapers—entitled: "Inept but Entitled to Her Say." The Post criticized "the massive overreaction to perfectly useful ideas that have been badly stated or misinterpreted." While admitting Murray's version of the facts was "very wrong," the editorial pleaded that "it ought to be possible to discuss America's image in the Islamic world, and the kinds of mistakes the United States has made there." Murray subsequently turned down Washington state Republicans eager to debate her ideas.]

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