Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Different Rules for Differing People

Yesterday, I posted on Reverend Pat Robertson's incredible recommendation that the US assassinate Hugo Chavez, the elected President of Venezuela. I, like people all across the political spectrum, was outraged by an alleged 'man of God' calling for the murder of anyone.

Optimist that I am, I expected the White House to immediately condemn such a suggestion. Then I read today's news. I need to get new tints for my spectacles, obviously.

Complicating the story, of course, is the fact that the good reverend tried to cover his tracks by lying (or, for those Biblically inclined, "bearing false witness") about what he actually said. From The Star Tribune we find this:

On Wednesday, he initially denied having called for Chavez to be killed and said The Associated Press had misinterpreted his remarks.

"I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out,''' Robertson said on his show. "'Take him out' could be a number of things including kidnapping."

When he discovered that most folks who have access to the internet had already heard the entire rant, he backed down and issued both an apology and an excuse.

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, only hours after he denied saying Chavez should be killed.

"Is it right to call for assassination?'' Robertson said. "No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."

But back to the main story: what did the Administration have to say? Well, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, said this:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news conference that assassinating foreign leaders is "against the law."

"Our department doesn't do that kind of thing," he said, adding that Robertson is "a private citizen" and that "private citizens say all kinds of things all the time."
[Emphasis added]

Keep the highlighted portion in mind. It's important.

The State Department, that part of the government that is charged with trying to tone down these indelicate moments, especially with a government that is currently providing a goodly portion of this country's energy needs, also weighed in :

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called Robertson's remarks about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez "inappropriate," but stopped short of condemning them.[Emphasis added]

Again, keep the highlighted text in mind, because the White House itself is capable of making some stern comments about people who take strong positions, like this, for example:

BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 23 -- President Bush, confronted by antiwar protesters on his travels, Tuesday renewed his refusal to meet with high-profile activist Cindy Sheehan, asserting that she does not speak for the majority of families who have lost relatives in combat.

Bush dismissed demands from Sheehan and others to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq. "I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake," he said. "I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States."
[Emphasis added]

See the difference?

Reverend Robertson is a private citizen with an opinion. Period.

Cindy Sheehan is a private citizen with an opinion that would weaken the United States.

Can there be any doubt about the double standard? Or the implications?



Blogger Elmo said...

OK...I keep typing and back spacing, typing and back spacing, trying to give this post the comment it deserves. But I'm not that good. So I'll settle with...Diane that was brilliant!

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told a Pentagon news conference that assassinating foreign leaders is "against the law."

That's what I said and Elaine body slammed me...Ya I know, Donald is lying and I deserved to be smacked.

Can there be any doubt about the double standard?

If your a brain dead wingnut.

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