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Jewish World Review June 6, 2005 / 28 Iyar, 5765

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Hurting your country

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | So how did the USA go from being a beacon of freedom to a champion of the gulag? How exactly did that happen? Well, pull up a chair, here's what happened.

After President Bush won reelection last November, there was much consternation among some powerful anti-Bush Americans. They were stunned that John Kerry lost and feared that if Bush succeeds in his second term, the Democrats would lose again in 2008.

Then came the successful election in Iraq, and the fear on the Left multiplied. If Iraq turned out to be a success, Mr. Bush would become a hero. So the need to undermine the Bush administration became more intense than ever. But how to do it? Social Security wasn't emotional enough, particularly for young voters. What could be done to hurt Bush?

Then came the revelation: Let's torture the president.

The New York Times had already primed the pump, running more than 50 front-page stories on the abuses at Abu Gharib. Then came reports from the International Red Cross that more abuse was happening at Guantanamo. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was already challenging detentions there, and so a strategy was sealed: The Bush administration was full of torturers and human rights violators. It was ruining America's reputation throughout the world. Bush was a villain.

It was easy to get that thesis out. The left-wing websites fed anti-Bush columnists like Bob Herbert and Richard Cohen information, and the drumbeat intensified. There was torture and abuse and murder all sanctioned by the evil Bush administration. Article after article appeared, and soon, some TV people followed along. It didn't take long before the torture seed was fully sown.

The Newsweek debacle slowed things down a little, but the anti-Bush press quickly banded together and pronounced Newsweek's mistake would never have happened if Bush weren't torturing everybody. I'm sure you read those opinion pieces as they appeared in liberal newspapers all over the country. The theme and wording were so similar that one person could have written all of those articles. And that was no accident.

All the while this was happening, the president and his crew were doing what they usually do when the press pounds them: nothing. They did not engage the abuse propaganda until it was obvious Newsweek had screwed up. But even that effort was derided by many in The White House press corps, who chided the administration for scolding Newsweek.

Now the torture theme has new momentum. A liberal federal judge in New York City has ruled the Defense Department must release more photos and videos of Abu Ghraib to the ACLU. Of course, that will incite even more hatred against the USA and put our soldiers in more danger, but, hey, politics comes before protecting the troops. The anti-Bush people want those pictures almost as badly as Al Jazeera wants them. Another nail in the president's coffin is more important than bodies in real coffins.

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If you think I am exaggerating, I assure you I am not. This torture campaign is being run brilliantly, and if Mr. Bush doesn't wise up soon, he will be bloodied just as Lyndon Johnson was in the Vietnam debacle.

The truth is that abuse has occurred but on a relatively small scale. According to General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United States has detained about 68,000 people since 9/11 (most have been released), and there have been 325 investigations into alleged abuse. At this writing, about 100 cases of wrongdoing have been substantiated.

That's not a big number, but it doesn't matter to the anti-Bush cabal, which understands that perception is reality in a nation where "reality programming" is the rage of the day. If you can sell the nation that America is now a war criminal, President Hillary Clinton is a real possibility.

So there you have it. For the anti-Bush folks it is simple: no pain, no gain. Torture is selling, and the media is buying. For those of you who are appalled by this analysis, I can only say one thing: Sometimes the truth, like torture, hurts.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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