Written by Sultan Knish
It was only two days after 9/11 when "respected columnist" Robert Novak began by promoting Trutherism, writing in his column, titled, "This is No Pearl Harbor", "Security experts and airline officials agree privately that the simultaneous hijacking of four jetliners was an "inside job," probably indicating complicity beyond malfeasance. This makes all the more ominous Tuesday's national consequences."
Novak of course was wrong, but like most Truther propaganda, its larger purpose was to serve as an excuse for the actual Islamic terrorists. The column went on to suggest that Bin Laden wasn't even responsible for the attacks, "Unlike Pearl Harbor, however, there is no clear foe... Private sources indicate that the terrorists could be a splinter group of Osama, its identity and whereabouts as yet unknown." The idea being that the terrorists were an "extremist wing" of Al Queda, and not the "moderate" Al Queda itself.
While the rubble at Ground Zero was still smoldering, Novak went on to worry that the United States would launch an assault on Al Queda in Afghanistan, which would only upset the Muslim world.
"An attack on Afghanistan for sheltering Osama's terrorists will put the United States in danger of being perceived, however incorrectly, as launching a holy war against Islam. There is strong sentiment in Congress for hitting somebody, somewhere who has unsavory terrorist credentials even if not connected with Tuesday's attack."
Having spun his rope of lies this far, Novak then went on to argue that the real problem were not Muslim terrorists, who didn't want world domination (perish the thought), no the real problem was Israel. "Unlike Nazi Germany's and Imperial Japan's drive for a new world order, however, the hatred toward the U.S. by the terrorists is an extension of its hatred of Israel rather than world domination."
Four days later Novak continued his theme of a Washington D.C. churning with "Frustrated War Fever", painting Republicans as desperate to irrationally bomb Afghanistan into a "parking lot". Novak instead treated any attempt to go after the terrorists as recklessly dangerous and likely to offend Muslims. Novak even made sure to repeat Mullah Omar's warning against the idea of sending US troops to Afghanistan, thereby turning himself into a propaganda outlet for the Taliban, writing;
"Usually level-headed members of Congress have told me that American citizens should be prepared for sending a U.S. expeditionary force to fight in Afghanistan. Mullah Omar, the supreme Taliban ruler, on Friday warned Americans of the dire fate of British and more recently Soviet troops at the hands of Afghan guerrillas."
11 days after 9/11 found Novak busy worrying about Arafat's anxiety, telling readers that Arafat had joined the War on Terror coalition and gave orders to his men not to shoot at Israelis, even if they shot first. Novak's columns on the War on Terror quickly became a barrage of gloomy predictions. Early in the war he suggested that General Tommy Franks was incompetent and should be removed. He quoted Human Rights Watch to damn the Northern Alliance for supposedly committing atrocities against Taliban supporters.
By early 2002 Novak was already castigating the Bush Administration for its "Arrogance of Power". A year before the invasion of Iraq, Novak was already claiming that; "The U.S. military today is in no condition to attack anybody". Novak of course went on to repeatedly champion Chuck Hagel's position on Iraq. He quickly dragged out his "War Fever" innuendo, depicting Bush as isolated among Republicans in his desire to remove Saddam Hussein. This would follow his usual pattern of championing Powell over Rumsfeld and Cheney, pushing for coalition backing and UN support. His opposition never wavered, as he mocked the Surge, once again treating Chuck Hagel as an oracle on the Iraq War.
His post 9/11 column was a startlingly ugly performance from Novak, but neither a random occurrence or a departure from the norm. Novak had spent a good deal of the latter part of his career playing defense on the Islamic team. Whether it was the Turkish push for EU membership, "the European Union on Dec. 12 rebuffed both the Turkish and the U.S. governments by rejecting Turkey's application for membership. Abdullah Gul, the new prime minister, accused European leaders of "discrimination" and "prejudice" -- reflecting Islam's current view of the West", bemoaning Republican support for Israel while claiming that conservatives used to be Pro-Arab not Pro-Israel,and defending the Saudis against being being "trashed", noting critically that; "Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, conservative journalists and politicians have pounded on Saudi customs and mores that had not seriously disturbed a relationship between the two dissimilar countries over the past 60 years", (those "customs" of course being such trivial cultural matters as enslaving women, promoting Islamic extremism abroad and treating non-Muslims as inferior), Novak had repeatedly taken the Islamic side of things.
When the UAE was set to take over many key American ports, Novak damned it as xenophobia and lambasted Bush for surrendering to prejudice.
deeper problems are reflected by overwhelming public opposition to a company owned by the government of a close Arab ally operating U.S. ports. Polls suggest the darker side of the American mind: isolationist, protectionist, nativist and xenophobic. Bush's ceaseless efforts to rouse his countrymen to support the war against terrorism may have unleashed the dogs of anti-Arab prejudice.
Novak would urge Bush to overcome his "phobia" against talking to the enemy...
Amid Tehran's noisy celebration over the outcome of hostilities in Lebanon, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was overlooked last Wednesday when he announced that Iran is ready for negotiations about suspending uranium enrichment... pressure is building on President George W. Bush to overcome his phobia against talking with the enemy.
His columns were replete with constant worries over how Muslims would see things, with typical Dhimmi interjections such as, "Meanwhile, U.S. prestige is in a free fall throughout Islam".
Novak's Islamist backing was so extreme, that he was even willing to support Hamas, penning propaganda columns claiming that Hamas only wanted peace, penning this final bizarre paragraph about his meeting with Hamas' Deputy Prime Minister;
While avoiding Israel-bashing, Shaer conjectured: "I don't think the Israeli government wants a two-state solution. Without pressure from the president of the United States, nothing is going to happen." That sounded like a plea for help from George W. Bush. But will he hear it if Elliott Abrams does not listen?
Yes that was Robert Novak calling on Bush to help Hamas.
Debbie Schlussel meanwhile cites Novak's statement on Crossfire, "There are many Americans who support HAMAS, and I am one of them." And another of Novak describing Hamas terrorists as "Freedom Fighters."
Little wonder then that when Israel was hit by a suicide bombing that killed 20 people and took out a Hamas leader, Novak naturally blamed Israel; "word was discreetly passed from Washington to Israel, expressing hope that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would not overreact. To no avail. The targeted killing of a Hamas leader the next day by Israel fulfilled the State Department's worst fears."
Novak's appeasement policy though wasn't just limited to Islam. He was equally willing to bash critics of appeasing Kim Jong Il as "hard liners" getting in the way of negotiations, he also took China's side in the Hainan Island Incident which featured the seizure of Americans and warned against any "China Bashing".
But Novak wasn't just pro-appeasement abroad, he was rotten on immigration, backing amnesty and castigating conservatives who disagreed "with him as "right wingers" and "Nativists".
Pence, a rising star in the conservative movement, has faced a torrent of right-wing abuse for advocating a guest worker program that is condemned as amnesty for illegal aliens. Rep. Tom Tancredo, leader of the congressional hard-liners on immigration, has viciously branded Pence as an apostate... In trouble on Iraq and federal spending, Republicans are being lured into a nativist posture that is political fool's gold. George W. Bush, John McCain and Mike Pence dread a Republican descent into nativism. In my half century of political reporting, I never have seen a candidate or party succeed in playing the economic nationalist card.
Further in his column "Republican Immigrant Rage" Novak repeated the suggestion that an anti-amnesty Republican party would be comparable to Apartheid South Africa,
In a recent closed-door meeting of the House's conservative Republican Study Committee, Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina raised the danger of resembling South Africa's National Party advocating apartheid.
In that same column, Novak slammed many of the same bloggers and talk show hosts who are now busy mourning his passing.
This nation of immigrants has greeted successive waves of newcomers with apprehension stoked by demagogues. It has overcome such past xenophobic impulses. But that will be more difficult in an era of Internet bloggers and radio talkers, with the Republican Party in trouble and seeking a unifying issue at the grass root.
For all of Novak's willingness to call others RINO's, he was soft on terrorism, soft on immigration, soft on American defense, and all too willing to treat the likes of Chuck Hagel as voices of wisdom. He was no role model for conservatives and should not be treated as one.
That is why I have written this column. There would ordinarily be no reason to pen a condemnation of a dead pundit. But there are too many conservative bloggers and pundits who have rushed in not simply to bury Novak, but to honor him as a role model and a guiding light. And the only place Novak was a guide to, was to a Dhimmi's den of appeasement.
It would be entirely legitimate had they remembered Novak's memory, while admitting that there were basic political differences, especially later in life. Instead they've chosen to present Novak as an ideal, while ignoring the man who embraced everyone from Farrakhan to Hamas, who championed Shamnesty and slimed numerous Republican politicians when they departed from his agenda.
Novak played the same cynical game played by numerous Washington Post and New York Times columnists, of putting his own ideas into someone else's cherry picked quote, of hiding behind rationalizations and statements attributed to private sources. But behind all that was a man who chose to defend Islam and Islamic terrorism. And post 9/11, it is impossible to place such a man on a pedestal as a role model for conservatives. Robert Novak had a complicated legacy and he was many things-- but mainly he was part of the media and political establishment that brought us where we are now. And too many of those remembering him, only remember the glamor of that inner circle, rather than honestly evaluating the things he really stood for.
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