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Democratic Senator Carl Levin has pledged to block an appointment for President Bush's choice of Pentagon spokesman based on the supposed attitude problem of the nominee, J. Dorrance Smith. What has caused this political obstructionism to rise again, this time in the Senate Armed Services Committee? Senator Levin doesn't appreciate what Smith thinks about ... al-Jazeera:
J. Dorrance Smith, the nominee, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in a closed session about an opinion article in which he accused U.S. television networks of helping terrorists through the networks' partnerships with al-Jazeera.
The article has sparked concern among committee members and has prompted Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) to pledge to defeat Smith's nomination to be assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.
"I have deep concerns about whether or not he should be representing the United States government and the Department of Defense with that kind of attitude and approach," Levin said after yesterday's hearing.
What got Levin's knickers in a twist? Smith wrote this about al-Jazeera and its influence on American media:
In an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal in April, Smith wrote: "Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and al Qaeda have a partner in Al-Jazeera and, by extension, most networks in the U.S. This partnership is a powerful tool for the terrorists in the war in Iraq."
Smith also singled out U.S. networks, saying: "Al-Jazeera has very strong partners in the U.S. -- ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN and MSNBC. Video aired by Al-Jazeera ends up on these networks, sometimes within minutes."
Does Levin dispute this? The AJ network often shares its video with the American outlets, who then rush to get it on the air. AJ also maintains open contacts with Islamofascist terror groups, a well-known fact and one which usually nets it access to the latest in al-Qaeda propaganda straight from Osama or his number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Smith, in other words, gave an accurate depiction of the flow of information. So what's the problem?
Well, Levin represents Michigan, which has a significant Arab-American and Arab-immigrant population, and al-Jazeera has some credibility in that community. Levin wants to pander for their support, and rather than simply allow Smith to become spokesman for the Pentagon -- a political post that will disappear when Bush leaves office -- he wants to play petty politics instead. All it does is make Levin look ridiculous. He wants to chew up political capital to keep a qualified candidate from talking at a podium? Unbelievable.
Of course, if successful, it means that the Pentagon will need a spokesman. Fortunately, I know someone with experience at that position ...
This should convince Levin to lighten up.Sphere It View blog reactions
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