The sad demise of Brit Hume

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First Chris Matthews, who I like, makes a fool out of himself because he hates Hillary; now it’s Brit Hume’s turn to ruin his reputation, such as it was.

Yesterday, he suggested that Ron Paul’s comment about overreacting to the comical speedboat incident came out of left field. His tone, the Nurse Ratched look, and his body language all indicated he was trying to make a fool of Dr. Paul.

You’re the clown, Brit, to think you can distort what was said on national television.

Here’s Hume’s statement:

HUME: Every one of these — of your fellow candidates have said they supported the commander’s decision to respond passively. I just wonder what you’re reacting to.

Here’s what Dr. Paul was “reacting to.”

HUCKABEE: I’m going to trust that the president, with the information that he had and that those commanders had, made the right decision. I think we need to make it very clear, not just to the Iranians, but to anybody, that if you think you’re going to engage the United States military, be prepared not simply to have a battle. Be prepared, first, to put your sights on the American vessel. And then be prepared that the next things you see will be the gates of Hell, because that is exactly what you will see after that.

*****

… but we’ll make it clear that if they do, there’ll be a severe price to pay for engaging us.

THOMPSON: Yes, I think so. I think I agree with the governor on that. You can’t take the judgment like that out of the hands of the officers on the ground there. I think one more step and they would have been introduced to those virgins that they’re looking forward to seeing.

….But they need to understand that if they cross the line, they’re going to be destroyed.

HUME: Mr. Mayor, what do you think.

GIULIANI: Well, this really should give us some sort of indication that the NIE should not be interpreted as the — the National Intelligence Estimate, where it was suggested that possibly Iran had stopped their nuclear program in 2003, high confidence that they stopped it in 2003, only moderate confidence that they haven’t continued it.

I think an incident like this reminds us that we shouldn’t be lulled into some false sense of confidence about Iran. We have to be very focused on the fact that Iran should not be allowed to become a nuclear power. We should make it very, very clear that we’re not going to allow that, and we should go to every country that we can think of to impose serious sanctions on Iran.

There are also indications that there are economic problems within Iran itself, domestic difficulties in Iran. We’ve seen some conflict between some of the leaders there. Maybe by using this incident and the fact that Iran certainly shouldn’t be seen as benign, as some people saw it when they tried to spin the NIE, as suggesting that maybe we were being too serious about Iran. It would seem to me that this incident should wake a lot of people up.

[NOTE: Giuliani says nothing about the captain’s response.]

*****

MCCAIN: I agree with Rudy. Maybe the Iranians think we’re weaker because of the NIE. Maybe the Iranians aren’t really slowing their export of most lethal explosive devices into Iraq.

[Brit: Rudy said nothing about the captain's response.]

So, the following comment was entirely responsive to what had been said moments before.

HUME: Congressman Paul, what if this happens again?

PAUL: I would certainly urge a lot more caution than I’m hearing here tonight. It reminds me of what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin. We went to war there, then, later on, found out there was a lot of false information.

So here we have — let’s put it in perspective. We have five small speedboats attacking the U.S. Navy with a Destroyer? They could take care of those speedboats in about five seconds. And here we’re ready to start World War III over this?

And now, guess what, today, the Navy commander of the Fifth Fleet was on ABC and announced that, you know, that voice might not have come from those vessels. So what does that mean? Was there a rush to judgment on this, ready to go to war?

And you know there are people in this administration and in Washington, D.C., that are looking for the chance. They were so disappointed with the national estimate on intelligence. And they were disappointed that there’s no attempt to build weapons in Iran since 2003.

*******

And to top it all off, Dr. Paul was clearly responding not only to the bellicose remarks of the other candidates but to the views of “people in this administration.”

In a just world, Britt Hume would be fired today.

6:52 am on January 11, 2008
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