Friday, April 10, 2009

Steven R. Hurst Needs A Factchecker

Oh, wait, he is the factchecker. Uh-Oh.
In the midst of a remarkably silly and wrongheaded "analysis" piece concerning the Somali Pirates, the AP's Hurst drops in this little gem of misinformation:
Short of flooding the waters with fighting ships, the only course of attack would seem to be special operations assaults on the ground in Somalia. But Obama is sure to remember the outcome—Black Hawk Down—when the last young Democratic president, Hillary Clinton's husband, Bill, sent U.S. forces ashore in that lawless land.

The current situation has absolutely nothing in common with the Battle of Mogadishu and "flooding the waters" (Cool metaphor, huh? Weak reasoning gains so much from lazy writing) with "fighting ships" (Ar!) is actually a pretty good idea.... as Hillary pointed out yesterday. In fact, it is such a good idea that every nation that has ever encountered a piracy problem or, for that matter, a U-boat problem has done exactly that.

But beyond all that, President Clinton did not send U.S. forces ashore in Somalia. Our forces went into Somalia in December,1992. Bill Clinton did not assume Presidential authority until January 20th, 1993. A lot of us non-interventionist types believed at the time that it was a pretty thoughtful poison-pill parting gift for president Bush to leave office with.

Checking this "detail" would have taken five minutes, minutes Hurst apparently didn't have. So when the newspapers finally shut their doors just remember that they didn't always produce a lot of value in the first place.

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