Tuesday, May 04, 2010


The big wingnut talking point of the day is that the American citizen charged in the Times Square bombing should be denied Miranda rights and stripped of his citizenship, presumably because the bombing attempt was a work of unspeakable evil. Ah, but now we have what's effectively the exact opposite talking point, also from the right: Shepard Smith of Fox News, eagerly seconded by a couple of right-wing bloggers and the Freepers, tells us that this unspeakably evil act was actually no big whoop -- Eric Holder, you see, said the act was "thwarted," and even though he didn't say the Obama administration "thwarted" it, he's a Democrat, and the right simply can't tolerate the notion that "thwarting" of terrorism can take place on a Democrat's watch, so we're told that no "thwarting" took place at all.

What Holder said was this:

The SUV in Times Square was first noted by an alert bystander, who reported it to authorities. By being aware of his surroundings and by thinking quickly, he helped save lives and thwarted a potentially devastating attack.

To which Smith replied:

And, actually, that's not true. That's not true according to the facts as given to us by the Feds. This bomb ... was not "thwarted." This bomb failed....

Now, I can think of a lot of different reasons that they would want this. For instance, down the road, the next time something happens, they can say, 'We thwarted Christmas Day and we thwarted Times Square.' But that wouldn't be the case. And part of our job, I think, is to not allow revisionist history to take over....

Look, this bomb clearly fell far short of expectations. It was put together clumsily and ineptly. And yet:

Had it exploded, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman, "It would have been, in all likelihood, a good possibility of people being killed, windows shattered, but not resulting in a building collapse."

And, according to Kevin Barry, head of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators and a former NYPD bomb squad supervisor,

"Several hundred" could have been killed or maimed by a fireball exploding from the Nissan Pathfinder found loaded down with firecrackers, fertilizer, gasoline, propane and alarm clocks.

The propane-fueled flames wouldn't have brought down any buildings and would have lasted only a few seconds, but with flames shooting as high as 30 feet, the toll on people nearby would have been devastating, Barry said.

The fireball would have caused horrific lung damage and fried the hair and faces of anyone within a 50-yard radius.

So, yeah, Shep (and the bloggers who cite him), there was something to "thwart," and the thwarting happened. Yes, even though there wasn't a Republican in the White House.


UPDATE: Fox News, naturally, picks up on the "not thwarted" meme.

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