As described by Milbank, one of the participants, Brigitte Gabriel, immediately “pounced” on Ahmed. Gabriel, who grew up in Lebanon during the civil war and saw first hand what the Islamists did there, founded Act for America to educate Americans on the threat from radical Islam.
Except that Gabriel didn’t pounce. She didn’t even respond. A partial video of the forum, posted at Media Matters of all places and reposted at Mediaite.com, revealed that instead, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney gave a very measured, careful, and respectful response. Then Gabriel “pounced.” But even then, she didn’t pounce at all. Finally, Milbank selectively edited Ahmed’s question as well. He mischaracterized the entire exchange, which was very respectful. Here is the video.
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Milbank described Gabriel’s response to Ahmed as though it was the height of absurdity. He selectively reported her response that “180 million to 300 million” Muslims are “dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization,” and that the “peaceful majority were irrelevant in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001… Most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million died.”
This is all true as well. The peaceful Muslims—and there are no doubt many—are just as passive and impotent as everyday Germans were while the Nazis were killing Jews during WW II, but Milbank made it sound as though she had committed a crime: “she drew a Hitler comparison,” he gasped. What is wrong with that? It is a good analogy. He didn’t mention all the other analogies she drew, including mass murder committed by Japanese and Soviet communists, where the people were similarly powerless.
But we must ask a larger question. What was Saba Ahmed, the innocent, soft-spoken American University “student,” doing there? It turns out Ahmed is more than just a “student.” She has a lobbying firm in Washington, DC. She once ran for Congress while living in Oregon, where she went missing for three days over a failed relationship, according to family members.
She came to the aid of a family friend, the Christmas tree bomber, who attempted to set off a vanload of explosives in a downtown Portland park where Christmas revelers were celebrating. The bomb was actually a dummy, part of an FBI sting investigation.
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After losing the Democratic primary, she even switched sides, becoming a registered Republican. But she never switched loyalties. She spoke against the war in Iraq at an Occupy rally in Oregon, has worked on the staff of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy (VT), and has been a Democratic activist for a long time—not exactly the innocent “student” portrayed by Milbank. A 2011 article describing her odd Congressional campaign stated:
Ahmed, who says she’s been recently lobbying Congress to end U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, said that ‘Obviously I am not a traditional politician.’
Obviously, Gabriel saw right through her act and confronted her. “Are you an American?” she asked, and told her that her “political correctness” belongs “in the garbage.”
Milbank characterized it all as a pile-on against this one meek, lone voice of reason. He went on to further ridicule the forum and its participants, observing among other things:
“[Talk show host and panel moderator, Chris] Plante cast doubt on whether Ambassador Chris Stevens really died of smoke inhalation, demanding to see an autopsy report.
(Many claim he was raped and tortured. An autopsy report would settle the issue; but of course, the Obama administration won’t release it.)
“Gabriel floated the notion that Stevens had been working on a weapons-swap program between Libya and Syria just before he was killed.”
(That was apparently the real reason behind the entire fiasco.)
“Panelist Clare Lopez of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi said the perpetrators of the attack are ‘sipping frappes with journalists in juice bars.’”
This last comment was particularly outrageous. Milbank makes Lopez’s statement sound absurd and worthy of ridicule; but in fact, CNN located the suspected ringleader of the terrorists involved in the Benghazi attack and interviewed him for two hours at a prominent hotel coffee bar in Benghazi. FBI Director James Comey was grilled in a Congressional hearing about it. Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) demanded to know how CNN could locate the terrorists so easily while the FBI couldn’t. Just this week, it was reported that that same suspected ringleader of the attack on the compound in Benghazi, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, was captured in Libya and is being brought to the U.S. on a ship.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.