For all of the good things you can say about a lot of Anderson Cooper's reporting on CNN, it's segments like this that are just plain infuriating and where he proves himself to be little more than a hack like much of the rest of our corporate media who are happy to whitewash the corruption of past presidential administrations by treating someone like Elliot Abrams as though he's someone who's opinion should be respected rather than sitting in a jail cell right now.
If anyone doesn't think Cooper or his staff knew full well who they were bringing on here to discuss the situation in Syria along with one of CNN's other correspondents, Jill Dougherty, a simple search yielding his Wiki page would tell most people who wanted to do about two minutes of research just how slimy this man's background is.
Or maybe if they'd looked a bit more, they would have found this article at The Nation:
"How would you feel if your wife and children were brutally raped before being hacked to death by soldiers during a military massacre of 800 civilians, and then two governments tried to cover up the killings?" It's a question that won't be asked of Elliott Abrams at a Senate confirmation hearing--because George W. Bush, according to press reports, may appoint Abrams to a National Security Council staff position that (conveniently!) does not require Senate approval. Moreover, this query is one of a host of rude, but warranted, questions that could be lobbed at Abrams, the Iran/contra player who was an assistant secretary of state during the Reagan years and a shaper of that Administration's controversial--and deadly--policies on Latin America and human rights. His designated spot in the new regime: NSC's senior director for democracy, human rights and international operations. (At press time, the White House and Abrams were neither confirming nor denying his return to government.)
More there so go read the rest. If you'd like to contact CNN and Cooper's show to voice your displeasure, here's the link for that.
Transcript below the fold.
COOPER: Let's bring in Jill Dougherty, also Elliott Abrams, a veteran of the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations and currently a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Elliott, obviously, some tough sanctions announced today. Maybe the president will have more to say. But how much can be done? How much can be accomplished? What can -- what else can be done to stop these killings?
ELLIOTT ABRAMS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Two things. First, we need to be clearer that Assad has got to go. The president said that about Mubarak and Gadhafi. He still hasn't said it about Assad. I hope he does tomorrow, but the sooner the better.
We need more sanctions and we need more Europeans to join us in them, because we have got to get the richer people, the elites, particularly the Sunni elites in Syria, to turn against him, and the way to do that is through the economy.
COOPER: Jill, do we know what the president is going to say tomorrow?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We think it's going to be tougher. There could be a good portion of it on Syria.
I don't think, judging by what we have heard, he's going to go as far as Elliott is saying and say, you know, you have outlived your usefulness. You have to step down.
The sanctions really did that. Or at least that's the message. But, you know, look at what they said, Anderson, in the sanctions announcement today, to go for a political transition or leave. They're still leaving that window open for political transition, even though the United States has no idea and no -- there's no belief at all that he's going to -- that Assad is going to change.
COOPER: Elliott, I mean, the White House in the past, toward the end of the Mubarak regime, called on Mubarak to step down, Gadhafi, obviously. Why hasn't the president made the same demand of Assad?
ABRAMS: Well, I think one thing is, they still believe in this reformer nonsense. You have shown these pictures.
This is a regime that survives by murdering its own population. But it's been very slow to get particularly Secretary Clinton to turn away from this idea that he's secretly a reformer.
The other thing is, they're afraid of what comes next. There's the bogeyman out there of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Syria. No one ever produces any evidence for why that would happen, but that's the other argument...
COOPER: So, you have no concerns about what comes next? Because we have all seen in many -- look what's happening in Egypt right now. Things are not turning out necessarily the way certainly many of the secular reformers wanted.
ABRAMS: Well, how much worse can it get than this regime? It's murdering its own people. It is Iran's greatest ally. It is an enemy of Israel.
It is trying to take over and as it used to have control over Lebanon. It is a regime that was building a nuclear weapon with the help of North Korea. It was a regime that funneled jihadis into Iraq to kill as many Americans as possible. What is going to be worse than that?
COOPER: Jill, we have seen ambassadors pulled from other countries that are in a lot better shape than Syria is right now in terms of violence directed at its people. Any discussion of removing the ambassador?
DOUGHERTY: No. In fact, we talked to two State Department officials today who said they're not thinking about that.
And the rationale they usually use in this case is having an ambassador there, even if you can send a signal by yanking him out, it still gives you a chance to talk directly with the regime, deliver a message, that type of thing, maybe even a harder message. But they're not talking about pulling him out yet.
Elliott, is there some...
COOPER: Sorry. Go ahead, Elliott. ABRAMS: I was just going to jump in and say that's a mistake, because, as I talk to Syrians, what they're worried about is, why is the American government in favor of Assad staying?
We need to do something symbolically that proves to Syrians we're on their side, not on his side. Pulling the ambassador is probably the easiest symbolic move to make that clear to them.
COOPER: Elliott Abrams, I appreciate you being on the show, Jill Dougherty as well. Thanks very much.
ABRAMS: Thank you.
COOPER: Again, we will continue to follow this tomorrow, when the president is supposed to speak about it.
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