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Thursday, September 23, 2010
Kessler Twists Rauf 's Words
Topic: Newsmax

In a Sept. 15 Newsmax column, Ronald Kessler attacks Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who wants to build "a mosque two blocks from ground zero," as a maker of "nonsensical, contradictory and arrogant statements" and among Muslim leaders who "speak out of both sides of their mouths" and "continue to generate suspicion of Muslims in general."

Kessler also mischaracterizes Rauf's words. Citing an interview Rauf did on CNN, Kessler writes:

Asked if he still believes that the U.S. was an “accessory” to the 9/11 attacks and that Osama bin Laden was “made in the USA,” Rauf waffled. He said that while his comments were not “compassionate,” the U.S. had cooperated with bin Laden in fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

A widespread Internet rumor, that claim is untrue, not to mention irrelevant. In the end, Rauf never retracted his claim that the U.S. was in part responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Here's what Rauf actually said:

RAUF: I was describing the fact that the United States had actually worked with the Taliban, cooperated with the mujahadeen. The mujahadeen were VIPs in the Reagan White House -- administration, and Osama bin Laden was something the United States cooperated with in fighting the Soviet Union. However, looking back on it now, I realize it was not a very compassionate thing to say, and I regret having used those words.

In fact, it's indisputable that bin Laden fought with the mujahadeen in Afghanistan during the 1980s, and that the CIA covertly supported the mujahadeen. The question is whether bin Laden himself had any dealings with CIA operatives in Afghanistan. Despite Kessler's dismissal of it as "untrue" and a "widespread Internet rumor," it appears to be an open question. Wikipedia cites claims that bin Laden received training from the CIA in Afghanistan, as well as denials that there were any such contacts.

It seems the question is much more open than Kessler would have you believe. But he's too busy attacking Rauf to tell you that.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EDT

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