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'Bizarre' praise of Osama
riles senator's challenger
Member of Murray's Washington delegation decries 'shocking' remarks
Posted: December 23, 2002
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2002 WorldNetDaily.com
see Joseph Farah's commentary on this
SEATTLE – A potential Republican challenger to
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.,
in 2004 is calling for the lawmaker to apologize for telling students
last week that Osama bin Laden's
nation-building tactics should be emulated by the United States.
"I think the statements she made about bin Laden are shocking, and
they're bizarre, and they're uniformed," said
Rep. George Nethercutt,
R-Wash., in an interview with WorldNetDaily. "To try to suggest
that bin Laden has a history of generosity and kindness that outweighs
his hatred for America and his vows to destroy our country is just
Meanwhile, teachers from around Washington state have informed a
Seattle talk radio host that Murray had made the same comments about
bin Laden to their students. But despite comparisons by many of her
constituents to Sen. Trent Lott's recent controversial remarks,
Murray's statements appear to be generating minimal response from her
Last Wednesday, at the conclusion of a session with students at
Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Wash., Murray said she wanted
to bring up a further point to add to their discussion about
alternatives to war.
"We've got to ask, why is this man so popular around the world?"
she said in reference to bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "Why are people so supportive of him in
many countries that are riddled with poverty?"
Murray said, according to the Vancouver Columbian newspaper, that
bin Laden has been "out in these countries for decades, building
schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care
facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are
extremely grateful. We haven't done that."
The second-term senator then asked the students to ponder: "How
would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with
some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb
in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"
Nethercutt said he usually does not speak out against anyone in his
state's delegation to the nation's capital.
Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash.
"But this one just hit me wrong because of the lasting implication
it leaves with students who are impressionable," Nethercutt told WND.
"And to have a senator suggest that Osama bin Laden is a good guy
and the U.S. hasn't done anything to help people is just nonsense.
He believes an apology is in order.
Middle East scholar Daniel
Pipes contends that bin Laden was not building schools and
health-care facilities but a terrorist infrastructure. Any benefits
accrued by the people of Afghanistan or Sudan were done to buy off his
protectors, he maintained in an interview with WND.
Bin Laden himself has denied that he and his followers are
motivated by economic factors.
"Allah has ordered us to make holy wars and to fight to see to it
that his word is the highest and the uppermost and that of the
unbelievers the lowermost," bin Laden said in a 1998 interview that
included ABC's John Miller. "We believe that this is the call we have
to answer regardless of our financial capabilities."
Comments heard before
Murray told the Tacoma News Tribune that she was shocked by the
response to what she considered a free-ranging discussion conducted in
the American spirit of free speech.
"I am astonished the Republican Party would try to spin out of
control a conversation with high school students," she said.
"Republicans have been trying for six months to use the war on
terrorism for political purposes."
But school teachers from around Washington state say that have
heard these comments before from Murray at similar gatherings of
students, according to Seattle talk radio host and former Republican
gubernatorial candidate John Carlson.
"She is saying these things all over the state," Carlson said on
his afternoon, drive-time show on KVI radio. "A U.S. senator is
misleading children about Osama bin Laden."
Carlson's caller lines were lit up from mostly angry listeners for
three hours on Friday afternoon. Many insisted that Murray should
resign, asserting that her remarks were more egregious than comments
by Sen. Trent Lott, who consequently stepped down from his Senate
majority post on Friday.
A listener from Gig Harbor, Wash., calling for Murray to resign or
be recalled, said, "I don't want my daughter growing up represented by
Talk show host Lars Larson
in Portland, just across the Columbia River from Vancouver, Wash.,
promoted his afternoon show Friday with a teaser, "Trent Lott steps
aside ... Sen. Patty Murray ... should she do the same?"
On his website, Larson included a link to a
recording of some of Murray's comments to the students.
Democrat senator praises bin Laden
If you'd like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the
Art Moore is a news
editor with WorldNetDaily.com.