Gullible's Travels

This morning I received an(other) email, forwarded to me by well-meaning and well-educated friends. Like most of these (you get them too, don't you?) it had been forwarded over and over again, as people sent it on to their friends. I don't know who started it...I didn't dig down that far. But I do know that another false story is making the email rounds on the Internet.

The problem with these things is that they're so cool people want to believe. This latest one had Ollie North identifying Osama bin Laden as a terrorist during his Senate testimony over the Iran-Contra scandal. The purpose was to show the folly of those (mostly Democrats) who didn't take terrorism seriously then, and don't now.

Like most such stories, there is a grain of truth in it. North did testify regarding a security system installed at his house to protect his family from a terrorist threat. But the terrorist was Abu Nidal, the guy behind the Achille Lauro hijacking where American citizen Leon Klinghoffer was selected because of his Jewish heritage, drug out of his wheelchair and brutally murdered before being dumped overboard. At the time, bin Laden was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, and while they would have called him a terrorist, we certainly would not--in fact we sent the mujahadeen weapons and money to equip them to win.

And like many false rumors, it hides a more interesting truth. You see, Abu Nidal, killer of Americans and noted international terrorist, has now gone to meet his eternal reward (which certianly does not include any number of virgins, but does include a very warm climate). But he was in the news not all that long ago, when he died at his governemnt-provided apartment in Baghdad, Iraq right about the time our troops showed up...died from a "self-inflicted" gunshot wound to ensure he could not be questions. But of course since everyone "knows" that Saddam had no connection to terrorists, that couldn't be a story...at least not one that would interest our media.

Anyhow, two points. Please for the love of the truth, before you forward one of those emails, take five minutes and check out www.snopes.com and see if it's accurate. It will save you a lot of potential embarrassment, and will keep false rumors from growing at the speed of email. Second, pay attention to what's going on around you. It's hard with the constant glut of non-news stories (like how long it was before the Washington Press Corps--as opposed to local authorities--heard about an accidental shooting) but there are serious and important things happening in the world. You need to know what's going on...and what has already gone on. Then you won't be so quick to fall for twisted versions of history that sound good, but aren't true.


At 10:31 PM, Blogger jarhead john said...

Liberals aren't interested in anything so trivial as the truth.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Brian said...

No offense but most "liberals" were commenting about the lack of links to Al Queda - Saddam's link to terrorism is well known.


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