Pakistani general: no "don't ask, don't tell" for terrorists Updated

Read it and weap, gullible lefties:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s top army spokesman on Wednesday vehemently denied saying in a news report that Usama bin Laden would not be taken into custody if he agreed to live peacefully in Pakistan.

“This is absolutely fabricated, absurd. I never said this,” Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan told The Associated Press, referring to an ABC News broadcast aired hours earlier.

The ABC report cited Sultan as saying in a telephone interview that Al Qaeda chief bin Laden “would not be taken into custody” if found, “as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen.”

Sultan’s recorded comments were included in the report, but it was not immediately clear whether he understood that bin Laden was the specific subject of discussion at that point in the interview.

Sultan told the AP by phone that “what they are saying on Usama is absolutely fabricated.”

“Pakistan is committed to its policy on the war on terror, and Usama, caught anywhere in Pakistan, would be brought to justice,” he said.

It’s possible that ABC took his quotes out of context, in order to make an ally (and by extension Bush, because of course Bush controls all of our allies like radio controlled robots) look bad. But the American press would never do that, right? Nah. Because we all know that the average Bush critic is such a stalwart anti-terrorist that they’d never be fooled by something like this. I mean, we all know that Michael Moore and the millions who love him really want to get bin Laden more than Bush. I mean, they want to get bin Laden more than Bush does, not that they want to get bin Laden more than they want to get Bush. Sorry for the confusing writing there. The left’s Bush=Hitler talk is just a hobby, a way to kill time. Of course.

It’s also possible that Sultan was quoted accurately, experienced blowback, and is now stepping away from his own comments. It could also be that the Pakistanis are getting out of the way as US forces prepare to invoke “hot pursuit” and chase Talibanis into Pakistan with tacit approval from Islamabad. Time will tell. There’s undoubtedly more to this story than the initial ABC report.

But there’s a lesson in this: When the legacy media reports something that looks bad for Bush and especially if it relates in any way to the war, give the story a little time to air before knee-jerking to rant and slam Bush. Chances are the legacy media has either misquoted someone central to the story, or it’s left out some critical…what’s that word? Oh yeah. Nuance.

Update: Bill Roggio reports that it’s much worse than the press is reporting. But. The only source I see for his report is an “anonymous intelligence source.” Which, as much as I trust Bill, just isn’t enough to go on in assessing the credibility of the report. The anonymous intelligence source could be anyone from a Richard Clarke type to a Michael Scheuer type to a bin Ladenist within ISI to a bona fide on the level source to, well, anybody. I generally don’t accept such reports when they appear in the MSM, and I’m personally loathe to take them at face value elsewhere. But read it, see what you think. If the report is right, ABC understated the problem. How often does the legacy media do that?

Update: Capt Ed says recent Pak-Afghan moves note a larger security framework that’s not good for the Taliban. But as Allah caught, Fox is reporting that Pakistan won’t allow US troops into the tribal areas, meaning “hot pursuit” will have all the warmth of an ice cube. The balance would seem to be tipping toward the negative at this point.

Update: I should clarify, my doubts on Roggio’s report center entirely on the source, not Bill himself. He’s one of the best of the best in the blogosphere, without a doubt. But in a war where we have a thousand competing interests and in which a potentially major story is centered on the word of an “anonymous intelligence source,” I need more before I can personally vouch for the claims made in the story.

Update: In email, Bill informs me that his source isn’t a Clarke type, but a geniune, on-the-level good guy. That’s good to know.