By Jerry Mazza
Thanks and hugs from all, Helen Thomas, 89-year old, oft-referred to "dean of the White House press corps," who retired today, Monday, moments after the parroting White House Correspondents Association said it was considering stripping her of her front row press briefing room seat. What brought on their echoing ire?
Well, it was as simple as Helen suggesting back in May that Israeli Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and return to Germany and Poland "or wherever they came from." Bless you, Helen, for claiming your rights of free speech and the press, constitutionally granted to you, and telling the violent if not psychopathic state of Israel where to go. I personally would have suggested hell, a more fitting place for these lying, two-faced lunatics.
You are a hero and secular saint in my book. I know in the eyes and ears of honest journalists around the world you are still setting the pace for truth and justice, regardless of consequences. Especially in the wake of Israel's ruthless and illegal attack in international waters on the Turkish Freedom Flotilla, killing nine, wounding 30, beating then imprisoning the others. This as the six ships, which had all been vetted, and 800 passengers sailed to bring medicine, water, food, building materials and hope for Gaza and life back to the people of Palestine.
But then Helen, you were always at least a notch above, a questioner of note: from JFK to Ronald Reagan, through two Bush administrations, and the latest presidential lackey, Barack Obama, you persevered. To your undying credit, GHW would not call on you for three years you rattled him so. Yet you were the only female journalist to accompany Nixon on his historic trip to China. You also traveled with Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Reagan, Bill Clinton and both Bushies around the world. Not bad for the kid of Lebanese parents, born on August 4, 1920, in Winchester, Kentucky and moved to Detroit at an early age.
You covered the DOJ, FBI, Health, Education and Welfare, moving on to the Kennedy beat in 1960. You even made it into the movie Dave, appearing with Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Laura Linney and Bonnie Hunt. Add to that several years as White House Bureau Chief for UPI, from which you resigned in 2000, but kept covering the White House as a correspondent for Hearst News Service. You were no lightweight, Helen, like the feathery types floating about today, looking over their shoulders in case some real news should bite them.
When Bush Jr. finally asked you back, your first question was "I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your cabinet, your cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth. What was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil, quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?" And a lot of coughing and choking ensued.
Helen added at a later date, "I'm covering the worst president in American history." Though she later wrote Junior a letter of apology, no one could fault her for lying, except perhaps Barack.