The Pakistani Taliban committed an unspeakable horror on Tuesday, attacking the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, where they began slaughtering children by shooting them classroom by classroom. One teacher was reportedly set on fire as the students were forced to watch him burn to death. After several hours, Pakistani troops managed to isolate and kill the seven attackers, but not before at least 141 were dead, 132 of them children. Terrifyingly familiar first-person accounts of survivors continue to surface, almost exactly two years after the U.S. discovered the horrors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn.
There’s no mystery behind the motivation for the attack. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed credit for it the way you’d claim a prize from some radio station contest:
“A Taliban spokesman told BBC Urdu that the school, which is run by the army, had been targeted in response to military operations.
“Hundreds of Taliban fighters are thought to have died in a recent offensive in North Waziristan and the nearby Khyber area.”
On Tuesday morning, President Obama released a statement condemning the attack (via email from The White House):
Statement by the President on the Terrorist Attack on the Army Public School in Pakistan
The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones. By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity. We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.
With all the questions that could possibly come to mind, over what sorts of assistance the U.S. could provide or what the ramifications for foreign policy in a region with terrorism in the very marrow of government, Fox News’ Ed Henry first wanted to know if the Taliban had slaughtered these children as a “signal” to President Obama, in response to the speech he gaveyesterday afternoon:
“The President, yesterday, said basically the war in Afghanistan is coming to an end at the end of the month, and then hours later, the Taliban goes into Pakistan, goes into a school and kills over a hundred and forty people, mostly kids. Is the Taliban sending a signal that the war is not over, and once we leave, this is going to be a replay of Iraq, we pull out, ISIS fills the vacuum?”
This is actually even ore deranged than it sounds, and it sounds really deranged. Henry works for a network that has devoted more than two years to establishing the premise that a mob of people with their own military base blocks away could not possibly have spontaneously launched an attack that resulted in four deaths, yet now, he believes that in a matter of hours, the Taliban threw together the attack on the school that killed 141, and reportedly involved gaining access to the school using Pakistani military uniforms. And they did it all to send a message about foreign policy in a completely different country, then called up the BBC to trick them into saying it was for some other reason.
The object of the question, of course, was not to get an answer, or even to make sense, but to deliver an attack on President Obama’s foreign policy. I get that for Fox News, that’s the job, but maybe they could give it a rest one time.