Scarborough Blames 'American Apathy' and Republicans for the Continued War in Afghanistan
Joe Scarborough on Monday continued to spin for Barack Obama, this time defending the President’s war strategy in Afghanistan and placing blame on the American people. Citing a New York Times columnist, the Morning Joe host complained, "And as Frank Rich said, the President's best political ally on Afghanistan is apathy. Americans don't care that their sons and daughters are going off to fight and die for a war that really has no end game."
Co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed. She derided, "Maybe if most Americans actually cared beyond the ones that have to go and serve we would have different outcomes.”
While Scarborough reacted with some criticism, he was empathetic with the President because, “If Barack Obama takes the troops out and does what I'm saying he should do, Republicans will kill him. Every time a poppy is grown in Afghanistan, they will blame Barack Obama. Every time a woman is tortured in Afghanistan, they will blame Barack Obama. Every time anything goes wrong, they will blame Barack Obama."
In all fairness, it was unacceptable for the media or Democrats to blame President Bush for any of our country's problems. Except if you include all of them. Including, during the previous administration, the media saw the rise of the insurgency as an indictment of Bush's lack of foresight, leadership and military acumen. Not to mention that the media and Democrats made stars of those who were critical of Bush's policies.
Nevertheless, Scarborough believed that the troops should get out of Afghanistan immediately because it is an "un-winnable war." The former Republican Congressman has been sounding increasingly pro-Obama in recent months. Apparently, he's now attacking the President from the left, parroting anti-war liberals.
Since, the Afghanistan war is now the Obama administration's war to own, it is now acceptable for the media to make excuses and avert blame to anyone but the current administration. Furthermore, if you criticize the Obama administration you are derided as a partisan who is just trying to blame Obama for another problem he inherited from the Bush administration.
The host and anchors of MSNBC certainly weren't as understanding of no-win situations when it came to the Bush administration. Based upon the actions of the current administration and its supporters, one would think passing the buck, not baseball, is our national pastime.
Here's the relevant transcript from June 28, 2010:
MIKE BARNACLE: That's the problem, Joe. We can't import an element of our democracy into Afghanistan. Afghanistan, governmentally, socially and culturally will be the same five years from today as it is today.
MARK HALPERIN: Do you think Obama is going squishy on a deadline, because of the generals, because of the Republicans or because he think it's the right thing?
JOE SCAROROUGH: I think he is going squishy on the deadline because he is now in the middle of mission creep. It is quick sand. You get into the White House and you have everybody around you saying, Mr. President, you can't be the one to lose this war. These are the facts on the ground. If we have this many troops, it happens to every president! He thinks it's the right thing to do. but he also knows there's no political downside to this.
CHRYSTIA FREELAND: There is a downside though, because it costs money. I mean to bring it back to the beginning of the conversation when you have Americans facing higher taxes, entitlements cut, I think the pressure on the white house to say why are we spending all of this money in Afghanistan for Karzai. Yeah, but the big budget deal hasn't happened yet.
SCARBOROUGH: You want to talk about the counterfactual here. Mark, you know this. If Barack Obama takes the troops out and does what I'm saying he should do, Republicans will kill him. Every time a poppy is grown in Afghanistan, they will blame Barack Obama. Every time a woman is tortured inside Afghanistan, they will blame Barack Obama. Every time anything goes wrong, they will blame Barack Obama. So politically, I will tell you this, I'm not saying the president is thinking this, but the political people in the White House are saying, we just can't afford to get out.
HALPERIN: He is a skinny Lyndon Johnson.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh, lord! All right. Let's leave it there for now.
SCARBOROUGH: In this case, he is LBJ. He is in an un-winnable war. Let me say it to the camera, this is an un-winnable war unless the Americans want to spend another decade and put 4,000 troops in there, this is an un-winnable war. Let me say it again. This is an un-winnable war and more Americans are going to die over the next decade and we're going to waste billions of more dollars for a country that will not be turned into an American-style democracy.
BRZEZINSKI: Maybe if most Americans actually cared beyond the ones that have to go and serve we would have different outcomes.
SCARBORUGH: Well Mika, that is the problem. They are not focused. They just go, let's not lose this war, while, Americans die every day.
SCARBOROUGH: In this case though, the president is clearly backing off the time line and basically saying stop obsessing on the time line. I'm not obsessing on time line, I'm obsessing on results. That is George W. Bush talk.
MICHAEL CROWLEY: The time line has always been foggy and to some degree a matter of emphasis.
BRZEZINSKI: What? No, I don't think so.
SCARBOROUGH: I kept hearing that we were, boom, going to to start withdrawing next year.
CROWLEY: The date of July 2011 has been a fixed date to begin transferring security responsibilities to the afghans. That is how the president put it in his national address. Immediately there after secretary gates and Secretary Clinton made the rounds to the congressional committees and essentially translated that for everyone, saying what this really means is -- I think essentially you could have a guy sitting in a beach chair an American soldier holding a flag and he gets up and afghan guy comes and sits down and holds an afghan flag. And that meets the president's commitment to the letter.
SCARBOROUGH: So, there is real no time line for withdraw?
HALPERIN: Never was.
SCARBOROUGH: Never was.
HALPERIN: This was designed to let people see what they wanted to see and let anti-war people see the notion of a transition and let the military and those who support the continued effort want to keep going. How long have American presidents begun the process of moving the American embassy in Israel that has been going on for seven presidents?
BREZEZINSKI :Senator McCain rarely critical yesterday on "Meet the Press," because You put a time line out there and you create havoc, you create an opportunity for the enemy to make it worse for you. So there are all of these criticisms of something that doesn't exist you're saying now? Because I'm pretty sure it was clear.
HALPERIN: Never did.
CROWLEY: It's clear they were going to begin doing something but the standards to meet the president's promise are very low. You could essentially transfer one little patch of land. At one point, Secretary Gates I think said we might hand over contested areas to the Afghans, in other words places no one is even fighting we will just change the flag and that meets the promise. That has always been the case.
SCARBOROUGH: We're learning here there is no time line.
BREZEZINSKI: I guess what really would matter is if people actually cared about this and really looked at this and called, demanded that we get the hell out of there instead of just sending off young people to die.
SCARBOROUGH: Mike, young people are going off to die. They are dying every week. Last month was the most deaths from theNATO forces since the war began. And as Frank Rich said, the president's best political ally on Afghanistan is apathy. Americans don't care that their sons and daughters are going off to fight and die for a war that really has no end game.
BARNACLE: A really interesting word the president used, obsession. Candidate Obama, Senator Obama would never be using the word obsession about this time line, about the July 1st date. What young people are doing in this country, Joe, is they are not going to Afghanistan. They are looking for jobs and their families are fretting over the fact that the employment market is so terrible for our college graduated children. The real problem for this president anecdotally, you pick up all the time, is the growing resentment within the military, over two, three, four, five deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan fighting the war, less than 1 percent of our population fighting this war. We can't sustain that.
SCARBOROUGH: I'm going to expand this. Imagine what Senator Barack Obama would be saying right now. What Congressman Rahm Emanuel would be saying right now? I got a new one for you. What senator Joe Biden would be saying right now were there a president out there, a Republican president out there, saying, come on, don't obsess on that time line that I've been trotting out for the anti-war left for the past -- what would they be saying? They would be enraged! Enraged!!
CROWLEY: Well, you know what the difference is, President Obama is seeing intelligence reports about Al Qaeda plots in the tribal areas of Pakistan and in Afghanistan and I think he probably lives in terror that he will be held responsible for attacks to that region. It has a way of focusing the mind.
SCARBOROUGH: So he was demagoging when he was Senator?
BREZEZINSKI: We have another story to get to. We leave it right there.