After Moammar Gadhafi's downfall as Libya's tyrannical ruler, politicians and "experts" in the U.S. and elsewhere, including French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, are saying that his death marked the end of 42 years of tyranny and the beginning of democracy in Libya. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Gadhafi's death represented an opportunity for Libya to make a peaceful and responsible transition to democracy. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, "Now it is time for Libya's Transitional National Council to show the world that it will respect the rights of all Libyans (and) guide the nation to democracy." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "Libya must now quickly make further determined steps in the direction of democracy." It's good to see the removal of a tyrant, but if we're going to be realistic, there's little hope for the emergence of what we in the West call a democracy. Let's look at it.
The "mildly Islamist" party that won a plurality of votes in recent Tunisian elections is not a troubling sign, nor is the possibility that Egypt and Libya may be moving in an Islamist direction post-Qadhafi and Mubarak, Reza Aslan argued in a Sunday "Guest Voices" piece for WashingtonPost.com's "On Faith" section (emphases mine)
NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel is my favorite frequent guest on "The Rachel Maddow Show" -- who knows what he might say. Certainly not Maddow.
Engel didn't disappoint in his last appearance on her program Oct. 20, subtly calling Maddow out for a conspicuous omission in her recounting of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi renouncing his weapons of mass destruction. (video after page break)
"Libya’s top leader declared the country officially 'liberated' Sunday from the four-decade rule of Moammar Gaddafi, pledging to replace his dictatorship with a more democratic but also a more strictly Islamic system," Washington Post staff writer Mary Beth Sheridan noted in the lead paragraph of her October 24 front-page article, "Libya declares liberation days after Gaddafi death."
Sheridan noted two possible significant policy changes that transitional leaders are examining: banning interest on housing loans and loosening the existing restrictions on Libyan men taking more than one wife.
There really is no limit to the hypocrisy of Bill Maher.
Despite having gotten fired by ABC shortly after the 9/11 attacks for calling America cowards due to our use of long-range cruise missiles, the host of HBO's Real Time on Friday raved about President Obama's deployment of unmanned predator drones to kill people from thousands of miles away (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
I'm not sure what press reports media analyst Howard Kurtz observed since Thursday's announcement that Moammar Gaddafi had been killed in Libya, but they certainly can't be what most people in this country have seen.
On CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday, Kurtz actually asked his guests why the press aren't giving President Obama more credit (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Bill Maher on his HBO program Friday said, "If you just presented the Republicans with Obama's resume and didn't say who it was, they would erect statues to this guy."
After mentioning the deaths of Osama bin Laden and MoammarGaddafi, Maher continued, "Just the killing alone, Michelle Malkin would name her vibrator 'Obama'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Updated [11:34 ET]: More analysis and full transcript added. Guthrie takes swipe at GOP 2012 field.
On Friday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Savannah Guthrie grilled Arizona Senator John McCain on his criticism of Barack Obama's foreign policy positions in the 2008 campaign and urged: "Bin Laden is gone. Anwar al Awlaki, who was the rising star in al Qaeda, is gone. Qadhafi is gone. Drone strikes have intensified greatly....Given the track record now in office, would you change your opinion, sir?" [Audio available here]
Prior to that, Guthrie pressed McCain on his early criticism of Obama's handling of Libya: "You were an early supporter of U.S. intervention in Libya, and yet, you harshly criticized the President for how he went about it. At this moment, given that Qadhafi is gone, are you willing to give the President credit, unqualified credit, for how he handled this?" [View video after the jump]
It’s no surprise MSNBC hosts were quick to see “vindication” for President Barack Obama in the death of Moammar Qadhafi, but ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and Jake Tapper were just as eager Thursday night to make sure viewers knew the White House was gloating.
“The President was careful not to take too much credit in the Rose Garden,” fill-in World News anchor George Stephanopoulos noted before presuming that “behind the scenes White House officials have to be feeling some sense of vindication.”
Hundreds of Coptic Christians traveled to Washington D.C. yesterday "from as far as New York and Chicago" to call on President Obama to push Egypt's government to protect their brothers and sisters from persecution.
Kudos are in order for the Washington Post for devoting a 14-paragraph story on page B3 of the October 20 paper. Editors also published a large photo from the demonstration, headlined, "At the White House, Coptic Christians demand an end to 'horrible nightmare,'" on the front page of the Post to direct readers to the Metro section story.
Earlier today, officials confirmed that Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of National Transitional Council forces near his hometown of Sirte. The former Libyan leader was found hiding with bodyguards beneath a road near the city. He had been injured by a NATO airstrike, and died from wounds suffered during his capture.
How do you think Libya will proceed without Gaddafi? Do you think Obama will lessen American involvement with NATO forces? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Early on Thursday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, as news was breaking of the reported death of Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi, host Chuck Todd used the opportunity to declare: "...a trillion dollars and thousands of U.S. lives to topple a dictator in Iraq, it's a billion dollars and no U.S. lives to topple a dictator in Libya. That's a – that's a pretty stark contrast." [Audio available here]
Todd, NBC's chief White House correspondent, made the gratuitous shot at the Bush administration while talking to Robin Wright of the liberal Woodrow Wilson Center, who proclaimed: "...this is going to be an enormous success for the Obama administration in looking at how quickly it was done, with what international cooperation....it's one where the United States changes the narrative from what happened in Iraq." [View video after the jump]
Reporting on President Obama speaking at the United Nations for Wednesday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell sympathetically declared: "Preparing for today's speech, the President was all smiles for the class photo, but while hoping to run a victory lap as the new Libyan government officially joined the United Nations....Everywhere else, trouble loomed."
Referring to the Palestinian push for statehood recognition from the UN, Mitchell described how Obama was "grappling with the same problem that has trapped American presidents for more than half a century, the Middle East." Later in the report, Mitchell cautioned: "The President could end up paying a heavy political price for supporting Palestinian rights in the past, even as he is losing support around the world for standing by Israel this week at the UN."
CNN's Fareed Zakaria got more than he bargained for in his Sunday interview with guest Donald Rumsfeld.
As he pushed the former Secretary of Defense on America's need to cut military spending, the "GPS" host blushed when Rumsfeld smartly said, "There are people who think we're living in the post-American world, to coin a phrase. There are people who believe that we should step back and lead from behind" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It certainly wasn't a Paul Krugman moment, but is the tenth anniversary of the biggest attack on our mainland a good time to say, "Fifty years from now, we might even look at 9/11 as simply the beginning of the decline of America?"
That's what Fareed Zakaria said Sunday on the CNN program bearing his name (video follows with transcript and commentary):
By all accounts, President Obama has been far more hawkish than anyone anywhere in the world could have possibly imagined.
Despite this, "New Yorker" magazine editor David Remnick told the crew at MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday that the current Administration is responsible for the lack of anti-American displays in Arab Spring uprisings (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Saturday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Barry Petersen filed a report which highlighted Human Rights Watch's analysis of government records in Libya which document that, during the Bush administration, the CIA sent prisoners to Libya as part of its renditioning program. Anchor Russ Mitchell saw the papers as potentially "troubling" as he introduced the report:
The text box works in a typical crack at Bush administration foreign policy: “Using force when justified but not going it alone.” The implication, common in the pages of the Times, is that Bush somehow went it alone in the invasion of Iraq. For the record, the United States actually led a 30-nation coalition in Iraq (35 countries joined the fight in Afghanistan).
Tina Brown seems to be very conflicted about her opinion of Dick Cheney.
After telling the "Morning Joe" panel the former Vice President is a "wrecking ball" who "seems to be totally in denial still about Iraq," the Daily Beast-Newsweek editor said moments later, "He's been validated by Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a Thursday NPR interview, CNN's openly-gay anchor Don Lemon lumped discrimination against gays and lesbians in with atrocities committed in Libya.
When asked why audiences should be interested in gay and lesbian issues, Lemon answered that "people are glued to what's happening in Libya, because it affects us. Any atrocity that's committed against one person affects us all and we are becoming more of one society, of a global society. "
House Republicans are introducing a bill today with hopes to force major changes on the United Nations. The bill would require the UN to allow member countries to fund the UN agencies of their choosing rather than according to a formula, end funding for Palestinian refugees, limit U.S. funding to be used only for purposes specifically outlined by Congress, and end contributions to peacekeeping programs until changes in management take place.
With the United States contributing 22% of the UN's operating budget, the GOP believes there is enough leverage to force these changes in the UN. Led by the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ilena Ros-Lehtinen, the changes are designed to end corruption and inefficiency in the global organization. How involved do you think the U.S. should be in the UN? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
On Tuesday's edition of the Stephanie Miller radio show, she welcomed the one she called "Dreamy News Man," the former MSNBC anchor David Shuster, now just picking up anchoring scraps from that flailing show with the terminally arrogant former sportscaster on Current TV. Predictably, Shuster pleased the persistently Obama-cheerleading Miller by suggesting the Republicans were in "Crazy-land en masse" on Libya. It's apparently "absolutely crazy" to question the patience, the firmness, the wisdom of Team Obama's foreign policy:
On Tuesday morning, CNN's Kyra Phillips asked why the Republican presidential candidates have not been speaking out on foreign policy in Libya during the climactic battle in the country's capital between rebel and imperial forces. CNN had interviewed Republican candidate Jon Huntsman the night before, but had not yet asked him about the conflict in Libya, in the first of a two-part interview set to conclude Tuesday night.
"This week's battle in Libya, the first big chance for the GOP presidential hopefuls to show their foreign policy savvy," Phillips noted during the 10 a.m. hour of Newsroom. "Why haven't we heard from them?" she asked. Liberal CNN analyst Roland Martin subsequently hammered the Republicans as "wimps" for their silence.
It's enough to make you scream . . . On Morning Joe today, Howard Dean rapped Mitt Romney for calling on the Libyan rebels to turn Gaddafi over to the US for trial. According to Dean, Romney's suggestion made "no sense" and exposed his lack of foreign policy experience.
There was just one little problem with Howie's hypothesis. Romney never called for the rebels to turn Gaddafi over to the US. As was clear from both Romney's words in the clip Morning Joe aired of his Fox News interview with Neil Cavuto, and in the graphics at the bottom of the FNC screen, Romney wants the rebels to turn the Lockerbie bomber, Megrahi, over to the US for trial, not Gaddafi. Hat tip readers Gil S. and BondPlainBond. View video after the jump.
It's not at all surprising the Obama-loving, anti-war media are gushing and fawning over what appears to be a rebel victory in Libya.
On MSNBC's "Hardball" Monday, the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman joined in the victory lap mocking skeptical Republicans by sniping, "If Barack Obama came out and said, 'You know, I really love apple pie,' they would say, 'Apple pie is a socialist plot'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Want to watch an MSM version of Stand By Your Man? Check out the video here after the jump. Tamron Hall, theoretically an MSNBC show "host" and not a pundit, gets visibly upset with Michael Singh, a former foreign policy adviser to President George W. Bush. Singh's sin? Apparently being insufficiently enthusiastic in his praise of President Obama's handling of the Libyan situation.
The irony is that Singh is anything but an isolationist. Singh supported the Libyan intervention and hardly came across as a hard partisan. But apparently anything short of fully prostrated praise for the prez is enough to bring down the Wrath Of Hall.
Last night, following the rebel capture of one of Col. Muammar Gadhafi's sons, the one-time heir apparent, and the surrender of another of his sons, massive celebrations erupted in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. Rumors also swirled on the fate of Gadhafi, some saying he had been shot, captured, or escaped to Algeria.
As a rebel spokesman told the Washington Times of the uprising in Tripoli, "Gadhafi's troops just melted away. They left their uniforms in the streets and slipped into civilian gear...We were very surprised by the little resistance. It remains to be seen if Gadhafi has anything up his sleeve, but I think it is over." What do you think is the fate of Gadhafi? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
While Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was calling for troop withdrawal in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for that military spending to go to deficit reduction, CNN's Piers Morgan would not press him about U.S. military action in Libya – a decision authorized by Democrat President Obama.
Frank has been a champion of cutting the defense budget and continued his screed Tuesday night, calling for a $200 billion-a-year cut on military spending. He even criticized Obama's decision to leave troops in Iraq. However, he was not asked about Libya, and did not comment on it.