On Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd recited Obama administration spin as he gave a fully positive assessment of the President's Wednesday announcement of an Afghanistan troop withdrawal: "The President went with the most aggressive compromised withdrawal plan he could get commanders at the Pentagon to sign off on."
Moments later, Todd declared: "It was a sober sounding president, not a triumphant one, who announced from the White House that he's fulfilling his promise to begin the drawdown of U.S. forces next month." The headline on screen throughout the report touted a line from the speech that the White House was probably pleased with: "'A Position of Strength'; Obama Defends Plan For U.S. Troop Withdrawal."
President Obama announced last night that he will withdraw his entire 30,000 troop surge from 2009, bringing home 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year, and an additional 20,000 troops by the end of next summer.
The plan is a much more aggressive withdrawal than recommended by the Gen. David Petraeus and other Pentagon officials, who recommended one more fighting season against the Taliban to maintain the recent gains American troops have made.
Check out a video of his speech after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Sen. John McCain, whose life is a continuing exemplar of the American heroic ideal, regrettably has got it quite wrong when he says that growing GOP opposition to the Libyan and Afghan wars is evidence of isolationism. In his words on weekend television:
"Well, I was more concerned about what the candidates in New Hampshire the other night said. This is isolationism. There's always been an isolation strain in the Republican Party — the Pat Buchanan wing of our party. But now it seems to have moved more center stage, so to speak. ... If we had not intervened, Gadhafi was at the gates of Benghazi. He said he was going to go house to house to kill everybody. That's a city of 700,000 people. What would we be saying now if we had allowed that to happen?
In the wake of the largest security breach in U.S. military history, the mainstream media have struggled to report all the facts about Bradley Manning, the Iraq war soldier in the middle of the Wikileaks scandal. In an effort to pursue political correctness over truthful journalism, ABC, CBS and NBC ignored uncomfortable facts about Manning's sexual orientation and history of "emotional fragility," choosing instead to describe him as an "outcast who tried desperately to fit in."
Appearing on Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel worried about the cost of combating terrorism and took the opportunity to bash the effort: "You talk about money the U.S. spent fighting this global war on terrorism. I think, which is a terrible misnomer, it's like a war on fear or something like that. And I think in many ways it has been a war of fear." [Audio available here]
Fox News haters love to advance the myth that the network pushes exclusively conservative views and the anchors surround themselves with right-leaning yes men who never question them.
On the latest installment of "Fox News Sunday," liberal political analyst Juan Williams challenged host Chris Wallace's view of the public's support for the war in Afghanistan leading to a humorous exchange (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Time magazine's Joe Klein this weekend claimed President Obama has a better relationship with the military than George W. Bush did when he was Commander-in-Chief.
Such hypocritically was said on "The Chris Matthews Show" just moments before Klein noted that the military were "very much opposed" to attacking Libya (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Anchoring her eponymous MSNBC program today, Andrea Mitchell defended President Barack Obama's position on Libya against criticism from Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty.
"I'm not sure what Tim Pawlenty would like the president to do," snickered NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent, immediately after playing a clip of the former Minnesota governor saying exactly what he wished Obama had done differently in Libya.
The War Powers Act is relevant in certain circumstances, including (Section 1543) "in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced ... into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat." This would clearly apply to the Libyan situation.
The Act requires timely presidential notification of the commencement of such operations. Though of dubious constitutionality, the Act further requires that (Section 1544) "Within sixty calendar days ... the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces" unless Congress has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization ..."
We're at Day 60, and the Obama administration isn't going to comply with any of this. Here is how the Associated Press is headlining and describing Barack Obama's failure to comply (copied in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):
It seems to me that our government had vastly more intelligence on what was going on in Obama bin Laden's ghastly hideout before sending SEAL Team 6 in last week than they are telling us. President Barack Obama told CBS that the odds in favor of bin Laden being in the compound were "at best" 55 percent. My guess is that they were closer to 100 percent.
We know that from satellites overhead, our intelligence officers thought they had bin Laden spotted in the complex. A man that they concluded was bin Laden was seen pacing regularly inside the compound grounds. Called "The Pacer," he was tall, and they figured he might very well be the 6 foot 4 terror leader. So the order was sent to our SEAL team to go in.
Left-wing Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs, a frequent Morning Joe guest, has accused US special operations forces of committing "high-tech murder on a large scale" for their targeted campaign of killing or capturing Al Qaeda Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Sachs made his contemptible accusation on today's Morning Joe in the course of a discussion of the PBS Frontline documentary "Kill/Capture" on the JSOC operations. Stephen Grey, a producer of the documentary, was a guest.
Just when you consider cutting the Associated Press a break for doing something right, they pull this.
Most people know that in the interest of "not spiking the football," the Obama administration has decided that it will not release photos of Osama bin Laden's dead body.
Shortly after the decision was announced, AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for said photos. According to John Hudson at the Atlantic (HT to Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web), the AP's Michael Oreskes claims that "This information is important for the historical record" and "It's our job as journalists to seek this material." So far, so good.
But you just knew they'd figure out a way to potentially ruin it. Here's Oreskes as quoted by Hudson:
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft failed to bring up key issues related to the killing of Osama bin Laden during an interview of President Obama, such as the enhanced interrogation of captured al Qaeda leaders which provided the first intelligence that ultimately lead to the Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan.
The journalist set the overall tone of his interview, which he conducted on Wednesday, by tossing a softball in his lead question to Obama: "Mr. President, was this the most satisfying week of your presidency?" After the chief executive gave his initial answer, Kroft followed up by asking, "Was the decision to launch this attack the most difficult decision that you've made as commander-in-chief?
If CNN's Roland Martin gives the same answer as a tea party conservative, you know you've asked him a pretty bizarre question. On Monday's 10 a.m. EDT news hour, CNN anchor Carol Costello asked the panel if Obama is now "unbeatable" due to the killing of Osama bin Laden, falling gas prices, and a positive May jobs report.
Of course, the election is over one year away, not all of the possible Republican candidates have officially declared their intentions, and the direction of the economy remains to be seen. But CNN apparently thought it fitting to ask the experts if the 2012 election is all but decided.
"Let's Clear the Fog of War," suggested Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Timothy Egan in a recent blog post for the New York Times. Egan criticized the White House's decision to simply stop talking about what happened at the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday night. "They owe us a complete story, an honesty story, one for the record," Egan wrote.
But in calling for truth, Egan, whether he realized it or not, perpetuated a falsehood concerning the Iraq war that those who opposed that war continue to invoke in support of the narrative that the war effort itself was premised on a falsehood.
Egan made his opposition to the effort in Iraq clear in labeling it "a disastrous and bankrupting war against a country that had nothing to do with the mass homicide on American soil." He went on to offer the tale of Pfc. Jessica Lynch as "emblematic of the whole phony campaign at the top. If the White House was willing to go to war on false pretenses, why shouldn’t low-level commanders follow suit on the ground?"
In a set of tweets a few minutes ago decrying the shooting of bin Laden, leftist filmmaker Michael Moore attacked the Obama administration for not capturing bin Laden and bringing him back alive for trial.
After comparing Confederate general Robert E. Lee and Confederate president Jefferson Davis to bin Laden, Moore groused, "I'm just saying, I want my America back."
He then added, "I dunno, maybe it never was. We are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves."
Ever looking to criticize the American populace from his cardboard platform, filmmaker Michael Moore lashed out Thursday on CNN at supporters of Osama bin Laden's assassination. "We've lost something of our soul here in this country," he said of the mission to kill the al Qaeda leader rather than capture him and try him in court.
A guest on Piers Morgan Tonight, Moore contrasted the assassination with the post-World War II Nuremburg trials. He claimed that America then, unlike now, put itself above the level of its enemies by trying their leaders instead of simply executing them.
The liberal filmmaker ripped Americans' disregard for a trial and their support of an assassination. "The second you say that, you're saying that you hate being an American," he huffed. "You hate what we stand for, you hate what our constitution stands for....We should be standing up and saying 'listen, damn it, we're Americans. This is the way we do it. You commit a crime, we put you on trial.'"
President Barack Obama's Ground Zero visit yesterday was "pitch perfect," according to former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, despite reports that the commander-in-chief was rude and dismissive toward at least one American who lost a family member on Sept. 11, 2001.
On the May 6 edition of "Morning Joe," MSNBC anchor Willie Geist asked Meacham to characterize the significance of Obama's visit to the site where more than 3,000 people were slaughtered in an attack planned by deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"I thought it was pitch perfect in the sense of it was not about him," intoned Meacham, who now occasionally writes for Time magazine. "It was not the grand speech; it was him doing a kind of human interaction with the folks."
"If you listen very carefully, you can hear the sound of thousands of people in Washington, D.C., peeling egg off their faces," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell quipped on the May 6 "Fox & Friends," referring to the naysayers who condemned enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding during the Bush administration.
Indeed, President Bush "is not getting the credit he deserves" for the finding and killing of Osama bin Laden.
This morning on WMAL's "Morning Majority" program, former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis slammed liberals who were taking partisan pot-shots at former President George W. Bush in the wake of Osama bin Laden's killing on Sunday.
While Davis didn't name names, he made veiled references to MSNBC and its "Last Word" host Lawrence O'Donnell. O'Donnell, you may recall, bashed former President Bush on his Monday evening "Last Word" program, insisting that President Bush had dismissed bin Laden's capture or killing as unimportant to the war on terror as early as 2002.
But Bush's rhetoric downplaying bin Laden was strategic, not to be taken completely at face value Davis argued.
On Wednesday's The View, ABC's Barbara Walters slobbered over the "courage, and the guts, and the coolness" of President Obama in ordering the assassination of terrorist Osama bin Laden. "It was enormously, enormously courageous," she said of the president's decision to commence the mission to kill or capture the al Qaeda leader.
"President Bush tried, President Clinton tried, but Barack Obama was the one who had the courage and the guts and the coolness," Walters said of the mission before being drowned out in applause from the audience.
Just when the media adulation of Barack Obama might have been showing signs of waning, along comes the killing of Osama Bin Laden to drive it to new sycophantic heights. In the genre, it will be hard to outdo the schoolgirl-crushiness of Margaret Carlson.
On today's Morning Joe, Carlson characterized the operation against Osama Bin Laden as the moment when "Professor Obama turned into General Obama and ran this incredible raid."
America should consider gathering important national security information by giving terrorists book deals, or paying them off, says the liberal Joy Behar. The HLN host offered her bizarre expertise on foreign intelligence Tuesday morning on ABC's The View.
"If we use these enhanced techniques, then they [the terrorists] can use them on us," Behar said of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which include the practice of "waterboarding" and are used by the U.S. military to extract information from prisoners. The panel was discussing whether America should be using the interrogation program to gather intelligence, if indeed it does produce valuable information.
Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak may have pulled her punches, calling Sunday night's spontaneous celebrations of bin Laden's demise "almost vulgar," but her colleague Susan Jacoby thoroughly trashed such displays as "mindless" in her "Spirited Atheist" column yesterday at the Post/Newsweek "On Faith" site:
The New York Times's supposedly momentous decision to omit "Mr." from references to Osama bin Laden in its Monday obituary is apparently working to distract critics from the item's other problems.
Along with Michael T. Kaufman, Kate Zernike, whose primary vocation seems to be finding racism in the Tea Party movement where none exists and otherwise smearing its participants, comes off as almost critical of how bin Laden was "elevated to the realm of evil in the American imagination once reserved for dictators like Hitler and Stalin."
Imagination ("the faculty ... of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses")? Babe, I don't know about you, but we didn't imagine September 11. We saw it. Others directly experienced it. Many died. Do you remember?
The obit's topper for me is the (in my opinion) deliberate historical revisionism in the following passage (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Sunday was an historic day for America, an historic victory in the War on Terror - Usama Bin Laden, the man who had ordered the death of over 3,000 Americans on 9/11, had finally been killed. It was also an historic revelation that, conducting the war according to far-left liberal policies would have prevented this day from ever happening.
Update (17:38 EDT on May 4): Rush Limbaugh mentioned this post on his May 3 program. You can listen to that by clicking here.
Well, this should be interesting.
The AP is reporting (preserved here in case the report devolves, as such things very often do) that "secret prisons" and "harsh interrogation techniques" were involved in getting the "first strands of information" that ultimately led to Sunday operation which killed 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden.
It's only a three-paragrapher, so it follows in full (for fair use and discussion purposes). Get a load of the final paragraph:
For the Washington Post's Petula Dvorak the sight of American college kids celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden outside of the White House gates, on Sunday night, was "almost vulgar." In a May 2 story Dvorak described the scenes of joy as "one part Mardi Gras and two parts Bon Jovi concert" but then went on to say "It felt a little crazy, a bit much. Almost vulgar" and admitted: "my first reaction was a cringe."
Dvorak, then doubled-down on her hand-wringing, saying the U.S. students reminded her of "those al Qaeda-guys dancing on Sept. 11th," before pondering: "Are we simply creating star-spangled recruitment tapes for a new generation of terrorists killing in the name of their new martyr?"