Military

By Mark Finkelstein | May 15, 2015 | 8:53 PM EDT

It's easy for people--with the possible exception of Jeb Bush--to say that they would not have supported the invasion of Iraq knowing what we know now about WMD there.

But Chris Matthews took things a foolish step further on this evening's Hardball, actually claiming that "there was no intelligence they had a weapon. Never was."  Really?  So Hillary, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy et al. were collective fabricators when they issued dire warnings, based on the intelligence they had seen, about Saddam's WMD?

By Curtis Houck | May 12, 2015 | 9:44 PM EDT

NBC News continued hitting possible Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush as being “in damage control mode” on Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News regarding comments he made to the Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly in an interview that aired on Monday night. In a change from a similar segment that aired earlier Tuesday on Today, correspondent Kristen Welker made no mention of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in relation to both her vote for the Iraq war as a U.S. Senator and her refusal to sit down for a full interview since declaring her candidacy.

By Tom Johnson | May 12, 2015 | 10:28 AM EDT

Mainstream pundits generally have seen the protests over Jade Helm 15 as an embarrassment to conservatives, but blogger Leslie Savan of The Nation suggested in a Friday post that looking silly now may benefit the right in the long run.

The Jade Helm uproar, opined Savan, “is like Obamacare death panels, or Sharia law coming to a court near you, or fluoride in the water supply. It doesn’t matter if the particular charge is proven to be completely false. Just getting the larger idea (don’t trust Obama’s feds, they want to un-cling you from your guns and religion) into the mainstream media is a victory. It validates the paranoia.”

By Curtis Houck | April 28, 2015 | 5:46 PM EDT

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin suggested during the Tuesday afternoon edition of CNN Newsroom that U.S. military veterans who become police officers were to blame for the recent string of violence involving police officers in that they return home “from war” and are “ready to do battle.” Baldwin recalled a conversation with a Baltimore City councilman about police officers not living “in the communities” they represent when she remarked that: “I love our nation's veterans, but some of them are coming back from war, they don't know the communities, and they're ready to do battle.”

By Mark Finkelstein | April 28, 2015 | 1:20 PM EDT

Let's begin by answering Andrea Mitchell's question. "How would it have appeared" if Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had called the Maryland governor to request National Guard troops just afer Freddie Gray's funeral? It would have appeared that she was doing her job, protecting people and property, rather than being overly concerned with photo-op politics.

On her MSNBC show today, Mitchell asked Rep. Elijah Cummings to explain why the mayor waited three hours after the rioting started to call the Governor for help.  Good question.  But when Cummings criticized "Tuesday morning quarterbacking" and mentioned that the Gray funeral had just ended, Mitchell backed off.  She thanked Cummings for his "context." Andrea then apologetically added "you're right: how would it have appeared if she called up the National Guard as the funeral was taking place?"

By Tom Blumer | April 21, 2015 | 11:13 PM EDT

A decade ago, a Gold Star Mom who had lost her son in Iraq gained national attention when she staged a protest against the Iraq War near George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Leftist PR flaks took control of Cindy Sheehan's every move, keeping her in the headlines for months on end as a symbol of supposedly strong opposition to the war which toppled Saddam Hussein. In August 2005, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."

Yet Dowd and the rest of her fellow travelers in the establishment press have almost completely ignored, by their definition, the "absolute moral authority" of Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee, whose son Marc "was the first Navy SEAL who sacrificed his life in Ramadi, Iraq (on) Aug 2, 2006." Lee wrote a scathing letter to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Martin Dempsey after the general's insensitve contention that, in essence, the fact that Ramadi is in danger of falling to the Islamic State is not particularly important.

By Tom Blumer | April 20, 2015 | 10:54 PM EDT

Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Jackie Crosby's writeup on how "Minnesota has been losing residents to other states" since 2002, and that it's especially troubling because "young adults are leaving in the greatest numbers," contained an enormous blind spot.

The Gopher State, aka the Land of 10,000 Lakes, is also sardonically known as the Land of 10,000 Taxes by many residents, and with good reason. Yet the only time the word "tax" appeared was in a sentence discussing the need for "robust tax rolls."

By Mark Finkelstein | April 16, 2015 | 10:09 AM EDT

Mary Anne Weaver appeared on today's Morning Joe to discuss her New York Times Magazine cover article "Her Majesty's Jihadists." On the one hand, Weaver paints a striking portrait of the radicalization of young Muslims in the UK, reporting for example that there are more British jihadists than there are Muslims serving in the British military. But when asked what could be done about the problem, did Weaver criticize the radical clerics preaching a poisonous strain of Islam?  Nope.  She pointed her finger at the West 1. criticizing insufficient "integration" of Muslims into British society; 2. criticizing a new security law in the UK clamping down on people joining jihadist groups; and 3. saying that Muslims feel they are "under attack" from "indiscriminate bombing led by the US," in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

By Mark Finkelstein | April 13, 2015 | 8:50 AM EDT

Ronald Reagan: "My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: we win and they lose." Thomas Friedman on Barack Obama: "He actually knows what America looks like from the outside in. And he can actually see America even to some point from the Iranian perspective."

So whom will history record as being more effective in countering America's adversaries? The "simplistic" Ronald Reagan, or that cosmopolitan sophisticate, Barack Obama? Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Friedman apparently thought he was praising Obama, but Joe Scarborough wasn't so sure, asking "is it an admirable quality for us to have a president who can look at the world through the eyes of a regime that you and I both know has been the epicenter of terrorism since 1979?" 

By Mark Finkelstein | April 10, 2015 | 8:07 AM EDT

For Iran, Mike?  On today's Morning Joe, reliable Obama fan Mike Barnicle managed to keep a straight face while lauding the Iran deal as an "extraordinary feat." He did so despite poll numbers displayed showing that a huge majority of Americans don't think the ayatollahs will keep their promises.

Let's see: sanctions lifted while centrifuges keep spinning and nuclear scientists beaver away in hardened, bomb-resistant facilities.  Extraordinary, yeah.

By Curtis Houck | April 9, 2015 | 11:09 PM EDT

On Thursday night, the top English and Spanish broadcast networks made no mention of the latest surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal as an Associated Press (AP) investigation found that the number of delays for veterans seeking care has not improved as the scandal approaches its first anniversary.

By Mark Finkelstein | April 7, 2015 | 9:34 AM EDT

Much of today's Morning Joe was devoted to a discussion of Rolling Stone's failed journalism on the UVa story. Maybe Mika Brzezinski should look in the mirror: she began her interview of Wendy Sherman, the chief US negotiator on the Iran deal, by offering her "congratulations."  Even Sherman herself had the sense to suggest that congratulations were not yet in order.

In contrast, Joe Scarborough actually tried to get Sherman to answer an important question: how much advance notice of inspections does the deal give Iran? Sherman skated away faster than Apolo Ohno, refusing to answer other than to claim that "we will have the access we need to ensure that we have the time to make the decisions that we need."  Very reassuring, coming from the architect of the disastrous North Korean negotiations, which of course led to the Norks going nuclear.  Readers are urged to read the linked article: who knew, e.g., that Sherman is a former Emily's List director?