So asked Chris Matthews of Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy on today's edition of "Hardball." Gaffney was joined by liberal pundit David Corn of Mother Jones magazine in a segment around 5:20 p.m. ET and they were discussing the call by liberal Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) for a war crimes investigation of senior Bush administration officials and terrorist detainee interrogators.
For video of the exchange, click the play button on the embedded video.
While performing at the inaugural ball honoring America's military veterans, some wounded vets are reported to have walked out on funk Musician George Clinton over a perceived on stage insult to George W. Bush.
The Washington Times is reporting that during the Heroes Red, White and Blue Inaugural Ball a white towel with the word "[Expletive] GEORGE" spelled out on it was displayed by band members of George Clinton and the P. Funk All-Stars.
Here's a story you may not have heard as the media have all but ignored outgoing President Bush during the Obama transition.
The Air Force pilot who flew President Bush on 9/11 and ferried the commander-in-chief on secret flights to visit troops in Iraq hails the outgoing president as "definitely a great man" for whom "it's been an honor to fly."
As CBS Radio's Mark Knoller noted in a January 17 story, Air Force Colonel Mark Tillman, commander of the Presidential Airlift Group, is retiring from military service after flying President Bush back home to Texas.:
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, during the show’s "Talking Points Memo," FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times and NBC News, presumably referring to MSNBC hosts like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, accusing them of having "damaged their own country in a disgusting display of propaganda and outright lies" by "convincing the world that the USA is a nation of torture, a country that sadistically inflicts pain on both the innocent and the guilty." O’Reilly further attacked the "insane call for fishing expeditions to find something that will lead to prosecuting the President and Vice President," and added that he "despises, despises those who, in the name of ideology, want to weaken the country, putting us all in danger," and charged that doing so would be "un-American."
O’Reilly then hosted a discussion with FNC military analyst retired Colonel David Hunt and, to argue the liberal point-of-view, FNC analyst Bob Beckel, and Hunt contended that he had used "coerced interrogation" in the past that had "saved guys' lives."
The exquisite moral sensibilities of the MSM . . .
Would you waterboard an al Qaeda member for three minutes to get information to save the lives of nine passenger-loads of innocent civilians? Chrystia Freeland wouldn't. The US managing editor of the Financial Times made the stunning statement during the course of a classic Morning Joe dust-up today. Joe Scarborough, with help from tag-team partner Pat Buchanan, went after Freeland on her opposition to waterboarding and similar interrogation techniques. At one point Scarborough called Freeland "sophomoric." Later, the exasperated MJ host gave his guest some of the same treatment to which he'd recently been subjected by Zbigniew Brzezinski, telling Freeland "you have no idea what you're talking about."
Finally, under questioning from Buchanan, Freeland went so far as to disagree with the proposition that it would be moral to waterboard someone for three minutes to get information to foil a plot to simultaneously kill nine passenger planeloads of people.
When historians look back in wonder at how a long-established publication like the New York Times could have declined from its virtual king-of-the-world status in mid-2002 to its Bush-deranged, 85%-devalued shadow of its former self, they will surely make a few stops at Maureen Dowd's twice-weekly, lost-in-another-world columns (the Dowd picture is from the Times's web site).
Today's offering from Dowd (HT Hot Air Headlines) is intended to be a final figurative kick in the shins at George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, something she admits to fantasizing about having done to the Vice President this week when she had opportunities.
But the Dowd diatribe really ends up as a self-portrayal of someone who deeply imbibed the kool-aid her paper dished out over the past seven years and is beyond ever letting go, and serves as a microcosm of what the Old Gray Lady has done to itself in that same timeframe:
Well, it seems that the folks at Vanity Fair realized that they won't have George W. Bush to kick around any more. So they decided to launch the journalistic equivalent of thermonuclear war against him in an attempt to get its shot at a "draft of history."
In a 14 web-page tome (the photo at the top right is at its beginning) that fancies itself an "oral history," the magazine hauls out every criticism, real or imagined, hurled at the president during the past eight years. It reminds everyone that the media's favorite stereotype of conservatives and Republicans is that they're dumb (I guess Ike's orchestration of D-Day was some kind of accident, and George W. Bush's MBA -- he is the first president to hold one -- was some kind of gift from Poppy).
Sadly, the magazine finds a few former administration officials to pile on. One of them likens Bush to Sarah Palin (that's supposed to be an insult). We're left with the long-discredited meme of Dick Cheney as puppet master and Bush as impotent since Katrina (then how did Bush get that Iraq Surge past everyone and make it stick anyway?).
All you really need to know to spare yourself a truly painful read is what is in the tease paragraph after the headline. Brace yourself:
Nearly two years after reporters such as NBC's Tom Brokaw derided President Bush's troop surge as "a folly" and suggested the war itself was a "lost cause," American troop deaths are at their lowest level since the Iraq war began in March 2003, and the death toll among Iraqi civilians is also down sharply in 2008.
So right on cue, Monday's New York Times reports that ABC, CBS and NBC have all pulled their full time reporters from Iraq. According to correspondent Brian Stelter, the lack of violence means the networks are less interested in the Iraq story: "Representatives for the networks emphasized that they would continue to cover the war and said the staff adjustments reflected the evolution of the conflict in Iraq from a story primarily about violence to one about reconstruction and politics."
It seems that some in Congress are so upset that our troops and their president have achieved what looks like victory in Iraq to seasoned, on-the-ground observers like Michael Yon that they feel compelled to get in their final digs to somehow discredit the war's legitimacy.
One such congressman is Democrat Henry Waxman of California (image originally found at the Washington Post), whose Committee on Oversight and Government Reform decided to re-hash the famous "sixteen words" President Bush used in his January 2003 State of the Union Speech ("The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa").
The conclusion of Waxman's 10-page Memorandum (a PDF at this link) begins by saying:
On Monday’s The Situation Room, CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre conveyed a dissenting view of whether retired General Eric Shinseki, Barack Obama’s choice for Veterans Affairs Secretary, can accurately be described as having advised the Bush administration to send more troops to occupy Iraq. McIntyre: "But Shinseki has his critics, too, who say, in fact, he never stood up to Rumsfeld, never pressed for more troops for Iraq, and, when asked in a private meeting of the Joint Chiefs if he had concerns about the war plans, never said a word, according to two people who were in the room. Asked by Newsweek two years ago to respond to the criticism he didn't press his concerns, Shinseki e-mailed back: ‘Probably that's fair. Not my style.’"
A December 7, 2008, wire article by the Associated Press' David Espo claims, "[Former Army chief of staff Gen. Eric] Shinseki was forced into retirement by the Bush administration after he said the original invasion plan for Iraq did not include enough troops." (President-elect Obama recently announced Gen. Shinseki would head the Veterans Affairs Department.)
The truth? No such thing happened. FactCheck.org, among other sources, debunked this mythover four years ago.
The Oakland Tribune reports the story of a hipster granny from Berkeley that has decided to sue the U.S. military over a reporter embed she arranged in Iraq that was abruptly canceled by the government. While the Oakland Trib and the hippie granny try their hardest to make the U.S. military the villain, it's a bit hard to feel too sorry for her when the facts are considered. On top of that, the Trib absurdly calls her situation an "ordeal" which, when comparing her situation to what the soldiers have to go through, seems a bit over-the-top and silly, really.
Jane Stillwater of Berkeley, CA, had arranged an embed in Iraq and was told on January 19 that she was accepted. She immediately bought her plane ticket and arranged for the trip. Later that same day, however, she was contacted again and told her embed was canceled. Regardless of the cancellation, Stillwater flew to Kuwait anyway hoping the military would change its mind. They didn't and now she is suing in small claims court for the plane ride and other expenses.
The Los Angeles Times recently created a stir among the Pentagon press corps, running a page one story implying that the Defense Department was cheating wounded warriors out of their disability pay.
The LAT shared the story of a Marine “wounded twice in Iraq -- by a roadside bomb and a land mine” and a soldier who “crushed her back and knees diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq.” The LAT indignantly reported: “…in each case, the Pentagon ruled that their disabilities were not combat related.”
A Department of Defense official tells me that a number of prominent MSM Pentagon correspondents were ready to take the Pentagon to task, but all ultimately dropped the story. Why? It turns out that, upon investigation, the LAT’s page-one piece was mostly fiction.
And here's another "surprise," considering how we were told during the presidential campaign that the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating: Combined November coalition deaths from all causes in Afghanistan and Iraq were the lowest in over 4-1/2 years, and the two-month total is by far the lowest ever:
On Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer discussed the challenges President-elect Barack Obama will face with liberal authors: "Today we ask the authors of four of the year's most important books to assess the problems the new administration will face." Schieffer asked the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, author of ‘The War Within: A Secret White House History,’ about Obama picking Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Woodward replied: "It's an amazing national security team that Obama appears to have selected. It's kind of like 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears.' You've got too cool, which might be -- or at least appropriately cool, General Jones as the national security adviser; Gates is kind of just right, in the middle; and Hillary Clinton, hot."
Schieffer later turned to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, author of ‘The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,’ and asked: "...your fascinating book, 'The Dark Side,' tells how the current vice president, Richard Cheney, amassed power unknown to any vice president in our history. I'd like to ask you first, how did he do that? And do you see Joe Biden having the kind of power?" Mayer replied: "it takes a president like Bush to have a vice president like Cheney. Obama, so far, seems to be so much more involved in the details and in kind of wanting to command the policies all the way up and down, really -- so I don't see it repeating." Mayer then went on to compare the Bush and Obama administrations:
Another difference that's very important is that both the president coming in and the vice president are lawyers, and one of the things that happened in the last administration was neither of them were. They were not constitutional scholars and they enacted policies that -- including legalizing torture for all purposes -- that really were not constitutional. And I don't think we're going to see that again. This is a -- this is a group of people who -- and the secretary of state is also a lawyer now. These people respect the law, I think.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric referred to a recent court ruling to release five Guantanamo Bay detainees as: "A big legal setback for the president's war on terror." Couric later introduced a report on the ruling and reiterated the idea of the ruling being a defeat solely for President Bush: "...a federal judge ruled today that five suspects held at Guantanamo Bay must be released...it's a major defeat for the Bush administration in its final days."
In the report, correspondent Wyatt Andrews described how: "Defense lawyers call it a victory for American justice and the beginning of the end for Guantanamo." Andrews cited one attorney, Stephen Olesky: " I think many forces are now working toward the closure of Guantanamo and toward ensuring that many of these men who have been held for so long under such desperate circumstances get home." Andrews concluded the report: "...the ruling starts a nightmare for the Pentagon. The military now faces an oncoming rush of 200 Guantanamo appeals, not to mention an incoming president who wants to close the camp altogether." One wonders if CBS will be using the phrase "president’s war on terror" with President Obama.
As Barack Obama appears to be appointing less than totally pro-surrender officials to his inner circle, far leftists are feeling constrained in their criticism by Obama Mania.
A Los Angeles Times article by Paul Richter with an amusing title ("Antiwar groups fear Barack Obama may create hawkish Cabinet") notes that Obama has appointed or is considering many people who originally supported the war in Iraq (this apparently automatically makes them "hawks").
Richter's hawkish characterization of the likes of Richard Holbrooke, Hillary Clinton, Vice-president Elect Joe Biden, and John Kerry is inadvertently amusing to any reader who has followed the machinations in Washington since the 110th Congress began in January 2006.
Richter goes to one peace activist, Kevin Martin, to "prove" that Obama is a "centrist." But in the process, as noted in my bold, we see an antiwar zealot acknowledge that Obama Mania has gone over the top:
How is it that in this time of historic change and euphoria, the media can remain so pessimistic?
The messiah has been elected, ACORN and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie are stealing an election in Minnesota, conservatives are going to be silenced via the Fair-Less Doctrine, and gay marriage activists are assaulting the elderly. It is a time of hope and optimism in this, our liberal country.
So, why so negative?
The answer of course is, certain news might be perceived as a positive point in the waning days of the Bush Administration.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed Barack Obama’s foreign policy goals with foreign correspondent Lara Logan and asked about Logan’s July interview with the president-elect: "...he said many times during the campaign, that Afghanistan, and not Iraq, needs to be our central focus in this war on terrorism. And this morning in the Washington Post we're seeing that's he's already tackling strategies in Afghanistan. What do you think? How important will this be for him?" Logan replied: "Well, there's no question that Afghanistan is a very pressing and immediate problem because the gains the U.S. made during the invasion seven years ago have been slipping away more...You really cannot separate Afghanistan and Pakistan. And Obama understands that, that's one of key things that he said to me."
Later, Rodriguez asked about Obama’s policy towards Iran: "...what I thought was interesting in this article in the Washington Post, is that President-elect Obama is reportedly considering talks with Iran as part of this new Afghanistan strategy. Do you think the two will go hand in hand?" Logan followed Obama talking points: "Well, he said from the beginning he has no problem sitting down with Iran if it is in the United States’ best interest, because he believes that dialogue is important...it's absolutely critical that the United States reaches some kind of understanding. They've been losing ground to Iran inside Iraq since the invasion of Iraq and that is really a very, very serious problem that has not been dealt with to date."
Give them credit for noticing. Pass out demerits for incompleteness.
Friday's USA Today carried a slightly inaccurate Page 1A tease ("Iraq is safer for US troops; October is on track to tie July for the month with fewest combat deaths"). It went to a top of Page 7A story ("US Deaths in Iraq on track for record low") that noticed how relatively well the month of October has gone for our troops in Iraq. That still is the case, with hours to go in the calendar month in Iraq. Reporter Charles Levinson even noticed that there have been no hostile US troop deaths in Baghdad during the entire month.
But Levinson missed the opportunity to notice even better longer-term results in Iraq. He also failed to notice that coalition troop deaths in Afghanistan, again with hours to go until the end of the month, are less than half of that seen in previous months. Finally, he didn't catch this remarakable fact, given the gloom that seems to abound over the supposedly intractable situation in Afghanistan -- Combined theater troop deaths in October have been the lowest in over four years. (Straight zeroes everywhere would, of course, be ideal.)
Here are the key paragraphs from Levinson's report:
Well, this is a new one. In an October 11 story, the Washington Post is saying that one of the biggest reasons that the Old Media in the west isn't covering Iraq much these days is because they are facing tough financial times at home. I guess it couldn't be because we are now winning the war and they've lost their favorite doom-and-gloom story line, could it?
The Post even quotes Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times Iraq bureau chief, that there is "no clear narrative" over there anymore. Once again, this can easily be interpreted to mean that no clear losing narrative has left the media's attention wandering. Even worse Rubin almost seems to admit that they can't handle a "complex" story suddenly.
"Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans; U.S. Officers' "Phone Sex" Intercepted; Senate Demanding Answers," reads the headline and subhead for an ABCNews.com "Blotter" post by Brian Ross.
Written with fellow ABC staffers Vic Walter and Anna Schechter, Ross's October 9 post aimed to make National Security Agency phone monitoring of calls into and out of Baghdad out to be little more than a voyeuristic game of listening in on Americans talk dirty to each other:
"These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA's Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.
Kinne described the contents of the calls as "personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism."
You know how criminals often get caught because they can't resist bragging about their exploits? What follows may be yet another example of that phenomenon.
CBS correspondent Lara Logan, who spent several years covering the Iraq War, has previously been a news subject herself as a result of her extracurricular activities.
Logan had an affair with "a married federal contractor whom she met while stationed in Iraq," and became pregnant as a result. At the time of the linked Associated Press story, the father was "in the midst of a divorce from wife Kimberly, with whom he has a 3-year-old daughter." Early this year, the New York Post reported that Logan "apparently courted two beaus while she was in Baghdad, and has been labeled a homewrecker ...."
Now it appears that Ms. Logan may have left Iraq with questionable "souvenirs," according to the Post's Page Six (the Post obtained its core information from this ERSnews.com story; bold after title is mine):
Granted the focus of today's news is overwhelmingly on the bailout and the presidential race, but there is also big news on how Americans are now seeing the war effort. The pendulum has swung from despair to hopeful belief and this is important news that impinges on the elections.
Rasmussen released new data on September 30 that shows that more Americans are now viewing the war as a success and a growing number think that things will get even better in the near future. This is the highest support that Rasmussen has seen since they began to report on this issue. Curiously, news of the war has completely dropped off the radar of the Old Media.
In her October 1 ABCNews.com story, "Should Candidates' Sons Serve on the Frontline?", Emily Friedman explored the potential problems that could arise with the sons of presidential candidate John McCain and vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin serving on the front lines in armed conflict:
While Biden, 39, and Palin, 19, are just ordinary troops today, on Nov. 5, the day after the election, one of them will also be the son of the vice president of the United States of America.
A protective Secret Service detail will arrive soon after, along with the "Prince Harry question": Should they stay like any other soldier, or will they have become too tempting a target that endangers them and the other soldiers in their units? Should they be reassigned?
UPDATE, Oct. 1, 11:25 p.m.: The final number for deaths from hostile action came in at 8, which ties the previous lows of July 2008 and April 2003.
This item will likely not make an Old Media splash, because overall US troop deaths in Iraq in September will be higher they were in July and August. But they're probably not interested anyway.
To be sure, it would be ideal to note that no US soldiers have died.
Nonetheless, with eight hours remaining until the month ends in Iraq, in what would seem to be strong evidence that the gains from the 2007-2008 troop surge are holding, it is good to note that September US troop deaths from hostile action are at an all-time low (Source: icasualties.org; select "Hostile" in the drop-down bar to replicate):
Barack Obama played the "me too" game during the Friday debates on September 26 after Senator John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet with the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a resident of New Hampshire and a soldier that lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Obama said that he too had a bracelet. After fumbling and straining to remember the name, he revealed that his had the name of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin.
Shockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family.
I guess if the press can't find anything substantive to throw up against Sarah Palin, making stuff up will have to do.
A front-page article by the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut crows over what the reporter claims is a gaffe by GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin:
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska, Sept. 11 -- Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans."
The idea that Iraq shared responsibility with al-Qaeda for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself.