A former advisor to George W. Bush smacked down Salon's Joan Walsh Monday for questioning the 43rd President's psychological compass.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Hardball," GOP strategist Ron Christie also gave Chris Matthews a much-needed education on why going into Iraq was a successful part of Bush's strategy to prevent America from a follow-up attack after 9/11 (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday, the New York Times put two controversial conservative women on the front of two of their sections, blogger Pamela Geller, and author and commentator Ann Coulter.
Coulter was profiled on the front of the Sunday Styles section under the headline “Not Done Yet.” The thrust of that odd headline became clear in the subhead, which put a cynical spin on Coulter’s recent pronouncements: “Increasingly outflanked on the right by the Tea party, the conservative columnist Ann Coulter is trotting out a new image and seeking support in some unlikely places.”
For a right-wing, evangelical Christian who has made fun of homosexuals and opposes same-sex marriage, Ms. Coulter seemed awfully...game. Wearing a black lace-up cocktail dress and high black heels, she posed for a photograph with the founder of Boy Butter, a maker of sex lubricants.
Reporter Laura Holson, while not actively hostile toward Coulter personally (at least not the way the Times' tag-team of Anne Barnard and Alan Feuer treated anti-Ground Zero mosque blogger Geller), did inaccurately portray Coulter as acting out of opportunism:
In an interview with 'Obama's Wars' author Bob Woodward on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith sought to defend the President's uncertainty on Afghanistan: "...when he takes over they're already in this war for seven years and what he was not going to do...was give the military a blank check in an open-ended deal, say, 'go do your best.'"
Moments before that comment, Smith spun severe division in the White House over the war this way: "...these folks are infused with ambition and intelligence and have lots of things at stake and there really is quite a lot of friction among them all, as they're theoretically trying to get to the same place." Woodward replied: "I mean, it's intense....so much is unsettled. The President's committed to 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan. But, in these secret meetings in the Situation Room in the White House, he repeatedly says, 'we need a plan to get out. There can be no wiggle room. I'm not going to do ten years.'"
The Washington Post reporter then observed: "[Obama] is out of Afghanistan psychologically and the question is, for a commander in chief, don't you have to be kind of the guy who's up there, 'Yes, we can. We're going to win.'?" At that point, Smith ran to Obama's defense with the "blank check" remark.
According to Bob Woodward, Barack Obama is an "intellectual" who has agonized over Afghanistan. The Washington Post author appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday and touted his new book, Obama's Wars, as a way of getting inside the President's "internal struggle" over military action in that country.
During the segment, it was co-host George Stephanopoulos, who actually pressed Woodward on what Obama really believes about Afghanistan. Speaking of the surge, he quizzed, "And it appears in many, many scenes throughout this book that the President is approving of a compromise that he doesn't fully believe in."
Stephanopoulos quoted Woodward's colleague at the Washington Post, David Ignatius, as saying that the President should not "ask young men and women to die" for something he doesn't believe in. Woodward responded by defending, "He is an intellectual, as we know. He's the law professor...And so, intellectually, he realizes [that the situation is] real, real, hard. He knows as commander in chief, he has to do something."
As the Media Research Center reported last month, there are some truly sick, hate-mongering liberal radio hosts in America today, and one of the most disgusting is Mike Malloy.
On Friday, this vile miscreant with a microphone said on the air that Liz Cheney should be planning her father's funeral rather than offering her opinions to the American people.
This comes three months after Malloy told his listeners that he hoped former Vice President Dick Cheney would die in the hospital.
On this day, the subject was Liz's comment concerning a Barack Obama quote about America being able to absorb a terrorist attack referenced in Bob Woodward's new book (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, h/t Right Scoop):
As the actor Richard Tillman – brother of former Army Ranger and former NFL player Pat Tillman – appeared as a guest on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday promoting the film "The Tillman Story" about his brother’s death in Afghanistan, host Maher played a clip from Pat Tillman’s funeral in which Richard Tillman mocked the religious references made at the funeral by speakers Maria Shriver and John McCain. Maher went on to praise Richard Tillman as having "a lot of balls" for his words as there was also moderate applause from the audience.
Maher set up the clip: "But, you know, they had Maria Shriver and John McCain... Speaking there, and Maria said, "Pat, you are home. You are safe." And McCain said, "You will see Pat again when a loving God reunites us all with our loved ones."
Then came a clip of Richard Tillman speaking at the funeral while nearly crying: "Thank you for coming. Pat’s a f------ champion and always will be. Just make a mistake, he’d want me to say this. He’s not with God. He’s f------ dead. He’s not religious. So thanks for your thoughts, but he’s f------ dead."
After applause from the audience, Maher responded, "That’s a lot of balls, my friend."
In today’s world, video war games are all the rage. The military knows that video games make young men more interested in military service, and can even make them better soldiers. As is so often the case, some of the producers of these games have taken the simulation too far.
For the latest version of its wildly popular shooter game “Medal of Honor,” Electronic Arts chose to set the game in post-9/11 Afghanistan. But now it also allows players to fight as the Taliban and kill American troops. This was too much for the military. Army, Air Force, and Navy bases have announced they will refuse to sell the game out of respect to our troops who have been killed by the Taliban.
"You know how many of my friends have been killed by the Taliban?" Staff Sgt. William Schober, a fan of the earlier “Medal” games, asked the New York Times. "One of my friends was sniped in the head by them. That's something you want to have fun with?"
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, after host Jon Scott displayed a political cartoon that depicted the aggressive overreaction of many Muslims to Pastor Terry Jones’s threat to burn a Koran on September 11, liberal FNC analyst Alan Colmes suggested that a "very similar reaction" from Christians would result if a Muslim announced the intent to burn a Bible. Despite the reported riots and death in places like Kabul, Afghanistan, Colmes initically doubted that there had been calls for "Death to America" as a result of the Koran-burning controversy.
Scott showed a cartoon from tobytoons.com which ended with a Muslim man shouting "Death to America," and turned to Colmes, asking, "Do they have a point?" The exchange continued:
Alan Colmes on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 said America shouldn't commemorate these attacks every year, and was nicely smacked down by Judith Miller for his smarmy efforts.
Discussing the anniversary coverage on "Fox News Watch," Colmes said, "Every 9/11 it's become like a national day of remembrance, which I understand from an emotional standpoint, but I wonder if it's such a good idea that every year we make such a big deal on the media of it being 9/11."
Miller shot back, "The reason you do it is to remember why we have the counter-terrorism policies we have...We need to be reminded why we're doing this."
Colmes pathetically replied, "9/11 should not be revered as some kind of national almost holiday."
"It's not revered. It's commemorated," said Miller (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Yesterday the Gallup organization released a poll showing that Americans trust Republicans over Democrats on most major issues heading into the general election season. Today the same polling outfit released a poll that found a large number of Americans blame George W. Bush for the faltering economy.
Nearly two years after Barack Obama was elected president, Americans still are inclined to blame his predecessor for the nation's current economic problems.
In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, more than a third of those surveyed said George W. Bush deserved a great deal of the blame for economic woes and a third said he should get a moderate amount of it. Not quite another third called that unfair, saying Bush warranted not much or none of the responsibility.
NBC's Richard Engel has done some good reporting from Iraq. But scratch the reporter's surface, and you find a political partisan eager to echo the anti-Bush party line. Witness his exchange with Ari Fleischer on Morning Joe today. Engel twisted the former Bush press secretary's words, accusing him of alleging an Osama Bin Laden connection with Iraq. Fleischer had palpably said no such thing.
The springboard was Fleischer's citation of a 1998 OBL interview in which the terrorist boss said America was weak because it is unable to see through long wars. Fleischer went on to argue that America's resolve will be tested should things go badly wrong in Iraq or Afghanistan, thus putting under pressure the arbitrary dates that have been set for US withdrawal from those countries.
Engel jumped in to accuse Fleischer of claiming an OBL tie with Iraq. Even after Fleischer made explicitly clear he was alleging no such connection, Engel obdurately pressed his point.
Defenders of controversial imam Feisal Abdul Rauf have been touting his past efforts in offering counterterrorism advice to the FBI as a way to illustrate his bridge-building intentions. Much like other reports, they tend to gloss over the more controversial aspects of Rauf's statements. But, as is typical with the Ground Zero mosque imam, it can be demonstrated that he is frequently speaking with a forked tongue.
There is no doubt that Rauf has made some questionable and incendiary comments regarding America and her role in the Muslim world. Perhaps these statements fit the imam's overall rhetoric involving U.S. complicity in the attacks of 9/11. As does the following statement to the FBI, which is conveniently omitted from media reports defending Rauf.
Bridge-building imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was giving a crash course in Islam for FBI agents in March of 2003. When asked to clarify such terminology as ‘jihad' and ‘fatwa', Rauf stated (emphasis mine throughout):
"Jihad can mean holy war to extremists, but it means struggle to the average Muslim. Fatwah has been interpreted to mean a religious mandate approving violence, but is merely a recommendation by a religious leader. Rauf noted that the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks could be considered a jihad, and pointed out that a renowned Islamic scholar had issued a fatwah advising Muslims in the U.S. military it was okay to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan."
On Monday's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer opened the show suggesting that Julian Assange was was being smeared by the Pentagon as the Today co-anchor teased: "And payback? The founder of WikiLeaks, the Web site that leaked classified war documents, briefly named in a rape case in Sweden. He says he's innocent. Those charges have been dropped and now he suggests it's all part of a Pentagon smear campaign today, Monday, August 23rd, 2010." However the Today show, never offered any evidence, other than Assange's claim, that the Pentagon was behind any of the charges.
NBC's Ann Curry, in introducing a Martin Fletcher story on Assange, posited: "Is the Pentagon targeting the founder of WikiLeaks for posting thousands of war documents online?" And while the the story did did air a clip of retired UK Colonel Richard Kemp blasting Assange for releasing the classified documents, Fletcher never presented any proof that the Pentagon was behind some sort of smear campaign.
On Saturday, The Washington Post devoted an entire article to left-wing praise and Facebook fan pages for Private Bradley Manning, suspected of the shocking leak of more than 90,000 documents on the war in Afghanistan. The headline was "Army analyst linked to WikiLeaks hailed as antiwar hero."
Washington Post reporter Michael W. Savage (not that other Michael Savage) began: "For antiwar campaigners from Seattle to Iceland, a new name has become a byword for anti-establishment heroism: Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning." In the entire story, there is no liberal or leftist label used, and there is no conservative counterpoint quoted. There are only "grass roots activists" offering praises to the audacity of Manning:
Khadr was captured on a battlefield in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was just 15 years old. He's charged with the murder of a U.S. soldier, a crime he's already confessed to, although he now claims his confession was coerced.
Although 15-year-olds in the United States are frequently tried as adults for murder and although Khadr is in 23 years old now, McGirk presented the case as the potential first conviction of a "child" for war crimes since World War II. What's more, McGirk presented the case as a potential travesty of justice in an ill-conceived war on terror, a term he dismissively used in quote marks:
In her debut Sunday morning as host of ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, the long-time CNN international correspondent brought a foreigner’s perspective to the program as she treated her lack of knowledge and familiarity with U.S. politics as an asset and the current New York City resident seemed to say that after more than two decades of covering the world she had decided to allow herself to deal with U.S. politics now that “the story in this country is turning into one of the most fascinating.” She asserted in an opening explanation: “I'm also eager to open a window on the world.”
In her interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi she approached the Speaker as an empathetic liberal confused about why the public would vote in Republicans after all of the Democratic achievements (“You, by all accounts, are one of the most, if not the most, powerful and successful Speakers in the history of the United States. You’ve passed so much legislation...”) and fretted about “so much polarization” against Pelosi as exemplified by an anti-Pelosi ad which Amanpour described as painting Pelosi as “the bogeyman.” Amanpour despaired: “There seems to be a never-ending partisanship. What is it you can do for the people in this highly-polarized situation?”
She framed questions to Pelosi around phrases such as “from an outsider’s point of view” and “for me, looking in from outside.” Amanpour displayed less ideological affinity and was more engaged and informed about Afghanistan when she quizzed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
If Anne Applebaum is to be believed, the existence of primary sources is in and of itself the reason the dead-trees should be kept around. She writes for Slate:
I didn't think it was possible, but Julian Assange has now done it: By releasing 92,000 documents full of Afghanistan intelligence onto the laptops of an unsuspecting public, the founder of Wikileaks has finally made an ironclad case for the mainstream media. If you were under the impression that we don't need news organizations, editors, or reporters with more than 10 minutes' experience anymore, then think again. The notion that the Internet can replace traditional news-gathering has just been revealed to be a myth.
Ironically, that passage shows one of the key problems with the mainstream media: they don't know anything. The Afghanistan documents collected by Wikileaks are not "intelligence," but field reports from regular combat units and special forces. Also, the notion that Wikileaks is some kind of news organization when it is really an online repository of documents-i.e. sources instead of reportage-shows the kind of unfamiliarity with basic facts that people like Applebaum, in the mainstream media, wrongly attribute to Wikipedia and ignore in themselves.
Missed? Perhaps, but this story of complacency by President Barack Obama's administration has certainly been under-reported thus far.
On Fox News Channel's July 28 broadcast of "Studio B," the network's judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano discovered a potential lapse in responsibility by the Obama White House. For the broadcast of his July 31 Fox Business Network show "FreedomWatch," Napolitano interviewed Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.org, the so-called "whistleblower site" which released tens of thousands of classified files about the Afghanistan war. During the interview, Napolitano reported Assange revealed he offered the Obama White House the documents, but they were unresponsive. (h/t @CrabbyCon)
"STUDIO B" HOST SHEPARD SMITH: You just interviewed Julian Assange. Now Julian Assange is the man who is the founder of WikiLeaks - released these, or on his site was released the 92,000 pages of documents that lead to all this discussion about our complete failures in Afghanistan and thoughts that we need to get out of Afghanistan. He told you something that I considered to be a blockbuster bit of news. NAPOLITANO: And that is that WikiLeaks presented the documents - there were over 100,000 pages of them, to the White House. SMITH: When? NAPOLITANO: Weeks before they were released. He wouldn't give me an exact date.
So as you know, Wikileaks has posted a crapload of secret military reports about the Afghan war, including covert operations against Taliban figures. They claim their goal is to reveal “unethical behavior,” by the government and corporations.
On their website they write “All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people.”
This is pure bullpoop, to use the scientific term.
The fact is, their goal is to only “expose” people they don’t like – meaning the United States military – and get worldwide props for it.
CBS's Lara Logan may be in Uganda, but she recognized the skew of media coverage of the WikiLeaks war documents on the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan as she contended “the coverage would indicate that it's more of an issue for the U.S. to kill Afghan civilians than it is for the Taliban to do so.”
CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric asked her about how the documents cite “the number of Afghan civilians who have been killed. How do you think this will damage the war effort?” Logan took the question in another direction:
Well, the issue of civilian casualties is a major one and the U.S. has taken a lot of criticism because of this. However, what's interesting to note that is according to the documents, 195 Afghan civilians have been killed. But also according to the documents, two thousand Afghan civilians have been killed by the Taliban, which is more than ten times the number said to be killed by U.S. and NATO forces. And very little is being made of that. The coverage would indicate that it's more of an issue for the U.S. to kill Afghan civilians than it is for the Taliban to do so.
Mango diplomacy, maybe. Mango defense, not so much.
It would be much less disconcerting to say the above headline is a joke, ripped from the headlines of The Onion. But alas, it is frighteningly accurate.
Hillary Clinton recently lauded the benefits of Pakistani mangos in a discussion of better trade cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
As Reuters reports, "Hillary Clinton has lots to worry about in Pakistan, but she has found one thing she can wholeheartedly embrace: Pakistani mangos ... Clinton suggested mangos might be one place to start when discussing benefits of better trade cooperation, including Pakistani requests for improved market access."
But an analysis (emphasis mine) of Clinton's economic recovery efforts via CNN's Reza Sayah, defies explanation, and require a tremendous leap in logic from economic benefits, to military benefits (h/t Weasel Zippers via Michelle Malkin):
Well, I think the U.S., the Obama administration, is convinced that this is the right approach. In addition to the military approach, you have to have an economic approach. They say it's an interesting project here. If Mrs. Clinton has her way in the months and years to come, Pakistan will export more of its delicious and very juicy mangoes. Americans will eat them. It will all be a part of the fight against militants.
Happy belated birthday, America, your presence in Afghanistan is "inherently corrupting." That's the message Rachel Maddow gave on her July 6 program.
During the Bush administration, the Left often argued that the president had distracted America by engaging in hostilities in Iraq, bleeding resources and attention away from the real war on terror in Afghanistan, which had harbored al Qaeda pre-9/11.
Now with Iraq all but won following the success of the Bush-approved, Petraeus-executed "surge," the Left is becoming vocal in its opposition to the war in Afghanistan and finding a platform on MSNBC.
Daytime network anchor Dylan Ratigan has been calling for withdrawal from Afghanistan for weeks, arguing that the war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than Vietnam and been a needless waste of money.
Now Ratigan's colleague has joined in the chorus. On the Tuesday, July 6 edition of her eponymous show, Maddow made this argument:
The first six words (bolded by me) of Deb Riechmann's report from Kabul, Afghanistan for the Associated Press are refreshing:
"We are in this to win," Gen. David Petraeus said as he took the reins of an Afghan war effort troubled by waning support, an emboldened enemy, government corruption and a looming commitment to withdraw troops - even with no sign of violence easing.
It would have been even more refreshing if the AP's Riechmann, who obviously felt compelled to tick off as many of the reasons Petraeus and the troops he leads may not meet the goal as quickly as possible, would have reminded readers that Petraeus's boss, President Barack Obama, has been decidedly allergic to using the words "win" and "victory" in Afghanistan since his inauguration. One of her later paragraphs presented a perfect opportunity to remind readers of the president's aversion. She passed; she shouldn't have.
Petraeus, thankfully, feels no need to hold back, as noted later in Reichmann's report (bolds are mine):
On Thursday's The Dylan Ratigan Show, MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan went after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and complained about the lack opposition to the conflicts: "Why isn't there an alarm that we've been perpetrating this war?...there aren't enough people in this country that honestly give a damn. No one really cares." His solution to the supposed apathy? A draft. [Audio available here]
Ratigan began his rant by describing the financial and human toll of the wars. He particularly highlighted "the innocent civilians that our bombs are killing. As many as 105,000 dead in Iraq, the number in Afghanistan approaching 13,000, that we have killed." He argued: "We might even be creating more terrorists....being there may be doing more harm than good." On his May 13 program, Ratigan condemned the U.S. military for "dropping predator bombs on civilians willy-nilly."
Describing the limited number of Americans who have loved ones on the front lines, Ratigan proclaimed: "...it's a way for the politicians to isolate on the poorest and the most isolated group of soldiers they can get and protect themselves from our society, were they to understand how violent and oppressive the actions we are taking against our own people are in perpetrating these wars." Ratigan then proposed: "...we have to raise the stakes on this to decide whether we get out or keep going. And the only way I can see to do that is to return the draft." He further declared: "Maybe if the sons and daughters of more Americans families, like those of our politicians, were either being killed in combat or facing the stresses of endless repeat deployment, our policymakers would start questioning why we're still there..."
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."
Lara Logan, CBS’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, took to CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to accuse Michael Hastings, who was interviewed by Howard Kurtz in the preceding segment, of using subterfuge and Rolling Stone of pushing an agenda in their hit piece on General Stanley McChrystal, both of which unfairly tarnished McCrystal and will lead to more military wariness toward the journalists. Logan castigated Hastings:
The question is, really, is what General McChrystal and his aides are doing so egregious, that they deserved to end a career like McChrystal's? Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.
As for Hastings’ insistence he didn’t break any “off the record” ground rules, Logan declared: “Something doesn't add up here. I just -- I don't believe it.”
The subterfuge really infuriated Logan: “What I find is the most telling thing about what Michael Hastings said in your interview is that he talked about his manner as pretending to build an illusion of trust and, you know, he's laid out there what his game is. That is exactly the kind of damaging type of attitude that makes it difficult for reporters who are genuine about what they do....Clearly, you've got someone who is making friends with you, pretending to be sympathetic, pretending to be something that they're not...”
You would think that if there were one thing people could agree on, despite their politics, it would be cheering for the United States in a sporting event. But no, not for Jeremy Scahill.
Scahill, a regular contributor for left-wing The Nation magazine, has dedicated the past several years of his life to an obsession over the defense contractor Xe Services LLC, formerly known as Blackwater. But apparently Scahill can't overcome his politics and take pride in his country's World Cup soccer team. In a series of posts on his Twitter account, Scahill vented his frustrations over cheering for the United States in the World Cup: