One does not simply destroy a nation's cache of chemical weapons. It's actually a rather complicated and expensive endeavor, despite how neat and simple the president's acolytes seem to be making it out to be. In fact, the United States government is decades into the process of eliminating American chemical weapons. What's more, the U.S. government is six years past its previous 2007 deadline -- not to mention 19 years past the initial 1994 deadline -- for 100 percent compliance.
Mark Thompson of Time magazine has a great piece today on "How To Destroy Syria’s Chemical Weapons" in which he looks at the painstakingly detailed logistical and cost considerations of eliminating a nation's stockpile of chemical weapons. Here's an excerpt (emphases mine):
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The liberal website Talking Points Memo [see screen capture below] is accepting and running advertisements for a company called Freak Flags, a California outfit which creates flags designed like the U.S. flag but with the stars in the canton pushed off the side of the blue field, while symbols like the Star of David, Christian cross, or the U.S. dollar sign are emblazoned in the center. The idea of each is a left-wing critique of those who "put Israel first" or "put Jesus first" or "put Wall St. first," respectively.
But a review of the company's website's blog reveals some anti-Semitic rantings regarding the president's call for airstrikes in Syria.
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose cited how Hillary Clinton once referred to Bashar al-Assad as a "reformer", but didn't use the former secretary of state's name in his question to the Syrian despot. When al-Assad asked to specify who had called him a "reformer, " Rose vaguely replied, "People who write about you; people who talk about you; people who analyze Syria and your regime." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The veteran PBS host continued, "Now, they say – their words – a 'butcher' – comparisons to the worst dictators ever to walk on the face of the earth...Everything they could say bad about a dictator, they're now saying about you." The Middle Eastern dictator answered by bizarrely likening himself to a doctor:
On the Friday, September 6, Political Capital show on Bloomberg News, Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson -- formerly of CNN and Time magazine -- blamed former President George W. Bush's "lies" for America's unwillingness to support military action against the Syrian government as she asserted that "Bush's lies" about Iraq should "keep him awake at 3 in the morning," but instead "haunt the country."
Host Al Hunt set up Carlson's attack on Bush as he posed the question:
On Thursday's All In show, as he hosted Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson and MSNBC contributor Karen Finney to debate whether President Obama should attack Syria, MSNBC host Chris Hayes declared that it "sounds a little morally obtuse" for Grayson to use the words "not our problem" as he argued against intervention in Syria.
Referring to an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry from earlier in the show, Hayes asked if the Secretary said anything that Grayson found "compelling or convincing," leading the Florida Democrat to begin his response:
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Mark Phillips all but hinted that Pope Francis had "taken sides" with Russia's Vladimir Putin and against President Obama in the international debate over military strikes in Syria. Phillips proposed that the Pope's letter to Putin "must have been music to the Russian president's ears."
The journalist also turned to a "Vatican historian" who once publicly attacked Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, as a "dictator", and likened him to Islamists. He also labeled the Pope's upcoming prayer and fasting vigil for peace in Syria a "religious street protest." [audio available here; video below the jump]
President Obama's push for military action against the Assad regime in Syria has some die-hard Obama acolytes at MSNBC finally speaking out against the president. "Even with Chris Matthews, the Obamagasm is gone," cracked Sean Hannity last night. Does "the love story [end] here?" he asked NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on the September 5 program's "Media Mash" segment.
Not so fast, Bozell reminded Hannity, as Matthews quickly returned to form and slammed Republicans for their opposition to military action in Syria. "Obama knows he's in trouble when even Chris Matthews criticizes him.... But isn't it interesting that one day later, Chris Matthews went into his usual rant, calling anyone who disagreed with President Obama a hater?" [watch the full segment below the page break]
Oh, how I long for the days when liberals wailed that "the rest of the world" hated America, rather than now, when the rest of the world laughs at us.
With the vast majority of Americans opposing a strike against Syria, President Obama has requested that Congress vote on his powers as commander in chief under the Constitution. The president doesn't need congressional approval to shoot a few missiles into Syria, nor -- amazingly -- has he said he'll abide by such a vote, anyway.
MSNBC hosts are skeptical if not downright opposed in principle to President Obama's push to bomb Syria, but the MSNBC.com Facebook page is doing its level best to present President Obama in a favorable light, complete with photo memes of the president adorned with quotes related to his Syria policy. [see screen captures below page break]
On September 1, the day after President Obama announced he was going to seek congressional approval, MSNBC Facebook page editors posted a photo of the president emblazoned with the following quote:
On Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, minutes after President Obama denied setting a "red line" on Syria's use of chemical weapons, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd excused the obvious falsehood: "I think it was clear that the President was trying to depersonalize the Syria issue a little bit....to say, you know, 'Stop making this about the President personally, depersonalize this.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following those instructions from Obama, Todd proceeded to blame Republicans for the President trying to distance himself from his own red line: "...there are some House Republicans who are looking at this only view – through the prism of their disagreements and dislike for President Obama rather than the policy itself. And so [the White House is] trying to make the policy argument, 'Forget who's in the seat as commander-in-chief, would the United States believe this was a red line no matter who was president?'"
Wednesday's CBS Evening News twice underlined President Obama's 2012 "red line" remark before playing a soundbite of the Democrat's "I didn't set a red line" reversal earlier in the day. Scott Pelley noted that "a year ago, he [Obama] warned the Syrian dictator that a red line would be crossed if the dictator used chemical weapons against his rebellious citizens." Major Garrett soon added that Obama "set a red line on the use of chemical weapons 13 months ago." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
None of the Big Three evening newscasts played the actual clip of the President's 2012 warning. On NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd did his best to explain away the President's denial: "The President redefined what he meant by his red line". Jonathan Karl didn't even mention the original "red line" comment during his report on ABC's World News.
In case you missed it, new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has proven his "moderate" credentials to Time magazine [see screen capture below page break]. How so, you might ask? Well, a tweet from (what purports to be) his account yesterday, which reads, "As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah. pic.twitter.com/tmaf84x7UR"
When George W. Bush was president, America's media loved reporting international demonstrations against him once things in Iraq turned south.
With this in mind, it will be interesting to see if the same historically anti-war press will cover a picture depicting Barack Obama as the devil published Wednesday in the popular Egyptian newspaper Al Wafd.
While covering Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, ABC's Martha Raddatz described the Syrian dictator as "looking poised and immaculately dressed." This light-hearted description is reminiscent of some of the softball questions asked by Diane Sawyer on February 5, 2007. The then-Good Morning America anchor dished with the man who, in August, allegedly used chemical weapons on his own people: "You like video games?...Do you have an iPod?"
After the dictator announced that he did, Sawyer sounded more like an Access Hollywood host: "And you're a country music fan. Faith Hill? Shania Twain?"She then moved on to the topics of what films Assad enjoyed. The fan of chemical weapons and gassing his own people touted The Pursuit of Happyness. He blurbed, "It tells you a story...Maybe there's many beneficial things to learn from, about real life." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In my soon to be 77 years as a citizen of the United States of America, having lived through Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the dark days of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11 and all the other serious and profound events our beloved nation has been involved in over the last three quarters of a century, I have to say with all sincerity that I have never seen a president as confused, befuddled, impotent, insincere and as out of his depth as Barack Obama has become in dealing with the Syrian issue.
When you're the leader of the free world, you don't make statements you can't back up and you don't draw lines in the sand, watch your enemies cross them with impunity and go off and play a round of golf.
The president's call on Saturday for Congress to debate and pass a resolution authorizing airstrikes against Syria also served as a telegraphed message to the liberal media about how to spin the message in a way that puffs the president politically while turning a serious question of foreign policy and use of military resources into a domestic political grist for the 2014 midterms.
Well, the Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon and Janet Hook smartly saluted and fired their salvo in a piece filed at the paper's website on Sunday afternoon headlined, "White House Girds for Battle With Congress." Here's how they began:
"The Obama administration has refused to send gas masks and other chemical-weapons protection gear to Syrian opposition groups, despite numerous requests dating back more than a year and until the reported chemical-weapons attack that struck the Damascus suburbs August 21," Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast reported earlier today. What's more, it wasn't for lack of supply, as there are numerous gas masks lying about in the region in storage, surplus from the late Iraq War, Rogin reported.
It's completely understandable and arguably advisable to not ship weapons to Syrian opposition groups for fear of weapons falling into the wrong hands, but refusing life-saving gas masks when the Syrian government is known to have chemical weapons caches is quite another. It remains to be seen how much the Big Three networks and newspaper outlets pick up on this thread, but we'll be watching. Below is a critical excerpt from his post (emphasis mine):
Maybe, in sync with the predictable press reactions to oft-seen bad economic numbers, the headline at Julie Pace's late-morning story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should have been: "Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart ... Unexpectedly."
Pace's pathetic attempt at pathos in assessing the status of the Obama administration's foreign policy tells AP readers that some of it is due to "factors outside the White House's control" (as if previous administrations haven't had to deal with unanticipated developments), that Obama "misjudged" what would come in the Arab Spring's aftermath (we're supposed to ignore all of those contacts he's had with Muslim Brotherhood officials and their sympathizers), and that the NSA revelations have hurt our standing in Europe (without noting that the root cause is NSA's spying on U.S. citizens). Excerpts follow the jump.
In the media’s wall-to-wall Egypt coverage, one important facet of the ongoing crisis has gotten short shrift: the deadly plight of that nation’s Christians. The three broadcast networks in particular have buried the anti-Christian violence, devoting just 5 percent of Egypt reporting to it since last week. Six days ago, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohammed Morsi launched what some are calling a “pogrom” and “jihad” against Egypt’s Christian population.
Violence against Egypt’s Christian minority is nothing new. Nor is the media’s disinterest in it. But in the last week, that violence suddenly escalated to epidemic levels.
A chemical attack in Syria that may have killed as many as 1300 people was of little interest to ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday. The network morning show allowed a mere 25 seconds to the large scale gassing. In such a small amount of time, it's not surprising that guest news anchor Amy Robach skipped the salient point that this attack violated the so-called "red line" set out by Barack Obama in 2012.
NBC's Today allowed a little more time, two minutes and eight seconds, but also ignored the red line angle and any mention of Barack Obama. It was only CBS This Morning that noticed this. Anchor Charlie Rose pointed out, "President Obama has said that Syria's government would cross a red line if it uses chemical weapons against its own people. We're monitoring the White House for any response." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Ted Koppel made a fascinating observation about terrorism and the recent embassy evacuations that certainly won't please President Obama or his supporters in the media.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Koppel said, "With a conference call, Al Qaeda has effectively shut down 20 U.S. embassies around north Africa and the Middle East...The terrorists have achieved more with one phone call than we have achieved with all our response" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words Tuesday for the White House calling the evacuation of our embassies in the Middle East “ordered departures.”
Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report, Krauthammer said, “This is the first administration in history ever to launch a lexicological war on the enemy. You know, they’ve thrown the book at them - the dictionary.”
Saturday evening, a friend suggested that I watch the midnight rerun of Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program for her interview segment with a Democrat and a Republican about this weekend's closing of 22 embassies overseas in response to terrorist threats.
Ryan Clayton was the Democrat whose arguments blaming George W. Bush's administration for the current level of threats in the Middle East were so weak that he was reduced to childishly reminding viewers that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch (as if we didn't know, and as if eight years of previous Clinton administration weakness were irrelevant). Clayton has an interesting history, which I will note at the end of this post. The Judge Jeanine segment follows the jump.
Remember all that talk from President Obama during last year’s campaign about al Qaeda being decimated?
Apparently not, for on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said, “Al Qaeda is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11 because it's mutated and it spread and it can come at us from different directions” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Late Thursday, news broke of the State Department ordering numerous U.S. embassies across the Middle East closed on Sunday, August 4 due to terror threats from Al Qaeda. While the Big Three network evening newscasts all covered the important development that night, not one of them made any mention of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the perpetrators of which remain at large.
By Friday morning, the networks managed to add brief mentions of Benghazi to their reporting. On NBC's Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell noted: "... in the aftermath of Benghazi, the State Department is not taking any chances....Amidst ongoing turmoil across the Middle East, from Cairo's Tahrir Square to the civil war in Syria, and past attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts, from Benghazi, Libya last year..."
For decades, no American president has successfully navigated the tenuous relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, each one failing to broker a long-term peace agreement between the two groups. Despite the daunting task of establishing Middle East peace, USA Today believes that President Obama has a secret weapon that no president has had before: Secretary of State John Kerry.
In a glowing review of his involvement, the July 30 USA Today hyped how Secretary Kerry is “running show in Mideast talks.” Reporter Aamer Madhani’s praise doesn’t stop there, Gushing that the secretary has notably “worked a bit of magic” in his efforts to create peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.
It has been almost 48 hours since the New York Post's Melissa Klein first reported that "This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum," because "the museum’s creative director ... considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and "rah-rah America."
A Google News search on "Ground Zero New York" (not in quotes, past seven days, showing duplicates) returns only 24 relevant items. None are from establishment press outlets. The same search at the Associated Press's national web site also returns nothing relevant. Excerpts from Klein's Post report, as well as Publishers Weekly's review of the upcoming book, are after the jump.