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?"
Not waiting for history to play out, a New Times caption writer, below a picture of celebrants of Obama Bin Laden's demise outside the White House, has written: "As crowds gathered outside the White House, there was little question that Mr. Obama's presidency had forever been changed."
If a 64-year-old former U.S. president rode 100 kilometers in the desert with more than a dozen wounded military veterans to raise awareness of and money for veterans charities, would it make headlines?
You'd think it would, but it didn't.
On Monday, April 18, the George W. Bush Presidential Center announced that the former commander-in-chief would ride with "fourteen United States servicemen and women who were seriously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan" in a 100-kilometer mountain bike ride on April 25-27 in the Big Bend National Park:
The New York Times offered a distorted glimpse into the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the Bush administration's treatment of suspected terrorists in a series of reports published on Sunday and Monday.
Scouring hundreds of leaked military documents, Times reporters used emotionally-charged phrases and cherry-picked anecdotes to paint an unflattering picture of the facility that has jailed hundreds of enemy combatants captured in the War on Terror.
Chrystia Freeland has called the US prison system an "American Gulag Archipelago." The Global Editor-at-Large of Reuters made her comment during today's Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC.
The context was a discussion of the recent WikiLeaks document dump about Gitmo, but Freeland was clearly speaking of the domestic US prison system, not our military prisons. Ratigan picked up on her theme, saying we could cut our prison costs in half if marijuana were legalized.
Of all the reasons to send our people to fight and die in Afghanistan, spending $2 billion per week in the process, Howard Dean has managed to come up with perhaps the worst: feminism.
On today's Morning Joe, Dean explained that "the whole reason" he used to support President Obama's waging of the Afghanistan war was that leaving the country would plunge its women back into "the Stone Age." But now that Afghan President Karzai has showed insufficient support for women's right in Dean's eyes, it's time to get out.
Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller’s latest Sunday magazine column, “Team America,” asks in the subhead: “Less than a decade after invading Iraq, the U.S. has rediscovered its missionary spirit. Should we be troubled by this?” Keller is not completely on board with Obama on what’s shaping up as “regime change” in Libya. But he also claimed that as editor he doesn’t take stands for or against wars, whether they are “old” wars in Iraq or “new ones in Libya.” A 2007 speech suggests differently. Keller wrote on Sunday:
Eight years ago, when I was an Op-Ed columnist for this paper, I aligned myself with something I called the I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-a-Hawk Club -- baby boomers whose distrust of foreign intervention, forged during the bloody mess of Vietnam, was tempered by the noble rescue of Bosnia and Kosovo, leading to a grudging sympathy for the invasion of Iraq. I’m sure the Bush administration did not need permission from the East Coast pundit chorus to go to war, but it was a high-water mark of the missionary impulse.
As editor of The Times, I don’t take stands for or against wars, old ones in Iraq or new ones in Libya, lest my opinions be mistaken for the guiding doctrine of our news coverage. But it’s fair to say the experience of Iraq and Afghanistan underscores the value of a certain humility about our ability to shape history.
Robert Redford's "The Conspirator" is a thinly-veiled political allegory warning against the danger of trying terrorists in military tribunals. And that's why his movie about the military trial of Lincoln assassination conspirator Mary Surratt is problematic.
That's not me talking, that's Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday in her April 15 movie review:
Cenk Uygur can't figure out why accused Army leaker Bradley Manning isn't being treated like a "hero". Seriously.
Uygur's guest on his MSNBC show this evening was P.J. Crowley, the former State Department spokesman who was forced out of his post for publicly criticizing the treatment of Manning while in detention awaiting trial.
Cenk whined as to why Manning isn't being accorded the "hero" treatment that Daniel Ellsberg received from some for his leak of the Pentagon Papers back in the Vietnam day. But P.J. presumably surprised Cenk, strongly supporting the prosecution of Manning, saying he "caused damage to the United States and our interests around that world," and that his "prosecution is quite necessary."
Just hours before a last-minute deal was struck between Republicans and Democrats to prevent a government shutdown, CNN's Eliot Spitzer did some politicking of his own on Friday's "In the Arena."
The former Democrat governor of New York interviewed the wife of an army private and delved into the family's medical and financial information – a rather awkward spectacle – all to make the case against a government shutdown and cast a bad light on House Speaker Boehner's position on budget cuts.
After playing the father's good-bye message to his own family as he was leaving for Iraq, Spitzer thought that "John Boehner would cry if he saw that, no doubt," making an extra jab at the House Speaker's emotional temperament. "That's what he should be crying about, those army families not getting paid," Spitzer added for good measure.
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist, newly minted war-monger. On March 24 the Iraq war dove claimed the U.S. was being welcomed as liberators in Libya. On Sunday he applauded what the column’s text box admitted was “our inconsistent intervention in Libya,” headlined with a bleeding-heart plea: “Is It Better to Save No One?” He even called for "aSWAT team of Libyans and coalition forces" to swoop down and seize Qaddafi for trial in The Hague.
Critics from left and right are jumping all over President Obama for his Libyan intervention, arguing that we don’t have an exit plan, that he hasn’t articulated a grand strategy, that our objectives are fuzzy, that Islamists could gain strength. And those critics are all right.
But let’s back up a moment and recognize a larger point: Mr. Obama and other world leaders did something truly extraordinary, wonderful and rare: they ordered a humanitarian intervention that saved thousands of lives and that even Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s closest aides seem to think will lead to his ouster.
NPR's Dina Temple-Raston touted Attorney General Eric Holder's reluctance to give detainees at Guantanamo Bay military trials during a segment on Monday's All Things Considered. Temple-Raston and host Michele Norris only featured sound bites from the Justice Department head, omitting clips from supporters of the military tribunals.
Norris began by noting the Obama administration's "major reversal" in their decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 suspects in military court. After playing a clip from Attorney General Holder's recent press conference, where he announced the move, the host turned to the correspondent and recounted how " in late 2009...Holder announced that these five conspirators will be tried in New York City in a civilian trial. So today's decision officially reverses that."
Temple-Raston, who conducted a sting operation against U.S. border agents earlier in 2011 by wearing a headscarf and posing as Muslim woman, mainly acted as stenographer for the attorney general, though she did acknowledge the mismanagement of the rollout for the civilian trials plan:
In the past several weeks, events outside the United States have commanded as much of Mr. Obama’s attention as the nation’s domestic concerns. The upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa have provided a fresh reminder that the Oval Office is occupied by the nation’s commander in chief.
That alone might not be enough to displace the economy as the No. 1 issue for Mr. Obama. But as the president’s top advisers survey the field of potential Republican rivals in 2012, one other fact is glaring: Almost none of them have any serious foreign policy credentials.