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.
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."
On Friday's Situation Room, CNN highlighted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's concerns over a planned concert at Fort Bragg, North Carolina organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Foundation, but omitted the MRFF president Michael Weinstein's past invective against Christianity. Anchor Wolf Blitzer referred to the MRFF as merely a "watchdog group."
Blitzer introduced correspondent Chris Lawrence's report by summarizing the controversy over the "Rock the Fort" concert and used his "watchdog" label for the MRFF: "A concert scheduled at Fort Bragg in North Carolina tomorrow may sound like a good way for soldiers to kick back, but a watchdog group is objecting to the message behind the music: an attempt to recruit the troops to 'God's army.'"
Lawrence picked up where the anchor left off: "Well, on one hand, you've got thousands of soldiers and their families who want to praise God and to hear this Christian music at the concert tomorrow. On the other hand, you've got people saying, why is the U.S. Army helping an evangelical organization recruit new members?"
Of all the revelations in Bob Woodwards's new book, this could be the most devastating . . .
On this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell admited that the military people in the Obama administration don't trust Pres. Obama's political advisers.
That raises grave concerns for America's security. In purely political terms, consider the implications given that among Americans, by farthe most trusted institution is . . . the military. View video here.
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez promoted singer Lady Gaga calling for an end to the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy: "A unique showdown shaping up today in the Senate...it's Senator John McCain versus Lady Gaga. The Senator wants to keep the ban, but the world's biggest pop star is throwing her support behind the gays who want to serve in the military."
Correspondent Michelle Miller noted of Gaga: "...recently she's become more vocal with her political leanings, urging her Twitter followers – she has a record 6.4 million of them – to write their senators over 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" Miller concluded: "...the singer known for being out there, hopes her gay friends in the military will simply be allowed to be out." Throughout the report, a headline on screen read: "Lady Gaga Vs. The Pentagon; Pop Star Takes On 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy."
All the sound bites in the segment were in favor of overturning the policy, three from the pop singer herself and one from an outed gay soldier who escorted Gaga to MTV's Video Music Awards. The only time given to the other side was after Miller's report, when Rodriguez mentioned: "...the reason John McCain opposes this, he's waiting for the results of that Pentagon study on how this repeal might impact the, you know, troops who are serving right now."
Is there no end to the many talents of Lady Gaga, already recognized as the greatest Madonna impersonator of this century? Of course we all know her as a singer, musician, fashionista and female impersonator, but recently she has revealed herself as maven in two new areas: military expert and political advisor.
It started at the MTV Video Music Awards. That is ironic in itself since I think that MTV stopped being a music channel sometime in the 1990's. Ms. Gaga, (I don't know if "Lady" is a title or simply the first part of her pseudonym) appeared in a costume made of meat. When asked the meaning of her get-up by Ellen DeGeneres, she explained it wasn't a slam on vegans.
"As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth," Gaga replied.
Wow! Did the irony of that statement knock anyone else down into their La-Z-Boy? That might be the truest thing she has ever said. It wasn't too long ago that having judgment skills was considered a plus. Not anymore!
In a brief interview with the openly-gay former Army Lt. Dan Choi MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer gave her vocal support to his cause, hoping that the military's policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ends soon.
Brewer has covered the issue quite one-sidedly in the past on behalf of the gay rights side. She has hosted many gay-rights advocates on her news hour and has barely covered the other side of the DADT issue. Examples: here, here, and here.
Brewer was covering the ruling of a federal judge in California that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," is unconstitutional. The judge has not yet issued a final ruling, but plans to do so in two weeks. Brewer's lone guest in the segment was Choi, an outspoken advocate and poster boy for the military gay-rights movement, who was arrested this past spring for chaining himself to the White House fence in protest of DADT.
That break comes in an AP email to staff from "Standards Editor" Tom Kent. He must have or at least should have known that its contents would get out. Jim Romenesko at Poynter Online (HT Legal Insurrection) appears to have posted it first, about 16 hours after Kent hit the "send" button:
Subject: Standards Center guidance: The situation in Iraq
... we should be correct and consistent in our description of what the situation in Iraq is. This guidance summarizes the situation and suggests wording to use and avoid.
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 Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used a clip of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Tim Osborn, stationed in Iraq, commenting on how he had previously felt that the war in Iraq "wasn’t ever going to stop," to fit into the Countdown host’s suggestion that American troops had remained in Iraq too long. But what Olbermann did not show his viewers is that Staff Sergeant Osborn had also expressed strong support for the war effort in a clip which was shown earlier that evening on the NBC Nightly News during a piece which correspondent Richard Engel filed from Iraq:
RICHARD ENGEL: He tells me his greatest accomplishment: giving Iraqis a chance.
STAFF SERGEANT TIM OSBORN, U.S. ARMY: If what was going on here was going on in America, I wouldn't want my kids to grow up in that world. I would want somebody else to come in and help. And if it took them doing what we did here, then I would welcome that.
But Olbermann was apparently only interested in using a clip of Staff Sergeant Osborn that would fit into the MSNBC host’s characteristic anti-war shtick:
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:
President Barack Obama told disabled veterans in Atlanta on Monday that he was fulfilling a campaign promise by ending U.S. combat operations in Iraq "on schedule."
But the timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops in Iraq was decided during the Bush administration with the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by U.S. and Iraq officials on Nov. 16, 2008. The Iraqi parliament signed SOFA on Nov. 27, 2008.
The agreement, which had been in negotiations since 2007, set a timetable calling for most U.S. troops to leave Iraqi towns and cities by June 30, 2009, with about 50,000 troops left in place until the final withdrawal of all U.S. military forces by Dec. 31, 2011.
Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, in an interview with CNN's Larry King, compared the suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning with witnesses of Nazi atrocities testifying at Nuremberg.
"He essentially followed the Nuremberg principles," Moore claimed, "which is when you see something going on like this, when you see war crimes being committed, when you see lies being told in order to bring a country to war, you have to speak out against it."
Moore thought that Manning "is exactly who we want in our armed forces," and deserves the Profile in Courage award for helping to make the WikiLeaks public knowledge. "You can't just line up and be a good German and do what you're told to do," Moore said in defense of Manning's audacity.
The liberal filmmaker appeared on King's show last Tuesday, and the news hour was re-aired Sunday night. Moore answered questions from King and from viewers themselves on topics ranging from the BP oil spill to the Arizona immigration law to the WikiLeaks scandal.
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.
On Sunday's Newsroom, CNN's Don Lemon tossed softball questions at homosexual activist Dan Choi, who was discharged earlier in July from the U.S. Army under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Lemon asked Choi, "Was it worth the prize for speaking out?" The anchor also brought on Michelangelo Signorile, another homosexual activist, without bringing on anyone from the opposing side of the issue.
Lemon brought on Choi and Signorile for a panel discussion on the "don't ask, don't tell" issue, which could be repealed later this year if the U.S. Senate take up the proposed "compromise" legislation. The CNN anchor devoted most of his attention on Choi's recent honorable discharge, and first asked him his "prize" question." After the retired Army lieutenant gave his initial reply, Lemon followed up with another softball question concerning the legislation itself: "The House has voted to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' and the Senate could do the same before the end of the year. If it is repealed, can you re-enlist? Would you be able to go back in as a lieutenant, or it's a done deal now?"
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.
The Obama administration’s reluctance to acknowledge and confront the religious motivation behind Islamist terrorism is not helping the counter-terror effort, leading experts warn in a new report.
The administration’s recently released National Security Strategy (NSS) defines the enemy as “al-Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates,” but Washington Institute for Near East Policy report argues that it is a bigger one – “the extremist ideology that fuels and supports Islamist violence.”
Authors J. Scott Carpenter, Matthew Levitt, Steven Simon and Juan Zarate contend that just because ideology is not the only driving force behind violent Islamic terrorism does not mean it can be ignored.
Instead, the administration should recognize Islamism as “the key ideological driver” behind the threat posed by al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups, and prioritize an effort to combat the ideology, they say.
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):
The MSNBC bloviator melded immigration reform, the military industrial complex, and congressional gridlock into a scatter-brained diatribe at the top of his eponymous program on Thursday.
In the wake of President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform earlier in the day, Ratigan railed against "Arizona's latest anti-immigration law" and praised Obama for "doing a good job, and a better job than almost any politician I've seen in a long time, in drawing our nation's attention to the major broken systems in this country."
The former CNBC anchor who fancies himself a financial guru also babbled about a "War on Drugs that feeds money into the military complex but does nothing to defeat drug use or, for that matter, protect the border."
Then, interviewing Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Ratigan excoriated a Senate full of "weasels" that perpetuates an "utterly frozen process that allows the special interests to destroy our country and freeze our government."
"The media, for like five seconds, those with thrill up and down their legs, they were a little critical of the Anointed One and what was one of the worst speeches in the Oval Office... but as soon as he fired McChrystal and hired Petraeus, they went nuts," Sean Hannity observed last night at the beginning of his recurring "Media Mash" segment with NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell.
The Fox News host then rolled a montage compiled by Media Research Center (MRC) analyst Kyle Drennen which showed the mainstream media hailing Obama as "brilliant" for the personnel move.
After the montage, Bozell noted that the same media that proclaimed Obama sacking McChrystal as "brilliant" were claiming that the president really had no choice but to fire the Afghanistan commander. "If he had no choice, then it really wasn't really altogether all that brilliant," the MRC president observed.
Bozell and Hannity also discussed the media's double standard in bashing BP CEO Tony Hayward -- who had been relieved of duty for overseeing the cleanup operation -- for yachting over the weekend, while ignoring President Obama's weekend golfing excursion and MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski admitting she was parroting White House talking points to defend the administration's handling of the ongoing crisis.
At the top of Thursday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O'Reilly cited a NewsBusters video montage of various media figures touting President Obama's "brilliant" handling of the General McChrystal controversy: "[Obama] has a very powerful ally, the American media. After the President fired General McChrystal yesterday, NewsBusters.org put together this montage of press reaction." [Audio available here]
O'Reilly played the video as part of his Talking Points Memo opening the show. After it finished, he joked: "So I guess the firing of McChrystal was a brilliant move." He then noted how "...we could have played that montage with another 30 seconds with different reporters echoing the same theme."
Minutes later, O'Reilly asked radio host Laura Ingraham about the media all singing from the same hymnal: "When you hear the mainstream media, brilliant, it was brilliant, it was brilliant, it was brilliant." Ingraham interjected: "It was hilarious." O'Reilly replied: "Isn't it? I mean, how far down in the tank does the American people – the American media have to go, before the people just say enough." Ingraham concluded: "Well, it shows you Bill, how totally out of touch all these media figures – and that montage, I was screaming in the studio here, it was so funny to hear – but it's so out of touch with the way regular people think."
On Wednesday's Today show, NBC's Chuck Todd touted President Obama's "swiftness" in dealing with the controversy surrounding General Stanley McChrystal comments in Rolling Stone magazine as a "commander-in-chief moment," and hinted that it was a blessing in disguise, given the executive's tanking approval ratings.
Todd led the 7 am Eastern hour with his report on the President appointing General David Petraeus to replace General McChrystal, who was relieved of command following the Rolling Stone interview. The NBC White House correspondent remarked that with the Petraeus appointment, "the President signaled to his team, no more firestorms like this one will be tolerated." After playing a clip of Mr. Obama stating that he "won't tolerate division," he continued that "the President's aides don't expect there will be much division in the Senate, either, where some are predicting Petraeus will have the fastest confirmation in history, and the praise is bipartisan."
Later in the report, Todd used his "commander-in-chief moment" term as he emphasized the apparent good timing of the controversy and detailed the public's decreasing confidence in the President, according to NBC's own poll:
Far-left MSNBC ranter Ed Schultz just can't let facts get in the way of his rank partisanship and liberal propagandizing. His latest whopper, that Gen. Stanley McChrystal was "another problem [President Obama] inherited from the Bush administration," was blatantly untrue, and just earned him a "pants on fire" rating from Politifact.com.
Politifact, which has busted up other untruths propagated by media liberals, noted a valuable lesson for liberals and Democrats: "not everything can be blamed on President Bush." Indeed.
Not only did President Obama not "inherit" McChrystal's command from the previous administration, he "effectively sacked the general in charge to create a vacancy that he then proceeded to fill with McChrystal as his fix-it man," notes Politifact.
We applaud the folks at Politifact for checking Schultz's inane rantings. Welcome to our world!
NBC's Today show on Wednesday refreshingly brought on a conservative guest who ripped the Obama administration's management of the war in Afghanistan. Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute blasted the "dysfunctional organization" at the White House overseeing the war: "It's not a team of rivals. It's a team of nine-year-olds, and something needs to be done about that" [audio available here].
Anchor Matt Lauer brought on Goure and retired General Barry McCaffrey for a panel discussion on the controversy surrounding Rolling Stone's recent article on General Stanley McChrystal, the now-former commander of American forces in Afghanistan. Goure defended McChrystal in a Wednesday column on his organization's website, suggesting that the general shouldn't be fired for his and his staff's criticism of Obama administration officials. Lauer asked to explain his position: "Mr. Goure, you think that firing General McChrystal would be a disaster- is that accurate? Tell me why."
While the media are attempting to grapple with the change in leadership of the Afghanistan war and what that all means, one thing that could be learned from this, which has been ignored, are valid criticisms of President Barack Obama and his ability to command the U.S. military.
Hastings was asked if McChrystal had perhaps gotten the whole strategy wrong, but Hastings explained it was the President that didn't know what he was really getting into.
"I think that ship had sailed last year," Hastings said. "I think once the decision was made to do a counterinsurgency strategy, they had a pretty clear idea in mind what they wanted to do and I think this is quite interesting. I think this is one of the issues Obama didn't really understand what counter-insurgency meant and when the military said they wanted to do a counterinsurgency strategy that that actually meant 150,000 troops. Obama thought he could get away with just sending 21,000 over and getting a new general."
President Obama's decision to relieve General Stanley McChrystal of command in Afghanistan and replace him with General David Petraeus was met with a chorus of praise in the media, as anchors and pundits on CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC all sang in unison that it was a "brilliant" move. [Audio available here]
During live special coverage leading up to the announcement in the 1PM ET hour on CBS, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "it sounds like a pretty brilliant decision really." At the same time on NBC, correspondent Jim Miklaszewski described it as a "stunning development" and added "at a quick glance, almost brilliant." Minutes later, White House correspondent Chuck Todd declared: "politically, in this town, it's going to be seen as a brilliant choice by the President."
Over on CNN, moments after Obama finished speaking, anchor Wolf Blitzer remarked that it was a "major moment for this president" and later observed: "a very brilliant move to tap General Petraeus." Finally, in the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory concluded: "I think he took swift and decisive action. I think that's how it's going to be read."
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday claimed that for what General Stanley McChrystal allegedly said about the White House, he legally, morally, ethically, professionally ought to be canned.
Discussing the issue with colleagues Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie on "The Daily Rundown," Mitchell claimed McChrystal's alleged statement "crosses the line of insubordination, and it crosses the line of the military code of justice."
She later made a comment one can't possibly imagine such a liberal media member making when George W. Bush was in the White House, "There is a reason why the military code of justice says you don't diss the Commander in Chief" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, h/t HotAirPundit):