President Obama announced last night that he will withdraw his entire 30,000 troop surge from 2009, bringing home 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year, and an additional 20,000 troops by the end of next summer.
The plan is a much more aggressive withdrawal than recommended by the Gen. David Petraeus and other Pentagon officials, who recommended one more fighting season against the Taliban to maintain the recent gains American troops have made.
Check out a video of his speech after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Appearing on Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel worried about the cost of combating terrorism and took the opportunity to bash the effort: "You talk about money the U.S. spent fighting this global war on terrorism. I think, which is a terrible misnomer, it's like a war on fear or something like that. And I think in many ways it has been a war of fear." [Audio available here]
Instead, on Friday night ABC offered a bunch of ways to describe Melaku , who caused a major incident when his car was found hidden in bushes near the Pentagon -- starting with anchor Diane Sawyer who identified him simply as a “Marine Lance Corporal.” Reporter Pierre Thomas referred to him as “the suspect” multiple times as well as a “Marine reservist,” “a 22-year old Ethiopian American” and a “lone wolf.”
With Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) holding a hearing on the radicalization of Muslim inmates in U.S. prisons, MSNBC's Thomas Roberts this morning set out to discredit the premise of the proceedings by interviewing Minnesota Democrat and practicing Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison.
Ellison, Roberts reminded viewers of MSNBC's 11 a.m. Eastern hour of live news coverage, provided tearful testimony at a hearing in March on Islamic radicalization.
Roberts began his interview by practically holding Ellison forth as an expert when it comes to the data regarding prisoner radicalization (emphasis mine):
On Sunday, New York Times movie critic John Anderson issued a favorable profile of “If a Tree Falls,” a partisan documentary from Marshall Curry featuring convicted arsonist Daniel McGowan of the environmental terrorist group Earth Liberation Front: “Activist or Terrorist, Rendered in Red, White and Green.”
When Daniel McGowan moved in with his sister after college, he was so passionate about recycling that he took all the labels off her canned food. The problem was, he didn’t wait for her to open the cans. 'I didn’t know if I had soup, or what kind of soup; I don’t know if there’s peas, or corn,' Lisa McGowan said in an interview. 'He said, 'I never thought of that.'
Some would call Mr. McGowan overeager. The government calls him a terrorist.
The problem is, McGowan isn’t in jail for taking labels off canned food items but for arson and conspiracy related to the destruction of two lumber companies in Oregon, domestic terrorism credited to the Earth Liberation Front.
Fox News haters love to advance the myth that the network pushes exclusively conservative views and the anchors surround themselves with right-leaning yes men who never question them.
On the latest installment of "Fox News Sunday," liberal political analyst Juan Williams challenged host Chris Wallace's view of the public's support for the war in Afghanistan leading to a humorous exchange (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a surprise announcement, Bill Keller is resigning as New York Times executive editor as of September 6. He will be replaced by Jill Abramson, the paper’s managing editor, Jeremy Peters reported on nytimes.com Thursday morning.
Keller will still write for the paper: "As for Mr. Keller’s plans, he said he was still working out the details of a column he will write for the paper’s new Sunday opinion section, which will be introduced later this month."
Abramson will be the first woman to run the Times newsroom in the paper’s 160-year history. For Abramson, the Times is holy writ:
On Friday, the morning shows of the Big Three networks barely touched on President Obama approving the renewal of key provisions in the Patriot Act, avoiding the kind of criticism they launched during the terms of former President George W. Bush. During that time, the networks often expressed "concern...that civil liberties are threatened as never before" by the law, as CBS Evening News put it in 2003.
ABC's Good Morning America devoted one news brief to the development 17 minutes into 7 am Eastern hour. News anchor Josh Elliott noted how "President Obama signed an extension of the U.S. Patriot Act. He used a device called the auto pen because the bill had to be signed before midnight Washington time." NBC's Today show devoted the most attention to the presidential action with three news briefs from Ann Curry at 15 minutes past the 7 am Eastern hour, and at the top of the 8 and 9 am hours.
On The Early Show, CBS's Jeff Glor's brief on the Patriot Act extension, which aired at the same time as Curry's first brief on NBC, gave the most negative hint against the law of the three networks:
New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage’s two stories on libertarian Sen. Rand Paul holding up extending sections of the Patriot Act ignored the huge hypocrisy of the act’s newest vocal defender, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The paper also demonstrated a new-found comfort on the part of the Times for the act, which it excoriated during the Bush years.
Reid attacked fellow Sen. Ron Paul in personal terms on the Senate floor Wednesday, but the Times ignored both the attack and Reid’s overheated defense of the Patriot Act, which would surely have been denounced as demagoguery coming from a Republican. Liberal journalist Spencer Ackerman called Reid a demagogue, saying "Dick Cheney would be proud." (Ouch!) Ackerman fumed:
The War Powers Act is relevant in certain circumstances, including (Section 1543) "in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced ... into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat." This would clearly apply to the Libyan situation.
The Act requires timely presidential notification of the commencement of such operations. Though of dubious constitutionality, the Act further requires that (Section 1544) "Within sixty calendar days ... the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces" unless Congress has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization ..."
We're at Day 60, and the Obama administration isn't going to comply with any of this. Here is how the Associated Press is headlining and describing Barack Obama's failure to comply (copied in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):
How sad indeed when liberals turn on one another, their nastiness quickly achieving critical mass.
Radio host and columnist David Sirota wasn't expecting a call from fellow liberal and MSNBC loose-cannon Ed Schultz on his radio show yesterday, broadcast out of AM 760 in Denver.
When word filtered back to Schultz that Sirota was badmouthing him for Schultz's criticism of "intellectual liberal hand-wringing" over the manner of bin Laden's death, Schultz decided to give Sirota a call.
The result, lasting barely more than two minutes, was decidedly unpretty (audio clip below page break) --
In December of 2007, a conservative organization known as Freedom Watch created an advertisement with a message of support and thanks to America’s troops serving around the world. They were rejected by NBC.
In April of this year, a Muslim organization known as the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) created an advertisement with a message to counter Islamophobia from the ‘conservative right’. They are currently running on NBC Universal media networks.
The alleged difference?
NBC claimed their reason for rejecting the Freedom Watch ad was because “the group insisted that the spot contain the URL address of its Web site.” However, the new ICNA ads clearly contain the groups WhyIslam.org website.
The real difference?
Freedom Watch is an organization that supports the war on terrorism. The ICNA simply supports terrorism.
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, on Tuesday's Colbert Report, featured Newsbusters's publisher L. Brent Bozell in his "The Word" segment that ridiculed those who credit enhanced interrogation or waterboarding in the killing of Osama bin Laden. After playing a clip of Bozell, from the May 6, Fox and Friends, saying waterboarding led to the death of bin Laden and hailing: "Hip, hip hooray to George Bush" Colbert joked: "Yes, three cheers for George Bush! Unless you're in a gagged stress position, in which case try three grunts."
Colbert then went on to make fun of Donald Rumsfeld, mocking that the former Secretary of Defense must have just taken a hit from a blunt to have, in his view, contrasting views on the interrogation issue, as seen in the following excerpt from the May 17 Colbert Report:
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has apprehended more suspected terrorists on the nation’s northern border than along its southern counterpart, CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin said Tuesday.
“In terms of the terrorist threat, it’s commonly accepted that the more significant threat” comes from the U.S.-Canada border, Bersin told a hearing of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security.
Rounding out the news of the past couple of weeks, the media elite struck two contradictory themes — with journalists saluting the “courage,”“guts” and “cool hand” of Barack Obama in ordering the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, even as the liberal media were “repelled” and “appalled” by the “vulgar” and “idiotic” celebrations of everyday Americans to the news of the terrorist leader’s demise.
The latest edition (PDF) of MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables newsletter captures the flavor of liberal media coverage since bin Laden’s death, including the bitterness of some on the far left, including the left-wing journalist who griped that it “was not justice” but rather “one killer [the United States] killing another.”
Here are some of the best quotes from the issue; for the entire edition, visit www.MRC.org:
If you listen to the passengers and crew who flew on American Airlines Flight 1561 last weekend, there's no doubt about what happened on their harrowing trip: A Yemeni man shrieking "Allahu akbar!" at the top of his lungs more than 30 times rushed the cockpit door twice intending to take down the plane and kill everyone on board.
The clammy, sweaty lone male passenger exhibited classic symptoms of what Middle East scholar and author Daniel Pipes has dubbed "Sudden Jihad Syndrome" — a seemingly random outbreak of threatening behavior or violence by a hysterical Muslim adherent who had not previously exhibited signs of Islamic radicalization. It took at least four men to tackle and restrain Rageh Ahmed Mohammed al-Murisi. "There was no question in everybody's mind that he was going to do something," passenger Angelina Marty told the San Francisco Chronicle.
I've not been much of a fan of Time magazine for years, though I am again, if only briefly.
Fresh off Rachel Maddow's ludicrous claim that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was "not all that well known" until he was killed by the US military in 2006 and allegedly elevated in death beyond what he was in life, Time magazine published a special issue titled "The End of bin Laden."
The cover of the magazine, which can be seen here, shows an illustration of bin Laden crossed out with a prominent red "X" -- as in, buh bye.
Turns out this is only the fourth time in Time's history that the magazine has gone with the "X" cover. Prior to bin Laden's rude awakening by Navy SEALs, Time did this for only three other globally reviled figures: Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein -- and Zarqawi. (video after page break)
It seems to me that our government had vastly more intelligence on what was going on in Obama bin Laden's ghastly hideout before sending SEAL Team 6 in last week than they are telling us. President Barack Obama told CBS that the odds in favor of bin Laden being in the compound were "at best" 55 percent. My guess is that they were closer to 100 percent.
We know that from satellites overhead, our intelligence officers thought they had bin Laden spotted in the complex. A man that they concluded was bin Laden was seen pacing regularly inside the compound grounds. Called "The Pacer," he was tall, and they figured he might very well be the 6 foot 4 terror leader. So the order was sent to our SEAL team to go in.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams incredulously noted how "...it's become fashionable among some to say...that so-called enhanced interrogation, what some define as torture...helped contribute to the death of bin Laden." He then touted: "Today Senator John McCain headed to the floor of the U.S. Senate to refute that."
In the clip that followed, McCain declared: "In my personal experience, the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence, but often produces bad intelligence. Because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear whether it is true or false." He then asserted: "The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee was obtained through standard non-coercive means."
While Good Morning America covered the news that Omar bin Laden, the son of the terrorist mastermind, has condemned the U.S. for his father's killing, no mention was made of GMA's January 22, 2008 friendly interview with the young man.
On Wednesday, reporter Jim Sciutto explained, "Another of bin Laden's son, Omar, who is living in Saudi Arabia and other family members have condemned the raid, calling it an illegal assassination of an unarmed man."
Yet, in 2008, correspondent Nick Watt tossed softballs to Omar bin Laden, parroting, "[Omar] wants to be an ambassador for peace. First up, he wants to meet with President George Bush to explain to him what his father is all about." Watt failed to press the offspring of the mass murderer on comments such as this: "My father is a very kind man...He's very sorry when he does something like 11 September."
Left-wing Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs, a frequent Morning Joe guest, has accused US special operations forces of committing "high-tech murder on a large scale" for their targeted campaign of killing or capturing Al Qaeda Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Sachs made his contemptible accusation on today's Morning Joe in the course of a discussion of the PBS Frontline documentary "Kill/Capture" on the JSOC operations. Stephen Grey, a producer of the documentary, was a guest.
Just when you consider cutting the Associated Press a break for doing something right, they pull this.
Most people know that in the interest of "not spiking the football," the Obama administration has decided that it will not release photos of Osama bin Laden's dead body.
Shortly after the decision was announced, AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for said photos. According to John Hudson at the Atlantic (HT to Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web), the AP's Michael Oreskes claims that "This information is important for the historical record" and "It's our job as journalists to seek this material." So far, so good.
But you just knew they'd figure out a way to potentially ruin it. Here's Oreskes as quoted by Hudson:
MSNBC's Ed Schultz is so pro-Barack Obama that he wasn't the most liberal person on his Monday program. The Ed Show host hyperbolically praised the President as "on the footsteps of greatness" and tangled with a guest who refused to agree that Osama bin Laden was guilty.
Grit TV anchor Laura Flanders appeared on the program to out-liberal Shultz, arguing, "...You can say a lot of things about what happened Sunday night [with the killing of bin Laden]. You can say it was justified. But justice is not the word. It wasn't what we stand up for around the world and call justice."
An incredulous Schultz could only sputter, "Osama bin Laden wasn't guilty?...He wasn't guilty?" Flanders would simply emphasize, "As I said, you can call it justified."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Monday continued to obsess over Dick Cheney, deriding the former Vice President as a "torture advocate" who should waterboard Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby.
The Hardball anchor attacked Cheney for complaining that Barack Obama has ended Bush-era war on terror polices. Matthews offered this aside: "...But Cheney being Cheney- doesn't that sound like a good torture advocate name, by the way- he couldn't help but stick it to the President on this very issue."
He then played a clip of Cheney and, rather than address the ex-VP's statements, mocked, "Why don't we have Cheney try that waterboarding thingamajig of his on Karl Rove and Scooter to really find out who said what in that CIA leak case? I think they're fair game, to use a phrase. "
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.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz used the killing of Osama bin Laden to revisit how the media were too deferential to the Bush administration. Kurtz questioned the validity of the terror alerts in the years following 9/11 and wondered if they were used for political gain. Kurtz, comparing the press coverage of the bin Laden assassination and the War on Terror, pondered if there was a "climate of fear" post-9/11 and asked "did the media contribute to that?"
"Is it possible that the Bush administration, for political reasons, chose to play up the War on Terror in a way that the Obama administration has chosen not to?" Kurtz asked guest Brian Ross of ABC News. Ross didn't see the same conspiracy theory on the Bush administration, simply saying that they had a "different mindset" in the matter than Obama.
Last week, the media rightfully crowed over U.S. success in killing Osama Bin Laden, an unquestioned bad guy in the war on terror. They noted that intelligence gathered from that raid may have led to an unsuccessful U.S. Predator drone attack on Anwar Al Awlaki, leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen. Unfortunately, while Al Awlaki is very much as bad as Bin Laden, the media haven’t always known it.
The mainstream media have recently described this America-born terrorist as a “central figure” of Al Qaeda and the New York Times, ABC News, and MSNBC have all called him “radical” when reporting on the recent attempted drone attack. Al Awlaki has been linked to the 2009 Christmas Day Underwear bombing attempt in Detroit, the Fort Hood Shooting and the failed Times Square bombing.
But just 10 years ago they claimed he was a “moderate” a bridge-builder, and a “prayer leader.”
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, host David Gregory remained highly skeptical of the role enhanced interrogation tactics played in tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden: "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. And based on reporting this week in NBC News and outside, he never gave up the truth about the courier that led to bin Laden."
Gregory made the argument while speaking to a panel that included former CIA Director General Michael Hayden, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In response to Gregory's assertions, Chertoff referred to political partisans debating the issue: "...there will be people who will never be persuaded one way or the other about this." Gregory argued: "But it's a question of whether it's knowable....Is it objectively knowable?"
While discussing what role President Bush and enhanced interrogations played in the death of Osama bin Laden, Fox News Sunday panelist Juan Williams referred to the terrorist's death as "murder."
Responding to conservative Paul Gigot, Williams dismissed, "But to somehow say it's because we were engaged in enhanced interrogation, and that led- and it's a very uncertain path that it leads directly to the murder of Osama bin Laden- it seems to me petty, and it seems to me an attempt to diminish President Obama's accomplishments."