Chronicle staff writer, Robert Collier, wants the US to "negotiate" with the radical, Islamist, terrorists and the old guard Saddamists that are vexing Iraq's attempts to move into the 21st century preventing them in their laudable attempt to build a nation answerable to Iraqis of every stripe.
"U.S. must negotiate with insurgents and militias, experts say", Collier breathlessly informs us. His "experts", though, leave much to be desired for reliability.
Collier seems to think the insurgents and terror outfits should be treated as if they are merely interested parties, as if they were the same kind of political party or faction we are used to in the west. Someone has not taken the time to inform Mr. Collier about exactly what these factions want in the Middle East, sadly.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nuclear ambitions; his flouting of the recent unanimous UN Security Council resolution to stop his march toward acquiring nuclear weapons; his repeated vows to wipe Israel off the map and his various threats to the US, including at least one to achieve "a world without America"?;
Israel's possible plans to defend itself and eliminate Iran's nuclear program?
If you're NBC, the choice is clear: the answer is #2. Consider the editorializing that crept in the news item NBC's Amy Rohbach "news" item on this morning's "Today."
With President Bush presumably about to announce a surge of troops into Iraq, what better time for CNN to run a segment . . . likely to put a damper on recruiting? In theory, there was nothing wrong with a segment aired at 10:30 ET this morning, geared to providing useful information to potential recruits. As discussed during CNN host TJ Holmes' interview of Gina Cavallaro of the Military Times [owned by Gannett, the folks who bring you the liberal USA Today], recruits do need to understand that they are entering into a contract with the military, that they have bargaining power, that it's possible to negotiate, that it's wise to get things in writing, etc.
Well and good. But all that information was provided against the backdrop of a recurring theme: that recruiters are likely to distort or even lie to potential recruits.
Holmes introduced the segment this way: "Between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military recruiters are feeling more pressure to meet their goals. They are overstating the benefits of enlisting right now, is the word. What should you know before your son or daughter signs on the dotted line?"
Holmes' first question to Cavallaro: "The [recruits] you talk to who were just getting into it or have been in for a little bit, do you hear much saying they didn't really know what they were getting to? Did their impressions turn out to be true once they were enlisted?"
Cavallaro took it from there: "I hear people saying, 'my recruiter lied to me. I'm not where I said I would be. I didn't know I would be in Korea for a year.' You definitely hear those things."
After a run of sordid beauty-queen stories, it doesn't get much more refreshing -- or inspiring -- than this. A beauty queen lays aside her crown not because of scandal but . . . to serve her country. Meet Jessica Gaulke, who has given up her crown as Minnesota's Queen of the Lakes because her National Guard unit has been activated. Jessica is scheduled for training at Fort Hood, TX and then deployment to Iraq.
The story gets even more dramatic. In the course of her interview by NBC's Natalie Morales on this morning's "Today," Jessica announced that a week from now she will be marrying her fiance.
"Today" generally played the story in positive terms as the graphic it displayed during much of the interview, "Brave Beauty", suggests. Still, Morales couldn't help but inject NBC's official line on the war into the interview:
"Do you have any reservations about going there, especially as you see how it's basically escalated into civil war there?"
How do you know when things have jumped ugly at Hardball? When host Chris Matthews himself has to jump in to separate the warring parties, even warning a Dem consultant to lay off the ad hominems.
Bob Shrum is always spoiling for a fight. In contrast, Ron Christie is normally mild-mannered and affable. But the former aide to Pres. Bush and VP Cheney had definitely eaten his Wheaties this afternoon.
The video portrays things beyond my poor power of description, but the fur began to fly when Shrum accused Christie of using talking points. Things went downhill from there.
I'd say Christie landed the single most-telling blow of the evening. Shrum gave him an opening, calling for the cut-off of funding for the Iraq war at a date certain, claiming "this is how we've always ended wars. We honored Gerald Ford last week for helping to end the war in Vietnam. And that's how it was ended - the funding was cut off."
Christie pounced: "Now you're going to tell me that's how we end wars? We actually end wars when we achieve our objectives that we've set militarily."
On a recent episode of rightANGLE, a current-affairs TV talk show I host, I had the opportunity to interview Charles "Cully" Stimson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs. While Stimson has responsibility for detainees world-wide, much of our discussion focused on those held at Guantanamo Bay -- Gitmo.
Observed Stimson: "We've had over 2,000 journalists visit Gitmo. People who go and see it for themselves realize it's almost Alice in Wonderland - down is up and up is down. The caricature of Guantanamo is exactly the opposite of the reality of Guantanamo. Detainees at Gitmo are treated humanely, in accordance with Common Article Three of the Geneva Convention."
A groundbreaking study of 1,946 male veterans of World War II and Korea suggests that vets with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are at greater risk of heart attacks as they age.
The conclusion: war is bad for your health.
Wow. Wonder how much taxpayer money was wasted on THAT study!?
At least our veteran's aren't so stupid that they wouldn't have been able to know it all upfront, without a "study".
"It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out," said John Oliveira of New Bedford, Mass., a former Navy public affairs officer and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, I certainly don't want to make light of the problems of coping that our veterans confront upon returning from war. Robert E. Lee once said that it is good that war is so horrible or we'd get too fond of it and he knew whereof he spoke.
People are vastly different and, whereas some may never experience much discomfort or anguish from their war service, others are bothered with the mental images for the rest of their lives. And we, as a society, should be observant and responsive to the needs of our returning heroes even as they advance into old age.
And here I thought Chris Matthews reserved his hardballs for his guests, not his colleagues . . .
To use one of Imus's favorite phrases, there are "tension conventions" breaking out all over MSNBC today. Earlier, I noted the shots Andrea Mitchell took at Nancy Pelosi over her "unseemly, imperial" celebrations marking her ascension to the speakership.
Later, things got a bit ugly between Chris Matthews Matt Lauer over the funding of the war in Iraq. It was a very rare display of real anger between fellow members of the NBC/MSNBC stable. Alluding to President Bush's speech of yesterday calling for the Democrats to avoid the kind of politics that will lead to stalemates, Lauer asked Matthews:
"What kind of stalemate are we going to see over Iraq in Congress?"
In apparent pursuit of their status as the chief news source for Islam in the west, the AP published a puff piece about how wonderful it is for young Americans to participate in the Muslim practice of the Hajj -- a required pilgrimage to Mecca.
Here is how wonderful and instructive it is...
The 20-year-old American tells his hajj pilgrimage stories ... and saw a man drop dead while circling the Kaaba.
Well, how "inspiring" it is to see a man drop dead at a religious function. Is that the sort of thing that should be praised as a civilized expression of religion?
"Dude, I saw it, the guy had the most peaceful smile on his face," (said) Adil Muschelewicz ... Muschelewicz didn't know the cause of the man's death -- exhaustion maybe, he said -- but it became one of the many powerful religious moments that have shaken him during the trip.
"I looked at his face and I looked at the Kaaba, and it was like he was happy, he'd gotten close to God. It just went boom, like this deep bass line in my heart," he said. "It was so emotional. I was by myself, in this wild place I'd never been before."
The Associated Press released an interesting set of statistics (host link stored for future ref) a couple of days ago that I would suppose were designed to suck away any optimism any fools who still support the mission in Iraq might have (bolds are mine):
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Government officials on Monday reported that 16,273 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police died violent deaths in 2006, a figure larger than an independent Associated Press count for the year by more than 2,500.
The tabulation by the Iraqi ministries of Health, Defense and Interior, showed that 14,298 civilians, 1,348 police and 627 soldiers were killed in the violence that raged in the country last year.
The Associated Press accounting, gleaned from daily news reports from Baghdad, arrived at a total of 13,738 deaths.
Pretty grim, isn't it? And this is for "violence that raged in the (whole) country."
Man, what a downer. I mean, this is an honest-to-goodness Grade A bona fide quagmire.
Oops -- I started digging into US murder statistics, and what I found made me less depressed about Iraq, and more concerned about the US.
One does not need to look much farther than the Newspapers in the USA to understand why we may lose this war against Islamist fascism and terrorism. At the very least, the Kansas City Star's Mary Sanchez displays her desire to condemn everything American and to make excuses for Muslim terrorists.
Using the "six imams expelled from an airplane" story as a springboard to wag a finger in the face of we ignorant Americans, Sanchez warns that we just don't get it where it concerns distinguishing between "Muslims who are a threat, and those who are not."
Naturally, it isn't the fault of any Muslim, either. No, it's all the fault of those uninformed American Christians.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a corrected version of the original item. Imus's guest was Mike Barnicle. The original item, displayed briefly, incorrectly identified Imus's guest as Chris Matthews. My apologies to Chris Matthews and our readers.
H/t to reader PJG.
Does it get any more foul than this? During the 8 AM ET hour of Don Imus's show this morning he and Mike Barnicle fantasized about how various Republicans would react to being hung on the gallows.
Note: this item was prepared from the closed-caption transcript. It will be reviewed and corrected as appropriate in the course of the morning. Video: Real (3MB) or Windows (3.5MB) PlusMP3 (555KB)
As a former aide to Tip O'Neill, Chris Matthews is accustomed to offering advice to Democratic Speakers of House. With President Bush's announcement of a surge apparently imminent, Chris Matthews made clear his marching orders for Nancy Pelosi this morning: don't fund it.
Interviewed by Meredith Vieira on the "Today" show, Matthews opined:
"She better have, it seems to me, a strong voice about the war. And that's not just putting Jack Murtha out there to lose. And she's gotta get out there and win on this argument. This is going to come down to funding, whether anybody like it or not. The purse strings are now controlled by the Democrats; they cannot abdicate that. They have to choose, whether they're for the president's position with this new escalation that seems to be coming or they're not with him. They can't fall back and tut-tut and hiss the president. They've got to do something about it."
As reported here on Newsbusters the Associated Press is refusing to back down from, nor give satisfactory evidence for, its November report that 6 Iraqi Sunnis were burned alive in sectarian violence, a claim heavily disputed seemingly by everyone but the AP.
The AP based their reports of this grisly violence on the word of a single "witness" they named as Iraqi police captain, Jamail Hussein. Unfortunately for the AP, and despite quite a lot of effort by quite a few people, this captain of Iraqi police cannot be located so that the story can be substantiated. The AP, however, continues to claim that he exists despite the paucity of evidence.
If an Iraqi police captain by the name of Jamil Hussein exists, there is no convincing evidence of it - and that means the Associated Press has a journalistic scandal on its hands that will fester until the AP deals with it properly.
This controversy and the AP's handling of it call into question the credibility, integrity, and smarts of one of the world's biggest, most influential, most respected news organizations, the New York-based Associated Press.
Don't look for Tom Brokaw to turn up in an "Army Strong" ad anytime soon . . .
Brokaw will praise President Ford in the eulogy he will deliver later today. But it was the former NBC anchor in a much more familiar role -- that of criticizing a Republican administration -- on this morning's "Today." Along the way, he did his best to dampen enthusiasm among potential military recruits.
Discussing the execution of Saddam and the possibility of a surge, Brokaw opined:
"The manner in which Saddam Hussein was executed reveals the essential truths about Iraq: that this is a deeply divided country along tribal lines. Andthe idea that we're going to impose the rule of law and democracy there by putting in more troops now will seem to most people,especially those families that may be sending somebody there, like a folly. And a lot of families, and I think a lot of people who are raising their hands to join the armed services are wondering 'I'm giving my life for that?'"
sic: thus; so. Used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally. - Answers.com definition
Adding religious insult to mortal injury in its coverage of the 3000th US service-person to die in Iraq, ABC seemed to suggest that there was something odd or erroneous in the expression of a traditional belief in the afterlife.
Today's "Good Morning America" focused on the death of Army Specialist Dustin Donica of Texas, believed to be that 3000th serviceman lost in Iraq. Narrating the segment, ABC's Jonathan Karl stated: "The MySpace page he left behind bears the tributes of those whose lives he touched." The screen then displayed the message [shown larger-than-normal here for clarity's sake] from one of those friends:
"You were one of my best friends and I'll never forget you. All my prayers go to your family and I'll see you again." (sic)
The NY Times (HT Hot Air; scroll down, and look on left; direct link to pic is here; pic below is from my host's hard drive) has in a sense outdone CNN by giving Saddam the look of a charismatic, and from all appearances beloved, leader:
One suspects that this is just a warm-up for Castro when his time comes.
Well, this morning comes a report from a certified MSM source lending credence to W's assertion. NBC's Richard Engel, who nobody would confuse with a Bush administration defender and who only yesterday was deploring the execution of Saddam as "primitive and vindictive," appeared on this morning's "Today" to discuss the aftermath of Saddam's death.
Asked host Lester Holt: "Lots of concern that there would be a violent response to the execution from Saddam loyalists, supporters. What has the reaction been so far?"
The passing of President Ford has New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof fantasizing about the ignominy that President Bush's obituary will heap on him for his handling of Iraq. In what Kristof claims to be "the holiday spirit," he offers W ten suggestions to rescue his legacy. After all, what says "holiday spirit" more than dreaming about someone's death?
You can read all ten suggestions here if you've anted up to the Times, but for those loath to lard the Times' coffers, let me focus on two of Kristof's recommendations:
"Seriously engage Iraq’s nastier neighbors, including Iran and Syria, and renounce permanent military bases in Iraq. None of that will solve the mess in Iraq. But these steps will suggest that you are belatedly trying to listen and are willing to give diplomacy a chance."
We haven't listened to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Sure we have: he wants to develop nuclear weapons and erase Israel from the map. For starters. And just why should we renounce the prospect of bases giving us the ability to defend American interests in the most volatile region of the world?
Tom Brokaw took the occasion of the ceremonies attending the death of President Ford to take shots at the foreign policy of both Presidents Ford and Reagan. Speaking with Chris Matthews on MSNBC during the 6 PM ET hour, Brokaw observed: "President Ford and Henry Kissinger, fairly I think you can say, were over-infatuated with the Shah of Iran. Iran was an important launching pad for the United States should a war with the Soviet Union break out. It was also the source of great oil [sic], but there was already at that time very strong evidence in Iran that there was an Islamic uprising that eventually overthrew the Shah of Iran."
The Shah fell largely because Jimmy Carter abandoned him. Is Brokaw saying the US should have jumped earlier on Ayatollah Khomenei's bandwagon?
The Times may have taken it too far this time. I would think more than a few in the Manhattan wine-and-cheese set, even those who oppose the war, will be astute enough to substitute the name "Osama bin Laden" and his "orchestration of the 9/11 attacks" for "Saddam Hussein" and his "vile and unforgivable atrocities" in the Times' Friday editorial. Here are a couple of easy examples:
This morning's "Today" show characterized the execution of Saddam Hussein with a multiplicity of negative terms. According to NBC reporter Richard Engel, reporting from Baghdad:
"The Iraqi government is now going to great lengths to say that this execution was carried out with the utmost respect for human rights; that it was a very organized, precise event. However, interviews that we've conducted with witnesses, judges and other people who attended and followed all the proceedings say it was much more emotional and chaotic."
Continued Engel: "The execution was primitive and vindictive. "
Engel stated that the site of the execution was one of Saddam's most notorious intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, where Shia radicals were executed, "Shia from the same party now leading the Iraqi government." As video of Prime Minister Maliki, a Shia, flashed on the screen, Engel concluded: "today was their revenge."
Just deserts were dished out to one Saddam Hussein last night. Few deserved it more than he.
There is no reason for me to recount his many crimes against humanity here, but it is a good thing he has paid for his evil -- and paid with his life.
That is all that needs to be said about that...
But, in reading the AP's story by Abdul-Zahra, something else comes to the fore that is vexing to anyone looking for truth in the media. Of course, truth is always in short supply from our friends at al-AP, but with Abdul-Zahra's report we see a constant misuse of the English language.
Not surprisingly, all three morning shows featured the Bob Woodward interview with recently deceased former President Gerald Ford, in which Ford criticized the Bush administration for its decision to go to war with Iraq. Good Morning America and the Today show were the most eager to showcase Ford’s critique of the administration, broadcasting full reports and featuring audio clips from the interview during the 7am half hour, while CBS’ Early Show relegated the story to a brief anchor-read at 7:35 am.
On ABC, anchor Robin Roberts, substitute co-host George Stephanopoulos, and reporter Claire Shipman seemed disappointed that the former president had not come forward publicly with his criticism prior to his death, saying that it could have made a difference in the U.S.’s decision to go to war:
WorldNetDaily reported yesterday on the discovery of a State Department document released earlier this year (Here it is, converted to an HTML doc by yours truly for easy reference). State acknowledges, apparently for the first time, something that Scott at Powerline (here and here) demonstrated definitively more than three years ago from other available evidence.
The admission is that State has known for decades that the late Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the head of Fatah, plotted and supervised the 1973 murders of three diplomats: two from the United States (Cleo Noel and George Curtis), and one from Belgium (Guy Eid) who was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time, in Khartoum, The Sudan.
The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat ..... Fatah representatives based in Khartoum partcipated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy.
You just knew it. "Today" was going to find a way to use the death of President Ford to take a shot at George Bush. You had to wait till the very end of the first half-hour, but sure enough, it came. The preceding twenty minutes had been a respectful review of the life of the 38th president. And after all, if there is one Republican president it's not too hard for the MSM to like, it was Ford, who replaced the hated Richard Nixon. Tom Brokaw even admitted that, in retrospect, Ford had made the right decision in pardoning Nixon.
But then came Ann Curry. Her mild demeanor can obscure one of the more baldly partisan hearts. Speaking with NBC consultant and presidential historian Michael Beschloss about Ford's handling of the Watergate aftermath Curry observed:
"I can't help but think we are now in troubled times as a nation. Very different, but still troubled times. Are there any lessons to be taken away, on this day when we mourn former President Gerald Ford, as we look to the future that still looks very murky."
..... On Saturday, the Security Council voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, increasing international pressure on the government to prove that it is not trying to make nuclear weapons.
..... Iran insists its nuclear program is intended to produce energy, but the U.S. and European nations suspect its ultimate goal is the production of weapons.
That's "funny." Here's an AP story from December 11 by Alicia Chang, AP Science writer, about potential global cooling that might occur as the result of a nuclear war that says: