Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that there should be "some check on the ability of a president" to launch a drone strike on Americans.
Speaking on CNN's State of the Union, Gates recommended "a panel of three judges or one judge or something that would give the American people confidence that there was, in fact, a compelling case to launch an attack against an American citizen."
Charlie Rose deferred to Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod on Monday's CBS This Morning regarding the controversy over several recent national security leaks. Axelrod repeatedly denied that the leaks came from the administration. Rose didn't challenge his guest's talking point, even though former Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicated that White House officials went "out in public with operational details" of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden during a May 2012 interview with the anchor.
Despite knowing about Gates's disclosure, Rose claimed that President Obama "seems to be upset about the spy leaks," and asked the Democratic campaign official whether the leaks came from the "national security apparatus at the White House."
Charlie Rose desperately tried to find confirmation from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday's CBS This Morning on whether President Obama is a good commander-in-chief: "You can answer this question as well as anyone I know....do you give President Obama high marks in the national security arena?" Gates exposed Rose's pro-Obama tactic when he laughingly replied, "If I don't, I'm sort of giving myself a flunking grade."
The veteran national security official did his best to nuance his eventual answer, but still ended up giving his former boss the grade that the anchor was looking for: "He [Obama] was as aggressive, if not more so, in going after terrorists and al Qaeda. I think that the relationship with China has been managed pretty well. So, yeah, I think they've done a pretty good job."
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):
Newsweek's Evan Thomas on Friday took a swipe at the White House's handling of its operation in Libya.
As the subject was raised on PBS's "Inside Washington," Thomas said, "In this case, it’s always hard to know what the Administration is doing because it’s sort of a headless horse" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Was Hillary Clinton defending the Secretary of Defense . . . or jerking him back into line?
It was a stunning power play. On Meet The Press this morning, after Defense Secretary Bob Gates conceded that Libya is not a "vital interest" of the United States--but before he could complete his comments--Hillary cut him off. She launched into a minute-and-forty-second monologue seeking to justify US military involvement in Libya.
Gates had to sit and take it . . . and never got to say another word.
Calls for a U.S. or NATO-imposed no-fly zone over Libya to aid the fledgling rebellion against dictator Muammar Qadhafi have been met with protests by Obama administration officials that it is a logistical nightmare requiring careful planning and forethought.
While that's something to that argument, fears of Libya's air force are way overblown, some retired Air Force officers argue, according to Aviation Week's David Fulghum, in his March 8 blog post, "Libyan Air Defenses Would Fade Fast" (emphases mine):
Chris Matthews must really be getting tired of watching the man that used to give him tingles up his leg continue to get crushed in the polls, for on Friday he recommended a serious shakeup in the Obama administration.
First, he want's Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be replaced by Hillary Clinton.
"With her at the Pentagon, he would forge confidence in Middle East policy," said the "Hardball" host.
But the real surprise was Matthews calling for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to either replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner or Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In her debut Sunday morning as host of ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, the long-time CNN international correspondent brought a foreigner’s perspective to the program as she treated her lack of knowledge and familiarity with U.S. politics as an asset and the current New York City resident seemed to say that after more than two decades of covering the world she had decided to allow herself to deal with U.S. politics now that “the story in this country is turning into one of the most fascinating.” She asserted in an opening explanation: “I'm also eager to open a window on the world.”
In her interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi she approached the Speaker as an empathetic liberal confused about why the public would vote in Republicans after all of the Democratic achievements (“You, by all accounts, are one of the most, if not the most, powerful and successful Speakers in the history of the United States. You’ve passed so much legislation...”) and fretted about “so much polarization” against Pelosi as exemplified by an anti-Pelosi ad which Amanpour described as painting Pelosi as “the bogeyman.” Amanpour despaired: “There seems to be a never-ending partisanship. What is it you can do for the people in this highly-polarized situation?”
She framed questions to Pelosi around phrases such as “from an outsider’s point of view” and “for me, looking in from outside.” Amanpour displayed less ideological affinity and was more engaged and informed about Afghanistan when she quizzed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
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."
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Reacting to the Associated Press's decision to publish -- against a grieving father's wishes -- a photo of a mortally-wounded Marine, MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell blasted the news wire in a statement today:
The Associated Press should be ashamed for even thinking something as preposterous as this. This photo will do nothing but cause great sorrow for the family of a hero. As the father of a Marine, I cannot imagine the pain they will endure because of its publication and the damage it will cause in their grief.
Way to go, AP. On the eve of the federal holiday dedicated to the American worker, you are causing pain for the family of a hero that has given the ultimate sacrifice of his life in labor for his country.
The AP defended its decision by insisting the decision came "after a period of reflection" and was done to convey "the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it."
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also slammed the AP's decision, reports Mike Allen of The Politico:
Sunday's "NBC Nightly News" featured retired General Barry McCaffrey, NBC News military analyst and "one-time war critic," as he voiced his "surprising new assessment" that conditions in Iraq have improved "dramatically" since the surge. McCaffrey, former Drug Czar of the Clinton administration, remarked: "A year ago, I thought the thing was going over the edge of a cliff. That has changed dramatically in a very short period of time."
Anchor Lester Holt played up McCaffrey's history of being a war critic as he teased the December 23 show: "Reality Check: New progress in Iraq, and a surprising new assessment from a four-star general and one-time war critic, just back from Baghdad." (Transcript follows)
With “Straight Talk” on screen, ABC's World News led Wednesday night by touting as momentous the news that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in a quote cited in the middle of a newspaper column, said “I don't know” when asked whether invading Iraq was a good idea. “Three little words,” a delighted Charles Gibson announced about dissension in the ranks, “three little words that you rarely hear from the Bush administration when it comes to the war in Iraq: 'I don't know.' That's what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said when asked if the Iraq invasion was a good idea. Gates' words are in stark contrast to the surety often expressed by the President.” Reporter Jonathan Karl trumpeted how “Gates' stunningly candid answer came in an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks.” Repeating the “I don't know” reply, Karl urged: “Compare that to the words of President Bush, who has said consistently and forcefully the invasion was the right thing to do.” Viewers then saw three Bush soundbites. Karl concluded with how Gates disagrees with Bush “on what might just be the most important question of the Bush presidency.”
ABC seems to apply the approving “straight talk” label to those expressing the media's consensus liberal view.