In an interview with retired General Stanley McChrystal on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer grilled the former Afghanistan commander on his resignation following criticism of President Obama in a 2010 Rolling Stone article: "There were several demeaning quotes attributed to your staff members, even to you, about the President and about key members of his staff....Was he [Obama] furious about what had come out in that Rolling Stone magazine? Did he express displeasure with you?"
While McChrystal was supposedly on to promote his memoir, My Share of the Task, Lauer spent nearly the entire exchange harping on the two-year-old personal drama between the General and Obama: "Did you distrust the people at the White House? Did you distrust key members of the Obama administration when it came to their policy in dealing with Afghanistan?...Did you distrust the President and key members of the administration in terms of their handling of the war in Afghanistan?"
The Washington Post on Friday took on Seymour Hersh's outlandish conspiracy theory that "neo-conservative" members of Opus Dei and the Knights of Malta inside the military "overthrew the American government" and are waging a "crusade" against Muslims. The newspaper reported that, contrary to Hersh's claims, General Stanley McChrystal was not a member of either organization, and that there was "little evidence of a broad fundamentalist conspiracy within the military."
Writer Paul Farhi began his article, "Hersh rebuked on 'crusaders,'" by stating that the journalist for The New Yorker's "latest revelation is drawing some puzzled reactions and angry denunciations." After recounting Hersh's accusations from his recent speech, that he "advanced the notion that U.S. military forces are directed and dominated by Christian fundamentalist 'crusaders' bent on changing 'mosques into cathedrals'" and his accusations against McChrystal and other members of the special operations community, Farhi continued that there "seem to be a few problems with Hersh's assertions," and quoted from the former general's spokesman:
Geraldo Rivera on Friday excoriated Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings actually comparing him to al Qaeda terrorists.
Discussing the article that effectively destroyed General Stanley McChrystal's career, Rivera told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, "These guys, particularly the staffers who gave the most damning statements about the civilians in office, including the vice president of the United States, these guys had no idea that they were being interviewed by this guy."
Rivera then made a staggering analogy (video after the break with full transcript and commentary):
Two days before 9/11, two al Qaeda terrorists posing as journalists got up to Sheik Massoud, our most valuable ally in Afghanistan. They blew themselves and Sheik Massoud up, a tremendous setback. I maintain historically that the removal of General McCrystal at the hands of this freelance reporter for "Rolling Stone" has almost comparable strategic significance.
In the midst of this week's Gen. Stanley McChrystal controversy, a possibility concerning statements allegedly made by him and his staff has largely gone overlooked: might they have been speaking off the record when they were around Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings?
This certainly would explain some of the bizarre comments allegedly made by military members knowing full well how the chain of command works and that the President is clearly at the top.
With this in mind, the Washington Post explored this possibility in a front page piece Saturday entitled, "Gen. McChrystal Allies, Rolling Stone Disagree Over Article's Ground Rules":
"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.
In a classic example of liberal hypocrisy, the far-left leaning, George Soros-funded group MoveOn.org has removed its controversial "General Betray Us" ad from its website.
For those that have forgotten, shortly after General David Petraeus issued his report to Congress in September 2007 concerning the condition of the war in Iraq and the success of that March's troop surge, MoveOn placed a full-page ad in the New York Times with the headline, "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"
This created quite a firestorm with media outlets on both sides of the aisle circling the wagons to either defend or berate both the Times and MoveOn.
Now that President Obama has appointed Petraeus to replace the outgoing Gen. Stanley McChrystal to lead the war effort in Afghanistan, the folks on the far-left that castigated Petraeus when he worked for George W. Bush have to sing a different tune.
With that in mind, the ad, which has been at MoveOn's website for years, was unceremoniously removed on Wednesday as reported by our friends at Weasel Zippers:
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday hyped Barack Obama's handling of the decision to fire General Stanley McChrystal and replace him with David Petraeus, lauding the action as a "political masterstroke."
His comments built on extensive media praise on Wednesday, including many reporters who called the move "brilliant." Stephanopoulos seemed particularly pleased.
The former Democratic aide turned journalist extolled, "...That pick really seems to have been the political masterstroke that got President Obama out of the tight box he was in. It's being welcomed both by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill."
One of the more annoying tics in the current bubble of national media coverage of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's truly bizarre granting of access to Rolling Stone magazine was the utter lack of any description of the magazine -- neither its ideology (hard-left) or its central focus (rock and pop music). Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz provided a little depth with an article on Thursday, which began:
In the summer of 2008, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner ended an interview with Barack Obama -- whose campaign he financially supported -- by saying, "Good luck. We are following you daily with great hope and admiration."
So Kurtz pronounced it "surprising" when the magazine was "assailing Obama from the left." But in fact, we pointed out in February 2008 that venomous Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi was trashing both Obama and Hillary Clinton as "superficial, posturing conservatives." So why couldn't reporters acknowledge this was a left-wing, anti-war magazine? Wouldn't that color how people saw a "Runaway General" controversy?
Comedian Jon Stewart Wednesday pointed out an inconvenient truth about this week's General Stanley McChrystal incident: the media "kind of suck" for getting scooped by Rolling Stone magazine.
As "The Daily Show" host addressed the day's events involving the General and President Obama, he showed clips of various press members expressing disgust that Rolling Stone would get such access to McChrystal and staff.
These included CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper as well as MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
After the final clip of CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr asking, "What on earth was he thinking giving an interview to Rolling Stone," Stewart quipped, "At approximately 11:04 Eastern Standard Time, the American news media finally realized they kind of suck" (video follows with more highlights and commentary):
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."
Another leg tingle is on the way for MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews. Wednesday on "Andrea Mitchell Reports," Chris Matthews asserted that the President's image had been tainted because "BP has been the front institution, not the United States government, in this whole horror down in the gulf."
Yet, the White House no longer needs to worry, because to Matthews, the releasing of General McChrystal benefits the President's image of handling the oil spill by creating a "chance for him and somewhat in a way or somewhat in a personnel manner to insist on his role as Commander in Chief."
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."
Only 70 minutes after Barack Obama explained his decision to fire General Stanley McChrystal, Wednesday, MSNBC turned to leftist host Ed Schultz for analysis. Schultz gushed that the decision proved that the President is "brilliant on the basics." He enthused, "Well, as commander in chief, I think it's probably President Obama's finest hour," because it displayed toughness.
Host Tamron Hall knocked McChrystal, referencing his role in the investigation of Army Ranger Pat Tillman's death. She derided, "So, we know that McChrystal has a lot of, if you will, Xs on his report card."
If the bloggers at Daily Kos can imply that Keith Olbermann isn't pro-Obama enough for them, you can only imagine what they think of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The Kosmonaut known simply as "Overlander" relayed that the general has written short stories with plots about presidential assassination, so clearly it's a "fantasy" of his:
I hope the Secret Service strip searches this monstrous thug before his meeting with Obama in the White House Wednesday. For the humiliation, mainly. But you can't be too careful with this devil.
Hastings' article reveals that sometimes, America's military is not made up of our best and brightest, but of our sickest and most pathological criminals. Half frat boy, half eighth-grader, half murderer and all evil, McChrystal is a sad remnant of Donald Rumsfeld's dysfunctional Pentagon who should have been kicked out of the military in West Point rather than be allowed to slouch his way through a brutal career and find his way into the White House.
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):
Contessa Brewer got a lot more than she was likely looking for when she interviewed Col. Jack Jacobs [ret.] this afternoon about the McChrystal situation. The MSNBC host wanted to focus on the impropriety of McChrystal publicly airing his criticisms of Pres. Obama and others in the chain of command.
But while the Medal of Honor recipient readily agreed that McChrystal was out of line, and would probably pay with his job, Jacobs also went out of his way—twice—to add an inconvenient truth: that when it comes to the substance of the criticism, most in the military think McChrystal "was right."
In what appears to be the opening round of a rearguard action against what leftists used to call "the good war" (only because they felt they needed to pretend they had pro-war bona fides to make their anti-Iraq War arguments look stronger to the general populace), the New York Times's Christopher Drew reported last Saturday for the Sunday print edition that sending more troops to Afghanistan as General Stanley A. McChrystal has requested might cost tens of billions of dollars.
While President Obama’s decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan is primarily a military one, it also has substantial budget implications that are adding pressure to limit the commitment, senior administration officials say.
On last night's "Rachel Maddow Show", the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh commended President Obama for taking the reins in Afghanistan. Hersh stated that Presidents must decide their own war strategies. But in the early stages of the war in Iraq, Hersh was a leading critic of similar actions by the Bush administration. Hersh's hypocrisy suggests he is more concerned with the political implications of military policy than strategic ones.
"Lincoln did not let McClellan write a report on how to win a war against the South," Hersh told Maddow, in reference to Gen. George McClellan, initially the top general for the Union during the Civil War. Hersh was offering a historical perspective on why Presidents should not rely on military commanders to form strategy--McClellan was a disastrous general, after all (video embedded below the fold).
Those who read the New York Times's coverage of the unsuccessful results of Barack and Michelle Obama's attempt to seal the 2016 Summer Olympics bid for Chicago on Friday afternoon ('For Obama, an Unsuccessful Campaign") might want to read it again.
If it doesn't seem the same, it's because it isn't.
An excerpt of the item's first five paragraphs posted at FreeRepublic at 4:44 Eastern Time on October 2 shows that the article was apparently originally published under the same title with Peter Baker's byline sometime Friday afternoon.
There are even more substantive differences noticed by Weasel Zippers I will get to shortly, but the first five paragraphs alone were obviously worked over, while Jeff Zeleny's name was added to the byline.
After the jump, on the left you will see the original as excerpted at FreeRepublic; on the right are the first five paragraphs currently at the Times web site (saved here at my host for future reference; click here or on the graphic to view a larger side-by-side version in a separate window):
Is it possible for a sitting president to ignore a war his own country is waging?
According to the Boston Globe, it depends on who that president is.
The war in Afghanistan has presented a rare look at two different presidents faced with the same situation in the same theatre.
Following initial Allied success, 2003 saw the Taliban regroup for a long-term fight, and by late 2007 Bush had begun to draw up plans for a troop surge. Two years later, generals on the ground say our presence is still not enough.
Now, with President Obama in charge, those in the mainstream media portray his leadership in a starkly different light than that of former President Bush.
The Boston Globe is a prime example of the double standard (continued).