Daily Archives: June 24, 2010
Huh? Oh well…its Faux News. What can I say that I haven’t already said about Carlson or Faux News?
General Stanley McChrystal banned Fox News from his headquarters, according to The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder.
Ambinder wrote Wednesday (via Michael Calderone) that McChrystal is a liberal, and added in the detail about Fox News to flesh out the point:
Even more about McChrystal: now it can be told. The story about him voting for Obama is not contrived. He is a political liberal. He is a social liberal. He banned Fox News from the television sets in his headquarters. Yes, really. This puts to rest another false rumor: that McChrystal deliberately precipitated his firing because he wants to run for President.
New York (CNN) – President Obama’s decision to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus is “a masterstroke,” says analyst Fareed Zakaria.
The president announced Wednesday that he had accepted McChrystal’s resignation after the publication of a Rolling Stone article that contained disparaging remarks by the general and his staff about officials in the Obama administration. Obama chose Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command, to replace McChrystal.
Zakaria said the controversy over McChrystal’s comments raised questions about how effectively he was doing his job, and Petraeus is superbly equipped for the role of leading the NATO force in Afghanistan.
The author and host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” spoke to CNN on Wednesday. Here is an edited transcript:
CNN: What do you think of the president’s decision?
Fareed Zakaria: This is a masterstroke. Petraeus needs no on-the-job training, knows the theater, and is beloved by the troops. He understands COIN [counter-insurgency strategy], literally wrote the book on it, and most important — knows how to execute it. He has superb political skills and understands that a close working relationship with his civilian counterparts from the State Department, White House, and other agencies is not a bother but at the heart of the mission’s success.
CNN: What was at stake in the controversy over Gen. McChrystal?
Zakaria: I think there is one issue which has really been focused on by the press, which is the insubordination of Gen. McChrystal and his lack of respect for the civilian chain of command in general and a few of the civilians in particular in this White House, including the vice president, the ambassador to Afghanistan, and that’s an important issue but I think in most cases that was about personality clashes.
This is not like [Gen. Douglas] MacArthur, the historical analogy everyone makes. MacArthur basically publicly disagreed with Truman’s policy and in order to assert the supremacy of his policy, President Truman decided to fire Gen. MacArthur. This is more a case of insubordination in terms of showing disrespect to civilian authority, which is serious but doesn’t quite rise to that level.
The question I have, which in some ways is greater, is not whether Gen. McChrystal is guilty of insubordination but of incompetence.
CNN: In what way?
Zakaria: What I mean by that is this — the counterinsurgency strategy depends upon a very close joint implementation of military, political, economic and diplomatic efforts. That is at the heart of it.
What you see in Gen. McChrystal is someone who is openly disdainful of and sets himself up almost in opposition to the U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, the State Department high representative Richard Holbrooke, the national security adviser, the vice president.
So you have to ask yourself how would it be possible that they would actually be implementing a counterinsurgency strategy with that level of disconnect and friction between the military and civilian authorities. If McChrystal and his team are so contemptuous of these other people whose support is absolutely critical to the success of the mission, then he’s failing at his mission. This is not about his manners, this is about his ability to effectively execute the task he’s been asked to execute.
If you compare McChrystal’s attitude toward his civilian counterparts with that of Gen. Petraeus in Iraq, it’s night and day. Petraeus was extremely respectful of Ryan Crocker, the ambassador, extremely respectful of the State Department, always talking about how he really admired and appreciated their efforts and wanted them more involved, held almost all his briefings along with Crocker. And that clearly was a crucial part of why the surge succeeded, because the whole premise of the surge is that the military part is not by itself going to be enough. You need a great deal of activity on the political, economic, social and diplomatic fronts.
CNN: So you don’t agree with those who describe McChrystal as indispensable to executing the strategy?
Zakaria: No, I think he may be a great warrior and by all accounts he is, but the heart of the counterinsurgency doctrine is that you need a lot more than being a great warrior. You need to be a great diplomat, a great politician, a great nation builder. And I don’t see much evidence of that. And in fact that has been the major failing of the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. There was a kind of facile assumption that if you cleared [territory], you would be able to hold.
Gen. McChrystal said his strategy was going to work, because once they defeated Taliban in any area, they would have government in a box that they could roll out. The idea that government in Afghanistan is some kind of technocratic Lego set that you could just put in a box and bring to Marja and open and it’s all ready, is naïve in the extreme. If government in Afghanistan can be put in a box, it’s a jack in the box and you open it, it hits you in the face.
CNN: So what needs to be done now?
Zakaria: The key here is if you’re going to do counter insurgency, you have to have a hell of a lot more coordination between the military and the civilian, with the allies. The contempt that McChrystal betrayed toward the French is another part of the problem. The idea that these expressions of irritation and condescension are just done privately is probably not true. What you say and think in private ends up coming out and colors the relationship. So my guess is the relationship between McChrystal and his staff and the allied governments is probably not very good.
Then there is the broader issue, which is the attempt to implement the counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan in the first place.
No one is surprised at this development. GOP Congress people are often confused.
Hours after getting a respite from House Republicans, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) has cheekily responded to criticism over his “apology to BP” by tweeting a link to an American Spectator article titled “Joe Barton was right.”
The article by Peter Hannaford is a robust defense of what Barton said, knocking the Obama administration for “Alinsky” tactics and hatred of business.
Rep. Joe Barton of Texas broke an iron law of Washington last week. He described the elephant in the room that no one was supposed to see. In this case, it was the strong-arming Obama & Co. applied to BP to get it to “voluntarily” set up a $20 billion fund to compensate Gulf citizens adversely affected by the oil spill. Barton used the inelegant term, “shakedown.” He was promptly made to eat humble pie by his party’s Congressional leaders, fearful that if they didn’t clamp down, the Democrats would use it to tie the entire party to an unpopular company.
UPDATE: Barton has removed the tweet.
UPDATE II: A statement from Barton spokesman Sean Brown:
I did it! Without thinking about it much, I added a headline from one of the daily news clips to a website that is, in turn, linked to the congressman’s Twitter account. Mr. Barton was not aware of the Tweet…
Harry Reid grows a pair?
Harry Reid has just gone up with a second ad attacking Sharron Angle on Social Security, another sign that Angle’s apparent desire to phase out the popular program will be central to Reid’s efforts to define her as dangerous and extreme before the campaign gets off the ground:
The ad, in keeping with the Reid strategy of relying on Angle’s own words, blasts Angle for this recent quote comparing Social Security to welfare:
My grandfather would not even take his Social Security check because he said he was not up for welfare, he had planned for his retirement, and he wouldn’t take it.
But the real key to understanding this spot is its very last spoken word: “Crazy.”
The spot closes with the words “just too extreme” on the screen, and quotes an advocate for retirees saying of Angle’s Social Security position: “People depend on these checks. It’s their livelihood. It’s their food. It’s their prescription drug costs. This is crazy.”
The Reid game plan is to paint Angle as not just merely extreme, but dangerously unhinged. This is central to Reid’s message. Listen closely and you’ll hear lots more like this.
Farmer who put up sign claiming Democrats are ‘party of parasites’ has taken $1 million in farm subsidies.
Parasites? Who’s the one taking money from this Democrat controlled administration and congress?
In addition, Republicans often show their hypocrisy and project their inconsistencies toward Dems.
It’s as if the word “hypocrisy” was created just for them. Project
Missouri farmer David Jungerman has raised the hackles of local residents with a politically-charged sign he’s placed on his “45-foot-long, semi-truck box trailer” on his farm. The trailer reads: “Are you a Producer or Parasite Democrats – Party of the Parasites.” Now, the Kansas City Star reveals that Jungerman has been the recipient of over a million dollars of federal farm subsidies since 1995:
The Raytown farmer who posted a sign on a semi-truck trailer accusing Democrats of being the “Party of Parasites” received more than $1 million in federal crop subsidies since 1995. [...]
After a story about Jungerman’s trailer ran in Sunday’s Star, however, some readers called him a hypocrite for criticizing others for getting government help while taking government subsidies paid for by taxpayers.
Jungerman said he put up the sign to protest people who pay no taxes, but, “Always have their hand out for whatever the government will give them” in social programs.
Trying to defend himself, Jungerman told the press, “That’s just my money coming back to me. I pay a lot in taxes. I’m not a parasite.” He also said that the sign is aimed at national Democrats, not local Democrats, many of whom are “are old-fashioned Harry Truman Democrats,” who Jungerman says are “more conservative than many Republicans.” For the record, Harry Truman campaigned on establishing a single-payer health care system and famously vetoed tax cuts, making him much more progressive than many of today’s Democrats.
Hannity deceptively edited Obama to falsely accuse him of “attacking General Petraeus” | Media Matters for America
The deception at Fox News Channel continues, unfettered and with impunity…
Hannity: “Here is Barack Obama attacking General Petraeus.” On his Fox News show, Hannity discussed Obama’s decision to nominate Petraeus to be commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and said, “Here is Barack Obama attacking General Petraeus.” Hannity then played deceptively edited video of Obama’s questioning of Petraeus during 2007 Senate testimony. From the June 23 edition of Hannity:
HANNITY: We have a tape, Coulter, you have not seen this tape. I was telling you about it before the interview. General Petraeus is going to take over. General Petraeus was successful in Iraq. Barack Obama opposed it. Joe Biden attacked it. OK? Here is Barack Obama attacking General Petraeus.
OBAMA : We have now set the bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation, to the point where now we just have the levels of intolerable violence that existed in June of 2006, is considered success. And it’s not. … We are now confronted with the question: How do we clean up the mess and make the best out of a situation in which there are no good options? There are bad options and worse options. … I think the surge has had some impact, as I suggested. I would hope it would, given the sacrifices and loss that have been made. I would argue that the impact has been relatively modest, given the investment. … How long will this take? And at what point do we say enough?
HANNITY: He actually used the term at one point in this, “disastrous.” He said “no good option” — this is after the surge has been successful. Bad or worse in terms of the options available. And at best, moderate impact. [Hannity, 6/23/10]
Obama to Petraeus and Crocker: “And this is not a criticism of either of you gentlemen. This is a criticism of this president [Bush].”
During the Senate hearing Hannity deceptively edited, Obama explicitly said that the very comments Hannity characterized as “attacking General Petraeus” were “not a criticism of either” Petraeus or Adm. Ryan Crocker, then the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Obama made clear that his criticism was directed at the Bush administration.
From the September 11, 2007, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing [accessed via Nexis]:
OBAMA: And so I think that some of the frustration you hear from some of the questioners is that we have now set the bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation, to the point where now we just have the levels of intolerable violence that existed in June of 2006, is considered success. And it’s not. This continues to be a disastrous foreign policy mistake. Continue reading…
I hope this changes in the next 60 days.
President Barack Obama’s job performance rating has dropped to the lowest level of his presidency as Americans grow less confident in his leadership, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday.
Obama’s rating stood at 45 percent in the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, down 5 points from early last month. For the first time in the survey, more people — 48 percent — say they disapprove of Obama’s job performance.
A majority of respondents, 62 percent, said the country was on the wrong track.
Forty-nine percent of those surveyed rate Obama positively on “strong leadership qualities,” down from 70 percent when he became president and a drop of 8 points since January.
The poll also showed growing concern over the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and slipping confidence in Obama’s handling of the environmental disaster that has shut down rich fishing grounds and soiled the coastlines of four U.S. states.
In the two months since the spill started, Obama has made four visits to the Gulf and pressured BP to agree to a $20 billion account to help pay for relief.
Half the poll respondents said they disapprove of Obama’s handling of the spill, including one in four Democrats. Forty percent of respondents rate him positively on his “ability to handle a crisis,” was down 11 points since January.
The oil spill has slightly changed Americans’ attitudes about offshore drilling, the poll found.
In May, 60 percent of respondents said they favor more offshore drilling off the U.S. coast. In this poll, support slipped to 53 percent and nearly two-thirds of respondents said they wanted more regulation of oil companies.
The poll of 1,000 people was conducted June 17-21 and has a margin for error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.