Posts Tagged ‘general’

‘Transparency’ In Action: Obama Blocks Media To Conceal Failures

July 8, 2010

Let’s see.  Hope?  No freaking way.  Change?  Yes, but it’s really, really BAD change.  Even die hard and hard-core liberals like Robert Reich and Paul Krugman are predicting that Obamanomics are leading us into a double-dip recession IF we’re lucky enough to avoid a depression. Transparency?

Ooh, boy.

Afghan violence is soaring.  Obama’s own handpicked general is saying that the president is overwhelmed and unprepared, and that his civilian leadership team is a bunch of incompetent clowns.  All the evidence indicates that Obama is massively failing in Iraq.

What should he do?

Well, he should do the same thing in Afghanistan that he’s going to do about all his calamitous failures in the Gulf of Mexico.

He’s going to make sure that the media doesn’t have a chance to report the truth about what a failure he is at everything he touches.

Obama is going to clamp down on senior military commanders’ access to the media.  Oh, that directive has NOTHING to do with the McChrystal fiasco, just as my writing this article on Obama banning the media has nothing whatsoever to do with the new media ban policy.

From the Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday issued a directive to all senior Pentagon military and civilian officials saying their dealing with the media “has grown lax” in recent months and ordering them to get approval for all engagements with the press through his office.

The directive, a two-page memo signed by Mr. Gates, comes just days after Gen. Stanley McChrystal was fired as commander in Afghanistan for intemperate remarks made to Rolling Stone magazine. The existence of the directive was reported by the New York Times and a copy was obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

Despite the timing, Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said it had been in the works for months before Gen. McChrystal’s firing. “This memo was written well before that,” Mr. Morrell said. “He thinks the department has been much too cavalier with its handling of the press.”

Now, you’d THINK they’d just admit the obvious and say, “That McChrystal thing was a real disaster, and we need to try to prevent something that disgraceful from happening again.”  But this is the most pathologically dishonest administration in history.  It’s like they have a perfect record on lying, and they’re not going to break it by telling the truth now.

This just goes back to Rahm Emanuel’s “Never let a crisis go to waste” mindset.

This is an administration that is so hostile to actual transparency that it has actually closed workshops on government openness to the public and blocked the press from attending transparency and accountability board meetings.

On front after front, this is the most opaque administration ever.  They block themselves off from media accountability even as they pat themselves on the back for their transparency.

This is the kind of administration that claims that it is advancing the will of the people when they are cynically defying and misrepresenting the will of the people.

It’s a constant pattern.  Just today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that Obama has utterly failed at transparency regarding the massive porkulus boondoggleWhat a shock.

In Afghanistan, Obama prevents the military from open access to the press, which means that the military can’t tell us how shockingly incompetent Obama is as commander-in-chief.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Obama would deal with his failure in the
Gulf of Mexico the same way he’s handled everything else.  He has been so pathetically incompetent that there’s a pretty damn good argument that he is stopping the cleanup efforts on purpose.

White House Enacts Rules Inhibiting Media From Covering Oil Spill
By Noel Sheppard
Created 07/03/2010 – 11:28

The White House Thursday enacted stronger rules to prevent the media from showing what’s happening with the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported that evening, “The Coast Guard today announced new rules keeping photographers and reporters and anyone else from coming within 65 feet of any response vessel or booms out on the water or on beaches — 65 feet.”

He elaborated, “Now, in order to get closer, you have to get direct permission from the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans. You have to call up the guy. What this means is that oil-soaked birds on islands surrounded by boom, you can’t get close enough to take that picture.”

You’ve got CNN and Anderson Cooper – both of whom lean reliably to the left – having this to say about Obama’s “transparency”:

“This time, however, we’re not talking about BP. We’re talking about the government, a new a rule announced today backed by the force of law and the threat of fines and felony charges, a rule that will prevent reporters and photographers and anyone else from getting anywhere close to booms and oil-soaked wildlife and just about any place we need to be.”

[…]

We’re not the enemy here. Those of us down here trying to accurately show what’s happening, we are not the enemy. I have not heard about any journalist who has disrupted relief efforts. No journalist wants to be seen as having slowed down the cleanup or made things worse. If a Coast Guard official asked me to move, I would move.

But to create a blanket rule that everyone has to stay 65 feet away boom and boats, that doesn’t sound like transparency. Frankly, it’s a lot like in Katrina when they tried to make it impossible to see recovery efforts of people who died in their homes.

If we can’t show what is happening, warts and all, no one will see what’s happening. And that makes it very easy to hide failure and hide incompetence and makes it very hard to highlight the hard work of cleanup crews and the Coast Guard. We are not the enemy here.

We found out today two public broadcasting journalists reporting on health issues say they have been blocked again and again from visiting a federal mobile medical unit in Venice, a trailer where cleanup workers are being treated. It’s known locally as the BP compound. And these two reporters say everyone they have talked to, from BP to the Coast Guard, to Health and Human Services in Washington has been giving them the runaround.

We’re not talking about a CIA station here. We’re talking about a medical trailer that falls under the authority of, guess who, Thad Allen, the same Thad Allen who promised transparency all those weeks ago.

We are not the enemy here.

Everybody who cares about reality, and everybody who cares about truth, is Obama’s enemy, Anderson.

Obama has a lot to hide.  He’s got a lot to be ashamed of.  He’s failing on so many levels at the same time that no one can even keep track of them all.  The Gulf spill – already the worst in history – could be such a disaster that we might literally be in a “You can’t handle the truth!” moment.  Obama is now the worst president in American history even according to the standards the Democrats used against Bush in 2004.  And all he can do on the economy is keep blaming Bush and keep telling the same failed lie he’s been telling since the American people were stupid enough to hand him the keys to the White House.

All I can do about the Fascist-in-Chief is say those four words: I told you so.

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Rolling Stone Broke Journalistic Ethics In Publishing McChrystal Remarks

June 27, 2010

It’s ironic.  Barack Obama said that Gen. Stan McChrystal showed “poor judgment” in his comments to Rolling Stone.

I can’t disagree.  But I would hasten to add that he showed even worse judgment in his vote for president.

And now Obama is firing probably the only senior general in the US military who had the terrible judgment to vote for him.

We can breathe easy.  Now that the pro-Obama general is gone, we have Bush’s general running the war to go along with Bush’s Secretary of State running the military.

It appears that we have – in the case of Rolling Stone devouring Gen. McChrystal – yet another case of liberals eating one of their own.

And we have yet another case demonstrating that liberals and legitimate journalism simply do not mix.

That said, let’s see what integrity Rolling Stone threw away in order to have its “gotcha! moment”:

Rolling Stone broke rules over Stanley McChrystal interview
By Toby Harnden World Last updated: June 26th, 2010

So now we know. It is mind-bogglingly inexplicable why this is only emerging now (though I have one theory on that – see below) but it turns out that Rolling Stone did not run all its quotations past McChrystal’s staff as their editor said they did. The general’s staff now say that all the offensive quotations were clearly off the record. So far from this being “terrific journalism” as my colleague Harry Mount put it, the Rolling Stone piece now looks much more like a disgrace to the profession.

I say mind-boggling because if McChrystal’s staff had come out with this in the first few hours of the furore on Tuesday morning then the entire narrative of the week would have changed and the general might very well still be in his job today.

My hunch as to why it didn’t come out earlier? Basically, because McChrystal is an honourable man who thought it would be unseemly to quibble about the details. There could have been a tactical element to that, certainly – perhaps he or his staff calculated that trying to wriggle out of things would not be viewed kindly by Obama and that it could have fuelled a row with Rolling Stone that might have made things worse (if so, how wrong they were).

Politico has a list of the 30 fact-checking questions submitted. The most interesting one is number 30 in which Rolling STone asks whether McChrystal did indeed vote for Obama. The reponse – irony of ironies – was this:

IMPORTANT — PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE THIS — THIS IS PERSONAL AND PRIVATE INFORMATION AND UNREALTED TO HIS JOB. IT WOULD BE INAPPROPRIATE TO SHARE. MY REASON FOR THIS IS IT WOULD PRESENT AN UNDUE COMMAND INFLLUENCE ON JUNIOR OFFICERS OR SOLDIERS WHO SHOULD MAKE THEIR OWN POLITICAL DECISIONS. THERE ARE VERY STRICT RULES IN THE MILITARY ON SEPARATING CHURCH AND STATE ON THIS SORT OF STUFF – HAVE TO KEEP OUT OF POLITICAL PREFERENCE AND PERSONAL CHOICE.

But, of course, they left it in. It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that Rolling Stone did not care a hoot about the agreed journalistic ground rules or about McChrystal. They were out to get him and get him they did.

This is sadly all history now and nothing can change Obama’s decision. But it would be interesting to know if anyone in the White House even inquired into whether the profane and juvenile quotations about civilian officials were really on the record or if they just took Rolling Stone’s word for it.

If they didn’t, think about what this means: the Obama administration accepts the word of a counter-culture magazine and doesn’t even bother to check with the four-star general commanding 100,000 troops in wartime whose career the magazine is seeking to destroy.

We can endlessly speculate whether the Fool-in-Chief was right in canning his record-setting second general.  We can’t know for sure whether Obama canned McChrystal because he is at heart a vain, arrogant, petty, thin-skinned, vindictive man – as I listed as the reasons in predicting that Obama would fire McChrystal – or rather because there truly was some better reason.

What we DO know is that when one actually reads the Rolling Stone article, there really wasn’t a whole lot of “there” there.  The very worse thing McChrystal’s staff did was to reveal that Obama’s civilian leadership team in Afghanistan were in complete chaos.  It does seem that nothing can be worse in the Obama administration than telling the truth.  But that’s where we are.

Liberals in the mainstream media hailed the firing of Stanley McChrystal as though it were the most brilliant and courageous act of presidential leadership in world history.  It wasn’t.  It was a sad and tragic situation – even if Obama did the right thing.

The best thing that will come from this change is likely this: that General David Petraeus will change General McChrystal’s godawful rules of engagement and actually give the soldiers and Marines under his command the ability to carry the fight to the enemy.

Obama Massively Failing In Afghanistan

June 22, 2010

This is nothing more than an effort to hold Obama accountable to the very same standards he used to demonize George Bush in Iraq:

Afghanistan violence is soaring, U.N. says
Afghanistan is increasingly dangerous for troops and civilians alike, a report says, citing an ‘alarming’ 94% increase in bomb attacks in the first four months of 2010, compared with last year.

By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
June 20, 2010
Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghanistan has become a far more dangerous place for Western troops and Afghan civilians alike, with an increase in suicide attacks, roadside bombings and political assassinations in the first four months of 2010, the United Nations said in a report released Saturday.

The gloomy assessment comes on the heels of congressional testimony last week by senior U.S. military officials who acknowledged that efforts to stabilize Afghanistan’s volatile south are proving more complex and time-consuming than anticipated.

With the U.S. troop numbers in the country approaching the 100,000 mark, the Western military toll has been rising sharply as the summer “fighting season” unfolds. More than 1,000 U.S. service members have died in the nearly 9-year-old conflict.

“There has been a great deal of ‘kinetic activity'” as Western and Afghan forces confront insurgents in the south, German army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a spokesman for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s International Security Assistance Force, told reporters Saturday in Kabul, the capital. That is the term the military uses to describe battlefield clashes.

The U.N. report, submitted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Security Council and released by the world body’s mission in Afghanistan, notes a near-doubling in the number of attacks involving roadside bombs.

It describes an “alarming” 94% increase in bomb attacks from the same January-April period a year earlier. Roadside bombs planted by the Taliban and other insurgents are generally aimed at foreign troops, but because they are planted on routes used by everyone, they kill and maim many civilians as well.

The report also cites an average of three suicide bombings a week across Afghanistan, a growing number of them attacks involving more than one assailant, sometimes in combination with use of rockets, mortars and gunfire.

Targeted killings of Afghan officials had increased by 45%, the report says, with most taking place in the south, where the insurgency is strongest. The killings tend to target locally influential figures, such as tribal elders and other dignitaries who might be able to rally villagers and townspeople to resist the Taliban.

In one recent example, the district governor in Arghandab, a strategic gateway to the city of Kandahar, was killed in an insurgent bombing. NATO had touted the district as an area in which headway was being made in winning over the populace and improving security

Western officials have been describing their own campaign in the south as a combined political and military effort, and systematic assassinations appear aimed at sapping the will of local officials and others seen as cooperating with foreign forces or the Afghan government.

The U.N. report takes a more hopeful tone about some recent political developments, including nascent efforts by the government of President Hamid Karzai to woo Taliban foot soldiers away from the fight.

It notes, though, that “in general, the Taliban have reacted negatively to peace and reconciliation.”

Let’s reflect on this disastrous report, in light of Obama’s demonization and demagoguery of George Bush’s successful attempt to prevail in Iraq.

Obama attacked and undermined Bush’s incredibly successful troop surge:

“I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he told MSNBC. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

And then recently tried to take credit for it’s magnificent success via his Vice President:

On Larry King Live last night, Vice President Joe Biden said Iraq “could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.”

Obama is the consummate demagogue who demonized Bush in Afghanistan by claiming:

“We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.”

Condemn him as a failure and a disgrace according to his own demagogic standard.  He demonized Bush, when Bush succeeded.  How much more should we demonize Obama, as he’s utterly failing???

But this is worse than merely a failure of leadership.  Far worse.

Charles Krauthammer pointed out the sheer cynical depravity of Barack Obama and the Democrat Party as regards Iraq and Afghanistan by pointing to what the Democrats themselves said:

Bob Shrum, who was a high political operative who worked on the Kerry campaign in ’04, wrote a very interesting article in December of last year in which he talked about that campaign, and he said, at the time, the Democrats raised the issue of Afghanistan — and they made it into “the right war” and “the good war” as a way to attack Bush on Iraq.  In retrospect, he writes, that it was, perhaps, he said, misleading. Certainly it was not very wise.

What he really meant to say — or at least I would interpret it — it was utterly cynical. In other words, he’s confessing, in a way, that the Democrats never really supported the Afghan war. It was simply a club with which to bash the [Bush] administration on the Iraq war and pretend that Democrats aren’t anti-war in general, just against the wrong war.

Well, now they are in power, and they are trapped in a box as a result of that, pretending [when] in opposition that Afghanistan is the good war, the war you have to win, the central war in the war on terror. And obviously [they are] now not terribly interested in it, but stuck.

And that’s why Obama has this dilemma. He said explicitly on ABC a few weeks ago that he wouldn’t even use the word “victory” in conjunction with Afghanistan.

And Democrats in Congress have said: If you don’t win this in one year, we’re out of here. He can’t win the war in a year. Everybody knows that, which means he [Obama] has no way out.

Afghanistan was just a way to demagogue Bush in Iraq by describing Afghanistan – where Obama is failing so badly – as “the good war” and Iraq – where Bush won so triumphantly – as “the bad war.”  It was beyond cynical; it was flat-out treasonous.

George Bush selected Iraq as his central front for sound strategic reason.  Iraq had a despotic tyrant who supported terrorism.  Saddam Hussein needed to be removed to mount any kind of successful peace effort in the Middle East.  Iraq is located in the heart of the Arab/Islamic world.  It has an educated population relative to the rest of the region.  It also offered precisely the type of terrain that would allow American forces to implement their massive military superiority in a way that mountainous, cave-ridden Afghanistan would not.

Bush was determined to fight a war where he could win.  Obama foolishly trapped us in a war that would bleed us.  Why?  For no other reason than pure political demagoguery.  And he needs to be held accountable.

And where are we now under Obama’s failed leadership???

An article entitled, “Pentagon worried about Obama’s commitment to Afghanistan” ended with this assessment from a senior Pentagon official:

“I think they (the Obama administration) thought this would be more popular and easier.  We are not getting a Bush-like commitment to this war.”

See my piece from last year predicting this failure.  Read that article and explain to me where I was wrong, liberals.  I dare you.

American casualties under Obama in 2009 more than doubled compared to the total in 2008 when Bush was commander-in-chief.  And they are set to more than double this year compared to 2009.

From iCasualties, accessed June 21, 2010:

We’re paying attention to Obama’s massive, massive failure of leadership in the Gulf Coast.  That’s all well and good.  But don’t forget Obama’s massive failure of leadership in Afghanistan.

And just as we should rightly condemn Barack Obama for his demonization and demagoguery of Bush in Katrina, we should likewise condemn him for his demonization and demagoguery of Bush in Afghanistan.  We should hold Barack Hussein accountable to his own hypocritical, two-faced standards, and demand his resignation as a failure and a fraud.

Update, June 22: Heck, I wrote this yesterday, and hadn’t even published it yet when I discovered I needed to update.  Because now we now that Stanley McChrystal, commanding general in Afghanistan, thinks that Obama – and virtually every single man Obama has appointed in Afghanistan – are a bunch of clueless clowns.

McChrystal sided with his troops against his Failure-in-Chief once before.  I think he did it again to let his troops know that he understands the real problem facing them.

MSNBC has some of the highlights:

  • McChrystal has seized control of the war “by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”
  • One aide called White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a retired four star general, a “clown” who was “stuck in 1985.”
  • Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. And the White House’s troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing them home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.
  • The article portrayed McChrystal’s team as disapproving of the Obama administration, with the exception of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who backed McCrystal’s request for additional troops in Afghanistan.
  • It quotes a member of McChrystal’s team making jokes about Biden, who was seen as critical of the general’s efforts to escalate the conflict and who had favored a more limited counter-terrorism approach. “Biden?” the aide was quoted as saying. “Did you say: Bite me?” Biden initially opposed McChrystal’s proposal for additional forces last year. He favored a narrower focus on hunting terrorists.

This, too, is another example of liberal hypocrisy.  What happened when Bush was depicted as not listening to his generals?  From the Washington Post, after Bush decided to pursue the (in hindsight) magnificently successful surge strategy:

This impulse may well expose Bush to more criticism from Democrats on Capitol Hill, who have sharply condemned him for not listening to Shinseki’s counsel in the beginning.

What’s it like to have your own fingers of demonization now pointing back at you?

Like I said, Obama is massively failing in Afghanistan.  Just like he’s massively failing everywhere else.

Update, June 26, 2010: Oh, by the way, get ready for what might be Obama’s “Abu Ghraib moment,” as videos of a mass slaughter of Afghani civilians makes its way to the public.