UPDATE: Fox News surging forces in the war: “FNC will present a three hour primetime O’Reilly Factor Christmas Marathon beginning on Monday December 25th at 8PM EST,” a Fox News release states. Also, Sean Hannity will host a one-hour special, “A Nashville New Year with Sean Hannity,” from the Palace Theater in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Los Angeles Times runs down the options to replace John Abizaid as head of US Central Command, the outfit overseeing the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The article outlines two competing schools of thought. One would be a strategy of continuity in which George Casey, currently commanding American forces in Iraq, is promoted to Tampa. Another would be a reform strategy involving either David Petraeus (commanded the 101 Airborne in Iraq, is now running the military schools, was the lead author of the new Counterinsurgency Field Manual) or Peter Chiarelli who was Casey’s deputy until last week.
I guess my take on this is that if Petraeus knows what’s good for him, he’ll do everything possible to stay away from either Casey’s job or Abizaid’s. At this point in time, he’s essentially the only person whose reputation has been enhanced by working for the American government in Iraq. If he stays away from Iraq policy, his reputation will only be further enhanced as he’ll likely become the central figure in the inevitable revisionist account of the war whereby it could have been awesome had it only been done right.
If he goes to CENTCOM or back to Baghdad, however, he’ll join Zalmay Khalilzad in the ranks of people whose formerly glowing reputations have been tarnished by association with inevitable failure and the need to engage in spin on behalf of the Bush administration. The last thing you want to do is become a spin artist on behalf of a lame duck administration fighting a failed war. That means staying as far away as possible from the chain running from the White House to the Pentagon to Tampa to Baghdad. Under the circumstances, the US Army Combined Arms Center is an excellent place to be.
Coleman “said today after a two-day trip to Iraq that he would not support an increase in the number of soldiers in Baghdad. He said he would ‘stand against’ any effort to send a surge of more troops to Baghdad unless there’s a clear vision that it will help end sectarian violence in the city. ‘I think it would create more targets. I think we would put more life at risk,’ he said.”
Clips from a new documentary posted online recently show Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) saying, “I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro and any leader who is oppressing the people.”
Ros-Lehtinen quickly disavowed the comments and gave a long, tortured explanation about how the video was doctored:
Ros-Lehtinen, who has never hid her loathing for Castro, says the clip was spliced together.
Watch the video closely, she says. She says her lips aren’t saying what the audio says she is. At one point in the clip, a sharp-eyed viewer can see what appears to be a skip in the filming.
“It’s twisted in a way that gives the viewer a totally wrong impression,” Ros-Lehtinen said Friday. “I’ve said the community has moved on, that those strategies are not being used today, but apparently the filmmakers think we’re still in a `60s mentality.”
Director Dollan Cannell has now released the unedited version of the Ros-Lehtinen interview, confirming that nothing was doctored. Watch it:
In response to a question about whether there is an “argument for assassination” of Fidel Castro, Lehtinen clearly states, “I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro and any leader who was oppressing … oppressing the people, and if they don’t assassinate and if they bring him to trial, I welcome the opportunity to having him meet the … a jury of his peers and answer.” (Full transcript here.)
Cannell has called Ros-Lehtinen’s accusations “completely, totally false” and called on her “to retract what she said and to apologize.” Ros-Lehtinen had “no comment” on the new footage.
Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) is under fire for a virulently anti-Muslim letter sent to constituents earlier this month. In the letter, Goode says, “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States” if we do not adopt “strict immigration policies.” He references the election of Muslim Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), and warns “American citizens” to “wake up” or “there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office.”
Last night, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the letter “sends a message of intolerance” and called on Goode to apologize.
In an interview today with ThinkProgress, Goode’s press secretary Linwood Duncan declared that Goode has “no intention of apologizing.” Duncan repeatedly refused to answer more detailed questions, saying only that Goode’s letter “speaks for itself.” Asked whether Goode had ever targeted Muslim-Americans in his previous statements, Duncan said, “I’ve worked here for 10 years, and I’m not aware of this topic being addressed in the past.” You can call and ask for an apology HERE.
to make public the final 10 documents about the surveillance of John Lennon that it had withheld for 25 years from a University of California, Irvine historian on the grounds that releasing them could cause ‘military retaliation against the United States.‘”
What President Bush called a question this morning about the possibility that he may increase troop levels in Iraq against the wishes of military leaders.
Yesterday on Fox News, talk radio host Mike Gallagher said the U.S. government should “round up” actor Matt Damon, “The View” host Joy Behar, and MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann and “put them in a detention camp until this war is over because they’re a bunch of traitors.”
Gallagher was upset over Behar’s comment that Time magazine should have chosen a controversial “Hitler-type” like Donald Rumsfeld as its Person of the Year. Gallagher said Damon should also be incarcerated because he “attacked George Bush and Dick Cheney”; he didn’t explain why he wanted to imprison Olbermann. Watch it:
Earlier this year, Gallagher was one of five conservative talk radio hosts invited to the White House to meet with President Bush.
Full transcript: Read more
So press conference:
“We began the year with optimism after watching nearly 12 million Iraqis go to the polls to vote for a unity government and a free future. The enemies of liberty responded fiercely to this advance of freedom.”
We’re in Iraq to build a democracy.
“And I want the enemy to understand that this is a tough task, but they can’t run us out of the Middle East; that they can’t intimidate America.”
No, we’re in Iraq to find a permanent base for US military forces in the Middle East or, at a minimum, to demonstrate resolve detached from specific policy goals.
“What is going to happen is we’re going to develop a strategy that helps the Iraqis achieve the objective that the 12 million people want them to achieve, which is a government that can — a country that can sustain itself, govern itself, defend itself.”
No, we’re in Iraq to build a internally stable government.
“A free country that will serve as an ally in this war against extremists and radicals.”
No, we’re in Iraq to create a government that will take America’s side in regional disputes.
Needless to say these are different and, in some ways, contradictory goals. This is why we’re not winning in Iraq and never will. We don’t have coherent objectives we’re pursuing. And there is no set of objectives such that the objectives are both achievable and worth the cost of achieving them. The sane thing to do at this point is to set a goal of removing American troops from the killing zone quickly and then to start thinking and arguing about how, exactly, this can be done in a way that minimizes risks to the troops and the rest of the region.