Archive for category Libya
“60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan issued a terse 90-second “correction” Sunday night, semi-apologizing for her discredited October 27 report featuring a false “eyewitness” account of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Dylan Davies, a security officer employed by the State Department, lied to “60 Minutes” and in a book published by Threshold Editions, a right-wing branch of CBS subsidiary Simon and Schuster.
That’s not enough. Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News and executive producer of “60 Minutes,” spent a week claiming that the fake Benghazi report was accurate – the result of a year’s worth of research, he asserted. Yet it only took a few days for The Washington Post to find proof that Davies wasn’t credible.
First of all, why do a story on the anniversary of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack? There was nothing new to report, although CBS might have wanted to cater to right-wing conspiracy theorists and political figures.
Logan’s “60 Minutes” report perpetuated the right-wing myth that there are “lingering questions” about the U.S. reaction to the Benghazi attack that haven’t been addressed. This was a lie, and her “correction” last night did not set the record straight.
In both her original report and last night’s “correction,” Logan failed to explain the tie-in between “60 Minutes” and Threshold Editions, which released Davies’ book two days after he appeared on the show.
Logan failed to address why “60 Minutes” accepted Davies’ account of the Benghazi attack, after Fox News Channel rejected it. That might have been a red flag, don’t you think?
Will “60 Minutes” launch an independent investigation? Logan didn’t say last night if there will be an independent panel to investigate what went wrong, like the 2004 investigation that ended Dan Rather’s career with CBS News.
Will Logan and her producer, Max McClellan, keep their jobs or face any punishment over this mistake? We don’t know.
UPDATE: Let CBS know what you think of Lara Logan and the lies she put on the air.
UPDATE: Media Matters: The Benghazi Hoax Chapter 16: 60 Minutes
Via Media Matters.
What a shame. It was Candy Crowley who courageously committed an act of journalism in the middle of a presidential debate, daring to fact-check inveterate liar Willard (“Mitt”) Romney in real time. I suppose her standing at CNN has suffered, because truth-telling just isn’t appreciated among the DC media. On CNN right-wing talking points are better than facts, so Crowley is going with the talking points.
The hyper-partisan right-wing Benghazi witch-hunt has produced no new information after NINE congressional hearings, two full-scale investigations, and an SNL parody. Senator John McCain tried to get a select committee established just to re-hash Benghazi. If I were the Senate Majority Leader I would instead assemble a committee to thoroughly investigate the Bush administration’s record on terrorism, starting with the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax letters, and charged with examining the 31 other terrorist attacks on Bush’s watch, including 7 attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates.
President Obama gave a great speech at the United Nations General Assembly this morning. The rest of the world wants to believe that America has not abandoned its founding principles, and our President says we have not. If only his actions conformed to the Constitution, I’d be happy to support him.
We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspirations of men and women who took to the streets.
We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy put us on the side of the people.
We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were not being served by a corrupt status quo.
We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the U.N. Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents; and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.
And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop, and a new dawn can begin.
We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture. These are not simply American values or Western values – they are universal values.
American foreign policy ought to be on the side of the 99 Percent. Similarly, our government ought to stand up for the 99 Percent of Americans.
Citing Nelson Mandela, President Obama received loud applause.
And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot. Nelson Mandela once said: “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.
In other words, true democracy – real freedom – is hard work. Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissent. In hard economic times, countries may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.
And he offered this comment on the limits of American power:
Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not, and will not, seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad, and we do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue.
He implicitly rejected the neocon view of a world divided, but failed to address the violence against innocent civilians that is perpetrated by the USA:
A politics based only on anger –one based on dividing the world between us and them – not only sets back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it. All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces. Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism. On the same day our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding; more than ten Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sana’a; and several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.
…We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights.
President Obama concluded (as he began) by citing the example of Chris Stevens, our murdered ambassador to Libya.
And today I promise you this – long after these killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens’ legacy will live on in the lives he touched. In the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the sign that read, simply, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.
They should give us hope. They should remind us that so long as we work for it justice will be done; that history is on our side; and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed. Thank you.
The study’s purpose was to conduct an “independent investigations into whether, and to what extent, drone strikes in Pakistan conformed to international law and caused harm and/or injury to civilians”.
In his first major foreign policy address, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today laid out a vision for international development steeped in Tea Party ideology… Romney …threw some red meat at his base by ticking off unfavorable developments currently faced by the U.S. in the Muslim world, listing among them the fact that “the president of Egypt is a member of the Muslim brotherhood.”
…A foreign policy expert texted me a single word: “Thud.”
The Romney-Ryan campaign achieved a new low on September 11. Willard (“Mitt”) Romney attempted to suggest that President Obama is in league with Arab terrorists, and implied that “American values” include bigotry and hatred based on religious differences. He left the press conference with a self-satisfied smirk reminiscent of the last Republican president. Indeed, Romney’s irresponsible reaction to violence in Libya and Egypt is the surest indication that he plans to repeat the mistakes of George W. Bush.
Because Romney has had almost nothing to say about foreign policy, not enough attention has been focused on who he would appoint to key positions in the White House, Pentagon, and State Department. Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. John Bolton and other rabid neocons head the list.
Bolton is one of eight Romney advisers who signed letters drafted by the Project for a New American Century, an influential neoconservative advocacy group founded in the 1990s, urging the Clinton and Bush administrations to attack Iraq. PNAC founding member Paula Dobriansky, leading advocate of Bush’s ill-fated “freedom agenda” as an official in the State Department, recently joined the Romney campaign full time. Another PNAC founder, Eliot Cohen, counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from 2007 to 2009, wrote the foreword to the Romney campaign’s foreign policy white paper, which was titled, perhaps not coincidentally, “An American Century.” Cohen was a tutor to Bush administration neocons. Following 9/11, he dubbed the war on terror “World War IV,” arguing that Iraq, being an “obvious candidate, having not only helped Al Qaeda, but…developed weapons of mass destruction,” should be its center. In 2009 Cohen urged the Obama administration to “actively seek the overthrow” of Iran’s government.
…Romney’s team is notable for including Bush aides tarnished by the Iraq fiasco: Robert Joseph, the National Security Council official who inserted the infamous “sixteen words” in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union message claiming that Iraq had tried to buy enriched uranium from Niger; Dan Senor, former spokesman for the hapless Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer in Iraq; and Eric Edelman, a top official at the Pentagon under Bush.
There is plenty to criticize in President Obama’s foreign policy, including his conduct of the war in Afghanistan, the failure to close Guantanamo and end preventive detention, the out-of-control drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries, the Libya intervention without congressional authorization, and his attempt to retain military bases in Iraq. However, short of starting a war with Iran, it would be hard to imagine how Obama could do as badly as Bush. America’s allies around the world (with the possible exception of Netanyahu’s Israel) see the Obama administration as an improvement. Our relations with Russia and China have gotten better, too.
Far from creating his own crisis as Bush did, Obama was hit with one, the Arab Spring. We can’t know how all that will turn out, and things certainly look bleak at this moment in Egypt and Libya. But Obama did the only things that could be done at the time. Can you imagine the United States siding with Hosni Mubarak against those people in Tahrir Square, or permitting the pre-advertised massacre of thousands in Benghazi?
The world is the world. Obama can’t wave a wand at it. But he can do what he has done, which is to run a sober and responsible foreign policy, not one based on theories developed in think-tank seminars underwritten by some hawkish Israeli billionaire. Obama’s approach to foreign policy is the one that has guided this country at its best moments (which have not, alas, been as frequent as we’d like), and it’s the foreign policy most Americans want.
UPDATE: Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) says President Obama “is apologizing because he didn’t like America.” With friends like Akin, Romney doesn’t need enemies.
UPDATE: Bob Cesca: Mitt Romney Kneejerks Into Another Colossal Blunder (Given an opportunity to look presidential, Romney decided to channel Rush Limbaugh instead)
A caller to CNN described her joy at the ending of Gaddafi’s nearly 42-year rule in Libya, translating a common Arabic word into English: “Halas, finished, game over.”
That was yesterday. Today we have reports that Bab al-Aziziya, Gaddafi’s last stronghold in Tripoli has fallen to the rebels, and the Libyan revolution has succeeded.
The BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli says there is a real sense that this is the end of Col Gaddafi’s rule, but the proper celebrations will not begin until he and his family are found.
There are still pockets of resistance in Tripoli near to the Hotel Rixos, where many foreign journalists are staying.
And the situation is unclear in the colonel’s hometown of Sirte, which has been a stronghold of regime loyalists.
Reports said retreating government troops had been pouring back to Sirte, and rumours circulated suggesting that the colonel may have fled there.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions. What role did NATO and the U.S. military and CIA play in Gaddafi’s downfall? What has happened to Libya’s stockpile of 20,000 hand-held surface-to-air missiles? What comes next– can the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) form a legitimate government and handle internal security, or will foreign peacekeepers be called in?
UPDATE: Juan Cole: Top ten myths about the Libya war
UPDATE: Libya’s deadliest weapons may be unguarded, and unaccounted for.
UPDATE: HuffPo offers a collection of video reports. One rebel/looter managed to snag Gaddafi’s hat– maybe he can sell it on eBay.
My definition of a gaffe in politics is when an elected official or political candidate accidentally says something that’s true. So, gaffes are a good thing.
Speaking with reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested that Republican members of Congress didn’t dare to criticize President Bush’s malfeasance during wartime, but it’s different when the commander in chief is a Democrat.
“Country First” ™ — but after party loyalty, of course.
UPDATE: The Gallup Poll seems to indicate that support for or opposition to unwinnable wars in Muslim countries is based more on domestic politics than the facts. While Republicans have turned into peaceniks because of Libya over the past three months, a majority of Democrats continues to support the war (or “limited kinetic operation” as SecDef Gates calls it). Jon Walker on FDL:
It seems when it comes to unnecessary wars of choice in this country, be it Iraq or Libya, both party’s respective members will rally to defend their presidents even in the face of overwhelming evidence that said wars were a mistake.
Remember nine months ago the Obama administration promised to put solar panels back on the White House roof? We’re still waiting. Bill McKibben on AlterNet (emphasis added):
Thirty two years ago today, President Jimmy Carter installed a series of solar panels on the White House roof. He stood up there on the roof that day, and issued an oracular warning: “A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, or it can be a small part of the greatest adventures undertaken by the American people.”
We found out the answer in much less than a generation — it only took six years for Ronald Reagan to rip them off the roof. But we thought we’d gotten a new chance last fall when the Obama administration promised that solar panels would go back up this spring.
…So what’s the hold up? Possibly Obama just prefers coal: earlier this spring he opened up a huge swath of federal land in Wyoming for mining, the equivalent of inaugurating 30 coal-fired power plants. More likely, his political advisors are afraid people will connect him with Carter — that he’ll catch some kind of electoral cooties and lose his campaign for a second term. My best guess? I think he’s just concentrating on other things, and that to him global warming is a second-tier problem.
President Carter got solar panels installed faster, and that was before you could simply look in the Yellow Pages and find a company that would do it. Maybe President Obama is too busy playing golf with Republicans, or spending well over $700 million (so far) in an attempt to take Libya’s oil. Solar is cheaper!
“[Obama’s] election was accompanied by intense hope that many things in need of change would change,” Gore says. “Some things have, but others have not. Climate policy, unfortunately, is in the second category. Why?”
Previous One Utah post:
Yes They Can: 350.org Persuades the White House to Go Solar Again (October 5, 2010)
Maybe American government has put aside concerns over the Constitution once and for all. How else can we explain the United States Armed Forces fighting an unprovoked war in Libya without any congressional authorization? There is bipartisan opposition to the war among members of Congress, which has so far been countered by Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
By the way, President Obama’s defenders claim that the 1973 War Powers Resolution (WPR) gave the President the ability to wage war in Libya for 60 days without congressional authorization. In fact, there is no such unfettered power– as candidate Obama himself pointed out in 2007. Section 1541(c) of the WPR explicitly states that the 60-day grace period applies only to “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” Libya never attacked us.
Today is Day 77 of this war, anyway. It’s an illegal war without any doubt or room for argument.
UPDATE: A bipartisan group of congressmen has filed a lawsuit against President Obama.
The lawsuit challenges what the lawmakers see as “the executive branch’s circumvention of Congress and its use of international organizations such as the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to authorize the use of military force abroad, in violation of the Constitution.”
UPDATE: As the Libyan War reaches the 3-month mark, the Obama White House staff has come up with a truly bizarre reason for not obtaining congressional authorization – U.S. operations there are not “hostilities” by the new Obama definition of the word.