Here's what I thought you'd like to hear about today:
- Mission Descisions - Why don't we just fight the Terrorists in Iraq?
- The Myth of the Objective Anchor - Katie Couric and the Nefarious
- Dinner Jacket visits the U.S. - and Columbia Screws it up
- Hillary's Gigglefest - She Laughs at the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
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Mission Descisions - Why don't we just fight the Terrorists in Iraq?
I watched and listened to much of Hillary Clinton's talk show marathon on Sunday, when she appeared as the lead guest on Meet the Press, This Week with George Stephanopoulis, Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday, and Late Edition. The talk ranged across a wide field of topics, including health care, fund raising scandals, the war in Iraq, and why people hate her so much. I'm going to focus on two topics from her appearances. The first is her call for a change in mission. Listen to this segment from Face the Nation with Bob Scheiffer.
She is clearly trying to walk a fine line between the hard left, with their calls for withdrawal now regardless of consequences, and the hard right shock troops like me. She wants to stay, but with a new, more narrowly defined mission. Here she was on This Week with George Stephanopoulis saying much the same thing:
She has her talking points and she stuck to them in a very professional manner. But how realistic is it to change the mission from population security and counter-insurgency of today, authored by General David Petraeus, to one centered on counter terrorism? Can you fight terrorists in Iraq, like the infamous Al Qaeda in Iraq, without securing the population? How many troops would that take? Fred Kagan, one of the primary advocates of General Petraeus's surge strategy, and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, had this to say on those ideas in a recent Heritage Foundation Podcast. The audio is a little over modulated, but the message is clear.
What he said was that you can't fight Al Qaeda if you can't get the population to tell you where they are. And they won't tell you if you aren't protecting them. That's the trade: if you promise to stick around and keep them safe, they will tell you where the bad guys are. This is the success formula that Petraeus has been following. This morning, I joined a conference call, sponsored by the Pentagon, with Army LTC Ken Adgie, commander in charge of operation Marne Torch II, described by the Pentagon as follows:
Task Force Marne troops continue to break up improvised explosive device-making cells in southern Baghdad, and push further south into new areas, with the conduct of Operation Marne Torch II, launched Sept. 15. The operation, Multi-National Division - Center's newest offensive, picked up immediately on the heels of its predecessor, Operation Marne HuskyI asked the LTC about Hillary's idea of counter terrorism only, without civilian security. Here's what he thought of the idea:
I agree with the commander. Without the great intelligence the population is now sharing with them, there is no way they can figure out who the bad guys are. And the people won't share with someone they don't trust. The term
bird dog in his response refers to the 4-5 top informants that he uses in their area of operations. These citizens supply the bulk of the tips to the coalition forces.
The Myth of the Objective Anchor - Katie Couric and the Nefarious
Katie Couric, the anchor of CBS Evening News with anybody but Dan Rather, appeared at the National Press Club this week for a pleasant discussion with Marvin Kalb, the Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. With such a title, it's not surprising that Marvin Kalb has delusions of grandeur. Here's a short clip from their sit down, noticed by Jonah Goldberg on the Corner on National Review Online. As Jonah writes:
The Nefarious "We"
Close readers may have noticed that I am increasingly vexed by cosmopolitanism, the idea that we are not citizens of a country or products of a place but rather "citizens of the world."
Well, here's Katie Couric speaking at the National Press Club yesterday:
Thanks to C-SPAN for the audio.
Jonah goes on to describe her sentiment this way:
What a fascinating little slip! How deeply disturbing it is when Americans refer to the United States in a time of war as "we"! Some may think this is a little thing, but I truly don't. I hear liberals refer to the United States as "this country" quite often, usually accompanied with an eye roll, as in: "Of course, in this country, we have to pay for our own health care." Or, "in this country people think it's 'unpatriotic' to call America an evil empire." The "in this country" thing makes it sound like some sort of accident or mistake that the speaker was born here. Woops got off the bus one country too early on the Northbound express!To mine also, Jonah. Quite revealing.
A critic might respond that I'm perhaps overly sensitive to this sort of thing and therefore I probably pick up on it too much and think it's a bigger deal than it is. That may in fact be true. Indeed, to some extent I'm sure it is. But just as my sensitivity to this sort of talk says something about me and my views, doesn't Couric's sensitivity say something interesting about her and her views? That she was made uncomfortable by the use of "we" to describe the United States of America during a time of war is really quite revealing, at least to my ears.
Dinner Jacket visits the U.S. - and Columbia Screws it up
Iran's smallest madman came to New York this week to educate the world. Columbia offered President Hack-on-my-dinner-jacket a forum to speak. As Bill Bennett recognized, the President of Columbia, Professor Bollinger, should not have invited the madman to speak at a distinguished lecture series. That was wrong. But it was also wrong to insult him. Here's Bill on his Morning in America program, thanks to the Corner again.
Bill is right that the insults hurt the case of freedom. And it lead students to applaud the little President's complaints. Bad day all around I'd say. But for a much more appropriate discussion with the Iranian madman, we can listen to 60 Minutes from last weekend. Scott Pelley produced a hard hitting interview with Mr. Dinner Jacket. I'm going to play an excerpt from that interview that shows how weaselly the little dictator is. Listen closely to all the ways he fails to answer the question. His first tactic is to turn around and ask the interviewer a question. Then he answers a different question from the one asked. Then he makes an assertion about something tangentially related to the question. He never directly answers anything asked. I don't trust a word he says.
I think it is quite clear that Iran is building a nuclear weapon, that they plan to use it to destabilize the Middle East, as they have used all the other weapons in their arsenal to destabilize Lebanon and Iraq, and then eventually destroy Israel and the U.S. He is not going away any time soon.
Hillary's Gigglefest - She Laughs at the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Hillary Clinton's appearances on the Sunday shows included one with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. As it happened, it was one year after Bill Clinton's rant against Chris Wallace and the right wing conspirators at Fox News. Chris asked the Mrs. Bill about that event, and why the Clintons are so partisan.
That laugh. What can we possibly do about that laugh? If there is rock somewhere I can hide under for the next few months, I think I might do that. Anything to avoid hearing it one more time.
That's it for now podcatchers. I'm Charlie Quidnunc signing off from the PassatStudio deep under the skyscrapers of Seattle.