08
Jan
14

What the Gates kerfuffle says about the post-WWII military

In the pages of the Washington Post, we were treated to a review of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ memoir Duty by former wonderboy Bob Woodward, who will write sycophantic treatises for the powerful. (For an interesting review of the review, go here to the New Republic.) The former Smartypants, Nancy LeTourneau, has a very perspicacious piece on the uphill battle facing any modern President going against the wishes of the military and intelligence establishments.

While the military has always been esteemed in the Republic, and successful generalship served as a steppingstone to the Presidency (Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, to name two), for most of the country’s history the military was kept in severe check. For a great power, the United States had an almost laughably small regular peacetime Army. On the eve of World War I, the regular Army and National Guard numbered just around 200,000 soldiers, a force dwarfed by Germany’s army. A “preparedness” drive was bruited, but the public wanted none of that.

It was only with the titanic struggle of World War II, and the ensuing Cold War against Soviet Russia, that the United States acquired what every great power had always had: a large, permanent military establishment. Conscription ended after the end of World War I; it continued after the Second World War until the disaster of Vietnam and the near mutiny of the conscript Army made leadership decide on a highly trained, volunteer force.

While, as I said, the military has always been honored in American history, its place in the Republic was made well known. The early years of the Civil War were a litany of Abraham Lincoln firing a string of generals, mostly for incompetence, and at least one, George B. McClellan, who openly questioned his Commander in Chief, and subsequently went on to run against him in 1864. But it was a given that the military was a servant of the state, not the other way around.

With the advent of World War II and then the Cold War, that began to change. The country was, to an extent, on a permanent war footing, one which really hasn’t lessened, even under President Obama. The responsibilities of superpower status, first in contention with the Soviet Union, and then as the sole military and political superpower, meant that both a large military establishment, and a powerful defense industry to sustain it came into being, in a nation which had had neither for its previous history. And that has meant that the nation has seen something not seen before: contention between a career military leadership, and its apologists, which expects to be deferred to, and civilian politicians Constitutionally placed above the generals. Sometimes these civilian overseers give the generals all they want, whether out of an alignment with their views, as in G.W. Bush, or out of weakness, as with Bill Clinton.

What the military leadership, defense industry, and their allies don’t tolerate is a President who wants to rethink the entire concept of permanent war. In Barack Obama they’ve met such a man. He ran in 2008 specifically on a platform to end the disastrous Iraq War. He surged troops into Afghanistan, but as a prelude to make the country more secure and eventually pull out. (That the country is starting to slide back into dysfunction, as Iraq has, speaks more to the hamfisted policy under President Bush. Afghanistan may have been broken, finally, beyond repair.) I’m not sanguine about drone attacks; I think they present numerous problems, foremost being mistaken strikes. I would very much like to see them diminish. But, what drones provide is what brute force invasions do not: targeted strikes against enemies which, despite the carping of those on the Left, are very real. The fact that the Administration is pursuing vigorous diplomacy across the Middle East to solve the issues which lead to terrorism means that drones will, eventually, not need to be used.

Such a President, who wants to fundamentally rethink the premise of perpetual war, is a threat to a mindset and an economy which thrives on war. The fact is that the United States could slash its defense budget and still have the world’s strongest military. But that would cut into both profits and power. Republicans have kept themselves in power in large part by wrapping themselves in the military; they are the first to use any attack on its prerogatives as an attack on patriotism.

And generals have come to expect an alarming amount of deference. One of the most infuriating things to come out of President Bush’s mouth was the refrain that he would do whatever “the generals on the ground” said to do. In doing so, he was at least rhetorically abdicating one of the prime powers of his office, to decide on military matters. That’s something President Obama is not afraid to do, seeking advice from beyond the usual suspects and coming to a decision even when it’s not popular with the brass. (See: Libya.) What the military industrial complex has in President Obama is someone it can neither bully nor cajole. If the country is serious about cutting its budget deficit, it cannot afford unlimited funding to the military. If the country is serious about rebuilding at home, then the money has to come from somewhere. (Higher taxes on the rich come to mind, but that’s another battle.)

In a world where power is daily becoming more diffuse, overweening military strength becomes less viable. Power has to be exercised in more a nuanced fashion, mixing the hard power of the military with the soft power of diplomacy, culture, ideas. And this is threatening to a culture steeped in 60 years of war and threat of war. The mandarins of power are bitter because the world they thought was eternal is turning out to be like any human construct: passing, transitory, ephemeral. The military deserves honor and respect; but in our constitutional system, it has a decided place, and that is under civilian authority. It is an idea which served the Republic for most of its history; it’s one we have to reclaim.


112 Responses to “What the Gates kerfuffle says about the post-WWII military”


  1. 1 jacquelineoboomer
    January 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Greetings!

  2. 18 amk for obama
    January 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Go Gunners. Gunnite.

  3. 20 amk for obama
    January 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm
  4. 21 carolyn
    January 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you LL for writing this and putting into words what needs to be said! Those of us living today grew up with the massive military, have known nothing else. I’m so glad you pointed out forcefully, that this is not the way it has always been. Fortunately, President Obama can neither be “bullied nor cajoled” into bowing to the generals. He sees the world and our country as it ought to be and is working towards that.
    One general who became president was Eisenhower, and he was the one who warned 60 years ago about exactly what we see today.
    This tension between the civilian and military is not new. As you well pointed out, different presidents handled it differently, and your two examples were excellent.

    JFK had this problem also, as I’m reading in “Dallas, 1963.” (An excellent book I’ve touted before) One of the generals who wanted to start a nuclear war in 1962 was Curtis Lemay. My husband is now reading the book, still in the first part. Last night he looked up from the book and said: “We’re sure lucky we had JFK back then aren’t we?” Like now, we are severely fortunate we have President Obama. He is the first one to stand up and not be a servant of the military. I love his steel spine.

    We need to get ready for a lot of whining and yelling from the MIC, and their sycophants…….and we’ll need to support PBO as he joins this important battle for the soul of America.

  5. 23 vcprezofan2
    January 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Lib_L, I think it’s the ‘under civilian authority’ part that really ticked Gates off in this adminintration. Wouldn’t surprise me if Gates opted to stay on initially because he surmised PBO would be more subservient to his advice than turned out to be the case. And if Gates had proven right in his gamble, we’d be reading now about how weak and easily led PBO was, and how the military ran the show, yada, yada. Book writing seems to be the quick way to easy added riches, IF YOU HAVE TIES IN THE UPPER echelons. .

    • 24 Obama Grandmama
      January 8, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      There are some books I will not read as I do not want to line that persons pockets with my money or support just as I will not shop at Walmart etc.

      • 25 vcprezofan2
        January 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm

        O yes, ObamaG, there are quite a few ‘authors’ whose work I will not buy. It doesn’t seem to take any time for Repubs (in politics or leadership positions) and pundits to churn out their take on this, that, or the other, get it published, and have their buddies hype it up in the media. It’s sad IMO that they have such easy access to publishers while talented souls struggle and sweat for *their* work to get deserved attention.

  6. 26 Linda
    January 8, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Utah Governor announced that the State will not recognize the same sex marriages that were done prior to the SC stay.

    Won’t that make a mess for the couples when filing their taxes ?

  7. 29 JER
    January 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm
  8. 32 JER
    January 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm
  9. 35 japa21
    January 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    LL, as usual a well written and concise view.

    I do want to make one little quibble, and that is in regards to timing. One general who ascended to the Presidency, Dwight D Eisenhower, also was very alarmed and cautious about use of the military. In fact, the military establishment did not really trust him simply because he knew the military mindset and was determined it would not totally take hold.

    He was, in effect, the last President who attempted to stand up to the military and, its adjunct, the industrial complex which was highly dependent on a growing and used military. Unfortunately, he was only slightly able to impact the growth of the MIC.

    John Kennedy gave in more to the MIC, specially with the Cuban missile crisis and once Vietnam came into play, all bets were off. The military had its own goals, much of which was to make the induistrial side of the MIC happy, and contracts between the military and private industry were developed which greatly favored favored manufacturers. And as the industrial investment in the military grew at a tremendous rate, its investment in Congress also grew, which increased the amount of money Congress authorized, even for some projects the Pentagon did not ask for.

    In theory, and per the Constitution, the military is under civilian control. The President and the Sec of Defense are traditionally held by non military people, although some military experience, specially since the 50′s, has been expected from both. Part of Clinton’s problem was that, as President, he believed he had to show the American people that his lack of military experience did not make him a pacifist and that he would support the MICas much as any Republican.

    PBO has changed one paradigm, and he is being resisted by the MIC as a result. He believes the military personnel deserve the support, which includes not using them indiscriminately just to satisy the MIC.

    Bush used the military as a toy and his cabal, including Cheney and Rumsfeld, viewed the military as a means to an end, which was fine as far as the MIC was concerned. But it paid little attention to the needs and desires of the personnel.

    I think Gates actually admird PBO for his challenging of the old order and his comments in the book tend to support that theory. But he still has some of the old mindset. As with PBO’s attempt to restructure our foreign poluicy, particularly in the Middle East, his new approach to a view of the MIC will have consequences, but the actual impact will probably not be known for a while yet.

    • January 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      I think Gates was a transitional figure. He knew the military status quo was no longer tenable, but didn’t quite have the vision for reforming it. The book isn’t the evisceration that Woodward portrays it as, but it is, still, half-steeped in the old culture. That’s the culture which has to change if we are to have any shot at fiscal, political, and cultural solvency.

      • 37 japa21
        January 8, 2014 at 1:28 pm

        Exactly. He was transitional, caught in between the past and the future, with a foot in both planes. Hagel is a step further along the continuum. Some on the left feel the military should be almost shrunk to nothing. That would not be smart not politically or economically feasible. But PBO knows that both its size and power (here I speak of the full MIC) needs to be dimished to some degree.

        • 38 carolyn
          January 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm

          I responded up above about Ike. I am old enough to remember that speech. It sent shivers through the MIC. At first JFK fought the generals too. The generals wanted to start a nuclear war…yes…….and he hated Curtis Lemay. The generals said as per “Dallas 1963″ carefully researched, that to destroy the Soviet Union, one or two American cities would be okay to lose in retaliation. They were crazy, as we saw later.

          We all need to let PBO know that we support his stance. I firmly believe the only way the soul of America can be won back is to decapitate the MIC. After World War II certain countries were not allowed to build their militaries, and look how they zoomed ahead!

          I expect you’re right about Gates being transitional, and Hagel another step up the continuum. Rumsfeld actually decided policy…GWB was weak, but thought starting wars was fun, so Rummy and Vader got to play with thousands of people’s lives…….they are scum.

      • 39 vcprezofan2
        January 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm

        ‘Gates …. didn’t quite have the vision ….’

        That’s what I gathered too from the few comments of his I’ve read. He knows what he knows, and that’s about it; not courageous enough in one sense to explore beyond the bounds of combat.

  10. 40 Linda
    January 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Poor Mrs Greenspan…

    She thought she was going to get support for her Obama hate from Jack Jacobs and PJ Crowely. Both ruined her day and pushed back ….

    PJ said……” We are discussing a book that no one has read yet “

  11. 42 Vicki
    January 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Another Progressive victory in NYC. Council Speaker (second most powerful job in NYC gov’t) is won by Mellisa Mark-Viverito.
    Mayor de Blasio worked on her behalf and is certainly happy about this.

    I know NY is only 1 city, but with 8.4 million residents more than many entire states a strong Progressive wave may ripple outward through our country.

  12. 43 JER
    January 8, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    LIVE NOW: Congressional Black Caucus – War On Poverty – http://www.cbsnews.com/liveFeed/widget.shtml

  13. 44 Linda
    January 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie, under fire after revelations that one of his senior aides was tied to the George Washington Bridge scandal, today canceled a scheduled event in Ocean County, his office said in an e-mail.

    Christie was expected to make an 11 a.m. announcement in the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township about housing recovery after Hurricane Sandy. The event was open to the media but the governor was not expected to hold a question and answer session.

    Christie’s office gave no reason for the cancellation but said the event would be rescheduled. The governor has no other public events scheduled today.

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/chris_christie_cancels_public_event_as_e-mails_tie_top_aid_to_bridge_scandal.html

    Coward went in to hiding.

  14. 50 Bill R.
    January 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm
  15. 51 Bill R.
    January 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Good analysis LL! Back in my undergraduate days majoring in Pol Sci/International Relations (1960s) I wrote a paper constructing a model of international relations based on a post Cold War reality. It foreshadowed the reality we have today, and our president is gradually disengaging from that model and trying to move America to a new multi-polar world, where military power and extravagant expenditures are no longer needed.

    • January 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      I started watching “War and Civilization” on YouTube, and John Keegan made a very cogent point: with the advance of military technology in the 20th century, war, at least between great powers, morphed from a containable tragedy to something which could threaten civilization.

      Look at all the damage Iraq and Afghanistan have done. Sure, they were “local” wars, but they had wider and disastrous consequences. We live in a world which gets smaller every day, and conflicts in chokepoints like the Middle East or East Asia have the possibility of seriously upending the world system.

  16. January 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Just got a notice that I registered with WordPress 3 years ago. Good Lord, I’ve been with you loons for that long! Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

    • 54 HZ
      January 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Mr. LL, we would not want you to be anywhere else, except of course with Mrs. LL. (TY, Mr. LL for this piece.) You brought tears to my eyes and more hope to my heart. You and so many here understand our president. You are a brilliant thinker and writer. An honor to be in this place to read all of the writings of the brilliant minds here like you and all the others in our TOD family.HZ

    • 55 GGail
      January 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      LL, you’ve been with us sooooo long – that you’ve become a Leader (mini BT) of us loons :lol:

  17. 56 donna dem 4 obama
    January 8, 2014 at 1:53 pm
  18. 57 vcprezofan2
    January 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    How is it that BuzzFeed has so many vacancies, and is any TODobot qualified AND interested?

    http://www.jobscore.com/jobs/buzzfeed/

  19. 58 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    Jay’s at the Podium.

    1st question…..about Bob Gates and VP Biden.

  20. 60 Linda
    January 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    In a memo to President Obama, former National Security Agency insiders explain how NSA leaders botched intelligence collection and analysis before 9/11, covered up the mistakes, and violated the constitutional rights of the American people, all while wasting billions of dollars and misleading the public.

    January 7, 2014

    MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

    FROM: Former NSA Senior Executives/Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

    SUBJECT: Input for Your Decisions on NSA

    http://consortiumnews.com/2014/01/07/nsa-insiders-reveal-what-went-wrong/

  21. 61 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Hello TODable TODville Globe ;)

    Bts are doing brilliantly with their Postings. Thank you all.

  22. 62 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Jay is still sporting those facial thingy.

  23. 63 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Now the Lunch Photo-Gate?

    These people are useless. But I listen for the Obama Team’s answers not for the DC/NY propaganda.

  24. 64 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Now pres’ schedule by Jon Karl…..Jay setting the record straight…..nothing new, just moving FORWARD!

  25. 65 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Now Jon Karl of Bob Gates and writing about confidential conversations. Per Jay, they knew Gates was writing a book. The WH just yesterday received the Copy of the Book.

  26. 68 Gazelle
    January 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    [OT, hope it hasn't been posted here.]:

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans aggressive efforts to back “pro-business” candidates, some of whom will face Tea Party opponents in Republican primary elections this year, Tom Donohue, the group’s president, said today.

    [......] In an interview with Bloomberg Television today, Donohue said the chamber’s disagreement isn’t with the Tea Party as it was “originally established” to promote small government. Rather, he said, it’s with politicians who have “hitched their trailer to the Tea Party wagon.” Those lawmakers, whom he declined to name, want to shut down the government and not pay U.S. debt, he said on BTV’s “Market Makers” with Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Schatzker.

    .
    More here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-08/u-s-chamber-ceo-vows-to-preserve-pro-business-majority-.html

  27. 69 JER
    January 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm
  28. 71 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Jay came prepared to debunk, correct or inform the WHPC gossipers. Jay read a text. Jon Karl wants to make it more than it was and Jay is meticulously setting the story right and cautioning those who are handing of selective exerts for the maximum chatter effects.

    POTUS wants rigorous debates and diverse opinions when seeking to make policy decisions.

    • 72 No Child Left Behind
      January 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      The toddlers at the WH day care center are very hyper with Gates-gate. That’s the most important topic of the day. Jay has his hands full but fortunately he came prepared as Nena20409 stated.

  29. 74 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Karzai? Now is anyone surprised how this POTUS feels about Karzai? Please Toad, Charlie stop already :lol:

    • 75 Nena20409
      January 8, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Personal …..Toadie accuses? Jay said nope….now, about VP Biden….to Buck him up. Why?

      Did Jay or the POTUS write the books? Sheesh. POTUS has spoken very Lovingly about VP Biden…..these fools are just ignorant and STUPID. Jay is doing a great Job, as usual.

  30. January 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Good article, LL. Didn’t President Kennedy butt heads with the military? They wanted him to invade Cuba, I think. He had a contentious relationship with the military, too.

    • 77 Nena20409
      January 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      SHORT answer…….CIC is a Civilian and the decision made are his. That is our Constitution. Gates had every right to resign any old time. He didn’t like it…..his issues. He was NOT elected.

      Those who object, righties, media should try reading the Constitution. They want changes, they should run for election….win and then select their Secretaries for various Depts.

  31. 78 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    These WHPC were complaining and charging propaganda against this ADM for lack of Photo access…..just weeks ago in Dec and now, they see ulterior motives? Excuse me? I just wish that ONCE jay would say……to them: Go directly to Blazes.

  32. 79 MightyPamela
    January 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Well done, LL, thank you. G’day y’all! Paperwork, then taking down Christmas. Sure comes down faster than it goes up. Sure looks gloomy without the red and gold and silver!

    • 80 HZ
      January 8, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Hi lovely MightyPamela. Do not do too much to sap your energy, however, what about putting a few of your favorite candles around the space of one of your lovely plants? Will that work? I have a lovely plant that I had for a table with some beautiful books of our FLOTUS with a couple of three lovely cream color candles next to her books. And at night, it is so lovely looking at the plant, our beautiful FLOTUS photo coffee table books and the vine like plant with the poinsettia in the center. The setting looks great, plus all of the things on the table are lovely in my heart and space.HZ

      • 81 MightyPamela
        January 8, 2014 at 5:50 pm

        {{{{{HZ}}}}}. I very much appreciate the visual you have created here, HZ! Yesterday we had the annual systems inspection, mine was conducted by the head of housekeeping ~ of course, I did not have a live candle on at the time, but she was effusive at how lovely the rooms look, marveled at my healthy plants (which are actually happier here with this Light), and admitted if she gets a chance to move into one of the units with placement like this one, she would be delighted! (however, a caveat, I cannot help but wish I had one more small storage closet, so am still attempting to downsize!) I shall be lighting another candle at 5pm, my time! I would love for you to see it! Blessings, my dear!

        • 82 HZ
          January 8, 2014 at 6:19 pm

          ((((((((((((((((((((( My MightyPamela Candle))))))))))))))))))) will be lit at 7:PM my time for our sharing beautiful energy. I am naming it,
          “MP&HZ Energy Beauty.” How about that? HZ

  33. January 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    From what I gather Gates book is based on his OPINION. You know just like noses, everyone has one.

  34. 89 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/nj-dem-criminal-charges-possible-bridge

    New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) said Wednesday she thinks criminal charges may come in the growing scandal over last September’s lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

    Weinberg’s comments came after TPM and other news outlets obtained emails and other communications that showed one of Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) closest aides was involved in the discussions of the lane closures weeks before they took place.

    Democrats, including Weinberg, have alleged that the closures were ordered in an effort to snarl traffic in nearby Fort Lee, N.J. in retaliation for the Democratic mayor there not endorsing Christie’s reelection bid.

    When asked if she thought criminal charges were possible based on the new revelations, Weinberg replied: “Yes.”

    • January 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      For Christie, he’s fried himself. He has lied repeatedly about the issue. The closure itself was truly ugly politics, but no big surprise in NJ. However, Christie’s repeated lying amounts to a massive cover-up, that has now been exposed. He needs to do a ‘Palin’ and resign. He will not survive a GOP primary – you know Cruz, Perry, Palin, Paul, etc., will fry him for this cover-up, of that you can be certain the video ads are already being prepared.

      Thank you, LL, for the essay. We’ve known, since well before PBO announced his candidacy, that if he were to become President the #NEOCONSTERS and #MIC would find their match. They have. They don’t like it one bit. Tough.

      #TrustBarack

      Yes We Can

      • 91 Nena20409
        January 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        Thank you TODable Doc Bobfr. Your Tweets as always, gets to the Core and Truth of the matter. Thanks.

      • 92 LDS
        January 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm

        Mr. Bobfr, thank you so much for that tweet about Christie.
        I wish the people who were in the traffic jam would speak up and share their stories. I cringe every time I have to take the GWB and to think this was done deliberately is beyond belief. That Kelly woman should be fired for enabling that bully. He is so despicable.
        Rudy Guliani clone, we have had enough.
        Please stop voting these bullies into office. Congress is full of GOP misfits. Enough already!

  35. 93 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Jay to CBS’ Plant…..that as he speaks for the pres he, Jay does it for he Knows what pres Obama is saying….it is not done by Osmosis. Way To Go Jay.

  36. 95 Linda
    January 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Representatives Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) are retiring, according to Democratic party sources.

    McIntyre would have been a top target of Republicans in 2014, despite his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and more conservative voting record. He was considered to be one of the last “Blue Dog” Democrats in Congress.

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won McIntyre’s district by a 19-point margin in 2012. McIntyre beat his Republican challenger David Rouzer by only 654 votes, the closest margin of any House race in the nation.

    McCarthy, who announced in June that she was undergoing treatment for lung cancer, was nationally-recognized as an advocate for gun control in Congress. She told Newsday that she decided, after struggling with health issues, that it was time to let someone new represent her district.

    President Barack Obama carried McCarthy’s seat by 12 points in 2012.

    ( Sam Stein )

  37. 96 Allison
    January 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Ed Henry is so rude and disrespectful. He makes me ill.

  38. 97 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Ed Henry is now being an idiotic D i C K.

    Photographers are okay today but why not reporters?

    Now charging that POTUS has not spoken to Karzai since July…..Jay asked, when did We Go to South Africa……Now when did POTUS last spoke to the commander in Afghanistan……….Talk about pushing an agenda? I will Never do Jay’s job. I do take my hat off for him.

  39. 98 Gazelle
    January 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    [Good read!]:

    Three days in March: New details on U.S. Iran direct talks
    Posted on January 8, 2014 by Laura Rozen

    http://backchannel.al-monitor.com/index.php/2014/01/7484/three-days-in-march-new-details-on-the-u-s-iran-backchannel/

    • 99 vcprezofan2
      January 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks, Gazelle. A long article for me, but a gentle reminder not to advise the President (PBO should….PBO shouldn’t…) because we generally haven’t a clue what information he has available to him.

  40. 102 Gazelle
    January 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    [Go Gov!]:

    [.....] In an interview today, Beshear offered fellow Dems — red state and otherwise — some startling advice: Stand up for Obamacare because it’s the right thing to do. What’s more, Beshear insists, Republicans are wrong: the health law will be a political positive for Dems next fall.

    “We’re doing the right thing,” Beshear told me. “That’s the most important point here. The people of America, and the people of Kentucky, deserve access to affordable health care. For the first time in the history of this country, we have a tool that allows us to accomplish this goal.”

    .
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/01/08/steve-beshear-dont-fear-the-politics-of-obamacare-dems/

  41. 103 Nena20409
    January 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Later TODable TODbots.

  42. January 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    An addition to my previous comment about the congressman from NJ district 2— when he announced he would run for reelection a couple days ago, he announced in Trenton not his district here in south Jersey. He did that so he could get Christie’s endorsement, which he did. Christie said he deserves to be reelected because of his support for Sandy victims. So this guy. LoBiondo. is going to run on Sandy and Christie’s coat tails. I wonder how those tails seems today.

    • 105 LDS
      January 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Hi, Diane. Hopedully , heavy as hell and dragging slowly.

      I cannot stand Christie. Reminds of Rudy Gulliani. So glad when his term was over in NY and New Yorkerrs were over him.
      I believe that will be Christie’s fate as well.

  43. 106 JER
    January 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm
  44. 107 jackiegrumbacher
    January 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Hope everyone is hitting the phones today about UI. Called my Republican congressman and told staff person that I expected Cong. Dent to do the right thing–extend UI to those who are out of jobs, hungry and struggling to live. Told him this was not the time to put politics above helping people. Mentioned that UI extension was passed many times during the Bush administration with no problem. Said it shouldn’t matter to any Congressperson who is president. What matter’s is what’s right. I am frankly furious at the media for focusing on everything else today, but this important topics. People who need UI extension are getting desperate. Bills need to be paid and we can’t afford the luxury of nasty Repubs using every occasion as an opportunity to score points. I am going to rotate the calls to different offices, calling the local ones and the DC office. We need to start making a lot of noise.

  45. 109 JER
    January 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm
  46. 111 GGail
    January 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Hiya LL, this is a thought-provoking post. As I was reading it, I thought back to Pres. Kennedy & the Cuba situation. There was a storm about him not being Military and not understanding the situation. I see it’s appears to be Gates’ mentality too, though in full disclosure, I have not read the book, nor have I had much time to read the articles – especially the Woodward one.

    Once again, I’m so glad that President Obama took the high road in his Comments about Gates.

    Bobfr had me laughing with his “Christie got fried” comment. All I could vision was a Donut floating in oil. LOL!!!!!

  47. January 9, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Excellent article overall, LL, thank you. :D In regards to President Clinton’s “weakness,” I don’t recall us fighting any wars during his eight years in office, nor are we still in Kosovo for that matter…. just thought i would point out the obvious that even though he wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t a horrible president overall…. :) Being in the military myself, there definitely needs to be debate, conversation, objectivity, and integrity on the part of the Commander-in-Chief and his senior staff (civilian) and the military command staff. I’m very thankful that, for the most part, this is the case with the Obama Administration and the Joint Chiefs/senior generals and admirals. :)


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