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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dana Milbank, "Obama’s news conference was a case for American weakness": Commanders Don't Abandon Troops in the Field

Although he has written several books about himself and will surely write many more, Obama never served in the military and never learned that you don't abandon troops in the field.

Concerning the four Americans still being held by Iran, Dana Milbank, in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Obama’s news conference was a case for American weakness," recounts yesterday's interchange between Obama and Major Garrett of CBS News:

Garrett: "Thank you, Mr. President. As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran, three held on trumped-up charges according to your administration and one whereabouts unknown. Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?"

. . . .

Obama: "I’ve got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions. The notion that I’m content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails, Major, that’s — that’s nonsense, and you should know better. I've met with the families of some of those folks."

Yup, Obama met with the families of some of "those folks," yet he still left them to rot in Iranian prisons. Obama's explanation as noted by Milbank: "the president . . . didn’t link the American captives to nuclear talks because doing so may have made Iran think 'we can get additional concessions out of the Americans,' and would have made it 'much more difficult for us to walk away' from a deal."

Indeed, Iran probably could have wrung more concessions from the US, because Obama, Kerry & Friends never had any intention of walking away from a deal, no matter how bad. As was observed by deputy White House national security adviser Ben Rhodes (who is now claiming, "We never sought in this negotiation the capacity for so-called anytime, anywhere [inspections]" - he was lying, but today lying is in fashion):

"This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context."

Why, according to Milbank, couldn't the US insist upon the return of the American prisoners as part of the deal? Milbank believes that America no longer has "the clout to enforce its will" and concludes his op-ed by stating:

"[M]ostly what came through was a defense of what future historians may describe as the Obama doctrine: an America that recognizes the limits of its power and acts less ambitiously.

'No one suggests that this deal resolves all the threats that Iran poses to its neighbors or the world,' he said, returning repeatedly to the argument that none of his critics has 'presented to me or the American people a better alternative.'

He’s right. And this is why it was, sadly, a powerful case — for American weakness."

Indeed, Obama has made a powerful case - not just yesterday, but throughout his presidency - for American impotence, and in case you didn't happen to notice, the flag pin in Obama's lapel yesterday was no longer red, white and blue. Instead, it was solid white.


  1. metaphorically white...

    He was probably relieved Major Garrett did not mention the precedent of releasing Taliban in exchange for Bergdahl, the deserter soldier NOT left behind; and even more relieved the four Americans imprisoned in Iran are not black.

    fwiw, the alternative was tighter sanctions and a different negotiating team equipped with spines.

    However, Lavrov decided it was time to announce a deal, and so, it was done.
    "...Bringing the talks to a close was a "milestone", Khamenei said, but the agreement requires "careful scrutiny" before it is approved.

    Rouhani "must be concerned about possible violation of commitments by the other parties and close paths to it," the leader wrote in the letter, published on his website late Wednesday.

    "You are well aware that some of the six states participating in negotiations are not trustworthy at all," Khamenei said. He did not specify which of the six countries -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany – he was referring to.

    Throughout the almost two years of negotiations that culminated in the landmark agreement, Khamenei often spoke of his distrust of the United States. ..."

    I guess Obama will not be getting a Persian rug for his birthday present from Khamenei.

    In a sign of how Americans < 50 have been taught a different history, yesterday, I asked a woman at a grocery store about her t-shirt. It was about a Kazakh family. I mentioned Stalin's deportations from the Caucasus to Kazakhstan in the 1930's. Her response, which took me by surprise, was "not as bad as what Americans did to populations" I think she meant the 19th century policies towards native Americans, but what struck me was her belief that not even Stalin was as evil as America! that explains Obama's "base"



    interesting backstory

  3. Garrett should have asked Obama to quantify how many Americans it takes to be of importance,to be of consequence.
    Certainly not the four in Iran.Certainly not those left in Benghazi.
    Iran would have returned the four Americans,is only asked to do it.That would not have been a sticking point.The fact is that they were ignored,and our team was too timid to demand it.We were sized up long ago by Iran,and played.
    The so called deal achieves nothing but the empowerment of Iran,making them, a promoter of terrorism and hatred and intolerance,a world power with nuclear and intercontinental capabilities.
    One helluva legacy,Mr.President..

  4. The President should also be asked to quantify "some" as in he "spoke with some of the families" of the four hostages.Does that mean one,or two......or actually none?
    ...and why not all four families?