Monday, November 19, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Barack let terrorists loose from US custody in 2009 when he negotiated with a terrorist group, terrorist Daqduq's release by Iraq last week threatens to remind people of Barack's talks with terrorists, the US Treasury Dept issues a statement on Daqduq, Nouri remains at odds with the Kurds, Bob Somerby tries to pretend he's not sexist . . . by attacking a woman, misrepresenting what she's wrote and her entire body of work, and more.
It was supposed to be so easy for Barack Obama. He squeaked by earlier this month, just winning the popular vote in the race for US president. Re-election was one thing but having opponents -- Republican, Green, Libertarian, Constitutional, Socialist Equality Party, etc -- who refused to call him out for negotiating with terrorists was even better. Now it appears the British press may force the American press to do the job they should have done on their own. Colin Freeman (Telegraph of London) observed Saturday:
If a prisoner exchange was done, though, it was a high price to pay, particularly for the Americans, who believed that Khazali brothers's militant group, the League of the Righteous, was involved in the Kerbala attack. Not long after Moore and Qais al Khazali were released, I spoke to Vanessa Chism, the stepmother of one of the murdered soldiers, Specialist Johnathan Bryan Chism. While she didn't object to a prisoner swap in principle, she lamented the prospect of not getting justice for her stepson.
"We were informed that this was going to happen, and while personally we would like the people who did this to our child to be punished, they will have to live with what they did," she said. "But if some good came out of it, by the release of that British man, then I am fine with that."
It wasn't just Westerners, though, who lost their chance for a day in court. The League is also believed to have been behind the abduction of 30 Iraqi Red Crescent workers in Baghdad in 2006, most of whose fate remains unknown. When I was last in Baghdad, the family of one of the workers told me that they felt that they too should have been consulted over any prisoner swap. They argued that as part of any deal, the League should have been made to hand over some of its Iraqi hostages as well as Mr Moore – or at least say where the bodies lay.
Iraq's homegrown League of Righteous with the help of Lebanese terrorist Ali Musa Daqduq are believed by the US government to have been behind the murders of 5 US soldiers.
The White House has never had to explain why they negotiated with a terrorist group, let alone why they released it's leader, it's leader's brother and other high ranking members. No one went to the American people and said, "Look we have the killers of the 5 Americans in custody. But there are four dead British security guards and one IT hostage we think is alive. We're thinking of releasing these terrorists, in fact, we're in talks with them, so that the corpses and maybe the one hostage can be released. Does that sound like justice? Because that's what we want to do."
It's that crap that has so many in the military and who are veterans feeling betrayed by the White House. And don't get them started on the press that has refused to press on this issue. The official US public position is: We do not negotiate with terrorists. Yet Barack did just that. Not because some mythical bomb would go off in 24 hours. Not because the League of Righteous was a threat to the American people.
Dropping back to July 9, 2011 when the League told Barack the deal was off:
Al Mada reports they have issued a statement where they savage the US government for not honoring -- and quickly honoring -- the agreement made with them. As a result, they say Alan McMenemy will not be released. Peter Moore, the only one released alive, was a computer tech working in Iraq. Four British bodyguards were protecting him. The bodyguards were McMenemy, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec MacLachlan and Jason Cresswell. The families of the four have continued to publicly request that Alan McMenemy be released. They [Leauge of Righteous] condemn the "procrastionation" of the US government after the deal was made and state that a promise was also broken when "US forces did not stop attacks" -- apparently Barack made very grand promises -- so now Alan McMenemy will not be released. The statement is credited to Akram al-Ka'bi. What the statement really does is demonstrate what many condemned in 2009: The US government, the administration, entered into an agreement that did not benefit the US or Iraq. They freed known killers from prison. Killers of Iraqis, killers of American citizens. There was nothing to be gained by that act for Iraq or the US. At some point, history will ask how Barack Obama thought he was fulfilling his duties of commander in chief by making such an ignorant move?
Alan McMenemy's corpse was finally released and sent back to England where his loved one could hold a proper funeral for him.
Barack has never had to answer for the deal he made with the League of Righteous. Outside of military and veterans circles, the issue is never raised when we speak. College students we speak to usually don't know about it. Not because they're uninformed but because the press has really refused to cover this story. From the June 9, 2009 snapshot: This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."
After Barack made the deal with the League of Righteous (and after they mocked him publicly and repeatedly in the Iraqi press after they were released), the US still had Ali Musa Daqduq in custody.
And many senators were calling for Daqduq to be brought to the United States and tried. Instead, in 2011, the White House turned him over to Iraq and received 'promises' regarding Daqduq's fate.
In a phone call on Tuesday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. told the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, that the United States believed that Mr. Daqduq should be held accountable for his actions and that Iraq should explore all legal options toward this end, an American official said. Robert S. Beecroft, the United States ambassador in Baghdad, made a similar appeal to Mr. Maliki that day. But Mr. Maliki told Mr. Biden that Iraq had run out of legal options to hold Mr. Daqduq, who this year had been ordered released by an Iraqi court.
Susan Crabtree (Washington Times) notes of that phone conversation between Joe Biden and Nouri al-Maliki, "The Whie House previously released a read-out of Mr. Biden's call with Mr. al-Mliki Tuesday that contained no mention of Mr. Daqduq."
Right wing commentator Max Boot noted at Commentary, "The fact that he [Daqduq] was set free anyway is hardly a sign of Maliki's respect for the rule of law. It is a sign of how little influence the U.S. now wields in Iraq and how much influence Iran now has." As we've pointed out before, Daqduq was found innocent by an Iraqi court. The US government then complained so he was, in effect, retried. That went over and above what should have been done. Iraq is a struggling whatever it is right now. And if it's ever going to be a democracy, rule of law has to be in effect. There are many cases -- criminal cases -- in the US where the guilty walks. That's part of the process of having a functioning justice system. Some will walk, some will luck out. In Iraq, all that could be done was done. The verdict was not guilty. That was it for the Iraqi courts. It was wrong of the US government to attempt to get another trial (in the US, we'd call that double jeopardy -- trying someone for the same crime twice). Extradtion requests? No problem on that. But throwing a fit because you didn't like the verdict?
Max Boot's arguing that setting Daqduq free was less about rule of law and more about ties to Iran. I honestly believe he's probably right. But I also believe that if Nouri al-Maliki had not released Daqduq (to the US or, as Nouri did, to go free), this would have shown arrogance and disrespect for the law. I consider Michael Rubin to be even further to the right of Max Boot. He's a leading neocon which might seem trendy if this were 2002. The neocons (called out in Peggy Noonan's 1990 biography What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era) -- Pushed? It's such a mild word. Tricked? Lets Bully Boy Bush and the others off. They cheerleaded and demanded the Iraq War. Then, when they got it, they didn't have the spine to stand up and say, "Yeah, we screwed up big time. Boy, were we wrong!" Not about WMD -- they knew that was lie. They were wrong about how this illegal war would lead to peace and stability in Iraq. At any rate, Michael Rubin argued at Commentary yesterday:
Rather than wring hands with outrage at Maliki -- any Iraqi prime minister in the same position would likely make the same decision, even Ayad Allawi -- the question that the American audience and someone in Congress should ask is why, if the United States wanted to try Daqduq for terrorism and murder, they would not just keep him in the first place. That is certainly a quip I heard from Maliki's inner circle last month in Baghdad. State Department and Pentagon lawyers might fall over themselves talking about the letter of law and process, but by doing so they lost track of the greater American interest for an artificial and debatable intellectual point.
Treasury Designates Hizballah Commander Responsible for American Deaths in Iraq
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated Ali Mussa Daqduq al-Musawi (Daqduq) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 for acting on behalf of Hizballah. Daqduq is a senior Hizballah commander responsible for numerous attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq, including planning an attack on the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center (JPCC) on January 20, 2007, which resulted in the deaths of five U.S. soldiers.
On March 20, 2007, Coalition Forces in southern Iraq captured Daqduq, who falsely claimed to be a deaf mute at the time and produced a number of false identity cards using a variety of aliases. From January 2009 until December 2011, U.S. military forces held Daqduq in Iraq under the terms of the 2008 "Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq on the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq" (the Security Agreement). In December 2011, the United States transferred Daqduq to Iraq's custody in accordance with our obligations under the Security Agreement. He was subsequently tried in Iraq on terrorism and other charges. On May 7, 2012, an Iraqi court dismissed terrorism and false documents charges against him. Daqduq remained in Iraqi custody until last week when the Iraqi government determined that it no longer had a legal basis to hold him, and he was released Friday.
"Ali Mussa Daqduq al-Musawi is a dangerous Hizballah operative responsible for planning and carrying out numerous acts of terrorism in Iraq," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. "The United States is extremely disappointed he was allowed to go free and we will continue our efforts to bring him to justice."
Today's action further highlights the fact that Hizballah's terrorist activities stretch beyond the borders of Lebanon. These terrorist acts are in some cases funded, coordinated, and carried out in concert with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). Hizballah, along with its Iranian allies, trained and advised Iraqi militants to carry out numerous terrorist attacks against Coalition and Iraqi forces.
Daqduq has been a member of Hizballah since 1983 and has served in multiple Hizballah leadership positions, including as commander of a Hizballah special forces unit and chief of a protective detail for Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.
In approximately 2005, Iran asked Hizballah to form a group to train Iraqis to fight Coalition Forces in Iraq. In response, Hassan Nasrallah established a covert Hizballah unit to train and advise Iraqi militants in Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) and JAM Special Groups, now known as Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq.
As of 2006, Daqduq had been ordered by Hizballah to work with IRGC-QF to provide training and equipment to JAM Special Groups to augment their ability to inflict damage against U.S. troops.
Individual: Ali Mussa Daqduq al-Musawi AKA: Ali Musa Daqduq AKA: Hamid Muhammad Jabur al-Lami AKA: Hamid Muhammad al-Lami AKA: Husayn Muhammad Jabur al-Musui AKA: Hamid Muhammad Jabur al-Musui AKA: Hamid Muhammad Daqduq al-Musawi AKA: Hamid Muhammad Jabur al-Musawi AKA: Hamid Majid 'Abd al-Yunis Nationality: Lebanese DOB No. 1: 1 September 1969 DOB No. 2: 31 December 1971 DOB No. 3: 9 August 1971 DOB No. 4: 9 September 1970 DOB No. 5: 9 August 1969 DOB No. 6: 5 March 1972 POB No. 1: Beirut, Lebanon POB No. 2: Al-Karradah, Baghdad, Iraq
In Iraq, AFP reports, "Iraq's premier has warned Kurdish regional security forces not to advance towards government troop positions, a military spokesman said on Monday, after deadly clashes in a flashpoint nothern town." What's Nouri talking about? The ongoing problem he created with his Tigris forces. From Friday's snapshot:
The big violence in Iraq today? Alsumaria reports violence resulting from Nouri's Operation Command Tigris. Alsumaria reports a clash between the Tigris forces and members of a Kurdish official's protection detail left many injured (over ten and possibly one dead). All Iraq News reports 1 person is dead -- a civilian and the outlet says all the injured were Tigris forces. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports that 1 Iraqi soldier also died and states that clash took place in Khurmato "when Iraqi soldiers attempted to search a house belonging to Goran Najam, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, officials said. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is the current leader of the PUK." Sinan Salaheddin (AP) offers, "The clash occurred as police commandos were attempting to arrest a Kurdish smuggler in the city of Tuz Khormato, said Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir al-Zaidi, of the newly formed Dijla Joint Military Command. When the smuggler took shelter in the offices of a Kurdish political party, police tried to break into the building, but gunmen guarding the office opened fire, he added." Peshmerga spokesperson Jabbar Yawar tells Alsumaria that this was a personal problem between the two and is now contained.
Saturday, AFP noted that "the head of Baghdad's recently established Tigris Operations Command, Lieutenant General Abdulamir al-Zaidi, told AFP that the incident did not involve the peshmerga and was rather an attempt to arrest a man accused of offences including murder and kidnapping." And Saturday KRG President Massoud Barzani weighed in on Friday's events with a statement posted to the KRG website in which he declared the blood of every Iraqi is important regardless of religion, ethnicity or doctrine. He offered his condolences to the family of Aziz al-Salmen who died. And while noting that the death was tragice, he states that the KRG if ready to defend their land from any attack.
Al Mada reports that the KRG's Interior Ministry's spokesperson declared Sunday that they had learned of a plan to send Nouri's Tigris forces into Tuz Khormato and that the Peshmerga will not allow it to happen. Alsumaria reports Nouri's State of Law is saying that the Peshmerga needs to join the Iraqi military. That would certainly kill their independence, right? And Nouri's done such a great job 'absorbing' other forces, right? Sahwa ("Sons of Iraq," "Awakenings") provided security for as little as $300 a month. But rather than absorb them, Nouri targeted them with arrests, refused to absorb them into the Iraqi forces or the Iraqi government and as violence has risen, especially in the last year, a strong argument can be made that some of the increase in violence results from Nouri's refusal to utilize and pay the Sahwa.
Let's turn to Bob Somerby. Saturday, we noted his non-stop sexism. So, of course, today, he had to suddenly pretend he gave a damn about women, tossing around misogynist and other phrases. But the often maligned (and sometimes rightly maligned) Freud told us long ago of the criminal's compulsion to confess. So it was that Somerby, while pretending to decry sexism had to yet again exhibit it by yet again going after Maureen Dowd. The (droning) text of The Daily Howler is "My friend Al Gore was treated badly." (Actually, Tipper Gore was treated badly and I first met one of Al's mistresses when Al was on the ticket with Bill Clinton in 1992 -- I can name her and I can tell you where she was sent to -- a very low place on the campaign trail -- as a result of that affair -- Ava and I noted that affair in passing back in 2007's "Global Boring." And it really pissed Bob Somerby and his stooge off when Ava and I noted that, we received blistering e-mails.) But if the text of The Daily Howler has always been the mistreatment of Al Gore, the subtext is and has always been: "I hate Maureen Dowd."
Maureen Dowd is not above criticism. I've criticized her here. Ava and I've criticized her at Third Estate Sunday Review. Rebecca's criticized her over the years at her site. The three of us have also praised her over the years because it's only in Bob Somerby's mind that Maureen Dowd is the greatest evil in the press. (Or is it greatest evil in the whole wide world?)
Maureen Dowd is a very popular columnist. She revolutionized the column industry. For that alone, her Pulitzer was earned. Maureen shook up a staid and dull format. Bob Somerby's convinced reporting was being done in columns until Maureen came along. Bob lives in a fantasy world. Most columns were paint-by-number pieces and, if you knew the writer, you knew where the column was going. Dowd style is a roller-coaster ride. She's bringing in, on her best days, a variety of topics, a variety of sources and a variety of threads. Yes, she does you Pride and Prejudice too often as a reference point (as Woody Allen uses several classics too often as his reference point -- to Dowd's credit, she's ensuring that a female canon author -- Jane Austen -- is represented in the cultural discussion).
Among the brave stands she's taken? Dowd was against the Iraq War. She wasn't kind-of, sort-of against it, she was flat-out against. You can't say the same about Nicholas Kristof, Bill Keller (he was a columnist then) or Thomas Friedman. Dowd fails as a columnist when she tries to write about her own family. I have no idea why that is. The columns are clearly heart-felt but they are her weakest work. Possibly, they are her robbed of her own style by trying to convey a heart-felt message?
That's not Dowd. Dowd is ripping apart this and sewing on that and who can believe what she ends up with? On her best days, it's a total surprise and a thrill to read from start to finish.
After her family, her weakest columns in the last years are ones about elections. She really doesn't go out on the campaign trail the way she did, for example, in 1992. If you read closely, you can feel her trying to work up excitement for the topic that never really comes.
But what Bob Somerby objects to is Maureen Dowd's style. In all of his years and years spent slamming Maureen Dowd, he has found very few true errors. Differences of opinion are not errors. (The only real error he's found, the one he can't stop yammering about, is that Dowd took a quote from John Kerry that wasn't a quote. Dowd wasn't present. We've covered that. She shouldn't be writing about campaigns if she's not on the bus. It leads to weak and repetitive writing on her part.)
He's so pissed at Dowd that he blogged about it Sunday and returned to the topic today to write four posts about it. You know while Bob Somerby's thrown his hissy fits all these years over Maureen's style, we've taken on serious issues, like letting the military vet your copy. But, by all means, let's pretend Bob Somerby using Maureed Down to work out his hatred of women is worthwhile and productive.
I talked about Dowd's overall stengths and her revolutionizes the column and then we talked specifically about some of her weaknesses. The column goes to some of her specific strengths. She's no longer on the campaign trail, hasn't been in some time. But what she does have is a broad vista when it comes to sources and she can take what they're telling her and write about it in a way that no one else can.
Bob Somerby doesn't like what Dowd's sources have told her but Somerby's not smart enough to grasp what his problem actually is. So he whines and whimpers and attacks Dowd. At one point, in his fifth post on this topic, he offers "Shorter Dowd: Susan Rice should have revealed classified information when she went on those Sunday shows! And she should have agreed wit that Libyan pol!" That's really not exactly what she wrote which raises serious comprehension questions about Bob Somerby. Again, that's his fifth post on the topic. By his fifth post in two days, he should be calm enough to make some sense but he's still raving like a lunatic.
Here's reality for Bob Somerby: If Susan Rice knew classified information (a terrorist attack) and she went on the air with what she did, she deliberately misled the American public and that's unacceptable.
She's under no obligation to reveal classified information, but she is under an obligation not to lie to the American people. Bob Somerby thinks he's caught Dowd in a trap but all he's really done is underscored Dowd's column: It is one thing to keep classified information classified, it is another to tell the American people a lie.
He distorts Dowd throughout. Having assigned Susan Rice the role of Virgin Mother, he now attacks Dowd and calls her a sexist when its his vision of women that's limiting. He insists that Dowd's always attacking liberal women when he means to say he believes she's always attacking Democratic politicians and Judy Dean (Howard Dean's wife). And, sorry, but Maureen said what needed to be said there and Diane Sawyer pursued the right tactic in her interview with the Deans -- if you are running for president, your spouse needs to be there -- that shouldn't be shocking. It wasn't shocking to Hillary Clinton when Bill ran for president in 1992 and again in 1996. And it wasn't shocking for Bill when Hillary ran in 2008. They know, as most people do, that if you're running for president (and you're married), your spouse is expected to be there.
But Bob Somerby either forgets or lies because Maureen Dowd's been writing columns for years and she's called out Republican women as well. I can think of one woman she called out so loudly that rumors ran around that Maureen had slept with the male politician and that's why she despised the wife so much. In recent years, she's gone after US House Rep Michele Bachmann and many others. In fact, in 2010, Laura Donovan reported for the conservative Daily Caller that the conservative Independent Women's Forum was objecting to Dowd's 'mean' remarks about "Jan Brewer, Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle, Linda McMahon, Carly Fiorina, Christine O'Donnell, Meg Whitman and Sarah Palin."
In one of the most jaw-droppingly dumb moments, he writes the following:
But how about Condoleezza Rice (no relation to Susan)? Dowd was even tougher on Condi [in Sunday's column], saying she sold her soul during her service to Bush.
Question: Did Dowd ever say such a thing in real time? Or does she only write columns like this about Democratic women?
What a stupid idiot or lying fool, he is. Maureen Dowd called out Bully Boy Bush constantly. Her nickname from the White House was "Cobra." The 2004 collection of her columns was entitled Bushworld: Enter At Your Own Risk. Post-collection, Condi was called out in the July 22, 2006 column for "air-guitar diplomacy" and Dowd wondered of Condi's efforts, "Keep more civilians from being killed? Or at least keep America from being more despised in the Middle East and around the globe?" Or take the November 28, 2007 column entitled "Jump on the Peace Train:"
When they invaded Iraq rather than working on the Palestine problem, W. and Condi helped spur the greater Iranian influence, Islamic extremism and anti-American sentiment that they are now desperately trying to quell.
[. . .]
The tight-as-a-tick team of W. and Condi have been consistently culturally obtuse on the Middle East, even with a pricey worldwide operation designed to keep them in the loop.
First, Condi missed the scorching significance of the August 2001 presidential daily brief headline "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." "An explosive title on a nonexplosive piece," as she later dismissively described it.
Then she and W. failed to fathom that if Iraq went wrong, Iran would benefit.
Golly gee, I'm having a real hard time remembering when Bob headlined a post about a man like that. Oh, that's right, he doesn't. It's only women -- "the other" -- that are always treated like this by Bob Somerby. Bob Somerby's an idiot. On behalf of all women, let me say, "Bob, I'm sorry no woman wanted you. I understand why that is but I'm sorry that it made you so hateful. I'm sorry that it makes you think you can call Dowd a 'spinster' and the other sexist terms you've aimed at her. Most of all, I'm sorry that since you've never really been close to a woman you don't get that we're not idiots. We do remember. We remember your attacks on Dowd for being single, your attacks on her for her age, your attacks on her for this and that and everything in between. If we were as stupid as you need us to be, we could read your filth today and say, 'There goes Bob sticking up for us gals!' But we're not stupid and you have a long, long record of sexism."
How telling that on the day Somerby wanted to call others sexist, he again went to town on Maureen Dowd. How very telling. A woman can be a Queen Bee, a gender-traitor, any number of terms. But in the landscape of sexism, a woman will rarely be the biggest offender. Unless you yourself are a sexist. Bob Somerby's called Maureen Dowd a sexist more often than he has Chris Matthews -- and he supposedly hates Chris Matthews -- and Chris Matthews, before the 'lean forward' makeover, bathed nightly on the TV screen in his hatred women.
On the larger issue of the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012 that killed Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Chris Stevens, it's really amazing how this had to wait until after the investigation and how our slowest of children -- such as Paul Abrams of Huffington Post -- want to not just instruct America on "proper" but also to insist that the answers are now known.
The Obama administration's explanation of the assault on Benghazi evolved from emphasizing an ultimately incorrect connection to the anti-Islam video to blaming Benghazi on a terrorist assault. Its defense is that the intelligence shifted; critics believe that Obama was covering up a terrorist attack to ensure his reelection. There are numerous unanswered questions about what happened in Benghazi: for instance, why security at the consulate was so light despite numerous precursor attacks that summer. Petraeus, finally out the door of the administration and under investigation by his own former agency, just added a few more, rather than clearing up the existing ones.
And on Meet The Press yesterday, noting Susan Rice's statements to the American people, Feinstein said, "We are going to find out who made changes in the original statement. Until we do, I really think it's unwarranted to make accusations." But, hey, Paul Abrams is bored and four Americans had funerals so can't we all move on to wasting time on Paul's fantasy that Hillary will run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016?
We all are aware that Benghazi has forced Paul to write about actual events as opposed to fantasies. It's hard on Paul. Reality's not pleasant when it forces non-thinkers to think.
As for who made changes in the talking points? Friday, Larry Johnson (No Quarter) argued that if the public remarks are correct, the National Security Council wrote the talking points and passed them "off as intel product." He explains what he bases that on -- actual experience in the CIA. Aaron Blake (Washington Post) reported that US House Rep Mike Rogers, appearing on Meet The Press with Senator Dianne Feinstein, stated that "the talking points used by United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice in the days after the attack were changed once they got to the National Security Council Deputies Committee, which is staffed by top deputies to Cabinet secretaries that deal with national security."
In this [language warning] Larry Johnson post that Ruth noted, he is even more clear in the process for such a memo. Some who 'just know' what happened, might need to review Johnson's reporting because they apparently do not understand the writing process, the review process or even the chain of command with regards to custody for such a document.
We talked about women and the literary canon. One of the many women who paved the way for so many others and went on to become one of the great American songwriters is singer-songwriter Carly Simon. She's won the Grammy (twice), she's won the Golden Globe, she's been honored with The ASCAP Founders Award, she's even won an Academy Award. This Wednesday night, she's doing a web concert with her children Sally Taylor and Ben Taylor. It kicks off at 8:00 PM EST, 7:00 PM Central and 5:00 PM Pacific. It is a forty minute concert. Tickets are $20 with a portion going to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Carly is notoriously stage shy. She could make a ton of money today if she did a national tour. She's one of the few acts that could make a ton of money. And one reason she could haul in that money (I'm not talking a ten date tour, I'm talking across the country) is because she has toured so rarely and so many of her fans across the country haven't had the pleasure of seeing her live (though they've wanted to). The tours have been very rare and tended to be short ones. This is a chance -- first-come-first-serve, there are about 90 tickets left -- for you to see her regardless of your location. The concert is Wednesday. And Sally and Ben are their own artists. You can hear strains of their parents in them but they are their own artists with their own unique talents so the concert should really be something. And Ben is also the guest on NPR's Mountain Stage -- the program may have already aired today in your area but you can check it out here -- 41 minutes of audio and also a video of him performing "It Really Doesn't Matter To You." I haven't had time to stream the concert but I do know "It Really Doesn't Matter To Me" and I think it's among his best, right up there with "Wicked Ways."
And while I'm plugging music, Janis Ian is an amazing artist, real, genuine, able to touch the heart. A very gifted artist and a sweet woman. A music producer friend asked me awhile back to note that Janis -- who is always on the road -- was performing in Dallas, Texas at a very intimate venue. This was going to be the first time Janis was in Dallas in some time and, again, it was a club where every seat was supposed to be a great seat. So we were more than happy to include it. The same friend called to ask that we note that Janis hits Texas next month and will perform at One World Theatre in Austin on Monday, December 10th; Dosey Doe in The Woodlands on December 9th; and Saturday, December 8th, Janis will be back in Dallas at Hamon Hall. As Ann and Nancy Wilson can tell you, if you can get Texas behind you, you can always tour. As a state, its history hasn't been to be trendy and, if you give a good show, concert goers will show up for the career highs as well as the more mellow periods. Janis is one of the premiere concert artists. She is not going through the motions, she is creating a show. She's a legend on the road and, if you're able to check her out, please do so. Click here for her full touring schedule. But, I'm not joking, it's known in the music industry that if you can get into the Texas circuit and give a strong show, concert goers will show up for years to come. They really value music -- and not trends -- in Texas. (That's also the reputation Louisiana has and why smart stage performers like Stevie Nicks always include those regions when planning a tour.)
And the friend I'm dictating this to asked if I was going to mention Ann? I didn't know Ann Wilson had something this week. Ann and her sister Nancy are the trail blazing rockers behind Heart which has a new album Fanatic (Katraved over it here) -- on sale for only $6.99 as an Amazon download right now, a tour and also a wonderful book Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll (Ava and I loved it). But Thursday, November 22nd, (that's Thanksgiving Day), Ann will be performing the National Anthem, broadcast on Fox TV, at the Dallas Cowboys versus the Washington Redskins football game. The game's scheduled to start at 2:15 PM EST, 3:15 Central, 1:15 Pacifica. Along with being on Fox TV (that's the entertainment channel that airs The Simpsons, Fringe, etc. -- I know Fox has a ton of channels), it will also be broadcast on Sirius Radio (channel 93). So Ann sings the National Anthem. And she's someone who can. Many don't have the range for that song, it's a hard one to sing. Ann's got the range and, goodness knows, the power so it should be something to see and hear.