Sunday, May 24, 2015

Most Ridiculous Moment - May 24, 2015


It was an abbreviated, but still scary day on the Sunday talk shows, since NBC did not broadcast Meet The Press, airing instead Premier League Football, which is like regular football, but with Shakespearean names and fully inflated balls.

On ABC's This Week, guest host Jon Karl had on a balanced lineup of Republican Governor Jon Kasich, Republican Congressman Mac Thornberry and Republican State Senator Colby Coash. Karl began the show by warning that ISIS “is now making a startling new claim about nuclear weapons.” 

But first he interviewed Governor Kasich, who seems to be a master of speaking forcefully without taking strong positions. On the recent verdict in the police shooting in Cleveland, he said “the verdict is the verdict,” and declined to comment on the killing of Tamir Rice.

On the Patriot Act, he said “I know that intelligence is important. But I also think civil liberties are important,” and “I do think they ought to continue the program. But all that data probably ought to put in some sort of organization, maybe some sort of quasi-government organization. And we ought to extend the power of the FISA court. That's the court that says if you're going to go 
and use this kind of surveillance, it 
has to be approved by somebody.”

Which make one wonder if he has any idea of how the FISA court works or what it does.

On ISIS, Kasich has three complaints. 
“One, we disbanded the Iraqi army and we have nothing but chaos since we started. 
Two, we failed to arm the opposition in Syria to push Assad out, which would have been strategic because of the support for Iran and 
Russia in regard to Assad. Then we had a 
red line and we ignored that.”

Which is a bit strange, since two out of the three of those would have helped ISIS, an enemy of Assad, not hurt them. Kasich called for U.S. troops to take on ISIS directly, saying, “if that includes American boots on the ground, so be it.”

Karl asked Congressman Thornberry, “This is ISIS online saying that by next year they believe that they will have the means to purchase a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. Any evidence that that could happen?”

The Congressman conceded that there was not, but warned ISIS would use nuclear weapons if they ever had them, and complained that Obama did not bomb ISIS's enemy Assad, grumbling “You can't draw red lines that you don't follow up on,” and called for U.S. advisors on the ground to help in directly bombing ISIS. He also warned that the real problem is that ISIS is getting 
very popular all across the region, a problem bombing will no doubt solve.

On Face The Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer moderated an extended segment with reporters who covered the war in Vietnam, with Bill Plante observing, “In 1964, there were American advisers. We knew that they were helping out and sometimes actually fighting, but we basically bought the notion that they were there to help the South Vietnamese. And by the time I came back a second time in 1967, it was pretty apparent that the Americans were doing all the fighting and the South Vietnamese not doing much.”

Schieffer said “Are you all struck by the parallels between Vietnam and what`s going on now in Iraq? I say this, you know, we went to Vietnam, not to conquer territory but to try to protect the South Vietnamese from a Communist take over. We went to Iraq 
not to conquer but to kind of protect and then we wind up fighting the war instead of helping those who were there to fight the war. 
And then once we began to draw down, 
we leave, we turn over the equipment 
and the whole thing collapses.”

Schieffer also interviewed Sunday talk show favorite, and Vietnam war veteran, Senator John McCain, who has a rather different view. For one, he insisted the Iraq war was won, over and done with, which is why we would could never leave. He said “We had before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week two architects of the surge that won. And we did have it won, until the decision 
was made to withdraw all the troops.”

He called the decision to invade in the first place “certainly understandable,” and said “there should be the question, should we have pulled everybody out?” and said “anybody who says we couldn't have stayed is not telling the truth, because Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman and I were on the ground there and know full well we could have could have left – we could have had 
a residual force or a sustaining force.”

He insisted “do they realize that we had it won? The surge had succeeded,” and observed “I saw we were losing. Then, George W. Bush at least had the guts to reverse and sponsor the surge, which we eventually then succeeded."

He called for “more American troops on the ground,” but not a lot, just a few thousand, at least, and demanded “forward air controllers, special forces, training, and equipping."

He complained “do you know that 75 percent of those combat missions return to base without having fired a weapon? It's because we don't have somebody on the ground who can identify a static - or a moving target,” and said “We found in Vietnam that if you don't have the right strategy, airpower is minimal in its effect. But we need to have these forward air controllers. We need to have special forces. We need to have more of those kind of raids that were so successful in Syria.”

So, on the same show in which veteran journalists all agree that the Vietnam war was a disaster resulting from misplaced confidence in a small number of U.S. advisors, special forces, bombing, and the capacity of local people to fight, John McCain, while admitting air power has a minimal effect, cites the lesson of Vietnam to argue for training and equipping the Iraqis, and going into Iraq and Syria relying on just 
a few thousand troops, U.S. advisors, 
special forces, and bombing.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.

Link to audio