Thursday, June 24, 2010


Here's a disturbing fact of my daily news gathering these days. Yesterday on my way down to the Jersey shore with my only living sibling (my sister Irene, the closest to me in age among the six of us who made it beyond childhood—there was a brother between her and me who died as an infant), my youngest child and his nephew, my grandson, both of them soon to be the same age for a few months—twelve—listening to the news on NPR I heard Obama's statement about firing McCrystal and thought it was the most concise, most poignant, most intelligent, reasoned and correct statement I've heard him make yet.

I tried looking it up late last night when we got back from a full and beautiful summer day at the beach, visiting friends, experiencing that great hot day relief of a jump in the ocean, watching the kids have some of the best unencumbered-by-modern-life kind of fun you can have, etc. I tried to find the statement on the web and couldn't.

This morning I tried looking again by reading the NY Times article on the firing but it only quoted a few excepts from Obama's statement and didn't give the full text, even though it was pretty short. And the quotes they used weren't the most important to my mind. So I decided to look up "Obama McCrystal" on Google, and what popped up was all OPINIONS ABOUT THE FIRING but no real reporting of it!

And on the first page of web commentary on the firing the top links were all to rightwing distortions and tirades (e.g. "big government" saying something like Obama CAN'T fire a general (!?!)) etc.

No wonder there are so many idiotic takes on politics and governance these days from so many people I encounter either on line or in person. It's as if we live in a society where people actually believe the world is flat, as if the Enlightenment had never occurred or science was just a means to corporate profits and has nothing to do with helping us interpret reality.

I wish we could start the party of Reason. I'd join. (And if my reading of the Constitution and other founding doctrines is correct, so would most if not all of "the Founding Fathers" and a few of the mothers as well.)

[Thanks to my son Miles for finding the text of our president's statement. Guess it wasn't as succinct as what I heard on NPR. But these were the lines that I saluted:

"Good afternoon. Today I accepted General Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and for our country.
I don't make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy. Nor do I make this decision out of any sense of personal insult. Stan McChrystal has always shown great courtesy and carried out my orders faithfully. I've got great admiration for him and for his long record of service in uniform.
But war is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general, or a president. And as difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security.

The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.

My multiple responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief led me to this decision. First, I have a responsibility to the extraordinary men and women who are fighting this war, and to the democratic institutions that I've been elected to lead. I've got no greater honor than serving as Commander-in-Chief of our men and women in uniform, and it is my duty to ensure that no diversion complicates the vital mission that they are carrying out.

That includes adherence to a strict code of conduct. The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted privates and to the general officer who commands them.
...our democracy depends upon institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command, and respect for civilian control over that chain of command. And that’s why, as Commander-in-Chief, I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy."]


Miles said...


I hear your lament regarding the backslide of american enlightenment... ugh.

I also feel similarly about the lack of real reporting online. What's worse, I think good journalism is missing from many main stream "old media" outlets as well.

Anyway, internet searching is a bit of an art. It took me a few minutes but I found Obama's statement here

Hope that link works

Butch in Waukegan said...

Google this. The Times video and transcript, posted early afternoon yesterday, is 2nd on my search window.

To me the most important quote, for our future, is "Let me say to the American people, this is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy."

Hopey changey in action.

Lally said...

Thanks Miles, see my addition to the post re; the ext you hipped me to.
Once again Butch, your criticism is based on an ideal world and a perfect response to an ideal president (according, of course, to YOUR ideals), but given what our president inherited and is dealing with, I think he's doing better than you or I would, though we might move faster for more and bigger changes according to our idea of what's best, I doubt we'd have lasted even this long, let alone accomplished one hundredth of what Obama already has.

Butch in Waukegan said...

And on the first page of web commentary on the firing the top links were all to rightwing distortions and tirades (e.g. "big government" saying something like Obama CAN'T fire a general (!?!)) etc.

You must have missed the press conference by McCain, Graham, and Lieberman. Here is the video and transcript on C-SPAN.

This is C-SPAN’s description of the press conference:

Armed Services Committee Senators McCain, Lieberman, and Graham spoke to reporters about the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal. They spoke in support of President Obama’s decision to remove General Stanley McChrystal as the top commander in Afghanistan. They also praised the decision to replace him with General David Petraeus.

How does this fit into your narrative of the epic battle between Obama and the right wing forces of evil?

Lally said...

Here's the top "Obama McCrystal" Google search list that comes up on my computer:

Lally said...

Here's the second on the list:

One analyses the rightwing reaction against the firing, the second represents that reaction. Any argument that there isn't a concerted effort on the right to do everything they can to destroy Obama's presidency even if it's against what's best for the country has to be based on either wishes or selective anecdotal (or selective editing of my posts and comments etc.) "evidence" and not on the facts.

-K- said...

Nice. I would have missed this.

My favorite part:

"...I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy."

Anonymous said...

Any 'Party of Reason' would have to decide what is most important, our continued existence in the world as a society or our destruction as a society in order to meld into the community of nations.

History has proven that the world will never meld into 'one world society'.

Progressives have called themselves the Pary of Reason in the past. They establish a belief that the continuance of their society is the most pointed goal. No matter how it is observed, the Progressive always finds it necessary to elevate those who are assets to the goal. Conversely, they also find it necessary to diminsih or eliminate those who consume more than they contribute to the goal of the society.

Obama has continued his diminsihing the USA as a super power and the number one consumer market in the world. As such, Obama is now warning the world that hard times are ahead because the USA will no longer be able to support the markets importing their goods to our stores. He may even be realizing that he may be the last president of the nation as we know it.

welcome to the New World Order.

Butch in Waukegan said...

Since the conversation has naturally evolved into a defense of Obama and the Democrats, here is a glimpse of the New World Order they are planning for us.

Anonymous said...

an institution that rightfully could call itself the 4th estate no longer exists.

Anonymous said...

bottom line?

we've been in The Shit so long
we can no longer smell the stink!

all politicians are Bull-Shit ... by deification (definition)