Posts Tagged ‘washington times’

US SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: SYRIAN DEAL DOES LITTLE, RELIES ON RUSSIANS

September 17, 2013

The Washington Times on September 15, 2013, reported that US Senator McCain threw cold water on the deal the United States and Russia have struck to dismantle the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stores by 2014, arguing it does nothing to keep the use of force on the table and help the rebels topple an Assad regime accused of gassing its own people. Excerpts below:

Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican…who’s called for more forceful action in Syria, said the agreement went soft on Syrian President Bashar Assad despite tough talk from President Obama in the wake of an Aug. 21 chemical attack on civilians near Damascus.

“And by the way, they didn’t even assign blame for this attack,” Mr. McCain told NBC’s ” Meet the Press.” “In fact, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in his op-ed piece…said that it was the rebels, it was the Free Syrian Army that committed this. There is not a seriousness on the part of the Russians.”

Ultimately, Mr. McCain said, the Americans did not strike a winning deal with the Russians.
“I think it’s a loser, because I think it gave Russia a position in the Middle East which they haven’t had since 1970,” he told NBC. “We are now depending on the good will of the Russian people if Bashar Assad violates this agreement. And I am of the firm belief, given his record, that is a very, very big gamble.”

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PENTAGON: 4 DESTROYERS, AIRCRAFT CARRIER TO REMAIN NEAR SYRIA

September 13, 2013

The Washington Times on September 12, 2013, reported that the US Navy will keep four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean and an aircraft carrier strike group in the Red Sea to maintain a “strong military posture” for a potential strike on Syria, the Pentagon said. Excerpts below:

“We have no plans at this time to change our military posture in the Mediterranean,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said. “We’re prepared for any potential military contingencies that might involve Syria.”

U.S. officials have voiced the need for continuing to apply military pressure on Syria as the Obama administration explores a possible diplomatic solution by working with Russia through the United Nations to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program.

The USS Nimitz carrier strike group, which has two destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser, has been extended for an additional two weeks in the Red Sea from the date it was due to start returning home to the Pacific Coast.

The destroyer USS Stout recently entered the Mediterranean to replace the USS Barry, the deployment of which in the region has been extended. Two other destroyers — the USS Ramage and the USS Gravely — also are deployed in the Mediterranean.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday hosted a bipartisan breakfast meeting with five members of Congress to discuss Syria.
“I don’t think it was arm-twisting. I think it was an honest, open, candid discussion,” Mr. Little said of the meeting. “Ongoing engagement is the name of the game.”

“The option that we’ve been contemplating is limited in duration and scope, and it will involve no boots on the ground,” he said. “It is in the national interest of the United States to ensure that chemical weapons are not used. We’re going to maintain a strong military posture.”

US SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: SYRIAN REBELS WILL FEEL ABANDONED

September 12, 2013

The Washington Times on September 11, 2013, reported that Republican Sen. John McCain said President Obama struck an emotional chord with the American public Tuesday, but he was “very disappointed” that he did not lay out a plan to arm vetted rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. Excerpts below:

“I feel very badly for my friends in the Free Syrian Army today,” Mr. McCain of Arizona told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I thought we should have acted a long time ago,” Mr. McCain said.

He said Syrian rebels will be driven into the hands of extremist groups in the region if they think they’ve been abandoned by the United States and other western nations.

“That impression I’m sure has been made on them today,” he told MSNBC.

COLD WAR DISINFORMATION JOURNALISM

September 7, 2013

Washington Times on September 4, 2013, published a review by Wes Vernon of the newly published book ALL THE DUPES FIT TO PRINT: JOURNALISTS WHO HAVE SERVED AS TOOLS OF COMMUNIST PROPAGANDA By Paul Kengor (Introduction by Cliff Kincaid America’s Survival Inc., $10, 88 pages). Excerpts below:

During the Cold War, the Soviets challenged the United States with the implied threat of nuclear warfare. Nonetheless, the United States and the Soviet Union were often treated by the U.S. media as moral equivalents. Why?

At one point, the Soviets controlled a third of the world, yet government policy (in the pre-Reagan years) often adhered to media pressure to “get along” with the Moscow miscreants, seldom confronting their presumed right to enslave others forever. (The Cuban missile crisis was one of few exceptions.) Why is that?

Though world communism has killed more than 100 million souls worldwide, one strains to find a single instance where communists are depicted by Hollywood as committing an atrocity. How come?

Post-Cold war, much of the media, under pressure from “politically correct” sources some suspected as fronts for terrorists have over time excluded references to “radical Islamic terrorism” or even “war on terrorism,” notwithstanding events of Sept. 11, 2001, and other treacheries. Why?

Anyone seeking to make sense of this 80-year disinformation fog might logically consult “All the Dupes Fit to Print: Journalists Who Have Served as Tools of Communist Propaganda.”

Author Paul Kengor describes a “dupe” in this case as one who is misled by communists and unwittingly does their work.

Make no mistake, Mr. Kengor adds, the mainstream media over the years have included communists. Partly because of their outsized influence within the industry, media consumers have often been ill-served. The misled “dupes” do much of the heavy lifting.

The author has pinpointed a key source for this approach…

Enter Curtis MacDougall (1903-1985), whom Mr. Kengor cites for his authorship starting in the 1930s of “Interpretative Reporting,” a compendium that was periodically updated with new editions up until MacDougall died a half-century later.

The “new journalism,” MacDougall envisioned, “would be a biased form of journalism intended to reshape the world anew,” a brave and better new world, a “progressive” one.

It is no exaggeration to say that if any one icon merited credit for influencing the tone of journalism throughout most of the 20th and into the 21st century, Curtis MacDougall would have to be considered for the dubious honor. He worked for United Press, several newspapers, taught for 29 years at Northwestern University and departed as he was working on the ninth edition of “Interpretative Reporting.”

Thus, having swayed the bulk of those who “interpret” the news for millions, MacDougall’s worldview becomes relevant. Accordingly, Mr. Kengor cites, among other things, a 319-page FBI file revealing that MacDougall “put his name to numerous communist fronts or suspected front groups.”

“All the Dupes Fit to Print” names some career journalists who were influenced by or practitioners of the loosely labeled “new journalism” that helped lead to what is known today as “media bias.”

Two disciples of the MacDougall-style were Walter Duranty, honored to this day by The New York Times, though he used the pages of the “Gray Lady” to cover up Stalin’s deliberately created famines in Ukraine, a mass murder that killed up to 10 million peasants, and Edgar Snow, whose writings were widely thought to be instrumental in creating worldwide sympathy for the Chinese Communists, leading to their ultimate takeover of the world’s most populous nation.

A chapter on the late Walter Cronkite is titled “And that’s the way it isn’t.” Cronkite’s misleading 1968 reportage on the Tet Offensive led critics to blame him for America’s defeat in the Vietnam War. “The most trusted man in America” tried (sometimes without success) to shield his left-wing views, “including his odd admiration for global governance.”

Other “interpretative” or “naive” reporters mentioned by Mr. Kengor as having tipped the scales portside include Dan Rather, Maria Shriver, Peter Jennings, Katie Couric, Don Podesta and Ed Rabel…

Herbert Matthew’s “New York Times puff pieces lifted Castro from obscurity and made him dictator of Cuba,” Mr. Kengor writes.

No critique of U.S. journalism should overlook I.F. “Izzy” Stone, who moved for years in pro-communist circles.

This book answers some questions on what is “media bias.” Other such explorations will likely follow.

Wes Vernon, whose journalism career included 25 years with CBS Radio, is a Washington-based writer whose column appears regularly at RenewAmerica.com.

US SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: WRONG MOVE ALMOST ENSURES ISRAELI-IRANIAN WAR

September 4, 2013

Washington Times on September 3, 2013, reported US Sen. Lindsey Graham saying that a wrong move in Syria almost ensures a war between Israel and Iran, challenging President Obama to articulate his case for military intervention in the region and telling his congressional colleagues to come up with a plan. Excerpts below:

“I think the American people have to understand if this war goes another year, here’s what’s likely to happen: there will be tens of thousands of al Qaeda in Syria, there will be a toppling of the King of Jordan, the last moderate voice in the region and a close ally to us and Israel — he’ll be gone in another year because of the refugee problem,” Mr. Graham said on CNN’s “New Day.” “The chemical weapons will be loose and in the hands of Hezbollah and may come our way, so … Iran is watching every move we make in Syria.”

Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, met with Mr. Obama on September 2 at the White House to outline their concerns on the issue.

“If we get Syria wrong, if we show weakness here regarding Assad’s chemical weapons utilization, you’re almost ensuring a war between Israel and Iran over their nuclear program, and we will surely get drawn into that,” Mr. Graham said on September 3.

Mr. Graham said that he hopes Mr. Obama will lay all this out and make his case for action to the American people.

“There’s a lot at stake in Syria and the president, above all others, needs to up his game,” he said. “If he doesn’t engage and persuade the American people, this vote is going to be too close to call right now. And if we lost this vote — oh my God, I can only imagine how it would make us look [throughout] the world. But if we have a weak response, where it’s just [a] ‘check the block’ response, that’s just as bad.”

“I’m willing to help if I can see a strategy that can protect our nation, to stop this war from spreading … if we get Syria right, maybe we can avoid a war between Israel and Iran, which we would surely get [dragged] into.”

Mr. Graham said the president has his own decision as commander-in-chief whether to act even without support from Congress, but also challenged his colleagues to come up with a plan to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, help boost the rebel opposition and engage regional players.

“If we fail in Syria, if we fail to stand up for the right thing and to send the right messages, the whole region is going to go down in flames,” he said. “And I’ve been saying that for two years … the worst is yet to come if we don’t get this right.”

US SENATOR MCCAIN: REJECTION OF SYRIA WAR RESOLUTION WOULD BE ‘CATASTROPHIC’

September 3, 2013

The Washington Times on September 2, 2013, reported that emerging from a private briefing with President Obama at the White House, Sen. John McCain warned it would be “catastrophic” if Congress rejected a resolution authorizing Mr. Obama to take military action against Syria over its suspected use of chemical weapons.

Mr. McCain, of Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, two of the leading Republican voices in the Senate on defense matters, met with Mr. Obama as part of a series of briefings with top lawmakers of both parties ahead of expected votes on possible military action against Syria.

“A vote against that resolution would be catastrophic,” Mr. McCain said. “It would undermine the credibility of the United States and of the president.”

Both men said the president was eyeing a plan to “degrade” the military capacity of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad while “upgrading” the capacity of democratic, pro-U.S. elements in rebel forces that have been battling Mr. Assad for two years.

The administration outlined “a pretty solid plan” to increase support for the Syrian opposition and get regional U.S. allies such as Jordan and Turkey more openly involved in the struggle against Mr. Assad, Mr. Graham said,…

Mr. McCain said he was “encouraged” by Monday’s briefing but said he still is not committed to voting for the resolution until next week’s debate.

CONGRESS PRESSES OBAMA TO AID SYRIAN REBELS

August 29, 2013

The Washington Times on August 28, 2013, reported that there’s a growing sense in Congress that the U.S. should take more steps to arm Syrian rebels in their battle against the regime of President Bashar Assad, regardless of what decision President Obama reaches on whether to conduct military strikes against Damascus. Excerpts below:

Fresh from a trip to the Syria-Jordan border, Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and a combat veteran from Iraq and Afghanistan, said this week that he’s been assured by both American intelligence and by the king of Jordan that it is possible to make sure military aid doesn’t reach the hands of Islamic extremists in the anti-government forces — a key concern that has complicated efforts to arm rebels.

“If America is to have any immediate role in the removal of Assad, training and arming the opposition should be the extent of U.S. involvement, which is sufficient to show America’s solidarity with friends in the region,” Mr. Hunter said.

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, was on the trip and he reached a similar conclusion, saying aiding some elements of the Syrian rebellion could counteract extremists in case Mr. Assad is ousted.

“We should be under no illusion that such aid will significantly influence the outcome of the struggle against Assad. But the Free Syrian Army exists and we must be better positioned to combat extremism. They can help us in the future, but only if we help them first,” Mr. Smith said.

Powerful photos and videos have boosted the pressure to act, but analysts say the options are limited. The Pentagon has argued that creating a no-fly zone to limit the government’s use of air power would not be a decisive blow, and could draw the U.S. into a deeper war, while other analysts have questioned whether the U.S. has squandered a chance for surgical strikes to take out chemical weapons facilities.

But the option of arming the rebels, which the administration has resisted, appears to be growing in popularity. It’s a solution that involves U.S. money and intelligence work, but not a deployment of American troops.

“The use of limited stand-off strikes, even those powerful enough to significantly degrade the regime’s military capacity, are no substitute for training and equipping the moderate opposition in Syria,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“The choice in Syria should not be between the Assad regime and radical Islamists,” Mr. Engel said. “Rather, we must do all we can to strengthen those who support the goal of a stable, pluralist post-Assad Syria.”

U.S. DESTROYERS, SUBS ON STANDBY FOR STRIKE ORDER ON SYRIA

August 27, 2013

The Washington Times on August 26, 2013, reported that four U.S. Navy destroyers remain ready in the Eastern Mediterranean for President Obama’s call to strike the Syrian regime’s military assets, each equipped with up to 90 Tomahawk cruise missiles, defense officials said. Excerpts below:

The USS Mahan, USS Gravely, USS Barry and USS Ramage are “poised and positioned should any options be taken,” a defense official said.

Although a decision to order a military strike had not been made by, intervention seemed more likely after Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced that the United States determined that there was a chemical weapons attack in Syria.

He said the Syrian government’s initial refusal and then belated permission for U.N. inspectors to examine the site of the attack “is not the behavior of a government that has nothing to hide.”

“[The destroyers] are in position if needed, but they, to my knowledge, have received no tasking to this point, and that would come obviously from the White House,” the defense official said.

Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the administration is likely to respond with cruise missile strikes or some variation, specifically “standoff weapons” that would be launched into Syria from the sea or air.

Defense officials say the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, which recently entered the Mediterranean, is not expected to be part of any military campaign on Syria and would focus on operations in Afghanistan.

Also in the Mediterranean are submarines armed with cruise missiles. Their positions are classified because they carry special operations troops.

If any military strike “comes to pass, it’s about the destroyers in the eastern Med right now,” the defense official said.
Likely targets would be Syria’s air force and munitions storage sites — assets that have provided the regime with an advantage over rebels in its 2-year-old civil war.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on August 25 presented the White House with military options, including strikes from the destroyers. He has publicly advised against military intervention in Syria.

In a July 19 letter to the Senate outlining military options, Gen. Dempsey said the cost of the operation would be in the billions of dollars, depending on the duration of limited strikes. He also warned of retaliatory attacks from Syria or regime-backed terrorists.

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called on Mr. Obama to “act decisively” after declaring last year that the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” that Syria must not cross.

SYRIA AGAIN CHALLENGES OBAMA’S ‘RED LINE’ ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS –

August 23, 2013

Washington Times on August 21, 2013, reported that President Obama’s “red line” for Syria is once again being tested after rebel forces said Wednesday that the regime of President Bashar Assad used poison gas to attack civilians near Damascus, killing potentially hundreds in what could turn out to be the deadliest deployment of chemical weapons yet. Excerpts below:

Adding to the pressure on the White House were videos supplied by rebels showing victims convulsing and choking, and powerful photos of children wrapped in clean white shrouds, lined shoulder to shoulder with their dead faces visible.

The White House said it was trying to confirm the reports independently but that the allegations pose a test for the embattled Mr. Assad, who has said he wants to disprove allegations of chemical weapons attacks.

“It’s time for them to live up to that claim,” White House spokesmanJosh Earnest told reporters. “And if they actually are interested in getting to the bottom of the use of chemical weapons and whether or not that’s occurred in Syria, then they will allow the U.N.. investigative team that’s already in Syria to access the site where chemical weapons may have been used.”

Rebels gave various estimates of the death toll from the artillery fire, ranging from the low hundreds to more than 1,300.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council held an emergency session to call for a “thorough, impartial and prompt investigation” of the charges against Syria.

News organizations said it was impossible to verify either the death toll reports or the nature of the attack.

The reports emerged almost a year to the day after Mr. Obama issued his “red line” to the Syrian regime, saying he would ensure that Damascus would suffer “enormous consequences” if chemical weapons were used or even if they were being readied for deployment.

Pressed by reporters about what consequences could be in line and why the U.S. response has been limited to condemnation, Mr. Earnest demurred. Still, he acknowledged the administration has “not attained our goal here yet, which is the removal of Assad from power.”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill said some sort of intervention is needed to stop the civil war, which has raged since 2011 and has killed more than 100,0000, according to UN estimates.

“The U.S. has two options: continue to largely stand on the sidelines as the regime slaughters its own people, or tip the balance of power against a brutal dictator by degrading its ability to attack civilians,” Mr. Engel said in a statement. “If we are to salvage what remains of our credibility in the region, we must act soon.”

The White House indicated that if chemical weapons were used, that could help solidify a coalition opposed to the Syrian regime, which still has support from longtime allies including Russia.

U.S. officials said earlier this year they had officially concluded that chemical weapons have been used in a few attacks and were reasonably sure the culprits were Syrian government forces. But given past questions about U.S. accusations of weapons of mass destruction, particularly in Iraq, the administration has been tentative in making more definitive claims.

The team negotiated with the Syrian government to gain access to the sites, but now will have to renegotiate if the investigators are to gain access to locations of this week’s attack.

FAREWELL TO THE ‘JUDGE’ – PRESIDENT REAGAN REGARDED BILL CLARK AS HIS ‘TOP HAND’

August 16, 2013

Washington Times on August 13, 2013, published an obituary by Frank J. Gaffney Jr. on  William Clark, President Reagan’s National Security advisor who passed away earlierin August. Excerpts below:

Judge Clark, as he was universally known, thanks to his time as a senior jurist in California, was quite simply the finest human being I have ever had the privilege to know. He was also one of the most consequential.

Of course, one would scarcely know that about the Judge. His Coolidgesque taciturnity and the authentically modest demeanor of a horseman who infinitely preferred riding the range to the ways of Washington ensured that too few knew during Bill’s life about his indispensable role at a critical moment in the history of our nation and, indeed, the world.

The egregious underestimating of the Judge began at the very outset of the Reagan presidency, when Joe Biden, then a senator from Delaware, used a hearing on Bill Clark’s nomination to become the deputy secretary of state to ridicule and demean him. Historian and biographer extraordinaire Paul Kengor described the moment: “Reagan had just succeeded in convincing Clark to give up his California Supreme Court seat — to which Governor Reagan had appointed him — to help him come to Washington to run the State Department.

In one of Mr. Biden’s most despicable performances (which is saying something), he proceeded to ask the Judge to identify the names of prime ministers of various sub-Saharan African nations and other “gotcha” questions, all the while professing discomfort at having to engage in such a line of inquiry. His intention was as transparent as it was successful: The man who is now vice president of the United States sought to neutralize Reagan’s right-hand man before he even took up his duties in Foggy Bottom,…

Fortunately, the Judge’s time trying to man the “America desk” at State was short-lived. By the end of Reagan’s first year in office, Bill Clark had been summoned to the White House, where he became for a short but epochal period the president’s national security adviser. The rest, as they say, is history.

With a series of National Security Decision Directives (NSDDs) prepared under the Judge’s supervision by Reagan’s National Security Council staff — several of which were not just highly classified, but extremely closely held — the two men charted the strategy that would destroy the Soviet Union and free hundreds of millions enslaved under its repressive communist ideology.

The Soviet Union is no more, primarily because Ronald Reagan, Bill Clark and an incredible cast of supporting characters — including Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul, Ed Meese, Cap Weinberger, Bill Casey, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and less well-known Clark subordinates like Roger Robinson — successfully executed the plan laid out in NSDD 75 and its economic precursor, NSDD 66. By so doing, they set in motion the inexorable cutting off of Western political, economic, financial and technological life-support to the Kremlin and global resistance to its geopolitical and military predations that, over time, bankrupted and ultimately took down the “evil empire.”

As important as the Judge’s role was in midwifing this strategy was what he did to prevent it from being strangled in the crib by those in allied capitals, in the business community and even inside Reagan’s own Cabinet who opposed it nearly as strenuously as did the Soviets. But for the steady, principled and visionary man at the president’s side, the Gipper’s greatest legacy may never have materialized.

The Judge will be remembered by untold numbers whose lives he directly touched for his quiet and self-effacing dignity, for his deep religious faith and for his tireless service to his community. Bill Clark will live on in the hearts of all those who love freedom and who enjoy it today, thanks to Ronald Reagan and his largely unsung, but indispensable top hand.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. was an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan. He is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program “Secure Freedom Radio.”