As Governor of Texas, the Presidential hopeful warned us. If we were to select him as Commander-In-Chief he would not send mixed messages. Americans might have read George W. Bush’s lips. Pressure would be applied in abundance. A thousand points of light illuminated the path the then possible Chief Executive proposed. Yet, no one wished to believe a prominent person, the son of a former President of the United States could be so cruel. Certainly, a candidate to the highest office in the land would not suggest that he would be happy to start a war while he worked to win the support of American people. Yet, there it was, in the smirk, in the statement, in the glint seen in the eyes of Governor George W. Bush. The date, January 16, 2000, one year and four days before the ready and willing combatant placed his hand on the Bible and recited the Presidential Oath of Office.
Americans entered a new age; the second millennium had just begun. Yet, the people had learned little from hundreds or thousands of years of history. While tuned into television, citizens did not need to read between the lines. The future President spoke directly of his intent. Journalist Wolf Blitzer heard the words and reiterated. Perchance, the Broadcaster, too shocked by a truth he thought awesome, offered the then candidate a chance to redeem himself. George W. Bush cognizant of how his words might be thought cocky, endeavored to lessen the concern, somewhat; however, he remained stalwart.
The words were ominous, they, the Iraqi’s, would not exist any more. They hung in the air. Yet, people wanted to believe, as President, George W. Bush, (or whomever) would protect them. The public chose to suspend disbelief. With blind faith, supporters of the candidate followed their leader. Those who did not endorse the aspirant did not dare to fear the unthinkable. They thought they would or could “trust and verify.” Few imagined the impossible would be their unwelcome truth.
Nearly two years later, circumstances afforded Mister Bush an opportunity. The September 11, 2001, attack on the Twin Towers allowed the former Governor, then President, to say, the world changed. However, in truth, while the people’s perspective may have been transformed, the views George W. Bush expressed twenty-one months earlier were as they had been. The Chief Executive’s sense of reality was static.
Commander-In-Chief Bush is consistent. As documented, at least since January 2000, Mister Bush intended to eliminate what he decided was a threat, Saddam Hussein, and the country known as Iraq. The harangue was heard and George Bush would stay the course.
Blitzer: It’s almost exactly nine years since your dad, the president of the United States, accepted a cease-fire with Saddam Hussein in Iraq in exchange for full Iraqi agreement to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors. But for the last year, there have been no weapons inspection teams in Iraq at all. If you were president today, what would you do about it?
Bush: I would continue to keep the pressure on the Iraqi government. I would continue to insist that inspectors be left — allowed into the country. I would continue to insist that Iraq complied with the cease-fire arrangement.
Blitzer: But they’re in violation of the agreement right now.
Bush: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we shouldn’t be sending mixed signals. And if any time I found that the Iraqi’s were developing weapons of mass destruction, they wouldn’t exist any more.
Blitzer: Who wouldn’t exist, the weapons?
Bush: The weapons of mass destruction, yes. I’m not going to — they just need to hear that from a potential president, that if we catch them in violation of the agreement, if we in any way, shape or form find out that they’re developing weapons of mass destruction that there will be action taken, and they can just guess what that action might be.
Blitzer: And you’re not going to spell it out here today?
Bush: No, sir.
Ah, but he had shared the details. The candidate crafted a message and then, in the midst of the interview thought better of being so blatant. Perhaps, this election season, the American people might ponder the past. Citizens could consider pronouncements are portals. When the public listens to our current crop of Presidential challengers might the people acknowledge that a politician has power to change more than a policy. Lives will be altered with the stroke of a Presidential pen.
This time, will our countrymen contemplate the messages delivered when a Presidential hopeful is away from the persuasive scripts? Might Americans accept commercials do not reveal what is within a heart and soul. Stump speeches do not reveal authentic intentions.
Let us listen when a potential Commander offers his truest calculations. When a candidate speaks of possible combat, have faith. He or she will engage. If the same hopeful honors a citizen’s right to bear arms, believe him (or her). Suppose surveillance is the subject. A potential President that promotes a need to spy on those he or she thinks may be terrorists will follow through. Holidays from taxes that build a healthy infrastructure, once proposed, will be part of the ultimate plan. When a presumptive Chief Executive claims he or she will reduce the cost of Health Care Insurance and yet, does not establish a means for better access to affordable medical coverage, realize, he or she will not provide an avenue for those who struggle with what is. What of energy, education, the environment; perchance Americans might acknowledge, no matter the issue, a person, a potential President will reveal him or herself in subtle ways.
Americans might follow the money, the man, and the woman. People, no matter their station know what they need to say and when. A hopeful President indebted to industry will not forget their allegiance, just as George W. Bush never forgot his. Loyalty to family, friends, and financiers leads many a Commander to combat or a multitude of convenient truths.
All actions begin with a thought. Words are windows into a being. Be assured; if an aspirant muses of what he or she “might” do, trust they will. Defensively, details may not be forthcoming before the position is secured. Nonetheless, once the keys to the White House are in hand the world will change to fit the new office holder’s reality, when indeed he or she actually has not evolved.
Sources For Statement of War, or Peace. We, the people decide . . .
Often a King, a Queen, a Prime Minister, or even a President is anointed for they have what it takes. A bloodline qualifies a person for a position of authority. An individual may have married well. A network of acquaintances often secures an honorable appointment. After all, people profess, “It is not what you know, but who you know.” A court may declare an individual all-powerful, or a media mogul, with monetary ties to those who “count” may commit him or herself to a candidate, or to a campaign.
The reasons for a selection may not be obvious, or at least a naïve public would not fathom the possible influences. Yet, we observe the obscure rendezvous daily. The so-called objective press tells us what to think and whom we must consider a credible source. On Friday, December 28, 2007, America was reminded that Hillary Clinton was the chose one. She alone is more than qualified to be Commander-In-Chief.
Less than a week before the Iowa caucus, Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, was invited to speak to a global audience, to an expectant nation, to the American people. She did so with conviction. Cable News Network featured the former First Lady in an exclusive interview. The presumed future occupant of the Oval Office appeared Presidential indeed.
Definitively, Clinton discussed the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. As she assessed the nations’ next necessary move, the New York State Senator was treated as though she was Commander-In-Chief, President of the United States of America.
One might ask, “Who died and left Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office?” Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was slain, or accidentally, she took her last breath, or insert the theory of your choice. Hence, “The Most Trusted Name in News” chose to select our next President, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Regardless of Hillary Clinton’s recent slip in national polls and the possible cancellation of the previously planned coronation, Wolf Blitzer, Ted Turner, or parent company Time Warner thought the former First Lady was the best person to advise Americans on the crisis in Pakistan. In truth, there has long been an alliance between the Cable News Network and the Clinton clan.
Some might recall another discussion during the most recent New York Senatorial campaign. In a cover story, Time Magazine the crown jewel periodical in the Time Warner media kingdom, explained to “uninformed” voters, Senator Clinton had “virtually nonexistent opposition for her senate seat.” Hence, Time Warner’s NY1 TV news channel [“the CNN of New York”] vehemently refused to host a Democratic New York Senate race debate stating there was no need. Clinton did not have a viable opponent.
Notwithstanding numerous protests, and cries of foul, the New York Cable News Network claimed her antiwar challenger, union leader Jonathan Tasini, has not raised enough money to be considered creditable. The station capriciously stated, a candidate must raise a half-million dollars before they are worthy of note, or are granted an opportunity to speak to the television audience. Apparently, actual money buys airtime that support from the electorate cannot.
Ironically, NY1 has already hosted and televised a Democratic New York gubernatorial debate between frontrunner Eliot Spitzer and a Democratic challenger who was at only 10% in the polls. But that candidate had raised about $6 million. So spending millions to get just 10% in popular support was rewarded by Time Warner’s channel, while building a more effective grassroots campaign, largely of volunteers, was punished. (One wonders how much of the money went to NY1.)
Did I mention that Time Warner’s Political Action Committee [PAC] is one of the many corporate PACs that underwrites Hillary Clinton’s reelection campaign against the “virtually nonexistent opposition”?
While Hillary Clinton does face a field of qualified opponents in this national Presidential campaign, according to Cable News Network she is still classified as the presumed winner again and again, at least in CNN polls.
The American public may never have a chance to ask “Which came first, the media’s preference or the people’s opinion?” A Clinton victory may have been cinched before the public campaign began.
In an earlier era, Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, the candidate with “experience,” lived in the White House for eight long years. While she may not be George W. Bush, the man who, current Chief Executive Officer of Time Warner, Richard Parsons has long supported; nor is she John McCain, a Republican nominee that Parsons now backs, of those considered electable, Clinton may be the best Bush clone. That alone may be important enough to an elite entrepreneur who wishes to ensure his interests will be protected. Hillary Clinton has corporate connections more meaty than all other contenders.
A bevy of current and former Hillary advisers, including her communications guru, Howard Wolfson, are linked to a prominent lobbying and PR firm–the Glover Park Group–that has cozied up to the pharmaceutical industry and Rupert Murdoch. Her fundraiser in chief, Terry McAuliffe, has the priciest Rolodex in Washington, luring high-rolling contributors to Clinton’s campaign. Her husband, since leaving the presidency, has made millions giving speeches and counsel to investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. They house, in addition to other Wall Street firms, the Clintons’ closest economic advisers, such as Bob Rubin and Roger Altman, whose DC brain trust, the Hamilton Project, is Clinton’s economic team in waiting.
Even the liberal in her camp, former deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, has lobbied for the telecom and healthcare industries, including a for-profit nursing home association indicted in Texas for improperly funneling money to disgraced former House majority leader Tom DeLay. “She’s got a deeper bench of big money and corporate supporters than her competitors,” says Eli Attie, a former speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore. Not only is Hillary more reliant on large donations and corporate money than her Democratic rivals, but advisers in her inner circle are closely affiliated with unionbusters, GOP operatives, conservative media and other Democratic Party antagonists.
For Richards Parsons, the list of Clinton’s top contributors establishes Hillary Clinton is an attractive aspirant. She is solidly in the Conservative Camp. This is likely the reason that Parsons, the individual, also invested in her Senate campaign in 2006. Now, in 2007, he and his network can further assist the candidate in her endeavors . . . and they are.
After the death of Benazir Bhutto, Americans were invited into the Situation Room, not the one located in the White House. We, the viewing public entered the halls of the Cable News Network. There we discovered who died, and who was made President. As the Time Warner, Cable News Network broadcast began Journalist Wolf Blitzer announced right from the outset who was in charge of the nation and foreign policy. Blitzer proudly declared . . .
Hillary Clinton’s get-tough approach to Pakistan — in our exclusive interview, she has some harsh words for President Musharraf and for the Bush administration . . .
The television audience then saw the presumed “future” President of the United States. Her face filled the screen. The United States flag was visible over her shoulder. A golden ambiance set the tone; then the words of our “leader” echoed through the air. Former First Lady, soon to be Madame President Clinton proclaimed her beliefs. She shared her policy and offered instructions to the world at large.
I don’t think the Pakistani government, at this time, under President Musharraf, has any credibility at all. They have disbanded an independent judiciary. They have oppressed a free press.? ?Therefore, I’m calling for a full independent international investigation, perhaps along the lines of what the United Nations has been doing with respect to the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in Lebanon.
I think it’s critically important that we get answers. And, really, those answers are due, first and foremost, to the people of Pakistan, not only those who were supportive of Benazir Bhutto and her party, but every Pakistani, because we cannot expect to move towards stability without some reckoning as to who was responsible for this assassination.
And, therefore, I call on President Musharraf and the Pakistani government to realize that this is in the interests of Pakistan to understand whether or not it was al Qaeda or some other offshoot extremist group that is attempting to further destabilize and even overthrow the Pakistani government, or whether it came from within, either explicitly or implicitly the security forces or the military in Pakistan.
You know, the thing I have not been able to understand, Wolf — I have met with President Musharraf — I obviously knew Benazir Bhutto and admired her leadership — is that President Musharraf, in every meeting I have had with him, the elites in Pakistan, who still wield tremendous power, plus the leadership of the military, act as though they can destabilize Pakistan and retain their positions, their positions of privilege, their positions of authority. . .
That is not the way it will work.
Or is it Senator Clinton. It seems if you and your cronies, your contributors wish to retain positions of privilege, and positions of authority a destabilizing death may be to your advantage. Perchance, it already was. You certainly appeared to be in control, as a Commander-In-Chief addressing the nation in our time of need. Americans awaited an explanation after the Bhutto assassination, and before we could blink, we had the answer. “Who Died and made you President?”
Perhaps, I was not alone. I stood watching the images and listening to the discussion; I was mesmerized. Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain stood, straight faced, and stated, Iraq, specifically the Green Zone is safe. Perchance the Wizard, the once magical McCain, is hiding behind the curtain, oblivious to the strife that exists daily in the world of Oz.
Michael Ware, Cable News Network Correspondent has spent more than one short day in the Emerald City. He rebuffs the senior Senators claim. The battle is on, or perhaps, it is only continuing. Is the mission in Iraq accomplished or aggravated by the presence of America troops. Stay tuned.
Wolf Blitzer, of Cable News network offered an introduction to his interview with the esteemed Senator McCain. Notably, the Presidential candidate McCain ends his commentary by chastising the Journalist.
Senator John McCain [R], Arizona: You know that’s where you ought to catch up on things, Wolf. General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed Humvee. I think you ought to catch up.
After, this snippet, Wolf Blitzer resigns himself and remarks . . .
Still ahead tonight here in The Situation Room, our man in Baghdad wonders if Senator John McCain is living in Neverland.
We, the audience are then introduced to Michael Ware, war Correspondent in Iraq. We hear him state . . .
Ware: To suggest that there’s any neighborhood in this city where an American can walk freely is beyond ludicrous. I’d love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is and he and I can go for a stroll.
The segment is followed by another. The Senator suggests . . .
McCain: If I’m wrong, you’ve got a lot more problems than anything it does to my political reputation.
It seems we have trouble, right here in the Emerald City. We also have deep dilemmas in the United States. The divide in the States is evident to us, citizens of America. However, what is a world away is less so. Who might we believe, a beleaguered Presidential candidate, or the press, Michael Ware a Cable News Network Correspondent stationed in Iraq.
Our elder statesman loudly proclaims that a surge is and has been sufficient, that peace is found within the Iraqi borders, within Baghdad. Yet, we watch as the United Nation Secretary General Ban Ki-moon flinches in the face of bombing in the Green Zone. We hear haranguing tales. Still, a former prisoner of war declares, there is no need for distress. Everything is working well. There is no reason for concern. Oh really?
I offer the transcript of the interviews, the intial discussion with Senator John McCain of Arizona, and the ensuing dialogue with Reporter, Michael Ware, postioned and holding on for dear life in Iraq. Dear reader, you decide.
I’m Wolf Blitzer. You’re in The Situation Room. Tonight, Democrats say they’re taking a new step toward bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq. The Senate voted 50-48 in support of a timetable for withdrawal of the U.S. forces in defiance of a presidential veto threat, but some Republicans calling it a surrender date.
The debate is weighing very heavily on the race for the White House and Republican Senator John McCain. I pressed the Arizona Republican about his support for the president’s troop buildup and Democrats demands to begin a pullout. But the Democrats, or at least some of them are saying, you know what, let’s say you’re right. Maybe you give them another year, the Iraqis — it’s now year five of this war — give them another year to get their act together, strengthen their military, strengthen their police force, strengthen their whole political environment there and then you begin to leave. Do you think they can get their act together over the next year?
McCain: I’m sure. I’m confident that they can to a large degree, but that’s like saying after the Korean War, after we had a cease-fire that we would immediately pull out. We kept our troops there and we keep them there as a stabilizing force. I think that there’s no doubt that we may require troops there for a long period of time, a long period of time, but at the same time we can achieve success and American troops withdraw from the front battle lines…
Blitzer: How much time do you think, Senator, the Iraqis need to be really in charge of their own security?
McCain: I don’t know the answer to that. And when I venture a guess, then we have a date for withdrawal. What I’m saying is we are achieving success. The key to it is not U.S. presence. It’s U.S. casualties and if we can keep U.S. casualties down as we did after the Korean War, obviously, Americans won’t mind that and Americans have got to understand the consequences of failure.
Failure is catastrophe. Failure is genocide. Failure means we come back. Failure means they follow us home. The consequences of failure that one of the most disingenuous — two disingenuous aspects about the Democrats’ position — one is what do you do if we leave? What do you do if Iraq deteriorates into chaos? And second, if you really feel this way, if you really feel it, then bring them home tomorrow. That’s the intellectually honorable thing to do.
Blitzer: Here’s the latest poll in the “USA Today”/Gallop poll asked about setting a timetable for withdrawal by fall of 2008. Sixty percent say they favor such a timetable. Thirty-eight percent say they oppose it. You would be in the 38 percent. Why is the American public or at least the majority of the American public disagreeing with you?
McCain: Because the American public is frustrated and angry and saddened by our failure and mismanagement of the war for nearly four years. And they would like to see us be out of there, but they also want us to succeed. You know better than I do, it’s how you ask the questions in a poll.
If I ask the question, if I can show you a path to success that involves maintaining a U.S. presence there for an extended period, you have 80 percent of the American people say yes, if we can show them path for success. And Joe Lieberman could never have been reelected in Connecticut if it was as clear cut as some describe it that Americans just want us out. Because his opponent, clearly that was his position.
Blitzer: If the situation a year from now, Senator, is what it is basically today, what will that say to you? McCain: It won’t be. It won’t be. It will be better or worse. No military person…
Blitzer: Well, what if it is worse?
McCain: Then obviously we are going to have to examine a set of bad options. But I’m confident it won’t be. I’m confident hell won’t freeze over. I’m confident we can succeed if we stay with this strategy. And if I’m wrong, we have got a lot more problems than anything it does to my political reputation.
Blitzer: Here’s what you told Bill Bennett on his radio show on Monday. “There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today. The U.S. is beginning to succeed in Iraq.” Everything we hear, that if you leave the so-called Green Zone, the international zone, and you go outside of that secure area, relatively speaking, you’re in trouble if you’re an American.
McCain: You know, that’s where you ought to catch up on things, Wolf. General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in a non-armed Humvee. I think you ought to catch up. You see, you are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it.
You certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media. But I know for a fact that much of the success we’re experiencing, including the ability of Americans in many parts. Not all. We have got a long, long way to go. We have only got two of the five brigades there to go into some neighbors in Baghdad in a secure fashion.
Blitzer: Let me refer to a few of your colleagues in the Senate and the House. Chuck Hagel, John Murtha, former Senator Max Cleland, the current Senator Jim Webb, they’re all like you, Vietnam War veterans. You say this is potentially a worse situation if the U.S. were to withdraw from Iraq as opposed to when the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam. Why are — because they’re saying, just get out, basically, and you’re saying you have got to say. Why do you think these Vietnam War veterans, decorated just as you are, disagree?
McCain: Well, because I hope that all of our experience, knowledge, background, and decision-making is not driven by the experience of the Vietnam War. I hope it’s an accumulation of all the training, experience, and knowledge I had, including 22 years in the military and 24 years in the Congress and the Senate. But, look, don’t take my word for it that they’ll follow us home.
Look at what they say. Look what bin Laden says. Look what Zarqawi says. Look at what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said at his tribunal down in Guantanamo. They all say the same things. Go on their Web sites. They’ll tell you. They want to follow us home. We’re their enemy. They’re the ones we want to destroy. They win in Iraq the way they won in Beirut and the way that they won in Somalia, then they will be following us home. Again, it’s not my stated — not from anything I’ve written or said. It’s what they’re saying and writing. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Blitzer: So is Baghdad really getting safer? A very different view of the reality there from our own reporter on the ground who says Senator McCain couldn’t be more wrong. Let’s go back to CNN’s Michael Ware. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
Well, Senator John McCain states his claim and offers a defense against attack from the press vetted on the war-front. You may have noticed this statement, embedded his ample and rosy assessment, “You certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media.” I guess we do not. It is difficult to imagine what life is like when missiles are whizzing overhead. When bombs blast and that seems so ordinary that we do not move, though we hear the sound of a projectile hitting its target only yards away from our feet, admittedly, we do not understand.
However, we can try to imagine what life is like for those living amongst the barrage of bombs and the people as they panic in the streets. The voices we hear that have firsthand experience may be working with the media. Still, as the images race by on our screens, as we see the strife from a safe distance, we can only surmise, this seems authentic. At least it does to this writer. I believe a war Correspondent has more credibility than Senator McCain. I wonder; has the Senator forgotten what it means to be on the front. Michael Ware may wish he could.
Journalist Wolf Blitzer turns to Mister Ware and ask for his appraisal. I watch as he introduces the topic. I see Ware look on and listen to McCain’s words. I witness his raised brow and I am anticipating. Will this mainstream media reporter offer a stilted evaluation. Will he underestimate so as not to upset Americans or the White House or will he do as he did.
Blitzer: Michael, you’ve been there, what, for four years. You’re walking around Baghdad on a daily basis. Has there been this improvement that Senator McCain is speaking about?
Michael Ware, CNN, Correspondent: Well, I’d certainly like to bring Senator McCain up to speed, if he ever gives me the opportunity. And if I have any difficulty hearing you right now, Wolf, that’s because of the helicopter circling overhead and the gun battle that is blazing just a few blocks down the road. Is Baghdad any safer? Sectarian violence, one particular type of violence, is down. But none of the American generals here on the ground have anything like Senator McCain’s confidence.
I mean, Senator McCain’s credibility now on Iraq, which has been so solid to this point, has now been left out hanging to dry. To suggest that there’s any neighborhood in this city where an American can walk freely is beyond ludicrous. I’d love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is and he and I can go for a stroll. And to think that General David Petraeus travels this city in an unarmed Humvee?
I mean, in the hour since Senator McCain has said this, I’ve spoken to some military sources, and there was laughter down the line. I mean, certainly, the general travels in a Humvee.
There are multiple Humvees around it, heavily armed. There are attack helicopters, Predator drones, sniper teams, all sorts of layers of protection. So, no, Senator McCain is way off base on this one — Wolf.
Blitzer: Michael, when Senator McCain says that there are at least some areas of Baghdad where people can walk around and whether it’s General Petraeus, the U.S. military commander, or others, are there at least some areas where you could emerge outside of the Green Zone, the international zone, where people can go out, go to a coffee shop, go to a restaurant, and simply take a stroll?
Ware: I can answer this very quickly, Wolf. No. No way on Earth can a Westerner, particularly an American, stroll any street of this capital of more than 5 million people. I mean, if al Qaeda doesn’t get wind of you, or if one of the Sunni insurgent groups don’t descend upon you, or if someone doesn’t tip off a Shia militia, then the nearest criminal gang is just going to see dollar signs and scoop you up. Honestly, Wolf, you’d barely last 20 minutes out there. I don’t know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Blitzer: And we have just learned that two Americans were killed tonight in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.
Swoooh! A moment of truth, or so I believe. We may laugh at the striking contrast in views. People safely in the states might debate the conflict. Perchance we can relax around our round tables or sit in Senate seats and muse, ‘What might we do?’ congress claims to care. They are setting dates for an allied and American exit. Still soldiers and civilians are slaughtered daily. “Do we need more time to see if this strategy will work?” asks Michael Ware. He rhetorically answers his own query, “No!” Ware states, “It is in no one’s interest to change their minds.” Perhaps, that is the problem.
You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.
~ Albert Einstein