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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Day Obama Goes to War: Updates Here

Will add at top as day goes on.

--New AP report says claims of ISIS power exaggerated, not a "juggernaut," have fanatics but not much weaponry.  "Most analysts...estimate the number of Islamic State fighters in both Iraq and Syria to be about 20,000.
In any case, the group is dwarfed by its foes in the Syrian and Iraqi armies — both in numbers and firepower."

--Sen. Tom Harkin one of few Dems to take strong stand in hitting the "fear-mongering."

--McClatchy on Kerry today:  "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the possibility Wednesday that U.S. troops might be committed to ground operations in Iraq in extreme circumstances, the first hedging by an administration official on President Barack Obama’s pledge that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground to battle the Islamic State."  Something "dramatic" would have to change.  But then, it usually does.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/09/10/239391_kerry-says-us-troops-might-deploy.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

--Noah Shactman of the Daily Beast: "US has bombed 37 ISIS Humvees, Pentagon said. How many of them were made in America?"

--Hannah Allam of McClatchy tweets:  "State Dept just chided for support to militias in ; last week US provided air cover for same Iran-backed militias in

And Allam with question from State Dept. presser: "Q. What if arming rebels ends up w/more US arms to ISIS? State: 'That's always, of course, a risk' whenever we train & equip ppl."

--Quote of the day in tweet just now by NYT's James Risen:  "Note to young journalists: You all complain about how pre-war intel was handled in 2002/2003. So how are you going to be remembered?"  Adds:  "The difference between late 2002 and today: In 2002, U.S. intel talked wmd. Today they are making public statements saying no threat."  Yet much of media has hyped threat.

--Those brave Democrats in Congress, of course, have no interest in clamoring for a war vote.  Even the progressive caucus is divided.  Mother Jones does a mini-roll call and finds Bernie Sanders backing Obama action--and Elizabeth Warren silent.

From The Guardian:  "The White House declared on Tuesday night that it needn’t bother to ask Congress for war powers, and Congress is more than happy to relieve itself of the responsibility of asking for them – or, you know, voting. Members of both parties have actually been telling the president to ignore the legislative branch entirely – as well as his constitutional and legal requirements. It seems so long ago now that presidential candidate Obama said, 'The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.'”

--Former Obama press secretary Jay Carney joins CNN in time to critique Obama speech.  That's tough-minded cable news for you.

--My book on media failures on Iraq the first time around, 2002-2008.

--WSJ editorial headline today says it all: "Dick Cheney Is Still Right." Dave Weigel tweets:  "Will Dick Cheney's Iraq speech be rebutted by someone with equal credibility? Or did take a pass?"

--New NBC polls shows 6 in 10 Americans back bombing ISIS.  Remember they also showed public backed invading Iraq in 2003, which turned out great, right? You might say, as Internet slows down, Obama ramps up.

--NYT probably thinks this is a tough-minded editorial but it's actually wishy-washy.  It's not let's-not-start-war but just-explain-why. Obama's speech should be, "Tonight I will declare war against a grave threat to our way of life, the crumbling infra-structure here in the homeland.   It may last years."

--When BIll Moyers skewered media for hyping Iraq threat back in 2003.

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