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Obama and His Advisors Not Ready for Prime Time

Thanks to Alegre for an insightful video clip that summarizes succinctly the inept incompetence of the Obama foreign policy team. Susan Rice, a senior Obama foreign policy advisor, who served on the National Security Council and later as the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the State Department under Bill Clinton. We don’t know for sure what Barack or Hillary would do with a “3 a.m.” phone call, but we don’t have to wonder about Susan Rice. She sits on her hands doing nothing.

During her time on the National Security Council, as the senior person responsible for giving the President policy options on Africa, Rice reprised the role of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. She sat by while more than one million Rwandans were butchered in a bloody genocide. She let the phone ring and declined to offer any answer that would have saved lives. And she is one of Barack’s key advisors.

But Rice is wrong about Hillary. Hillary is quite ready to answer the 3am phone call. As someone who has been directly involved with such calls during the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations, I do know what I am talking about.

As I have said before, I have had the opportunity to brief Senator Clinton twice on terrorism and Iraq during the last three years. During the course of my career at the CIA, State Department, and as a consultant, I have briefed in one form or fashion more than 60 members of Congress, a Vice President, and a President. I have participated in briefings for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior military commanders. I entered my first meeting with Hillary with strong reservations about her competence (based entirely on what I had heard and read in the media). I walked out of that meeting very impressed. Hands down, I found her to be the most impressive person I had had the privilege to brief.

Why was I impressed? First and foremost, she listened. I have briefed folks who get the 1000-yard stare–they drift off and start thinking about something else. I also have briefed folks who get the panicked look from not understanding what I am talking about. Hillary was different. She listened intently, but she also grasped the substance and nuance of the issues we were discussing. Second, she asked tough questions that showed me she was genuinely searching for viable policy options. I had a similar experience with Senator Joe Biden, only that was during a hearing.

But unlike many members of Congress who rely on some aide sitting at their side to pump them with questions and information, Hillary could think on her own. She did not need “Foreign Policy for Dummies.”

Hillary also is one of the few members of Congress who understood the difference between Special Forces and and Special Operations Forces. You would be shocked at the number of Senators and Representatives who are supposed to exercise oversight of the military and do not understand this basic point.

When we talk about the “3 a.m.” call we are talking about crisis response operations. Back in July of 1990, the United States was involved in a covert effort to resolve peacefully a coup that involved Libyan-backed terrorists. We had quietly inserted U.S. personnel into the country, the situation was settled without further loss of life, and we were trying to figure out how to withdraw our personnel without exposing them publicly. Our concern about how to cover their withdrawal was made moot when word came that Saddam had just invaded Kuwait. We were taking down one crisis communications task force in the State Department Ops Center as a new one, dedicated to Iraq/Kuwait, was being formed.

What is not well known is that President Bush (senior), Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and James Baker had been briefed two days earlier in the White House situation room on the impending invasion of Iraq. They were warned that Saddam would likely invade unless the United States made a public declaration to warn him away. The President and his advisors declined at the time to issue such a warning because they believed that if they did so and Saddam invaded, the U.S. would have no choice but to respond militarily. With hindsight we now know that Bush, Cheney, Powell, and Baker screwed up that phone call.

When the phone rings and the President is alerted to the problem, you will want a President whose first instinct is to understand the implication of the threat for U.S. national interests. I know that Hillary understands that point. Barack, by contrast, did not even understand the importance of holding a hearing on NATO’s role in Afghanistan even though he had the full authority to do so.

Once you hang up the phone you need a leader who understands the bureaucratic tools and resources that are available to be brought to bear on the problem. On this point in particular Hillary is light years ahead of Barack. Barack would be hard pressed to explain the difference between DIA, CIA, and NSA. Hillary knows that Washington machinery intimately.

And finally there is the issue of advisors. Let me state again for the record: I am not trying out for a spot on Hillary’s foreign policy team. I am not seeking a job in her administration. I do not want to make the personal sacrifice required to go back into government service–I would have to take a pay cut and work too many long hours. But Hillary is surrounded with a better group of foreign policy advisors. Barack has the likes of Susan Rice and Tony Lake–two of the key folks who failed to respond in a timely matter to the disaster in Rwanda. Hillary, by contrast, has Dick Holbrooke, who helped bring an end to the killing in the Balkans.

  • http://905-5428136 angella mcfarlane

    please talk about john maccain house and kitchen tables we love it in ohio obama say it best thank.

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  • Karen

    I wish Larry would go on some of the talk shows he used to be on and stand up for Hillary. I listened to Randi Rhodes today using Margaret Carlson as an example of Hillary Clintons foreign policy experience. Ed Schultz poked fun at her tea party diplomacy….and Olbermann could really use a dose of real information from Larry. I know Larry would have to hold his nose to do it but it might help.

    • salliort

      Diplomacy is just like regular business. A great deal of work is done over lunches, dinners, teas and at other forms of entertainment. You can say more to a president over a steak and get further in closing a deal than you can in a programmed state event.

      Our founding fathers used that kind of diplomacy to get LaFayette and France in our corner. We used the same kind of diplomacy in WW2 prior to Pottsdam, and in Vietnam. We didn’t use it in this latest venture into Iraq and look where it got us.

  • Cee

    I understand that the Rice video was edited.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-rice/cmon-senators-clinton-a_b_90336.html

    Samantha Power resigned (which I don’t mind…we’re not the saviors of the world) for calling Hillary a monster.

    She is a monster for letting her campaign compare Obama to Ken Starr. When does Wolfson resign?

    Nevermind.

    • ChrisXP

      She is a monster for letting her campaign compare Obama to Ken Starr. When does Wolfson resign?

      Why should he? He told the truth. O-Bomba is fishing around for slime to throw on Hillary — tax forms and PRESIDENTIAL records of her husband, even. Reminds folks of the Whitewater hocus-pocus.

      • salliort

        I agree. It is a Ken Starr like move.

        As for 2006 tax returns, the Clintons file a joint tax return. Bill is a private citizen and is not required to show his part of the tax returns. Hillary has said she will provide the tax returns for 2007 after April 15, 2008

        The reason Obama’s people want the tax returns made public is the five million dollar loan she made to her campaign. Hillary made it in the 2008 tax year.

        Until you can see the official financial source for the loan in black and white anyone can say anything about it…and Obama is doing just that. The actual traceble source for that loan should be on the 2008 tax return according to the IRS.

        • Cee

          Sall,

          Nonsense. This goes to judgement and what favors Hillary would have to repay.
          The Clinton camp isn’t the only one with a kitchen sink. We’re justing vetting Hill. Don’t be offended.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/accoona-corp

          Bill Clinton profits from company tied to felon, China
          By Jim McElhatton
          March 7, 2008

          Former President Bill Clinton speaking at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Thursday, Feb. 28

          ——————————————————————————–

          The spring before his wife began her White House campaign, former President Bill Clinton earned $700,000 for his foundation by selling stock that he had been given from an Internet search company that was co-founded by a convicted felon and backed by the Chinese government, public records show.

          Mr. Clinton had gotten the nonpublicly traded stock from Accoona Corp. back in 2004 as a gift for giving a speech at a company event. He landed the windfall by selling the 200,000 shares to an undisclosed buyer in May 2006, commanding $3.50 a share at a time when the company was reporting millions of dollars of losses, according to interviews.

          A spokesman for the William J. Clinton Foundation declined to identify the buyer who was willing to pay so much for a struggling company’s stock, saying only that the transaction was handled by a securities broker. It occurred seven months before Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her bid to run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

          The spokesman, Ben Yarrow, declined last week to say whether Mr. Clinton knew about the Chinese government’s connection to Accoona or the felony fraud conviction of one of the company’s founders.

          “President Clinton gave a speech; he did not endorse a product,” Mr. Yarrow said.

          The $700,000 capital gains was listed on the tax returns of Mr. Clinton’s foundation that were reviewed by The Washington Times.

          The lack of disclosure about the buyer and the general activities of former presidents’ foundations troubles some ethics experts.

          Sheila Krumholz, executive director for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which studies political money and ethics, said even though the law doesn’t require former presidents to disclose donations and stock transactions to their foundations, they should do so to avoid the appearance that money was buying special access.

          • salliort

            Cee, I’m not at all offended. I only wonder why you felt the need to comment about a matter that is simple to understand.

            The gift of stock was given to Bill, not to Hillary. The entire transaction from gift to sale was completely concluded before Hillary ran for the White House.

            The fact is Bill did nothing wrong. He got stock as a gift. He sold it. It was listed on the record and disclosed. It had nothing to do with Hillary. It had only to do with his foundation. I fail to understand your problem.

            Btw, there is nothing wrong with a company being tied to the Chinese Government. In fact many of our most valuable stocks on the NYSE, and NASDAQ have affiliations with the Chinese. Many of our loans are with the Chinese banks. As a country-government we’re currently in debt to the Chinese.

            Did you also notice that Jim McElhatton did not actually identify his convicted felon? Who was this felon? How much did he actually contribute to the company in dollars and cents. Is he a real partner or a partner by courtesy alone? Where is he located now? Is he still with the company? What was he convicted for? Which country is he from?

            All these questions remain unanswered by McElhatton.

            In fact this person may not exist. If he does he should be named so that the rest of the founders of the company that gifted Bill Clinton with stock, are not besmirched by this very sweeping accusation of a “felony fraud conviction of one of the company’s founders.”

            This is worse than bad reporting. It is damaging to every partner of that company, because the felon is not named … if there really is a felon?

            That would be and is my first question, but then I was taught as a reporter not to believe everything I read, unless it was and is backed up with undeniable traceble facts.

            Cee, you on the other hand, seem willing to swallow whole the McElhatton/Huffington version of things.

            Maybe we should make it a law that no one may accept any gift unless there is full disclosure of the giver’s facts and status, prior to the acceptance of the gift. ;)

            That would put a crimp in birthday and holiday gift giving, wouldn’t it. LOL.

      • Cee

        Chris,

        Wolfson is as big a liar and hypocrite as Hillary.
        This is what he did to press Rick Lazio to turn over his tax returns.
        Ken Starr didn’t even do this.

        Enough with the projection.

        In recent months, the team has been trying to focus public scrutiny on Lazio. Wolfson himself, along with a Democratic State Committee member dressed as Uncle Sam, showed up at a Lazio event in Harlem in August, taunting Lazio with the first lady’s New York property tax returns and challenging him to release his returns. In any other campaign, it might have been the candidate who seized such a photo op; but with his boss invested in preserving her dignity, it occasionally falls to Wolfson to supply those moments of semi-slapstick.

        As Wolfson’s public profile was steadily rising, his personal life was pretty much flat-lining until his girlfriend of three years, Terri McCullough, moved from Washington to join him last winter. ”New York was always the last place I thought I’d want to be,” says McCullough, a redheaded, native Californian who is now communications director for Pencil, a nonprofit educational organization. But now she’s the one enjoying the city, while Wolfson experiences it vicariously through her. He pores over the offerings in Time Out, ticking off ”things I’d like to do but can’t,” while McCullough goes to plays and concerts. The only time she managed to get Wolfson to the theater, to see ”True West,” he fell asleep mid-production. ”It was no comment at all on the performances,” McCullough says dryly.

        http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CEEDB1739F934A2575AC0A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

  • Katharine

    Thank you very much for that Larry Johnson! Well written and I completely agree with you. Hillary Clinton knows her stuff.

  • Russell Sveda

    I worked at the State Department Ops Center during Jimmy Carter’s Administration. On the night of 14 February 1977 — my first night shift — starting around midnight, hell broke loose in three places: (1) Amb. Spike Dubbs was kidnapped by AFghan terrorists; (2) our Embassy in Teheran was overrun by Muslin fanatics; and (3) our Embassy in Chad was caught in crossfire between rebel and government forces. We phoned Secretary Vance, who immediately phoned President Carter, who periodically phoned us during the night to see how things were going, and decide with Vance whether his State Visit to Mexico the next morning ought to be postponed. At one point, around 3:00 AM, while Vance was negotiating with the Soviets to try to convince them not to storm the place where Amb. Dubbs was being held, President Carter phoned and actually had to be put on hold for 8 minutes. The Director of the Ops Center nearly fainted when he learned this the next morning, but President Carter, decent and caring man that he is, had no problem with this. Trying to save Dubbs’s life took precedence to his sleeping.

  • Russell Sveda

    I worked at the State Department Ops Center during Jimmy Carter’s Administration. On the night of 14 February 1977 — my first night shift — starting around midnight, hell broke loose in three places: (1) Amb. Spike Dubbs was kidnapped by AFghan terrorists; (2) our Embassy in Teheran was overrun by Muslin fanatics; and (3) our Embassy in Chad was caught in crossfire between rebel and government forces. We phoned Secretary Vance, who immediately phoned President Carter, who periodically phoned us during the night to see how things were going, and decide with Vance whether his State Visit to Mexico the next morning ought to be postponed. At one point, around 3:00 AM, while Vance was negotiating with the Soviets to try to convince them not to storm the place where Amb. Dubbs was being held, President Carter phoned and actually had to be put on hold for 8 minutes. The Director of the Ops Center nearly fainted when he learned this the next morning, but President Carter, decent and caring man that he is, had no problem with this. Trying to save Dubs’s life took precedence to his sleeping.

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  • TeakWoodKite

    So as DCMediagirl points out the longer the Dems have the primaries continue, the less time McCain has to focus any attacks on the Dems and the more involved the Dems will be.
    Sources within the Republican National Committee say presumptive GOP nominee John McCain plans to use Obama’s connection with Rezko against him if the Chicago Democrat wins the nomination. Republicans, the sources say, will try to portray Obama as bought and paid for not only by organized crime in Chicago but also by Syrians and other Arab interests.

    http://pstern.statesmanblogs.com/entry.aspx?q=5dda7616-714b-4690-b1e0-9a5400fd8dd0

  • IndyRobin

    http://www.kgwn.tv/index.aspx

    Quick everybody … go vote for Hillary

  • yttik

    It’s amazing how her experience can be completely dismissed while at the same time, everything that’s happened in the three decades is entirely her fault.

    She is so omnipotent people really ought to vote for her. Anybody this powerful should be leading our country.

  • markwatl

    Larry,

    I have nothing but great respect for you and your opinions. I also have great respect for Senator Clinton. You said you had reservations going in to brief Senator Clinton and was pleasantly surprised. So, have you ever briefed Senator Obama? It seems you have reservations about him as you did regarding Hillary.

    Oh, btw, where was Hillary when the killing was going on in Rowanda?

    • IndyRobin

      WHY should Hillary have to answer “where she was in Rownada”

    • ChrisXP

      Oh, btw, where was Hillary when the killing was going on in Rowanda?

      Oh, now going for the jugular! The paper tiger is trying to grow some teeth!!

      I can flip that around, like this: If you claim Hillary’s White House experience being First Lady amounts to nothing, then your question wouldn’t even matter, as she couldn’t address the situation as a First Lady.

      Pick your shotgun c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y, as the splatter can richochet back! ;)

    • http://NoQuarterUSA.net Larry Johnson

      At least Hillary knows how to spell, RWANDA. Your point might be more effective if you could get the spelling correct.

  • JP

    Thank you Larry. I have really grown to appreciate your views and this site. Thank goodness there are still people who think politics is more than just good vibes and rhetoric.

    I thought not-enough-knowledge-and-experience was on the agenda already and with questionable consequences, but I guess some people think they have not had enough.

  • IndyRobin

    Good God… why is it I am starting to like Karl Rove? In part, he wrote today:

    Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton also need to continue highlighting Mr. Obama’s lack of experience. Mrs. Clinton’s surrogates and ads effectively hammered him on this. But voters were also encouraged in a subtle way by Mr. Obama himself to take a second look. His inspiring, but nearly substance-free, rhetoric is now raising questions. Sure, his Web site has position papers drafted by academic geeks galore, but voters may ask: “What has he done?”

    • TeakwoodKite

      Ginp Ginop, Ginp-Ginop. Feel Like a ping pong ball?
      ’cause he has experience? :)

    • ChrisXP

      Good God… why is it I am starting to like Karl Rove?

      If you like politics, it’s hard not liking his political knowledge and tactics. Doesn’t matter what stripe you are, it’s intriguing anyway. ;)

      • IndyRobin

        Yes, there have never been a doubt in my mind that he is brilliant. I’ve also been wondering IF maybe the Repugs are starting to recognize that they are going to lose the White House this year,
        no matter what. As a result, perhaps they are looking at Hillary and saying “Well we may hate her but at least we know she knows her shit. I think they are frightened of the thought of BO getting in because he is so inexperienced I mean, for Gods sake, the other night on Fox Karl Rove handed a note to one of the newsguys while he was talking to Hillary about her big win. The newcaster said “Hillary, Karl just handed me a note to read to you. The note said” There have been more presidents born in the month of October than any other elected. Of course, Hillary was born in October. I swear to God, I was touched.
        What do you all think about this?

        • Simon

          Yes, there have never been a doubt in my mind that he is brilliant

          I disagree.

        • salliort

          That note was smoke and mirrors. Rove’s guys are focused on one thing only, McCain’s victory and four-year stay in the White House.

          Here’s the play.

          1. Make Obama believe he’s gonna carry the red states and the independents because he did in the primaries.
          2. Get the DNC people and delegates to believe that and get Obama the Democratic nomination. 3. Run him against McCain.
          4. Put in Nader as Republican guard and end run for McCain to the White House.

          It’s worked before and it all means Hillary has to get knocked out. So Rove is doing a counter move. Not hard to spot if you grew up in the Sam Rayburn/Lyndon Johnson era as Adlai Stevenson’s cousin. ;) or if you watched the last twelve years of Bush’s campaigns. :)

        • ChrisXP

          What do you all think about this?

          Did you read at MedVed that eye color is also a factor? Only five presidents ever been elected with eye color other than blue/blue-green. Out of those 5, 2 were almost impeached — Andrew Johnson and Nixon……………….

          There’s a lot of other little tidbits out there, but say that the best candidate to win is someone with blue eyes; born in October; and carries Ohio.

          Odds are in Hillary’s corner!

  • http://www.despair.com/changewinds.html Smilin’ Jim

    OK as far as you go but I got hung up on

    “inept incompetence”

    I always considered a person as inept or incompetent if they screwed the pooch whenever they moved, like Sideshow Bob and the rakes.

    A person who is inept at being incompetent would therefore be competent. It’s that logical double negative thing.

    Maybe you’ve been in government too long, a DF too far.

    • IndyRobin

      Hummm … the state of being imcompetent would already exist as one became inept in their inabilty to recognize their incompetence, therfore never reaching competent to begin with.

      No? I love this stuff :)

      • http://www.despair.com/changewinds.html Smilin’ Jim

        “…..inabilty to recognize their incompetence, therfore never reaching competent…..”

        My head hurts

        • IndyRobin

          I know … these type of things eventually exhaust the brain … which is why I love them.
          Thanks for playing

          • http://www.despair.com/changewinds.html Smilin’ Jim

            You are officer material, lad.

  • Joey

    That’s part of what ‘experience’ means…having connections…knowing who to contact to coordinate activities means efficiency. Advisers are all important and Obama’s economic advisers suck and now we hear he has Rice for foreign policy adviser. Not having used his committee to do anything he claims he is ‘experienced’ enough to do also detracts from his credibility.
    I wish Clinton was not aiding McBush by making such statements which McBush would have made anyway but now he can say he’s just quoting Clinton. I don’t like anything that makes the party look bad but sometimes the party members blind themselves to certain candidates. In the long run it won’t matter because no republican will win the WH this election anyway. The press will of course run whichever democrat is elected into the ground during their entire term because they are corporate owned and operated.
    Just because we have these two candidates to choose from does not mean either has the correct answers on all the issues but they do offer a better direction. Just because I support one doesn’t mean I support all they are saying or intend to do. They are representatives not rulers. I trust Hillary’s abilities and instincts but there is much I would change about her policies. I would hope this holds true for all voters. I refuse to go back to sleep when things are going better. I will hold these candidates to their words and will always point toward improvements. I hope one day we will have a mandatory national service to keep everyone involved in the running of our country. I pray the “3am” call is not monitored by AT&T and transferred to the GOP.

    • salliort

      It’s monitored by Verizon and forwarded to You Tube. ;)

  • CAE

    Once you hang up the phone you need a leader who understands the bureaucratic tools and resources that are available to be brought to bear on the problem.”

    Truer words were never spoken. This sums up the gist of my reservations about Obama. Not just in the national security sector, but in a wide variety of domestic areas too. Presidents don’t do a whole heck of a lot, but they have to know where to put people who will get things done.

    Bush Jr. had Cheney and Rumsfeld to ram his agenda through the bureaucracy (bad policies for bad purposes, to be sure). But they got their agenda through. Obama seems lost, lacking any real appreciation for the vast complexity of the federal bureaucracy. Someone needs to tell him that the presidency doesn’t come with a script.

    Larry, I’ve enjoyed seeing you on TV and reading your blog. Please, please, please send your post out to every major newspaper as a letter to the editor.

    • Simon

      Bush Jr. had Cheney and Rumsfeld to ram his agenda through the bureaucracy (bad policies for bad purposes, to be sure). But they got their agenda through

      Actually, they didn’t get their agenda through.

      Decisions were enacted that failed, and those decisions were fought every step of the way.

      The agenda was horrific in it’s planning, it’s execution, the droolings of crazy old men, please don’t romanticize them, or their deeds. They failed to achieve anything they set out to do, anything.

      Iraq, Afghanistan? A mess. The economy? A mess. And so on, and so on…

      In Bob Woodward’s book, state of denial, he mentions the problems Rumsfeld had trying to implement his policies, his “snowflakes” were ignored, it was my feeling he was barely tolerated, eventually isolated, alienating everyone, breaking the law.

      It was my impression from Woodward’s book if Rummy wasn’t smart enough to ask the right questions, he never got what he needed.

      Not that it would have mattered, he head was cooked, or muddled, I thought he sounded like a nut, not dealing in the real world, none of them understanding the consequences of their actions. Same with that whole PNAC group, Cheney, Bush, and their staffs, too.

      If Clinton, say, needs to make a decision, she sees 200 possible outcomes, and decides to do B. Cheney see the same problem, sees only two possible outcomes, (when there are actually hundreds),and orders Iran bombed.

      And, of course, it fails like everyone knew it would.

      This is why it’s so important to have a SMART person in the Presidency.

      Obama just does not have the chops.

      • Simon

        he head was cooked

        HIS head was cooked, sorry.

  • cruz del sur

    Hillary could think on her own. She did not need “Foreign Policy for Dummies.”
    One thing I cant understand is why in the world would Hillary call the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrirust group, knwoing that that was all that Bush needed to use as a pretext to invade Iran.

    Another problem I find, is her recent support for Bush’s preemtive strike doctrine, when she said that Uribe was right in violating Ecuador’s sovereignty when they killed Reyes. Lets be clear about this: Reyes was a moderate, who was negotiationg the release of their hostages, among who are some Americans (who I hope they will be released sometime soon)Rather than chastaising Uribe’s sabotage of the hostages (bombed during one month the zone where they knew the were)and then goes and attacks the guerrillas when they knew that Reyes was working with the French to free Ingrid Betancourt. Furthermore, Uribe knew that Ecuador did not allow guerrilla’s camps near the boarder (they had allready dismantled aprox. 20 camps they had discovered near the boarder. It seems to me that she could go over the Foreign Policy for Dummies

    …Susan Rice and Tony Lake–two of the key folks who failed to respond in a timely matter to the disaster in Rwanda.

    Since Hillary has been taking credit for her years in the White House , what did she do about Rwanda. Any public record of her objections? Or will she say: “not my Presidency, not my problem”

    • Kathleen

      Great points!

    • Marjorie

      As I recall, Hillary took the stance the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were a terrorist group and we needed to clearly differentiate between the IRG and the Iranian government, thus pushing the Iranian government to gain control over the Revolutionary Guard and weaken Bush’s rationale for attacking Iran.

    • http://NoQuarterUSA.net Larry Johnson

      Sorry, but the IRGC is a terrorist group. Hillary understood the politics of this. If you deny the IRGC is a terrorist group how can you be trusted to fight terrorists. At the same time, she refused to sign off on the language that would have authorized war against Iran. It is a tightrope that a viable candidate must walk.

      • cruz del sur

        I absolutley agree with you that they are a terrorist group, and I will not cry for them. But they did open the door for another quagmire there (although when you consider the cost of Iraq, I would only expect a surgical strike rather than a full blown invasion). But as skilled politicians they all are, they should have worded their condemnation differently. (And that goes for all who voted, not just Hillary)

    • http://noquarterusa.net/ SusanUnPC

      She did speak out about Rwanda. And Bill has told the story, several times, about how hard she was on him about Rwanda — she wouldn’t let up on it — and he wishes so much that he had listened to her more then. He’s told that story in stump speeches, and elsewhere, in recent months.

      • cruz del sur

        OK, I will take your word for it. I could still add a long list of inactions (failures?) What did she do to push J. Reno to request the extradition of Pinochet (suspected of a bombing in DC? Or (yeah, I am a little unfair here) why did she support a President who has relation to the Colombian drug cartel, who also has as one of his presidential advisors a first cousin of the biggest drug king pin (Escobar) (yeah, Obama said the same thing)

        This is my point: They both suckkkkkk!!!!!

    • Simon

      Since Hillary has been taking credit for her years in the White House , what did she do about Rwanda. Any public record of her objections? Or will she say: “not my Presidency, not my problem”

      Actually, I don’t know, asking Susan Rice, and Tony Lake, who were directly responsible for the mess, now working for Obama, might be a good place to start.

      But you do bring up an interesting point, why the hell DID Bill Clinton not act?

      Sometimes the reasons are complicated, perhaps the UN wouldn’t act, perhaps troops weren’t available, perhaps the JCS told him no.

      But a real explanation would be nice.

      Jimmy Cater’s greatest political act was not bombing Iran after the hostage crisis, despite the immense pressure from the idiots who brought us Iraq, and Afghanistan. The hostages would have been killed, and America would have been further humiliated, entering a war it was baited into.

      Maybe it was a similar situation.

      As I said, sometimes the powers that be have a really hard time wrapping their heads around any given situation, understanding all the dynamics at play.

      They are really that DUMB, which is what happens when the unqualified or corrupt are elected to office. They fail to see anything but themselves.

      • cruz del sur

        “Susan Rice, and Tony Lake, who were directly responsible for the mess” Sorry Simon, but Bill Clinton was ultimately responsible for his administration actions and inactions.

        As for why he stood by, I recall that he became gun shy after the beating he took for Somalia.

      • Groobiecat

        Gee, Simon, looks like someone else asked a similar question and lookie there! You *can* be civil! Good for you. That’s real progress, even if it’s not entirely progressive (or entirely genuine–two people were not to “blame” for the disaster that was US non-policy in Rwanda anymore than Hillary has proven foreign policy experience). But to be fair, we should both read up on it and then, you can attack me for being inarticulate and small-minded!

        :D

        Oh, one last thing: Should Members of Congress be held accountable for their votes? Yes or No. Simple question, really. Best to answer with an excuse. Hey, I don’t’ blame Hillary–National Intelligence Estimates are some turgid prose; no kiddin’…

  • Newport News Dem

    Larry,

    great post and a question…..

    I have been badgering Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes asking why you are no longer a guest. I assume since they have become in the tank shills for Obama and you are a strong advocate for Hillary, you are no longer on the guest list. Is that true spy guy?

    • http://NoQuarterUSA.net Larry Johnson

      Yeah, I think I’ve been banned. Not Obamalicious enough for those ladies. Must say I have been thoroughly shocked at how so-called “progressive” radio has treated Hillary like Rush Limbaugh land. My listener dollars are no longer supporting that nonsense. I’m listening to BBC and AlJazeera English.

      • Kathleen

        the so called “progressive” media really showed their stuff when they ignored Edwards even after his second place in Iowa. Arianna Huffington, Mark Green of Air America even Amy Goodman (who I think walks on water) ignored Edwards. “progressive” right. Scary is more like it.

        When the left meets the right the snake starts devouring itself.

        • Simon

          When the left meets the right the snake starts devouring itself.

          Two sides of the same coin.

          I’ve been trying to discern what makes one go left, and the other right, but as Obama and Bush are the same, I think it’s like choosing a car, they go with the one they think they look good in, so to speak.

          Pretty shallow choices, or maybe as someone else said, it all comes down to who makes them feel the safest, and that’s an indicator of childhood trauma, given what they’re willing to overlook, endangering them even more, especially seeing Obama’s and Bush’s corrupt connections.

      • Kathleen

        Let’s all call in and ask that question. Why no Larry? We want all sides represented and covered

      • apishapa

        You hear Maddow on Abrams last night? I mean, she is just livid that Hillary would suggest she is more qualified in an emergency that Obama. HSe ranted about how Hillary was doing McCain’s work for him since we all know Obama is going to be the nominee.

        I think Abrams is trying to pretend he is being fair to Hillary CLinton, but though he makes some half-hearted arguments in her defense, all of his guests are violent Hillary haters. I mean last night Tony effing Blankley was the most rational guest he had on.

        I would love to hear Maddow’s opinion on Susan Rice. I’m sure that’s different.

        • http://noquarterusa.net/ SusanUnPC

          I’ve noticed that too … Abrams rarely has a true pro-Hillary guest on. And Rachel Maddow needs to state her support for Obama / it’s not cool that she pretends to be an objective observer when she’s anything but.

          Oh well. That show isn’t that interesting anyway.

          Brit Hume, Ill O’Reilly, and Greta et al. treat Hillary a lot better than either MSNBC or CNN.

          And Jack Cafferty is an insufferable a–hole. Just wanted to type that.

          • http://joyhollywood.blogspot.com Connie L

            Talking about experts on MSNBC. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post talking about Hillary versus Obama is ridiculous if you know what he has been writing and saying. Lately though, Robinson is trying to appear less bias too late for me. I still don’t think Hillary should be touting McCain and herself for the top job. McCain is telling everybody the surge has worked. Most of us know it’s a temporary fix with no end in sight.

    • allimom99

      Me too – I can’t even listen to Stephanie anymore = she used to be my morning guilty pleasure. I don’t get Randi’s show. Even Thom Hartmann is giving Obama WAY more of a pass on things than I would expect of him. It’s very sad. Well. at least I still have Bill Press!

  • Buckley

    Larry,
    Thanks for the response.

    I respect your opinions and your service to this country tremendously.
    Your voice during the Plame affair was one of few that were both informed and unafraid to speak out.
    But, I am a salesman from Texas, and if I knew about the genocide in Rwanda, I’m just not buying that Clinton didn’t.
    He just calculated the political and/or loss of life involved and decided not to act. Just like many Presidents before him and after him. (Darfur)

    • IndyRobin

      I did hear Bill state that ‘Rwanda was the biggest mistake of my Presidency”

      God, it would be so sad to know that type of thing happened on your watch. I don’t think people understand how difficult the job of POTUS is. Well, most of us do and thats why we support Hillary. The first time I heard Obama speak I actually cried.I still admire him ( but losing respect as time goes on) Problem is,he just does NOT have enough experience. I will feel safe with Hillary, even JMac but not BO.

      • Kathleen

        You bet your ass it was. Close to a million people slaughtered in three months. I wss in shock when this was taking place and there was barely a whisper in our MSM. What the fuck!

        Hell thousands marched at the UN and no one cared.

  • Fleaflicker

    We are so fortunate to have someone with the creds on our side to make these claims, all of which the rest of us know instinctively to be true but do not have the experience to back it up.

    Seriously, you have nailed Obama’s national security problem. It’s name is Hillary Clinton.

    This diary NEEDS to be sent to the NYT or WaPO or even the Chicago Tribune. What you say is much too important to stay on this blog alone. Not that I don’t enjoy it here, it’s just that this message needs to reach a much wider audience. And immediately.

    • ebonyscrews

      I agree fleaflicker–but there’s no reason why we can’t take Larry’s impressive article and e-mail it to friends, relatives, and of course media outlets. This article is strengthened by Larry’s credibility in his former line of work, and we all know his work was not to BS anyone but to hit the nail on the head whenever possible. We’re fortunate to have such a keen blogger on our side–the side of No Bullshit. Hey, cool nickname for your blog, Larry. NoBullshitUSA.net. ;-)

  • AF

    OK, NoQuarter needs to add an “email this article to a friend” widget because I’d mail this one out to quite a few peeps.

  • IndyRobin

    Hey All,

    Off topic but did all of you see this? I’m really surpised I was not kicked off Kos because I responded directly to his blog when he brought all this crap up yesterday. I told him he was racebating
    and I had lost all respect for him and that he was losing credibility.

    From FactCheck.org:

    “Did Clinton Darken Obama’s Skin?”
    March 5, 2008
    Some Obama backers cry “racism.” We find the accusation to be unsubstantiated.

    Summary:
    Obama supporters on the Internet are agitated over the apparent darkening of Obama’s image in a Clinton attack ad.

    Our video team took a look. Our conclusions:
    • The Obama frames from the ad do appear darker than other video of Obama from the same event.
    • However, the YouTube copy of the ad, on which the bloggers base their conclusions, is darker overall than other copies of the ad. We obtained a digital recording of the ad as it actually appeared on a Texas TV station, and it is lighter.
    • Furthermore, our analysis of the Obama frames, using Photoshop, shows a fairly uniform darkening of the entire image including the backdrop. It is not just Obama’s skin color that’s affected.
    • Also, nearly all the images in the ad are dark, including those of Hillary Clinton. And dark images are a common technique used in attack ads.

    Others will speculate about the Clinton campaign’s intentions and motives, as they already have. But without further evidence to the contrary, we see no reason to conclude that this is anything more than a standard attempt to make an attack ad appear sinister, rather than a special effort to exploit racial bias as some Obama supporters are saying.”

    • AF

      1. My mom “fell out of love” at the very moment that ad talks about. The moment in the debate in which Obama said he was too busy running for president to call for a subcommittee hearing, even though he was chair.

      That’s why they want to say her campaign darkened his skin. They can’t replay the ad in Pennsylvania now, unless the lighten his skin and narrow his face.

      2. From some video experts in the comments, we have this info from no quarter:

      Yeah, and it’s a bogus claim. Anyone knowing anything about graphics or working with video, knows gamma correction (or from what I saw sharpening) will darken the image(s) as a by-product.

      This is a pain when trying to enhance the chroma, so hues won’t wash out, with video compression or stills (e.g., JPEG conversion). Not only the blacks get darker, all the colors darken (as you can see in examples — look at the background and tie). Terrible with darker hair. :/

      And this info from TalkLeft:

      Different monitors show different tonal variations, so my iMac might show an image darker while another person’s PC might show it lighter. Unless you’ve got a tightly calibrated monitor, you can end up washing out or darkening in a way that looks extremely exaggerated on a different viewer’s monitor.

      And, as someone who spent a few years in print and advertising, aa’s, Asians and other people of color are REALLY hard to calibrate, especially depending on the background they are standing against. You have to tweak it very carefully or you end up making things look totally out of whack-muddy, yellow, whatever. It is a nightmare, especially if you have a poor image to begin with, and the problem only compounds when you lower the resolution or compress for the internet. Other factors: the quality of the original film (from the internet? Crappy), lighting, ambient lighting, etc.

  • Rob Gard

    Larry — You stated: “Barack would be hard pressed to explain the difference between DIA, CIA, and NSA” Perhaps that is because for most of his time in the U.S. Senate, Barack was MIA.

    • IndyRobin

      RoFL … as my Grandpa use to say ” couldn’t find his ass with a flashlight and a search party”

      • Simon

        as my Grandpa use to say ” couldn’t find his ass with a flashlight and a search party”

        Oh, your grandfather knew Dick Cheney?

  • Mel

    Larry, sort of well actually OT, but a blog really is required about the Super Delegates!

    These are suppose to be intelligent, inside politic people who have some knowledge and some sort of intelligence!

    Yet of late what have we seen, aside from SD’s who when asked why they support Obama, say what uniformed voters say, “he can unite” but when asked name a single accomplishjment of Obama, they can’t!

    Obama opened a door a couple of weeks ago saying the SD’s should follow their voters and belittled them otherwise for not doing so!

    Well proven by the SD from Ohio who did just that the day after Obama lost Ohio, yet won in her district!

    Should it not be that SD’s come out with rational as to making their choices, so when it comes time for their re-election, people will have a true impression of them?

    • apishapa

      What drives me nuts is when respected Party Leaders say their kids told them to support Obamaand that is why they are giving him their support.

      Say what? This drives me insane. Since when are teenagers more informed and wise than these people who are running our country? These are powerful people, who are chosen for their wisdom and judgement, and their children are choosing our president?

      I listen to my daughter who is eighteen and just loves Obama, but I am older and wiser than she is. Or at least I hope so. She is a high school senior and carrying a 4.0 GPA. She is pretty well informed. But she listens to the rhetoric and is too young to filter out the BS.

      I expect better from the likes of Ted Kennedy, Maria Shriver and Claire McCaskill each of whom has said they decided to support Obama because their kids like him. If this is their idea of exercising sound judgement, we are in serious trouble.

      What kind of moron would admit that they made this incredibly important decision to please their kids?

      • AF

        It’s sort of characteristic of this generation, especially upper-middle-class boomers obsessed with getting their kids into good colleges. A NYTimes magazine covered this characteristic – that this sector of kids are more pushy and assertive about getting their grades changed, and people were exploring how to teach these skills to lower-income kids.

        • Simon

          that this sector of kids are more pushy and assertive about getting their grades changed, and people were exploring how to teach these skills to lower-income kids.

          I’d be a hell of a lot more impressed if they’d teach them how to think, critically.

          Anymore Obama’s and Bush, and the US can kiss it’s ass goodbye.

          Fortunately, they are NOT necessarily a majority, I know some kids, Ivy League, and Ivy League bound, who are FIRMLY behind Clinton, the same ages as those you mentioned.

          So, maybe it’s just THE untalented noisy ones that cheat, who support Obama.

          • apishapa

            I guess that’s my problem. I have M.S. in Water Resources Engineering, so I think I’m pretty smart. And my daughter will attend School of Mines (on an academic scholarship), so she’s no slouch. But, just as I won’t tell her what to think, she would never dare order me to change my mind on anything this important because she says so. My kids have been raised to work hard and think for themselves. They are not pushy, though.

            But, these elected officials are expected to have some honor and they are supposed to use wise judgement. It infuriates me that these people are elected and entrusted with the well-bieng of this nation, and they are this shallow. The openly state that they based their decision to support Obama, not on his qualifications or his stated policies, but because their kids think he’s cool.

            • Simon

              I guess that’s my problem.

              I’m sorry, I realized after I wrote the above you might infer I was speaking of you, and your daughter.

              I wasn’t, and I apologize.

              I was thinking of another family I knew, where the kids were all Obama, the parents, too, all out of San Francisco, and wealthy, by my standards.

              They, that family, seem disconnected to the truths the rest of us face, and, well, dysfunctional, my impression was they are simply the self hating children of self hating wasp parents, just wondering around aimlessly, looking for someone to give their lives meaning. Narcissitically self absorbed, they never SEE other people, other people’s suffering, only their own little lives.

              And in walked hope dope. And I agree with you 100 percent.

              Again, I apologize.

          • http://noquarterusa.net/ SusanUnPC

            My 25-year-old is for Hillary. She is an elected delegate from her caucus to the county convention. She was a greeter at the caucus, and gave the speech for Hillary to the four-precinct gathering.

            She sends a small donation every time she gets an e-mail from the campaign.

      • IndyRobin

        Did you see the Senator from Mo on the bill Mahar
        Show. She said on LIVE TV that she supported Hillary until her college teenage daughter got in her FACE and screamed at the top of her lungs and threatened to never speak to her again unless she changed her vote to support Obama.

        made me ill. I wrote her a letter and told her as much including that I would do everthing in my power to make sure she was never elected into office again.

        Someone who know’s how to do a YouTube should do a Video of it

      • jenn

        Not only does Claire McCaskill have husband issues, now she has kid issues. She’ll ride whatever wave will get her ahead of the game.

        • Mike Howell

          Jenn –

          Claire McCaskill’s first husband was a big time druggie and she pretended not to notice or care because she needed his cash, even though she was the County Prosecutor

          until he got busted smoking dope on a riverboat casino.

          Then she dumped him, fooled around with a married guy and after deciding to run for Governor dumped married guy and married a Republican with tons of cash from nursing homes that were always being sued.

          McCaskill’s ex-husband was shot to death probably a drug deal gone bad – in Kansas City Kansas.

          McCaskill was promised the Attorney General spot by Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius (KS Governor) was promised V.P.

          • http://noquarterusa.net/ SusanUnPC

            Good lord. I didn’t know all that about her. (What she said about her daughter was SO lame, and really quite embarrassing. Is that how she determines her Senate votes?)

          • Nancy H. Armstrong

            OMG! Governor Sebelius is self-combusting as is the Democratic Party in Kansas. Sebelius has decided all state parks should be fee-free. The state park system is in total disarray here. She says she does things for Veterans my bu%% she does. I get $33 a year from the state of Kansas…a free license plate!

            Senator Clinton has signed the resolution supporting mandated funding for the VA as has the other senator from New York as well as many elected officials in Cook County and Chicago but Obama has not.

            When I was dissed by the Board overseeing therapists her office shuffled me off somewhere else. My client rights were violated by a therapist working for the Vet Center/VA and nothing was done by her office or her board. Sebelius is a fraud!

      • CPLUMMER

        My governor, Kathleen Sebelius, made the same comment as to “listening to her kid(s)” when she decided to endorse BO.

    • Mike Howell

      Mel –

      Great point! Barack Obama’s supporters were and are overwhelmingly ignorant regarding his positions and proposed policies and yet they were and are rabidly and blindly supporting him.

      “Feelings” can’t be substituted for credible evidence in a courtroom for sound reasons.

      Obama supporters don’t even have any circumstantial evidence to cling to regarding the hope and change so often mentioned.

      And if you open your eyes there’s nothing but red flags and warning lights!

      I’ll stick to the Hill I’m familiar with where I understand the rhetoric, and let the sheep follow the hazy Light over the cliff.

  • Buckley

    Larry,
    I really, really have enjoyed your blog for a long time, but you have lost all perspective in your drive to destroy Obama.

    If nothing was done about Rwanda during the Clinton Administration, are you really telling us that Bill is not to blame.

    Could this Assistant Secretary really have just cured the problem as you imply?

    C’mon, please get back to what you do best. Cut through the DC bullshit for us.
    I would love to see Hillary win too, but you are just leaving a vast well of comments and ideas to use against the Dems should Obama win.

    • TeresaINPa

      Obama is practically writing the attack adds against him and Hillary both. This is politics and the republicans are perfectly capable of writing their own attack adds. It is not Hillary’s job to protect Obama.

      Bill Clinton has said he regrets Rwanda and the bucks stop with him. but he has also said at the time that Hillary would have handled it differently.
      He had bad advisors who failed him. Those people are now working for Obama.
      And besides Hillary is not her husband.

    • http://NoQuarterUSA.net Larry Johnson

      I don’t absolve Bill of blame. He ultimately was in charge. But all Presidents ultimately depend on their advisors. They are the ones who are supposed to have the details and brief the options. In this case Lake and Rice dropped the ball. And who have they signed up with? Obama.
      I can do another post on how Presidents get blamed for mistakes make by subordinates. Clinton, for example, gets savaged over Somalia and Black Hawk down. In reality, the failure to deploy the appropriate military equipment was made ultimately by General Garrison (who, man that he is, accepted full responsibility).

      • Simon

        In this case Lake and Rice dropped the ball. And who have they signed up with? Obama.

        In fact, Samantha Power wrote an excellent book about genocide, and Rwanda, also publishing an article in the Atlantic Monthly.

        I specifically remember a passage where she quoted one of the American embassy personal in Rwanda desperately trying to get attention from Clinton’s advisers, for help, (and I guess that would include Rice, and Lake), who was spurned, shut down, as she, and the rest of the embassy were being overrun with axe wielding Hutus.

        Horrific, just horrific.

        What would have possessed Obama to hire Rice, and Lake, after they mishandled Rwanda, and the horror that resulted?

        They failed, and this is not the kind of failure that should be rewarded with another crack at a Presidential level position.

        From Power’s article:

        At an interagency teleconference in late April, Susan Rice, a rising star on the NSC who worked under Richard Clarke, stunned a few of the officials present when she asked, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?” Lieutenant Colonel Tony Marley remembers the incredulity of his colleagues at the State Department. “We could believe that people would wonder that,” he says, “but not that they would actually voice it.” Rice does not recall the incident but concedes, “If I said it, it was completely inappropriate, as well as irrelevant.”

        The full article can be found at:

        http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200109/power-genocide/6

        Sammy Glick turned to Jiminy somewhere between now, and then.

    • AF

      Cut through the DC bullshit for us.
      I would love to see Hillary win too, but you are just leaving a vast well of comments and ideas to use against the Dems should Obama win.

      In this very post he cuts through the DC bullshit. Pretending weaknesses don’t exist does not prepare us well.

  • fiscalliberal

    Larry –

    Thank you for the perspective. I read Dick Clark’s book and got some of the insight from him also in terms of how Condi Rice and held things below the principles level. Of course Tenant did not have the teneacity (balls) to push it up further.

    More over I think the real problem was that because of his inexperience, George Bush could recognize a problem if clearly presented, but he would not understand the internaional nuances.

    In her book “Memo to the new President” Madaline Albright comments that people think diplomancy is like chess – she said it realy is like billiards and your stick is reserved to hit some one over the head.

    Obama just has not have the experienes of life to understand International Nuance. Furthermore his refusal to chair the Foreign Affairs subcommittee further exacerbates his limited knowledge.

    So like George Bush II, Obama will be dependent on the team he assembles. If Susan Rice is the person, we are in for a ride.

    • Simon

      In her book “Memo to the new President” Madaline Albright comments that people think diplomancy is like chess – she said it realy is like billiards and your stick is reserved to hit some one over the head.

      I agree with this, but I think the point I would emphasize is great, SUCCESSFUL diplomacy also takes a well rounded, tolerant, liberal minded (not liberal in terms of politics, liberal in terms of awareness)intellectual brilliance,(I think Joseph Wilson, or Madaline Albright) and Obama, Bush, Cheney, Rove and John Bolton don’t even come close.

      The neocons strike me as a big old wheel of brain cheese, thickened moldy milk trying to pretend it is capable of understanding complicated relational abstracts, when it is NOT.

      What are the contingencies of any given decision, how will the US be affected, how will this affect future US security, including military, economic, social and political factors? What are the true motivations of this particular political actor?

      I was very very very heartened to hear Wes Clark say stability in the middle east could take three approaches, basically, the ideal being implementation of effective and productive POLICY.

      And Clark supports Clinton.

      But first we have to regain control of our foreign policy, and we can’t do that when foreign governments feel, through financial contributions, and lobbyists, they OWN our Congress.

      And they do. So they feel no fear.

      When I heard Obama recommend the bombing of Pakistan I thought, “this guy has to be the most ignorant thing I have seen run for President.” (I thought it funny he would think “tough talk” was an appropriate way to look manly, especially after the Bush disaster. The policy of the gun without the brain has been an abject failure, the military knows this, GAMES it, and Obama, and his advisers, missed it. Doesn’t that man have a mind of his own? And he went to Harvard? As a legacy admit? Where did David Axlerod go to school? Anyone with an ounce of brains KNOWS that is EXACTLY the WRONG thing to do. Every day , his campaign reeks more of a grade school talent show, as opposed to the future government of a major superpower — hey, kids, let’s put on a show!)

      Why have we lowered our standards?

      Our country does not run itself, we have to understand men like Obama are not SMART enough to be President, no matter WHAT Axelrod, or Rove try to sell us.

      Look at Bush.

  • TeresaINPa

    Hi Larry, I never imagined that one of my favorite bloggers would ever be a national security expert. But you really do give good blog on these topics, thank you.

    Obama’s latest tactic of claiming he is not ready to answer that 3am call is borderline moronic. He is not only not ready to answer the 3am call he is proving that he is not ready to be the party nominee. We do not need another inept Kerryesque candidacy where the candidate makes a really bad sound bite statement and then expects everyone to stick around and listen to their convoluted explanation.

    • Mike Howell

      TeresaINPa –

      We do not need another inept Kerryesque candidacy where the candidate makes a really bad sound bite statement and then expects everyone to stick around and listen to their convoluted explanation.

      OMG! My nervous tic like Lt. Dreyfus’ is returning just thinking about John Kerry’s complete and utter inablility to STFU!!

      I gave his campaign thousands of dollars and grew to detest him. It was maddening. I had fantasies of him with a sock in his mouth.

      PLEASE DEMOCRATS – NEVER AGAIN!!

  • mostest

    Larry your 3 prong model is spot on:

    1. first instinct is to understand the implication of the threat for U.S. national interests.

    2.a leader who understands the bureaucratic tools and resources that are available to be brought to bear on the problem.

    3. And finally advisors.

    Excellent.

  • grannyhelen

    Okay – I have a confession to make: I am from the crunchy-granola, Earth Mother, Give Peace A Chance, No More Nukes, War Is Bad For Children And Other Living Creatures side of the political spectrum :-)

    I love Kuch’s idea of a Dept of the Peace. I was an Edwards supporter. I think Noam Chomsky is right that we are pursuing American Imperialism and I believe that in the final cost/benefit analysis our country may well come up short in pursuing this policy.

    Now, who would someone like me support on the foreign policy front? If you listened to the media bobble-heads ya’d think Obama, right?

    Wrong.

    It’s Hil. Hands down. Here’s why:

    1. AUMF. There is no discrenable difference for me between Hil voting for it and Obama saying he’s not sure how he would have voted. Both of these folks continue to support the Iraq war by funding it.

    Therefore, they are equal on that front in my book.

    Ask me who I think can pull us quickly and safely out of Iraq? IMO it’s Hil. It will be a slow and deliberate pull out, but I believe a lasting one. I think Obama will also get us out of Iraq, but my lingering doubt is that he will do so safely and securely.

    2. K-L. Hil voted for it. O didn’t show up to vote and was going to vote for a similar measure labeling the Iranian Rev Guard a terrorist org.

    Again: they’re equal on that one as well.

    3. Human rights – this tips my personal scales for Hil, as she has unequivocably stated that women’s rights are human rights. This is a profound statement on many levels, as the education and economic empowerment of women as primary care givers will have a direct impact on the next generation of so many children in so many countries.

    Equating women’s rights with human rights extends to areas like global poverty, health care, environmentalism and even war and peace issues.

    I have no doubt that Obama’s heart is in the right place on this, but I think because Hil looks at things through the lense of women’s rights she will have a more comprehensive foreign policy that recognizes national security means more than bombs, tanks, missles and military.

    So…just sharing my perspective, again, from the “crunchy granola” side of the equasion ;-)

    • Gabriele Droz

      Good to see you here Granny Crunch Granola :) . One could describe me the same way. I also ended up for Hillary, and firmly so.

      • grannyhelen

        Good seeing you too, Gabriele! I hang out here, eenrblog and DocuDharma these days, with varying frequency.

        Yesterday was my final straw at the Big Orange for a while. Will see if they get a little more reasonable in a few days…if it keeps trending the way it’s been going I will exit entirely.

        I don’t think I’m alone in that sentiment ;-)

        • MarkL

          How interesting!
          I wrote my “Goodbye Orange Republic” diary yeesterday.

          http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/5/134946/7677

          • grannyhelen

            So you’re Boring Dem! Glad to see you elsewhere in the blogosphere :-)

            I don’t do GBCW’s…I prefer to be a digital chimera, appearing and disappearing at will…

            Yes, that one and the rec’d diary that skated far too close to the edge of anti-Semitism for me turned me off as well. I can’t be in a place that tolerates homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism and that cynically race-baits all under the auspices of Electing Our Guy.

            I think Obama would be ashamed of some of the stuff posted over there by folks who are trying to “help”.

            So…I’m gonna give it a while, see if it calms down and if not probably just not go there any longer.

            So sad.

          • Rob Gard

            MarkL — I read the comments after your farewell post. Do those guys kiss their mother with those mouths ? I haven’t ben to Daily Kos in a while because of the ill mannered commenters, but it has really gotten worse. What a shame that so many “progressive” bloggers have chosen to reveal their inner neanderthal.

            • Joey

              I quit reading daily kos comments long before this campaign. Without a mindful moderator comment sections will remain the place many come to demonstrate how screwed up they are. Forget civility or even discussion in KOS comments.

              • Groobiecat

                Hey, wait, but there’s civility here, right? I mean, Simon is civil, right? I mean, he seemed to be really civil to me. I’m guessing “Spooge” is a bureaucratic, Washington term of art, right? I mean, that’s something that really, only an insider would know right? That kind of civility? Or say, discussion? He wasn’t using ad hominem invective on me, I’m sure I just misunderstood him.

                Right Simon? Boy, he’s a smart guy. I’m sure, with all the smart guys like that, Hillary will be in the delegate lead in no time. And all the people who had their baseless reasons for disliking her? Well, people like Simon? They’ll pull them back into the Democratic fold, right?

      • TeresaINPa

        hi both of you, count me in too.

        • grannyhelen

          Good seeing you, too :-)

    • AF

      No chance you would write a letter to the editor to a Philly or Pittsburgh paper?

      Your comment and Larry’s have been the kind that got me to even consider Hill.

    • seeker

      Hello, granny. These days, I only go to the orange site to see how far the insanity has progressed. It’s very sad to see. I used to enjoy getting comments on my somewhat wonky diaries.

      I agree fully with your observations. My largest problem with all of this intramural fighting is that even I, a consistent and strong Democrat for over 35 years (NEVER voted Republican and always voted), have found myself wondering about the degree of my support for Obama if he is the nominee.

      I will support the nominee. But if that is how I have been tempted to think, I hate to think how others on either side may be thinking. Does any of us think that two (at least) appointments to the Supreme Court are not worth fighting for? And, of course, that is only one of many issues.

  • Retired

    By the way, I, too have worked with Sen. Clinton, when she was FLOTUS. While I’m not exactly sure that I would agree with her answer in any particular situation, there is no doubt in my mind that she would pick up the phone, listen to what was being said, and then leave no doubt in anyone’s mind what she wanted done. She definitely gives orders, not “guidance.”

    • http://noquarterusa.net/ SusanUnPC

      What an endorsement. Glad you shared that, Retired.

    • http://NoQuarterUSA.net Larry Johnson

      FLOTUS. I like that dude. Sounds like something you get after eating too many beans.

      • ebonyscrews

        Why was I impressed? First and foremost, she listened. I have briefed folks who get the 1000-yard stare–they drift off and start thinking about something else. I also have briefed folks who get the panicked look from not understanding what I am talking about. Hillary was different. She listened intently, but she also grasped the substance and nuance of the issues we were discussing. Second, she asked tough questions that showed me she was genuinely searching for viable policy options. I had a similar experience with Senator Joe Biden, only that was during a hearing.

        But unlike many members of Congress who rely on some aide sitting at their side to pump them with questions and information, Hillary could think on her own. She did not need “Foreign Policy for Dummies.”

        Larry–great post as usual. I really wish I could hear your words on the evening cable news against punditheads like Matthews or Olbermann. There’s just not enough of this out there–it’s like the MSM burying the story of Hillary’s 30 high-level military endorsements. What are they, unwilling to admit to themselves we got a real-deal, strong gal in our midst who can outpresident and outmaneuver all her male opponents. Sure appears that way more and more to me.

  • Mel

    Larry, this is an important insight, but doesn’t cover the entire gambit of the 3AM phone call in the Oval Office!

    People tend at these times to focus on national security by it, probably due to the times we now live, but it is far more reaching than that!

    Here is what I mean by that, 3AM in Washington means:

    4PM in Hong Kong and China – they had a run on their stock markets that day, in 6 hours the US could awaken to a stock market meltdown unless the President gets into action with Europe to calm the situation before US markets open!

    3PM in Australia and a major earthquake hits, major assistance is needed to care for the devistation there!

    8AM in London and there has been a subway bombing during rush hours!

    9AM in Paris and there is a nuclear power plant meltdown in France!

    10AM in west Africa and there is a major outbreak of West Nile virus!

    9AM in Jeruslum and the Prime Minister has been assassinated!

    2AM in New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina hits shore causing mass flooding and deaths to hundreds of residence trapped there, opps that already occurred under Bush’s watch and he continued his vacation!

    The White House some think is a place for someone to preach from and make everyone feel good! They are wrong, it is an office and it demands a full time work horse in it, determined, calculating, driven and with the ability to navigate around Washington to get the job done, not someone as Obama stated in 2004 that it takes someone with experience and the knowledge of the workings of Washington to run for President and from his own estimations he would have had to start running then to even be viable!

    Well Senator Obama started to run in December 2006, thus according to his own estimates and timing, we would have a non-President for 2 years! Amazing how words come back on a person and bite them in the butt!

    • Simon

      I think also, for McCain or Clinton, there is no way to properly prepare them for the catastrophic mess Cheney and Bush are leaving behind them.

      Sheer incompetence, and paranoid political ideology has left the apparatus, the infrastructure of our government, a MESS.

      The President will want those reports, and the apparatus for collecting ACCURATE data has been left to rot.

      So, you know, if I were a a part of Clinton’s or McCain’s staff, I would be gaging the need to reconstruct the government infrastructure making sure data collection, at the very least, is up to par in every single facet of every single department, hire the BEST you can. That privatization thing Rummy advocated didn’t quite work out the way they hoped.

      Many excellent people were lost, and should be rehired, or hired, and various departments will need to be restructured, and overhauled.

      Same with the US infrastructure, Clinton can have her own TVA jobs program if elected.

      Mc Cain too, he won’t have any choice, if he is to be an effective President. I’m not sure, does he advocate drwning the federal government, too?

      • Simon

        By data collection, I mean even basic statistics for the department of energy, say, as Bush and Cheney have politicized the science, and hired incompetent, and sometimes blatantly corrupt, lobbyists to run the departments.

        If either Clinton or McCain want to make accurate decisions, they need the truth, the best the US government can give, and do.

        Rove hired a bunch of sub par lobbyists, and Republican loyalists, not far removed from Michael Brown.

        And I was never impressed by the Ivy League, University of Chicago neocon, I thought they were nuts, intellectually sub par little criminal children rebelling against Mom, the lot of them.

        IMO.

        • The Gringo’s Wife

          I have thought along similar lines.

          Bush and his minions not only did a lot of damage but tried to dismantle our Constitution.

          The idea of a novice coming in next and “changing” things has never sounded right to me.

          The idea of “restoring” our government to what our Founding Fathers intended after four years of Bush seems more logical.

          Yes! We Will!

          • Simon

            I mean, Gonzo, Cheney and Rove trashed justice, and, immediately that will need to be overhauled, and corrected.

            On the plus side, I hope they bring in some real talent (as opposed to the Sara Taylors), as well as rehire those who would not break the law, for Cheney.

            I wonder, then, if they’d finally go after Cheney, or if certain Congresspeople would get in the way?

            Interesting.

  • Retired

    Yep, that’s just what I need, the likes of Susan Rice telling me that after she has seen Sen. Obama up close, he isn’ ready to take that phone call.

    No matter, though. From the looks of things, what is more likely to happen is that First Lady Michelle would answer the phone, say “Who the !#$% is this?”, and tell the caller that her husband needs his sleep and to call him back during normal business hours. That is, of course, if she hasn’t sentenced him to another night on the couch for not making up the bed correctly. Jeez!

    • Mr.Murder

      The current White House is infamous for its adherence to ‘business hours’ and the inability to respond outside of the traditional 8 to 4 task schedule.

      See also hurricane Katrina and its failed response.

      See also the Aug 6th PDB and record vacation in Crawford before 9-11.

    • Groobiecat

      Guess who else is on Barack’s team, and who visited Vermont a couple of weeks ago as a surrogate? Anthony Lake. Look him up on wikipedia (former Clinton foreign policy adviser; credited with ending Bosnian war).

      Ironically, you’re undermining the Clinton legacy and part of what surely must be Hillary’s 35 years of experience:

      The article states: “(Rice) sat by while more than one million Rwandans were butchered in a bloody genocide.” Well, actually, it wasn’t she who sat by–foreign policy is made by the president, who is accountable for what happens–not a foreign policy adviser. Bill Clinton sat by as ~1,000,000 Rwandans died. But wait, there’s more! Hillary’s point is that she has all this foreign policy experience because she was there right? At Bill’s side the whole way? So, Hillary sat by while 1,000,000 Rwandans died. Now that’s what I call experience!

      Ready for the irony part?? Hillary Clinton voted for the 2002 Iraq war authorization bill without ever having read the NIE, and guess what? 1,000,0000 people have died as a result. Now that’s what I call accountability!

      I see a pattern here, do you? Hillary has foreign policy experience–it’s just that a LOT of people die as a result of it.

      As for the 3:00 a.m. calls? My guess is that she’ll take the call–unless the crisis is happening in Iraq or Rwanda. Otherwise? Hillary apparently has no problem letting the answering machine pick up…

      • Simon

        The article states: “(Rice) sat by while more than one million Rwandans were butchered in a bloody genocide.” Well, actually, it wasn’t she who sat by–foreign policy is made by the president, who is accountable for what happens–not a foreign policy adviser. Bill Clinton sat by as ~1,000,000 Rwandans died. But wait, there’s more! Hillary’s point is that she has all this foreign policy experience because she was there right? At Bill’s side the whole way? So, Hillary sat by while 1,000,000 Rwandans died. Now that’s what I call experience!

        Well, no.

        If I, as President, delegate Rice, and Lake, to disseminate and handle the problem, trusting them to do their job, and later, 3 days later, my JCS and other aids come to me and say ” Boy, did Rice and Lake fuck up,” what am I supposed to do, other than what Clinton did?

        You ever work at the upper levels of management?

        No.

        I can see why, a really sad attempt to spin..

        Try dumbing it down more, pretty soon you will find an audience, really.

        Try Kos, they’re easily fed.

        Again, if this is your logic, YOU help clarify how, and why, Obama’s adivsers are so poor.

        You’re clueless.

        • Simon

          Light a fire under it, Spooge.

          Cmon.

          • Groobiecat

            LOL. What the–”Spooge”?

            No wonder Hillary does so well with the less educated…

        • Groobiecat

          What? No, but I do have an advanced degree in International Security policy worked on Capitol Hill for over 10 years. How about you? And btw, it’s the President’s responsibility, for what the government DOES or DOESN’T DO in international affairs. He is *fully* accountable for our conduct, and is aided only by the advice and consent of the Senate in matters of foreign affairs. It’s possible that Rice isn’t a good foreign policy adviser, but she certainly wasn’t the only one who knew what was transpiring in Africa–it was fairly well known. And if Clinton wanted options for, say, taking out Somalian chieftains, he had plans drawn up–there was no single person responsible. In the case of Rwanda, Bill did nothing. Hillary *did* nothing, too (my point–which you conveniently ignored–was that she was with Bill and “part of his decisionmaking process” and, one should assume, he consulted her on this, right? Yes or No. Simple answer. Can’t have it both ways–she either was part of his policy machinery and that comprises part of her vaunted 35 years of “experience” or it doesn’t. Did she do anything with her position of influence to prevent the massacre? Yes or No? Answer the question.

          To take a single paragraph as the one above, and boil down accountability for Rwanda and assign it to one person is disengenuous at best–at least, for people who understand how policy is made.

          Sadly, your puerile ad hominem attacks are representative of the Clinton campaign’s approach in general and, ironically, the Bush administration: demonize your opponents; use simple innuendo without facts (you don’t know me or what I have or haven’t done) to undermine those who don’t think like you.

          And what passes for *your* logic? You didn’t address a single one of my points. Hillary is arguing that she has 35 years of experience, and both she and Bill started out the campaign talking about how she was against the Rwandan genocide. Fair enough. But they don’t do that anymore. I wonder why. Could it because Bill knows it was a failure of his presidency. I mean, he has admitted as much, right? If she is drawing on her time with him as part of her FP experience, then isn’t that part of her experience as well? If not, say how it isn’t–don’t use playground invective to try to belittle me. But I don’t think you will. People with little humility tend to go the easy route, and attack their opponents, rather than engage on the merits of the argument. Plus, I honestly doubt that you have the chops–at least, based on your pedantic, grandiloquent response. First, you don’t “disseminate and handle” a foreign policy crisis. You disseminate literature, not genocide policy. Second, the Rwandan genocide was slightly more significant than a “problem to be handled”–Western Democracies all saw this coming. Clinton’s a smart guy, and he knows that he should have done something. He just didn’t. And neither did your visionary, late night candidate. That was one of the lowest points in foreign policy decisionmaking over the past 20 years–until Iraq, that is. Third, to lay the blame at our government’s inaction in Rwanda on one person is laughable. I’m sure a whole host of errors went into the ultimate “non-policy” on Rwanda, but one person’s fault? I don’t think so. But I’m not surprised. Hillary’s supporters have turned lack of humility and accountability into an artform (I refer here mainly to her vote in 2002 for the Iraq War Authorization measure).

          As for Hillary’s advisers, oh, you mean she has the “not poor” kind? Advisers like Wolfson and Penn? Those kind? You mean the believers of the Rovian orthodoxy of dirty tricks and win at all costs? You mean the two who are using insane epithets like “Barack is Ken Starr” to successfully drive a wedge through the middle of the Democratic party? You mean the two who advised Hillary to talk up John McCain? Those two? Yeah, she makes great decisions about her advisers. That’s why she’s ahead in the delegate count and has won more states and has raised more money in a single month than any other–oh, wait, sorry. Wrong candidate.

          This was fun. Let’s do this again sometime.

          • Cee

            Groobie,

            Since you mention Penn, I might as well use this to point out that he and Bill are joined at the hip.

            Where are those tax returns?

            #

            2: Mark Penn’s representation of foreign government sovereign wealth funds in the United Arab Emirates

            Sovereign wealth funds — the enormously wealthy investment funds owned by foreign governments, many of them oil-rich states — are playing an ever larger role in the U.S. economy. For example, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority recently purchased a 5% stake in Citigroup.

            As a sovereign wealth fund, The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is an instrument of a foreign government, Abu Dhabi, an emirate in the United Arab Emirates.

            Guess who represents the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in the United States?

            That’s right: Burson-Marsteller, the public affairs firm run by Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist Mark Penn.

            Indeed, ADIA isn’t the only sovereign wealth fund that Burson represents. There’s more, including Dubai Group and Dubai International Capital.

            Whether or not it’s a bad thing for foreign governments to be buying up important companies in the United States is one question, but you almost certainly don’t want the next President of the United States top strategist to be representing them.

            This is something the media needs to examine. If there is a firewall between Burson-Marsteller’s representation of foreign governments and its CEO Mark Penn, that firewall needs to be examined in the public media. This is something the public has a right to know.

            Perhaps there are no conflicts of interest, but we won’t know until the media does its job.

            There’s vetting to be done.

            #3a: Bill Clintons’ ventures in the United Arab Emirates

            Were Bill Clinton’s ventures in the United Arab Emirates connected with Mark Penn’s company, its subsidiaries, or its middle east partners, and if so, does that pose a conflict of interest?

            We know that Bill Clinton raised millions from foreign governments and foreign nationals for his library.

            The Post confirmed numerous seven-figure donors to the library through interviews and tax records of foundations. Several foreign governments gave at least $1 million, including the Middle Eastern nations of Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the governments of Taiwan and Brunei.

            We also know some of his biggest speaking fees have come from foreign entities. This is not unusual — George H. W. Bush did it as well.

            But that doesn’t mean there might not be a conflict of interest. It’s a question worth asking. We deserve to know.

            Look at how it turned out with Dick Cheney and Halliburton. Not so good for America.
            http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/7/172450/1018/223/471683

          • Mike Oaks

            It’s a team game, got it. Don’t try and sell us your guy, he’s got more problems on the horizon then you have the ability to cover up with your
            Dreams of his father guy. I say problems on the near horizon if he is ever lucky, and I do mean
            lucky to get the nomination. Hillary is so much smarter, and is ready on day one. Hillary does have universal appeal, has proved it for 35 years in spite of your disclaimer. The United States is far more ready to have a woman president, than to have either a stupid moronic, or just plain manipulative person with one years experience in the United States Senate as potus.
            We are supposed to be tolerant and understand that Barrack sitting there for 20 years and claiming at first that he had never heard incendiary remarks coming from his pastors mouth, and then having to admit that he had. Just because members of his hate spewing church have had a totally different way of life. Barrack is a gross manipulative elitest, he’s proved that in his rise to power and yes, he should be judged by the company he keeps. As far as the common theme among those who are so worried that all of Obamas record dollars that he has raised just might go for naught,as Hillary will probably win the nomination. And she will deserve it. Of course I don’t think for one minute that you will believe it, or anyone else that has jumped on the Obama bandwagon.

      • http://http:/www.yahoo.com Jack-The-Ripper

        That Last Paragraph You Wrote Were A Real Funny Goober,The 3:00am Thing,I’am Still Laughing,I Don’t Know Why But All The Same,I’am Still Trying To Get Over That Funny,So Let’s Get To Some Real Foreign Policy Issues,First Larry Johnson Has More Credibility On Foreign Policy Than Susan Rice,Tony Lake Barack Bin Laden,Samantha Power’s Who Learned It From Book’s At Harvard School For The Dumb,& The Stupid,And Mrs Bin Laden,You Can’t Say Hilliary Don’t Have Experience On Foreign Policy And Not Give Her Credit For It,And Then Turn Around And Give Her Credit For The Mismanagement Of It Just To Satisfy Your Ignorance,Senator Clinton Spent 8 Years In The Whitehouse,So Just Being Their Gives Her More Experience,& Credibility Than Say A Mr Obama,Who Doesn’t Even Know What The Whitehouse Looks Like,America Has Already Accepted Her Experience,It’s A Done Deal Now,So Who Exactly Are You Trying To Convince Yourself,Get Used To It Moron It’s The Truth,And What The Hell Is A 1,000,0000,Where Did You Learn That One From,No Let Me Guess You Heard Mr Obama Say It But You Couldn’t Write It Correctly Am I Close,Doesn’t Matter,I Think I Made My Point.

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