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Kudos For Katie Shortlived
Posted by: MichaelW on Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm sure to get skewered for this, but it not only appears that Keith Olbermann was basically right (yes, it hurts to say that), but also that Katie Couric's editing team took some liberties with the McCain interview that were directly against CBS policy.

First re Olbermann:
Once again, our man Keith has really done his homework. The openeing (sic) story on Countdown was about a major gaff that Sen McCain made during an interview with CBS news. It seems that the old Senator is either lying or just terribly confused about history.

First the details:

Couric: Senator McCain, Sen. Obama says, while the increased number of U.S. troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What's your response to that?

McCain: I don't know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarlane (phonetic) was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history. Thanks to General Petraeus, our leadership, and the sacrifice of brave young Americans. I mean, to deny that their sacrifice didn't make possible the success of the surge in Iraq, I think, does a great disservice to young men and women who are serving and have sacrificed.

They were out there. They were protecting these sheiks. We had the Anbar awakening. We now have a government that's effective. We have a legal system that's working, although poorly. And we have progress on all fronts, including an incredible measure of security for the people of Iraq. There will still be attacks. Al Qaeda's not defeated. But the progress has been immense. And to not recognize that, and why it happened, and how it happened, I think is really quite a commentary.
Unfortunately, Senator, that's not exactly how it happened. The Anbar Rising really began back as early as 2005, but was scuttled by repeated acts of terrorism by al Qaeda members and affiliates. Towards the middle and end of 2006, Sheik Abdul Sattar Al-Rishawi and some of his followers had finally had enough and sought the help of coalition forces. With their help, in early 2007, the Anbar Awakening became something formidable and effective, just as the first "surge" troops were entering Iraq. But to say that the "surge" caused the Anbar Awakening, which McCain clearly does, is not accurate.

Of course, by the same token, it's also not accurate to suggest, as Senator Obama did, that the Awakening movements would have happened without the surge. On that score, Joe Scarborough is exactly right. Even the Sunni tribesmen who made up the Awakening councils knew that, which is why they went to the coalition forces for help. Their previous efforts in 2005 had convinced them that they needed to the Americans on their side. Combined with the new counter-insurgency strategy, which concentrates on protecting the population instead of just hunting down bad guys, the Awakening movements were able to flourish first in Anbar, and then throughout Iraq. So, while McCain was dead wrong to suggest that the surge caused the Anbar Awakening, he's not wrong to suggest that without the surge it would not have been very successful.

As for the interview in which he made that claim, it seems that the CBS editing team cut out that part of McCain's answer, used part of it, and then inserted part of an answer from a different question:
Here’s what happened. ON CBS Nightly News, Katie Couric started off the segment with question #3 of her interview from their website version of the McCain interview:

Couric QUESTION #3: Senator McCain, Sen. Obama says, while the increased number of U.S. troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What’s your response to that?
They then edited out his major gaffe on “the surge” and inserted his partial answer to question #1 and then spliced in a partial answer to question # 3 to make it appear to be a consistent response.
[McCain's answers to] Q1 Sen. Obama has indicated that by his failure to acknowledge the success of the surge, that he would rather lose a war than lose a campaign.

Q3 Thanks to General Petraeus, our leadership, and the sacrifice of brave young Americans. I mean, to deny that their sacrifice didn’t make possible the success of the surge in Iraq, I think, does a great disservice to young men and women who are serving and have sacrificed.

There will still be attacks. Al Qaeda’s not defeated. But the progress has been immense. And to not recognize that, and why it happened, and how it happened, I think is really quite a commentary.
Here’s part of his answer from question # 3 that they left on the cutting room floor and which exposes John McCain as not knowing what he’s talking about once again about the war in Iraq.
I don’t know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarlane (phonetic) was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history. Thanks to General Petraeus, our leadership, and the sacrifice of brave young Americans. I mean, to deny that their sacrifice didn’t make possible the success of the surge in Iraq, I think, does a great disservice to young men and women who are serving and have sacrificed. They were out there. They were protecting these sheiks. We had the Anbar awakening. We now have a government that’s effective…
It completely changes what he meant and actually said to Couric.
Actually, I have to agree. And even if I didn't agree, it is directly against CBS policy:
Let’s repeat what CBS says is their Standard.

Answers to different questions may not be combined to give the impression of one continuous response. In short, we cannot create an answer merely because we wish the subject had said it better.
This is exactly what CBS did in the segment and I’m not even including the important McCain gaffe that they left out. How can CBS defend the Couric/McCain interview after we read their own guidelines?
Frankly, they really can't. I really don't know why they did it. Forgive me if I'm incredibly skeptical that Katie Couric and the CBS gang are pulling for McCain and tried to hand him a bone. Perhaps it was pure self-interest in that, if Obama pulls too far ahead, then the networks won't have as much juicy reporting to do. Don't know, and don't care. Whether or not they included the gaffe, they shouldn't have violated their own policy by splicing parts of answers together. If it's permissible to do in this instance, then it would be permissible when it makes the candidate look bad as well. Either way, it just strikes me as terribly unethical to splice answers together in order to create a new one.

As for the Olbermann thing, I feel like taking a shower ...
 
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Maybe they wanted McCain all along.

Look where the political spectrum is today that produced McCain as the Right candidate. Another 8 years like this, and Obama will be considered a moderate.

Maybe its dawned on them Obama is a joke.

If he gets elected, it will be 1980 (& 1994) all over again.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Hmmm ... are you suggesting a massive conspiracy to recalibrate the political spectrum? After some of the ridiculous things that passed for conspiracy theories in the past 8 years ("fire doesn’t melt steel!") that one must have legs ;)
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
:p

Well you have McCain for which a lot of people on the Right are building emotional momentum to support him as a reflex to resisting Obama.

My guess, McCain is going to use that momentum and make a run at ’immigration reform’ or some such thing.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Of course a better explanation is that its became pathetically obvious the media is in the tank for Obama and that they are trying to look credible for at least a little while, especially after that pole.

Also, maybe Couric was a little bit in the tank for Hillary.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Also, maybe Couric was a little bit in the tank for Hillary.


That you can take to the bank.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
Well, people seem to be forgetting that the "surge" was much more then adding more troops to the roster in Iraq. It was also a change in strategy. I’d have to review the time line, but when did the strategy start changing?

I know Reid, et al, were declaring failure in March(?)

And I wouldn’t really call what McCain said was a gaffe, since many people are of the same opinion. It may be a mistaken opinion, but it’s close enough, as arguing over the details shows.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
And no matter what the rhetoric used, the simple fact is, McCain was right about the surge, and Obama was, and still is, wrong about the surge.

http://www.redstate.com/diaries/redstate/2008/jul/23/obamas-losing-bet-on-defeat-in-iraq/
1. Obama’s public statements from 2004 through 2006 recognized that withdrawal from Iraq would lead to defeat and disaster.

2. In early 2007, when President Bush announced the "surge" strategy to try to win the war, leading Democrats - Obama included - publicly concluded that the war was lost and accordingly opposed the surge.

3. Obama went further and rolled out a plan to begin drawing down troops in May 2007, leading to a full withdrawal by March 2008. There was no pretense that this was to be a victorious withdrawal; Obama stated in his press release that "no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else’s civil war" and that he was proposing to "reverse[] the President’s dangerous and ill-conceived escalation of the Iraq war" and "bring a responsible end to this war and bring our troops home". The press release made no mention of victory or even honor.

4. Obama’s opposition to the surge and calls for an immediate commencement of withdrawal proved popular with his supporters in the Democratic primary and helped him win the nomination of his party.

5. John McCain, by contrast, supported the surge on the grounds that it would lead to victory.

6. It is now obvious, and so broadly conceded that Klein paints it as beyond dispute, that the surge has succeeded and will lead to victory in Iraq.

7. Had we followed Obama’s strategy instead of McCain’s, it is equally clear that we would have lost the war, as the Iraqis could not have done it without us.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Maybe they wanted McCain all along.
No. They want a race. They want it to be as tight as possible.

It’s a bad, bad sign for conservatism if MSM is trying to make McCain look good. It’ll be an even worse sign if they’re doing it in September.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
What a juicy quote...
This is simply an effort to kick the can down the road in order for Bush to avoid looking like a loser. The "surge" won’t fully happen for several months (and then only on paper). That moves us farther into the the presidential election cycle. By then, Bush will be able to claim that he must simply "stay the course" so as not to interfere with the next president’s plan.

This is only politics.

The "surge" won’t work. Why would it? The US military is not going to disarm the Shia militias and death squads. Indeed, Kagan and the neocons don’t even think we should go after Sadr at this point. Along the same lines, the military is not going to defeat the Sunni guerillas, or even put a serious dent in their ranks. The only result will be more dead Americans and Iraqis.

Too little, too late.
No surprise who said that back then...

And the "surge" strategy dates back to at least Nov of 2006. And it was met with mixed reviews.

One thing we can be sure of though, the surge let the Anbar awakening take hold, and then with that model of success, it was expanded across the country.

March 11, 2007
The "Anbar Awakening," which is how it’s being coined around here, has been picking up steam and gaining headway to help turn the tide for us in this corner of Iraq.

Anyhow, I hope all is going well for you all over there back home. Me, I got a few minutes so I’m going to call home and let them know I’m doing okay.

Spc. Ricardo Branch
Camp Ramadi, Iraq
And a good reminder of why we need to "finish the job," with some interesting comments about Anbar.

 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com

 
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