The President’s Speech

Thursday, January 13, AD 2011

I did not watch President Obama’s speech last night, nor any of the memorial service turned pep rally, but I have read the transcript.  After reading through it I have to concur with the majority sentiment that this was a very good if not excellent speech. In fact this is perhaps the best one the President has given, granted that is a pretty low bar.  President Obama’s speeches can most charitably be described as vague, but this one contained a very clear message and was very appropriate for the occasion.  I was struck in particular by this passage:

You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations, to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless.  Already we’ve seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems. And much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized  at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do  it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, ‘when I looked for light, then came darkness.’ Bad things happen, and we have to guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.

Naturally there’s been some blowback by some conservatives horrified at the notion that anything President Obama has done or said could ever garner praise by fellow conservatives.  For example, just read the comments to any number of blog postings on the Corner last night.  Almost all of the NRO contributors praised the speech, drawing the ire of a large band of followers (though not all, certainly).  I’m not really sure what more the President could have said.  If there’s any criticism due this speech it is that it does seem a bit over-long.  It’s almost like one of those homilies where it feels like the Priest is vamping in order to hit some pre-conceived notion of how long the talk should be.  But it is foolish to have  expected the President to have delivered a full-blown attack on leftists who engaged in any “blood libel.”  The tenor of his remarks were certainly appropriate for the occasion.

I don’t think that President Obama’s political career is suddenly going to be rejuvenated because some right-wing pundits like one speech that he gave.  If this wasn’t your cup of tea, fine.  I’ve found myself disliking many an Obama oration that others have drooled over, so opinions may vary.  But to me this was a speech well worth the praise it has received.

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25 Responses to The President’s Speech

  • It was a good speech, spoiled by the “Let’s Make a Deal” audience reaction, whooping it up, hooting, whistling when solemnity was called for — totally inappropriate at a memorial but symptomatic of today’s youth which has little respect for tradition.

    Obama struck the right tone, but could have done without the Indian guy at the beginning who hogged 20 minutes of face time for one of those interminable blessings that came right out of a Hollywood script.

    While deserving of recognition, the wild adulation over Daniel Hernandez was way over the top.

    As political theater, it succeeded, and Obama probably will get a nice bounce in the ratings. Other than that, I don’t think it will change the discourse one iota.

  • No problem with the speech, but shouldn’t we expect more decorum and reflection from a memorial service? It came close to being turned into political theater. He could have given the speech any time, but a memorial should be lead by priests or ministers, with the President, if he attends, sitting respectfully in the audience. Ideally it should be private. He did talk about the victims a bit, but it never should have been about anyone else in the first place. As it was they were relegated to being little more than a prop.

  • “..but shouldn’t we expect more decorum and reflection from a memorial service? It came close to being turned into political theater.”

    Perhaps not as bad but nonetheless in the mold of Wellstone’s send off.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/830clrob.asp

  • Too late to say you’re sorry. He should have told his Obama-worshipping imbeciles to STFU on SATURDAY.

    That was nothimng other than a pep rally/stump speech.

    Did he pray for the reprose of the soul of the GOP Judge assassinated by his dope-addled, left wing lunatic who “brought a gun” to “punish his enemies”?

    They booed the GOP governor (probable she’s next on the liberal hit list) and Obama lied about “she opened her eyes.”

    It is part of all liberals’ natures not to let any crisis or tragedy go to waste . . .

  • I only read the excerpt you cited. I thought it was excellent. As far as those on the right who may refuse to acknowledge any good from the President, we shouldn’t get too worked up about it, but still take the high ground and try leading by example. There are always going to factions within factions that are so blinded by their own biases that the only reality to them is their bias. They no longer stand for good that led them to their position, they end up standing up only for their position. Reality and any sense of good be damned. I think you see a far larger portion of the left affected by it, but there is clearly a significant portion of the right too.

  • Assuming yesterday was a statistically average day: In the time it took President Obama to make nice with his base, 86 (rounded) unborn babies were (Constitutional right) killed. Some seem to think the most abortion-promoting regime leader this side of Red China is “good” because he can lead a campaign rally.

  • Again I didn’t see the event, and from the reports it sounds pretty bad. But to what degree, if any, does President Obama bare any responsibility for that? Did his office plan the event, or was he simply an invited participant? He may not have been fully aware of what was going to play out.

  • Did he pray for the reprose of the soul of the GOP Judge assassinated by his dope-addled, left wing lunatic who “brought a gun” to “punish his enemies”?

    Judge Roll was the first of the slain that he singled out.

  • Made no mention of who was responsible for the event. Apparently the U of A planned it. My point was the gaudiness of it all. This captures my opinion:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/publius-forum/2011/01/arizona-memorial-a-most-disquieting-display.html

  • I too thought the pep rally atmosphere was odd at first but as his speech progressed into a message of hope it became appropriate.

    Judging by the fact that his speech went way over schedule, he may not have been expecting interrupting applause.

  • Anybody know where to find a video of the Mass that Palin refers to?

  • “The tenor of his remarks were certainly appropriate for the occasion.”

    Sure. I expected nothing less, to be honest. Obama knows how to be appropriate, and his failure to join in on the blame game will probably make leftists as angry as the rightists who wanted him to denounce it.

  • “Expand our moral imaginations”? Are you kidding me? I think it better if we “diminish the diminutiveness of our fears”.

  • I concur: good speech, but it was a very improper tone for a ‘memorial.’ For instance, when the native American opener announced that he was Mexican on one side of his family there was loud cheering…

  • The speech was fine. The “memorial” felt like a pep rally. The “medicine man”, he is Carlos Gonzalez an associate professor of clinical medicine and an MD at the University of Arizona, with the eagle feather at the beginning giving a native blessing was surreal beyond belief.

  • Why not get Bishop Kicanas of Tucson for opening benediction? It’s not as if he’s busy running the USCCB. Both Judge Roll and Christina Green were Catholic, afterall, and none of the victims were Indians.

    Insane academic bias.

  • I don’t read the Corner, but the sensible criticism I’ve seen elsewhere hasn’t been for the speech itself, but for the circumstances surrounding it. As T. Shaw points out, if you’re going to give a “let’s all pull together and not place blame” speech, you do that as soon as the blaming starts. The president can get TV time anytime he wants; he didn’t have to wait for this. He kept mum for days while his minions in the press did a hatchet job on everything in sight that looked or smelled conservative, and now that they’ve all shouted themselves hoarse and been discredited anyway, he gets credit for calling for moderation (implying in the process that this was a problem of general “polarization,” and not entirely a one-sided attack)? Please.

    If he’d given the same speech right away — and called out some of the worst offenders in the process — that would have shown some real statesmanship. No, we shouldn’t expect that, because he’s not a statesman; he’s an orator and politico. He routinely uses “enemies” language in reference to conservatives because that’s what he believes. He’d never put Doing The Right Thing ahead of Gaining Political Advantage From The Situation. The Right Thing can wait until the political advantage has dried up.

    So, he did the right thing in the end, like a boy who gets caught hitting his sister but refuses to apologize until he’s had to go to bed without dessert for a few days and starts to realize maybe this isn’t working out that great after all, so he works up some sincerity and gets it over with. Maybe better than nothing, but not much. Do you give the boy a cookie?

  • I didn’t watch the memorial (not getting TV and all) but reading the speech it looks like it was exactly the right tone. Good to see Obama taking the high road.

  • Just saying . . . for five days . . .

    HE PREFERRED THEY TALKED 24/5 ABOUT THE WEREWOLF OF WASSALLA: They weren’t talking about gasoline/home heating oil prices rise (cap and trade would have made long term prices worse); Joblessness increases; wholesale food prices climb.

    “Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance rose by 35,000 last week to 445,000 (last week was also revised up by 1,000, so one could see it as a 36,000 increase). This was much worse than the expected level of 415,000.”

    “The number of Americans filing unemployment claims unexpectedly rose last week, the Labor Department said early Thursday.”

    The proportion of employed Americans is 64.3%, lowest since . . . Hey, reduce the denominator make it better.

    How’s that collective planning working out, Sparkie?

    No!! Wait!!!!

    Catho-tax-funder-abortion-promoter Sibelius’ own Kansas just became the 26th US state suing over ObamaCare.

    I would apologize to suffering Americans.

  • Someone wrote an effective speech that is overdue and Obama delivered it inappropriately in an inappropriate venue several days after he should have. This pagan pep rally billed as a memorial was not only in poor taste, but indicates the high level of irreverence and indifferentism that we engage in as a culture. Additionally, the comaprisons to Clinton’s post OK speech and Bush’s post 9/11 speech is specious – this was a crime committed by a mentally unstable, possibly possessed murderer – OK bombing and 9/11 were acts of terrorism. We are making a national tragedy out of a local crime becuase this is nothing other than propaganda and political theatre.

    As T. Shaw pointed out, Obama is still the single most prominent non-Chinese murderer in the world – who cares if a he delivered a ‘good’ speech? I doubt it matters to God. If not for all the Holy Sacrifices offered everyday and the predominantly Catholic pro-life movement His Wrath would have ended us long before the AZ murderer got off the first shot.

    Charity cannot be given in a compartmentalized manner. Kudos for a mediocre speech DO NOT trump the Charity we owe millions of murdered babies.

  • Better late than never, I say. He said what needed to be said, it’s on the record, and the public will move on to other concerns eventually.

  • Yes, the public will move on, people will congratulate Obama for posing as the peacemaker after doing nothing to call his attack dogs to heel, and the next time the left wants to slander the opposition over some tragedy, they’ll know they can get away with it again as long as their leader follows it with a non-apologetic call for reconciliation. Great.

  • Should we expect Presidents to make speeches when things like this happen?

    It sounds like a good speech.

  • It was a good speech. It was also the classic good cop/bad cop ploy with the left media playing bad cop and the O riding in as the good cop.

Meet the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss

Saturday, December 11, AD 2010

From the Internet’s only reliable news source.  President Obama exits a press conference early, leaving former President Clinton in charge in order to promote a tax deal that is unpopular with most of his base.

Wait, this isn’t an Onion video?  You mean President Obama really did this?

Well, I guess it’s official.  The administration has descended into self-parody.

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18 Responses to Meet the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss

  • I never liked Bill Clinton, but somehow find it refreshing to see him up there instead Obama. Shoot me. I don’t know if I should respect Obama for seeking help where his ability is insufficient or if I should cringe at the thought of the POTUS needs assistance from a previous president to talk to a core policy issue. This is really scary when you think about it.

  • Every word is a lie.

    Clinton said, “As a child of the Depression . . .” LIE: he was born in 1946 (the year FDR’s generational depression finally ended) and grew up in the 1950’s, when the US per capital GDP was highest in the world and the American was the most prosperous citizen on the planet.

    The US is now in 8th place in per capita GDP, and will not be in the top 20 once Obama finishes deconstructing the private sector.

    There must be 20,000,000 persons more qualified than either fake, phony and fraud.

  • “This is really scary when you think about it”

    If Obama turns over a future press conference to Jimmy Carter — and I wouldn’t put it past him to do so — then we’ll REALLY be in trouble.

  • I really think Obama is tired of the whole Presidency gig. Too much work and too much dealing with people who are not bowled over by his awesomeness. He is ready to move on to the final stage in his career: world-celebrity-for-life.

  • If nothing else, BC, like JFK, exuded charm. Even though they lied like every other President, they did so gracefully and with a touch of self-deprecation. By contrast, TelePrompted-Obama comes across wooden, didactic and austere. No warmth whatsoever. I’d like to see him loosen up once in awhile, play with the pooch, like Putin, and add a touch of humor to his pressers.

  • “I really think Obama is tired of the whole Presidency gig”

    Does that mean you have just issued your first prediction for 2011 (or maybe 2012?)

  • To Donald’s point, I read a comment last night on either Hot Air or Ace of Spades to the effect that Obama was interested in being president, not so much doing president.

  • “Does that mean you have just issued your first prediction for 2011 (or maybe 2012?)”

    I’m not sure Elaine and I doubt if Obama is at this point. I don’t think it would take much for him to decide that four years was enough. I have never seen a President before who gives signal after signal that he really isn’t interested in doing the job.

  • LOL!

    Next, the Won will call in George W. Bush (I MISS him!!) to “sell” his stuff to his despicable party.

  • I really think Obama is tired of the whole Presidency gig.

    I voted against Clinton twice and yet, if Obama wishes to step down and work on his basketball game full-time, I’d much rather that that old silver-tongued (and now silver-haired) devil Billy Jeff take over the job rather than having a *gulp* President Biden.

    But really, the whole presser was surrealistic. Good Lord, the libs made Bush’s choking on a pretzel proof of stupidity and bad moral character.Imagine if Dubya had led his dad in to talk about Iraq at a press conference because Dubya had to go to a Christmas Party (because otherwise Laura would have been mad. Sheesh, Don posted that extremely funny video about men put in the doghouse by aggrieved wives. We already know that the doghouse is Clinton’s permanent address, although he frequently escapes. How often do you think Michelle has tossed Barack in the D.H. for a spell?)

  • Talk of Obama not running in 2012 is wishing thinking.

  • Maybe Joe, or maybe Obama will get up one morning and decide the nation isn’t worthy of his continued efforts. Obama is a very proud man and the Presidency has given him an experience new to him: failure.

  • One other possibility is that Obama did not think he’d actually win in 2008. Perhaps he, like most of the rest of the population, thought Hillary had it in the bag, and thought of the 2008 campaign as a way to put his name in the spotlight and end up as something of a Congressional leader until 2016.

  • If I had to pick bewtween the two, I’d rather have BC. Maybe the O is a big fan of outsourcing?

  • Obama is a very proud man and the Presidency has given him an experience new to him: failure.

    He does not strike me as proud.

    Demonstrated accomplishment would be a novelty for him too, though. (Or, accomplishment at something other than winning elections). A contemporary of his at Harvard Law School said he thought that B.O. was always more interested in being the president of the law review than in doing anything while occupying the position. With everything he has done with his life since 1988, the same phenomenon appears to manifest itself. It’s odd.

  • Anyone his age Art who has written two autobiographies, before he accomplished much to speak of, is by definition proud. Everything Obama has wanted he has gotten in life, although perhaps he simply does not want to succeed as President, as odd as that may seem.

  • I think there is a distinction between being ‘proud’ and being vain or self-aggrandizing.

    I think you have to be skeptical of those (one thinks of Steven Sailer) who fancy they can have an intricate grasp of someone unknown to them in the most salient respects. Personally, I do not have any insight into what he did or did not want in life at any given point therein. He seems far more a set of guises and poses than most men his age.

  • Vain works for me Art as a description of Obama. In any case he has never been called upon in any of his prior positions to perform substantively, but has rather succeeded through glibness and a strong desire of many of his supporters to view him as some sort of political second coming. To go from secular Messiah to a failed President must be disconcerting to even the most narcissistic of personalities.

Elections Have Consequences – Tax Cut Edition

Thursday, December 9, AD 2010

I’ll leave it up to others on the blog to discuss the merits of the compromise on taxes and unemployment benefits recently reached between President Obama and Congressional Republicans.  For what it’s worth, I’d probably vote for it were I a member of Congress (shudder), but I do think that the Republicans could have pushed a little harder on certain measures.

What fascinates me as a student of American history are some of the reactions, and also some of the reactions to the reactions.  First of all,  Congressional Democrats have rejected the measure in a non-binding caucus vote.  This has caused Jim Geraghty to ponder:

I understand the White House line is that today’s rejection is part of the “normal process.” Really? Is it normal for a majority of the president’s own party to vote against deals he makes?

Normal?  No.  But I think this is a positive development in a way.

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4 Responses to Elections Have Consequences – Tax Cut Edition

  • Actually, I do have one idea: Bring ALL the troops home, cut military spending in half, close 700 bases around the world and raise the draw bridges.

    Without getting into the merits of this idea, do you really believe that this would save $5 trillion?

  • Paul, “compromise” may be de riguer in politics and “another example of the Constitution in action,” as you put it, but in other spheres of life it is an ugly word.

    The Irish poet Yates once wrote, “You know what the Englishman’s idea of compromise is? He says, Some people say there is a God. Some people say there is no God. The truth probably lies somewhere between these two statements.”

    And, from George Jean Nathan: “A man’s wife is his compromise with the illusion of his first sweetheart.”

  • Well Joe, we can go on pretending that the President of the United States is not a Democrat, and therefore the GOP would be free to push whatever policies it so chooses, or we can wake up and smell reality. The tax cuts are going to expire in 21 days, and do you have another means by which to convince a President I’m willing to bet you’d consider a socialist to allow the tax cuts to continue?

  • I am apolitical, Paul. I have no love for either party. These fiscal bookkeeping games are beyond my ability to grasp, nor anyone else’s. Administrations for decades have been fine-tuning tax policy and the result is always the same: the haves get more, the have-nots less. I have no solution, of course, and I don’t think it lies in any one philosophy, left or right. As a collector of Social Security solely, it has no effect on me either way and I have no inheritance to leave upon my demise.

    Actually, I do have one idea: Bring ALL the troops home, cut military spending in half, close 700 bases around the world and raise the draw bridges. We’d save $5 trillion and could have universal health care, buy a new car for everyone who didn’t get one from Oprah and still have enough left over for a pretty good weekend in Vegas.

1946, 1994, 2010 => 1948, 1996, 2012?

Tuesday, November 9, AD 2010

Picture it: Upper East Side of Manhattan, November 9, 1994.  There is a buzz throughout the halls of Regis High School, and it’s not just because today is student exchange day and there will actually be girls in our school.  The previous night the Republicans had won control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, and my friends and I – little Republicans in training that we all were – were quite joyous.

First period was US History, and our teacher knows that I am certainly excited about the election.  So he writes on the board the following:

1994=1946

His point?  As was the case in 1946, the Republican victory would be short-lived.  Republican gains in 1946 were wiped out – and then some – in 1948.  On top of that, Harry Truman was re-elected.  History would repeat itself.

I scoffed at this ridiculous notion.  There was certainly no way that Slick Willy Clinton could possibly earn a second term as US President.  I had been counting the days to his 1996 electoral humiliation since roughly November 7, 1992.  Surely this was the first stage on the road to that inevitable defeat.

Fast forward to November 5, 1996.  Needless to say I was as disappointed on that night as all us Regians were at the end of that November day in senior year. (I mean come on, we’re talking about a bunch of nerdy kids from an all boys school.  It took most of us a full year of college before we could properly talk to members of the opposite sex.)  Mr. Anselme was right.

But not entirely.  Though Bill Clinton had indeed won re-election, the election was not a total repeat of 1948.  The Republicans lost a few seats, but in the end they retained control of both houses of Congress – something they had not done in successive cycles since the Hoover administration.

History is informative, and we certainly should be aware of the lessons of elections past when we think about what will happen down the line.  But we should refrain from assuming that events will necessarily repeat themselves.

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2 Responses to 1946, 1994, 2010 => 1948, 1996, 2012?

  • “Some may disagree with me on this score, but Obama does not have the same ability as Bill Clinton to play Jedi mind tricks with centrist voters.”

    I view President Bubba as probably the worst man to sit in the White House, and one of the best politicians. Clinton also loved politics and campaigning. Obama strikes me as bored with politics now and bored with being President. It is going to be an interesting two years.

  • Clinton also had another major advantage over Obama:

    As a governor, he had to know how to work the legislature. I assume that Arkansas’ legislature was heavily Democrat, but a much more conservative Democrat than the kind that Obama hangs around with.

    Also, Clinton was the head of the National Governors’ Assocation.

    In both of these capacities, he had to learn how to appeal to a broader spectrum, and how to triangulate when necessary.

    Excluding the 2008 Presidential election, Obama has not had to do that kind of work. In the ’08 election, Obama benefited from Bush fatigue and the novelty of electing a minority. Surely, his oratory and charisma were at a peak; but, rather than his skills causing the buoyancy, it was the popular mood that elevated him.

    Obama cannot move to the middle the way that Clinton did.

    The only thing that can save his re-election is if the economy turns around. And, then, maybe not.

Notre Dame 88

Tuesday, October 5, AD 2010

By Charles E. Rice

Fr. Norman Weslin, O.S., at the complaint of Notre Dame, was arrested in May 2009 and charged as a criminal for peacefully entering the Notre Dame campus to offer his prayer of reparation for Notre Dame’s conferral of its highest honor on President Obama, the most relentlessly pro-abortion public official in the world.  The University refuses to ask the St. Joseph County prosecutor to drop the charges against Fr. Weslin and the others arrested, still known as the ND 88 although one, Linda Schmidt, died of cancer this past March.  Judge Michael P. Scopelitis, of St. Joseph Superior Court, recently issued two important orders in this case.

The first order denied the State’s motion to consolidate the cases of multiple defendants.  That motion would have denied each separate defendant his right to a separate jury trial.  The order did permit consolidation of the trials of twice-charged defendants on the separate offenses with which that defendant was charged; a defendant charged, for example, with trespass and disorderly conduct would therefore not have to appear for two trials.  Judge Scopelitis also denied the prosecution’s attempt to force each defendant to return to South Bend for each proceeding in the case, which would have coerced the defendants to abandon their defense.  Instead, the Judge permitted the defendants to participate by telephone in pre-trial conferences.

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38 Responses to Notre Dame 88

  • Pingback: Notre Dame 88 Update by Charles E. Rice « Deacon John's Space
  • What an outstanding article!! It would be nice if Catholic Universities actually lived up to “being Catholic” or that they lived out Catholic principles which are in line with Church teaching. Even those that are Traditional or conservative Catholic colleges find it very hard in some cases to actually walk-the-walk and not just talk-the-talk when it really counts (I know this from personal experience). I guess human nature takes over or something.

    The charges should have been dropped a long time ago. Shame on Notre Dame!

  • Catholic in name only.

    “We shall go before a higher tribunal – a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.” Thomas Meagher, statement on sentencing by a saxon court.

    Matthew 12:34: “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

  • “Notre Dame appears to be governed by academic ruling class wannabes. The operative religion of the academic and political establishments, however, is political correctness. Activist opponents of ROTC and activist advocates of “gay rights” are politically correct. Activist pro-lifers, such as Fr. Weslin and the ND88, are not. For Notre Dame’s leaders to show respect for the ND88, let alone apologize to them and seek an end to their prosecution, as they ought, would be to touch a third rail of academic respectability. It would not play well in the ruling academic circles. What would they think of us at Harvard, Yale, etc?”

    Bingo! The powers that be at Notre Dame are defending their faith against the heretics of the Notre Dame 88, and that faith has nothing to do with Catholicism. It is a disgrace that every bishop in this country has not condemned this.

  • Maybe ND simply wanted to protect its students and faculty. The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of.

    ND’s “inconsistent” treatment is also not shocking. Given the history of trespassing and the fact that past light treatment did not stop it, ND may be sending a stronger message to protect the safety and security of its community.

    Mr. Rice should also know, as a lawyer, that Fr. Weslin’s health or his past deeds are irrelevant as to whether he broke the law. Surely, they are great rhetorical flourishes, but they are just that, a trick used to distract you from the fact that a law was willfully and knowingly ignored.

    Finally, Mr. Rice also should know, as a lawyer, that clients discourage employees from being deposed for all sorts of reasons — not necessarily related to whether they are “hiding” something. This is libelous.

  • This is libelous.

    An easy stone to throw for someone hiding behind the veil of anonymity.

  • “The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of.”

    Yeah, you can never know when an 80 year old priest peacefully praying will turn violent.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/03/08/father-norman-weslin-champion-of-the-unborn/

  • I was there, on campus for the mass and rosary. My daughter is one of the ND88. I walked out and joined the protesters for much of the day. The activities were all available on youtube. Only a deeply dishonest person could conceive of a “mob” anywhere near Notre Dame that day. Peace.

  • What about the 87 other people? Did ND and the police know the intentions of each of them? Frankly, I think it’s despicable that you use Fr. Weslin as your shield. Also, I missed the memo where we excuse the aged and people who have done otherwise good things in their lives for breaking the law. These people made conscious decisions to trespass. They could have stayed outside the university and gotten their point across. Rather, they wanted to make a spectable and get on TV, which they succeeded in doing. They now need to be adults and accept responsibility for their transgressions.

    Also, just because a person is 80, just because someone is a preist, just because someone is praying, doesn’t mean they can’t be violent. People pray to their god all the time before committing acts of violence — that cannot be denied. People who are 80 commit acts of violence, and we certainly have learned that priests are not above committing acts of violence. I would also point out that Fr. Weslin was just one person — there were many more.

    To an objective observer, and clearly you are not, these people trespassed. They were arrested. End of story. Any excuse you want to make is a consequence of your relgious and political views–which, of course, is your right and fine. Just don’t pretend it’s anything other than that.

    That day was supposed to be about the graduates celebrating their accomplishment. These clowns made it about their cause, which is a shame.

  • ” Only a deeply dishonest person could conceive of a “mob” anywhere near Notre Dame that day. Peace.”

    As our anonymous commenter is amply demonstrating. The Notre Dame 88 are being persecuted because they are a standing rebuke to the Notre Dame administration honoring the most pro-abortion president in our history. All the obfuscation in the world cannot disguise that very simple fact. My congratulations Larry on the fine job you obviously did in raising your daughter.

  • Anonymous, how long have you been a member of the Notre Dame administration?

  • In case Mr. McClarey does not have acces to a dictionary, please see the definition of “mob” and “dishonest.”

    Definition of MOB
    1: a large or disorderly crowd; especially : one bent on riotous or destructive action
    2: the lower classes of a community : masses, rabble
    3chiefly Australian : a flock, drove, or herd of animals
    4: a criminal set : gang; especially often capitalized
    5: a group of people : crowd

    Definition of DISHONEST
    Characterized by lack of truth, honesty, or trustworthiness : unfair, deceptive

    Here is an entry on ad hominem attacks — often resorted to by those who cannot win an argument on the mertis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    Let me get this straight, a group of 88 religious zealots trespass onto private property on which the President of the United States is speaking and you are surprised/indignant they were arrested? Seriously?

    If you can, deep in your heart say that you would be defending, with the same zealousness, people who were protesting the “right to choose” or Islamic protestors, then, maybe I would believe you.

    It is sad that people turned a day of celebration for the graduates into a political side show. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • a group of 88 religious zealots

    Thank God Notre Dame is doing its damnedest stamp out religious zeal.

    Then again, it’s been doing that since the Land O’ Lakes Statement, so I guess it’s consistent.

    Oh, and nice job of hiding behind “the graduates,” anonymous ND admin guy.

    It’s this sort of mindset that reminds me why I’m recommending that my children go to an avowedly secular college as opposed to a Land O’ Lakes one. Sure, they’ll hate your faith at a state university, but at least they won’t wear a cloak of Catholic sanctimony while doing it.

    Better to be stabbed in the chest than the back.

  • Let me get this straight, a group of 88 religious zealots trespass onto private property on which the President of the United States is speaking and you are surprised/indignant they were arrested? Seriously?

    There are over 11,000 students at Notre Dame. Add the faculty and the staff and you have 15,000 people on the campus as a matter of course. Then you add in any visitors that day. The ’88 religious zealots’ will increase the size of the campus population by 0.6%. The rathskellar at the campus I know best will have that many people present around noontime, and that particular institution is one-quarter the size of Notre Dame.

    You might also note that his primary complaint is not that they were arrested, but that the institution has persisted in pressing charges when they had not done so in previous circumstances, and lied publicly about their resons for so doing.

  • Just for the kind of clarity and exactness which is typical of Catholic thought, it is not Notre Dame which is prosecuting the ND88. It is Fr. Jenkins – personally. The buck stops at his desk. He hides behind the institution. Let us make an analogy – he is hiding behind the skirts of Our Lady.

  • I looked up your ip address anonymous, and I really hope that you are not an attorney at the law firm you are e-mailing from, because you are not very good at arguing in comboxes and I truly would hate to be paying you to do so in court. The firm that you are e-mailing from seems to have quite a few contacts with Notre Dame. I wonder if you are doing this on your own time, or if someone at Notre Dame is actually foolish enough to pay you to mount this type of sophistical defense of the indefensible?

  • It’s a pretty large firm – I interviewed with them a while back and have friends that work there. In the DC office alone, there are fourteen Domers. It’s unlikely that the commenter above is billing time for arguing on blogs, but the tone of the comment and the handy dictionary references suggest a feisty 1-3 year associate.

  • “but the tone of the comment and the handy dictionary references suggest a feisty 1-3 year associate.”

    Quite true. I hope for anonymous that he wasn’t doing this on a firm computer equipped with tracking software. If I were a partner there I would take a dim view of associates wasting time on blogs during office hours. Ah, the advantages of being a self-employed attorney!

  • If I were a partner there I would take a dim view of associates wasting time on blogs during office hours.

    um…yeah…I agree…no junior associate should ever waste time on blogs during office hours…right on. Who are these people? 😉

    In their defense, I will say that many partner’s definition of ‘office hours’ is roughly “any time during which the associate is alive and not undergoing major surgery.” Another benefit of being self-employed, I suppose.

  • “In their defense, I will say that many partner’s definition of ‘office hours’ is roughly “any time during which the associate is alive and not undergoing major surgery.””

    That is precisely one of the main reasons I became self-employed John Henry. I wanted to have a family life and not work on weekends, and too many firms seemed to think that associates lived only to practice law, and to be the handy target of the ire of dyspeptic partners.

  • “Just for the kind of clarity and exactness which is typical of Catholic thought, it is not Notre Dame which is prosecuting the ND88. It is Fr. Jenkins – personally. The buck stops at his desk.”

    bingo. Fr. Jenkins is doing all he can do to stay in the good graces of his liberal friends. chump.

  • I believe Professor Rice’s general thesis is unquestionably correct: Notre Dame craves the approval of the Princes of this World.

    But from the belly of the beast, a few qualifications may be appropriate.

    I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass, Notre Dame, despite what everyone says, cannot ask the county prosecutor to dismiss the case. The prosecutor could ask that the case be dismissed, but he would have to justify the request to a judge.

    As Professor Rice documents, previous instances of this sort had been handled quietly by the university itself.This time the South Bend and St. Joseph county police were brought in, and I suspect that everyone in the administration now sees this was a blunder. Part of the reason for deposing Mr. Kirk may be to determine just how this decision came to be made.

    Notre Dame has offered “generous”terms to the defendants. Plead guilty, accept some kind of nominal or suspended punishment, and put the whole thing behind us. The university is in the position of the poor Roman magistrate judging the typical virgin and martyr: Cut me some slack–just genuflect to that damned idol over there and we can all go home. Such blandishments were generally rejected; and I suspect the current ones will be as well.

  • I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass

    No kidding. If I am not mistaken, under New York law, an act of trespass does not qualify as criminal trespass unless (at a minimum) there is a fence or wall around the property which excludes intruders.

  • “I have been told, at any rate, that because the charge is criminal trespass, Notre Dame, despite what everyone says, cannot ask the county prosecutor to dismiss the case. The prosecutor could ask that the case be dismissed, but he would have to justify the request to a judge.”

    You have been misinformed. Prosecutors nolle prosse countless cases across the nation each day. The consent of the court is pro forma since the court lacks the power to compel the State to prosecute anyone, which is wholly in the discretion of the prosecutor.

    “Notre Dame has offered “generous”terms to the defendants.”

    Of course this demonstrates that Notre Dame is the driving force behind the prosecution. The terms that the Notre Dame 88 should accept from Notre Dame are the dismissal of all charges, payment of their legal fees, a written apology from Notre Dame, and a promise from Notre Dame that they will no longer honor pro-abort politicians.

    This of course is in the spirit of Theoden’s reaction to Saruman’s request for “peace”.

    “We will have peace. Yes, we will have peace, we will have peace when you and all your works have perished — and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men’s hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! Even if your war on me was just as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired — even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there? And they hewed Hama’s body before the gates of the Hornburg, after he was dead. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. So much for the House of Eorl. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I do not need to lick your fingers. Turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm.”

  • Not to sound like I’m defending Anonymous here, but…. if the ND88 were KNOWINGLY risking arrest, by crossing a line they had been warned not to cross, and if they were clearly told by university authorities that they WOULD be arrested if they persisted in their actions, then they should accept the consequences, plead guilty and serve whatever sentences they get. That’s what other practitioners of this kind of civil disobedience do (or should do, in my opinion). They don’t argue that they are innocent and being persecuted, they acknowledge that they broke the law to call attention to their cause AND they’d gladly do it again. If that means they go to jail, that goes with the territory, doesn’t it?

    That being said, it would be fitting if Fr. Jenkins or other authorities at Notre Dame asked for the charges to be dropped as a gesture of mercy and solidarity with the cause they were espousing.

    All this, of course, presumes that the ND88 knowingly engaged in illegal actions and were clearly warned that they were risking arrest. If it was a case of a LEGAL protest gathering getting out of hand, or of the participants crossing some invisible “line” they hadn’t been told was there, that would be another story completely.

  • Also, the fact that Notre Dame allegedly let other protesters off more easily doesn’t change the nature of the illegal actions committed by the ND88. While it does show that Notre Dame isn’t being consistent in enforcing its supposed rules regarding protests — and that is a significant issue — still, you can’t argue your way out of any other punishment by saying “But someone else got away with it!”

  • “Not to sound like I’m defending Anonymous here, but…. if the ND88 were KNOWINGLY risking arrest, by crossing a line they had been warned not to cross, and if they were clearly told by university authorities that they WOULD be arrested if they persisted in their actions, then they should accept the consequences, plead guilty and serve whatever sentences they get.”

    Only if Notre Dame wishes to be in the same moral category of the segregationists who legally prosecuted people who sat in at restaurants. When one is being punished unjustly, I see no merit in accepting punishment meekly. Make them prove it at trial. Turn the case against the prosecution by making a big stink about it in every forum possible. Make sure that the injustice of the prosecution becomes a cause celebre. Jenkins and his cohorts would love nothing better than the Notre Dame 88 to meekly admit their guilt and for them to accept their punishment like good boys and girls. I am glad that this satisfaction has been denied them by the intestinal fortitude of the Notre Dame 88.

  • “still, you can’t argue your way out of any other punishment by saying “But someone else got away with it!””

    Actually Elaine I have done just that in some of my cases by proving selective prosecution and having judges determine that prosecutors have abused their discretion. It isn’t easy to do, but given fact situations egregious enough, it is possible.

  • “his (Rice’s) primary complaint is not that they were arrested, but that the institution has persisted in pressing charges when they had not done so in previous circumstances, and lied publicly about their reasons for so doing.”

    I understand this and it’s an appropriate question to raise. And, I suppose that by pleading not guilty and fighting the charges every step of the way, the ND88 could bring those two injustices to light. But, at the end of the day, it seems to me that “don’t do the ‘crime’ if you can’t do the time” applies to civil disobedience actions as well.

    Also, for reasons I have explained before, I don’t think civil disobedience that involves deliberately trying to get arrested for trespassing as an attention-getting device is quite in the same category as lunch counter sit-ins. Sit-ins involved people breaking a law that was inherently unjust — a law designed specifically to prevent people of a certain skin color from doing something they had a natural right to do — to show the world just how unjust and ridiculous the law was. Going out of one’s way to break an otherwise JUST law that has nothing directly to do with the injustice being protested (abortion) is different.

  • What is remarkable to me, and what I really just don’t grasp, is *what possible motive* ND could have in continuing with these charges. Fr. Jenkins, for all his limitations, is certainly no dummy, and he, as well as the other members of the senior administration (to say nothing of the Board of Trustees) must realize that ND qua university will not gain anything from this process. It’s not as though Princeton or Duke will suddenly kowtow to the Dome because a few pro-life activists were arrested there. This view can’t seriously be entertained. It’s also only attracting *more* negative press to ND, and further alienating fence-leaning Catholics who were not happy about Obama but were neither entirely supportive of much of the shenanigans and selective (and sometimes politically motivated) outrage expressed at his visit. These Catholics, seeing now ND’s apparent inconsistency of procedure, will now take more darkly a view of the administration than they ever did before. So I don’t see that ND has anything to gain here, while they have much to lose. If I did not already have experience with administrators’ capacities for practical reasoning, these two considerations would make me think that ND *can’t* remove the charges at this point (something Donald denies). The whole situation is just weird.

  • The whole situation is just weird.

    If you posit that Notre Dame’s administration despises the demonstrators and wants their ilk to stay away forever, the effort to humiliate and injure them seems less weird.

  • I suppose I find it self-evident that that strategy is counterproductive *given* the interests of ND, whatever they think of the demonstrators. (Whatever one thinks of the ND88, and I am generally supportive of them, turning them into martyrs for the pro-life cause will hardly have the effect you suggest.) And I suppose that I think the administrators themselves should realize this. But again, never overestimate administrators’ capacities for practical reasoning.

  • Just to be clear: I yield to no one in contempt for how Notre Dame has handled the case; and my opinion of the real motives of the university administration is culpably uncharitable. Nonetheless. . .

    In Indiana, criminal trespass includes entering private property without permission and refusing to leave when requested to do so by the owner or an authorized agent of the owner. If I come to your front door and, say, hector you about joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses; and you ask me to go away; and I refuse: then you can call the cops. I don’t have to climb over a wall or anything like that.

    What possible motive can Notre Dame have for continuing these charges? Notre Dame has only itself to blame for the pickle that it is in, but it may have less freedom of action (pace Mr. McCleary) than people assume (if also more freedom of action than implied in my previous post). The risk of nolle prosse, I think, is that the the judge might react by dismissing the case (rather than just letting things hang). If the case is dismissed or the defendants acquitted, the university (and perhaps the South Bend police) might find themselves in line for a false arrest suit. How plausible this is I don’t know, but it’s what I gather third or fourth hand from lawyers familiar with the case.

    On a more principled level, the university has a legitimate interest in keeping its status as private property. Again, as I understand it, one line of defense by the 88 is that the university campus is in fact open pretty much to anyone, that it amounts to public space where they may legitimately exercise their first amendment rights (and, after all, the university took no action against those demonstrating in favor of the award to Obama). But the university does not in fact let the general public come and go as it pleases. At every home football game the area around the campus is filled with ticket scalpers, but scalpers are not allowed on campus. If the 88 win their point, would the university have welcome in the scalpers?

    (I also wonder if there isn’t some relevance to the Westboro Baptist case. One’s sympathies would be on opposite sides, but there may be a family resemblance in terms or principle. The families of fallen soldiers may have a legitimate complaint against those who obnoxiously interfere with the funerals; and Notre Dame may have a legitimate complaint against intrusion from those who the administration finds, however perversely, obnoxious to itself or its undertakings.)

    I hope the 88 get off, and, while normally I’m not wild about punishment of any kind, I hope the consequences to the university are sufficiently severe to cause some in the administration to rethink the actual values they live by. But in the abstract the university’s case is not entirely without merit.

    I’m also partly sympathetic to what I take to be Elaine Krewer’s point: If I actively court martyrdom and martyrdom is consequently offered to me, I should probably accept it gratefully, not whine about it. But it’s not clear that the 88 were actively courting martyrdom. It seems that many of them really did not think that the university would react in the clumsy, small-minded, militantly graceless way that it did.

  • “The risk of nolle prosse, I think, is that the the judge might react by dismissing the case (rather than just letting things hang).”

    You are confusing apples and oranges. Nolle Prosse is not a dismissal with prejudice. The Defendants could bring a motion to dismiss with prejudice at any time, as could the prosecutors, but nolle prosse is not the same thing. A nolle prosse simply means that the prosecutor is not proceeding with the prosecution. No double jeopardy attaches and the defendants can be recharged at any time. As for a civil suit from the ND88, that could be brought at any time and has little refence to what happens in the criminal case. A perfect example is how OJ Simpson could be found not guilty of the murders and still lose the civil suit over the murders.

  • If I come to your front door and, say, hector you about joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses; and you ask me to go away; and I refuse: then you can call the cops. I don’t have to climb over a wall or anything like that.

    In New York, there is a ‘Trespass’, which is in a submisdemeanor category called a ‘violation’, and ‘Criminal Trespass’. There are three degrees of criminal trespass. For the most part, you have to be inside a building to be charged with ‘criminal trespass’, but you can be charged with the 3d degree criminal trespass if you enter grounds enclosed in some way.

    If I am not mistaken, the crime you describe is, under New York law, [non-criminal] ‘Trespass’. The maximal sentance for trespass is 15 days in the county jail and a three-figure fine. As a rule, the judiciary is quite lax when they are given the discretion, as they are in non-felony cases hereabouts. Then again, a large fraction of the municipal court case load Upstate is heard by lay J.P.’s. A buddy of mine in the state Attorney-General’s office tells me that lay judges are often quite good, but when they are bad they are horrid.

  • This may be getting to be too much inside baseball, and I’m not a very good player.

    Nolle prosse: The risk is that the judge’s reaction would be to dismiss with prejudice, which does happen sometimes. I hadn’t thought about a civil suit–but that’s unlikely on its face; and, anyway, Notre Dame didn’t suffer any damages.

    The Indiana law on criminal trespass is more stringent than what is typical of other states.

  • In regard to a civil suit I was referring to a hypothetical suit by ND88 against Notre Dame.

    I can’t imagine a judge dismissing a criminal case with prejudice based upon a nolle prosse motion by the State, absent a motion filed by either the State or the Defendants to dismiss with prejudice. In a nolle prosse motion the current prosecution and case simply ends because the prosecutor does not wish to proceed. A motion to dismiss with prejudice by the Defendants would have to establish that a successful prosecution was impossible due to some legal defect in the prosecution or that under any possible facts shown at trial no conviction would be possible. That is a very high standard to meet, and I do not see any way in this case that a judge could so find under the existing law and facts of the case.

  • This whole incident caused me to rule out ever applying to Notre Dame, which I seriously considered at one point. While attending a law school fair in New York, I approached the Notre Dame booth and asked the representative, in as neutral a tone as possible, if there was any emphasis on the Catholic nature of the school reflected on its campus, not mentioning that I myself was Catholic. She downplayed the notion, saying something to the effect of “no, it’s not a big deal.”

    “Maybe ND simply wanted to protect its students and faculty. The mob had already shown its penchance for breaking the law — no one was capable of knowing whether the mob would become violent — it is not unheard of. “

    No, indeed not. Recall the brave and truly Catholic students who stood up to and battled the ku klux klan in South Bend in 1924.

    How tragic that Notre Dame now wields nothing but moral cowardice in utilizing secular police power to promote abortion, the political lineage of which is directly traceable back to psychotic white supremacists and eugenicists.

2 Responses to President Obama At The Top Of His Game

  • Oh, please! The president is working on THE most important issues: blame George W. Bush and saving the people from tax cuts for the rich.

    All that other stuff is trivia compared to Bush!!!! and tax cuts for the rich!!!!

    NO, wait!!!

    I forgot to include bank executives’ obscene bonuses!

    My sixth sense: I see racist people.

    /sarc/ OFF

  • The illustration looks like the white house cookies on a plate to me…too old and wise for tea parties! Obama acts are typical elitist…the tea party is elitist too except with a superiority complex…both profiteering at the expense of the American People with greed, godless, and culture of death policies. American People where are the Holy Men of this Nation???and Why do you Kings dared to Plot Against God and His People??? Unlike any other Republic, it was known before it was born, and it was kniitted from the Womb to give Glory to God, Always! It’s shores and rivers are consecrated to the Mother of God! Its Flag, its Union, its Existence defended by His Appointed Angels…those who tread upon Her Heritage and Inheritance shall answer to God!

McChrystal Should Be Fired

Wednesday, June 23, AD 2010

It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I hold President Obama in very low regard.  I believe he is a man completely out of his depth, has shown little leadership,  has sponsored fiscal and economic policies that are disastrous for the country, and is an enthusiastic supporter of  abortion.   It may come as a surprise to some of our readers that I believe one of Obama’s critics should be fired from his job.

General Stanley McChrystal is the head of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.  He unwisely agreed to be interviewed for a story about him in Rolling Stones.  The article may be read here.  In the article the General is fairly uncomplimentary about Obama and most of the Obama officials he has encountered:

When Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, he immediately set out to deliver on his most important campaign promise on foreign policy: to refocus the war in Afghanistan on what led us to invade in the first place. “I want the American people to understand,” he announced in March 2009. “We have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” He ordered another 21,000 troops to Kabul, the largest increase since the war began in 2001. Taking the advice of both the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also fired Gen. David McKiernan – then the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan – and replaced him with a man he didn’t know and had met only briefly: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It was the first time a top general had been relieved from duty during wartime in more than 50 years, since Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the height of the Korean War.

Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. “It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his f—–g war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”

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30 Responses to McChrystal Should Be Fired

  • Obama should be fired.

    You quote others than the General. Maybe McCh should be fired because he isn’t doing the job. O’s doing his job . . .

    O fired McCh’s predecessor. This will be Number Three A$$crackistan CinC in less than two years.

    Apparently, you are unfamiliar with GI humor. When they aren’t griping or joking, you have a morale problem.

    Please provide the general’s contemptuous quotes.

    McK is not being fired for contempt. He’s being fired for blasphemy. That’s why O wants his private political army.

    Obama should be fired. Cult of persoality. FO

  • I’m quite familiar with GI humor T.Shaw, having served in the Green Machine in the Seventies for three years. McChrystal either knew precisely what he was doing in which case he was being openly contemptuous of Obama, or he is too stupid to have such an important command. One doesn’t reach four star rank without being well aware of how dangerous journalists can be. As to Obama being fired, I will do whatever I can to bring that about at the polls in 2012.

  • Donald R. McClarey says: “McChrystal either knew precisely what he was doing in which case he was being openly contemptuous of Obama, or he is too stupid to have such an important command.”

    Well he voted for Obama so I’m not so sure the latter doesn’t fit.

    I’m retired military (USAF 24 yrs) and I have to agree with the article poster. If he had problems with Obama he had one of two choices; take it up the chain or resign.

    McChrystal’s background is special forces (black ops) who operated largely in the shadows his whole career. He was hired for his war fighting skills, and wasn’t “groomed” to play the game politics. He didn’t have the political acumen of a General Petreus who is a master at handling the press. Like Patton, McChrystal has a history of frankly speaking his mind. As we used to say “he allowed his alligator mouth overload his hummingbird ass”. It’s ruined many a career, including this one.

  • Wait a second. What did McChrystal himself say?

    ““It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his f—–g war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”

    The adviser said this, it seems, and perhaps not even with McChrystal’s awareness or in his presence. Can you provide quotes from McChrystal that run afoul of 888 Art. 88?

  • Since McChrystal’s comments and actions did not rise to the level of McCarthy’s actions or comments I think the proper compromise is for Obama to accept McCrystal’s resignation. McChrystal did not disobey any orders from his Commander-in-Chief. I agree with much of General McChrystal’s observations, also.

  • I guess Stalin would have had him shot.

    In spite of the imbecility of an incompetent administration and frenetical Obama worshippers the great and free American people will win this

    War? . . . War?? What war???

    Thank you for your service.

    My son (airborne ranger qualified infantryman) just came home from a year in Afghan.

    I served in SAC and USAFE in the seventies. I only had contact with Army troops in West Germany around the time USAF (from Thailand) had to shoot up the Khmer Rouge gomers that hijacked the Mayaguez. The USAF, unlike the Army, somehow had managed to maintain a modicum of morale.

    What would Curtis LeMay do? I did not say I “like” McCh. For one, my kid couldn’t get air on target when he needed b/c it may have disturbed some nearby taliban-sympathizers.

    And, I have little use for snake-eating, throat cutting, sniping periphery peckers. How could any one of them ever get about major? Warfare is max firepower all the time. Or, else don’t bother.

    You’re a lawyer. Isn’t the TRUTH the ultimate defense? I’ll paraphrase Yogi Berra, “If it’s true, it ain’t contemptuous.”

    Behead all those who insult Obama!

    Some excerpts from the Rolling Stone article

    “I Never Know What’s Going to Pop Out . . .

    “Gen. McChrystal on a dinner he must attend with a French minister to try to keep French support in the war in Afghanistan:

    ‘I’d rather have my a– kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,’ McChrystal says.

    “He pauses a beat.

    “‘Unfortunately,’ he adds, ‘no one in this room could do it.’

    “‘Who’s he going to dinner with?” I ask one of his aides.

    “‘Some French minister,'” the aide tells me. “It’s f—— gay.’

    “Gen. McChrystal and an aide ridicule Vice President Joe Biden (Gen. McChrystal previously has gotten into trouble with the president for calling the counterterrorism strategy advocated by Vice President Biden “shortsighted”):

    “‘Now, . . . McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. ‘I never know what’s going to pop out until I’m up there, that’s the problem,’ he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.

    “‘Are you asking about Vice President Biden?’ McChrystal says with a laugh. ‘Who’s that?’

    “‘Biden?’ suggests a top adviser. ‘Did you say: Bite Me?’

    “Gen. McChrystal on working with Washington to re-evaluate the strategy in Afghanistan:

    “‘Last fall, with his top general calling for more troops, Obama launched a three-month review to re-evaluate the strategy in Afghanistan.’ I found that time painful,’ McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. ‘I was selling an unsellable position.’ For the general, it was a crash course in Beltway politics — a battle that pitted him against experienced Washington insiders like Vice President Biden. . .

    “Gen. McChrystal and an aide on an email from U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke:

    “At one point on his trip to Paris, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry. ‘Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,’ he groans. ‘I don’t even want to open it.’ He clicks on the message and reads the salutation out loud, then stuffs the BlackBerry back in his pocket, not bothering to conceal his annoyance.

    “‘Make sure you don’t get any of that on your leg,’ an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail.

    “The general’s strategy that was leaked to the New York Times:

    “McChrystal and his team were blindsided by the cable. ‘I like Karl, I’ve known him for years, but they’d never said anything like that to us before,’ says McChrystal, who adds that he felt ‘betrayed’ by the leak. ‘Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, ‘I told you so.’

    “Gen. McChrystal on his first meeting with the president:

    “The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked ‘uncomfortable and intimidated’ by the roomful of military brass.

    “Gen. McChrystal on tensions with the administration:

    “Part of the problem is structural: The Defense Department budget exceeds $600 billion a year, while the State Department receives only $50 billion. But part of the problem is personal: In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk s— about many of Obama’s top people on the diplomatic side. One aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a ‘clown’ who remains ‘stuck in 1985.’

    “Gen. McChrystal on Richard Holbrooke:

    “McChrystal reserves special skepticism for Holbrooke, the official in charge of reintegrating the Taliban. ‘The Boss says he’s like a wounded animal,’ says a member of the general’s team. ‘Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous. He’s a brilliant guy, but he just comes in, pulls on a lever, whatever he can grasp onto. But this is COIN, and you can’t just have someone yanking on s—.'”

  • A good discussion on Article 88 is here:

    http://tullylegal.com/article88.pdf

    Military prosecutions under 88 have been quite rare since World War II, only one being cited in the linked article. However, every member of the military is made aware of Article 88. Certainly I was made aware of it when I was in the Army, along with my colleagues at the time.

  • I think McCrystal wanted his observations to be known, felt like he had been placed in an impossible situation since Obama’s policies are making it impossible to win over in Afghanistan, and wanted an out. Since, McCrhystal is a smart guy I think he wanted to be able to resign or be relieved of his duties.

  • The McChrystal quotes are hilarious, and largely true, but I think Donald’s right: you can’t have serving generals mouthing off at civilian authority in front of reporters like that.

    On the other hand, if he’s seeking a career in Republican politics, he probably has a lot of fans at the moment…

  • Teresa, which Obama policy is making it impossible to win in Afghanistan?

    Don, I’m shocked. I think the Republican response would be “McChrystal made a mistake but he’s the best guy we have and by firing him Obama is putting politics before national security.”

  • There’s a lot of second-hand stuff in that passage. But in the military, a commander takes responsibility for the actions of all the men under his command. McChrystal has to take the hit if the article is accurate and he and the people around him were disrespectful of the President.

  • Restrainedradical,
    Obama has been either indecisive or he has simply had trouble making tough decisions.

    Diehl at the Washington Post points out:
    “For months Obama has tolerated deep divisions between his military and civilian aides over how to implement the counterinsurgency strategy he announced last December. The divide has made it practically impossible to fashion a coherent politico-military plan, led to frequent disputes over tactics and contributed to a sharp deterioration in the administration’s relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.”
    “The real trouble is that Obama never resolved the dispute within his administration over Afghanistan strategy. With the backing of Gates and the Pentagon’s top generals, McChrystal sought to apply to Afghanistan the counterinsurgency approach that succeeded over the last three years in Iraq, an option requiring the deployment of tens of thousands more troops. Biden opposed sending most of the reinforcements and argued for a “counterterrorism plus” strategy centered on preventing al-Qaeda from establishing another refuge.”

    Three of Obama’s errors are pointed out here

    Plus, I think that this is absurd: http://www.navytimes.com/news/2010/05/military_restraint_medal_051110mar/

  • The editor of Rolling Stone:

    Bates dismissed any suggestion that McChrystal was deliberately trying to torpedo his own command with the article. McChrystal has a history of speaking his mind, sometimes to his detriment, such as when he was quoted last fall criticizing a strategy being pushed by Vice President Joe Biden.

    “There are far easier ways of doing that, if that’s what you want to do, and more dignified ways,” Bates said.

  • I admit that General McChrystal may not have been deliberately torpedoing his own command but his comments or the aide’s comments may leave one open to that perception.

  • Empty suit,
    Meet salute.

    A bit over two years ago, I believe Senator Obama voted “present” on Senate resolution PROTESTING ads calling Gen. Petraeus “General BetrayUS.” That took courage.

    Some racists viewed that as a vote of “no confidence” in Gen’l P and the Iraq surge strategery. We enlightened know that was in the national interest.

    Now, Quis Ut Deus fires Gen’l. McKiernan’s personally selected loud mouth replacement.

    Pvt. Bailey had a tatoo on his forehead: “F The Army.”

    If I were Gen’l. P, I’d before he becomes person number 28(?) Obama throws under the bus in the national interest.

  • “As it happens I think McChrystal is largely accurate in regard to his acerbic obseravtions about the Obama administration, and if he were saying them after he resigned or retired, I would be cheering him on. However, civilian control of the military is a key aspect of our system. The President is the civilian commander-in-chief of the military. Disrespect shown to him by a high ranking officer is an inexcusable act of contempt for the concept of civilian control.”

    Exactly how I would expect a lawyer to approach this issue. There is an ocean of difference between having respect for the constitutionally established civilian control of the military and having contempt for the individual, or administration, exercising that control today. Your statement is childish in its simplicity and not improved by anything approaching accuracy. While McC’s words may absolutely violate Article 88 (which, by the way, cares not for the accuracy of the contemptuous statement), that is a horse of an entirely different color than the notion that the act is unforgiveable. You may recall that Truman forgave MacA far more grave and numerous slights than Obambi has suffered here. It was only when he could no longer trust Mac to follow presidential orders that Truman finally offed his command.

    If you spent three years in the uniform, and probably as a lawyer, then you might remember something about two often competing ideas; “good order and discipline,” and “mission accomplishment.” Although the first threshhold was clearly crossed; I am not sure relieving McC and demoting Petraeus serves to do anything but thicken and heighten the wall between our modern day Lincoln and the military.

    As for the absurd suggestion that the Genral should have resigned or retired first, then written a tell-all, that would have been an extreme act of cynical moral cowardice on his part- exactly the kind of thing one might expect a lawyer to recommend. As you well know, to “resign in protest” is to lose all benefits; pretty much a fiscal hari kari. To request immediate retirement is safe, but not assured. Only by speaking out while still on active duty can a general consider himself to have done his duty to his troops on those occasion where he deems himself to have been left no path to victory.

    A general’s primary legal responsibility is upward, but by far his most essential loyalty must be directed downward. If MCC believes that the administration is bent upon not winning, or even not committed to victory, he has no moral option to remain silent. If he speaks his mind at his retirement parade, no one would care and he would have protected only himself. If, and only if, McC entered this interview with his eyes open as to the risks to his career, and laid it out there anyway, then he has my admiration.

    In the very near future, generals and admirals the likes of which you seem to approve of will likely be all that is left us. That will be when the predators fly armed over Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, or for that matter, Houston and Dallas. One day the turrets of US fighting vehicles will turn to face US citizens in their homeland. And generals the likes of those you find acceptable will issue statements bemoaning the domestic terrorists who have forced the Great Leader to order them into combat on US streets.
    I scoff!

  • 1.”There is an ocean of difference between having respect for the constitutionally established civilian control of the military and having contempt for the individual, or administration, exercising that control today.”

    Not really. If a general doesn’t understand that he needs to resign and enter the political arena.

    2. “that is a horse of an entirely different color than the notion that the act is unforgiveable.”

    That is a subject of opinion. My opinion is that generals not wise enough to prevent themselves and their staff from shooting their mouths off about their civilian superiors really need to be in another line of work.

    3. “If you spent three years in the uniform, and probably as a lawyer”

    I served before I went over to the dark side and went to law school.

    4.”I am not sure relieving McC and demoting Petraeus serves to do anything but thicken and heighten the wall between our modern day Lincoln and the military.”

    Other than the inapt reference to Lincoln you may be right about that. Obama was placed in a darned if you do and darned if you don’t situation. It will probably depend on how Petraeus does and if he is able to loosen the inane rules of engagement that our troops currently operate under in Afghanistan.

    5. “As for the absurd suggestion that the General should have resigned or retired first, then written a tell-all, that would have been an extreme act of cynical moral cowardice on his part- exactly the kind of thing one might expect a lawyer to recommend.”

    Your statement is complete and total rubbish. Not criticizing your civilian superiors comes with being a soldier in the US Army. If General McChrystal did not understand that before he understands that now. As for risking his benefits, if he truly believes that the country is endangered by a politician’s decision that is a small risk for someone whose job description entails risking his life for his country.

    6. “If MCC believes that the administration is bent upon not winning, or even not committed to victory, he has no moral option to remain silent.” Agreed, after he is no longer in uniform. The elected leaders get to make policy and active duty officers do not get to publicly disagree with those decisions.

    7. “In the very near future, generals and admirals the likes of which you seem to approve of will likely be all that is left us.” If they are of the calibre of Grant, Lee, Marshal, Farragut, Nimitiz and a host of other generals and admirals who did not engage in public disputes with the civilian authorities, then the country will have nothing to fear.

    8. “One day the turrets of US fighting vehicles will turn to face US citizens in their homeland. And generals the likes of those you find acceptable will issue statements bemoaning the domestic terrorists who have forced the Great Leader to order them into combat on US streets.” Paranoia and argument ad absurdum make a poor combination.

  • One reason that Rolling Stone’s Magazine had that much access to McChrystal’s aides is that they were stuck in Europe because of the volcano. I do wonder whether if McChrystal’s aides were thinking that at least some of their conversation(s) were off the record.

  • Over at BlackFive: Crash:

    This could be a media event.

    “The scandal surrounding the release of the Rolling Stone profile on McChrystal may have been designed to shift the media’s attention away from the real story – the release of the Congressional report on tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars going to the Taliban and Afghan warlords in a mafia-style protection racket.

    “The Host Nation Trucking contract for moving NATO supplies into Afghanistan is worth $2.16 billion. And much of that money, has ended up in the hands of corrupt Afghan warlords as well as the Taliban. But thanks to the media circus surrounding McChrystal, a major story that incriminates not only the DoD, but also the Obama administration has gone virtually unnoticed. This major story isn’t on the front page of any newspaper or website . . . ”

    Obama’s paying US taxpayers’ money to terrorists murdering Americans.

  • Pingback: General Petraeus Replaces General McChrystal, Obamas Presidency on the Brink « The American Catholic
  • Even in civilian life people get fired every day for badmouthing their bosses. It’s not uncommon these days for people to get canned just for making negative remarks about their company or their boss on their private blogs, Facebook or Twitter, let alone in nationally published media. Why would Gen. McChrystal be any different?

    My gut feeling is that he was fed up with his job and really didn’t care whether he got fired or not, so he sounded off figuring he had nothing to lose. There is also the possibility (as other posters have pointed out) that he intended some of his comments to be off the record; but again, when dealing with any reporter (and I should know because I used to be one), you must NEVER simply assume your comments are off the record.

  • Never trust an ink-stained wretch Elaine! 🙂

  • DRM
    In RE: your response number 4. The disdain in which Lincoln held the constitution’s limitations on his office is repeated in Obama. The actual transgressions by Lincoln during his first two years were actually more egregious than Obama’s.

    In RE: your response number 5. Not convinced. You say that “if he truly believes that the country is in danger” that he should first resign and then speak because his benefits are a small thing against the good of the country. I’d really like to see you put your entire fortune where your typing fingers go. In your scenario, before he says words no one will hear or heed, he should just forfeit his entire future. I think it better to put the benfits on the chopping block, piss off your boss, then see if he can see past his ego. You want military leaders such as the German aristocrats who personally deplored and yet uttered oaths of personal loyalty to Hitler. Careful what you ask for- far more of the swine are what you want than is healthy for the nation.

    In RE: your response number 7: Practically none of thoise people would have survived the downsizing of the 90s- they either would have left in disgust, or been railroaded by the guys you will applaud when they come sheepishly to the microphone on the WH lawn and tell us all what an honor it was just to be nominated. After this, more real fighters will say “no thanks” and true believers the likes of the idiotic and progressive NSA Jones will be stepping up to vie for the title of misster congeniality.

    Just to make the point. I never said that the POTUS is not entirely within his rights to fire any officer. All military officers serve at the pleasure of the president. That does not mean that the president is right to exercise his option. I really don’t think it will do a thing for mission accomplishment- at least not accomplishment of the admin’s stated mission in Afghanistan.

  • Obama was attracted to McChrystal because he is also a true “greenie”. He believes in Obama’s pipe dreams of an oil free economy. He also banned FOX News from his headquarters. He voted for Obama which also makes him to be not too smart.
    It is really funny to see kindred spirits turn on each other. He might be a good soldier but that is what he is.
    He should have publicly quit as soon as he was recalled and walked out with his head held high. He seems to have grovelled and even his comments about Obama’s conduct of the war are ridiculous. Obama denied his request for more troops and even waited almost six months to make a decision. That was when he should have Quit!!!

  • “In RE: your response number 4. The disdain in which Lincoln held the constitution’s limitations on his office is repeated in Obama. The actual transgressions by Lincoln during his first two years were actually more egregious than Obama’s.”

    Actually I think a more apt criticism of Obama is that he has done very little and basically is a suit of empty clothes without an emperor. I do not think that he has gone beyond the limitations of the Constitution much more than any other President since FDR. I think his domestic policies are almost uniformly dreadful, but I can’t claim that the Constituiton prevents him from doing what little he has done. As for Abraham Lincoln, he was fighting a civil war. I would note that similiar policies were utilized by the Confederate government, although their attacks on “rebels and traitors” against the Confederacy as they deemed Southern Unionists I have always found rather ironic. Lincoln’s measures were of course ratified by Congress, and ratified by the people at the polls in 1864.

    “I’d really like to see you put your entire fortune where your typing fingers go. In your scenario, before he says words no one will hear or heed, he should just forfeit his entire future”

    Yes, actually, if he deems the good of the nation really depends upon his speaking out while in uniform. The whole concept of a military is based upon making the ultimate sacrifice to save their country. That is why there are lots of statues to military heroes and precious few for attorneys. Of course this has nothing to do with the present situation since the General was not going public over some great policy disagreement, but rather paying the price for stupidly allowing his staff and himself to shoot their mouths off to a reporter from the Rolling Stones.

    “Practically none of thoise people would have survived the downsizing of the 90s- they either would have left in disgust, or been railroaded by the guys you will applaud when they come sheepishly to the microphone on the WH lawn and tell us all what an honor it was just to be nominated.”

    Hardly. Downsizing of the military in the nineties was nothing compared to the downsizing of the military during the times in which they lived. They endured because they loved the military and the country. They also understood the very simple concept that the elected leaders get to determine the size of the military and not the officers who head the military.

    “All military officers serve at the pleasure of the president. That does not mean that the president is right to exercise his option. I really don’t think it will do a thing for mission accomplishment- at least not accomplishment of the admin’s stated mission in Afghanistan.”

    For the reasons stated I think the President had no choice but to fire the General. Whether it will have an impact on Afghanistan depends very much on Petraeus. McChrystal was an enthusiastic proponent of the most restrictive rules of engagement in American military history, and I hope Petraeus will act to get ride of them.

  • DRM,
    The downsizing of the military in the 90s was not, in fact, like so many of the others in history. Bush I, firm believer in the new world order, started the ball rolling, and an enthusiastic Congress, both sides of the aisle, proceeded to reap a non-existent “peace Dividend”. That was on the outside. On the inside, we threw out career Sergeants because they did not have enough college credit, and soldiers of all ranks who failed height and weight, or physical fitness standards. We left on active duty tons of people who frequently absented themselves from field training so that they could take the “encouraged” college classes. We wanted and got a military that looked good, ran well, and had impressive educational stats. More than a few officers and senior NCOs who had performed well in combat during Desert Storm were sidelined on promotions to make the point to those who had not deployed that nothing would be held against them.

    The drawdown really took effect in the area of operationas and maintenance. Field time was slashed across the Army. It got so bad in the middle 90s, that we had to wait for geo-political stressors to get folks in the field for more than two significant field exercises in a given year. At the small unit level, even in combat support and service support arms, much gets lost when the sergeants forget what it’s like to maintain standards in the field as if lives depended on it. We all saw this play out at the end of March, 2003.

    I really can’t talk about the maneuver battalion and brigades of the 90s across the Army- I moved from Second Lieutenant to Captain in rear echelon units- but from where I sat, I saw the Army get a bit thinner physically, nominally better-educated (book learning), faster at the two mile run, and far less familiar with field operations. After I left the operating force and went into combat developments, some marginal steps were taken to regain some of the lost warrior ethos, so the effects of the drawdown began to be mitigated by decade’s end.

    There are those who often say that in between wars, the Army focuses much of its efforts on eliminating the warrior who won the last war before they can upset the neatly arranged ricebowls of the institutional Army. I believe it, I think I have seen it.

    Trust me, with all of our sensitivity training and diaper changing classes, very few of those Generals and Admirals you mentioned would have remained. As I think you know, no one is promoted past two star level. So every three and four star lives a far more political life than most people imagine. The crop of four stars around today were groomed for high office during the latter Clinton and early W. Bush years, nominated and confirmed mostly during the second W. Bush administration, and are being weeded out now.

    I note that you come to Obama’s defense on the constitutional issue. Since when was the constitutional standard “no more of a violation” than the other guys? You and Obama, your mother must be so proud!

  • “The downsizing of the military in the 90s was not, in fact, like so many of the others in history.”

    I’m familiar with the reduction in the Nineties. My brother, who was an armor Captain, was offered a buyout, saw the writing on the wall, took it, and has been happy ever after teaching political science and economics at a military academy. The reduction was nothing compared to reductions after the Civil War, World War I and World War II. As to the quality of the military after the reduction, I think it performed well in Afghanistan and Iraq, both very tough situations. Any qualms I have about either of those conflicts have been due to political decisions rather than the overall performance of the military.

    “There are those who often say that in between wars, the Army focuses much of its efforts on eliminating the warrior who won the last war before they can upset the neatly arranged ricebowls of the institutional Army. I believe it, I think I have seen it.”

    A fairly common occurrence in the history of the Army with a weeding out process of leaders taking place when the shooting starts in the next war.

    “So every three and four star lives a far more political life than most people imagine.”

    Thus it has ever been, at least since WWI.

    “Since when was the constitutional standard “no more of a violation” than the other guys?”

    You have given no citations of constitutional violations by Obama that stand the slightest chance of causing him any problems in the Court or with Congress. Unwise polices on the other hand, that is another matter, as will be shown at the polls in November of this year, and, I hope, at the polls in 2012.