MEDIA ALERT: Rachel Maddow Show Tonight


rachel maddow twn.jpgAt 9:15 pm EST, I will be discussing Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke’s soon to be made appointment as Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the just released USIP report on Afghanistan and its indictment of US policy there with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
I caught this realistic and bleak statement by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Dana Priest in an online commentary she did which touched on the Afghanistan morass:

Richmond, Va.: Tell me, Ms. Priest, after studying the history of those countries that have tried to “tame” Afghanistan, can you see America faring any better than every other country? I’m sorry if I sound overly negative when I say I can see only more quagmires for us there, with no real progress — again. And how much tolerance for casualties and monies does America have after Iraq, a quagmire we are still in, with our needs here at home?
Dana Priest: No I can’t. As much as I hate to admit it, I think we are either in for a decades long intervention which might, might, might produce results or for lowering the bar on our goals to the point that we accept the fact that Afghanistan is a feudal country where many bad things happen, not least of which is that little girls get shut out of school. Ouch. Maybe we should just start an underground pipeline for young girls to leave the country; probably would be more effective than trying to get their brothers and fathers to change. All that said, there needs to be a red line on Al Qaeda, which is probably possible.

I mostly agree with Dana Priest. But more on that later.
So, watch the Rachel Maddow Show tonight if you are able.
I’ll put a clip up on TWN later. And remember to vote for my blog in the 2008 Weblog Awards here.
More soon.

— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “MEDIA ALERT: Rachel Maddow Show Tonight

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    He’s putting the architects of this nightmare in place to take the blame if they can’t or won’t clean up the mess they made.
    You can’t possibly believe that. You think he will appoint a cabinet with the express purpose of indicting the past actions of these appointed members?
    Geez Cee, there’s still Sunshine barrels floating around? Or are you eating good ‘ol blotter acid?


  2. Cee says:

    Obama laughs in the face of his supporters yet again.
    He’s putting the architects of this nightmare in place to take the blame if they can’t or won’t clean up the mess they made.
    Laugh at that.


  3. WigWag says:

    Obama laughs in the face of his supporters yet again.
    First there’s this:
    Incoming secretary of state Clinton to name Dennis Ross as top adviser on Mideast, Iran
    By The Associated Press
    Dennis Ross, a former Middle East peace envoy who served under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, will in all likelihood be appointed a special adviser for the Middle East and Iran under incoming secreatry of state Hillary Rodham Clinton.
    Clinton is quietly building a new State Department team with seasoned diplomats as she prepares for her confirmation hearings next week, according to Democratic sources and officials familiar with the transition.
    The incoming secretary of state also plans to name former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke to be special adviser for Pakistan and Afghanistan, they said.
    Clinton has settled on choices for a number of top positions, including high-profile special envoys who played prominent roles in her husband’s administration for South Asia, and pointmen for East Asia and Europe, they said. She will also keep at least two career foreign service officers in critical posts, they said.
    Ross was the lead U.S. negotiator in Mideast peace efforts for both Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton. He played a major part in an interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in 1995 and worked on the failed effort to arrange peace between Israel and Syria and the ultimately unsuccessful 2000 Camp David talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
    And then there’s this:
    Jan 10, 2009 14:54 | Updated Jan 10, 2009 16:27
    Obama won’t deal with Hamas, ‘Post’ told
    The incoming Obama administration will not abandon US President George W. Bush’s doctrine of isolating Hamas, the chief national security spokesperson of the Obama transition team has told The Jerusalem Post.
    The next US president will not break the policy of isolating Hamas, an Obama spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post.
    President-elect Barack Obama “has repeatedly stated that he believes that Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction, and that we should not deal with them until they recognize Israel, renounce violence, and abide by past agreements,” said Brooke Anderson in a statement to the Post.
    Those conditions match the international Quartet’s longstanding demands from Hamas, shared by Israel.
    The Obama spokesperson was responding to an article in Britain’s Guardian daily on Friday, which asserted that three people with knowledge of discussions held in the Obama camp said that while the president-elect will not approve direct diplomatic negotiations with Hamas early on, his advisers are urging him to initiate low-level or clandestine approaches, in light of the growing recognition in Washington that ostracizing the terror group is counter-productive policy.
    “The president elect’s repeated statements [about not dealing with Hamas] are accurate,” Anderson said. “This unsourced story is not.”
    Maybe in the Spirit of the Web Blog Awards, Steve Clemons could do something similar here at the Washington Note. He could poll his readers, or if he prefers, just his readers who were the most ardent supporters of President-Elect Obama, on which Obama appointment they like the best.
    The poll could look something like this:
    Ballot (Vote for One Appointment)
    You may vote once every 24 hours
    Rick Warren_____
    Larry Summers_____
    Timothy Geithner_____
    Hillary Clinton_____
    Robert Gates_____
    Dennis Ross_____
    Richard Holbrooke_____
    His FISA Vote is better than his appoinments_____
    All of the Above_____


  4. murray polner says:

    Ross, Holbrook and etc. as “new faces?” With all these Clintonistas now back in power can we look forward to the same old deadlocks, more military interventions and dashed hopes by those of us who enthusiastically voted for Obama? Will sending 20-30,000 additional US troops into Afghanistan –as Obama continually demands–destroy Obama’s presidency as LBJ’s Great Society was ruined by his Vietnam adventure?
    We voted for new faces not failed Clinton refugees.


  5. Cee says:

    If the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas continues to hold
    What cease-fire?
    The UN voted and Israel kept bombing.
    Still using the banned weapon White Phospherous.
    On Afghanistan…we should never have planned to attack them BEFORE 9-11.


  6. Outraged American says:

    “Al Qaeda” has joined “terrorist” and “anti-Semite” on my list of
    completely useless words. If caveman, Osama Been Forgotten,
    now resurrected as Bogeyman du Jour, is indeed still alive (and
    lest we forget, Benazir Bhutto said that Bin Laden wasn’t alive
    just before she herself was offed) then why isn’t he yakking up a
    storm about Israel’s horrific genocide of the people of Gaza?
    Iraq was for Israel, Afghanistan may or may not be about oil. Or
    it could just be about cranking-up the profits of the military/
    industrial complex so that their kickbacks to the corrupt bunch
    of losers we call our “representatives” increase exponentially.
    (See Senate resolution backing the Zio-Nazis on Gaza/ Dianne
    Feinstein’s family’s personal profit off of Iraq)
    After-all, it would be tremendously more cost-effective for the
    U.S. to invade Canada and Mexico, our two main suppliers of oil.
    The Canadians are so polite they’d probably just give it to us
    without firing a shot, and the Mexicans, given their propensity to
    want to be Americans, might just let us take over everything.


  7. Bart says:

    Changing a near-feudal society is a fool’s game. We will bleed to death in the sands of Afghanistan just as others did over the centuries. We can least afford this foolishness now.


  8. DonsBlog says:

    My brother spent time in Kabul working with senior
    military personnel and I have never seen him
    support a cause so strongly. The Afghan military
    strongly believe in what they’re doing and are
    working hard to liberate their country.
    Seeing that their country has been bombed back to
    about the 14th century and have close to an 80%
    illiteracy rate they have a formidable task ahead
    of them.
    Their major complaint was that they’re under
    equipped, not that they want more American forces
    in their country.
    I’m also surprised by how much everyone I’ve met
    that has been to that country love the people.
    If we have a long term cause to strive for, we
    could pick worse.


  9. Andrew says:

    Remind me again Ms Priest.. Why is the US in Afhganistan? If my memory serves me well its not to ouch, get every small girl waer a bikini, walk half naked and rebel against their culture, yes culture..but something about stopping a tall man and his lot from wrecking further havoc on the Us and its interests. If the objective has thus changed, I’m sorry noone you are in for a long quagmire


  10. erichwwk says:

    i omitted, what it is some folks prefer stealing to. It is of course, iworking for a living, ie doing that which makes other peoples’ life better.
    Congress displays all the skills of a blind man leading the blind in an attempt to craft “an economics relief package”, and appears clueless as to why the economy is tanking. Obama seems to have bought into the nonsense that SS and Medicare, one of the few things Congress has gotten right, are to be “cut back”. To me, that is evidence that he -at this point (hopefully pressure from folks such as at TWN will eventually change things, much as Eleanor changed FDR) is buying into the interests of the governing elite at the expense of those that got him elected. It will make things worse, not better.
    Unless Obama has the courage, skill, and understanding to NOT void his campaign promise, and to take on the redistribution of income (for God’s sake, the guru of management consultant’s when I was an undergraduate, Peter Drucker, held that CEO compensation in excess of 20 times average/entry level? worker was unearned. In the US, in 2007, the 50 top hedge fund managers, that ABSORBED, rather than CREATED- wealth took in an average of $588 million/ CEO — 19,000 times average US wages) If a CEO is REALLY good for the company, he can prove it by his ability to raise his workers wages. To consider a CEO responsible only to shareholders, and not also as the fiduciary agent of workers as well, is preposterous.
    If one wants to attack entitlements on a reality based paradigm, one discovers that it is MILITARY expenditures, NOT SS or Medicare that are the problem. At the time Schwartz wrote his Brookings book, nuclear accounting, after a half century, we had spent much more on nuclear weapons that produce only toxic waste, waste minds, increase insecurity, than we had spent on Medicare. And if one pro-rates interest payments (theft from the SS TRUST FUND) and allocates that proportion on interest payments attributable to nuclear weapons, than we also spent more on nuclear weapons than on SS.
    ANY attempt to BULLSHIT the American public on SS and Medicare (we should instead change Medicare to make coverage age independent), will be the end of Obama’s presidency. Investing in our – and others- HUMAN Capital (both in quality, quantity, and equity) should be our number one priority.


  11. erichwwk says:

    First, Steve, please know how grateful I am for the tremendous effort you make to insert rational, reality based thinking, to a governmental elite that is primarily obsessed with its ability to use force as the vehicle for change. It gives the rest of us a small chance of getting heard.
    Dana Priest suggested that perhaps
    “we accept the fact that Afghanistan is a feudal country where many bad things happen, not least of which is that little girls get shut out of school. Ouch. Maybe we should just start an underground pipeline for young girls to leave the country; probably would be more effective than trying to get their brothers and fathers to change.”
    This WOULD be better than the really stupid policy of using force to produce desired results. However, better is to treat people decently, without the judgment of arrogant superiority, and be sincere in the effort to HELP, rather than to mimic help, with the hidden intent of personal gain. And best of all, is to know how to do it.
    Fortunately there are many such people,mostly outside of government, such as Greg Mortenson (“Three Cups of Tea”, a book that has been reviewed by over 1,500 Amazon readers) who are unselfish in their desire to help.
    From co-author David Relin’s intro, page 3:
    “ Former Taliban fighters renounced violence and the oppression of women after meeting Mortenson and went to work with him peacefully building schools for girls”.
    THAT is, and has always been, from time memorable, the ONLY way to fight evil.
    F-16’s, GBU-39’s, and atomic weapons are pure BULLSHIT, employed only by cowardly individuals deluded by their own selfishness, and with no empathy or compassion for their fellow citizen. They wave the flag as pompoms, trying to get others to kill and steal, under the misguided impression that “they are right, and others wrong,”, that prefer to better their own lives at the expense of others in a zero or negative sum game.
    “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars”– old Persian proverb
    “If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between “for” and “against” is the mind’s worst disease.”
    — Sent-ts’an, c. 700C.E.


  12. WigWag says:

    So Obama is about to appoint Richard Holbrooke, Richard Haas and Dennis Ross as his liaisons to various trouble spots around the world. What a breath of fresh air those three foreign policy gurus are. It just shows that Obama isn’t afraid to take a chance on new talent.
    Richard Haass just published an article in Foreign Affairs with Martin Indyk (who Steve Clemons keeps reminding us is the Chief Executive Officer of the Middle East Peace Business, Inc.). The article is entitled “Beyond Iraq, A New U.S. Strategy for the Middle East.”
    Here’s some of what Obama’s new Middle East envoy had to say:
    On Iran
    “These adverse consequences make it critical for the Obama administration to reach an early understanding with other leading powers about the need to cap Iran’s nuclear advance.
    Obama should offer direct official engagement with the Iranian government, without preconditions, along with other incentives in an attempt to turn Tehran away from developing the capacity to rapidly produce substantial amounts of nuclear-weapons-grade fuel. At the same time, he should lay the groundwork for an international effort to impose harsher sanctions on Iran if it proves unwilling to change course.
    There are no guarantees that trying to engage the Iranian government more constructively would yield better results than current policy has. But a sincere attempt that failed would at least reinforce the case for then resorting to more hard-line options, in the eyes of both the American public and the international community.
    Preventive military action against Iran by either the United States or Israel is an unattractive option, given its risks and costs. But it needs to be examined carefully as a last-ditch alternative to the dangers of living with an Iranian bomb. To increase Israel’s tolerance for extended diplomatic engagement, the U.S. government should bolster Israel’s deterrent capabilities by providing an enhanced anti-ballistic-missile defense capability and a nuclear guarantee.
    To allow more time for diplomatic engagement to work, therefore, the Obama administration will have to persuade Israel not to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities while U.S.-led diplomatic efforts are unfolding. That will require enhancing Israel’s deterrent and defensive capabilities by providing it with a nuclear guarantee as well as additional ballistic missile defenses and early warning systems. Simultaneously providing nuclear guarantees against Iran to both Arab and Israeli allies will be a serious undertaking for Washington, but it may be the only way of preventing Iran’s nuclear program from triggering a regional arms race.”
    On Military Confrontation with Iran
    “The option of a military response — launched by either the United States or Israel — needs to remain in the background precisely because without one, Tehran might see a diplomatic initiative by a new, young U.S. president as an opportunity to play out the clock until Iran can cross the nuclear threshold.
    Before making a decision on whether to attack Iran, the U.S. government should use private channels to notify Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, of the dangers he will be courting for his country and his regime if he continues down the nuclear path in defiance of the international community. Likewise, the United States will need to issue a statement making absolutely clear that any use or transfer of nuclear weapons or nuclear materials by Iran will have devastating consequences.”
    On Israel-Palestine
    “Although divisions on both sides and the questionable ability of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to control any newly acquired territory make a sustainable peace agreement unlikely for the moment, these factors argue not for abandoning the issue but rather for devoting substantial time and effort now to creating the conditions that would help diplomacy succeed later.”
    On Democracy
    “The Bush administration gained some traction in the Arab world with the aggressive promotion of its “freedom agenda.” But its insistence on elections in Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories enabled Islamist parties with militias to enter the political process and then paralyze it in each place.
    The answer is not early elections, especially not when parties with militias contest them. Rather, a gradual, evolutionary process of liberalization should be promoted, one that emphasizes the building of civil society, the opening up of political space, and the strengthening of democratic values, including the rule of law, judicial independence, freedom of the press and association, women’s rights, and government transparency.”
    On Hamas
    “The United States should encourage such developments but leave it to Egypt, Israel, and the PA to handle their relationships with Hamas. If the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas continues to hold and a Hamas-PA reconciliation emerges, the Obama administration should deal with the joint Palestinian leadership and authorize low-level contact between U.S. officials and Hamas in Gaza. If the cease-fire breaks down irreparably and the Israeli army reenters Gaza, the United States should then work with others to create and insert an Arab-led international force to restore PA control and bring about Israel’s withdrawal.”
    I have a sneaking suspicion that Obama’s most ardent supporters are going to come to hate Richard Haass. But if they find things looking too depressing they can always comfort themselves with the fact that at least Obama didn’t select Rick Warren as his envoy to the Middle East.


  13. Lynne says:

    Good job tonight, Steve. And a great plug for your blog from Rachel!


  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its a real shame that Steve and Rachel aren’t discussing why Israel has refused to deploy the Phalanx defensive weaponry.
    But even more of a shame, is that this cowardly treasonous sack of shit, Harry Reid, can’t join them on the show, and read his S. Res. 10….
    …to the viewers watching the show, and have Steve and Rachel call him on each and every LIE the bastard packed in to this latest political blow job “Give Em Hell Harry” is giving to Israel.
    But unfortunately, we all know Steve and Rachel won’t go that far, because they too realize, if the two of them wish to pursue their careers, they DARE NOT cross these lying murderous zionists in Israel, and the pathetic synchopantic slaves that masquerade as representatives of the American people.
    This Resolution is despicable, and makes me ashamed to be an American citizen. Harry Reid is every bit the cowardly self serving little prick I have long maintained he is, and he proves it almost on a daily basis.
    You really gotta love the part about Hamas “holding the Palestinian people hostage” since their “illegal coup against the forces of President Mahmoud Abbas”.
    Hey Harry, pull your pants up. Was it as good for you as it was for Israel?


  15. ... says:

    >>Maybe we should just start an underground pipeline for young girls to leave the country..<<
    didn’t the usa already do that with the oil?? i can’t remember if it was that or looking for an alternate route..
    how are the local drug addicts and poor street people doing? i’m sure someone would like to put them in an underground pipeline and send them somewhere too.. others problems look so much easier.. how about the ones at home?? the usa is a master at foreign policy~!~~


  16. Lurker says:

    Steve, you are on a serious roll. Did you see that you are quoted
    big time in The Guardian on the front page of the website today?


  17. Bob the Reader says:

    Dear Steve, I saw you were quoted in an article on the Guardian America website about Obama’s administration engaging in some off-the-radar, low-level talks directly with Hamas. I have to say that I think this is an extremely constructive move. The only way peace is going to be effectively achieved is by taking a realistic, rather than moralistic approach to the problem: and that means recognizing that Hamas is a key player that has to be dealt with even though their rhetoric is often reprehensible. My question is: do you think there will be significant backlash for Obama from the Marty Peretzs of the world, and will that hurt his administration?


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