Image: Edward R. Murrow
Hard Rain Journal 5-11-07: CBS Fires Batiste for Doing What Edward R. Murrow would have Done -- Speaking Truth and Confronting Lies and Hypocrisy
By Richard Power
George W. Bush says he listens to his commanders. But he doesn't.
Now we know CBS doesn't listen to them either. They have fired Major General John Batiste (US Army retired). For what? For speaking the truth and confronting hypocrisy in high places.
Of course, that's what the news media is supposed to do.
Will Bob Schieffer resign in protest? Will Katie Couric resign in protest?
Of course not.
They will tell themselves that Batiste, a life-long Republican, was engaging in partisan politics for the Democrats, i.e., they will lie to themselves, just as they facilitate those who lie to the populace.
(Update: Think Progress reports that CBS has compounded their wrong by replacing him with "a former White House communications director to engage in the Bush administration’s advocacy on air.")
Meanwhile, the US military bleeds in the desert.
But Major General Batiste is not alone.
Major General Paul Eaton (US Army retired), who like Batiste served in Iraq, and General Wesley Clark (US Army retired), the former Supreme Allied Commander, have also recorded ads for VoteVets.org. These ads will directly target those Republicans who are still enabling the Bush-Cheney regime's debacle in Iraq.
[NOTE: Click here to read Major General Eaton's letter to Bush after his veto. Click here to watch Gen. Clark challenge the demagoguery of Bill O'Reilly re: Batiste and George Soros.]
I urge you to contribute to VoteVets.org and help them in this vital struggle.
We are all being called to confront tyranny and war crimes perpetrated in our name.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (US Army retired), former Chief of Staff at the State Department from 2002 to 2005 under then Secretary of State Colin Powell, understands:
On Thursday, May 10, 2007, Lawrence Wilkerson, speaking on National Public Radio [in rseponse to a caller who raised the issue], proposed impeaching President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Here's the audio
“... I really do think that our founding fathers, Hamilton, Washington, Monroe, Madison, would all be astounded that over the course of our short history as a country, 200 plus years, we haven't used that little two to three lines in Article II of the Constitution more frequently, the impeachment clause. I do believe that they would have thought had they been asked by you or whomever at the time of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia 'Do you think this will be exercised?' they would have said 'Of course it will, every generation they'll have to throw some bastard out'. That's a form of accountability too. It's ultimate accountability."
After an interruption, Wilkerson continued: "The language in that article, the language in those two or three lines about impeachment is nice and precise – it's high crimes and misdemeanors. You compare Bill Clinton's peccadilloes for which he was impeached to George Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors or Dick Cheney's high crimes and misdemeanors, and I think they pale in significance." ...
"I think that the caller was right. I think we went into this war for specious reasons. I think we went into this war not too much unlike the way we went into the Spanish American War with the Hearst press essentially goading the American people and the leadership into war. That was a different time in a different culture, in a different America. We're in a very different place today and I think we essentially got goaded into the war through some of the same means." After Downing Street, 5-10-07
Here is the transcript of Keith Olberman's interview with Major General Batiste:
OLBERMANN: General Batiste says he resigned because he couldn‘t stand what former secretary of defense Rumsfeld was doing to the military, and he is still paying the price. The general, who describes himself as a diehard Republican, has been asked to leave his position as a consultant to CBS News because of that ad.
That means he is free to join us tonight for an exclusive interview.
And we‘re honored to have you with us, General. Thank you for your time.
BATISTE: Thanks, Keith. Good to be with you.
OLBERMANN: From Eric Shinseki, the four-star general who was criticized by, of all people, Paul Wolfowitz when he said at the start that the war would require several hundred thousand troops, do these ads that you and General Eaton and General Clark have done for VoteVets.org, there seemingly has never been this much public friction between the military and the civilian leaders. What moved you to make these ads and moved you to make them now?
BATISTE: Keith, it really is quite extraordinary. I was moved to make this ad working with VoteVets because I care about our country, and I care about our soldiers and Marines and their families.
I‘m a patriot, as are the rest of us in VoteVets. VoteVets is not an antiwar organization. We‘re focused on what‘s best for this country. We‘re focused on being successful and winning the effort against global terrorism. And we‘re damn sure focused on doing what‘s right for our great military, which, by the way, is doing incredible work in Iraq and Afghanistan. God bless them all.
OLBERMANN: In a piece for MSNBC.com called “America‘s Angriest General,” Mike Hirsch from “Newsweek” says that you wish more generals would speak out. But last year you had said at the end of the day, you either salute and execute, or you make a decision to retire or resign, that‘s the way it is. Is this what you‘re trying to change? What are you hearing from the colleagues of yours who are still in uniform?
BATISTE: Keith, I‘m in a very unique position. I have a platform upon which I can speak. I‘m no longer wearing the uniform of our country. I have no ties to the defense industry. I can speak honestly. I have a duty to do so.
And I know there‘s other generals, both active duty and retired, that are doing all they can within their means. In my case, I‘ll continue to speak out.
OLBERMANN: You have said that it could take eight to 10 months to withdraw from Iraq in an orderly way once the president even agrees to that. This evening, the House rejected the plan to withdraw beginning in nine months. The military under such great stress. Is there a point at which any deadline, any time structure for this will be too late?
BATISTE: Keith, this is less about deadlines and timelines than it is about coming to grips with the fact that we went to war with a fatally flawed strategy, flawed then in March of 2003, flawed today over four years later. This is all about a president who‘s relying almost solely on the military component of strategy to accomplish the mission in Iraq.
Sadly, we‘re missing the diplomatic, the political, and the economic components that are fundamental and required to be successful. We have an interagency process that has been dysfunctional during this administration. There‘s no unity of effort between the agencies.
It—the bottom line is, we have a failed strategy now, and our president has not mobilized this great nation to accomplish the critical work to defeat global terrorism. And until we get these two things right, we‘re wasting our time.
OLBERMANN: General, are you encouraged, are you disinterested in, are you interested in what happened Tuesday at the White House between these 11 moderate Republicans and the president, and this discussion of the political implications of this? Do you see this as some sort of watershed moment?
BATISTE: Keith, I think so. Four of the 11 congressman were members that the VoteVet ad is targeting. I think that speaks volumes.
OLBERMANN: And lastly, sir, the benchmarks, the references continually made by those who went into the White House, that the words about this war have to now come from General Petraeus, that he is the one with the credibility, and the president is not the one with that, give us an honest assessment of his ability to give us an honest assessment of progress there.
BATISTE: General David Petraeus is the best we‘ve got. If anybody can pull this off militarily, he can. We have the best military this nation has ever fielded. But the president‘s strategy relies almost wholly on the military, and ignores the important components of diplomatic, political, and economic hard work.
If we don‘t get this right, we‘re going to break our Army and Marine Corps. And at this point in our history, that‘s the last thing we can do.
OLBERMANN: Well said, sir. General John Batiste. Great thanks for your time tonight, and, of course, great thanks for your service.
MSNBC Countdown, 5-10-07
Former Major General John Batiste (VoteVets.org) Confronts George W. Bush:
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: email@example.com. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
VoteVets.org,Lawrence Wilkerson, Edward R. Murrow, Iraq, Bush,Wesley Clark, Cheney, Bill O'Reilly, CBS, Paul Eaton, Richard Power, Words of Power