Monday, August 24, 2009

Raz Gets a Lesson (or Two)

First, praise is in order for whoever lined up guests for two shows on Saturday's All Thing's Considered. Guy Raz was hosting the show and for a report on Afghanistan's election NPR turned to "Jean MacKenzie, a correspondent for and the director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Afghanistan." To cover the forthcoming report on CIA torture Raz spoke with former CIA agent, Robert Baer.

Here's what happens when guests are not the usual parrots for the US military or government:

On the Afghanistan election:
RAZ: "Jean, we're hearing from some officials in Afghanistan, western officials, that this election has gone off better than expected, not much violence, high voter turnout, a free and fair process. Is that what you've been saying?"
Ms. MACKENZIE: (laughs out loud) "That sounds very far from the perception of people who have been intimately involved in the process, I would say. I think the threshold of success for this election has been getting lower and lower."
On the CIA report:
RAZ: "I mean, our country, Robert Baer, like other countries, sometimes has to do dirty things, right?"
Mr. BAER: "No. You know, this goes back to Nuremberg - the Nuremberg defense...."
It is really telling when a former CIA agent has to remind a journalist about Nuremberg and the rule of law (maybe there is hope after all) - and the outright laughter from Jean Mackenzie was one of the most honest moments I've heard on NPR all year.


Anonymous said...

Former CIA field operative in Middle East Robert Baer: "The notion that we are in Afghanistan to make our country safer is just bullsh*t"

Three Former Top CIA Agents Say War In Afghanistan Making World More Dangerous

So what IS the real reason we are in Afgahnistan?

Anonymous said...

"So what IS the real reason we are in Afgahnistan?"

So that Obama can look sufficiently macho to "Middle America" to push through health care reform.

Or, er, um, wait, that must not have been it. Ok, I've got it:

So that China will see that we are tough and aren't going to let them just walk all over, um, er, someplace in Central Asia, maybe, er...

Wait, wait, I can figure this out if you give me enough time.

'Cause the defense contractors blew all the money they made off Iraq on hookers and coke and now need to pay the mortgages on their Fairfax, Co. McMansions?

That's all I got.

Anonymous said...

Obama has no clue why we are there.

Given that al Qaida is no longer in Afghanistan (as General Petraeus indicates in that video), Obama's rationale "To hunt down al Qaida' is as vacuous as the rationlae given by Bush for sending American troops to Iraq: "we fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here".

I used to think Obama was pretty smart.

he's smart only in the political sense , not in the "intelligent' sense.

He's basically a smart con man. he knows all the right things to say to get people to believe he is on their side while he is selling them out them behind their backs (making back room deals with big pharma, Wall Street bankers, etc)

Unfortunately for Obama, people are starting to catch on to his con.

his poll numbers are dropping like a rock, especially among his "base"

Hubertg said...

I was tellin' all the cats, dudes, and chicks I know that Obama was gonna "toe the line". I don't think you got a shot to be President unless you do. I haven't been disappoionted on what I thought so far. Only the faces change. To think that any of these "leaders" are going to act and/or speak loudly to the priniples of humanitarian values is wishful thinking. American Economic Hitmen are working hard around the world hand in hand with our government, chasing their own form of Manifest Destiny.

Anonymous said...

"So what IS the real reason we are in Afganistan?"

Pipelines, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

"Pipelines, perhaps?"

Yeah, that sounds about right. But surely even the neo-cons aren't dumb enough to think that they can stabilize the area around Kandahar using military force for long enough to see real benefits from a pipeline? I mean, even stabilizing the Niger Delta has proven a massive headache and that's like reining in a naughty two-year-old compared to southern Afghanistan.

Wait, I take it back: The neo-cons really are that dumb. Exhibit A: Iraq.


Anonymous said...

The only difference between neocon(men) and ordinary con-men is that neocon's like Paul Woefulwitz are actually dumb enough to fall for their own con's.

The funniest thing is that Paul Woefulwitz' father was actually highly intelligent (a mathematician at Cornell). Paul musta got his intelligence gene from his mother or something.

Anonymous said...

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Anonymous said...

The new boss is the same as the old boss, but Obama sure as hell ain't "The Boss".

He's a "yes man."

Anonymous said...

I think it is clear that NPR is part of the hegemony and so any candidate that is perceived as "serious" can only be a centerist at best. NPR ridiculed Kucinich repeatedly (even on shows like Wait, Wait, Don't Tell me) yet he was the only Democrat capable of real change.

And don't get me started on Nader because Kucinich was treated even better than Nader. This despite Nadar's lifetime of public service on behalf of real progressive causes and issues.

I don't come down too hard on people that went for Obama because the fact his that his duplicity says more about him than the people that wanted to believe.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of Obama's duplicity:

This from Amy Goodman

"Who Is Obama Playing Ball With?

by Amy Goodman

"It looked like it was business as usual for President Barack Obama on the first day of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, as he spent five hours golfing with Robert Wolf, president of UBS Investment Bank and chairman and CEO of UBS Group Americas. Wolf, an early financial backer of Obama’s presidential campaign, raised $250,000 for him back in 2006, and in February was appointed by the president to the White House’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Economic recovery for whom?

Interestingly, Wolf’s appointment came in the same month that UBS agreed to pay the U.S. $780 million to settle civil and criminal charges related to helping people in the U.S. avoid taxes. Not to worry. UBS, an ailing bank with a pre-existing condition, had great insurance coverage. It was actually receiving $2.5 billion in a backdoor bailout from bailed-out insurance giant AIG. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said, “It looks like we’re simply laundering this money through AIG.” UBS, this bank that shelters wealthy tax dodgers, was actually being bailed out by hardworking U.S. taxpayers."

//end Goodman quote

Obama disgusts me more with each passing day.

I readily admit I was conned by this fellow.

Obama may think he has been quite clever in pulling the wool over the eyes of people like myself, but I can console myself with the fact that without the continued support of people like me, he has no chance in hell of being re-elected.

andrew said...

I agree that kucinich and nadar are fighting to reform. I disagree however, that they are the only ones. I believe Obama has both a lot to learn and a lot to do. Furthermore, it's obvious we need some electioneering to take place before we can finally give a chance to third and fourth party candidates, cause kucinich or nadar DIDN'T have a chance to win, however unfortunate, Obama is 100000000000 x better than McCain and Palin

As for the OP who said that GUY raz is somehow distorting things or arguing? HE'S AN INTERVIEWER and a person. How the hell would Robert Baer get a chance to say what he said if the interviewer weren't to present the other opinions? I don't think Raz was doing anything more than his job.