Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 23rd, 2010


1) We have talked about how often the White House and other politically charged situations avoid making news when the Morning Joe show is on. It’s not that hard because the show comes on so early, but still evidence that those in charge of decisions that impact us not to have that decision be a cable news interactive one exist everywhere.

But let’s face it, shortly after the ‘what have we learned today’ segment on the Morning Joe show, Stan McChrystal was out and the US scored a historic goal to advance. That is the real news of the day, and the entire show as it was produced and went off, was a pregame to those events.

Some might declare that the pregame impact of Joe Scarborough’s tenacious pursuit of a firing added weight to that version of decision events. I would ask that people look at the Patraeus insertion as evidence that the White House wasn’t watching, and using the precious few ticks on the clock that they had since the story broke to figure out what’s next.

The Morning Joe show was nowhere near the what’s next decision all morning. That is why it was a pregame, and not part of the process. Time after time, Joe Scarborough failed to look at the situation from 360 degrees and left the viewer short of possible scenarios. Time after time, Scarborough could do no more than reinforce his entrenched view.

We wanted more.

2) A big winner for a second day in a row is BP. This has gone from an afterthought to an outright oversight resulting in what amounts to a publicity victory for the reckless villain. Why, because today was the day that the oil found Pensacola. And while we should’ve been playing ‘Taps’ and Joe Scarborough should’ve been forced to hold back tears for the death of his home city’s most precious natural wonder, the Velcro attaching Morning Joe to the McChrystal story snatched the bigger story’s coverage almost in it’s entirety.

Yea, they showed the oil hitting. But it was at best a split screen with a few seconds of only mildly troubled banter until time ran out and they had to cut to an inactive Pentagon parking lot for the 25th useless time.

You have some explaining to do. Start dialing area code 904 and any number and explain to your hometown one by one how you took your eye off of the ball. You have time. If the Prince William Sound is any indication in Alaska, you have a lifetime. This is a permanent change that will have people born next decade wondering: how did this happen?

3) Patton was the analogy that I liked. I liked it a lot more before ghastly Senator Shelby used it. With all the talk of MacArthur, where there really was no comparison, this really was more of a Patton infraction, but not a Patton comparable usefulness in the field.

George Patton struck fear in the heart of his opponents. Erwin Rommel needed a daily briefing on Patton just to sleep at night. Patton was a folk hero at home for taking the fight to the enemy and being the great momentum builder.

McChrystal is nowhere near that. I got to read in full the Rolling Stone article since yesterday, and luckily I got a lot of the stuff yesterday right. It’s a roll of the dice because the context in the news cycle gets obscenely stretched and distorted.

What struck me were the bad things that McChrystal had been getting away with all along. He altered the record of Pat Tillman’s death. His reprieve was a statement of his bright possible future. He started to refuse to accept command over prisons because he felt good people were getting unfairly bashed for what should be normal at prisons. What?

And then there is the version of events that he is viewed by the boots on the ground as a significant reason the war is a losing effort, because of his policy on limiting combat engagement. I can’t have it both ways and be Sean Penn on the prison take, and Audie Murphy on this one, wait, yes I can. You play to win. Civilian casualties harden a population against an invading army, but they also prevent the enemy from easily living within the population. Just ask the Al-Qaeda command structure in the mountains of Waziristan. Would you have your family anywhere near them?

The Afghanis are empowered by the current COIN system that allows them to freely choose whether to support the Taliban or defeat them without fear that any pro-Taliban collaboration has consequences, violent or political. The inverse is not true, as pro US collaborators will meet certain consequences at the hands of the Taliban.

This is a construct where the only interested party is the US armed contingent. Even NATO is a figurehead arrangement at this point.

You can’t win that way. You can just hold ground and count bodies, for a while.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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