Saturday night’s Republican candidates’ debate was on the topic of foreign affairs. In that spirit, the BBC asked PJ Crowley, a former State Dept. flack, to come up with a list of what the media likes to call “3 am phone call” questions, after then-Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign ad that was critical about her opponent, when she was running for President, not being ready for major foreign policy decisions. As this is the BBC handling a US issue, before we even get to the questions there’s a glaring bit of bias and dishonesty.
Right at the top of the page, next to his photo, the BBC describes Crowley as “Former US Assistant Secretary of State”. Partially false. He was actually the US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. The White House officially used that title for him, In other words, he was a mouthpiece, not a policy wonk or actual diplomat. His career has been entirely in Public Affairs, not actual policy making. Even CNN referred to him as “State Department spokesman”. What’s that you’re saying? That CNN link reveals something else the BBC casually left out about Crowley? You’re right. They forget to mention that Crowley was fired for criticizing the unfriendly detention treatment of Pvt. Bradley Manning, the Wikihacker who stole all those documents and gave them to St. Julian to publish, in the hopes of harming US foreign policy goals.
The reason the BBC redacted the key part of Crowley’s title is to give you the impression that his opinion carries more weight than it should. I have a screen shot in case of stealth edit. So this piece is misleading even before it starts.
They even forgot to mention that Crowley worked for The Obamessiah Administration. So he’s partisan as well, but the BBC doesn’t want you to know about it. Once again, a vox pops presented as an innocent commentator is anything but the way the BBC wants you to think. (They did mention it at the very bottom, which I missed. My thanks to Craig for pointing out my error)
Now for the questions. I’m not a Republican candidate, but I’m going to answer them as if I were, just to highlight the bias.
Actually, before getting to the questions, just have a look at the sarcastic, dismissive way Crowley misrepresents the candidates’ various answers. He even spends a moment belittling the candidates as being ignorant and bashing Bush (calling Musharaf his “BFF”). So even before you get to the substance, you already know where this is coming from: an attack on the President’s opponents, full stop.
Okay, now the questions.
1. The IAEA this week says that Iran more or less knows how to build a nuclear weapon. Assuming when you become president, there is not yet evidence of an actual weapon, what will your policy be? Will you continue to contain Iran and add pressure through sanctions until it is clear Iran is constructing a bomb? Or are you prepared to act preemptively to prevent Iran from acquiring a weapon?
This is a “gotcha” question. “Preemptively” can mean many things. It doesn’t have to mean bombing the crap out of Iran, which is what the question obviously implies. Under my Administration, the US would only act “preemptively” if we had real proof that Iran was about to acquire an actual weapon, or had just acquired one. But as I said, that can mean many forms of action, both covert and diplomatic, not just bombing the crap out of them, which is what you’re trying to catch me out saying. So the question is designed for one particular answer, sorry you’re not going to get it.
2. The Bush administration invaded Iraq to eliminate suspected weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration negotiated an end to the Libyan WMD programme, one of its signature achievements. You all have strongly indicated that Iran should never gain a nuclear weapon. Is the ultimate solution to declare the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free zone, as called for under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
That’s a nice dig at Israel, isn’t it? Let’s be honest about the subtext of your question. When you say the “Middle East” as a region, that includes Israel, which is the only country so many people on the Left and in the media are really worried about. How many times have we heard the whining about hypocrisy in allowing Israel to have nukes but not wanting Iran to have them. Please rephrase the question more honestly. Still, such a treaty in that region is sheer fantasy anyway, and not because Israel has secret nukes.
3. Most of you have said that Libya was not a vital interest to the United States and that you would not have militarily intervened. Does that mean you would have preferred leaving Gaddafi in power? If not, then why was Obama wrong?
On this issue, my position was different from that of most of these candidates. Libya is a vital interest to the US because of the threat of Islamic fascism taking over if Gaddafi was removed. I think we all know by now that’s what’s going to happen. But that means the President was wrong to sit on his hands until Secretary of State Clinton and her staff had to convince him that it wasn’t working, and that he was going to continue to butcher his people and plunge his country into chaos. That’s never good for US interests. Plus, there’s always an economic component to vital national interests: if Libya ends up being a reasonable, stable country on the road to prosperity, that can only be good for everyone. Since the question of military intervention became moot once Britain and France and their coalition were going to do it anyway, it was in the US’s best interest to at least take the diplomatic lead with rebels and any other potential new leadership faction. That didn’t happen. We sat on our hands out of fear of the usual complaints of US Imperialism. And look where it got us? Another potential Mullocracy. That’s not good for US vital interests.
4. President Bush achieved regime change in Iraq, but at a cost of about $800bn (£502bn). President Obama’s intervention in Libya, achieving a similar result, cost just over a billion. Keeping in mind our current financial situation, as President, what are the lessons learned from both experiences?
Total apples and oranges here. Regime change in Libya was due to a whole host of factors, only one of which was US strategic bombing. There was no rebel army waiting to move against Sadaam. There are huge geographical and tactical differences between the two countries. There was no Arab Spring-type scenario going on in the region at the time. The only lesson to be learned here is that this question reveals a willful cluelessness and that the questioner has an agenda to push.
5. If the deficit super-committee fails, defence will take an even bigger hit than the roughly $430bn already planned. Congress may delay sequestration until after next year’s election. In 2013, are you prepared to enact deeper defence cuts to balance the budget? If not, please explain how, if Ronald Reagan could not raise defence spending, lower taxes and balance the budget, results would be different in your administration?
Another apples and oranges question revealing cluelessness and an agenda to push. Under my Adminstration, there will be all sorts of cuts and reform that will mean we won’t have to decimate Defense. Repealing ObamaCare alone with save nearly enough money to render this question moot. Furthermore, reducing the Departments of Education, Energy, and Health to shadows of their current selves, along with a complete dismantling and redefining of the EPA will save tens of billions. Getting rid of the insane amount of regulations which harm small businesses and curtail most others will help increase revenues and growth. Reagan had a completely different economic situation, and didn’t have the massive, sclerotic bureaucracies we have now. It’s ridiculous to compare the two situations.
6. Will any troops be in Afghanistan in 2016? If so, doing what?
Who knows? A million things could happen between now and then. Nobody wants troops there just for the sake of it. Next!
7. You have all declared you are strong supporters of Israel. Are the foreign policies of the United States and Israel identical? If not, name one area where you believe Israeli actions are contrary to US interests. What will you do to encourage a change in Israeli policy?
Another dig at Israel. One could just as easily say that the foreign policies of the US are virtually identical to those of Britain, France, Germany, South Korea, and Gambia. All those countries surely have one area where we disagree. This question is asked from the perspective that having very similar foreign policy goals to Israel is a problem. Why? Ask me a more honest question, and I’ll try to answer it.
(Remember, this anti-Israel mug was the Spokesman for the State Dept. No wonder so many people have been worried that The Obamessiah is going to throw Israel under the bus.)
8. Do you consider climate change a national security issue? If not, as president, what will you say to the president of the Maldives when he tells you that emissions of greenhouse gases by China and the United States threaten the very existence of his country because of rising sea levels?
Climate Change is only a national security issue in that all these draconian rules and regulations forced on us by Warmists are causing serious damage to the economy, and to those of our strategic allies. If the President of the Maldives tells me that my country is dooming the existence of his, I’ll tell him he’s full of it and needs to find another way to get my country to redistribute wealth to his.
9. Some of you have indicated a willingness to militarily intervene in Mexico to control violence perpetrated by drug cartels. Those cartels are battling Mexican authorities using weapons purchased in the United States, including combat weapons like the AK-47. If the war in Mexico threatens the United States, should we on national security grounds first restrict the sale of combat weapons that cannot be plausibly tied to individual security before putting troops in harm’s way at significant cost?
The reason those drug cartels are using weapons purchased in the US is because the ATF made that happen. How can you not be aware of this? Operation Fast and Furious and the rest of it has lead to how many deaths now? That whole scheme was created specifically to cause the exact trouble you’re now using to demand stricter gun control. The current Administration has the blood of US border agents and hundreds of innocent Mexican civilians on its hands, and you’re asking me about stopping something that’s happening only because the current Administration made it so? You bet I’ll stop it, but not what you’re hoping for. Unbelievable.
(Of course the BBC has misled the public on this issue, and engaged in suppressing news which might make you better informed. So they can get away with such an unbelievably, disgustingly biased question.)
10. Congress is considering legislation that would require all terrorism suspects to be tried in military rather than civilian courts. Do you support this legislation? If so, given the strong record of open trials and convictions in civilian courts, why do you think they are not the appropriate venue for at least certain kinds of terrorism cases?
Yes. We’re at war. Different ball game.
Thank you for having me here today. Don’t trust the BBC on US issues.
Preiser for Pres.
David, once again a really good posting. You manage to clarify many issues that otherwise would have me baffled as to how to respond. I hope the bbc read it, but even if they do, I doubt they’ll (to use one of those stupid phrases) internalise it.
Nice post DP
Yes very slanted.
By the way, I could never watch this guy when he was a regular on newsnight because he never stopped making ridiculous arm and hand movements which completely distracted me from what he was saying.
One thing in his favour is the fact that he resigned over the Manning issue. I may not like his politics but it is rare these days for someone to resign from a position of (some) power on a question of conscience and I can give him credit for that.
Well it is fine to talk about the biased BBC, but what about the biased US press? 89 seconds only for third in the polls Ron Paul who alone has the right foreign policy… and then MSNBC tak down the online poll on the debate because he is winning… that is far more bias. Of course I have never heard Ron Paul mentioned on any British TV news report…
Darius, no change there then. MSNBC are amongst the worst (and most blatant) in their bias.
Darius, there is no official national broadcaster in the US, which the population is forced to pay for under penatly of law, with a Charter and Agreement compelling them to be non-partisan, and from which the vast majority of the population get their news.
The US media doesn’t spread the propaganda of foreign leaders, or spend millions to create highly partisan reports to tell US citizens how great the domestic policy of some foreign leader is.
And even less for the leader of the pack. Apart from the baseless smears of course, the MSM in general has turned poisonous.
Nice post DP.
No 9 is the worst, and not just for the girly formulation ‘combat weapons’. It’s like the guy who killed his parents then asked the judge to have sympathy on a poor orphan all alone in the world.
To the point: in so far No 9 falls apart if you know anything at all about how those guns got there, not only is it evidence of BBC bias in featuring it as some sort of non-partisan talking point, it’s also evidence of the BBC’s arrogance. They have decided that the public has no need to know about ‘fast an furious’ and so it can safely be ignored.
They really think they’re still the gatekeepers.
Question 6 is a dumbarse question too: fine to ask about Afghanistan but David sums up the ridiculousness of it…clearly not a real agenda question so not much detail in the question. What really gets my goat is the pompous sanctimoniousness summing up (sounds like a BBC clone): “Any candidate that credibly answers these questions will pass the proverbial 3am test“…presumably that would be credible to PJ not credible to most of humanity.
“And the American people can rest a little easier that he or she will be able to deal with the slings and arrows of national security without fear of thrown shoes.”
In your opinion PJ…in your unhumble opinion.
Crowley is a former Obamessiah Administration mouthpiece. That makes it all the more disgusting that he tries to lie about the ATF scandal. The BBC gets away with letting him ask it because they redacted that info from his job title, and have mostly censored all news of the scandal. The handful of reports they’ve done on it don’t even begin to tell the truth. So unless you don’t trust the BBC for your news and look elsewhere, you’d have no idea that he’s partisan, and no idea that there’s a scandal and his question is complete BS. That makes this question all the more insidious.
I almost feel sorry for the BBC,
Another filleting by David P !
PJ Crowley is quite the BBC regular, isn’t he?
His ‘viewpoints’ are becoming a feature of the BBC website:
How many Bush administration officials are so lucky?
David, the BBC article says right at the bottom, “PJ Crowley served as US Assistant Secretary of State in the administration of President Barack Obama between 2009 and 2011.”. Is that a stealth edit?
Sorry, I guess that was already there, as Google cache shows. My screenshot was only for the top of the page. I’m updating my post, retracting that complaint. Still, both at the top and bottom, they still leave out the full title which shows he’s a PR flack and not a policy person whose opinion might be of some value. That’s more important anyway. I’ll be more careful in future, though.
Nice job fisking this DP. As I stated in an earlier thread when this first came out I simply couldn’t summon the energy to take it on, and I certainly wouldn’t have done it as well as you.
Enjoyed the #OccupyFail post too (been away for a couple of days – catching up). Has everyone seen Iowahawk’s brilliant Camp Obama song?
Excellent post. The BBC hasn’t been the only “news” organisation ignoring “Fast and Furious”. The Daily Telegraph’s Toby Harnden finally got around to writing a blogpost about it, just a few days ago. The rest is silence.