From right, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Johnnie Yellock, a combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, salutes Lt. Col. Chris Larkin, 23rd Special Tactics Squadron commander, at Hurlburt Field, Fla, June 26, 2012 during Yellock’s Bronze Star Medal presentation. Yellock received the Bronze Star for his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 — a deployment in which he was significantly wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device.
While out on a mission in Afghanistan, Yellock was riding in the exposed gunner’s position of a mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle when it struck an IED, destroying the vehicle and wounding him seriously. Thrown clear of the wreckage, his injuries were severe, including two badly shattered feet and a wound to his heel that would not stop bleeding. Reacting instinctively, he applied two tourniquets to his left leg and assisted the team medic in applying a third to his right leg. Despite his wound, Yellock went on to instruct the team leader how to select and mark a helicopter landing zone, advising him how to properly control the inbound aircraft.
Tel Aviv is actually Tel Aviv-Jaffa. In 1950, Tel Aviv unilaterally annexed Jaffa after nearly 65,000 Arabs fled the city during the armed conflict of 1948. The 4,000 Palestinians who stayed were “relocated” to Jaffa’s Ajami and Jabaliah neighborhoods. Israel then confiscated all the “abandoned” properties and made them “properties of the state.” Those in Ajami were granted “citizenship” but lived under military rule until 1966.
Today, Tel Aviv is a city of more than 400,000, with a population that is 92 percent Jewish-Israeli. Virtually all Palestinian residents live in Jaffa, thanks to the prohibitively high prices elsewhere in the city. Until a decade ago, friends tell me, hundreds of thousands of West Bank residents went to the beach in Tel Aviv, went to school there and worked there. Now, it is a city where they are never seen. In fact, it is possible to live in Tel Aviv and never interact with a Palestinian, except while doing military service.
…[I]f enacted as he’s proposing it, Obama’s plan could actually end the NSA’s bulk collection program.
That puts hard-core Obama loyalists and pro-NSA Democrats – the ones that populate MSNBC – in an extremely difficult position. They have spent the last 10 months defending the NSA (i.e., defending Obama) by insisting that the NSA metadata program is both reasonable and necessary to Keep Us Safe™. But now Obama claims he wants to end that very same program. So what will they do?
If they had even an iota of integrity or intellectual honesty, they would instantly and aggressively condemn Obama. After all, he’s now claiming to want to end a program that they have been arguing for months is vital in Keeping Us Safe™. Wouldn’t every rational person, by definition, criticize a political leader who wants to abolish a program that they believe is necessary to stop terrorism and preserve national security?
But that’s not what will happen. After spending months praising the NSA for responsibly overseeing this critical program, they will now hail Obama for trying to end it. When he secretly bulk collects the calling data on all Americans, it shows he’s a pragmatic and strong leader who Keeps Us Safe™; when he tries to end the very same program, it shows he’s flexible and devoted to our civil liberties — just as he was right to release the torture photos and also right to suppress them. The Leader is right when he does X, and he’s equally right when he does Not X. That’s the defining attribute of the mindset of a partisan hack, an authoritarian, and the standard MSNBC host.
Mar. 13 2014
On May 10, 2013, John Brennan presented CIA’s response to the Senate Intelligence Committee Torture Report to the President. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.
The fight between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee over the Committee’s Torture Report – which Dan Froomkin covered here – has now zeroed in on the White House.
Did the White House order the CIA to withdraw 920 documents from a server made available to Committee staffers, as Senator Dianne Feinstein says the agency claimed in 2010? Were those documents – perhaps thousands of them – pulled in deference to a White House claim of executive privilege, as Senator Mark Udall and then CIA General Counsel Stephen Preston suggested last fall? And is the White House continuing to withhold 9,000 pages of documents without invoking privilege, as McClatchy reported yesterday?
We can be sure about one thing: The Obama White House has covered up the Bush presidency’s role in the torture program for years. Specifically, from 2009 to 2012, the administration went to extraordinary lengths to keep a single short phrase, describing President Bush’s authorization of the torture program, secret.