As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Video || Carney and Koffler on Libya

This was today’s exchange between Jay and me during the daily White House briefing. I have never understood exactly why, if we are fighting a war in Libya – or even a “kinetic military action,” as the White House puts it – we aren’t fighting it to win.

The White House has never completely explained the rationale for letting Europe, which specializes more in cooking than military action – take the lead in this one, other than it wants to set some kind of precedent for the conduct of multilateral military action where the United States isn’t seen as the big bully. But the result has been an incompetent, inconclusive exercise, and so I wanted to see how this could still be justified in the face of hundreds or perhaps thousands of additional deaths in Libya while things drag on.

As you can see, Jay got a little demeaning, suggesting I’m expressing opinions and proposing that I must have been on vacation last time he answered the question. If only it were so!

Anyway, it’s an old press secretary tactic to try to avoid a tough question by attacking the interlocutor, so I don’t take it personally, although I doubt Jay like me very much. But I do like that he calls on me even though he knows I won’t be lobbing a softball his way.

It’s also a tactic to try to rephrase the question into one a press secretary can better answer. He tried to suggest I was saying it was the goal of the NATO operation to remove Qaddafi which, technically, it is not. But Jay had said earlier in the briefing that President Obama himself believes “it is hard to imagine that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 will have been fulfilled as long as Qaddafi is in power.” This is what I was talking about, and he knew it.

Anyway, here you go.

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27 Responses to Video || Carney and Koffler on Libya

  1. wow.

    Did Propaganda Sec. Carney threaten to have you arrested? (like Rep. Anthony “weiner shorts” Weiner did to a reporter) -LOL

    Keep Up the Good Work Keith :-)

  2. I get where you’re going and applaud your efforts to get some real answers to this horrible KMA that is killing thousands and destroying huge portions of Libya. This administration has made another mistake that will haunt us for years to come. Our (NATO) action has made Kadaffi stronger and his people afraid of him and us.
    RepBoehner is set to introduce an action tomorrow to call out the Prez on his actions in Libya and demand some answers.
    We look foolish and weak, again.

  3. Did he really say you should have this debate in the op ed pages somewhere? What a pompous jerk. Good job holding his feet to the fire Keith.

  4. Watch Jay weave that web..
    No,I agree on that 1973 does not call for regime change and just protection of civilians, that in itself is no excuse to end this quickly. Barry wanted to get involved (and I’m fine with that),but get it done.When you go in you use overwhelming force and remove the threat completely.He asks for negotiations,screw that. I want his unconditional surrender.The day we removed ourselves from the equation,the cd started skipping and it drags on.We have destroyed his air force, navy, and a good chunk of his army,but its all been half ass’d.we should have left a wing of Warthogs and Spector gunships there and a half dozen drones and let them open hunt,this all could have been over 2 months ago.
    And since the lil shifty one there is technically right,well then they should get to prepping a new resolution then, updated with the international arrest warrants for crimes against humanity,and go in and get him.Trust me hit that compound for a couple hours with bombs and drop the 82nd in there on his ass,enough messing around.
    Bet Barry did that, Assad just might back off his people in Syria.
    Do it and get it over with. Iran’s making it’s way to the ring, and there’s no time to rest up

    • And as far as making the mainstream guys squirm it’s good for them.Some people need to learn the difference between writing factual articles and op-ed’s..

    • Right Jeff, this is the point. Get it done. We are in fact going after Qaddafi, just pretending not to because of the resolution, so we have a half-hearted effort that is prolonging the agony.

  5. Do politicians not realize that the military is designed for one basic purpose, to destroy things? This concept of “kinetic military action” is insane. When you hamstring a horse it can’t run. When you hamstring the military, whether it be through insane ROEs, lack of equipment/funding, morale breaking social engineering, or a lack of direction from the top you place the military in a position where it cannot run to its fullest potential. This leads to the quagmires that we experienced in Vietnam and now are beginning to experience in Afghanistan, and most likely to see in Libya. It won’t be long before we are “Waist deep in the Big Muddy” to quote Pete Seeger, and all because we have, as we did with another Democrat in 1967, no leadership.

    Keith, please keep hammering these people, someone has to show then for what they are: naive at best, incompetent for the most part, or just down right fools.

    Pete Seeger song for those that are not old enough to remember:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXnJVkEX8O4
    The song aired 25 February 1968 on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and probably lead to the shows cancellation.

    This song not only applies to Afghanistan and Libya but also to our current economic situation.

    • Haunting song.

      He is using the military to prove some kind of point about international alliances. You are right, Shofar. The military is for breaking things really hard and then going home. We never learn.

  6. Great job Keith! You handle these spins much better than I would. Thanks for not letting Carney or this Administration get away with their failures. Man I like this web site and the work you do. One of the best sites out there for sure.

  7. I know he signed up for the job and will prosper in the end because of it, but I actually pity Carney. Can you imagine having to get up each day knowing that you are the guy who has to defend the illogical and naive positions of your boss?

    Your point is well taken about the US getting more involved. War is a bitch, but it’s usually more humane to get it over with quicly than to let it drag out.

    • Scott, it’s an interesting point with Carney. Every reporter has a sense of irony and skepticism ground into them. It must be harder for Carney than most press secretaries to espouse things he doesn’t agree with.

      • Yeah. At some point, integrity kicks in with most folks. He seems like a decent kind of guy, so it will likely happen with him sooner or later. Great blog. Keep up the great work!

        • You did mention once that Carney seemed to be a little light on the irony when he told you you he was making the world safe for democracy or something like that.

  8. So if the goal is NOT “regime change” but protection of civilians and enforcement of a no-fly zone, hasn’t that been achieved?

    Keith,

    It’s my theory that the WH press corps lob softballs at Carney because he was one of them in his previous life as a reporter for Time. We can’t make someone who was one of US look bad. Plus it makes BHO look bad. What do you think?

    War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Truth.

  9. OK–for once and for all–what the patoot IS a kinetic military action–kinetic, moving, don’t all things move? Very bad word merchanting!