tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC June 22, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
recalculate the political formula without a drop of blood or tears being shed? good night and good luck. and now it is my pleasure to once again introduce you to my very good friend, rachel maddow. >> thank you for that special comment. and thanks for the introduction. i appreciate it. thanks to you at home, as well, for staying with us for the next hour. we begin tonight with how a lightning rod works. all right. ready? here's a house with a lightning rod on it. if lightning is going to strike a building, if all goes well, the lightning rod should get hit first and then conduct the energy of the lightning bolt down a wire safely to the ground. the big idea is that you divert the power of the lightning into this device that is designed to be able to take it to take and conduct safely to the ground all this heat and all this energy to thereby protect the structure to which the lightning rod is attached. the structure that lightning rod
general stanley mcchrystal now stands atop, the structure to which he is attached and that he protects is the war in afghanistan. the counter insurgency doctrine that he has implemented that has tripled the number of troops in afghanistan since george w. bush left office in now what has become america's longest war ever. here's what it looks like when lightning hits that lightning rod. from the military newspaper "stars and stripes" a general's contem contempt. it leads "president barack obama faces two grim choices on wednesday, fire general stanley mcchrystal and risk looking like he's lost control of the war in afghanistan, or keep him and risk losing like he's lost control of his generals." >> right now it will be the president who must decide whether he has trust and confidence in general mcchrystal to continue to command this war. >> the president will speak with general mcchrystal about his
comments. and we'll have more to say after that meeting. >> is mcchrystal's job safe? >> we'll have more to say after that meeting. >> i couldn't believe general mcchrystal being the good soldier i think he is, at least in this article not being a very good soldier. >> i think it's clear that the article in which he and his team appeared showed a poor -- showed poor judgment. >> all this is raining down on general stanley mcchrystal right now because of impolitic quotes. attributed both to him and his closest staff in an article in "rolling stone" magazine by reporter michael hastings. >> reporter: mcchrystal told aides, president obama looked uncomfortable and intimidated at a meeting at the pentagon. >> it was mcchrystal and his aides who were unplugged showing contempt and disdain for the president. >> this is personal gossip.
this is personal laundry. >> is this insubordination? what does the law say? >> they make fun of the vice president, they make fun of the president's national security adviser -- >> mcchrystal and his aides disparage president obama, mocked vice president biden, called the national security adviser a clown. >> those quotes give you some taste of what the media coverage of this has been like today. those are the specifics that are being cited in explaining what's coming down on general mcchrystal. and if that seems like a lot of criticism to come under for essentially saying mean things about people you work with, it's because it is more than that. i mean, first of all in this case the people you work with include the president of the united states at whose direction you are conducting a major war and to whom you're constitutionally required to answer. but second, this is lightning. this mega-media attention that has followed these snarky comments in "rolling stone" is not just about the snarky comments themselves and not just
about general stanley mcchrystal. it is about what general mcchrystal represents. america's strategy in afghanistan, america's war in afghanistan. saying rude things about other people you work with, even your boss, even the president may not be enough to bring down this much heat under normal circumstances. the reason these comments have brought down this much heat is because general mckrchrystal is acting as a lightning rod. protecting the structure of what we're doing in afghanistan. he's the personification and the leader of this doctrine that has led a president who said he wanted to make the focus in afghanistan very narrow. who said he wanted to not get botheringed down in a quagmire, who said he wanted to not do nation building, that led a president with those goals to triple the number of troops we've got there. in year nine of the war. and so now general mcchrystal has attracted this light and heat to himself with these unfortunate comments like a lightning rod does. but the question is, will he
actually work as a lightning rod? will he function that way? will he continue to attract all the attention to himself as an individual so that this all remains just a general mcchrystal issue, just a general mcchrystal problem? or will he be unable to contain this light and heat and energy from traveling down to the structure that he's protecting? the whole idea behind this war effort? that is actually what michael hastings' article in "rolling stone" is about. it's about general mcchrystal not just as a guy who drinks bud light lime and talks trash with his staff, but as a true leader and believer in a doctrine is getting hard to justify in america's longest war. joining us now is douglas mcgregor who is author of the book "warrior's rage," cited by michael hastings in his "rolling stone" article as a critic of the doctrine. thank you very much for coming on the show again. >> thank you, rachel. >> if the president chose to remove general mcchrystal over these comments, do you think he would be justified in doing so?
>> oh, absolutely. without question. setting aside all of the imprudent remarks you've already covered, one of the things mcchrystal does in the article is he expresses an acute lack of confidence in the validity of the very tactics that is counterinsurgency that he urged the president to adopt last fall. and if you've got a commander in the field who has serious questions about the validity of the approach that he's taking, that in and of itself is justification in my opinion to call him back and ultimately replace him with someone else. >> do you think this scandal presents a real opportunity for us? not in theory, not in academic terms, but a real opportunity right now for us to rethink our strategy in afghanistan? is there a competing strategy available other than counterinsurgency to explain, justify, and give a purpose to what our troops are doing there now? >> absolutely. this is a golden opportunity. in my judgment, what the president should do is remove
mcchrystal and announce that he's going to appoint someone else and that new commanding officer is going to have 30 days to make an appraisal and come back to the president with recommendations regarding what we should do. one of the things that americans don't seem to understand is that what we've been doing is clearly an extension of what's been going on under the bush administration for many, many years. if you go back to bob woodward's book, he asks him, this is before the obama election, don't you want these policies to continue? don't you want us to continue doing in iraq and to expand what we're doing in afghanistan? and gates says, well, yes, we want to continue these policies. and then he says well you've got to appoint the commanders in the field who are aligned with us, who will pursue these policies. and you have four-star generals now who have been moved into key positions who are aligned with the policies of the past.
mcchrystal was not put into afghanistan to change anything. he was put there to pick up this counterinsurgency doctrine, which was presented to him by general petraeus and to dramatically expand our commitment in afghanistan. that's what he's done. >> colonel mcgregor, i know that you knew general mcchrystal as a cadet at westpoint many years ago and knew him many years after that. in terms of what has become of his career, his role right now in pushing counterinsurgency as a justification for continued involvement in afghanistan, the general mcchrystal portrayed in this article today. do you recognize him over the course of the time you've known him since his early career? >> in some ways, yes. people don't really change dramatically. first of all, stan mcchrystal is a nice person. and you would enjoy having a beer with him. but stan mcchrystal is an infantry officer. he doesn't have a background in the kinds of things frankly that he's been asked to do. and i think mcchrystal has come
to the realization that what he's been asked to do isn't going to happen with the resources he's got, and i think he knows that afghanistan is not a place where you can create western institutions, new governments, new ways of doing business. this is a very back ward place, it's very diverse. he's got -- he's got a very different set of requirements than i think he ever anticipated. >> colonel douglas mcgregor, thank you very much for your time tonight. i really appreciate your insight here. >> thank you. >> we're joined by steve. thanks very much for joining us. >> good to be with you. >> you wrote at the huffington post today that mcchrystal has questioned the white house's legitimacy and leadership. what do you mean by that? and am i right in thinking you think he's done permanent damage? >> i think he and his team have done real damage. and i think along the lines of your conversation with colonel mcgregor, it's not just about
these snarky comments. it's a question about how he looks at the role of civilian leadership and partnership with other branchs of government. i think one of the things that was most disturbing in this and why this is such a self-inflicted tragedy in some parts for him it's been carl ikenberry, and richmond hard ho and jim jones. and what he did with all of these resources is failed to partner with the team that president obama assigned to handle this task in afghanistan. and the wheels came off. and in part the wheels came off because of his own irresponsibility in my view. that then causes the problem, i think, of trust in the overall enterprise. >> isn't that a smaller scale version of the overall -- the overall issue with counterinsurgency and practice? we have this incredibly efficient, gigantic disproportionate force that is our military. we don't have anything approaching that sort of power in our non-military governmental
structures. and so when we try to have some sort of civilian surge to go alongside this military effort so that we can call it counterinsurgency, we end up essentially just doing a very long war over a very large piece of terrain. >> if you stack up the resources that vice president biden has that even richard holbrook has who was pretty good at amassing bureaucratic power, you add to that what carl ikenberry may have, you look at what the staff as a whole has and general mcchrystal and petraeus can outgun them, outman them with pr press agents, who have got their own staff of strategists. if you talk to the obama white house national security council team, they will tell you how outgunned they are by the military on all these fronts. and this is why his behavior has such huge echo effects in the way the american public looks at these questions and why, i think what he's done has had such a devastating impact. >> steve, let me read you one thing that was including today and get your reaction.
the coin doctrine draws inspiration from some of the biggest western military embarrassing incidents. france's nasty war in algeria lost in 1962, and vietnam lost in 1975. but even if general mcchrystal manages to succeed the war will do little to shut down al qaeda which has shifted its operations to pakistan dispatching 150,000 troops to build new schools, roads, mosques, schools around kandahar is like trying to stop the drug war in mexico by occupying arkansas and building baptist churches in little rock. >> i think hastings lays it out. i think this is the problem, hopefully in this process of review of general mcchrystal will also review counterinsurgency strategy and begin thinking about what our objectives really are and the men and women we've deployed. $100 billion a year at current levels are going into afghanistan into a country with a gdp of about $14 billion. so it's just a remarkable set of data points that make no sense.
when you look at the kind of broad exercise of american power and how it's not just afghanistan, if you're iran or north korea or you're an ally counting on the united states and you see such a devotion of resources and materials to a failing cause, do they think -- that their ally, the united states, will be there when they need help? or do you think iran is somehow so intimidated by the american military machine from this that they're going to change their course because of sanctions in the u.n.? i think that we don't look at the overall costs of this quagmire we're in afghanistan. and i think that general mcchrystal's -- not only his comments but the team's comments, not just about the president's team, but about our allies. that's the really disgusting part about what we saw come out of this was the, you know, flagrant, i think, flippancy towards allies that we have in the field with us. >> steve clemons, it's nice to
see you, steve, thank you for being here. it's nice to have you here. just ahead, i speak with the reporter in the middle of the mcchrystal meltdown from afghanistan "rolling stone's" michael hastings. and later, tired of all the negiviativity about bp's oil disaster? it's full of -- this is their word -- wonderment. that's how they see it. please stay with us. (laughing through computer) good night, buddy. good morning, dad. (announcer) oreo. milk's favorite cookie. bolt that burrito. no matter what life throws at you, you can take the heat. until it turns into... heartburn. good thing you've got what it takes to beat that heat, too. zantac. it's strong, just one pill can knock out the burn. it's fast, the speed you need for heartburn relief. and it lasts, up to 12 hours. so let them turn up the heat.
he got unprecedented access to afghanistvenu america's mili in afghanistan. watch az his profile of stanley mcchrystal throws the obama administration's war plans into chaos. >> i've been surprised, quite honestly about the fallout that happened after. since the stories. it's really just published a few hours ago, i think, online. but i've been quite surprised by it. i'm not sure what the actual fallout's going to be.
the way this turns out with interesting questions. >> my conversation with michael hastings, the bomb shell about general mcchrystal is next. ♪ [ male announcer ] imagination. it's the most powerful resource on earth. and at ge, we're using it, right now, to create innovative technology that will improve the health of our economy... the health of the earth... ♪ ...and the health of its people. ♪
♪ we all understand that "rolling stone" is not a typical publication that the u.s. military deals with. >> you've got to wonder what "rolling stone" did to win over the general's confidence. >> i look at general mcchrystal doing an interview with "rolling stone" magazine and somehow people are expressing surprise it would boomerang. hello, "rolling stone."
>> i first of all just dropped my microphone, which has nothing to do with this. second of all, i've got to tell you about watching the coverage of this michael hastings/general mcchrystal thing. the issue is not "rolling stone" or michael hastings. i have been the beneficiary of this criticism before where the news outlet gets faulted for what the interview subject said to that news outlet. think about this, are we really supposed to believe that if general mcchrystal and his staff had said these same things to some other reporter that they said to michael hastings that that other reporter wouldn't have published those remarks for political reasons? seriously? michael hastings and "rolling stone" got with this piece is a scoop and it is jealous or it is a really craven cynicism about what journalism is for that's driving criticism of "rolling stone" for getting this scoop. michael hastings has been a guest on this show a number of times. earlier today i spoke with him
from afghanistan. >> joining us now from kandahar is michael hastings, an accomplished and experienced freelance journalist who has reported from a number of war zones. he is also a friend of mine. his last book was called "i lost my love in baghdad" but his most recent article "the run away general" that has turned the news upside down today. michael hastings, thanks so much for your time. mike, tell me what kind of access you were allowed for this article. >> i was granted unprecedented access to general mcchrystal on my trip to paris and then to afghanistan. it was unprecedented access. i sat inside a room with general mcchrystal. >> and in terms of his inner circle and the degree to which they spoke freely and quite -- in quite impolitic terms about people involved in the war effort and american leadership. did they know it was on the
record? were they comfortable voicing those things knowing you were a reporter? >> -- before i began the profile. and it was my understanding that it was all on the record. and that's why i continued to report on them for the following number of weeks. >> michael, i know that in the piece -- i mean general mcchrystal comes across as incredibly impolitic but not in an unflattering light. you definitely portray him as a true believer in counterinsurgency. but counterinsurgency means military force combined with a lot of non-military force. and he and his inner circle talked complete smack about everybody on the non-military side. so how does that make sense? how do they reconcile that? >> well, i think -- one of the things about general mcchrystal and whether or not he's impolitic, look at his statement was that it was a bleeding ulcer. if he's saying that in public about the war effort, what do you think he's saying in
private? i think that's a big issue in terms of counter insurgency, the relationship between the civilian military side. i think that's always very tricky in terms of operations. and i think part of the problem is that the military says they actually buy into these political solutions, to use force and what they're sort of inherently good at. >> sort of a hollowed out insurgency that you talk about a lot of military force, but maybe not as an important part of it. you describe the hard core proponents of coin as having a cultish zeal. something we've talked about in the past. does -- is there something about the idea of counterinsurgency that essentially requires people to be disdainful of outside views about the wider impact of it? about the difficulty of selling it politically?
>> i was just rereading the best and the brightest, and one of them described being very excited at these new theorys of counterinsurgency. i think the general has to look at where the counterinsurgency is here and draw their inspiration from. and most of the examples they draw from are not very promising. the french and algeria in 1962 and the u.s. and vietnam in 1975. both ended in defeat. they claimed they were military victories. but, in fact, it's not really too many promising examples they could really point to. >> michael, so far a civilian press aide to mcchrystal has resigned in the light of your article. right now i know you're in kandahar, you're in afghanistan with plans to be there for some time. do you have any expectation of what the other fallout of this might be? >> i've been surprised quite honestly about the fallout that has happened after the article.
it's really just actually got published a few hours ago, i think, online. but i've been quite surprised by it. i'm not sure what the actual fallout's going to be. i think it's -- i think it's, you know, the way that you find out raises some interesting questions. >> of course, the way general mcchrystal got this job because mckearnan was relieved of his responsibility in afghanistan, the previous top commander in country. does the counterinsurgency doctrine and strategy survive another change at the top? if it has to happen, are there enough true believers just among the ranks of soldiers and officers who you've been dealing with there while you've been reporting? >> reporter: i think counterinsurgency is the only solution that they've come up with that they really want to -- want to do. it seems like there's not much stomach for actually changing our strategy, drawing down and doing more counterterrorism missions.
i think you changed the talk, but the problem remains. the counterinsurgency strategy was set in motion, and i believe if you change the top it's not going to make too much of a difference. because i think the problem would be the same. in conflicts and democratic societies in developing nations. they take on a momentum of their own. we went into afghanistan after september 11th with the explicit goal not to get stuck in a quagmire. seven years later, we're exactly where we set not to be, we're in a quagmire and we know and walked into. >> michael hastings joining us by phone from kandahar, his latest reporting for "rolling stone" magazine in an article called "the run away general" has turned the news and american politics and the war effort upside down today because of this unprecedented access he
received to general mcchrystal and his inner circle. michael, take care of yourself, congratulations on this scoop, and good luck. >> thank you. >> in the midst of all of the other huge news going on right now, good news to announce you're leaving peter orzag, well done. it's also another primary election night tonight. and there are a number of races worth noting, including an african-american republican running for congress in south carolina against the son of strom thurmond. we'll have the results in just a moment. also some upbeat news on the bp oil disaster in the gulf as reported, of course, by bp. and we'll return to the story of general mcchrystal to chart the collision course leading up to tomorrow's less than pleasant face-to-face with the president of the united states. please do stay with us. i thought i'd take a drive before work. want to come? [ female announcer ] or make his day. yeah. [ female announcer ] maxwell house gives you a rich, full-flavored cup of coffee, so you can be good to the last drop.
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everything else that's going on, you know what? it is tuesday night in an even-numbered year. and you know what that music means, primary night in america with big elections in four states tonight. quickly, some highlights from the big races, nikki haley has survived two unsubstanuated claims of infidelity. and tim scott is another step closer to becoming the first african-american u.s. republican
congressman since j.c. watts after beating strom thurmond's young son for that seat. in south carolina's fourth district, the mostly flawed beltway common wisdom played out true as incumbent republican congressman bob inglass was defeated. in north carolina, the action was on the democratic side where the secretary of state there elaine marshall proceeded to be the more grass roots choice. beating cal cunningham for the right to face richard burr in november. and in utah where polls close at 8:00 p.m. local time, super conservatives already ousted bob bennett at the republican party convention. public not welcome. that led to tonight's showdown between the jim demint ron paul freedom choice and not their choice tim bridgewater. as it stands right now, that race between two relatively very unfamous men in utah still too close to call.
this is not exactly super tuesday. but i would feel very comfortable calling it well above average tuesday. there is news beyond the elections in republican politics tonight. rnc chair michael steele offered creative history about job creation and president bush and carl rove's plans to raise lots of money appear to have fallen short by almost infinity. to discuss it all, we're very excited to welcome back to the show republican party spokesman and totally good sport doug haig. also, later on, essential background on tomorrow's meeting between president obama and general stanley mcchrystal, one of those meetings nobody wants to attend. preview of the awkward coming up. . hey, mayor white. how you doing? great. come on in. would you like to see our new police department? yeah, all right. this way. and here it is. completely networked. so, anything happening, suz? she's all good. oh, my gosh. is that my car? [ whirring ]
what you're seeing is a jobless recovery. you're seeing people, you know, the market doing okay here and there and growth over there and maybe a little bit over there. but it's not getting down to where it needs to go so that here was an entrepreneur, we'll say you know what i'm going to hire mark today because i need to expand my business. >> this is very similar to what we ran into under george bush. we had a jobless recovery coming out of the 2001 recession. so --
>> george bush created a lot of jobs, if i -- >> beg your pardon? >> i think there were jobs created in the eight years that george bush was -- >> we could pull up those numbers. >> i could pull up some numbers too. i'll put my numbers against your numbers. >> i leave it to anyone out there in the audience to research that. the bush administration was a mess -- massive loss. >> you got that number? i think that the jobs were created. i'm almost confident. >> okay. >> that was almost confident republican national committee chairman michael steele on cnbc this morning with his numbers on the economy and job growth under george w. bush. and maybe this is the kind of thing where everybody has their own data set. here's mine from that liberal economic policy, the "wall street journal," jobs created under jimmy carter in one term, 10.5 million, jobs created under ronald reagan in two terms, 16 million, jobs created under george h.w. bush in four years, 2.5 million, jobs created under
bill clinton in eight years, 23 million, and in george w. bush's two terms, 3 million jobs. 3 million jobs in eight years. woo-hoo, nothing to cheer about, really. but certainly nothing to bring up and press as a point in an interview in an election year when george bush wasn't even part of the discussion. especially a weird thing to bring up if you are the chairman of the republican party. in the midst of a number of controversies surrounding mr. steele's tenure as republican party chairman, carl rove and other republican party insiders devised a plan to raise money -- kind of around the rnc -- at least through a different group. they announced a fund raising group called american crossroads. >> because the democrat haves a series of organizations that have allowed them to effectively carry the fight, moveon.org, the unions, democracy corps, center for american progress, these are all organizations that have had a role and function we're trying
to duplicate on the center right of american politics. >> american crossroads set a fund raising goal of $52 million. they said they would raise $52 million for republicans for the midterms. and goals are good. public goals are good, unless you fall very, very short of them very, very publicly. american crossroads raised $1.25 million since march. but don't worry, the group says it has pledges for millions more in donations. pledges. joining us now is the communications director for the republican national committee. this is his second appearance on this show. last time he was here, i promised to buy him a beer if mitch mcconnell actually showed up to a unity rally with rand paul, senator mcconnell did and for the record, i made good on my promise. hi, doug, it's good to see you. >> you did make good on the promise. i appreciate it. >> is the fund raising failure,
at least thus far, of american crossroads sort of a tacit endorsement of the rnc? >> no, i don't think that -- well, i wouldn't characterize it as an end run. i would agree with everything that carl said. we need these organizations, and i'd also add that the american action network run by rob collins which is another organization out there trying to replicate what was done with move on that was very successful for the center of muamerican progress. for the first time we don't have a white house, house, or senate, we also don't have soft money. and when the democrats were in that situation, they were very smart and set up these organizations to fund elections. that's what these groups are doing, obviously we can't work directly with them. but we all have a united goal and that's to fire nancy pelosi, to retire harry reid, and we're glad they're in this fight. and we know -- you look at how campaign funds come in. they always come in most at the
end. and we know that they'll be successful and -- they'll help us get over that hurdle. >> if you are -- if you are psyched about them, if you don't feel they are competition, you feel like you're all sort of growing in the same direction, that $200 in one month for an organization that wants to raise $52 million by just a couple of months from now, i -- i realize that the argument they might make all their money at the end, but for a carl rove, ed gallespie organization, isn't that pitiful? >> you need to look at the future. and if they are in behind in operation, it's not going to be insignificant. we know there are going to be major players and they're going to help us do what we need to do is that's to win seats in november. we're all united behind that. >> doug, i spokesman for the rnc. you had to have seen that interview with your boss, chairman steele this morning on cnbc. he seemed to get a little tied up with the george w. bush jobs record, the jobs numbers. was he trying to say something other than what he actually said there? >> no, look, i think he did talk
about 3 million jobs were created under the bush administration, george w. bush administration. is that where we wanted them to be? no, but it'd be false to suggest there are not. but we look back too much, i think, we need to look forward and really look into the now. we see this president always trying to blame everything on what he's inherited. seems anything that goes wrong in this country is something he inherited. but we were promised to create about 3 million jobs with the stimulus bill, we've lost 2.2 million so far. that's not a number that doesn't mean anything. you look at a state like nevada where unemployment's at 14% despite having harry reid, the majority leader of the senate there. and it's going to be a continuing issue for the voters in nevada. because you've got two industries, gaming and construction that are absolutely related. i don't know how that state gets out of it until we have fiscal sanity. >> i think the reason george w. bush came up in that discussion and i can't speak for cnbc, but what seems relevant. we had population growth of 22
million people in that same period. the most anemic jobs record of any president of either party. do republicans have some other idea they kept secret during the george w. bush administration during most of the time in which they also controlled capitol hill? is there some new idea? if the old george w. bush idea is what would come back if the republicans did win these next elections, i think that seems scary. >> well, we want to make sure there's fiscal sanity. what's scary to voters is this increasing spending, this increased debt. you talk to voters, debt has always been something that voters say they're concerned about. but the intensity of their concern about it these days is just tremendous. and it's part of the reason why you've seen this absolute flip from where republicans were a year ago to where we are now. if i'm sitting in this chair a year ago, you're asking me about the republican party being dead and now we're talking about how many seats we're going to win back. that's a great conversation for us. >> and we're talking about carl rove only raising $200 in a month. let's be honest, but you're
right, we had the conversation as proceeded in a direction that i'm sure you're happy with. doug heye communications director with the republican national committee. >> hey, rachel. when you and i were together, would that qualify as a unity event? >> um -- i paid. if we had gone dutch, yes. so next time. >> next time. >> next time. thanks, doug. feels like christmas whenever we get a republican to come on this show. so thanks a lot. appreciate it. >> thank you. so if you think the bp oil disaster is totally overblown by the lame stream media -- that's us -- then bp has a story to tell you. the second installment of bp press release theater is coming up, and it is magnificent. please stay with us. don't be afraid to break out of your comfort zone. okay. it's so bold! [ male announcer ] new kraft sandwich shop. give your sandwich a makeover. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 investment firms wouldn't even dream of overcharging people. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 in fact, they'd spend all of their time dreaming up ways
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a federal judge in louisiana this afternoon issued an injunction trying to block the government's new moratorium on deepwater drilling. here was his reasoning. the deepwater horizon oil spill is an unprecedented disaster. what seems clear is that the federal government has been pressed by what happened on the deepwater horizon into an otherwise sweeping confirmation that all deep water drilling activities put us in a universal threat of irreparable harm. sweeping confirmation. oh, federal government, you're being so rash. deepwater drilling is fine. who says it's not? what we've learned from the
deepwater horizon disaster, if anything goes wrong on a well, if anything say busts at the sea floor, nobody has any idea how to clean it up let alone how to fix it. it's not a theory, not a hypothesis, that's the brutal 64 days of oil covered truth. so when a judge looks at the bp disaster and says i still believe that deepwater drilling is safe, full speed ahead, the oil companies say they can handle it. when a judge does that, sometimes you check his financial disclosure statements. and sometimes you find that that judge owns a bunch of stock in transocean which happens to own the rig that just blew up. why didn't he recuse himself from this case? and ken salazar says he will issue a new order imposing the moratorium with a more explicit case about its necessity. on the other hand, the american petroleum institute released a statement in support of the judge's injunction that said this "with this ruling, our industry and its people can get back to work to provide americans with the energy they need and do it safely and without harming the environment."
because they said it in statement form, it is not known whether the institute said the part about safely and without harming in the environment with a straight face. on day 64 of oil destroying the gulf of mexico. for its part, bp itself continues to inform the public about the oil disaster. with its reports from the gulf series. these are posted at bp.com. and this new one affords us the opportunity to bring you another installment of the "rachel maddow's theater." from bp's real life report on the company's response to the worst oil spill in american history which they caused. we added the voice and the pictures and the music for your enjoyment. ♪ >> i'm filled with the
wonderment of what's happening below our chopper only moments after it lifts 'after it lifts off. it's strangely peaceful here. just right to surrendering to some meditation. for awhile, the most noticeable aspect of the scenes below is the presence of huge onshore facilities to supply and support the offshore oil fields. these facilities alone employ thousands just in this one region of the coast. soon, the scenes below begin changing, almost as if there's a growing competition between land and water to dominate the landscape. eventually, the marshes and swamps prevail. wetlands pierced by canals, channels, harbors and causeways and even the last traces of roads that are gradually disappearing into a no man's land between terra firma and the sea. from high above, i can clearly see the importance and fragileity of sandy wetlands held together by a delicate mesh of vegetation. i now have a much better understanding of why the vast
wetlands are so important to wildlife and as barriers against hurricanes. these natural fortifications are the shore's last line of defense. out here, flying at a height of up to 1400 feet, the clouds are puffy white and brilliantly lighted, but cast dark shadows on the wave-capped water below. we can see the curvature of the earth and eventually pass over dozens of the more than 6,000 platforms that the oil and gas industry has built in the u.s. gulf coast waters during the past 60 some years. it's likely that there will be no alternative to the gulf as a key source of american energy for decades to come. that is why it is so essential to protect it, even the most severe critics of the oil industry tend to accept that reality. >> so to summarize, we must protect the fragile environment of the gulf by continuing to drill in a way now proven to destroy the gulf, because everyone agrees that oil from the gulf is the way of the future. and so it was that bp officially
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the first time a top american general has been relieved from duty in war time since harry truman fired douglas mcarthur during the korean war. that has already happened. that's what president obama already did to the guy who general stanley mcchrystal replaced in afghanistan. that was general david mckiernan, who was fired by president obama last may from his role heading up the afghanistan war. general mckiernan was fired in part to make room for general mcchrystal. his own job is now very much on the line. about 13 hours from right now, u.s. army general stanley mcchrystal is expected to be sitting face-to-face with president obama in the white house situation room. on the line, the general's military career and perhaps the future of this war effort that
he has championed. this will not be the first time that these two have met face-to-face, specifically after general mcchrystal has done something to get himself in hot water. in september, while president obama was in the process of trying to decide on a way forward in afghanistan, this was the front page of "the washington post." mcchrystal, more forces or mission failure? an internal report by general mcchrystal intended for white house review only, instead magically leaked to the post. it said if the president didn't dramatically increase the number of troops, mission failure. a month later, general mcchrystal got himself into trouble again after giving a speech in london, mcchrystal was asked whether one specific strategy, one being advocated by vice president joe biden, would likely work in afghanistan. >> a short good answer is no. a strategy that does not leave afghanistan in a stable position is probably a short-sighted strategy. >> the vice president advocating a short-sighted strategy, says the commanding general in the war, in public, on the record.
that happened october 1st. on october 2nd, general mcchrystal was summoned for a private meeting with the president aboard air force one. it wasn't just general mcchrystal who got in trouble. jonathan alter reports in his new book, quote, inside the national security council, advisors considered what happened next historic. a presidential dressing-down unlike any in the united states in more than half a century. general mcchrystal's bosses, defense secretary bob gates and joint chiefs chairman admiral mike mullen were called to the oval office to face the same wrath from the president. so what's just happened with michael hastings' rolling stone article will be the third strike for general mcchris tal in terms of undermining the white house and getting dressed down for it. so far, strikes one and two didn't cost him much in terms of clout. after all, general mcchrystal was pressuring president obama to give him an extra 40,000 troops, you recall, in afghanistan, despite the criticism, the dressing-down that he earned, the general got an increase of 30,000 troops.
now, president obama may be politically and strategically constrained by the fact that he's already fired the top commander in afghanistan, which was a historic decision. doing it twice would create some pretty huge waves. but you know what, one person that president obama did not fire was robert gates, held over as defense secretary from the last administration. secretary gates is known for being willing to make a lot of waves, but one of his favorite way to make waves is by firing high-ranking officers. >> the commander at walter reed medical center is the first high-ranking officer to be fired over deplorable conditions at the hospital's out-patient facility. >> tonight, the army's top civilian officer is out. army secretary francis harvey was fired today. >> from the very day this scandal broke, defense secretary robert gates has been demanding accountability, and today, he got it. >> there is yet more fallout tonight. another firing in the scandal over conditions for some of the
patients at walter reed army medical center. the army's top doctor is now out. >> admiral fallon resigned quietly today. sources say that in the end under pressure from the white house, defense secretary gates refused to take fallon's calls, making it clear he had to go. >> well, brian, this is remarkable. secretary gates did force the resignations of the air force chief of staff, general mike mosley and air force secretary michael wynn over two incidents involving the mishandling of nuclear material, or related materials over the past year. >> look at the list of people bob gates has fired. secretary of the army, secretary of the air force, head of central command, air force chief of staff, army surgeon general, a three-star navy vice admiral, marine corps major general, all fired by bob gates, not to mention the top commander in afghanistan, who used to have stanley mcchrystal's job. what happens to general mcchrystal tomorrow and what happens to the war effort is obviously a presidential decision. removing the second wartime commander in the space of about a year would make some serious waves but at this