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August 6th, 2013
thesmithian

…at once a deeply affecting story about a mother and a son that attests to the debut of an extraordinarily gifted writer, and a conceptually flawed novel about a fictional Navy SEAL raid that just happens to take place on May 2, 2011, the same night as the one that killed Osama bin Laden.

more.

December 10th, 2012
thesmithian

The…acclaim Zero Dark Thirty is already receiving suggests that it may do what Karl Rove could not have done with all the money in the world: Embed in the popular imagination the efficacy, even the necessity, of torture, despite available evidence to the contrary.

more.

September 11th, 2012
thesmithian
None of us will ever forget where we were on that terrible September day when our country was attacked. All of us will always remember the image of President Bush standing on that pile of rubble, bullhorn in hand, conveying extraordinary strength and resolve to the American people but also representing the strength and resolve of the American people. And last year, when we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, I made it clear that our success was due to many people in many organizations working together over many years—across two administrations. That’s why my first call once American forces were safely out of harm’s way was to President Bush. Because protecting our country is neither the work of one person, nor the task of one period of time, it’s an ongoing obligation that we all share.

President Obama, May 2012.

Though others disregard what he said.

August 22nd, 2012
thesmithian

A detailed first-person account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, written under a pseudonym by a member of the Navy SEALs who participated in the mission and was present at bin Laden’s death, will…be released on Sept. 11…The author’s name will be listed as Mark Owen…For security reasons, he used a pseudonym and changed the names of other SEAL members.

more.

August 16th, 2012
thesmithian
The president and his national security team—I’m not a political guy, but I will tell you as, as an interested observer in this—they were magnificent in how they handled it start to finish…At the end of the day, make no mistake about it, it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden for this operation, that made the hard decisions, that was instrumental in the planning process, because I pitched every plan to him.

Adm. William H. McRaven of the US Navy

who oversaw the [Bin Laden] raid as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command

more. and, meanwhile, there is of course this.

April 25th, 2012
thesmithian

The president was more somber than in our past interviews—and less inclined to depart from the handful of themes he had been concentrating on in recent weeks. He avoided discussing Mitt Romney, even when asked a direct question, and focused primarily on the very real constraints he operates under as president, from the intransigence of Congress to the dilemma of America’s anti-drug laws. He also seemed intent on summing up the arguments he’ll soon be taking out on the campaign trail, making clear that he plans to run on his remarkable record of accomplishments: extending health insurance to 32 million Americans, staving off a major economic collapse, rescuing the auto industry, reforming student loans, ending discrimination against gay soldiers, pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, killing Osama bin Laden, and passing one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in history. The hourlong discussion was the longest and most substantive interview the president has granted in over a year.

more.

The president was more somber than in our past interviews—and less inclined to depart from the handful of themes he had been concentrating on in recent weeks. He avoided discussing Mitt Romney, even when asked a direct question, and focused primarily on the very real constraints he operates under as president, from the intransigence of Congress to the dilemma of America’s anti-drug laws. He also seemed intent on summing up the arguments he’ll soon be taking out on the campaign trail, making clear that he plans to run on his remarkable record of accomplishments: extending health insurance to 32 million Americans, staving off a major economic collapse, rescuing the auto industry, reforming student loans, ending discrimination against gay soldiers, pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, killing Osama bin Laden, and passing one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in history. The hourlong discussion was the longest and most substantive interview the president has granted in over a year.

more.

March 30th, 2012
thesmithian
No matter what he does—rescuing the unemployed, insuring people with pre-existing conditions, getting us out of Iraq, ridding the world of bin Laden—the obscuring hoodie of his uncharacteristic life plunges his actions into a troubling darkness. No matter how familiar his face has become, half the country still cannot recognize him. The deranged “Stand Your Ground Law” that has had the effect of legalizing murder in Florida got on the books before Obama’s election. But since Obama became president, paranoia and hysteria have fueled the opposition to him, and laws making it easier to carry concealed weapons have proliferated throughout the country. Make no mistake about it. Forged in paranoia and hysteria, Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin was no less than a surrogate assassination of our alarming black president.
Lee Siegel, at The Daily Beast.
February 18th, 2012
thesmithian

'For the past three years America has been walking softly, and it's working very, very well.'

Ten years back, America often found itself isolated, struggling…Lately, we have been finding ourselves in the majority, along with the democratic world, while Russia and China front a dwindling coalition of the unwilling…this reflects a smart, subtle foreign-policy presence in which we have done a vastly better job of looking at what other countries actually want, and seeing where our interests align, rather than trying to bully other countries into supporting our goals. To some extent, it’s luck: the Arab spring happened.And to some extent, there’s a personal factor. Look through the Pew Global Attitudes project data on confidence in the US president…Commentators who envision Barack Obama running on his foreign-policy successes in this year’s campaign generally adduce examples like the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the crippling of al-Qaeda. Perhaps these are the examples that figure most clearly in the American voter’s imagination. It would be nice, though, if voters evaluated presidents’ foreign policies on the basis of whether they had won the respect of the world and advanced American interests internationally.

bold, ours. more.

December 17th, 2011
thesmithian

Obama, whatever you may feel about some (many) of his decisions, bears absolutely no resemblance to the timorous, apologizing guy of the right’s fantasies. He compromises too much, but that’s out of a false sense of what will work, not lack of nerve; he can be very steely and gutsy. And yes, he did take down bin Laden, and has been altogether a much more effective enemy to Al Qaeda than Bush ever was. But [Mitt] Romney doesn’t care. He’s playing to the base, and counting on the media either to cover up his lies, or pretend that both sides do it.

more.

October 20th, 2011
thesmithian

Obama is responsible for an aggressive assault on Al Qaeda, including  the killing of bin Laden, in Pakistan, and of Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen.  Beginning with his 2009 speech in Cairo, the President has walked a  deliberate, effective path on the question of Arab uprisings,  encouraging forces of liberation in the region without ignoring the  complexities of each country or threatening Iraq-style interventions. He  has drawn down forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; awakened to the  miserable realities of Pakistan and Iran; and, most recently, played a  crucial role, without loss of American lives, in the overthrow of the  world’s longest-reigning dictator. If a Republican had been responsible  for the foreign-policy markers of the past three years, the Party would  be commissioning statues. In Tripoli, Benghazi, and Surt, last week,  Obama won words of praise; on Republican debate platforms, there was  only mindless posturing. In an election year, the world is too little  with us. 

more.

Obama is responsible for an aggressive assault on Al Qaeda, including the killing of bin Laden, in Pakistan, and of Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen. Beginning with his 2009 speech in Cairo, the President has walked a deliberate, effective path on the question of Arab uprisings, encouraging forces of liberation in the region without ignoring the complexities of each country or threatening Iraq-style interventions. He has drawn down forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; awakened to the miserable realities of Pakistan and Iran; and, most recently, played a crucial role, without loss of American lives, in the overthrow of the world’s longest-reigning dictator. If a Republican had been responsible for the foreign-policy markers of the past three years, the Party would be commissioning statues. In Tripoli, Benghazi, and Surt, last week, Obama won words of praise; on Republican debate platforms, there was only mindless posturing. In an election year, the world is too little with us. 

more.



October 17th, 2011
thesmithian

…a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that, in the past five months…Obama has received the most…negative press of any of the presidential candidates by a wide margin, with negative assessments outweighing positive ones by four to one…9% of the president’s coverage was positive, while 34% was negative—a stark contrast to the 32% positive coverage and 20% negative that it found Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the most covered Republican, received. “His coverage has been substantially more negative in every one of the last 23 weeks of the last five months—even the week that Bin Laden was killed,” Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said of the president’s treatment in the media…

more.

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