As in LTG McMaster was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt for his Saturday AM MSNBC show. I’m going to embed the videos, but you have to actually read the transcript that Hewitt provided on his website, read the words on the page, to really see just how much Hewitt wants the US to attack the DPRK. Or, failing that, Iran. And how gleefully unhinged he is by the idea of the US getting involved in a third and/or fourth war in under 20 years. The transcript follows the videos. Pay close attention to LTG McMaster’s answers if you want to see what the current national security strategy and policy thinking is.
The transcript is after the jump.
Here’s the transcript:
HH: General H.R. McMaster, thank you for joining me.
HRM: Thanks, Hugh. It’s a pleasure to be with you.
HH: This Sunday in Venezuela, more demonstrations are expected. Your old friend James
Stavridis said on my show on Wednesday, “There’s gonna be a violent civil war. There’s gonna
be massive refugees, and any military intervention in that country would have to come from
Columbia and/or Brazil.” Do you agree with those three assessments?
HRM: Well, I think his assessment is right, that, you know, democracy’s over right now in
Venezuela. And people have talked about what is, could there be a coup? Well, there’s already
been a coup that has happened already. Maduro has prevented the Venezuelan people from an—
havin’ a say in– in their own future. And so with the seating of this constituent assembly, it is—it
is– it is a watershed. And it’s– it’s a tragedy– for the Venezuelan people who are suffering all
kinds of deprivations based on– on the– the failed policies– of two regimes now. And– and it—
it’s really a situation that’s intolerable from the Venezuelan people’s perspective. And so what
we’re endeavoring to do is to work with partners in the region and to work on behalf of the
Venezuelan people to help rescue them from this dictatorship.
HH: Do you see a military intervention from any outside source?
HRM: No, I don’t– I don’t– I don’t think so. I think what’s– what’s really required is for
everyone to have one voice about the need to protect the rights and the safety of the– of the
HH: If there isn’t an intervention, General, does Maduro possess the potential to become a new
Castro but one even more dangerous than Castro was in ’62 when the Soviets put missiles there?
It’s a bigger country, it’s a richer country.
HRM: So the– there are b– there are big consequences obviously, mainly for the Venezuelan
people. But there– there are consequences for security in the– in the region as– as well. And so
we know that– that he’s drawing very heavily, Maduro’s drawing very heavily on support from
the Cubans. He’s also has the Chinese and the Russians underwriting this– this failed regime. This– this authoritarian dictatorship now. And so there– there are regional security implications as well as, as we already see every day, devastating consequences for the Venezuelan people.
HH: Venezuela also has a long history with Iran. And– there are reports that Iran has back and forth with them. Any idea if the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Quds Forces is in Venezuela?
HRM: Well, it wouldn’t– it wouldn’t be surprising. I know, the– of course, their priorities are– are elsewhere, what they’ve done to– to really light the Middle East on fire, to flame this– this very destructive cycle of sectarian violence in the Middle East. I mean, that’s what I think we have to hold the I.R.G.C. accountable for– for. Pull the curtain back on their subversive activities– across– across the greater Middle East.
HH: The reason I bring them up is because, if there are revolts in the street on Sunday and beyond, when the Green Movement occurred in 2009, the besiege, and the I.R.G.C. j– j– were ruthless. They just cut it down. Would you expect Maduro’s government to do the same thing with demonstrations?
HRM: Well, the– there, he’s, their, he’s already doing it, right? I mean, they’re– they are already brutally repressing the Venezuelan people. And you’ve seen this with these gangs of thugs. Typically, the, these are the sorts of organizations that are used. Legitimate security forces are a tool of profession of– cu– or– or they use security forces– as– as tool of oppression. But even what you’re seeing– become more and more– likely and– and– and more and more routine is the use of these sort of gangs of thugs as an extension of a repressive or authoritain– authoritarian regime. You see this in– in– in Iran in the form of what’s called the besiege. Right? You see this with these gangs of– of thugs in Venezuela as well.
HH: Do you want to rule out completely, does the president rule out completely no matter what the situation is, pulling a Panama, as President George Herbert Walker Bush did?
HRM: Well, are you– you know, there’s a long history in the region of– of American intervention, and that’s caused, you know, problems in the past. And so I think that we’re very cognizant of the fact that– that we don’t want to give this regime or others the opportunity to say, “Well, you know, this isn’t the problem with Maduro. This is the– this is the Yankees doing this. This is– this is– the– they’re the cause of the problem.” You’ve seen Maduro have– have some lame attempts to try to do that already. So I think it’s important for us to place responsibility for this catastrophe on Maduro’s shoulders. He is the one who has caused it, and he’s the one who’s perpetuating it.
HH: And General, let’s go to Iran, which I mentioned already. Has Secretary Mattis and President Trump and you decided on clear rules of engagement for when the Iranian ships approach our ships in the Gulf?
HRM: Yes, there are very clear rules of engagement.
HH: And would they, would it be surprising for us to have to sink one of those vessels very soon?
HRM: Well, I– our– our captains, you know, our– our naval– officers and– and leaders are strong leaders who are disciplined. And– and they will do everything they can to, you know, to advance our interests, to protect their sailors and– and to defend themselves if necessary. And the president’s made it very clear. He will never, you know, he will never question– any of our military leaders if they take actions to defend themselves and their soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
HH: And is there– is the report correct that the president wants out of the Iranian nuclear deal?
HRM: Well, the– the president, you know, is more than skeptical about that deal. He calls it, “The worst deal ever.” And in many ways, it– it was the worst deal ever, because it did, it rewarded the regime, gave them so much up front. And– and what happened is, Iran began immediately to violate the spirit of that agreement. Which was meant not only to prevent this horrible regime– that has been victimizing so many people across the greater Middle East and beyond through their support for– for brutal proxy forces, their support for the Assad regime who’s, you know, gassed and murdered his– his own people in large numbers. The support for Hamas, the support for Hezbollah and– and how that has created so much mayhem in the region for these– these– Houthi rebels in Yemen, for example. A regime that has caused so much human suffering already. The intent was to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, but also then to– to get them to moderate the beha– their behavior. What– what the regime did is the opposite of that. They actually intensified their destabilizing behavior acr– across the region. So the president’s very strong about this when he says, “The main point we oughta focus on is that Iran has violated the spirit of this agreement.” And so what we have done is we have crafted– a strategy along with a lot of our likeminded nations, allies, partners, to counter Iran’s destabilizing behavior. While we still aim to prevent by whatever means is necessary to do so– Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
HH: Now I don’t like the agreement, a lotta people don’t like the agreement, the president doesn’t like the agreement. But if we leave precipitously without a legitimate reason to do so, won’t that undermine our ability to make other agreements in other places? Is that what’s holding us in there, even though they’re violating the spirit of it?
HRM: I think what’s holding us in there right– right now is– is– our determination– as to the degree at which they are violating the letter of the agreement. And they have in the past. Right? They had too much heavy water. They had too many centrifuges running. But when we go to the I.A.E.A. to– to enforce this agreement– the– they– they’ve taken remedial measures. But of course, what they’re doing is they’re stepping over that line. And we have to be very clear. And all of our, all the signatories to this have to be clear that, “If you violate the agreement, then there– there are gonna be consequences. And– and we can’t adhere to an agreement if the main party here, Iran, is violating it.”
HH: Next review is in 90 days. Do you think the president is going to stay in the agreement 90 days?
HRM: Well, these reviews that come up every 90 days– these are internal reports to our Congress. And so they’re– they’re really two separate issues. Do we– do we certify that– that Iran is– is adhering to the deal? And we’re looking very hard at– at their adherence to it with– with our partners– and other signatories to– to the J.C.P.O.A. is what it’s called, the Iran nuclear deal. And then there– there’s also the question of whether or not you stay in the agreement, based on– on– on– on violations.
HH: Any prediction?
HRM: No– no– no predictions at all. I mean, we’re– we’re not prejudging this. We’re– we’re working hard at it every day. And we’re working hard on it as part of a broader approach to– to the problem of Iran, Iran’s destabilizing behavior, the humanitarian and political catastrophe they’re helping to perpetuate, along with, you know, the– those others responsible, including I.S.I.S.– and– and other ter– terrorist groups in the region. But I– I think Iran is behaving in a way that you could say is aimed at keeping the Arab world perpetually weak and enmeshed in conflict, so they can use this chaotic environment in the Middle East to advance their hegemonic aims. Their– their desire to– to dominate in the region.
HH: Should the Supreme Leader be surprised if the president withdraws from this agreement in the next six months, three months? Is it, would it be a shock to him?
HRM: You know, I don’t think it would be a shock to him or– or anybody, because the– the president has made clear that he will– he will judge whether or not Iran is– is sticking to this agreement based on the merits. And– and this president is not afraid to– to do what he sees is right for the security of the American people.
HH: One more connection to this. Hezbollah released announcement to– Newsweek earlier in the week saying that, “President Trump and his administration has a compound ignorance of terrorism and Hezbollah.” Do we? Do you?
HRM: No. I think what you’ve been able to see with– with Hezbollah in recent– in recent months and years is, based on their operations in Syria, what are they? I mean, are they a true representative of the Shia population in Lebanon? Or are they a tool of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran? And I say, I would say they are a tool of the repressive– and– r– Iranian regime and– and the I.R.G.C., this Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps– in particular.
HH: All right, let me switch if I can to North Korea, which is really pressing. And– and remind our audience, at the Aspen Institute ten days ago, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joe Dunford, said, “There’s always a military– option. It would be horrific.” Lindsey Graham on Today Show earlier this week said– “We need to destroy the regime and their deterrent.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday, I believe, to North Korea, “You are leaving us no choice but to protect ourselves.” And then the Chairman of the Chief of Staff of the Army said, “Just because every choice is a bad choice doesn’t mean you don’t have to choose.” Are we looking at a preemptive strike? Are you trying to prepare us, you being collectively, the administration and people like Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton for a first strike North Korea?
HRM: Well, we really, what you’re asking is– is are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right? A war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon. And the president’s been very clear about it. He said, “He’s not gonna tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States.” Look at the (UNINTEL) for that regime if it– if– if they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States. It’s intolerable from the president’s perspective. So– so of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And– and that includes a military option. Now, would we like to resolve it short of what would be a very costly war, in terms of– in terms of the suffering of mainly the South Korean people? The– the ability of– of that North– North Korean regime to hold the South hostage to conventional fire’s capabilities, artillery and so forth, Seoul being so close. We’re cognizant of all of that. And so what we have to do is– is everything we can to– to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong-un and those around him such that they conclude, it is in their interest to denuclearize. And there are really I think three critical things, came out of the president’s very successful summit with– President Xi of China that were different– that were different from past efforts to work with China, which has always been, you know, the– the desire, right, to work with China– on the– on the North Korean problem. The three things that came out of that are, first of all, that North Korea, Kim Jong-un s– armed with nuclear weapons is a threat not only to the United States, not only to our great allies, Japan and South Korea, but also to China. So that’s a big acknowledgement. The second thing was that– was that, we’re, the goal– the goal of working together with them cannot be the so-called “freeze for freeze.” Where we freeze our– our– our training and then they freeze their program. Because they’re at a threshold capability now. Freeze for freeze doesn’t work anymore. Right? It’s– it’s intolerable. So the goal is denuclearization of the– of the peninsula. That’s the second big thing. The third big thing that came out of it is, China acknowledged they have tremendous coercive economic influence here. They may not have a great political relationship with Kim Jong-un. I mean, who does these days, right? But– but they recognize that they do have a great deal of agency and control over that situation. And so we are prioritizing Secretary of State in the lead obviously, prioritizing an effort to work with the Chinese. As the president has said, as the president has tweeted, right? We– we also though have to be prepared to walk down a path that assumes not as much help from China as we would like.
HH: So that would mean, back to the preemptive strike or some kind of action against Kim Jong-un, should he be sleeping easily at night?
HRM: No, I think– I think he should not be, because he– he has the whole world against him. Right? He’s– he’s isolated– he’s isolated on this. Si– since 1953, the Korean Peninsula has been in a state of armistice. Right? The war never formally ended. And there has been no aggression– no aggression from– from the United States, South Korea, any– any of our allies.
HH: If he were removed, General, would the regime’s behavior change? If that one individual were removed?
HRM: Well, I– I’m not sure about that. I mean, I don’t think anybody has a very clear picture of the inner workings of that regime. What is clear is that it is– it is an authoritarian dictatorship that– that has existed since the end– end of World War II. It is now in its third generation. And there is a difference in this third autocratic ruler, in that he’s as brutal as the previous two have been, but he’s doing some things differently. He’s killing members of his own family even. And so what– what this means for the future of that regime. I mean, I think it’s really almost imp– it’s impossible to predict.
HH: Is it legitimate? You’ve done a lot of strategic thinking about this. Is it legitimate to attempt to achieve regime change by the removing of one– leader of a regime? Is that a legitimate tool of international affairs?
HRM: Well, di– well, I think it depends on– on really the– the– the legal justifications for that, right? And– and this goes back to, you know– j– just war theory. And– and– what is the nature of– of the risk? And– and does that risk justify acting in defense of– of your people and– and your vital interests?
HH: We know the risk a little bit. In 1994, when the first nor– North Korean deal with signed– the people who executed it, Gallucci, Dan Poneman, Joe Wit wrote a book. And they quoted a general saying, “If there is a conflict,” called Going Critical, “there will be a million casualties.” A million casualties. Is that still a good estimate of what happens if– preemptive strike unfolds in North Korea, General?
HRM: You know, wa– one– one thing about war. It’s impossible oftentimes to predict. It’s always impossible to predict the future course of events. Because war is a continuous interaction of opposites, a continuous interaction between your forces and those of the enemy. It– it involves not just the capability to use force, but also intentions and things that are just unknowable at the outset. And so I think it’s important to– to look at– range of estimates of what could happen, because it’s clear that at war, it’s– it’s unpredictable. And so you al– always have to ask the question, “What happens next? What are the risks? How do you mitigate those risks?” And– and obviously, you know, war is– is– is the most serious decision any leader has to make. And so what can we do to make sure we exhaust our possibilities and exhaust our– our other opportunities to accomplish this very clear objective of denuclearization of the peninsula short of war?
HH: If we were to go into a preemptive strike, General McMaster, of some sort, large, small, whatever, would we tell the Chinese before we did that in order to manage their expectations and to limit the possibility of a replay of the Korean War?
HRM: Well, I can– I can’t really talk about any details associated with operational plans or– or strategies. But– but– it would depend on the circumstances I guess—
HH: Have you– have you sat with the president and walked through how China might or might not react to a preemptive strike and how they unpredictably entered the war in the– in the first Korean War?
HRM: Well, as– as a rule, we don’t talk about deliberations with the– with the president, but he’s been very much involved and– and has– has been– deeply briefed, you know, on– on all aspects of the– the strategy– on North Korea.
HH: How concerned should the American people be that we are actually on the brink of a war with North Korea?
HRM: Well, I think– I think it’s– it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with this. Right, the, so I think it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime, I mean, who murdered his own brother with nerve agent in a p– in– in an airport. I mean– I mean, think– think about what he’s done– in terms of his– his own brutal repression of not only members of his regime but his own family.
HH: That’s a prison camp run by the Mafia with nuclear weapons.
HRM: As one author has called it, it’s an “impossible state.” Right?
HH: Or as the chief of staff said, “Just because all the choices are terrible doesn’t mean we don’t
have to choose.” Will this administration choose or will it, as some people said about the last
administration, “lead from behind,” when it comes to North Korea?
HRM: Well, there’s a big difference, right? There’s a big difference in the situation that President
Trump inherited from previous administrations. It’s worse. Situation’s worse. Whereas before
there’s– there’s been this cycle over the years as you– as you know, from demanding that—
that— that North Korea stop its missile program, stop its nuclear program. After those demands,
pressure is brought on the regime. The regime then says, “Oh, I would like to talk.” And then
there– then there’s long, drawn-out negotiations during which the North Korean regime
continues to work on its program. And then a weak agreement is decided upon, which then North
Korea immediately violates, right? Okay, so that’s, so we’re just not gonna repeat that failed
cycle. We can’t do it. And so the– the, it has progressed too far as you’ve seen with these recent
missile tests. And as you’ve seen– they’ve done five nuclear tests. And so– so I– I think what
you’ll see increasingly is that a rec– this is a recognition that North Korea is a global threat. It
requires global action. And so what– what are you seeing now? You’re seeing countries expel
North Korean, so-called “guest workers,” who– who they export overseas to send money back to
the regime. You’re seeing squeezing of a lot of their other illicit activities globally. You’re seeing
economic sanctions now being enforced more rigorously. And so that’s the path everybody needs
to be on. This isn’t, this is a problem for the United States. It is. But this is a big problem for, not
only Japan, South Korea, but also Russia, China, everybo– ever– of course, all of our allies are
with this on us.
HH: The– the– Reuters had a story earlier this week. Two U.S. officials, senior officials confirm
that, “The I.C.B.M.s that North Korea tested can reach anywhere in the United States.” Can you
confirm that, General?
HRM: No. (LAUGH) I’m not gonna confirm it. But– it’s– it is– but, as I mentioned really, I
mean, it’s– the, whether it could reach– you know– San Francisco or– or Pittsburgh or
Washington, I mean, how much does that matter, right? It’s– it’s a grave threat.
HH: Does South Korea need its own nuclear deterrent?
HRM: Well, here’s, this is what’s an important, this is a very important question, right. And—and
of course, it’s– it’s– it’s U.S., United States extended deterrence, nuclear deterrence extended to
our allies that has been really a key to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. If that regime is
broken, that nonproliferation regime is broken, it’s bad news for everybody. And so imagine now
a Northeast Asia with a nuclear armed North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, right? All of– all countries– (UNINTEL)
HH: Pakistan and India, yeah.
HRM: And so, is that what China wants? Is that what Russia wants? No. I mean, so it is in all of
our interest to insure that North Korea denuclearizes.
HH: Last North Korea question. Is there a red line about which K.J.U. should know?
HRM: Well, you know, President Trump’s been very clear about this, right? That– that he does
not advance, he does not announce red lines in– in advance. But I– I think his overall intention
is very clear, to insure that North Korea does not have the capability to threaten the United States
with a nuclear weapon.
HH: Let me turn to Afghanistan, General. You fought there. You know it. Is there a strategic
plan on the table that’s been adopted by the president yet?
HRM: So what we– what we have is a number of decisions the president has made. You know,
’cause he– he has said, “I want to prioritize the safety and security of the American people.” And
he wants to destroy I.S.I.S. wherever they are. There’s– there’s a tremendously successful
campaign going on with Afghan forces on the– in the lead. It’s an unreported campaign in
Nangarhar Province of the g– Afghanistan. The president has said that, “He does not want to
place restrictions on the military that undermine our ability to win battles in combat.” He has
lifted those restrictions, and you’re beginning to see the payoff of that– as well. The—the
president has also made clear that he, that we need to see a change in– in behavior of those in the
region, which includes– those who are providing safe haven and support bases for the Taliban,
Haqqani Network and others. This is Pakistan in particular that we want to– that we want to
really see a change in– in– in– and– and a reduction of their support– for– for these– for these
groups. I mean, this is– of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation, right, where Pakistan
is taking great losses. They have fought very hard against these groups, but they’ve done so
really only selectively. And he’s—
HH: But there—
HRM: He’s also said– “Others have to share the burden.”
HH: There have been some hard hits in Kabul. Do you have confidence yourself in General
Nicholson, the combatant commander in Afghanistan?
HRM: Oh, of– of course. I’ve known him for many years. I can’t imagine a more– more capable
commander in any– in– in any, on any mission.
HH: Does Secretary Mattis? Does the president?
HH: All right. Does the president have some concern with minerals and China’s exploitation of
them, where they’re taking the wealth of the country even as we pay in the (UNINTEL)?
HRM: Sure. Right– right. So– so here, this is– this is something that the, I think the president
has focused all of us on– is– is that if– if the United States is going to invest blood and treasure
on behalf of– of partners, allies, then we ought to expect favorable treatment or at least equal
treatment with competitors economically. And this is not to extract anything, but this is just to
insure that– that if– if– if we are– we are helping– a country, if we are engaged with partners
from a security perspective to– to solidify that relationship, we oughta have a mutually
beneficial economic relationship as well.
HH: You’ll recall that President Obama froze sort of in his Afghanistan review at the beginning
of his administration. President Trump doesn’t want to compare unfavorably with that. When is a
decision coming on the “strategery”– to use a quote from George W. Bush on what we’re gonna
do in Afghanistan?
HRM: Oh. Well, the– well the president’s already made some important decisions on
Afghanistan. He said– he said, listen—
HH: Troop levels and that– that—
HRM: But, you know, but we’re not gonna talk tactics anymore, right? Everything—everything
before was, you know, troop levels and– and– very specific details and– announcing to the
enemy years in advance exactly the number of troops you’re gonna have, exactly what they’re
gonna do and what they’re not gonna do. And so the president has said, that “That is not the way
to fight a war. It never has been.” This is an invention of recent years.
HH: So don’t look for a billboard. Don’t look for an announcement of what we’re gonna be doing
there? Because doesn’t that—
HH: Don’t you need to sell it to the American people?
HRM: No. I think what, I think there are two things that the American people ought to
understand, and– and that– that– that we all have to talk about. The first is, what is at stake? All
right, what are the stakes in Afghanistan? And the second is, what is the strategy that—that
secures an outcome consistent with the vital interests of the American people? And– and an
outcome that is worthy of the sacrifices– that– that our servicemen and women are making, and-
and the– and– and the tremendous efforts, right, and the risks that they– that they take. And so
that– that’s the answer that– that’s the answer that– that you’ll hear, essentially you’ve heard in
pieces. And what we’re endeavoring to do is pull this all together in a regional strategy that
makes sense. Right, so that we, so that our Secretary of State has laid a very strong foundation
for this. What we’ve had in Afghanistan for years is a disconnected strategy. What we’re doing
militarily was disconnected from what we’re trying to achieve politically. So you say to the
Taliban, “Hey, let– let– let’s see what we can do to accommodate some of your concerns, so we
can end the violence. And by the way, we’re leaving.” And how does that work? And how does it
work when– when your enemy believes that they are ascendant militarily, if you’re trying to—to
– to negotiate some of an agreement? It doesn’t work. You know, and how d– how does it—how
does it work that you’re not connected with what you’re doing into– inside of Afghanistan to
what you want to achieve regionally? And in particular, to engage other na– countries in the
region to play a more productive role or a less destructive role in some cases.
HH: General, you know, I– I’ve talked to Secretary Rumsfeld often, former President Bush, Vice
President Cheney, about their years in the White House and the failure to communicate, over
-communicate with the American people about what the hell we were doin’ and where we were
goin’. Is that going to be a problem in Team Trump as well, on what you just said, but elaborated
by Secretary Mattis, by the president, by you? I very much appreciate you’re doin’ this, because
that’s part of the solution. But is that gonna be a problem again going forward? The inability of
the public to understand what the heck we’re goin’ to and for?
HRM: Yeah. I– I think what the, I think the American public understand, you know, what the—
what the stakes are there. I mean, it, obviously it’s etched in so many of our memories that—that
the– the mass murder attacks against our nation on September 11th, 2001, originated right from-
from Afghanistan, from a Taliban regime that gave safe haven and support bases to Al Qaeda.
And so there’s a recognition that– that– that effort, our efforts really to enable to Afghan forces.
I mean, Americans don’t realize really the Afghan Army suffered 6,700 soldiers killed in action
last year. So who’s doing that, who’s doing the bulk of the fighting? The Afghans are. The
question the president has asked us is, “What more can we do to enable them?” He doesn’t want
to take the war over. The Afghans are fighting a war for their country. And so, what more can we
and others do in– in– in– and– what– what burdens, responsibilities can the United States and
allies and partners share such that the Afghan government, the, its security forces can succeed
against this enemy of all civilization?
HH: Let’s talk about Russia, General. The day before the president signed the sanctions bill, the
vice president gave a speech in Estonia, which had a very succinct summary of our policy
towards Russia. And he said, “The sanctions will not come off until the behaviors which
triggered them are over.” Does that mean they’re in place until Russia withdraws from Crimea?
‘Cause I don’t ever see that happening.
HRM: Yeah. Well, what you– what you see is– broad range of destabilizing behavior on the part
of the Russians and provocative behavior. You know, not– not just in– in Europe but elsewhere.
And so what the– what the president has asked us to do is, and– and the secretary of state is
doing is to– is to counter Russia’s destabilizing behavior where it affects our interests. To—to
take actions to deter any– any– escalation of conflicts or anything that could lead to a
confrontation. ‘Cause I mean, this is what we’ve been avoiding, right, since, you know, since
1945 with first the Soviet Union and– and now Russia. I mean, what the United States has done
since 1945 from a defense and national security perspective is, prevent great power conflict for
really an unprecedented period of time. Right? And then but the third thing he’s asked us to do is
look for areas of cooperation with Russia. Right? There are areas as, and I mean, this—this
relationship is at bottom. Right? It’s– it’s– it’s at its nadir, right? So but– but there are still areas
where interests overlap and to look for areas of cooperation.
HH: But those sanctions and the– Russia’s in Eastern Ukraine. And the– there is a package
allegedly, according to the Wall Street Journal of armament proposals coming to the president.
You see– have you reviewed that yet, by the way, of the– proposal to arm the Ukrainians
against the rebels?
HRM: We’re already giving support to Ukraine. A lot of this is– is really what kinda support
they need to be able to prevent, you know, fur– further invasions of their territory, to be able
to—to– to prevent– any kind of agr– you know, aggressive of offensive action, right, against
the rest of Ukraine. So what you have is you have—
HH: And anti-tank weapons now?
HRM: You have g– well, it’s– it’s, well, I– I think it’s, what’s useful to talk about is d—
defensive capabilities. Does Ukraine desire, need– based on the situation there, greater defensive
capability? I mean, I– I don’t know what that, you know, what that is specifically. It really
doesn’t matter what it is specifically. But that’s one of the things that we’re looking at is, what
form of support Ukraine needs that’s consistent with our interests and everyone’s desire to insure
that Russia doesn’t undertake further destabilizing or– or offensive action that– that could lead
to– much broader conflict? I mean, this is a dangerous situation, but we have to recognize it’s a
dangerous sit– situation of Russia’s creation. Right? And so what we’re endeavoring to do with
our allies– is– is to do everything we can to prevent that conflict from growing.
HH: Does the president have a clear-eyed understanding of the nature of his counterpart in
Russia and the nature of the regime?
HRM: The– the nature of the Russian regime?
HRM: Well, I mean, I think everybody’s pretty clear on– on that, right? The nature of the
Russian regime is one person, isn’t it? I mean, s– so– so I– I think– I think– you have—you
have an– an autocratic regime and– and an individual who’s– who’s an extraordinarily effective
job at con– at consolidating power. And you have, I think someone who is active in a way that—
that, you know, I mean, I’m not the best judge of this maybe. But it– it– it is not in the interest of
the Russian people. And– and you see that with the– the reaction from the world, right? In terms
of the sanctions that are placed on Russia and– and a recognition that Russia must play a much
more responsible role in the world– if it’s going to be a full-fledged, welcomed member of the
international community. And, you know, we’re talking obviously about the annexation of
Crimea, the invasion of Ukraine here.
HH: The attack on our election—
HRM: But– but– but also the attack on– on– on our election, the attack, the s– the very
sophisticated campaign of subversion and disinformation and– and propaganda that is ongoing
every day in an effort to break apart Europe and to pit– pit– political groups against each other,
right? To sow dissention and– and– and conspiracy theories. And then, of course, there’s the
support for this murderous regime in Syria, and– and it’s support for really Iran’s objectives in
the Middle East. And so– so I think it, obviously for this range of destabilizing behaviors there
have to be consequences. But does that prevent us from cooperating with them, to maybe begin
to resolve the Syrian civil war and– and end part, at least a portion of that human suffering? Or
where else would our, do it our, where– where– do– where else do our interests align?
Certainly, they should align on North Korea.
HH: Let me conclude, General McMaster, and thanks for the time, by talking about your role in
the White House and the White House generally. “Reset,” according to– Administrator Shulkin
who was on my program this week, Cabinet Member Shulkin. He said, “There was a reset at the
cabinet meeting– this week. And– General Kelly’s arrival has really changed the nature and tone
of the White House.” Do you agree with that? What does General Kelly’s arrival mean?
HRM: Well, what General Kelly’s arrival means is you have an extraordinarily talented leader
with a broad range of experience. And people of course see– retired Marine Corps General, and
they recognize that he has– an extraordinary record of– of accomplishment within the military.
But he also has a broad range of experience now outside the– the military as– in Homeland
Security, where he took over a very complex organization and made tremendous progress
advancing the president’s agenda, and– and our national interests in, as a cabinet secretary. But
also, he’s someone who has had extraordinary experience, oversees complex environments,
complex environments which entail operating with– with people from all departments and
agencies, with indigenous leadership, with allies. And he also has a lot of experience on the Hill
as well. And so, in terms of experience level, you know, demeanor, leadership ability, it’s gonna
be great for all of us I think in terms of improving our ability to operate together as a team. Now,
you know, there, a lot of the conventional wisdom was, you know, “Gosh, you know, it’s chaotic
over there in the White House and everything else.” I’ll– I’ll just tell you that I am very proud of-
of– of our national security team overall. And that’s with here, that’s what’s—
HH: And you’ve seen real chaos commanding in Northern Iraq, commanding in Afghan—I
mean, you’ve seen the chaos of war. (LAUGH) Compared to that, do you, it’s not a chuckling
matter, but when you hear stories of chaos, isn’t that kind of absurd compared to the real thing?
HRM: Right– right– right. And– and what we’re doing is we’re delivering what we’re calling in
— “integrated strategies” based on the president’s guidance. And so what we had, and this is
maybe understandable. And this is, I don’t mean this in a pejorative sense. But the– but the
White House and the National Security Council as part of that became very tactically focused.
You know, it became very operational, with supervising things like troop numbers and– and—
specific authorities. And– and– and what we’ve been able to do is to evolve authorities back to
where they belong. And instead of thinking about tactics, the next little move, we’ve been trying
to view problem sets and opportunities through the lens of our vital national interests, establish
goals. Imagine that. Establish goals for our– our foreign policy and national security strategies.
And then– and then– and then– to find more specific objectives and then orient our efforts,
political, military, economic, toward accomplishing those objectives.
HH: Very last question. Your famous book, Dereliction of Duty. I read the last chapter again last
night. When you talk about McNamara and Ball and Dean Rusk, and you were very critical of
them for not giving the president candid, straightforward advice, limiting options. Were you
naïve at the time, now that you’re livin’ that life? I mean, would you rewrite that chapter
differently now that you’re livin’ that life in the middle of giving the president advice?
HRM: No. I wouldn’t rewrite a word of it. And– and– and I think actually my experiences have
just amplified I think for me the importance of doing– doing our duty, all of us doing our duty—
to– to give the president our– our best advice. Right? And so what we do here in the National
Security Council is– is we integrate the efforts of all of the departments and agencies and
sometimes efforts of our multinational partners to provide options to the president. And then
once the president makes a decision, we help drive sensible and effective execution of– of—of
his decisions. And so I had the– the tremendous benefit, was a real gift to me, right, to have the
opportunity to– to research, read and write about a previous difficult period in history from the
lens of– of the– the president and his key advisors, civilian and military advisors. And so I think
that has– has helped. Doesn’t give me any answers, right? But it’s helped me ask the right
questions and– and– and to make sure that, you know, that I, at least give it my best shot or I try
to do my best for the president and the nation.
HH: General H.R. McMaster, thank you for your time this morning.
HRM: Thank you, Hugh. It was a pleasure to be with you. Thank you.
END OF TRANSCRIPT
A Ghost To Most
Sorry, I try not read anything from Fugh Fuckwit.
Hugh Hewitt has essentially volunteered for the next war.
Make sure he’s on the first transport in to fight on the front lines.
Thanks for posting this, Adam. Unrelated…here’s a crazy story from Trumpland: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-mystery-of-nicole-mincey
@PaulWartenberg: No,he’s one of those “Let’s all you guys go do this” chickenhawks.
Let’s drop Hewitt over North Korea. Parachute is optional.
Major Major Major Major
Adam, can you give an executive summary?
“Let’s you and him fight.”
@PaulWartenberg: Wasn’t Hewitt the guy who claimed that he was on the front lines of the War on Terror ™ because he was broadcasting from the Empire State Building and hence was sitting in a target zone?
Unreal that MSNBC gave this guy a show.
Adam L Silverman
@Quinerly: I followed that in real time over the weekend.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Hard to read because 1) Hugh Hewitt 2) the formatting 3) the transcript of that semi-formal discussion can be hard to follow, but what he says about Iran, given Mattis’s reported preoccupation with Iran the ’83 Beirut bombing, is not reassuring.
Death Panel Truck
Every one of Hewitt’s questions boils down to, “When are we going to start World War III? And who do we bomb first?”
Unsurprisingly, McMaster has a rather hawkish view of policy — but he does seem to have some grasp of the trade offs involved. Unfortunately, he’s not the Commander in Chief.
I’ll re-read the transcript again later, but to me the gist of McMaster’s Iran/North Korea remarks are, “We’re going to keep speaking quite loudly and dramatically about Iran and North Korea, while doing essentially nothing about either threat and certainly not doing much with our allies about them. But our threats will continue and boy those Iranians & North Koreans better chill out.” ymmv
I still don’t know what to make of this:
when it finishes like this:
I think proximity to Trumpov must be banging on McMaster’s amygdala in ways that are not helpful…
Gin & Tonic
We’re all gonna die!
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I hate to defend, even a little bit, the Shrub, but wasn’t that Will Ferrell?
is this ambulatory cream-cheese statue trying to be hip? and I wonder if McMaster consciously takes part in the “mention his name in every paragraph to keep him interested” thing when giving the president his best advice.
Mike in NC
Wingnut 101: Let’s Kill Them All & Let God Sort Them Out
@Jeffro: Who is the enemy of all civilization? How does M^2 define civilization?
The Moar You Know
I don’t find this reassuring in the slightest.
These guys have to learn not to start their responses with “Well…” It just takes practice.
Substantive comments to follow.
When I first read this headline, I thought for sure that this post would be something about Hillary Clinton. Weren’t we assured that she was the worst warmonger evah?
More seriously, Hewitt reminds me of the worst of Bill Kristol and the other neocons who would wet themselves in glee over the prospect of war against Saddam. But Hewitt is worse. Originally, he was publically critical of Trump. But I suppose that the prospect of war, presumably led by these smart, sober generals, was just too much for him. And so, he can’t wait to unleash the beast. After all, presumably the US will kick ass with no repercussions. What could possibly go wrong?
BTW, I’ve followed Hewitt ever since he was a commenter on Southern California public affairs programs on the local PBS station. He was always a smarmy piece of sh*t, a poor man’s William F Buckley, Jr. Glib, good at a certain level of debate, a glib representative of the conservative movement, entirely inauthentic.
@Quinerly: It’s the mystery of all the fucking people proclaiming unwavering support for DJT. Most of his social media followers and retweeters gaming the system are just bots
One of the research participants in my diss said “you know” about 100 times in an hour long interview. I deleted many of them but, when he read the transcript, he almost withdrew from the study because it read so badly. I told him it was certainly his right to do so but I had altered the interview quite a bit. This fellow took 13 years to pass the GED and MM has a Ph D., sheesh!
Sick, sad people who believe war can be conducted clinically and carries no toll.
@Mike in NC: Allah
@Cheryl Rofer: I think starting with “So” is worse but it’s become accepted.
I’m not sure, but I posted a comment and it disappeared. Unless I daydreamed writing it.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Objection, your honor, non-responsive! Again, I’m skimming but it does seem notable for his lack of any enthusiastic discussion of the president.
even worse than that, the same is true of Lindsey Graham, and probably the always mercurial, always war-hungry John McCain. Graham’s comments on North Korea last week were horrifying.
one of the Obama Bros went on his podcast, I think it was, and admitted to getting his lunch eaten.
Eternally grateful that Nixon’s penchant for beginning with “Let me say this about that” never caught on.
Why on earth would Shiite Iran be supporting Sunni ISIS? I thought McMaster was supposed to be one of the smart guys.
Hooray! Let’s have war everywhere! I’m sure that Trump is aching to get us into some sort of shooting match as A) war president sounds awesome, B) what’s the point of all these pointy sticks if we don’t use them, and C) everyone knows that a war president is automatically re-elected with 535 electoral votes.
Gin & Tonic
@raven: So what.
I only read the transcript. Hewitt sounded like he was going to start slobbering in the delight of horrible death and destruction by the time he brought up North Korea. What an unprincipled freak.
Death Panel Truck
They’re just paying tribute to their hero, Ronaldus Maximus. Every answer at every press conference he ever did began with, “Well…”
But her emails!!!
Huge Hugetwitt: When do we scrap this whole horrible nuclear deal thing and start bombing Iran?
McMasturbates to Dead Iranian Children: I’m real hard and trying to get us there, but the rest of our allies aren’t buying our whole spiritual mumbo-jumbo and don’t consider a couple of centrifuges and a few gallons of D2O sufficient to scrap an agreement that’s lead to the shutdown of thousands of centrifuges and the transfer of tons of nuclear materials. Why won’t they respect or feelings and emotions?
On a more serious note, who thinks that McMaster dies a little bit inside every time he has to talk about Iran not upholding the spirit of the agreement? With the exception of some penny ante crap, Iran’s living up to the deal, so that’s all he’s left with to push the Trump narrative that we need to get out of this deal. Wonder if he’s dreading a follow up question about whether the US is upholding the spirit of the deal looking as we don’t seem so much interested in curtailing Iran’s nuclear weapons program as interested in finding anything that let’s us get out of the deal and start bombing.
@Gin & Tonic: Compared to what?
The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me
As a fellow So Cal local, I seem to recall that Hewitt was the original (totally unqualified) curator at the Nixon Library who created a Watergate display so insane in its apologetics that it was the very first thing the National Archives removed upon taking over.
Always willing to consign other people’s children to go and kill other people, somewhere in the world anytime for any/no reason. Fuck that Hugh Hewitt, and the network he rode in on. And all the rest of his flaccid fellow travelers.
First of al, it might just be the transcript but McMaster comes off as a total babbling idiot. Can’t watch the videos at work.
Second, Hewitt wants his war. He doesn’t care where.
@raven: “So” is definitely worse, seems to be confined to academics and lower-level government appointees. When the latter existed, anyway.
I didn’t watch the video, don’t have time to and probably won’t. The one reason I might is to see how bad the stammers are. Transcripts are not good at capturing that sort of thing, but it looks like a lot of stammering by McMaster. I have read the transcript rather quickly. As someone noted upthread, Hewitt wants to know when we start WWIII in pretty much every question. I interpret part of the stammering as reaction to Hewitt’s bone-stupidity.
McMaster has thought this out and knows the tradeoffs. The stammer also seems to relate to trying to start from zero and explain how war works, the history of the Korean Peninsula, and China’s relations with Korea to someone who just wants to know when the bombing starts. McMaster has another problem: the administration doesn’t have a strategy. Most of what he says is quite reasonable, and what everyone who has thought out the situation is saying: casualties from a war would be enormous, might be a tradeoff in US-ROK exercises for North Korean actions, China isn’t going to change things, and decapitating a regime doesn’t work. He doesn’t clearly repudiate preventive war, which I would have hoped would have been a piece of conventional wisdom after Iraq. But that might upset his boss, I suppose.
The administration simply doesn’t have a policy. I heard Chris Ford, Trump’s nonproliferation advisor, speak in March, and he was quite candid that there wasn’t a policy, so he couldn’t speak as if there were. That’s the position McMaster is in, but it’s harder to say that in August than in March. And it probably would make for an unpleasant interview and aftermath.
Today, we learn that Rex Tillerson, the disappearing Secretary of State, said that if North Korea would pause their current series of missile tests, there would be a basis for talks. That’s a long way down from his position of a few weeks ago that they had to give up all their nukes before there could be talks. And that is a really, really poor way to negotiate.
Link for Tillerson’s latest.
@raven: I listened to a podcast over the weekend and the guest said “you know” constantly. I almost gave up on the interview because it was so distracting. Also, people who say “like” repeatedly in conversation — it’s a pretty bad verbal tic.
@Cheryl Rofer: He got better as it went along, maybe he had noives,
@Chat Noir: I’m used to with sports people!
Gin & Tonic
@raven: Wore out my vinyl of that a long, long time ago.
@raven: That’s another verbal tic I hear all the time!
You’re right. From an old LA Times story:
I didn’t realize that Nixon was originally denied the right to have an official library:
I look forward to reading about Trump donating redacted versions of his Twitter rants to the Trump Golden Tower Biggest Library Evah!
@ruemara: I fished it out of the trash.
@Gin & Tonic: Man, Benny Bailey is awesome!
I had to stop reading. Hewitt really has it in for Iran doesn’t he? I am guessing he was one of those who never got over the US Embassy hostage taking. And by “got over” I mean that he has put such importance on that event, that living with the “shame” of being a spectator while he felt his country was being humiliated was too much for him. He wants the whole country to be punished for their effrontery. If that means nukes, invasion, millions of deaths, well so be it.
An absolute ghoul, Hewitt, so over-the-top war-hungry he’d be hard to parody.
@The Moar You Know:
Me neither, that was the thing that really jumped out at me. Frankly, I see no substantive difference between McMaster and that brainless egotistical ignoramus/con man in the White House, except that McMaster doesn’t seem dementia-addled.
@Cheryl Rofer: I feel like the site is judging me now.
Always loved this since hearing it for the first time on an Los Angeles jazz radio station. Love how the pianist quotes “Aquarius” from the musical Hair in his opening to the song. The video is wonderful at showing how propulsive the playing is, emphasizing the pent up anger and frustration at our idiot political leaders. Back in 1969. And here we are again.
I can’t use it.
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?
You may have misspelled “Shower.”
@ruemara: Nah. Just the vagaries of the spam filter.
@Cheryl Rofer: It doesn’t surprise me that Trump can’t negotiate his way out of a wet paper bag; his “savvy businessman” shtick has always been a marketing fiction to support fraudulent activities. But Tillerson actually was a captain of industry, so I’m surprised he’d make such a boneheaded mistake. Must be the reverse Midas effect.
I took a English class in high school which included occasional speeches. One of the students consistently clocked in at almost 60 “umm”s per second. It was bizarre. He was very bright, too, and it wasn’t stage fright – he didn’t mind giving the speeches, he just said “umm” almost every other word.
Question: McMaster kept claiming that Iran was not keeping “the spirit” of the agreement… is that a thing?
You have a written agreement, and you are either keeping it, or not. There is no “spirit”, there’s just the agreement itself, right?
And if Iran were violating it, McM would say so, presumably. Which means that Iran IS keeping the agreement, and all this talk about “the spirit ” of it is McM trying to lay some groundwork to pull out of the agreement, while trying to blame it on Iran… right? Or am I thinking crazy?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
as I understand it, what success he had was based on his father’s money and his father’s (I’m guessing corrupt) political connections in NY. One of my favorite trump stories is the old man using c*sin* chips to temporarily float the dunderhead’s blunders in Atlantic City. Just checked Wiki and the old(er) racist chugged along till 1999. I wonder how many other bailouts there were.
By doing stuff we didn’t like, but that wasn’t prohibited by the agreement?
This was an agreement to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, not an agreement to make Iran behave in the Middle East.
@raven: I bet you are not a big fan of Les McCann’s lyrics right before that part (of one of my favorite songs):
Adam L Silverman
@Major Major Major Major: Sorry, been busy for the past 90 minutes or so.
@Immanentize: Different time different place.
@Gin & Tonic:
Compared to what
I know it from Eddie Harris/Les McCann
but I think it’s been covered by a bunch of other people
@Cheryl Rofer: I suspect Trump will completely contradict that statement in a tweet within 24 hours.
@NotMax: When “also, too” was a thing, an attorney of my acquaintance had begun using it ironically and soon was using it nearly habitually. When he came out with it in court one day he got a sour look and “Seriously, Counselor?” from the judge.
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
What a seamless transition!
The other nations which are a part of the agreement remain, for now, a check against the unbalanced.
@Chat Noir: So, MMMmmm, Well….
When I started as an attorney I used to say, “OK” before every question I asked on cross. It only took me reading on transcript to understand I had a bad tic. It takes some work, but I got rid of it within one or two trials. I was “OK” free!
Unfortunately, contempt of language is not a chargeable offense.
@Betty Cracker: Tillerson is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.* I just don’t get what he thinks he is doing. You’ve probably seen me on Twitter, saying that I’d like to know what kind of CEO he was at Exxon. I CANNOT BELIEVE HE RAN THAT COMPANY THIS WAY.
That said, yeah, I can see that he might have been a figurehead and was sufficiently limited by the people who actually knew what they were doing that they kept things running. Alternative scenarios are that he is a true believer in drowning the government in a bathtub, that he is helping Trump to centralize decision-making on foreign policy in Trump’s and Jared’s hands. Or he may just be at sea in a situation that is wildly different from the unaccountable and secretive management of Exxon.
None of my former State Department and other foreign policy friends have a clue, either.
@Tehanu: In a previous thread I mentioned that this attitude that they don;t have “to sell it to the American people” is a very bad consequence of the all-volunteer army. Hey, they volunteered and you didn’t. You got nothing to say about it!
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
Oh what a crock of shit. Oh sure, Kelly’s made real progress at DHS! Like separating families, putting women and children in detention camps, fucking over serving military members waiting to get GCs, and allowing several people to die in custody.
And thanks Hewitt for asking those hard-hitting questions about human rights abuses by ICE. Oh wait, you didn’t. No, instead you needed to satiate your bloodlust. Fuck you.
@clay: No, “the spirit” is not a thing. And people like HH (and McMaster?)keep forgetting that this was no bi-lateral agreement. The rest of the signatories think Iran is doing very well keeping to the treaty. If we decide not to continue with our obligations and increase sanctions for “spirits” we will be going it alone in any war with Iran. And we will be subject ourselves to sanctions.
“Not keeping the spirit of the agreement” is a talking point from those who would like to trash the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The JCPOA was never intended to cover anything but Iran’s nuclear program, but people using that talking point claim that Iran’s missile tests violate “the spirit” of the agreement. They don’t even do that. All the other parties to the agreement say that Iran is keeping its side good.
So no, you’re not crazy. But you will hear this talking point again.
ETA: Low-tech cyclist at #60 has it.
@raven: How true is that!
@NotMax: pity, that.
@Immanentize: They all have contradicted each other on Iran policy, so he will have to repeat something.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
that’s where I”m placing my bet. I saw a story last week that at Exxon they talked about the “God Pod”, Tillerson was isolated and only allowed a select few to contact him directly.
@clay: that set off alarms for me, too
@Gelfling 545: that cracked me up
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
I don’t mind smart people who say “um” – they are usually thoughtful and artful about what is going to be uttered next.
@Cheryl Rofer: “Policy?” Maybe that word does not mean what you think it means….
@? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?: Don’t forget the dead in ICE detention and asylum seekers turned away at the border.
Don’t worry President Kelly is in charge.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
Obama has a noticeable “uh” tic when he’s composing a thought/answer. It’s just something he does, lots of folks uncomfortable with silence fill gaps with filler words or sounds.
Obviously, you’ve not spent much time around Fortune 500 CEO’s.
Adam L Silverman
@Cheryl Rofer: I watched the videos and my impression is that a lot of the stammering and pausing was LTG McMaster trying to figure out how to be polite and answer the questions without asking Hewitt if he was dropped on his head a lot as a baby.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Deadbeat Donnie gets negotiating leverage from the magnitude of the damage his failure at whatever endeavor he is negotiating about will likely wreak. The necessary corollary to this is the leverage he gains by stuffing a small subcontractor, which brings about a writedown because the smaller sub can’t afford to wait out the proceedings (this was Kasowitz’ department).
@Adam L Silverman: That shows up in the transcript too.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I would love to point out to the uniform-dazzled pundits that, by their standards, every looney tweet about Fake News and Richard Blumenthal, the 40 minute hate last week in WV, the speeches attacking and delegitimizing Mueller, should be considered co-authored by the blessed General.
ETA: the Buffoon just tweeted about Blumenthal and Vietnam again. Go Kelly!
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
I’m one of those who doesn’t mind doing silence as I think to my next word.
Kevin Drum gets in on the act. I may up my Twitter demands for reporters to interview people who will talk about what kind of manager Tillerson was at Exxon.
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
Oh my mind is at ease now. What is this, the X-Men?
@Adam L Silverman:
Strange business. I’m just getting caught up on it. Back from NC and promptly scratched my cornea. The weekend was a literal blur.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Cheryl Rofer: the fact that his wife told him it was God’s will, and he found that persuasive, and one or both of them repeated that to people….
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: But he is so dreamy and strong, it makes them go weak in the knees and swoon.
@? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?: Is there a Kelly in X-men?I have not read or watched X-men so your reference has gone over my head.
My experience is that nowadays the youth start with “So,…” Which I find about as irritating.
Obama had his mannerisms, too.
@Cheryl Rofer: I think this is an excellent idea. And there may be a huge difference between what Tillerson was like in 2006 when he started as CEO at Exxon and what he was like in 2016…. He is actually (compared to so many of these guys) quite young — 65. But he looks like one of the oldest except for Ross. I suspect heavy drinking.
also a technique not to be talked over in debates and such.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
When I am teaching (and when I used to do trial work), I am happy to “mobilize silence” while waiting for an answer from a student (or a witness). It is amazing how many people are deeply uncomfortable with even a few seconds of silence.
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
I only know by cultural osmosis
I would like to know why he has to talk to someone like Hewitt. Then I am grateful that Trump was not the one.
@? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?: Speaking of comic books, doesn’t M^2 look like Lex Luther?
If one is just starting up a conversation with an unsuspecting person, beginning with “So …” is useful. For a few seconds anything you say will be missed as the other person’s brain goes “Huh? This guy is talking to me! I better start listening.” That will be 2 or 3 seconds of what you are saying that gets lost before his brain gets into gear.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Shrub never actually said the word “strategery”, at least not earnestly. That word was made up by Will Ferrell on an SNL skit in October 2000 about one of the debates with Gore – the fake moderator asked him and fake Gore to summarize the best argument for their campaigns in a single word, and fake Bush’s response was “strategery”. Fake Gore’s response was “lockbox” (a reference to what he would do to protect Social Security). It become such a popular meme that we’ve burned it into our national consciousness as a word Bush actually used. It’s similar to the alleged Sarah Palin phrase, “I can see Russia from my house!” Like Bush, she never actually said those words – it was Tina Fey portraying her on SNL. What she actually said was that you could Russia from an island in Alaska. Her answer to the question was still ridiculous, but Fey exaggerated it in the skit.
@Chat Noir: So, well, the point is is that, …
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
Yeah, he kinda does, lol. Just a little older and fatter in the face
“I can smell the uranium on your breath…” David Lange (former Prime Minister of New Zealand)
Nuclear Weapons are Morally Indefensible
This has possibly become part of hipster speak. I used to hear every tech reporter under age 35 start sentences with this on various tech podcasts and shows I listen to. Then I would hear hosts and guest on NPR shows do it.
It is so annoying.
Bet Alex Jones could do it!
One of my favorite albums! Of course, I haven’t been able to kick “like” and likely will never be able to. But still, love that song!
West of the Rockies (been a while)
Scientists begin a lot of sentences with “So…”. It is an identifying word indicating that an explanation will follow. It is a bridge word, a transition word that, I believe, they use because they anticipate their audience will easily become lost.
Ira Flatow: “What are black holes?”
Scientist: “So, when a star explodes…”
Well, Hewitt was predictably slobbering at the prospect of getting more poor kids killed in a futile and expensive war. McMaster comes across as not especially coherent or eloquent, which is even more worrying. If he’s supposed to be one of the sane, smart voices in the Trump Malwareadministration, things are really going to end badly.
I had an exacting public speaking tutor. I wound up crying more than once.
NO extraneous noises, grunts, words. NONE. EVER. They distract from what you are saying. I can see a use for them in debate as stalling or preventing others from jumping in, but debate, as we saw in Stephen Miller’s recent performance, is not persuasive speech. Not for me, anyway.
The question is asked. Presumably the response is the explanation. Adding a sound does nothing to prevent the audience from becoming lost. What would work better is saying the introductory phrase
s l o w l y. Then pause. If you have an audience, look around and make eye contact. All that does is to make sure everyone’s listening. For the rest, group phrases logically and pause when you come to the end of a thought.
@Adam L Silverman:
Thank you for relaying that. (Sincere thanks.) Was freaking out a bit over the transcript.
What was your impression about the sincerity of the “the spirit of … agreement” lines? (Will watch, just curious.)
@Fair Economist: President of my alma mater during my first couple of years was like that – just a constant stream of ums and uhs. It left such an impression on me that to this day I cannot say um or uh when I speak. I’ll just go silent as I compose a thought rather than use those fillers.
West of the Rockies (been a while)
I agree. I wasn’t suggesting that people who begin a sentence with “so” are right to do so; I was just offering my take on why it happens.
I LOATHE when people (usually athletes and entertainers) say with every other sentence, “You know what I’m saying?”. My response is, “Yes! Your words and perspectives are not actually that complex and challenging to follow!”
I’ve long thought that “America” holds a special hatred for those who successfully resist, like Iran and Cuba.
@schrodingers_cat: Senator Kelly was the leader of the anti-mutant contingent in the government. As such, he was targeted for assassination by the ‘evil’ mutants. He ended up rethinking his position after the X-men saved him. In the movie, he was actually killed.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): Yes. Unfortunately, most scientists aren’t tutored in public speaking. I thought military officers had to learn it by the time they became generals, but it may be that, as Adam said, McMaster was so gobsmacked by Hewitt’s ignorance, he lost his footing.
The SoB made me look, after listening to his words about the “spirit of … agreement”. Docs currently here: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
There is not, AFAIK, a “Spirit” annex to the agreement. I just now scanned English translations of the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” and the 6 annex pdfs (annex 1,2,2(attachment),3,4,5) and see the word “spirit” only twice, in the JCPoA:
Seriously wondering now whether either HH or HRM read it including the annexes. (It was a tedious read for sure. It seemed pretty solid; the only technical flaw I recall noticing was about enforceability of a prohibition on weapon simulation software.)
My take is that a lot of officers are schooled in the ways of giving orders, not necessarily in the ways of public speaking.
@Bill Arnold: No, the “spirit” thing is entirely bad faith on the part of opponents of the JCPOA. At the time the JCPOA was being negotiated, hopes were expressed that removing the near-term possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon would help to normalize Iran’s place in the world and its internal governance. It was always recognized that these were hopes and not intended as part of the agreement.
What was expected was diplomatic work to encourage Iran to become a better “world citizen.” Unfortunately, the Trump administration is doing pretty much the opposite of that. Neglect at least; provocation at worst.
The same opponents displayed the same bad faith as the agreement was being negotiated. I got into many fights with them. I hate the prospect of that again, although Colin Kahl, and others who were in the Obama administration at that time and therefore couldn’t talk about the negotiations, are free to bash the bad faith on Twitter, and they are.
I tried to add an addendum indicating snark, but wasn’t allowed an edit.
Yeah. I am extremely irritated as well. (To be completely honest, at Iran as well; was hoping, like many, that the agreement would empower any forces of moderation with influence over Iranian foreign policy, but that was a long shot.) Anyway, good to hear that you picked fights about this in the past and … hope that you continue to do so.
Since it’s an open thread, Kevin Drum:
Orrin Hatch, Age 83, Wins Twitter Battle
@Chat Noir: About 10 years ago, it was pointed out that I tended to say this a lot and how distracting it was from what might be an otherwise intelligent comment…
…I had never noticed it and then I started to listen to myself a little more carefully (I usually said it in the process of thinking something that I didn’t know how to articulate or something that I didn’t want to articulate in the way it was sounding in my head).
Now I opt more for the ”Obama pause” but I do say ”you know”more frequently than I would like, to this day.
I am still waiting for anyone, Republican or Democrat to have the courage to stand up and point out that the one country in the ME, other than Israel, that could be our strongest ally in the “war on terror” and eventually our strongest ally over all is Iran.
J R in WV
“It is so annoying.”
Don’t you mean : SO – it is annoying!
@Ruckus: Even in commissioning programs, there is an emphasis on communicating. An officer has to be able to brief troops on what is happening or about to happen (and brief senior officers as well), teach informal and formal classes. As far as giving orders goes, most of the time, I would give direction to my NCOs and they would give orders to carry out the direction. (Me: We need to get first platoon’s guns bore scoped by the end of the week. Platoon and gunnery sergeants: Mutter, mutter. – then, a bunch of orders come out.)
Lol, Colin Kahl is going at Mark Dubowitz, part of the faction I was fighting with two years ago about the JCPOA. Sounds like Kahl was frustrated he couldn’t get into the fray and is making up for it now. This is a thread.