David Sanger on Post-Memorial Day Politics

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mitt Romney at a Memorial Day event in San Diego Mitt Romney at a Memorial Day event in San Diego (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, WNYC contributor and author of the forthcoming book, Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, discusses the Presidential candidates' speeches yesterday and international politics.


David Sanger

Comments [18]

Ed from Larchmont

President Obama might be a little more militaristic than expected, a little more this or that than expected. But his core belief is in abortion and same sex marriage. He is the abortion president. That is what he stands for, nationally and internationally, and what we should vote on.

May. 30 2012 06:15 AM

At least two times during the parts of the interview I heard with David Granger he made truly preposterous statements whose only purpose must be to hype the insight and excitement of his new book. Both statements involved something ‘new’, a ‘new’ reason for going to wear as in Libya, keeping stability in a region and the ‘new’ discovery of the US army that sometimes one’s weapons end up in the hands of one’s enemies. This is just plain poppycock. Keeping stability in a region has been a reason for war for time immemorial and the interchange of weaponry likewise. It’s a shame when Brian lets it pass when a guest spouts ludicrous history. (Once Mr Lehrer let it pass uncommented upon when a retired US general contentedly informed us that “of course the Cold War was a bloodless war”..) Bad history and sweeping falsehoods contaminate the public discourse. But Mr Lehrer you have the power. You will never have a shortage of willing interesting guests. They can be gently corrected when they blather inanities. (Almost) everyone needs airplay. Politicians to movie stars to academics to good journalists. You, most especially as one of the blessed few with reach and without a corporate paymaster , are the boss. Your first master as a journalist is the truth, please don’t let fallacious claims infect the public domain without rebuttal or at least questioning and conversation.

I guess that the reasons Mr Lehrer doesn’t challenge are; a little, the current climate of deference to guests, a healthy dose of personal politeness and a desire not to get held up but to get to the useful information that a guest like David Sanger might have due to his position and access and clearly journalists such as he, however cavalier with history they may be when in marketing mode, can bear news worth hearing about current events. I think this last reason is a mistake. If one challenges the guest in theory the guest has to think more deeply and hopefully answer more thoughtfully and honestly and the conversation, though it may not reach all the pre-determined topics, is even more illuminating for the audience and more humble to truth.

Sorry for the long critique, I guess I care because I feel the Brian Lehrer Show generally does really good work.

A listener

PS Despite Mr Granger's desire for radical new approaches and ideas from the current president isn't the continuity of foreign policy, especially in military matters, one of the better documented truths of American governance?

May. 29 2012 10:49 PM

We abandoned afghanistan after the cold war. If we leave again we’ll be back.

May. 29 2012 10:40 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

We will never as a society slow our decline from our past greatness until we face the fact that only a few of our citizens, from a narrow slice of our society is willing to shoulder the burden of military service.

That we don't speaks loudly about so much else of where our society has drifted -- into a culture that is obsessed with instant gratification and amusing ourselves.

And this situation IS a legacy of the left, ironically it turned out to be so anti-progressive and elitist.

May. 29 2012 10:37 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

LOL, the whacko lefty teacher below sounds quite a bit like you, eh? "Don't criticize MY president.....or I'll call the police."


“Last Monday, a high school student in North Carolina engaged his social studies teacher in a heated debate about politics and the two leading presidential candidates. During the exchange, the teacher (an obvious Obama supporter) got very angry with the student and accused him of disrespecting the president. She even went so far as to tell the boy that he could be jailed for speaking ill of Obama.”

May. 29 2012 10:35 AM

I've been reading eyewitness accounts of the massacre in Houla (and nearby) which indicate the people who were killed were supporters of the Assad government. In a very garbled Google translated article I read that initially the "gangs" which did the killing, and which seem to be allied with the "activists" and Free Syria Army (FSA), killed Syrian soldiers (gov't soldiers) manning checkpoints, attacked the hospital, then swarmed into the area knows as Al Houla and began the mass killings, up close and person with knives and shots to the head. These eyewitnesses said they cannot go to their fields to work, that nearby houses and fields were burned, their inhhabitants fled or killed by those who murdered in Houla.

But that does not fit the Western Narrative, which has to follow the Libya plan which was so, er, successful in taking out Gaddafi and taking apart Libya.

I read a BBC article last night which said eyewitnesses "told the BBC" that the gangs were Assad supporters. Now, no reporters were given a byline, no mention was made of how the eyewitnesses told the BBC anything, and yet the BBC is now back to toeing the Western powers Narrative lines. So, did this reporting come from the FSA "activists"? Are there BBC stringers on the ground? BBC reporters? Are these Skype or other form of telephony interviews? Why not way the how of these eyewitness interviews?

Why doesn't our vaunted "free press" tell us anything other than what the Powers That By want them to say?

Oh, yeah, color me skeptical.

May. 29 2012 10:34 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The United States has liberated more people and nations from totalitarianism and horror than any other nation in history. When I was a kid over 50 years ago, most nations were either dictatorships and/or living under Communist or fascist dictatorships. Today most people are free thanks to America. Yes,it has cost the US some 100,000 dead and many more maimed and wounded since WWII, but YES it has been "worth it" for the billions we have brought into the light of freedom! I'm sick and tired of all of these pacifists and "blame America firsters." They can all go and concentrate in North Korea, Cuba and Iran if they don't like America. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

May. 29 2012 10:31 AM
The Truth from Becky

All comments from Charles down are ridiculous and I just don't know what "Taher" is talking about period.

May. 29 2012 10:28 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

The discussion always involves as how the military plays a role in foreign policy and never as what the policy and mindset is.
The United States has used militarism as an instrument of foreign policy since the beginning of the republic and continuously after the Spanish/ American War. The question should be asked what are the benefits of America’s military interventionism and adventurism?
Global hegemony may no longer be an option since there are other emerging players on the global stage.

May. 29 2012 10:24 AM

Hate to say it, but we need a big active military because there is simply NOTHING for these soldiers (mostly unskilled dropouts) to do here in the US. They would simply go on the unemployment rolls and be a source of potential discontent. Better to keep them out of the US and away on adventures where they will be busy (and hopefully, according to the government, get killed). Just keep em out of this country so they don't bother me!

May. 29 2012 10:23 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I say, send our fighting women to Syria to protect the children!

May. 29 2012 10:20 AM

Oh please, the same old "dictator exterminating his own people line?" Excuse me, but didn't rebels take up arms against their own government? What do these people expect? Ever heard of "assumption of risk?" If some group of US citizens decided to rebel in the same way, do you think this government would even hesitate to vaporize them (including any collateral damage)? This will only be used as an excuse to take down a government hostile to Israel and the US, and is aligned with Russia and China - period.

May. 29 2012 10:20 AM

Romney's comments about us being the strongest military power & being able to "prevent war" shows how uninformed about the military he is.

At this point, the more we try to "influence" or "assist," we either wind up backstopping tyrants who provide stability, especially in the Middle East, or work against our own interests due to our ignorance of foreign countries, languages, geography, cultures, i.e., everything that we need to know BEFORE we decide to put drones in the air and boots on the ground.

Then, as in iraq & Afghanistan, we import foreign workers to "rebuild" the country instead of hiring locals to build projects fitting their needs, using local building materials when possible and providing civilian backup & not just miiitary "might."

Perfect for a member [Romney] of the Yacht Club Draft Dodgers, which is NOT the U.S .Coast Guard.

May. 29 2012 10:19 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Obama is just an amateur and a pacifist with some nifty, easy to use drone toys at his fingertips.
This alone "does not a leader make."

May. 29 2012 10:17 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I say bring back half the draft. This time, draft only the women and let the men stay home with the children, and to direct the drones. The women can then become the heroes and the generals and tell the war stories of future Memorial Days.

May. 29 2012 10:14 AM

Both Romney and Obama are war mongers. We need a defense budget not a war budget. Obama's rhetoric is insulting. Romeny's insane.

May. 29 2012 10:11 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

“For Obama & Co., this time around it’s all about FEAR....the candidate of hope stands to become the 2012 candidate of fear.”

John Heilemann
NEW YORK MAGAZINE , current issue

Why not fear monger? He certainly hasn't established confidence in the American people in 4 years that he is actually competent to lead on his own merits.

May. 29 2012 10:07 AM

Please don't say that Romney is the republican nominee. The republican nomination process is far from done.

May. 29 2012 10:03 AM

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