Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gary Berntsen, chairman of New York Veterans for McCain, former CIA field commander during the war in Afghanistan in 2001, and author of Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA's Key Field Commander, talks about security in a post-9/11 world.


Gary Berntsen

Comments [32]

Kelly from Park Slope

Interesting how the lefties on WNYC comment boards bash Brian because he doesn't speak with same vitriol about Republicans as they do.


Get over it -- WNYC is not Air America or the Puffington Host.

Yes, you can make all the snarky smears about how stupid Mccain is and how Sarah is a religous fanatic and then cry wolf about how the Republicans are "mean" and maybe, just maybe, Democrats will lose again.

If Bush was so dumb, why couldn't the Democrats win in 2004 - even after the unpopular war.

That's how he dumb he is and how smart the Democrats are....

The arrogance and hypocrisy will probably od the Democrats in again in 08. Mark my words.

Sep. 11 2008 03:59 PM
Jim from South Orange

I was the first caller on the show. Whatever happened to my beloved WNYC? Why am I having to police Brian when he interviews rightists and centrists? He let this guy get away with such lies and spin- it's no wonder he has a regular fact-checker guest now- He doesn't confront anyone anymore. He has become so objectivist and politically correct that he won't stand up to patently misguided and abusive positions because 'everyone's entitled'.

Sep. 11 2008 01:42 PM
NPV from sea Cliff, N.Y.

Brian, I commend you for doing a thorough and intelligent interview of Gary Berntsen. Then again you always do... NPV, Sea Cliff, N.Y.

Sep. 11 2008 12:57 PM
seth from Long Island

Does anyone seriously believe that John "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran" McCain has the maturity and sobriety to lead this country during wartime?

I am deeply offended as an American that McCain would joke about killing thousands of innocent civilians. McCain, with his Beach Boys parody, sounded like a reckless, irresponsible teenager who isn't ready to be given the car keys.

Sep. 11 2008 12:08 PM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Gene...thats actually a great question....

Sep. 11 2008 11:51 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Seth: I think that we are on the same page on this one.

Sep. 11 2008 11:49 AM
seth from Long Island

#16 Susan

McCain is the ultimate anti-intellectual. He lacks the brain power to win a game of checkers let alone lead the nation.

Sep. 11 2008 11:46 AM
gene from SI

How does Gary think Sarah would handle the problem

Sep. 11 2008 11:44 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

He is not popular with vets, they respect him, but don't like him.

Why did McCain vote against increasing health care funding for Vets in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007?

Sep. 11 2008 11:44 AM
Robert from NYC

did yo have to throw in the "according to democrats" line, Brian? C'mon man get that spinal cord back into your back.

Sep. 11 2008 11:44 AM
Michael Hanna from Midtown

I lost my cousin to heroin and his mother in the towers on 9/11. Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas grow heroin and terrorists. We should have and still need to win the war and help rebuild a successful state in Afghanistan.

Gary should be honest about the failed Iraq strategy. He immediately undermined his own credibility when he
went from talking about what he knows being on the ground in Afghanistan to following the Bush/Cheney line about Iraq.

We need better security. That means better strategy right Gary!

Sep. 11 2008 11:44 AM
arran from brooklyn

your guest said that iraq broke 17 UN resolutions. How many UN resolutions have Israel and the US broken?

Sep. 11 2008 11:44 AM
leoinnyc from Staten Island

McCain talks about "victory" in Iraq and our troops "returning with honor." He is re-fighting Vietnam in his aged head. Meanwhile he needs Joe Leiberman to correct him about who is and isn't training Al-Qaeda. This is not a man who is going to do the "nuance" thing very well -- he is not prepared to fight the wars of the 21st Century.

Sep. 11 2008 11:44 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Jesse - misled by the Bush administration? How could it be?

Of course it wasn't the surge, as Woodward has pointed out:

Sep. 11 2008 11:43 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

How dare you say that Gore would make the same decisions! That's crap!

Sep. 11 2008 11:43 AM
Graham from Paris

With due respect for your guest, I consider this a poorly directed discussion.

Please consider: the United States are now decades into a severely destructive pursuit of imperialist, militarily-driven policies which distort and disrupt the chances for a just, clear and sanely formulated set of domestic and foreign policies. All of which is intimately related to the rise of violent anti-U.S. sentiment---much of it grounded in an accurate understanding of the threats the U.S. imperialist policies pose to just arrangements of all manner of political and economic world issues.

That set of errors infects everything about the nation's society and politics.

What good reason is there to suppose that Senator McCain is capable of grasping and adequately responding to these circumstances?

Sep. 11 2008 11:43 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

I don't think that McCain has the intellectual capacity to understand the situation on the ground in Afghanistan when he doesn't seem to get the difference between the Shias and Sunnis, etc., etc. Diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy and working with other powers will resolve many of the issues there. I do not believe a word this guy is saying.

Sep. 11 2008 11:42 AM
shc from Manhattan

It's too bad this guy is such a fervent McCain supporter, I feel like he could have alot of smart things to contribute to solving this mess. But all I hear is hypocritical campaigning that just undermines his credibility. Blaming Germany for a weak police force and Obama for not chairing the appropriate meetings (i mean, really?) still doesn't mean the Republicans have accepted responsibility for getting us into this mess in the first place.

Sep. 11 2008 11:41 AM

This guy is ANGRY for some reason? He will not answer the questions. I wonder if he can point to anything McCain HAS done for the troops in Afghanistan? He also said that iraq/saddam violated 15 UN resolutions, so we went in, but we didn't get Un approvl to go in? ask him about that?

Sep. 11 2008 11:41 AM
Dorothy from Chelsea

[[BL Producer Writes: A few comments have been removed or edited for violating the WNYC posting policy. Please, remember to keep your comments civil, on topic, and productive to the discussion on the air. Thanks!
-BL Show-]]

Sep. 11 2008 11:41 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Unbelievable. Who, exactly, has been in charge of the country for the past 8 years? And we're supposed to continue handing it off to these guys. Based on what, exactly? Trust us because we messed up until now but we're still the only people you can trust to fight the terrorists. I don't think so!

Sep. 11 2008 11:41 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn


Why are you using kid gloves with Berntsen?

What about these veterans:

Senator John McCain successfully blocked the release of classified POW/MIA documents.


Sep. 11 2008 11:40 AM
Chris from Brooklyn

McCain has repeatedly ridiculed Obama for suggesting we conduct operations within Pakistan's borders. Yet your guest has just suggested that we "will have to deal" with Pakistan. Will McCain actually concede this point?

Sep. 11 2008 11:40 AM
Paula Heisen from Manhattan

please ask your guest about why John McCain did not know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.

Sep. 11 2008 11:39 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn this guy really helping mccain?

Sep. 11 2008 11:38 AM

Is this not one of the "experts" who got us in trouble in the first place.

Sep. 11 2008 11:37 AM
Soren from Manhattan

What can be learned about Afghanistan (or anything else) from a McCain supporter other than how great and wise McCain is?

Sep. 11 2008 11:37 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

Gary Berntsen is a McCain shill. A parrot.

Sep. 11 2008 11:37 AM
Jesse from New York

Is it possible that the public is being mislead about the success of the serge? Has there been independent verification that things are better? Perhaps the sects are just regrouping and getting ready for their own serge after the election?

Sep. 11 2008 11:36 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Brian - you need to hammer this guy - Saddam himself said he had no WMD:

In the interview with Dan Rather that rather famously aired on [Sixty Minutes] (2/26/03) three weeks before the invasion, Saddam explained that Iraq had agreed to allow inspectors back into the country "even though Iraq was absolutely certain that what it had said--what the Iraqi officials had kept saying--that Iraq was empty, was void, of any such weapons, was the case." He did so "in order to make the case absolutely clear that Iraq was no longer in possession of any such weapons."

Source is FAIR

Sep. 11 2008 11:35 AM
Obi from NYC


Would you ask Mr. Berntsen about the selection process for Sarah Palin and whether its true that Governor Palin was forced on Senator McCain by the party. All the reports I've heard indicate that he wanted to select Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge. If so, it reflects extremely poorly on a so-called "Maverick" who wants to lead the free world yet isn't even permitted to choose his own VP.

Sep. 11 2008 11:30 AM
seth from Long Island

Thanks to George W. Bush and John McCain, valuable resources were diverted from the hunt for Bin Laden to an unnecessary and costly war in Iraq.
A victory for McCain would be a national tragedy. McCain lacks the basic intelligence to protect the nation.
McCain's support for the Iraq war reveals his lack of judgement in issues of national security. The country can't afford 4 years of John McCain's ignorance.

Sep. 11 2008 10:34 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.