Geraldo Rivera's asshattery is certainly not news, but a statement he made about Michael Hastings one day after his death, and some of the responses to it are newsworthy.
Let's keep in mind the history of General Stanley McChrystal while we do it, shall we?
Reporter Michael Hastings KI tragic car wreck Condolences to familyBut hard to forget he destroyed career of 1 of our best fighting generals— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) June 19, 2013
. @GeraldoRivera Remember when you got thrown out of Iraq for drawing troop movements on live TV? But yeah, Hastings hated America— GENERAL GANDHI (@Bro_Pair) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera oh shut up you friggin idiot.— Steve Brookstein (@stevebrookstein) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera oh, the general's own words & actions had nothing to do with it? Thanks for setting record straight!— Susie Madrak (@SusieMadrak) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera Remember when you gave away US troop positions on live TV?— Christopher Brower (@cfbrower) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera Pretty sure it was the GENERAL who killed his career, not the reporter who wrote about what he said. Hack.— Sager!!!!! (@msager) June 19, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera Just stop talking and tweeting, you daft douchegargler.— Josh Dorian (@SaltedJosh) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera Hard to forget you're an ass, and if you really believe that, then a horrible journalist too.— Emil Caillaux (@emilcDC) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera you give new life to the saying "everything after 'But' is b.s."— Betty Aberlin (@bettyaberlin) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera Beg pardon, but that general destroyed his own career.— GidgetWA (@GidgetWA) June 19, 2013
@skenigsberg wtf— Rebecca Shabad (@RebeccaShabad) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera the fucking general ruined his own career you twat.— Allan Cavanagh (@AllanCavanagh) June 19, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera Go to Hell.— Khadijah M. Britton (@KMBTweets) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera By reporting what he said?— Daniel Wright (@DanSWright) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera not so good at condolences, or journalism, or reputation, or veracity are we?— JoeTweetsItReal (@JoeTweetsItReal) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera maybe you should take a break from twitter— Adam Schweigert (@aschweig) June 19, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera kiss a little more ass please, make sure to save some flavor in your mustache for later as well— Sikko-Em (@JustSikko) June 19, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera Oh my god, WHAT? McChrystal destroyed his own career! Hastings merely refused to lie for him. We'd love to see you do same.— Robin (@caulkthewagon) June 19, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera You're a sad hack.— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera must hurt to know someone half your age accomplished more in the same field than you ever will. You are the lowest of low.— JesseCannon (@JesseCannon) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera He did great service to this country with that article, and you're a vile vile man.— BWD (@theonlyadult) June 19, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera Who knows why a journalist might not be owned free and clear by the powers that be? Perhaps if you imagined really hard...— Chris Clarke (@canislatrans) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera very classy. To think I watched you growing up. Death comes to all of us...what will people say about you once you're gone?— hermela aregawi (@HermelaLA) June 19, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera yeah his vault investigation skills really left something to be desired— Nick (@JucheMane) June 19, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera You should have searched Capone's vault harder for a scrap of credibility or decency, you oily, buffoonish huckster.— Popehat (@Popehat) June 20, 2013
.@GeraldoRivera Journalists like Hastings report facts. A mustachioed troll like you wouldn't be familiar with that process.— Ana Kasparian (@AnaKasparian) June 20, 2013
Update: More responses
Well, this hasn't gone very well, has it, @GeraldoRivera— Benjamin Dreyer (@BCDreyer) June 20, 2013
If you're feeling bad about yourself, read the responses to this tweet and be glad you're not Geraldo Rivera: https://t.co/...— Heather Schmelzlen (@anchorlines) June 20, 2013
And by "best war fighting general" Geraldo presumably meant "death squad aficionado and pro at murdering Iraqis", right?— kade (@onekade) June 19, 2013
Far and away the best clip of 24 hour news I've seen: Geraldo getting tackled because he was drawing infantry positions in the sand.— Yolo Yeung (@Doc_Destructo) June 19, 2013
That time when Geraldo Rivera blamed Trayvon Martin's killing on his hoodie: http://t.co/...— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) June 11, 2013
Michael Hastings > Geraldo Rivera— Jay (@J9480) June 19, 2013
Of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Blackwater (UPDATED)
Given McChrystal's alleged involvement in the torture of detainees at Camp Nama in Iraq, his primary role in the cover-up of Pat Tillman's death and other dark acts involving his time commanding the Joint Special Operations Command under the Bush-Cheney administration, McChrystal should have never been named commander in Afghanistan. When he was appointed, Obama sent a message about the kind of policy he wanted in Afghanistan--one which favored unaccountable, unattributable direct action forces accustomed to operating in secret and away from effective oversight. Indeed, in the Rolling Stone article, McChrystal appeared to admit his famous commitment to decreasing civilian deaths was a sham operation. According to Rolling Stone: "'You better be out there hitting four or five targets tonight,' McChrystal will tell a Navy Seal he sees in the hallway at headquarters. Then he'll add, 'I'm going to have to scold you in the morning for it, though.'"
President Obama was right to fire McChrystal (technically he accepted his resignation)--it should have happened long ago. That McChrystal was fired for the Rolling Stone article, however, and not for the way he prosecuted the Afghan war speaks volumes about the administration's Afghanistan position and policy vision (not to mention that Dick Cheney's general, David Petraeus, was named as McChrystal's successor).
There's no doubt, under the Uniform Code of Military Conduct, McChrystal was rightly relieved of his duties. But in the end, it was McChrystal's words--not his actions--that sunk his ship. Blackwater's ship of misconduct, crime and murder will apparently sail on for the foreseeable future, at least until their words, instead of their bullets, strike the wrong people.
The Secret US War in Pakistan
While JSOC has long played a central role in US counterterrorism and covert operations, military and civilian officials who worked at the Defense and State Departments during the Bush administration described in interviews with The Nation an extremely cozy relationship that developed between the executive branch (primarily through Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) and JSOC. During the Bush era, Special Forces turned into a virtual stand-alone operation that acted outside the military chain of command and in direct coordination with the White House. Throughout the Bush years, it was largely General McChrystal who ran JSOC. "What I was seeing was the development of what I would later see in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Special Operations forces would operate in both theaters without the conventional commander even knowing what they were doing," said Colonel Wilkerson. "That's dangerous, that's very dangerous. You have all kinds of mess when you don't tell the theater commander what you're doing."
Wilkerson said that almost immediately after assuming his role at the State Department under Colin Powell, he saw JSOC being politicized and developing a close relationship with the executive branch. He saw this begin, he said, after his first Delta Force briefing at Fort Bragg. "I think Cheney and Rumsfeld went directly into JSOC. I think they went into JSOC at times, perhaps most frequently, without the SOCOM [Special Operations] commander at the time even knowing it. The receptivity in JSOC was quite good," says Wilkerson. "I think Cheney was actually giving McChrystal instructions, and McChrystal was asking him for instructions." He said the relationship between JSOC and Cheney and Rumsfeld "built up initially because Rumsfeld didn't get the responsiveness. He didn't get the can-do kind of attitude out of the SOCOM commander, and so as Rumsfeld was wont to do, he cut him out and went straight to the horse's mouth. At that point you had JSOC operating as an extension of the [administration] doing things the executive branch--read: Cheney and Rumsfeld--wanted it to do. This would be more or less carte blanche. You need to do it, do it. It was very alarming for me as a conventional soldier."
Exclusive Excerpt: The Operators by Michael Hastings
McChrystal, Petraeus and the inside story of America's war in Afghanistan
by MICHAEL HASTINGS
JANUARY 03, 2012
We started talking about larger issues within the media, which I felt he was in a unique position to discuss. McChrystal was a spokesperson at the Pentagon during the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, his first national exposure to the public.
“We co-opted the media on that one,” he said. “You could see it coming. There were a lot of us who didn’t think Iraq was a good idea.”
Co-opted the media. I almost laughed. Even the military’s former Pentagon spokesperson realized—at the time, no less—how massively they were manipulating the press. The ex–White House spokesperson, Scott McClellan, had said the same thing: The press had been “complicit enablers” before the Iraq invasion, failing in their “watchdog role, focusing less on truth and accuracy and more on whether the campaign [to sell the war] was succeeding.”
I rattled off a few names of other journalists. I named the writer who’d just done the profile on him for The Atlantic, Robert Kaplan.
“Totally co-opted by the military,” he said.
In Secret Unit's 'Black Room,' a Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse
The secrecy surrounding the highly classified unit has helped to shield its conduct from public scrutiny. The Pentagon will not disclose the unit's precise size, the names of its commanders, its operating bases or specific missions. Even the task force's name changes regularly to confuse adversaries, and the courts-martial and other disciplinary proceedings have not identified the soldiers in public announcements as task force members.
General Brown's command declined requests for interviews with several former task force members and with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who leads the Joint Special Operations Command, the headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C., that supplies the unit's most elite troops.
In the summer of 2004, Camp Nama closed and the unit moved to a new headquarters in Balad, 45 miles north of Baghdad. The unit's operations are now shrouded in even tighter secrecy.
Soon after their rank-and-file clashed in 2004, D.I.A. officials in Washington and military commanders at Fort Bragg agreed to improve how the task force integrated specialists into its ranks. The D.I.A. is now sending small teams of interrogators, debriefers and case officers, called "deployable Humint teams," to work with Special Operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Senior military commanders insist that the elite warriors, who will be relied on more than ever in the campaign against terrorism, are now treating detainees more humanely and can police themselves. The C.I.A. has resumed conducting debriefings with the task force, but does not permit harsh questioning, a C.I.A. official said.
General McChrystal, the leader of the Joint Special Operations Command, received his third star in a promotion ceremony at Fort Bragg on March 13.
Acts of Conscience
It was a point of pride that the Red Cross would never be allowed in the door, Jeff says. This is important because it defied the Geneva Conventions, which require that the Red Cross have access to military prisons. "Once, somebody brought it up with the colonel. 'Will they ever be allowed in here?' And he said absolutely not. He had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there's no way that the Red Cross could get in — they won't have access and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating, even Army investigators."
To Garlasco, this is significant. This means that a full-bird colonel and all his support staff knew exactly what was going on at Camp Nama. "Do you know where the colonel was getting his orders from?" he asks.
Jeff answers quickly, perhaps a little defiantly. "I believe it was a two-star general. I believe his name was General McChrystal. I saw him there a couple of times."
Guardian Lays Out Details of How Petraeus Organized Death Squads in IraqGuardian documentary that accompanies the investigative journalism referenced above.
Yesterday, the Guardian published an article detailing how the US turned to the use of death squads in Iraq to quell the rise of Sunni militias. The article provides convincing evidence that this was an intentional policy and was in fact a central tenet of David Petraeus’ often-praised counterinsurgency, or COIN, strategy. The key person in the Guardian’s reporting is James Steele, who was a veteran in organizing Central American death squads on behalf of the US during the Reagan years.
Here’s the opening of the Guardian article:The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents.[...]
Via email, my friend Kirk pointed out this report from Newsweek back in early 2005 where the concept of the Salvador option was floated openly by the Bush administration
The most disgusting aspect of this apparent “trial balloon” floated by the Bush administration is that the program quite possibly was already underway when the Newsweek article came out. The Guardian article reminds us that Petraeus, the architect of this program, was sent to Iraq in June of 2004 (this was his second deployment to Iraq) to begin training Iraqis, and the Newsweek article wasn’t published until January of 2005. Steele, who was reporting directly to Rumsfeld, first went to Iraq in 2003 (Rumsfeld delighted in running his own people separately from the chain of command; he did this at times with McChrystal as well).