Thursday, March 26, 2015
How much contempt must you have for your audience if you continue to insist that Yemen is a success story?
No. That's genuine question.
From The Blaze:
ABC reporter Jonathan Karl noted that “complete chaos” has gripped Yemen as the country faces a bloody struggle against radical rebel forces and asked if the White House still views Yemen as a counterterrorism “model.”
The reporter seemed surprised when Earnest said the White House is maintaining its position.
Earnest told reporters on Wednesday that a “successful counterterrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to have local fighters take the fight to extremists in their own country.” He added that the counterterrorism strategy is a “template that has succeeded in mitigating the threat in Yemen and Somalia.”
“That’s astounding,” Karl responded. “You’re saying you still see Yemen as a model? Building up a central government, which has now collapsed? A president who has apparently fled the country? You know, Saudi troops massing on one border, the Iranians supporting the rebels? You consider this a model for counterterrorism?”
To the credit of ABC, they are actually reporting this disaster, even referring to Obama's declaration last year of Yemen "the model for counter terrorism." You can even hear some criticism of Obama's policies.
Meanwhile NBC's Andrea Mitchell notes the problems in Yemen, but no reference to the fact that Obama considers Yemen a success story. They continue to run clips of Obama reassuring people that everything is going well. In fact, now that Saudi Arabia is intervening, it's passing along Iranian propaganda, accusing the Saudis of committing atrocities.
CBS makes a passing mention of Obama's brags about the Yemeni model.
The government's collapse raises serious questions about the Obama administration's "light footprint" model of combating terrorism. As recently as September, as President Obama announced the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, he cited Yemen as an example of a successful U.S. counterterrorism strategy."I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ... this strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years," Mr. Obama said.
Raises question? The accompanying video begins with the question: "Why should American care?" A question like that is a prelude for a story later that will say that the American retreat from Yemen is no big deal.