Today's Blogs

General Discontent

Another retired general has called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation, and many bloggers concur. Bloggers are also commenting on Zacarias Moussaoui’s testimony and the United flight 93 tapes. Finally, a South Park episode has prompted cries of “censorship!”

General Discontent: Retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste denounced Donald Rumsfeld’s leadership style and suggested that he step down to improve relations between the government and the military.

“That these proud military men would openly speak such things, even if they did wait to retire first, is the rough equivalent of, ‘Sir, bite me. I’m not going to take your asshattedness anymore,’ ” quips the liberal Omnipotent Poobah. “So……do you think Rumsfeld will leave his job for ’family reasons’ and then receive from President Bush the Presidential Medal of Freedom?” asks administration critic Truth Hunter at What Happened to My Country?

On TheModerate Voice, journalist Joe Gandelman offers a breakdown of the Washington Post story about Batiste’s comments. (Disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.) He wonders whether Rumsfeld will heed the general’s advice. “The hallmark of this administration is not to give critics what they want on personnel changes when they demand it but eventually give them something, which is always explained as the person leaving on their own volition,” Gandelman proffers.

Gaius at the right-leaning Blue Crab Boulevard thinks the general’s criticism of Rumsfeld could have dire consequences for national security, and he criticizes the media’s role in whole affair. “The press appears to be tracking down every single retired general officer they possibly can to interview as is apparent today in the Washington Post,” Gaius writes. “The danger of this particular tactic should be evident to any thinking person. … Up until now generals have served with the approval of elected officials. What will happen when elected officials start serving only with the approval of the generals?”

John Cole at Balloon Juice writes, “It is important to look at what they are actually saying rather than just whooping it up that someone is gunning for Rumsfeld’s head. … That doesn’t mean that what these folks are saying is wrong- it means that as a reader you should look at the actual criticisms themselves, rather than simply count the number of folks speaking out and think there is a trend.” And Ron K. Jeffries of Cloudy Thinking has some kind words for Rummy but ultimately agrees with Batiste. “Rumsfeld must go because his time has passed. He helped design and execute Iraq War II. He supported what history will record as the most brilliantly executed invasion of all time.”

Here’s more on the Rummy backlash. Fred Kaplan analyzed the “officers’ revolt” in Slate.

Hijacking the court: Accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui testified on his own behalf Thursday, one day after the jury in his sentencing trial listed to audio tape from United flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take the plane from the hijackers. Moussaoui took cracks at his defense attorneys and trial witnesses and said he does not want to be sentenced to death.

Randy at RightWinged posts the entire cockpit transcript. “In a way, I really wish they’d release this to gain back some of the resolve and anger America had after the attacks. I couldn’t believe as time went on, and the talking heads predicted complacency, that it would ever get to the point it has,” he writes. Robert Spencer on Jihad Watch claims the press missed an opportunity to highlight the religious motivation of the hijackers by leaving out their incantation of “Allahu akbar” or “God is the greatest” in some media reports. 

Meanwhile, Brett at neo-con blog McStansbury doesn’t see the point in releasing the flight tapes. “Castigate me if you must, but I don’t see the legal necessity. Moussaoui was not on Flight 93. Moussaoui did not commit the murders on Flight 93 prior to its ultimate demise. Moussaoui’s involvement with AQ had no bearing on Flight 93,” he observes.

Conspiracy theorist Realm Wave Rider thinks Moussaoui is taking the fall for the real perpetrators of Sept. 11. “When the jury found Moussaoui eligible for the death penalty, it became evidently clear to me that emotions would overtake logic and reason in this trial. Now, after publishing the recordings, and reading the reactions in the courtroom, there is no doubt justice will not be served by dispensing the utlimate form of punishment on this man,” he writes.

On Talk Left, a liberal blog devoted to political injustice, Caramel blasts the use of Moussaoui as a patsy to exact revenge for the Sept. 11 deaths. “In any case it’s totally insane to watch such a display of vengeful victims’ families when the defendant is the wrong person. This is a masquerade, it is not justice,” admonishes Caramel. The anonymous blogger at Revoluti0n lists three reasons Moussaoui should not be executed—he’s not charged with a death-penalty crime, he wants to play the executed martyr role, and killing him to avenge Sept. 11 “does not do justice for the victims.”

David Taffet on Radio Left denouncesthe government’s case against Moussaoui as a by-proxy witch hunt for Osama Bin Laden. “Families of victims testified about the impact of the September 11 attacks on their lives. … Unfortunately, all of this testimony had nothing to do with Moussaoui. … His histrionics in court were either well-staged theater or the actions of an unstable lunatic. For its part, the government has provided no evidence that he was actually part of the planning.”

Here’s more chatter on the Moussaoui trial.

Mohammed’s a no-show: Wednesday night’s conclusion to South Park’s “Cartoon Wars” two-parter prompted confusion and disappointment among viewers when the highly anticipated depiction of Mohammed was replaced by a black screen saying Comedy Central refused to depict the Muslim Prophet. Steven Spruiell at the National Review’s Media Blog says he received confirmation from Comedy Central that it was indeed the network’s decision to black out the key scene.

Ed Morrissey at Captains Quarters was “flabbergasted” that Comedy Central struck scenes from the episode. Michelle Malkin posts lots of commentary about the show and reports that the uncensored version is available on “various P2P file sharing sites.” The Anchoress takes Comedy Central to task for “caving” on a First Amendment issue. “Well, CC is a very liberal outfit, so it’s a good guess that pooping on Jesus, Bush and the flag is much less offensive to them than any PC consideration, or you know, the threat of violence by Muslim extremists.” Censored or not, viewers agree that the Mohammed spoof was hilarious.

Here’s more on South Park.