Sunday, February 01, 2015

Editorial: The White House doesn't do democracy

One of the most important moments last week took place at the White House during an official briefing.

They were uttered by spokesperson Josh Earnest.

Q    Josh, thanks.  I want to go back to Congressman Schiff’s AUMF legislation.  It includes language that would prohibit the use of ground troops.  I know that Secretary Kerry a while back, he said that that shouldn’t be part of the AUMF language.  Does the administration still stand by that?  Are you still opposed to legislation that would prohibit the use of ground troops?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, Kristen, I’m not going to be in a position to negotiate the language from here.  We are having private negotiations with Democrats and Republicans on the Hill about what should be included in the agreement.  But --

Q    But that seems like a very basic tenet of any piece of legislation.  I mean, the President has said multiple times that he’s not going to send U.S. troops -- put U.S. troops on the ground.  So is that something that you would be opposed to?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, again, this is something that we’ll have to work out with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.  But I appreciate your raising what is a principle that the President has established from the very first day he started talking about ISIL, which is that he does not believe that it’s in the best interest of the United States for us to commit a significant contingent of American ground troops in a combat role to fight ISIL.  He believes that the best way for us to do this is to put American troops in a situation where they can use their skills and expertise to train up local forces that can take the fight to ISIL on the ground in their own country.

Spokesperson Josh Earnest's remarks, that combat troops being sent into Iraq is a private conversation for Congress, not an issue for public debate, were made in public at a press briefing.

So every outlet reported on them, right?


If you saw them at The Common Ills on Saturday, consider yourself lucky because the US press has decided to treat these remarks like they never happened, like they weren't uttered by the White House spokesperson.

A true democracy depends upon an informed citizenry.

But as Ernest made clear, that's not something the White House is actually interested in.

Nor are they interested in debating the issue with the public.

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