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COMMENTARY: Obama’s Annoyance Shows Major Garrett Asked the Right Questions

 

 

Genevieve Wood / @genevievewood / July 16, 2015

I know Major Garrett. We co-hosted a morning television program back in the mid 1990s. And Major is nothing if not a solid news reporter.

That is why it shouldn’t be surprising that he asked very pointed questions when President Obama called on him during his press conference on the Iran nuclear deal Wednesday.

THE ARROGANCE OF POWER (right) President Obama was upset with reporter Major Garret asking legitimate questions about the Iran deal (photo credit Ron Zachs, ZUMA Press/Newscom)

That’s a reporter’s job—to ask questions many in the audience want to know the answer to, and in this case, that will provide the American people with relevant information about a very important matter that affects the security of the country.

And yes, Mr. President, many Americans would like to know why we cut a deal with a terrorist regime that is holding four Americans hostage and why our government wouldn’t make the return of those hostages a deal breaker.  People might also be interested in knowing why part of the agreement included giving Iran further access to ballistic missiles.

Here are Garrett’s questions verbatim:

Question 1: “As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran—three held on trumped up charges according to your administration, one, whereabouts unknown. Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all of the fanfare around this [nuclear] deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for, in relation to these four Americans?”

Question 2: “And last week, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said under no circumstances should there be any relief for Iran in terms of ballistic missiles or conventional weapons. It was perceived that that was a last-minute capitulation in these negotiations, making the Pentagon feel you’ve left the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hung out to dry. Could you comment?”

What is illegitimate about these two questions?

It’s not a secret that the four American hostages exist. Is it out of bounds to question why securing their freedom was not part of any deal? And when you consider that this White House has had no problem negotiating with terrorists in the past to gain the release of American hostages like Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier subsequently charged with desertion, it makes one wonder why Garrett was the first reporter to ask this question.

Regarding the lifting of the weapons ban, Iran is without question one of the main sponsors of international terrorism. Heritage Foundation national security expert Michaela Dodge says, “Lifting an arms embargo at any time will give Iran ability to threaten and kill U.S. troops and its allies more effectively. President Obama is doing a major disservice to his successors and U.S. military in conceding on these embargoes.”

And perhaps that is why just last week the president’s own defense secretary, Ashton Carter, when asked about the matter told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “No, we want [Iran] to continue to be isolated as a military … ” and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, replied in the same hearing that ” … under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.”

Hmmm… Garrett had asked some tough questions and it was immediately clear Obama didn’t have very good answers. If he had he would have started with them. Instead, he began by scolding the questioner:

I’ve got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions. The notion that I am content, as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails—Major, that’s nonsense. And you should know better…

Perhaps Obama was annoyed with himself for not having mentioned the hostage situation earlier or addressing why he knows better than his military advisors about arms bans. Regardless, his reaction was that of someone who has been called out and they know it, who has had their victory dance interrupted, and who would rather lecture his audience than answer legitimate, albeit prickly, questions.

 

Major Garrett has reported for Fox News, CNN and is now with CBS News—I’d call that pretty fair and balanced. He was simply doing his job yesterday. The fact Obama reacted the way he did shows he did it very well.

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