The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Sunday Talkies

Iran, Afghanistan Dominate Sunday Talk Shows

By John Amick and Ibby Caputo

This Week: Gates Sees Hope for Iran Talks, Urges Patience in Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Sunday that if talks this week with Iran about its nuclear program are not productive, economic sanctions could be imposed.

(Read more on Sec. Gates's comments on Iran, Afghanistan and the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison.)

Referring to the meeting starting Oct. 1 with diplomats from Iran, the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, Gates said: "And then, if that doesn't work, then I think you begin to move in the direction of severe sanctions. And their economic problems are difficult enough that -- that I think that severe sanctions would have the potential of -- of bringing them to change their -- their policies."

Gates said top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is supportive of President Obama's review of Afghanistan strategy following McChrystal's own assessment that more resources are needed to avoid failure. Gates said the focus on the "more resources" part of McChrystal's report, however, is misguided. The report "spends a lot of time talking about how we stay on side with the Afghan people. This is mostly what McChrystal's assessment is about."

(Read the transcript of Gates's comments on Obama's review and overall Afghanistan strategy.)

More on the rest of Sunday's talk shows after the jump.

State of the Union: Gates: If Necessary, Sanctions on Iran Could Be Effective

Sec. Gates said Sunday that he had no doubts that Iran's newly exposed nuclear facility was constructed under dubious motives.

"I think that, certainly, the intelligence people have no doubt that this is an illicit nuclear facility, if only because the Iranians kept it a secret," Gates said on CNN's "State of the Union." "If they wanted it for peaceful nuclear purposes, there's no reason to put it so deep underground, no reason to be deceptive about it, keep it a secret for a protracted period of time."

Gates said the list of possible sanctions on Iran is plentiful, and that there is "no military option that does anything more than buy time," though he hopes upcoming diplomatic talks with Iran will yield progress.

"Sanctions on banking, particularly sanctions on equipment and technology for their oil and gas industry," he said. "I think there's a pretty rich list to pick from, actually."

(Read the transcript of Gates on Iran and possible economic sanctions.)

Face The Nation: Clinton: Iran Must Prove Nuclear Intentions on October 1st

Iran will have to prove that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes at the October 1st meeting with the United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Russia and China.

"[Iran] can open up their entire system to the kind of extensive investigation that the facts call for," said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on "Face The Nation" Sunday.

Clinton also said that sharing information with Russia has been helpful this past week and that she thinks Russia has begun to see many more indications that Iran is engaging in threatening behavior.

"President Medvedev said...that sanctions may not be preferable, but they may be inevitable," Clinton said.

(Read the transcript of Sec. Clinton on Afghanistan strategy.)

Fox News Sunday: Feinstein Calls McChrystal's Assessment a 10-year Plan

Chair and Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee discussed Afghanistan, Iran and Guantanamo today on "Fox News Sunday."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called General McChrystal's assessment on Afghanistan a 10-year plan and said President Obama is correct to examine alternatives.

"I do not believe the American people want to be in Afghanistan for the next ten years, effectively nation-building, building schools, building a government," said Feinstein.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Christopher Bond (R-MO) called for strong economic sanctions that can force either a change in regime or policy in Iran.

"Today's action in firing the missiles is really a poke in the eye to those who think that diplomatic efforts and agreements and inspections are going to change the way that Iran is going," said Bond.

(Read the transcript of Sens. Feinstein and Bond on the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.)

Meet the Press: Bill Clinton: Right-Wing Conspiracy Still There

Former President Bill Clinton still sees a right-wing conspiracy at work in America, though maybe not as powerful as it was when he was in office.

"You bet. Sure it is. It's not as strong as it was because America has changed demographically. But it's as virulent as it was."

Clinton sees the current manifestation of such a conspiracy as one that only wants Obama to fail as president.

Clinton celebrated the relationship between President Obama and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former rivals during the 2008 presidential campaign.

"It's a good argument for reconciliation," Clinton said.

(Read the transcript of the entire interview with former President Clinton, via

Posted at 12:39 PM ET on Sep 27, 2009  | Category:  Sunday Talkies
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Wow, we are back talking 'real war again given the antics of Iran. Of course, they are about testing our 'mettle' somehow to get some needed attention.

President Obama taking the right steps on Afghanistan and Iran are critical at this time. Doing that review/evaluation on that old 'medieval' country is a must before additional troops are sent in.

But confident that the right person holds the key to the solution, I stand with the President on any decisions he makes at this time. Iran is of less concern than Afghanistan, and can be handled easily with the collaboration of other countries such as: Russia, China, etc.

The ball is in our court so moving with precision-- focusing on results, matters most in long run.

Posted by: Victoria5 | September 28, 2009 4:43 PM

Gates better talk quickly!-

From Today's NY Times-

Iran Reported to Have Tested Long-Range Missiles

Published: September 28, 2009
"Locked in a deepening dispute with the United States and its allies over its nuclear program, Iran was reported Monday to have test-fired long-range missiles capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Persian Gulf in what seemed a show of force.

The reported tests of the Shahab-3 and Sejil missiles by the Revolutionary Guards were not the first conducted by Iran, but they came at a time of high tension, days after President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain used the disclosure of a previously secret nuclear plant in Iran to threaten Tehran with a stronger response, including harsher economic sanctions.

Iran says it wants to develop a nuclear capacity for peaceful purposes but many in the west say it is seeking to create a nuclear weapons capability. Tehran says its missile tests have been planned for some time and are not linked to the nuclear dispute."


From Today's NY Times

Warmer U.S.-Russia Relations May Yield Little in Action Toward Iran

Published: September 27, 2009
MOSCOW — "The Kremlin has long responded to proposals for tougher sanctions against Iran with arms folded and a scowl. Last week, that attitude began softening, bringing the Obama administration closer to a diplomatic coup in its efforts to contain the Iranian nuclear program.

But the relatively conciliatory statements by Russia’s president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, present an opening to the administration that could turn out to yield little. Russia, a neighbor of Iran, is far more intertwined with it geopolitically than any other world power, and has more concerns about upsetting relations.
Already, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, appears to be positioning Russia to back away from the supportive stance suggested by Mr. Medvedev’s comments.

Asked about the announcement on Friday by the United States, Britain and France that Iran had failed to disclose a secret uranium enrichment plant, Mr. Lavrov said it was not evident that Iran had done anything wrong. He said it was premature to assert that new sanctions were necessary."

NICE JOB 44- Iran's testing long range missiles, your abandoning antimissile bases to make nice with the Russians, who laugh behind your back and withhold support against the Iranians.

Posted by: thecannula | September 28, 2009 8:36 AM

Sunday Morning Talk Shows - were buried when we lost Tim Russert

After his last airing of "Meet the Press" I'd stopped getting up early to watch.

And I don't think anyone from NBC will ever admit they dropped the ball when they gave it too David Gregory....

If Andrea Mitchell wasn't so tepid she could had taking it and shared it with Nora O'Donnell....

And why does MSNBC have so many darn women?



Posted by: danders5000 | September 28, 2009 3:24 AM

The Taliban received $106 billion last year from foreign contributions.
Who might that be?
How can you quote an amount and not know anything else? Just ask yourself, who has that kind of money?
The other Arib states, thats who. Go get the rats.

Posted by: nychap44 | September 27, 2009 6:55 PM

If we are so stupid to bomb Iran while it is in basic compliance with it's obligations under the NPT, we well and truly deserve the chaos that would produce from Beruit to the Indus River. We have the power of producing chaos, but we do not have the power of putting that kitty kat back in the bag. Its like opening Pandora's box, once it is open, there is no closing it. As in the case of both Iraq and Afghaistan.

And the one thing we could do to convince them to produce nuclear WMD would be to bomb them under such circumstance. Is anyone at all saying we should bomb North Korea? And for good reason.

If we cannot free ourselves from the plague of Zion, we are going down. And in our lifetimes. Mark my words.

Posted by: tarquinis1 | September 27, 2009 5:21 PM

It matters not what these people say on these talk shows.

Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires (just ask the former Soviet Union -- they'll tell you), was lost when Bush et al decided to invade Iraq for Bush's ego and Bush & Cheney's oil buddies.

Afghanistan is not a nation; it's region of tribal factions. The government that we are propping up is corrupt and futile; poppy production has soared; and the US is wasting precious lives, money, and resources.

Food for thought: in the 1980s we decided to arm and train the jihadists fighting the Soviet Union because of our Cold War with the USSR; now the same jihadists are fighting us and training their next generation to fight the US, (like the Soviets and all other non-Muslims) are considered "infidels."

Let's bring all of our troops home now.

We can save lives and use the money and resources to rebuild and revitalize America. Let's invest in our country, our people, and green technology so we don't need oil and other fossil fuels. We will not only save the planet we will spend our money to help us, not help the very countries that hate us and fund terrorists.

Or, does that make too much sense???

Posted by: abbydelabbey | September 27, 2009 4:15 PM

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