Joe Scarborough implies General Dempsey unfit to lead joint chiefs
The morning talk-show host says Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey's comments that Iran is a rational actor should be a firing offense.
(Page 2 of 2)
Dempsey is a 1974 graduate of West Point. He commanded troops during the first Gulf War, and led the 1st Armored Division for a little over a year during the occupation of Iraq before taking over command of the training of Iraqi security forces from 2005-2007. He has Masters degrees in English, Military Arts, and National Security Studies. His Masters thesis from the US Army Command and General Staff College in 1988 is titled "Duty: Understanding the Most Sublime Military Value."Skip to next paragraph
Russia's plans for Crimea were long in the making
Listening to Edward Snowden at SXSW (+video)
The recidivism rate of former Guantánamo prisoners is really low – and falling (+video)
Liz Wahl: Russia Today anchor quits on air as cold war rhetoric heats up (+video)
A look at Ukraine's economic hole
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Mr. Scarborough was a Republican congressman from Florida from 1995-2001, and earned a law degree at the University of Florida in 1990. He has mostly been an MSNBC talk show host since leaving Congress.
Dempsey responded to some push-back from Congressman Tom Price (R) of Georgia last week. Rep. Price said that Dempsey's comment that Iran is a "rational actor ... stunned me and many of my constituents.... Do you stand by that statement?"
Dempsey (who sounds just like the former Marine and fellow New Yorker Harvey Keitel): "Yes, I stand by it because the alternative is almost unimaginable. The alternative is that we attribute to them that their actions are so irrational that they have no basis of planning. You know, not to sound too academic about it but Thucydides in the 5th century BC said that all strategy is some combination of reaction to fear, honor, and interests. And I think all nations act in response to one of those three things, even Iran. The key is to understand how they act and not trivialize their actions by attributing to them some irrationality. I think that’s a very dangerous thing for us to do. It doesn’t mean I agree with what they decide, by the way, but they have some thought process they follow."
Price continues: "Maybe you can help me to understand then what you believe to be the rationality of an assassination attempt on the Saudi Ambassador in our territory."
Dempsey: "I'm not here to justify Iran's actions.... I don't understand their rationality, but I'm not them." Price: "But you've described them as a rational actor. Dempsey: "What I'm suggesting... [is] that they are, they are calculating. What I'm suggesting is we need to be equally and maybe even more calculating."
Me? I'm with Dempsey, as the Lord Palmerston quote I selected for Backchannels indicates: "Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests." Nations may be wrong, they may be thuggish, the may do horrible things, but it's interests that drive them.
Get daily or weekly updates from CSMonitor.com delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.