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The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

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What I would have asked the president

Just back from the White House press conference with Nouri Al-Maliki and I'm struck by a couple of things: It was the Iraqi prime minister's first ever visit to the White House and yet the White House allowed just two questions from the American and Iraqi press. So many issues remained unaddressed. It would seem to me that the president would want a fuller airing of his views on a subject severely undermining his political status at home and U.S. policy abroad.

Here's what I would have asked: "Mr. President, you argued before the war that invading Iraq would bring stability to a vital region of the world and would create a new stage of Arab-Israeli peace. Yet today, sectarian violence in Iraq is killing 100 civilians a day in Baghdad; Democratic reform has produced Hamas and Hezbollah; U.S. policy has also created a defiant, resurgent Iran. Do you acknowledge fundamental misjudgments about the war and what do you do about them now?"

I sure would like to know the answer to that question.

The second thing I noticed was how subdued the president was. He did some cheerleading for Maliki and again promised U.S. support. But in tone, body language and actual language he made clear things are going poorly. He said that the U.S. must be nimble enough to respond to changes on the ground. What came through to me was frustration.

And how about Maliki's ability to dodge questions? He was asked his position on Hezbollah and flatly ignored it. He condemned Israel's bombardment of Lebanon, but never questioned Hezbollah. I wanted to ask him whether he thinks Israel has a right to exist.

Too bad they didn't think it was worth taking more questions.

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COMMENTS

Thanks David, I can only wish that I were the one asking Bush and company those questions. When analyzing Bush on TV, his addictive behavior is quite obvious, the shifting eyes that become even closer together, his stammering and obvious lack of thought process. I would never buy a used car from his type. Even if he does answer a question, his credibility is completely lacking. Just too many lies! I'm afraid this one (Bush) will be judged as our worst leader ever, but I'll try real hard to forgive those who voted for him a second time.
Thanks for this opportunity.

David staff strong and ask the real questions. This administration has a long history of fabricating new, distorting truths, and suppressing investigative new attempts. Had you and others asked the hard questions earlier we would not be in this war that was based on lies and disceptions. I wish your associates had your courage.

My 23 year old son just returned home from Iraq. It was the happiest day of my life to see his bright and cheerful face. I used to be a republican and I was for going into Iraq. But after 3 1/2 years and studying more about Iraq, the people and the middle east in general, I have changed my mind drastically. How can we force democracy down someones throat if they are not totally open to it. They have been fightning amongst themselves for so long how can we expect them to stop now and accept democracy. We watch as our soldier body count is up to over 2500 now and it will just continue to grow each day. Many of the soldiers return from fighting and are asking "Why are we there and are we really doing any good". I for one don't think we are doing any good there and it is turning into another Vietnam!!!!!!!!!!! I just feel that it is time to cut and run. Our foreign policy is gone!!!!!!!!!!! It is time to get the hell out and worry about securing our own borders and people.

The United States is currently developing an oil field in Wyoming,Utah and Idaho that is larger than ALL Arab countries combined. The quicker it can be developed the sooner we can tell ALL the Arab states to keep ALL their oil in the ground and then watch what they do with it! I am an American who learned to respect and support his government. I am glad I learned to make a distinction between radical left-leaning Democrats and right-leaning Republicans, based on what they support in the interest of the MAJORITY of the voters of the United States. A final thought is, if you don't like it, you can always move to some of these Islamic Religionist-controlled nations where Religion Police torture and kill people that don't agree with them. Since when did we ever need the media to tell the government how to run the country? Seems to me like they contriubte a majority of the problems the government has to face on a day-to-day basis. Were they elected to office? My wife says to me, "I am not the President and I don't know what he knows, therefore I believe I can trust his decisions made with the overall knowledge he has."

David,
The most important question that I wanted answered by the Iraqi PM was does he believe that Israel have the right to exist? I believe al-Maliki is a puppet of Iran who believes that Israel should be exterminated and that the Halocaust never happened. We have sent Billions of dollars over there and have lost over 2500 soldiers to a puppet of Iran! The fact is we are in the middle of a religious war and eventually, Islam will be the cause of the forthcoming World War III. See www.thereligionofpeace.com for evidence.

I would have asked him if he has ever contributed to Hamas or Hezbollah. But what difference would that make? Our own country has had people who have had the means to do so contribute to both sides in wars for many, many years. After all, with business it's all about money and the bottom line anyway. Isn't it? And how they manage to sleep at night, I'll never know. The people of our country don't matter a whole lot to many of our politicians and business leaders.

Your 'wish list' question is ill-defined. It is NOT a question but an opinion of yours. I would be very happy if you were never allowed into another press conference. As far as face time (which you seem to love) when I see your face, I immediately change channels.

Obviously our current administration is not good at UNIFYING this great country.

This administration has done MORE to divide us than ANY ADMINISTRATION in my lifetime.

It is very apparent, that this administration will go down in history as THE WORST PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA.

George W. Bush has made his mark (and stain) in our country.

Mike Johnson, speaking of irrational, it is also standard right-wing form to equate questioning our (inept) leadership with "left wing...anti-liberty, anti-war, and anti-US sentiments" If you're such a patriot, why don't you realize that this is part of responsible citizenship? We cannot allow our leaders to run amok. Also, just because Dubya is right-leaning does not make it impossible for him to have fascist tendencies. You're correct that (very,very far) left leaning totalitarian/authoritarian governments have caused millions of deaths in the past, but the nature of the political spectrum means that if you lean too far to the right, you'll lose your balance and end up on the far left, which is where Dubya is headed. What do you call a goverment that flouts its own laws, has one entity (The Republican Party) in charge, allows torture of its detainees (thereby also flouting its own treaties), and does it all in the name of liberty? The way our country is running is not the way it was meant to be run --that is why so many are unhappy with the leadership; Not because people are upset that their horse didn't win. I know you're from Texas, just like our president, rah, rah rah...but it shouldn't be about supporting a leader because he's on your "team"; It should be about the job he's doing and the direction of the country. You need to wake up.

How many psudo patriots are going to post the fascist heresy that healthy debate "PLAYS INTO THE HANDS OF THE TERRORISTS!"

Absolutely. Never question George Bush, even though he's obviously a token of the extraction industries and an untreated alcoholic with a messianic complex. It would be soooooo un American to do anything besides kowtow to the likes of ChickenHawk Cheney and Uncurious George.

What was Hitler's approval rating as the Russians were entering Berlin? 17%? We obviously have the same phenomenon at work right here.

Mr Brett O'Kelly, please learn what a democracy is. Your post indicates that one must respect the President. He works for US pal, he must EARN our respect and he has done absolutely NOTHING for it. From illegal wiretaps to data mining to signing statements circumventing checks and balances as granted by the Consitution from not being able to pull himself from a vacation during Katrina to a war of choice in Iraq to the war on the middle class (cutting taxes for the wealthiest 1% to the GOP denying a federal increase in minimum wage every year since 1997 to outsourcing and unbalanced free trade agreements), this President has done nothing to earn any respect. And don't give me "no terrorist attacks since 9/11" routine acting like that is some major accomplishment, what should we expect as a nation, that there should be more terrorist attacks and that our federal government and intelligence agencies prove themselves totally inept? Puhleeze, the GOP rhetoric is repulsive, morally repugnant, and totally out of touch with most Americans. Oh, and to shoot down Nathan from NY because he is clearly too stupid to think for himself, it is extremely shortsighted to NOT acknowledge how our foreign policy in the Middle East has made it the violent place that it is. First of all, not to upset anyone of the Jewish faith reading this post, but the US is primarily responsible for the establishment of Israel. For those Bible-toters out there, what does the Old Testament tell us? Exactly, the Jews were nomads, they claimed no land their own. So what right did the Jews have to the previously held Palestinian land? That's right, absolutely none. Secondly, does anyone know how bin Laden was so well trained? You guessed it, we trained him in the early 1980's when we helped Afghanistan defeat the invading Soviet armies. Now, what happened when the bombs stopped falling? We pulled out and left Afghanistan in rubble. So while we send hundreds of millions of dollars and weaponry to Israel every year, bin Laden sees our nation turn its back to the plight of the Afghanis. My humble opinion, Reagan brought down the towers on 9/11 because his only concern was the Cold War, testing our weapons on the Soviets, and not the humanitarian cause that needed to be addressed in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Moving on, what about our involvement in the Iran/Iraq war in the mid 1980s? We GAVE SADDAM HIS WEAPONS and those same weapons were used against our own soldiers roughly five years later. Again, we didn't like the Ayatollah in Iran so we get invovled by aiding the other side and totally ignoring the aftermath of the conflict. As a result, we gained 2 enemies from that excursion. Next, flash to the Gulf War where we have left military bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, explain to me how nations in the Middle East wouldn't view our nation as an occupier instead of a liberator?
You see, when people want to drop the partisan rhetoric and examine history, history never lies and it tends to hold most of the answers to today's problems. Our involvement in the Middle East is the single biggest factor that Islamic militants rule the day and why civilians, though sick of the murder and tired of the extremist cause, aren't forthcoming in their support of our nation because the Arab world has been burned by us repeatedly. But why would anyone in this country ever consider how our actions might result in what transpires today.

Well, its pretty much all been said up top here, but like always I'll throw it up again. My comment would look very similiar to "nathen from new york" up at the near top.
Seriously David I try to put myself in your shoes everyday. I cannot understand for the life of me why you act the way you do. Why you ask these questions you do. I have a simple question for you. Do you respect George W. Bush as the leader of our nation and basically the free world. No matter your personal agenda/political side you should always have respect in your questions. As an "intelligent" person you actually wonder why he didn't answer you. Dude, thats hurtin!!!!

I don't even know where to start addressing the ridiculousness that has eminated from some on this message board. First of all, can we retire "cut and run" from the discussion? Last time I checked, we have been in Iraq for some 3 1/2 years, I hardly see a gradual reduction in troop levels over the next 6-12 months as a "cut and run" strategy. As an analogy, looking at the world through scientific perspective, if a pharma company tests a drug to cure say, cancer, and after 3 1/2 years studies show that the drug provides no efficacy in curing cancer, then would it be a "cut and run" strategy to cease testing the drug? Absolutely not, and as a matter of fact, common sense would tell the project manager that it would be in the best interest of the organization to reconsider its plan, re-evaluate other possibilities, and move on. By the way, how many of you who claim this "cut and run" argument feel that we "cut and run" from Vietnam? More importantly, if Vietnam serves as nothing else, since seemingly the mindless Bush-supporting Republican sheep don't acknowledge history and certainly learn nothing from it, it should frame the debate for this discussion and provide precedent that we must continually evaluate the success of our policies and measure that success against the expenditure. Sure, it may be easy for all of you armchair quarterbacks our there to say that "cut and run" is a show of weakness, why don't you try asking those who have a personal stake, i.e. those serving our those with family serving? It would appear to me that a President who couldn't even finish a Texas Air National Guard term and a VP who received FIVE deferments from Vietnam should have absolutely NO CREDIBILITY when it comes to military operations and Commander-in-Chief responsibilities. Furthermore, we have Rummy running this war on the cheap and in doing so completely disregarding the Powell Docterine, which if anyone wants to examine this administration and their policies, should look no further than the resignation of Colin Powell as a true measuring stick of how insanely idiotic this whole plan for war in Iraq has been.
Secondly, the next issue that needs to be addressed is our nationalistic hubris that permeates through our foreign policy practices. Reality is this, we live in a unique country where most of us (but certainly not all of us judging by some of the posts on this board and others I peruse with some regularity) understand the gravity and responsiblity of living in a representative government. Each of us holds a civic responsibility to each other by voting based upon policy, based upon national direction, based upon qualifications and experience, based upon ideas and upholding the ideals that have made this country what it is. So let me ask then, knowing the ideals of radical Islamic jihad, of anti-American sentiment in the Middle East, and knowing the history of the Middle Eastern region, full of sectarian violence and war for CENTURIES, we proceed in spreading "democracy" to that region of the world at our own peril. In Iraq, for instance, we have three factions, the Sunni, Shia, and Kurds. Each wants power, each wants control of oil, and no side will back down, no compromise (the backbone of any functional democracy), so the solution for these people will continue to be what it always has been, blow each other up. Now, due to our complete shortsightedness and clear inability to learn from history, ladies and gentlemen, Vietnam II is 3 1/2 years old and shows no end in sight. Maliki, showing the true colors of the region, denounces Israel's actions but won't even mention the actions of Hezbollah, which happens to be a Shiite group, and Maliki also a Shia himself. Does anyone see that taking a nation fresh off of a violent dictatorship and giving them democracy is not a solution? The Sunnis, the former controlling party and a minority now in Iraq, has a lot to lose. The Shia, which if my memory serves me correct, is the majority but eminates from Iran, which is where a grat deal of tensions between Sunnis and Shia originated. These are two diametrically opposed groups who WILL NEVER COEXIST. Just because we want to cram democracy down their collective throats doesn't mean that it will be successful. Best option in Iraq, split the country into three independent regions and try to unite them under one larger governmental framework.
So now, getting to more of the idiocy by some on this message board, defending the sham that was WMD? Defending Bush because he does the right thing even though he has no support for it? What? Can someone who holds this view please explain how this is representative of a democracy where elected officials are supposed to carry out the will of their constituency? Back to WMD, I saw one post that incinuates that all intelligence reports indicated that Iraq had WMD. Let me ask that person specifically, because if I had my way I'd revoke your right to vote, do you watch the news? Do you read the papers? Ever tune in to PBS, CSPAN, CNN, MSNBC, or practically any other news outlet other than Fox which is bought and paid for by the GOP? Do you have any clue at all? Do you have an ability to read? Even further, any comprehension skills at all? More seemingly, just the ability to regurgitate the sheer fallacy that is the Bush justification for war in Iraq because he wanted to finish the job that daddy didn't. Oh, and by the way, how many of you really understand the economics of war? This has long been Republican party platform, when the economy struggles, start a conflict somewhere and get the industrial military complex wound up and turn America back to the grand old war machine. You see, for the first time in our history in the 1990's, we truly converted from a guns society to a butter society, not that there weren't pitfalls and indescretions by some, but we boomed economically during non-wartime. 9/11 rocked this nation financially as much as it did personally. Our stock markets plummetted, industries like airlines, travel, and others were brought to their knees. Bushie has no economic policy other than to pad his own back pocket by lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans so what do we do? That's right, start a long, protracted war to beef up military expenditures to companies like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, thus infusing Federal dollars into the private sector, thus giving our economy its typical war-time boost. But lost to most is the fact that oil prices are a direct result of this latest war. We have created instability in a part of the world responsible for much of the world's oil. And since oil pricing is based upon speculation, we should see the results plain and clear. This whole pattern played out in the first Gulf War, but again we as a people seem too stupid to think for ourselves and learn from the past. While men and women are dying daily and our national debt is growing by leaps and bounds due to this war of choice, the oil industry is making a killing. This should serve as no surprise to people with intellectual prowess. Why you ask? Well, Cheney and Halliburton we all know about, Halliburton is I believe the second largest contractor to the oil industry in the world and Cheney its former CEO and its a sure-fire bet that he still has much monetary gain to make in stocks and such by Halliburton's success. But more corrupt is Bushie. Does anyone know what the 'W' stand for in GWB? It stands for Walker, an old-oil money family. His family has been involved in the oil industry for the private sector for decades and I would guarantee every one of you that this is the REAL REASON we are in Iraq, nothing less, nothing more. It is time for all of you blind Bushie backers to do some homework and get an F'ing clue, you are screwing your brethren, the rest of the citizenry of this nation. This is a war of choice for for economic reasons, period. Bush used the expolding sense of nationalism that took hold after 9/11 to bring us to Iraq after not even finishing the mission in Iraq. And oh, by the way, for all of you "cut and run" slogan touters out there, let me ask you, didn't we "cut and run" from Afghanistan without achieving the main objective, killing Osama bin Laden? Just curious, perhaps it is time to find another Karl Rove mantra to utter brainlessly.
It's time to wake up America!! I believe it was Ben Franklin, and I may be wrong here, who said "it is our patriotic duty to question our leaders regularly." So all of you Bible-toting Christian nutballs, please, leave your idiology for your home and your Church. It is time to vote on policies, vote on political agendas, not on wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion. Because, those who actually know a little bit about the construction and intent of our politcal structure will know that these are issues for STATES to deal with, not the federal government. If you folks in Alabama or Mississippi or fill in whatever Red State you want, want to make illegal gay marriage, abortion, the right to think outside of Republican politcal tag lines, or whatever other Bible motivated political causes you feel inclined to legislate, go right ahead, but please leave this be a state issue and take this ideological debate out of Federal politics. Federal government needs to be concerned with taxes, quality of life for the backbone of America, its middle class, foreign policy, immigration (my take on this briefly, here illegally, deport, period), and the like. I wish all of us the best, we need some good fortune to get us through these times because seemingly neither party has the policies and resolve to lead this nation in a fair, ethical, and prudent fashion.

The comments contain a level of irrational hatred and historical ignorance that is disturbing. It is standard left-wing form to accuse President Bush of taking us toward fascism. I must point out it was totalitarian/authoritarian governments, usually of the left, that were responsible for upwards of 150 million deaths in the 20th century alone. Such anti-liberty, anti-war, and anti-US sentiments play directly into the hands of our true enemies, the islamofascist.

I am surprised at the responses you have recieved, David, there has been VERY LITTLE said about this why the middle east has ALWAYS been in turmoil. This is a HOLY WAR!! When will people open their eyes and see all that has gone on in this region has been going on for thousands of years. With the advance of tv, radio, internet, people are more aware of all that is taking place. When did the USA or other countries care about the middle east and all the terrior going on??? Not until the news could SHOW ALL the devestation and killing and suffering that was going on.We as a nation have become so greedy in our life style that we NEED that OIL and we will do what we HAVE TO DO to get it. So, we as a nation of power try to take control SO we can continue in our greedy lifestyle!! Isreal and ALL the middle east countries have been fighting a HOLY WAR to see who can control the lives of others..Wake UP , world we are in the LAST DAYS of anyone trying to control anyone..WE as a nation NO LONGER have the power to control anyone,,WE HAVE RUN DRY!!! We are BROKEN, people in our own country are suffering and do they get there needs met NO! We have bullied other countries to do as WE do..Joke right!! If Lebonon was a democracy WHY did they harbor Hezbolla, If Iran is to continue to fuel this terror in the countries, there will never be a change for freedom for the people. Keep youe eyes on RUSSIA< THEY"re coming too. Well, I as a christain am going to watch Gods promises unfold, He is in control ,He is protecting HIS people,and Isreal will not fail Him, this time...

It seems not so much a question as an opinion backed up by a series of arguments with an unrealistic "have you stopped beating your wife?"-style mini-query tacked on so it fits in with the general guidelines for the venue. Not dissimilar from the majority of other "questions" fashioned in either a pro- or anti-administration that seem to be the standard fare at these "press conferences".

Mr. Gregory, Your question and most of the comments about it make clear most people do not understand what is happening in the Middle East. We are in the midst of a war of cultures. It is a war for the very existence of our liberal civilization. Yes, after 9/11, President Bush stirred up the hornet's nest of islamofascism; but it was necessary. Two points: if all the Muslim countries surrounding Israel were disarmed suddenly, the region would be peaceful. If Israel was disarmed suddenly, the country would be invaded and enslaved immediately. Again, the US and Israel both have nuclear weapons. Neither will use them against their current enemies. If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon does anyone doubt it will target Tel Aviv as soon as it is able? That is what we must prevent with force. Our only hope of survival is to change the culture of the countries that allow suicidal islamofascism to flourish. That is what President Bush is doing. Until, the young people of the backwards countries of the Middle East have the kinds of opportunities we take for granted in the West, we will be in danger. The war is worth it.

If President Bush answers... he's not answering "honestly". If he doesn't, he's "dodging". Why he even continues to attempt dialog with you jackals is a mystery.

Why don't you people get a life and let the grown-ups run the show? That includes you, Gregory. Your little tantrums and primadonna attitude got old about five minutes after you became a "journalist".

"and so it goes." (Kurt Vonnegut)

One of the reasons that some who are conservative know that this is a very liberal blog and they will get flamed if their post even makes to the site. There is a very tough screener here.

Chapter II: Waging War, 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu

"6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare."

"7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on." [That is, with rapidity; only one who knows the disastrous effects of a long war can realize the supreme importance of rapidity in bringing it to a close.]

Even with the full knowledge gained from the experience of the disastrous effects of the prolonged war in Vietnam, has the United States of America realized the supreme importance of rapidity in bringing wars to a close ??? ...

The prolonged "war on terrorism" [That is, the war on the enemies of the State of Israel] will do MUCH to cause the USA to reconsider it's permanent alliance with the State of Israel, and for THAT, we can THANK Islam...

"It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."
~ George Washington

"Spreading democracy in fundamentalist countries could actually hurt us in the war on terrorism. We need to change the "hearts and minds" of these people." Combat their ideas about religious fundamentalism. Expose the lies of their fanatical leaders."

Right. That's going to work (rolls eyes). "Excuse me, sir, your conception of religion is wrong and closed-minded." You charmer, you.

What's going to work is realizing that every time you elect these wackos that they act like 5-year olds and end up bringing economic sanctions or military action against your country. People eventually get tired of fighting, and if the militant quacks want to keep fighting, they're going to get voted out of office.

Is it really professional to pose loaded questions to your nation's President? Because when given the opportunity to ask a question, I'd think I'd ask something a little more inciteful than: "I think you were wrong (har har), don't you agree, Mr. President?" Very bad form, and I don't think the Israel-Lebanon conflict is as closely related as you'd imply, either. As for your vision, I'd call it myopic.

It just amazes me how many people are willing to bury their heads in the sand rather than deal with the reality of our situation. The fact that people could still question that Bush & Co. lied, is mind boggling. Phil Boston of Athens GA identifies some of the lies but left off a very important one. The "war is a last resort" lie that was told to Congress and the American people. Read the Downing Street Memos. Clearly the war was decided early on and not as a "last resort". Going to the UN to force unfettered inspections (they thought Saddam would refuse) was only intended to give Briton a "legal" justification for war (war for regime change is not legal in Briton). That is why when Saddam surprised them and allowed "unfettered inspections" we kicked out the inspectors and bombed Iraq anyway. They could not allow inspectors to contradict the propaganda that had been sold to the American people...remember "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" propaganda. Chalabi fed the Bush administration the lies they wanted to hear (that can not be passed off as intelligence). The CIA did'nt buy it. But it earned Chalabi a seat right behind Bush at the State of the Union address. Then 2 years later they raid Chalabi's Iraq office because he is a spy for Iran. Who has benefited from the Iraq war? Iran and the terrorists! Bush's goal was to invade Iraq and he used 9-11 to accomplish that goal...truth was not a factor. It is also mind-boggling that so many posters here do not seem capable of logical thought. When David says that "democratic reform has produced Hamas and Hezbollah" how can you not understand that. We want to have our cake and eat it too. We promote democracies (with the barrel of a gun), but we only want democracies that we approve of. But instead, we get Hamas and Hezbollah so we refuse to engage them (because they are terrorists). Can you say Hypocrite? If we are going to promote democracies we have to be willing to accept and deal with the administrations that are elected...just as we have had to do here in America. We cannot pretend that our foreign policies are not a factor in who gets elected in these countries. America needs to wake up. Life is a lot more complicated than sound bites and spin.

Why are so many pro Bush posts anonymous? Thinking of your futures?

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