Published on
the Salem-News (Oregon)

CBS Fires Former Iraq Commander for Speaking Out Against Bush Policies in Iraq

Salem-News staff

NEW YORK - It took CBS two weeks to fire Don Imus for calling a college women's basketball team "nappy headed hos," but it only took them two days to fire Major General John Batiste for speaking out against the president and his policies on the war in Iraq.

Groups critical of the war and President Bush say it is an outrage. 0516 08

Batiste, a Republican, commanded troops in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. He left the Army on a mision to speak out against what he calls "the president's reckless policy in Iraq." A short time after that, CBS hired him as a part-time consultant.

But then last week, Batiste appeared in a TV ad speaking out against the president on Iraq. Just two days later, CBS fired him.

"It's censorship, pure and simple," stated. They say they are going to rally over 100,000 people to send messages demanding that CBS re-hire Major General John Batiste by the end of the week.

As in the case of Don Imus though, supporters of Batiste are well served to remember that CBS is a business, not a democracy, and they are not necessarily bound to keep any employee around that they deem should no longer work there.

Still, the move by CBS to dismiss the General who commanded forces in Iraq does seem consistent with other similar firings in the federal government. Several notable generals have spoken out publicly against the course of the war in Iraq, they appear to have learned to wait until they are out of the military to do it however.

CBS says they fired Major General Batiste because he engaged in advocacy, but critics say CBS is holding him to a different standard than their other consultants.

One example is former White House communications director Nicolle Wallace, a consultant to CBS who is known for using her position to push White House talking points.

It was also reported that she was advising the McCain campaign, yet CBS did nothing when she appeared as a consultant on their network to promote his candidacy. The Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon also appeared on CBS as a consultant while advocating in favor of President Bush's escalation plan.

Major General John Batiste is not the first general to speak out against policies in Iraq. Recently a number of generals and military leaders have spoken out, including Reagan's former NSA director, General William Odom, Vietnam veteran Major General Mel Montano and another former general from Iraq-retired Major General Paul Eaton.

Copyright © 2006

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