Marilyn Young tells Bill Moyers she's upset with Obama for bombing Pakistan

Historians in the News

... MARILYN YOUNG: You know, the thing that gets me, Obama appoints George Mitchell and he says what we're going to do is listen. What we're going to do is figure we're just going to listen. And in his first press interview on that Arab TV network, which was a brilliant move I thought, he talked about respect. BARACK OBAMA [SOT]: We are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest.

MARILYN YOUNG: He used the word "respect" repeatedly. And it's an excellent word to use and an important one. He, it's not impossible to say we're going to pause in Afghanistan and listen. We're going to think about it. We're going to figure it out. We're not going to move militarily at this moment until we know what we're doing.

BILL MOYERS: But suppose, Marilyn that somebody from the Pentagon came to the White House right after the inauguration and said, "You know, we've had this drone attack planned. And we've spotted these insurgents whom we think really are militants--"


BILL MOYERS: "and killers in their own right. And we want to - we want you to approve this raid." And suppose he had said no four days after the inauguration and that had been leaked. You know what would have happened on all of the right-wing talk radio shows in.


BILL MOYERS: And maybe "The Washington Post" and editorial page and others like that. He has no backbone, right? I mean, wasn't he in a sense, trapped by this option?

MARILYN YOUNG: Yeah, but that's, that's you know, he's read history. He should at least or he should have been very familiar with the Johnson administration. That's exactly the trap that Johnson walked into. And it's not necessary. I have this odd notion that the American public is actually, in the main, adult enough to listen and think and to respond to a president who says, I'm going to tell you what's going on. For eight years there has been miasma, lies, deception, bizarre behavior. We're going to change that and not just economically and not just domestically. But we're really going to see what we're doing everywhere. That means I did not approve a military move I was urged to approve because I want to know what I'm doing. And I'm sure my fellow citizens will join me in wishing to know what it is the United States is doing militarily before it does it....
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More Comments:

Charles Lee Geshekter - 2/5/2009

I have great "respect" for Young. Simply judging from her pained and jumbled comments to Moyers here, however, she remains marooned in the '70s.....

Lorraine Paul - 2/4/2009

It seems to me that it isn't Ms Young who is poor, pathetic and lost. Your analysis of this piece seems to fit that description more readily. Especially when the fact of 'appointees' did not come up in the conversation described.

I have heard excellent reviews of Ms Young's scholarship, but who are you??

Charles Lee Geshekter - 2/4/2009

Poor, pathetic, lost soul Marilyn Young........spitting out her attacks on an administration now out of power, yet conveniently turning a blind eye towards the cavalcade of tawdry and tarnished appointees already forced to withdraw their names from consideration by the Obama White House.